A Short Anthology of Shortness - by Motoko Isawa

I've decided to just consolidate the stories I had over at ZEF to just one thread, to prevent mass spamming of this folder/forums. If you like something, as always, please feel free to hit that big fat heart. Here are some notes on what the stories are to give some context for those that weren't in ZEF at the time.

Your First One - Mo's first actual MACO combat mission. She is a young ensign in charge of her fire team.

Approval - Mo's father has words with Dr. Halsey, my own fanon director of the Federation institute studying and treating assimilation survivors. Both have made appearances as tailor alts and may again.....

Borg Assimilation and Command Protocols - Well researched fanon into how I operate Mo's implants. Written as a brief from the lovely Dr. Halsey.

Elachi Imprisonment - Was part of week long plot where several characters were captured and experimented on by the Elachi. There are two parts. First is her experience being taken from the cell with the others and experimented on. The second, is the start of her escape, which then moved to actual RP during the event finale.

Beautiful Sacrifice - Aftermath of some of the insidious social experiments the Elachi put the prisoners through.
Your First One

The briefing was quick and to the point, as expected. lt wasn't any different than the last twenty training
missions she'd done leading up to the one before this, which was her final qualification mission, except
that she was on the receiving end of it instead of in front of the screen. There was also the minor point
that this was her first combat mission.

She looked around her at the grizzled faces of the commanders and the captain giving the briefing. They
all had scars, some you could see, and others only in their eyes. A freshly minted MACO ensign, her role
was really nothing more than another rifleman. The only thing that differentiated her at this point from
your average Starfleet security officer with a compression rifle was the hundreds of hours of additional
training with that rifle and a heavy focus on other infantry combat tactics of the late 24th century, and
the best technological gizmos they could give her to increase her survivability in an environment that
had at least a thousand methods to kill her in very personal ways.

"With the disruption field still operational we'll have to insert via shuttle craft. The fleet will be
commencing operations.." He looked at his chrono, "about now. The Gorn comm net will be flooded
with data as they try to scramble reinforcements. The relay on surface is a central node. Our
pathfinders," He motioned to two dirty MACOs, still in their sensor dampening blankets covered in mud,
looking like they hadn't slept in days, which was probably true, "gave us detailed geological data on the
ground surrounding the complex. Although they've stripped vegetation out for five hundred meters, a
focused phaser volley from Fletcher will dig us some impromptu earth works to land the shuttles in and
fight from. lf we take the facility intact, we'll see what we can strip from the net before they isolate the
node. lf they manage to destroy it first, the sudden loss will temporarily crash the network, giving the
fleet some breathing room. Make sure you have your scanners running if you're entering the
facility. Don't want anyone blown up if the scalies choose death."

There were nods across the room, and a few closing remarks that she was barely cognizant of. When she
finally heard her immediate CO calling her name, she had no idea how many times he'd repeated it, but
his tone suggested it was more than a few. "Ensign lsawa! Wake up! I want you on me like glue,
understand? l'm not going to coddle you. You're certified like the rest of us, and if you drag down the
team l'm going to make sure you never leave the shuttle. Got it?"

"SlR, YES, SIR!" The volume was incredible for the small space on the Sao Paulo class they were on. Her
response was pure Pavlovian, after years of being hammered by instructors. Her commander winced a
little but gave a firm nod in reply. Out of the corner of her vision, she could see some of the others
grinning slightly. lt hit her suddenly that it was an incredibly rookie thing to do and kicked herself
mentally for it.

"Easy there, greenie. Finish getting geared up and find your seat on our ride. Remember, we're on
number two." He gave a brief salute that lsawa returned, and went to confer with the Captain one final

The gear drills were hammered into her as hard as everything else. There was a joke that MACOs all had
flat heads because of this, but don't call them that to their faces unless you are a MACO or you
want to start a fight. She was running a par time with everyone else getting ready. Enough holotraining
and everything could seem like simple rote memorization. She was still checking everything twice, and
managed to still finish up with some of the other veterans who were moving at a slightly more sedate
pace, by MACO standards.

She grabbed her weapon and made her way to the shuttle bay, or what passed for one on the ship. She
thanked whatever designer had made the decision to plaster a big "2" on the side of the shuttle, and
also on the rear ramp, and the interior walls. The last thing she needed was the added embarrassment
of getting on the wrong shuttle. lt wouldn't be a huge mistake, as someone would correct her before
they left, but it would be the sort of thing that you never lived down, ever.

She sat, and strapped in, stowing her weapon in the universal restraint between her legs, her helmet
hanging from her chest. Everything was where she could get at it when the moment came to stand, and
then disembark out the rear ramp. She was focusing her attention on a bit of wall, going over the
procedure. Ramp drops. Alternate left and right. The commander is two ahead so we'll be on the some
side. Go straight five meters then turn. Don't stop until you're in the trench. Pop up. Fire. They see me.
Drop back down. Listen for orders. Move a meter or so. Pop back up. Repeat.

It took her moment to realize the trooper in front of her, a lieutenant, was smirking at her. She looked
back, awaiting an explanation. "Can read your face like a book, greenie." The rest of them grinned and a
few chuckled, except one.

"Lieutenant, l am sure the Ensign has enough on her mind as it is." The voice was clearly Vulcan. lsawa
could recognize that annoying and grating pentameter anywhere. lt was that same quality that was a
catalyst to her being a MACO.

"Come on, lce Queen, let it go. We all know we looked the same our first mission." He looked back to
lsawa. "l'm sure your training numbers were fine. Just keep your head. This'll be a piece of cake."
lsawa managed a very brief smile, but her face returned to the same expression as the shuttle left the
deck. She returned to her focus point on the shuttle interior across from her. Ramp drops. Alternate left
and right. The commander is two ahead so we'll be on the same side. Go straight five meters then turn.
Don't stop until you're in the trench....

They stared at each other across the desk. Somewhere, the Preservers themselves would use the definition of an immovable object meeting an irresistible force to describe Dr. Halsey squaring off with Commander Isawa. An old grandfather clock Daisuke kept in his office ticked away. He kept it for that precise reason, those hollow ticks and tocks reverberating across the room, filling the void of time without spoken word, making its passage. It unnerved the hell out of his subordinates, especially when they came to him bearing personal failures.

“Are you going to authorize it or not?” Dr. Halsey sat with her arms crossed, back straight. Her patience was wearing thin. The past few weeks had been a demanding trial. She put it on the same scale as a moment in time, years ago, when she spent a month, hidden, on a Borg Cube.

Daisuke looked down at a PADD, reviewing her plan for Motoko’s treatment. It had promise, but not enough. The limited restoration was far short of his desires. He didn’t want the faded, altered thing back. He wanted her. For years, his desire had evaded him, and all he’d gotten out of Halsey were empty and failed promises. “What makes you think this time will be different?”

Halsey hated having her skill judged, but the only other person she owed it more to than Daisuke was his daughter. “The Jaheran code fragments. They’ve provided the cra-”, he cut her off.

“You don’t even know what they do.” His tone was even and measured, but Halsey had known him long enough to hear the frustration in it.

“I don’t have to. I know how the Borg rectification code is interacting with it, and I know enough about its patterns to help remove it.” The clock filled the long seconds as Daisuke considered this.

“If you fail?” The clock ticked and tocked away. Even though sensors would show it to be no louder than 58dB, it somehow managed to completely drown out the dull background rumble of Yugumo’s power plant. Halsey took a slow breath and looked away from Daisuke. It was answer enough for him. “Then you will be absolved of the remainder of your failure.”

“And you can finally avoid the thoughts of yours.” The passage of time was marked again by the rhythmic beating of the clock again.

“You couldn’t possibly know my history with my daughter.” He narrowed his eyes at her.

“You don’t bother to read her counseling reports. I saw the record of what happened in the holodeck during your pugilistic match. You flatly refused to acknowledge the depth and specificity of her question. Let me use a word you should know all too well to describe it. Denial.”

Daisuke’s voice started to rise, uncharacteristically. Halsey had hit a nerve. “I have denied nothing. You have promised me time and again, better treatments, progress, and even the knowledge that what you learn could help other assimilation survivors. Yet time and time again, your promises go undelivered or fall woefully short. All your efforts failing and you claim I am in denial.”

Halesy turned several shades of red. She picked her next shot very carefully. “I was referring to the home and family life that forged a MACO.”

Daisuke now changed several shades, curling his hand into a fist. In other cultures, even some human ones in another time, such a posting would have been considered a good if not wild success for one’s offspring. The required physical and mental discipline of such a position was rare, and even then, possessing them did not guarantee passing the rigorous entry requirements and intensive training regimen.

But this was the United Federation of Planets, dedicated to peace, the expansion of knowledge in all its forms, and the sharing of that knowledge. Many member races prided themselves on the accomplishment of finding peace and mutual harmony with not only themselves, but their closest neighbors as well. All of them, overcoming the large chasms between cultures that can drive them apart, and even into war, if left unchecked.

But MACOs were something altogether different. Here, aggressive tendencies were effectively a requirement. Most Federation citizens never harbored these feelings, and didn’t want much to do with those who did. They seemed like something anachronistic, a reflection of a violent past they wouldn’t dare forget, out of the fear they might repeat it, but yet so desperately want to turn a blind eye, to revise that history until it no longer existed. Some, even in Starfleet, would see raising someone who had the mindset of a MACO, as an abject failure of parenting.

Daisuke was furious and it showed. Halsey, for a brief moment, loosely questioned her decision to say what she did, but only briefly. “You will never speak to me of such personal matters again, or I will see to it you never so much as even lay eyes on a cover sheet of a report about my daughter.”

“Then you had better authorize this before I do, because I seriously doubt you will find anyone else in a position to help her the way I have, and continue to do so.” The words hung in the air for only a moment, before the clock continued. Halsey waited for a reply, and stopped counting the ticks after two dozen, looking periodically down at the PADD in front of Daisuke.

“Permission granted.” He gave the PADD his thumb print and left it on the desk, for Halsey to pick up herself. She stood, took the PADD, and walked towards the door.

“Tell Elizabeth I said hi.”

He grunted a response. Halsey knew it meant he would pass the message. Although the decades had given them many up and downs in their friendship, and despite years of relative silence between Elizabeth Trail Isawa and Catherine Halsey, these small words were welcome by both of them.
Borg Assimilation and Command Protocols

============= SUB-SPACE DATA TRANSFER COMPRESSED BURST ==================

The Borg are a fascinating species, if one could call them that. They are very much an amalgamation of the species they have come into contact with and assimilated into their Collective, including technologies that would further the goals of the Collective which at this time seem to none other than continual expansion and growth and possibly the pursuit of the [redacted].

Of particular interest in this briefing is the structure of the command and control paradigm that keeps not only the Collective functioning on a macro level, but even in individuals, controls their actions. Perhaps the best common analogy is one of the swarm intelligence we have gifted our own semi-intelligent exocomps with. The main computer controls what the exocomps are trying to accomplish, but it does not control every action of every individual. Instead, it's a simple command, like "Form a circle". The swarm receives this command, but it is up to the individual exocomp to orient itself with the others and the environment to form that circle. The master control computer merely issued the simple command, per its own directives.

It is much the same with the Borg. The Collective does not dictate every individual movement of every drone all the time. The bandwidth required would be nearly infinite. Instead, a done is given a command, i.e. "Repair the power node at grid 27, junction 17." and the drone itself figures out the best way to get there, what tools to use, and the method to troubleshoot and repair the node. While this doesn't seem all that remarkable, even a lowly technician on a ship does this on a daily basis, one must remember that these are individuals that have not received years or even a day of training. Through the technologies of the Collective, they are able to do this very soon after being assimilated.

While what follows is more personal conjecture, I have come across evidence as to why the Borg went this route in what must have been very early in their evolution. First, the obvious is that it's incredibly efficient, however, so are our exocomps and they require no biological components to keep functioning. However, it was only by complete accident and now extremely careful monitoring (lest we create our own Chimera), that exocomps achieved that elegance of conscious independent thought, to improvise, the very spark of what makes intelligence life.

The Borg chose the easiest method to gain this, they simply enslaved the biological brains of compatible species, to give their drones the perks of intelligent thought, but shackle it, heavily, behind their assimilation techniques to be directed as the Collective sees fit. Through my research, I have discovered it is this crack through which we can attempt to recover those who have been victimized by the Borg.

How the Borg actually shackle an existing consciousness is something I've been researching a great deal. It appears to be quite insidious. The Borg have taken the simple individual processing centers of brains with higher functions and hijacked them with their command codes. A Drone brain, doing as instructed could feel pleasure, or pain if for some reason the conditioning and assimilation has had trouble holding a particular species. My research into the brainwave activity of drones shows that the victim brain doesn't retain much more active control than that, however the higher centers of assimilated individuals are left intact, but separated from everything else. Again, something that has helped aid in the recovery of assimilation victims.

Without more insight however into what individuals actually experience, our ability to bring patients back to 100% of functionality pre-assimilation will remain elusive.

============================== END OF LINE ==================================
Elachi Imprisonment

Four hours after Nhiara's return to the cell

She knew it was only a matter of time. Although her momentary defiance had bought them a part of the drone to do with as they pleased to try and escape, the Elachi got their Borg nanite sample. The idea that what she had running through her veins was worth more on the black market far beyond it's weight in latinum was never an option for her, or any other assimilation survivor. They knew all too well the horrors that could be wrought with such technology. Horrors that the Elachi would no doubt want to exploit for whatever reasons they kept in their misshapen heads, if that was where their brains even were.

The door opened and to everyone's surprise, there was not only four of the now ubiquitous drones, but two Elachi wearing some kind of containment suits. Motoko walked straight up to the shield, tense, ready to strike. The two Elachi looked at each other a moment and made some kind of strange sounds. Motoko assumed it was their language, her implants unable to make any sense of it. They waved some kind of device, probably their analog of a tricorder, and looked at the results.

“Like what you see?” she said. Her hands curled into fists. She'd already killed one highly unprepared Elachi when she was transported off Sisko. The Elachi atmosphere was toxic to humans and was quite debilitating. However, Motoko was no ordinary human, and even then, she was in her sealed MACO suit. She kept hitting it, even long after it was down, until her fists met the floor. Even now, her suit had splotches of discoloration. There was no doubt now what her intent was the moment the shield came down.

The pair of Elachi scientists looked at her and then each other. One of them calmly walked over to part of the wall, which slid away, to reveal a small panel. Behind her the others watched with keen interest, and some with apprehension. She still stood defiant as it activated a control, and hissing came from the vents above. She looked up to see the gas starting to fill the room and then the other prisoners. Tau started coughing first, and within a few more moments so were T'Sala and Nhiara. Motoko put her hand to her mouth, merely to keep from coughing. The nanites could help sort the remaining oxygen in the atmosphere, and with enough energy, keep her going almost indefinitely.

She looked back at the Elachi, which only stared at her. “Stop it! You'll kill them!” She coughed slightly, having taking in a mouthful of gas. They only continued to stare, one of them holding it's hand over the control panel. It was then she understood. They wanted her to completely surrender first, or she'd watch everyone else in the chamber die with her. Tau was about to pass out completely and T'Sala and Nhiara were falling to their knees. She gritted her teeth, put her hands behind her head, turned around and kneeled down. She heard the panel beep, and a rush of air as the gas was removed almost instantly. The shield went down and she'd started to stand, but the drones were already on her, and she felt the prick in her neck before everything went black.

“No! You're stance is all wrong!” He narrowed his eyes at her. Even though the blind in front of her face wouldn't let her see it, she could feel the disapproving scowl of her father.

“How am I supposed to do this if I can't even see? This is insane!” She started to reach up to flip up the blind of her anbo-jyutsu helmet, only to have her hand swatted by some unseen force.

“I was trained by a Master, and if we can both do it so can you. You must adapt to the sightless factor!” She heard the air moving as he swung the staff, getting her own staff in it's path just in time to block it. The forced knocked her backwards, and her foot slipped off the edge of the platform and she fell into the grass with a huff, getting the air knocked out her. She lifted her visor, to see her father standing over her, his still on.

“Hurry and recover. If this were real you would not have much time before your enemy would be upon you. Next time, I will simply strike.” He lifted the visor and looked down at her. She looked back at him with defiant eyes. “Good. I see you have learned.” He turned and walked off.

She rolled and pushed herself to her feet with the help of the staff. At sixteen, she'd managed to become proficient at a variety of sports, both intellectual as three-dimensional chess, and the physical, such as anbo-jyutsu. All of this at the constant pressure of her father. It was a forgone conclusion that she was going to apply for the Academy in two years, to follow in the footsteps of Lt. Cmd. Daisuke Isawa. By the time her father made Commander, she should be a freshly minted Ensign. She could then work in Starfleet Intelligence with him, carrying on the family legacy of Starfleet service.

Despite her father's misgivings, she was starting to develop a desire to play parrises squares. She even had several posters in her room of famous teams from around the sector, including the Academy team. She was determined to make the team, if not to see herself standing stoically on the poster, but the parties they hosted were legendary, much to the chagrin of her father.

She looked back at him with frustration, and in a lapse of judgement, chucked the staff at him. She missed. He turned and charged her, bringing up his own staff. With no weapon, she closed the distance to try and grapple with him, but his experience proved too large a challenge. He simply kneeled at the last moment, and swept her feet out from underneath her with his staff. He pressed the padded end down onto her face, keeping her pinned to the ground. She could see her mother sticking her head out of the house.

“That's enough you two! It's time for lunch!” she yelled. The pressure on the staff softened slightly.


“Next time, don't miss.” He lifted the staff and she stood, but then things started to become very wrong.

A wind kicked up and suddenly her father was gone from her side. She looked back to the house to see it covered in shadow, that slowly crept across the ground toward her. The sound of the wind in the trees and the wind chimes on the house became louder. She turned to look up, and saw a Borg Cube blotting out the sun, no more than two hundred meters off the ground. She could hear her mother talking behind her, continuing on about how it was time for lunch.

“It is time for your regeneration cycle.” With the wind, she could smell her mother's familiar scent, but when she turned, she was greeted by the face of her

She woke up. The Elachi had reactivated her subspace transmitter.

60 minutes before prisoner recovery.

It took her only 50 milliseconds to find and connect to the other drones in the facility, of which she could only find three. Apparently their last foray to help clean up the Elachi mistakes had wiped out nearly all of them. Another 20 milliseconds and she determined that would be enough to attempt escape and she started her self-diagnostic routines.

While the Elachi had managed to decipher quite a bit of the Borg command code structure, it was clear after 10 milliseconds into the diagnostic that they had very little understanding of how those codes were centralized in the Collective, and then distributed across the network to all the other Borg. Another 540 milliseconds was spent processing this information and the conclusion was reached that he Elachi had decided that taking a rough guess how it worked was good enough for their testing.

Motoko continued her self-diagnostics and stopped short of step 28, section 3, sub-section alpha of the sub-space communications circuit check and test procedure: Contact the Borg sub-space comms network. While Motoko was relatively unaware of the more subtle intricacies of sub-space, her implants were not, and what they saw confused them. It now became clear to her, after another 300 milliseconds, they were in a sub-space pocket, and she could see the fractal multi-pathing and reflections all around the facility. For 1 millisecond, the complexity astounded her. There was no possibility of a signal getting in or out without an aperture opening.

Normally, even for Motoko, this would then jump to a series of checks that made the assumption the Collective was unreachable. Then, her own custom implant supplied by Starfleet would shunt all command requests, and was the primary reason for her current state of recovery. The Elachi had other ideas. Instead, they had supplanted code to make her own systems reconfigure themselves to replicate many functions normally filled by the Collective command sub-routines and command code structure, at the very top of which, was the Queen.

Unbeknownst to the Elachi, the Collective had long developed countermeasures to this kind of command code intrusion in individual drones. It was also quite unknown to Motoko as well, and what she experienced another 50 milliseconds later was completely unexpected. She found herself relatively in control, and most of her faculties completely intact, however she couldn't move. She stretched her peripheral vision across the room, to see Elachi in what she assumed were isolation suits, and there, near as all her senses natural and artificial could tell her, standing next to her bed was the Alpha and Omega of the Collective, her Queen.

The Queen looked around and then down at Motoko and smiled that gruesome grin, a mixture of curiosity and confidence and grace that she had given to billions upon billions of individual drones the Collective had devoured and integrated into its central communication system of horrors. They were all hers. They were her. She was all of them. They were complete. Motoko's thought processes were frozen as her systems came to a screeching halt to take in this new information. A face she had seen in her nightmares, every single normal sleep cycle since she was removed from the Collective was now there, before her, and her systems were indicating that she was completely conscious.

The illusion held until an Elachi walked straight through the Queen to run some kind of scan on Motoko. It must have been some kind of projection being directly injected into her awareness. She wasn't really there, and she couldn't be the Queen. She wasn't connected to the Collective, but that grin still spoke countless volumes. “Do not worry, my little drone. I am here to help us. I am thhe small part of what we all carry of me me me me me me me me...” The illusion appeared to be stuck in some sort of loop.

Suddenly Motoko realized she could move her head. She turned it to see the Elachi, scrambling over their computer displays, typing furiously as Motoko watched Borg code that even she couldn't comprehend spilling across the displays. One of them, appeared to be a video feed of an examination table. Her rage grew as she realized another Starfleet officer was undergoing their experiments, becoming another warped mindless Elachi-Borg drone.

The illusion spoke again. “Get up. I have contacted the other three drones. You are now four. Destroy the defilers, the violators, and protect our secrets. Protect the Collective.” The words filled her with purpose. This was far beyond a simple order. She did not do this because it was a prudent course of action. She did not do this because it was an order. She did this out of faith, out of love. An unconditional love that was spread across the entire Collective, the love of their Queen.

As she sat up, she saw the video of the other drone do the same. The Elachi were still furiously distracted by their own systems suddenly having a mind of their own. One of them must have enacted an emergency protocol as the back of the console blew out, isolating it from the rest of the network in the facility. She could feel it. She looked at the screen, and the video feed centered on the face, and several of them turned around to look at her. Motoko continued to stare at the screen, at the drone, an realized, that it was herself.

She became blinded by rage. The other three drones in the room with her suddenly turned on their Elachi masters, former masters, and ripped them limb from limb, scattering their remains across the room. Something clicked. The rage was gone. She felt nothing. The illusiory Queen was still there, and she motioned to the floor, where the network wiring for the console was. “Remind them that children never forget their mothers. Go. Destroy all data, destroy all-....” She stopped speaking, frozen. Motoko waited another 300 milliseconds for the Queen to continue. The other Drones were also aware of the vision, and awaited orders, her orders, Motoko's orders.

The time had come. Now, the Elachi were going to pay for what they had done. They would feel the uselessness of the entire facility being lost, all of their data, all of their personnel, and she would make sure that they would feel the futility of trying to resist the Borg. They would not know the collective. They would not know the power of its faith, or the love of its Queen. They would know fear, and then, they would beg for the sweet release of death.
Beautiful Sacrifice

Artie exited Desimone's office, her escort duties complete. Motoko stood there, rigid, her head moving in quick, deliberate movements as she took in the room. Sara looked at the PADD in her lap and then up at Motoko a few times, before sliding it across the desk to her. “Maxine Hammond from the Debrowski. Recognize her?”

“Lt. Maxine Hammond.” She said. The other survivors were all inspecting each other for injury and examining their new surroundings. Some had arrived unconscious, and others were more than well awake when they were dropped into their group cell as it were.
“Lt. Cmd. Motoko Isawa.” she replied. Her MACO suit had been stripped of everything that could have aided in an escape attempt.

“Yes, ma'am, of course I do.” Her speech was flat and almost robotic.

“Are you scared?” There was a look of genuine curiosity on Max's face. With little more to do besides waiting for the next round of horrors, everyone spent time talking to each other.
“In some ways yes, in other ways no.” She replied.
“Why not?” Max hesitated, unsure if she wanted an answer.
“Because they're going to kill me. The Borg wanted to enslave me.” Now Max was sure she didn't want the answer.

“Because she sacrificed herself to help everyone else.”
Sara raised a brow at this. “She sacrificed herself? How?”

Motoko held her hand. The pain Max must have been experiencing must have been on the cusp of driving her into unconsciousness, but she held on. Even MACOs would have had problems trying to stay awake. “Please. I'm tired, and I can do some good this way.”

“She was severely injured, and knew she was going to die. When our captors demanded one of us be sacrificed or the entire group lose two hours of air, she asked that I help end her suffering.”
“How did you help her?”

“No. Something might happen, we can still ge-” Max squeezed her hand.
“Do it... please.” Max was shaking from the pain, but still in control. “You need the air.”

“First, I was going to smother her with a pillow. She wanted a faster method. I suggested that I snap her neck, and she preferred that method.”

“It'll be too slow. I don't want to feel like I'm suffocating or flopping like a Risian fish.” Mo gave her a pained look, thinly masked by a grin at the bad joke.
“I have a way...” she said. “I'm going to miss you.” She leaned down and gave her a hug. It masked the intent of her movement.
“Mo... was it like dying?”

“So at that point?” Sara stared at her.
“I did so.”
“You broke her neck and killed her?”

“What was?” She stopped. She had no idea what she was asking and far be it from her to interrupt what would be her last words.
“Being assimilated.” She thought a moment, the sounds of a fist fight behind her imperceptible to the noise in her own head. Max deserved the truth.
“No.” Motoko barely believed she actually said what came next, despite how true it was. “It was beautiful.”
“Oh....” With a quick movement on Mo's part, Max was gone.

Sara nodded and picked up her PADD, taking some notes. “Why didn't you bring this up before?”

She'd killed many times before. She'd watched her friends and those she served with die in the course of their duties. Even the nascent memories of thousands of worlds being devoured by the Borg, she had solace in that she didn't actually participate in those actions. This had occurred by her own hand, and even if driven by others, she was in full control, and she did nothing to stop it.

“I was not asked to.”
“You've done things you weren't asked to do before. Why didn't you come to me of your own initiative?”
“I do not understand.I was in sick bay, under the direct care of medical staff.”
“You aren't now. You were on your way to Grot's.”
“I was just released from sickbay.”
“I approached you, you didn't bring it up.” Sara was getting slightly annoyed, but it didn't register to Motoko. “I left, you went to the replimat.”
“I was hungry, ma'am. I have not eaten since before our escape from the Elachi facility.” This finally gave Sara pause.
“I see. Obviously, you're under investigation.”
Motoko blinked a few times. “Am I being detained?”
“You're confined to station under guard. Given the trauma you experienced and the circumstances, along with what I know of your character, I don't think we need to go further than that for now, but I will be forwarding this on to JAG.”

She folded Max's arms and left her in repose. The intercom announcement from their captors finally alerted the others to what had already happened. She made it look as if Max was just sleeping.

“I see. My father will have to be notified, as he currently has power of attorney over me.”
“So noted. He'll be notified. Dismissed.”

When they finally came for her, she was going to make them pay.
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