by Lady Arreya and Riss
Star Trek: Voyager, P/T [PG]
Originally written Oct 1999
"This is a starship, not a nature preserve." -Captain Janeway to Seven of Nine in "Someone to Watch Over Me"
Summary: A more detailed look at Seven's field study on Tom and B'Elanna.
Lady Arreya's notes: I know there's a plethora of these stories, but I just couldn't resist! :)
and now, the thank-you list...
...to Julie for beta reading. :)
...to Marianne for transcribing the missing scene, which inspired the title. ("It's not your goals I object to; it's your method. You really shouldn't be taking field notes on the crew." I was ROTFLMAO when I read that scene... :) )
...and to Riss for co-writing this one with me. :) It's been so much fun! :) This is the first collaborative story I've ever worked on, but hopefully it won't be the last.
Riss' notes: First off a huge thank you to Lady Arreya for coming up with the story and giving me so much good material to add to with a little Seven. Plus, though I hate to have to actually say this, thanks to Jeri Ryan and her performances as Seven for giving me a little logic to sort through a complicated time in my life.
Personal Log, supplemental: Seven of Nine
"Astrometrics is operating at peak efficiency despite the damage sustained in our recent encounter with the Borg. I have returned to the ship undamaged, though I find it difficult to concentrate on the numerous repairs that remain. Despite the irrelevance of excessive memories of the past, my mind has been filled with thoughts of my life before assimilation.
"The actions of the Borg Queen, leaving me unassimilated, have caused me to ponder my humanity. She stated that the Borg would prize me for my individuality, my ability to relate to those they would assimilate. Yet, I do not see myself as able to relate to anyone. I find it difficult to engage in pointless conversation or, as the database lists, 'hang-out' with the crew. My time is better spent achieving perfection.
"And yet, I feel connected to the crew. When One asked me if I desired to return to the Collective, my 'no' did not involve any doubt. I am unable to explain this intangible expression, yet it has become stronger over time. When I first joined this crew, I desired to return to the security of the Borg Collective. Now, I fear it. I understand now why this crew has fought so hard to retain their individuality.
"I am an individual. Ever since One came into my life, I have experienced an overload of emotions. I feel connected to the crew of this ship.
"The Borg Queen has made me consider my heritage. Despite my assimilation, I am human just as much of this crew. After much consideration, I believe it is time to accept this reality. Despite my distaste for social interaction, it is time I begin to experience my humanity more fully. Perhaps a detailed study or additional observation of social 'graces' is called for."
Personal Log, supplemental: Seven of Nine
"While working in Astrometrics this afternoon, Ensign Kim questioned me regarding my views of romantic love. I informed him that romantic love was merely an attraction based on sexual desire to facilitate procreation, but he did not seem to agree with my assessment. I fail to understand why most humanoids insist on making a distinction between sexual desire and romantic love. In the over 6000 assimilated species in which this condition has been referenced by the Borg, this connection has been cataloged. The importance of romantic love is highly overvalued in the Borg opinion. Assimilation is a much more efficient form of continuing the species.
"In addition, the condition of 'being in love' results in decreased productivity in those suffering from its effects. As I informed Ensign Kim, love bears a striking similarity to a disease, when examining its physiological effects. It is a series of biochemical responses that trigger an emotional cascade impairing normal functioning, nothing more."
Personal Log, supplemental: Seven of Nine
"Just less than two days ago I informed Ensign Kim that love was comparable to a disease. However, after further contemplation, I have come to the conclusion that my analogy was inaccurate. Although romantic love often seems to be a human weakness, it can also be a source of strength. This paradox is intriguing and merits further investigation.
"Perhaps a search through the relevant files in the database on the difference between sex and love will explain this paradox."
Data on romantic love, compiled from the Federation database
Love from an evolutionary perspective:
"Love is only a dirty trick played on us to achieve a continuation of the species." - W. Somerset Maugham
"Evolutionary principles provide a compelling explanation of human mating behavior. Procreation is necessary to ensure continued survival of any species that reproduces biologically. Therefore, it makes sense that the members of such a species would
develop strategies to achieve this."
"Love is the most subtle kind of self-interest." - Holbrook Johnson
"Love, both romantic and parental, is an evolutionary strategy motivated by self-interest. By reproducing successfully and ensuring that offspring live to reproduce, an individual passes down his or her genetic material. Since love serves to facilitate procreation and improve the chances that offspring will survive and reach reproductive age, thereby continuing the familial line, it is a means to a selfish end."
Love from a sociopsychological perspective:
"There are a number of factors that are highly correlated with achievement of a successful romantic love relationship. The more notable ones include:
"When I'm not near the one I love, I love the one I'm near." - E.Y. Harburg, from "Finian's Rainbow"
"Opportunities for frequent exposure and interaction are necessary to develop an emotional bond between two individuals."
2. Physical Attractiveness
"Do I love you because you are beautiful, or are you beautiful because I love you?" -from Rogers and Hammerstein's "Cinderella"
"Humans tend to place inordinate value on physical attractiveness, as evidenced by their inclination to consider this factor in selecting a mate. This tendency may have evolutionary roots."
"Birds of a feather flock together." -old Earth proverb
"Similarity of the two partners is also an excellent predictor of success in a romantic love relationship."
Romantic love from a literary perspective: literature, poetry, music, theater, opera, other media
"After further investigation, I have discovered that there is considerable literature on the subject in the Federation database, but most of it is irrelevant for my purposes.
"My primary objective is to develop a scientific understanding of the underlying processes and progression of romantic love. Therefore, I have decided to conduct a research project to develop a more comprehensive understanding of love. I intend to research all aspects: motivations, underlying emotions, courtship rituals, mating behavior, etc., in a methodical, scientific field study."
Field study on romantic love
Objective: To develop a comprehensive understanding of human(oid) love and sexuality.
Subject pair: Klingon-human hybrid female adult and human male adult
"I have selected this pair for a number of reasons:
1. They are the only couple on Voyager in a long-term, committed relationship.
2. Both are senior officers, which provides many opportunities for observation, separately and together.
3. They have achieved a successful romantic love relationship that is ideal for study.
4. Their relationship is frequently discussed by other crewmembers, which provides several sources of additional information.
5. Both are emotionally expressive, which makes for data easy to collect and record.
6. I have had the opportunity to witness the progression of their relationship, as their relationship as it is now began after I became a member of this crew. "
Stardate 52632, 0700 hours:
Subjects eat breakfast together in the Mess Hall. Male occasionally samples food from female's plate. Female does not object.
In the Mess Hall, Tom and B'Elanna sat at their usual table, quietly talking and eating breakfast.
B'Elanna didn't seem to have much of an appetite, unlike her breakfast companion. Having finished his breakfast, he began to select morsels from her plate. She didn't stop him.
"How's Chakotay holding up?"
"Fine." But B'Elanna seemed a little troubled, and Tom sensed this.
"I guess. It's just that..."
"I've never seen Chakotay like that before..." She shook her head and fell silent again.
Chakotay had been gone through a difficult time when Voyager had been stuck in chaotic space. The hallucinations he'd experienced had changed him. He had been terrified of going crazy the way his grandfather had.
B'Elanna had always looked up to Chakotay. Admired him, respected him, depended on him. He was her source of strength, so it had shaken her up to see him like that. Weak, afraid, and most especially, out of control.
Chakotay rarely lost control.
But if even he could lose control like that... what would happen to her in that kind of situation? It was terrifying... She hated being out of control, but it happened all too frequently.
She had felt so helpless, not being able to help him. She had wanted to be there for him, the way he had always been there for her...
Tom studied her carefully, knowing what was on her mind and wondering if he should be worried. Although he had long gotten over his jealousy of Chakotay, sometimes those old doubts would re-surface. But all he said was, "Well... We all have our fears, our inner demons... and we have to confront the worst sometime or another... "
"I know..." she said softly.
On the other side of the Mess Hall, Seven watched them unobtrusively, taking notes on the entire exchange.
"Clearly the subjects are experiencing what the database calls 'tension.' They both show worry in their expressions and their interactions lead me to believe that they are not willing to express it to each other. I am unclear as to the source or the nature of the tension. Re-analysis of the conversation is warranted."
Stardate 52633, 1700 hours:
Subjects leave Holodeck One together carrying bat'leths.
Tom and B'Elanna stepped out of the holodeck, both wielding bat'leths and looking particularly satisfied.
B'Elanna seemed in better spirits. "I talked to Chakotay. He seems much better."
She felt better as well. Klingon martial arts cleared her head and allowed her to get out all her aggressions.
And of course it was always therapeutic being with Tom... no matter what the recreational activity.
Further down the corridor, Seven frowned, wishing that the holodecks weren't soundproof because she had no idea what had gone on in the holodeck between her subjects. Had they merely been practicing Klingon martial arts... or engaging in other activities? Or perhaps both? She was really curious, because it seemed important to know exactly what it was that had B'Elanna glowing like that. Physical exertion, no doubt, but of what sort? It seemed fairly innocent, but who could tell?
Her subjects weren't providing much information on that one, as they were discussing work at the moment.
"Do you think you could help me re-calibrate the plasma manifolds later? I asked Harry, but he's having dinner with Sue Nicoletti, and then they're going to quartet practice."
Tom smiled. "Sure, I'll help you."
From around the corner, Seven studied them intently, making occasional notes on her data PADD as they continued their way down the corridor.
"This is another example of resource sharing. Subjects frequently share their allocation of holodeck time, replicator rations and other scarce resources. They also assist each other with various work projects and tasks, and share emotional resources, offering moral support and encouragement. There illustrates reciprocity and equity in their arrangement, rendering it mutually beneficial."
Stardate 52635, 1700 hours:
Male arrives at female's quarters, carrying a wrapped box.
"This is an example of resource display. By continually giving presents to the female, the male demonstrates his willingness to invest resources in her. This is important in mate selection from an evolutionary perspective because a female is more likely to select
males who can provide for her and their offspring.
"In this particular case, the resource is replicator rations, a valuable commodity on this vessel."
B'Elanna stared at the dodecahedron she had just unwrapped.
"What is it?"
"'Sheer Lunacy.' It's a game," Tom told her, beaming like a little boy with a brand-new toy.
"Yep. Isn't it great?"
She stared at it skeptically. "This isn't anything like your last game, is it?" She hadn't found much use for the yo-yos.
"No, of course not. This one's actually mentally challenging."
"If you say so."
As he explained the rules and objective of the game, she examined it curiously.
"It's a lot of fun. You can take it with you to Main Engineering and play it whenever you have a free moment..."
B'Elanna made a face at him, handing the game back to him. "I don't have time to sit around and play games. Maybe you have all the time in the world to play this game when you're sitting on the Bridge with nothing better to do, but I have work to do in Engineering!"
"Oh. Okay." Crestfallen, he set the game down.
Feeling a little guilty that he was so disappointed, she sighed and picked the box up again. "I suppose I could find some time off-duty... How does this thing work again?" she asked, fiddling with the buttons.
He grinned. "Here, let me show you how it works..."
She couldn't help but smile at his enthusiasm. Tom had all sorts of strange ideas, like the Captain Proton holoprogram and all these games, but she didn't mind too much.
Besides, she usually ended up having fun.
"Our recent collaboration to overcome the Think Tank has produced a large accumulation of data for my study. The interaction between all the crew provided perspective on social relationships. The humor in the light of crisis, despite the appearance of dismissing the situation served to calm down the participants. This provides new insight into various conversations on the bridge.
"However, the interaction between Lieutenant Torres and Ensign Paris remains an enigma. How the pair can continue to fight and yet function as a couple is thoroughly puzzling, as well as inefficient. The database calls this the 'fight and make-up' scenario. It is a hindrance on the path to perfection in a relationship. Each additional confrontation should, logically, lead closer to a cession of the pairing, and yet their bond seems to grow stronger over time. Additionally, Mr. Paris' ability to calm Lieutenant Torres down with only a word or two is quite fascinating. I will add this dynamic to my study in order to improve my own interactions with her."
Personal Log, Seven of Nine
"I am glad to be back on Voyager. I would not have believed that statement one year ago. It would be irrelevant to feel appreciation upon returning to a location so distant from perfection. However, I believe the crew and the ship have, as the database stated, 'grown on me.' I felt saddened when I left the ship for my temporary assignment on the other ship.
"Additionally, this experience has made me question perfection. If the members of the Think Tank are as close to perfection as a non-Borg is capable of, as they claimed, then do I still want to achieve it? The lack of emotional connection to others, which I first dismissed when joining Voyager, leaves them without many of the traits I now value. Perfection through the destruction of others is wrong, especially now that I have become accustomed to 'the others.' Do I want to leave them? I still cannot answer that question. However, I believe that I would feel a loss if I did. Despite the multitude of flaws demonstrated by humans, they have their moments of greatness.
"What is perfection? Is it Omega? Is it the heart of another, as my subjects seem to demonstrate? Is it achievable by humans? Do I still desire perfection or are the emotions I now experience and understand from my human side more important?
"Is this entire line of reasoning irrelevant?"
(continued in part 2)