The Overlookers’ bug-like rust-colored ships enhanced by Borg technology that covered their hulls with black circuitry and green lights descended over the energy barrier that protected the Ventu from their technologically advanced brethren the Ledosians. The dome of protection around the hunter-gatherer society quickly crumbled under the onslaught of phaser fire.
Two beings appeared in a flash of green light on the coastline of a stream with three waterfalls gushing into its clear depths. The beautiful landscape was ignored by both of them. Instead their attention was on the curious people who approached them tentatively.
“Ledosian ships are approaching.” The being that had been known as Captain Howard Rappaport, now designated “Two”, turned his attention away from the group of technologically primitive but physically noteworthy beings to his queen awaiting her instructions.
“Destroy them all. I have no use for them.” The Borg Queen never took her eyes off the young creature who gazed up at the Queen as if she was somehow familiar.
The Borg Queen had once been known as Kathryn Janeway, so she possessed memories of how Chakotay and Seven had crash landed upon this planet and how Seven had taken an unexpected interest in the wellbeing of the primitive Ventu. This young girl might have facilitated that interest which in turn intrigued the Queen. Anything having to do with Seven of Nine, who had been hers for eighteen years, interested her.
“Come closer.” The Queen motioned with one silver hand for the young girl to approach her.
The girl traced the gleaming circuitry of the Queen’s hand as if remembering something that had greatly affected her. The Borg Queen for her part smiled. To the untrained eye it seemed a gentle, kind expression.
The twenty-one green lights that appeared across the clearing startled the Ventu. But they had no route of escape since Borg drones now encircled them.
“Assimilate them all.” The Queen held the little girl who had lost her curiosity and now bore an expression of abject terror. The pale lips of the Borg Queen lifted to show the delight she felt regarding the trembling fear she had reduced the young Ventu girl to. The Queen pressed the girl close to her body, seemingly wanting to push the girl into the silver and liquid black of her torso. As the young Ventu screamed in agony and horror the Borg Queen did exactly that.
Gleaming silver panels lifted away from the Queen’s torso to enable the tar like substance to reach out with thick viscous tentacles to pull the little girl into the dark abyss of the Borg Queen’s depths. Unlike the Einstein, the Queen did not increase in size but was nourished in much the same way. The little girl’s body was quickly dissolved within the black substance which in turn gave the Queen enhanced strength and access to the young girl’s memories.
Images of a disheveled Seven of Nine flashed across the Queen’s mind’s eye. One side of the Borg Queen’s mouth was quirked up as she reveled in the beautiful visions the little girl had given her. “My Seven, oh how I can’t wait to tell you what became of your little friend.”
Deep Space Nine
Captain Kira Nerys didn’t allow any of the trepidation she felt show on her features or in her stance as she stood rigidly in the command center of the Cardassian made space station positioned on the edge of Federation space. Kira watched on the large display monitor as two Federation starships and one Klingon battle cruiser were shown at station ready on the outskirts of the Badlands.
“A transwarp corridor is opening.”
Kira appreciated Asil’s unemotional tones as she watched unblinkingly as the screen displayed the green illumination growing brighter, which denoted the imminent arrival of a Borg vessel. Despite having the knowledge that the massive Borg cube was under the control of an ally against the Collective, Kira couldn’t help but feel uneasy as she watched a green lit tractor beam first pull the Enterprise-E into the bowels of the cube, then the I.K.S. Gorkon, and finally the Voyager.
Kira silently said a prayer for safe travel as she watched the transwarp corridor reopen. The cube might as well have never been there it was gone so quickly. She turned her attention to Asil.
“Lieutenant, encrypt all visual logs of the cube’s existence near the Badlands.” Kira knew the Vulcan didn’t need to be reminded, but the hardedge to her voice told Asil she was not to speak of this to anyone. The last thing the Federation needed was mass panic. They would have enough problems to contend with if this mission failed. Hell, Kira mused begrudgingly, there probably wouldn’t even be a Federation to worry about for very long if the Borg gained similar power the cube that had engulfed Pluto, destroyed a Starfleet Armada, and threatened Earth had possessed.
Asil hadn’t said much to Kira regarding her leave to attend Admiral Janeway’s memorial service, but the captain was astute enough to know that despite the Lieutenant’s unemotional façade the Admiral had meant a great deal to the Vulcan woman. Kira had heard through the constant murmurings and gossip that circulated throughout the space station that Janeway had been killed while onboard the cube that had almost destroyed Earth. Something about the scenario and the lack of information didn’t sit right with Kira. She couldn’t say exactly why, but she felt there was more to the story than just the newsfeeds that said simply that the great and legendary Admiral Janeway had been lost in battle with the Borg.
Kira hadn’t thought it proper to ask any of the Voyager crew, and Captain Picard certainly wasn’t a man who provided any information he didn’t very intentionally want you to have. But she knew there was something more, something that the high brass in Starfleet wanted to keep secret.
Captain Kira could think of nothing that could have happened to Admiral Janeway, certainly not the circumstances of her demise, which would warrant such high secrecy. As she left the control room to go to her office in order to sign off on a dozen PADDs to get Deep Space Nine open for business again, Kira’s keen mind kept gnawing at the problem.
It was perhaps uncouth of her, but she couldn’t let the mystery surrounding the Admiral’s death go. If Admiral Janeway had been assimilated, which made logical sense, Kira thought, then why would Starfleet keep that information classified? It wasn’t as if the Admiral would have been the first high-ranking Starfleet official to be assimilated. No, there was something more. Kira knew she was missing a big piece of the puzzle. Was the information damning to Janeway or to Starfleet? Kira suspected the latter. She was still cynical despite the fact she wore the uniform and the four pips of a captain.
With her brow furrowed Kira considered what Starfleet would deem so damning to them that they would keep all records of Janeway onboard the cube restricted to only a few high ranking Admirals. It wasn’t as if they had ordered the cube not to be destroyed under false pretenses of safety and security. It wasn’t as if they knew the cube was merely inactive, lying dormant until Janeway went there onboard the Einstein, and that once she was onboard it would activate again. That would have meant Starfleet had sent Admiral Janeway there to take control of an extremely dangerous piece of technology, and the mission had simply gone awry. Even Kira wasn’t distrustful of Starfleet enough to believe that conspiracy theory.
So, Kira wondered, what did that leave? Kira considered the fact that so many Federation officials and scientists had studied the thought-to-be-dead cube and had no incident while onboard. But apparently when Admiral Janeway stepped one foot inside the cube it reactivated. Kira could only think of one plausible explanation. The Borg had been waiting for Janeway. But why? And how did the Collective know Janeway would come aboard the cube in the first place?
Kira considered that she didn’t know enough about the Borg, or about Janeway for that matter, to truly answer those questions. But she could guess. Perhaps the Borg had sought out revenge. As conflicting as that idea seemed when it came to the unemotional automatons, perhaps that was why the Borg had waited. They had wanted Janeway because she had done so much damage to them in the past. Kira also knew that Janeway wasn’t just a freshly minted Admiral and good PR for the Federation, she also had ties to Starfleet Intelligence and ties to more covert operations within Starfleet that the Borg would want to possess. But even if Janeway’s secrets were given to the Borg, that hadn’t been the Admiral’s doing, so why would Starfleet keep her assumed assimilation so ambiguous?
Kira’s mind wandered to the information on the PADDs she was signing off on until she realized she didn’t quite remember even coming into her office. Perhaps this double-shift she was pulling wasn’t sitting well with her. She signed off quickly on the last pile of PADDs before she left her office to call it a day. She had just seen a Borg cube, so Kira figured she deserved the rest of the night off.
The lights of Captain Kira’s empty office turned on once again before two brilliant flashes of light heralded the entrance of two men, similar enough in appearance that if they were truly the humans they appeared to be most people would rightly discern they were father and son.
“Playing with Kira Nerys’ mind like that wasn’t particularly kind, Q.” q watched his father shrug his shoulders indifferently. q himself didn’t actually care about the Bajoran’s mind, but he did care about why his father had gone out of their way to mess with it.
“She’s much too inquisitive for her own good.” Q reclined further in the leather bound chair as he projected an air of superiority and nonchalance.
Knowing his father didn’t require or want a response q stood before the desk, a serious expression gracing the features that he had conjured to appear as though he was a simple bipedal specimen, a human male age twenty-five. “It’s begun.”
“Son, it’s been beginning since the birth of the cosmos.” Q’s voice wasn’t unkind. He was actually quite the proud father. But his son was far too linear in his thinking sometimes. His son was a Q. Time was a subjective term to beings that had the ability to bend it.
“Why can’t we just stop it? We could save them.” Despite being the offspring of two nearly omnipotent immortal beings q still didn’t understand the Q way of thinking at times.
“And be reduced to single-celled organisms?” Q scoffed as he removed his feet from the desk so he could stand haughtily. “Oh no, my boy. We are far too important for such a menial existence.”
The non-intrusive policy into the lives of mortals was all well and good for the mortals when nothing immensely important and dire was occurring, but the Q’s power would help a lot of people if the courts hadn’t ruled it a crime against the Continuum to do so on a grand cosmic scale. So instead Q and q had to rely on more minor changes in order to achieve their purpose: to save the galaxy, the Universe, and in turn the Q-Continuum from what the Borg were in the process of becoming. If it weren’t for these pesky Federation types, Q might have just let the Universe sort everything out itself but he knew he couldn’t leave these mortals to such an ugly fate. It wasn’t what destiny had in mind for them. So instead Q and q were players in destiny’s match against the disruptions within the chain of fate that had been caused by the assimilation of one minor, arrogant, stubborn, little primate who had simply been known as Kathryn Janeway.
A sometimes insufferable woman that Q regretted was no longer clinging to the mortal coil. He knew he should have warned her of what was coming, but his pride had prevented him. The last time they had spoken she hadn’t seemed particularly pleased to see him or receptive to what he had to say. But she was the godmother of q and he had thought a friend of sorts to him. Okay, he considered, perhaps “friend” was an overstatement. They were amicable at least, which was more than he could say about Picard. He should have warned her. Regret for a Q was unusual, so Q tried to shake it off.
“But a lot of people are going to die.” q didn’t add the fact that someone he cared for immensely already had.
q hadn’t been told of Janeway’s impending demise. If he had known he’d probably be an Oprelian amoeba feasting on paramecia for he would have surely have found a way to save his Aunt Kathy. It troubled him now that he couldn’t find her. Even in death the essence of a person could still be found by a Q. But hers was hidden from him and he wondered why. He had asked his father if he knew. q knew his father had told him the truth when he had answered that he didn’t know where she was. Q had looked for her too.
“That’s what mortals do.” Q shook his head in disgust. Such a short pointless existence and yet the damage a single mortal was capable of causing was devastating. And now the Continuum had called upon their greatest champion, him, to right what went wrong and set things back on track, so that destiny’s wheel could keep turning smoothly. They didn’t know that he had ideas of his own. It was far too calm in the Continuum as of late. But he wouldn’t involve his son in his scheme. If only he could find Kathryn Janeway. Even in death she was without a doubt the most maddening creature he had ever known. And for a Q that was saying quite a lot.
Resistance Cube 42
Seven tried to ignore her uneasiness as she walked with General Korok through the bowels of his vessel. It was illogical, not to mention irrelevant, since the cube was undoubtedly under the Resistance’s control, though that reasoning didn’t lessen her discomfort. Although the only visible sign of Seven’s anxiety was her shifting blue eyes.
“Reports from the Beta Quadrant.” Korok handed a large red PADD to Seven. “Your mate has been in contact with the fluidic space dwellers. An uneasy alliance is being formed.”
“Axum is not my mate.” Seven’s voice remained icy, almost impassive, but her eyes flashed enough to make Korok nod his head in understanding. “An alliance with Species 8472 is ill-advised. They are vulnerable to modified nanoprobes. The Collective has this knowledge because Captain Janeway had this knowledge.”
“Acknowledged, but they could still be an asset in battle, despite their vulnerability.” Korok knew, regardless of how Seven’s voice had softened and been infused by emotion when she had spoken of Janeway, that the former tertiary adjunct of Unimatrix Zero One would require no sympathy from him thus he did not offer any. “If the Borg destroy this Galaxy it will only be a matter of time before the Collective enters fluidic space to finish what they began. They will join us.”
Seven nodded her reluctant assent. “When will the Infinity Modulator be completed?”
“Within the hour.”
“Acceptable.” Seven knew the I-MOD, as Lieutenant Commander Torres had coined it, would be the ultimate weapon against Borg drones. Not only because of its constant adaptability, but also because it was a weapon Kathryn Janeway possessed no knowledge of.
The woman who had most recently been known as Admiral Janeway might be gone, but her memories and knowledge were still within the Hive Mind of those onboard the Einstein. Seven might have the data of thousands of different species, but Janeway had been an extremely able tactician and strategist. All of which worked against the Federation and the Resistance.
Seven attempted to put aside her own feelings, her own anguish and grief, in order to better complete this crucial mission. But being on a Borg vessel despite who was in control of it brought painful memories to the fore in Seven’s mind. Seven saw visions of what had become of Kathryn Janeway after her body had been mutilated and her mind pillaged of its valuable information. Perhaps, Seven considered, her rage could be useful in this last great stand against the Borg. She would see that the entire Collective was destroyed completely or die trying. Somehow Seven thought perhaps Kathryn would be proud of how far she had come in regaining her humanity. As a Borg drone she would never have thought in terms of revenge.
“We will reach the Talaxian Asteroid in approximately two hours.” Korok led the way into his chambers.
Seven entered the makeshift quarters and noticed that unlike the rest of the vessel individuality infused the dwellings belonging to this man. The décor though was entirely irrelevant. “Admiral Nechayev wishes to meet with you onboard the Gorkon to discuss Borg tactical information. She also wishes to better understand the Resistance: ship placement, armaments, access to transwarp hubs—”
“Starfleet does not trust us.” Korok’s gruff tone indicated that it wasn’t a question. Seven wouldn’t have attempted to dissemble anyway.
“Yes. They do not entirely trust me as well.” Seven knew full well that if it hadn’t been for Admiral Janeway’s intervention she would most likely be in a Federation prison due to her remaining Borg implants.
Seven and Icheb had in fact almost been killed due to regeneration deprivation during the incident with the insidious Admiral Covington, who had wished to become the Borg Queen. It was Janeway who had rescued Icheb and Seven from certain death when they had been incarcerated within a Federation holding cell. Seven kept the guilt that she hadn’t been able to rescue Admiral Janeway in return buried deep within herself. She required her focus to be on the mission.
“I will meet with your Admiral, but no Starfleet or warriors of the Empire are to board my vessel.” Korok’s crew had been quite adamant regarding “outsiders” being allowed access to their cube. He had been equally opposed to it and so he had instituted that rule once his vessel had reached the Delta Quadrant and deposited the two Starfleet vessels and one Klingon warship into space. Only Seven, who knew full well what it was like to no longer be a Borg drone and yet not entirely an individual, was allowed to step foot onto the cube.
“Understood.” Seven set her carrier on top of the metal assimilation platform that acted as Korok’s desk. She opened the black case to reveal a hypospray and several vials. “The Doctor’s neurolytic pathogen.”
Korok held a single vial up for his inspection as he nodded his head, encouraged with yet another weapon to use against the Borg. “We require the formula to this compound.”
“We require tactical information regarding the Resistance.” Seven’s icy stare was unrelenting despite Korok’s rather incensed expression.
“Acceptable.” Korok wasn’t entirely pleased with the exchange, but if every Resistance member could be injected with the neurolytic pathogen that had destroyed the Queen in the Delta Quadrant they would never have to be drones again. That assurance was well worth an information exchange.
Seven and Korok’s attention were both directed to the Vidiian woman who had just entered the General’s quarters. Once a phage ridden species, the red-haired former Borg drone was quite beautiful. Something Seven found to be irrelevant and her annoyance at the interruption that would only delay her departure from the Borg cube showed only in her impossibly more rigid stance.
“Long range scans are no longer detecting the Talaxian Asteroid.” The Vidiian resistance member almost regretfully handed the PADD to General Korok. “There’s nothing there but debris.”
Seven immediately thought of Neelix, his wife Dexa and adopted son Brax. Her face flushed with anger as she thought about the unborn child Dexa held lovingly in her womb. Seven remember with a growing fire in her chest how Neelix would nearly burst with excitement whenever Dexa’s pregnancy was mentioned.
“We will avenge their deaths in battle.” Korok nodded his dismissal to the red-haired Vidiian before he turned to an enraged Seven. The movement of the small muscle beneath her silver starburst implant showed her extreme emotional response. Korok’s fist collided soundly with his chest as he made his proclamation. “Heghlu’meH QaQ jajvam.”
“No.” Seven stopped on the threshold of General Korok’s quarters before she turned her head slightly to address the man with complete conviction in her steely tones. “It is the Borg who will die today. Seven to Enterprise, one to beam up.”
Seven rolled her shoulders as she stepped off of the transporter pads into the more comforting surroundings of a Federation starship. Her departure from the room was quickly stopped by B’Elanna Torres, who had entered in almost a run.
“Seven! Neelix, the Talaxians, they’re all right!” B’Elanna almost grasped Seven in delight and relief, but she thought better of it just in time. “They evacuated the Asteroid as soon as their sensors detected neutrino emissions. They’re hiding out in a T-class nebula near the Uxali planet.”
Relief washed over Seven in an awesome wave. “That is good news.”
“You bet your ass it’s good news!” B’Elanna did have to wonder why the Borg would bother destroying an unpopulated asteroid belt, but her need to tell Seven about the Talaxians outweighed every other concern. “Hey, you okay?”
“Yes.” Seven relaxed her stance before she let the anger and grief that had invaded her entire body to dissipate into nothingness. “I was momentarily… disturbed by the report that the asteroid had been destroyed. I am functioning adequately now.”
“Good.” B’Elanna didn’t touch Seven despite her wish to provide some modicum of comfort, so instead she did what she knew the former Borg wanted most. She studiously ignored Seven’s emotions. “What I can’t figure out is why the Borg would destroy an unmanned asteroid array in the first place. Does that make any sense to you?”
“No.” Seven’s brow furrowed as she followed Commander Torres from the transporter room. “It does not.”
Seven and B’Elanna rode the turbolift silently as both contemplated the oddness of the efficient-minded Borg Collective acting decidedly inefficient. They were quite aware that the assimilated vessel once known as a Nebula-class starship had a considerable lead on the Resistance/Federation coalition and yet it would seem that the Borg were making little stops on their way. Doing what and why, no one knew.
The hairs on the back of B’Elanna’s neck rose as anxiety filled her petite, but sturdy frame. She just couldn’t figure out why the assimilated Einstein hadn’t reached Borg territory yet. If B’Elanna didn’t know better she would have thought the Einstein was waiting for them, luring them somewhere. For what purpose, again no one knew, but B’Elanna assumed it wouldn’t bode well for them once they did catch up with the assimilated starship.
Despite Seven’s extensive knowledge of the inner-workings of the Hive Mind, she still couldn’t figure out why the Borg manned starship would find it relevant to destroy the Talaxian asteroid belt. Seven recalled an ancient Earth story where two young children, siblings, used breadcrumbs to lead them from a dark forest to their home. It was as if the Federation and the Resistance were the children, but instead of markers leading them home the food items were instead laid out to direct them deeper into the dark foreboding forest.
The turbolift doors opened audibly onto the bridge of the Enterprise-E to emit Seven and B’Elanna. Worf, who was seated in the captain’s chair, only gave them a brief glance as the two women made their way to the captain’s ready room.
B’Elanna had barely stopped Seven from just barging into Captain Picard’s ready room. She released Seven’s wrist as the doors slid open.
“General Korok has agreed to meet with Admiral Nechayev onboard the Gorkon.” Seven stood rigidly, her chin held high and the last of her discomfort vanished to be replaced by her sense of duty to the mission, to Admiral Janeway. “He has agreed to give us tactical information regarding the Resistance in exchange for the Doctor’s formula for the neurolytic pathogen.”
The tea cup held close to Picard’s lips was soon set down as he stood from his chair to address the two women before him. He smiled minutely as he nodded his head in satisfaction. “The Admiral will be pleased.”
Seven didn’t voice her opinion that Admiral Nechayev’s pleasure was irrelevant. She continued her report. “The Infinity Modulator will be completed in forty-seven minutes. The weapon should be distributed to the Hazard Team first and then as more are constructed to the rest of the crew on all three vessels.”
Seeing a break in Seven’s report, B’Elanna stepped forward in order to hand a PADD to Captain Picard. “Report from Voyager. Lieutenant Kim hasn’t made any headway in the ablative hull armor or the transphasic torpedoes that Ad—that were brought from the future. The Temporal police locked it up tight and destroyed all the records onboard Voyager.”
“Unfortunate.” Picard hadn’t missed how B’Elanna had stumbled over and refrained from voicing Admiral Janeway’s name despite the fact that it had been a seventy-six year old Kathryn Janeway. However, he studiously pretended not to have noticed.
“Indeed.” Seven’s voice was flat, seemingly devoid of all emotion, but B’Elanna detected something underneath the impassivity.
It was as if Seven was a simmering pot just waiting to boil over. There seemed to be a dangerous sort of energy around the former Borg drone, one that B’Elanna thought could prove either an asset or a detriment. Revenge was supposedly a dish best served cold, and B’Elanna knew no one icier than Seven of Nine.
“Breadcrumbs.” Picard set down the report regarding the Talaxian asteroid array before he regarded the two women before him. They shared the same bemused expression though Seven’s seemed almost knowing. “Hansel and Gretel. An ancient Earth text. The Borg are leading us to them. The Alixian. Ledos. The Overlookers. The Einstein is feasting yes, gaining drones, but there’s something else at work here. Something decidedly un-Borglike. Wouldn’t you say, Seven?”
“They are taunting us.” Seven’s brow furrowed as she came to terms with the Borg acting so uncharacteristically inefficient. “By destroying places and people Voyager has had contact with. I am uncertain as to why.”
“But we might know where they’re going next.” B’Elanna wondered if they were already too late. “I don’t think the Talaxian convoy is safe near Ulaxi. That’s where the Einstein will strike next if this is the game they’re playing. That is if they aren’t already there.”
The captain stood as he tapped his communicator. “Picard to the Bridge. Send a priority message to the Talaxians that it is no longer safe for—”
“Captain, the Talaxians have sent a communiqué.” Worf wouldn’t usually interrupt his captain, but he figured this particular communiqué warranted it.
Picard didn’t hesitate to activate the message now blinking on his personal computer. It was a hastily written message that he read aloud. “Ulaxi has been absorbed.”
“Captain.” B’Elanna disregarded all thoughts of the previous inhabitants of Ulaxi as she turned to the next breadcrumb the Einstein would inevitably leave for them unless they got there first. “We need to get to Quarra.”
Jaffen, Primary Shift Supervisor to the Quarran Power Plant, dropped his work tote tiredly on the floor next to the open door to his spacious, though lonely apartment. The pitch black of the night concealed anything and everything and he was frustrated and perhaps a little afraid when his lights wouldn’t activate even after his third command. He was just about to leave to get security when a voice stopped him. That voice had stopped him before with its huskiness, its seductiveness, its power.
Absently keeping the door ajar, Jaffen stepped tentatively closer to the sound of that voice. A voice he had thought for many years he would never hear again. His heart began to race as he carefully took steps further into the darkness. “Kathryn? You’re back.”
He could see a glinting movement and then she was there, her breath tickled the hairs on the back of his neck as she whispered softly into his ear. “Yes. I’ve come for you.”
And then lips were upon him. Forceful, unyielding lips. Lips that tasted of metal, as if she had cut her mouth and was now allowing the red fluid to transfer to him. He couldn’t get enough. He pulled her to his larger form and was delighted to find that she was naked and seemingly more than ready for him. He brushed his hands down the smooth planes of her back and moaned deep in his throat as she moved him towards the blinded windows that opened from their proximity to allow the city lights to illuminate them.
She was beautiful. Breathtakingly so. Jaffen had to take a step back, though his determined, almost desperate, grip never left her slim arms for fear of her leaving him again. Her thick auburn hair had grown considerably and now cascaded over her shoulders and down her back, and Jaffen couldn’t wait to see the tresses spread out across the pillows of his bed. His hungry eyes roamed across her pale flesh made luminescent from the bright lights of the bustling city outside his window. She was slimmer than he remembered as if she hadn’t eaten anything that could be construed as fatty since she had left him almost two years ago. He didn’t care. He brushed his hands across her neck and then down to the smooth taut skin of her stomach. Jaffen smiled when she arched her body as he slowly, teasingly moved his hand still farther down.
“Do you want to be inside of me?”
Jaffen thought her voice was oddly steady, almost impassive despite the way the muscles of her lower abdomen were flexing rapidly beneath his hand. “Y-yes. My gods, yes.”
Jaffen screamed in agony as he tried desperately though ineffectively to break the vice grip she had him entwined in. The pain was nearly replaced by horror as he watched her pale lips turn up into a smile. It so closely resembled how she would smile when they would begin their evenings of passion that he nearly expelled his last meal. It was such a grotesque sight now that her true nature was revealed to him.
“I thought you wanted to be inside of me.” Her hands had released Jaffen, but the liquid metal tendrils kept him sufficiently ensnared. Her voice became accusatory as she stood very still allowing the tar like strands to do her work for her. “You liked that, didn’t you? Her wet, hot… embrace. You liked how it felt, so different from Norvalian women. Oh Janeway, she did teach you so many wonderful things, didn’t she?”
“STOP! Plea—” Jaffen’s words were cut off as black metallic fluid rushed down his throat, into his belly, and then to every other part of him.
“Security!” The young Quarran security guard didn’t hesitate to detonate the portable lighting unit even as he aimed his firearm at the two ambiguous forms near the window. His mind hadn’t been able to make sense of what he was seeing until the single room apartment was filled with light. “My gods!”
It was a woman. She looked almost naked, but the moving black fluid that ran over her slim form made it unclear and really that wasn’t the issue. What the black vine-like substance was doing to the owner of this apartment was, and to his horror his hands shook as he fired one shot at the woman. The bullet hit her, square in the chest, but if she felt it or not she didn’t show. Instead she walked steadily closer to him, with Jaffen either unconscious or dead suspended high in the air behind her by her moving tentacles. The security guard tried to run, tried to call for help, tried to fire his weapon again, but it was all to no avail since in a split second she had him. Her arm had raised and the security guard didn’t know what he was seeing until a rush of thick blackness erupted from her palm and he was dead before he even realized he hadn’t fired a second shot.
The ping of a bullet falling to the hard wood floor was the only sound as the Borg Queen slowly digested her meal as if she were a spider and Jaffen an unwitting fly wrapped in her insidious web. She walked to the window to gaze critically at the city streets below that teemed with people who appeared like ants to her. This city, this planet, was unworthy of assimilation, of absorption. She had known this before she had directed her vessel to this planet. Two had carefully, tentatively asked her why she felt the need to go down to the planet when they could just destroy it and move on to the Klingon settlement. Her only explanation was that she had to pay respects, to an old friend.
The Borg Queen smiled from the deep and pleasurable feeling of being sated as the last of Jaffen was dissolved and ingested. The tendrils shrunk considerably in size before she reabsorbed them entirely into herself. For the moment she stood appearing as the human woman she had once been. Curiously she brushed her hands across her recently acquired appearance. Her nipples hardened under the rough touch of her palm and she imagined that it was Seven of Nine whose touch was bringing moisture to the juncture between her legs. She imagined that it was Seven who was now entering that heat with metal encased fingers.
“Soon, my love.” The Borg Queen pulled her hands away from her stimulated body. She had much to do before she could indulge herself in such an inefficient manner. More so she wanted Seven to be the one to touch her. The Borg Queen craved Seven. She wanted her. She required her. Seven would come to her, willingly, because the Borg Queen could give her what she most desired: Kathryn Janeway. At least her body. Her soul had been destroyed by the Borg Queen long ago.
With a thought the Borg Queen was back on her vessel. Two was standing to greet her. He almost shook from the pleasure of being in his queen’s presence once again. Despite her human appearance, her power emanated clearly to his cybernetic eye and he had no choice but to be utterly devout.
Two had thought he would grieve over the loss of the previous form the Borg Queen had been ensconced in. That form had been gloriously beautiful with the gleaming silver armor and the network of wires that emerged from her skull. He had not hesitated of course to deliver his Queen her new form. In a dark, black pool of nanoprobes she had been birthed and grown. He had seen to her development personally. And when she had matured sufficiently he had presented her to his Queen with pleasure.
The Queen had smiled her appreciation and had deigned herself by touching Two’s trembling face with her hand as his reward before she entered the liquid blackness. The sleeping creature within the pool awakened when the Queen had touched her pale face. Both women had smiled identical grins of pleasure as they had pressed their slim bodies, one pale and fleshy and the other silver and hard, against one another. This new being that had awakened had feasted ravenously upon the metallic construct of the Borg Queen in much the same manner and reasoning the Borg Cube had devoured Pluto in its rebirth. After the metal and technologically enhanced biomatter had been completely ingested the newly formed Borg Queen had emerged from the inky depths to Two’s enthralled gaze.
Two had watched as the pale, naked form with long, thick waves of auburn hair, bright blue eyes, and a wide grin that showed white teeth had walked towards him all the while the pool of black she had been born and matured in swirled around her as if the tendrils were alive. She was almost more than merely a queen at that moment to Two, she was a goddess.
The Queen’s voice brought him out of his reverie as she instructed him to take their vessel to the Klingon inhabited planetoid seventeen light years away.
“We require tactical drones.”
The Borg Queen almost wished Janeway was still trapped within her so she could hear her screams as she destroyed everything the captain had done, had accomplished, during her trek through the Delta Quadrant. The incorruptible Kathryn Janeway would be known throughout the Universe as the greatest enemy to humanity. At least those who managed to survive would extol her as such. And the Borg Queen smiled at the vindication she felt against the small being that she now so greatly resembled. Kathryn Janeway had thought she could destroy her. Could turn Seven of Nine against her. That would be her greatest victory over that insufferable human. Seven. She would have her in a way Janeway had only been able to dream about. Seven would be hers. And the Universe would do well to tremble before them.
(to be continued)