Seven Jars

"Most unusual."

"What is it, Seven?" Janeway's voice came over the comm badge, sounding intrigued but not alarmed.

"There is a breatheable atmosphere inside one room of the storage facility." Seven directed her handlight into each section of the room, and saw little of interest. There were four crates of the type they'd retrieved from the other rooms via transporter -- whatever they had once held had long since disintegrated. They had sent the dust to the labs for analysis while Seven of Nine's away team continued their exploration. Seven had directed the three crewmembers with her to investigate the larger storage facility to the north, while she had worked her way into this room, set back from the rest.

As she made her initial report to the Captain, she spotted a large object against the far wall. She aimed her tricorder at it as she moved towards it. After glancing at the readings, she called the ship again. "I have found something."

"What?"

"It is an opaque, carbon-based cryogenic chamber. There is a lifeform inside."

Janeway sounded surprised when she asked, "Is it alive?"

Seven didn't have to consult the readings again to confirm, strange though they were. "I believe it is still functional, Captain."

"Can you tell if it can be revived?"

"Not at this time, Captain. Further study is required." Seven looked closely at the large object. It was a dark brown, eight inches taller than she, and the creature encased in the object presented a reversed-relief of itself in the front. It was an alien of a type the Borg had never encountered. The most curious anomaly was the age of the object -- and thus of the creature inside. The tricorder could not be accurate -- a failing she would have to take up with the Chief Engineer -- but it seemed to be asserting that the chamber and its resident were very, very old.

When she asked it 'how old' it merely repeated the precise mathematical equivalent of 'very, very'.

She put it aside and looked at the small array of controls on one side of the chamber. There were four lights, three shining green and one unlit. The writing above each light was unfamiliar to her, and she was no certain she could decipher them with as little as there was to compare each symbol to.

However, the lights were quite clearly encased in buttons. She pressed one of the green ones. It flashed to red. She pressed the next one, and it too turned to red. The third did the same, and when she pressed the unlit one, it flashed red once before dimming.

Seven watched as the lights remained red, wondering if the control panel would give her any further clues as to its purpose. Suddenly she heard a noise. It was a low thrumming, coming in pulses. Before she could do anything about it, the chamber began to dissolve.

The figure encased inside the carbon substance began to glow red. Seven quickly considered her two options -- informing the Voyager now, or waiting until the creature was freed. She realised instantly that there was nothing the Voyager could do with the information until the creature was free, so she simply waited.

It fell free, tipping forward and landing heavily on the floor.


Three hours later, the Doctor declared it was fully recovered. Seven had her doubts, judging from the creature's behaviour, but had to admit that the Doctor was an extremely capable program and was not overly given to error.

She did not understand why the captain had assigned her the task of assimilating the creature into Voyager's crew. She had informed Janeway that Neelix was better qualified for such tasks, but the captain had simply smiled and told her to take care of their guest.

She faced it, now, wondering what she was expected to do.

The creature blinked at her, and spoke. "Meesa name Jar Jar Binks! Meesa glad yousa free'n me from da carbonite!"

Seven actually had to translate the words she heard several times, before arriving at the most probable meaning of the creature's statement. "I am Seven of Nine. You are on the starship, Voyager."

It looked around, displaying an extraordinary flexibility of its upper spine. "Meesa liken you starship! Meesa liken Seven of Nine!" It jumped forward and grabbed her hand.

Seven knew about, but did not generally partake in, this particular greeting ritual. She tried to extract her hand from the large amphibian's hands. Then, she tried to reject the unexpected sensations that were occurring.

It was not logical that she should want to grab its hand, again. There was no explanation for the thoughts now occurring to her -- thoughts of taking him to the holodeck for a private program, and experiencing more of that skin.

A curious biochemical reaction, she deduced. One which she should ask the Doctor about.

Later.

"Where wesa going?"

"I am required to show you the ship." Seven held its hand, dragging it after her as she left sickbay. The creature followed her awkwardly, tripping and bouncing off the doorjamb as they passed. Seven did not slow down.


"Meesa liken your-- hey!" It had tried to stop and look around, again. Seven had merely resorted to force -- pulling sharply on its hand, dragging it after her. She additionally ignored its attempts to greet the crew, calling out "Meesa name Jar Jar Binks!" and trying to ask questions. Finally, they reached the unoccupied holodeck and Seven shoved him inside.

She was unfamiliar with most of the programs she deemed would be suitable, so she merely requested a ten-degree rise in ambient temperature, a floor covering of silt, and a humidity of 40%. Jar Jar seemed impressed by the changes, and Seven believed they were also more comfortable for it, as the bands of flesh extruding from its skull unrolled and Jar Jar himself appeared more relaxed.

She placed her hands on its shoulders, and said, "Strip."

Jar Jar blinked. "Meesa what?"

Seven realised it would be more efficient to dispense with repeating her instruction. Instead, she learned very quickly that 'it' was a 'he'. And 'he' had the most intriguing skin....


"Seven, explain your behaviour." Captain Janeway looked annoyed.

"I cannot, Captain. I believe the Doctor is correct; I was influenced by a biochemical reaction caused by my initial contact with Jar Jar's hand."

Janeway continued glaring at her for a moment, then sighed. "Well, there's nothing we can do, I suppose. It's dead now, and there is nothing more we can learn. The Doctor is going to perform an autopsy; we might get something from that." Janeway looked up at her, curiously. "Tell me, Seven, did you learn anything useful, or interesting, before he had the heart attack?"

Seven considered the myriad of things she had learned. Which of it was important or useful? Little, she realised. But she could not say 'nothing', or the captain would merely ask again. "He had a very efficient tongue."