Series: Star Trek: Voyager
If Ayn Rand wrote VOY, the galaxy would be a safer place for productive species.
Ayn Rand is the author of The Fountainhead, copyright 1943, and Atlas Shrugged, copyright 1957. This parody is protected as such by the copyright laws of the United States of America. This work should not be taken as an accurate representation of Rand's views, nor as a malicious misrepresentation thereof.
She sat in the big chair, her head slightly tilted, her attention fixed on the image before her. The viewscreen seemed to tremble with the speed of the motion, a window into empty darkness, and dots of light slashed across the glass in luxurious streaks, revealing Voyager's path as well as the obstacle blocking it.
Her crossed legs, concealed by the uniform pants and the black Starfleet-issue boots, retained a feminine elegance that seemed out of place in the sterile starship, and oddly incongruous with the set expression of her face. Kathryn Janeway was not pleased with the news from Ops.
Commander Chakotay was sitting on her left when the Borg cube loomed into view. He was leaning back against an arm of the chair, propped up on one elbow, his long legs stretched out. He contemplated the bridge crew with a smirk of quiet amusement. Only one person on Voyager rated his full smile - the woman with whom he'd spent one night of passion on New Earth, and had since been separated from by her undue respect for Starfleet protocols.
"We are the Borg. You will be--"
Janeway made a violent cutting motion, at which Harry hands flashed over the Ops console. Still the Borg droned on "--assimilated. Your biological and technological distinctiveness will be added to our--"
In a tone a few octaves lower than the Borg baritone, Janeway threatened her Ops officer, "If you don't cut those second-handers off, Mr. Kim, I'll beam you directly to their assimilation chamber."
"--own. Resistance is--"
Harry cut off the Borg. "Captain, four drones have just appeared in Engineering," he said in the sudden quiet.
"Bridge to Engineering," Janeway said shortly.
Harry looked up from his console in confusion. "Sorry, Captain, make that three drones."
"Perhaps Naomi Wildman could take some time out of her busy schedule to teach you to count, Ensign."
"Make that two drones, Captain. The other two appear to have been deactivated." Harry paused for a moment. "One drone...none."
"Engineering here, Captain," B'Elanna's voice echoed in the silence.
"Why did it take you so long to disable those drones, Lieutenant?" Janeway asked.
"I used my bat'leth, Captain. I didn't want to waste power."
"Acknowledged. Bridge out." She swept a stray piece of auburn hair back unconsciously. Her face was made of angular planes, with gaunt, hollow cheeks. Janeway had not slept for two nights, but she could not permit herself to sleep; she had too much paperwork to do, and so few of the crew could be relied on to write a good report. She would be better off with a shipload of well-programmed holograms. Speaking of which...
The usual cold, hard expression on the Captain's face suddenly grew colder and harder. "Bridge to Sickbay," she announced unexpectedly.
"EMH here," he replied.
"Do you still have that pathogen you developed when we liberated Icheb and the others from the Collective?"
"Yes, Captain, but what--"
She smiled suddenly, a cold, bright, dangerous smile. "Prepare to beam it over to the Borg cube."
Instead, the Doctor beamed himself to the bridge, a stoppered test tube gripped tightly in one shaking holographic hand. "You can't release this pathogen - it would be genocide," he protested.
"The Borg are not a genus," Janeway replied, pronouncing each word crisply and separately, as though speaking to a child. "They're a league of parasites who enslave members of productive species and steal their technology. They're looters and thugs, and I'm going to put an end to them right here and now."
"But Starfleet regulations prohibit--"
"Were you at Wolf 359, Doctor?" Janeway interrupted, wishing she'd thought to have Captain Ransom reprogram the hologram before his unfortunate demise.
"I don't see what--"
"Then don't talk to me about Starfleet regulations." She held out a thin, elegant hand for the test tube. Chakotay smiled for the first time in four years.
The EMH shot Tom a desperate look. The helmsman, who had been observing the entire encounter, turned away. He couldn't afford to get involved. B'Elanna had already thrown him out of their quarters for altruism; she wouldn't let him come back until he'd made a shuttle to prove that he was a productive member of the crew.
"Seven," the Doctor said, turning towards the tall, stately woman standing at a science station in the back of the bridge, "you were a drone once."
"That is irrelevant. I am no longer a second-hander."
"Seven! You could be one of the innocent victims on that cube." The EMH sounded genuinely shocked.
"My parents chose to pursue the Borg, even though they were too weak to defend themselves. They were foolish. They deserved to be assimilated."
"Ensign Kim? Commander Chakotay?" Silence - the Doctor wracked his program for an idea.
"Hand it over," Janeway insisted, growing tired of her malfunctioning CMO.
"Captain," the hologram said in desperation, "we don't need to destroy the Borg, do we?"
She met his question with the stony silence of impatience.
"I mean, we're strong enough to defend ourselves against the Borg, aren't we?"
"Of course we are," she replied. The Borg would never defeat Voyager in battle.
"Then there is no rational cause for us to destroy the Borg. It would only save the lives of millions of weak second-handers upon whom the Borg prey."
The Captain nodded hesitantly, and the rest of the bridge crew waited in suspense.
"In short," the EMH said, "destroying the Collective would be an act of charity towards the weaklings of the Delta Quadrant. It would be...altruism." No one breathed at this vile allegation; all eyes turned to the Captain.
Kathryn Janeway laughed. "Touché, Doctor. The Borg may live another day, and you may return to your post."
The EMH shimmered away before she could change her mind. Safely back in Sickbay, his hand shook as he set the test tube back in its stasis chamber, and he wished he could be as sure as Janeway always was that he had done the right thing.