I am Borg – Part 2 - Chapter 1

By Kudara

Disclaimer: Star Trek Voyager and all who sail in her belong to Paramount/Viacom and no infringement of copyright/trade marks is intended.

Stardate: 52691

Rating: PG-13

Summary: Seven returns to Voyager

Klingon:

qatojbe' - I will not deceive you

taHqeq – swear word meaning dishonest, deceitful. Classic Klingon insult.


Seven materialized on the transporter pad and looked around at the group assembled to greet her. Captain Janeway of course was there as was Commander Chakotay and Lt. Commander Tuvok. Seven felt slightly uncomfortable under their intense looks; she was uncertain how to break the silence that seemed to have fallen.

"Captain?" said Seven tentatively, with an inquiring look at Captain Janeway.

Janeway smiled reassuringly and said, "Welcome back Seven, I've missed you."

Seven looked at the Captain's face and realized that the older woman had missed her; not surprising after all this was the woman who had been willing to confront the Borg Queen to bring her back to Voyager. "I have missed you as well Captain," admitted Seven.

Seven turned and acknowledged Chakotay politely and then with more warmth she said, "Lt. Commander Tuvok, I was able to use the meditation techniques you taught me during my recovery. They proved most helpful in assisting me with my unarmed martial arts training."

Tuvok tilted his head and raised one eyebrow, "Indeed, meditation is most useful in centering oneself before any type of physical training."

Seven gave him a small smile, "From the soul, to the body, into the world."

Tuvok quirked his lips very slightly and said, "Perhaps you can demonstrate what you have learned at some point."

Seven nodded to him and then looked at Janeway and Chakotay who for some reason were looking at her rather strangely.

Seven shifted and looked inquisitively at Janeway, finally Janeway seemed to shake herself out of whatever had been bemusing her and she said, "You must want to see your new quarters."

Seven smiled slightly, "I am looking forward to seeing the paintings Analea brought for me."

Janeway said, "Your quarters are on Deck 9 Section 11. She also brought several sets of clothing; some are of the same style you are wearing. I wondered what they would look like, they suit you Seven."

"Thank you," replied Seven recognizing that Kathryn was complementing her. Seven was determined to adapt to her Collective. Analea and Kayaln had taught her that politeness was much more important than she had ever realized. Therefore Seven was determined to understand what was polite behavior and what it was not, and apply what she learned to her own behavior.

Tuvok, saying that he was on duty declined to accompany them to Seven's quarters. Chakotay declined as well saying that he needed to return to the bridge. Thus only Janeway and Seven stepped out of the turbolift at Deck 9 and proceeded along the corridor toward Section 11. Lt. Torres who had been headed toward the turbolift paused in the corridor to let the two pass, quickly glancing at Seven who met her eyes gravely and nodded to her.

Seven paused and said, "Lt. Torres."

B'Elanna wondered if Seven was about to confront her for her part in Seven's death, she straightened and said, "Seven."

"I understand that Analea brought several training programs designed by Mulara to Voyager. The program of the inner temple garden has a training area, there is a Bat'leth trainer there named M'ara. You are welcome to use the program anytime you wish, and perhaps sometime you would be willing to practice with me," said Seven. She was being very careful to maintain neutral posture during this speech though she desperately wanted to stand with her hands behind her back.

B'Elanna said the first thing that came into her head after Seven's speech, "I didn't know you knew how to fight with a Bat'leth."

Seven dropped her eyes for a second and stiffened then forced herself to relax, "I have just begun my training. I am not very skilled. I understand that you might not want to practice with me due to my inexperience."

B'Elanna was quick to reply before Seven continued, "No, that's fine we can just take it easy... Do you have a Bat'leth or do you use a replicated one?" B'Elanna asked curiously. She realized that she needed to wrap up the conversation quickly, Janeway was starting to look annoyed but Seven appeared to be willing to stand in the hall and talk for along time. Seven was even being polite, and she wasn't standing like she usually did at all. B'Elanna was also trying very hard not to stare at Seven's exoskeleton, from the data she knew basically the outline of it, but the reality was much more beautiful than she had thought. The exoskeleton around Seven's left eye gleamed brilliantly silver in the light with fine lines of blue and gold forming intricate patterns.

Seven replied "I do not have one of my own; I assume I will be using the ones provided in the program."

Janeway interrupted, "Actually you have one of your own, Analea delivered it with your paintings and clothes."

Seven turned toward her, surprise and pleasure obvious for a moment on her face before it smoothed again. Seven turned back toward B'Elanna, "It appears I have a Bat'leth."

B'Elanna glanced from Janeway to Seven and said, "Perhaps I can drop by and take a look at it later, I need to get headed to engineering now..."

Seven nodded, "I did not realize I was keeping you from your duty Lt...my apologies."

B'Elanna gaped for a moment then said, "That's alright. Well I had better get going. Captain, Seven." B'Elanna turned and walked toward the lift. As soon as she was safely in it she shook her head and wondered where the real Seven was. That had almost been surreal; Seven had never been that painfully polite to her, she sounded almost like Tuvok.

B'Elanna had hardly recognized Seven between the fact that she wasn't wearing her usual biosuit and that she had her hair down. B'Elanna considered how Seven had looked and thought bemusedly that Seven was much more attractive in the looser clothes than she had ever been in the skintight biosuits.

Seven turned back to the Captain and noticed the odd look once again, Seven wondered uneasily if she had already erred somehow. Maybe she should not have paused to talk with Lt. Torres. Seven resolved that as soon as she could she would make a detailed analysis of what was considered polite behavior.

When they reached Deck 9 Section 11 they paused in front of a door and Kathryn indicated that Seven should precede her, as Seven approached the door it opened automatically to admit her. Seven stepped into her quarters and her gaze was immediately drawn to the painting at the other end of the room.

Seven walked across the room towards it, barely glancing at the contents of the remainder of the quarters. She stared at the painting looking at how the soft brush strokes revealed both the simplicity and complexity of the molecule. Seven stepped back and looked at the painting again, this time she saw something in the whole which reminded her of when she had watched the Omega molecule form. Somehow the Omega molecule in the painting appeared to be watching her as she looked at it.

"I don't know who painted it but they were very good," said Janeway.

"Mulara did, her signature is in the bottom left corner," replied Seven absently. She was aware of Janeway moving closer to the painting and then a stifled sound of surprise.

"I don't understand how I missed that before. Well Seven I would think few people could say they have original works of art painted by an energy being," said Janeway.

Seven looked curiously at her, "You are probably correct." Seven wondered why Janeway was commenting on the painting, Mulara had made several things for Seven. The most notable was her own body in Seven's mind.

Seven moved away from the Omega painting and began examining the rest of her quarters. She recognized the flower stills; they were of her favorite flowers in the inner temple garden. Continuing around the rooms she noticed the hydroponics lights above the bed and smiled at the thoughtfulness.

The last thing she noticed in the room was her new Bat'leth. Seven walked over to it and picked it up, testing the weight of it and the length. She read the inscription 'Duty, Loyalty, Honor.' Seven admired the watered appearance of the blade for a few moments longer then reverently returned the weapon to its display hanger.

"So do you like your new quarters?" asked Janeway with a smile.

Seven returned the smile for just a second and replied, "Thank you for assigning them to me, and for assisting Analea with their decoration."

"Of course, Seven, you should have been assigned them sooner. I'm sorry it took all of this for me to see that I should have never had you stay in the Cargo Bay for as long as I did." Janeway paused and looked at Seven seriously, "I owe you and apology for that, I never thought of how it affected the crew's opinion of you. I want you to know that I never though of you that way, and I didn't intend to imply that to the crew," finished Janeway.

Seven was puzzled as to what 'that way' referred to until she recalled comments she had overheard of how she was a machine, stored away in the cargo bay between uses. Seven thought she should clarify the phrase before replying to the Captain. "Do you mean how some members of the crew referred to me as a machine that was stored in the cargo bay?" asked Seven.

Janeway winced and nodded. Seven wondered how she was supposed to reply and finally settled upon, "Apology accepted, though if that was not your perception of my previous quarters why are you responsible for others erroneous perceptions?"

"Because I'm the Captain, and I should have considered it. Analea brought several things to my attention, Seven. When I ordered that your Borg implants were to be removed the first few day's you were on Voyager I ordered the Doctor to ignore your own wishes in the matter. I argued that you were not capable of making your own decisions and essentially took on the role of guardian. Since then however, I've been rather haphazard in my treatment of you, sometimes I'm your Captain, sometimes I'm your mentor, and sometimes I still think of myself as your guardian. But I ignored something rather essential, and that was the fact that you needed me to be just one person, you needed me to react in more of a consistent manner than I did. I must have confused you quite frequently. I was too permissive with you at times letting you break the rules I expected others to follow, then suddenly I insisted that you follow those rules," explained Janeway.

Seven listened to Kathryn's statement and thought back over the past year and had to agree, the shifting standard had been unsettling. "It was confusing, but I should have followed the standard others were held to. Instead I choose to follow the more 'permissive' standard for my own benefit... except it did not benefit me..."

Janeway said, "Seven, its human nature to want to explore boundaries, it's not your fault that you wanted the most lenient boundary that I would allow you and resented it when I restricted them. I should have been more consistent...I should have been more like my mother was with me," commented Kathryn somewhat wryly. "I certainly did you no favors by allowing you so much freedom. I promise that I'll try to be more consistent with you, I'll let you know when you do something wrong and I'll try to explain as best I can why. I wanted to let you know this so that you don't think I'm punishing you in any way. I don't ever want you to think that, I'm correcting my own mistake, what I did wrong."

Seven considered the Captains words and asked hesitantly, "You wish to act consistently as my guardian? I am not considered an adult then, you are following Mularan law." Seven was not particularly pleased with this turn of events; she did not consider herself to be a minor no matter what Mulara thought.

Kathryn replied, "The fact that I feel you still need guidance does not mean that I think you are not an adult Seven. I don't think of myself as your guardian anymore in a legal sense. I do however care about what happens to you, and I want to do what's best for you if you will let me. Seven, I still feel the need for guidance; it's not something you outgrow. I wish almost every day that I could talk to my mother about things."

Seven considered everything Kathryn had said and came to a tentative conclusion, "You think of yourself as my parent?" Seven looked curiously at her.

Kathryn looked surprised for a second then thoughtful, "I guess I do, if that's not being too presumptuous. That's up to you of course; do you mind that I think of you more as a daughter than just a friend?"

"That is acceptable," said Seven. Seven considered the woman in front of her and felt a rush of emotion, she barely remembered her own mother. Her own mother had not been able to save her from the Borg, but Kathryn had and not only once but twice. "By what term should I call you?" asked Seven.

Kathryn smiled, "Captain in public and when you are acting as a crewmember. When we are in a more private setting please call me Kathryn."

Seven nodded then asked, "Would you like anything Kathryn."

"Coffee, black," said Kathryn starting to wonder what the Mularan's had done to make Seven so polite. Frankly it was starting to worry her; Seven was not acting like her old self. "Analea brought up three replicator patterns for you, the Pujaa and Quara fruits and the juice with the metallic and chemical elements in it."

Seven was pleased to hear this and when she went over to the replicator she said, "Coffee, black," and picked up the cup then she said, "Quara fruit, sliced, room temperature". When the bowl appeared she picked that up as well and sat the coffee and fruit on the table. She then ordered some of the juice for herself. Kathryn had wandered over to the table and sat down with her coffee cup. "Have you tried the Mularan fruits yet Kathryn?" asked Seven.

"No I haven't," answered Kathryn.

Seven said, "I believe you will like this one."

Kathryn took a slice of the fruit and bit into it, a surprised expression crossed her face, "It tastes like sweet bread. I'll have to remember the name so I can order it for breakfast sometimes."

"I often have one for breakfast myself," said Seven as she took a few of the slices before Kathryn could eat them all.

When Kathryn had finished her coffee she said, "I must return to the bridge, let me know if you need anything. You have the rest of today off of course, tomorrow morning we have a senior staff meeting at 0900 hours. If you want to talk more I'll be off duty in six hours."

Seven nodded to Kathryn and watched her leave. Seven was pleased to have the day off though she had expected it. She needed to figure out how to schedule her days; her exercise protocol would take an hour a day to complete. She did not have enough holodeck time to practice unarmed or weapons training every day but she did have enough to practice every other day for an hour. Seven considered her quarters and realized that there was enough room for her to practice her katas here if she moved the furniture out of the way. Seven unpacked the pressure sensitive plates and hung them in a corner of the room, and then she looked around at her quarters in satisfaction.


Several hours later B'Elanna was headed back to her quarters and remembered that Seven had invited her to come by and look at her Bat'leth. She tapped her combadge and said "Torres to Seven."

A few moments later Seven replied and B'Elanna asked if it would be convenient for her to come over.

"You are welcome to come over now Lieutenant, I will probably be practicing my katas if you don't mind. I will set the door to admit you," replied Seven.

B'Elanna was definitely curious now, what katas would Seven be doing she wondered. As far as she knew Seven had never practiced any form of martial arts in the past. "If you don't mind me watching sure Seven," said B'Elanna as she walked the few final meters to Seven's quarters. Seven had already set the door to admit her B'Elanna noted as the door opened when she approached it. B'Elanna walked in and tried to not be too obvious as she stared at Seven moving gracefully and powerfully though an unarmed martial arts kata.

B'Elanna was not an expert in unarmed styles so she couldn't tell exactly how well Seven was doing the kata. But she could tell that Seven was fairly skilled, each movement flowed into the next making it appear that Seven was actually performing some type of dance.

In between one kata and the next Seven said, "Please sit Lieutenant, I will be finished shortly. You are welcome to replicate a drink for yourself if you would like one." Seven was proud of herself, she had spent several hours today going over Starfleet protocol and courtesies for a second time, she had studied them over a year ago but had deemed them irrelevant at the time. She had also read several studies on what humans called polite behavior or manners.

B'Elanna looked at Seven oddly, "Um, thanks for the offer but I'm not thirsty right now." B'Elanna heard what sounded almost like a chuckle from Seven and stared at her for a moment before grinning, "That's usually your line isn't it." A brief smirk from Seven answered her statement. B'Elanna sat down at the table and looked about the room, finally noticing the Bat'leth in its display hangers beside the door.

Seven finished her katas and walked over to the replicator and got herself a glass of water, she looked at Lt. Torres and said, "You may pick up the Bat'leth if you would like."

B'Elanna had been waiting for the invitation and she walked over to the blade and examined the layered surface, "What metal is this made of, it's not baakonite."

"It is made of poly-deutonic alloy," replied Seven.

B'Elanna looked at her and then back at the blade then gently picked it up feeling the weight of it. She read the inscription that ran below the grips, "Qu', matlh, batlh; who made this Seven?" B'Elanna was aware of what the words meant she was surprised that someone had inscribed them upon the blade.

Seven looked at her curiously, "I imagine that Mulara made the Bat'leth. The Mularan's do not have the technology to work with poly-deutonic alloy."

"Mulara," said B'Elanna surprised and looked back down at the Bat'leth she was holding.

"Yes," said Seven, "She also created the pictures I have. I especially like the painting of the Omega molecule."

B'Elanna carefully replaced the Bat'leth and walked over to the indicated painting, "I recognized it, Janeway didn't say anything about it? I mean you pretty much have classified information hanging on your wall."

Seven considered this and said, "I shall refer to it as a kal-toh sphere from now on, I had forgotten that Starfleet classified all information about it. All the Borg know about the Omega Molecule...they even know the resonance frequency now." Seven grimaced, the last time she had been onboard a Borg vessel they had assimilated her memories, which meant they had access to all the research she had done on the Omega molecule.

"How would they know that? Oh when you went back to the Borg after they blackmailed you." B'Elanna answered her own question.

"An antiquated, but accurate term," acknowledged Seven.

B'Elanna snorted, glancing at Seven she finally asked what had been bothering her all day. "Seven, why are you being so polite?"

Seven glanced at the Lieutenant and said, "I had dismissed such behavior before as inefficient and irrelevant. However, being regarded as impolite and rude caused me to be generally disliked by the crew. My behavior resulted in Muahe being able to gather information about me, which he used when he decided to kill me. I no longer regard being polite as irrelevant; I have no desire for that to occur again. Therefore, I am making the adaptation to this Collective my highest priority. I have identified politeness and accurate communications to be essential in this effort."

B'Elanna stared at Seven stunned that she had come to the conclusion she had. Then she said, "Why don't you hate us, why don't you hate me? Or do you? And don't hide behind politeness."

"qatojbe'," replied Seven and paused to make sure B'Elanna understood what she had said, "Why would I hate you?"

"They sent us their security tapes; I know that Muahe told you that I had given them that information. I didn't though Seven, I didn't talk to their intelligence people, I wouldn't do that," said B'Elanna earnestly.

Seven interrupted her, "I know... I remember watching, but I was never there...Perhaps Mulara gave me those memories. I was at the establishment when they tried to elicit information from you by offering alcoholic beverages. You called the man a taHqeq and told him you would drink nothing with him."

B'Elanna was surprised, she hadn't told Tuvok that she had swore at the man in Klingon. "You watched?" she tried to understand what Seven was describing.

"As if I were overhead when the conversation took place," clarified Seven.

"Then you saw the people who didn't keep their mouths shut." stated B'Elanna.

Seven replied shortly, "Yes."

"Then you know that almost all of them were from engineering. So I am responsible, I'm the one that started the names and I'm the one that didn't stop them from treating you rudely," said B'Elanna in a rush looking angrily at Seven.

Seven was confused and uneasy, why was Lt. Torres angry with her. She had done nothing that she knew of to anger the engineer, maybe her reply had been too short or maybe the Lieutenant was angry that she knew what happened in the bar.

"I'm sorry," essayed Seven trying to diffuse the other woman's anger.

"Damn it!" said B'Elanna angrily and took a step toward Seven, "why are you..." B'Elanna found herself on the floor gasping for breath. Seven was now several feet away from her in a defensive stance. B'Elanna could hear her rapid breathing and smelled... fear. She gazed at Seven and saw the fear she had smelled in the woman's eyes. B'Elanna started to growl and lunge to her feet angered that Seven had shoved her, when she saw Seven tense and actually bare her teeth at her. Suddenly she froze realizing that she might be in real danger of Seven attacking her. She also knew that if Seven hit her at full strength she would probably kill her.

B'Elanna relaxed backward, "I'm not going to attack you Seven. I wasn't angry at you, I was angry at myself. I shouldn't have...I'm sorry you thought I was angry with you Seven." B'Elanna moved slowly and ruefully rubbed her chest where she was certain there would be a palm sized bruise shortly. "I'm definitely sorry I made you think I was about to attack you." B'Elanna watched Seven trying to figure out if the other woman was relaxing yet.

Seven dropped her hands and stood straighter a haunted look on her face, "I'm sorry I injured you Lieutenant. I believe I overreacted to the anger you displayed." Seven glanced at the Lieutenant shamed and asked, "Do you need to go to Sickbay?" Seven hesitantly moved toward Lt. Torres wondering if she had hurt the woman such that she could not get up.

B'Elanna sat up and said, "No I'm fine I just didn't want to threaten you any more than I already had." Seven stopped moving towards her when she sat up, looking at her with concern. B'Elanna got slowly to her feet and sat back down at the table.

"You will report me for striking you," said Seven in a monotone.

B'Elanna looked at her trying to figure out what she was thinking, "No I won't, it was my fault. I've gotten used to you just ignoring me when I do things like that, I should have realized that you would react differently now. Honestly, I should never have invaded your personal space like that in the past."

"I might have hurt you...for a moment I saw Muahe's face...I could have killed you," Seven was definitely agitated now, "I am a danger."

"Woah, Seven stop. You didn't hurt me," B'Elanna rose from her seat at the table and approached Seven slowly. "Seven, I'm sorry I frightened you. I've just gotten used to you not being afraid of me when I'm angry."

Seven closed her eyes and took a few deep breaths to get her nanoprobes to deal with the hormones rushing through her system, she should have done it earlier but had been so shocked by her reaction that she had forgotten for a moment. Shortly she felt the physical symptoms abate and she felt calmer.

Lt. Torres was watching her and asked, "Well you look better. What just happened?"

"I instructed my nanoprobes to remove the excess adrenaline in my system, with my Borg systems it happened automatically. Now I must consciously initiate the process. I forgot to do it earlier; I apologize for being so emotional," said Seven and sat down at the table.

B'Elanna put two and two together and said, "Is that one of the reasons you always were so calm? I used to wonder why you never were afraid or angry with me, I thought you were..." B'Elanna trailed off uncomfortably, realizing what she was about to say.

Seven finished for her, "Incapable of feeling emotions. I have always been capable of feeling emotions Lieutenant. Emotions like anger and fear are usually caused or accompanied by a hormone reaction, therefore I could experience them only briefly before my nanoprobes compensated. However, I seldom was afraid of you Lieutenant; I generally stopped the actions that annoyed you when your physiological responses reached a certain level."

B'Elanna stared at Seven, going through what she had just said to figure out what had caught her attention. "Wait, what do you mean you stopped? You knew what you were doing that made me angry and you kept doing it until just before I really lost my temper?!" said B'Elanna incredulous.

Seven looked remarkably like a child that had been caught with their hand in the forbidden cookie jar at that moment. B'Elanna couldn't decide whether to be angry or amused at the obviously inadvertent admission. "Why did you do that Seven? and the truth Seven not some polite answer."

Seven looked at Lt. Torres uncertainly and flushed slightly, she had not meant to ever let the woman know she had sometimes purposefully angered her. Seven was desperate to not anger Torres any further so she softly admitted, "Your emotions, you always display them so clearly. I have always been fascinated by your ability to feel. So sometimes I would anger you just to see them."

B'Elanna gaped at the admission, everyone on this ship tried to not anger her, except apparently for Seven who sought it out. "You purposely angered me... to watch my emotions. Because you couldn't feel them?" hazarded B'Elanna.

Seven nodded, "I could only feel mine fleetingly, I can always discern yours clearly." Seven continued speaking almost to herself, "It's why I included you when Kayaln asked me what things I thought were beautiful."

B'Elanna looked at Seven closely her irritation derailed completely by the last comment. Seven looked back at her evenly, no sign of uneasiness apparent on her face. B'Elanna was confused, what had Seven meant by that, was Seven telling her she thought she was beautiful or was Seven saying her emotions were beautiful. B'Elanna felt she was suddenly floundering in unexpectedly deep waters, looking for solid land she asked, "Who is Kayaln and why was she asking you that?"

"Kayaln was one of the High Priestess of Mulara. She is the one who taught me unarmed martial arts. She asked me what I thought was beautiful to help me with my training. Kayaln told me that I should bring what I felt was beautiful into my katas so I could bring them closer to perfection." Explained Seven.

B'Elanna was completely confused now, "You want to show anger in your katas?"

Seven shook her head, "No, not anger..." Seven frowned slightly thinking, trying to clarify why she had included Lt. Torres in her list. Hoping the woman wouldn't get angry again she finally said, "Passion, your ability to feel and project emotions so clearly."

B'Elanna knew how she would take that admission from anyone else but Seven. With Seven however she just wasn't sure, B'Elanna looked searchingly into Seven's eyes but saw nothing but sincerity. Uneasily she wondered if Seven would even recognize attraction if she did feel it. With one more searching glance B'Elanna asked lightly, "What else made it onto your list?"

Seven was relieved; apparently Lt. Torres had decided not to be angry with her. "The Omega molecule, the three flowers that I have paintings of, the design of my exoskeleton, you and the Captain."

B'Elanna glanced at Seven at the last, and almost felt like laughing. B'Elanna glanced at the flower paintings in the room and had to agree that all of them were indeed beautiful. As for Seven's exoskeleton, well she would take her word on that, though her imagination helpfully supplied her with the flash of an image of a nude silver adorned Seven. "The Captain, what about her do you find beautiful?" asked B'Elanna carefully.

Seven considered the question, "Her strength, her compassion, and her decisiveness in dangerous situations. I feel protected when she is near. I was confused by my feelings before today; now that we have agreed that she fills a parental role my feelings make sense to me."

B'Elanna felt adrift again, "Parental role?"

"Yes, the Captain asked if it was permissible for her to consider me as a daughter and I agreed that it was. Therefore she is in a parental role, Correct?" asked Seven.

B'Elanna nodded, feeling slightly jealous of Seven. No wonder Janeway looked out for Seven's interests so fiercely.

Seven commented pensively, "Kathryn is a better mother than my own. She took me away from the Borg instead of delivering me to them."

Suddenly B'Elanna felt ashamed, remembering that Seven had just commented that Janeway made her feel safe. Seven certainly deserved someone to look out for her given what she had been through during her life. B'Elanna rubbed her forehead ridges, a headache was starting. She almost laughed aloud at herself; she had been so sure how things would be when Seven got back. Seven would be her usual self and she would struggle with her anger and take the honorable route and try to help Seven understand what she was doing wrong.

Instead Seven had come back with the Borg superiority apparently knocked out of her; she was still confident but uncertain of her place and welcome. This Seven was polite, but the reasons behind the politeness made B'Elanna feel sickened and angry. No one should have to feel they had to perfectly adapt to the majority culture just to feel safe on Voyager, yet Seven felt just that way if B'Elanna was interpreting what she said correctly.

"Janeway to Seven," interrupted Seven's com badge.

Seven answered, "Yes Captain."

"Seven, I forgot to mention that you need to go get an examination in Sickbay, the Doctor just called to ask when you would be in. And would you like to come to my quarters for dinner this evening? We can do an informal debriefing on what happened on Mulara." said Janeway.

"I will report to Sickbay as soon as possible Captain, what time should I report to your quarters for dinner?" asked Seven.

"1900 hours sound fine Seven?" said Janeway.

"1900 hours is fine Captain." said Seven.

They both heard the communications channel close and B'Elanna took the opportunity to escape from what had become an increasingly confusing situation. She needed time to think over all that had happened and all that she had learned. "I should get going, you need to go visit the Doctor, and I'm supposed to meet Tom and Harry at Sardines." said B'Elanna.

"Certainly Lieutenant," said Seven standing.

"Seven call me B'Elanna when we aren't on duty. And Seven don't tell everyone about your list of what's beautiful. I would only tell the Captain and maybe Tuvok, no one else." B'Elanna saw the question in Seven's eyes and before she could ask replied, "just trust me on this one, ok?"

Seven nodded and said, "I will comply."

B'Elanna smiled at this sign of the old Seven, "Have a good evening Seven," she said as she left and the door closed behind her leaving a curious Seven behind.