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San Francisco, 1000 hours

Seven's breakfast had been interrupted by another incoming communique from Admiral Necheyav and she'd promptly abandoned her meal and escaped her quarters. She still thought of her home in terms defined by her four years on Voyager even though she knew the proper label for such a civilian dwelling was "apartment."

Yesterday she had found a new gym. With her relationship with Starfleet at an end, she'd no longer had access to the Starfleet facility she had made use of since leaving Voyager. Despite a physique maintained in part by Borg implants and nanoprobes, she required physical activity. Not merely to keep her body in peak condition, but also for the mental benefits it conveyed. This morning she'd definitely felt in need of physcial activity.

Annoyed with Nechayev's continued attempts to contact her, she had gone to pushed herself hard. She'd only left the gym when the other patrons' sidelong looks had degenerated into blatant stares. She'd worked hard enough to need a shower--and that was hard indeed for the former drone--and was just reaching for a towel when she heard the door chime that announced a visitor.

She frowned at the thought that Necheyav had decided to seek her out in person and then scowled at how much primacy the admiral had in her thoughts. She quickly pulled on cotton pants and a t-shirt without bothering to finish drying off. If it was Necheyav she was going to demand an end to this immediately.
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(OOC: Contains violence and three naughty words.)

The doors of the captain's quarters aboard the USS Voyager parted with a hiss and Seven cautiously looked out. She found the corridor empty and stalked out and down to the door of the first officer's quarters. Yes, it was the same as it had been on her Voyager. The bastard's name was on the door. She was becoming accomplished at swearing but she was too focused on her mission to be smug about it. Chakotay would already be on his way down from the bridge, his shift over. And if he did not return immediately to his quarters?

She would wait.

She pulled off the panel that covered the circuits for the locking mechanism...a few swift adjustments and the doors swished open. She replaced the panel and slipped inside. Behind the door to attack as he entered? No... She took up a position across the room where the light of the viewports would silhouette her from behind. Let him see so he would know, later, who had done this.

She waited...Collapse )
* * *
Happy birthday, Admirals Janeway.

Happy birthday, Captain.

* * *
The Starfleet counselor once suggested this as a means of self-reflection. I see no purpose in this activity. And yet...

johari table

It is fascinating what I will resort to in order to pass the time.

What is the purpose of examining how I define myself--or how that "self-image" compares to the opinion of others?

I am Seven of Nine, human. Former tertiary adjunct to unimatrix 01, Annika to my friends. I am Seven and one and I no longer fulfill any useful function. When everything is purposeless, I suppose the only matter of significance becomes the question of how to while away the hours.

* * *
I learned to cook in my third year aboard Voyager. Cooking is an inefficient use of time here on Earth, where there is always enough power for replicators and a variety of restaurants within walking distance. On Voyager, however, we were always conserving power. Replicator usage was rationed. We were fortunate to have Neelix. I don't know who else among the crew would have cheerfully cooked meal after meal for over a hundred people and cheerfully suffered the resulting complaints. When the Bajorans were happy, the Vulcans found the food too spicy. When the Vulcans were content, even the humans were bored. When the Bolians were pleased, the rest of the crew avoided the Mess Hall as soon as they heard.

At the doctor's encouragement, I had reluctantly begun to eat more. Like the Vulcans, I did not appreciate strong flavors or a variety of flavors within one dish. I began to research the art of cooking for myself. Then I began to make suggestions to Neelix and he finally countered with an invitation to come into his kitchen and 'have a go.' I found it surprisingly pleasant, the action of chopping vegetables with precision...to slice, dice, mince, and julienne. To seek perfection through herbs and spices, which I used more often as my palate adapted, matured. I came to prefer complex recipes; the greater the challenge--the greater number of things that might be done incorrectly and thus spoil the dish--the more satisfying I found successful results. I came to enjoy the ordered chaos of the kitchen.

The crew complimented Neelix on the new additions to his menus. I'd made him promise to never let anyone know when I had cooked, that I had ever cooked. I would practically sneak into the kitchen during night shift and leave my attempts in stasis units for Neelix to find in the morning. In private, he sometimes referred to me as the kitchen fairy. He apparently appreciated the occasional reduction in his own tasks. As time passed and I honed my skills, he encouraged me to allow him to give me credit for my work, but I always rejected the idea. My strategy had always been to remain aloof, to let most of the crew believe I was nothing more than 'the ice queen' so many considered me to be. A penchant for such a human thing would make me vulnerable.

And then one night, the captain caught me in the kitchen. Her replicator was malfunctioning again--she always claimed it held a grudge against her for some unspecified, yet deserved, abuse. I never believed it. If an inanimate construct can have emotional responses to people, then Voyager surely loved Kathryn Janeway.

Cooking is inefficient, but power was not unlimited and replicators were unreliable technology (at least where Kathryn Janeway was concerned). She also tended to run out of rations when coffee consumption was up, when Voyager was in or on the brink of crisis and her captain wasn't getting enough sleep. She could have replicated a four-course meal, if she chose, rations or no: Voyager answered to her voice in all things and would expend its last reserves of energy for a drop of coffee at her word. But I knew she adhered strictly to the rationing policy and it was a simple matter to always know when her rations were low or gone, to use some of mine for fresh ingredients and leave a meal in her quarters or ready room. She had insisted I be allotted as many rations as the rest of the crew, though I drew most of my energy from the ship, and I never ran low. Voyager sustained me and I made sure her captain stayed strong of body, as she was strong of mind. We never spoke of it, not aloud.

Eventually, however, she asked if I would prepare a meal for the senior officers, which was, I believe, a success, until we were interrupted. After that, when we gathered in her quarters, I often provided snacks, if not an entire meal. It pleased me to contribute to those evenings. And then my cooking was no longer a closely held secret. I did it openly in the mess hall whenever I chose and the crew complimented my food or complained with abandon and if I was never cheerful, I was myself, and a part of them.

In the Federation, power might as well be limitless and there are many people whose vocation it is to prepare meals from fresh ingredients, chefs who have trained for years to cater to millions of individual tastes. In the Federation, cooking is inefficent, but it is not irrelevant to me.
* * *
* * *
1245 hours
The Night Owl, San Francisco

Seven of Nine walked slowly along the street, practically in the shadow of Starfleet Command. She had spent some time selecting her outfit, pretending to consider each possibility and finally deciding inevitably on her favorite: a high-necked blue t-shirt and white pants. And then she had taken an inordinate amount of time to arrange her hair, trying to fill up the morning hours. In the end, she had sat at the piano and played, thinking only of the next progression of her hands over the keys. And still she was early, so she walked slowly, trying to think of nothing. Occasionally, she scowled idly in the general direction of where she knew Admiral Necheyev's office to be. But Admiral Janeway would have an office there too, wouldn't she? Seven stopped scowling. Kathryn would probably be at work this time of day. She would probably come from that office in a few minutes. Seven wondered how long she would have to waste on her before she had to get back. Then she turned the corner and saw a cheery red awning sheltering several small wrought iron tables. In the window of the cafe, behind the tables, the outline of an owl glowed purple, its green eyes fixed on the mug it held improbably in its wing. The Night Owl.
* * *
I arrived back on Earth this afternoon.

A few years ago I never would have believed that I could be so grateful to see San Francisco growing closer outside the port.

It's not exactly home...it's not Voyager, but, today, it's more than sufficient.

I've been giving these briefings for Starfleet for nearly five months, and it has never been pleasant, but this trip was particularly trying. Not everyone appreciates being briefed on the Borg by a former drone...I always understood that. But my hosts were especially hostile this week. It was...exhausting.

I do not think I can bear it...another person asking if I remember their son, their daughter, their cousin, their mother, their sister . . . on and on. An endless list of children and parents and lovers and friends. The angry ones are not so very bad. It's the hopeful ones I can't endure.

...

And I am tired of talking about the Collective. Will I never escape them?

...

B'Elanna has sent me a curious invitation while I have been away. Her message contains a large attachment of what appears to be unusual subspace frequencies and technical specifications for recongifuring my communications system. Her message said only, "I hope to see you there." I plan to study the attachment in detail once I have completed my log. I am attending a concert with the doctor tonight. I know many individuals attribute restorative properties to music and I hope it will soothe me, but in the meantime...I am glad I have something with which to occupy myself until it is time to dress for the evening.

I have also received a message from the cap--from Admiral Janeway. She has not contaced me since shortly after Voyager reached Earth . . . I believe I will suggest a meeting. I miss her. Perhaps coffee? Surely that will appeal to her.

I have invited Naomi Wildman to visit tomorrow when she has completed her school session. We agreed before I left that we would play kadis kot when I returned. Perhaps Samantha will let her stay the night. I could use the distraction. And Naomi always...'cheers me up.' It will still be a long day before Naomi is out of school...Perhaps the captain will agree to meet with me tomorrow.
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