Title: Shining Like Silver
Fandoms: Star Trek: Voyager / Torchwood
Characters: Seven, the Holographic Doctor, Lisa
Summary: Ten years after their return to the Alpha Quadrant, Seven is brought in to consult on a most unusual case.
AN: Written for halfamoon 2011.
"Dr. Hansen?" She winces.
Her underlings call her "Dr. Hansen." In her head, she still thinks of herself as "Seven," and that's what her friends call her. The Daystrom Institute is full of colleagues and allies, not close friends, so she keeps her name in her mind, and answers as calmly as she can, "Yes?"
"There's a transmission."
Seven takes the message in her office. Her expertise is requested on a temporal anomaly and she's been requested to beam directly to the location. She contacts the head of the project to decline. He sends back an image.
"I will be away for some time," Seven says to her staff, gathering her things. "You may contact me with questions." She leaves for the transporter before any of those questions can follow.
She materializes on another part of the Earth, on an island that is part of the former United Kingdom. She is shuttled to the site.
The project head greets her with a handshake, his eyes going to her implant. She's used to it. He says, "Thank you. Have you been briefed on our work here?"
"This location is being studied due to a unique spatial-temporal flux. Objects and people come through from other times, other parts of space. They used to be taken from here as well and sent elsewhere, but we've stabilized the event to avoid that. Apparently the site has been watched over for centuries, spawning local legends, urban myths. It's quite exciting."
Seven isn't interested in the time well. "You found a Borg."
"Not precisely." He leads her to the facility. "She came through this morning. We've put her into stasis in order to avoid any assimilation attempts."
Seven presses her face against the window. The form on the table is like no Borg she's ever seen: silvery metal covers only part of her dark skin, and she appears to have no implants, merely an exoskeleton. Gently, Seven opens her own implant to touch the other mind, and finds nothing. "She isn't Borg."
"We don't know what she is," says the project head. "We were hoping you would."
Seven shakes her head, unable to remove her gaze from the woman.
Seven contacts the Doctor for his expertise in removing Borg implants. He materializes in the facility, expresses his interest in the project, gives her his notes. He will help oversee the removal of what cybernetics can be removed. Seven thanks him graciously.
The woman is kept in stasis as they proceed, slowly stripping away metal and wiring. The Doctor performs the necessary surgery to remove the worst of the implants from her brain, though honestly, he cannot say if she will have any functions left. "The assimilation was quite complex," he says to Seven. "Don't get your hopes up."
"I don't have hopes," Seven says. But she keeps her vigil, and she does as he says for every step of the process.
Two weeks after her arrival, the woman is allowed to awaken. Seven is beside her in the medical bay. The Doctor stays to see his handiwork.
When her eyes open, she screams. Seven shushes her gently, taking her hand. "You are safe now. You are no longer one of them. Do you understand?"
The woman looks at her, at her implants. "Please, where am I?"
The project head says, "This city is called Cardiff."
The woman goes to sit up. The Doctor nods, and Seven helps her. "I was in London. The Cybermen were everywhere. Why am I in Cardiff?"
"We aren't sure," says the project head.
"My boyfriend's from Cardiff. He's … " She looks around. "Is he here?"
"You arrived alone," says the project head. "What year do you remember?"
"Year?" She looks around more thoroughly. "Oh, no. Please, no." She looks at Seven. "It's 2007. Tell me it's 2007."
When they go to the corridor, leaving the woman alone for a few minutes, the Doctor says, "I need to go. This is more your department than mine." He gives her what ought to be a friendly brush on the shoulder. "Contact me if you need anything."
"Thank you," she says, and she means for everything. He appears to understand.
Her name is Lisa. She worked for the British government when there was an alien invasion. The history books show no such invasion on record, but the project head tells Seven that sometimes the Rift, as they call it, touches alternate dimensions.
"He must have put me through," Lisa says, sitting on the edge of the bed in the quarters she's been given. "If he thought there was no hope, he might have risked it." She has recovered more memories, fleeting flashes. Her boyfriend took her to another branch of the government agency, hid her, tried on his own to fix her. Twenty-first century technology would never have worked.
Seven remembers her own mixed-up memories after the return of her humanity. Some of what Lisa remembers is likely false. The pteranodon, for example, was almost certainly not real.
"Why didn't he come with me?" The question is quiet and unanswerable. She is small and alone.
Seven sits beside her. "I'm sorry," she says.
"What do I do now? I was ready for a life back home. We had a flat. We were talking about getting married. But he's been dead for almost four hundred years. Everyone I know is dead." She raises a tear-streaked face. "I think I hurt people. How do I live with that?"
Seven touches her hand again, takes it, holds it tight. "You go on."
There are platitudes she could offer: one day at a time, one step of the way. Meaningless. Seven has work to do back at the Institute. She will return to perform it so that it is done correctly. She does not have to do so alone.
"I will help you." She settles into her seat on the bed, encouraging Lisa to sit more comfortably. "It's my observation that an appreciation of stories is fundamental to being human. I shall tell you a story. Once, there lived a little human girl. Her name was Annika."