Location: Starbase 911
Emily was slowly walking around Starbase 911, it was nothing compared to a borg cube but she had to make do whilst she awaited for her new starship to pick her up where she would become the new Chief Science officer.
Elsewhere on the station, Elena Valdez stepped off her transport vessel into the largest man-made structure of her experience - Starbase 911. From the transport ship's window the station hadn't looked all that impressive against the looming blackness of space, but then Elena had noted how various spacecraft looked like toddlers' toys against the immense body of the structure. The true scale of the place boggled her mind - over 13 kilometers from top to bottom! Now, still slightly awed by the magnitude of it all, Elena wandered through the neutrally-colored corridors of the base and felt very far from home.
The sudden rumbling in her midsection was all it took to bring the doctor back to herself. With a laugh she realized that her first priority in this foreign place was to satisfy her need for a hearty lunch. Trust her stomach to remind her of what was really important.
Referencing a wall mounted station directory, Valdez located a cafe that wasn't too far from her present location. She shouldered her duffel bag and set off to find it.
Emily decided to go to a cafe even thought she didn't require nourishment at this time. She sat at a table and waited for a waiter to come to her table.
"What can I get you?" he asked.
"A glass of water." she said firmly.
He was shocked by how she spoke but quickly walked away and quickly returned with her glass of water.
"Thank you." she replied and took a small sip.
Emily couldn't understand how humanoids could enjoy themselves by sitting in a cafe when they didn't require nourishment. And they could easily eat whilst working therefore being more efficient. She had been with humanoids for many years now yet there was so much that still puzzled her.
Across the restaurant, Elena plopped herself down into the booth the waiter presented to her. The smells wafting after servers and their trays were foreign to the doctor, but mouthwatering all the same.
"What'll it be?" asked her waiter in the traditional manner of cafe staff across the galaxy. His looks and phrasing were human, but his accent suggested otherwise.
"Surprise me," replied Elena, scooting her menu aside. "Anything will do as long as it's spicy. And for the love of all that's good in this universe, don't bring me something replicated!" She knew there was to be plenty of that in her future, so the doctor was planning to eat well while she still had the chance.
"None of that here, ma'am," responded the waiter with a grin. "One Gateway Special coming up."
He whisked away, leaving Elena alone with her thoughts and complaining digestive tract. To distract from her hunger she took the opportunity to do a little people watching. She noted with interest a couple of boisterous klingons at the bar, the latest taste in ferengi "fashion," and a borg seated by herself a few tables away. Elena had to do a double take at that. A borg! She'd never seen one in person. True, this one didn't look like a zombiefied conglomeration of flesh and metal like in the holovids, but a borg was a borg and Elena wasn't about to let a chance to speak to one slip by. Without a second thought the doctor moved through the cafe and plunked herself down across the table from the borg.
"Hiya," chirped the doctor in her typical congenial manner. "Are you traveling alone too, or are you a regular here?"
Emily looked up and saw a stranger sat across from her.
"I'm not a regular here. I am awaiting for the USS Iapetus as I am transferring there to become the new Chief Science Officer. State your designation and purpose." she ordered, she spoke in a cold, unemotional tone that some may describe as Vulcan like but her expression showed curiosity.
"No kidding!" exclaimed Elena. "I'm assigned to the Iapetus too. Elena Valdez, Chief Medical Officer." She was a bit startled by the Borg's manner, but she'd had patients just as abrupt or worse. A smile came easily to the doctor's face as she offered a handshake across the cafe table.
At first Emily was confused as she was unsure what the human female wanted her to do but it didn't take her long to figure out what she needed to do. Elena started to shake her hand,
"What does this action signify?" She asked.
The doctor's eyebrows shot up at that. The org didn't know the meaning of a handshake? One of the simplest of human gestures? Fascinating. She must have either been assimilated at a very young age, or lost many of her human memories.
"It's a simple friendly gesture of greeting," responded Elena, "and a way to let another know you have no hostile intentions."
Elena continued as if she hadn't noticed her companion's lack of social graces. "Since we're going to be shipmates, do I get to know your name? Or do you go by a borg designation?"
"My designation is Emily Hamson. It's nice to meet you." She stated. She assumed that Elena wanted to begin small talk but she didn't know where or how to begin, she hadn't had a chance to perfect the technique yet.
"Nice to meet you too," Elena replied. She very much wanted to ask Emily about all her implants, their functions, and how they worked. To be honest, what Elena really wanted was to strap her new shipmate to a bio-bed and run a few dozen tests. Did she still have functional nanites? Did she have to regenerate nightly, as Elena had heard many recovered borg did?
These questions were among the many that raced through the doctor's head, but she knew it would be more than a bit impolite to ask them. Although it seemed Emily wouldn't recognize a rude comment if it walked up and tried to assimilate her, Elena figured it was better to keep the topic light until she knew the borg better.
So she asked instead, "So where were you stationed previously? Or is the Iapetus your first assignment in Star Fleet?"
"I was stationed on the USS Regan before transferring here." She replied "And you?"
"I'm fresh out of the academy, I'm afraid," said Elena. "The Iapetus is my first assignment."
"You must be nervous." Emily stated. She noticed the young doctor staring at her implants, like many people do.
"If you wish to ask a question regarding my Borg physiology or my Borg past, don't delay." She didn't really care when people asked her about the Borg as they were once her people and part of her life, she had grown to accept that but she still hated and feared the Borg.
Elena suddenly felt like a kid with her hand caught in the cookie jar. Was she that obvious?
"I am a little curious," admitted the doctor, a bit sheepishly. "Although many of my questions probably have very complex answers. Since we'll be serving on the same ship, would you consider letting me do some scans of your implants in sick bay?"
Emily nodded "If you wish." she agreed "If you want to ask a question I'll try my best to answer in simple terms."
"Well then," Elena began, "How did you get away from the collective? How long ago? And are all your implants still functional, or did they stop working after you were no longer a drone?"
"I was stationed on a borg cube and whilst traveling through a particle storm the cube was damaged and my regenerative unit was hit by a particle beam. My link to the collective was severed. I spent two weeks on the cube slowly regaining my human memories and personality and when I decided to leave I either killed or deactivated the drones on the cube and took control. I eventually found a Federation starship and they allowed me to go on board and the ship's Doctor removed most of my implants." she explained.
Elena was beginning to like her new shipmate and her frank personality. It was a refreshing change from people who would never really say what was on their mind. Not to mention her history as a borg made for interesting conversation.
"I was liberated from the borg six years ago and most of the implants in my body are still functional as they are the only things keeping me alive. My assimilation tubals are deactivated but they also always me to interface with technology."
"Do you still have to regenerate? Do any of your non-organic parts cause you any trouble now that you're not in the collective?" Elena had read a few accounts of liberated borg from the perspective of other Star Fleet physicians; it would be very interesting to see if all individuals recovered in a similar manner, and therefore could be administered the same treatment regime.
"Yes for approximately six hours a day I have to regenerate. Sometimes my implants can cause me trouble but they adapt quickly. I often can receive unwanted signals from borg technology or devices." Emily explained. It felt nice to talk about her borg past with someone for once.
Elena would have asked more, but decided to turn her attention to the food the waiter had just brought. She could recognize very little of what was on her plate, but it smelled divine.
"Thank you for indulging my curiosity," she told Emily with a smile. "My appetite is going to save you from any more questions for now! Please feel free to come by sick bay if you ever need anything."
"Thank you. But I will require weekly checkups to maintain my health and implants." she stated.
"Then it seems I'll be seeing a lot of you, Lt. Hamson. I'm glad we got to meet in more pleasant surroundings than a sickbay."
"I agree. I hope the ship is a rewarding experience for the both of us." Emily replied and tried her best to smile.