“Come in!” Welcoming the interruption, Kathryn set her PADD on the desk and stretched her back. One of the most advanced ships designed by the best engineers in Starfleet – and her body still protested a workday spent reading Ops reports and crew duty assignments.
The door to her Ready Room slid open, and Seven of Nine stepped inside.
Something was bothering her. Kathryn had learned to recognize some of Seven’s micro expressions. The slight furrow of her brow and the extra starch in her already rigid posture.
“Seven? Is everything alright?” Gesturing to the chairs on the opposite side of her desk, she waited with outward calm and patience. While Seven eschewed most human emotions, Kathryn often found herself a sounding board for Seven’s growing curiosity about her fellow crewmembers.
For a moment, Seven appeared to have changed her mind. She took a step backward, triggering the door. It slid open to reveal the normal ebb and flow of Bridge personnel at their duty stations.
Kathryn slowly stood. She walked around her desk and leaned against the corner nearest Seven. “Would you rather we talked in Cargo Bay Two?” In moments of true crises, Seven found the Borg alcoves reassuring.
“No.” Seven appeared to come to a decision. “This location will suffice.” Then she tacked on, “Thank you, Captain.”
“Of course.” Seven’s flat and sometimes brusque delivery amused Kathryn; although, she fielded daily complaints from her crew. “Why don’t we use the couch? My back will be happy for the change in venue.”
Seven stared at Kathryn. “I was unaware that human physiology allowed for communication between its various systems.”
Kathryn settled onto the far end of the couch with a sigh. Much more comfortable. She should have brought a cup of peppermint tea to enjoy while they talked. “It’s a simple figure of speech, Seven. I’m afraid the human body hasn’t evolved that far just yet.”
She waited while Seven perched stiffly on the other end of the couch. “Now, tell me what’s brought you here.”
“I would like to speak about the crew’s reaction to Neelix’s reactivation,” Seven said after a moment of silence. “When I discovered that there was a statistical probability I could…save him,” her expression hadn’t changed, but Seven’s words held a hint of discomfort at the less than scientific phrasing, “I believed the crew would wish me to do so.”
Seven rarely approached Kathryn with easily answered questions or concerns. This was no exception. “I take it some of them did not?” Hopefully, none of the crew had directly approached Seven. Seven would never physically hurt anyone, but she could push emotional buttons with her tone-deaf responses in emotional situations.
“Several.” Seven didn’t elaborate.
“Have you changed your mind about the decision to save Neelix?” It was a question Kathryn had asked herself a million times over the past several days. She had given the final command, approving the untested procedure.
Seven tilted her head; Kathryn could almost sense the probability calculations and the logical analyses of all possible outcomes. “I do not. It was the most logical decision, given my knowledge of the reactivation process and Neelix’s clear impact on the morale of the crew.”
Kathryn remained silent and waited for the real reason for the visit. Seven understood logical decisions. Emotional ones were much more challenging.
“Why would Lt. Carey believe that decisions of life and death belong in the hands of a supernatural being called ‘God?’ Surely even human medical technology is advanced enough that there is no need to ask for this God’s help?”
Reaching across the space separating them, Kathryn took Seven’s hand. “Many cultures, including humans and Talaxians, believe there is a being or a force that guides their actions. Who guards them from harm and helps them find happiness and fulfilment.”
Seven frowned. “That is not logical.”
“Perhaps.” Rather than argue, Kathryn scooted across the couch until their knees touched. “Humans and many other cultures aren’t ruled by logic. Religion, that belief in the supernatural, gives some of them a measure of comfort. Life is confusing and often frightening. Out of our control despite our technology. Religion is a way to cope with uncertainty.
“I daresay some of the crew might also believe we violated Neelix’s right to choose his own fate.” Kathryn’s recent nightmares had been filled with voices arguing both sides of the argument. “Humans.” She stopped and gripped Seven’s fingers more tightly. “We believe that all beings have the inalienable right to give or deny consent for any decision that affects their life or freedom.”
“We,” Seven echoed. She dropped her gaze to their joined hands. “I am Borg.”
Kathryn raised their hands and kissed Seven’s fingers. “Are you, darling? I believe I’ve glimpsed a few moments of humanity in you recently.”
A small, hesitant smile flickered in response. “Perhaps there have been times where I find my logic has deserted me.”