Hi everyone. Just thought I'd post my un-beta-ed story.

Still waiting on you, Gay. ;)

Let me know what you all think! Honesty is asked for. *G* Thanks.

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Title: Glory
Author: Jesse
Feedback: chartreux...
Rated: PG
Comments: Whatever...
SPOILERS: This takes place after "Life Line", so there may be some hints of
spoilers included. Just a warning.
Disclaimer: Stuff isn't mine.

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Seven sat quietly in the Mess Hall staring at the PADDs in front of her.
Captain Janeway had instructed her to look over the information presented by
Starfleet. The data stream that the MIDAS array had sent to the Delta
Quadrant was full of updated tactical and engineering philosophies. But as
much as Seven wanted to perform her duties, she found herself incredibly
distracted by thoughts of the previous days.

The worry in her chest tightened with each thought of returning to her
native planet. She stared down at the table in front of her, caught up in
the images running through her mind. Her breathing became more shallow as a
small anxiety creeped up her body. She actively wondered what would become
of her in the Alpha Quadrant. She was not readily accepted on Voyager, and
she knew she would not have an easy time back on Earth. She wished to stay
on the ship, to continue to perform the duties she was assigned here, but
she was not Starfleet. She had an unnerving feeling that she would be taken
away from the only real home she had, to be interrogated and studied by
those who she was assured would accept her.

Seven let out a held breath and blinked lightly. She absent-mindedly ran her
thumb over the PADD in her hot palm. She glanced up and looked around the
room. The hall was quite busy, with various crewmembers milling about, happy
in their thoughts. The surrounding feeling was one of hope. These people
wanted to get home. Seven turned back to stare out the window at the stars.
Her thoughts turned to those of the crewmates she was closest to. She
worried that, with the return to Earth, she would be separated from them.
These people were her collective, her......family. They were they only
people she knew, and she cared deeply for them. Her thoughts rested on one
person in particular. The Doctor was the one she was closest to, the only
one who treated her with complete respect, never doubting her. And she found
herself not worrying about what would happen to her when they returned to
the Alpha Quadrant, but what would become of him. She clenched the PADD
tightly. Suddenly burning with a nervous energy, she bolted upright from her
chair and swiftly left the room, leaving behind all of her data.

Captain Janeway sat in her ready room, teeth clenched, cup of coal-black
coffee in hand. She breathed slowly and steadily, thinking deeply about the
events that had transpired recently. She leaned back carefully, and swiveled
so she could look at the bright stars outside of the ship. She took a sip of
her drink and let her mind wander. Admiral Hayes' message had left her
shaky. While she knew she would have to deal with the status of her ship at
some point in time, she wasn't prepared for the idea of only five or six
years. She wasn't prepared. She thought she would have more time.

She frowned slightly. Not only did she have Maquis criminals serving aboard
her vessel, but she also had alien passengers, children, ex-drones, a
hologram, and Tom Paris. She sighed. She had come to trust each of these
people with more than just her life. She trusted them with the lives of the
entire crew. She couldn't face the cold reality of what the Federation would
have in mind for them. Not only would she be reduced to just another captain
in Starfleet, which she didn't like but would accept without question, but
she would, in all reality, have an entire new crew to deal with. The thought
was heartbreaking. The idea of an uneven glory had sunk almost unconsciously
into her mind. She realized now that there was no reason for her to enter
back into Starfleet with any kind of conceit.

But there was more on her mind than just her own self image. She worried
about the ramifications of what had occured in the Delta Quadrant. Her
Maquis crew would surely be taken to prison, as would Paris. Chakotay,
B'Elanna and Tom meant more to her than she could ever say. Her entire crew
meant more to her than she ever would have imagined. Her thoughts saddened.
She had been so preoccupied with getting back home, to Earth, that she had
completely missed the transformation that had taken place. Voyager was her
home now. Earth had nothing to offer except sorrow.

Sorrow......the word became more real with each passing second. Prison,
interrogation, experimentation...all these things could very well become
life for a few members of her crew. They could take away Seven, the
children, the Doctor.... all for what? Questions? Experiments? And what if
they were allowed to carry on as if nothing unusual had happened to them?
What kind of life would they lead? The human trait for cruelty was still
very much alive in society.

Kathryn shook her head softly and closed her eyes. Her thoughts travelled to
the rest of her crew. Harry Kim, Tuvok, all the others....these people had
no reason to fear going home. It was unfair of her to even consider the
things she found herself unwittingly considering. The people on Voyager had
families, people who they cared about. That meant something, too.

She was broken from her silence by a chime at the door.

"Come in," she said as she turned in her chair. She set her cup on her desk
as Seven entered the room.

The young woman looked upset. Her pale blue colored eyes shimmered with
tension. Her breathing was labored, her chest rising and falling in
exaggerated movements. Her fists were balled up at her sides, and she stood
stiffly, her mouth creeping into a sad frown.

Captain Janeway stared at her with worry. "Seven, is something wrong?"

Seven trembled slightly at the words. She swallowed hard and gathered up
every ounce of control she could find before she spoke. Her voice betrayed
her emotion. "What will become of us when we arrive in the Alpha Quadrant?"

Kathryn bit her cheek as she ventured a question. "Us?" she asked with a
soothing softness.

Seven found herself answering without thinking. "The Doctor. What will
become of the Doctor?"

The Captain leaned back in her chair before getting up and walking over to
the angry Borg. She looked deeply into her eyes. "I don't know, Seven. But I
promise you, I will do everything in my power to make sure the Doctor, and
the rest of my crew, including you, are taken care of. I won't allow them to
destroy what you have all accomplished."

Seven seemed momentarily relieved before a hardness took over her face.
"That is not good enough."

Kathryn leaned into her desk. She looked to the floor as she spoke. "Seven,"
she paused, and looked up into the young woman's glaring eyes, "That's all I
can promise you. I won't let them do anything to you."

"The Doctor. What about the Doctor?"

"I won't allow them to hurt him, either. Starfleet is reasonable, Seven.
They'll see how far everyone has progressed. There's *no* reason for them to
have anything to fear from any one of you."

Seven cast her eyes to the side, hesitating briefly. She let out a defeated
breath. With a barely audible softness in her hurt voice, Seven thanked the
Captain and quickly left the room. Janeway stared after her, and continued
her glance down the now closed door to the carpet below. The tension in her
body began to numb her arms and legs. She sat up on the top of her desk and
rubbed her closed eyes with a deadening stiffness. She sat silently, quietly
thinking for several minutes before her piling duties beckoned her back to
reality.

The Doctor sat motionless in his office. It had never occured to him that he
might be considered obsolete, and at this moment it was all he could think
about.

Of course, he being more than the sum of his programming would have to be
taken into consideration. And he had the support of Voyager's crew, not to
mention Dr. Zimmerman and the few Starfleet members on Jupiter Station. He
wouldn't be decompiled. Captain Janeway wouldn't allow that.

He absent-mindedly pushed a piece of lint from his uniform. He fully
realized that he didn't actually want to go to Earth. He had been in the
Alpha Quadrant, and it was no better than it was here. In fact, he would
prefer to stay on Voyager with the people who accepted him. Voyager was his
home.

He glanced up to the tricorder on his desk. He touched it softly as his
thoughts moved to a different scenario. Even if he *was* accepted by the
Alpha Quadrant population, he deeply worried about how the others would be
treated. The others......he shook his head quietly. He knew he meant Seven.
She was the real concern on his mind.

He frowned as he considered what could become of her. How she would adapt.
He worried he would never see her again. The Captain would protect her, but
he loved her. And those feelings wouldn't disappear just because they had
found their way back to Earth. He needed her to be near. He clenched his jaw
as the realization dawned on him.....even with all the assurances, none of
this was permanent. He could very well lose her.

The Doctor was so caught up in his overwhelming emotions that he didn't
notice the swoosh of Sickbay's doors. Seven of Nine stepped forward quietly
and stood in the archway of the EMH's office. He hadn't noticed her
yet....he seemed mesmerized by his own thoughts.

Sitting at his desk, the Doctor suddenly became aware of another presence.
He slowly turned his head to see Seven standing in his doorway. She looked
pained, as though everything he had been feeling had somehow been projected
onto her. She didn't smile, and neither did he. He simply looked at her,
infinite understanding moving between them.

Seven moved slowly and walked carefully to the chair in front of the
Doctor's desk. He watched as she sat down quietly and crossed her legs. She
held his gaze for a precious few moments before she clasped her hands on her
lap and spoke.

"When we arrive at Earth, will you...," she hesitated, "...remain...with
me?"

The Doctor regarded the woman before him with a relieved demeanor. He leaned
forward, looked steadily into her dimmed eyes, and whispered, "Always."

Seven's frown broke slightly, allowing a shine of a smile to sneak through.
She exhaled a held breath peacefully, and her eyes brightened slowly.
"Good," was the only word that escaped her lips.

The Doctor smiled warmly, his eyes speaking compassionately. Seven glanced
downward as she stood up. Pausing only briefly, she ventured out of her
friend's office, gazing behind her as she exited Sickbay's doors.

He sighed tensely as the doors shut behind her. Leaning back, he smiled as
he realized that they would work through whatever came their way. They
always had. His worry was intense, but the relief he felt after the woman he
loved asked to stay with him through any unpredictability nearly erased the
pain within him and replaced it with a growing hope.

the end