In which Seven has a relapse and Janeway declares war.
Open on Janeway, in da Vinci’s studio, teaching Seven to sculpt clay. Like many things, Seven determines the activity is wasteful and inefficient, while Janeway explains the concept of relaxation and mental recharging to the former Borg drone. She also suggests Seven create her own holodeck program for recreation, and for the health of her imagination. However, when Seven sees Leonardo’s flying machine, she experiences a vision of running through a Borg ship, fleeing drones looking down at her, and being chased by a corvid. Oh, and someone is shouting “Annika” so it’s probably a memory.
Since it’s the first time Seven’s experienced anything like this, she goes to the Doctor to try to understand what’s going on in her brain. The Doctor explains that her hippocampus is flaring up and she’s probably getting flashbacks. The bird’s a mystery, though, but robot characters do seem obsessed with birds. Also, Seven hasn’t been eating solid foods up until now, and she’s going to have to learn to eat Neelix’s cooking, and the side effects thereof.
Today’s B-plot is provided by negotiations with the B’omar for passage through their space. Apparently, they are ‘difficult.’ They have small ships that probably swarm. They’ve agreed to let Voyager through their space, under the provisos of remaining below warp 3, never turning on their weapons, keeping their sensors quiet, not communicating outside the military, and following an insane and convoluted course. These, and the fact that they call themselves a Sovereignty, sort of imply that there’s some Oppression going on and they want to avoid any inconvenient visitors going around fomenting things.
Seven is braving the lion’s den, and whatever you do, don’t ask where Neelix got standard Earth bell peppers. Maybe he replicated the seeds. Hey, here’s a question – can you replicate seeds that will grow? It would have to be high-fidelity replication, rather than nutritionally-altered replication, and presumably it would be a clone of whatever seed was scanned to create it, but there’s very little practical reason why not – matter editation technology is clearly up to the task of assembling DNA. This then begs the question – could you replicate a person, with a powerful enough computer to store the pattern? I digress – Neelix isn’t terribly enthused by the sterile dietary requirements the Doctor provided, and takes his place in the long line of people lecturing Seven about the importance of aesthetic enjoyment in her new human life. Seven’s response to his chatter is to remind him that the Borg have met the Talaxians, and done what Borg do. Awkwardness aside (ha, no) he taches her how to use a form and eat solid food. And swallow. And before you ask, no. Instead, eating seems to trigger a flashback that blooms an implant.
Janeway’s still working with the B’omar trying to streamline their route. and meeting with no success. Janeway gets called away from this meeting to deal with Seven, and Tuvok takes a security team to go deal with the hallucinating Seven. When they try to stun her, she’s got Borg shields up and working. This throws yet another wrench in the negotiations, and she’s also able to walk through security fields and access the armory. She makes her way towards the shuttlebay, overcoming all obstacles, and beams into one, blows out the launch doors, and flees into B’omar space.
The B’omar interpret this as a fairly obvious and transparent ploy to get into their space. They are, however, tracking her with their perimeter defenses, and Voyager is now no longer welcome within five light-years of the B’omar borders. Denied the ability to track her, Janeway sets her engineers to doing Root Cause Analysis. Torres continues to needle Harry about his puppy lust for Seven while they work, and also finds Seven’s diary. The Doctor also found something from her transport – dormant nanoprobes that have reawakened and started rebuilding her. He’s developed a countermeasure to re-de-borgify her, but someone still has to find her and hypospray her.
Tuvok has found a way through the field, just enough for a shuttlecraft to sneak and drift in. But if they find her and can’t cure her, Janeway authorizes lethal force.
In her shuttle, Seven sees herself huddled in hiding from the borg, and is in no mood to be condescended to by the B’omar in their stupid helmets. Whatever she’s done to the shuttle in the interim has allowed her to ram B’omar ships and come away unscathed. Tuvok and Paris chase her down, but when Tuvok beams in to try to cure her, she’s prepared and incapacitates both Tuvok, then Tom’s shuttle. When Tuvok wakes up, he’s in the back of her shuttle, held by a force field, and trying to argue her out of being a borg.
Her Borgification was triggered by picking up a homing signal from a Borg ship, but although she’s certain she’s still borg, she’s displaying a lot more restraint and compassion than one might expect form a real borg. Her hallucinations also don’t match the experience of a lost borg finding its ship’s homing signal. Which I ahve to question the utility of – Under what circumstances does a drone get separated from its ship but maintain the wherewithal to get back on its own? Hugh’s scoutship crashed and once he was repaired, he activated his own homing signal and the borg ship had to come to him. Tuvok almost has her convinced, too, but there’s still fifteen minutes left in the episode.
Going through her logs, Harry finds that everything is pretty normal, as reformed-drones go, until a few days ago when the dreams start. Janeway realizes that the bird in Seven’s visions is a Raven, and Janeway has Chakotay start scanning for Federation ship signatures, and crosses into B’omar space.
Seven is convinced she’s about to go home to the Borg, and Tuvok is convinced she’s wrong. Janeway and Voyager are hurrying to the area as well, as are several B’omar. But this gives Seven and Tuvok enough time to find a 20-year-old Federation/Borg ship that she feels is familiar. It’s emitting a signal that her equipment picked up, and now that she’s seen it, her visions include her as a child and the borg dragging away her parents. In these flashbacks, the Borg also look a lot more menacing than they usually do. More purpose and malice behind their movements, rather than the stiff-armed robo-zombie moves. The memories of a child? Seven does uncover a plaque naming the ship The Raven.
She grew up on this ship, at least until the Borg took over that job. How it got this far into the Delta quadrant with her still being a child is not explained, however, although at an educated guess her parents were either warp field theoreticians and tinkerers, or they followed a Borg ship through a transwarp conduit.
It’s about now that the B’omar show up and start bombarding the Raven on the surface and Voyager shows up to protect them and incurring the further wrath of the B’Omar. They’ve pissed off the locals enough that they won’t get the shortcut, but Seven had the chance to grow a little as a person, so it evens out. In the Federation database that Voyager has a full offline copy of, there’s information about the elder Hansens, but Seven isn’t ready to read it yet. Apparently they were very well-known indeed, or else disk space is effectively limitless.