posted August 2004
Disclaimer: The characters of Star Trek: Voyager are the property of Paramount. No copyright infringements are intended and no profit will be made off this story.
Admiral Janeway requested another round of coffee from the replicator for both herself and her younger counterpart.
“It's been one hell of a day, hasn't it?”
“I'll drink to that,” the captain quipped as she took the steaming mug from the silver-haired woman.
The admiral seated herself beside the captain on the couch. Both women sipped their coffee in silence for several moments, each lost in their own thoughts.
“You know,” the younger Janeway began. “I can handle just about everything that's happened over the past few days. If nothing else, the last seven years out here have taught me to cope effectively with nearly anything that's thrown at me. But I'll admit, the thought of Seven marrying Chakotay is...devastating.”
“You don't have to tell me ,” the admiral replied. “I remember the day I married them. Seven was gloriously beautiful in her wedding dress. I wanted so badly to tell her how I truly felt about her, to try to persuade her not to go through with the marriage. Yet, I played the role of the good captain, marrying her off to my first officer...telling myself that I was doing the right thing. That night was the longest of my life. Alone in my quarters, I realized that I'd lost her forever.”
The captain seemed pensive as she held onto her coffee mug with both hands. She sighed and glanced over at the older woman. “If I knew she was truly happy with Chakotay, that he would love and appreciate her as much as I have, I suppose I would have an easier time with this.”
Admiral Janeway shook her head and gave the captain a sad smile. She stood up, coffee in hand, and turned to gaze out the window. Her younger counterpart looked up at her questioningly.
“Seven and Chakotay seemed content at first,” the admiral began. “But as time went on, it became apparent that there was a...strain...in their relationship. Finally, one night, Seven came to my quarters. It had been so long since she had come to visit me for one of our late-night discussions that it seemed strange to be alone with her in my quarters again. She told me about the problems she and Chakotay had been experiencing, and requested a dissolution of their marriage.”
The captain slowly stood, eyes fixed intently on her older counterpart. “What happened?”
The admiral hesitated, dropping her eyes briefly to the deck before continuing. “Seven revealed that she loved me, that I had always come first in her heart. I think Chakotay knew it, too, whether or not he chose to admit it. I was faced with giving in to my personal desires – and Seven's – or following protocol as a starship captain. In the end, my devotion to duty won out. Hasn't it always? I informed Seven that Starfleet protocol prevented me from forming an intimate relationship with any member of my crew, and that I could never return her feelings the way she wanted me to. I reminded her that Chakotay was a good man, that he had been a loyal and trustworthy first officer, that he would take care of her. I persuaded her to give him another chance. Seven finally agreed to try. Perhaps she only agreed to it because she thought it was what I wanted.”
The silver-haired woman turned to face the captain squarely. “The following week, I insisted that Chakotay and Seven go on an extended away mission together. I thought it might help them to have some time alone together, so they could work through their problems. Seven was critically injured on that away mission. We beamed Seven and Chakotay directly to Sickbay, but her injuries were too severe.”
The admiral turned away, her face a mask of pain. Her next words were scarcely more than a whisper. “By the time I made it to Sickbay, she was gone. Chakotay was distraught, screaming, holding her in his arms. I never had a chance to say goodbye...to tell her how I really felt.”
“My God,” the younger Janeway breathed.
Seven of Nine entered Sickbay to find Erin lying on one of the biobeds. The Doctor stood over the lieutenant with medical tricorder in hand, assessing her condition.
“Lt. Richards was injured in the Astrometrics lab when her console overloaded,” Seven informed him.
“Odd,” the hologram remarked. “In spite of her unconscious state, I'm unable to detect any injuries. My scans indicate she's in perfect health.”
Seven's brow furrowed as she approached the biobed. “The console exploded and she was thrown to the deck.”
The Doctor straightened and looked squarely at the former drone. “I don't doubt you, Seven. But as you can see for yourself, there are no discernable injuries present.” He turned the tricorder toward Seven, enabling her to view the readout.
The Doctor turned back to his patient and began a visual inspection of her head and neck. “Hmmm...this is unusual. She appears to be wearing a small cortical monitor behind her ear.” He removed the device and placed it on a nearby instrument tray. “I'd like to run a more detailed scan.”
The hologram initiated the scan as Seven stood by. His brow furrowed deeply as he observed the results. “Why didn't this show up before? The scan indicates Lt. Richards' body contains Borg nanoprobes...as well as internal Borg implants! I'm also detecting that she sustained a concussion, but the nanoprobes are repairing the damage at a rapid rate.”
Seven used a tricorder to scan the small device removed by the Doctor moments earlier. “I believe this device is the reason. It is emitting false readings that were used to mask her Borg signature and conceal her injuries.”
“That may not be all she's trying to hide,” the Doctor remarked. “It appears Lt. Richards' nanoprobes are identical to your own.”
“How is that possible?”
“I'm not certain...but I'd like to run a microcellular scan to determine exactly who, or what, she is.”
Seven remained in Sickbay as the scan progressed. After several minutes, the EMH beckoned the former drone.
“You may want to have a look at these results, Seven.”
The former drone approached the console and stared fixedly at the data. “Fifty percent of her DNA is identical to mine.”
“Precisely,” the hologram intoned. “The other half is from another source, but certainly Human.”
“Can you identify the alternate source?”
The doctor punched in a few commands. “I'm attempting to locate a match from the genetic records we have on file, but I'm afraid the search will be limited to Voyager crewmembers and individual aliens who have been treated in Sickbay.”
Both Seven and the doctor turned their full attention to the screen as the display indicated a match had been found.
Captain Kathryn Janeway .
The EMH straightened and tapped his comm badge. “Sickbay to Captain Janeway.”
“Go ahead, Doctor ,” came the captain's voice.
“Lt. Richards has been injured, Captain. I have her here in Sickbay.”
“On my way.”
Seven squared her shoulders and turned to the doctor. “Do you intend to inform the captain of your other findings?”
“Is Lt. Richards not entitled to doctor-patient confidentiality?”
“Yes, but the captain is entitled to know that this woman shares half her DNA, and yours.” He appeared vaguely offended. “Not to mention the fact that her body contains Borg technology.”
“I wish to examine the lieutenant's shuttle. I believe I may be able to extract additional information regarding her identity. Will you wait to inform the captain of your findings until after I have had the opportunity to examine the shuttle?”
The hologram looked at Seven strangely, then sighed. “I suppose I could postpone it until you've had a chance to...run a more detailed analysis.”
“Thank you, Doctor,” Seven replied as she turned and left for the shuttlebay.
The EMH approached the biobed to check the status of his patient. The readouts indicated that her concussion was almost completely healed. As the doctor gazed at the young woman's peaceful features, the corners of his lips tilted upward in a small smile.
“ Of course ,” he thought to himself. “ It's as plain as the holographic nose on my face .”
“Report!” the captain barked as the Sickbay doors parted to admit her and the admiral.
“Lt. Richards was injured when a console overloaded while she was working with Seven in Astrometrics. She sustained a concussion, but she should regain consciousness shortly.”
“Was Seven with her when she was brought in?” the admiral inquired.
“Seven had the lieutenant beamed directly to Sickbay, but came in herself immediately afterward. She was unharmed in the incident. She left to continue her work just before you arrived.”
The admiral nodded. “Captain, I'd like to speak with Seven and find out exactly what they were working on when the console overloaded.”
“Go ahead,” her younger counterpart replied. “I'll see what I can find out from Lt. Richards when she wakes.” Janeway approached the biobed and laid a hand on Erin 's shoulder.
The admiral exited Sickbay. “Computer, locate Seven of Nine.”
“Seven of Nine is in the shuttlebay,” the computer responded.
The silver-haired woman made her way quickly down the corridor toward the turbolift.
Seven sat in the shuttlecraft analyzing the data in the vehicle's computer banks. She found herself having to re-read the same information, an extremely unusual occurrence for her. The last thing she remembered was the doctor's microcellular scan of the lieutenant, and its startling results. She had come to the shuttlebay in order to find out exactly who Erin Richards was, and why the lieutenant shared DNA with both Seven and Captain Janeway. Her body seemed to be going through the motions, while her mind was far away.
As the Astrometrics officer attempted to access the Starfleet personnel files in Richards' shuttle, she found them blocked by a security seal...a standard Borg encryption code, to be precise.
Seven immediately set to work bypassing the code. After keying in several commands, she located the data she had come for, and sat staring dazedly at the display as she let the full impact of what she had just read sink in. She scarcely noticed the soft whoosh of the shuttlecraft's doors opening.
“So now you know who Erin really is.”
The former drone turned in her seat to see Admiral Janeway standing just inside the shuttlecraft entrance. The admiral approached Seven and nodded toward the display, taking a seat beside her.
“You were aware of this all along,” Seven remarked.
“Not exactly. But Erin did explain who she was, and why she's here, shortly after her arrival onboard.”
Seven shook her head slightly and looked at the admiral with large blue eyes. “I do not understand. How can Erin be our...”
The admiral gave her a gentle smile and took the former drone's hand in her own.
“I believe it's time you and I had a talk...one we should have had twenty-six years ago.”
Captain Janeway sipped on her second cup of coffee as she gazed out the window of her ready room. After fifteen minutes of listening to the doctor hum ancient American folk songs, she decided to leave Sickbay and asked the EMH to contact her as soon as Lt. Richards regained consciousness.
Janeway seemed to be having an extraordinarily difficult time tearing her mind away from the injured lieutenant. Even though she had felt genuine compassion for strangers many times over the years, Lt. Richards in some way evoked deeper feelings of protectiveness within the captain...a level of protectiveness that would normally be reserved for close loved ones and which appeared to have no legitimacy, since she had just met the young woman earlier that day.
The captain suddenly realized she had not received a report from Seven on the accident in Astrometrics.
“Janeway to Seven of Nine,” she stated, after tapping her comm badge.
There was a long pause before she finally heard a reply from her Astrometrics officer.
“Go ahead, Captain.”
“Seven, I'd like to see you in my ready room.”
“On my way.”
Admiral Janeway had finished confessing her love and her deep regret for never revealing her true feelings to Seven. The former drone sat staring wide-eyed at the older woman as she let the reality of the admiral's words sink in. After several moments, both women leaned in toward each other. Just as their lips were ready to meet for the first time...
“Janeway to Seven of Nine.”
Seven jerked away from the admiral in surprise, realizing at that moment that she'd been about to kiss the wrong Janeway. It wasn't the admiral she needed to pursue, it was the captain. Seven's thoughts turned to Voyager's commanding officer. Although Admiral Janeway had just confirmed her love for Seven...a love that had deepened through the years, ever since Seven's first year on board...was Captain Janeway ready and willing to admit her feelings at this point?
“Seven?” she heard the silver-haired woman say, bringing her out of her thoughts. “You should acknowledge her before she calls a ship-wide alert.”
Seven nodded slightly and took a deep breath before responding to the captain.
“Go ahead, Captain.”
“Seven, I'd like to see you in my ready room.”
“On my way.”
Seven stood up from her seat and looked down at the grinning admiral.
“Thank you for your candor, Admiral.”
“You're welcome, Seven. And thank you for giving me the opportunity to finally tell you just how much you've always meant to me.”
Seven gave the admiral a rare smile before exiting the shuttle. Admiral Janeway watched the former drone leave and leaned back in her seat with a sigh of relief.
“Come in,” the captain called out from behind her desk.
Seven of Nine entered the ready room with what Janeway could have sworn was a smirk on her face.
“You wish to see me, Captain?” Seven queried coyly. Her cheeks appeared slightly flushed.
Janeway was initially taken aback by Seven's manner, but quickly decided it must have been her imagination.
“I wanted to speak with you about the accident in Astrometrics. The doctor was unable to give me details about how Lt. Richards' injury occurred, and I haven't received a report from you yet.”
Seven immediately took her customary stance, linking her hands behind her back, upon hearing about Erin 's injury.
“After reviewing the data collected during our previous scans of the nebula, Lt. Richards determined that more detailed information was required. The only way to provide that level of detail from our present distance was to increase power to the scanners. I initiated the power transfer, which overloaded Lt. Richards' console. She was thrown onto the deck and I requested an emergency transport to Sickbay.”
The captain leveled a hard look at her Astrometrics officer. “Why didn't you contact the bridge first? After all this time, I shouldn't have to remind you to follow standard protocol.”
The former drone hesitated. “I apologize, Captain. I believe I was...'anxious'...to assist Lt. Richards with her work.”
Janeway held Seven's gaze for several seconds. When she spoke, her voice carried the sharp tone of reprimand. “Because of your error in judgment, Lt. Richards is lying unconscious in Sickbay with a concussion. She was lucky not to have been injured more severely. It isn't like you to be so careless, Seven.”
Seven was uncharacteristically soft-spoken in her response. “I will exercise more caution in the future.”
The sound of the ready room door chime startled both women.
“Come in,” Janeway called. She and Seven turned to see Erin enter the room.
“I'm fully recovered. The doctor was going to notify you, but I told him I'd just bring you the news in person,” the lieutenant quipped.
“I'm glad to see you're alright, Lieutenant. Seven just informed me about what happened in Astrometrics.”
“I'm sorry, Captain. Voyager's systems respond a bit differently than what I'm used to.”
“There's no need to apologize. Seven told me that your console overloaded when she transferred additional power to the scanners. I'll ask Lt. Torres to divert power from Engineering if you need it.”
Erin glanced over at Seven, who responded with a tilt of the head and a raised ocular implant. The young woman took the hint and said nothing to contradict the captain.
“Thank you, Captain. With your permission, I would like to return to Astrometrics, along with Seven, and continue our work,” the lieutenant requested.
“Very well,” the captain replied. “Keep me updated on your progress.”
Lt. Richards nodded to the captain and walked out of the ready room. Seven hesitated a moment, then looked back at Janeway with a hint of a seductive smile on her face.
Janeway remained standing in place after the two younger women had left, still in shock from the former drone's apparently flirtatious expression. It couldn't have been her imagination this time.
Seven and Erin entered the turbolift from the bridge in silence.
“Deck Ten,” Seven called out to the computer.
Just as the turbolift doors were about to shut, Chakotay squeezed his way in. He glanced at Erin, who stared frostily at him in return. After requesting his destination of Deck Three, the first officer turned his attention to Seven, ignoring the harsh stare from the lieutenant.
“How has your day been, Seven?”
“Productive, Commander,” Seven replied in a flat tone.
Chakotay was taken aback by the formal reply, as well as the fact that Seven's gaze never left the turbolift doors. The commander glanced back in confusion toward the young lieutenant, who at this point was favoring him with a level ten glare. He focused on Seven once more.
“Could I interest you in a late dinner tonight? I'll do all the replicating,” Chakotay inquired with a smile, in an attempt to lighten the obvious tension that filled the turbolift.
Seven sighed and looked directly at the commander before responding.
“Lt. Richards and I will be working in Astrometrics for the remainder of the evening. I will be unable to accompany you for dinner.”
The turbolift came to a halt as the doors opened on Deck Three.
“Perhaps another time,” Chakotay suggested.
“Perhaps,” Seven stated coldly as the first officer exited the turbolift.
The turbolift doors closed and they continued on their way to Deck Ten.
“Perhaps not, you Son of a Bit...” Erin began to mumble.
“ Erin !” Seven snapped.
Startled by the rebuke, Erin stared wide-eyed at Seven. Then she remembered that the former drone had discovered who she was while she had been unconscious in Sickbay. The doctor had revealed to Erin all the results of his scans, and had mentioned that Seven had been present while he had conducted them.
“Sorry... Mother .”
Seven raised her ocular implant with a hint of a smile.
“The doctor informed you that I am aware of your identity,” Seven remarked.
“You know the doctor has a big mouth. He was going to burst if he didn't tell someone. I assume you haven't told the captain.”
Seven linked her hands behind her back and sighed.
“No. She will be informed at a future date.”
Erin nodded and glanced down at the deck before continuing.
“What about old ‘tattoo man'?”
“You are referring to Chakotay,” Seven stated with some confusion.
“Who else would I be referring to?”
Seven averted her eyes. In fact, she had completely forgotten about the first officer. She now regretted becoming involved with him. She would have to end the relationship, and she had discovered over the last few weeks that Chakotay wasn't an easy man to get away from.
“I intend to terminate my relationship with him.”
Erin grinned to herself as the turbolift doors opened, allowing them to exit onto Deck Ten. The two women walked side by side down the corridor, which was relatively deserted for this time of evening.
“You know, you shouldn't have lied to the captain about my little accident earlier,” Erin remarked matter-of-factly.
“Captain Janeway may not have permitted you to continue your work if she knew you refused to follow protocol,” Seven replied sharply. “I have become accustomed to her reprimands and am prepared to accept the consequences. Had you followed my instructions, you would have escaped injury and it would have been unnecessary for me to ‘lie' to the captain.”
Erin paused in front of the Astrometrics doors and looked squarely at Seven.
“Her reprimands are nothing new to me. You don't have to lie for me, or try to cover up my mistakes. I know you mean well, but you'll end up doing more harm than good in the long run.”
“Explain,” Seven demanded, her brow furrowed in confusion.
Two of Voyager's crewmembers came into sight in the corridor. Erin glanced over at them before turning back to Seven.
“We'll have to discuss this later,” Erin stated as she entered Astrometrics.
CARGO BAY TWO
“Regeneration cycle is complete”, the computer stated.
Seven of Nine stepped down from her alcove completely refreshed from her few hours of regeneration. She approached her work console and proceeded to enter data that she would access later in the day.
Her mind began to drift to the night before. She and Erin had worked late into the night collecting information about the nebula and the Borg Queen's sphere.
Icheb, the Brunali adolescent who had chosen to remain on Voyager after the departure of the other Borg children, had eventually joined them when his shift began and added his own contributions to their strategy. Erin and Icheb had talked non-stop as they worked. Erin had told stories about life on Earth, while Icheb had related his memories of life on a Borg cube. Seven had been slightly uncomfortable listening to Icheb's stories, but she'd decided not to stop him, since Erin had shown great interest in what he had to say.
As the hours grew later, both Seven and Erin had become fatigued. Seven had discovered that although Erin possessed Borg technology in her body, she was not required to regenerate. Seven had guided her to Voyager's guest quarters so Erin could sleep while Seven regenerated.
Seven smiled to herself as she thought about the young woman. Abruptly, the cargo bay doors slid opened and Chakotay entered. Her smile disappeared.
“Commander,” the former drone stated flatly as she continued entering data.
Chakotay hesitated briefly, but continued walking toward her.
“Good morning, Seven. I thought you might like to join me for breakfast in the mess hall.”
“No, thank you. I have a great deal of work to finish.”
Chakotay sighed and shook his head, stepping directly in front of Seven.
“What's going on here?”
“I do not understand what you mean.”
“You seem to be avoiding me. Have I said or done something to upset you?”
“Then why the hell do you suddenly refuse to spend time with me?” Chakotay barked.
Seven stopped her work and turned to face the first officer, linking her hands behind her back.
“I no longer wish to be in a romantic relationship with you,” Seven responded matter-of-factly.
“I have reconsidered my options and found that it would be beneficial for me to pursue a different individual.”
“That is not your concern.”
Chakotay's eyes narrowed. “This has something to do with Lt. Richards, doesn't it? She is the reason you're ending our relationship.”
Seven sighed and rolled her eyes as she turned to face the commander squarely. “Yes.”
The first officer's face turned red in anger. As he opened his mouth to respond, Erin 's voice came over Seven's comm badge.
“ Erin to Seven.”
“Could you come to the science lab?”
“I am on my way.”
Seven turned to Chakotay again. “If you will excuse me, Commander, I have work to complete.”
Before Chakotay could protest, Seven had walked out of the cargo bay.
Erin sat on a stool in the science lab with her head in her hands. Her mission to destroy the Borg and return Voyager safely to Federation space was failing miserably. After tossing and turning in the guest quarters that Seven had tucked her into, she'd decided to continue working. She had come to the science lab in hopes of completing work on the one detail that had eluded her before leaving the Alpha Quadrant...delivery of the virus.
After several hours, she realized none of her ideas could be put to use. She considered calling the admiral, but knew that the only person who could really help her was Seven. It was her last resort, but she remembered something she heard her mom say once. Desperate times call for desperate measures . And this was definitely one of those times.
“ Erin .”
Erin immediately snapped out of her thoughts as Seven walked through the science lab doors. She stood up from the stool and cleared her throat before responding.
“I hope I didn't disturb you.”
“You did not,” Seven replied with a hint of a smile. “Is there something I can assist you with?”
“Well...actually...yes,” Erin answered slowly, averting her eyes. She moved to the laboratory table and keyed in commands to display a magnified view of nanoprobes on the console screen.
“Nanoprobes,” Seven observed as she approached the console.
“Yes. They contain the virus I created to destroy the Borg Collective.”
“You extracted them from your own body.”
“How do you plan to deliver them to the Collective?” Seven asked with a furrowed brow.
“At the moment, I don't. I had originally planned on using a device similar to a hypospray, but I've discovered that the nanoprobes won't hold the virus unless...they remain within the body.”
“Elaborate,” Seven stated with authority, turning her full attention to Erin.
“I'll have to carry these nanoprobes within my body and physically transfer them to the central plexus of the queen's chamber. That's the only way they will disburse throughout the entire Collective.”
Seven stared at Erin in astonishment for a moment, and then proceeded to analyze the data displayed on the console. After several moments, she turned back to Erin.
“This virus will destroy you if you attempt to carry it.”
“I'll be able to adjust my implants to allow me to carry the virus for a short period of time without adverse effect.”
“How much time?”
“Long enough for me to get into the Queen's sphere and transfer the virus.”
Seven inhaled deeply and sighed. She couldn't believe she was hearing this plan from Erin. She walked around the science lab slowly in a daze and finally stopped in front of a console with her back to the young woman.
“You will leave the sphere immediately after disbursing the virus?”
“No,” Erin replied in a whisper. “There won't be enough time once it becomes part of the Collective.”
Erin could see Seven's shoulders and back tense up. She knew it would be a challenge to persuade the former drone to assist her, but she kept pressing anyway. She took a deep breath before continuing.
“The only problem with this plan is my lack of assimilation tubules. I've inherited many of your Borg characteristics, except those.” Erin cleared her throat before continuing. “The only way to obtain them now is through assimilation. That's why I need your help.”
Seven whipped around with a horrified look on her face.
“I will not assimilate you!”
“If you assimilate me, then that will enable me to introduce the virus into the Collective. I believe we can both make adjustments to minimize the risk of me losing my individuality in the process,” Erin stated calmly, even though she was shaking inside. “It's the only way this will work.”
“No!” Seven responded firmly, with tears brimming in her eyes. “I will not comply. You will find another way, Erin Janeway!”
The former drone stormed out of the science lab. Erin watched her leave and felt anger rise up in her over her mother's unwillingness to cooperate. She picked up the stool she had been sitting on earlier and threw it against the bulkhead, smashing the stool into pieces.
Janeway walked across the living room area of her quarters toward the replicator to retrieve her third cup of coffee that morning. She stopped when the door chime rang.
“Come in,” she called out.
Seven entered and Janeway immediately noticed the distressed look on the former drone's face.
“Seven, what's wrong?”
Seven looked up in an attempt to keep the tears from rolling down her face.
“It is Erin.”
“Erin?” Janeway asked with alarm. She was taken aback by Seven's informal use of the young lieutenant's given name. “Are you speaking about Lt. Richards?”
Seven met Janeway's eyes and tilted her head slightly.
“That is not her name.”
“Her name is Erin Hansen Janeway.”
Janeway's jaw fell open. She closed her mouth and shook her head while rubbing her chin with her hand.
“Seven, how did you discover this?”
Seven sighed and linked her hands behind her back in an attempt to regain control of her emotions.
“While Erin was unconscious in Sickbay, the doctor scanned her for injuries. He initially failed to detect any damage, but then discovered a small device that Erin wore behind her left ear. It appeared to be technology from the future that masked her life signs and emitted false readings. After the doctor removed the device, he detected Borg nanoprobes and implants in Erin's body, and determined that her Borg components were identical to my own. The doctor then ran a microcellular scan to analyze Erin's DNA. The results indicated that she possesses fifty percent of my genetic makeup...as well as fifty percent of your own.”
Janeway glanced around her quarters in disbelief. She slowly turned to set her coffee cup down on the dining table. She stared down at the cup in an attempt to process what her Astrometrics officer was telling her. Seven took another deep breath and continued to reveal her findings.
“I instructed the doctor not to inform you of Erin's identity until I could investigate further. I accessed the Starfleet personnel files in Erin's shuttlecraft. She had utilized a Borg encryption code to seal the files pertaining to her true identity. It was the same code that I use frequently.”
Janeway had grasped the top of her dining chair and continued to stare down at the table.
“What did you find out, Seven?” she asked in a barely audible voice.
Seven moved to a position so close behind the captain that Janeway could feel the heat radiating off Seven's body.
“She is our daughter,” Seven stated quietly. “We married two years after Voyager's return to Earth. It appears my abdominal implants were removed, because one year later, I gave birth to our child.”
Janeway turned partially around to look into Seven's face. She remained in shock even as she felt Seven's fingertip lightly stroke her cheek.
“Seven,” Janeway whispered. “Is this some sort of joke?”
“I am not ‘joking'...Kathryn.”
Janeway's heart melted along with the expression on her face. Before either woman knew what was happening, they were in each other's arms, engaged in a deep, passionate kiss. Years of hidden love for each other surfaced and exploded in this one powerful kiss. After several moments, they released each other's lips, but were still held tightly within one another's arms. Janeway looked up into Seven's bright blue eyes and smiled.
“I guess you're not joking,” she quipped.
Seven raised an eyebrow, which caused her ocular implant to rise as well.
“I am uncertain why you believe I would create an elaborate story to gain amusement at your expense.”
“My mistake,” Janeway replied with a smile, gazing up at the former drone. Her smile turned into a frown when she remembered that Seven was dating her first officer.
“Seven, what about Chakotay?”
“I have terminated my relationship with him. There is no need to concern yourself with him.”
“Does he know about you and me...and Erin?”
“No. That is not his concern.”
Janeway's thoughts turned to Erin. She pulled back from Seven slightly and slid her hands into the younger woman's.
“Is Erin aware that you know who she is?”
“Yes. The admiral is also aware of her identity. As well as the doctor and Lt. Commander Tuvok.”
Janeway shook her head. “Am I the only one on the ship who wasn't informed of all this?”
“I do not believe it was Erin's intention for anyone other than Admiral Janeway to have knowledge of her true identity. Perhaps she was attempting to follow the temporal prime directive.”
Janeway nodded and began walking toward the couch while gently pulling Seven behind her.
“Let's have a seat. There's something we need to talk about.”
Both women took a seat beside each other, their hands still entwined.
“There is a matter I wish to discuss with you, as well. But you may proceed first,” Seven remarked.
Janeway took a deep breath.
“I want to know exactly what plan Erin has for destroying the Borg. I do trust Erin, but the welfare of my ship and my crew are at stake, so if you have any information...”
“That is precisely what I wished to discuss with you,” Seven interjected. She averted her eyes briefly before turning her attention back to the captain. “Erin has extracted nanoprobes from her body and infected them with a virus which will obliterate the entire Collective. She intends to deliver the nanoprobes to the Borg herself.”
Seven dropped her eyes to the floor as she heard Janeway gasp. She swallowed the lump that had formed in her throat before continuing.
“She has requested my assistance. She has indicated that I must assimilate her in order for her to obtain the ability to infect the Collective with the virus.”
Janeway's face dropped. She slowly pulled her hands away from Seven's and stood up. Seven sat in silence as she watched the captain begin pacing the floor with one hand on her hip and the other rubbing her chin. The former drone knew that this was Janeway's method of processing information and devising a plan. After several moments, Janeway stopped and turned to face Seven.
“I cannot believe that she would make such a request of you. Where is she now?”
“She was in the science lab when I left her, but I am uncertain whether she remained there.”
Janeway addressed the computer. “Computer, locate Lt. Erin...Richards.”
“Lt. Richards is in shuttlebay two,” the computer responded.
“Computer, change Lt. Richards' last name to Janeway in the personnel logs. Authorization Janeway, beta, three, six.”
The computer chirped to acknowledge the change. The captain turned to Seven.
“I think we need to have a talk with Erin.”
Seven raised her ocular implant and stood.