A/N Thanks to everyone that reviewed and is now a follower of my story. To Sage1988, I already thought about the whole ship development part and the bits about the past and it's explained a little more in this chapter. I also wanted to mention that I actually forgot to say that I had accepted another challenge on this fic. It was said that the Defiant wouldn't last as long as Voyager did in the Delta Quadrant so in this fic I either had to prove them wrong or choose an old ship that they had to use. I loved how the old NX ship looked so I chose that one, I just hated when they put that deflector shield on it, it just ruined it's look to me. As far as the cloaking device it's not like the Federation/all of it's members is all squeaky clean and innocent. Remember what happened on the USS Pegasus.
Seven of Seventeen aka Princess Seven
With a yawn Jake laid his head down in Seven's lap as they finished watching the movie "Alien". The two had spent all day watching old Earth movies that Tom had recommended because after so many weeks of working on the anti-Borg ship, she hadn't spent any time with her little brother.
"Seven are there really aliens like that?" Jake asked, his eyes getting heavy.
"Highly unlikely." Seven replied, her eyes getting heavy as-well. "They share some qualities from a few species that the Borg have encountered but the acidic blood is pure fiction."
'Really, having an insight into the imagination of the writers from that era is amusing.' she thought to herself.
Hearing Jake lightly snoring she was tempted to take him to his room but she was too exhausted. Getting a little comfortable herself after a few minutes she dozed off, before feeling Jake's weight being lifted off of her and then the weight of a blanket taking his place. Opening her eyes she saw Ben standing over her with Jake in his arms.
"Rough day?" he asked as Jake dropped his head on his father's shoulders.
"Jake and I decided to watch old Earth movies today." Seven replied as she stood to her feet. "I.. guess time slipped away from us."
"It more then slipped away." Ben told her as he looked to a terminal on the table that they had watched the movie on. "It's nearly 2300 hours. If we're going to work on the ship later I need you good and rested."
"I wanted to request tomorrow off." Seven told him quickly. "I...I am going to make plans with a friend."
"A friend?" her father asked with a raised eyebrow. "Is your friend a boy?"
"Yes." she answered honestly as her cheeks went red.
"Well then, after you... finish your plans with him I'd like to meet him."
"Because it's tradition for a father to meet the boy that catches his daughter's eye." Ben told her with a half smile. 'And so I know who to beat up if he breaks your heart.' he thought silently to himself.
"We... we are just friends at this stage and I have yet to plan our activity."
"Still I'd like to meet him, because I want to be a part of your life more." he replied as as he looked down at his son to make sure he was asleep. "Do we need to talk about the birds and the bees?"
"Why would we need to talk about birds and insects?" she asked in confusion.
"Ahaha... no what I meant was... do we need to talk about sex?"
"No I've already sought advice about that from another source." she replied as she fidgeted uncomfortably.
"Oh... may I ask by whom?"
"We will terminate this line of questioning!" Seven said with finality as she turned her back to him. Not having it, he grabbed her arm and spun her back around.
"Now you listen to me young lady." Ben said keeping his voice low and even, as to not wake up Jake. "It is my job to protect you no matter what and that's a job I take very seriously. All I want to do is make sure you are safe and make wise decisions."
"You doubt my ability to form rational thoughts and make decisions?" Seven asked, hurt evident in her voice.
"You're a sixteen year old girl." was all Sisko would say of the matter as he wiped a small bead of sweat from her forehead with his thumb. "Now like I said when you're done with your... plans I'd like to meet this boy."
As he said that he turned to leave and another thought occurred to him.
"I also talked to Starfleet about three matters. One they told me that our ship was partially constructed before the Romulan wars, but was abandoned in pursuit of faster more advanced ships. When the war started they were afraid they might lose so they finished the ship and put the newest systems upgrades on it that were available at the time, minus the deflector dish. When I asked them about the cloak they said that they must have stolen the cloaking device from a Romulan warship in an attempt to use it against them and run a sort of secret cloak and dagger operation. I believe that the higher ups at that time knew exactly what was going on." he started. "The cloak obviously wasn't installed correctly and that was the cause of the ship and it's crews destruction. Secondly they didn't want us to just spend time on this ship and they wanted us to design some other ones for them as well. I told them I already have some plans for some other ships and that this one was more of a personal matter because as a child my favorite ship was Jonathan Archer's. Since the ship is already constructed all we have to do is a massive overhaul and install what we need to on it, instead of starting from scratch. "
"What was the other matter concerning?"
"They wanted me to name the ship. I told them that I wouldn't name it without talking to you first." he said with a smile. "Any suggestions?"
"What about Sisko's Pimp Hand?" Jake suggested.
"Sisko's Pimp... ahahahaha." Ben laughed. "Jake where did you hear about something so ridiculous? Just what movies have you two been watching?"
As the two conversed Seven just stared at them in confusion. It was easier living as a Borg drone because she knew her place, but in this Collective things were so difficult. She knew that Ben was the King of the family but what was she? Where in this Collective did she belong? Seeing that he was talking to her, she muted her inner thoughts and started to pay attention to what he was saying.
"So Seven what name did you think up?"
"What about the USS Ares?" she suggested.
"The Ares... the old Earth god of war." Sisko said as the name mulled around in his head for a moment. "I like that name but what made you think of it?"
"I... I do not know." she admitted.
"Hmmmm it doesn't matter... the USS Ares it is though." he said as he turned to leave. "Goodnight Seven."
After placing Jake in his bed and making sure Seven was in her alcove regenerating, Sisko went into his room and sat down at his desk.
"Computer bring up the file of every sixteen to seventeen year old boy living on this colony." he said touching his computer terminal.
Two Hours Later
Chakotay awoke with a start as he heard some kind of beeping noise. Calling for the lights to go to full illumination, he got out of bed and walked quickly over to his computer terminal. Touching a button to stop the beeping, he smiled as he read a message on the screen.
Meet me at holodeck three at 1300 hours. Come alone.
'I wonder who sent me this?' he thought to himself. "Computer can you trace the source of this transmission?"
"Unable to comply." the computer's voice informed him.
"Why?" he asked as he sat back heavily in his chair.
"The transmission was encrypted and the source could not be verified."
"Hmmm... it can't be Jake because he would be asleep around this time and he wouldn't send me a message like this." he said aloud as he saw that it was 0100 hours. Over the past few weeks he had grown very found of the boy and the two would play baseball in the holodeck all the time. "Sisko hates me so... Valerie."
Over the past couple of months the two had flirted often and she had told him that one day she would surprise him. With pleasant thoughts running around in his head, he went back to bed with a smile on his face.
Later That Day
The same smile still playing across his lips, Chakotay walked into the holodeck and saw a program playing of a beautiful shiny summer's day in a park setting. Seeing a picnic basket ahead of him, he slowly strode over to it, but didn't see anyone around.
"Hello." he called out. "Valerie...?"
"Valerie is not here." another voice called out from behind him, as she placed her hands over his eyes.
"Seven?" Chakotay asked as he quickly broke away from her touch and turned around. She was wearing a baby blue cocktail dress that clung to her like a second skin."What's going on here?"
"Just two people getting to know one another." Seven told him as she put her hands around his neck. Before he could protest she pulled him closer and kissed him full on the lips.
"What the hell is going on here!?" they both heard someone roar as they broke apart. Looking up they saw Ben standing a few feet away from them, eyes blazing. "Seven is this the boy you were telling me about?"
For the first time in her life Seven felt truly embarrassed. Looking towards Chakotay, who was looking like a scared rabbit and then towards her angry father, she quickly walked out of the room. The distant voice of Ben calling her name echoing in her ears.
"And just where do you think you're going?" Ben asked as Chakotay tried to push past him. "In my office now!"
A few moments later
"I want to say that I don't hate you Mr. Chakotay." Ben started as he clasped his hands together and sat down behind his desk. "But you're making it very hard for me to like you. First you come here to spy on my daughter, now you're trying to..."
"Sir let me explain." Chakotay stopped him. "Early this morning I received an anonymous message for me to meet someone in the holodeck. I thought it was Valerie from orbital space dock, since me and her have been flirting but when I got there it was..."
"Seven." Ben finished for him. "Don't worry Mr. Chakotay I believe you." Ben said as he stood to his feet, Chakotay following suit.
'Thank the Spirits.' Chakotay thought to himself.
"I'll have a talk with Seven and see what's going on with her." Ben went on as he extended his hand for Chakotay to shake. Falling for the trap Chakotay started to shake his hand, only for Ben to squeeze on it hard and not let go until he was done talking. "If I find out something different from her or you hurt her in someway I'll slap you back so hard you'll think you're a first year cadet again. When Seven reaches the age of eighteen she's free to be with whomever she wants. She has two more years to go so just make sure you remember that. Have a very nice day, Mr. Chakotay."
Taking his hand back, Chakotay walked towards the door and stopped. Steeling himself he turned back to Ben with a look of hurt in his eyes.
"That's one more year." Chakotay announced keeping his voice neutral.
"Excuse me?" Ben asked as he looked up from his padd.
"I said that Seven of Nine has only one more year to choose who she wants to be with." Chakotay clarified. "Today is her birthday."
"Her birth... ahh." Ben said as he put his head in his hands. He'd been so busy working on the Ares that he'd forgotten about her birthday. Seeing that Chakotay was giving him a satisfied look, Ben quickly snapped out a "Dismissed." making the younger man leave the room.
As he left another man walked into the room carrying a birthday cake and a couple of balloons.
Outside of the Mars Colony
So many emotions flooded through Seven's mind and her heart as she stared up at the starry blackness of space. She hated that Ben had interrupted her and Chakotay. It had made her regret even following Tom's advice about what to do on a first date. She had only wanted to kiss the older man and get to know him better. Ben acted as if they were going to have sexual intercourse.
And then there was Chakotay. She didn't know how to feel by that look of horror and confusion on his face when he had seen that she was his secret admirer. The two already weren't really friends yet but she was afraid that they never would be because of her actions today.
Hearing footsteps behind her, she closed her eyes because her peace was now disturbed.
"Seven there you are." a familiar voice said from behind her, making her open her eyes.
"Grandpa?" she asked as she turned around to look at him. "Why are you here?"
"Because today is your birthday." he said with a friendly smile. "Ben told me that you've been missing all day and we've been looking for you."
"I...I thought it was best to avoid a confrontation with him." she admitted.
"He told me as such." Joseph replied as he walked over to her and took her hands in his. "That's why I'm glad I found you. Ben never raised a girl before so this is all new to him. What I want you to understand is even though you are the princess in our family, Ben is the king."
"That is what I do not understand." Seven replied as she met his gaze. "What is my function in this family?"
"Seven... honey you're not a Borg drone anymore." he explained. "It's not about having a function. A family is a unit and we share love, compassion, pain, anger and knowledge with each other. All Ben wants from you is to grow up as healthy and as knowledgeable as possible so when you have kids in the future they can learn the same values that you were raised with. That's why he was so hurt today."
"That's another thing I don't understand." Seven stopped him. "Why was he hurt?"
"Because he felt that you weren't comfortable enough to come to him and talk about sex." Joseph told her uncomfortably. He hated having that talk with his daughter so many years ago. "You're a seventeen year old girl trying to... well I don't know what you were trying to do with an older man."
"It was only a kiss." Seven told him as she looked down to the ground. "Adolescence is nothing but a 20th century invention. I am a woman now."
"You're a young woman who was just liberated from the Borg and you don't know everything you need to know about life." Joseph told her firmly. "I met Mr. Chakotay and he seems like a fine young man. I know that you're strong but what if he was a bad guy and started to take advantage of you?"
"Let me finish." the older man went on. "You have no idea what Ben went through when he lost his wife. He was in pain and in agony until he took you in. When you finally broke down those walls you had against humans and started to let him in you also melted the ice that was beginning to form around his heart. He felt that he failed his wife and you're his daughter now. Can you imagine what would happen to him if he felt he had failed you too and not gotten you prepared for the future?"
"I...I hadn't thought about it like that." Seven said as she started to put things into perspective.
"I know." Joseph replied as he gave her hands a gentle squeeze and stood to his feet. "I know that was your first kiss but Ben just wanted to make sure that's all it was. Now come on, I made you a nice strawberry birthday cake and a lot of food."
"Okay." Seven told him as she followed suit and stood to her feet.
"Ah, I still remember my first kiss." Joseph said aloud as he thought about a time long gone. "God it was awful. Her lips were so dry it was like kissing a Targalion wilder beast."
With a smile she held his hand and the two walked back to the colony and to the Sisko's home. As they walked into the living room the lights were cut off. Seeing moving shapes Seven got in front of Joseph at the same time the lights cut on.
"Surprise!" Ben, Jake, and Chakotay yelled out.
"It's tradition to throw a surprise party for your loved ones every now and again." Ben said as he took her hand. Looking around Seven saw a banner that read 'Happy Birthday Seven' and a table with food and a birthday cake with seventeen candles on it. "Now come on, it's time for you too blow out the candles on your cake."
"I do not understand." she said as Ben stood her in front of her beautiful strawberry cake. Joseph had even gone through the trouble of shaping it to look like her face.
"Just make a wish and blow out the candles Seven." Jake told her giddily, his stomach growling with hunger.
Doing as she was instructed she blew out all of the candles and the group started to clap their hands.
"What did you wish for Seven?" Jake asked.
"My wish has already come true." she replied after a moment of thought as she looked at Joseph.
"Here's your present." Jake told her as he shoved a padd into her hands and grabbed a plate to start gathering food.
Taking it she raised an eyebrow as she read the title of what she assumed was a short story.
"My Borg sister and me?" she asked as she looked over at him.
"Yeah... it's a story I wrote about me and you." he said through mouthfuls of food.
"I'll read it later." she promised as she placed it on the table.
"Here's my present." Chakotay said as she looked away and concentrated solely on the object that was in his hand. It was a circular wooden piece with beads, feathers and a web like design in the middle of it.
"What is this?" she asked.
"It's called a dream catcher." Chakotay explained. "My people believe that when you hang this over where you are sleeping that nightmares pass through the holes and out of the window. The good dreams are trapped in the web, and then slide down the feathers to the sleeping person."
"Thank you." Seven said, still not meeting his gaze.
"Here's mine." Joseph said as he handed her a delicately wrapped silver present. Opening it she smiled as she saw that it was a picture of her, Ben, Joseph and Jake on a nice, peaceful, sunny day on earth.
"I remember this day." Seven said with a hint of a smile as she looked up at him. "I will treasure this always."
Not saying anything, Ben placed a big box in front of her. With a questioning look, she opened it and froze as she saw a couple dozen padds and a picture of herself as a child with her parents.
"I talked to Starfleet command and they sent me the entire database of data logs that they had on your parents." Ben explained. "Just keep in mind that this is a collection of who your parents were. Don't read them until you think you're ready."
"I...I will take what you said under advisement." she replied, not really knowing how to take this. "I also wanted to apologize..."
"We'll talk about that later." he stopped her as he smiled. "Now let's eat."