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Morgan suffers from hallucinations about her assimilation, her life as a Borg and the assimilation of Voyager.
18th, 19th May 2016
14th, 15th July 2016
August - September 2016
Written & Edited
27th May 2001
20th April 2004
11th January 2005
All she could hear was the sound of countless voices speaking and shouting inside her head, jumbled, overlapping one another. An hour ago she was looking forward to seeing Earth but now all she wanted was to go home and see her parents again. She desperately tried to tune the voices out, no longer could she hear her own thoughts through the noise. Then they disappeared. Everything was quiet.
Morgan opened her eyes. She groggily checked her surroundings as they sharpened from a tired blur. In seconds she was back on Voyager, apparently safe and sound. She stepped out of her alcove.
"Regeneration cycle incomplete," the computer warned her.
"Oh shut up," Morgan moaned. She looked over to the two neighbouring alcoves. Seven was still in hers, her eyes fluttering. Tani's was empty as it usually was. Morgan sighed and she left the Cargo Bay to go and find her.
"And this one's self explanatory," Tani said from Chakotay's chair.
"Oh be quiet," Harry hissed from Kathryn's.
Tani ignored him and she brought the tricorder closer to her lips as if it were a microphone. "Swore I would never, be that girl holding your hand..."
"Oh please, just shut up," Harry moaned.
"Look at you gazing, acting like your biggest fan," Tani continued while bopping along to her imagined beat.
Harry started to consider calling Security. For the moment he glanced around for help. Typically everyone else were pretending they couldn't hear her, their heads buried in their consoles. "Oh god, I wish I hadn't volunteered for the night shift."
Tani pressed her spare hand against her chest, still swaying from side to side. "Well I don't know how you do it to me. You make my brain just stop..."
"If only," Harry muttered.
The turbolift opened as Tani worked her way up to the chorus. Harry clambered around to beg for help. "Get this weird girl off the bridge and into a soundproof room or something. Please." He was met with Morgan's blank stare which he returned, then he frowned. "Wait, what... what's with all these new kids running around, singing stupid poppy love songs?" he complained.
"There's that noise again," James sighed.
Harry jumped out of his seat. "Finally, an excuse to get away." He ran over to Tactical. "What noise? Is it the Borg, a Security issue. Neelix is cooking again?"
James slowly looked in his direction, but not directly at him. "Great, now it's buzzing around in my ear." He turned back to his station.
"That again? You need some new insults, you idiot," Harry grunted.
"So do you it seems. What about meanie or poopie head," James suggested.
Harry's lips trembled like he was muttering a lot, but no sound came out. He wandered away while still doing that.
"Go in a huff later. Sensors are picking up a transwarp conduit nearby," James said. He noticed someone approach in the corner of his eye, he assumed it was Harry. The sudden and high volumed singing in his ear made him jump so far, he nearly bumped his head on the ceiling. Tani only managed to sing something about roller coasters going up before she was dragged away by the arm.
"Ow," she groaned.
"Stop singing! The Borg are coming," Morgan hissed at her, moving the arm holding Tani in order to gently slap the back of her head.
"It's only the Borg," Tani moaned as she rubbed both painful parts.
"Red Alert," Harry ordered.
The turbolift doors opened again, and yet no one stepped out of them this time.
"Don't bother, according to the scanners it's only a probe. I'm more worried about the boss killing me off while I was distracted," James said.
"I'll contact the Captain," Harry said during another eye roll.
"It's okay, I saved recently," James said.
Somebody's head slowly crept around the turbolift door frame carrying a large box under both her arms, her eyes darted around.
"I'm not talking about your dumb video game you dipstick!" Harry yelled.
James struggled not to laugh, "dip what?" Harry groaned.
The turbolift occupier tip toed onto Bridge, immediately ducking down once they reached Tactical so James wouldn't see her as she walked beside it. He only had time to see a blur.
"Still, we're not taking any chances. I'll check with the Captain," Harry said. The person on-route towards the other side of the Bridge shook their head. It didn't seem to work, Harry tapped his commbadge. "Kim to Janeway," his voice echoed from below the Tactical station.
"Shoot," the tip toer whispered. She rearranged her arms, then tapped her commbadge. "Shh, not now, sleeping."
By now everyone else had seen her, James heard her first so he peered over his station. Each person gave her similar funny looks. Morgan more so, with her face turning a little red.
"What?" Harry said.
Kathryn froze so close to her Ready Room. "Um, Kiara sleeping. Shh."
"Um, why does this line sound funny? Almost like..." Harry said suspiciously. He swung around to catch her in the act but she ran off into her office in those seconds. He saw nothing out of the ordinary. "Like she was here."
"Dunno what you mean," James said with a forced confused expression.
The doors to the Ready Room opened again. Kathryn strolled out as if nothing happened with a firm commanding look on her face. "Report."
"Must've been me," Harry muttered to himself. He turned to address the Captain. "A Borg probe is approaching."
"Probe?" Kathryn said, glancing around at her ex Borg crewmembers at the rear side of the Bridge. "How do you know, what stupid shape is it? Diamond, hexagon, an upside down triangle, a flat rectangle?"
"Um, it's small, has minimal weapons and..." Tani started to answer.
"Looks like a cube that got lost, flew into a car crusher, and escaped half way through," James replied.
Kathryn stared thoughtfully at the viewscreen. "Hmm, so it's easy pickings."
Morgan's eyes widened in panic. "Mum, we should get out of here."
Kathryn glanced behind her with concern on her features, "why, we've dealt with the Borg more than once. I'm getting a little bored of their frequent visits. We need to do something. This might be the best opportunity we have."
"Uh, opportunity to do what?" Harry asked carefully.
Kathryn smiled at him with a mischievous glint in her eye, one corner of her lips higher than the other. That smile was always trouble for everyone. "You'll see. Senior officers to the Bridge."
"A vessel has been detected... blah blah blah. Activate. Alter course to intercept," the Borg voices said.
A drone stepped out of its alcove and it started to walk towards a computer terminal. It pressed some controls, making the tiny screen change to show Voyager approaching.
"Vessel identified, Federation Starfleet, Intrepid class..." For some reason the voices all gasped, every drone hearing it felt their connection spasm briefly. The voice then turned pretty maniacal, "it's Voyager, destroy, exterminate!"
All the drones looked confused. Since when had they turned into the Darlecks? The voices changed their tone to more of a desperate shout, "do as you're told minions!"
Nothing happened. For a moment all the drones were unsure what to do. "Oh crap, the link has broken again, let me just fiddle with this," the voices grumbled, the volume density of them sounded like they halved. Like someone had flicked a switch the Borg instantly turned to zombies again. "Yes go and exterminate Voyager! Bwahahahahahahahaha!"
The first drone seemed to comply and pressed a command on his console, only it changed the view to the starship's bridge.
"Looks more like something you'd find in a Borg toilet," Kathryn was caught muttering behind her.
"We are the Borg. You will be..."
Kathryn turned her head to look at them, "oh, it doesn't look any better inside."
The Borg's voices growls echoed throughout the chamber.
The bridge staff who had been on the bridge earlier tried to keep straight faces. Tom had clearly jumped straight out of bed and ran straight to the helm, as he still wore his ruffled bed clothes and had bed hair that looked like he'd stuck his finger in a power conduit. Chakotay obviously didn't have time to gel his own hair up, so it was looking a little frazzled around his forehead. Craig appeared to have picked up the first thing he could find and thrown it on, which unfortunate for him was an inside out pair of jogging trousers and a popstar t-shirt with the slogan 'womaniser' written all in caps. To everyone's surprise Tuvok struggled to keep his eyes open, still dressed in his purple meditation robe.
Kathryn did a double take at all of them, her scowl turning fiercer with every person. Typically Tom was the last person she laid eyes on. "I hope this is on purpose to make the Borg think we're stupid, because good job you ninnies."
Morgan leaned forward to look at Craig's t-shirt, scrunching her face. "You look ridiculous," she said bluntly.
"USS Voyager. Resistance is futile," the Borg said.
"Break off your pursuit, or we'll open fire," Kathryn warned.
"Irrelevant," the Borg threatened back.
"What is? You're saying that it is meaningless if you're destroyed? Well if you say so," Kathryn said, gesturing a finger click in Tuvok's direction.
The only response she got was a very quiet throat snort, which only James heard as it happened directly next to him. His eyes drifted to the left, and sure enough Tuvok's head had dropped down slightly and his eyes were shut. "Okeydokey," James said as he got to work.
"You will be assimilated."
Kathryn hinted to Harry to turn the viewscreen went off. He nodded and so it did. It didn't take long for the ship to gently rock from the weapons fire.
A console exploded, two drones fell backwards. A torpedo rematerialised in front of a drone, his eyes bugged out. "Oh shh..." he muttered. The froggy alarm went off.
"Oh what the hell? Don't stare at it, just disarm it," the Borg voices told him.
The drone looked it over, panic continued to build up. "Uh. Affirmative? I will comply. Or whatever." He ended his final word with a tiny squeak as he dipped in his head which part to start with.
"Stupid link, why does it keep doing this?" the Borg complained, once again its voices sounding far less vast than it normally did. Their mood didn't help when the disconnected drone's hand reached forward and got a forcefield buzz in his face for his trouble.
"Screw this. I'm outta here," he said while running off.
The Borg Probe exploded on the viewscreen.
Chakotay swung around towards Tactical. "I thought we were trying to disable it," he stuttered.
His voice startled Tuvok awake, he promptly returned to work like nothing happened. "Yes Commander, arming torpedo."
James quickly grabbed his wrist to stop him, "too late, sleeping beauty."
"What?" Tuvok said. He didn't sound too surprised. A yawn later he was nodding off again.
Morgan looked down at the panel behind the command chairs. "It looks like it went off near the power matrix. Power overload and boom."
"Oops," was all James said in response.
Kathryn glared at him all the way over to Tactical. Meanwhile Tuvok still sleptstood. "Oops? I told you we wanted to salvage the ship." Seven hurrying onto the bridge via the nearby turbolift made her groan. "Great, the day gets better. She's gonna be whining that she should've done it."
"I didn't memorise a probe's specs during my five second Borg stint. Next time I'll get 'em for sure," James said.
"To be fair, at least he was awake," Morgan said.
"Hmm indeed," Kathryn said while delivering a death glare at the sleeping Commander.
James nudged him gently with his elbow. Once again Tuvok woke up a little startled. The first thing he saw was the Captain. "Negative Captain."
"Ugh, it's too early in the morning for this crap," Kathryn groaned and rubbed her sore temples.
"Are there any survivors?" Chakotay asked.
"Negative," Tuvok replied. James double checked to make sure he wasn't sleeptalking.
Kathryn walked towards Harry's console. "Debris status?"
"There's a few components intact but they're badly damaged," Harry replied.
Kathryn turned to face Chakotay. "Begin a salvage operation."
"Captain?" Chakotay said in surprise.
"There must be something we can use; weapons, a transwarp coil," Kathryn replied. She walked towards her Ready Room. "A recipe for a coffee soup." She paused to drool for a moment. Jessie hurried onto the Bridge as she continued on her way. "Oh I feel lucky today."
Jessie looked confused for a bit. She shrugged and walked towards her station. Halfway she caught sight of Tom's static hair and his t-shirt crumpled so much at the back, he looked like he was wearing a massive collar.
"I don't," he muttered, seemingly oblivious to it.
"Nice look Tom," Jessie laughed. "Did you pick it up at the chav store?"
"Nice boyfriend Jessie. Did you pick it up at the useless girly boy store," Tom sniped back bitterly.
Jessie's face turned red with rage, she tried to storm over to him but Morgan and James rushed over to her to hold her back.
"Jess, he's not worth it," Morgan said. James shrugged and released his grip. Before the teen could object, Jessie slipped out of her grasp and ran for the helmsman undeterred. He bolted once she was within punching range.
Morgan slapped James across the back of the head. "Why did you do that for you idiot?"
"What, it's night shift. I don't need to do Security stuff," James smiled. Right on cue Jessie caught up to Tom by running around the bridge in the opposite direction. One kick in the knee ended it in seconds.
"I hate to interrupt but how does the Captain expect there to be anything of use? In the vacuum of space, vessels do not explode. They implode. There should be nothing left," Seven said. Everyone stopped what they were doing and they stared angrily at her.
"No atmosphere outside, did you say?" Morgan asked with a dangerous glint in her eye.
"Of course not, why do you ask?" Seven asked.
Ten seconds later, Seven was floating outside in space amongst the Borg debris. Her expression still the same as it always was when she was explaining things. Meanwhile all Seven haters and J/Cers were cheering and having parties.
"Of course not, why do you ask?" Seven's voice overlapped the image.
Back on the bridge Morgan's attention seemed to be elsewhere as her eyes drifted to the ceiling and a smile appeared on her face. Seven rolled her eyes and walked away from the girl, stepping over the fallen Tom in the process.
"How many times do I have to tell you Mr Paris. Stop messing with Jessie, she could kill you if there was nobody to stop her," the Doctor said.
"But Doc, shouldn't she have the lecture?" Tom moaned. "She dishes it out but she can't take it, so she resorts to kicking. Very mature."
"I wouldn't have to if you would stop provoking her," the Doctor replied. He closed his tricorder and he walked away. "You're free to go."
"Yeah, thanks Doc," Tom said flippantly as he slipped off the biobed.
"And get changed," the Doctor said.
Tom looked down at himself. "Oh yeah, I forgot about that."
The bay was filled with Borg junk. A few crewman were scanning the debris. Kathryn walked in, Chakotay approached her.
"Now, this is how I prefer the Borg," Kathryn said a little too gleefully.
"In pieces?" Chakotay laughed.
Kathryn gave him a dirty look, "no, quiet and boobless."
Chakotay didn't take that too seriously, he kept smiling at her. "Nine hundred kilotons of debris, most of it is core fragments, all in written order," Chakotay said as the pair walked to the middle of the bay.
"Let me guess, nothing useful," Kathryn said whilst turning her head side to side as she walked.
"B'Elanna found a transwarp coil," Chakotay replied.
Kathryn's eyes nearly bugged out, she pursued her lips and inhaled a little. Chakotay swore he heard a quiet oooh come from them. A weird spherical object caught her attention, she picked it up to get a better look. "A Borg beach ball," she casually threw it over her shoulder. Seven chose that moment to walk by. It missed her by a hair. "Yeah right. The Borg wouldn't know fun if it hit them in the face." The spherical object bounced against a console and flew into the back of Seven's head. She stumbled to the floor, dazed and confused.
"Close enough," Chakotay said as he saw the whole thing.
Kathryn didn't and wasn't sure why he said that. "Let's hope that the little slimy pricks get the hint this time. They're getting weirder with every encounter."
"It was only a probe. Next time we might not be so lucky," Chakotay said.
Harry rushed towards them and knelt down beside Seven. "Ohno, I hope you didn't turn that on." He quickly tried to retrieve the sphere thing. It vibrated violently when his hand was about to touch, then it rolled away sounding like it was blowing raspberries at him.
"Dirty pieces of sh..." Kathryn muttered and walked off.
Chakotay frowned at her, then back at the scene nearby. "What?" He watched as Harry chased the object holding a sack. "When was the last time we did anything normal?" he wondered aloud as he followed the Captain.
"By my count we've added at least ten light years to our trip by avoiding the Borg. I'm tired of running away every time we detect a cube," Kathryn snarled. She started fiddling with her commbadge.
"Are we going to add that to our total?" Chakotay asked.
Kathryn snorted in derision, "not on your life Chucko. I'm having trouble keeping track of our distance as it is."
"Yeah well better safe than assimilated I suppose," Chakotay said.
"Hmm," Kathryn replied, now twirling the commbadge around.
"Maybe I should go to Red Alert and get it over with," Chakotay said.
"Commander?" Kathryn muttered.
"You're about to drop one of your bomb shells," Chakotay replied.
"Why do you say that?" Kathryn asked as she started flipping the commbadge up into the air and catching it.
"Well apart from Seven, your pet hate is taking long detours. I was expecting a metaphorical middle finger to the Borg much sooner than this," Chakotay replied.
Kathryn smiled at him warmly, all while juggling her commbadge and a tricorder expertly. "You read me like a book, you dog." She gave him a seductive wink, he grinned in response. Somebody walking past immediately noticed the weirdness and doubled their pace with their eyes wide.
"Why is she fiddling with her commbadge, she's never done that before," they said to the first person they got to. They shrugged.
"Eureka!" the Doctor yelled. He ran up to Kathryn & Chakotay with a severed Borg arm still dripping. Tom followed him looking a little queasy.
"What is that, it's bleeding all over my carpet!" Kathryn snapped.
"This is an arm from a medical repair drone. Laser scalpel..." the Doctor said very fast. He waved the arm around with little care, almost swiping it into the Captain and Commander's faces. "All rolled into one instrument," he said finally.
"No Federation Sickbay should be without one," Tom quipped.
The Doctor beamed, "I know, right!" he said excitedly while spinning around to face him. He underestimated how close he was and promptly smacked Tom in the cheek with the arm. Down he went. "Oh sorry Mr Paris. Anyway this could help me perform surgery. Maybe I should test it on him."
Tom swallowed hard, he quickly crawled out of the room as fast as he could.
"Excellent, why don't you use it on Seven, she didn't look too well," Kathryn said.
The Doctor tried to hide his excitement, despite his concerns for Seven, "as you wish." He hurried away while trying to lug the arm over his shoulder. It slipped from his grasp before he could settle it there, on its way down it conked poor Craig on the head.
"Okay, he's got to be doing that on purpose," Chakotay sighed.
"Probably," Kathryn nodded. Chakotay gestured for her to follow him, he then made his way over to B'Elanna and Morgan working on another piece of debris.
B'Elanna sighed impatiently, "try it again."
Morgan hesitated briefly, she tried once more to activate the piece in front of her. Nothing happened. "Nope, it's fused."
"What's the problem?" Chakotay asked on approach.
"We can't activate the transwarp coil," B'Elanna replied.
Morgan bit her lip nervously while she cast aside the device to B'Elanna to have another go. "It's not a coincidence. The only time we stumbled across a valuable piece in a Borg debris field, it more or less went poof in our hands. I think it's a fail safe."
Kathryn looked a little disappointed, Chakotay instead was momentarily amused.
"Makes sense. The Borg don't want their goodies to fall into the enemy hands," B'Elanna mumbled as she worked.
"At least the Doctor found a new toy," Chakotay smirked.
Meanwhile the Doctor was showing his new arm to Seven, who had magically shook off the sphere in the head incident. She didn't seem very interested, her attention was mainly toward Morgan and B'Elanna, her body inching to get away. He started waving it around again, next thing he knew she was lying on the floor with a Borg arm imprint on her forehead.
"Oh by the way, we found something else," Morgan said. She walked away to another group of debris a couple of crewmembers were still digging through. A few brick shaped objects had been piled to one side. Kathryn and Chakotay followed her over as she picked one up to show them.
"These are Borg data nodes. They could have anything on them from ship positions to what some new drone had for breakfast before the Borg ruined his day," she explained.
Kathryn's face lit up. Her mind raced at what goodies could be on these bricks, she tuned out before the second example. "Then lets take a look."
"It's in Borg language. We need to translate it," Morgan said.
"Time?" Kathryn asked.
"I'd say about three hours," Morgan replied.
"Do it," Kathryn said, sounding so giddy Chakotay thought she misheard and thought Morgan said the data lead to a coffee holy grail. Then he figured Morgan mentioned breakfast and her mind immediately leaped from there.
Morgan walked away with a couple of data nodes. Seven hurried over to her and intentionally got in the girl's way, all while gesturing to the nodes. "I will take care of it. I can do it in two hours." Morgan kept a tight hold on them despite Seven's tugs, their bodies swayed back and forth for a while before Seven gave up and decided on following Morgan closely to her disgust.
Chakotay shook his head and smirked, having witnessed the whole thing. He turned to Kathryn to find her nibbling on the commbadge with a thoughtful look on her face.
As soon as B'Elanna stepped into Astrometrics she could feel the tension in the room, close to choking point. It also felt a few degrees cooler.
"Irrelevant. I do not require any of your help," Seven hissed whilst trying to reach a certain part of the console. Morgan though was in her way and she clearly wasn't ready to budge.
"What's your problem? I thought you were yay Borg, efficiency is perfection, woohoo team work," Morgan said mockingly.
Seven stared coldly at her, expecting the young girl to flinch. She had obviously forgot she was facing off against a Janeway, as Morgan easily matched the stare. "You are too young and inexperienced to assist me with this. Please," she said the final word with the complete opposite of politeness. Her cold stare ranked up a few levels. "Go home and play with your dolls."
Morgan laughed at her attempt at a deathglare. "That's funny. I thought I already was playing with dolls. You're right, maybe it is time to throw away the old dollhouse into an airlock."
B'Elanna was half tempted to slip back out, replicate popcorn and watch this unfold. She didn't want to miss another second of it though.
"Good, now go," Seven said, turning her attention back to the station and trying once more to push her way in.
"Don't tempt me," Morgan grumbled, standing her ground she continued trying to work.
Seven tried to slide her arm in whenever she could, all while pushing against Morgan's arm with her own. "You are disruptive, interfering and rude. I do not want you in my Astrometrics."
"I found these nodes, mum told me to translate them. I'm not the one who's being interfering, dumb bitch!" Morgan hissed.
Seven looked at her smugly for some reason. "See, rude and disruptive. You are an angry and still immature little girl. I will be able to focus on this task far more efficiently and effectively than you. As I was a part of the collective, I..."
"You're perfect. No flaws, good at everything. I know," Morgan said flippantly.
"Precisely," Seven said passionately.
"Snore!" Morgan groaned and rolled her eyes. She casually shoved the other ex-Borg with her other, not being pressed against arm. Seven fell to the floor with a thud. Morgan shrugged it off and got back to work.
B'Elanna decided now was the time to approach. "I found another node, if you're interested. How's it going?"
Morgan smiled over her shoulder, "good. Mum will be happy to know that there's only one Borg ship around, which is damaged and probably won't come after us. I'd have more if it wasn't for Overcompensating Barbie here."
"So I saw," B'Elanna chuckled. "I'm sure Janeway will want to know more about this ship."
"Figured she might. Just in case," Morgan said with a nod and a relieved sigh.
B'Elanna's laughter turned into the nervous kind. "Oh, not just in case."
Morgan blinked rapidly at her while the rest of her face was blank. "Then why?"
Kathryn walked across from her chair to the wall screen, currently showing an image of a Borg Sphere that looked scorched in places. Her hand gestured to it with flair. "ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Fort Knox."
All she got were blank stares from everyone in the Conference Room, and a couple of awkward throat clearing from two of them.
"Um," Tom of course was the first to speak up. "Fort Knox was basically a vault filled with trillions of US dollars worth of gold. This is a Borg Sphere with scaffolding and workmen still filling the floors with concrete."
"Use your imagination," Kathryn said, her eyebrow twitching with impatience.
"The Borg have assimilated the bank?" Jessie said.
James tried not to laugh, "and that's the real reason why Humans gave up money."
"Shut up, you two don't know what you're talking about, and you're not funny," Tom said.
Jessie glanced to her other side where the Doctor sat. Three arms rested in front of them, one looking slightly more Borg than the other two and thankfully no longer bleeding. She snatched it and threw it across the table at Tom. It hit him in the chest and knocked him flying off his chair. That toppled over on top of him after he hit the ground.
"I beg to differ," she said as if nothing happened.
"That was my toy!" the Doctor screeched. He started to cry. Everyone ignored him.
Kathryn sighed as if she had been mildly inconvenienced. "So, no one would care to translate?" Tom groaned from the floor.
"Tom, get back in your chair," Chakotay said.
"It's from Earth," Harry said hopefully.
"Oh Harry sweetie," Kathryn cooed at him. "We need to get you a new track for Christmas. The I wanna go home one is getting a bit worn out, we don't want you getting anymore derailed."
"Nobody could break into it," B'Elanna suggested.
"Ohno," Morgan groaned as realisation hit her.
Kathryn titled her head back so she could sigh in the direction of the ceiling. "Finally." With her head back in the original position she forced a smile. "Yes, Fort Knox was a treasure trove, impossible to get into. Many had tried to loot its gold and failed."
"Are you planning a heist?" Chakotay asked with a smirk.
James glanced around the table, looking confused. "Wait, if Borg Knox is so impossible to get into, why are we even talking about it? It's not exactly an encouraging comparison."
"Ohno," Morgan started to panic a little.
Kathryn didn't seem to notice any of the negative responses, she instead smiled and her eyes sparkled mischievously. "I might be. Only we won't be chasing gold. We'll be hunting for a transwarp coil. I think it might be worth more than some ugly coloured overrated metal, don't you?"
"Isn't that stealing though?" Craig asked.
"Stealing is such a strong word, how about borrowing," Kathryn said. Most of the table seemed to agree with her; it was a mixture of smiles and nods. Tom merely groaned, it wasn't clear if he was objecting to anything.
"Tom, I told you to get up," Chakotay said. Tom flipped a finger, knowing full well the Commander wouldn't be able to see it from where he was sitting.
"If I could attach at least one transwarp coil to the engines, it could take at least twenty years off our trip," B'Elanna said.
"Yeah but..." Morgan protested.
"If everyone agrees let's get rehearsing," Kathryn said.
Morgan looked around helplessly. "Wait a min. We've gotten lucky lately. The sphere turning around, the probe, the one that Neelix scared away."
Neelix nodded until what she said truly hit him. He looked on, shocked. "What?" Kathryn shuddered at the memory of the infamous picture of him that scared away a Borg Cube.
"But it wasn't long ago that if it weren't for a wonky temporal anomaly and the Tolg, Kiara would be stuck on a sphere for thirteen years," Morgan stuttered. Kathryn and Chakotay flinched almost at the same time as each other. "Didn't they assimilate one of your shuttles and its crew not long ago? Again you got lucky there."
"Yes, lucky," Jessie commented, her hand absentmindedly reached up to dab her hair.
Morgan shrugged, "well you're not still Borg are you, so yeah lucky. Lucky that some weird glitch cut you both off before they could finish assimilating."
"Exactly like you," Seven said bluntly, her eyes drilled suspiciously at nothing in particular.
Most of the room turned their attention toward her. Morgan scowled without bothering to do even that. "Maybe exactly, maybe not exactly."
"I hate to admit it," Kathryn said hesitantly, pulling a disgusted face. "But Seven brings up an interesting, if not pissy at sharing the mantle, point."
"She does?" Tom stuttered whilst dragging himself up using the table.
"I understand why you're feeling a little anxious, even scared Morgan. I would be too in your position," Kathryn said warmly towards her daughter. It didn't help, she had been tense since the agreeing with Seven comment. "However the last few encounters with the Borg have been strange. They've been talking differently, their tactics have changed, the glitch during James' assimilation..."
"Indeed," Seven said, finally focusing her narrowed eyes at James. He gave her a polite smile back which annoyed her even more.
"Something's changed in the Collective and so far, I like it," Kathryn smiled.
Chakotay sighed, "it might make our heist a touch easier."
"Or harder," Harry commented dryly.
"Do you believe the sphere is damaged enough for us to penetrate its defences?" Tuvok questioned.
Kathryn nodded. "From the data we've retrieved, yes I do. It should be enough to let us in for five to ten minutes. We'd still need to sneak up behind them, or distract them while we loot their things."
"Perhaps we could use the data we have on that ship to recreate it on the Holodeck. Test runs would be useful," Chakotay suggested. Tom's ears perked up.
Kathryn glanced toward her still nervous daughter. "Don't worry, you can sit this one out. I can put up with Seven if needs be."
"Excuse me?" Seven muttered.
"Sphere layout hasn't changed much. I lived on one for thirteen years. I know the way around off by heart," Morgan said. She looked down at her chest as she lightly poked at the left side of it. Her shoulders shrugged briefly and she glanced back up. "You're gonna do it anyway, I'd feel better if I was there helping out."
"Only if you're sure," Chakotay said softly.
Seven's eyebrow shot up, "that will not be necessary. I am fully aware of multiple Borg ship layouts, including this sphere. Morgan's usefulness would be equal to mine at best, and that is not factoring in her fearfulness and impulsive streak."
"I'm sure," Morgan said.
James shifted uncomfortably in his seat before saying something, "if you need a Security person, I can go. I remember a few things that might be useful."
"Even if Janeway called the mission impossible herself?" Jessie asked him.
Chakotay glared at Tom before he could even think of humming the Mission Impossible theme. He quickly shrunk into his chair, until he forgot it was still on the floor. He picked it up instead.
"Fine, it's Fort Knox after a trip through an ion storm, or something," Kathryn huffed. "If our test runs require another team, I'll consider you. For the moment, I think Commander Tuvok is perfect for the job while you man Tactical."
"I agree. A mission of this calibre requires a cold head," Tuvok said.
"Cool," Harry whispered to him. Tuvok glanced at him briefly with an exasperated sigh.
Seven briefly smiled while no one was looking at her. "He is correct. That does not describe Taylor, or Morgan for that matter."
Kathryn rolled her eyes while massaging her forehead, "this is my Seven whining headache. I thought the pounding felt like entitlement."
Chakotay quickly thought to remedy the situation. "As the Captain suggests, for now we'll use a minimal party for the tests. Those will help us figure out who to actually bring when the time comes. We will need capable people on the Bridge as well, so..."
"Why is it always like this? I am offering my services to the crew, and you react like it is a joke. Taylor's assimilation and now Morgan are only convenient excuses to do this, when before it made no sense," Seven snapped.
Jessie folded her arms and pouted a little. "Why does she continuously forget me in this?"
Kathryn glanced at her sympathetically, "oh she doesn't, don't worry." Jessie frowned in response.
"I'm serious. I am the perfect crewmember for this job, and yet the fifteen year old girl with a hot head and no true Borg experience is picked over me. The only reason you do it is to try and anger me," Seven said.
Morgan couldn't help but giggle quietly. "Oh so it's got nothing to do with you being all boring and annoying, hmm?"
"I'd call her patronising and pompous, but yeah," James said. Seven stared at him with her usual wide eyed expression. "Oh and a severe case of only child resentment."
"I was not asking for your opinion on the matter," Seven sniped back.
Kathryn gently clapped her hands together to get their attention on her. "All right, that's enough. This is getting old so I'll settle this right here and now." She cleared her throat and sat up straight, ready to deliver a speech. "Seven. Shut up."
Seven's jaw visibly flexed as she ground her teeth together. "See, you're doing it again. The Doctor's on my side, tell them," she said in the Doctor's direction. He wasn't in his chair anymore though, unknown to her he was crawling under the table to retrieve his precious arm. "Why am I the only one who should be shutting up? Taylor always makes a scathing comment toward me, Morgan treats me as you do but worse."
"James does that to everyone, even me," Jessie said lightly. James looked at her with a bemused smile.
"You want to know why I do it? Wanna list?" Morgan asked bitterly.
"Yes," Seven replied with venom.
Morgan smiled as she stretched her arms out in front of her, cracking her knuckles. "Okeydokey. Let's see. You always want to be centre of attention. Ugly catsuit attached to heels. Actually started it with the you're not Borg enough to be any use, unlike me! You think you're better than everyone and still have to act Borgy and robot like to be perfect. Make fun of me for my age and my life on the sphere, again not being Borg enough for your tastes. Followed and started shoving me out of the way, or trying to, to do something the Captain ordered me to do. Shall I go on?"
"Oh!" Tom shouted as if he were at a football game and a goal was scored. "And Morgan deals the finishing blow, will Seven be able to pick up the spare?"
"What... what is that? Is it a boxing match or bowling?" B'Elanna asked him.
Seven was temporarily speechless. She had to say something though. "I... it's functional," she said in reference to her catsuit. "I was not mad at you, the Captain only orders you to do what she'd normally give to me, to anger me. Your enabled behaviour because of that..."
Kathryn's eyes narrowed dangerously. Chakotay and Tuvok, who were sitting beside her, quickly budged their chairs away as far as they could. "I beg your pardon!"
"She's got a point," Harry said flippantly. Even the growl he got didn't seem to faze him.
"I erm... It's true and I don't think I'm... Taylor hits me," Seven stammered.
Everyone looked across the table at James who looked as shocked as they did. Everyone but Jessie and Kathryn, who both shared similar looks of indifference.
"Hey, don't say it like that," James protested.
Tom sniggered, "like how then? Slaps, pushes, tickles?"
"It's exactly like that. You're a monster," Seven snapped whilst point an accusatory finger at James. "I know who you really are."
Morgan tried to hold it in but she couldn't, she burst out into hysterical laughter. Some of the rest of the table seemed to be struggling as well.
"Yes well," Kathryn said mid chuckle and wiping a lone tear from her eye. "James, if you promise not to pick on Seven anymore, we can get started on planning this heist without all the drama. Okay?"
"It's not funny," Seven said firmly, her bottom lip trembled a little.
James seemed to agree with her for once. He frowned with a hard look in his eye. "Sure, if she stops actually being enough of a Security threat to warrant a hit. Fine."
"Good. Tuvok, Kim and Morgan I'll let you know when the program's ready. Everyone dismissed," Chakotay said quickly as he rose to his feet.
Tom sighed in disappointment as most of the table quickly filed out. Once he thought he was alone he felt something rub against his ankle. His eyes widened in horror. Before he had a chance to look down and see what, the Doctor jumped up from seemingly out of nowhere beside him, holding the Borg arm tightly in front of him.
"There we are!" he announced proudly like it was a child.
Tom jumped out of his skin and clambered back in his chair. His commotion made him tumble to the floor once more.
"Oh Mr Paris," the Doctor sighed impatiently. "You're going to be a permanent fixture in Sickbay if you keep that up." He waltsed out, humming contently.
"So Morgan, how do you feel about all this?" Kathryn asked.
"I feel great, I showed Seven up in front of everyone," Morgan replied.
"Not about that, even though I am proud of you. I was talking about the Fort Knox plan," Kathryn said.
"Oh that," Morgan sighed uneasily. "Even with the damage to the sphere, we'd have trouble getting there without them spotting us. Someone stealing a coil will be instantly a threat to them."
Kathryn nodded, agreeing with her. "Right now the only plan I have would be to entice them with a shuttle, get them to lower their shields to bring it aboard for assimilation. We slip in then and loot. We'll need more than your directions to help us."
"Why?" Morgan asked.
"We still need to get out in one piece. I'd prefer to do this without them knowing we were there at all. Since you said you've looted Borg ships before and the Borg would've been extra keen to nab the future technology on your sphere, you or Tani must know how," Kathryn said.
Morgan's eyes fluttered anxiously, her body tensed. "Yeah well, some of the time we couldn't even get close to them. We had more luck in debris fields a lot of the time."
"But you know why they went wrong, don't you?" Kathryn asked.
"Sure," Morgan said, though it felt like she was lying.
"I have Seven studying the logs from the ship she was assimilated on. Hopefully together, not too literally, we'll create a workable plan," Kathryn smiled.
Morgan stared at her blankly, "yeah uh, that's not gonna work."
"Well it'll humour her for the time being," Kathryn shrugged.
"No. I mean the Borg assimilated her ship too, right?" Morgan asked. Kathryn nodded. "Then the Borg know everything Seven will get from those logs."
Kathryn smirked, "oh no, I gave her something completely useless to do? What a shame. I'm so upset I never thought of that."
Morgan wasn't sure if she should laugh or complain about encouraging Seven, one way or another. It left her with a half smile and wide eyed look on her face.
"At least we don't have to regenerate tonight. We won't have to put up with Seven crying all night," Tani smiled.
"Yeah I suppose," Morgan mumbled while staring down at the table.
"What's up with you?" Tani asked.
"Last night I dreamt about when I was first assimilated into the collective, it felt a little too real," Morgan replied. "It happening the day we run into them and plan an attack, it doesn't help."
"Just forget about it, it was only a dream. I think we deserve a break, do you want some Cherry Coke?" Tani asked. Morgan nodded. Tani got off the sofa and she headed over to the replicator.
The older girl with a few Borg implants and scars dotted across her face laughed and pointed. "Say something again," she said mockingly.
"Why?" Kiara asked. The girl and two other kids standing with her snorted into more obnoxious laughter.
"You've got a really stupid voice," the boy of the trio laughed.
"Speak for yourself," Tani huffed.
The boy pushed Tani hard and she fell over. Kiara pushed him straight back. Despite being almost twice her size, he stumbled backwards onto his butt.
The other two girls laughed at her for it, despite the boy's humiliated blushing and huffy reaction.
A much older boy no older than thirteen rushed over to the five children. He helped the boy up by grabbing one of the thick wires across his back. It didn't hurt him, but he whined anyway.
"Don't ever push my little sister again, do you understand me?" he snarled.
"Okay, okay," the boy said quietly.
The older boy shook him gently. "I didn't hear you!"
"I said okay. Sorry Boss," the boy moaned. The older boy put him down, allowing him to run off into the vast corridors outside.
"Thanks Tiran," Tani said.
"No problem little sis," he said.
The two remaining girls didn't look impressed. One of them huffed, "you were too mean. Are all Humans so violent and stupid?"
The other girl giggled quietly, "stupid head."
Tiran glared at them and they ran away screaming, which because of the empty and giant Borg sphere, it echoed around, increasing its volume.
"I hate kids," Tiran muttered, earning him two blank stares from Kiara and Tani. He laughed and reached out to pat his little sister's head. "Except you two, duh.
"I gotta go. If they give you anymore trouble you have permission to do more than push them, okay Kiara?"
That put a smile on Kiara's face at last. "Oh, really?"
"Yep. Have fun. I'm off to another broken ship, so you be good. Okay?" Tiran said with a wink.
"Okay, see you later," Tani grinned.
Tiran left through a different door to the other kids.
The girls from before didn't wait long until they sneaked back in and started teasing Kiara again.
"Morgan, are you still there?" Tani asked as she waved her hand in front of Morgan's face. She jumped suddenly and stared oddly at Tani.
"What happened?" Morgan asked.
"What do you mean?" Tani asked.
"I was back on the Borg Sphere, ten years ago," Morgan replied.
"I think this work is getting to your head, you'd better get some sleep," Tani said, deciding to keep the second small bottle of coke to herself.
"It seemed real," Morgan muttered to herself.
Tani smiled at her, "yeah yeah, you do realise the flashback one has been and gone, right?"
"Don't," Morgan shushed her. "Mum hates it when we talk fourth wall-y."
"Yeah yeah. We've figured enough ideas out for them tomorrow. We can take a break if you want," Tani said.
Morgan nodded. She stood up to leave.
It didn't take her long to get back home. As she expected the quarters was in complete darkness. No one was home. She ordered the computer to put the lights on low and settled herself on the sofa with a drink.
There wasn't much to do besides wait, all while her stomach complained over and over that it needed feeding. She couldn't wait much longer. It was clear that she'd be on her own for the night. It happened all the time, but still she felt annoyed, she couldn't help it.
Morgan sat at the table to eat her dinner in eery silence.
A couple of hours later she curled up in her bed. The light from the living area peeked through the tiny crack in the door. She hated turning it off when she went to bed, it reminded her that the quarters was empty and the feeling that gave her made her very uneasy. Vulnerable for some reason.
Despite how low the light was and how little was coming in, it may as well have been bright sunlight shining into her room. As always, she ducked under her quilt and rolled over so her back was facing it.
"What's wrong K, are you too scared to step on the scary Borg ship," a familiar but far away voice taunted her.
The sound of it startled her eyes open wide, Morgan quickly sat up to see where it was coming from. Nothing in the room had changed.
"Computer, is there anyone else in these quarters but me?" Morgan asked.
"There is nobody else inside these quarters."
"Then where did the voice come from?" Morgan stuttered.
"Please restate the question."
"I'm not afraid of any Borg ship, I do live on one after all," she heard herself say.
Her body started to tremble. Bringing the quilt up to wrap over her shoulders didn't ease her one bit. "I didn't say that, what's going on?"
"Please restate the question."
"Then why aren't you coming with us then?" Tani's voice asked.
"I just don't want to," her own voice answered.
Morgan shook her head rapidly as she moved to lie back down, this time facing the door. The light was annoying but she hoped it would keep her grounded in reality.
As she settled her head down she noticed something in the corner of her eye. It only registered at the last second, she hurriedly sat back up to look over shoulder toward the window. The sight that greeted her punched her hard in the chest, over and over. The imposing spherical object loomed closer until it dwarfed the window.
"You're not scared, are you?" another familiar voice taunted her.
"No I'm not!" her own voice cried stubbornly.
Morgan closed her eyes and tried to cover her ears. "Stop it."
"Oh come on Kiara, those stupid drones won't even notice that we're there at all. Even if they did they would think we were one of them," Tani's voice reassured her.
"I don't care, I'm staying here."
"No..." Morgan wheezed, the sight of the sphere had her struggling to breathe. She had to get out of her room and the whole quarters.
"I knew it. Baby only likes to play pretend tough girl. We'll go without her," the first voice said.
The door bleeped negatively at her and refused to budge. Morgan quickly tried to get any kind of grip on the cracks in the door, but her fingers only kept slipping across. Her efforts became more frantic as frightened screams echoed around her quarters. All of them were young, familiar to her.
"No, they'll discover us," Tiran's voice stuttered in a panic.
Morgan gave up on trying to get a good grip. Instead she slammed the side of her left fist into the door desperately, as the screams were gradually overwhelmed by unified Borg voices.
"We've got to destroy them," Tiran's voice said.
"We can't. That'll get the Borg's attention too. They'll chase us across the galaxy," she heard herself say, only just over the noise.
"At least this way we have a head start," Tiran's voice said.
"No," Morgan whimpered in unison with her own voice echoing around her.
The screaming ended abruptly, but the sound of the collective droned on still. Morgan then saw a blink of green coming from the other side of her quarters. She glanced over to find the wall melting into a Borg one. It spread rapidly to the carpet, the wardrobes, drawers. Once it reached her bed it melted down to nothing, the window beside it morphed into an alcove.
Morgan thumped the door harder with her left, her right scrambled once more to get a grip on the crack. The Borg technology crept closer until it had surrounded her.
"You are mine," a woman's voice hissed in her own mind as it made contact with her feet and hands. She screamed with all her might as it crawled across her skin, her eyes squeezed shut.
When they opened again Morgan found herself back in the living room, looking sideways. Her body weight pressed into something soft. She realised why but it was no relief. Her throat throbbed and her heart thumped furiously. She sat up from the sofa, still shaking with her entire head drenched in sweat.
It wasn't real, she tried to tell herself. Until she noticed the strange spherical object through the window beside her.
Seven entered the Bridge with her shoulders tense. The sight of a damaged Borg sphere on the viewscreen didn't help matters.
"Looks like it took a real beating," Chakotay commented.
Everyone's eyes instinctively fell onto Kathryn. She frowned at the people she noticed doing it.
"I recommend we keep a safe distance, it could still pose a threat," Tuvok said.
Kathryn nodded, if a bit reluctantly. "Match course and speed, while keeping a distance of ten million kilometres."
"Yes ma'am," Tom said as he began to hurriedly tap on the helm.
"I will kill him," Kathryn whispered to Chakotay.
Tom mouthed a few words first, "we're chasing a Borg ship so we can mug them. Can it get any crunchier than this?"
Kathryn rolled her eyes. "I'm sure I can manage it."
Seven walked over to her usual station and gripped it nervously. "Captain. I had an important flashback that may help this mission. Unfortunately it's made me a little anx..."
"Yeah yeah, I'm sure you did," Kathryn said in a patronising manner. "Make yourself useful and..."
"Check the Borg ship's status?" Seven questioned.
Kathryn scrunched up her face, "no, we have Opps and Tactical for a reason you job hogger. Get me a coffee, extra strong. It's going to be a long day."
Chakotay bit his lip to stop himself from laughing, failing miserably, while Seven quietly fumed. "Kathryn, she might have a better idea about the sphere than Harry and Tuvok would."
"It's a slippery slope Chakotay," Kathryn hissed at him. "Today it's Borg ship statuses, but tomorrow it'll be wrestler cameos and curing murder instincts with nanoprobes."
"That's oddly specific," Jessie commented.
Seven meanwhile tapped away and tried to ignore the conversation. "Their weapons array is regenerating, but shields and transwarp drive are still offline. The latter will be completed in seventy two hours."
"That's nice but I can't drink it," Kathryn said. She glanced toward Tuvok, he gave her a nod. "Fine, we have less than seventy two hours to pull this off. Better get started."
She had barely finished speaking when she hurried for the Ready Room. Everyone assumed to pack seventy two hours worth of coffee and beam it to the Holodeck. Seven hurried after her.
"Captain, I think there may be something useful in my paren..." was all she had time to say before the doors closed in her face.
Chakotay shrugged with a sympathetic look on his face. "I'd give anything to Tuvok to suggest, if I were you."
"But, I can help. Why does she treat me this way?" Seven asked.
"She treats everyone this way. Your problem is you take it as special treatment. You're not, FYI," Jessie replied.
As she was only a few feet to Seven's left, Jessie noticed even with her head mostly down directed at her console, the ex-drone turning on her heel slightly to stare at her coldly with some contempt. Jessie lifted her chin up to smile at her, all while her eyes screamed danger.
"Oh, it's getting a little chilly in here," Tom said, genuinely shivering.
Chakotay nodded. "Yeah. You'll get your chance to help, Seven. It's a big crew, with people sharing similar skills and knowledge. You gotta learn to take some rejection." Seven glanced across, her eyebrow raised. "Look at it this way; the Captain's sparing you from some unpleasant memories being stirred. You'd feel better here."
"Yeah totally," Tom nodded quickly. "She's not doing that for her fifteen year old daughter, but hey. Details!"
Chakotay glared at him until he melted down a few inches and kept his gaze pointed at the helm, never to move again.
Tuvok lead the way down a Borg corridor lined with alcoves, Harry followed closely very nervously. They turned a corner to find two drones heading their way. Tuvok did not flinch, he kept going while keeping his rifle aimed, just in case.
Harry though almost leapt through the ceiling. Tuvok was passing by the pair when a phaser blast knocked one flying. Tuvok sighed while the second drone turned on him.
"Mr Kim," he said.
Harry cringed as the drone started to assimilate the Security Chief. Only the tendrils bounced off his neck. "Sorry."
Kathryn and Morgan entered a small chamber. Kathryn stood guard while Morgan crouched down to retrieve a circular object from a larger one.
Her nerves were making her tremble viciously, the noises she could hear and the surroundings reminded her of the nightmare too much. She grabbed at the device quickly, an alarm blared. The fright that gave her made her pull harder, snapping it clean in two.
Kathryn shrugged casually, "it's okay. We'll get it. Reset program."
Tuvok sighed a little impatiently as he leaned against one wall, with his rifle clutched against his torso. Phaser fire kept going off in the background.
"I swear, that one looked at me!" Harry shouted from the nearby corridor. He knocked down two drones with his rifle before the shields sprung up. He still didn't stop shooting.
"Mum, did you forget something?" Morgan asked.
Kathryn took a long, long sip from a giant flask. Once she was done she sighed contently. "Nope," she said finally.
The alarm began to blare and still Kathryn was not rattled. It wasn't until a drone approached her and tried to assimilate her, accidentally brushing the flask. Her eyes flared up, jaw clenched tightly, nostrils almost puffed out smoke instead of air. The next thing anyone knew, Kathryn and the drone seemed to be wrestling on the floor and it was clear who was winning.
"Keep your slimy mitts off my coffee!" Kathryn screeched.
Morgan could only sigh.
Finally Tuvok and Harry managed to reach their target. Tuvok handed a box to him to his surprise.
"I will stand guard instead. You place the charges," Tuvok said. He pointed to two different spots, "here and there."
Harry took them off him, muttering to himself. He then opened it to retrieve the devices settled inside. Once he placed the first one on the wall he turned to do the other, but he was put off by an approaching not at all Borg like mechanical being.
"Intruders!" the giant fake looking robot from Captain Proton screamed, its arms flailing about. "Surrender!"
Harry groaned, "Tom! You can't be that bored."
"Tom!" Chakotay barked.
Tom yawned while tapping the helm with one hand. "What?"
"Can you at least pretend this is real?" Chakotay said.
Tom's jaw dropped. "Commander, I'm shocked, hurt that you'd think I wouldn't."
"Really, so why does the viewscreen look like that?" Chakotay asked, pointing forward.
The helmsman's face turned a deathly white, he looked up slowly. Instead of the Borg sphere being a still image in front of them, only the edge of it was in the left of the screen, moving very quickly.
Sure enough outside the Borg Sphere had a Voyager shaped blur flying around its epicentre at full impulse power. Or it did until Tom quickly fumbled in the commands to fly it away. It did one spin and a half before it turned around to a stop.
Chakotay sighed in relief. "Thanks James."
James was now sitting at the helm. Tom lay in a heap, mostly sideways, on the floor next to him. "Anytime."
Another Borg drone flew backwards with sparks flying from its chest.
"Mr Kim! Seriously," Tuvok grunted impatiently for once.
"What? It was following me," Harry complained. Tuvok stared at him blankly while the alarm blared, he snatched the rifle from him.
A drone walked up and poked Harry in the neck with the tendrils. He whined, "ow," and swiped it away.
Chakotay's voice rang out over their commbadges, "you're out of time!"
Kathryn's whole demeanour perked up. "Time's up?" she squeaked. The first drone she saw come for her she armed her best glare and snarled, "futile is resistance. No wait."
"Mum," Morgan whined.
"Hang on, that's not right." Kathryn batted away the drone's attempt to assimilate her. "Dodge this. No not that either. I don't comp..." One drone approached behind her and poked her. "Hey, I almost had it!"
A group of Borg drones rematerialised on the Bridge and no one blinked an eye. They began to converge. One drone was smacked in the side of the face with an empty plastic bottle of coke. It looked over to see a very annoyed and tired Jessie sitting at her station.
"Pick it up." It walked over to her, her eyes sharped. "I said, pick it up and get out!"
"Yikes," Tom stuttered.
The drone actually beamed away in a panic.
James laughed even with a couple drones standing right next to him. "I think this is the only progress we've made in the last few hours."
Chakotay sighed and nodded, "you're not wrong."
A brilliant idea sparked in Kathryn's mind, and so her face brightened up greatly. "That's it!"
"What?" Harry asked wearily. Morgan shook her head rapidly, hinting too late not to encourage her. Tuvok decided it was best to meditate the day away or he'd end up throttling Harry.
"Go back to gel, coward!" Kathryn snapped, pointing at the former Ensign. She burst into hysterics afterwards. He meekly reached up to check his messy, unkempt hair that had fallen from its usual hold.
"Mum, my feet hurt. Can we..." Morgan complained.
Kathryn sniggered as she finished off her latest flask. Once done she tossed it into a sleeping drone. "There's coffee in that Borg's face."
Tuvok doubled his meditation efforts. It was for everyone's safety.
The infiltration team finally walked free from the Holodeck they felt they had been in for days. Well three of them walked, Morgan had to drag her snoring mother by both of her feet. The door tried to close on her head and quickly re-opened once it spotted her.
"How... how does she do it? I saw her drink thirty flasks," Morgan stammered.
Tuvok's eyebrows were already at critical height. "It's a mystery I have often wondered about for many years."
"I'm more impressed she's managed to down them all with only one toilet break," Harry said, dancing a bit as he walked faster. He ended up running off without them.
Seven stood in the Ready Room with a smug look on her face. Kathryn seemed almost ready to drop dead at any moment, nursing her head in her hands while leaning on the table.
"Two minutes goal, and the best we've managed is two minutes twelve seconds," Chakotay said. "I'm not even going to bother with our worst times."
Kathryn only groaned in response.
"The Hansens were able to remain inside a Borg Cube for several hours undetected. It can be done," Seven said.
"Who?" Morgan asked.
Seven didn't even give her a first glance. "I will continue to study their logs. It's painful but I will do what I must to make this mission a success."
"I wonder what else you'd find painful?" Morgan muttered.
Chakotay scolded her with only a stare. "You think your parents' logs have the answer we need? Maybe we should've got you to read them all while or rather before we wasted our time."
"Don't make me come over there," Kathryn groaned. She wobbled side to side a bit, "seriously, don't."
"Were your parents assimilated too?" Morgan asked.
Seven tensed at the abrupt question. "You think it is appropriate to ask someone that? You are an awful child."
Morgan smirked for a second before she giggled. "It wasn't meant to be awful. I'm just saying if they were then the Borg will know how already."
"True, but they'd have to know we were there in the first place to counteract the Hansens methods. If we can pull off the low powered approach then we can be in and out without them even knowing about it," Chakotay said.
Morgan's shoulders rose as she tensed. "You're doing the cut power so they think we're irrelevant idea? I hate that plan."
Chakotay tried to exchange puzzled glances with Kathryn, but she was too busy pressing a coffee scented bean bag looking thing against her forehead. "It was what your sphere did during its raids. Your idea."
"No. Tani suggested it, it was her brother's idea," Morgan said. She fidgeted uncomfortably, the nightmare still fresh in her mind.
"Was there a problem with it that we should know about? I doubt Tani would give us this information if it did," Chakotay questioned carefully.
Morgan struggled to remember the mission the nightmare preyed on. She knew it wasn't entirely accurate. Even still, it felt real enough that she couldn't separate the two. The children's cries slowly fading out, drowned out by the Collective tried to distract her. Chakotay walked over to gently wrap his arm around her shoulders. It tensed for a split second until she realised who was doing it. It helped bring her back to reality, she gave him a thankful smile for it.
"We'll think of something else. Normally the Borg ignore ships they deem unworthy of assimilation, not a threat, but they know we're anything but," Kathryn said. "I think the shuttle distraction will have to be our Plan A after all."
"I agree. The future sphere failed on numerous occasions, Morgan said so herself. Since it was crewed by children..." Seven said.
Morgan felt like she had slapped her in the face. It did though help her realise something about her dream which made her a little hopeful. "We were not assimilated though. If any of us were, we'd have been hunted down and integrated into the Collective. They wouldn't have stopped until we were. A Borg sphere from the future would've been like dangling an espresso in front of mum's face and running off with it."
Kathryn's eyes widened a little at the thought.
"True," Chakotay smiled.
"I think... I think it wasn't the sneak up part. It was what the team did over there that got their attention," Morgan stammered, once more the voices crept back.
Seven's eyebrow raised, a curious expression emerged on her face. "You stated that no one was assimilated."
The voices stopped in an instant, Morgan flinched at it. Chakotay could feel her body tense harshly through his arm. "No. Not assimilated. Worse."
Kathryn dragged herself from her chair despite her forehead's throbbing complaints. "Not worse. I can't image a fate worse than becoming like Seven." Seven glared, Morgan managed to laugh lightly. "We can make this work then. All we have to do is not repeat the same mistakes your team did, no problem."
"Then I'd suggest taking Harry off this mission. He's still a little on edge after his time away. Throwing him straight into the thick of it clearly wasn't a good idea," Chakotay said.
"Yes, that's true. Apart from a little mistake in the beginning, he was the one causing most of the trouble," Kathryn said.
Morgan sniggered briefly. Kathryn stared at her accusingly. "Good one mum."
"Oh right, Tom. Most of his antics won't be easy to repeat though, no problem," Kathryn said. Morgan shook her head.
"Uh huh, we still need to choose a replacement," Chakotay reminded them both.
Seven straightened her back and cleared her throat quietly so it wasn't obvious what she was doing. Kathryn glanced toward her looking a little disappointed. Seven knew that meant she was the first choice.
"Fine," Kathryn eventually sighed. "I'll tell Tuvok to catch James up on the training run throughs." She walked out of her office before Seven truly realised what she said.
"What?" she snapped in Chakotay's direction.
"You really didn't see that one coming?" he chuckled.
Seven sighed impatiently, but more at herself than anyone else.
Morgan stood alone at the console near the alcoves. The room was empty, debris still remained littered all across the floor and on top of every flat object.
The doors opened, breaking the near silence and hum of the alcoves. Kiara hurried in and once she spotted her, ran straight over to her sister.
"Hiya Morgan," she greeted her.
"Why aren't you in bed?" Morgan asked as she pretended to work at the console.
"I had a bad dream, can I stay with you for a while?" Kiara asked.
Morgan frowned, confused to say the least. "What about mum or dad?"
"Mum's back in the holodeck with Jamesie and Tuvie. I think Dad's working on the Bridge. Please can I stay here, I won't bother you," Kiara replied, blinking more than usual and pouting. Morgan recognised this, it was something she used to use on Tani's brother Tiran whenever she wanted to leave the sphere for a while. She didn't realise until now how daft and obvious it looked. Still, her reason for using it was harmless enough.
"Okay," Morgan answered.
Kiara glanced around the room nervously. "It's creepy in here. All Borgy just like it."
"Like what?" Morgan asked.
"Bad dream," Kiara pouted.
A chill flew straight through Morgan, goosebumps quickly rose. "Um, you had a dream about the Borg?"
Kiara nodded, she began to pace around the station. A haunted look on her face. "Borg sphere firing at us. I saw it from my room. I ran, saw Borg people everywhere. Computer shouted Auto Destruct, over and over."
Morgan's face drained the more she spoke, Kiara continued seemingly unaware of this. "Somebody grabbed me. They chased. I ended up in a small room on my own, then the icky green transporter got me. Borg men standing in a room like this. I tried to run but they got me."
Morgan was trembling by the time she was done. Every detail she gave had punched her over and over again. "Please go home," she stuttered in a panic.
Kiara walked up to her calmly, undeterred that she had upset her. "What's the matter?" A nanoprobe pierced through her cheek. She didn't even blink at it, she merely stared up at her.
Morgan backed away as the whole Cargo Bay faded away and morphed into Engineering. Crewmembers were running around everywhere. One bumped straight into her.
"Craig?" Morgan said once she turned and recognised him. "What's going on?"
Craig didn't look as surprised as her to see her there. Fear seemed to be distracting him. "We're evacuating the ship, didn't you hear?"
"But, why?" Morgan asked.
Craig gave her the same blank stare Kiara did. "The Borg are attacking us, you know that sphere that assimilated you."
"What? How is that possible?" Morgan cried out.
Craig shook his head before glancing around frantically. "It finally caught up with us. I bet that damaged one was a lure. We've got to go..."
A deafening bang ripped through the whole of Engineering. Smoke quickly settled over the lower floor. Morgan tried to look up but couldn't through it. She ran for the ladders by the core, Craig hurried after her.
Three quarters of the way up she saw the source of the bang. Fires, blackened consoles, some twitching and the rest still bodies lay across the floor. Two of which she recognised even through the blackened soot and burns over their faces.
"Mum, dad!" she screamed as she scrambled onto the ground and ran for them. Craig couldn't stop her, all he could do was chase.
Straight ahead of them the door opened. A small figure stood there, shaking for a few seconds. A toddler's cries filtered over as the figure ran off.
Morgan tried to follow but everything, even the drifting smoke froze.
"You can't stop her," a woman's voice whispered.
"Who are you?" Morgan asked, her voice still trembling.
"I am the Borg. Six of Twelve, secondary adjunct of Unimatrix 005, you have become weak," the voice said.
Morgan looked around to find the source of the voice. Confusion set in for the moment. "What? I never even reached the maturation chamber, how could I have..."
"The nanosecond you were assimilated you were one of us. Always shall you be. Our thoughts are one."
"My neural transceiver was fried when the link was severed. I don't believe you. This is a dream, another nightmare," Morgan stammered.
The voice chuckled maliciously all around her. "Your dreams, a primitive but useful tool. Easy to manipulate, if a bit more vivid than a direct link."
Morgan breathed in deeply, struggling to keep any of the fear and anger at bay. "You've been trying to reach me for days. How..."
"We know about Voyager's plans to infiltrate this sphere, it will fail," the voice said.
Morgan scoffed upwards, anything to keep her mind and eyes off the ground and the frozen bodies. "I dunno what you're talking about. Mum's sick of you always hounding us, why would we go looking for you?"
"We've come to make you an offer. Join the collective, serve at my side and we'll spare Voyager," the voice said.
"Why me? Why don't you take Seven, no one on this ship likes her and she's more yay Borg than anyone," Morgan asked.
"We're not that desperate. Besides, you are a unique specimen. Too tempting to res..." the voice said.
"Morgan, Morgan, wake up!" another more familiar voice shouted.
Her body shuddered, eyes sprung open to find her mother staring back at her, worried and grasping her shoulders. Morgan looked around to find that she was sitting on the sofa. Then she remembered walking to these quarters, with Kiara. She walked her home. The Cargo Bay felt a little fainter than it did. The images of Engineering stubbornly tried to remain.
"I hope you don't make a habit out of this. Last time I dozed off on this thing I woke up buried in seat and back cushions. Felt like I was being eaten alive," Kathryn smiled.
Morgan stared at her. "What? How long have I been here?"
"I don't know, I've only just come home," Kathryn replied. "Are you okay? You were tossing your head quite a bit."
"I'm fine, I had a bad dream that's all," Morgan quickly lied.
"Maybe have a glass of warm milk, then bed. That's an order," Kathryn said with a mild chuckle.
Morgan nodded and made her way over to the door. She stalled before going through it. "What time's the heist tomorrow?"
Kathryn's brow furrowed slightly, she sighed. "About that. Since James will be in the team, we need someone at Tactical in case the Borg attack. I nominated you."
That knocked any remaining sleep out of Morgan. Her head shook over and over. "What? But I'm in the team."
"I'm sorry, but I had no intention of ever letting you on that ship," Kathryn said firmly. Morgan stared with her jaw quivering and some anger in her eyes. Kathryn understood that perfectly and she expected it. What she didn't was the blood draining from her daughter's face. "You're only fifteen Morgan. Most of your life's been on a Borg ship. It was an easy decision."
"But, why would you bring me on the Holodeck test runs if I was never going?" Morgan asked.
Kathryn smiled weakly at her, "would you want to spend all day with Seven in her element?"
The dread truly sunk in, Morgan felt like she'd drop to her knees at any moment. "She's going in my place?" Kathryn shrivelled up her nose as she nodded. "Mum no, we've ran through the plan so many times, I know it by heart. She hasn't."
"You didn't object to James going, he's in the same boat," Kathryn said as if she was going to throw up for some reason.
Morgan saw that as a ray of light. "See, you can't even stand the thought of her going with you. I've done this before, I can do it again."
"You're putting words in my gags," Kathryn said flippantly. "I only thought putting James and Seven in the same boat was incredibly cruel."
Morgan wasn't completely buying it. "Yeah sure mum. Seven may have some knowledge, but I've stolen from Borg ships before. I lived on one as an individual. As kids we played hide and seek that would last for days, no exaggeration. James seems sneaky enough, but Borg wise he told me his connection lasted all of five seconds..."
"Like yours," Kathryn said.
Morgan clenched both of her fists over and over, the panic she was feeling was threatening to spill. "Please listen to me. I said I lived..."
Kathryn reached out to brush her cheek gently. She immediately felt how tense she was. "I know, but you're still my baby girl in my eyes. Literally in a sense. The idea of sending my young daughter to that hellhole. I have no word for it. No wait, I do. It'd be pure fanfic."
"What?" Morgan said, blinking more than usual. "No, Seven will jump sides first chance she gets. You know..."
Kathryn shrugged with indifference.
"Oh fine, you want that. What about James? He'd be more useful at Tactical or Opps than me, I've never used either," Morgan said.
"That's true," Kathryn said tiredly. Usually it was her that was the stubborn one, or at least the most stubborn. Now she knew what it was like for everyone else to argue with her. Kathryn quickly changed tactics. "Why is it so important that you go? You didn't even like the thought of this heist."
"I... I don't want anything to happen to you, dad, Kiara, or anyone really. Not again. I... I don't want to see that again," Morgan stammered, her features darkened as she spoke. "Please, I'm the best one for the job."
Kathryn studied her carefully. Finally she sighed. "All right. You never leave my side, understand?"
"Yes. If I do; grounded for life," Morgan replied with some relief.
Kathryn nodded, "you're damn right."
Captain's Log Supplemental: Operation Struck By Lightning Fort Knox is ready to proceed. To give us an extra edge, and hopefully the twelve plus seconds we need, we've taken a page from the Hansens Borg Heists for Dummies book, and replicated a device called the Bio-Dampener for each member of the team.
I've given two to Seven, just to be safe. I suppose she won't stand out too much in the bright sparkly purple catsuit on a ship filled with idiots in catsuits, but we can't take any chances here.
Tensions were sky high on the Bridge. Everyone kept at least one eye on the viewscreen, on it a shuttle loomed in close to the huge Borg Sphere.
"They're still ignoring it," Tom reported.
Chakotay stared ahead, deep in thought over what to do.
"How about a phaser shot across the sphere's bow?" Harry suggested. "Might grab their attention."
Tom smirked to himself. "It's that line of thinking that got you here instead of there, Har."
"And yet he still hasn't learned anything," Jessie commented.
Chakotay nodded, "no phasers. We need to get them to lower their shields."
"It's a generic shuttle barely out of its warp nappies. To the Borg it's a crumb lying on its plate, they were never gonna bother with it," James said.
Tom looked over his shoulder all while turning his chair slightly around, his face scrunched in disgust. "Got anymore useless metaphors over there, smart guy?"
"If it were the Flyer we'd have the coil by now, is all I'm saying," James smiled darkly at him.
"You cold hearted bast..." Tom hissed.
Chakotay quickly interrupted, "we should make it more appealing. Is that what you're suggesting?"
"Well yeah. It shouldn't be too hard to mimic the Delta Flyer's specs as well as the false lifesigns. That should get their attention," James replied.
"Do it. Standby transporters Harry," Chakotay ordered.
Harry seemed disappointed and yet he nodded anyway.
The awayteam of four rematerialised in a quiet corridor of the Borg vessel, with a couple of drones napping in nearby alcoves.
"How are they dummies if you're using their idea?" Seven asked.
Kathryn glared at her, momentarily distracted from Morgan's jittery glances around and heaving chest. "They were assimilated anyway. Probably because they decided to have a domestic over leaving the toilet seat up in the middle of a Borg ship."
"Indeed. Let us proceed," Tuvok said. He wandered off one way, Seven followed him.
Kathryn turned to address Morgan, catching her take in a deep breath to calm down. "It's okay, stay close." She lead the way in the opposite direction.
Morgan nearly bumped into another drone as they crossed a junction. A close by door opened revealing a group of Borg putting technology on a small child. One drone moved out of the way so she could see the child's face. Kiara's face. Morgan stumbled up to them but as soon as she got there, they all disappeared.
"Remember who you are," the Borg Queen's voice whispered.
Morgan felt a hand on her shoulder, making her jump and yelp a bit. She turned to see who it was.
"What's wrong?" Kathryn asked whispered.
"Fine. Nothing, I'm fine," Morgan stuttered.
They were already falling behind their strict schedule, Kathryn reluctantly continued onward.
Without Harry panicking at every bit of dust and Kathryn's lack of coffee, the rest of the heist finally went according to plan. Morgan and Kathryn silently watched the coil transport away to safety before they let themselves leave the chamber and return to the rendezvous point.
They were only a few corridors away when the Queen once more whispered her name in Morgan's mind, stopping her cold in her tracks.
Kathryn swung around as soon as she noticed the lack of footstep sounds following her. "Morgan!" she shouted back at her.
"I can't," Morgan stammered, avoiding eye contact with her mother. Her body trembled. "I'm staying."
Kathryn's confused stare evolved into one of her more deadly deathglares. "What, to hell you are!"
Morgan's whole body flinched at the tone of her voice. She didn't have to look to know what face she was using. "I'm sorry, I have to."
Kathryn shook her head as she marched over to her daughter to grab her arm. A Borg forcefield shot up to stop her. Soon the deathglare was nothing but a memory, all that remained was fear and desperateness. Kathryn instinctively raised the rifle in her arm, ready to aim it at anyone or thing that'd help to get rid of the barrier.
Morgan meanwhile finally raised her head to look her straight in the eye. The fear in them mirrored each other.
"Mum, please go!" Morgan begged her. Drones approached her from behind.
"Chakotay to Janeway, the sphere has detected Voyager. We have to get you out of there now," Chakotay's voice said.
Kathryn aimed at the drones, even though she knew the forcefield would stop her. "No, I'm not leaving my daughter here. You're out of your mind if you think I'm gonna leave."
For a fraction of a second the Captain saw a glint in her daughter's eye. An all too familiar one. It was more than stubbornness. She couldn't quite label it. Once it was gone, Morgan only looked at her sadly.
"If you don't, Voyager... Kiara will be assimilated. Please," she said.
More drones approached Kathryn, killing any choice she had left. She aimed her rifle at one of them and fired. More kept coming until they blocked her view of and path to Morgan.
Kathryn had no choice now. She took off down the only remaining corridor, seething like she never had before. Any drone that dared to come within a few metres of her were shot without hesitation. None tried to stop her, every drone she shot were only walking around like she wasn't even there. It didn't matter to her, she didn't even think about it.
Meanwhile Tuvok and Seven almost walked into two waiting drones. They slowly approached on seeing them.
"They see us," Seven stated.
Tuvok agreed, he gestured to go another way. Seven followed while keeping her widened eyes on the Borg.
Despite the setback they arrived at the meet up point unscathed. That was until Kathryn barrelled down the corridor, eyes burning hotter than fire and a rifle almost certainly set to kill, not that she needed it. They both flinched, thinking they'd be next. Fortunately she stopped next to them and turned away.
Tuvok and Seven looked on curiously, Seven more so once she noticed Morgan wasn't with her.
"Captain, the girl...?" Seven dared to ask.
"What? Do you want to go too?" Kathryn spat back at her.
Seven's eyebrow raised, "no."
"Damn it! Are you sure? No one likes you. Your only friend is a guy who carries around a severed arm as a security blanket. God knows what he does with that," Kathryn grumbled. "Bridge, we're in position. Three to beam up," her voice now so icy it sliced through the air.
"Yes, three! Do it!" Kathryn roared down toward her commbadge.
Even on another ship, Tuvok and Seven felt the entire Bridge wince.
Kathryn stomped off the turbolift with Seven and Tuvok in tow.
Chakotay didn't even dare look at her, just in case he melted on eye contact. "The sphere's changing course. They're retreating."
"They're powering up their remaining transwarp coils," Jessie warned.
Kathryn growled in the direction of the viewscreen, her hands firmly gripped the railing behind the command chairs. "Follow them."
Tom didn't dare argue with her, he swallowed hard and did what he was told.
Tuvok took over from James, who was the only one brave or more likely stupid enough to look in Kathryn's general direction. "Morgan? Is she..."
Kathryn's grip on the railings tightened. Chakotay meanwhile swung around, now not bothered about the effects of Kathryn's expression or voice. "Morgan is still there?" he snapped.
"I'm not hearing any torpedoes firing. This is what they're for, not for throwing them about for funsies!" Kathryn yelled over her shoulder towards Tuvok.
"Aye Captain," Tuvok stuttered fearfully for once.
Tom noticed the Borg ship glowing green. The moment it shot away he thought about emergency transporting himself into his precious shuttle, but even that wasn't a fast enough get away.
He wasn't the only one. Unknown crewmembers were inching their way out of the Bridge, fearing the worst. Most of the remaining bridge stood completely still, either sweating bullets and or firmly biting their lips with worry.
What they expected to happen didn't. Kathryn instead mumbled, "I'll be in my Ready Room," and walked off silently with her head down.
Chakotay watched after her with great worry. In his mind there was only one way to fix this. He whirled around towards the back of the Bridge. "If it isn't already, get the coil to Engineering. B'Elanna needs to get to work on it immediately."
"Yes Commander," Tuvok said first. He stepped around James, who looked a little distracted, to get to the turbolift. Doing so seemed to bring his attention back.
Seven folded her arms behind her back, "are you suggesting we pursue the sphere? They already have a head start, we do not know their heading and furthermore..."
"Furthermore Seven's head will soon be on a spike in Janeway's Ready Room if she keeps whining about other people daring to be Borg around her," James said sharply, cutting Seven off so much she forgot what she was saying. "I'm sorry, did I crash the yey a 15 year old's been re-assimilated and so I can get attention again party you were planning?"
Tom tugged on his collar nervously, even still he sniggered. "Oh boy, you really do bitch slap her around, don't you? I thought that'd be more Jessie's style than yours."
While Tom's very brief and likely airlock involved funeral played out in Jessie's head, James briefly pulled a disgusted face before rolling his eyes and sighing. "Why do I even bother?" he muttered.
The Borg Sphere entered normal space. It flew into a huge Borg structure, thousands of times larger than any of the cubes flying around its vicinity. A docking bay door in one of the central pieces opened and the sphere flew inside.
Two drones escorted Morgan through many corridors. She had kept her attention straight down at her feet in a vain attempt to pretend she was somewhere else. Her escorts lead her to an odd door, unlike any of the others they had passed. Shaped like an eye on its side, it had several layers open differently to each other creating an odd spirally effect.
They had to stop briefly to wait the couple of seconds it took to do so, forcing Morgan to look up to see where they were. She reluctantly walked inside, leaving her escorts behind, to find herself in a three sided screw hole shaped chamber. Straight ahead in the centre of it stood an empty circular alcove. Only a few drones worked nearby, none paid any attention to her.
The Queen's head and shoulders floated down from the ceiling, staring directly at her. Her metallic spine slivered in midair. The sight of it made the girl's skin craw, she resisted the need to vocalise her disgust. She mouthed a silent eew instead.
From the alcove's floor body parts rose up, assembling before her eyes into a headless torso and legs. The spine slid into the finished version, then the shoulders and head. All while the Queen continued to stare at her like a piece of meat.
Once it was over she cranked her neck side to side before as she walked over to Morgan, extending a hand to her cheek.
"Welcome home," she purred. "My daughter."
TO BE CONTINUED
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