Disclaimer: I own nothing but I doubt Paramount would want these characters.
Notes: This was written for the VAMB Secret Summer exchange. I tried to get two of the requests in one. A Tom centric fic while also having a J/Borg Queen element as well. This could also be considered a sequel to my story "Homecoming" although it can stand on its own. Thanks to QS for being my ever faithful beta!
Resistance Is Not Futile by Cheshire
The Queen is waiting on us, or I suppose it would be more appropriate to say that she’s waiting for us to be brought before her. The metal grating of the cube digs painfully into my knees when the drone forces us down. It hurts, but ego usually does when it gets punched. We were supposed to get in, grab the captain, and get out. We planned this mission for a year, thought of thousands of possible options and scenarios, took into consideration that we were going up against an enemy that knew us as well as we knew ourselves, and still we thought we had it all figured out. We didn’t.
I guess we weren’t the only ones planning for this moment.
The Queen’s eyes slide quickly over me, but she studies Chakotay for several long minutes, her mouth curling slightly upwards. She has the captain’s memories; I wonder what she sees when she looks at him. He returns her stare, but neither he nor I speak. What’s there to say? She destroyed our shuttle. Clearly, we’re at her mercy. Not that I’m expecting any mercy from the Borg. Such an idea would be futile.
Before we left Voyager, I’d asked B’Elanna what it was like to be assimilated. She refused to answer and almost decked me for my trouble. She didn’t like to think about it, and as far as she was concerned I didn’t need to know. The mission was going to be a success and getting myself assimilated was not going to be part of the deal, so why dredge up bad memories?
Out of earshot of B’Elanna, I asked Tuvok. He tried to answer my question, but by his very nature he wasn’t exactly able to describe how it truly felt. He’d had an emotional response, a by-product of the neural suppressant failing during the mission, but that wasn’t the sort of thing you could ask a Vulcan to relive and describe. He’d have been uncomfortable; I’d have been uncomfortable. It would have been awkward to say the least.
It was times like that when I missed Seven. She would have answered my question, probably in horrifying detail, but she would have seen no reason to withhold the information.
Losing her and the captain on the same mission had been a real gut check for the ship. It was hard for a community as small as Voyager’s to get over losing two such people. They both had such presence, even if sometimes it was demanding, stubborn, or self-righteous. Sometimes it was all three traits at the same time. One of them was our best scientific mind and one of them was our leader; you can’t just fill the void left by their sudden absence.
Selfishly, I’m kind of glad I won’t have to be on the ship to pick up the pieces after Chakotay and I don’t return.
The Queen turns her head and blinks, a drawn out flicker that seems to take seconds longer than it should. I can just make out movement in the darkened corner where she’s looking. A drone steps out of their alcove, pausing as accumulated data is processed. The Queen turns back to watch us, but neither of us pay her any attention. Our focus is centered on the Borg drone emerging from the shadows, the person we came here to rescue – Kathryn Janeway.
It’s been a year since we’ve seen her, leaving the bridge, heading for the Borg cube, a look of apprehension and sadness on her face. We had a plan; she went willingly. I guess the same thing could be said for Chakotay and myself. It makes for one hell of an epitaph.
We thought the Unimatrix mission had gone wrong with Tuvok’s neural suppressant failing. We had no idea that by the time that happened, we’d already lost. The Queen had the nanovirus we’d created. She took it, modified it, and released it in Unimatrix Zero, destroying every infected drone, including Seven. We got Tuvok and B’Elanna back to the ship, but there’d been no sign of the captain.
Ironically, it was Tuvok’s link to the Collective that allowed us to know, after the fact, what had happened to her. As soon as she’d been incapacitated by the beginning stages of assimilation, she’d been put into stasis, and transported to the Primary Unicomplex. She’d been taken straight to the Queen.
And now she stands at the Queen’s side, her body almost a mirror image to her Royal Borgness. Oddly, disconcertingly she still looks like Kathryn Janeway. She looks Borg as well, but not like any Borg I’ve ever seen.
The black body suit clings to her like no Federation uniform ever did, a few vulnerable areas given protective padding, but nothing to signify what her particular role is within the Collective. No accoutrements or tools grafted onto her, although like the Queen, even her hands are covered in dark gloves, the external lines and barbs of assimilation tubules visible on the back of her hand. Not much of her skin shows, head, neck, and upper chest, but what is visible has the pale grey color of assimilation. The main contrast is that she’s retained her hair. It flows loose and long down to her shoulders, humanizing her in a way we hadn’t expected. A disappointed look crosses her features when she sees us.
Her name falls from Chakotay’s lips the way it always has, filled with love and hope, almost as though just the sound of him saying it will be enough to bring her back to us.
It gets her attention, but there is no warmth or trace of personality in her gaze. She studies us, her eyes traveling head to foot over each of us, taking in our appearances. It’s not a comfortable feeling, her scrutiny. It makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up, and when she lifts her gaze to meet the Queen’s, I can’t help but feel relief.
“Kathryn?” This time it’s a question. Chakotay must’ve felt the chill the same way I did. Despite the hair, the woman standing before us doesn’t feel like the Kathryn Janeway we knew.
The Queen begins to circle us. “Go on, Aequalis,” she says, addressing the captain I assume, “ask them your questions.”
“Tom Paris,” she addresses me first, surprisingly. “You’re very quiet. Do you have anything to say?”
The voice sounds like her, that whisky hard tone she had after long, stressful shifts on the bridge, a sound that over the past year I’ve often missed hearing, but her inflections are wrong. Her speech is clipped and not at all the smooth rolling she usually spoke with. It makes her sound like the Borg I’m beginning to believe she truly is.
She’s waiting for me to answer her. I shrug. “Captain Proton to the rescue?”
She’s not moved by my attempt at humor, but I swear I can hear Chakotay’s molars crack.
“Never mind,” I tell her, shaking my head. “Sorry, ma’am, I’ve got nothing.”
Her head tilts slightly to the side. “Your captain didn’t like being addressed by that term.”
It hurts more than it should to hear her phrase it like that. “No, she doesn’t,” I try, “but then if this doesn’t qualify as crunch time, I don’t know what does, ma’am.”
“It is irrelevant.”
“Not to me, it isn’t,” I argue.
Her eyebrow arches upwards and I notice she’s moved her hand to her hip during our brief conversation. Well, B’Elanna always said I could annoy a statue. Although I’m not sure the wisdom in annoying a former captain turned Borg, but it’s at least an emotion from her that I’m familiar with.
The Queen, however, picks that moment to interrupt us, and I wonder how I ever forgot she was behind me. “What are your feelings towards this one?”
She’s standing behind Chakotay now, her hand on his shoulder, as the man himself looks up at the woman I know he loves.
Janeway studies him for a moment. “He will survive assimilation. Once he is stripped of arcane spiritual beliefs, his dedication and loyalty will be an asset to the Collective. He is in moderate health and his body will be of use to the Collective for many years.” She looks at the Queen. “He will make an excellent drone.”
“You once had a more emotional attachment to him,” the Queen suggests, returning to stand beside her.
“Emotional attachments are irrelevant.”
“Not entirely,” the Queen argues mildly. “You do have feelings for them.”
She looks at the two of us again. “Perhaps.”
The Queen’s hand brushes through the ends of the captain’s hair as she crosses behind her as though she enjoys the contact. “They want you to go with them. They want to take you from me,” she says, glancing at me but holding Chakotay’s gaze. “Do you want to go with them, Aequalis?”
Janeway’s reply is immediate. “No.”
“Because I am yours.”
My heart sinks, and the Queen smiles at Chakotay, a look of cold triumph, before turning to her protégé. Her hand trails across Janeway’s cheek as she leans in, her open mouth slanting over the captain’s. It’s clearly not their first kiss as the captain melts against the Queen’s body, her hands stroking down the Queen’s sides, resting on her hips, pulling her closer. The Queen holds Janeway’s head between her hands, deepening the kiss, their chests rubbing against each other, before she finally, slowly pulls back. The captain’s eyes are still closed, her mouth slightly open.
“Thank you,” she whispers.
“I’m pleased you are mine,” the Queen answers, her thumb slipping over the captain’s bottom lip before she returns her attention to us. “You claim to love her, and yet you have no idea what you are trying to take away from her.”
Chakotay snarls, “You may have some control over her, here in your chambers, with your nanoprobes and the Collective, but take all that away, and the real Kathryn Janeway would kill you in an instant.”
I’m not so sure about that anymore. I know I believed that coming here, but that whispered breath of thanks was not some pull of a puppet’s string by the Queen.
The Queen smiles at Chakotay’s claim. “You think you know her so well, but you don’t. You never did. Not like I know her. You only ever knew what she allowed you to see, the parts of her you’d approve.” She strokes a hand along his tattoo and he jerks his head away from her touch. “I know all of her,” she whispers in his ear loud enough for me to hear. “I know her body and mind. Every thought, every desire, every secret she’s ever had were given to me in ways they were never even offered to you.”
I can’t see the Queen, but I can see the captain. I watch as she licks her lips, never once looking away from the Queen, her chest rising and falling as she breathes deep, mouth slightly open, hand clenching at her side. And it hits me.
Their minds are one.
The Queen may be whispering to Chakotay, but she and Kathryn are having a completely different conversation, a highly charged erotic exchange unless I miss my guess. I suddenly feel absurdly like a voyeur. I look down, away, anywhere but at the woman who used to be my captain, and I try to concentrate instead on the Queen and Chakotay.
“I tried to be reasonable,” she says, standing in front of him, “but you refuse to see reason, to accept even what you see right in front of your eyes.”
“I see a prisoner, a woman that’s been violated to the very core of who she is,” he spits.
She doesn’t reply at first, simply cocks her fist, showing Chakotay the tubules on the back of her hand. “She’s right, Commander; you will make an excellent drone.”
Her hand lowers, the pointed barbs scratching against his neck. Chakotay takes a deep breath, his eyes never leaving the Queen’s, defiant to the very end.
My breath catches in my chest and I almost look around to see who gave the command, but there’s only one possibility. The Queen freezes, seconds away from injecting Chakotay, and slowly straightens to stare at Janeway. Clearly, she is as surprised by the command as I am.
“We should send one back,” the captain suggests.
“Why?” The Queen demands to know, disbelief clear in her tone.
Chakotay and I risk a glance at each other, we don’t believe it either. But maybe, just maybe, there’s something of the captain still battling in that Borg body after all. After that kiss they’d shared, I’d been convinced it was over. The captain had gone over to the dark side and we were screwed. I’d already started mentally saying my goodbyes to life as I knew it, but now…
“It will send a message.”
“What kind of a message?” the Queen asks, her voice carrying that same dangerous silky edge it always did.
“Voyager and its crew have been a distraction for far too long. They are a nuisance. We can end it,” Janeway says. “Send one of them back with the message that if any one of Voyager’s crew tries again to reclaim me, we will assimilate the entire ship.”
The Queen seems to consider the idea. I try hard to keep a blank face. Voyagers will never go for that, and the captain must know it. Losing another member of the senior staff as well as hearing that the captain showed mercy will only make them try harder, convince them that our Janeway is still in there, trapped within the Borg, fighting for a way out.
“And what makes you think that will finally make them see reason?” the Queen asks, considering both Chakotay and myself. “They’ve never shown a capacity for it before.”
“They value the lives of their collective over their own singular existences,” Janeway insists. “It is the one admirable trait they share with us.”
Something about her tone triggers the instinct in the back of my brain to red alert. She sounds just a little too cold in her assessment…a little too Borg. And it’s in that moment I remember and wonder how I could have forgotten even for a second – they are of one mind.
They’re playing us.
I don’t know why or to what end, but the woman we knew as Kathryn Janeway has a plan, and the Queen is playing along knowing full well what that plan is. I risk a peek at Chakotay, but the two second glance isn’t enough to tell me if he’s buying her act or not. But it’s enough for the captain to catch me looking. Her eyes hold mine and finally, even in the low green light of the cube I can truly see them for the first time. Her eyes aren’t just dark as I originally thought; they’re the same melted silver as the Queen’s. The corner of her mouth ticks upwards in a gruesome, bone-chilling smirk, dropping a bucket of ice water over my head. She knows I’ve figured it out.
“Very well,” the Queen says, also looking at me now, reminding me forcefully that their thoughts are one. “I shall let it be your choice, Aequalis.”
I should’ve finished saying my farewells because I know it’s not going to be me leaving this chamber. I consider warning Chakotay, but ever so slightly the Borg that was Janeway shakes her head at me. If I say anything, she’ll keep both of us. I don’t know which would be better. If Chakotay goes, he may figure it out, he may decide to protect the crew, or he may just set Voyager at ramming speed and head straight here.
If he goes, he at least stands a chance.
She is pretending to make a difficult decision, but she’s waiting on me. Waiting on my decision, watching, her head tilted slightly to the side as if she can hear my thoughts already.
“Keep me,” Chakotay tries, the honorable lug. He begins arguing the merits of him staying versus me, but none of the three of us making the decision pay any attention to him.
Finally, I give her a quick nod, and bow my head, blinking rapidly, staring at the deck. This is it. This is truly it. She seems pleased with my answer and Chakotay is hauled to his feet by two drones, carrying him bodily from the chamber. It seems to take forever before we can no longer hear him yelling my name, yelling her name, making promises he shouldn’t even try to keep.
And then she’s kneeling in front of me, her black covered fingers lifting my chin so that I am forced to look into her eyes. “You were always going to be my choice, Tom.”
“You were playing us.”
“There’s more that we want from Voyager.”
Her answer confuses me, and I can see my confusion in her dark, reflective eyes. She never once looks away, her hand briefly stroking my neck before switching angles and triggering the assimilation tubules that will end my life as I know it.
She embraces me as she never did in our former lives, holds me close as her nanoprobes sear through my veins, seizing muscles, and dragging me down. She doesn’t let me fall; she protects me, cradles my body, lowering it carefully to the deck as I become Borg.
My last thought as a human is already partially hers.
“Yes, Tom,” she agrees. “B’Elanna is what we want, too.”
I thought I would pass out. God knows I wanted to, but my body doesn’t. It simply becomes not mine to control. Nanoprobes assault organs, imbed themselves into muscle and tissue, code and organize themselves inside me, replicating themselves to build the implants I know the Borg will use to control me.
Almost immediately, I can hear her thoughts, feel her in my mind. Not the Collective. Not yet. Just her. She doesn’t leave me, and as I sink further into the process I begin to understand that she will never leave me. I am hers, and we are the Queen’s.
B’Elanna will be ours. I understand now the disappointment I saw when she first saw it was Chakotay and myself that had found her. She’s happy to have me, but it’s B’Elanna she really wants. It’s B’Elanna who will truly enrich the Collective. Her mind will be an asset to us.
No! No, this isn’t what B’Elanna wants. I won’t help bring B’Elanna here. I try to fight back, to reject what she is trying to tell me, but I can’t. I can’t move; I can’t think. She soothes me, calms my mind, promising that there is nothing else I have to do. My spirit breaks because I know she’s right. I’ve already done everything that is needed. I’m here, and we both know B’Elanna will not stop until she finds us.
And then she will find peace. The Collective offers a peace that B’Elanna has never truly known. She will be accepted for who and what she is, utterly, completely, without any kind of reservation. And she will know and understand that acceptance and never have any reason to doubt it. All of her fears will disappear. There will be no reason for them. She will be one of us.
And I will be good enough. The Collective accepts me as I am with all my faults. There is no judgment, no expectation. Almost immediately, they know me for who and what I am and it is enough for them. It will always be enough. There are no secrets, no lies, no desires that must be kept hidden from the world. I am adequate.
It occurs to me that the secrets and lies, the hidden desires, those are hers – the one who brought me into the Borg. Those are what my former captain gave up to the Collective. Hidden desires, false hopes, and the fear of failure were all things she kept tucked away from prying eyes. Feelings and emotions she could not share with anyone, but in the Collective, there are no secrets. Everything is exposed, stripped naked, and accepted without judgment.
Our thoughts are one as she feels me begin to accept the freedom the Collective offers. It had been the same for her, a dawning realization that struggling against the Collective was more habitual than necessary. We’d always been taught that individuality was sacrosanct. We fought against the Borg because we had never understood what they were truly offering – freedom.
Resistance is not futile; it is ignorance.
The voices of the Collective rush over me, accepting me, learning me. My skills and knowledge are not taken from me like we always believed; they are simply shared. Within minutes, drones piloting cubes and spheres across the galaxy are enhanced with my abilities just as the tricks and trades of every other pilot are given to me. And through it all, she is there, grounding me as I adjust, sharing in my experience as I share in the memory of hers.
I look at her and emotion swells in my chest. How wrong we had been. It hurts to think I would’ve taken all this away from her. “Forgive me.”
She understands. She grieves over the disservice she did to Seven, tearing her away from this peace, from her future. Seven had been one of the Queen’s, like my former captain is, like a half-dozen others are across the Collective. A queen must protect her Collective, insure that if something happens to her, the Borg will continue. That is Janeway’s role; it is what Seven’s should have been.
It has been a year, but I am her first assimilation. I am One of Three; the first whose blood runs with her nanoprobes. She will never leave me, and I will always be at her side. That is what it means to be hers. That is what she means when she said B’Elanna will join us. B’Elanna will be ours.
I am to receive ocular implants. The process of removal and then substitution will be painful, but the resulting enhanced vision will allow me to serve her and the Collective better. It is necessary which makes any pain I may experience irrelevant, but still she thinks to distract me from the procedure, opening her mind to me, allowing me to feel her connection to the Queen when she joins us in the surgical chamber.
There is a reason Aequalis, my former captain, retains so much of her organic body. It pleases the Queen. She is counterpoint to the Queen, who through so much sacrifice to the Collective has become primarily synthetic. The synthetic body is better equipped to regulate the Collective, to regulate urges and desires new assimilations bring to the Collective.
But even the Queen can feel overwhelmed at times. Especially when large populations are being assimilated as is currently happening with cube three one two five and cube nine four seven two. It is one of many reasons why she has sought out a counterpart, someone like Locutus, someone like Aequalis.
The Queen’s body does not feel. The sense of touch is only in her mind, but her mind and Aequalis’ mind are joined. She can experience what Aequalis does. She can experience touch through others. The Queen looks at me over Aequalis’ shoulder, and it’s her voice I hear in my mind.
One of Three, primary adjunct to Aequalis, join us.
The procedure to replace my organic eyes with implants has begun, but I feel no pain. I am with Aequalis and my Queen. The Queen’s hand is sure and strong as it strokes down the bodysuit, causing friction and heating the skin underneath. Aequalis sucks in a breath as the hand moves between her thighs. My pulse quickens as the sensations Aequalis feels are shared by all of us.
We kiss. Open mouths and hot tongues duel as bodies press closer together, covered breasts rubbing against each other. Aequalis is pushed back against the bulkhead, her feet kicked apart, a thigh rubbing against her crotch. A low moan of pleasure escapes her throat as the pressure against her increases, driven higher by the desires of a hundred new minds joining the Collective.
The Queen’s mouth travels hot and wet across her jaw, down her neck, a gentle hand tucking hair out of the way, as the friction between her legs disappears. We mewl at the loss, but the bodysuit is being rolled down, releasing skin to the humid temperature of the cube. Several implants that would not usually be seen gleam in the green light but none are in overly sensitive areas.
None are where the Queen’s mouth begins to suckle and nip. The bulkhead pulls at strands of hair as we wriggle against the sensation. A hand is finally released from the bodysuit and we grasp our Queen’s head, encouraging her to remain where she is, wishing we could do the same to her. She understands but desires release as much as we do and orders our hand to release her. Reluctantly, we do, feeling her sink lower, her warm breath caressing us as her hands continue to remove the bodysuit, pulling it down until she has us stepping out of it.
The stroke of her tongue against already enflamed flesh has us arching away from the bulkhead, our head thrown back. She pauses, opening herself to the Collective’s accumulated desire, sharing it with us, feeling us give it back to her as she begins to lick and suck in earnest. The first release rocks us almost immediately. The Queen chases the resulting gush with her tongue, lapping hungrily before returning to the sensitive nub that she sucks and rolls between her teeth, causing our hips to buck against her face before she pins us against the bulkhead with her superior strength. We can feel her goal. She wants another release before she’ll use her hand.
She uses the tools at her disposal and shows us what the drones working in the chamber are seeing. The Queen on her knees in front of us, head firmly seated between our legs, as we stand exposed, clinging to the bulkhead behind us. The imagery works, and we feel her satisfaction as tremors of release cascade through us, a primal cry echoing off the bulkheads.
She’s feeling calmer, the edge of new assimilations is waning, but she seeks perfection. Her gloved hand replaces her mouth, its stiff edges becoming quickly muted in our juices. Her thumb moves in slow, gentle circles as she regains her feet. We barely wait for her to be close enough before claiming her mouth with our own, our hands holding her close. She tastes of us and she swallows our moan as she moves two fingers inside of us.
Our knees are weak and she cradles us to her, taking her time, building a rhythm as we lean into her. She kisses and strokes, supporting us, adding a third finger as she begins to move harder, faster. We hang on, a small human part of us challenging her to work for it, to earn it. She knows our thoughts.
Come for me. Come for me now.
And we do. A shaking, gasping mess against her hand and she slows, taking us gently down, our breath rushing across the exposed skin of her shoulders. She is pleased. And relaxed. She even smoothes our hair and tucks it behind our ear as she draws back. We capture her mouth for one more kiss, a gentle loving exchange instead of the hard, possessive ones of earlier. We are hers.
The initial assimilation of the planet is complete. There are duties she must see to and she departs the chamber. I open my new eyes and watch with greater clarity than I could have ever imagined as Aequalis dons the bodysuit. She approaches and I blink through several enhanced levels of vision.
“Will it always be like this?”
She runs a hand over my head, brushing away hair that will never grow back. “The only time I will not be with you is when I am with her. She may sometimes desire your presence.” A drone begins to attach my exo-plating and she steps out of the way. “Sphere eight three one will deliver Chakotay to Voyager in the next two hours. They will begin planning.”
“Do we go after them?”
She considers my question and I feel her connecting with the Queen although I can no longer sense the Queen’s thoughts in my own. The Collective is more comprehensible now, the voices all distinct but understandable. I am them and they are me, but Aequalis is still the predominant voice I feel. I will always be hers more than theirs.
“No,” she says finally. “They will come to us. It will not be long.”
A third piece of armor is fused to my shoulder. “We will rescue B’Elanna Torres.”
“We will rescue them all.”
“They will resist us.”
The corner of her mouth ticks upwards in her signature grin and our thoughts are one.
This was my inspiration for Borg Janeway - Awesome Artist
Thanks to Audabee for giving my words a home!