Survival Instinct

Written by  on February 4, 2000 

Survival Instinct Cover

Stardate 213149.2 (Wed 16 July 2375): Seven is confronted with her past. Based upon the television episode.

As a roar of thunder rolled across the land, a Borg sphere streaked across the sky of an uninhabited planet, debris streaming behind it. Within moments, there was the loud clap, then an explosion, as the sphere crasheed into a forest.

Time passed. Four drones began to crawl from the wreckage.

"Input failure," Three of Nine said.

"Input failure," Two of Nine said.

"Input failure," Four of Nine said.

"Our link to the Collective has been severed," Seven of Nine said. "Initiate secondary protocols. The ventral transwarp chamber is approaching critical pressure. We must evacuate this area."

"Agreed," the other drones said, simultaneously, then added, "No directional coordinates are available."

Seven of Nine pointed into the woods. "That way," she said. "Bearing three-zero-one."

"Agreed," the others said, simultaneously.

Seven of Nine indicated an unconscious drone. "Bring that drone," she said.

Captain’s Log, Stardate 214149.2.0
We’ve been docked at a Markonian outpost for nearly two weeks now and have agreed to mutual visits, so I’m allowing shore leave to anyone who wants it. Commander Tuvok has objected to bringing on too many visitors, but security issues aside, I’m looking forward to a cultural exchange, and making some new friends.

U.S.S. Voyager NCC-74656
Docked to the Markonian Outpost
Ready Room
Stardate 214149.2
16 July 2375 1144 hrs

Commander Chakotay — carrying a large, cumbersome-looking object made up of a pole with several narrow slats that moved from side- to-side on hinges as he walked — made his way through the crowded corridors, onto a turbolift, through the bridge and into Captain Janeway’s ready room. The ready room was filled to the brim with plants and various objects, and Janeway herself was nowhere to be seen.

"Captain?" Chakotay asked.

"I’ll be right with you," Janeway said as she made her way out from behind a large plant on her desk. "The station manager didn’t tell me the vines were prehensile. I went to put some water in the pot and it grabbed me!"

"This is a gift from the Kimbori delegation," Chakotay said, indicating the object in his arms. "I don’t know its name. Only that it’s used in one of their sacred games, and it’s very heavy."

"Well, put it down anywhere," Janeway said. Chakotay set it down near the doors. "Thank the Kimbori for me, and give them a token of our esteem."

"I already gave them a Voyager medallion," Chakotay said. "They seemed appreciative."

The door chimed. "Come in," Janeway said, and Lieutenant Commander Tuvok stepped through the doorway. "Doesn’t it look like Christmas morning in here, commander?" She asked as the Vulcan entered the ready room.

"I have to admit," Chakotay said, "the generosity of our guests is very impressive."

"As is their proclivity for criminal behavior," Tuvok said, handing a PADD to Janeway. "This morning’s security report," he explained.

Janeway scanned the PADD’s contents, commenting as she read, "Broken ODN lines. Some missing personal items. A damaged scanner relay. All in all, not that bad."

"There is a second page to report," Tuvok said.

Janeway keyed up the second page. "Hmm," she said. "Some of these incicents are a little more serious, but on balance, I still think we did the right thing."

"There is a third page," Tuvok prompted.

"Come on, Tuvok," Chakotay said. "After all the xenophobic races we’ve run into, don’t you find it just a little refreshing to meet some people who value openness and freedom?"

"Well," Janeway said, "as far as I’m concerned, opening up this ship has been a fascinating experience and an unparalleled success. I’m very pleased."

"Me, too," Chakotay said.

"I am pleased that you are pleased," Tuvok drolled. "If you’ll excuse me."

Chakotay handed Tuvok a Voyager medallion. "Tuvok," he said, "please accept this token of our esteem." Tuvok turned and left, appearing exceedingly nonplussed despite his emotional controls. As Chakotay turned to return to the bridge himself, he noticed Janeway struggling in the grip of the plant’s vines.

"It’s got me by the hair!" she cried.

U.S.S. Voyager NCC-74656
Docked to the Markonian Outpost
Astrometrics Lab
Stardate 214149.3
16 July 2375 1245 hrs

Naomi Wildman waited in Astrometrics as Seven of Nine continued working with the scanners at her command.

"Now it’s 12:45," Naomi said impatiently.

"If you’re hungry," Seven said, "you may eat without me."

"You said we’d have lunch together," Naomi protested. "You barely spend any time with me anymore since you started dating Uncle Harry."

"I haven’t completed my analysis of the station’s power conversion matrix," Seven said.

"How long is it going to take?" Naomi asked.

"Several hours," Seven said.

"Seven," Naomi pleaded, "you promised."

Seven was silent for a while. "Very well," she said finally. She set the computer for automatic scans, and the two exited the Astrometrics lab together, entering an extremely crowded corridor.

"I think it’s even more crowded than this morning," Namoi said.

"Yes," Seven agreed.

"Excuse us," Naomi said as she pushed against the crowd. "Excuse us." She turned to Seven. "I can’t get through to the turbolift." She tried pushing against the crowd. "Excuse us.

"Stand aside!" Seven called loudly. The crowd fell silent and moved against the bulkheads, clearing a path for Seven and Naomi.

"Thank you," Naomi said, grinning broadly, as she and Seven made their way through the corridor.

The mess hall was almost as crowded as the corridors, and the conversations carried so loudly that it became white noise in the background.

"I’m sorry," Neelix said, trying to make himself heard above the din, "but there’s no more marsupial surprise." Groans emanated from the crowd before him. "We only had two kilos of pouches to begin with and it’s all gone. Now, how about some tea?"

At one of the tables in the mess hall, Seven and Naomi were eating their lunch.

"She’s," Naomi began uncertainly, indicating a bystander, "a Chebollian, right?"

"Correct," Seven said.

"Species 521?" Naomi asked.

"Your mother would not approve of you memorizing Borg designations," Seven said. "I don’t approve, either. We’ve discussed the impropriety of you emulating the Borg."

"Sorry," Naomi said quietly.

"I am finished," Seven said, pushing her plate aside.

"We just sat down," Naomi protested.

"I do not enjoy crowds," Seven said.

"But you were in the Collective," Naomi said. "Wasn’t that like a big crowd?"

"Which is why I do not enjoy them now," Seven said.

"Oh," Naomi said. "I’m sorry. I didn’t realize that. Let’s go."

Before they could leave, Lancer, the former Two of Nine, stepped up to the table. "Excuse me," he said. "Are you Seven of Nine?"

"Yes," Seven said.

Lancer opened a case, revealing several Borg implants, which visibly startled Seven.

"Are you OK?" Naomi asked.

"These are Borg synaptic relays," Seven said, "from my original unimatrix."

"They’re Borg?" Naomi asked.

"Where did you acquire them?" Seven asked Lancer.

"A trader from Orenda V," Lancer said. "I was told you were a former Borg drone and might be interested in acquiring these pieces."

"I’ll take them," Seven said. "Captain Janeway will provide you with whatever monetary reimbursement you require."

"Agreed," Lancer said.

"I must examine these items more closely," Seven said to Naomi.

"OK," Naomi said as Seven turned and left. Turning to Lancer, Naomi asked, "What’s your name?" Ignoring her, he turned and made his way to the other side of the mess hall. "That was rude," Naomi commented.

Stage two is complete, Lancer said to his companions via their mental link. She has the relays, and she is going to study them.

In engineering, Marika Willkara, the former Three of Nine, replied, Her quarters are located on Deck Four.

That’s where she’ll go, P’Chann, the former Four of Nine, said via the mind link. We should prepare for stage three.

Agreed, Marika replied.

There is consensus, Lancer said via the mind link. Rendezvous at my coordinates and stand by to penetrate their security.

"Error," Four of Nine said.

"Explain," Seven of Nine demanded.

"We shouldn’t be desecrating the body of this drone," Four of Nine explained. "It is against the will of Brethera."

"Who is Brethera?" Three of Nine asked.

"Brethera," Two of Nine explained. "Supernatural deity worshipped by Species 571."

"I am a member of Species 571," Four of Nine said.

"You’re being confused by irrelevant data," Seven of Nine said. "Ignore it."

"You said," Three of Nine said, "’I am a member of Species 571.’ Do you consider yourself an individual?"

"There are no individuals here," Seven of Nine said. "We are Borg."

"Agreed," Two of Nine said, echoed immediately by Three of Nine, and then shortly thereafter by Four of Nine.

"Resume constructing the communications beacon," Seven of Nine said.

U.S.S. Voyager NCC-74656
Docked to the Markonian Outpost
Main Engineering
Stardate 214149.3
16 July 2375 1300 hrs

Seven and Lieutenant B’Elanna Torres scanned the implants at a console in engineering.

"It looks like a standard Borg synaptic relay," Torres said.

"There must be something more," Seven said. "When I first came into contact with it, I was overwhelmed with images. Memories. Sounds."

"Sounds like a perfectly natural reaction to me," Torres said. "That was part of your old unimatrix, right? Well, isn’t it at least possible that what you experienced was simply nostalgia? You know, sentimental feelings about the past–"

"I know what nostalgia is," Seven interrupted harshly. "But I have no feelings about the past."

"OK," Torres said, taken aback. "I think I’ve done all I can here." She began to walk away from the console.

"Lieutenant," Seven said, pausing as Torres turned to face her. "You were trying to help. I appreciate that."

"Any time," Torres said, taken aback further still by the uncharacteristic emotional displays being presented by her crewmate. "Oh, and you may not be nostalgic about the past, but I’d say you definitely have feelings about it. Strong ones. Have you talked about this with Harry?"

"He has been on the station all day," Seven said. "I have not been able to discuss this with him, yet."

U.S.S. Voyager NCC-74656
Docked to the Markonian Outpost
Ready Room
Stardate 214149.4
16 July 2375 1458 hrs

Ensigns Tom Paris and Harry Kim stood in Janeway’s ready room, standing at attention and sporting bruises and black eyes.

"’A friendly game?’" Janeway asked, annoyance and irritation lacing her words.

"Well," Paris said, "that’s how it started."

"I see," Janeway said. "Perhaps you could explain to me how this ‘friendly game’ turned into a street brawl."

"Well," Paris said after clearing his throat, "Harry and I… wanted to explore the station. Um, we wanted to broaden our understanding of alien cultures and, uh–"

"Skip the recruiting speech," Janeway said. "You were looking for a bar. Then what?"

"Well," Kim said, "we found one. And, we met a pair of Kimbori who told us about this game they play, with these big, odd-looking rackets."

"You mean one of those?" Janeway asked, pointing to the object Chakotay had brought earlier.

"Yeah," Paris and Kim said simultaneously.

"In any case," Paris said, "they challenged us to a game, and we accepted. But, I guess we weren’t quite aware of all the rules."

"Because you’d been drinking," Janeway added.

"Yes, ma’am," Paris admitted. "You see, we thought it was a version of tennis, but as soon as we hit the first volley, this Kimbori jumps over the net and starts attacking us with his racket."

"So," Kim added, "we figured we were supposed to fight back."

"And then, uh," Paris said, "things got a little out of hand."

"’A little out of hand,’" Janeway said, angry. She picked up a PADD from her desk, then began reading the highlights. "Seven Voyager crewmen — including two bridge officers — along with thirteen Kimbori and one Marcinian cafe owner. All arrested. Charges range from disorderly conduct to assault on a security officer."

"That one’s not true," Kim said quickly.

"Oh, thank you Mr. Kim," Janeway breathed, "I’ll make that exception in my log. You’re both confined to quarters until further notice, after you report to sickbay. That’s all." Before the pair could leave, Janeway added, "So, did you win?"

"Oh, yes ma’am," Kim said. "We kicked their… rackets."

"Good," Janeway said. "Dismissed."

U.S.S. Voyager NCC-74656
Docked to the Markonian Outpost
Seven of Nine’s Quarters
Stardate 214150.0
16 July 2375 1900 hrs

Seven set the implants on the desk in her quarters. "Computer," she said, "begin multipolar analysis."

The computer beeped, then said, "Analysis underway."

"Time to completion?" Seven asked.

The computer beeped again before replying, "Five hours, seventeen minutes." Seven made her way to her bedroom and stepped into the alcove next to her bed.

In a turbolift, the three former drones from Seven of Nine’s unimatrix looked to one another. "She’s regenerating," Lancer said.

"Begin rerouting their internal sensors," Marika said. P’Chann opened a panel in the turbolift and began manipulating the circuitry within. "Hold," Marika said. The computer beeped, and the turbolift came to a stop. After opening the access hatch at the top of the turbolift car, the three climbed through.

"What have you got?" Chakotay asked as he approached Tuvok at the Tactical station.

"There’s a power fluctuation in the security grid," Tuvok said. Janeway approached the Tactical station.

"All we know," Chakotay said to Janeway, "is that we’ve got a security breach. We don’t know where."

In Seven’s quarters, the three ex-drones stood in front of her alcove. "Ready," Lancer said. "Insert the interlink module."

Marika attached a device to Seven’s neck. "Ready," she said.

"You’re still worried about injuring her," Lancer said to P’Chann.

"If we fail," Marika said, "we’ll never become individuals. We have to remember that."

The three looked at one another. After a moment, Lancer said, "There is consensus."

"I’ve found her memory files," P’Chann said.

"She’s aware of our presence," Marika said.

"She’s trying to regain consciousness," Lancer said.

"We must abort," P’Chann said.

"No!" Marika exclaimed. "We’re so close!"

Seven’s eyes opened as she woke up. "I will not comply," she said firmly. She stepped down and began fighting with the other ex-drones. Within moments, the door to her quarters opened and she was joined by Tuvok. After they had incapacitated the ex-drones, Seven and Tuvok looked at one another, perplexed.

The four drones stood around a campfire in the forest, a small animal roasting on a spit. They held their hands toward the flames, warming themselves.

"I have performed this action before," Seven of Nine said. "I was with my father. He was a tall man."

"I have a… similar memory," Two of Nine said. "But, I was in a house, and the fire… was in a hearth."

"The bio-matter is ready," Four of Nine said. He removed the animal from the spit, and the drones took turns eating from it.

"It tastes," Three of Nine began uncertainly, "similar to a bird I once ate."

"I used to prepare food," Four of Nine said. "For… my parents. They lived… in a small building by… a river."

"I used to be," Seven of Nine began hesitantly, "afraid of the dark."

"Just before I was assimilated," Two of Nine began, "I was… eating, with… a group of men. We… worked in numbers. Mathematics. I… calculated equations for another man."

"I… have a name," Three of Nine said. "It’s… Marika. Marika… Will…kara. Willkara."

"Hello, Marika Willkara," Two of Nine said.

"Your designation is Three of Nine," Seven of Nine said.

"I… have a name," Four of Nine said. "P’Chann. Son of Dorna and Ponsha. My primary function was to care for them."

"I was married," Three of Nine continued. "We were on a starship. The Excalibur. I worked in engineering."

"This is not my hand," Two of Nine said, looking at the artificial limb attached by the Borg.

"My parents," Four of Nine began, "are dead. The Borg killed them. I… I hate the Borg."

"This is counterproductive," Seven of Nine said. "We must… delete all irrelevant data."

"I want my hand back," Two of Nine said.

"I was on duty," Three of Nine said. "The night watch, when the Borg came." She began to stand, looking at her body, now covered in Borg implants and devices. "By the Prophets. Look at what they’ve done to me. These… these things they’ve put in my body. What have they done to me?"

"Command override," Seven of Nine said. "Cease this interaction! Comply! We will not access these memory files again. Initiate the prescribed maintenance and survival protocols only. No further communication is required until we are reassimilated into the Collective."

"Agreed," Two of Nine said.

"Agreed," Three of Nine echoed.

"Agreed," Four of Nine said after a moment’s hesitation.

U.S.S. Voyager NCC-74656
Docked to the Markonian Outpost
Stardate 214150.1
16 July 2375 2015 hrs

"But," the Emergency Medical Holographic Doctor said in sickbay to Janeway and Seven as the ex-drones lay unconscious on the biobeds, "whoever removed their implants was a poor surgeon. Their internal organs were damaged during the procedure, and their bodies are covered with scars."

"You said you recognized them," Janeway said to Seven.

"Not at first," Seven acknowledged, "but when they attempted to access my memory files, I was momentarily linked with them." She indicated each drone as she identified them in turn. "Two of Nine. Three of Nine. Four of Nine. We are all members of the same unimatrix."

"Do you know what they wanted with your memories?" Janeway asked.

"No," Seven said.

"How long have they been disconnected from the Collective?" Janeway asked the Doctor.

"Three or four months," the Doctor said. "However, they are still connected to each other. Somehow, the left parietal lobes of their brains have been transformed into organic interlink nodes. They’ve become linked together in some sort of collective triad."

"Revive them," Janeway told the Doctor. The nurse on duty handed him a hypospray with the required stimulant, which he administered to the patients.

"I’m Captain Janeway," Janeway said as the ex-drones began to awaken. "We know who you are, and we know what you were trying to do. What we don’t know is why."

"She has information we need," Lancer began.

"What kind of information?" Janeway asked.

"We want to become–" Lancer began.

"–individuals," Marika said, finishing the sentence.

"You want to break the neural link," Janeway said, "between the three of you."

"Wouldn’t you?" Marika asked. "None of us is alone with our own thoughts, our own feelings."

"Every day of my life," Lancer said, "is spent hearing their two voices in my head."

"When we’re asleep," P’Chann said, "we experience each other’s dreams."

"How is that different from life in the Collective?" the Doctor asked.

"In the Collective," Seven said, "there are billions of voices. They become… white noise."

"But," Lancer began, "with only three–"

"–each voice comes through clearly," Marika finished.

"It has to stop," P’Chann said. "We must break the neural link."

"Doctor," Janeway said, "is there anything you can do?"

The Doctor sighed. "The modifications are too extensive," he said. "Their neural pathways have been fundamentally altered."

"You hold the key," Lancer said to Seven.

"Why?" Seven asked.

"You were there with us," Marika said.

"Planet one-eight-six-five-alpha," P’Chann said. "You must–"

"–remember!" Marika exclaimed.

"Eight years ago," Seven said, "our vessel crashed. The four of us were the only survivors."

"When we were reassimilated–" Lancer began.

"–we found we’d been linked together, somehow," Marika finished.

"We were a subset within the Collective," P’Chann said.

"It’s like having three voices," Lancer began, "whispering in one ear–"

"–and a crowd screaming in the other," Marika finished.

"We had to break free," P’Chann said, "so we worked together, and we finally escaped."

"We had our implants removed on Inovar Prime," Lancer said.

"But they couldn’t break the neural link," Marika said.

"We need to find out what happened eight years ago," P’Chann said. "After the crash–"

"–the night we were reassimilated into the Collective," Lancer continued. "We need to know how the link was created, but our memories are–"

"–fragmented," Marika finished. "Disorganized. We hoped that you would know."

"I don’t," Seven said. "However, I am willing to help to retrieve the data. Come with me." The ex-drones followed Seven out of sickbay and into the corridor.

"Are you ready?" Seven asked P’Chann as he stood in one of the alcoves that remained in Cargo Bay Two.

"Yes," P’Chann said.

"Data search complete," Seven said. "Do you remember anything further?"

"No," P’Chann said. "My last memory is of–"

"–us, standing–" Marika continued.

"–around the camfire," Lancer finished.

"Yet," Seven said, "the data files from your cortical processor appear to be intact. I see no evidence that would explain your lapse in memory."

"What about you?" Lancer asked. "Why don’t you remember what happened?"

"I don’t know," Seven said. "I found no evidence of damage to my memory files, either. I remember the campfire, and then waking up in the Collective. There is an obvious gap, but no indication of why."

"Why do they still call you Seven?" Lancer asked. "You should have a name."

"It is my name," Seven said.

"No," P’Chann said. "It’s a designation. You’re an individual now."

"I have decided," Seven said, "that my former name is no longer appropriate. Prepare to reinitialize the memory cascade."

"I can’t wait to use my real name again," Marika said.

"There is nothing preventing you from doing so," Seven said.

"Except that most of the time," Lancer said, "I don’t know whether my name is Marika, P’Chann or Lancer. The names–"

"–the memories," P’Chann continued, "even the thoughts flow from one to the other."

"I can’t love or hate or laugh–" Marika began, then was joined by the others as they finished, "–or cry, without sharing it with them."

"How can any of us take a name–" Lancer began.

"–for ourselves?" P’Chann finished.

"We’re not–" Marika began.

"–individuals," P’Chann finished.

"We’re not Borg," Marika said.

"We’re nothing," Lancer said.

Seven waited a thoughtful moment before saying, "Begin the memory cascade."

"Any progress?" Janeway asked as she approached Seven in the cargo bay several hours later.

"I’ve determined," Seven said, "that we all have exactly the same gap in our memory. It seems unlikely that it would be a coincidence."

"Do you believe the Collective deliberately wiped your recollections of the reassimilation process?"

"It is the most likely explanation," Seven said.

"But," Janeway began, trailing off.

"The Collective would not care," Seven said, "that four drones remembered being assimilated."

"Something must have happened in the process," Janeway said. "Something they wanted to hide from you. Let’s look at this from a different perspective. Why would the Collective lock them into a neural triad in the first place?"

"I don’t know," Seven said. "There is no advantage to having three drones linked together in this manner."

"But they obviously did it for some reason," Janeway said. "And I get the feeling that if we can answer that question, the rest should fall into place. But I wish we could find a way to close the gaps in your memory."

"There is a way," Seven said.

"I assume there’s a reason you didn’t mention it before now," Janeway said.

"It would involve linking my neural interface to theirs," Seven said. "Together, we may be able to restore the missing data. However, I would again be part of a group mind."

"Then I’ll need you to relive that experience," Janeway said.

"There’s also the possibility," Seven continued, "I could become trapped in the neural link."

"Turning a triad into a quartet," Janeway said, sighing. "I won’t ask you to take that kind of risk."

"I do feel," Seven began uncertainly, "compelled to help them. But I am uncertain as to the correct course of action."

"Let me ask you something," Janeway said. "Do you think of these people… as family?"

"Is it relevant?" Seven asked.

"There’s an old saying," Janeway began, "’Blood is thicker than water.’ It means that the ties of family run deeper than any other kind of relationship. We’ll often do things for members of our family we’d never dream of doing for anyone else."

"I see," Seven said. "Then… I would think of Harry as family."

"You could say that," Janeway said.

Naomi ran through the corridor, trying to catch up to Seven. "Seven!" Naomi called. "Seven!"

"Naomi Wildman," Seven said as the girl came up beside her.

"I heard about the drones," Naomi said. "Did they hurt you?"

"I am not damaged," Seven said.

"What did they want?" Naomi asked.

"They are seeking information from me," Seven said, "but I am uncertain whether I can help them."

"Oh," Naomi said. "Be careful."

"Naomi Wildman," Seven asked. "Do you consider me to be family?"

"I," Naomi began uncertainly. "Um, I don’t– um… uh… Yes. Is… that okay?"

"I have no objections," Seven said.

"Do you… think of me as family?" Naomi asked.

"Yes," Seven said.

Captain’s Log, Stardate 214080.6
Seven of Nine has decided to undergo the procedure that will link her mind to the other drones. Despite the risks involved, she feels an obligation to help these… distant cousins.

U.S.S. Voyager NCC-74656
Docked to the Markonian Outpost
Cargo Bay Two
Stardate 214151.8
17 July 2375 1035 hrs

The Doctor attached a monitoring device to Seven’s neck as she stepped into the alcove in Cargo Bay Two. "I’ll be monitoring your neural readings," he said, "while you’re in the link, but I’m not certain I’ll be able to counter the effects if… you become trapped."

"I know you’ll do your best," Seven said.

"It’s never a good sign," the Doctor said, "when the patient feels the need to comfort the doctor. Good luck."

"Ready," Seven said.

"Ready," Lancer said. He was soon echoed by P’Chann, then Marika.

Seven of Nine combed the forest for other drones, finding one near death. "You are damaged," Seven of Nine said. "I will assist you." The drone began to convulse. "Don’t worry. Everything will be all right." The drone’s convulsions intensified, leaving Seven of Nine visibly shaken. She returned to the camp with the other drones.

"The Collective has located us," Four of Nine said. "A Borg vessel is on its way."

"We will be one with the Borg again," Seven of Nine said.

"No!" Two of Nine exclaimed. "I do not want to rejoin the Collective!"

"Agreed," Four of Nine said.

"This is a violation of all established protocols," Seven of Nine said.

"Forget the protocols," Three of Nine said. "You’re not a drone, you’re a person, like us!"

"You have a name," Four of Nine said. "A life. All you have to do is embrace who you really are!"

"No," Seven of Nine said. "I do not exist. I am only part of the greater whole."

"That’s what they want you to believe," Two of Nine said. "That’s what they want us all to believe!"

"We are Borg!" Seven of Nine exclaimed. "Our primary function is to serve the Collective!"

"Not anymore!" Two of Nine exclaimed. He picked up the communications beacon, then hurled it across the clearing, destrying it.

"Error!" Seven of Nine cried. "Input failure!"

"They may know what planet we’re on," Two of Nine said, "but without the beacon, it’ll be far more difficult to locate us."

"If we can remodulate our cortical implants," Three of Nine began, "we might be able to elude their sensors."

"We must leave this place," Two of Nine said.

"Discussion is in violation of all established protocols," Seven of Nine said.

"You stay here and be reassimilated if you want to," Three of Nine spat. "I won’t!" She and the others made their way into the forest, leaving Seven of Nine behind. After a moment’s hesitation, she followed them into the woods. She caught up to Four of Nine and injected him with nanoprobes.

"What… are you doing?" he asked.

"The nanoprobes," Seven explained, "will create new interlink nodes in your left hemisphere. Resistance is futile."

The reassimilation complete, the pair moved off in search of the other two drones. Four of Nine caught up to Three of Nine, cornering her against a tree.

"I will not comply!" Three of Nine cried. "I will not comply!"

Four of Nine injected Three of Nine with nanoprobes. Across the clearing, Seven of Nine was performing the same procedure on Two of Nine.

"State your designation," Seven of Nine ordered after stepping away from the drones.

"Two of Nine, Primary Adjunct of Unimatrix Zero-One."

"Three of Nine, Auxiliary Processor of Unimatrix Zero-One."

"Four of Nine, Secondary Adjunct of Unimatrix Zero-One."

"What is your primary function?" Seven of Nine asked.

"To serve the Collective," the others replied simultaneously.

You will repair the communications beacon," Seven of Nine commanded.

It was you! Lancer exclaimed. You were responsible! What have you done to us?

You linked us together! Marika exclaimed.

You’re responsible for our suffering! P’Chann exclaimed.

How could you do it? Marika demanded.

If you didn’t want to return to the Collective, the three cried out together, you didn’t have to–

"Somebody help me!" Seven cried out.

"What’s happening?" Chakotay demanded, looking to the Doctor, who was frantically manipulating the control panel near the wall of alcoves.

"Somehow they broke their link with Seven," the Doctor said, "They’re malfunctioning. Help me get them to sickbay."

U.S.S. Voyager NCC-74656
Docked to the Markonian Outpost
Stardate 214151.8
17 July 2375 1103 hrs

The Doctor stood over Seven of Nine, who was lying on the main biobed in sickbay, while scanning her vital signs. Across sickbay, Dr. Danielle Marcus was observing the condition of the other three ex-drones.

"When they broke the connection with you," the Doctor began, "it must have overloaded their cortical implants. They went into neural shock."

"And yet," Seven said, "I was undamaged."

"I think I know why," the Doctor said. "You said you remembered injecting them with nanoprobes eight years ago."

"Yes," Seven said. "It created an interlink between them. It was the only way to prevent them from escaping from the Collective."

"Well," the Doctor continued, "it seems to have had an unfortunate side-effect. Their higher brain functions were somehow tied into the interlink. When they broke their connection with you in the cargo bay, the shock to their cognitive systems was too great."

"Can you revive them?" Seven asked.

"I can remove the microcortical implants," the Doctor said. "That would break the link binding them together, but it would also kill them. They’d only live a matter of weeks, maybe a month at the most."

"What are the other options?" Seven asked.

"They could be returned to the Borg," the Doctor said. "If they were reassimilated into the Collective, they would regain consciousness, and then live out a normal life span."

"As drones," Seven said distastefully.

"As drones," the Doctor acknowledged. "But they’d be alive, Seven."

"Unacceptable," Seven said. "They deserve to exist as individuals. We must terminate the link between them."

"I understand that you feel a certain responsibility for your patients," the Doctor said, "but as their physician, so do I. It’s my duty to preserve their lives for as long as possible, even if that means–"

"I will not return them to the Borg," Seven said firmly.

"Are you thinking about what’s best for them, or for you?" the Doctor asked.

"Clarify," Seven said.

"You said it yourself," the Doctor said. "You made a mistake. And Seven of Nine doesn’t like to make mistakes. She strives for perfection. I want you to think about the motivation behind your decision. Are you doing what’s right for those three people, or are you trying to alleviate the guilt you feel over what happened eight years ago?"

"That’s enough, Doctor!" Marcus exclaimed from across the room. She strode over and stood next to Seven. "You’re out of line."

"I will handle this, Doctor Marcus," Seven said. She turned to the EMH. "The damage I did can never be repaired, and my guilt is irrelevant. I simply want them to experience individuality, as I have. As you have. At one time, you were confined to this sickbay. Your program was limited to emergency medical protocols. In some ways, you were not unlike a drone. But you were granted the opportunity to explore your individuality. You were allowed to expand your program. Your mobile emitter gave you freedom of movement. Your thoughts are your own. If you were told you had to become a drone again, I believe you would resist."

"Yes," the Doctor said softly, "I suppose I would."

"I would resist as well," Seven said. "My relationship with Harry has taught me the value of individuality and interpersonal relationships. They — I — would choose freedom, no matter how fleeting."

U.S.S. Voyager NCC-74656
Docked to the Markonian Outpost
Mess Hall
Stardate 214152.8
17 July 2375 1927 hrs

"It’s so… quiet," Marika said as she sat with Seven and the two other ex-drones in the mess hall.

"I had no idea you were going to say that," P’Chann said. "I don’t know what either of you is thinking."

"I had forgotten what it was like," Lancer said, "to be alone with my own thoughts." He paused thoughtfully for a moment, then added, "I’m leaving."

"Where will you go?" Marika asked.

"I want to see this space station," Lancer said. "Meet new people. To fill my life… with life again, in the time I have left." He stood, bade a silent farewell to his companions, then walked out of the mess hall.

"I’m leaving as well," P’Chann said. "There’s an inhabited planet, only a few light-years from here. I’d like to spend my final days in the open air." He rose, then looked to Seven. "My people don’t believe in holding grudges. I wish you well, Seven of Nine."

"Thank you," Seven said. P’Chann left, following Lancer’s path out of the mess hall, and leaving Marika alone with Seven.

"It’s nice to be on a Federation starship again," Marika said. "I’d like to stay aboard Voyager."

"The captain said you may stay as long as you wish," Seven said.

"You mean as long as I have," Marika said. "I can’t forgive you for what you did to us, but I do understand why you did it."

U.S.S. Voyager NCC-74656
Seven of Nine’s Quarters
Stardate 214155.7
18 July 2375 2112 hrs

"Seven," Kim said, his fingers resting upon the door to the quarters of the woman in whom he had fallen in love, "let me in, please."

"Go away, Harry," Seven of Nine’s voice came from the door panel speaker. "I do not wish to repeat myself again."

"Seven, I’m sorry," Kim said. "I failed you. Let me at least speak with you."

The doors to Seven’s quarters suddenly opened, Seven herself standing on the opposite side, deeply perplexed. "In what way have you failed me?" Seven asked. "I see no evidence of anyone failing but myself."

"I wasn’t there," Kim said. "I should have been there."

"I don’t understand," Seven said as Kim stepped through the doorway and into her quarters. "Your presence would most likely have not altered the fates of the former drones."

"That’s not what I’m talking about," Kim said. "I was locked up in my quarters because of that damned fight, and I couldn’t be there — for you. I love you, Seven."

Seven stood immobile, a wave of unexpected emotions rushing over her. "I — I love you, as well, Harry."

The two hugged fiercely, kissing one another as though the night were their last night together. Kim’s hands began exploring Seven’s tightly-clothed form, coming to rest as he wrapped his arms around Seven’s waist.

"Harry," Seven began, "do you consider me as… family?"

"You’re even closer to me than that," Kim said. Seven smiled. Her fingers wove through Kim’s hair. Her fingertips slid down the sides of his face, coming to rest upon his chest, where she found the clasp of his uniform.

Kim awoke with a start, to find himself lying naked in bed beside Seven, who was in a similar state of undress. His thoughts began to wander back to the previous night’s activities when the door chime sounded again, startling him once more into reality.

Kim began to walk to the door when he remembered his nudity. He stopped at the replicator. "One robe," he said.

"Specify variety," the computer prompted.

"Standard," Kim snapped as the door chime sounded once more. The robe materialized, and he grabbed it from the slot and threw it on in a rush to conceal himself.

Kim stepped up to the door, which opened to reveal Lieutenant B’Elanna Torres.

"Harry!" Torres exclaimed in surprise.

"Hi, B’Elanna," Kim said. "What brings you here at oh-dark- hundred?"


Category : K/7Version 2.0Voyager


One Response

  1. Administrator says:

    Previous feedback received:

    Thomas Lee (05 Feb 2000)
    Jeffrey was right on in how, in his series, Harry and Seven would have reacted to the events and revelations of "Survival Instinct." Read full review

    Lesa L. (27 Mar 2001)
    I remember reading this when it was much shorter. It was nice to see it fleshed out more.

    Henry Lee (28 Mar 2001)
    I really enjoyed the rewrite of the "Survival Instinct" ep to be fit into your A.U. Moreover, I liked how the incorporation of your A.U. is so seamless in various parts of the episode.

    Thomas Lee (28 Mar 2001)
    Nice rewrite of "Survival Instinct"! I liked how you ‘adjusted’ that episode to fit in with your timeline. The added details of the K/7 relationship were particularly welcome, especially in regards to Seven’s greater appreciation of the preciousness of freedom thanks to Harry (with no need for Chakotay to provide advice as he did in the Bragaverse version).

    As for Dr. Marcus – I think we see right in this story just how the Doc ended up as both a better doctor and a better person by the time of "Getting Home" than current Voyager episodes in the Bragaverse. Through Dr. Marcus, the Doctor has a professional equal who provides an example of how a real doctor is supposed to act and behave.

    Thanks again for rewriting "Survival Instinct" – and for all of the rereleased stories you’ve been giving the lists!

Leave a Reply