And now for what's officially got to be some of the sappiest crap I've written in my life…
"In conclusion, what happened with Seven's cortical node in the holodeck was no malfunction. It's designed to intentionally shut down when she experiences sharp emotional spikes, likely to place the drone in stasis until repairs can be made. Finding one's heart is the surest road to finding one's individuality, after all. I offered to begin a series of surgeries to reconfigure the micro-circuitry and she agreed. We're planning to start…"
Tara held her hand up, bringing the Doctor to a stop. "What are the odds of anything other than perfect success? Stunted emotions, no change, something worse?"
Grimacing, the Doctor looked back and forth between her and the captain before sighing. "Close to twenty-five percent combined for the first two, increasing to fifty-eight percent when you factor in the latter. However, she is adamant."
"I have a better idea than you poking around inside my girlfriend's head and potentially killing her just so she can say 'I love you'." Tara turned to Kathryn and snapped to attention. "Captain, requesting permission to retrieve one of the interlink nodes we recovered from the former Borg drones on Stardate 53049.2 from storage."
Kathryn looked completely and utterly confused before comprehension dawned and she shook her head. "Absolutely not, Lieutenant. We've been fighting to get Borg implants out of Seven without damaging her body irreparably for three years now. I'm not going to authorize the Doctor to start putting them into people."
Opening his mouth to add his own thoughts, the Doctor was cut off as Tara held up her hand. "I just want the possibility to be studied, Captain. If it proves medically feasible, it would allow Seven to further experience humanity through me until the Doctor can increase the odds of successfully modifying her cortical node, and also provide a tactical benefit." Kathryn raised an eyebrow and Tara gestured to the bridge. "Instead of standing there feeling useless next time we get attacked, Seven and I would be able to work in tandem to control twice as many systems and communicate faster than any two other members of the crew." And wow was she glad that she'd spent a few hundred years with the Queen of the Geeks as her lover, because that was some impressive sounding technobabble.
"Captain, you can't seriously be considering this." The Doctor looked utterly appalled at the thought… although he looked appalled whenever someone mentioned they preferred Beethoven to Mozart. "Especially with Lieutenant Maclay's special abilities, there's no saying what might happen if we did this."
Kathryn was silent and Tara gave her the best puppy dog eyes she could muster. Finally, the captain sighed. "Doctor, please begin looking into the feasibility of the lieutenant's proposal. Push back Seven's first surgery long enough to give yourself time. Lieutenant, I want you to take the next two days off and think long and hard about what you're suggesting. Dismissed."
Tara nodded and went to leave, but the Doctor wasn't willing to go quite as quietly. "Captain, please…"
"Regeneration cycle complete."
Seven's eyes snapped open and immediately widened as she took in the sight before her. Tara was waiting for her, which was normal for their relationship. Seven required less regenerative time than Tara required sleep, so she'd programmed the computer to end her cycle just long enough after Tara woke up that the blonde had time to shower, dress for the day, and make her way down to Cargo Bay Two to be waiting for her to 'awaken'.
No, Tara's presence wasn't unusual at all. The star-shaped implant on the right side of Tara's face, on the other hand, was new. So was the fact that her interlink node had been activated. Reaching out with her mind, Seven felt a sensation that had been lost to her since her link to the Collective was severed. Community. What was going on? 'Good morning, Seven.'
The voice in her head made her jump and Seven stepped down out of her alcove, still staring at Tara with wide eyes. 'I can hear you inside my head. What's going on? Your telepathy doesn't work on me.'
Tara smiled and reached forward, wrapping her arms around Seven and tugging the blonde flush against her. 'The Doctor found a way to bring us closer without messing around with your cortical node.' 'You've become flawed like I am?'
Seven reached up, running her fingers along the edge of the Borg implant that marred Tara's face. 'Why?'
Leaning in, Tara slid her arms up Seven's sides and took hold of her head, pulling her down for a kiss. 'Because whether or not you think you can feel love doesn't matter to me. You saying you love me doesn't matter to me. I can feel your love for me now, and that's what's important. And even if you're here and I'm in my quarters, we'll still be together at night.'
Seven turned her head to the side, evading Tara's attempt to kiss her. 'But…'
Tara scowled and tried again, and Seven turned her head to the other side. 'I wanted to become more human for you. To reach perfection and become an ideal mate. Instead, I've infected you with my impurities.' 'You were always perfect in my mind, Seven. The problem was that you never asked whether or not I wanted you to change. Now desist in your attempts to argue with me.'
Taking the blonde's head between both hands, Tara held it still as she moved in for a third attempt at a kiss. 'You will be kissed. Resistance is futile. Comply.'