by Suz firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer - Paramount own them, but who cares?
Part 13 in the DQ90210 series. Earlier parts can be found at: http://members.tripod.com/~SuzVoy/deltaq.html
The engines of the shuttle hummed comfortably as Kathryn and Seven made their way towards the coordinates at full impulse. Kathryn was for once glad to take their journey slowly - it gave her time to reflect.
She had not spent a great deal of time with Seven lately. Despite her growing closeness with Tom, she had found herself missing the ex-Borg's company. She had spent so much time of Seven's first three years aboard talking to her, advising her, arguing with her. Chakotay seemed to have taken over the role of mentor.
Or so she tried to tell herself.
Kathryn would admit it to herself if no one else - she was vaguely disturbed by Seven's apparent relationship with Chakotay. She had concluded that it was reasonable to some extent. She and Chakotay had been best friends for many years and there had always at least been a hint of something more. It was natural that she might be a little jealous of missing both his and Seven's company.
"Are you alright?"
"Yes, why do you ask?" Kathryn answered, trying to focus her thoughts back on the console in front of her. Now was *not* a good time to lose track of just where they were flying.
"You have been staring at me for the 3.2 minutes."
Of course. Trust Seven to time it. "I apologise Seven. I was thinking."
"About?" Seven prompted, pressing a few buttons.
Kathryn smiled as she realised how much better Seven had become at communicating. "We never really talk anymore."
The blonde frowned. "We talked 5.6 minutes ago regarding the efficiency of-"
"I mean besides work. The only times we seem to talk lately are when we're discussing our jobs."
Seven nodded. "You are correct. Our last conversation that did not involve the topic of work was 2.1 months ago. However, I have noticed that this has improved my efficiency by 2%."
Kathryn studied the woman sitting next to her. She hadn't said if the increase of efficiency was positive, and Kathryn wasn't sure if she wanted to know.
"Would you like to talk about something now?" Seven continued.
Altering their course to avoid an asteroid, Kathryn pondered topics of conversation.
Seven spoke, again. "You wish to discuss my relationship with Commander Chakotay." There was no doubt in her voice; just a knowledge of the facts.
"Yes," Kathryn admitted. "I'm curious about just what your relationship with Chakotay is."
Thinking, Seven's brow furrowed deeply and she stared at the console. Eventually she spoke. "I am uncertain. He is a friend and a commanding officer, but sometimes when I am in his company I..."
"Feel something?" Kathryn volunteered.
"Yes," Seven agreed firmly. It was clear she didn't know what it was that she felt. "I often find myself intrigued by ridiculous aspects of her. Why should I find the colour of his eyes so fascinating?"
Kathryn smirked but suddenly found her console fascinating. "There's an old Earth phrase about "eyes being the window of the soul." Perhaps there's something in his that resonates with yours."
Seven rose an eyebrow, clearly disbelieving. "Do you believe in the concept of the soul, Captain?"
Sitting back in her chair, Kathryn mulled over the question. "I suppose I believe in some form of it." Yes. Yes that was definitely the best way to put it. "About six months before you came onboard I was in a shuttle accident with Chakotay and...I died. I was technically dead for over two minutes." She swallowed, fighting off the tightness in her throat. She had never really talked about the incident with anyone, never resolved her feelings about it. The threat of her own mortality was too severe.
Some nights she would lay in bed, still, and imagine what it would be like to be dead. Her manipulation by the alien being at the moment of death prevented her from discovering just what was reality and what was part of his elaborate game of 'smoke and mirrors'. Neelix's death and eventual resurrection several years ago had cut extremely close to the bone. His experience had not been reassuring. She was terrified of nothingness; couldn't imagine not existing.
Realising she was supposed to be speaking she forced something resembling a vaguely happy expression on her face. "As I came back from the dead, apparently complete...I chose to believe there was something. I don't know if there is a God and I am *not* getting into a conversation about Religion, but I believe souls could exist. You?" She asked quickly, eager to angle this particular conversation away from herself. It was too disturbing.
Seven resumed working. "The concept of a 'soul' or other similar belief is present in each of the races the Borg have encountered and assimilated. The reasoning is obvious: a fear of death. Mortals consider death to be the end of 'everything' where it is simply a biological fact."
Kathryn nodded. "I see. And would you still believe that if Chakotay died?"
The ex-Borg remained silent, contemplative.
"I thought so," Kathryn continued, feeling proud of herself and a little jealous at the same time. This was for the best. This was what needed to be done. "You know Seven, it could be argued that fear of death is fear of the unknown." She leant towards the younger woman, resting her hand on her wrist. "You were a Borg for eighteen years, Seven. You used to know *everything*."
"I still know *everything*, at least in the terms you are defining it. I have retained all the information I absorbed when I was part of the Collective."
"True," Kathryn conceded. "Only now you have to contend with being an individual."
Seven seemed confused by her words. "Captain, if you are attempting to inform me about a specific subject then please be more accurate with your statements."
"You mean...get to the point?"
Trapped somewhere between a smirk and a genuine smile, Kathryn patted Seven's wrist. "Individuals have certain emotions and needs that shouldn't be ignored."
"You are referring to-"
"-nothing," Kathryn answered, pulling away and smiling enigmatically. "I am merely making a general statement about life. If you choose to believe I am referring to something specific then you have come to that conclusion entirely by your own volition."
"Curious," she replied.
If her face was not, her eyes appeared to be smiling. "I had not thought you to be an individual who would tell a falsehood."
It was definitely a smirk that Kathryn produced. "The Universe is a strange place, Seven. Anything can happen."
A console beeped.
Anything was about to happen.
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