Forget Me Not
Once Neelix and Janeway had moved away, Seven turned her attention fully to the problem at hand.
"If you attack her, I will stop you." she stated.
"I know." B’Elanna replied, still staring into the trees.
Seven took a step closer but didn’t try to restrain the feral woman. B’Elanna was completely calm and as long as Kathryn kept her distance B’Elanna would likely remain calm, for the moment anyway.
"Any attempt to harm the captain or this crew will be in vain." Seven stated reasonably.
"I know that too." B’Elanna answered softly. Without really thinking about it, she took another step closer to the trees.
"Will you give me your word that you will not attack the captain or crew?" Seven asked.
The silence stretched to minutes. Seven could see that B’Elanna was giving the matter serious thought so she did nothing, merely stood and waited for the hybrids answer.
B’Elanna again took another step closer to the trees. As far as her memories were concerned, her whole existence could be measured in days. First there had been the satisfaction of driving off the intruders. Intruders she now knew to be two men she had once claimed as friends. Then there had been the harsh but uncomplicated quest for survival. Eat, find shelter, rest, then to do it again. Her Klingon side had come to the fore. The entire Klingon race was more in touch with their animal instincts than most sentient species could ever attain. Survival here was easy for one with her innate and instinctive skills.
Then the intruders she had driven off returned and with them came Seven. She had been drawn to the woman the instant she had spotted the group moving into her territory. Before the mornings confrontation in the small glade she knew she would belong to this woman. The fact that she had been so easily and completely defeated by her was proof of that.
"I promise that I will not purposely hurt any of the crew." B’Elanna finally said. She had already driven off two of the crew. With what she had seen and overheard over the last few days, she knew that none of them presented any kind of serious threat to her.
Seven noted the word purposely in the promise. B’Elanna was in effect promising not to intentionally attack the crew. She was promising she would not hurt anyone unless she perceived they were trying to harm her. Allowing that this was probably the best she could expect from the woman at this point, she decided not to challenge the partial promise.
"And Captain Janeway?" Seven asked.
"If she stays away from me, I’ll leave her alone." B’Elanna answered. She would not look at Seven as she said this.
"She will not do that. Captain Janeway is your friend and your superior officer. She has also known you for far longer than I have. She will make every effort to befriend you." Seven said reasonably.
"If she does, then I will make every effort to kill her before you can stop me." B’Elanna replied with a low growl. Again she unconsciously took another step towards the tree line.
She knew that Janeway would not give up on her efforts with the hybrid. Her only hope was to make B’Elanna see that the woman was not a threat to her. Fortunately, it was B’Elannas memories that were damaged, not her intelligence. If she could just present the correct argument, the feral woman would comply with Sevens wishes. For now, she needed time to think about what that argument might be. She also needed to speak with the others. There was much to discuss if they were going to be able to deal with the wild Klingon.
Seeing the way B’Elanna was staring intently into the forest gave her an idea. "If you promise to return by dusk, I will not prevent you from leaving this clearing" she said. The day had been an intense one for everyone. Allowing B’Elanna to return to the woods for the remainder of the day would provide the break her and B’Elannas temper needed.
"You have my word." B’Elanna agreed immediately. Within seconds she had disappeared into the undergrowth.
Seven wasted no time. As soon as the hybrid was out of sight, she marched over to where the others were waiting. Neelix had decided that now was a good time for a late lunch. All eyes turned from the stew bubbling in the large pot by the fire to the cold blue fire of suppressed Borg anger.
"B’Elanna has given her word that she will not purposely attack any of the crew." she stated without preamble.
The sighs of relief were audible. "That’s great, Seven." Tom stated. "Now that everyone is safe from her Klingon side we can get to work on the device and get her memories back."
"This is not entirely good news." Seven stated to the group in general. "She has agreed to refrain from seeking to harm this crew. She can and will attack anyone who she perceives to be a direct threat." Turning to Janeway she continued with icy calm. "Captain, Lieutenant Torres perceives you to be a direct threat. If you make any further efforts to approach her she will try to kill you."
"How can she think of me as a threat? I did nothing to make her think I would try to hurt her." Janeway asked perplexed.
"You approached her suddenly and without warning. You then paid no attention to the Lieutenants obvious distress at your proximity. When Lieutenant Torres specifically stated her mistrust, you still refused to withdraw." Seven stated.
"I was simply trying to introduce myself to her. Anyone could see that." Janeway interrupted indignantly.
She knew that this woman was probably even more stubborn that the one she had just sent into the woods. She needed to make Kathryn understand. Her anger at her mentor was not surprising. Janeway’s stubbornness had gotten them out of many tight places. This time it might get her killed.
In her best Borg tone she said. "Would you have approached her as you did without my presence?"
"And have her hold me at the point of a machete like she did Mr. Neelix? Of course not." Janeway replied with a frown.
"That is why she chose to accept Mr. Neelix and not you." she informed Janeway. She knew what she wanted to say, but trying to explain in a way that the stubborn red head would understand was for the moment beyond her. In the collective all decisions were immediately known and understood without the need for discussion. Falling silent, she tried to think of a way to present her point clearly.
The rest of the group had until now been silent. Tom and Harry were beginning to see where Seven was going with her observation but surprisingly it was Neelix who put it all together.
"I didn’t rely on your protection." Neelix stated as much as asked. At Sevens nod, he turned to Janeway. "Captain you made sure that Seven was in a position to protect you before you tried to approach B’Elanna."
"Of course, I’d have been a fool not to." she acknowledged.
"Don’t you see? That was your mistake." The Talaxian said with quiet intensity. "You said yourself that she probably wouldn’t try to kill anyone unless we threatened her. You were, figuratively speaking, hiding behind Seven. Not one of us has the physical strength to threaten B’Elanna, except Seven. To B’Elanna, Seven is a very real threat."
"She also chose to accept Mr. Neelix because he was completely honest with her. He made no effort to deceive her on any point. He did not deny his fear of her yet at the same time, he stood his ground. Though he lacks the physical strength to impress the Lieutenant he was able to impress her with his bravery." Seven added calmly.
"I didn’t lie her." Janeway replied.
"You did not specifically lie to Lieutenant Torres, but you did deliberately deceive her. You would not have approached her as you did without my presence to protect you. You were overconfident and the Lieutenant was aware of that. Once she detected that deception she became irate. Your continued presence and reliance on my protection only intensified her reaction."
It was Tom who took up the debate. He could see that Janeway was still not convinced. "Captain, you are an experienced leader and an accomplished diplomat. Right now, that doesn’t mean a thing. B’Elanna is not going to respond to any of that. You wouldn’t go about befriending a wild animal with diplomacy would you?"
Janeway looked at the ground but said nothing. They were right. She’d read B’Elanna all wrong. "I’ll just have to try a different approach." she mumbled to no one in particular.
"You must not try at all, Captain. Lieutenant Torres was serious. If you make any further effort to approach her, she will try to kill you." Seven replied with icy calm.