Star Trek Voyager: Seven of Nine
© 1998 Christie Golden
Sing a song of sixpence,
A pocket full of rye
Four and twenty blackbirds,
Baked into a pie
It began with a bird. A single black bird — a raven? A crow? — perched in an alien marketplace, its eyes boring into Seven’s own. Then the memories, the tide of sensations from a being who was not heard, overwhelming her. It was only the beginning for poor Seven, who found herself losing her mind even as her skills were desperately needed aboard Voyager. Making its way through a vast empire fond of red tape, Voyager has become the target of a vicious insectoid species, intent on destroying it for reasons unknown. At risk are not only Voyager and her crew, but also a meager band of refugees from a planet which has been destroyed by war and plague. They’re such nice people, so mild and pleasant.
Seven of Nine, so succinctly titled, can’t be dismissed like so many of the numbered novels. Although it carries some of the usual baggage — one-off aliens who we’ll never see again, and language so vanilla it makes B’Elenna Torres say things like “hurts like the dickens” — there’s more here than meets the eye. Golden’s writing chops were enough to let her write the first two novels in the Voyager Relaunch, and there are little hints here as to why. Beyond the awkward language, which may have been imposed by Pocketbooks, characterization is solid; Seven relates to people in a unique way, and Golden has a good grasp on that. There are dashes of humor, even though most of the story is full of bewilderment and fear as Voyager fights for its life and Seven struggles for her mind. Golden not only introduces a premise that will later be explored in a full episode of Voyager (Seven being exposed to and overcome bythe memories of those she’s assimilated — see “Infinite Regress“), but sheds a little light into one of the Borg’s more unique abilities.
Although there were warts and weaknesses, Seven of Nine still recommends itself to those who find its titular character as compelling as I do.
Some Kindle highlights:
“This is not a place for—for popular songs,” she said in a disapproving tone. The computer cheerfully belted out a song in which all the little birds went tweet, tweet, tweet. Seven found it annoying in a manner she could not articulate.
“Yes, it is I.” Peculiar word, that. One letter in the English alphabet, and yet it meant so much—more than her mind had even been truly able to grasp, yet. I. Me. Myself. The question of identity, of individuality, of a singular, unique entity dreadfully alone in the universe.
“Captain,” said the Doctor in a voice she couldn’t interpret, “I would like to introduce you to Annika Hansen.”
Disaster had not happened, and she, Seven of Nine, was in control. It felt … good.
“A Warm,” it said, its voice translated as harsh and mechanical. “A Borg warm. Better even. We will dismember and devour you, Warm, when our commander gives us the word.” “You are incorrect,” said Seven calmly. She stepped forward, lifting the phaser. She knew exactly where to place it, between the compound eyes, and fired before the Tuktak even knew what had hit it.