Huge! (The lesser known story of Two of Nine)
by Jinny W
Disclaimer: Paramount owns them all, including the real Borg hitchhiker who doesn't make an appearance at all here. I'm afraid Huge is all mine.
Summary: At about the same time that our friends aboard the USS Voyager were experiencing the events recorded in Scorpion, somewhere in an alternative universe something different was going on. This Voyager too rescued a Borg drone from the clutches of the evil empire. They too kept the ex-Borg on board and tried to help it reclaim its humanity. The outcome, however, was a little different.
Here the story of this ex-Borg and his first memorable Voyager Christmas has been pieced together from a variety of surviving sources, including personal logs, inter-ship messages, the crew's reports, and (shudder) Borg poetry.
Author's note: Apologies to Walt Whitman for the stolen line. Thanks to Bodie for giving me the initial idea while trying to cheer me up & out of a post-Endgame blue funk. This one's for him, and also for JinnyR, who wanted something funny. When you don't specify funny-odd or funny-humorous you'll probably get both :-)
To: B'Elanna Torres
From: Captain Janeway
Sent: 1930 hrs
Subject: Two of Nine
The doctor is operating on the Borg drone first thing in the morning. If we're correct and he does have information programmed into his cortex that will help us get back to the Alpha Quadrant, he can let us know then. Have your engineering crews on standby just in case. And fingers crossed! What an end to the year this would make!
Captain's log, undated
We still suspect that Two has sensitive information hidden in his cortex, but the doctor was unable to access it. Over the objections of my first officer, who for some reason seems to really distrust the Borg, I have decided to keep Two of Nine aboard anyway. As Two becomes more human we may be able to convince him to break the encryption codes.
Now that his link to the collective has been severed I feel that we owe it to him to allow him this chance to reclaim his humanity. I mean, so what if he has been cursing at me continuously for the past three days? Sure, he threw a few sharp-edged pieces of the brig's isolinear circuitry at me last night when I let the forcefield down. And he did try to assimilate Neelix when he delivered his famous pot luck dinner. (Neelix joked later than perhaps he was trying to gain access to the recipe. What a kidder!)
But I'm sure that in time he will understand what it is that we've tried to do for him. A new crew member - with the superior knowledge, experience and intellect of the Borg - I couldn't have hoped for a better Christmas present.
Doctor, personal log, undated
Success! Today I managed to remove the majority of Two of Nine's Borg implants. His higher brain functions are still controlled by the cortical node so I have left that intact. Although Commander Chakotay congratulated me on a job well done, I'm not sure he fully understood the brilliance of what I have achieved. Perhaps he is still peeved about that isolinear chip that Two stabbed into his arm this morning.
When I contacted the Captain she suggested that I should help Two choose a name. Two seems happy for us to keep on calling him Two. The Captain said, and I quote, "I'm not having a member of my crew whose name is a numeral." When I suggested she seemed quite happy to have a crewmember with no name at all she muttered something about letting someone more decisive choose.
I replicated a few outfits for Two to wear, despite the mirth of Tom Paris. For some reason he kept trying to convince me that the catsuits I had chosen were not really appropriate, but he wouldn't say why. Two says they are functional and I agree.
I also offered - with a touch of irony - to stimulate the hair follicles on Two of Nine's head, but he seemed perplexed by the notion. I believe his exact words were "Hair is irrelevant." I couldn't agree more. We are going to cruise the ship's database together at some later stage and do some hat shopping, in case he later becomes self conscious about being as bald as a baby.
I've already conducted some preliminary research on the topic. For some reason the database seems to contain an inordinate selection of fluffy red Santa hats. I mentioned this discrepancy to Mr. Paris but he offered only the enigmatic reply that they would probably suit Two just fine. I'm not sure what he means, given that Christmas is still several weeks away.
Excerpt from Chief Security Officer's Tactical Report, no. 845
Two incidents involving Two of Nine today. The first occurred at 0746 hours. He has only just begun ingesting nutrients orally and thus is unfamiliar with the peculiar brand of cuisine Mr. Neelix usually provides. A scuffle broke out when Ensign Murphy took objection to being showered with the uneaten contents of Two's bowl. Venarrian porridge, I believe. No one was seriously injured, although I suspect Mr. Neelix is nursing a bruised ego.
At 1530 hours Two once again attempted to make contact with the Borg collective. We are indeed fortunate that he is too inept to be able to do so.
Recommendations: I once again would suggest limiting Two's access to most areas of the ship, so that he will desist from prying off conduit covers all along the corridors - apparently at random - in his attempts to find our transceiver array. It really is becoming annoying. Ensign Cook tripped over one such panel this afternoon and needed to have a bone in her forearm reset.
To: Tom Paris
From: Harry Kim
Sent: 0820 hrs
Subject: Name for Two of Nine
Attachment: name list.doc
I've attached a list of names from the suggestions the crew gave us. I've deleted the ones which were obviously jokes, all the ones which meant something rude in another language, and all of the suggestions made by the Delaney sisters. (Who knew they had such dirty minds? We should let them come up with the next Captain Proton script.)
If we want to ignore the crew's suggestions altogether we could just make up something ourselves. I looked up the computer records for the time the Enterprise crew had a Borg on board. Guess what they called it? 'Hugh', because it sounded like 'you', apparently. It also sounds like 'Two'. What do you think? Should we just take the easy way out and plagiarize?
By the way, have you thought of a Christmas present for B'Elanna yet? I'm not sure she'll appreciate another set of tools. There's only so many phase adjustment hypo-spanners a girl can fit in her toolbox.
Chakotay, personal log, undated
Kathryn kept bugging me until I allocated her pet Borg somewhere to stay so I've had Torres make some adjustments to the cargo bay where the other drones left their alcoves. Hey presto! Borg accommodation.
I must admit I'm finding her fascination with the drone a little disturbing. Last night during dinner she spoke almost of nothing else. Not that I'm the vindictive type, but it was an odd coincidence that Neelix's plans for our Christmas celebrations this year happened to land on my desk the very next morning. This time I approved them all and even recommended that Neelix seek help from Mr. Paris as well. (Just on the remote chance he wasn't already planning to.)
Speaking of Tom Paris... Our Borg now has a name. Harry picked "Hugh". I'm told that means "clever", which I'm not sure is really appropriate for our new friend, who doesn't appear to be the brightest star in the galaxy. Tuvok tells me he became welded to the door of the weapons locker yesterday after unsuccessfully trying to make his nanoprobes pick the lock. In any case, Tom Paris has started calling him "Huge" instead. When I pulled him up and asked for an explanation he babbled on about the way his pot belly looks in those catsuits. I had to agree (what *was* the doctor thinking?) and let him off with a half-hearted reprimand. I think the name's caught on anyway so it's a bit late to close the stable doors now.
Doctor's notes for next social lesson: "Small talk and how to avoid insulting other members of the crew"
1. In a social setting it is appropriate to offer to pick up a drink for a companion while getting yourself one. It is *not* appropriate to take someone else's while they are still drinking from the glass. Hygiene issues aside, it is a little rude.
2. Try to appear interested in what the other person is talking about. Ask questions, but try and keep them appropriate to the setting. Don't ask about sexual partners, the age of the Captain, or any other delicate issue. Especially don't ask about the Captain's sexual partners.
3. When I said that smiling puts people at ease, I didn't mean that you should smile constantly. Sometimes it is not suitable, for example when talking about deaths in someone's family.
4. Spitting is not appropriate. Ever.
5. Try to remember people's names and use them in conversation. Please don't use nicknames, even if you have overheard them being used previously. Nicknames are an intimate thing and are not always appropriate for public consumption. The Commander *did* hear what you called him last week and was not impressed. (How did you find out what the Captain calls him, by the way?)
6. *Do* read up on that padd I sent you last week, "20 ways to be a social butterfly." It will help, honestly. At the very least the Captain might lift your ban from official crew functions in time for the Christmas celebrations next week.
B'Elanna Torres, personal log, undated
I found that insane Borg in my engine room again today. I think he was trying to access our navigational systems, but it's a little difficult to tell, given that he only succeeded in shorting out the console and giving himself a 1500V electric shock. I've told Captain Janeway that he isn't to be trusted but for some reason she seems oblivious to any of his faults.
Tom thinks it's because there's something going on between them - how ridiculous is that! Captain Janeway and a Borg drone? That's about as likely as his last crazy idea about her and Chakotay. Just in time to stop me mistaking him for a romantic, he went on to say that her most recent lover was a hologram so she obviously prefers the mechanical touch. Either that or she has misconstrued the reason for the Borg's nickname. After his nose stopped bleeding he said maybe he was jumping to conclusions. Who says you can't teach an old dog something new?
I was in such a sunny mood after our little tête-à-tête that I relented and allowed Carey's shift to go ahead with their plans to decorate engineering, on the proviso that they keep the tinsel well away from my warp core.
To: Samantha Wildman
Sent: 1806 hrs
I know we've both been encouraging Naomi to develop her imagination, but I'm worried by her some of her recent activities. In particular the extent to which she's taking her game of following Huge around and imitating Borg mannerisms. Perhaps this wouldn't be such a problem if our Borg friend were a little better behaved.
I've explained the situation to Crewman Yosa and he's calmed down about her igniting his hair during my special "edible Xmas" cooking class earlier today. The doctor says the fire didn't cause any serious damage anyway.
Perhaps you could have a few words with her? At the very least, could you convince her to take off that fake padded belly? I know imitation is supposed to be the sincerest form of flattery, but I suspect some of the crew are finding it quite disconcerting. I know I am.
Excerpt from Doctor's medical report, no. 1736
We had a minor crisis in sickbay today, which I believe I handled with aplomb, given the trying circumstances. A mishap with a plasma conduit in engineering during an attempt to hang multi-coloured baubles from the ceiling caused Crewman Jor to be admitted to my care with serious plasma burns. While I was attending to his burns "Huge" - as the crew now almost unanimously call him - dashed into sickbay (inasmuch as an overweight ex-drone can be said to dash.)
In retrospect I have been able to ascertain that Huge was attempting to be helpful by using Borg medical technology, namely nanoprobes, to repair the burns. Unfortunately Huge has some difficulty remembering which of the crew is which and instead injected a hapless Ensign Cook, who had come into sickbay for a checkup on her newly healed arm, and was sitting quietly on the other biobed minding her own business.
I am now also treating Ensign Cook, who rapidly became partially assimilated to the biobed's cybernetic components.
Despite her attempts to remain po-faced I suspect that Captain Janeway found the incident mildly amusing. I am usually the last to agree with any suggestion made by Mr. Paris but I'm beginning to wonder if the comments he made the other night after several tequilas in Chéz Sandrines have any merit. Perhaps the Captain does have a soft spot for this Borg after all.
Excerpt from Chief Security Officer's Tactical Report, no. 849
I have ordered the Security shifts to be additionally alert in these last few days before Christmas. Yesterday's prank - which despite the lack of decisive proof regarding the latter's involvement I still blame on collusion between Lieutenant Paris and Ensign Murphy - will doubtless be the first of many to take place during what humans refer to as the "silly season". Precisely what is amusing about shrinking all of Mr. Kim's uniform trousers by an almost imperceptible degree eludes me. The subsequent materialization of a number of fattening Christmas "treats" on the Ops console - among them the container of hot mince pies which are responsible for the stains on the Bridge carpeting - I find equally mystifying. Perhaps when I let Mr. Paris out of the brig he can explain this humour to me more clearly.
I am please to report that Two of Nine committed no Security infractions for the second day in a row. Perhaps his own brief stint in the Brig (from which, I note, the Captain released him prematurely without consulting her Chief Security Officer) for attempting to steal a shuttlecraft has taught him a lesson in acceptable behaviour. On a related note, Ms. Torres informs me she has managed to download the data from the damaged computer - the few components that were salvageable from the shuttle's charred remains - and has concluded the crash resulted from pilot error. I'm sure the entire ship is as aghast at her discovery as I am.
From: Kathryn Janeway
Sent: 0820 hrs
Subject: Christmas plans
Would I be correct in assuming that you authorised this, Commander? If so, what did I do to deserve this torture? Never mind, if it was that vile I probably don't want to know.
A full list of Neelix's plans for Christmas - including the Christmas Eve party - has just arrived on my terminal. May I ask what is meant by a "Secret Santa"? Or do I not want to know that either?
An eggnog sculling competition? A midnight caroling performance? Stockings for the entire crew, to be placed along Voyager's corridors? Are we a Starfleet ship or a travelling carny freighter? If I find mistletoe over the entrance to my ready room door, Mister, you and I will have words.
Tom Paris, personal log, undated
Note to self - next time, shrink the Vulcan's pants.
B'e seemed distracted when she popped by to visit me last night and when the Captain finally released me and I got back to our quarters I could see why. There was a bizarre array of parts spread out across our living area, including an assortment of coloured paper.
I don't think I've ever seen such a peculiar sight as a Klingon assembling party crackers. When I asked her why she didn't just replicate the traditional kind she snorted and said hers were a superior design. Despite a good hours worth of nagging she wouldn't tell me what they actually do when you pull them. I have until Wednesday night to figure it out, anyway.
I was so distracted by this mystery that I forgot to tell her I had a chat to Huge during our brief sojourn as cellmates. He asked me about - of all things - human courtship rituals. I told him, subtly of course, that if he had his eye on someone perhaps he could use the upcoming celebration as an excuse to make his feelings known. Man, am I going to scoop the pools on this one!
To: Lt. Comm. Tuvok
From: Kathryn Janeway
Sent: 0840 hrs
Subject: Security & tactical report, no. 849
As always, I appreciate your thorough investigations. But perhaps we could leave the sarcasm out of the official reports, hmm?
By the way, a little bird told me that you're my Secret Santa. Could we give the "all time classics of Vulcan opera" a miss this year?
Chakotay, personal log, undated
Previously I was hesitant to believe the crew's latest gossip, which was reiterated in glorious detail last night in Sandrines before Tom Paris realised I was standing within earshot, turned slightly green and began stuttering. Curiously enough what really turned my stomach was the expression on Tuvok's face. Some might not be able to pick it but I think I've become pretty good at reading that Vulcan. The angle of his eyebrow clearly stated he also thought something untoward was occurring between Huge and Kathryn.
As I stumbled down the corridor after one strawberry daiquiri too many I caught sight of Huge dropping something into a stocking clearly marked with Kathryn's name. I shouldn't have looked but I couldn't help myself. I blame the daiquiris, which any self respecting freedom fighter my age should know to stay away from (if only for the sake of my tough guy image.)
It was a poem. A love poem. A terrible love poem. I stood there reading it, my colourful cocktail umbrella threatening to slip down from behind my ears as my head bent over the padd. What should I do? Erase it and leave another less amorous message in its stead? Steal the padd altogether?
Whether it was the alcohol or my misguided sense of honour, I don't know, but in the end I simply let the padd slip from my fingers back into her stocking and stumbled on to my quarters. I replicated another daiquiri and I plan to drink myself further into insensibility.
[The image of Chakotay grins tightly and raises a gaudy glass at the recording screen.]
Excerpt from Doctor's medical report, no. 1737
Never a dull moment in my thrilling routine. Today I caught Mr. Paris trying to treat himself for a mysterious burn along one of his arms. He led me a merry dance, but on being threatened with a report to you, Captain, he admitted he'd been playing with something of B'Elanna's that he shouldn't have.
I'm reporting it to you anyway, but to be honest, I really don't want to know.
Ensign Murphy, personal log, undated
Harry cornered me in the mess hall today. I thought he was going to punch me for what I helped Tom do to his uniforms, but instead he said it was time to pay up, in exchange for him not telling Tuvok about my assistance. Boy that kid is learning.
He wants me to program an illegal transporter sequence before tonight. I suspect we won't be able to pull this off, but I'm going to borrow the Doc's holo-imager just in case. History awaits!
Poem for Kathryn Janeway, undated
Oh Captain, my Captain,
my heart burns for you
like the poor plasma relay
I broke on deck two
from the first moment
I knew you were the one
your bold eyes, your slim ankles
your svelte power bun
I wish I could be
in command of your heart
so deep is this ocean
that keeps us apart
oh, I know my words are
so clumsy and poor
but I could write sonnets
if you'd give me more
Oh Captain, my Captain
your smile means so much
I long for our meetings
I ache for your touch
my love is your garden
my heart is the gnome
all warty and monstrous
who sits all alone
the Borg have a saying
I hope you'll agree
resistance is futile
please, please, choose me... ?
From: Sam Wildman
Sent: 1255 hrs
I think we have some progress at last! This morning Naomi didn't respond when I called her "Three of Nine". I'm sure she wasn't just ignoring me because she "didn't consider me a threat" like last time.
If I can convince her to take off the metal headpiece will you change your mind about letting her come to the Christmas party tonight? I think it would be good for her to mingle with the rest of the (non-Borg) crew.
Kathryn Janeway, personal log, undated
Well! Last night I caught Chakotay dropping a padd into my Christmas stocking. I know I should have waited until tomorrow to look at it, but as he didn't see me watching him, I knew he wouldn't guess I'd peeked early.
I'd always thought my XO had a way with words. Now I'm flabbergasted. I'm not sure if I'm more stunned by the fact that he wrote me a love poem or by the fact that it was atrocious. I know I should be flattered but I'm a little disappointed to find that his ardour didn't inspire more artistic metaphors.
Listen to me! Not happy enough to be the object of someone's affections - no, not just someone's, *his* affections - I want to be the muse of great poetry as well. But honestly, "your svelte power bun"??? Not to mention the bizarre gnome imagery.
Maybe I should acquire some mistletoe after all. And a large jug of eggnog. The alcoholic kind.
Harry Kim, personal log, undated
I'd rather go straight to bed, but thought I'd better make a record of what happened at the party tonight first.
There was the inescapable horror of watching Huge trying to manoeuver Captain Janeway under a sprig of mistletoe. Slightly more amusing were Chakotay's efforts to be obstructive. Years of tactical training weren't wasted on that man. Then there was Neelix hovering around the punch bowl trying to make sure no one slipped any fortified Romulan ale into it like last year. His expression when he realised Murphy had put it into the caramel brownies instead was priceless.
B'Elanna's exploding crackers were a definite highlight, as was the joy on Yosa's face at seeing someone else's hair catch fire this time. The Secret Santa gifts were a laugh, although I'm not sure how pleased B'Elanna was with her welding equipment. The Captain seemed equally as baffled about what she should do with her Vulcan logic puzzle. I guess she figured something out because later I saw her trying to teach Chakotay to juggle with the pieces. Neither of them were catching many but they seemed to be having fun.
Undoubtedly a treat for many was seeing little Naomi Wildman sneak up behind Huge and scream, "You will be assimilated" while shoving the tines of a fork into his buttocks. The Captain later told her off but I'm pretty sure her smile compensated for the scolding.
All in all, just another Voyager Christmas.
[The image of Harry smiles victoriously.]
Oh, and I managed to get even with Tom Paris.
To: Voyager Crew; bar Lt. Paris, Captain Janeway, Commander Chakotay
From: B'Elanna Torres
Sent: 1105 hrs
Subject: Historic moments
My unnamed source has passed on some very interesting holo-images from last night's festivities. For you romantics who want proof of the Command team's unrivalled performance under the mistletoe, two hundred and fifty credits each. For the rest of you rational folk, the pictures which prove my husband does look pretty in pink are going for five hundred. We're running a limited print edition, so get in early!
Excerpt from Doctor's medical report, no. 1738
Captain's Janeway's attempts to win over the Borg, or as she slurred so eloquently towards the end of the Christmas party, "to lull that bloody Borg into a sense of false bloody security", have finally paid off. I was finally able to access Huge's cortical node and bypass his last remaining security barriers.
Alas, Captain, I must report that the encrypted files do not contain, as we suspected, navigational or propulsion data which would accelerate our journey. Instead they contain Species 734's secret recipe for their equivalent of imam bayildi. Apparently this is considered classified information among Species 734 and their chefs take the mystery with them to their grave. Or in this case, to their assimilation (although I must say, how complicated is mixing aubergine, onions and olive oil?) Once disconnected from the collective and left with only his own intellect to guide him, Huge was unable to determine which information was worthwhile and which not, and so selected this data as being worth his continued protection.
May I be the first to say congratulations. Or perhaps more accurately, Bon Appetite.
Kathryn Janeway's New Years Resolutions
1. No more dealings with the Borg. If I see a cube, a sphere or a Borg sports convertible I will immediately head the other way.
2. No more intercepting other people's mail. A really bad habit, that one. (Note to self - remember to pay B'Elanna her seven hundred and fifty credits ASAP.)
3. Find out just how Harry managed to make the transporter dematerialize all of Tom's clothes and replace them with only a sparkly pink feather boa, then put a commendation in his file.
4. Replicate more mistletoe. Ensure year round supply.
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