©00- 02 Levite/The Media Desk [see below]
[WARNING: Some situations may disturb sensitive readers. Some mildly adult situations.]
I started. That's something.
I promised myself I'd document all this, for good or ill, and at some point I'd figure out a way to get it home.
If home is still there.
So I'll do it.
Yesterday, I think, no, two days ago, I was assimilated.
Well, not really. It's like this, they assimilated my body, from the neck down I almost look like one of them. Like any other drone. Like a Borg.
But they didn't touch me otherwise. Well. Almost. They gave me a hearing aid. That's what I call it. It's detachable, but it plugs into my right ear. And they stuck a, well, the database says it's a 'monocle' over my left eye. And I got this microphone thing on my lip, but it's tiny and I've already forgotten it's there most of the time. But they are all detachable. I am still an individual, mentally. I cannot hear the voice of the collective except through the thing in my ear. I can't see the entire electromagnetic spectrum except through my monocle, which I can turn off and on. The drones I've seen don't have that luxury. Even my First, who is an unusual Borg in that she has a personality, is still a Borg. But I am just like them in that I am tied to the Borg for everything else.
The first day I tried not to do their regeneration. I ordered, and got, some real food and drink, but it didn't satisfy whatever craving the Borg attachments create. I HAD to go into my stall, and regenerate. Unlike the regular Borg, I get to semi-recline in a rather uncomfortable chair, but it's not really sleep. I feel recharged, but not rested. So far, I haven't been able to sleep. Not really. Not that I really want to. I can't imagine what sort of images my sub-conscious will come up with now.
Anyway. I can't do any more right now. I'm homesick and lonely and angry and my ear hurts.
I forgot to put in why I'm here, and how I got here yesterday. I'll do what the Borg wanted us for now, I'll get into how it happened later.
Yeah, it's us, not just me. There are about twenty of us that I have found out about so far. Maybe more. My Borg counselor, Polotta, says there will be many more before long.
What they are planning is unreal. I still shudder when I remember Polotta's reaction to my reaction. I think that's her name. I don't know how to spell it, Pollota, it might even be with an 'A' instead of an 'O'.
Let me go through it. I had expected to wake up a drone. Or to not wake up, or something. But when I came to, I was still me. I couldn't feel my body. The Borg doctor, or whatever they are, said I was still in the process of non-cranial assimilation. I remember screaming. I woke up again in here. In what I guess would be my apartment.
Polota was there. She smiled at me and asked me how I felt.
I screamed again.
She just stood there, and nodded and said she could understand how I felt. Then she assured me that I was essentially undamaged, and that when I calmed down she would explain what was going on and why I was there.
One thing I did ask was how did she spell her name.
She said any spelling I used of her designation was adequate, and that there was no correct spelling of the tonal sequence. You gotta like some things about the Borg.
It took me an hour at least to get around to asking her why I was still an individual instead of a drone, and why I was wearing, well, it could loosely be called a robe.
"We need the help of individuals like you." She said.
I laughed. I did. In spite of everything. I laughed.
Then what she told me was so outrageous, so unexpected, I laughed again.
"The Borg need your assistance to prepare us to assimilate the Q Continuum..."
Polata asked me what I was laughing at now.
She was not, and the Borg are not kidding.
"To assimilate the Q Continuum and other non-physical species." She finished the statement I had cut off by laughing.
When I laughed the second time she looked at me and said that the only thing funny about it was that there was a good chance they could do it.
I stopped laughing and looked at her. Not only was she serious, she believed it.
Something about her bearing convinced me she really believed it.
She had extended her hand to me and helped me out of my chair. I got up and walked with her. Through the open door was a work area. There were racks of actual bound paper books, some of them seeming to be centuries old. Video displays sat in ranks along another wall. The work station was huge, with all sorts of input devices and controls.
As a student in school, I had spent several rather dull lecture sessions designing my dream research workstation.
The one I was staring at now exceeded everything I had ever thought about. Polota talked about how my eyepiece could be configured to display information from multiple sources at once in any way I desired. I heard most of it, then I wandered over to the huge full wall windows that seemed to look out on the interior of the ship. The interior was vast. There is no other word for it, it was vast. I asked her if all cubes were this size.
"This isn't a cube."
She touched a display, my eyepiece came to life with a painfully fast strobing light. I heard words in my ear faster than I could listen, she did something, and the input slowed to tolerable levels.
It was a ship in that it was artificial, and the similarity ended there. This was a hollow planet constructed by the Borg. Its population was in the millions and it wasn't complete yet.
"This has one purpose."
"A base of operations against the Q." I said.
Suddenly I thought that just maybe their idea wasn't so far fetched after all.
And she never answered my question about the robe.
I have no idea what the Star Date is. So I will call this Day Five.
My fifth day with the Borg. Or at least my fifth waking cycle.
This place is incredible.
When I said last time that it was planet sized, I wasn't kidding. I just watched three full sized cubes go past my window toward something in the center of this ship. Three cubes.
Also, I've sort of gotten used to whatever they did to my body. Now sitting for a long time doesn't bother me. And I actually fell asleep last night.
There is no night here. No day. No time. Polota said they have hours and centivals, and Trongs, and every other measurement of time for our convenience, but it is all internal. She said they would not tell me the date it would be back home.
"Time is irrelevant to the Borg. And more importantly, to the Q."
I nodded. In everything I had learned about the Q so far, time was an inconvenience to them. Sometimes an annoyance, but nothing more.
Which I guess brings me to explaining what I was and why I am here.
The Borg had no expertise in the Q.
They had no expertise in any of the non-physical, non-corporeal, non-linear time existent races period. If they couldn't assimilate it, it was irrelevant to them.
Evidently the Borg had come to the conclusion that they could not be the ultimate power in the universe, or achieve their ultimate perfection, unless they assimilated the Q.
That thought took me some time to deal with.
The Borg. With the power of the Q.
My blood still runs cold at the thought.
I am a parapsychologist. More exactly, a xeno-parapsychologist.
I deal with the powers of alien races that don't fall neatly into standard science and even not-so-standard science.
For awhile even Vulcans and Betazoids were found in our files. But as the Federation expanded over the last two hundred years, what was unusual and unexplainable became commonplace, and our agency's work moved on to the even more unusual. The Organians were first, then the Melkotans. And a host of others came our way.
What are their limits? What exactly happens when they do this or that? Where does this energy come from? Do they have a range? A life span? If the individual that did something dies then what? The questions were endless. The research we did often raised ten questions for every one we answered. And more often the questions we were asked were unanswerable.
Something those in Star Fleet Security, who was one of our best customers, never liked to hear.
Needless to say, a lot of the questions we were asked were about the Q.
And Star Fleet Security got tired of hearing, "We don't know."
Polota told me right off the mark that she understood, indeed, the Borg understood, that there were far more unanswered questions about the Q than otherwise. And true, they weren't sure if all the questions had even been asked yet.
"You will ask the questions, then we will all see if they can be answered." When she said that I decided that I liked Polota. Even if she was a Borg.
Day seven. ... I think.
We have meetings.
Polota asked me if I would like to meet some of the other 'Specials' like me.
I shrugged and got up from my workstation, tightened my robe, and followed her out into a giant hallway. A wheel-less vehicle was waiting. We got onto it and it took off without her saying a word or touching a control. It knew where we were going. Other vehicles went by, some at very high speed. Other passages went off in every conceivable direction, up and down, left and right, and at angles every which way. Then without warning the vehicle turned into a niche and stopped. Polota turned and got off the vehicle. I followed. She led me into a fantastically huge room.
I've already run out of words to describe how big everything is here. It's like spending a week in a shuttle then landing on Starbase 7, the largest free-floating structure I've ever encountered. Until now.
This room was easily two or three times the size of a main shuttle bay on a Galaxy class ship. I could see the far wall, but I had no idea how many hundreds of meters it was from us. The ceiling was lost above. In fact, to one side, the floor vanished as if a crevasse had swallowed it.
In the room I saw several regular drones walking around or standing silently. The regular drones seem to be very good at standing. Polota isn't a regular drone though, she can hold a conversation with me, and seems to have a sense of humor. But she reminds me every so often that she is Borg. There were also a lot of the counselor grade Borg around. They were all female as far as I could tell, and they all had their charges with them. And they, like me, were Borg from the neck, or whatever was equivalent, down, and whatever they used to be, from the neck up.
I saw races in that room that we had never even imagined. I thought some of the more exotic races from our quadrant were odd. Fish-like beings, or reptilian forms, or even completely different forms that resembled rocks or a mud puddle. But these.
I had a conversation with a light bulb.
It's name is something that sounds like an off balance turbine. It's from a system with three stars in the Beta quadrant. Its specialty is basic parapsychology.
I ordered a warm bowl of something very sweet that came highly recommended by a being that was four meters tall as it was sitting on the floor. His name translated in my earpiece to 'Son of He of Four Days Walk from Battle in the Cold.' His drink, delivered by a drone, was good enough. I thanked him and followed Polota on through the crowd.
Oh, yes. 'Son of He of Four Days...' had a specialty too. Use of technology to amplify psychic powers.
And there was what in Federation circles would be a normal assortment of beings. Many of them more or less humanoid in appearance.
I turned around and was face to face with a very familiar form. "Vulcan." I answered.
"Romulin. Actually." She said.
She had been brought in shortly before I had. She had been one of the leaders in Romulin research specializing in unlocking their latent mental powers so long used and honed to a fine edge by their sister race, the Vulcans. At least she was until she had been spirited away by Borg operatives, as I had been. Her name was Tha'lat.
I met more and more of the other 'Specials.' Then a fat Borg drone made a speech. Yeah, a fat Borg. He appeared to be humanoid, but elderly, and his exoskeleton couldn't hold all of him any more. But the drones treated him with a reverence I had never expected in the Collective. He welcomed the newcomers and said he had a great appreciation of the unusualness of our situation. Then he went on for some time about how beings from every quarter of the galaxy, Borg capable and Borg cooperative, and non-Borg beings alike were working on this one project as had never been done before. He was confident of our eventual success. He told us through our hearing aids that he would work with each and every one of us, and through our aid-drones. There would be many work communes and each of us was welcome to join any of them if we wanted to. Our individual assignments would be forthcoming soon.
He closed by saying that keeping secrets from the enemy, from the Q, was impossible. If we suspected a Q was actually present, we were, as policy, to simply note the presence in our research logs and proceed as normal. Once anything we learned or suspected was uploaded into the collective, the only way the Q could remove it was to destroy the Borg as a whole. The overweight Borg that was speaking paused for a second. "We do not believe even the Q are capable of that."
He looked out at us then came to attention and left his raised platform.
"Overseer Two of the Fifth Branch has an ego not seemly in a Borg." Polota said to me as we walked toward the door we had come in.
I looked back. 'Son of He of Four Days...' was standing and walking toward the precipice. The opening turned out to be an elevator that could accommodate a squadron of shuttle craft, or one very tall alien.
"I will show Doctor some of our center." Polota said as we climbed aboard the vehicle.
"OK." I said.
I can't even begin to describe this place.
As we traveled I figured out what the cubes were doing in the center of the Borg-made planet. They were building a star inside it. There was a ring of cubes in the center of the sphere, and in the center of the cubes, a large mass was just beginning to glow.
Polota nodded, she said it was easier to create a star that met their needs than it was to build the sphere around an existing star.
I asked her how long the Borg had been planning this undertaking.
"Not long, perhaps fifty of your years. We have been here for one of your years."
I assimilated that information.
Back in what I had come to think of as my office, I looked into the history of the sphere and the project as a whole. Two of the Fifth Branch had been one of the Borg chosen to investigate the possibility of assimilating non-corporeal beings in general, and the Q in particular some one hundred years ago. They had had limited success in doing this with species 872. First they assimilated a species of proximity telepaths, then they used them as the assimilating force with species 872. However, things did not go as planned. The Borg thought they could collect the consciousness of the species and distribute it throughout the collective. But that is not what happened. The consciousness of the individuals had simply been consumed by the collective without having any effect at all on the collective. The Borg did not assimilate the race memories of species 872, they did not absorb the knowledge and experiences of the millions of beings they assimilated. All that happened was the telepathic drones encountered the beings, approached them, and much as a lightening rod grounds the static discharge from a cloud the invaders grounded the mental energy of the thought beings.
Species 872 ceased to exist.
As with species that were not Borg-capable, the energy beings were destroyed during assimilation. The Borg saw this as an unacceptable waste of a valuable resource. They did not wish to make the same mistake again.
Unamatrix One and the principles of the Borg strategic planning base, from what I could tell that was one central drone immediately answerable to the Queen, decided to open a branch which would devote all energy and resources to this problem. The Fifth Branch was in business.
The Borg only put five percent of their total resources into the Fifth Branch. But considering the immense realm and power of the Borg, that rivaled the entire budget for Star Fleet.
Here, now, I was seeing, no I was part of, the cumulation of that effort.
I had been pouring through the Borg database for what I knew to be several hours. Even without a clock, or any way of guessing the relative time, I knew I needed rest. I got up and blinked several times as my eyes adjusted. My office and chair room were empty. I went to the exterior door and opened it. The passage was empty except for drones doing their business. A transport vehicle whooshed by. Not knowing what else to do, I shut the door and reclined on my chair to rest.
When I awoke, again I had no idea how long it had been, I was still alone. I went to my door, it was still unlocked, I walked into the passage and watched a large transport buzz along for a distance, then change direction and go straight up through an opening in the ceiling. In a minute a young female drone walked up to me and asked me if I required anything.
I thought about it and said I needed some human food and a shower.
She nodded and escorted me back to my 'apartment' where she showed me how to work the energy shower that was part of the same room I performed my 'unassimilated biological waste discharge function' in. She said my food would be brought. I asked her who she was.
"Blatok, your Second." She said with no expression, then she left.
The shower worked quickly. And I was amazed that I felt clean afterwards, something a sonic shower never did for me. As I emerged, Blatok was placing a tray on my work station. Without a word she left.
I had nothing else to do but to eat and dictate this rather long diary entry. But this seems an agreeable way to do it. And if I do it as I eat my one meal a day, it will add a benchmark to what is otherwise a continuous state of existence.
Still day seven.
I had a caller just now.
Not an hour, I guess, after I finished my meal and that marathon bit of dictation that's part of my diary, I was reading an ancient paper paged and leather clad Latin book on extra normal phenomenon that was on a shelf above my work station (I would love to know where the Borg got it) when somebody buzzed at my door.
Not knowing Borg protocols for receiving visitors, I got up and went to the door.
"Human Doctor of parapsychology." A Borg counselor said to me, "This is WahLe Maeoish." She said.
I nodded and invited them in.
I nodded to the drone counselor then smiled at the scientist. "I saw you at the gathering. You study archeology that deals with parapsychology."
The very thin but otherwise humanoid being tilted his head to one side. I came to realize fairly soon that that was his nod. He spoke through my hearing aid. "And you study almost everything. I wish to work with you on the history of the Q."
"I would be honored." I replied.
Polota opened the door and came in, she did not buzz like my visitors did. She talked with the other counselor in Borg-talk, then they turned toward us. "This collaboration will take place every third cycle." The other one said.
Maeoish tilted his head and placed his left hand on his right shoulder, then he followed his counselor out. "You have done well. You are trustworthy." Polota said. "Some have tried to escape even though there is nowhere to go."
"What happened to them?" I asked her.
"They were either assimilated or killed."
I nodded and went back to the book. "Where did you go?"
"I have other duties besides your First."
I nodded and asked if I could get something to drink. She went to a panel and touched a rapid succession of buttons while speaking in Borg. In a few seconds a panel opened and a replicator emerged. I asked her why she hadn't had it installed before for me.
"You did not require it before." She said.
"What if I need something when you are attending your other duties?"
"Call for your Second." She indicated a large yellow tinted button on the panel.
"What if I just want to talk to somebody?"
"You may talk to me. Or to your Second."
"I mean, you're nice and all, but..."
"I am Borg. You mean to a non-Borg. And a non-Special."
"Male or female?"
"What do you mean?"
"Do you wish to speak to a male or a female non-Borg and non-Special?"
"Female I guess."
"Is this for a mating ritual?" She asked me, I didn't answer right away, but she turned to the panel anyway.
Polota touched another rapid succession of keys and spoke in Borg some more. "This center has many that have not been assimilated yet. They serve as test subjects and at need they perform other tasks. You may interview and select up to five for your purposes at any one time. Those individuals will be kept in adjacent quarters until you are through with them, then, if they are able, they will be returned to holding or assimilated. How many do you require today?"
It was the coldness of the statement that struck me first. On the view screen was a huge dormitory, full of all sorts of beings. I remember saying 'just one' as I stared at the screen.
In a moment the corner of the room lit up, a Borg force field appeared and then a transporter beam materialized a young humanoid woman inside the field.
"Acceptable? If not, she can be assimilated immediately."
The young woman recoiled in horror at the statement.
"She's fine." I said hurriedly.
"Very well. I will attend to my other duties. If you need me, press the white."
I was still sitting at my workstation. The girl was cowering inside the force field. I looked at her and smiled.
She had the Borg hearing aid, and microphone, so we could communicate, but she didn't have an eyepiece. She was wearing a ragged shawl that must have been all she had with her when captured.
"What's your name?" I asked her.
Her eyes got wide and her lip trembled, but she didn't answer.
"I'm not going to hurt you. I was just lonely and wanted some non-Borg company."
"They call me Paig." She said through the Borg microphone.
"Let me try to take down that force field. You won't try to attack me will you?"
"You are Borg."
"I am not Borg. I am human." I said, then I remembered that from the neck down I looked almost as Borg as every other drone. I stood up so she could see that there was a lot of non-Borg skin showing through the hardware.
She lifted her hands in a move that could only mean she would be good.
I went to the panel and tried to make sense out of the Borg markings. Then the eyepiece kicked in and suddenly I saw everything in fairly clear English. I lowered the force field.
Paig didn't move.
"Would you like something to eat or drink?"
"Frata. Do you have frata?"
I didn't know frata from a Klingon blood pie, but I bet the Borg computer did. I turned to the panel and said "Frata." In a second a large plate of something red hot with a spicy smell was sitting there. I picked it up and held it out to her.
"Thank you." My earpiece said in her voice.
She sat down in the corner and began to eat her frata.
I went back to the book.
I was deeply engrossed in the book, I had discovered that if I did not recognize an old Latin word, all I had to do was stare at it with the Borg monocle, and it would be translated into English. I felt the movement more than heard it. I looked over. Paig had put her plate back onto the replicator and had touched the panel, the machine dematerialized the dirty plate.
"How long have you been here?" I said to her as she crouched in her corner again.
"Many sleep cycles. Maybe two hundred, two hundred fifty. I have lost count."
"Is your family here?"
"No. My mother died long time ago. My father was killed attacking the Borg. My brother was taken when we first got here."
"Would you rather stay here or go back to the holding area?"
"You will not assimilate me?"
"Do you want me to stay here and be your Third?"
"I guess so, I don't know. You've been out of holding before to do this?"
"No, but I know that it is the best we can hope for."
"What does a Third do?"
"We take care of the Specials. Most of you have them. Some have several."
"I'm pretty new at this."
"You will see. I will be the best Third on Borginia."
"Our word for here." She gestured to the window.
And so I had a Third.
Later Polota returned. She nodded at the room. Paig had been busy, she had organized things, and put my slowly accumulating collection of data crystals and pads into order, my other robe, slightly heavier than the one I usually wore, had been refreshed and hung neatly on a protrusion from the wall.
"You have not mated with this one?" Polota said to me.
"You do not mate?" She sounded confused.
"Yes, I mean, no. Yes! But..."
"Perhaps you prefer another."
I looked at Paig. To tell the truth, I hadn't even considered her in that way.
"Perhaps you prefer Polota."
I looked at my counselor. I didn't see an easy way out of this. Under all the full Borg equipment, there was a very good looking humanoid female. But... No.
"Perhaps you are not functional." Polota said looking at me. "Damage has occurred before during partial physical assimilation. I will bring a medical drone."
She stepped quickly to the panel.
Paig had that terrified look in her eyes again, she stepped around my First and leaned to my earpiece to whisper.
"They expect you to perform as is normal for your species. It is a sign of..." There was a silence. She was still talking but my hearing aid was having a hard time translating something. "... robustness. If you do not, they may think something is wrong with you."
"And I will become useless to them."
"And they will either assimilate you, or kill you." Paig said.
I found my mouth to be very dry.
A massive medical drone walked into the room. "Stand erect. Comply." It said. He scanned me from scalp to toenails then pronounced me healthy for my species.
Polota looked at me as the drone lumbered out. "Unassimilated human males have psychological need to breed."
I saw an angle, "Under normal circumstances yes. And normally I would find you very... interesting. Her too." I nodded toward Paig. "But this has been a little upsetting to me. Maybe after I am most accustomed to all of this." I smiled at Polota, but I wanted to say it to make sure she understood that there was no 'damage' to me the medical drone couldn't detect or repair. "Then we'll see if that instinct comes back a little stronger."
Polota looked at me with the most intense look I had seen from her. Evidently all of her individuality hadn't been taken over by the collective. "Very well. As soon as that instinct recurs, as your First I must know."
"You'll be the first." I said not sure of what I meant by it.
"You may resume your work." Polota said to me. She turned to Paig, who retreated a little as she came under the direct attention of my Borg counselor. "You know all the duties of a Third?"
Paig nodded. "I think so."
"If you have a question. Press the white." She said. Then after another look at me, she left.
The room got very quiet.
With a sigh I sat back at my work station. Paig went into my chair room.
I sat and sighed again. Life among the Borg wasn't as easy as it was supposed to be.
I realized I was exhausted. I got up and walked into my chair room. The place had changed a little, Paig had made herself a bed in a corner.
"Third stays with Special." She said. "In case you need them during rest."
I nodded and sat in the chair.
"You should energy wash. You will sleep better."
"You might be right." I got up and went to what I had come to call the 'physical room' after Polota's comment a few days ago.
Paig came into the room and shut the door behind her. "I assist." She said, and started the shower.
I was too tired to argue with her as the rays streamed over us. Most of the time my Borg attachments seemed weightless, now I could feel every milligram of their mass. Then she was guiding me to the chair. As soon as I hit what passed for Borg cushions I was asleep.
I've begun to develop a profile of the Q as a whole. And I am starting to wonder if the various individuals encountered throughout the galaxy are actually individuals or a facet of a whole like each Borg is part of the collective. Perhaps they truly are a Continuum instead of a race.
I stopped eating and dictating to pursue a thought through some of the enormous library of information from worlds and races and species beyond count.
Paig reminded me I could eat and work at the same time. And dictate into my diary too, she added.
The library is unreal.
It contains everything, literally everything, from every race the Borg ever encountered. And it is all at my disposal.
One day, I almost said last week, one day since I've been here, I just looked through an index from one world. Everything species 444 had been was there. Their art, their religion, their entertainment. Ancient fables documented and preserved as part of the Borg database. Ready for instant access if it should ever be so needed. I wondered just how much detail was there, and randomly went through it. I got down to the personal database on one particular individual who died before the Borg invasion. This citizen had been a minor poet and still life artist. Her art, her finances, indeed, her preferences for dinner were laid out before me. As well as her whole family. Some of which had been alive and assimilated by the Borg. I read one of her poems that dealt with what they referred to as the darkness beyond. I closed that file and went into their mythological database chasing a notion that had been mentioned in the poem. It played into a dead end. But I followed other leads to information that might be relevant to the endeavor I was part of.
But there just isn't a lot of information available about the Q, period.
Hoping that there would be some commonality between other energy-based races and the Q, I began researching other species both in the Borg database and in other sources.
At first the descriptions seemed to have no common ground. Some could travel through space at will, others seemed tied to their home world. A few had incredible power over the physical world and its inhabitants. Some seemed to be rather impotent to cause changes in the environment or influence physical beings. But slowly a few common threads emerged. Their energy was not infinite. They were not omniscient, no matter what they said. Sometimes even the most passive of them got angry. Sometimes the shiest of them were discovered.
I started to put my ideas together and found myself wondering just how much we could learn about the Q without actually coming into contact with them.
Then I started worrying what would happen if the Q got wind of what was going on here.
But there was nothing I could do about that one.
I worked steady for a long time, getting up only occasionally to relax and regroup.
Paig watched me work, and brought me different things, and occupied herself in various ways. Some of the books and data pads I had were from her home world. She sat in the corner and quietly read them. Once in awhile she would express an emotion, but most of the time she sat silently reading.
"Do you hate the Borg?" I asked her one time.
"Yes." She said then she looked at me. "But I do not hate you."
"Do you hate Polota?"
"No. She is not like other Borg."
"So you just hate the Collective and the warrior drones that attacked your people."
"Why are you helping them? Like this, being my Third as I work to help the Borg conquer the Q?"
"Because the Q might kill all the Borg."
An interesting perspective to say the least.
Polota came in. "Exercise."
I looked at her. "What do I do?"
"Your Second will escort you to the facility for you."
"To keep your mind sharp and focused your body must be maintained."
I shrugged, she sounded like a professor I had in college.
Blatok was waiting at the door. I didn't know what to expect, but knowing the Borg, it probably wasn't going to be pleasant.
It wasn't. I managed to think about my research, and dinner, and everything else while a tall thin drone put me and three other Specials through all sorts of calisthenics. Finally it was done. I staggered out to Blatok and our waiting vehicle. Then into my chair room and the shower. But after the shower I felt revitalized enough to go back to my station and do more research.
"Eat." Paig said sitting a plate in front of me.
I looked at what was on the plate. "What is that?"
"Human food." She said. "I looked it up."
I tapped my hearing aid. She repeated it.
"Let me see." I got up and went to the display. She stood beside me and showed me the menu. The problem was with the category she chose.
The Borg database had everything humans had ever eaten in it. I have nothing personal against flat bread, calf's foot jelly and stewed dandelion greens, but, I don't think my Borg enhanced stomach could deal with it.
"Right planet, wrong time frame." I said as gently as I could. But I was very relieved when the replicator dematerialized the plate of untouched food.
I used my Borg eyepiece to sort through the menu faster than I could have focused on it otherwise. "There, that menu will do." I smiled at her, "You can pick any of those meals off there for me. Usually I'll take anything under breakfast when I first wake up, the others are for later."
She smiled and said doing that for me would be her greatest pleasure.
In a minute she had another plate in front of me, most of the stuff on it I recognized. I thanked her and began to nibble at it as I watched an old documentary about non-physical beings and how it was supposed they evolved.
The documentary had two points of view that it presented with about equal time. The first was that the beings, in this case it was the Sollot's of the Gamma Quadrant, had been traditional physical beings once upon a time, and had evolved either naturally or through their own devices, into beings of pure thought. The second, which I found more interesting, was that they were never physical in the normal sense of the word, and had evolved out of coherent energy just as life was supposed to have evolved from coherent chains of molecules.
After I had watched the program the second time, I came to the conclusion that both were possible: Different beings coming about in different ways. Perhaps, even both coming into play within the same species, the consciousness developing separate from the body, but just riding along with it for a time, such as some thought man's soul did.
Paig took my now empty plate away and asked me if I needed anything else.
After a moment I nodded and stood. "I need to go for a walk and think."
She reached for the panel and pushed the yellow circle. In a moment my Second arrived. Paig explained what I wanted.
"Follow this path." Blatok said, she picked up a data pad and spoke to it in Borg. Then she handed it to Paig, "Comply."
She nodded and I followed her out.
Once in the passage we went down a short way, then made a right turn, then a left. Then we were walking along a catwalk behind a wall of translucent material with a view of the entire inside of the false world. The other side was a never ending parade of Borg work areas and shops for almost everything the Borg needed or wanted. After several kilometers of this we turned and walked out into another passage. Blatok was there with the vehicle to take us back.
After a bit more research, I was tired enough to think about a shower and my chair.
Continued in Part 2
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