elles_letters: (Perfect fit!YunJae)
[personal profile] elles_letters
Beta: [livejournal.com profile] ligerliger
Rating: R/NC-17 later
Summary: Captain Jung Yunho of the USS Valiant wants nothing more than to take his ship out into deep space and leave the memories of Earth behind; however, when he and his crew come across a destroyed Borg cube and a drone in need of help, he finds himself battling old demons and unexpected emotions. In the end, it’s the drone, struggling to remember what it means to be human, who teaches him about forgiveness, healing and maybe even love.
Warnings: Violence and language. I just wanted to write a story about the Borg. OTL Fic takes place in the TNG/DS9/VOY-era.

chapter one | chapter two | chapter three | side story one | chapter four | chapter five | chapter six | chapter seven | chapter eight | chapter nine


Chapter Five: A Lesson in Humanity

"Computer, locate Jaejoong!"

Unable to comply. There is no one with that name on the ship.

"It doesn't know who that is, Doc. Computer, locate One of Five."

Unable to comply. There is no one with that name on the ship.

"Computer, scan the ship for a Borg drone."

Unable to comply. Internal sensors are offline.

"What the hell?" Yoochun exclaimed. "When'd that happen?"

"Why wasn't the drone added to the ship's manifest?" Changmin asked Junsu with a glare.

The doctor avoided his gaze nervously. "He's been added to my patients log. He is still technically a prisoner so I didn't think to add him to the computer."

"Anyone who has come on board has to be listed. It's a basic security measure."

"We don't have time to argue about this, Changmin," Yunho interrupted. "We'll have to split up and scan the ship ourselves." He divided the group into small search parties and ensured an armed guard accompanied each group. He grabbed a scanner and positioned his phaser at his side.

"Be careful," he instructed, "and if you find him doing anything to interfere with the ship's systems, shoot him."

+++

Captain’s log, stardate 45101: I am disgusted to report that the recent mishaps in engineering and system outages were the result of a small band of people unhappy with my decision to allow the Borg to leave the brig. The calculated effort to draw the doctor from sickbay and limit our ability to scan for him has me questioning my judgement and my faith in my crew.

One had been pulled through the ship, aware of the curious stares that followed him. The crewman led him through a dizzying maze of corridors before shoving him into the turbolift. They rode in silence — the other man's hand still holding on tightly to One's wrist — until they reached deck five. He was dragged farther along, into the bowels of the ship, until he was shoved into a small cargo bay.

Cramped with extra supplies, it barely had enough room for the two of them, let alone the small crowd of onlooking men and women who'd been waiting. He could hear voices murmuring around him. The familiar noise of multiple voices speaking provided a small amount of comfort.

"Bastard looks more Human than I thought."

"What the fuck?! Look at its arm! It still has assimilation tubes."

"Don't let it touch you."


"Took you long enough," a handsome young officer said, approaching the man who'd dragged him down to the cargo bay.

"Shut up, Hyukjae. He was forcing the captain to stand guard for him after the doctor left. I had to wait for him to leave."

"What if they find him down here?"

"I took the sensors offline. They'll never find him."

"I thought he'd be bigger," a larger man said with a scowl. He broke from the crowd, walked forward to study One in open disgust before sucker punching him in the stomach. One collapsed to the ground, coughing and gasping.

"Hey!" One heard someone shout. It sounded like the one named Hyukjae. "We got him, we get first hits." Someone grabbed him by the collar and yanked him back to his feet.

Donghae moved and stood in front of him. He stood too closely, and One took a tentative step back. He panicked when he realized he'd been backed into a corner.

"So this is what's under all those implants," the crewman said, eyeing him up and down. He shoved him roughly until One slammed against the wall. "You're not so scary." The crewman pulled roughly at his hair in an attempt to drag him back into the center of the fray . One shoved the hand away. "The doctor did a good job at cleaning you up, huh? Unfortunately for you, he couldn't completely hide what you are."

One looked around. None of the people surrounding him looked familiar. Not surprising, considering he really only knew three or four members of Yunho's crew. The crowd pressed in closer, and One could feel the instinctual urge to run. He knew he'd never make it through the throng of hostile crew members, though. Not in his weakened state.

He was forced out of his reverie when a fist crashed into his jaw, snapping his head back so hard it nearly slammed back into the wall. A loud ringing began to echo through his head and he could feel blood ooze from his busted lip. He raised his arm to shove the man back, only to have two more crewmen jump out from the crowd and pin his arms behind him. He tried to shake them off, but a lifetime of being protected by his Borg technology left him unprepared for a fist fight.

"Fucking look at me when I'm talking to you!" the crewman shouted at him. A murmur of approval rolled through the small crowd. "Looks like you're not so bad when you're by yourself."

He grinned maniacally before elbowing One hard in the stomach. With his abdomen still sore from the earlier hit, One couldn't stop the groan of pain that escaped as he folded over in pain.

"Ha! Listen to that, Donghae!" Hyukjae piped up. "It can talk."

Mean-spirited laughter rolled through the crowd. "Make it say more!" someone shouted out.

"Okay!" Donghae laughed. He pulled One up by his hair. "Come on, Borg. I thought resistance was futile." Another punch to the stomach, then one to the face. One did what he could to dodge, but the two men holding him still overpowered him. He felt the warm trickle of blood as it oozed from his lip and nose.

Donghae slapped him roughly, the crowd cheering him on. "Say it. 'Resistance is futile.'"

One held his lips tightly together, determined not to break Yunho's rule again. The men behind him pulled his arms more tightly behind him, and he struggled against the urge to cry out in pain.

A larger man shoved his way to the front of the crowd. Cracking his knuckles, he looked at Jaejoong in disgust and snorted. "I know how to get him to talk. It looks like the doctor didn't finish removing all its implants. I say we help out."

"Good idea, Kangin," Donghae said with a malicious grin. "If you won't talk, Borgy, we'll make you scream."

The crowd pushed closer and before he could react, hands were all over him. Pulling at his hair, pinching at his skin, and even worse, a few members of the mob were pulling at the remaining implants on his face and in his arm. He could feel a stab of pain shoot up his arm as someone attempted to rip apart the implants surrounding his wrist. He refused to cry out, however. He wouldn't give in to their torture; he wouldn't give them the satisfaction of breaking him.

As more and more of the angry crew surrounded him, he realized he couldn't protect himself. Not without his implants and not cut off from the Collective. He fought back his fear and tears as he also realized he didn't even have a way of calling for help. He was alone in his own mind and no one would know what was happening to him until it was too late. He sunk to the ground, his arms still held painfully behind his back, and tried to curl himself into a ball. Help me, he screamed in his mind, but he knew no one could hear him. He was Human now — an individual — and there was no one he could depend on for help.

"What's going on here?" a commanding voice called out above the din of the mob.

He lifted his head to see Yunho standing at the cargo bay doors, a phaser at his side, and flanked by two security officers. The crowd of onlookers parted as he made his way to the corner of the bay. He looked down at One angrily before turning to confront the nearest member of his crew.

"Crewman," he said, addressing Donghae, "you want to explain this?" He looked over at the two men who had Jaejoong's arms locked still. "Let him go," he ordered firmly.

With some reluctance, they released their grip on him, and he stood to run past Yunho. He wanted out of the bay, out of the small, cramped space and as far away from the leering faces of Yunho's crew as possible. Noticing his agitated state, the captain reached out and placed an hand on his in a silent order to remain still.

"I asked you a question, crewman," Yunho repeated, once he was certain One wasn't going to run. "What's going on here?"

Donghae stood stock-still, intimidated by his imposing superior officer. His temporary bravery had left him, and now all he had was a gnawing feeling in his stomach as he realized what he'd just done to his career. Taking pity, Hyukjae spoke up.

"We saw the Borg drone escape sickbay," he said, lying quickly. "He was heading to the bridge and was going to contact the Collective if we hadn't stopped him."

"That is a lie," One replied, speaking softly. The group looked back at him, many with hatred in their eyes. "He pulled us out of sickbay after you left."

"Captain, you're not going to believe that drone over your own crew, are you?" Hyukjae snapped.

"Watch your tone, lieutenant."

"He's a murderer!" Kangin growled. At Yunho's reproachful glare, he frowned and lowered his gaze in respect. "He's a threat, Captain. To all of us. We're just making sure he doesn't try anything."

Turning back to One, Yunho grabbed his chin, careful of the blood pouring from his lip, and ran a thumb over the bruises forming along his cheek and the black eye blooming over his right eye. He looked out at the angry faces of the crew that had surrounded him. "It doesn't look like he was putting up much of a fight."

"We didn't want to take any chances," Donghae offered softly.

One met Yunho's eyes. "We are one. We are no threat."

"I know. You've told me." Yunho turned to look at the small crowd, making sure he'd noted everyone's name before dismissing them.

"Everyone here will be written up and their actions will be noted on their record. I can't afford to have a fifth of the crew locked up, but you will all be confined to your quarters until I trust you can serve this ship and its guests properly. And take this as a warning: If anyone else assaults the drone, I'll toss you off at the next space station and let you find your own way home, understood?"

No one said anything.

"Understood?" he repeated more firmly.

A few scattered aye, sir's rose from the crowd.

"Dismissed," he ordered. He watched as the security officers at the cargo bay doors escorted the group out. He knew they would inform Changmin of the lockdown and felt no need to follow them out. When he turned back to One, he could see the other man shaking slightly.

"Are you okay?"

"We have been damaged, but the doctor can repair us."

"Tell me your version of what happened."

"Shortly after you left, the man named Donghae came into sickbay. He asked if we were alone, and when he realized we were, he pulled us out of sickbay."

"You're still Borg. You could have stopped him if you wanted."

"We wanted company."

Yunho snorted humorlessly. "Well, you got it."

"We did not know he would attack us. We did not expect that sort of behavior from the members of your crew."

"Neither did I," Yunho commented bitterly. "You must have passed 20 other officers on your way down here. Why didn't you ask for help?"

"You told us not to talk to anyone."

"At least I know you're obedient." Yunho sighed and ran a hand through his hair. "Come on, I'm taking you back to sickbay." He pulled on One's sleeve and began leading him to the turbo lift. "I'm surprised they were able to hurt you as much as they did."

"We were outnumbered. We've told you, we are one. We are no threat to anyone."

"You keep saying that, and I keep having to deal with you."

"We are no threat to anyone, we are no threat to anyone," One repeated, apparently not listening. His breathing began to grow more shallow and rushed as he repeated the phrase to himself over and over again. He collapsed against the curved wall of the lift and slid to the floor.

Worried, Yunho kneeled in front of him. "Calm down," he said, trying to keep his voice as low and comforting as he could. "You're starting to hyperventilate."

"We are no threat to anyone," One repeated firmly. "We cannot protect ourselves, we cannot function as an individual."

"You'll learn. It's not going to happen all at—"

"We want our technology back."

"'Technology'?"

"The pieces you took from us."

"Your implants, you mean. You can't have them. The doctor had them destroyed."

The other man seemed to flare in anger. "Those were ours. We need them."

"We couldn't risk one of your nodes being sensed by a cube. Look, I know you're scared, but you'll have to learn how to adapt to —"

"No!" One demanded. "We cannot adapt. You must take us back!"

"We've been over this. That's not happening."

"We cannot function here. Alone, we are hurt; surrounded by others, we are hurt. We were never hurt by the Borg."

"The Borg," Yunho nearly growled. "kidnapped you as a baby and assimilated you and your family. They also would have left you alone to die on that cube. You should hate them."

"You mean you hate them. You hate us." One swung his arm out and slammed it against the wall. "Why are you helping us?"

"I've been asking myself that, too."

"Then let us go. We have failed. We don't want to be here."

"I can't leave you to be re-assimilated because then the Borg will come after all of us. I don't want you on this ship any more than you want to be here."

"Is this what will happen to us when we reach the other facility?"

"Excuse me?"

"We have not been oblivious to how you and others on this ship feel about us. We have the suspicion that if we weren't under the protection of Dr. Kim, you would have left us to die as well."

Yunho looked away, a faint flush of embarrassment at his own transparent feelings. "Your point?"

"You and your crew think you are better than us, but when it is you who are in charge, you act no better than the Collective."

"Do we destroy billions of your kind?" Yunho hissed. "Do we conquer whole worlds?"

"No, but you hurt us. We never remember being hurt or damaged or —"

"The Borg hurt us," Yunho nearly shouted. "They hurt me! So, I'd appreciate it if you'd shut up about them. Because it's all I can do to look at you and not rip you apart for what they did to me."

Shocked by his words, One gaped at Yunho. Eyeing him quickly, he searched the other for evidence of injury. "We hurt you? How?"

"Enough! We're not talking about this" Yunho stood and roughly pulled One to his feet and ushered him out of the lift. The smaller man stumbled alongside him as he struggled to keep up with Yunho's angry pace. "You're right. This was a failure. You want to treated like Borg? Fine. Back to the brig you go."

+++

Chief tactical officer’s personal log, stardate 45101: Tensions on the ship have been allowed to run unchecked for far too long. As both a friend of the Captain and his second officer, I feel it is my place to bring his lapses to his attention. I just hope that he will listen and realize the logic in my advice.

Yunho remembered the first time he saw Jihyo. He had volunteered to visit his nephew's fourth-grade class for Career Day. He'd strolled in, dressed up in his buttons and brass, and had the wind knocked right out of him by the beautiful sight sitting behind the teacher's desk.

When it was his turn to speak, he may have exaggerated a few of his more exciting missions. Doubled the number of Klingons holding him hostage at the Khitomar space station. Tripled the size of the supernova he out ran on his ship. It worked, however. Before he left, the pretty teacher had slipped him a message to call her.

They'd had dinner the next night. They transported to Japan and went to one of Yunho's favorite restaurants before beaming to France for desserts and wine. He'd asked her to marry him three months later, when she and his sister came to visit him on board his ship. Two hours, he'd realized in the months following Wolf 359. He'd been engaged only two hours before he'd lost her.

The chirping of his door chime pierced the silence of his quarters.

"Come," he summoned.

The door slid open, and he squinted as Changmin's lean form stood outlined in the entryway.

"Captain?" he called. "Why are you sitting alone in the dark?"

"Changmin," he murmured contently. "Come in. Have a drink."

He winced when Changmin switched on his overhead lights. When he opened his eyes again, the stoic face of his friend hovered over his.

"Captain? Have you been drinking?"

"I only had a taste, Min." He sat up and waited for the room to stop spinning. "It's helpful on nights like this. Try it."

"No, thank you," the Vulcan declined. "I've already meditated."

They sat in companionable silence, Yunho watching the stars as they flew by the large window in the front of the room and Changmin watching Yunho.

"Today was not a good day," Changmin said. His tone wasn't accusatory or mocking; he was simply making an observation.

"No, it wasn't," Yunho replied.

"I have recorded the names of all the officers involved and recommended the demotion of the two main instigators."

"Sounds good."

"I also suggest we have Lee Hyukjae removed as a bridge officer."

"Great," Yunho said apathetically.

"What will be done with the drone?"

Yunho took a long sip of wine before leaning back closing his eyes. "As soon as he's patched up, he's going back to the brig."

"Do you think that's wise? The doctor said that—"

"The doctor does not make the decisions on this ship," Yunho interrupted, voice stern. "I do."

"There's no logical reason to lock him up. He has followed all of our orders; it was not his fault he was dragged out of sickbay."

"No logical reason," Yunho repeated. "Except that's where I want him."

"May I ask why?"

"Protection."

Changmin arched a dark eyebrow in question. "Whose protection?"

"My crew ... and his, I suppose. I can't have people beating up prisoners, not matter who they are. If he'd been in the brig where he belongs, none of this would have happened."

Changmin settled on the couch next to Yunho. "May I make an observation, Captain?"

"I've never been able to stop you from making one before."

"You're treating the drone unfairly. You're letting your personal feelings cloud your judgement, and in doing so, you'll end up endangering us all."

This hit Yunho like a punch to the chest. "Explain."

"You lost family at the Battle of Wolf 359."

"Yes," Yunho said tightly.

Changmin sighed before looking Yunho in the eye. Yunho would have accused the other of giving him a pitying look if he'd thought the Vulcan was capable of it.

“Captain, I have known you for a long time and have come to value you as a friend. Because of your scientific background, I believe you are more rational than most Humans. However, you are allowing your pain surrounding the Borg to impair you and your judgement. You don't want to deal with it, so you ignore the drone and let others deal with him."

"I have been dealing with it just fine."

Changmin cocked his head. "The doctor has been making the majority of the decisions on what to do with the drone. All you've done is give permission."

"He knows best."

"No. He knows how to treat it medically. As today has shown, his expertise does not encompass prudent security measures."

Yunho sat up, slamming his empty glass on the coffee table. "Okay, Mr. Tactical Chief, what do you want me to do with it? Adopt it?"

"You should assign him a job."

"A job?" Yunho scoffed. "After what happened today, you want to give that thing more freedoms?"

“He has been on board the Valiant and away from the Collective for nearly a month now, and we have 15 more until we drop him off at Ceti Alpha VIII. We cannot expect the doctor to keep watch over him that entire time.”

“Hence, why we have a brig,” Yunho shot back. “This ship is not here for his entertainment. We have protocols we follow here. Everyone on board this vessel has worked hard to earn their commission. They’ve had to study how Starfleet works, how to command.”

“He does not need to be given rank or command over anyone. Simply a job.”

“That’s harder than you think. We’re busy as it is and we have no one on hand to teach him the ship’s systems, Starfleet regulations —"

“As a former part of the Collective, he would have the assimilated knowledge of thousands of Starfleet officers.”

Yunho’s jaw clenched. To hear how One gained his knowledge of Starfleet spoken about so casually nearly had him storming from the room; but, he was used to Changmin's typical lack of tact and knew that he wasn't speaking out of callousness. What motivated his behavior was still a mystery to Yunho, however.

"I understand the doctor," he began. "He has a duty. But why are you so invested in helping this thing?"

Changmin shook his head. "It has nothing to do with the drone. Incorporating One into the crew is the most logical course of action."

"He attacked you, attacked me, attacked the doctor, and he nearly got pulled apart by 15 members of the crew."

"Ignorance has resulted in both the drone and the crew acting out in extremely irrational ways. I can think of no better way to nip this hostile behavior in the bud than to have the crew interact with him."

"That'd be like sending him to the wolves."

"No one will harm him. Not if he's working under the captain's protection."

Yunho actually laughed at that. "Protection? That's not happening. When I saved him in the cargo bay, he said I treated him worse than the Collective."

"The drone has spent the majority of his life with the Borg. He still values them on on some level and there's only one way you can make him realize the true extent of what he was put through."

"How's that?"

"Show it to him. He still doesn't know what it means to be Human, to be an individual. You can help him."

"That thing is nowhere near Human, Min."

Changmin cocked his head in contemplation. "He was fearful of the aggressive behavior demonstrated by the crew and lashed out at you when you tried to help him. Two illogical emotional responses. He sounds very Human to me."

Yunho sighed and flopped back on the couch. It was pointless trying to argue with Changmin. Or any Vulcan, really. Raised since childhood on the tenants of logic and rationality, they could not be swayed with arguments based on emotions. Even emotions that ran as deep as fear, love, and heartbreak. Lying back on the couch, he turned to eye his friend curiously. A question burned on the tip of his tongue, and he knew Changmin was in the position to answer, thanks to the work of his wife.

"How many Vulcans have been assimilated by the Borg?" he asked after a moment.

Changmin pondered this. "Our government's most conservative estimate is 100,000."

"100,000 people lost because of his kind and you want me to help it?"

Changmin rolled his eyes. Yunho recognized it as something he did often when people tried to take up the futile task of debating him. "100,000 Vulcans and nearly double that amount of Humans lost to the Borg, yet it's a safe assumption to say that you only care about two of them."

Yunho scowled at him, but Changmin didn't offer any sign of appeasement. "What's your point?" he muttered.

"Why do you value their lives more than those thousands of others? Why do you value them over Jaejoong's? He was a child when he was assimilated. It's not like he willingly joined them in their assault. He lost 20 years of his own life and his entire family. He's suffered as much, if not more, from the Borg than you."

"Would you say that if Seohyun had been assimilated?" he spat.

"Yes," Changmin said, unfazed. "Because torturing this drone wouldn't bring her back. Hurting him won't stop the Collective. But, if we listen to him, talk to him, we can learn what we need to do in order to prevent more lives from being lost. It has nothing to do with betraying the memory of anyone. It is simply logic."

Tears of frustration pricked at the corners of Yunho's eyes. Changmin was right, of course, and that realization hurt much more than it should have. "You make it sound so easy."

Changmin's eyes softened, and the faintest ghost of a smile pulled at his lips. "Logic frees us, Captain."

"Well, I'm still bound by emotion, so, what should I do?"

"I guess that depends what you want more: Peace for yourself or suffering for the Borg. I don't think it's possible for you to have both." At that, Changmin rose and stretched his long limbs. "Good night, Captain," he said simply before turning to leave Yunho alone with his thoughts.

+++

The next morning, Yunho went to sickbay to treat his hangover and to speak to his stubborn prisoner. "Doctor, where's the drone?"

Junsu scowled. "Jaejoong is resting and I don't think he wants to be bothered."

"Wake him."

"Captain, he's still shaken after what happened with the crew. He doesn't —"

Yunho shot Junsu a stern glare. "Wake him, Doctor. That's an order."

Junsu's shoulders slumped in defeat. "Aye, sir," he sighed before leaving to retrieve the former Borg. Only a few moments later, One walked in slowly, eyes glued to a PADD. As far as Yunho could tell, Junsu had already healed all his injuries, but the Borg still moved slowly around the bay, the air of an injured animal hanging around him.

"Hello, Captain," he greeted solemnly, eyes never leaving the PADD he held in his hands. "The doctor said you wish to speak with us."

"How are you feeling?"

One spared him a quick glance before shrugging. "The doctor has repaired us. We are fine."

"Are you sure? You seem different today. From what I've heard, you even let the doctor leave you in sickbay by yourself."

"We have begun to see the appeal of being alone," One said quietly. "We are not hurt when we're alone." He fumbled with the PADD a few seconds longer, before apparently steeling his courage and raising his gaze. "Nevertheless, Captain, we ask that you reconsider sending us back to the brig."

Yunho ignored the comment. "What have you been working on?" he asked, tilting his head to look at the screen of the PADD.

The other man frowned, apparently annoyed at having his request ignored, but he didn't comment on it. "We've been learning more about the colony we lived in with our parents."

"Find anything interesting?"

He cocked his head. "It was a research facility with a crew based out of East and Southeast Asia," he recited mechanically. "A complement of nearly 500 geologists, meteorologists, xenobiologists, medical doctors, and other scientists." He paused suddenly, and Yunho watched as a strange emotion seemed to cloud his face before he continued.

"According to the logs we've read, our mother was a chemist and our father was a physician." One's voice grew soft. "We had sisters, too. We weren't alone."

Yunho felt the urge to say something comforting. "I'm sure they're —"

"They were assimilated," the drone interrupted. "According to Federation reports, there were no survivors. They are most likely still alive, but with the Collective."

Yunho hesitated. "I'm sorry to hear that." One flipped through more screens.

"The station was poorly armed and not well defended."

"It was not the habit of Starfleet to treat small research stations the same way we do battleships," Yunho bristled.

"Considering the station's proximity to Borg space, that was ill-­advised."

"Well, maybe, the Borg shouldn't feel entitled to assimilate every species and society they—" Yunho stopped himself and waited until he'd regained his control of his emotions before speaking again. "It seems we just keep having the same conversations over and over," he offered with a grin.

"Yesterday's conversation was new. Different." One set the PADD down and turned to face Yunho fully. "Captain, after your crew ..." One squirmed visibly, apparently still unable to deal with his attack. "After ... just after, when you said we hurt you ..."

"What about it?"

"How?"

"The Borg took my family. You took my future."

"Does this still cause you pain?"

"Yes." Yunho's voice cracked.

"Do you ... hate us because of this?"

"Yes."

"Have we hurt you?"

"I just told you."

"No," One shook his head emphatically. "No, have we" — he repeated, jabbing a finger to his chest — "hurt you?"

"You punched me. Remember?"

"Does it still cause you pain?"

Yunho quirked his lips into a small smile. "Not as much."

"We did not punch your crew — we have not hurt your crew — but they still attacked us."

Yunho grew serious again. "They were wrong for what they did, but I can understand their anger."

"We did nothing to them."

"The Borg did. And as you said, you are Borg."

One frowned deeper. "We," he began, stressing the word again, "did nothing to them."

"That's surprisingly individual of you. I hope you remember they are not representative of all of Humanity. And that their cruelty in no way compares to the Borg's," he finished lowly.

One flushed. "Captain, we recognize not all Humans are like those who hurt us.”

"You said I was worse than the Collective yesterday. That seems pretty harsh. Have I hurt you?" Yunho asked.

"What?"

"Have I done anything to hurt you?"

One considered this. "No," he answered eventually. "No, you have helped us."

Moving to stand closer to One, Yunho held out his hand. "Let's start over," he offered. "Truce?"

One eyed his hand warily before shaking it. "Truce?"

"We'll give each other a second chance. I'll forget what happened yesterday between you and the crew."

Hope lit One's face. "You'll let us stay here? We won't be alone?"

"No. I haven't changed my mind about you staying in sickbay."

"Captain, we—"

"Here," Yunho let go of One's cool hand and held out a small PADD. He watched and waited as One clicked through the screens.

"We do not understand," he replied when he finally finished reading all the information.

"I am reclassifying you and have added you to the ship's main manifest." He pulled a comm badge out of his pocket and held it up for One to see. "May I?"

One stared at him in confusion, not sure what Yunho was requesting. He nearly yelped in shock when the other man approached him to pin the badge to his tunic. When he stepped away, One stared down at the shiny Starfleet badge pinned to his chest that matched Yunho's own. He tapped at it, copying what he'd seen other officers do, and heard the quiet chirp of the open comm channel.

"You will wear this at all times when you're on-duty."

"On-duty?"

"I've assigned you a job. You'll serve as the mission's archivist, organizing and maintaining all the data we gather. With your knowledge and experiences, this should be no challenge for you."

"We do not think this is wise, Captain. We do not wish to encounter more of your crew."

"Anyone who bothers you will have to answer to me, as you will report directly to me. Understood?"

"No brig?"

"No brig, no sickbay. An alcove and quarters has been prepared for you near engineering."

Reaching out to finger his new badge, One seemed to smile at himself before looking up to nod at Yunho in agreement.

"There's a catch to all this, One. I don't allow Borg on my ship and I certainly wouldn't allow one to be a part of my crew. If this is going to work, you have to be Human. Understood?"

One's eyes widened in nervousness. "Human? Captain, we don't know how to be Human."

"I'm ordering you to try." He raised his hand to stop One from arguing. "I understand you won't know everything, but I need you to try and understand why we disagree with Borg philosophy so much. You can do it."

When One didn’t reply, Yunho took that as a cue to leave. He nodded before turning and heading for the doorway. “You’ll report for duty tomorrow at 0800 hours. Good night, One.”

“Jaejoong,” he heard the other man mumble behind him.

"Hmm?"

"Jaejoong, captain. Our name is Jaejoong."

“Jaejoong,” Yunho repeated. “Have a good evening.”

“Wait, sir,” One grabbed Yunho by the arm, preventing him from leaving, before quickly dropping his hand. “Why? Why are you giving us this chance?”

"A friend talked some sense into me," Yunho replied. He reached out to straighten One's comm badge. "Remember yesterday when you asked me what my goal was?”

“Yes. You said you didn't have one.”

“I lied. I do have one. It’s to forget. I don’t want to have to think about Borg or what they’ve done to me. Right now, I just want to keep this ship and this crew together. Can you help me do that?"

For the first time since coming on board, One felt hopeful for his own future. He felt useful. He had a job now, a purpose and a goal to assist the ship's Captain with. The overwhelming sense of loss and the disorienting confusion that had plagued him since his connection with the Collective was severed seemed to lessen, if only tiny amount.

Grateful for the relief and excited about the chance to prove himself, he bowed eagerly— copying behavior he'd seen others on board do — before straightening. “Yes, we can do that.”

Surprised, Yunho bowed back. "Good night, Jaejoong."

"Good night, Captain."












A/N: Get excited, guys. The cute YunJae is finally coming. About time, right? You should see the Google Doc I have for this story. It's so big it's crashed by browser 50 times.

Time for another clip, because, yay clips! Here's a scene from the movie First Contact, which is a great movie to see if you're interested in getting into Trek. It's got Capt. Picard, the Borg and time travel! (Basically, the Borg travel back in time to try and assimilate us in the year 2063 while we're weak and not expecting it.) \o/ This clip shows the Borg, how they adapt to weapons fire, and how they assimilate people and technology.



Capt. Picard (the bald guy) was the man who led the Borg in the Battle of Wolf 359. I mention it a lot because it was such a big deal for the characters. He dealt with the trauma in some of the episodes of the show, but apparently, they decided he needed to deal with it in a movie too.

(I get more excited about sharing the clips than I do the actual chapters. =.= Thank you for humoring me.)
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