Seven in Red:
“Incoming torpedo!” shouted the helmsman Ensign Hardesty.
“Shields!” Seven ordered.
The blast knocked the crew to the deck.
Commander that blast overloaded several tricore phase compensators
, communicated Ensign Salazar. We're replacing them now. I can give you warp in ten minutes!
“Tactical, arm phaser banks,” said Vorik.
“Belay that, Commander,” Seven ordered. “Auxiliary power to shields. Evasive maneuvers!”
The Perseus Secondary cruiser pulled away from the Dreadnought.
The ship quaked and station circuits overloaded in a shower of sparks and plasma vapor.
“We must defend ourselves
“Stand down, Mister Vorik.”
Vorik sat beside her and said lowly, “The enemy, Commander, might consider such a response – irrational
. I held my tongue when you set a convoluted course for the Alpha Quadrant at quarter impulse. But now I must question that same rationale when it threatens the safety of this ship. What exactly do you intend to accomplish, Commander?”
“I intend to protect lives, Lieutenant Commander.” She stood and walked to the viewer. “I intend to find a way for both ships to survive.” She turned to him. “At any cost.”
“Are you saying that Voyager should not have been involved with the Enqar incident Commander? That the Enqari should have been allowed to live as Borg?” Vorik queried. “Is that why we now risk our own ship – in some kind of atonement?”
She leveled her gaze at him. “Would you rather live as a Borg, or be dead, Vorik?”
“I would rather –”
“Irrelevant!” Seven interrupted. “Speculation
– is irrelevant.” As were her assimilation tubules, and their final argument, in her hand implant.
Vorik glared at her. Then she saw other faces turn to her, questioning her with muted urgency. Seven felt her work of the past several months unraveling in her hands; and suddenly all her emotional docking clamps retracted at once and left her floating alone in space like – the relic that she was. A humanoid relic of a dead civilization, a civilization of the dead. Her meticulous, awkward attempts at relationship-building, identifying with her crewmates. Connecting with them. Becoming something more – human
– if it were even possible. How easily they now saw her for who she was, who she could not escape, no matter how much it had come to mean to her. Seven of Nine, the last mechanistic legacy of the Borg. The cold command. A passage from a book Vorik had given her came to mind:
“The dust shall scatter, the rock endure
“And logic burn the flame,” he finished. “The Fire Plains Analects of Surak.”
“The Federation could endure without us, Mister Vorik. Without that ship, the Enqari cannot.”
Vorik persisted: “You may be unwilling to destroy what's left of Enqar, Commander; the Enqari, however, appear quite willing to take that risk. They have chosen their role.”
Seven stepped to the viewer, watching the slow, inexorable turn of the Dreadnought. “And our role, Mister Vorik? The role of the Federation, in the destruction of the Enqar homeworld?”
“An unfortunate circumstance, Commander. But not one of our doing.”
, she thought. They chose to experiment with Borg technology and it easily thwarted their primitive controls. They were spared the assimilation they deserved. Their death was a mercy upon the galaxy.
Seven paused. Not all of the Enqari – were dead. And this
crew – deserved a better fate than Janeway's ethics would allow.
Yet she, herself – Seven of Nine, Tertiary Adjunct – Commander
– had a chance here and now, in her
hands – to align the Federation with Borg ideology, and permit them to turn their backs on their own destructive power while whole civilizations were ripped from existence – or to turn this relic Tertiary Adjunct of Unimatrix Zero One – into a living, breathing human being
. Here, and now. Damn Janeway for revealing the one element in the universe not detectable to a Borg drone optical sensor: the truth
Seven of Nine thought; and made her choice.
“Maximum power – to shields. Divert power from weapons and other systems.”
“Your logic may be correct, Mister Vorik. However its application here – is in error. What Admiral Janeway and Starfleet protocol make clear, what the Federation Charter mandates, and what our obligations as Starfleet officers, Federation representatives, and indeed free, intelligent species – and what I
made clear prior to our arrival to the Enqar system – is that this
ship – became expendable
the moment we lost control of our quantum slipstream technology.”
Seven studied the watchful gazes of her bridge crew and persisted. “We were to sacrifice our ships and ourselves before putting another planet in jeopardy from the slipstream weapon. It was our own direct
involvement in creating the quantum slipstream technology that destroyed the Enqari. We have failed
in our duty. That obligation has not been relieved simply because we have survived their destruction.”
Seven regarded the discordant faces around the battle bridge: entreating her, demanding her, and – strengthening with her. She continued: “It should have been us
destroyed before the Enqar homeworld. Regardless of how we may feel about their society. Our survival in this matter is no longer assured nor mandated by Starfleet Command. Nor logic...or even...good conscience – a value we may or may not personally share, but an obligation we have sworn to preserve on behalf of Starfleet, for our vaunted “duty”, and
for the privilege of serving on a Federation starship.”
“You would...have the Borg unleashed once more upon the galaxy if you could,” Vorik said.
“We have defeated the Borg before, Commander,” she replied. “The summary execution of the entire planet was a choice
made by the alien. Not necessarily the only correct one. Others in the galaxy may believe Voyager was acting on behalf of the Federation. The alien was not; but now we
must. Our role in this matter is not so easily dismissed as the Enqari themselves were.”
She addressed them individually. “I have been where you are now. At a galactic crossroads of retaining what makes you unique; or of becoming...Borg
She let that sink in.
do not have the luxury of trivializing the choice we make here today. What we do now will determine the entire course of Federation expansion in the galaxy.
“If I am to understand Starfleet values – self-preservation – as Admiral Janeway has demonstrated on numerous occasions – is not assured with starship duty. Our negligence not only facilitated the accelerated destruction of the Enqari – it now threatens our own way of life. How we proceed may determine whether the rest of the galaxy holds the Federation – as a peaceful society, or a natural force of destruction. It determines that reality for each individual aboard this ship and who calls herself or himself a citizen of the Federation.”
She circled the bridge to engage her crew one by one. “These Enqari – must
survive. It is their moral obligation, and it is up to us to see they can. I am not prepared to assimilate our crew – with Borg impunity unleashed on the galaxy. I
will not be the one to assimilate the Federation into the galaxy's newest Borg Collective. That can span the quadrants destroying civilizations while holding itself above account. I have come too far – we have all
come too far – to turn back the timeline. Anyone who disagrees is free to surrender their station; take all available shuttles and escape pods – and abandon ship. I shall remain. I intend to engage the remaining Enqari – to establish relations – to help them if I can, or even protect them from themselves if necessary – to preserve what makes them unique. At any
cost. I owe as much to each of you. It is my hope that you can see that is exactly what I am doing.”
She left them to their thoughts and returned to the center of the bridge.
“I don't know about anyone else Commander,” Ensign Hardesty said, “but I'd like to do what we came out here to do.” He turned to his helm.
The entire bridge crew – went back to work without a single word of argument.
Vorik turned to the viewscreen, and Seven followed his gaze. “To quote one of your human proverbs, Commander,” he said, studying the approaching Dreadnought, “Sow the wind –”
“Reap the whirlwind,” she finished.