Save the others
She engaged in an electronic page-turning marathon, scrolling through the database on her ship with the fervor of a caffeinated librarian on a mission. Her eyes darted back and forth, attempting to decode the enigmatic dance of future events. It was like reading a novel, only with more time travel and less predictable plot twists. Someone currently schmoozing with Beli was navigating these very adventures, but the details were as scarce as a Klingon’s collection of self-help books. Mother Superior Jessica had curated the information like a futuristic DJ, handpicking only the grooviest bits for the ultimate mixtape of destiny.
“Captain told me about the dangers you’re facing,” Seven said as she leaned over Alathea to glance at her screens.
Alathea nonchalantly shrugged. “I gave my word to the captain to keep everyone safe.”
“I see. I would do the same.”
“I know. It’s not surprising; we both come from such different societies, yet we have so many similarities.” Alathea grinned. “Maybe our species secretly attended the same cosmic mixer and ended up with comparable traits in the interstellar party favor bag.”
Seven nodded. “Yes. We are both considered disposable tools in our previous societies. Just parts of the whole.”
Alathea agreed. “Yes, just parts of the bigger picture.”
Curiosity sparked in Seven’s cybernetic eye. “Is there anything in the database that can indicate how you will die?”
“Wormhole collapse, ship trapped in it. The ship gets out but with loads of damage. I’m worried about Voyager’s destiny.”
“Why?” Seven inquired.
“The database says that Beli will send troops to destroy Voyager before he enters the wormhole. The historian is certain that Beli achieved success.
“But there is no confirmation.”
“There’s no mention at all after that about what happened to Voyager. And sadly, I would expect that. Voyager is not important.”
“Or they had a defeat and didn’t wish you to know.”
Alathea stared at Seven. The last thing she was expecting was a Borg capable of contemplating plots within plots.
Seven continued, “You said yourself that Bene Gesserit manipulates. How can you be sure that what is written in that database is true, and not another tactic in their manipulation?”
“I cannot be sure.”
“Of course, you cannot. We cannot be sure if they even spoke the truth,” Seven concluded, straightening up.
“They say I will play a crucial role in the birth of the first emperor,” Alathea shared.
“Maybe that’s just a hook to lure you in. In your past society, that would be considered a great honor.”
Alathea sighed, acknowledging the truth. Yes, that was my past society. “You’re right. It would be considered a great honor. But right now, I don’t want to have anything to do with it.”
“I understand that. That’s why I wished to help other people in Unimatrix Zero.”
“Save the others,” Alathea corrected. “Sure. But I would rather concentrate on saving you guys and preventing Terra from being ruled by machines.”
“Tell me, what do you remember about Terra?” Seven inquired.
“There was a ruling AI on Earth, using humans as data storage machines. It would breed humans, and once a female delivered two or three babies, she would be turned into a data storage machine. Males were transformed into data storage machines earlier as soon after they impregnated two females. The machines built enormous towers, with people plugged into them. Data storage shouldn’t move. The problem was the data storage was tumors. They grew and overtook the body. So once in data storage, humans didn’t live long, around a decade. But that didn’t matter because a fresh human was waiting to get in line. Babies were plugged into virtual reality as soon as they were born, and people thought they lived in the normal world, but it was something worse than your holodeck here.”
“Borg was experimenting with organic data storage. DNA can contain loads of data,” Seven said.
“Well, someone on Earth went full-blown mad scientist on that. Or will decide, in the future,” Alathea remarked.
“Guess what? The Federation is already dabbling in something similar. This ship has it,” Seven said.
“People plugged in?”
“Nope, nothing that sinister. Just good old biomimetic gels. Bags full of organic goo that help the ship process data and function. They’re like the ship’s own little organic helpers, spread all over the place.”
“What do you mean, gels?”
“A bag full of goo, organic goo. Single-cell organisms. Just your typical ship accessories. But, you know, Federation laws draw the line at introducing tumors into sentient beings for the sake of data storage.” Seven clarified.
Alathea blinked. “Then something will happen to remove those laws.”
“It happened with humans, loads of times. In history class, I was taught that monarchy is the most stable form of government. The form of government the Federation has now, democracy, is extremely unstable and easy to topple over. All you need is a manipulation of the masses, convincing them that morality is lost because society is inclusive and giving rights to the people their religion says are evil, and that’s it. That gets the ball rolling, allows for the emergence of corruption, things get progressively worse for the population, the super-rich people emerge, and in a generation or two, the rich people form an aristocracy, and you get a monarchy. It happens whenever humans make a democratic society,” Alathea explained, blending a history lesson with a dash of cynicism.
“Federation does not consist only of humans. Vulcans had democracy for thousands of years.”
“But they live longer than humans, too. Maybe with them, it’s just a matter of the generation change.”
Seven frowned. “I don’t know. By the way, this is an irrelevant discussion.”
“No, it is not. Something will happen that will remove Federation laws. And Voyager has to arrive on Earth with us, and we stop that from happening.”
“So you don’t believe you will die, as this database said?”
“As you said, Bene Gesserit is manipulative. Jessica especially. These might be pure lies.” Alathea concluded, injecting a sense of skepticism into the mix.