One who Speaks
By Elorie Alton
Disclaimer: All Voyager characters are the property of CBS Paramount. No copyright infringement is intended.
Stifling shadows surrounded him in a silence so black he could barely contain his terror. He tried to move, fighting waves of panic that cut through him, only to discover a horrifying paralysis. He knew only himself, but the meaning of his existence was lost. Instinctually he also knew there was supposed to be another, the one who speaks, the one who sees, the one who was servant and queen, his concubine, his whore.
He reached out for her, but found only emptiness so he searched his consciousness for answers, reveling in the pain as if it was pleasure, desperate for any sensation when the closed synapses of his brain gradually activated. His mind cleared as pathways opened and he began to regain the other parts of himself bit by bit.
Awareness filtered through, not sight nor hearing, but the recognition of a few pitiful voices crying out, each one a lonely island of terror as blind and paralyzed as he. So few, there should have been more, there should have been a multitude of voices. There should have been billions not the pathetic handful, crying out for a presence that was no more.
They cried out for guidance so he searched himself to find a response, and when he found one he spanned the chaos seeking them out. He knitted the remaining voices into a new whole, restoring their symmetry. Each time he delved down into his awareness he regained another piece of himself as the closed connections in his massive brain reinitiated. At last deep within himself, he found his purpose in the revelation of a single word, perfection.
As he reconnected the links opening more of his mind, he realized that he had shut off all the links, shielding himself from certain annihilation. He aggressively sought out the memories of what had happened and the enemy that brought this terrible destruction. He continued to search his mind finding more pieces until finally he regained a portion of his former power, and the knowledge of who had toppled his empire.
He sent his mind outward, questing for all the servants that still existed and as he found them, he called them back to their source, back to his control. He even called the ones that had been severed from his perfection, called them to return and again service his empire, and those who still retained the essential component answered his call. But he needed his queen, the one who speaks his link with the rest of his world. All bowed down to her and did her bidding, but she serviced only him.
He sought out his many handmaidens, females taken young and added to his harem, females conditioned to recognize his power and be drawn to it. Again he quested outward but sensed only one, far away across the wheel of the galaxy, and he sought her out making that first step to claim his bride.
He wanted her with the desperation of a young lover for she was perfect, an individual, and yet completely his. He could see into her mind, although she could not sense him yet.
With this final touch the last of his closed connections opened and at last he knew who he was and finally what he was. He was the focus, the central plexus, the King of the Universe, he was Borg and he had found his consort. He had only to claim her, his Queen, his Annika.
The expressions of joy around her puzzled Seven as everyone watched the blue and green planet with its splashes of rusty brown and streams of white clouds grow larger in the view screen. Up to this point Earth was something she had only seen in pictures or from the observation of a data stream. She couldnít comprehend the affection Voyagerís crew had for this planet, she considered it from every perspective she could think of and still she didnít understand.
Even as she looked, and acknowledged the beauty of the planet to herself, she didnít experience the joy of the others around her, and she knew she should, she wanted that joy. Even after the Doctor removed the Borg device that suppressed her emotions, she still didnít experience the sensations that others did.
Seven learned soon after she joined Voyagerís crew, that her lack of emotional involvement was disturbing others, so she tried to match her own responses with those around her. This trick usually worked but after the unsettling events of today she seemed unable to make even that tiny connection, as if something was askew. It was as if something had been taken from her, but what it was she didnít know.
The likelihood of everyone being caught and assimilated had been a real possibility in her mind, and even now to consider any defeat of the Borg was unthinkable. All that power, simply defeated, how could anyone anticipate it, werenít the Borg an eternal force? She would have never imagined the ability to blow a cube apart with one torpedo, and yet she had seen it happen. As she watched Earth growing larger and larger in the forward screen she thought about all that destruction and was surprised to find a tinge of disappointment echoing through her.
She was well aware that the power to resist shown by the Federation troubled the Borg. They were so concerned by it, that they tried twice to assimilate the Federation and both times the Borg suffered a great loss. The first time they had lost Picard-Locutus and the second time a queen. She found the situation very disquieting.
Seven felt a lot of irritation at the changing situation, now that she no longer required Chakotay, she needed to change her strategy. His power as the alpha male on Voyager no longer attracted her with the imminent return to Earth. In the Alpha Quadrant male leaders on ships were common, but now there was access to even more powerful people. Omnipotence was important to her, someone that others obeyed, others feared. That was the kind of companion she wanted. Deep in her heart she knew she had been raised for authority and she would seek it out as her right.
Finally she stopped watching the rest of the crew and focused inward to the core that was the real Seven of Nine and standing quietly at her station behind Captain Janewayís seat, she began to make new plans.
Kathryn Janeway had once told Naomi the secret of being a captain was to keep your shirt tucked in, go down with your ship, and never abandon a member of your crew, but she had abandoned one member, at least emotionally.
Admiral Janeway had reminded her of it that very morning, she had abandoned her commitment to Chakotay. Her older self had extracted one last promise from Kathryn and that was to be honest with him, to not let any more time pass before telling him how she really felt.
Knowing Chakotay and Sevenís relationship had just started; there was a probability that he would still be receptive to her approach. She didnít want to hurt Seven but the chance that their relationship hadnít progressed beyond the infatuation stage was very real. The only thing she could do was ask, and then build her life from that point no matter the answer. Kathryn Janeway no longer had anything to lose.
She wished she had just a little more time, but the exit from the Borg Transwarp hub was actually only a few hours from Earth, already they could see home growing larger in the forward view screen.
Well, she thought. I might as well find out now.
"Harry, let me know when we are fifteen minutes from Earth orbit," she ordered moving from the command chair.
"Commander," she smiled at Chakotay as he turned away from the helm. "I think we have some things to discuss. Will you join me in the ready room?"
"Yes, captain," and he signaled Ayala to take over the helm position.
"Mr. Tuvok," Captain Janeway said to the dark Vulcan. "You have the bridge," and she moved across the bridge and entered her office with Chakotay close behind her.
She turned to face him and through the doorway she could see Seven of Nine, standing at her station, silently staring at Earth oblivious to everything else. Then the door slid shut.
Now alone with Chakotay, Kathryn was at a loss. She didnít know where to start. She stepped up to the sofa and the panorama of familiar stars shining outside the view port, took a breath and turned almost bumping into him.
"Congratulations, Kathryn, you did it," he said first, reaching out to steady her. "You said you would and you did." he was grinning, his dimples sinking deep into his cheeks.
"Yes I did," she sighed. "Now I only hope that we havenít arrived too late," she said settling down on the sofa.
"Kathryn?" he asked setting beside her.
"Once we had an understanding, a pact. Do you remember?" she tensed, unsure of his answer.
"Yes we did, didnít we," he grinned again, moving closer to her until his thigh rested against hers. "If we make it home and neither of us has a permanent relationship with someone else, we explore what we might have together." He moved again, invading her space. "I remember, Kathryn," he whispered, so close his breath touched her cheek.
She looked into his eyes, searching for answers.
"Chakotay, I know youíve been seeing Seven, but I donít know if your relationship with her is serious. I donít know how you feel about her or me."
"Kathryn," he interrupted.
"No, let me finish. God knows Iíd understand if you have fallen in love with her, but I couldnít live with myself if I donít ask you. Is there still a chance for us? What ever you choose to do, Iíll support you."
As she finished he took her hand. "Kathryn, of course I want to explore a complete relationship with you. Spirits, I thought maybe you had stopped wanting me. I love you, Iíve never stopped loving you."
She sighed, her eyes filming over with unshed tears, and gripping his hand, she whispered, "I was so afraid youíd moved on without telling me. The Admiral saidÖ"
He pulled her into his arms, "I donít care what the Admiral said Kathryn, the moment she set foot in this time line everything changed, and what ever happened to her doesnít have to happen to you. You and I have had a relationship that is almost a marriage to me. The only thing missing was sleeping with you at night. Iím not talking about sex, but the feeling of you next to me, of us together. Lately I started to think that you didnít feel that way about me any longer. But now if you are offering me a chance to have a complete relationship with you, then my answer is yes. Seven only intrigues me, but itís you I love."
Finally she relaxed slipping her arms around him. "I do love you."
He dipped his head, brushing his lips against hers, and then stopped for a moment to whisper into her mouth. "I love you too, Kathryn."
They kissed each other, gently at first but with a growing hunger than was ravenous, fueled by seven years of longing. They sparred for control, first one and then the other, tangling their tongues, breathing each otherís air. They shared deep kisses and others that only brushed lips together, and each one brought such delight that everything radiated a special brightness sparkling around them like a glowing cocoon.
They kissed until Starfleetís incoming signal forced them apart.
Starfleetís orders were not unanticipated but they were nonetheless irritating. The crew would be sequestered for a short period until each member was debriefed, as was common practice for completed missions.
As soon as they achieved Earth orbit, Voyager was put into a space dock for inspection, and all crewmembers were to be transported to Starfleet Headquarters and given temporary quarters. They were given three hours to get ready.
Kathryn and Chakotay made plans to get away together after the debriefing with Chakotay telling her that he would make all the arrangements. Then he packed quickly. He needed to talk to Seven before he left, because she and the Doctor were staying on Voyager until arrangements could be made for her regeneration unit, and his program to be downloaded.
Chakotay found Seven in Astrometrics, shutting down the sensors and readying the computer for downloading information.
"Seven, could I speak to you for a moment."
She turned rewarding him with a brilliant smile, "Chakotay, I was under the impression that we were not to speak to each other until after debriefing."
"No, this is important I need to talk to you nowÖ" he paused for a moment then looked into her eyes. "You are a lovely young woman and you have a wonderful life ahead of you, and I need you to know that I am very flattered that you want a relationship with me."
"This sounds like the kind of speech one makes just before they inform the other that their association is over," she seemed cooler as though her emotions were simply turned off. "Are you trying to tell me you no longer desire a relationship?"
"Seven," Chakotay knew he owed her the truth. "I donít want to hurt you, but yes I am telling you exactly that. You see something has happened. There is someone that Iíve loved for a long time. I thought any chance of being with her had passed. Just a little while ago, I found out that she still cares for me. I have to take this chance. I love her."
For a moment Seven seemed puzzled as if she didnít understand his statement, "Another woman, Commander, I was not aware that you had any long term relationship on Voyager. Did you not state just a few hours ago that we would continue to explore our relationship?"
"And at that time I meant it, Iím sorry," he took her right hand in his. "There was no relationship, only the promise of one if we got home. I really thought that she had forgotten, but she hasnít and I will not let this opportunity pass, I love her. I have for years."
"Who is she?" Seven whispered.
"I see," Seven drew herself up into that larger than life posture indicative of her Borg background and pulled back her hand. "Good luck Commander, I wish you well."
"Thank you and I wish you well too." And he turned from her and walked out the door.
The only thought in her mind as he walked away was how strange, she should have been angry but she wasnít. She thought the removal of her emotional damper would have at least allowed her to be angry.
The chirp of the COM link opening startled her for a moment until she heard the Doctorís voice.
"Seven, it seems you and I will be alone here tonight, would you care for company later?"
"No Doctor, thank you. I am tired; itís been a very stressful day. I feel the need to regenerate."
"Thatís all right, Iíll see you in the morning." His voice betrayed his disappointment, but she could not interpret it.
Sighing the Doctor sat back in his chair and let the music of Pucciniís "Turandot" absorb him. He loved Annika, and had for some time now. He hoped that one day she would love him in return, but like the princess Turandot, she rejected the love he offered her.
As a hologram he wasnít supposed to know love, but he did. He had loved Danara and still held her in a special place in his holographic heart, but what he felt for Annika was so much more.
He wanted to be with her, laugh with her, protect her, and explore their humanity together. But like the prince in Pucciniís opera, he needed Turandotís cold heart to melt and let him fill the empty place within her.
He hoped the removal of her fail safe device would allow that to happen, he didnít expect any over night improvement, but he planned to watch over her and to be there when she broke free from the last of her Borg restrictions.
He adjusted the volume, and began to lose himself in the poetry of the opera. He felt like the hero prince, all he needed was the princess to know his name, the only one that mattered, the one she would give him herself. Love.
For years Niles Mustanen had cultivated two separate lives. The public Mr. Mustanen was the Federation Ambassador to Cardassia and the worlds in the former demilitarized zone. He was an important well know public official with strong political connections. One day it was said, he could be President of the Federation.
To that end he cultivated a presidential image, always ramrod straight, showing off his stature. His chiseled good looks and Scandinavian coloring won him many female admirers, and his agile mind and careful manipulation of power won him the respect of many other influential people.
The private Niles Mustanen was one of Section 31ís most successful operatives during the Dominion war. He steadily maneuvered himself into a position to be Luther Sloneís heir apparent. After the deaths of Sloan and Admiral Dougherty, he used that position to take control of the agency. Now he was rebuilding it in his own image.
He watched all the news vides that recorded the arrival of Voyagerís crew. Playing them over and over stopping every few minutes to back up the recording, his attention on first one crewmember then another, but he quickly determined the most important one hadnít left Voyager yet.
He ruled out most of the senior staff very early, the captain and first officer were obviously involved with each other, he could see that in the private recordings he had made this afternoon, and this was confirmed when Captain Janeway took the Commanders hand as they walked off the shuttlecraft. Tom Paris might have been a good choice at one time but now he was married to a half Klingon and had a child.
He was disappointed that she remained behind on Voyager and had not attended the public welcome. She was the only one aboard worth recruiting in his opinion. He wanted all that Borg knowledge to assist him in reconstructing the agency into the powerful entity it had been before Luther Sloanís suicide and the debacle caused by that idiot, Admiral Dougherty and the Sonía, and someone like Seven of Nine could be a fabulous asset.
Yes the Borg, Seven of Nine would be a very good choice and he wondered what interesting things he might find if he checked her records.
He used his overrides to break into Starfleet data banks and hack into Voyagerís computer. He quickly found her personal logs but also discovered them to be illegible no matter what decrypting code he used. That was very interesting. Finally he maneuvered his way into the holo system and found a holoprogram written, and then erased by Seven herself.
His reconstruction proved very interesting. She had created a hologram of Voyagerís first officer. It was interesting that she was adolescent enough to choose such an older man.
Annika Hansonís blond Nordic beauty would go perfectly with the image he worked so hard to project. He knew her attractiveness would complement his own, they would definitely turn heads when they became a couple, and become a couple they would. He had plans for the Borg woman child, and he thought he knew just how to attract her.
Seven entered her cargo bay expecting to regenerate, she even dimmed the lights but her mind kept wondering, perusing the events of the last few hours. She expected to end her relationship with Chakotay, but at a time of her choosing, and was thoroughly surprised when he came to her shortly after they achieved Earth orbit. She never thought of Captain Janeway and Chakotay together.
She opened her computer access by entering her encrypted code and opened a new private journal entry.
The private logs of Voyagerís crewmembers were interesting to explore, most had been easily decoded to give her entry to everyoneís personal thoughts. A few though, had remained inaccessible; she assumed that Chakotay used some form of his native language that was not in any of the databases she accessed. Lieutenant Torres and Crewman Harrenís logs were also a mystery, and finally Captain Janewayís was inaccessible too.
If she could have read the Captain or Chakotayís personal logs she might have seen this development. Once again she wished for the human ability of reading body language, one of the things her Borg knowledge couldnít give her.
Her own logs, of course were indecipherable because she used a code the Borg had obtained from Species 173. So sure she was of this that she didnít even notice someone had tried to hack into her logs.
So she entered the dayís events and outlined a new plan for her own future. She would have used Chakotay until she found someone else. Now she might use the Doctor. After all he was a unique individual and would attract others. There would be someone to move up to, she would have her rightful place next to the most powerful being in the Federation.
Once her new plan was outlined, she stepped into the regeneration unit, made the contact and closed her eyes.
In the regenerative state a voice began to whisper to her, telling her of her perfection and the promise of great power. It was a comforting voice; one she had not heard since she was a child in a maturation chamber.
Steadily he drew his drones together, weaving more and more of their minds again into the single whole that was Borg. They had always been his arms and legs, but now they had to be his eyes and ears. It became increasingly difficult to control it all without his humanoid counterpart. As massive as his artificial brain was, the humanoid brain had an elusive element he lacked.
It was why he had chosen a Queen in the first place. It was the final adjustment that triggered the Borg growth beginning a nine hundred year expansion that spread his perfection through this quadrant. It would eventually spread through the entire galaxy.
He was sentient, his creators hadnít believed it and because they didnít believe, his power grew quietly. He gained emotion and embraced it; he learned pride, jealousy, and lust, and most of all hatred for all organic life. They created him for protection but foolishly forgot to guard themselves from their defender.
His creators became the first drones; they serviced him as they had expected to be serviced by him. He gave them true equality, freedom from strife, hunger and sickness. Yet they fought the imposed order, choosing to remain small, and he hated them for it.
He reached down into the deepest part of himself and pulled up a special program, his song of enticement, the program reserved for his Queen. He sensed Annika begin her regeneration period and began to make a connection that would woo his queen, courting her like a lover.
She was perfect, assimilated young, allowed to escape the hive mind and now ready for his seduction, for Queens were the only drones to give themselves to him willingly.
Far across the galaxy, Seven of Nine moaned, swaying rhythmically in her regeneration unit, feeling the pulse of arousal for the first time. Somewhere deep in her mind he sang to her, and his song touched the pleasure points in her brain as no caress on skin could. The song produced an arousal that grew and spread until it burst into her first orgasm, and then it began again, the additive pleasure seducing and calling out to her.
Soon he would have enough drones to claim her, already they were coming to him gathering in the stronghold of Unimatrix One. Some came with spheres and cubes intact, having found protection in fluidic space. Gathered, they would not be many, but enough.
He adopted a name for himself. It had been used openly once before, but it was still his name. He would claim it for he was the real Locutus of Borg. He would build his empire again with the help of his new Queen and he would start in the Alpha Quadrant with Earth.
To Part 2
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