NCC - 81102
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Interviews Gone Wrong

Posted on Wed Apr 21st, 2021 @ 12:51am by Five of Seven & Ensign Clarice Pichette

Mission: Mission 1: Dirty Little Secret
Location: Five's Quarters - USS Odyssey
Timeline: Mission Day 20 - 1524 hours

Clary could not get over how brilliant Tavis was. How many Starfleet commanding officers could boast they had an ex-Borg on their ship? This was an amazing opportunity to learn from a mind that existed beyond the mind-machine interface. If Clary learned anything at all, it would be amazing. And... if she uncovered something of use to Tavis... he might give her a commendation. The mere thought made her quiver from bow to stern.

Clearing her schedule -- none of it was pressing or even mission relevant anyway -- Clary decided to seize the moment and jumped up from her desk.

"Computer, where is the passenger Five of Seven located?"

"Five of Seven is located in his quarters," the Computer stated in response.

"Oh, duh..."

Clary hurried to the guest quarters, humming a song in her head all the way.

"Every little thing I do
Never seems enough for you
You don't wanna lose it again
But I'm not like them
Baby, when you finally
Get to love somebody
Guess what
It's gonna be me
"

Oh, Tavis...

Before she knew it, Clary had arrived. She pressed the chime and did her best to clamp down on the song that was now stuck in her head.

The guards in front of the door stood closer together, not allowing the woman to reach the door.

"Excuse me, but I need to speak with the... the occupant." Was he a prisoner? A guest? Clary had no idea. "Mission sensitive. One of you can sit with me, if it pleases you."

With a nod, the guards officers moved aside, allowing entrance.

Clary pressed the chime all the same. Manners were manners, even if she had the permission of the ship's Security.

"Enter," came the voice from within.

Obeying the imperative sentence as a direct order, Clary hurried through the door.

"Hello! I'm Ensign Clarice Pichette, but you can call me Clary." Despite her nervous energy, she still shot him a sunny smile. "Do you mind if I ask you some questions?"

Five looked up from the PADD he was reading, his assimilation tubules retracting from the surface of the display. "I do not mind," he simply stated.

"Thank you, I appreciate it," Clary said as she took to the first chair in sight. "This is all in the interest of science so please be as honest as possible." The retraction of his tubules finally registered in Clary's brain. "Oh, gross!" she exclaimed before she could help herself. "I'm sorry. I mean, how interesting. Is that your preferred mode of manual interaction with local devices?"

Looking up at the woman, Five frowned, "It is efficient. Manual interfaces leave too much room for error and the response time is abysmal."

"So those hook directly to your brain?" Clary asked. "That is, um, interesting, as I said. Do you find verbal speech as equally obsolete as a form of communication?"

Five considered that for a moment. "There are pros and cons to verbal speech. But yes, it is quite obsolete. If you'd prefer to not use verbal speech, I'm happy to help us interface better."

The suggestion both intrigued and horrified Clary with its possibilities. Her face was a tangle of the gamut she was feeling. "What interface are you proposing?"

Holding up his hand, Five's assimilation tubules popped out of his wrist.

Clary gasped at the sight. "I'm afraid that getting assimilated is... is... against protocol... or religion... or something..." But then she turned her face askance, as if she were almost considering it. "No, I think we'd better keep this formal and official. For... science..."

Five shrugged and retracted the tubules.

Clearing her throat, she began again. Her questions were more important than sating her potentially fatal curiosity. "So, how did you first join the Borg and what led to your separation?

"Why is this information pertinent to our mission?" he asked.

"Why wouldn't it be?" Clary countered, truly mystified by the question.

Five just looked at the woman. "I'm here to direct the mission to our destination, nothing more."

"Yes, I understand the 'what'," Clary said, "but science is all about the 'how' and the 'why'! You are a terrifyingly advanced construct of man and machine. How are you going to direct the mission? Why do your methods work the way they do? These are the sorts of questions I'm compelled to ask because science demands answers!" There were times when Clary knew she was getting ahead of herself, and this was one of them. She deliberately lowered her timbre and exuberance. "Sorry. I get excited sometimes. But, yeah, can you elaborate on the nature of your existence? Small question, right?" she added with a nervous chuckle.

"You're asking me questions in the abstract," Five stated as he stood and walked towards the windows. "If you have a direct question about my nature, please be candid. As for how I'm directing the mission, I used a starchart. Nothing more."

Clary frowned. "No, I clearly asked how you came to be part of the Borg and then how you separated from it. Those events provide crucial context to everything that's now happening and will happen. We know where we're going by knowing where we came from."

"I was assimilated three days after my first birthday," Five stated. "I was separated by mistake when the ship I was maturing on was damaged by a nova flare. I, and two others, were the only survivors of the accident."

Taking furious notes, Clary nodded rapidly--almost too rapidly. "Uh-huh, uh-huh. So you've been separated from the Collective for some time. How did you come to be on Dalia Station? You had some sort of job there, according to the part of the away mission report I had clearance to read."

"I won't answer that question," Five stated.

"Why not?" Clary asked. "Was it classified? Or..." She blushed at the notion as soon as it occurred to her. "... something lurid?"

"It's private."

Clary blushed even more furiously. "Lurid, then," she managed to squeak out. No wonder Five had offered to "interface" with her at the beginning! She grunted a series of throat clearing gasps in a desperate fight to regain her composure. "That's okay. Um..." Where, oh where, were her thoughts? "Ah, yes! You seem to know your way around a Federation starship. Is that derivative knowledge from the Borg Collective or have you had prior experience with Starfleet personnel?"

"Both."

"Oh, good! We're making progress!" Clary looked down at her PADD, ready to transcribe meticulous notes. "So when was your prior experience with Starfleet?"

"Are you here on orders?" Five asked, turning back to the woman. "Did the Captain give you a directive to question me on my personal life?"

"Does that matter?" Clary asked. "Are your answers dictated by who is asking and why?"

"It helps me know whether I'm required to answer your incessant questions or not," Five stated. "And whether I can expect repercussions."

"But... you agreed to..." Clary visibly deflated. "Are you breaking your word?"

"And what word would that be?" Five asked.

"You said you didn't mind my questions," Clary reminded him, "yet you have refused to answer almost all of them. Are all ex-Borg as difficult as you?"

Five stood there for a moment in silence. Memories began to flood through his mind. Memories of the Sphere. Memories of Six and Seven. It was almost emotional in experience, though Five tried to squash feelings in general.

Slowly, he turned back to Clary, "I've never met any other ex-Borg," he stated, though if the woman had the right clearance, she'd find out that was a lie. "I'm alone in this universe as far as I can tell."

Tears began to well up in Clary's eyes. "That is so sad," she croaked as she wiped her eyes, "especially since Starfleet has knowledge of so many ex-Borg drones in existence. You should come back to Federation space with us so we can introduce you to others like you."

"I've been there," Five said, quietly. "What they did..." He stopped and just looked at the woman. "This ship is as far back into Federation space as I'm willing to venture."

"What did they do?" Clary pressed. "Did you interface with any of them like you wanted to do with me?"

The young man's face set in a stern look. "This conversation is over, Ensign. You may leave now."

"'May leave' is not 'must leave,'" Clary pointed out. "Why do you mistrust the Federation so much? You must tell me!"

"Then allow me to clarify." Five stated. "You must leave. Now. I refuse to answer any more of your questions."

"What are you afraid of?" Clary asked. "Whatever it is, you don't have to worry. You're safe here. Captain Tavis Inahri is an honorable man!"

Five took a step towards the woman, his voice low and stern. "I said leave. If you don't comply, I will insist by using firmer tactics."

"Are you threatening me?" Clary gasped in a pitched tone, her eyes wide with fright. "Please don't hurt me!"

"Then go."

But Clary was too petrified to move. She stood there trembling, knees knocking, whimpering at the angry Borg who had threatened her bodily person.

Five took a deep breath, his aggressive stance softening slightly. "Just leave. Please."

The deer in the headlights look in Clary's eyes showed the words were not received. As Five shifted his weight, she fell to her knees. "Please don't hurt me," she pleaded through sobbing tears. "I beg of you!"

"I'm not going to hurt you," Five stated, becoming annoyed at the woman's antics. "I'm asking you, emphatically, to leave my quarters. If you cannot pull yourself together to do so, I will ask Security to escort you out."

Security! That word registered in Clary's mind. "SECURITY!" she screamed even before she tapped her combadge. "Security, help me! He's going to assimilate me!"

Crossing his arms, Five rolled his eyes.

The doors opened quickly with both security guards rushing in, phaser rifles aimed at the Drone. "Stand back," one of the guards said, firmly, stepping past Clary and entering Five's personal space.

Doing exactly as he was asked, Five took a step backwards.

The second guard stowed his rifle behind his back and scooped Clary up off the floor. "Are you hurt, Ensign?" he asked, pulling her to her feet.

"He wanted to assimilate me!" Clary cried out, pointing toward his wrist where his nanoprobe tendrils were retracted. "With-with those things! And he said he would hurt me unless I di-did what he said!" She closed her eyes and raised her voice to the proverbial heavens. "Please don't let him hurt me!!!"

The security officer who held the rifle pressed the tip into Five's shoulder. "You're lucky you're protected by the Captain, Borg. If I had my way, that window would meet the inside of your brain."

The second officer hurried Clary out of the room. "Let's get you to our office and write up a report for Commander Jasper."

With another nudge of the rifle, the officer turned and left Five's quarters.

 

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