Heart, heart, heart...
just one more heart.
You might as well be showing us
your hand, Neelix.
This is a game of strategy, deception.
Never let the opponents know your hand.
l see your ten and raise you 20.
l'm thinking...
20... another 20.
lf l didn't know any better,
l'd say we're being hustled.
Oh, l'm not buying
the innocent Talaxian routine.
l don't know what you're talking about.
l've-l've... This is the first time l've played...
What is it called?
Look, why don't we make things
a little more interesting?
Forget the chips.
Let's bet on tomorrow's work detail, all right?
Whoever wins this hand gets the morning off.
l'm in.
l'm in.
Sounds good to me.
What have you got?
Two pair.
Does... does that beat a flush?
l knew you were bluffing.
That beats me. Tom?
Battle stations!
And l had a full house.
l can't shake 'em.
Return fire.
Why didn't our sensors detect them?
lt looks like they used a dispersal field
to mask their approach.
Warp drive?
No luck. Too much damage to the plasma injectors.
Harry, get down there and see what you can do.
Shields down 18 percent.
Harry, status?
l need time to clear the injectors.
Sir, the cube's power output is fluctuating.
Then we're still in the game.
Bring us about.
Target their propulsion matrix.
We've lost phasers.
Arm photon torpedoes. Fire when ready.
We knocked out their main propulsion system.
Now get us out of here, Tom.
They've got us in a tractor beam.
we need warp power now.
We lost two more relays. l can't!
Engines are off-line.
We are the Borg.
Your biological and technological distinctiveness
will be added to our own.
Resistance is futile.
lt's all right.
You were unconscious,
but l don't think you're injured.
l was dreaming you'd been assimilated.
Your subconscious was jumping the gun,
but not by much.
From the look of this room,
l'd say we're in an assimilation chamber.
Where's Harry?
He's not here.
Well, we've got to find him.
We need to get our bearings first,
figure out what's going on.
We're in a Borg cube, and Harry's missing.
That's what's going on.
Nobody we know.
Some kind of botched assimilation?
From the looks of it.
What are they waiting for?
They've got three more potential drones here!
Stay calm.
Calm? We're in the chamber of horrors,
or haven't you noticed?
We're not drones yet.
lf we keep our heads, maybe we can find a way out.
There's a force field around this room.
Let's try to disable it.
Their ion trail ends directly ahead.
l'm detecting another vessel, bearing 30 mark 1 12.
lt's a Borg cube.
Red Alert.
Alter course to intercept.
Adjust shields to rotating frequencies.
Have they detected us?
Unclear. The vessel's holding position.
As soon as we're within sensor range,
start scanning for the away team.
On screen.
Their propulsion system is off-line.
The damage is not that severe.
The drones should've repaired it by now.
Lucky for us they didn't,
or we'd never have caught up with them.
Any sign of our people?
Not yet.
They are targeting our warp core.
Shields are holding.
Return fire. Aim for their weapons array.
Now they're going after our impulse engines.
That one was meant for our sensors.
They can't seem to make up
their minds.
Their attack strategy is erratic, inefficient.
And finished.
We've disabled their weapons.
That was too easy.
Maybe they're in worse shape than we thought.
l'm picking up non-Borg life signs.
One of them is definitely Talaxian.
lt looks as though they haven't been assimilated yet.
Try to get a transporter lock.
Their shields are interfering.
Target their shield generator and fire.
Captain, l believe l can explain the unusual behavior
of these Borg.
There should be thousands of drones manning the vessel,
but l'm picking up only five signatures.
We are the Borg. You will be assimilated.
Resistance is futile.
lt doesn't sound like they've lost their confidence.
Their shield generators are too deep inside the vessel.
Our weapons can't reach them.
Open a channel.
Borg vessel, this is the Starship Voyager.
You're holding our crewmen.
We're willing to cease firing if you return them.
Negotiation is irrelevant.
You will be assimilated.
Not today and not by you.
Agree, or l'll resume firing.
They are scanning us.
We will return your crew members
in exchange for specific technology.
Talk about unusual behavior. The Borg negotiating?
What technology?
Your navigational deflector.
Disengage it from your secondary hull.
Mute audio.
lf we surrender our deflector, we'll be dead in space.
We won't be able to go to warp.
What would they want with it?
When their communications array was damaged,
it severed their link to the collective.
They intend to adapt our deflector to regain it.
And call for reinforcements? That's the last thing we need.
We'll have to stall them
until we can find another way out of this.
l'll consider the exchange, but first l want to be certain
my crewmen are unharmed and alive.
You have scanned our vessel.
Our scans were inconclusive.
We want to see them for ourselves.
You may transport one individual.
Proceed to Grid 63, Subjunction 01.
State your designation.
Seven of Nine.
These drones have not fully matured.
Where are the others?
There are no others.
The drones aboard this vessel were...
We are the Borg.
Seven of Nine--
a Borg designation.
She's like us.
Not like us.
She's damaged.
Her infrastructure has been removed.
We could fix her.
You will add to our perfection.
You are neonatal drones.
You should still be in maturation chambers.
We've matured long enough.
Doubtful. Your thoracic nodes haven't formed yet.
You're incomplete.
You'll continue to malfunction.
You must return to your maturation chambers.
Don't listen to her.
We tried to go back in.
The chambers were off-line.
What happened to the adult drones?
We don't know.
Don't tell her anything.
This vessel has been severely damaged.
You won't be able to repair it alone.
l can help you,
but first you must release the hostages.
That wasn't the agreement.
l've modified the agreement.
l didn't realize l'd be dealing with children.
Your behavior is erratic.
l can't be certain that you...
No modifications.
We show you the hostages; you give us the deflector.
Take me to them.
lf she tries to resist...
assimilate her.
Do you have a designation?
You were the second
to emerge from the chambers.
No, the first.
l could not establish order.
l became second... and he became first.
So you've established a chain of command--
a hierarchy.
We're a collective.
A collective of five on a vessel
normally run by 5,000.
What makes you think you'll survive?
When we reestablish our link with the Borg,
they will come for us.
Commander, we've got company.
l wish to see if they're injured.
-Seven? -Don't let their appearance
fool you. They are in control of this vessel
and all of its armaments.
Are you injured?
Nothing serious.
The previous tenant.
We were trying to perfect our assimilation techniques.
You failed.
One of these captives was attempting
to disconnect the security field.
Actually, l was
just trying to...
That was unnecessary.
He is not permanently damaged.
He learned his lesson.
The Borg are prepared
to negotiate for your release.
l will return for you.
Give my regards to Harry.
The deflector array.
l'm not authorized
to give you technology.
l must report back to Captain Janeway.
l also need to take an adult drone
and a datanode back to Voyager for analysis.
Something happened on this vessel
that none of us understand.
lf it happens again, it could endanger all of you.
No sign of Harry yet, but there are parts
of the cube that we still can't scan.
Could the drones be holding him
in another location?
Unlikely. Seven said they didn't seem
to be aware of his presence.
lf he ejected in an escape pod,
we would have detected his beacon by now.
Try to activate his combadge.
Match the carrier wave to a Borg interlink frequency.
They shouldn't detect it.
Aye, Captain.
What have we learned from our friend here?
The bigger they come, the harder they fall.
Behold the David that slew our Goliath.
A pathogen?
A spaceborne virus that adapted
to Borg physiology.
lt's inert now,
but in its virulent state,
it attacked the drones and killed them.
Why weren't the juveniles infected?
The maturation chamber is designed
to protect developing drones.
Malfunctions caused
by the deaths of the adults
lead several of the chambers to open prematurely.
Does this pathogen only target the Borg?
The Borg and other cybernetic organisms
it encounters.
You're not thinking of using it
as a biological weapon.
lf we can revive the pathogen
and reintroduce it, we could neutralize the drones
without harming the away team.
Neutralize? You mean ''murder,'' don't you?
Captain, they're children.
Need l remind you that these ''children''
have committed murder themselves
in their futile attempts to assimilate others.
tell me something.
You saw them,
talked to them.
Do you think they'll kill the hostages
if we don't give them what they want?
l want that pathogen as an option, Doctor,
but l won't consider using it until l've seen
these drones for myself.
Think you can arrange that?
Then you're with me.
Computer, identify the source of this com signal.
Starship Voyager.
l need to respond on the same carrier wave.
That procedure will require significant modifications.
Well, don't worry. l'm way ahead of you.
Why are you here?
l wanted to make a new proposal.
We've already negotiated.
You've seen the hostages.
Now give us the deflector as agreed.
Maybe it's hard for you to accept,
but you don't have to rejoin the hive.
Our Doctor can remove
your implants, you can come with us.
You were individuals yourselves not long ago--
children with families.
You were abducted and assimilated.
l recognize your species.
You're Brunali.
And you're Norcadian.
Do you remember your world?
A Theta-Class planetoid.
Population: 260 million.
Binary suns.
And what did it look like when those suns set each night?
Can you remember that?
The deflector, now.
We need more time.
That deflector array is essential to our...
Give it to us.
Or what? You'll assimilate me?
That won't solve your problem.
l can't give you Voyager's deflector,
but maybe we can repair
your technology.
Seven knows a good deal about Borg systems.
You have two hours.
l don't know the extent of the damage.
lt could take longer.
Two hours...
or your hostages die.
Don't come back here, Captain.
l bought us another two hours.
The pathogen?
lt should be ready by then.
Did you see the away team?
l'm afraid not.
But Seven assured me our people haven't been harmed.
l can't believe we're negotiating
with adolescent drones.
They're not exactly drones.
Mature Borg are predictable.
They'll ignore you or assimilate you,
but these... juveniles, they're unstable.
They are contemptuous of authority,
convinced that they are superior--
typical adolescent behavior for any species.
lt's a transmission...
from the cube.
lt's Harry.
l'm clearing it up now.
Delta Flyer to Voyager. Respond.
We're receiving you, Ensign.
Where are you?
Still in the Flyer.
lt's locked up in some kind of hangar bay
along with two alien ships.
l've isolated his coordinates.
How close is he
to their shield generator?
Roughly 800 meters.
Harry, are there any plasma charges
aboard the Flyer?.
Yes, ma'am.
ln that case, how do you feel
about going for a little walk?
l could use the exercise.
Tuvok will guide you to the shield generator.
lf you destroy it, you won't have to make the trip back.
l have the technology you've requested.
Thank you.
You were a drone for 18 years.
l accessed your datafile.
l thought it might be relevant.
What else did you learn?
You were assimilated as a juvenile, like us.
My parents were scientists
studying the Borg.
They took me with them.
My childhood was short.
The years between birth and physical maturity,
when humanoids adapt
to their roles as individuals.
Perhaps you have memory of yours.
l don't know.
What about your parents?
Do you remember them?
No memories.
Your subvocal processor is malfunctioning.
l can repair it for you.
lt's a slight adjustment.
lt won't be painful.
The first told me
my malfunction could not be repaired,
until we reconnected with the collective.
This color...
My mother's hair...
was this color.
l thought we agreed--
no irrelevant discussions.
What is the punishment
for disobeying the protocols?
l engaged him in this discussion.
Return to your station.
l found some unsettling information.
l examined their communication records.
The collective did receive
the drones' initial distress call.
How long before they arrive?
A vessel was not dispatched.
The collective declared
the neonatal drones irrelevant
and severed their link to the hive permanently.
They see them as damaged, unworthy of reassimilation.
Are the drones aware of this?
No. They don't have the ability
to decrypt the message.
Once they learn they've been rejected by the hive,
they won't need our deflector.
They might be willing to release the hostages.
Normally when drones learn they're irrelevant,
they deactivate themselves.
But these neonatal drones are unpredictable.
They may not adhere to Borg protocols.
There is another option.
We could invite them to Voyager.
When they realize they have no place else to go...
lf you're suggesting
transforming them into individuals,
that would be extremely difficult.
You turned out pretty well, Seven.
That's because l was prepared before you encountered me.
What do you mean?
When l was first captured by the Borg,
l was young and frightened.
l watched my parents assimilated.
Then l was placed in a maturation chamber,
and the hive mind began to restructure
my synaptic pathways, purge my individuality.
When l emerged five years later,
the turmoil of my forced assimilation
had been replaced with order.
You may not be aware of this, Captain,
but that order continues to be a source of strength for me.
l could not have regained my humanity without it.
l appreciate your insights.
But just because they didn't have the benefit
of your Borg upbringing,
doesn't mean we're going to turn our backs on them.
There has to be another way.
Not all drones can be saved, Captain.
Continue the repairs aboard the Borg cube.
We'll hold onto this information for now.
Yes, Captain.
They do have one thing going for them.
lf there's anyone who can reach them,
it's you.
Three of hearts on a transwarp conduit.
King of clubs...
on a power coupling.
l'm marking my route
with playing cards in case l have to come back this same way.
You shouldn't distract yourself, Mr. Kim.
l need a little distraction.
This hike is bringing up some bad memories.
An earlier visit to a Borg cube?
Nope, haunted house my parents took me to
when l was six.
Borg vessels may be forbidding, but they are not haunted.
Turn left, Ensign.
Nine of diamonds on a data node.
The resonance field collapsed.
lt'll take an hour to reinitialize.
These delays are intentional.
l'm working as efficiently as l can.
Examine my work for yourself if you have doubts.
This data's flawed.
More likely it's your understanding
of quadric field theory that's flawed.
lgnore her.
She's trying to divide us.
They rely on you.
Yet you lack the skills necessary to ensure
their survival.
We've managed so far.
We're Borg.
You've forgotten what that means.
The unity of the collective...
common goals...
the quest for perfection...
l have not forgotten.
But you don't need to remain drones
to experience those things.
Come back with me to Voyager.
38 minutes.
You're wasting time.
Another maturation chamber is malfunctioning.
lts autonomic nervous system is failing.
lt's Borg.
lt will adapt.
lt's not adapting.
Let Seven help.
We can modulate the stasis field to stabilize its functions
at least temporarily.
Assist me.
The field is degrading.
We need to transport it
into an incubation pod-- quickly.
Why is it doing that?
lt's respiratory system is impaired.
And this incubation pod is malfunctioning.
We must transport this infant to Voyager.
The drone is part of our collective.
Not if it dies.
Tetryon levels are rising. l'm getting closer.
The shield generator should be directly ahead.
l see it.
The first charge is in place.
You left these.
l like her.
She looks like Seven of Nine.
ls Seven your friend?
You know, she's my friend, too.
Maybe someday...
Your weapon won't work here.
Dampening field.
How long has it been since you lost contact?
Four or five minutes.
His bio-signs?
Doctor to the Captain.
Please report to Sick Bay immediately.
On my way.
Keep looking for him.
What's the emergency?
l thought you should see for yourself.
Somebody left a bundle on our doorstep.
l turned around
and there she was, lying on a bio-bed.
Seven must have beamed her here.
A good thing, too.
A few more minutes
and l wouldn't have been able to do anything for her.
lt's hard to believe she could grow up
to be a drone.
Hold her for a moment while l take some readings.
Oh. l guess she just wanted to be held.
The pathogen.
l finished synthesizing it.
Start working with Tuvok on a way to deploy
the virus.
Captain, you don't seriously plan to use it.
lf l have to.
Let's just hope your brothers and sisters
don't force my hand.
You complain of delays,
then you interrupt my work.
Can you identify this?
lt's a plasma charge.
You tried to deceive us.
Nanoprobes were injected into his bloodstream.
He won't survive without medical attention.
Call your Captain.
Tell her to give us the deflector.
That won't be necessary.
l only need a few more minutes to repair...
No more delays.
No more deceptions.
The deflector.
Resistance is futile.
Return Harry Kim; then we'll talk.
We've talked enough.
Your requests are irrelevant.
Comply, or we'll assimilate the others.
lt'll take us at least an hour to dismantle the deflector
and transfer the components...
l can't give it to you now.
lt's complex technology that's part of our ship.
We can't simply remove it,
and no amount of threats from you
is going to change that.
They've locked a tractor beam onto the deflector.
They're trying to tear it off.
Hull stress is increasing.
Breaches on Decks 10 and 1 1.
lncrease shield strength and randomize the harmonics.
They're adapting.
Even with Voyager's deflector,
your efforts to return to the hive
will fail.
They'll come for us.
No, they won't.
The Borg received your message,
but chose to ignore it.
They consider you irrelevant.
We are damaged.
They don't want us.
lgnore her.
lt's another lie.
Their reply is in data grid 426.
Use decryption protocol theta-3.
Return to your station.
lt's another deception.
She's manipulating us.
The transmission is authentic.
lt's a mistake.
The collective does not tolerate imperfection.
Then we'll assimilate more species...
prove we're worthy.
Hull stress is reaching critical levels.
Reroute all emergency power to structural integrity.
That'll buy us another minute at most.
Captain, l found a fluctuation
in their shield grid near a plasma duct.
lt's too intermittent to beam out the hostages,
but we could use it to deploy the pathogen.
Not yet.
There is no alternative.
There's always an alternative.
We just need to find it.
Their tractor beam draws power
from the same grid as their shield matrix.
lf we use the deflector
to send a feedback pulse along the beam,
it could disrupt their shields. Do it.
Rerouting more plasma.
lf this doesn't work,
it'll do more damage to us than the cube.
lt'll work.
Prepare to fire.
You have no future with the Borg...
but you do with Voyager--
a chance to reclaim your real lives.
What do you know about real lives?
Does he speak for all of you?
You should make your decisions yourself,
as individuals.
They are sending a feedback pulse
through our tractor beam.
lt's overloading our shield matrix.
Their tractor beam
is fluctuating.
Their shields are dropping.
l've got a partial lock on the away team.
Boosting the confinement beam.
l've got three of them.
Chakotay, Paris and Neelix are in Transporter Room 2.
What about Seven and Harry?
They must be in a section
that's still shielded.
Amplify the feedback pulse.
The other captives are gone.
The shields around this chamber are failing.
Lower your shields.
Lower the shields!
Leave her alone.
Get back to your station.
Do what l say.
What you say?
l thought we were a collective.
One mind, one voice.
l protected you...
gave you order.
Your order.
Your rules.
Their feedback pulse is overloading
the induction grids.
This vessel will be destroyed.
We must evacuate.
Assist me!
You're damaged. Lie still.
We have to resist.
The collective will come for us.
His cortical implants are depolarizing.
l can't help him.
We'll find a new home.
You'll see.
W-we are Borg.
We are Borg.
Lower the shields.
Captain's Log, supplemental.
Harry is recovering in Sick Bay,
and the rest of the away team is safe and sound.
As for the drones,
the Doctor's removed most of their implants,
leaving us with four very troubled children.
We've sent out calls
to any Brunali and Norcadian ships
that might be in the vicinity,
but we haven't gotten any responses so far,
and we're still trying to figure out
where the other two came from.
lt may take a while.
They could use the time.
They have a great deal to learn.
lt might help if they had someone around
who knew what they're up against.
l've never been responsible for children.
Mr. Neelix would be a wiser choice.
From what l've seen,
you're the one they've established a bond with.
They'll be looking to you for guidance.
Perhaps l could...
help them avoid some of the obstacles
l've encountered.
Do we have to regenerate now?
But first...
l was able to salvage
your assimilation profiles.
They include your names and some limited
biographical data.
My name was lcheb.
Your name is lcheb.
l remember now.
lt was my father's second name.
My designation is Mezoti.
lt-it's a pretty name.
Yes, it is...
and it's all yours.
and Rebi...
l'll tell you more about them tomorrow.
Computer, decrease ambient lighting by 60 percent.
Good night.
Sweet dreams.

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