As everyone sat around the conference room table Janeway paced up and down in front of the comm screen situated on the wall before Kate handed her a cup of extra strong Colombian coffee. Calming down, the auburn haired woman sat down with a sigh. "Alright. Explanations" she stated, she was fed up, she had a damn migraine and she didn't think she could take any more shocks for the foreseeable future. It was evident to her that Kate had taken over the collective. What wasn't evident however was why the young woman was still in control of her faculties and how on earth it had happened.

As Kate explained once again, how the Borg came into being, and how she had retained full autonomy where others hadn't, the atmosphere in the room took on a tense feel. When she was finished the room was stony silent. It was Harry who spoke first "So are you saying that the Borg Queen is thousands of years old?"

"Yes.. And No. Danzek.. The original Borg queen has died several hundred times. Or should I say.. Her body has died. Her consciousness has been transferred roughly every 70 years or so to different 'vessels'. The new vessel is prepared, having different implants and greater autonomy than a normal drone. Such examples can be seen in Locutus, Data and my mother. In fact, any drone in unimatrix zero one could become a new vessel" Kate explained. "The Question is.. What do we do now?" she added looking around the table.

"I am curious. You do not appear to have gone.. 'power mad' like the original Queen" Tuvok noted

That's because I come from a federation hierarchy" she smiled "I may be.. Captain of the Borg.. But feasibly.. Within Starfleet.. I would not outrank any of you. Plus I am strong enough to admit I need help" Kate smiled at Tuvok who, although faintly surprised nodded in acceptance of Kate's statement. It was logical that the daughter of Annika Hansen would understand the concept of experienced wisdom as opposed to learned wisdom.

"Plus I don't really want to be responsible for thousands of lives... You know.. I can hear them when they die..." Tears welled up in her eyes ".. It hurts" she whispered, looking down as tears rolled silently down her cheeks.

"Ok.. So what are our options?"

"We could disconnect both Kate and the Queen.." B'Elanna suggested "Maybe the collective will sort of fall apart if there's no Queen"

"The collective entity known as the Borg has gotten so large it is fairly automatous. Plus it is likely they will merely designate a new Queen. And this one will be programmed. No true individuality." Kate replied

"Perhaps tricking the vinculum to go offline" Chakotay suggested

"It has fail-safes to prevent such an occurrence" Kate, Annika and B'Elanna all spoke in unison.

Ideas flowed back and forth across the table only to be dismissed by either engineer, Borg Queen or former Borg. Captain Janeway merely sat there, a grim look on her face. She was thinking about the events of the last few months and how they had gotten to be there. The Borg attempted once again to assimilate Earth in the past. Going earlier than previously, to the 21st century. Voyager had pursued them through their trans-warp conduit and through the temporal vortex. Annika had been aboard the Delta Flier attempting to keep them within the wake of the sphere. At some point in the pursuit the Delta Flier was lost. Annika being thrown a few years further into Earths past. Voyager succeeded in destroying the sphere. They had reconfigured the ship for a temporal jump using Annika's knowledge.. from the Borg no less.. Annika had Kate while 'waiting' to catch up to Voyager. Kate becomes the new Borg Queen. [now this is where the predestination paradox comes into play...] she thought to herself. Kate goes back in time using borg knowledge and stops Danzek before she becomes powerful. Thereby causing the Borg to never have existed. Thereby Kate wouldn't exist because the Borg wouldn't exist, Annika would never have been assimilated. Nor would she travel back due to the Borg. Thousands of species would never have been assimilated. Captain Janeway knew her namesake. She would sacrifice herself for those faceless nameless beings. She would give her mother a normal childhood. She would give her back her life. Janeway wondered what the alternate Annika Hansen would be like. Would she even be aboard Voyager? It didn't matter, Annika would have lived. Looking up she became aware that the room had gone silent and every officer was looking at her. An unconscious message passed between her and Kate. {Perhaps Braxton should have called it the Katherine factor] she thought wryly to herself.

"Predestination Paradox..." Kate said with a determined look crossing her face.

"No..." Annika started

"Kahless you can't Kate!" B'Elanna finished and they looked at each other. Neither wanted a life without their daughter.

"I can. And I will. you wont even remember me I will never have existed" Kate said bluntly. It didn't matter if she hurt anyone's feelings right now. She had to get back to the cube and take a sphere to the past. Once she sorted this problem, no one would remember her being inconsiderate. Her mind made up she transported herself back to the Borg cube and launched a sphere. Janeway ran out of the meeting room and yelled for helm to pursue and comms to hail.

Punching and kicking her chair as helm informed her that warp engines had been disabled Janeway swore causing every crew member to avoid looking at the fuming redhead.

Annika finally materialized in the path of Danzeks ship having spent 20 years searching the time lines for her, following rumor after rumor. Hailing the ship she addressed the already power hungry young woman. "May I beam aboard?"

Raising her left eyebrow Danzek regarded the cyborg woman on her view screen. One like her. Powerful. In charge of her own collective of drones. Her ship however and her collective. Were much more powerful than hers. She knew the woman could destroy her outright. "You may.." she acquiesced. Perhaps she could trick the woman into being assimilated into her collective.

Kate appeared in front of the future Queen of the Borg empire. "Danzak I have come a long way to find you. You were most illusive."

The cybernetic woman simply looked at the woman in front of her waiting patiently to explain herself.

"I am here.. To propose an alliance" Kate lied. Her plan was to get Danzek to connect assimilate herself her drones and her technology into that of the future Borgs. And then Kate would self destruct. Killing them all. She didn't feel guilty about the deaths though. 'the lives of the few are worth the lives of the many' repeating in her head like a mantra. Starfleet to the last, she would close the paradox loop knowing that if anyone could remember her, she had died with honor.

"Explain the nature of the alliance" Danzak demanded

"I propose you allow my drones to assimilate your vessel and your drones. Linking them to the hive mind." Raising her hand to halt a protest she continued "I do not wish for you to be assimilated. We will be equals. I have been wandering as this longer than you child. This you can see. Loneliness is weakness. Weakness is imperfection. We must rectify the imperfection."

Regarding the older woman in front of her Danzak considered her options. The woman had not threatened her. In fact she could hardly believe this woman was in control of her collective. How could she do it being so.. Emotional. Yes she would comply with this 'alliance' and once linked to the hive mind. She would take over. She was sure she could overpower this mild mannered woman. "I will comply" she stated with a nod.

It took 3 days to assimilate Danzak's ship and drones and integrate them into the structure of the sphere. Danzak seemed at points over eager to be connected and Kate had to keep reminding her that it couldn't be done until all components were assimilated otherwise Danzak would not gain equal control. Another lie, but one that kept the woman from losing it all together. Kate knew she had made the right decision when she saw the power hungry look in the girls eyes. When the time finally came for Danzak to be joined Kate activated her assimilation tubules for the first and only time. "What... are you doing?" terror rose in Danzak's voice.

"I am saving you from yourself." Kate stated as the Borg sphere exploded into thousands of pieces.

"DAMN IT ALL TO HELL!" Lieutenant B'Elanna Torres threw the hypospanner through the air, only for it to be caught by a woman's neatly manicured hand.

"That's the fifth time this week! I swear you're out to kill me" Lieutenant Annika Hansen rose an eyebrow at the Chief engineer daring her to argue back

"Don't start Hansen! Just don't start!" B'Elanna growled at the stunning blond lieutenant. B'Elanna had had a crush on the woman since their two crew were stranded in the Delta Quadrant. The woman was brilliant, funny, fiery in an aloof kinda way. And stunningly beautiful. She designed and installed the astrometrics lab that Voyager had to thank for getting them out of a whole host of trouble. But try as she might B'Elanna could not show her feeling because she knew if she were rejected by the woman she'd never really recover. She knew they belonged together.

Rolling her eyes Annika sighed "Why are you always in a mood with me woman? You drive me crazy you know that" she said and marched out of engineering not realizing she still had B'Elannas hypospanner in her hand.

Storming out of engineering after the woman intent on getting her tool back, B'Elanna growled in frustration at the woman's ability to make her life difficult. Seeing Annika about to enter the turbolift, B'Elanna set out at a run. Colliding with the blond woman and ramming her into the wall.

"What the.." Annika began but as B'Elanna's lips touched hers she lost all sense of rational thought. Eventually breaking the kiss when the need for air became too much she panted out "I hope I don't have to wait another for years for more!" grinning at B'Elanna before claiming her lips once more.

As the turbolift doors opened the two women heard Captain Janeway's voice say "Oh my..." Turning round they saw their Captain had fainted.

Tapping her comm Annika said "Hansen to the Doctor"

"Doctor here"

"Were on deck 8 outside turbo lift 4. Captain Janeway has fainted... We need coffee stat" Annika said as B'Elanna started snickering.