[ I hate this board — it logged me out just before I posted all this junk, which I've had to rewrite all over again. ]
Gibraltar, never mind if Adele can trust that pair; can she trust herself — her empathy seems to be going into overdrive, right up to the point where it is actually debilitating. Sure, Betazoids may have this crunch point in their lifecycles but now is not the time for Adele to be having a midlife crisis.
A dense, expository chapter this, to be sure. There just never is going to be any elegant way to encapsulate and recapitulate an involuted narrative — not a criticism just an inevitability & a debate that's been had in the last Tesseract thread. Even so, there were action and events enough in the episode to engage our attention and move the story along; making it more than a mere placeholder.
We've some nice characterisation too. Juxtaposing Maren's Borg-related injuries alongside her willingness to relate to the Borg succinctly highlights a nobility in her. Adele's musing on Icheb's speed-of-response along with his calculation of probabilities actually accentuates his alienness and affinity to the Borg.
Adele is certainly in the thick of it — having to make capital decisions on the fly, ones she'd be held accountable for under ordinary circumstances; not least what to do with the a collection of civilians and what do with a Collective citizen. Then she's getting embroiled in heatedly, critical debates where she's just one individual voice in how much help to give the Resistance. Isn't this all just setting her up for one major confrontation with the Advisory Board? Not to mention the tension's around Icheb's individuality and freedom of choice as to whether or not to be The Weapon. Here's just one scenario: as a starfleet officer could the Board order him to be The Weapon as it is his Duty as enlisted personnel.
It is nice for the readership to be the cognoscenti for once. More often than not, you delight in leaving us dangling, mystified, confused, awaiting enlightenment. Here we had an insight into the drone's past all the player's lacked; we could say Aha! We know what she's been through
Its all good Kes7, you're using every plot device there is and using it adroitly too. A nice light, precise touch.