STRANGER FROM THE PAST - ACT THREE
by Darrell Dumas

ACT THREE

FADE IN

16 EXT. VOYAGER (OPTICAL)

An underbelly view of the Voyager as it cruises peacefully through the nebula...

17 INT. VOYAGER CARGO BAY

Seven stands at a control console, looking somewhat frustrated, holding a PADD in her left hand...she taps at the console, occasionally looking up to her PADD and tapping on it a couple times...the cargo bay doors open quietly and Paxton sneaks in, trying to keep his footsteps silent...Seven looks up at him, and he stiffens slightly...

SEVEN
Mark Paxton.

PAXTON
I, uh...I'm not bothering you, am I?

SEVEN
Hardly. I am not easily distracted from my work by anything other than the seemingly endless interrogation of Naomi Wildman.

PAXTON
Ah, yes, the little Ktarian girl. She's very sweet.

Seven cocks her head in an agreeing way, but does not look up... Paxton seems to look her over for a moment, as if trying to find a weakness to exploit -

PAXTON
So...what're you doing?

SEVEN
(Still tapping at the console) I'm attempting to recalibrate our long-range sensors. Apparently the nebula gasses are having an overwhelming effect on them. I'm trying to find a frequency that will allow us to scan beyond the nebula.

PAXTON
Well, how far can they scan now?

SEVEN
(Looking at Paxton Curiously) 200 Kilometers.

PAXTON
Well, why don't you try a frequency that matches the number of wavelengths the sensors can scan now for a much further distance? That way, the same number of waves could cut through the nebula's interference, and go even further off into space.

Seven stares at him for a few seconds, and then taps at the console...she looks up at him...

SEVEN
It worked...quite clever.

PAXTON
(Blushing slightly) I only know that because that's what the sensors on my Cryo pod were programmed to do if it entered a nebula.

Seven gives him a strange look... Paxton doesn't notice, as he is looking at the console, somewhat nervously -

PAXTON
I was wondering if you could do something for me.

SEVEN
What is it you wish to do?

PAXTON
Since you have access to the long-range scanners from here, could you run a full, twenty-light-year scan for any... any Borg vessels?

SEVEN
Are you expecting a vessel to arrive soon?

PAXTON
Umm... (Sounding like a very bad lie) No.

Seven taps at the console for a few seconds, and examines the readouts -

SEVEN
There are a few sparse pockets of Trans-warp residue within the nebula gasses, but according to these scans, they are several years old... there are no vessels within the immediate vicinity...

PAXTON
(Seeming relieved) Thanks, Seven.

Seven looks him over carefully for a few seconds -

SEVEN
Did the Captain request that you come down here and join me in hopes of becoming better acquainted?

PAXTON
(Nodding) She thought it might help to quench my fears of...of the Borg...how did you know?

SEVEN
(Turning back to the console) It is typical of Captain Janeway to do anything within her power to make sure her crew relates to each other. You were apprehensive upon first meeting with me in Sick Bay, and the implant in your head seems an extensive precaution. Also, you seem to be expecting an attack by the Borg (Some sly expression crosses Paxton's face). I assume you are abnormally fearful of the Borg.

PAXTON
Yes. It's...it's true.

Paxton sits down on a chair beside Seven -

SEVEN
If it gives you any comfort, you might know that only recently, the crew of Voyager managed to infect the Borg collective with a nanovirus that would sever the connections of several drones from the collective, effectively forming a resistance within the collective itself. At this moment, there are thousands of drones across the galaxy that are planning their attacks against the collective.

Paxton looks at her, quite impressed -

SEVEN
(Turning back to the console) In other words, the collective is not as invincible as you might think.

PAXTON
Do you remember your family at all? Before you were assimilated?

SEVEN
(Looking at Paxton) Yes. I was the daughter of the Hansen family, the first humans ever to study the Borg.

PAXTON
(Sounding amazed) You're the Hansen's daughter?

SEVEN
(Nodding slightly) Did you have any relation to them before they left the Alpha quadrant to study the Borg?

PAXTON
Oh yes...my family had a lot of information about their theories and studies... it was all they ever talked about...

SEVEN
(Continuing her work) Really.

PAXTON
Yes. My parents studied the Borg, too.

Now, Seven's interest is clearly captured, and she sits down beside Paxton on one of the chairs near the console -

PAXTON
My mother and father wanted to collect as much information as they could on the Borg, in hopes of finding a weakness that could be used to defeat them, and thus becoming renowned throughout the Federation. (Pauses to think for a moment; Seven seems slightly suspicious) One day, they climbed into a small civilian cruiser, and took off...out of Federation territory...I... I didn't see them again for three years...

SEVEN
What happened to them?

PAXTON
(With a shockingly casual pang in his voice) They were assimilated.

Seven seems slightly embarrassed -

SEVEN
I'm sorry.

Mark jerks his head to face her, an angry scowl on his face -

PAXTON
There's nothing to be sorry about! They just left me on my own to fend for myself! They didn't care about me. They never cared about me! I was just a thorn in their side, an accident that never should have happened. In my opinion, they looked better as Borg drones...

Paxton then notices the shock on Seven's face, and recollects himself -

PAXTON
I-I'm sorry (Turning away in embarrassment). I shouldn't be taking this out on you...

SEVEN
Irrelevant. You deserve to be angry at such irresponsibility. And I have no reason to be offended.

Paxton lets out an exasperated sigh, and smiles warmly... some slight look of furtiveness crosses his face for a second, and quickly vanishes -

PAXTON
I really needed to get that through to someone...but no one would ever stop long enough to listen to me...Seven...thank you. Thanks for listening to me.

SEVEN
You...are welcome.

PAXTON
Well...I'd better get going. Wouldn't want to distract you any more than I already have...

Paxton stands from his seat and walks quickly out the door. Seven looks after him for a few moments, and then stands up and returns to her console.

18 EXT. VOYAGER (OPTICAL)

A top down view of Voyager cruising peacefully through the nebula...

19 INT. CREW LONGE

Neelix finishes speaking to two ensigns, who proceed to walk out of the lounge...as they leave, Neelix calls after them...

NEELIX
Don't forget! The show is tonight, nineteen hundred hours!

The ensigns nod and walk out the lounge doors...at the same time, Mark Paxton comes in...Harry Kim notices and waves to him -

KIM
Mark! Mark, over here!

Mark sees him and strolls over -

PAXTON
(Nodding respectively) Mr. Kim?

KIM
Yeah. I was just wondering...the captain told me that you're able to play the piano.

PAXTON
I can play a little here and there.

KIM
Are you doing anything in the talent show yet? Because if you aren't...I'm looking for somebody who could play improvisational jazz with me. No one else seems to be free...

PAXTON
Jazz? Sure, I can play jazz! I'll play with you tonight!

KIM
Great! (Standing up) We should go practice then shouldn't we?

At that same time, Tom Paris walks up to Neelix and taps him on the shoulder -

PARIS
(Exasperatedly, with some disappointment) I reinstated the holographic Seven back to it's original appearance.

NEELIX
Oh good! Does he look OK?

PARIS
(Smiling) He doesn't look like a criminal, if that's what you mean.

NEELIX
So we're all set?

PARIS
You still need to get your drums ready so we can play...

NEELIX
By the sword of Simus! I almost forgot! I'd better go do that.

Neelix hurries off, and Tom, staring after him for a few seconds, chuckles to himself, shaking his head, and walks off towards a table on the other side of the room...at that same time, Janeway and Chakotay sit at a table by the window, gazing out at the stars...

CHAKOTAY
So how's our guest faring?

JANEWAY
I sent him down to the cargo bay earlier today to get better acquainted with Seven. He has quite a fear of the Borg.

CHAKOTAY
(Sounding sarcastic, unimpressed) Does he?

JANEWAY
Trust me, if you came face to face with the Borg drones of the parents you never had, you would probably feel just like him (raising her mug of coffee and taking a swig).

CHAKOTAY
(Now sounding interested) He came face to face with the drones of his parents?

JANEWAY
(Swallowing her coffee) It was some strange effort by the Borg. They only sent a few small spheres to attack his home planet, and by some strange coincidence, Mark's Parents were on those spheres. They assaulted a few weeks before the Cardassians were due to attack, but they failed. Nevertheless, he saw the drones his parents had become. Don't you think that would be enough to give him a magnified fear of the Borg?

CHAKOTAY
(Sounding stiff, as if not wanting to say so) I suppose I should be feeling compassion instead of caution.

JANEWAY
I just wish you'd give him a chance, Chakotay. He may not have told us everything about his implant, but he's nevertheless turned out to be a very amazing person. He taught me how to do the waltz just this afternoon!

Chakotay laughs goodheartedly-

CHAKOTAY
You don't think that's suspicious?

Janeway looks at him with a skeptical smile on her face...

CHAKOTAY
So have you decided on what you're going to do for the talent show?

JANEWAY
Yes. I've decided I'm going to recite some poetry by some of Earth's best authors. And all of them will about Earth itself.

CHAKOTAY
Feeling a little nostalgic?

Janeway gazes out into the stars, a faraway look on her face...

JANEWAY
(With a sigh) Ever since Mark came aboard, I was reminded of my own life on Earth, from my toddler years to my adulthood, and how badly I want to relive those moments. I thought this would be a good way to soothe that feeling. (Pauses for a moment, then looks back at Chakotay) What are you doing for the talent show?

CHAKOTAY
Oh, I'm not performing in it. B'Elanna and I are going to be the judges.

JANEWAY
Oh. (Glancing around, as if to make sure nobody is listening; in a whisper) If I get you another cup of coffee, will you give me the winning trophy?

CHAKOTAY
(Smiling warmly) Bribery, eh? Sorry captain, we don't do that kind of stuff around here.

JANEWAY
(In mock disappointment) Oh darn! Guess I'll have to try my luck on B'Elanna...

CHAKOTAY
I could still use that cup of coffee, though.

Janeway smiles fully, standing up -

JANEWAY
C'mon, we'd better go get ready. The talent show starts in half an hour.

Chakotay and Janeway stand up and stroll out of the lounge.

20 EXT. VOYAGER (OPTICAL)

Voyager once again cruises peacefully through the nebula...but as it passes overhead, in the bright red of the nebula's hydrogen gas, one can just make out the form of a small, dark, square shape...

21 INT. VOYAGER HALLWAYS

Seven and Naomi walk down the hallway -

NAOMI I'll go to my quarters to replicate our costumes and props. You go to the lounge and make sure that our table is set up. You remember the order we're going to do the tricks in?

SEVEN
Yes. I have memorized each trick entirely, in the order we shall perform.

NAOMI Good. I'll meet you in the lounge.

Naomi hurries off down the hallway, and Seven continues to stride along, when suddenly Seven stops...(Fast zoom-in on the pupil of her left eye)

22 INT. BORG CUBE (FOGGY, DREAM-LIKE)

Seven stands in the fogged passageway of a Borg Vessel, an echo of the Borg voice all around her...

BORG ECHO
We're coming...coming...we are the Borg...the Borg...you will be...will be assimilated...assimilated...resistance is futile...

A flash, and an image of a Borg drone firing a strange weapon at Captain Janeway appears, Janeway making no noise, but writhing in agony, as if her soul was being ripped from her body...

23 INT. VOYAGER HALLWAY

Seven snaps out of her trance, brow damp, breathing unevenly. Quickly she calms herself and keeps going down the hallway, walking slightly out of step with herself...

24 EXT. VOYAGER

Voyager cruises peacefully through the nebula, but once again, despite the glaring red of the nebula's gasses, there is a dark square in the distance, that has clearly grown bigger...

25 INT. CREW LOUNGE - TALENT SHOW THEATRE

The lounge has been entirely converted into a miniature theatre, with several crewmembers already sitting in the audience, chatting quietly...At the very front of the audience, at an official-looking table, B'Ellana and Chakotay sit with PADD's at the ready...

B'ELANNA
(To Chakotay) Here goes nothing. I've never been the judge in a talent show before. Heck, I've never even participated in a talent show at all!

CHAKOTAY
Well, here's your first opportunity. Don't worry about it; at least you'll have somebody to share the difficulty with if it gets too tough.

B'Ellana chuckles warmly...Neelix then walks onto the stage, and the room goes quiet...all eyes are focused on him...

NEELIX
Ladies and gentlemen, I welcome you to the first ever U.S.S. Voyager talent show!

Applause from the audience...Neelix smiles broadly...

NEELIX
Might I introduce to you the judges of our first ever talent show, our very own first officer, Mr. Chakotay, and our wonderful chief engineer, B'Ellana Torres!

More applause from the audience...Chakotay and B'Ellana both stand and bow respectively...

NEELIX
And now, to begin our first ever talent show, we give you Harry Kim and Mark Paxton playing improvisational Jazz!

A third round of applause...the curtains open, revealing Harry holding his clarinet, and Mark sitting at an electric keyboard. Immediately, Mark begins playing, and Harry soon joins in, and for several minutes they play in harmony together...Afterwards, Neelix introduces several other performances, including Naomi's and Seven's magic show, Tom's Rock and Roll band, the Doctor singing an Italian opera solo, and ending with Captain Janeway reciting several poems from a large book, ending with a self-written poem... Loud applause from the audience...Kathryn smiles gratefully and bows...suddenly, a vicious rumble yanks the book out of Janeway's hand and nearly knocks her off her feet...her commbadge bleeps --

COMM VOICE
(Urgently) Captain to the bridge!

JANEWAY
What's going on?

COMM VOICE
It's...It's a Borg Vessel! They're closing fast!

Janeway looks shocked...an anxious murmur crosses the room...

JANEWAY
Go to Red Alert. (Shouting to all crewmembers) All hands to battle stations!

The audience immediately stands up and rushes out of the lounge...Chakotay, Tuvok, Tom, Seven and Harry follow Janeway out of the Lounge to the bridge...

26 INT. VOYAGER HALLWAYS

Janeway strides as fast as she can through the hallways to the bridge...Chakotay hurries to walk beside her...

CHAKOTAY
Captain!

JANEWAY
(Still striding as fast as possible, annoyed) What is it, Chakotay?

CHAKOTAY
This area of space is virtually unknown to the Borg. How could they have located us here?

JANEWAY
That's not our concern right now...

CHAKOTAY
I know how they did it. Paxton led them to us.

Janeway stops and turns to Chakotay, who has stopped beside her. She looks slightly pale -

JANEWAY
How can you prove that?

CHAKOTAY
Look (Showing Janeway a PADD in his hand). These are emanations of polaron energy coming from Paxton's implant. They're on a Borg frequency. The Borg just followed it into the nebula until they found us. It's the only explanation!

Janeway seems strained to consider whether or not this is a truth -

CHAKOTAY
Captain, whether or not he intends to, whether or not he knows it's happening, he's putting the entire crew in danger. We have to do something.

Janeway's face conveys a look of shock, hurt, and indecision...

FADE OUT.

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