Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/web/script/mcd/ficml.org/jemimap/wordpress/wp-includes/cache.php on line 35 Speak Stiltedly and Wear a Yellow Shirt » Blog Archive » “The Lamne’rau” Unplugged

“The Lamne’rau” Unplugged

I wasn’t planning to do the DVD commentary meme, because it seemed
like way too much work considering that nobody really cares
(Bitter!Jack the Muse is sitting on my shoulder, playing a tiny violin
for me right now). But href="http://www.livejournal.com/users/mandysbitch/100150.html">CGB’s
MiSTing highly amused me, and Seema requested a commentary on “The Lamne’rau” or “The Museum.” I went with the shorter story.

Whenever I get ftp access back, I’ll put this up on its own web page (and I’ll get the new SG drabble up), but for the moment, the body of the story is going in the extended entry field (the MT equivalent of a cut). First, my commentary on the ASC headers of the story:

Title: The Lamne’rau

Hold it right there! The majority of effort on this fic went into the title. I spent hours combing through on-line Romulan dictionaries, trying to come up with a good Romulan term for “Borg.” (The precise derivation comes up in the story.) It’s disturbing how much time I devote to tiny details nobody is ever going to notice.

Author: Jemima
Contact: jemimap@crosswinds.net

That email address is long dead, but nobody sends fb anyway. At least this way I can pretend that the reams of fanmail bounced.

Series: VOY
Rating: PG for assimilation
Codes: 7

Obviously, this story dates from my Borg period.

Summary: Seven’s brief childhood, as glimpsed in “Dark Frontier”,
“The Raven”, “Author, Author” and other episodes.
Preliminary to Tertiary, a life of Seven of Nine.

And I really meant to write it. I had
big plans, involving psychobabble and a cool AQ frame story. The best
laid plans of muse and man… I have other fragments of Tertiary
floating around in my UFO folder, but none are in any shape to post.

Archive: ASC only, but feel free to link to
http://jemimap.freeshell.org/voy/fic/tertiary/lamnerau.html

There isn’t room in this DVD to insert
my tirade against redundant archives and fic taxes.

Disclaimer: Paramount owns their bodies, but their souls are free.

This is a standard Jemima disclaimer in which I don’t disclaim anything because I haven’t done anything wrong. If you disagree, you’re welcome to sue me.

Date: January 2003

In the fine tradition of January fic-dumps to ASC, I dusted this baby off and posted it. It was written much earlier as part of Tertiary. I don’t know the exact dates, but I do know I started Tertiary in late June, 2001 and worked on it on and off through August of 2002. As far as I can tell from the changelog (I track my fic using RCS), a lot of The Lamne’rau was written in February and May of 2002.

Note: This story won first place in the Voyager Featuring Seven
of Nine category of the 2002 ASC Awards.

Something missing from this note is appropriate thanks to members of the C/7 list for help with a timeline of Seven’s childhood.

*****

Before we get started, I should mention
that I don’t care about cute little girl characters, not even if
they’re destined to grow up to be Seven of Nine. I care about canon.
Canon was broken and I came here to fix it. Keep that in mind, in
case I forget.

They were a rumor and a byword at the far side of the Romulan Empire,
where mothers warned their children that the “Lamne’rau” would get
them if they didn’t obey. It was under that Rihannsu species name
that Magnus Hansen petitioned the Federation Council on Exobiology for
permission to skirt the Neutral Zone in his quest for those mythic
mechanical men he himself had nicknamed “the Borg.”

Just in case you thought this was a
serious story about Seven’s childhood, I try to make it clear right
off that this is a massive fanfix project. The first issue of the
fanfix is why the Borg are called Borg when we haven’t even met them
yet. We know from TNG that Starfleet had never heard of the Borg, yet
we see in the relevant pre-TNG flashbacks that Magnus calls them “the
Borg.” This is the first contradiction of many. My solution is
simple: Magnus nicknamed them “the Borg,” but his research grant (or
whatever it is) uses more scientific terminology - in this case, the
Romulan (look, ma, I learned Rihannsu!) name for the Borg, that is,
the Lamne’rau.

Perhaps he was less than forthright in his proposals about the
security risk posed by the Lamne’rau, though the paper-pushers at
Starfleet read danger between the lines nonetheless. Fortunately for
Magnus a distant cousin of his, Commodore Hansen, had the final say in
such matters. The Commodore was a family man who reasoned that Magnus
would not take his wife and small child on a suicide mission, and so
approved both the Raven’s mission and her initial flight plan.

Of course the reader knows that Magnus
would and did sacrifice his family to his obession. I’m taking
Seven’s ‘my parents were blooming idiots’ stance here.

Erin Hansen knew her husband better than that, but she also knew the
Lamne’rau. A cultural exobiologist fluent in Vulcan and Rihannsu and
conversant in several other dialects of the Romulan Empire, she had
drawn together the threads of rumor and hearsay into the theories and
coordinates that had (or, in some cases, hadn’t) made it into her
husband’s report. She looked forward to a pleasant wild goose chase
through the desolate reaches beyond the Empire, playing with Annika,
eavesdropping on Romulan subspace channels, and not seeing the rare
and elusive Lamne’rau.

We know about Magnus from canon, but
Seven’s mom was more of a mystery. I gave her this career to fit in
with the whole “Borg as Romulan rumor” idea. I also make her reckless
like her husband, but in her own way. He knows the Borg are out there
but doesn’t fear them. She dismisses them entirely.

“Magnus Hansen: field notes, U.S.S. Raven, Stardate 32611.4–”

“Magnus…” Erin’s familiar sigh of frustration carried across the
Raven’s narrow bridge.

This is your author sighing here. The
second major fanfix issue is the really, really, stunningly bad
stardates we hear in the Hansen’s records in the episode “Dark
Frontier.”

He paused the log to answer her. “What is it, dear?”

“It’s 29614, that’s what it is!”

So my solution is simple - Magnus is
just plain wrong about the stardates. Erin will go on correcting him
throughout the story, establishing my revised timeline for their
voyage.

“I just saw the stardate on the paperwork from the Exobiology
Council,” he protested.

“That’s when the project comes up for review - three years from now.
Never mind,” she added with another sigh, “the correct timestamp will
show up in the computer core.”

“Why can’t Starfleet use months and years like normal people, or at
least local time?” They’d had this argument before, but he was a
stubborn man.

“Go ahead, start using the Romulan zodiac sub-dates - if you know
them.”

Just to remind you that they’re in
Romulan space somewhere. I think they are, anyway - it’s been a while.

“Touche’.” He started recording again. “It’s about time. The
Federation Council on Exobiology has given us final approval.
Starfleet’s still concerned about security issues but they’ve agreed
not to stand in our way. We’ve said our good-byes, and we’re ready to
start chasing our theories about the Borg.”

That was more dialogue from a flashback
ep - presumably “Dark Frontier.”

When he paused the log to await his next deep thought, his wife rudely
interrupted, “Lamne’rau.”

“Do I have to speak Rihannsu now, too?” Magnus asked.

“It wouldn’t kill you to learn.” Erin started a diagnosic on the comm
console as she segued into another familiar argument. “I don’t like
the sound of ‘Borg’. We have no evidence that the Lamne’rau are
cybernetic at all. They could be a silicon-based insect colony.”
That was her pet theory. “If you find them, then you can name them
whatever you’d like.”

This is part of fix #1 - how can the
Hansens know so much about the Borg before anyone met them? Magnus
has very specific theories about the Borg, which turn out to be
correct, but didn’t have to be. The Alpha Quadrant can remain in
denial. Note Erin’s promise to let him name the Borg - it will be on
the quiz later.

“I’ll hold you to that,” Magnus said, and started recording again.
“As explained in my report to the Exobiology Council, we will be
proceeding to the nearest locus of rumors about the Lamne’rau, in
sector–”

“Daddy, what’s a lamrow?” His four-year-old daughter had slipped onto
the bridge unseen.

Isn’t she cute? This was before I’d
learned to describe anything, but who could forget that blonde?
Someday she’ll grow up to assimilate thousands and destroy all of J/C
fandom. But I digress…

Magnus smiled down at her. “That’s what Mommy wants us to call the
Borg, Muffin - the Lamne’rau.” He pronounced the word carefully, yet
Erin winced at his accent.

“I like Borg,” Annika said, and skipped out the door.

Like the reader, Annika has had enough
of Jemima’s faux-Rihannsu. She sides with dear doomed dad.

Erin frowned after her. “One of us should tell her we’re leaving
tomorrow.”

“I’ll do it,” he promised, “as soon as I finish this
sensor diagnostic.”

Ok, so they’re not quite in Romulan
space yet, but they’re nearby. So the Romulan sub-date thing is
probably just an artifact of the long lag between bouts of revision.
(You don’t want to know what condition Colony is in.)

*****

The security issues with which Starfleet was concerned had little to
do with the Lamne’rau and much to do with the ebb and flow of tensions
along the Neutral Zone. Erin Hansen had spent the last few years on
Tendara Colony mapping those political currents as a civilian analyst
for Starfleet. She was inspired not so much by loyalty to the
Federation as by scientific curiosity - Starfleet Intelligence had all
the latest data on Romulan society. Erin had a beta-1 security
clearance.

Erin also had a photographic memory and a head for cryptography that
Intelligence, in its infinitely bureacratic wisdom, had completely
overlooked when it hired her as a translator (level five). Many
experimental Romulan shield and sensor designs had passed across her
console on Tendara, often with the original undecoded version
attached. She whiled away the long months aboard the Raven by
programming her comm system with top-secret Starfleet Intelligence
decryption algorithms and using them to eavesdrop on Romulan comm
traffic.

The whole Romulan theme, with the
Rihannsu and the Neutral Zone, is based on a canon incident we’ll see
later: Magnus deciding to cross the Neutral Zone against Starfleet
orders. I probably work too hard to explain Erin’s career here, but
the point is fanfix so I may as well cram in all the details.
It looks like I also wanted to explain how the Hansens had the technology
to stalk the Borg long before Janeway tamed them in VOY.

“Magnus…”

“Yes, dear?”

Erin looked around at the happy family scene in the Raven’s small
lounge, trying to put a finger on what was bothering her. “You don’t
keep personal logs anymore.”

“I think a year of logs saying no sign of the Borg are enough.” He
shifted on the couch, full of energy but short on cyborgs to apply it
to. “Did you hear anything on the comm today?”

Marking time here.

“The Expansionists are up in arms again.”

Making up baldfaced lies about Romulan
society here. My passion for research does *not* extend to reading pay-per-fic
Star Trek novels about Romulan society.

“You predicted that in your paper for the exopolitics conference,
didn’t you?”

Erin fiddled with her PADD. “I never submitted it,” she confessed.
At his curious look, she added, “I have the whole field to myself out
here. If I published my results now, it would only attract
competition.”

“You keep telling me to publish, though.”

In the Jemima Timeline, I have a lot of
time to kill with the Hansens wandering around In Search Of…The
Lamne’rau. While I’m at it, I’m trying to increase their isolation
from the Federation, for the sake of that big break across the Neutral
Zone that’s coming up later.

“Maybe if enough people followed us out here, someone would…” Her
voice trailed off.

“Find the Borg, yes.” He flashed her a wry grin. “If we can’t find
them, no one can.”

Bitter!Jack the Muse is liking this guy…

Annika’s ears perked up at the mention of the Borg. She flew her
latest cube, made of some interlocking plastic blocks Magnus had
replicated for her, up from the floor into his lap. “Zoom,” she said.

I think this is a flashback scene from
some ep or other. I distinctly recall a “Zoom.”

He admired her handiwork. When he’d made his first model cube, he’d
had nothing to go on but Erin’s translation of an audio recording in
back-sector Rihannsu. The data had been passed down to Exobiology
from Starfleet Intelligence through the usual slow channels.
Intelligence considered it to be baseless rumor of no tactical
interest - the Romulan equivalent of the yellow press.

Yet more ‘how do they know about the
Borg when nobody knows about the Borg’ stuff here. I’m
overcompensating for canon a bit.

“Who lives inside the cube, Muffin?” Magnus asked, grinning at Erin.
Even after a year of Rihannsu lessons, their daughter always sided
with him in the great Lamne’rau/Borg debate.

Annika answered, “Mommy and Daddy and Muffin.”

Seema loves that line. I thought it
was a bit cheesy.

Magnus laughed. Erin did not.

Erin is a slightly more responsible
parent than Magnus, not that it will matter in the end.

*****

They celebrated Annika’s sixth birthday aboard the Raven, with cake
and candles and no other little girls. There were no other children
skirting the Neutral Zone, looking for trouble. Annika didn’t seem to
mind.

More fanfix - when and where Annika
celebrated her sixth birthday is a matter of some debate, among the
five or six people who actually care. The stardate is 31479,
according to my notes. That’s based on a birthdate (25479) from
canon.

“Would you like to visit your Aunt Irene, Annika?”

Irene and strawberries - I have to get
them in somewhere, because they’re canon.

Magnus frowned at Erin’s question, but their daughter looked
reasonably interested, considering that the proposal involved no Borg
at all.

“Yes, mommy,” she said. “May I go play with my cubes now?”

Still taking after dear doomed dad.

Erin nodded. Once Annika was out of the room, Magnus protested. “We
can’t go to Rothgar - we’ll be seen.” For the past year, they had
followed Starfleet’s advice by maintaining comm silence with both the
Romulans and the Federation. The skulking had made them paranoid.

“By the time the news gets back to the the Council, we’ll be back at
the Neutral Zone again.” Thus Erin shrugged off the more legitimate
fear that Exobiology would revoke their grant, either for failure to
progress or out of the usual Neutral Zone security concerns.

Mad scientists, on the lam…

“It’s too far.” Magnus had a worse head for stellar coordinates than
for stardates.

“It’s two days at maximum warp.”

Then he knew he’d been had. “You planned this. Those broadcasts
you said you were looking for…”

“Annika needs to see more people. It’s not healthy, living on a ship,
wanting to be an insect when she grows up.”

Magnus laughed. “She’ll grow out of it.”

“All you ever talk about is the Bor–Lamne’rau. Why would she be
interested in anything else?” Certainly a Romulan child would adopt
her father’s whims without question, and follow them for the rest of
her life as a matter of familial honor. Erin wasn’t an expert on
human children, but she could extrapolate.

Once again, mom is slightly less crazed
than dad, but if she’s extrapolating human behavior from the Romulans,
you know “slightly less crazed” is not going to be sane enough. Just in
case you were living under a rock for four seasons and didn’t know how
this was all going to end…

*****

On Stardate 31486 the Raven established orbit around Rothgar, a
Federation colony near the Neutral Zone. The Hansens felt a bit
land-sick when they beamed down to that huge, impossible sphere
hurtling through space without hull or shields. The prairie in which
they materialized only compounded the adults’ feeling of exposure.
Annika herself was fascinated by the open blue sky. She asked if they
were home; Magnus explained that Rothgar was her aunt Irene’s home.

The stardate and event are of my own
invention, as a fanfix to explain how Seven met her Aunt Irene
(presumably, but not definitely on Earth) when
her parents were supposed to be halfway to the DQ hunting Borg. My
solution is that Irene wasn’t living on Earth at the time, but
somewhere near the Neutral Zone. Note that the Swiss Family Hansen is
already more comfortable in spaceships than on planets -
foreshadowing, a valid literary technique.

Irene amused Annika with strawberries, cream and answers to her
endless questions about the clouds (cirrus), when it would rain
(September), and why the sky was blue (Rayleigh scattering). Magnus
and Erin spent several days purchasing supplies on the credit of the
Federation Council on Exobiology. Erin was reasonably certain the
Council would cover their expenses, once the bill reached them.

Magnus and Erin returned to Irene’s farm at twilight on their fourth
planetbound night, to find Annika and her aunt fixing dinner in the
kitchen. Erin offered to take over the hotpots, but Irene shooed them
all over to the table.

“Aunt Irene has been keeping dinner warm for you,” Annika informed her
parents as she took her own already-customary seat at Irene’s right.

“Annika seems to have a good vocabulary for her age, if
somewhat… technical,” Irene observed, as she dished out the
home-grown vegetables.

“I hope she hasn’t been talking your ear off,” Erin said.

“Oh, no. She was quiet as a mouse when she locked herself in your
room.”

Erin frowned at her little troublemaker. “She hasn’t been separated
from us for–I don’t think she’s ever been on her own.” Erin’s frown
became more general. “I suppose it’s not healthy.”

Magnus only laughed. “How’d you get her out?”

“I coaxed her out with a strawberry tart. I think she’s eaten my
whole crop.”

I think part of this is canon from
“Author, Author,” the episode where Seven phones Aunt Irene.

“What about dessert?” Annika asked, worried.

“Eat your vegetables first, and you’ll find out.” Irene watched as
Annika carefully loaded up her spork. “What’s not healthy,” she added
to the adults, “is living this close to the Neutral Zone. It gets
more dangerous every year. We all ought to go home to Earth where
it’s safe.”

Note gratuitous spork reference.

Annika wondered whether Earth could be her home if she’d never been
there.

“We should, but we never do,” Erin said. She was as addicted to
Romulan political radio as Magnus was to wisps of Borg ion trails.

I doubt I needed to reinforce that here.
Beware of wandering POV.

“You’re always threatening to leave, Irene,” Magnus added.

“This time I’m going. I’ve already sold the farm.”

“Where will you get strawberries?” Annika asked.

“They have strawberries on Earth, dear.” Irene smiled at her
ignorance. “They’re not native to Rothgar.”

Just in case the fanfix anvil missed
your head, I’m shipping Irene safely home to Earth *right now,* well in
time for Seven’s phone call 20 years in the future.

Reassured, Annika resumed eating her vegetables.

“I almost forgot to tell you, Magnus,” Irene said, “someone from the
Federation representative’s office came by earlier looking for you.
He didn’t leave a message, but my neighbor Celia recognized him.”
Magnus said nothing; Erin frowned. “Are you two in trouble?”

“We should get back to our mission,” Magnus replied.

“Oh,” said Irene, as he and Erin pushed away from the table. “That’s
enough vegetables, Annika. You can have dessert now.” Irene believed
replicated food was a poor substitute for the real item, and she
foresaw many replicated meals in her niece’s future.

Annika followed her aunt into the pantry to inspect the strawberries
at first hand, while her parents retrieved the few things they’d
brought down from the Raven. After dessert, she began to protest the
unexpected departure in earnest, but Magnus told her they had to get
back to looking for the Borg. So she checked that all her Borg cubes
had been packed and said goodbye to her aunt.

That was the last time Annika saw clouds, or ate strawberries.

Beware the falling Anvil of Doom. Our
mad scientists are now officially on the lam. I split their trip into
these two parts (pre-Irene and post-Irene) for fanfix reasons I no
longer recall. It may have something to do with contradictory
statements about Annika’s birthday.

*****

“Raven, this is Rothgar Colony. Please respond.”

“Turn that off,” Magnus said. Erin, standing beside him at the
Raven’s comm station, left it on.

“Raven, Starfleet Command requests that you stand down and await new
orders. Please respond.”

“Why don’t you shut it off?” Magnus asked, too busy powering up the
shields to reach over and do it himself.

“When do I ever turn off the radio?” Rihannsu political drama was
more artistic, but there was something irresistible about being the
center of attention. “There’s nothing in orbit that can match our
speed,” Erin added, “just a handful of in-system ore freighters. The
Constitution is the closest Starfleet vessel, and she’s three days
away at maximum warp.”

I love that rhetorical question. I
like having characters listen to the radio (or other purely audio
channels), probably because I like talk radio and old radio plays. I
even put vampire talk radio into a fic once, but that was a whole
other fandom.

“How do you know that?”

“It’s amazing how long people will go on using the same encryption
codes.”

This looks like a fanfix, but isn’t.
It’s just me going overboard with Erin’s technobabble skills.

Magnus smiled. “We’ll have to deviate from our flight plan.”

“I didn’t know we had a flight plan.”

Bitter!Jack the Muse is starting to like this woman, too…

Rothgar hailed them one last time: “Raven, you are ordered to stand
down.”

Erin and her husband locked eyes. “Engaging warp drive,” she said.

*****

It was Erin’s idea to cross the Neutral Zone. She was reasonably
certain the Constitution was still in pursuit, and Magnus, for his
part, thought he’d caught a stray Borg reading. So she picked a quiet
stretch of the border just before Gamma Hydrae and the Hansens found
themselves in the Romulan Star Empire.

I’m pretty sure Gamma Hydrae is real
research. (I have extensive galactic maps on my hard drive.) It’s a
little counter-canonical to have Erin decide to cross the Neutral
Zone, considering the tone she takes with Magnus in canon when
reminding him that they did so, but it fit my Erin so I kept it anyway.

Fortunately, Magnus’ readings led through an equally empty section of
Romulan space in which Erin was hard-pressed to pick up any comm
signals at all. With no sign of the Lamne’rau or the Imperial Fleet,
she spent the spare time teaching Annika more Rihannsu. She breathed
a sigh of relief when they reached the other side of the Empire,
though only a computer could have told them that the starry emptiness
around them was unclaimed Beta Quadrant territory rather than
uninhabited Romulan star systems.

Chewing up more time in my own personal
timeline… Obsession is a sad thing, for me and for the Hansens.

After months spent flitting between the few and inhospitable stars,
even Magnus doubted the existence of his elusive quarry, and said so
in his field notes: “U.S.S. Raven, Stardate 32623.5: we’ve been
tracking stray readings for nearly eight months now, but there’s still
no sign of a vessel. I’m beginning to wonder if the Borg are nothing
more than rumor and sensor echoes.”

Real dialogue from an episode.

“Magnus…”

“Yes, dear?”

“It’s 32163.5. And we’re running low on
dilithium.”

This is only a half-year stardate fix,
but it’s an important one because the stardates in canon allow only a
few days for several months of activity. See Jim Wright’s review of
“Dark Frontier” for the details. Or don’t.

“We’re getting close,” Magnus said. “If we stop now, we might as well
just turn around and go home.”

“Home? To what?” Erin asked. “We have deviated from our flight plan,
crossed the Neutral Zone, disobeyed a direct order to return. Our
colleagues obviously think we are insane. We have burned our bridges,
Magnus.”

There it is, the line from canon that
started it all.

Annika peered in, complaining of insomnia, and for a few moments her
parents turned their attention to her. Then came the sensor alert
Magnus had been waiting over two years to hear - Borg in range - and
he told Annika to go to her room.

The cube was huge, and the Raven was small enough to be ignored as it
followed. Annika, too, was small enough to go unnoticed as she
watched her parents’ sudden flurry of activity.

She didn’t understand. They had been looking for the Borg forever,
and now there they were, a huge cube right there on the viewscreen,
just like her models - the trip, in her six-year-old opinion, should
be over now. Daddy was proven right, and they could take a holoimage
and go home.

But it wasn’t over, and Mommy wasn’t sure where home was. Annika
didn’t know, either.

I don’t know where that internal Annika
dialogue came from, but it didn’t work. You win some, you lose
some.

*****

“Magnus, pull away!” Erin was too busy analysing the mounting power
curve to take the Raven’s controls over from her husband. “Whatever
that cube is doing, we don’t want to be next to it when it happens.”

“I’m not letting them get away this time.” Magnus edged the ship
closer to the looming cube. “How many times have we tracked Borg
readings, just to have them end abruptly in the middle of nowhere?”

Possibly a line from canon.

“We’re the ones who’ll end abruptly in the middle of nowhere if you
don’t stand down.” Erin consulted her readings. “Their power output
just shot through the roof.”

“We’ll end abruptly” is definitely a
line from me.

“Look, mommy!” The space around them drained into a glowing green
hole that dwarfed both the Raven and the Borg cube.

“Annika, go to your room.”

Magnus countermanded Erin’s order. “Muffin, strap yourself into that
chair. We’re going to find out where the Borg live.”

“Magnus–” Whatever Erin’s protest would have been, it was too late.
The cube and the Raven were drawn into the transwarp corridor.

Getting sucked into transwarp is canon,
I think.

The place where the Borg lived was like something out of a holostory -
a huge, impossible tunnel that went on forever. The little family
watched in silence as it rushed by. Annika saw other tunnels
branching off the main one, and wished she could follow where they
led.

A pinpoint of black expanded out into normal space in the blink of an
eye, and the Borg tunnel was gone. Annika looked up at her parents,
wondering if the whole thing had been a dream. Her mother was
whispering something to her father, and pointing at the console in
front of them.

Daddy laughed, and began speaking in his talking-to-the-computer
voice. “Field notes, U.S.S. Raven, Stardate 32629.4: After three
months of tracking our Borg cube, the vessel entered a transwarp
conduit. We followed in its wake. Our sensors tell us we’ve traveled
all the way to the Delta Quadrant, the Borg’s native territory.”

Dialogue from canon, with the bad stardate.

“Magnus…”

“Yes, dear?”

“It’s 32429.6. I hope Annika hasn’t inherited your
dyslexia.”

I finally explain Magnus’s problem with
the dates.

“It’s hard to tell, when all she’ll read is
binary.”

Now that will come in handy where she’s
going, won’t it?

“How are we ever going to get home, Magnus?”

Yet another rhetorical question from Erin.

He shrugged.

*****

Erin, feeling a bit trapped in the Delta Quadrant, made a careful
analysis of the Borg’s subspace traffic and sensor signals. They
lacked the panache of Romulan rhetoric, but made up for it in sheer
survival relevance. She handed the results over to Magnus, along with
a few highly-classified Romulan shield schematics she still recalled
from her Intelligence days. He added some design ideas he’d picked up
in his scans of the Borg vessel and a few weeks’ elbow grease; the
result was multi-adaptive shielding.

Magnus called it riding their blind spot. Going further than Erin had
intended, he miniaturized the bio-dampener and insisted on
transporting over to the cube for a live trial run. As much for her
own comfort as Annika’s, Erin let her daughter sit on her lap on the
bridge during Magnus’ ill-fated trip.

A couple of totally ludicrous
inventions of the Hansens’ from canon, but I almost made them sound
feasible, didn’t I? It’s all about the fix, folks.

“Where’s Daddy now?” Annika asked.

“He’s on level 12A, where subunit five lives.”

Annika pretended to find the spot on her toy cube, now populated with
miniature replicated drones. Her father’s voice came over the comm,
loaded with static, until Erin resolved the signal.

And you didn’t think Annika could get more
obsessed than she already was, did you?

“–following Junior. He seems to be headed for the maturation
chamber.”

In the ensuing silence, Erin muttered, “I need a visual feed.”

“Yes, here we are!” Magnus was clearly enjoying his first tour of the
cube. “I wish you could see this place, Erin. There must be fifty
neonatal drones alone.”

“Magnus,” Erin said, in what Annika recognized as her warning voice.

Magnus was too excited to hear the tone. “I think this one is
Ktarian. She looks about Annika’s age.”

One of the problems with novelizing
canon is not knowing afterwards what bits were you and what were
TPTB. I know Magnus did find a Ktarian drone on the ship, but whether
he ever said a drone looked about Annika’s age is beyond me. Anyway,
the line is spooky. Anvil of Doom, anyone?

Annika shivered in Erin’s lap.

The Anvil of Doom hits Annika.

“Magnus, I’m bringing you back now.” Erin hit a control on the
console, letting Annika off her lap to run down to the transporter
alcove.

“No, wait–”

“Mommy!” Annika called from down the corridor, “The transporter is
smoking!”

“Magnus, are you all right?”

“I’m fine. What’s going on back there?”

She checked the console. “It looks like we fried a power relay in the
transporter controls. This could take a while to fix.”

“You know where to find me.” His chuckle followed
her down the hall.

I’m thinking this was some sort of
reenactment of the canon incident Erin mentions in passing when Magnus
had to spend the night in a chamber of neonatal drones. There’s a lot
of good Erin/Magnus dialogue of that sort in canon that I left out in
order to write my own fic.

*****

“Field notes, U.S.S. Raven, Stardate 32634.9: the Raven was hit by a
subspace particle storm. We took heavy damage and our multi-adaptive
shielding went off-line for 13.2 seconds. Unfortunately, it was long
enough for the Borg to perceive us as a threat.”

“Magnus…”

“Yes, dear.”

“You got the stardate right.” Why did that give her a sinking
feeling, like she’d just dropped out of transwarp in the middle of a
hostile Unimatrix?

It’s the Anvil of Doom, Erin. I wish I
hadn’t overdone the ‘Magnus finally gets a stardate right’ bit like
that, but I think it still works.

She turned her attention back to her console. Like her husband, Erin
was looking for a way, any way, to escape the Borg’s perception.
Unfortunately, she’d used up her bag of Romulan tricks and comm-signal
feints. She did find a nebula, which started an argument over their
best course of action. Magnus wanted to mask the warp trail; she
wanted to hide the whole ship. They didn’t stop to think that their
raised voices might wake Annika until she called out for her daddy.
He left Erin alone on the bridge, looking for an M-class planet they
could reach before the closest cube caught up with them.

Again with the irresponsible
parenting. “They didn’t stop to think” says it all, doesn’t it? If I
wrote this story today, I might make it a noble scientific quest for
knowledge at all costs, but back in 2002 I was firmly in Seven’s
camp - these two are idiots. Geeky and endearing idiots, but idiots
nonetheless.

One hour and counting. Erin turned off the alarms and listened to the
soft, inscrutable murmuring from Annika’s bedroom. She wondered how
the Borg comforted their immature drones. If the Raven escaped this
time, where would they go? The Borg, she suspected, were not to be
fooled twice. No, not Borg, she reminded herself - Lamne’rau.
Lamne’rau wasn’t even a noun, but a verb in the acquiescent mood,
meaning let them collect. Let us gather
together.

There it is! Hours of painstaking
research, and you got the acquiescent mood. I think I made up the name of the
mood, but there’s a real Romulan
root (so to speak) in there meaning “collect.” See the href="http://atrek.org/Dhivael/rihan/rihantoeng.html#L">Rihannsu -
English Dictionary V. 3.1 for *lamne*. The postfix *rau* (let) can
be found in the href="http://atrek.org/Dhivael/rihan/morphsyn.html">Introduction to
Rihannsu Morphology and Syntax.

“Why did we come here?” she asked her husband, when
he reappeared.

Another rhetorical question from Erin.

“To study the Borg,” he said, and set course for the planet she’d
found. To the last, he believed they could get away.

DOOM!

*****

Although they remember everything, the Borg think little of the short
flight of a crippled ship, drones beaming aboard, parents screaming,
half-conscious children transferred to maturation chambers and lulled
by the hum of the Collective. The capture of the Raven was notable
only in that it was the first assimilation of members of Species 5618,
from whom the Borg learned the Standard language.

Erin Hansen became a native speaker of ten thousand languages, though
her primary means of communication was binary. To Magnus Hansen was
revealed every secret, technical or organizational, of the Borg; in
return, he had the honor of coining their Standard designation, just
as Erin had promised him. And Annika Hansen, nestled in a maturation
chamber, discovered what it meant to come home.

And we’ve returned to our initial
fanfix - how did the Borg get their name? From Magnus Hansen,
directly. I love the “native speaker” line - something about the
sound of the “ten thousand” gets me every time. This bit is full of
typical Borg glorification from my Borg period. Note that everyone
got what they were after, and everyone is happy - it’s one big happy
Collective.

The end.

I love a happy ending.

Comments are closed.