A Fire of Devotion: Part 4 of 4: Hotter Than Hell: Chapter Three

Chapter Three

The Doctor excitedly scanned the small piece of comet that had been beamed into a canister in the rear compartment of the Delta Flyer. While not his primary field of expertise, he was grateful for the opportunity to go on an away mission, especially since it had been a month since he’d gotten to leave Voyager, back when he had joined the majority of the command staff to celebrate the end of the Antarian Trans-Stellar Rally.

The ship shuddered, throwing off his scans, and he rolled his eyes as he tapped his comm badge. “Lieutenant Kim, please try to hold us steady. This material is extremely fragile.”

“I’m doing the best I can, Doc,” Harry replied.
“Maybe I should’ve insisted on a more experienced pilot, like Mr. Paris.”

“Might I point out, Doctor,” Seven of Nine over the same comm channel, “that being passive-aggressive is not likely to ensure a smoother flight.”

“Fine, fine. Seven, could you join me back here please?”
“On my way,” Seven said.
“I don’t know if I can take another three days of comet chasing with him,” Harry muttered.
“I heard that, Harry,” The Doctor said.

There was no response from Harry. Moments later the door opened and Seven stepped in. The Doctor held up an even smaller sample he’d taken from the main one, running a scanning device over it.
“Ah, Seven. I figured you might find this interesting,” he said, placing the sample under a standard Starfleet issue microscope, and sending the image to one of the wall monitors.
“Pre-animate biomatter,” Seven said. “Interesting.”

“I know, right?” The Doctor said. “But look deeper.”
Seven looked at the image for a more seconds. “An undeveloped nucleus contained in a cytoplasmic matrix.”
“And buried deep inside the nucleus, primitive strands of DNA,” The Doctor said, smiling. “The beginnings of life.”
“Very interesting,” Seven said.
“Oh yes. To think, someday this cytoplasmic matrix may fall into the primordial sea of a distant world, where it could ignite an evolutionary process. Eons from now, a life form not unlike yourself could emerge, look up at the stars, and-”
The Doctor’s speech was cut off brutally by the ship shaking again. The Doctor had enough experience to know that this kind of shuddering was usually brought on by weapons fire.
“We’re under attack,” Harry’s voice said. “Get to the cockpit and strap yourselves in. Seven, I’ll need to man tactical.”
“On it,” Seven replied, bolting for the door. The Doctor followed her, wondering who could possibly be attacking a small ship out following a comet. It was likely not anyone they had encountered before as Harry would almost certainly have said who it was.

Harry tried to fly the ship and hail the attacker at the same time, telling them who they are and that they were on a peaceful mission.
“You’re transporting a suspected photonic insurgent through Lokirrim space,” the reply from the other ship said, with a clipped, militaristic tone of voice. “Drop your shields and prepare to be boarded.”

Photonic? The Doctor thought. A hologram? Are they attacking us because of me? What did I do?

“Photonic insurgent?” Harry said. “If you’re referring to the hologram he’s our doctor.”
The reply to that comment was another attack, this one hitting the ship hard enough to nearly send everyone tumbling out of their chairs.

“We’ve lost thrusters,” Seven said.
“The comm array’s down too, I can’t contact Voyager,” Harry said.
“If they board us I’m dead,” The Doctor said. “It’s obvious these people have a real problem with holograms.”
“Couldn’t we just turn you off?” Harry said. “The mobile emitter will hold your program.”
“Given the apparent nature of our assailants,” Seven said, “it is likely they will simply wipe or physically destroy the emitter once they find it. We do have another option, though it is a rather desperate one.”

“Store my program inside you, like when you got me off the Equinox?” The Doctor said. “That’s too risky.”
“It did work before,” Seven said.
“Yes, but I was only in there for less than an hour. Who knows how long-”
The ship shuddered once again, differently this time.
“They have us in a tractor beam,” Harry said. “Whatever you’re going to do, do it fast. I’d rather not have to explain to the Captain how I lost our CMO.”
“Deactivate your program,” Seven said. “I will take the mobile emitter and do what needs to be done.”

The Doctor would’ve sighed if he had a breath.
“Alright,” he said, manipulating the buttons on his emitter for what he hoped wouldn’t be the final time.

Four armed Lokirrim boarded the Flyer just as Seven completed the process. She removed her assimilation tubules from the mobile emitter and dropped it under the tactical console, though she knew it would be found. Hopefully they would be able to take it back with them once they were set free.
“We don’t want to hurt you,” the shortest of the four, presumably a female, said. “We just want the insurgent.”
“His program was destroyed,” Seven said. “Your tractor beam caused a destabilization in his matrix. You killed him.”
“Search the ship,” the tallest of the boarders said. Soon, one of them, another female as far as Seven could tell, came back to the cabin with the canister carrying the chunk of comet with them.
“There is biogenic material in this container,” she said. “It could be used to create viral weapons.”
The tall one nodded. “Confiscate it,” he said.
“Our Doctor was using those spores to synthesize new medicines, not weapons,” Seven said, hoping she was putting on a good performance. She hadn’t had much opportunity to engage in acting since that play she and Samantha had staged over two years ago. She didn’t need much inspiration to be angry however. The unprovoked attack was more than enough for that, and though it had been a month, if she had to she could always call up from memory the mix of negative emotions she’d felt after her encounter with Sam’s mother.

“There’s no one else aboard,” the shortest one said.
“Take them into detention,” the tall one said, looking at Seven and Harry, “and secure their ship in the docking bay.”
“You got what you wanted didn’t you?” Harry said, “Just let us go.”
“Transporting photonics and manufacturing biogenic weapons are serious charges,” the tall one said.
“You have no evidence that we were making weapons and you know it,” Harry said. “Your ‘evidence’ is a chunk of rock.”

“A chunk of rock that was being scanned by a photonic,” the tall one said. “And your uniforms are fairly similar to ones we’ve seen other photonic insurgents wearing. That’s evidence enough for me. Get them out of my sight.”

Two of the other Lokirrim, one grabbing Harry’s arm, the other forcefully grabbing Seven’s, took them to the airlock door, and once the Flyer was secured inside the other ship’s hold, they were taken to a cell and shoved inside after their comm badges were removed.

It was smaller than any of the cells in Voyagers brig, with an uncomfortable metal bunk bed, not unlike the one Seven had had to share with Commander Tuvok when they had been captured last year to be forced into a Tsunkatse tournament.
Harry sighed.
“Well, assuming they don’t just summarily execute us, in a few days Captain Janeway will come looking for us. This ship might have been too much for the Delta Flyer, but-”

“I imagine the captain will make at least a token effort at diplomacy before resorting to violence,” Seven said.

“I’m not gonna lie, Seven,” Harry said, “but I think I’d take great pleasure in seeing this ship get a few holes punched in it. Can you believe the nerve of those people? To look at our lab and somehow see a bioweapons plant in it?”
“Corrupt law enforcement is not a new phenomenon,” Seven said. “In this quadrant, or the Alpha Quadrant.”
“So, are you saying they’re probably going to try and railroad us as payback for them not getting to take the Doctor?”
“It’s a plausible outcome,” Seven said.

“It bothers me how you can be so casual about this.”
“Do mistake my current demeanor for a lack of anger, Harry. I just don’t see any point in complaining about our situation. Our primary focus should be to determine if escape is possible.”
“Good point,” Harry said.
Seven and Harry spent the next several minutes going over the cell. After two close visual inspections they found no obvious weaknesses, but also saw a lack of any apparent listening devices. Seven also noted that the main room that all the detention cells were in lacked a guard. This seemed like an odd flaw in this ship’s security, as Voyager’s brig usually had someone on duty there even when the cells were unoccupied, which was a majority of the time.
“So, how long do you think you can handle the Doc being, in, well…”
“Unknown. The only time we did this previously his program was stored within my Borg implants for approximately twenty-five minutes.”
“We’re definitely going to be here longer than that. If you start to have any problems at all, let me know, alright?”
“Understood,” Seven said, hoping that Harry’s concern would turn out to be unwarranted.
“And on a more selfish note,” Harry said, “soon as one of our captors comes back I’m going to request they clean this cell. It smells like whoever or whatever they had in here last.”
“I wasn’t going to mention it, but yes, the scent in this room is rather repulsive. But how can you be certain it’s the cell itself and not the ship?”
“Did you smell anything like this until they turned on that force field?”
Seven thought about it for a moment. “I did not. Hopefully we won’t be stuck with this too long. It should go without saying though that I will insist on multiple showers when we get back to Voyager. I do not wish to risk transferring any of this smell to my wife.”

Hours passed, and the only person Harry saw during that time was the stone silent Lokirrim guard who brought him and Seven food. He tasted it and nearly gagged.
“Yuck. My uniform would taste better than this,” Harry said.
“I have ingested worse,” Seven said. “This is not my first time incarcerated on an alien craft after all.”
“Mine either,” Harry said, “but still.” He saw Seven rubbing the back of her neck and shifting. “You okay?”
“Mild discomfort,” Seven said. “Likely from the long periods of sitting.”
“Try getting up and moving around a little. I know there isn’t much space but-”
Seven stood up and began pacing the cell before Harry could finish the sentence.
“Perhaps some idle conversation to pass the time is in order,” Seven said.

“You’ve never been one for small talk before,” Harry said. “What changed.”
“To be honest, I do not know,” Seven said. “I just feel… compelled, all of a sudden.”
Harry shrugged.
“Okay. Um, how about Icheb? I heard he didn’t take it too well when he found out that wormhole he found last week went the wrong way.”
“He was disappointed,” Seven said, “however I made it clear to him that were it not for the neutrino detection techniques he developed last year for the ship’s science fair, we likely never would’ve found it in the first place. That in itself is an accomplishment. That the opposite end of the wormhole would’ve deposited us more than twenty-thousands light years behind us is unfortunate, but not his fault.”

“You could have also added that according to our probe we would’ve come out right in the middle of a massive Hirogen hunting party,” Harry said. “That might’ve helped.”
“Perhaps,” Seven said. She stopped pacing for a moment and looked upward slightly. “I wonder if-”

Her thought was interrupted by the sound of the door to the brig opening. Two Lokirrim walked in, the shorter female who had boarded the Flyer before, and another male.
“You, female,” the Lokirrim woman said, pointing at Seven. “Come with us.”
“I’m the senior officer,” Harry said, standing at attention. “If you’re going to take someone take me.” I’m also not the one with kids to look after, he thought. If this goes bad-

“My orders were specific,” the Lokirrim woman said.
“Don’t worry, Lieutenant, I can take care of myself,” Seven said.

Harry raised an eyebrow at that. It was definitely Seven of Nine talking, but something about the tone of her voice… Whatever it was she seemed to have noticed herself because she looked briefly confused at her own words as the male Lokirrim guard led her out, after which the female one reactivated the force field.

Harry got as close to the field as he dared, having learned the hard way that these force fields packed more of a shock than the ones on Voyager. He watched all three of them leave, then sighed.

“Two and a half days,” he muttered to himself. “We just need to survive for two and a half days, then Janeway will come and get us.”

Seven was led by the male guard onto the Delta Flyer, which looked much better from the outside than she would’ve expected given how much damage they’d taken earlier. The female guard waited outside while the male took her to the back room of the Flyer, where the tall one, the one who’d ordered her and Harry arrested in the first place, waited.
“The prisoner, sir,” the male guard said. The tall one nodded, and the guard left. Seven was surprised that she’d been left with her hands and legs free, considering that she was now alone in a relatively confined space with this ship’s commanding officer. It was doubtful they mistook her for a non-threat given her size and gender. After all, the female Lokirrim who had brought her was by all appearances comparable to her in size. If Seven hadn’t had enhanced strength due to her remaining implants it was likely that in a fight the two of them would be evenly matched. Was this confidence or arrogance on the part of the commander?
“Pulse-phased weapons,” the tall one said, “duranium-enforced hull. Hmm. Much more sophisticated than the typical smuggler’s vessel.”
“I would imagine,” Seven said, “given that we are not smugglers. We’re explorers. As I have explained to you twice already before you threw myself and Lieutenant Kim in a cell. If you would allow us to contact our primary ship, our Captain could-”

“If you’re innocent,” the tall one said. “then you won’t mind telling me more about this vessel.”
Seven let out an exasperated sigh, and wondered where that came from. She had reacted that way to things before, but to the best of her recollection she was usually far more annoyed at those moments than she was now. She also thought very briefly that she felt another presence in the room, but she pushed it aside so she could respond to the Lokirrim commander’s request.

“Her builder would be more qualified to tell you what she can do,” Seven said, which was mostly true. Though she had helped design this one, more so than its predecessor even, Tom Paris seemed to have an almost empathic connection with this ship, despite not being a Borg, or even a Binar.

“Perhaps, but since you are here and not them, tell me, what does this device do?” The tall one pointed at the replicator.

“That’s a standard food replicator,” Seven said, regretting saying the word food as suddenly she felt hungry.

“Can it be used to create bioweapons?”
Would Neelix’s leola root soup count? Seven thought, which was odd as while she would never go out of her way to eat it, she had never felt it tasted particularly offensive, unlike the majority of the Voyager crew.

“Do you think everything can be used to make bioweapons? Perhaps if I showed you one of my daughter’s plush animals you would think she was hiding a biological weapons lab in there as well?” Seven sighed. “Here, let me show you.” She walked over to the replicator, and thought of something both she and Samantha enjoyed eating. “Computer, two bowls of pad thai, medium heat.”

“Pad thai?” the tall one said.
“Thin rice noodles with tofu, bean sprouts, onions, and ground peanuts,” Seven said. “My wife introduced me to this dish on our honeymoon.”
The tall one’s head tilted slightly.
“Honeymoon?” he said.
Well, at least his species doesn’t appear to be entirely bigoted, Seven thought. Then in the back of her mind she thought she heard The Doctor’s voice say “Just against holograms.”

“A common practice amongst my species where the recently married take a vacation together shortly after the wedding.”
“Seems like a waste of time,” the tall one said. “Though to be fair, on my world weddings themselves are a three-day affair.”

Seven took one of the bowls of pad thai and handed it to the tall one. “Here,“ she said.
The tall one took the bowl, and took a small taste of the dish while Seven picked up her own, hoping she’d had time to finish it before sent back to the brig, and feeling slightly guilty that she would have eaten better than Harry.

“Not bad,” the tall one said. “A bit hotter than I’m used to. I do not recognize the names of any of the ingredients you listed, though we do have something similar to these rice noodles.”

“Listen, Commander,” Seven paused. “I do not believe you ever gave us your name.”
“Commander Ranek, if you would permit me, I would like to bring another bowl of this to my crewmate.”
“It’s not standard procedure, but I suppose I can allow it. I’m all too aware that prison rations are not the most edible items in the sector. Largely because they are produced at the same factories that make military rations.”
“Thank you,” Seven said. Ranek looked at the bowl, at the replicator, then at her.
“Out of pure curiosity of course, what other types of foods does your species have that that device can recreate? My people will often, borrow, ideas from other cultures we encounter when we believe we can benefit from them.”

I don’t care for that pause on the word ‘borrow’, Seven thought. However, she couldn’t help but notice that despite her initial impression, Ranek seemed to be at least somewhat reasonable. It would be foolish to not at least attempt to take advantage of that situation. Her and Harry and the Doctor’s program sitting inside her being able to leave was the best case scenario and therefore the least likely, and even if they could contact Voyager they were still over two days away, but if she could accomplish making those two days less difficult for her and Lieutenant Kim…

“Perhaps an item my daughter enjoys. They are called ‘waffles.’”

When Seven of Nine finally came back, having been gone long enough for Harry to have been worried, his worry was replaced with confusion. She was laughing, and having trouble walking upright. And for that matter, so was the Lokirrim commander.
“What in the entirety of f-”
“Thank you for letting me have my regen- regeneration device. Portable I mean. I can already feel my cybernetic components depolarizing.”
“Not a problem,” the Commander said, “Wouldn’t look good on my record to have one of my prisoners die on me. Especially one that introduced my people to such great food and drink!”
“Oh my god,” Harry groaned.

“Back into the cell you go my friend. Rules are rules. But if you get acquitted by the Lokirrim courts I must introduce you to my wife. She would love you. Just, love. You’d have to be more worried about her making you stay than you would our judges.” The Commander punctuated his last sentence with a laugh Harry found grating.
“Perhaps we could do a double date,” Seven said with a smile that seemed unlike her. Harry had seen Seven smile before of course, but this seemed, different somehow, as if she was impersonating someone else’s smile. “Me and Sam, you and your wife. It’ll be great.”
“Perhaps,” the Commander said. “Good night, Seven.”
“Good night, Ranek,” Seven said, before sloppily slumping onto the bottom bed.
Once Ranek was gone, Harry took a deep breath, and started to rant.
“What the hell is going on?”
“It’s fine, it’s fine,” Seven said. “Seven gave him a taste of the replicator, I came up with the wine list, and physics, I mean physiology did the rest.”
“Why are you suddenly referring to yourself in the third per- Oh, no. Doctor? Is that you?”
“Yep,” Seven, or rather the Doctor, now somehow in control of Seven’s body said.

“How did this… No, forget it, I have a vague idea. Is Seven still in there?”
“I think so,” The Doctor said. “I mean, I know she could hear me before I took control. Which wasn’t on purpose by the way, so, maybe don’t judge me. You know, I had no idea intoxication felt like this. I can see why you organics do this to yourselves.”
“What happened after you- I mean, after Seven was taken away?”
“Oh, Captain Ranek, who is actually quite the gentleman once you get to know him, wanted to know about the Flyer. Can you believe he thought the food replicator could be used to make bioweapons? So paranoid. Anyway, Seven demonstrated how it worked, and it would seem Captain Ranek has an affinity for Earth food. Once I had the chance, I took-” The Doctor stopped to belch, much to Harry’s annoyance.

“Seven is going to kill you when she has her body back, you realize this,” he said.

“I took advantage of the situation, and convinced Ranek that my mobile emitter was necessary for Seven’s survival. I also agreed to fill in for their medic who they lost in a recent skirmish.” The Doctor snorted. “Skirmish. That’s a funny word.”

Harry put his head in his hands and groaned. “Okay, let’s get your program back into the emitter before they change their mind. I doubt Captain Ranek’s crew will follow an order given under the influence.” He helped The Doctor stand up and leaned him against the wall, holding the emitter in one hand. “Hey, careful where you point those tubules.”
“Sorry,” The Doctor said.
A few seconds after The Doctor, using Seven’s arm, attached a pair of assimilation tubules to the mobile emitter, a smiling EMH appeared in the cell. Seven slumped forward, groaning slightly, and gripping her stomach.
“Easy, easy,” Harry said, helping her stay on her feet. “How do you feel?”

“I’m… impaired,” Seven said in an almost whimper.
“You’ve had quite a shock to your system,’ The Doctor said. “Let me explain what’s happened.”
“I know exactly what’s happened,” Seven said, anger entering her voice. “You’ve been abusing my body.”

Harry had never seen a hologram go through quite as many facial expressions as The Doctor did at that moment.

“I’m a Doctor,” he said, loudly. “I would never abuse-”

“Shh,” Harry said, glancing through the force field to see if anyone had entered the Lokirrim brig.
“I was trying to get information,” The Doctor said, clearly trying to defend his actions. “Sometimes a.. a glass of wine can loosen the tongue.”
“One glass,” Seven said with contempt. “That doesn’t excuse the other eight.”

“Was it that many?” The Doctor said. Seven, now sitting on the bed again, turned and glared at The Doctor.
“Look, I’m afraid the role of ‘spy’ wasn’t written into my programming. I was forced to improvise,” The Doctor said.
“You improvised while you were inside of me,” Seven said.
“Phrasing,” Harry said, feeling suddenly uncomfortable.
“Keep in mind there’s a very good reason I was inside of you,” The Doctor said.
“Phrasing,” Harry said, a little louder this time.

“One thing is for certain,” Seven said, “I do not wish to have you inside of me ever again.”
“Hey! Phrasing!” Harry yelled.

“Mister Kim’s outburst aside,” The Doctor said, “we do not have a choice. If I’m discovered they’ll decompile my program. And who knows what they’ll do to you two if they find out you’ve been hiding me this whole time. These people clearly have serious issues when it comes to holograms.”
“Look,” Harry said, “I know he was being an ass today, but the Doctor’s right.”
Seven groaned as she lie down. “Thirty Ktarian chocolate puffs, Lieutenant Kim. Thirty. Icheb couldn’t handle that many and he’s a teenager.”
Harry was sympathetic to Seven. This was the most upset he could remember having heard her outside of situations where Samantha was in danger, but he also knew that they couldn’t lose The Doctor.

“I get that this can’t be easy for you,” he said, “but you have to put up with it for a little while longer. Until Voyager can come for us, or until we can escape.”
“How would you propose we do that?” Seven said.
Harry looked at The Doctor. “Maybe you can tap into their comm system while you’re working as their medic and get a message to Voyager.”

“Deciphering alien computers isn’t exactly my forte,” The Doctor said.

“But it is one of mine,” Seven said. “If you can get close enough while they’re accessing their systems, I’ll be able to observe their command protocols.”

The sound of voices outside the brig drifted into the cell.

“What’s the situation?” one voice said.
“The Captain wants the female prisoner in the medical bay,” another voice replied.

“We’d better proceed,” Seven said, sounding resigned as Harry helped her to her feet.
“You’re saving my life,” The Doctor said, turning so his arm with the mobile emitter was facing Seven. “I want you to know how grateful I am.”
“As Mister Paris would say, bite me,” Seven said. She injected her assimilation tubules into the emitter, and the Doctor vanished. Seven put the emitter on the sleeve of her own uniform and took a deep breath.
“Doc?” Harry said.
“Not yet,” Seven said. “Give it a moment.”
“You’re going to make him pay for this later, aren’t you?”
“Indeed. Though non-violent revenge is not something I am well versed in. I will need to enlist… No, the Doctor can hear me in there. Best not reveal my plans.”
Harry couldn’t help but smile. “He does have it coming.”

The Doctor was in control of Seven’s body once again by the time Ranek had taken him to the medical bay to work with a Lieutenant Jaryn on a medical case. When they entered the room, The Doctor recognized Laryn as the shorter female who had boarded the Delta Flyer. He smiled at her, and nodded politely while Ranek made his introductions.
You know, I never realized until now how attractive she is, he thought.
Don’t. Even. Think about it, Seven’s voice said in the back of his mind.

“We should get to work immediately,” Jaryn said, motioning towards two covered bodies on medical tables. “The Photonic’s viral weapon attacks the cerebral cortex. Within days the victim suffers complete synaptic failure.
“I haven’t even had the chance to familiarize myself with your equipment yet,” The Doctor said. “I am happy to help, I hate bioweapons as much as anyone, but your sickbay is quite different from mi- the one on my ship.”

The Doctor looked around. The equipment wasn’t as advanced as that on Voyager, but he could work with it easily enough. The tough part for him would be remembering that he needed to act like this wasn’t second nature to him in order to maintain the cover story. Seven would only know anything he was talking about due to her perfect memory.

“Hmm. I don’t know if we can stop this virus just yet, but I may be able to come up with a way to slow its progress. We need to synthesize a neural inhibitor.” Jaryn immediately went to the other side of the lab without saying a word.
“Certainly not a very talkative species,” The Doctor said. “Forgive me for asking, but aren’t you the ship’s tactical officer? That was how Ranek introduced you.”
“Tactical officer, medic, engineer,” Jaryn said working on her people’s equivalent to a Starfleet PADD. “We’ve lost nearly a third of our crew to the Photonics.”
“Well, you certainly know your way around a medical bay,” The Doctor said. “You may have missed your true calling.”

“Actually,” Jaryn said, “Emmik always thought I’d be a teacher. He used to call me the ‘little professor.’”
“Who’s Emmik?”

“The Photonic who helped raise my brother and me. He knew more about treating scrapes and bruises than any organic doctor I ever met.”

The Doctor smiled at that comment, unable to resist taking a note of pride in the work of a fellow medical hologram.

“Sounds like someone I would enjoy meeting. My ship’s Doctor too, if he hadn’t, well…”
“Maybe,” Jaryn said, frowning. “Before he joined the insurgency.”
“Why did he do that?” The Doctor said with genuine shock.

“I ask myself that question every day,” Jaryn said. “Fact is, I don’t know. Just like I don’t know where the original photonics who started this damn war came from. My people’s holograms were never violent until they arrived. Some of them look like you and the other prisoner, that’s why we had to take you in. Most of them appear to have been created by species that no one in this part of space has seen before.
The Doctor could actually feel Seven’s mind working in the metaphorical back of his own. She seemed to have some idea of what this all meant, but The Doctor tried his best to ignore that and focus on the task at hand.

“Is it possible his program was hacked, or infected with some kind of computer virus?” The Doctor said.

“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t hope that was the case,” Jaryn said. “It would be nice to have him back. He was a part of our family.” She shook her head and handed an old fashioned injection needle to The Doctor. “We should get back to the patient.”
Jaryn walked over to another occupied bed, a man who was unconscious but clearly breathing. The Doctor figured this was someone who had been affected by the virus recently enough that hopefully he could be saved. The Doctor applied the injection carefully.
“It could take up to a day to determine if the inhibitor is working,” he said.
“Thank you,” Jaryn said.
“Don’t thank me, thank my ship’s doctor,” The Doctor said. “He taught me everything I know about medicine. Remind me to tell about the time he used a matter transporter to help my wife Samantha when she had delivery complications.”
Being in my body does not exempt you from doctor/patient confidentiality, Seven’s voice said angrily.

“Well, I’m glad to know there are still some good holograms out there in the universe.” Jaryn said, then winced. “Right, sorry. I understand you and the other prisoner were close to him.”
“Quite,” The Doctor said. “But we can mourn him later. He would prefer I focus on helping your patients. He took his oath as a physician very seriously. I think you would have gotten on famously. He certainly would’ve taken a liking to you.”

Jaryn glanced at The Doctor, looking up from her medical scanner, seeming uncertain.

Oh dear, The Doctor thought, she thinks I’m flirting with her.
Because you are, Seven’s voice said. Stop it immediately.

The Doctor cleared his throat and went back to work on the patient. He was confident he could save this man, and possibly many others too if his treatment proposals worked. The Lokirrim had attacked them, but he was a doctor first above all, and he inwardly chided himself for letting Jaryn’s long, dark hair and admirable professionalism in the face of such ghastly weapons as the Photonics were using distract him.

While waiting for signs the treatments were working, he managed to get Jaryn to talk about herself and her family. After a while, Jaryn stepped away from the conversation to check on the patient they had tested the neural inhibitor on.

“His progress is remarkable,” Jaryn said, not even attempting to hide her amazement. “I want you to know I’m going to tell my superiors everything you’ve done for us.”
“First Ranek, and now you,” The Doctor said, pride in his voice. “I may become the first prisoner of war in history to be decorated by her captors,”

“It’s getting late, ship time, anyway,” Jaryn said. “I’d offer up one of our unoccupied quarters, but some of the other crew might find that offensive. Plus, I’m pretty sure we’ve already bent protocol as far as we can get away with having you here in the first place.”
“That’s quite alright,” The Doctor said. “But first, I believe we should report the progress we’ve made to Captain Ranek.”
“I’ve already sent a progress update to the bridge,” Jaryn said.
Where we would be most likely to see command codes being entered, The Doctor thought, certain that Seven echoed that sentiment. I need to try and get us up there somehow.

Much as I’m pained to admit it, Seven’s voice said, we currently lack a plausible excuse to get up there at this moment.

“Good to know,” The Doctor said, smiling. “And don’t worry about the quarters, the bed in the cell isn’t that bad. I’ve had worse accommodations, believe it or not.”

As soon as the Lokirrim guards had stepped outside, Seven of Nine happily transferred the Doctor back to his mobile emitter. He stayed up against the near wall, where he wouldn’t be seen right away if anyone came in.

“So,” Harry Kim said, “did you get the access codes?”

“Unfortunately, no,” Seven said, very obviously avoiding eye contact with The Doctor.
“But we did develop a treatment for some of their wounded,” The Doctor said. “Can you believe the holograms the Lokirrim are fighting are using biological and chemical weapons? All things considered I don’t see myself holding a grudge over this. Were I in their shoes I might want to decompile all holograms too.”
“That’s honestly a little shocking coming from you, Doc,” Harry said. “The last time Captain Janeway pondered using a virus as a weapon you were practically ready to mutiny.”

“I’m not saying I would, Lieutenant, just that I understand where the desire comes from. It’s called empathy.”
“I think we may have a larger problem on our hands than our current incarceration,” Seven said, softly.
“What do you mean?” Harry asked.
“The holograms that started this insurgency, I have a hypothesis as to where they came from. I would need more information to be sure, but based on the descriptions we’ve been given of what some of the Photonics look like, our proximity to the wormhole that Icheb discovered, and the fact that the other end of that wormhole is an area dominated by the Hirogen-”

“Wait, wait, wait,” Harry said, shaking his head. “That can’t be right. Are you suggesting that the Photonic insurgents are holograms made with the holodeck technology the Captain gave the Hirogen to get them to leave us alone? How would that even be possible? The Hirogen don’t have portable emitters, it’s only been about three years, and they were so spread out, I just-”

“I admit it’s unlikely,” Seven said, “but based on the evidence available it is still the most likely explanation.”

“The Captain won’t like that,” The Doctor said, “she was never too thrilled about giving the Hirogen holodeck technology to start with. Something like this is probably the kind of worst-case scenario that would’ve kept her up at night.”

“We shouldn’t say anything to her unless we’re sure,” Harry said. “And definitely don’t say anything to the Lokirrim.”

“No argument here,” The Doctor said. “This society actually had a rather healthy relationship with their artificial intelligences until this all started. To some of them having their holograms go rogue was like losing a member of the family.”

“To Jaryn, anyway,” Seven said.
“The long haired Lokirrim who boarded the Delta Flyer with Captain Ranek,” Seven said, glowering at The Doctor. “He has taken a liking to her, using my body to flirt with her in the medical bay when we should be working on our escape.”
“It’s not like tha-”
“You became sexually aroused in my body,” Seven said.

The Doctor looked uncomfortable for a moment before replying. “When did it become a crime to enjoy a sensation or two?”
“When you were doing it using my body, without my consent,” Seven said. “Your lack of taste buds or nerve endings is not an excuse. I do not even wish to imagine what you would’ve done with Jaryn had I not been able to communicate with you.”

“Neither do I,” Harry said, feeling uncomfortable again.
“It doesn’t matter anyway,” The Doctor said. “She knows that you’re married.”
“Which means she thinks I’m open to cheating on my spouse,” Seven said.

“Can we not have this conversation right now? Or ever?” Harry said. “Focus, on, getting us, out of here. Now, did you learn anything about their comm system?”

“It can only be accessed from the bridge,” Seven said.

“Damn,” Harry said, “And we still don’t have those command codes. Do you think there’s any way you can get up to the bridge?”
“I am in the process of formulating a plan,” Seven said.
“That’s a ‘no,’” The Doctor said.
“It’s a ‘not yet,’” Seven said. “Unfortunately, this means I will likely have to carry the Doctor’s program for a while longer. Something I do not look forward to.”
“We can agree on that at least,” The Doctor said.
Harry sighed.    “Look, I know this is a difficult situation, and the temptation to lash out may seem overwhelming, but if we can just keep calm, and if you two could remember that you’re friends, maybe we can get out of here alive. Okay?”

Seven and The Doctor were silent, both looking at the floor. Harry remembered seeing classmates in grade school who would do the same thing when they were caught doing something bad.
“This whole thing has not brought out the best in me, has it?” The Doctor said.
“It has not,” Seven said, “though I concede that having new sensations such as being able to eat, drink, breathe, etcetera, is a primary factor in that.”

“Good, good,” Harry said. “Last thing we need is you two fighting right now.”
“I have an idea,” Seven said.
“What is it?” The Doctor asked.
Seven looked at The Doctor, Harry glad that it wasn’t an angry glare this time. “Regarding what Mister Kim said about not informing the Lokirrim about the potential origin of the Photonic insurgents. Perhaps some selectively shared information could benefit us.”

The next morning, when The Doctor, in Seven’s body, was brought to the medical bay, he wasted no time in implementing Seven’s plan.

Be sure not to leave out my vital contribution to the plan when you tell Samantha about this, he thought.
I intend to give her as little information about what we’ve been through as possible, Seven replied. She doesn’t need certain mental images in her head.
“Jaryn, hello,” The Doctor said.
“Good morning, Seven,” Jaryn said.
“I was thinking last night, about what you said regarding the strange holograms that started this insurgency. Were you aware that there is a wormhole that is only a week or so away at warp 7 from your territory?”
“A wormhole?” Jaryn said. “No, I didn’t. Why do you bring that up?”
“I just think it’s possible that maybe that’s where the insurgents came from,” The Doctor said. He then proceeded to give a highly truncated version of the story of Voyager; how it came to be in the Delta Quadrant, and the journey home.”
“But you couldn’t use the wormhole because it went in the wrong direction,” Jaryn said. “That must’ve been disappointing.”
“Indeed,” The Doctor said, “especially for Icheb.”
“My adopted son. Have I not mentioned him?”
“You mentioned a wife and daughter. Samantha and Naomi, if I remember right.”
The Doctor, for the first time in his life, knew what blushing felt like. “Oh, my, that’s a rather significant thing for me to forget to mention.”

Jaryn sighed. “Well, in all fairness you are still technically a prisoner here. I imagine that would have an effect on one’s psyche. I promise not to tell your boy if you don’t.”
The Doctor nodded, grateful that unlike Seven of Nine who had only done one play, he had managed to practice the craft of acting on numerous occasions aboard Voyager, even before he’d obtained the mobile emitter. All he had to do was think of himself as Seven of Nine, and the rest came easily to him. He did, however, realize he had a certain amount of envy now; envy that Seven of Nine could experience feelings he could only approximate. Those of a proud parent.

Focus, Seven’s voice said to him.

“This is certainly an interesting theory,” Jaryn said, “but without any evidence I doubt the Captain could convince the homeworld to send any ships to look into it.”
“He could look into it himself,” The Doctor said. “I’m sure he could concoct some reason for this ship to change course.”

Jaryn’s eyes narrowed.
“That would rather conveniently take us in the direction your ship, would it not?”

“They would be more than happy to take us off your hands if we come across them,” The Doctor said. “I admit that certainly occurred to me.”
“Right,” Jaryn said, sounding skeptical, just as The Doctor had predicted she would.

“Very well,” The Doctor said. “At the very least allow me to give the coordinates of the wormhole to your Captain. I can mark its location on your star charts.”
“You’d have to be on the bridge for that,” Jaryn said.
“You don’t have any sort of astrometrics or stellar cartography room on board?”
“Why would we? This is a warship?”
Thank goodness, The Doctor thought. If they had had such a room that would’ve actually been a hiccup for the escape plan.

“Well then, take me to your leader,” The Doctor said, smiling. “I’ve always wanted to say that.”

If Seven’s personality had eyes, The Doctor just knew somehow that she would be rolling them right now.

Jaryn called for a guard and asked him to escort The Doctor to the bridge. Once there, he recited the coordinates and information on the wormhole to Ranek exactly as Seven had told him to.

“You really think this could be where the insurgents came from?” Ranek said.
“As certain as I can be without going there myself,” The Doctor said, before telling an even more truncated version of the story he’d told Jaryn.

Ranek stared at the star chart on the main viewscreen.
“Thank you for this information, Seven of Nine,” Ranek said. “I will take it to my superiors. If I can’t convince them, well, I’m sure I’ll think of something. This definitely seems like an avenue worth investigating.”

“I hope it does you some good,” The Doctor said, looking around the bridge. Luckily, using Seven’s Borg enhanced eyesight, it didn’t take him long to spot what he needed. He memorized the codes, suppressed an urge to laugh at how poorly secured they were, then once Ranek told the guard to escort him from the bridge, began the next phase of the plan.

“Captain,” The Doctor said, “I was wondering if perhaps, in return for what I’ve done to help your wounded crewmen, you would allow me to obtain some food from the Delta Flyer’s replicator for my cellmate, Lieutenant Kim.”
“I see no harm in that,” Ranek said. “We’re getting low on prisoner rations anyway.” He looked at the guard. “Go with him, just to be safe.”
“An understandable precaution,” The Doctor said, nodding politely, never breaking his smile.

“So that’s how a Vulcan nerve pinch works,” The Doctor said once Seven put him back in his emitter. He checked to make sure he hadn’t done any permanent damage to the Lokirrim guard now lying on the Delta Flyer’s floor.

“You didn’t know that already?” Seven said as she began bringing the Flyer’s subspace transceiver on-line, working to mask the signal that she would be sending.
“Knowing and doing are two different things, Seven,” The Doctor said.
“Fair enough,” Seven said, hoping that the Doctor could come up with a plausible explanation for the guard when he awoke. Barring that, she hoped that she and the others wouldn’t be summarily executed if they got caught. Either way, she had the signal running and let out a deep sigh of relief when she saw Captain Janeway’s face, grainy and staticy though it was, on the monitor.

“Seven,” Janeway said, “it’s good to see you.”
“Captain,” Seven said, “we’re being held prisoner aboard a Lokirrim patrol ship. I’m sending you their precise location, along with the command codes to disable their shields.”

“Are The Doctor and Harry alright?”
“I’m fine,” The Doctor said from behind Seven. “And Mister Kim is his usual chipper self.”

“How did they manage to hide you from the Lokirrim?” Janeway asked.
“I’ll explain later,” Seven said. “We need to end the communication before we get discovered.”
“Understood,” Janeway said. “We’ve got a Lokirrim ship of our own to deal with right now. Once they’re out of the way, we’ll be coming for you.”

“Set a course,” Janeway said once the feed from the Delta Flyer cut off.
“Our escort isn’t going to take kindly to a detour,” Tom said, referring to the Lokirrim ship that was escorting Voyager through their space under the promise that their holodecks be kept off line.

“What’s the status of their weapons?” Janeway said to Tuvok.
“They’ve repaired their forward phasers,” Tuvok replied after a quick scan.
“And they’re in front of us,” Janeway said. “Good. Target their power matrix. We may only get one shot so make it count.”

“Captain,” Chakotay said, “this is going to look like an unprovoked attack on our part.”
“Send them an apology note once we’re at warp,” Janeway said. “We’re getting our people back.”

“Ready,” Tuvok said.
“Fire,” Janeway said. The image on the view screen showed a phaser blast striking the Lokirrim ship, causing a small explosion.
“Direct hit,” Tuvok said.
“Get us out of here, maximum warp,” Janeway said to Tom.
“Aye, Captain,” he said, the image on the viewscreen shifting as the ship made a sharp turn. A mere second later, the screen changed again as Voyager went to warp.
“No sign of pursuit,” Tuvok said.

“Good,” Janeway said, sitting back down in the Captain’s chair.
Chakotay leaned over to her, speaking quietly so that the rest of the bridge crew wouldn’t hear, except Tuvok who would be able to hear them anyway.
“Are you sure there wasn’t another way, Kathryn?” he said.
“I don’t know,” Janeway admitted. “But I didn’t think I could afford the time to come up with another plan. I’ve lost enough people out here, and if that other ship gets to a planet or a starbase our odds of getting Seven, Harry, and The Doctor back become unacceptable.”

“Understood,” Chakotay said.

A Lokirrim guard held onto Seven’s right arm, as Ranek stared her down on the bridge. Seven had just managed to get the Doctor’s program back into her implants before the guard came to. The guard didn’t take the offered lie at face value, that he had sampled an alcoholic beverage from a stock that Tom Paris kept aboard that he thought Seven didn’t know about, and passed out. When Jaryn scanned him, she found signs of the nerve pinch.
“We trusted you,” she said.
“I’m still a prisoner on your ship,” Seven said, the Doctor not having had enough time to override her personality yet. “You were keeping me from my family, and my crew. You had to expect I’d try something like this at some point.”
“So what was your plan?” Ranek said. “To aid the insurgents?”
“I don’t even know who these insurgents are apart from what you’ve told us about them” Seven said. “I just want to go home. It’s as simple as that.”
“We were going to ask for leniency,” Jaryn said.
An alarm sound cut off Seven’s reply.
“Alien ship approaching, coming in on our aft vector,” one of the Lokirrim bridge crew said.

“Hopefully, that’s Voyager,” Seven said. “Despite what you may think of us, Ranek, Captain Janeway is more than fair. We can end this without any combat.”

“I’d like to believe you,” Ranek said.

“The alien vessel is hailing us,” the bridge officer said
“On screen,” Ranek said.
Seven smiled, her own smile this time, when Captain Janeway appeared on screen.

“This is Captain Kathryn Janeway of the Federation starship Voyager,” she said. “We don’t want a fight. Return my people and we’ll be on our way.”

“Your people were caught transporting a photonic insurgent and biogenic material,” Ranek said.
“We don’t want to disable your ship,” Janeway said, “but we will if we have to. Scan us. You can see you’re no match for us. If we wanted to cripple your vessel it would be crippled already.”

Ranek glanced over at Jaryn who was looking at a monitor. She actually looked worried when she looked back at Ranek and simply nodded.

“Well?” Janeway said.

“Jaryn, prepare to send a fleet wide alert. Our ship alone might not be able to stand up to yours Captain, but-”

“I don’t have time for this. Chakotay, send the signal,” Janeway said.
Moments later, more bridge alarms started going off.
“We’re losing our ventral shield grid,” Jaryn said.

“Compensate,” Ranek said, leaning forward to operate his own console.

Seven was about to open her mouth to tell Ranek he should simply return her and Harry to Voyager, but-

The Doctor saw Ranek lean forward to operate his own console while Jaryn frantically worked on her own to try and get their shields back up.
“You can’t win this,” he said.

“They’ve tapped into the shield matrix,” Jaryn said. “They’re using your command authorization.”
Ranek stood and glowered at The Doctor. “So, that was what you were doing then. Jaryn. reroute power. Tie our shields directly into the warp matrix.”
“Sir?” Jaryn said, sounding panicked.
“That sounds suicidally stupid,” The Doctor said.
“Quiet!” Ranek shouted at him. He turned back to the screen. “If you fire at us, Captain, you’ll risk triggering a core breach. You’ll be killing the very people you came to rescue.”

“End transmission,” Janeway said.
“She wouldn’t-” Ranek said, his sentence cut off by the ship shuddering.
“Tractor beam?” The Doctor said, smirking smugly at Ranek.
“She’s right,” Jaryn said, “the enemy vessel has us in a tractor beam.
“You know, you really should just give up,” The Doctor said. “You have a treatment for the Photonic’s viral weapon, and a possible location for their origin. Losing three prisoners seems like a small price to pay for that.”
“How do we even know that information can be trusted?” Ranek said.

“You’ve seen firsthand what the treatments can do for your wounded,” The Doctor said. “As for the wormhole, even I only think it’s a possible origin. I freely admit I could be wrong. If I was setting up some kind of trap do you think I’d make it so easy for you to avoid?”

Ranek glowered at him, and turned back to face the viewscreen. “Open fire. Target their tractor emitter.”
A second later the ship shook again.
“We’re free,” Jaryn said.
“Get us out of here, best possible speed.”
The Doctor rolled Seven’s eyes. “Our ship is faster than yours, Captain.”

“Doctor,” he suddenly heard Janeway’s voice say in his, or rather Seven’s ear. “If you can hear me we need your help. See if you can disable their shields.”
I have a plan, Seven’s voice said. Put your program back in the mobile emitter. I’ll take care of the rest.
Trusting Seven, he did just that, slipping the mobile emitter off Seven’s sleeve with the left hand, the guard failing to notice, and switched it to her right hand, the left extending assimilation tubules into it. He lost all sense of awareness for only a moment before suddenly he was facing in a different direction and feeling very different. He heard Seven grab and punch the guard, while he turned to look at Jaryn who pointed a scanner at him with one hand, and a weapon with the other.

“It’s a photonic,” she said.

“Cover me,” Seven of Nine said, handing him the weapon she took off the guard she’d knocked down. He held the weapon nervously, pointing it at Jaryn and Ranek as he backed into the bulkhead.

“Stay back,” he said. “I’m not afraid to use this.”

Seven went to a nearby console and began manipulating the controls. He glanced at her, and failed to notice the guard had gotten back up until he made a move for the weapon. The Doctor jumped back a step.
“Stay,” he said to the guard, only to be caught off guard by a rushing Ranek who shoved him and took the weapon from his hand, firing it into the monitor next to Seven’s head, causing her to flinch sideways, and turn around.
“Step away,” Ranek said.

Seven calmly did as she was told.
“She destabilized the shield grid,” Jaryn said. “It’s failing.”

“Watch them,” Ranek said, handing the weapon to Jaryn who had it pointed at The Doctor and Seven. The Doctor couldn’t notice that she held it far more confidently than he had.
Perhaps I should work on my intimidation skills, he thought.

Ranek went to the console he had just fired at and began manipulating the controls frantically.

“If you try to reinitialize the grid it’ll overload,” Seven said to Ranek. “We could all die.” Ranek turned briefly to glower at them before getting back to his task.
“Ranek, don’t,” The Doctor yelled.

The console sparked violently, and exploded, sending Ranek flying back, covered in debris and with burn marks on his face. Without hesitation, The Doctor moved forward to help him.
“Stay back,” Jaryn said, raising the weapon at him.

“I’m a doctor,” The Doctor said. “Let me treat him.”

“Away team, prepare for transport,” Janeway’s voice said over the Lokirrim ship’s comm.
“Captain, I have injured here. I can’t leave yet,” The Doctor said.

Jaryn leaned in closer to see what The Doctor was doing.
“He’ll die without immediate surgery,” The Doctor said. “I know this is difficult to grasp, but I’m the person you’ve been getting to know the last few days. My program was in control of Seven’s body.”

“You’re lying,” Jaryn said.
“Emmik. That was that name of your family hologram. You told me about him. And about your mother’s favorite chair. I also know if Ranek dies, you’re never going to forgive yourself. You’ve serve together for a long time, you’re practically family.”

Jaryn’s eyes widened in shock, her lower lip quivering. She turned to the guards who still held weapons on Seven of Nine.
“Get them to the medical bay, now!” she shouted.

Seven of Nine watched as the Doctor did one last scan on Ranek, who was sitting upright, a dermal regenerator from Voyager having removed all trace of burn marks from his face. She had agreed to stay while Ranek was in surgery, as a show of good faith, while Harry flew the Delta Flyer back to Voyager.

“Your vital signs are stable,” The Doctor said.

“I suppose I should be, uh, grateful,” Ranek said as he carefully got back on his feet.

“A ‘thank you’ is customary after someone saves your life,” The Doctor said.

“Um, more of our vessels are on the way,” Jaryn said. “You should leave while you can.”
“You can’t put in a good word for us, I suppose?” The Doctor said.
“Best not to push our luck, Doctor,” Seven said. As much as she felt it was possible to smooth things over with the Lokirrim as a whole, both Jaryn and Captain Janeway had agreed that it would be simpler for Voyager to leave Lokirrim space as quickly as possible.

“I must admit, Doctor, you had me fooled. When you were talking about her family,” Jaryn said, glancing at Seven, “I really felt like they were yours. At least, I think that’s the right way to put it.”
“Don’t worry,” The Doctor said, “If you think body swap or possession terminology gets confusing you should try time travel some time.”

“Time travel?” Ranek said.

“A long story,” Seven said. “And one we do not have time to tell I’m afraid.”
“Hmm, yes,” The Doctor said, looking sad. “It’s funny. Apart from the prison cell, I rather enjoyed my time here.”

Easy for you to say, Seven thought.

“Well, thank you,” Ranek said. “I should get back to work.”

“If your ship weren’t so understaffed I would insist on bed rest,” The Doctor said. “At the very least, try not to overexert yourself.”

Ranek nodded and left.
The Doctor and Jaryn looked at each other silently for a moment.

“I have a feeling this experience isn’t going to change your feelings about Photonics,” The Doctor said.

“Not the ones who are openly hostile to us, no,” Jaryn said, “but it’s nice to know that there are still some good holograms out there, somewhere.”
“I really did enjoy our time together,” The Doctor said.
“I imagine you would’ve enjoyed it more in your own body,” Seven said, giving The Doctor a look that she hoped conveyed she hadn’t entirely forgiven him yet for his indulgences.
“Sarcasm does not become you, Seven.”

“My wife says differently. I defer to her judgement.”

Jaryn laughed. “You know, I’m actually going to miss you. Both of you. Despite everything.”
“I’ll miss you too,” The Doctor said.
“We really should go now,” Seven said, not wanting to rush The Doctor’s goodbye, but knowing that time was short.
“Goodbye,” he said, before tapping his comm badge. “Doctor to Voyager, two to beam out.”

Captain Janeway sat behind her desk in her ready room, hearing what Seven of Nine was telling her, but not wanting to believe it.

“You’re certain about this?” she said for the third time this meeting.
“Not entirely,” Seven of Nine said. “It is simply the best hypothesis I have based on the information available.”

“I don’t like the idea that what the Lokirrim and other people in this area of space are going through right now is my fault,” Janeway said.
“Even if the insurgents are the result of Hirogen modifications to the technology we gave them,” Seven said, “you would bare none of the responsibility. You could not have foreseen that the Hirogen would make so many modifications, so rapidly, or that said modifications would lead to conflict so far from-”
“A Federation tribunal would probably agree with you Seven,” Janeway said, standing up and putting her hands behind her back while she looked out the viewport. “But legal responsibility and moral responsibility don’t always overlap.”

“Captain,” Seven said. “Holograms are not sentient by default. The Doctor attained it through circumstance. A similar incident occurred on the U.S.S. Enterprise more than a decade ago. If the holograms the Hirogen created had enough sentience to rebel, that is the result of their modifications. You are blaming yourself for a situation that was not in your control and that you could not be reasonably expected to have foreseen.”
“You know as well as I do that guilt isn’t always logical,” Janeway said. “We’ve had these conversations about emotions before, remember? Let me deal with this in my own way. Dismissed.”

“Yes, Captain,” Seven said. “Perhaps my hypothesis will turn out to be incorrect.”

“Perhaps,” Janeway said. The hissing sound of the door opening and closing told Janeway that Seven was gone. Once she was, the Captain sat back down and opened a drawer in her desk and pulled out an old fashioned paper notepad and flipped it to the second page.

No one knew about this list, not even Chakotay or Tuvok. She looked at her own handwriting and sighed. “Giving the Hirogen holodeck technology,” the sentence she looked at said. She closed the notepad and tossed it on the desk, wondering if she needed to add to it.

At the top of the cover of the pad, also in her handwriting, was one word. “Mistakes.”confid


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