The following takes place during Admiral Janeway’s(future version) time aboard the Borg UniComplex.
The formatting didn’t transfer correctly from OpenOffice, but it shouldn’t be too hard to get past.
“You and I don’t need words to understand each other,” the Queen said, her words ringing in Admiral Katherine Janeway’s ears.
Admiral Janeway had her own doubts about the complete effects of the neurolytic pathogen, but she didn’t have time for that sort of thinking right now. All she needed to do was stall the Borg long enough for Voyager to make it through the transwarp conduit. If she failed at that, her mission-her existence, her past, her friends, her universe, all would never have existed and would be sacrificed for nothing.
A voice called out inside her head, echoing through the corridors of the dark, horrific halls of the Borg complex, it was the voice of not one, tens, or hundreds, but of thousands, possibly millions, “Voyager has entered aperture eight-two-three. Access transwarp corridor zero-nine”
The admiral felt a wave of relief. Even if her pathogen didn’t cripple the Borg, it had distracted them sufficiently for Voyager to make it into the corridor.
The hollow voices returned, forcing another worry into Janeway’s mind; “Redirect vessels to intercept at subjunct…”
There was a piercing noise, as of metal scraping metal. Something had gone wrong in the Borg Queen. She fell, grasping a support beam for the containment unit Janeway was being held in.
The voices were scrambled, confused, as though lacking direction. Janeway would have leapt to her feet, were she not lacking complete control of her body.
“U.S.-U.S.-S.-S.-ze-zero-nine. Transwa-transwarp. Intercept.
Janeway had never felt stronger, despite her apparent physical weakness, as the Queen lurched in sync with the exploding access panels behind her. Falling as sparks were sent flying, lighting the dimly lit room into a brilliant white.
As the Queen lifted herself back to her feet, Janeway said coarsely, “Must be something you assimilated.”
The Queen stared deeply into the Admiral with dark, beaded eyes. If Janeway didn’t know better, she’d say it was fear she saw. Fear of chaos overcoming her perfect order.
“What have you done?” she demanded, trying to remain calm, her voice low and heavy, yet still displaying pure fright.
“I thought we didn’t need words to understand each other,” Janeway said slowly as Borg implants pressed and forced their way through her forehead, jaw, and neck, tearing her skin with only slow, painful pressure.
The Queen began to fall backwards, narrowly catching herself as sparks lit the room yet again. Her eyes widened then narrowed suddenly as she came to the terrible conclusion; “You’ve infected us with a neurolytic pathogen.”
Janeway whispered in triumph, “Just enough… To bring chaos to order.”
The Queen began to rasp for air. She should’ve known better. She knew Janeway better than for her to overlook the fact they would obviously be triangulating her holographic signature only seconds before. If there was one thing she learned over the past three years, it was to not underestimate Janeway. She had allowed herself to be assimilated before, but not without a motive, and agenda that would serve herself in her and her crew’s individuality. She failed to understand the human desire for individuality; for fault. She had tried to convince the tertiary adjunct of Unimatrix zero-one to rejoin the collective, unsuspecting of Seven of Nine’s will to remain alone and imperfect. She had attempted to convince Locutus to do the same thing, but he had refused; instead, he destroyed her not once but twice before. Her two favorites had both denied her offer of perfection on multiple occasions. Her desire to have her third favorite, the one called Janeway, under her control had clouded her judgment in such a way she overlooked the obvious. She had decided to put all her drones’ attention on adapting to the pathogen. The shielding of the transwarp conduits began to fail as a result, though she now saw it as a worthy exchange-she would lose the Janeway she had grown to admire and despise at the same time, but she would keep this new Janeway, even if it meant letting the one she knew escape. For now. She would have them both. She would have Seven of Nine and Locutus as well. In time, she decided.
At the explosion of the corridor, the Queen’s plans had been ripped from her, “Voyager will be destroyed,” she said regretfully as she watched a fireball roll out of aperture eight-two-three.
“They’re ahead of the shockwave. They’ll survive. Captain Janeway and I made sure of that,” she said, painfully and weakly lifting herself to her feet with the aid of support beams. “It’s you who underestimated us,” staring coldly at the Queen, almost challengingly. She had no intention of surviving now. No expectations of leaving the chamber as herself, but rather as a corpse if not a drone. The affects of the pathogen were starting to slow now, occurring only occasionally. Janeway, despite her aggressive and optimistic attitude towards what was happening, was secretly concerned she had failed this part of her goal. Then suddenly, flashes and sparks made their way up the Queen’s left arm as her synthesized body began to fall apart, her upper arm separating itself from her shoulder. The Queen took hold of the faulty device and tore it from herself, tossing it away like a piece of garbage. Upon coming to rest on the floor, the fingers began dragging away, the rest of the arm in tow.
The Queen felt a rush of excitement and hope as she turned to the screen, a black sphere tinged with green traveling through a narrow passageway appeared; “Sphere six-three-four. They can still hear my thoughts,” she said more for the sound of a voice in her head than to inform anyone around her.
Inefficient, she told herself. There was no use speaking unless communicating with a lesser, imperfect being.
“I may have assimilated your pathogen, but I also assimilated your armor technology.”
She was beginning to show strength one more time. Janeway was fearful that she had failed completely now; her past would never have existed. She would become a drone as would Voyager. All because of her. If she’d only let the past stay there; in the past, then, granted, she would watch Chakotay and Seven’s lives end, and she would watch Tuvok degenerate until he was paranoid, senile and irrational and locked away as a freak once back in the Alpha quadrant, she would survive. The Doctor-Joe, as he would be known-, Harry Kim, Tom and B’elanna Paris-and their daughter, Miral Paris-; they would all survive. If only she’d have not ignored the Temporal Prime Directive as she had told herself to. She was realizing, now more than ever, the importance and reason for it.
Without reason or provocation, she was suddenly somewhere else, somewhere familiar. She was on Voyager’s bridge. She looked around and saw nobody accompanying her on the deserted deck. She glanced at the viewscreen, a beautiful blue planet filled it, partially eclipsed in the sunlight. It was Earth. In the shadowed side, she could make out the blue-white glow of cities peppering the landscape. San Francisco, the place she called home being one of them. It began to distort as a green fog seemed to cover the atmosphere, the white lights of the cities were replaced by a dark, glowing green color that ran chills up her spine. The water even seemed to become tainted as it, too, changed from a brilliant, beautiful blue to a terrifying, pale green, possibly from the atmospheric change. Her home, her world became a mechanical monstrosity before her very eyes. She could do nothing but watch as mechanized cities formed, covering every piece of land until the entire planet was coated in a disfigured metallic mess of devices the size of states and small countries.
She heard a chirping coming from the console in the back-left of the deck, Harry Kim’s post. She rushed to it, noticing she felt no more pain or weakness as she had in the Borg Complex. She pressed her hands against her face to feel no protrusions. The back of her hand which, prior to being on Voyager, housed an implant that was no longer there. She then continued to walk to the Ops station and looked at the panel that was signaling for an alert.
She gasped as she saw what was on the panel; globally, ninety-two percent humidity and thirty-nine-point-one degrees Celsius. It was confirmed to be Borg now, even if by some slim chance it hadn’t been before.
“Frightening, isn’t it? Somehow almost beautiful in a way” a chipper voice said from the opposite side of the command chair.
She closed her eyes and stood silently, motionlessly, recognizing the all-too-familiar voice. The voice that brought back memory of a man whose very presence annoyed her to her very core. A man who’d sent her ship hurtling through time with a mere snap of his finger. A man who’d once tried –and failed- to convince her to bear his child; the very thought of it shot chills down her spine. He’d even gone so far as to drag her into a civil war that had nothing to do with her, or her universe for that matter. Her arrogant, omnipotent godchild, the son of this man had been placed on her ship, under her care, without her consent by him. And this man had, dreadfully, returned time and again after all these years. She couldn’t help but wonder what kind of menace he would at least try to unleash upon her this time.
A male humanoid clothed in a Starfleet uniform spun his head around the side of the chair and stared into her eyes with a childish, almost humored look on his face, “Don’t you agree, Captain?” noticing the three-dotted pin on her neck, “Oh, an Admiral now! How delightful. I always knew you had it in you,” the insignia on his collar showing the basic four-dotted captain’s rank.
Janeway opened her eyes and glared at the man in the Captain’s chair-her chair, “What are you doing here, Q?” She stepped around the console, wondering if this was a good thing or a bad thing that he was here. After all, it couldn’t get much worse than it already was. Looking at the viewscreen for a moment then back at Q, she quickly decided it was the latter.
“What am I doing here? The question should be ‘what are you doing here?’ It would seem the Borg have assimilated Earth. Shouldn’t you be with them? No, I guess not, since it’s all because you had to tamper with things you don’t understand the repercussions of. You should’ve just left history like it was. Now the entire Alpha quadrant is under Borg reign and the one over there is facing imminent assimilation as well,” he said, pointing over his shoulder. Janeway took it as the direction of the Beta quadrant when he asked “I wonder how the Klingons and Romulans are liking them?” with a smirk, already knowing their feelings towards the Borg encroachment. He paused and waited for Janeway’s response. But now she remained silent, staring at the viewscreen, brimming with a fury, imagining all the ways she’d want to torment Q if she were able.
“Shall we have a look?” he asked, holding up his hand, ready to snap his finger.
Janeway sighed heavily, apparently annoyed, “What do you want?”
He gasped and held his hands over the left side of his chest and throwing his head back against the chair, “What do I want? Oh, Admiral, you’re so considerate.”
Janeway gritted her teeth and narrowed her eyes, unhappy at his reversing of phrases and overly cheery manner with Earth hanging outside, tainted with Borg presence. It made her sick to think of San Francisco crawling with drones, interiors, and exteriors for all she knew, lined with regeneration alcoves. The stale, unmoving air putrefying all that humanity had worked and striven to create.
Perfection poisoning the imperfection, she told herself. It was nauseating; Q’s presence had failed to remedy the situation.
“What I want actually isn’t the case right now, though I would love to play poker. Wouldn’t you? What a stimulating game, poker is!”
Historical records in Memory-Alpha regarding omnipotent beings showed the vast majority of them to favor games of chance; Q, Squire Trelane of Gothos trying to hunt Kirk in a forest, and from an outside perspective, the hate-fed creature that had pitted the Enterprise crew against the Klingons on board even seemed to be fascinated, intrigued, even riveted by it.
“Enough, Q, send me back to where I was,” Janeway demanded flatly, her voice displaying the utmost severity.
“Send you back?” he said, his mouth falling open. He stood up and walked quickly to Janeway grabbed her hand in his and pointed at the screen “You mean you want to be assimilated and force this upon your galaxy?”
She pulled her hand back quickly. She never did like his affection, and had never asked for it. She was stubborn, and best she figured, that was the reason Q found her irresistible; because she defied him.
She felt an anger bubbling inside her that made her want to slap Q, but she resisted. “How did I cause all of this?”
He paced the bridge, hands clasped tightly behind his back, he answered, “Don’t you remember, Admiral?” he asked, stopping in his tracks and spinning on his heel to face her, “Oh yes, that’s not your timeline,” he gloated. He bit his lip, “Let’s see here… Ah yes, in yours, everything is flowers and rainbows compared to what would happen if you were to fail. She had adapted to the pathogen only a moment before I pulled you out. Years of research would be for nothing because of you acting too hastily.”
“I don’t have time for this,” she said.
“Time? The funny thing about that is that it doesn’t exist here,” Q said, snapping his finger.
Suddenly she found herself inside the unicomplex, staring at a frozen image in time; the Queen’s assimilation tubules injecting millions of nanites into the Admiral’s bloodstream. The look on her own face, she noticed, was that not of fear but of a bad memory rushing back to her. The Queen’s face glistening with triumph, thinking she’d won. Perhaps she had, Janeway thought. She needed not to be a pessimist at this, of all moments. It was too late for doubt. She’d been assimilated, Voyager was in the corridor and on her way to Earth, a sphere not too far behind, and the Queen was now bent on assimilating both Janeways. If not assimilate, then to kill. If the pathogen were to fail, the Queen wouldn’t hesitate to pursue the Admiral’s old self to the ends of the galaxy, and perhaps beyond if necessary, conquering every system in their path. If successful in assimilating her, she would have a foot in the door on her way to purge the Alpha quadrant from the premier position; Sol. Janeway stared into the heartless, soulless silver eyes of her captor. The eyes of one who’d given the order to assimilate billions, possibly trillions; those who refused would be slaughtered and used as scrap for repairing the mindless drones under her rule. Janeway wondered if the Borg Queen had ever had a soul, a heart, a conscience, anything that would imply an understanding of individuality; of life.
“What, exactly, would happen that would cause the Borg to invade the Alpha quadrant?”
“Why Admiral,” Q said, “You and Seven are nothing more than a prize to her. If she could assimilate your old self and your Borg friend, she’d be well on her way to having her most prized possession back; Locutus. And on top of that, you know where her transwarp complex is. She wouldn’t let that go over very easily, now would she?”
Noticing for the first time the Queen had no pores on her head, wondering if she was born with hair. The ridges on her neck possibly scar tissue from a mechanical device once protruding from her throat. Janeway found herself in unhindered curiosity, “What species was she?”
Q opened his mouth to answer, “She was a-”, but was cut off by Janeway holding her hand up, she shook her head quickly, as if pushing the distraction aside, “Nevermind. I just want to know why you’d consider stopping them. You’re no more allowed to interfere with us as I am with time.”
Q smiled, “Come now, Katherine, I’d hope you’d not underestimate me so. You came back in time. I am permitted to fix that. If I feel it fitting, I can ignore it. So I’m just left with a choice; save the galaxy by saving you, or watch everyone become a servant to her. Personally, I don’t fancy that. Who would I play with if everyone were as boring as her? Besides, I like you. More or less for the same reason the Borg do, though obviously on an infinitely greater scale.”
Janeway rolled her eyes, “Obviously. So let me get this straight, I don’t interfere and time passes as I knew it. Or else, you leave everything alone and the galaxy is basically handed to the Borg?”
Q narrowed his eyes and nodded, “Essentially.”
Janeway tossed her hand up again in disbelief. She’d known the feeling of not being in control, but this was beyond that. The life she lived was hardly worth living, but weighed against her only other option, it was a paradise.
Q snapped his finger again, taking them back to the bridge of Voyager. The consoles were clad in green- and yellow-lit lights. It was darker, warmer and moister than usual, reminiscent of a forest. The bridge was full of a thin fog that was hardly noticeable; just enough to cause each light to have its own aura. She heard footsteps falling on the floor like steel plates. She saw several Borg walking around, each as if they were unable to be distracted, intent on their goals. This was her bridge, not theirs. The very presence of the Collective here was a disgrace in her eyes, a stain, an infestation. She cringed at the sight of the Borg here.
“I’ve had enough of your games, Q,” she said dominantly.
“Au contraire, Katherine, this isn’t my game. This is a product of your doing.”
“Regardless, I’ve had enough of it,” attempting to threaten him, or intimidate at the very least.
She expressed her disapproval of beings more powerful than her without remorse. Power should be kept under control. Q was anything but under control and, as such, she had more issues with him than any creature she’d encountered thus far or ever planned to encounter.
“It’s only a fool who fights in a burning house, my dear,” Q stated.
Janeway recognized the quote as a Klingon proverb that stressed the subject of dealing with the most important matter at hand.
She began to plead with Q, “What can I do to convince you to return me to my original timeline, then?”
Q pursed his lips and tilted his head, “Actually, I have an idea. Don’t tell anyone though, or I may just back out of it,” he said, snapping his finger one last time as he disappeared in a flash of light.
She scoffed and put her hands on her hips in disbelief. Q was always up to something, now she was just left to wonder what it was. This was often the most annoying thing to her about Q; wondering where his antics would lead.
She found herself back in the Borg complex, the pain and weakness suddenly thrusting itself back upon her. The Queen spun around as her left leg detached itself, leaving her falling to the floor. She strained, pulling with all her strength to stand upright once more. She looked Janeway in the eye for a moment. Her head kicked back with the flash from a bursting panel on the wall. She fell to the floor yet again, helpless.
Q! she thought to herself, the Queen unable to hear her as her link had been severed. She was certain this was Q’s doing. She didn’t know how or why, but it was as if the pathogen’s affects were suddenly stimulated.
“Captain Janeway is about to die. If she has no future, you will never exist, and nothing that you’ve done here today will happen.”
Janeway saw what she could only imagine was a slight smile on her face. A glimmer of hope still remained in her eyes. She was finished. All that was left was her younger self surviving. The Queen twitched one last time, unwilling to give up, still trying to will her way from her peril, but alas, she fell limp on the hard, tritanium deck plating. Her synthetic body unhinged from her shoulders and released her neck and head.
Janeway felt a bit of relief, though still concerned for her former crew. She looked at her beaten enemy with triumph. A triumph that would cost her own life, but it was possibly the most worthwhile sacrifice she’d ever made, pending Voyager’s return. She felt her sacrifice almost hollow as she realized she’d never know the outcome. But she trusted herself to make the right choices to achieve their final goal, their endgame. Even more, she trusted her crew to do whatever was necessary to get home.
Perfection doesn’t die. This was not the perfection the Queen thought herself to be. Just as the life faded from her eyes, everything around them burst into white-hot flames.
Janeway took her last breath and closed her eyes, knowing and accepting that she had met her end.
The searing heat that engulfed her, burning the flesh from her bones, lasted only a split-moment before…
“Did you like what I did there?” said that familiar voice again.
Janeway opened her eyes, to see Q standing in front of her, smiling, dressed in what appeared to be elegant, royal renaissance clothing.
“Why does everyone always say that like it’s a bad thing?”
“Where am I?” she asked, the place she was in was white, the brightness bleeding over the only thing there was to focus on; Q. It seemed to be a complete void of everything but her and Q, save some unseen, almost blinding light source.
“You’re dead,” he said blandly, “But did you see what I did?”
Janeway looked around at the nothingness surrounding her, wondering if this was what death was really like. She raised her eyebrow, “What did you do?”
“I reinfected the Queen with a pathogen that was so similar to the one your E.M.H. developed that it was undetectable aside from it. It was just enough to finish your task for you. But don’t tell anyone, especially Junior. Oh, how I’d hate to disappoint him.”
Janeway sighed, relieved that Voyager had made it home. She looked into the edge of the nothingness, “Thanks for your help, Captain Janeway.”
She looked at Q, now well-knowing and accepting of where she was, “Do you have coffee here? I’ve been dying for some fresh coffee.”