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I, Mezoti

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I, Mezoti

 

by jamelia 116

 

 

Stardate 53527.7

 

My designation was Fifth of Six. I was the fifth neonatal drone to be cast out of the maturation chamber on the Borg cube where I first became aware. I was capable of communicating sub vocally with the other four, as all Borg drones do, but we were not really of one mind, as the fully-adult drones in the Collective are. We were not linked to the Hive mind, or to the Queen.

 

I did not know we were an anomaly when I was initially activated. Only when we met Seven of Nine, Tertiary Adjunct to Unimatrix Zero One, who is now a member of the Voyager Collective, did I learn our Borg cube did not function the way others did. I believe the one designated as First knew something was wrong. Perhaps Second did, also. Unlike in the true Collective, we were able to maintain individuality. It is a strange thing to try to explain, even in a personal record such as this one I am making. The five of us were connected to each other in one part of our minds, but in the other part, we were able to reason separately from the others.

 

We were different in another way. All the adult drones on our cube were dead. We were the only six left alive.

 

From the force of his will and his separate mind, First took over what I have now learned is a leadership role from Second. That was unfortunate. Second, who I now know as Icheb, is much more thoughtful, less prone to errors due to judgments made in haste. First was "headstrong" and proud. The Borg are proud of the Collective. First was proud of himself. If he had succeeded in detaching the deflector array from Voyager, he still would not have succeeded in arranging for our rescue by the Collective. They did not want us. Voyager would have been destroyed, but we would still not be fully assimilated drones.

 

Seven, which is all we call her now, was able to read the communication sent by the Collective. They knew our cube was what the humans call a "plague ship." The Collective expected us to terminate ourselves. Since we were unable to decrypt the message, we did not. I could not. I did not know how to terminate myself. Seven told us this is one of the last things a Borg learns before leaving the maturation chamber. I left it early. That does not mean I do not know what it is to be terminated. To die. I was linked with one who died.

 

Five of us were fortunate. The people of Voyager rescued us, even though we had held four of their crew on our cube as hostages and threatened to kill them. We did not understand we would not have survived much longer on the cube. It was too damaged to provide the life support our bodies require. We did not have the knowledge needed to repair it.

 

First died on the cube. I would say he terminated himself because he refused to accept the truth of what Seven and Captain Janeway told us about ourselves. Termination is a strange sensation. I do not know what the individual part of his consciousness experienced. Perhaps it was the same as the linked part. One second he was there. The next, he was not. There was nothingness. Only those memories he'd shared with us could now be accessed. If we had been linked to the Hive mind, what First had experienced prior to termination would have lived on, but we were not linked to the Hive. Everything First had known or experienced was lost.

 

Although he fought against adapting and becoming an individual, he died as one. The rest of us must live as individuals if we wish to survive. I wish it. I want to continue to exist. Since that requires that my mind remains my own from now on, I will adapt.

 

We are fortunate we have Seven to guide us. She was Borg, but now she is an individual. There still are five of us, because the youngest of us, the baby who was cast out of the last functioning maturation chamber while Seven was on our cube, was saved by the Doctor of Voyager. She is now in the care of one of their crew. I have watched Marla Gilmore with the baby, whom she calls Aimee. The baby will thrive with Marla to take care of her. To . . . love her. That is what the new name of the baby means. "Beloved." The one who loves her is Marla Gilmore.

 

I do not know if the parents who gave birth to me loved me. I do not remember them. I know the designation they gave me. The name they gave me. I am Mezoti. I do not know if that name has a meaning, as Aimee's name does. It is what they called me. They were Norcadi. They died when the Borg assimilated them. Even adult drones fail to assimilate everyone successfully. I was what the humans on board Voyager call a "toddler" at the time I was assimilated. In the year plus three quarters' year I was in the maturation chamber, I grew to look like a human child of eight.

 

While we were inside the cube's maturation chambers we were cared for, as Marla Gilmore does now with the baby Aimee. We were educated. All our needs were met. Seven knows about these things, because she spent five years in a maturation chamber, too. She was not cast out before her time. Seven became a functional drone. She was responsible for the destruction and assimilation of many alien beings while she was a drone.

 

When she met with Voyager and Captain Janeway, Seven's link with the Collective was severed. The Doctor saved Seven, too, when he removed the implants that were being rejected by her body once she no longer was linked with the Collective. The Doctor took out some of our implants, too, but not as many as he removed from Seven. Because we had not been completely assimilated, many implants had also never formed completely. If anyone looks at us, they will know we were once Borg from the remaining metal on our faces, but no one would ever mistake us for a true Borg.

 

Seven is friends with the Doctor now. She values her individuality, but she continues to be called by the shortened form of her Borg designation. She is Seven, or Seven of Nine, not Annika Hansen, the designation given to her by her parents. When I asked Ensign Paris why, he told me she has ambivalent feelings towards her parents. When I asked him what "ambivalent" means, he told me that she loves her parents and dislikes them at the same time. The reason Seven was assimilated was because her parents put her in the Borg's way. Her family came from far away to study the Borg and stayed too long.

 

Seven is on the way to the Alpha Quadrant, where she was born, but that is not "home" to her. Seven says the only homes she has ever known have been on space-going ships, first her parents' ship The Raven, and now Voyager. She was on a Borg cube, also, but she told me she never considered that a home. She had no ability to think of any place as home but only the Collective itself, while she was Borg.

 

If Voyager does return to the Alpha Quadrant, I wonder what that will mean for Seven? Will she be sorry she stayed with them?

 

I was told the people on Voyager keep a Personal Log. The child on Voyager who was never a Borg, Naomi Wildman, says she prefers to call her record a diary. Naomi says that she will keep a Personal Log, too, but only when she is grown up and a member of Starfleet, like her mother and her father. She has never met her father. Naomi was born on Voyager, and he is "home" in the Alpha Quadrant. Naomi does not know if she wants to get home the way everyone else on Voyager does. She would like to meet her father. Her mother has many good things to say about him. But if she returns to the Alpha Quadrant, it would mean she would lose her home on Voyager. I asked her if she was "ambivalent" about this. Naomi said that was a good word for what she feels.

 

Seven just told me it is time for me to regenerate. It is just as well. I do not know what more to say. I will close this record now. I think I will do as Naomi does, and call this a diary. Mezoti's diary.

 

=/\=

 

Stardate 53665.6

 

Seven was not happy with me today. I "wandered off" when she was called to Engineering for a short time. Icheb had been placed in charge. He was our "First" for those minutes, but I wished to explore Astrometrics on my own. I did not mean to touch anything, but when I heard the female's voice, I could not help myself. I answered her. She said she wanted to speak to someone on Voyager, but when I tried to reach the transfer control to switch her signal to the bridge, I touched something I wasn't supposed to. I cut her off. That is when Seven, Icheb, and Commander Tuvok found me in Astrometrics.

 

Icheb was severe with me and told Seven I would not listen to him. I think he wanted to show it was not his fault he could not control my behavior. I was only curious. When I heard the female trying to contact us, I tried to help. Fortunately for me, the female tried to contact Voyager again while Seven was there. She could reach the appropriate button to answer the communication. The woman knew who Commander Tuvok was. She asked to speak with Captain Janeway. She told the captain she was named Lyndsay Ballard. This was a surprise. Ensign Lyndsay Ballard died two years, six months, and 25 days ago.

 

Seven told me this woman has come on board Voyager. Ensign Kim knows her. It seems she must not have died after all.

 

=/\=

 

Stardate 53668.7

 

Commander Chakotay has spoken with Seven. He told her we need time to "play." I do not know if he said this because Commander Tuvok caught me in Astrometrics. I understand from Neelix that exploring is one way to "play." Seven brought us to the mess hall to play Kadis-kot with Naomi Wildman. I did not object. I like visiting with Naomi. With all of the lessons Seven has been teaching us, I have not had a chance to visit with her as often as I would like. Seven says this is my individuality asserting itself. Perhaps. I would like to assert my individuality more often by visiting Naomi.

 

Seven said, "Fun will now commence," but the Kadis-kot game was not fun. Azan and Rebi were cheating by sharing information using their neural interface. I overheard them over my neural interface and told Neelix about it. Seven tried to administer punishment protocols. Azan and Rebi complied, but Icheb became angry and refused to participate in the game any longer. He left the mess hall in what Neelix said was a "huff." When Naomi and I spoke about braiding hair, Seven tried to stop us, saying it was "irrelevant." Knowing how to braid hair so it does not fall in your eyes when you are working or playing is NOT irrelevant. I do not know how Seven's hair is so tightly wound on her head, but it keeps the hair out of her eyes. Why can't she let Naomi and me learn how to keep ours out of the way, too?

 

Icheb was still angry later, when we were in our cargo bay. He said he was not angry. He was "annoyed" at Seven. He wants to be able to assert his individuality and explore on his own, too. He isn't interested in hair braiding, though.

 

=/\=

 

Stardate 53679.7

 

Ensign Lyndsay Ballard left Voyager. She said it was no longer her home. The food did not taste the way she remembered it. The language in her mind is that of the Kobali, her new people, the ones who resurrected her from the dead. Most of all, she returned to her new people because her Kobali father Q'ret loved her, and she could no longer remember her human parents at all.

 

The one person she said she would miss on Voyager was Ensign Kim. He was very sad about Ensign Ballard leaving. Since the Kobali have no hair, she left her comb in her quarters when she left. Ensign Kim gave it to me as a gift. That was very nice of him. I hope it will help me keep the hair out of my eyes.

 

When I showed the comb to Seven tonight, she said Ensign Kim has "no luck with women." I asked her if Seven was one of the women Ensign Kim had no luck with, but she would not tell me.

 

I asked Neelix about it, and he said Ensign Kim and Seven have always been very close friends. That's all he would say. When I asked Ensign Paris, he laughed. I decided it was not worth my time to ask anyone else after that. I did not think Ensign Kim would like to talk with me about it. I might upset him. He is already upset about Ensign Ballard.

 

=/\=

 

Stardate 53697.7

 

The First Annual Voyager Science Fair was held today. The captain was impressed with my Tairenian ant colony. It is a very pretty display. I made the transparent cube myself. Noah Lessing dug up the ant colony for me on Tairen, during an away mission. The farmer said he could dig up as many ants as he wanted, but Mr. Lessing responded that he only needed one complete colony. The farmer told him about using blue ion dye in the soil to make it easier to see the ants. They glowed because Mr. Lessing obtained the queen along with the drones. It was aesthetically pleasing.

 

The captain said she was proud of all the projects. Azan and Rebi could have put more time into their cloning experiment. They said they wanted to clone Naomi, but I know they wanted to use potatoes from the beginning. Seven did not see they wanted her to substitute something simple so they would not have to work so hard on their project.

 

Naomi built a model of her father's home world, complete with weather patterns. I thought it was a pretty display. She worked hard on her project, too.

 

Icheb's was the best. His high resolution gravimetric sensor array will help the crew find wormholes. Seven said she would install it in Astrometrics as soon as the "instrument is refined." I believe she means she wants to extend its range to detect them from more than one light year away from Voyager. I will have to think of a better project for the Second Annual Voyager Science Fair. Icheb will still probably come up with a better one.

 

=/\=

 

Stardate 53700.6

 

Voyager changed course two days ago. I did not know why until I overheard Seven speaking with Icheb about meeting his parents. He is very unhappy about it. Icheb said he does not wish to leave us on Voyager. It made me wonder how I would feel if my Norcadian relatives came to the captain and asked her to return me to them. I know my real parents died when I was assimilated. That's all I know about them.

 

This is not likely to happen. The Norcadi world is far behind our current course to the Alpha Quadrant. Voyager passed by it months ago. One day I was in the mess hall and heard Ensign Kim tell Ensign Paris that Captain Janeway has sent messages to the Norcadi five times, but no one there wants me. He did not say it exactly that way, but I know that is what he meant. Ensign Paris shushed him when he saw me standing by the replicators obtaining my nutritional supplement. It was already too late. I heard them.

 

It is a strange feeling to know the people I come from do not want me back.

 

=/\=

 

Stardate 53702.5

 

Voyager is in orbit above Brunal, Icheb's home planet. He says he does not wish to meet his parents. Captain Janeway insists he go down to see them.

 

Marla Gilmore came into the mess hall this morning to speak with Noah Lessing. He was teaching our Botany class, but he told us to "take a break." She is worried that she may lose Aimee if her family is found. Mr. Lessing spoke very softly to her, but I overheard him say she needs to be strong, for Aimee's sake. That is very good advice. I imagine it is difficult for Ms. Gilmore to take. I know she loves Aimee very much. I wonder what it is like to feel that someone really loves you?

 

=/\=

 

Stardate 53712.3

 

I was sad when Icheb decided to stay with his parents. Seven was sad, too. As Ensign Paris said when I asked him why Icheb wanted to leave us, "Icheb is a big boy now. He is ready to make his own choices."

 

Last night I could not regenerate. I know the reason. I miss Icheb. I stopped Seven's regeneration cycle, but she did not get mad at me. Seven misses him too. We talked a little about him. Seven thought Icheb had been taken from the surface of Brunal four years ago and was assimilated then. I corrected her. Icheb was taken from a single-person ship in space several months ago, not too long before Voyager and our cube met. Seven said she will look into it and put me back in my cubicle to finish regenerating. I felt better after talking to Seven about Icheb.

 

When my cycle was finished, I looked for Seven. She was at one of the monitors, studying something. When she saw I was awake, she nodded her head and told me she had checked the record in a tactical data node we brought to Voyager when we left our cube. It confirms what I told her. She told me to stay in the cargo bay until she returns from speaking with the captain. I will comply.

 

=/\=

 

Stardate 53714.7

 

Icheb is back. Voyager had to rescue him from a small transport vessel. The captain and crew of Voyager had to fight the Borg to free him. They transported Icheb off his ship and sent a photon torpedo to take his place. When the ship was taken into the cube by the Borg transporter beam, the torpedo exploded. Voyager was also caught in the transporter beam, but the explosion damaged the cube's transporter assembly. Our ship was able to fly away, and the Borg did not follow us. Mr. Lessing said their vessel was too damaged to chase us.

 

I'm glad it did not follow Voyager. It is strange. When I was almost a Borg only a short time ago, I wanted to assimilate Commander Chakotay, Ensign Kim, Ensign Paris, and Neelix, like the aliens we tried to assimilate on our cube. The aliens died from our attempts because we did not know how to do it. Now I would not wish to become a Borg anymore, and I would not want anyone on Voyager to be assimilated. I am an individual now.

 

=/\=

 

Stardate 53812.7

 

Our evening homework session was very productive today. While the Doctor is away, Icheb is our Biology teacher. Ensign Paris is too busy acting as the Chief Medical Officer and the Chief Helmsman at the same time. Icheb agreed to help Ensign Paris. Ensign Paris is very grateful, and Icheb is, too. He is studying genetic manipulation on his own. The Doctor will review his work once he gets back.

 

Azan and I were decrypting data from a damaged tactical data node we took from our cube. I was doing most of the work, as usual. We were translating any information, but especially biological records, from Borg alphanumerics into Federation Standard. Naomi and Rebi were evaluating DNA strands which Icheb wanted to examine in more detail later, as part of his own studies. Naomi noticed one sample looked like it was from a person who is a hybrid. The sample was from Aimee. Naomi said Aimee must be a hybrid. I looked at my notes from the data node and found records of who the parents were. Her father was Species 11478, and her mother was Species 11479, but they did not survive assimilation. We asked Ensign Paris if the reason no one recognized Aimee's species before was because she was a hybrid. He said it was possible.

 

Ensign Paris will bring this to the captain's attention. I was surprised he did not seem happier about our discovery. Neelix and Lieutenant Torres did not look very happy, either. When we brought our completed assignments to Icheb, he said we did well, but even he looked very unhappy. That is not like Icheb.

 

=/\=

 

Stardate 53819.4

 

I know why no one seemed too happy about our discovery. Mr. Lessing explained it to us. We have traveled to the planet where Aimee's mother comes from. If we find anyone who is related to Aimee's mother, Marla Gilmore will have to give her daughter up. Aimee is not old enough to make her own choices. She is a baby. She cannot even talk yet.

 

Marla Gilmore has taken care of Aimee ever since she first came on board. She is not like Icheb's mother, who put him in a space ship and sent him to the Borg twice. Marla Gilmore loves her baby very much. I asked Mr. Lessing to explain love to me. I can see it between Ms. Gilmore and Aimee, but I do not know what it feels like. He reminded me of the way I felt when Icheb stayed with his parents, when I could not regenerate because I missed him so much. Mr. Lessing said Marla Gilmore would miss Aimee even more than that. Aimee does not know any other mother. He think Aimee would feel pain from being separated from Marla Gilmore, too.

 

I think Mr. Lessing is right. I have seen Aimee reach out for Marla Gilmore whenever she comes to pick Aimee up after her duty shift is over. Aimee cries whenever her mother drops her off when she leaves for her shift. How much would she cry if she never saw her mother again?

 

I cannot remember anything about my parents. I spent enough time in my maturation chamber to forget them. I wonder if my parents knew I was going into a maturation chamber to become Borg before they were assimilated? Would they have cried for me?

 

I went to Ensign Paris and Icheb and asked them if they knew how badly Ms. Gilmore would feel. Is that why they were not happier when we made our discovery about Aimee? They admitted it was the reason.

 

I feel terrible. Naomi does, too. She found her own mother crying about it. Ensign Wildman told Naomi this reminds her of something that happened to her and Naomi, but she won't tell Naomi what it was.

 

=/\=

 

Stardate 53823.7

 

Aimee will not have to leave Marla Gilmore after all. Aimee's grandmother decided she would be better off staying on Voyager with Ms. Gilmore. We had a party in the mess hall after the grandmother left. Naomi was the happiest of all of us, but I do not know if I was happy. I felt different. Noah Lessing said what I feel is "relief" because a good thing happened when I was afraid something bad would. I think he is right.

 

The grandmother gave Marla Gilmore permission to adopt her granddaughter, so Aimee will have a mother. Ensign Wildman is Naomi's mother. Seven takes care of us, but she is not really our mother. I do not have one any more. I know Captain Janeway is looking for our families. When I spoke to Seven about missing Icheb, the night I could not regenerate, I told Seven I wanted to stay with her on Voyager always. If Voyager gets back to the Alpha Quadrant, what will happen to me without a mother? Will I wish I was back in the Delta Quadrant, even though no one wants me here?

 

=/\=

 

Stardate 53999.7

 

Ensign Paris is now Lieutenant Paris. Lieutenant Torres told me he used to be a lieutenant, but he was demoted for something he did before I came on board Voyager. I didn't ask her what it was. I can read the official log records if I want to. I know how to access them. He has his rank back. That's the important part.  

 

Something else happened today. Voyager answered a distress call. Seven ordered us to stay in our cargo bay while the ship was heading towards the emergency. That's what we do then. We play or we study our homework whenever there is an emergency distress call.

 

When we came close to where the call was coming from, we were supposed to go to our secure area for Red Alerts, but we didn't need to bother. When the ship came close enough for the sensor readings to be accurate, the captain saw the colony had been destroyed. The weapon signatures indicated it was ruined by the Borg.

 

Seven tried to prevent us from learning that, but I know how to access the official logs. I tried not to be afraid. I did not succeed.

 

=/\=

 

Stardate 54004.6

 

Everywhere we go, preparations are underway. Captain Janeway will be fighting the Borg again. The official logs are not available to me now. Either Captain Janeway knows I have been hacking into the official logs, even though I don't have the right because I don't have any rank on Voyager, or she is keeping them secure to make sure the Borg will not know what she plans to do. I think the second reason is the right one.

 

We have been told to stay out of everyone's way while the work is being done. Whenever we are not regenerating, we stay with Neelix in the mess hall and work on our independent study projects. If "things happen," we must stay in the secure medical lab with Naomi and Aimee. Ensign Wildman and Marla Gilmore take care of us there. If the Borg assimilate the ship, that will not be enough to protect us, but is the safest place to be during an attack. The lab has no windows. It is in the middle of Deck Five. It is farthest away from the outer bulkheads of the ship, but there is an opening into the Jefferies tubes if we need to evacuate that deck. Ensign Wildman is also close to Sickbay, in case she needs to help the Doctor. She is the second highest-rated field medic, after Lieutenant Paris. In an attack, he would be at the helm, flying the ship.

 

=/\=

 

Stardate 54009.6

 

Seven told us what we need to know about the attack on the Borg the captain is planning. Some of the crew will be trying to invade the cube to introduce an infection of some kind into the Central Plexus. Seven's friend Axum from Unimatrix Zero designed it, but it has been changed by the Doctor and Icheb. When it is introduced, the drones with the mutation to enter Unimatrix Zero will be able to remember being there when they wake up, and they can begin a "resistance movement" within the Borg against the Queen.

 

I don't really understand what this Unimatrix Zero is. There is no unimatrix with only the number zero. The bodies of the drones who visit don't actually go anywhere. They stay in their cubicles on their ships and regenerate. Only their minds go to Unimatrix Zero. They can experience individuality there until they wake up and go back to being drones. I never went there, I don't think. Even if I did, I would not know it. The drones cannot remember Unimatrix Zero when they are awake and operational. Naomi said it is a "virtual reality," like the holodeck, but you don't go there in person, like you do if you visit Trevis and Flotter. It's only in your mind.

 

With all the talk about pathogens and infections, I understand something. On our Borg cube, the one where First ruled over us, all the adult drones died. This pathogen Captain Janeway will take to the cube she invades will not kill the drones, but I know where the pathogen that killed the drones on our cube must have come from. The drones died right after the Borg assimilated Icheb. He didn't mean to kill all of them. His parents must have put it inside his DNA with their genetic manipulation abilities. If Captain Janeway wanted to kill all the drones, she would use Icheb's pathogen, but she does not want to do that.

 

Someday she may need to do that to stop the Borg, but the captain would like to return as many drones as she can to individualism, like she has done for Seven, Icheb, Azan, Rebi, Aimee, and me.

 

I'm glad. I like being an individual. It's better than being a Borg.

 

=/\=

 

Stardate 54015.7

 

Our away team has come back, just before the cube they were on blew up. From what Lieutenant Paris told Ensign Kim, I don't think Voyager or the Borg scout sphere that helped us rescue the captain, Commander Tuvok, and Lieutenant Torres did anything that would make it explode. They think the Borg Queen did it. That's what Commander Korok believes, too.

 

His sphere separated from the Collective after the "resistance movement" pathogen was introduced into the Central Plexus. Three of the drones on his crew, and Commander Korok himself, were visitors to Unimatrix Zero. When the pathogen started to work, they were able to overpower the rest of the crew and disconnected them from the Queen's control by force. They also disabled the self-destruct sequence before the Queen realized she could no longer hear them. Commander Korok believes too many drones had their links broken at once for her to deal with all of them at the same time.

 

After the battle, Commander Korok came on board Voyager to meet with Commander Chakotay, Lieutenant Paris, Ensign Kim, and Seven. He is the first full Klingon I have met. Lieutenant Torres is only half Klingon. When he learned we were on board, he asked to be introduced to all of us. He is big and strong. Since he is a Borg/Klingon, he looks fierce, but he was nice to me.

 

Seven wishes her friend Axum had been on a ship nearby. He is further away from Voyager now than Voyager was when it first was drawn into the Delta Quadrant.

 

During the battle, Voyager shook us almost to pieces. Even in the secure area we could feel it. The inertial dampers could not completely stop the shaking. I am starting to think I would like living on a planet. There would be bugs for me to study there, too. I like bugs.

 

Captain Janeway, Commander Tuvok, and Lieutenant Torres are all in Sickbay, healing from the surgery, which the Doctor performed with Lieutenant Paris' help, to remove their Borg implants. They were assimilated, but not completely. The Doctor  gave them a medication that made them like us when we were on our cube. A part of their minds were linked with the Collective, but in another part, they were still themselves, individuals who could act on their own. Also like us, their bodies had not been completely assimilated. The Doctor told Ensign Wildman the implants he could not remove were very small, and in odd places where it was better to leave them alone. None of them should show, the way they do on our faces.

 

Captain Janeway and Lieutenant Torres are doing well, and will leave Sickbay in a few days. Commander Tuvok had a harder time. The medication to keep his own mind separate did not work as well with him, and his assimilation had been more complete. Lieutenant Paris stopped by to speak to Seven and said everything was going to be all right with the three of them.

 

After he spoke with Seven, he asked us if there was anything he could do to make us feel better. He had already visited Naomi, who had been very frightened. I didn't like the feeling of being so helpless. When I was on our own cube, I could act. In the secure area, I could only worry. I told Lieutenant Paris this. He said he would try to come up with a new holodeck program or other activity to give us something to take our minds off what happened.

 

=/\=

 

Stardate 54017.6

 

The captain and Lieutenant Torres are back on duty. Commander Tuvok will not be back for another week. Lieutenant Paris came to see us and said he had been thinking about his promise to us. He must continue to take additional shifts until Commander Tuvok comes back, so he will not have a chance to build a new holodeck program for us for a while.

 

He asked us if we were willing to put on a play instead. Rebi told him we already play games. Lieutenant Paris laughed and said "putting on a play" means to pretend to be other people and act out a story. We would be like the characters in a holodeck program. I told him that sounded like it could be fun. Icheb has been studying the Federation cultural and literary databases, so he knows about plays already. He asked, "Which play should we perform?" Lieutenant Paris suggested we write our own, about something that happened before we met with the Borg.

 

When the ship's power had to be shut down while the nebula entity living on Deck 12 was finally released into his new home, Neelix told us stories to keep us from becoming afraid because of the bumps and weird sounds coming from the lower part of the ship. Lieutenant Paris said he would help us write a play about this we can present to our crew. Neelix has also offered to help. We made a list of all the "actors" we need. We will need more "actors" than there are kids. Lieutenant Paris will talk to Neelix and to Lieutenant Torres to see if they have any ideas about how we could have enough people for all of the "roles" in the play.

 

=/\=

 

Stardate 54019. 6

 

We have it all worked out. Neelix said he will play himself. I will pretend to be Seven. I know I can act just like her, and the implant on my face will make me look even more like her. Naomi has always wanted to be the captain's assistant, so now she will play Captain Janeway. Azan plays Commander Tuvok. Rebi will be Ensign Kim. Marla Gilmore said she would help with the play by helping Aimee play Lieutenant Torres. She will carry her baby around, and any lines "Lieutenant Torres" has, Ms. Gilmore will say for her. That leaves four roles we still need to fill. Lieutenant Torres told us about the play written about her when she was shipwrecked on a planet a while ago. Kelis, the man who wrote the play, had his actors carry masks. They could switch between them in seconds, so the audience could tell which roles the actors were playing from the masks in front of their faces. Icheb will be able to play Commander Chakotay, the Doctor, and Lieutenant Paris that way. The "haunt" from Deck Twelve will be lights, shining on the stage while we play our parts.

 

I felt strange. I talked to Icheb about what I was feeling. He said when your heart beats fast and your face is warm and you breathe hard but you haven't been running, you are excited. He said he was excited, too. We can hardly wait for "fun to commence" this time.

 

=/\=

 

Stardate 54045.8

 

Seven says I need to regenerate, but I want to say this in my diary. The play was really fun! We performed it twice. It was good the first time, but the second time was even better. Lieutenant Torres said Aimee was "so cute" playing her. Now I understand the concept. Aimee was cute.

 

=/\=

 

Stardate 54062.7

 

There was a very exciting race we all got to watch over the past few days. The new Delta Flyer won the first half of the race. Another pilot won the second day's race and was named the winner. The Delta Flyer developed a problem with its warp core. Lieutenant Torres and Lieutenant Paris had to eject it inside a nebula, to protect all of us at the race's finish line. The pretty lady, who was pilot on the ship which Ensign Kim copiloted, was arrested after the race. Icheb said she was responsible for the problem with the Delta Flyer's warp core. He was very angry, because Lieutenant Paris and Lieutenant Torres could have been killed. Instead, they got married today.

 

Naomi and I were flower girls. Azan and Rebi carried the rings. I don't understand why they both had to carry a ring when two rings fit easily in one hand. I guess Lieutenant Paris didn't want to leave one out and make that twin feel bad. We had a huge party afterwards. It was fun.

 

I asked Neelix about getting married. Why do people do it? He said many people form new families that way. I asked him if they were going to have a baby, or if they would adopt one. I never heard his answer. He was laughing too hard, and Seven declared it was time for us to regenerate.

 

When Lieutenant Paris and Lieutenant Torres get back from their "honeymoon, " I'll ask them.

 

=/\=

 

Stardate 54113.6

 

Seven wouldn't explain why we were locked up with most of the crew. I wasn't able to make any diary entries, even though we stayed in our cargo bay. The computer had been turned off. I heard several of the crew became unconscious, or "comatose," the way the Doctor says it. I was worried that Voyager had become another "plague ship," and we were locked away to keep us safe. Whatever was wrong, things are okay again. We were allowed complete freedom of the ship this morning. Some of the crew are saying they are sorry about the "mutiny" to other crew members. I will need to look up what the word "mutiny" means. I never heard it before.

 

A lot of things seem to go wrong on a ship. I have been wishing we could find a nice safe planet to settle on. We were in orbit over a pretty one for a while, but we're underway again now. The Alpha Quadrant isn't my home. I would be happy to stay here in the Delta Quadrant.

 

=/\=

 

Stardate 54118.6

 

The captain summoned me into her ready room today. I have only been in it twice before. Once was when we received our commendations for discovering Aimee's species identity. I was uncomfortable because I felt guilty Marla Gilmore might lose Aimee. After Aimee's grandmother gave permission for Ms. Gilmore to adopt Aimee, my memory about the commendation went from sad to happy. That was odd, but when I mentioned it to the captain, she said it was "understandable."

 

The other time was when the captain invited Naomi and me to "take tea" with her. No one had tea. Naomi and I had lemonade and cookies Neelix had baked. The captain had coffee. Two cups, black. I think she just wanted to talk with us to see how we were "getting on." We said "fine."

 

This time, Seven went with me as far as the captain's door, but she left me without going in. The captain and I sat down on the couch by her window, like at the tea party, but this time we didn't have any tea or lemonade or coffee. Or cookies. She said she had something very important to discuss with me. I told her I knew what it was. Azan and Rebi had already told me their grandparents had been found. The ship was heading towards the Wysanti home world. If the captain thought it was safe for them, they would stay with their grandparents. After what happened with Icheb and his parents, the captain wanted to be more careful with Azan and Rebi.

 

She agreed with what I said, but there was something else she said I needed to know. The grandparents have heard about me. Azan and Rebi's mother had been their only child. She died on the colony world when Azan and Rebi were assimilated. Since the Norcadi never told the captain to bring me to them, the grandparents asked the captain if they could adopt me. "You would have your own family, with two brothers you already know. What do you think, Mezoti?"

 

I told her I was "ambivalent" at first. She smiled when I said that. She said she would be surprised if I wasn't. I asked her if Icheb would be staying on the planet with us, too. The captain said she had already asked him. Icheb wants to stay on Voyager.

 

I told her I could not give an answer right away. It had always been the four of us with Seven since we left our cube. It was hard adapting to life on Voyager in the beginning because Seven was not used to taking care of children. She had been a playmate of Naomi's. As Seven became used to caring for us, the way Ensign Wildman takes care of Naomi and Marla Gilmore cares for Aimee, we were able to adapt to life on the ship

 

I know I would miss Icheb if I left. I remembered how I felt when he stayed with his parents and I could not regenerate that night. I told Seven then I wanted to stay on Voyager with her and never leave. Since the attack on the Borg, when the ship was almost destroyed, and the mutiny, when we were locked away, I haven't been as sure about what I would do if I had a choice of going or staying. I told the captain all of this. She said she understood.

 

According to Mazani and Arebi, the twins' grandparents, their planet is beautiful. The captain has seen images the grandparents sent her to show to Azan and Rebi, and she thinks it's a very beautiful place, too. Their world has many unspoiled lands and seas, with animals, plants and insects in a natural environment that I could study. There are no Borg conduits nearby, like there was with Icheb's home planet.

 

The captain also explained that life on a starship is dangerous for everyone. She has lost many crew members since coming to the Delta Quadrant, and it gives her a lot of pain to think of them, and others who might be lost in the future. A starship is a difficult place to raise a child. Aimee and Naomi have their own parents to care for them here, which helps make up for that. With Mazani and Arebi, I could have a real family of my own.

 

From the way Captain Janeway spoke, I realized she wanted me to stay with Azan and Rebi and their relatives. She wants me to be safe. I want to be safe, too. The Norcadi don't want me. Seven and Icheb want me, but not to adopt, the way Marla Gilmore adopted Aimee. Many things can go wrong on a starship. As the captain said, she has already lost many friends on the crew. She believes it would be better for me to stay on the Wysanti world. Although I want to stay with Seven and Icheb, I would miss Azan and Rebi when they left, as I did when Icheb left us to stay with his parents. I want to study insects, and the best place to do that is in their natural habitats. It's a difficult choice, but the captain seems to think I'm old enough to make it.

 

Finally, after thinking about everything for a while, I told the captain I would stay on this planet and live with Azan and Rebi when they left the ship.

 

Seven was at her post on the bridge behind the command chair when I left the captain's ready room.  Icheb stood next to Lieutenant Paris, at the helm. They looked at my face, and then at each other. I didn't need to say anything. They nodded at me, and we went to Cargo Bay 2 to tell Azan and Rebi what I had decided.

 

=/\=

 

Stardate 54129.8

 

We have been in orbit over the Wysanti home world for the past two days, visiting with Azan and Rebi's grandparents. Mazani and Arebi are very nice. They said they are "thrilled" to find their grandchildren alive and well, and that they will be able to live with them.

 

After we visited with them at their house the first day, Mazani told me what she'd said to Captain Janeway when she found out about me. She's lost her only daughter, and even though she's very happy to be able to raise her grandsons, she would like to have a daughter to raise again, too. She told me, "Sons are wonderful, but I'm more used to having a daughter!" When she hugged me and told me she wanted me to be her daughter, I could tell she meant it.

 

I studied the Wysanti cultural database which Arebi sent the captain while we were on our way to their world. The Wysanti don't believe in goodbyes. I thought that is a good thing. I didn't want to say goodbye. I wish there was a way I could stay on Voyager and still live with Azan and Rebi's grandparents, but it isn't possible. Since I didn't want to offend Mazani and Arebi, Seven and Icheb took the twins and me around to the people we are close to on Voyager to say our goodbyes before Mazani came for us.

 

Naomi and Ensign Wildman were with Neelix in Ensign Wildman's quarters when we saw them. Naomi and Ensign Wildman both cried. My eyes were wet, too. Neelix didn't cry, but he said family was important. He was sure having one of my own would be "a blessing."

 

Noah Lessing and Marla Gilmore were together in her quarters, too, when I said goodbye to Aimee and to them. Mr. Lessing told me to keep up with my studies and I would "go far." I have already gone far since I came on Voyager, but I think he meant that I would make great progress in my life. I hugged Aimee and Ms. Gilmore. Azan and Rebi just said goodbye to them. I think I feel closer to the family than they do.

 

When we arrived in Engineering to say goodbye to Lieutenant Torres and her crew, there were cupcakes and a fizzy liquid Lieutenant Paris called "soda." We stayed there for over an hour while many of the crew came to see us. The Doctor, Ensign Kim, Ensign Vorik, Lieutenant Carey, Commander Tuvok, Tal Celes, Mulcahey, and many others came in and out to share in the cupcakes, the soda, and give us hugs goodbye. It was a "surprise bon voyage party," according to Lieutenant Paris. This was his idea, I'm sure. He told me "bon voyage" meant "good journey." I told him Voyager will be making more of a good journey than I will, once I'm living on a planet. I said I hoped they would all return home to the Alpha Quadrant safely. I thanked Lieutenant Torres for letting me be a flower girl at their wedding. There were a lot of wet eyes before we left Engineering. By this time, I was wondering if I was making the right choice by leaving Voyager, but it would not be fair to Mazani and Arebi to change my mind now.

 

Finally, we went to the bridge. Commander Chakotay was in command. Lieutenant Ayala, Ensign Lang, and Ensign Hamilton were there, and they all said goodbye to us. Ensign Lang had wet eyes, too. Captain Janeway came out of her ready room to accompany us to the transporter room, just before Mazani was to arrive.

 

Azan and Rebi's grandmother looks much younger than I had imagined from holodeck programs and stories I'd read. The cultural database said that the Wysanti age more slowly than many races, and I believe it. Our luggage and portable regenerator units were ready for us to take down to the planet. All we had to do was get on the transporter pad and go down to the surface with Mazani.

 

That's when I became really frightened. I didn't want to leave Seven and Icheb behind. I told Icheb it wasn't too late. He could still come with us. Icheb replied that he had found his home on Voyager. He reminded me that if I wanted to, I could still stay with him.

 

I saw Seven's face. I know she didn't want me to go, either, but after my talk with the captain, I was sure she also thought I'd be safer on a planet, living with a family. Seven wouldn't have to worry about me anymore when Voyager had trouble with alien species or the Borg when they attacked the ship. It was best that I go, but it was so hard to leave.

 

I stepped onto the transporter platform, but then I knew I had to say goodbye in the way everyone on Voyager was saying goodbye to me. I ran down and told Seven I preferred the human way to say goodbye. I gave her a big hug. After that, Azan and Rebi stepped down and hugged Seven goodbye, too. We stepped back up on the platform to Mazani, and Voyager shimmered away.

 

I apologized to Mazani for being culturally inappropriate in our goodbyes. She said she understood. Her eyes were wet, too. Voyager's transporters had placed us right before Arebi and Mazani's door. We brought our things into our room. I don't know what the twins did then. I stayed in my new room for over an hour, crying.

 

=/\=

 

Stardate 54132.4

 

Icheb and Seven contacted us today over the communication system to see how we were doing. I was so happy to see them, but I thought Seven looked different. Tired. I don't remember ever seeing her looking like that before, but when I asked, she said she was fine. Icheb did most of the talking. He said Voyager would be proceeding slowly for the next several days because repairs are needed. I didn't remember any of the ship's systems giving the crew trouble when we arrived in orbit over the Wysanti home world. It must be a new problem. The good thing about it is Voyager will remain in communication range a little longer that we had expected. He said we should hear from them again soon.

 

I almost asked Icheb to come back for me, but it wouldn't be right to make Voyager waste fuel, especially if they already needed to make repairs to the ship. Mazani and Arebi have been so kind to me. I'm sure I will feel better about everything soon.

 

=/\=

 

Stardate 54141.4

 

I heard from Seven and Icheb again today. This is the fifth time since I left Voyager. They will be traveling at much higher speeds from now on. According to Icheb, the repairs are finished. Seven hasn't said much during any of our communications. She looks even more tired now. I asked her if she is very sad because we left her. She said she misses me very much, but it is "for the best" I stayed with Azan and Rebi.

 

Icheb looked at her when she said that. He looked very thoughtful, but he didn't say anything. I can't help feeling there is something they are not telling me.

 

=/\=

 

Stardate 54174.4

 

Seven and Icheb contacted us again today. Voyager will be moving out of com range in the next couple of days. They believe this will be the last time they will have a chance to speak to us over the view screen. They will try to keep exchanging word messages with us for as long as possible.

 

Seven looks much better, but now Icheb looks tired. He said he had a "slight problem" for several days, but the Doctor has just released him from medical leave. Icheb didn't want to miss this chance to speak with us. Seven reported that Icheb has passed his Starfleet Academy entrance examinations. Commander Tuvok will begin Icheb's tutorials in the next few days. Icheb looked much happier when Seven told us that. Seven said she is very proud of him.

 

I told them I am doing very well in my classes, including my lessons in the Wysanti language, but I will keep up with my studies in Federation Standard, too. I may need it again someday.

 

I didn't want our visit to end. I realized this is our real goodbye. Azan and Rebi said hello, but they left before the communication was over. They say they miss Seven and Icheb, but I know it isn't the way I miss them. I cried for a very long time after our communication ended. It's too late for me to change my mind, but I know I made a mistake leaving Voyager. Seven said it was "for the best." I have to accept my decision, no matter how badly I feel about it now.

 

=/\=

 

Stardate 54277.7

 

I received a written communication from Icheb today. Voyager has set down on a planet for a few days. He has been helping Lieutenant Torres in Engineering with the major maintenance overhaul Voyager needs. While he is working in Engineering, Seven has left for an away mission with Ensign Kim and Neelix. Icheb said everyone is well.

 

I sent a message back, telling him I was doing well, too. I wanted to say I wished I was with them, but I decided not to. There was no point.

 

=/\=

 

Stardate 54574.7

 

I created a calendar for my room. Although a day on this planet lasts only five minutes more than a standard day on Voyager, a year on the Wysanti home world is 1.283 times a standard Federation year. By using this calendar, I will be able to keep track of Federation stardates. They were only a small part of my life on Voyager, but I want to hold onto that small part.

 

Since Icheb's brief message on Stardate 54277, I have had no word from anyone on Voyager. I hope they have simply traveled out of normal subspace transmission range. I asked Arebi about this. He had spoken with Captain Janeway and Lieutenant Paris before Voyager left orbit. They shared their anticipated course and an estimate of their average speed with him. They knew Arebi would understand this, since he's a spaceship pilot. He calculated Voyager's anticipated position and agreed they are most likely out of transmission range by now.

 

I am very fond of Mazani and Arebi. Arebi speaks with me often about the sciences, since he sees how interested I am in many scientific disciplines. He helped me build a new ant farm, with a species of insects native to the Wysanti. We take walks in the woods with Azan and Rebi, learning about the plant and animal life. Mazani comes with us when she is not inspired to create her art. She made a model of Voyager to hang from the ceiling in my room. Both of them are very kind. Mazani treats me like a daughter, just as she said she would.

 

But now I understand what it means to love your family, because I know I will always love Seven and Icheb and everyone on Voyager. They are my first family, my true family, since I cannot remember my own parents. I care for Mazani and Arebi and the twins very much, but it isn't the same. Mazani saw I was sad one day and asked me about why I was crying in my room. I didn't want to say anything about this, but in the end, I did. She hugged me. The Wysanti aren't against hugging, just not during a goodbye, like when I left Voyager. She said I should work hard and keep loving all the people I love the same as I always have. Who knows what may happen tomorrow? I may see them again. I will take her advice. She is a wonderful mother, and her daughter, Azan and Rebi's mother, was very lucky. But I am not her.

 

=/\=

 

Stardate 54686.6

 

I am doing very well in my studies. I have earned high honors for academic achievement this year at my school. I now speak, read, and write Wysanti fluently. However, I have been continuing my studies in Federal Standard and in Borg, including Borg alphanumerics. Arebi agrees with my keeping up with those lessons. He said it is a good idea to be fluent in as many languages as possible, because you never know when you may need that knowledge.

 

=/\=

 

Stardate 54976.7

 

A Norvalen merchant came to see us yesterday. He came to our world to trade, but he had a visual message he had been asked to deliver to us if his trip brought him close to the Wysanti world. I was very excited when I saw it was from Neelix! It was so good to see a familiar face from Voyager. Neelix wanted us to know that he had also decided to stay in the Delta Quadrant.

 

On the way to the Alpha Quadrant, Voyager passed near an asteroid field where a group of Talaxians had settled. Their colony was located inside an asteroid, which the Talaxians are gradually hollowing out for their homes. Neelix met a very nice Talaxian woman named Dexa and her son Brax there. Brax's dad died a few years ago. When it was time for Voyager to continue on its journey, Neelix decided to stay with Dexa. The Alpha Quadrant was never his home, any more than it was mine. His Talaxian people wanted him to stay with them.

 

Neelix looked so very happy, I was glad for him. It made me wonder what I would do if the Norcadi had built a colony and asked me to stay with them. Would I stay? Perhaps, but I think I would still miss Seven and Icheb just as much. If I had the choice to make today, I would have stayed on Voyager and gone with them to the Alpha Quadrant.

 

Another part of Neelix's message was even more exciting. Shortly after we left the ship, Starfleet discovered a way to keep in touch with Voyager that was even better than the Pathfinder data streams they had been using. For eleven minutes a day, face-to-face communications with the Alpha Quadrant are now possible. Before Voyager left him, Neelix was given what he needed to use it, too. This new technique and equipment will allow Neelix to keep in touch with Voyager until it finally arrives in the Alpha Quadrant. At some point, he might be able to relay a message from me to Voyager. Until then, the trader who brought me this message from Neelix is willing to relay messages like this between us. Masseni travels from Neelix's sector to ours at least four times in a Wysanti year.

 

Before Masseni left on the next leg of his trading mission, I recorded a message for him to deliver to Neelix and to Voyager. I would like to say Azan and Rebi recorded the message with me, but neither of them said anything other than hello. I understand why Mazani wanted me to stay with her, even though she had her grandsons back. The boys are not very talkative at any time, and if it's about emotional things, it's even worse. They'd rather be out playing sports. Mazani, Arebi, and I talk about all sorts of subjects, all the time. It would be very quiet at dinnertime if I were not here.

 

=/\=

 

Stardate 55183.5

 

Recently, the Wysanti have been receiving reports from trading ships about fields of mechanical debris in this sector and in those nearby, extending in every direction along regular trading routes. Sensor readings indicate all this debris comes from Borg ships. Some of the merchants say it looks like they self-destructed for some reason. Arebi had not wanted to tell us anything about this before, because he and Mazani thought it would upset us. Azan and Rebi could care less. All they care about are their favorite sporting teams. I told Arebi this did not upset me, either. By the time I left Voyager, I knew I had been Borg, but I was not anymore.

 

The reason Arebi is telling me this now is that the Wysanti leadership needs my help. Three Borg scout ships are now in orbit above our planet. The Borg have sent us messages which the leaders believe say that the Borg on these ships are no longer part of the Collective. They are not here to attack or assimilate anyone. All they want is to land here to obtain medical assistance for their drones.

 

I was very surprised. Borg nanoprobes heal much better than most medical procedures and medicines. Azan, Rebi, and I still have some nanoprobes in our bodies, and the doctors here say we are healthier than 99% of the young people they see.

 

When the Wysanti leaders told Arebi they are not sure the messages are being interpreted correctly, he told them his daughter Mezoti has lived with the Borg and can read Borg alphanumerics well, better than his grandsons do. They asked Arebi to bring me to them to read the messages, to check on the accuracy of their cryptologists' translations. I said I would go.

 

Most of the translations were done correctly. The term they mistranslated as "medical assistance" was actually "surgical procedures." I explained to the leadership that when I was rescued from the Borg, the Doctor on Voyager removed many of my implants because they were being rejected by my body or functioned so poorly I was better off without them. If these drones were also disconnected from the Collective, they might need surgical interventions like these.

 

The leaders asked me to send a message to the Borg to communicate by viewscreen. Seconds after I sent it, the screen flickered with light. Three Borg drones were visible. At least they looked somewhat like Borg, but I could see their bodies were rejecting their implants. They also looked like they suffered from infections too serious for the nanoprobes in their body to heal. I did not need to say anything to the leaders. Even non-medical professionals could see what was wrong with them. The leaders still felt they had to be cautious. They authorized the Borg to send two of the most seriously ill drones to the surface to be evaluated by surgeons.

 

The Wysanti doctors who saw them quickly agreed they required treatment. The scout ships landed, and all of the drones on board were brought to hospitals immediately. When we returned home and told the rest of the family what had happened, Mazani remembered the medical logs the Doctor of Voyager sent to her. He told Mazani he was sending information about everything he had ever learned about treating former Borgs, including treatment plans for problems with residual implants and when it was better to remove them, even if it was risky to the patient. If some aren't removed, the former drone might die. Others are so important, they need to be kept in place for the drone's body to function. He sent data he had gathered even before Seven came on board Voyager, from an autopsy he had performed on a long-dead Borg drone corpse. Mazani had given the records to our physician. She contacted him and asked him to share the information with the hospitals treating the former Borg. He agreed to do this.

 

=/\=

 

Stardate 55192.5

 

Arebi and I went to visit a group of five former drones who were recuperating in a medical center near our home. We learned how they came to be disconnected from the Borg.

 

They all carry the Unimatrix Zero mutation and visited there before it was destroyed by the Borg Queen. In fact, all of the Borg landing on the Wysanti world had been in the Resistance begun by Captain Janeway two Federation Standard years ago. Because their ships are small, without a large number of drones, they had been able to overpower drones still linked to the Queen and take over their ships. Whenever they could, they broke the link the others on their ships had with the Queen so these others also became part of the Resistance. While they had problems with some of their implants after this, it got worse a few months ago, after many other Borg ships began to blow up spontaneously. They are unsure what happened to the Queen in Unimatrix Zero-One. None of the living former drones know of any drone still linked to her. The Hive seems to be destroyed. They don't know how or why.

 

For a while after their implants began to fail, they were able to keep ahead of the problem by removing them any way they could. Infections became worse over time, and their nanoprobes could not heal them quickly enough before another made them sick.

 

They are very grateful to the Wysanti for providing care to them. Of the fifty-one drones that landed, two were too ill to survive. Four others are very sick. The condition of these four is described as "guarded" by the physicians. I asked the doctors and Arebi if I could visit the five who are near us again. Arebi did not give me his reply right away. As we were leaving, he asked me if the condition of these drones was too terrible for me to see. They were missing eyes and arms because of the loss of the mechanisms that had once been attached to their bodies. I told Arebi that it was upsetting to see them, but I know what they are going through. I did not have many defective parts for the Doctor to remove, but it is still an adjustment. It is worth it to become an individual living in one mind, but it takes time to learn how to do that, especially if they were raised in maturation chambers, the way I was, and do not remember what it was like to be an individual before assimilation. But "they will adapt, as I did." Arebi said he is willing for me to visit again as long as he or Mazani come with me.

 

After we arrived home and spoke with the rest of the family, I spent several hours contemplating my existence and my history, both as a neonatal drone and an individual. If I had stayed with Voyager, I would not be in a position to help these former Borg drones to obtain the care they need to survive. For the first time I felt good about the choice I made when I decided to stay here with Azan and Rebi. Even though I would still like to live with Seven and Icheb again someday, I am glad I am here now to be of assistance to those who needed help.

 

=/\=

 

Stardate 55221.5

 

I visited the medical center where Tc'ikan, SEvuAla, Meruk'an, and Veria Sala were hospitalized. All four will be released "home" to their scout ships tomorrow. They are all very glad to have met me. Azan and Rebi visited with them several times, but I came the most. That is not surprising. I feel a great kinship with all of them, and with the forty-three others who survive. All of them are expected to live now. To lose only four is a great accomplishment, considering their condition when they came to be treated, according to the doctors. Many more would have died if Mazani had not shared the medical records from Voyager's Doctor. My help translating Borg alphanumerics was also "essential" and made the doctors' work "more efficient."

 

Seven would have been proud of me. Perhaps I will be able to let her know someday.

 

=/\=

 

Stardate 55324.5

 

Masseni came to call today. I finally received word from Neelix. He had wonderful news to share with me. Voyager arrived home several months ago. Almost everyone is well. Now that he had such good news to share, he said he would share the sad news. Lieutenant Carey was killed just a few weeks before Neelix found the Talaxian colony where he now lives. He said he was sorry he did not tell me about Lieutenant Carey before, but he didn't want to upset me in his first message.

 

He had more good news. He and Dexa are married. Brax is fond of his "new dad," which I was pleased to hear. They are a very happy family.

 

The best news of all, as far as I am concerned, is that he sent along the schematics for a powerful communication device that, if it is set up properly, will allow us to communicate directly for a limited part of every day, if we wish. It involves bouncing the signal in a certain way off quantum singularities. As soon as I called Arebi to look at what Neelix sent, he confirmed that Wysanti technology should be able to handle the construction of this device and aim it the way it needs to be in order to bounce to Neelix's location. Arebi believes it will be of interest to the leadership because it could also allow communications with other worlds which are out of normal subspace communication range. Eventually, we may even be able to achieve direct communication as far away as the Alpha Quadrant for a few minutes of every day. If that happens, I could speak with Icheb and Seven directly, not just in the relay set up Neelix discussed in his first message.

 

Neelix inquired if we have had any former Borg drones come to the Wysanti world for help. He has heard of many coming to planets in the sector where he currently lives. He sent this as a warning, but since we have already had seven more scout ships ask us for help besides the first three, it isn't necessary. I will advise him about all the ones which have landed here when I return his message. Masseni is going back that way now, so it should not take so long for my reply to get to Neelix, but if the communication device is built and set up soon enough, I may be able to tell Neelix about it before our merchant friend arrives at Neelix's asteroid home.

 

When I shared this information with Masseni, he said he would be sorry not to stop by to exchange messages any more. Arebi told him he was welcome to come any time he wished. We are grateful for his help. Just by delivering the schematics and instructions, he has provided a great service to the Wysanti. Arebi looked at me then and added, "Who knows? Perhaps someone from here will want to go on a trading trip with you someday."

 

Arebi knows I would like to make my future in space. I like living on this planet, but now I realize I am not meant to stay here all my life. Arebi and Mazani understand that I will leave them someday, perhaps when I am grown. Maybe even sooner, if certain people should ever come and ask me if I want to travel with them again.

 

=/\=

 

Stardate 59994.7

 

I heard from Neelix today. The Delta Explorer is arriving at Talax 2-A in twenty-two days. The ship utilizes the folding space technology and is the largest ever built using this method of propulsion. It has a crew complement of seventy-four. From Talax 2-A, it will take forty-seven days to arrive at the Wysanti home world. The Ambassador to the Federation from Accordia and his wife are aboard. They are coming on a diplomatic mission from the Federation to the Wysanti, but they also have another reason to come here.

 

Mazani and Arebi said they knew I would be theirs for only a short time once they learned I was destined to live my life in space. It has been a precious, happy time they spent with me, and they are sad I will be leaving, but with this new method of travel, we may be able to visit each other. We will certainly be able to communicate through the Trans-Intergalactic Com Link system pioneered by Reginald Barclay, Harry Kim, Annika Hansen, and Project Pathfinder. I will have more contact with my Wysanti foster parents than I ever did with Voyager, once the ship moved out of subspace communication range. Mazani and Arebi were happy to foster me when I needed them. I did need them, but they accept that I need others more.

 

When the Delta Explorer leaves here, I will be one of her passengers. My true family will reunite when I am with Seven (who almost everyone now calls Annika Hansen) and her adopted son Icheb. He is a lieutenant on the Delta Explorer, so I will see him again, too. He will truly become my brother when we return to the Alpha Quadrant. Seven and her husband Axum are adopting me. I have spoken to Axum many times over the T-ICL system, although this will be the first time we will meet in person. I will move with them to the Borg refugee planet Accordia, but that will only be until I qualify for Starfleet Academy. Arebi and Mazani are correct. My destiny has always been to live my life in space, even though I did not always realize it.

 

First, I will be reunited with my true family. I am not ambivalent about this change in my life. I am certain this is the right course for me to follow.

 

I will try to remain patient until they arrive.

 

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