By Rob Morris
This is the MASH episode, "Period Of Adjustment" taken and set to Voyager. "POA" is the episode after Radar's departure, in which the little guy's absence sets off problems.
Seven Of Nine kept observing the eyes of Belanna Torres upon her. She knew Torres did not trust her, but wondered at the rest of Engineering, also observing her. Once, this would not have concerned her. Now, it was an impediment to efficiency, and this was not allowable.
"Lieutenant Mulcahy, why do you keep looking over to my station? I find most human behavior odd, but this particularly so. Again, I ask your reason. A lack of trust, since I was once part of the Collective?"
"Well, there is that, Seven. But the truth is, I keep looking for Kes."
"That is highly illogical. Kes suffered physical discorporation and either is no more or accessed a higher dimensional plane. In any event, she is not here."
"So I've noticed. Kes would always stop by engineering and chat with us. It always made us feel better."
"I see. Lieutenant, I am not here to make you feel better."
"Again, Seven, a fact of which we are all quite aware. I'm just saying, we all liked Kes."
A sentiment that Seven Of Nine had heard echoed in every corner of the ship. For her life, she could not figure out why this random chatter disconcerted her.
The Doctor looked askance at a PAAD signed by his new nursing assistant, Tom Paris. He was livid.
"Is this or is this not your scribble? Mister Paris, when it comes to Strain 35, one should try to remember that Corilli is the suppressant, and PriCorrilli the overly strong curative. Translation : Your misprogramming almost compromised the immune systems of 25% of this crew!"
Janeway walked into Sickbay, the look on her face telling Tom she was there for the same reason the Doctor was raking him over the coals for.
"Aah, Captain. I am simply so glad that you came. Mister Paris's appointment as my nursing assistant was a masterstroke, showing me thoroughly and truly what a little Gem Kes was!"
"Tom, this screwup is almost beyond comprehension. What do you have to say for yourself?"
Tom drew in whatever he was feeling, and spoke almost in a monotone.
"I will endeavor to do better. When my bridge-shift ends, I will rest, then return here for more study. Captain, may I go?"
It was absolutely unnerving to hear Tom speak that way, especially now. Usually, the decks shook with his verbal self-defense.
The Doctor actually clapped as he left, but Paris did not react.
"Well, since he hasn't been taking well to Nursing, it would seem our Mister Paris has taken up the art of Tuvok imitation."
"And he's not the only one."
"Seven, have you finished the analyses yet?"
"Yes, Lieutenant Torres. Are you unwell?"
"I am quite fine right now. Here is the next batch."
Torres relations with Seven had sometimes been marked by histrionics. Seven now learned that even an ex-Borg can be thrown off by too much calm. But all of engineering was thrown of by it, as well.
"So anyway, Belanna, what do you think of how Kes just whooshed us forward like that? The Borg and The Kazon, both history for us. All the hours we-no you- spent banging on this warp core til it moved with every last erg we can muster, and one afterthought burst of power takes 10 years off of our journey. God, I remember that holodeck program you made, with Captain Scott as a Maquis, turning his brilliant mind loose like that, and all those tricks did was net us a few more percentage points in battle power."
Belanna no longer heard her engineering staff, so all their talk of Kes's "push" to Voyager blended into a montage. The half-Klingon was still just performing her duties. After a week, a hyper-calm Tom Paris and Belanna Torres was too much for Voyager to take. After a series of tests that verified their ID, they were called into Janeway's Ready Room.
'When two of the most chatty, engaging members of my crew withdraw and become stick-figure caricatures of themselves, I think I have a right to know why. So lets hear your explanations, and they better be good. This is causing a disruption to the crew. They're starting to say the things they usually leave to you two. Mister Paris?"
"Permission to speak freely, Captain?"
"Don't push me, Tom."
"Captain, with all due respect, I am not trying to push anyone or anything. First off, the 'temporary' order that gave me Kes's duties has never been amended. Second, I am unsurprisingly not the best student around. But here's a possible surprise-the Doctor is not the best teacher. He assumes that everyone has his encyclopedic knowledge of medicine, and he is fond of reminding me that I am not Kes. Again, not a big surprise. But being berated constantly does nothing for me or my efficiency. Belanna?"
"I liked Kes. Her final gift to us is a real gift of love. I appreciate that. But my staff and all the ship chattering on about how this one thing gave us more than my engines-and I- ever could does nothing for me or my efficiency. Tom?"
"In olden times, we might have gotten drunk and started brawling, but I decided to forego that route just this once. Lo, and Behold, It worked. We gained more by our silence than by our grousing. Captain, we both need a break from this post-Kes period. Badly."
"Tom and I figured that we'd get more attention with ice than heat. We may disrupted this crew, Captain, but they disrupted us first. And no, this is not about Seven Of Nine. She's here, and I quite grudgingly accept that. I just wish everyone else would. I mean, she's on a higher plane, right? Free of our concerns? Well, we are not so free, here in our little corner of the Galaxy. It almost makes me resent a very dear friend."
Janeway stared at the request files on her private monitor. She put her hand underneath her chin, and leaned on it.
"Here they are--requests for reassignment, and for Command reinforcement of Chief Engineer's policy. You filed properly, but your Captain didn't listen. That's becoming a habit, I'm sad to say. Meet me, the both of you, in the Mess, in 10 minutes."
At the Captain's order, most of the crew was there, and waiting for her as she began to speak.
"We suffered a loss, recently. You all know that. But what some of you don't realize is that life goes on. Doctor, you may not realize it, but you were very lucky to have Kes as a student."
"Extremely lucky, Captain. Comparing Mister Paris to her..."
"Is something you will never do again, Doctor. You are a difficult teacher, and your methods are strident. You had a near angel for a student, and now you don't. Suggestion : Get Over It. The broken-in model is gone. Time to start over."
"Well, of course, I...have to get back to Sickbay."
"As to the rest of you, I'd like you to meet Seven Of Nine. Oh, I know you think you know her, but to many, she is just the Borg I foolishly brought on board. Wrong. The Occampan slot in our registry is now officially closed, replaced by a former Borg. Kes has no equal in our hearts, but in many respects, Seven has taken her place on our roster. We hope to help and learn from her just as we did for and from Kes. Lastly, instead of concentrating on the last thing our friend did for us, I would remind you of the following fact : 60 to 65 years still lay in front of us. Miracles are fine, but by and large it will be Chief Engineer Torres that sees us home. She will need all your help and support-and sometimes your silence-to do so. I trust I have made myself clear."
Seven gently nodded her head, perhaps appreciating certain human rituals for the first time.
"Very clear, Captain."
Tom talked with Belanna as the group began to break up.
"You in the mood for a drink?"
"Maybe. What kind of drink?"
"Weeelll, on the holodeck, I discovered this program concerning a frontline medical unit during Earth's Korean War. Now, these doctors knew how to live, and they built this homemade distillery that made a moonshine so fierce that Kahless himself might respect it. It was called a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital. What do you say?"
"Try anything and I'll belt you."
"Oh, so you've used the program before."
In the doors walked Chakotay, having returned from a mineral survey of a nearby asteroid belt.
"Captain? Did I miss anything while I was gone?"
"Nothing of note, Commander. Just the end of a period of adjustment."
"Borg do not believe in adjustment. Other races would adjust to us."
Chakotay had not originally wanted Seven on board, and was always up to challenging her Borg beliefs as she would spout them.
"Well, Seven, then what do Borg believe in, as a corollary to this rather intriguing situation?"
Again, a gentle knitting of the frow on her part.
"On occasion, we would find that a new situation would require more than mere assimilation and conquering. When that rare event occurred, we found ourselves in need of recalibration."