Her Eye Is On The Sparrow
Characters and settings © Paramount and Mr. Roddenberry, et al. Original story elements are a product of my rapidly degrading imagination. Rated M for scintillation via narration. Also, I reserve the right to edit this later for spelling/grammar/stupidity.
[[NOTE: As is my modus operandi, this was borne from a single episode of Voyager. It was called "Natural Law". I've spent a great deal time watching the entire series over the past month or two, and something within that one just... called out to me. And it's another one in "journal" format! That is the way of the Jessex, as you well know, and rather than catch-and-release the tantalising tidbit I nurtured it and blew on its spark. But this is a one-shot, and the author's note for such a tiny ficlet shouldn't be this long anyway. Once more into the wormhole! It's very likely I'm hanging up my fanfiction pen after this, but one never does know, does one?
Until we meet again,~Jessica X]]
Encrypted Logs: Seven of Nine, Tertiary Adjunct of Unimatrix Zero-One; Astrometrics Engineer. Level four security clearance required.Access granted. Please specify stardate.Multiple log entries exist for the specified stardate.Playing all entries for the specified stardate and subsequent dates.
"PERSONAL LOG: Seven of Nine, Stardate 54827.7. I am currently on my way to a conference on the topic of Warp Field Dynamics on the planet Ledos. Irrelevant though it may be, Commander Chakotay has insisted on skimming the surface en route in order to 'appreciate' the climate's vegetation. If he were not my commanding officer, I would not tolerate this unnecessary delay. Nevertheless, my schedule will adapt."
"PERSONAL LOG: Seven of Nine, supplemental. My reservations were well founded. Commander Chakotay and I have become stranded on one of the planet's subcontinents, a largely uninhabited region having been vacated by its space-faring species. We survived by transporting to the surface. Our shuttlecraft has been transformed into debris covering several square kilometers. It may take some time for us to locate and assemble the correct pieces in order to construct a tetryon-based beacon with which to contact Voyager."Meanwhile, Chakotay's fractured tibia impedes our progress quite a bit. I have struck out in search of components while he remains behind to rest near a settlement of indigenous Ledosians. Though he insists it is because his leg pains him, I believe his true motive in remaining there is to observe the pre-warp tribe. Truly, the Federation is overly obsessed with exploration of space and its many and various cultures."
"PERSONAL LOG: Seven of Nine, supplemental. We are camping with the tribe. This is against my better judgment. While collecting parts of our downed shuttlecraft, I lost contact with Chakotay and returned to ascertain his current status. This is when I found him within a primitive dwelling created mainly out of natural rock formation commonly known as a 'cave'. When I found them swarming around his prone form I assumed danger, but he quickly impressed upon me that they were tending his wounds with crude medicine. They are 'friendly', and this seems to be enough to allay any fears or reservations he previously held toward them. Also, I suspect the religious beliefs he had ingrained within him from many years spent on Earth among his own clan leads him to feel a kinship with them. Founded or not, I do not share his spirituality and do not comprehend it."She continues to stare at me. One of the Ledosians. Perhaps it is because I am ill at ease with our predicament, or perhaps because they are a primitive race that speak not through verbal language but through sign, but the young female unsettles me greatly. Several times, she has attempted to touch my cybernetic implants. I suspect these people will be endlessfly fascinated by them as they have achieved no technology of their own. All the more reason to expedite our attempts to contact the captain and preserve her precious Prime Directive."
"PERSONAL LOG: Seven of Nine, Stardate 54828.5. While Chakotay recuperates from his injury and makes futile attempts to communicate with Ledosian natives, I have resumed my mission to locate and reclaim the technology from our shuttlecraft. Unfortunately, this has been made more difficult when I was... relieved of my tricorder. It pains me to admit that I had become careless with my footing and it was lost beyond retrieval. I trust my eidetic memory of previous scans and rudimentary knowledge of the basic topography for the immediate region will be sufficient to locate the most integral components."
"PERSONAL LOG: Seven of Nine, supplemental. The deterioration of weather and loss of light has thwarted attempts to find my way through the plantlife to the shuttle fragments. The temperature has decreased significantly. While I previously felt no cause for alarm, perhaps I was in error. I have determined that further attempts to advance in the gathering dark will be an exercise in futility and have therefore halted. My search will likely resume when it is light."
"PERSONAL LOG: Seven of Nine, supplemental. I am Borg. I will adapt to this climate and its hazards. It will not overcome me. I am Borg and I am an individual."
"PERSONAL LOG: Seven of Nine, supplemental. The human emotion called 'fear' continues to assail me in spite of my attempts to subjugate it. It is as if this rainless storm wishes me to surrender to its control. I will not comply. Fear is irrelevant."
"PERSONAL LOG: Seven of Nine, supplemental. I. WILL. NOT. COMPLY."
"PERSONAL LOG: Seven of Nine, supplemental. The thought that no one may ever hear these logs somehow causes my heart rate to remain increased beyond acceptable parameters. My growing perfection as an invididual will never be assimilated into the collective. I am not Klingon, and I will not go to Sto'Vo'Kor. Chakotay would probably tell me something about ancestors and spirit guides that would be equally irrelevant. Perhaps the Christian God will reach out through the stars and find my 'soul' amid the galaxy once I have ceased to function."
"PERSONAL LOG: Seven of Nine, supplemental. My previous entry was strange and most likely irrelevant. Delete... belay that. Perhaps I should not delete the entry. Perhaps these entries will be all that remains of me. This unit should not erase itself. Correction: I do not wish to erase MYself."
"PERSONAL LOG: Seven of Nine, supplemental. She came for me. The young female Ledosian native. Depsite her muteness and lack of technological prowess, I find I am... pleased that I am no longer alone in this forest. My words to her were harsh as I believed her to be an advancing predator, but she came to me, she placed her blanket around my shoulders. She created an exothermic reaction from botanicals to warm me, she offered me sustenance from her rations. I declined this as I did not require nourishment, and she accepted this without pause or offense."This feeling is... I find that my own verbal language is insufficient to describe its parameters. Emotions are beyond my area of expertise. I will consult someone overly burdened with them upon my return to Voyager. Perhaps Neelix, or Lieutenant Torres."
"PERSONAL LOG: Seven of Nine, supplemental. Night remains heavy around me, and I awaken, and... I find I do not remember falling into a state conducive to REM cycle. I do not enjoy 'sleep'. My regeneration alcove is much preferable to a bed."Panic rose within me when I felt her hands upon my stomach. Panic is an emotion I can easily identify, though it is one I would prefer to delete in spite of its occasional usefulness. Eventually I realized they were the hands of the young aborigine. More feelings assaulted my cortical node, and I wished her to release me... but I did understand. The winds were too harsh for the small fire she had created to survive, and therefore she had found it acceptable for us to combine our body heat. A prudent and efficient solution. That it was done without my compliance is irrelevant, and yet it angers me. No, it does not anger me; my anger is that..."My new hypothesis is that I am angered because it is pleasing to feel her warmth at my back. Not purely due to necessity, but from something else I cannot identify. I rarely ask myself questions because it is without purpose to do so, but while I lay there with her huddled behind me, I found myself asking the following: 'Do I enjoy this activity?' 'WHY do I enjoy this activity?' 'Was this what it must have been like for the pre-adolescent Annika Hansen when she resided with her parents, before she... became me?' 'Why did this foolish young native leave the safety of her encampment to come and find someone irrelevant to her survival, risking her own health and well-being?'""I feel fatigue overtaking me again, tempering my absurdly heightened senses of the moment. Perhaps in the morning, I will proceed to..."
"PERSONAL LOG: Seven of Nine, Stardate 54829.3, approximately. Dawn came to this subcontinent, and I awoke from my 'sleeping' to find my companion had vanished. This... caused me a moment of great anxiety that is inordinate to the period of time in which we have associated with one another. When I rose from beneath the blanket she had left around me, I found her crouched over me and waiting for me to resume functions."An aspect of her that concerns me is her eyes. This, at least, I have determined. They are... fierce, and yet symmetrical and... open. That statement was abstract and irrelevant, and yet I cannot refute, nor clarify. She does not fear me, but looks at me with curiosity and eagerness. More questions thwart my logic and reason: 'Why will she not look away?' 'Why did she follow me?' 'What does she require of me?'"When she saw I had resumed function, she greeted me with some form of salutation and offered me nourishment. I found it to be necessary for my continuance. Then, through some effort, I impressed upon her my need to find the general location of the shuttlecraft's wreckage upon my last tricorder scan. I follow her through this tropical environment, observing her feet expertly guide her through its underbrush, observing her lack of fear, her ease with her existence. Part of me wishes to assimilate this. That is how I function within the astrometrics lab. It is not how I function here amid this imperfect wilderness. Here, I am irrelevant. I am obsolete."
"PERSONAL LOG: Seven of Nine, supplemental. My companion made a sign I did not comprehend, and guided us from the path to another location. She was quite forceful, leading me by the hand. There, we observed a geological formation resulting in a series of three waterfalls. I had catalogued and completed my observations with great efficiency, but she seemed unwilling to depart. In consideration for her assistance, I have contented myself with observing it longer."
"PERSONAL LOG: Seven of Nine, supplemental. I believe I am malfunctioning, or that my ocular implant is and thereby it is affecting the connecting systems. My companion removed her clothing and went forth into the pool collecting at the bottom of the waterfalls. Upon viewing her physical form unobstructed, I began to undergo some form of chemical reaction within myself. It resulted in a heightened temperature, elevated heartrate and gastric seizures. When she became obscured by the water and the reaction ceased, I found myself displeased that I had been robbed of opportunity to further dissect said reaction. It is illogical for one to desire more of an unwelcome state. I do not understand."
"PERSONAL LOG: Seven of Nine, supplemental. These reactions only become more and more confusing. She beckoned for me to join her. I refused. She exited the water and I averted my gaze, though a part of me wished to observe her further. She put her hand on my arm, over my heart, and then made several signs I could not decypher. Several attempts were made to communicate before she began to pull my sleeve downward along my arm. It became clear she wanted me to join in her bathing ritual."Bathing with water is not a custom I had ever observed and did not intend to reconsider, prefering the sonic showers. My companion was... insistent. I refrained from movement while she removed my uniform, then covered my external female characteristics with my hands. This seemed to be some variety of primordial instinct that had not been eradicated by evolution. A sort of hissing noise came from her and I believed she disapproved, but when I looked into her eyes I believe I observed humor. In her own mute way, she was laughing at me."Curiosity returned as her hands went to the cybernetic implants that had been underneath my clothing. The illogical reactions increased, and moreso when she rested her hands on my breasts to stand on tiptoe in order to achieve an improved view of my ocular implants. A sound unfamiliar to my ears escaped my own mouth, proving that I never should have removed my vocal subprocessor and opened myself up for such irrelevant noise."Only now did confusion equal her curiosity. A moment later, she smiled... and all of the irrelevance and illogic seemed to coalesce into a chain reaction that resulted in... perfection. How can this be possible? It is ridiculous and absurd for larger amounts of imperfection to create perfection, it is nonsense. And yet...
"PERSONAL LOG: Seven of Nine, supplemental. The Prime Directive has been violated, and I am the one who has done this. Captain Janeway will be most displeased."My companion pulled me toward the water. I did not wish to comply, but my logic and reason could not overpower such overpowering alien emotions. The coolness of the hydrogen-dioxide around my form both quelled and intensified my reactions, and I enjoyed this for a few moments. Then I shrieked."Seven of Nine does not shriek. Shrieking is irrelevant. Yet I did, and it was because her inquisitive hands found themselves upon my mammaries again, and this time from behind. I heard the strange hissing-grunting sound of her laughter, and turned to regard her with wide eyes, again covering my irrelevant anatomy. Unable to determine a wiser course of action, I responded in kind. Initially, she only laughed louder, but then her mouth opened wide and she created an irrelevant sound similar to the one I had created."We watched each other for a moment. I was covering myself and utilizing the aquatic technique known as 'treading water' that I had previously researched, but she was not covering herself. Crimson flooded her cheeks as she gazed at me, and her forehead wrinkled with concentration. She was also attempting to force her mind to adapt, as I was. Then, with sudden speed, she swam away from me. I believe the situation had confused her, and therefore she wished to create some distance between the two of us to better assess these new developments."I began to worry that the dormant nanoprobes within my bloodstream had activated some variety of 'last resort' assault when I chased after her. Ulfactories that I had believed rendered useless during my assimilation located a scent upon the air that inflamed my pressing need to capture my prey. This would likely be a topic upon which the Hirogens would be able to further enlighten. Every subatomic particle of my being wished to stalk and capture her, and to... then what? I was uncertain."We reached the edge of the pool, she pulled herself out of the water, up onto the shore. I pulled myself up onto her. Both of us were straining to convert atmosphere into oxygen to fuel our bloodstream and the organs it empowers. My ocular implant seemed to fixate on her mouth, her soft round lips... and she and I engaged in an irrational mating ritual."This is what most disturbs me. Has my biological half malfunctioned so irreparably that it cannot understand that mating with another of the same gender will not result in propogation of a species? All of my baser instincts that I strive daily to suppress were calling out for me to subdue and claim ownership of the smaller female. To make her 'mine'. To make matters worse, she was reciprocating, clearly bearing the brunt of counterpart instincts. She gave herself willingly into my assault."
"PERSONAL LOG: Seven of Nine, supplemental. I ended the previous log entry because I was unable to accurately verbalize the experience of mating with the native Ledosian. To be accurate, I am still unsure that what I say will serve as a faithful documentation of the experience. I will comply to the best of my ability."As I have observed others doing in the past, she and I joined our oral openings together. It is a ludicrous function, but the... raw enjoyment derived from the activity seems to more than justify its ludicrousness. Regardless of how unsanitary it was, pressing my tongue against hers caused shockwaves to pass throughout my frame, and likely throughout hers as well, though without being able to speak freely with her it is difficult to verify. Pushing our stomachs and chests against each other during this only seemed to amplify the pleasure, and therefore it was done."Having studied human anatomy in great detail, I knew that our embracing and stimulation would eventually lead to an inflammation of the sexual organs. This was proven factual. Having identical rather than differing genitalia, we were forced to employ... creative methods of sating our growing pleasure. For whatever reason, I am finding this part yet more difficult to put into words than the rest."A certain amount of friction created with the thighs sufficed for a time; a very crude and undignified solution. I adapted, utilizing a manual stimulation technique to provide her with heightened enjoyment, as I suddenly found this to be of greater importance than my own. Her lips returned to mine as I did so, intermittently broken by the occasional irrelevant noise from deep within her throat. Her hands found their way to my areolas once more and assaulted them with what I would have expected to be painful torture, but I instead viewed as exhilirating under those conditions. She drew her knee higher until her thigh had penetrated my defenses, even as I used phelanges to penetrate hers. Our shields were down, to utilize a poetic metaphor."Things continued in this way until we achieved what is known as 'orgasm', a state in which the body loses most of its fine motor control amid senses-shattering waves of pleasure. It is an illogical, impractical thing that I hope does not befall me again. In that moment, however, she and I fused to become nothing less than perfection."Afterward, we required more 'sleep' before either of us were able to resume functions. It seems to me that any activity leaving one defenseless against any oncoming enemies is a foolish one, regardless of irrelevant amounts of enjoyment. The toes of one foot traced their way up and along my leg, and though I retained no energy with which to respond, a fresh shiver of pleasure rippled along my spine. She must have perceived this, because she broke into a sudden wide smile. I returned the smile, unable to understand why."Soon thereafter, we rose, bathed again, and reclaimed our garments in order to return to the camp. The long march to the shuttlecraft component's location was passed in comfortable silence. At some juncture, she placed her hand within mine, and I allowed for it, unsure as to why she desired this. After a few minutes, I was no longer unsure."
"PERSONAL LOG: Seven of Nine, supplemental. At long last I have discovered a larger fragment of Shuttlecraft 74656. I am attempting to salvage its useful components currently. I now believe that cannibalizing some of what I previously collected, I may be able to create a beam that will disrupt the energy barrier - perhaps enough for transporter lock to be achievable."My companion casts me furtive looks laced with deeper meanings that I cannot decipher. What must she think of me now after our earlier activities? The situation confuses me, but I will adapt. I always do. However, I find myself worried for her mental state. The grievous infraction I perpetrated upon her will leave some kind of lasting impression on her young and fertile mind; I cannot be foolish enough to believe it will not. What will happen when I leave... and leave her behind?"
"PERSONAL LOG: Seven of Nine, supplemental. I have decided the best possible course of action would be to assimilate her into Voyager's crew. Her pre-warp sensibilities have already been compromised by observing my attempts to salvage the shuttlecraft parts. While I am certain Captain Janeway will view this as a foolhardy plan, she cannot possibly ignore the danger she poses to the native Ledosian's way of life were she to remain among them."Besides, she is... I feel as if she is a cybernetic implant that has been mislaid, and that I was unable to function at peak efficiency without it. Reducing her identity to that of a mere implant also stirs up bitterness within me, anger. She is so much more..."This decision grants me some temporary relief from my anxiety, which is allowing me to work on the deflector with more earnest resolve. I am sure the anxiety shall return when the captain confronts me about my somewhat-selfish request."
"PERSONAL LOG: Seven of Nine, Stardate 54829.5. Commander Chakotay and one of the tribesmen have located and joined us. Utilizing his remaining tricorder, I was able to discover why my attempts to activate the beacon were unsuccessful. Though he disapproves of my idea, we are conveying the shuttlecraft wreckage to a location outside a field of magnetic interference with the assistance of several of the primitives. They are willing and eager to assist us, and it would be inefficient not to make use of their labor resources. I am confident that I will be regenerating in my alcove within the hour."
"PERSONAL LOG: Seven of Nine, supplemental. I... I am afraid. The young primitive, my companion, she... has been injured. What have I done? Voyager is irrelevant. Space exploration is irrelevant and offensive to me if it results in the deletion of entire species, and of... and of my companion."
"PERSONAL LOG: Seven of Nine, supplemental. Crisis averted. My Ledosian companion - 'friend', if you wish - had reached out to touch our makeshift deflector out of curiosity. Unfortunately, she had fashioned a wrist adornment out of magnetic stones earlier, which too easily conducted the tetryon beam into her body. A mild case of shock to her biosystems followed, which may have proven fatal if Voyager had not made contact."Ventu. That is the name of this race of beings, long ignored and marginalised by the star-bound Ledosians whom we first encountered. Though I do not know her name in particular, at least I know the name of those to whom she is a part."Though a medkit was enough to treat the damage, I understandably insisted that the doctor further examine her in sickbay. He is with her now... and I am waiting to intercept the captain."
"PERSONAL LOG: Seven of Nine, Stardate 54829.8. My dealings with the captain... have not gone the way I had hoped."Though I am most insistent that she remains on board, and have argued in favor of this with a passion I was unaware of posessing, Janeway is adamant: my friend is not to be a member of Voyager's crew. Her needs will be most adequately serviced by remaining among her tribe. There is wisdom in what she says... though a part of my heart is disgusted to admit as much."She was kept under heavy sedation while she recovered from her injuries. I remained by her side for the entire time I was not pleading with the captain, and found myself engaging in such trivialities as passing my hand over her hair, or laying my face upon her chest to observe her pulmonary functions via my auditory canal. These things, I also do not understand, though I at least understand they are related to my deepening connection to her."When she awoke back on the surface, I used my limited knowledge of her hand gestures to speak with her and explain that I must leave. She asked where, and I replied. She asked why... and I could not reply. The reasons and implications of them were too complicated for my rudimentary grasp of her language. Her eyes began to leak saline fluids, and I was horrified to notice my own doing the same. Then, something unexpected happened. She again handed me the blanket I had used the night previous. At first, I did not understand, and I believed she thought I was cold. Then it occurred to me that this may have been related to the cross-cultural phenomenon known as the 'parting gift'. I accepted it and embraced with her. When she attempted to engage my mouth again, I moved it out of range. The sadness in her eyes was so clear that I looked away, and then she touched my face. It is my belief that in some way... that in some way, she understood that it would have been more agonizing for both of us."
"PERSONAL LOG: Seven of Nine, Stardate 54830.2. New developments have progressed that cast this situation in a more sinister light. The Ledosians are intent on mining and exploiting the Ventu lands for their own personal gain now that we have interrupted the barrier that had been protecting them from just such an eventuality. Chakotay is adamant that this must not come to pass, but the captain is unsure. Though we have already interfered by removing the barrier, from this point forward we must judge which would be the more reckless action; to decide that we have the right to rebuild the barrier, or to leave our previous interference unrepaired?"I can appreciate valid arguments for both sides, and am... uncertain. They are a strange but curious people, and I am positive that in time they will effortlessly grasp the concepts of vocalized language, literature, space flight, and beyond. But is this truly the most desirable destiny for them to embrace?"
"PERSONAL LOG: Seven of Nine, Stardate 54830.4. Most of the shuttlecraft debris has been transported onto Voyager. The decision has been made. We will reclaim our technology. If this means trapping the Ledosians who refuse to evacuate before we bring the deflector beam back aboard Voyager, then so be it. They will see reason, they will remain behind and adapt, or they will perish. There is no more that-"Red Alert. We are under attack."
"PERSONAL LOG: Seven of Nine, supplemental. The Ledosians have attempted to sabotage our attempts to transport our reflector from the surface. While Voyager's transporters are offline, Captain Janeway has used her typical resourcefulness to employ Tom Paris, whom is aboard the Delta Flyer, to transport the Ledosian archaeological teams and our deflector technology aboard. Shortly, all will return to status quo once we have returned their people to one of their spaceports and gone to warp. Perhaps it will be for the best, although I... will miss aspects of Ledos. Specifically, the Ventu."
"PERSONAL LOG: Seven of Nine, supplemental. Have I made a mistake? Perhaps it would have been preferable if Commander Chakotay and I had not been able to make our exodus."The archaeologists had ample opportunity to make scans of my deflector modifications. In time, they will most likely engineer their own deflector, and thereupon will overrun the Ventu lands and civilization, eradicating their way of life. It is an unfortunate thing I have done. This error will remain with me for quite some time."
"PERSONAL LOG: Seven of Nine, Stardate 54832.8. SHE IS HERE."It has taken me several hours to overcome my feelings enough to articulate them on this matter. My Ventu friend is on Voyager. I haven't lost her forever. I have her with me here."Though my attempts to extrapolate from her how she came to be on the ship were long and labored, I have at least determined that she visited the deflector because she felt bereaved at my departure, and it was the thing that most reminded her of the time we spent in each other's company. She was therefore hiding inside of it when it was transported onto the Delta Flyer. Lieutenant Paris failed to perform an adequate scan before beaming it aboard due to the... urgent nature of his mission, and therefore was unaware of the accompanying bio-signs. How she escaped detection following this, I can only attribute to her adornments of magnetic stone interfering with our sensors. Thereafter, she had been hiding within the cargo bay. She only emerged when I arrived to retrieve a replacement bio-neural gel pack and she recognized the... familiar face."My feelings seem to conflict each other. I am relieved, yet excited, yet angered, yet fearful. What should I make of this?"
"PERSONAL LOG: Seven of Nine, supplemental. After a... VERY lengthy debate with first the Doctor, then Captain Janeway, then the entirity of the senior officers, it has been temporarily determined that she will remain onboard as a civilian. Most held the opinion that we should reverse course and return her to the Ventu, but this plan was deemed futile due to the extremely confrontational manner in which we fled Ledosian airspace. Suggestions of leaving her on another Class M planet were quickly proven to be empty, because though there may be the barest hint of a chance that she may adapt to her new surroundings, we would in all likelihood be condemning her to a slow but eventual death, and the remainder of her lifespan would be spent in a state of perpetual loneliness and sorrow. Therefore, she stays."My sincerest wish is to pretend this is not the most beautiful news I could have been given. Ensign Kim and Lieutenant Torres were quick to point out the alleged 'smile' on my face when the captain made her decision, but I continue to refute its existence. After all, they have no concrete evidence to support this claim."
"PERSONAL LOG: Seven of Nine, Stardate 54837.4. My life has changed dramatically over the past several regeneration cycles. While I previously found any and all ways to efficiently utilize what the others designate as 'free time' by finding more work, I now spend those hours with my dearest friend."Whose designation is officially recorded as Sparrow Ventu. In her own tongue, she is known as Swift Flying Animal Over Shining Water; it seems the Ventu do not believe in names as such, but rather descriptions of each other. As Captain Janeway determined in regards to my own name, saying 'Swift Flying Animal Over Shining Water' can be time consuming and inefficient, thus necessitating I refer to her by her recorded name, especially when speaking with the crew. It was Chakotay's idea, and I defer to his wisdom in this matter. The only designation I could submit was Ten of Nine, which Tuvok pointed out was was intrinsically illogical."On the topic of language, Sparrow has not yet learned to speak. Only as of two days ago have the Doctor and I determined this is because she does not possess a vocal processor of any kind; for whatever reason the Ventu did not evolve one in the way their warp-capable 'cousins' have. Perhaps a few modifications to her physiology would enable speech, but we are hesitant to enact these. It is a problem that can be addressed at a later date. Conversely, she now understands a great deal of my own speech, and I can interpret roughly seventy per cent of her sign language. In this way our dialogue remains open. I am optimistic that soon we will converse effortlessly."As for... how we define our relationship... of that, I am less confident. All of my attempts to question her as to whether or not we should now be classified as 'friends' or 'lovers' or 'life partners', or any variant on those societal concepts, have met with confusion on her part. She asks, 'What are those?' When I elaborate, she gives me her mocking, silent laughter and asks with a smile, 'Is that not like a stone among stones? You and I are here. You are a friend, and I feel you in my heart.' From what I can determine of the way their societal structure functions, I interpret this to mean that their race does not differentiate between 'kinds' of relationships. All are Ventu, and all are the same. Which sounds somehow... perfect. I wish all of the Federation to hold these views, but am uncertain as to how this will be accomplished. Just as I am uncertain as to what I will tell the Doctor or Commander Chakotay about Sparrow and I, if and when we are both ready to explain. But what if they disapprove?"Irrelevant. She is in my heart. They will adapt."