MATERNAL INSTINCT (PG-13)
by Delta Story (March 2000)
(This one is for Mary W., Guinan and Christina who have been wondering
lately... "What about the Borg baby?")
"Come," Kathryn Janeway answered to the electrical entry petition of her
ready room door. She straightened herself in her chair, seeming to desire
added height -- and courage -- knowing who would appear momentarily.
The doors swooshed open, framing the tall firm figure of Seven. She took
three steps into the captain's office, standing in her usual slightly askew
stance of not quite being in the requisite attention pose, like an
adolescent who was always trying to irritate a parent.
"You wished to see me?" she said formally to Voyager's senior officer.
Janeway sighed. This was going to be a difficult request to make. Using
her best administrative style, she lifted her weary eyes to meet the icy
gray of Seven's. She would rather take the younger woman over to her sofa,
into a more candid and informal environment. But she knew that the Borg
woman would feel less at ease there. No, might as well just get on with
it; time was of the essence in this matter.
"Yes, Seven." She sighed again. "I have just had a lengthy discussion
with the doctor regarding a problem that he is having. After much
deliberation into how to resolve the problem, it seems that you just might
provide us with a solution."
Seven remained silent, waiting for the captain to continue; but she tilted
her headed inquisitively, the metal implant above her left eye allowing a
momentarily nervous twitch.
Janeway cleared her throat, suddenly deciding to take the coward's way out.
She continued. "Since this involves a thorough physiological explanation,
perhaps I should allow the doctor to explain it to you, rather than my
making a feeble attempt but not being able to provide you with answers to
the many questions I know you will have. But I do want you to know, Seven,
that I concur with the recommended procedure that he will discuss with
you." She knew that this wasn't the right way to handle this situation and
that Seven would still have questions. Which she did.
"Captain, may I at least know something about this... problem? Has the
doctor discovered something wrong with me?"
A slight smile appeared on Janeway's face. "Not in the least. Quite the
other way around, in fact. Seven, you are *very* healthy and normal in all
aspects of your merged human and Borg physiologies. Because of this, the
doctor thinks that you may be able to help him with a very young patient of
his who is currently struggling to survive."
Seven's eyes widened and her posture lost its poised structure as she
realized to whom the captain was referring. "There are problems... with
the Borg infant," she stated softly.
Janeway leaned forward. "Yes, there are. She does not seem to be thriving
as she should, in spite of the doctor's many efforts. Seven, I know I have
asked you to stretch yourself in calling up your maternal instincts in
working with the Borg children -- which you have done admirably, I must say
-- but I'm asking you to go a little bit further for us. The doctor is
waiting for you in sickbay, as we speak. Please. Do whatever you can to
help him out."
"I do not understand how I can help; the infant still has not matured
enough for me to teach it anything. But I will do what I can," answered
Janeway was obviously relieved. "Thank you, Seven. I wish all of you the
best. We want this little one to grow up, too."
Seven turned and began her journey to sickbay.
The EMH looked up from the small figure in the enclosed bed in front of him
as the doors to sickbay activated. Obvious relief showed on his face when
he saw Seven.
"Ah, Seven, always good to see you..."
"The Captain said that you wanted to see me about a problem with the Borg
baby," she stated matter-of-factly.
"Yes; yes, I did," he answered. He looked at her quizzically. "Didn't she
tell you why?"
"She just said that the baby was showing some symptoms of failure to
survive, and that you thought I might be able to help."
"Hmm," he muttered. "Left everything else up to me, did she?" He was now
the one sighing deeply. "Come over here, Seven. I want you to look at
this little one."
Seven walked over to the isolette and leaned down to observe the small
infant in front of her. "It seems that you have succeeded in removing the
few Borg implants which she had."
"Yes, that part was easy. Her immature tissues yielded readily to
extraction, and they have healed over quickly. However, it's her internal
structures that still have some Borg structure that are causing the
problems. Although I alternate between having her in this human isolette
and in the Borg maturation chamber, some of her systems have hybridized to
the point where they aren't responding properly to either Borg or humanoid
growth stimuli. She appears to be unable to absorb any nutrient materials,
and is showing signs of tissue and structural degeneration. I'm afraid
we're going to loose her if we can't rectify the situation... and the
sooner the better!"
Seven looked up at her mentor and friend. "Do you mean.. that she will
cease to exist... that she will die?" she asked uneasily, her eyes bright
The EMH nodded affirmatively. "That's exactly what I mean. Additionally,
her immune system appears to be loosing its integrity, and that means that
she will be prone to multiple infections, even if she continues to live.
It's not a pretty picture. But this is where I think you might be able to
help us, Seven."
An instinctive emotion surfaced in the young woman, her face flushed with
the remnants of assimilated feelings of females from a thousand different
species. She reached over to the infant, who looked smaller and more
delicate than when they brought her aboard Voyager six weeks ago. Her
fingers traced the dwindling curves of the slumbering face, and unsummoned
tears filled her eyes.
She looked back at the doctor, whose own eyes sought an answer from her.
"What can I do to help? We cannot let her die!"
The doctor smiled with relief. He took Seven's arm and pulled her back
from the little one. "Seven, we've got to talk." He looked at his small
charge. "She's sleeping now; let's go into my office." He guided her
suddenly emotionally numbed form over to the enclosure and actually got her
to sit down. He pulled a chair over to her side and sat down himself.
"Seven, over these years, you have grown so much as an individual, and have
added to us collectively. And you have learned to trust me... and know me…
as a friend. Now, however, what I'm going to say to you is from a
strictly objective, doctor/patient relationship."
She looked up at him. "Ye..yes; all right;" she murmured tentatively.
He leaned into her and said softly, "Seven, I need your breasts."
She recoiled in horror at his obscene request and jumped out the chair,
firmly placing the piece of furniture between them. She had heard the
stories of his manipulating his own programs and producing baser sides of
"Doctor! I am not here for your physical pleasure. The captain said..."
He stood up. "No, no!" he pleaded. "That's not what I meant! What I
really mean is... I need your breasts... and your Borg physiology... to
produce milk for the baby! That's how I think we can help her!"
Seven blinked incredulously. "You... you... WHAT?" she stammered.
The doctor sighed. "Let me explain. It's like this --- the baby needs
nourishment, and yet I can't seem to replicate a synthetic nutritive for
her. As she is more humanoid than Borg now, the maturation chamber is
becoming of less value to her. Over the eons, it has been known that the
best thing for an infant's early nutrition is milk from its mother. Now,
since this little one obviously doesn't have a mother, we are going to have
to find... I believe the old human term for this is... a 'wet nurse' for
her... a female who can provide milk for her."
Seven was trembling in a frenzied pace. "Are you saying that you want… me?
How can this be? Doctor, if I recall from my studies, a woman does not
produce this... milk... unless she has given birth! I have not given
birth... and furthermore, I have not participated in any activities which
would lead to this!"
The doctor continued. "A minor detail, for which we can compensate."
"But... but... why me? There are many other females aboard Voyager who..."
"...who have never been a Borg drone. You see, Seven, this is why we need
you. Our little patient, like you, still has circulating nanoprobes in her
bloodstream. She needs the nanoprobe antibodies which you now have to
prevent damage by the nanoprobes to her developing human parts during this
crucial maturation stage. Just like protecting antibodies provided by a
humanoid mother, these antibodies would be transferred through breast milk
from the mother to the infant. They would provide the infant with an
acquired immunity until her immune system is developed enough to produce
its own antibodies. And this, my dear Seven, is why you are so important
to this plan. You are the only one who can provide this unique combination
of life-saving elements for our little one here."
The tall woman was in a daze. "But... but... how can I..."
The EMH's patience was wearing thin. "Seven, this is your opportunity to
prove to everyone why you have those enormous... and quite luscious, I
might add... mammaries spread across your torso. Breasts of females in
thousands of species were created for just this purpose! I know that the
men on Voyager, myself included, I'll admit --- and who knows how many
billions of others in time and space? --- have lusted over that part of
your anatomy. But male desire is secondary to the primary reason for their
existence. Breasts are organs of nourishment and comfort to infants. Not
only do they provide sustenance, but the physical act of a female nursing
its young bonds the infant to the species.
"You are wondering, I'm sure, how you, not ever having had a baby, can
produce breast milk. Milk production can be artificially stimulated by my
giving you a regimen of injections of prolactin, a lactation-stimulating
hormone that will initiate luteotropic activity in non-lactating females."
Seven stopped her panicked motion. "But.. even... even if I agreed to such
a... a ... preposterous idea, I could not do my normal duties and the ship
would suffer. I would always have to be... providing nourishment to an
"Now... I realize that this would impose tremendously on your time," the
doctor interrupted. "However, after several days of... um... dedicated
duty, we can mechanically extract the milk at periods convenient for you
and store it for consumption as the baby needs it. But... the baby *would*
thrive better with your physical presence and touch, too. And, before you
say anything else, Captain Janeway concurs with me 100%; she has already
stated that your duty schedule can be adjusted to allow you to pursue this
priority assignment. Seven... we're counting on you; only you can do this
An uncharacteristic silence hung in the air between them. Seven's nervous
motions ceased as the EMH froze in anticipation of her assimilation of his
Her eyelashes broke the spell with three quick blinks. She raised her
head, her chin jutting forward a weak defense. "And you... you... would be
the only one present with me if I agreed to do this?"
"That is correct. We would consider this a... closed procedure of medical
"Mr. Paris would not be around..."
"Never. If he were needed in sickbay at any time when you are here
doing... your duty, we would provide you and the baby with privacy."
"Although I have remnants of assimilated knowledge of the function, I am
unsure as to how it... is done."
"I can help you there," the doctor answered kindly.
"Would you have to... touch me... there?" she asked.
"Probably," he nodded. "But... I promise that it will be solely of a
strictly instructive nature." His face reddened with a very non
holographic-like blush. "And I'll be gentle."
She looked at him, her expression mixed with fear and indecision.
He smiled at her. "Really, Seven; there isn't anything to fear. It is a
very normal, natural function. And the infant likewise has an instinctive
desire to suckle. Why, her very actions will further stimulate you and
help you in your part."
Again, there was silence.
"If I agree to this, how frequently would the infant require my presence?"
"Initially, probably about six times in a daily cycle. She would nurse for
about twenty minutes each time. You would offer her milk from one breast at
one sitting, and then the other breast at the next, alternating breasts
Her look became quite sullen. "I may have difficulty with that frequency.
You should know, doctor, for you designed my... attire. It takes me almost
twenty minutes to divest myself for a change of clothing with my...
uniform. If I were to feed the baby six times per cycle, I would be
spending twice as much time undressing and dressing again."
The doctor suddenly stepped back, distraught by this unplanned variable in
his wonderful solution. "Oh, my. You're right about that. Hmmm. You have
all that transitioning accouterment built into your garment." He stroked
his chin. "Now.. you *have* gone without your.. uniform... for short
periods of time, while wearing other attire. Perhaps I could adapt the
necessary circuitry into a more compact enclosure that you could wear under
a looser garment that would better suit... er... mothering needs." His
face brightened. "Yes, yes! That's what we can do!"
He looked at Seven, as the impact of her question registered with him.
"Does this mean that you'll do it, Seven?"
"I shall... try," she answered, her face already softening with a
Madonna-like glow. "When would you like to begin?"
The EMH was ecstatic and her grabbed and hugged the very surprised woman.
"Oh, my dear Seven; I knew that we could count on you! I knew that deep
within that dour external look of yours was a heart of great maternal
compassion. We will start now, if you would like. I have already prepared
the luteinizing stimulating hormone to give you. It will probably take
about 48 hours to bring you to a point where you can begin. But, in that
time, I can work on a more appropriate garb for you... and you and the baby
can get to know one another. Come."
They went back into the sickbay area. As if on cue, the little Borg bundle
started whimpering. Seven went over to the awakening infant and looked at
the doctor, who was making last preparations to his hypospray. He answered
her silent question, "Yes; you may pick her up. Careful of her neck;
remember to support it."
Seven cautiously reached down and cradled the baby with her hands. She
gently lifted her up, peering into the now-opened eyes of the infant. The
little one focused on the strange face, at first with fear of the unknown
person in her world. But mewing cries ceased, as tightened muscles relaxed
and the tiniest of smiles came across her lips.
"Oh!" exclaimed Seven. "I think that she is showing emotion of accepting
The doctor came over to her and looked down at the contented baby. "Why,
Seven, I do believe that you have made a new conquest."
Seven didn't even notice the hypospray injection, so entranced was she with
the baby. She shifted her hold, and brought the baby's snuggling body
close to her own. The little one seemed to understand already that this
person would help her. The little form cuddled up to the firmness of the
breast cradling her.
The doctor stood back, rapt with the scene unfolding in front of him.
Seven may have never given birth, but Seven was going to be a wonderful
mother... he knew that for certain.
~~ FINIS ~~