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The Queen Rises

Posted on Tue Apr 28, 2020 @ 9:50pm by Captain Madelina Weisz & Master Chief Petty Officer Thomas Barnes

Mission: The Nanjing
Location: Quarters
Timeline: MD 2 || 0000 Hours

Maddy stirred around and groaned, bringing a hand to her head. Her head was throbbing. "What the hell..." she muttered, slowly pushing herself to a sitting position. She was in the bedroom, lying on the bed. When did that happen? Had Tom brought her in here to rest at some point? She couldn't really remember, but what she did remember was...

"Tom?" She called as she rose to her feet and moved to the door. Instead of it parting like usual, the redhead walked right into it. "Ow! What the hell?"

Her hand went to her nose as she beat on the door. "Tom! Open the door!" Maddy shouted. Anger was starting to boil inside of her. "What did you do to me!?"

For the last several hours, Tom sat on a stool in front of the large windows, staring out into the Badlands. He'd remained mostly unmoving, save for the motions that required him to drink. Tom had become very much aware of what was happening inside his body, microscopic nanites rushing about his bloodstream, probing, studying, and in some cases, enhancing his body. He could feel their every move, every prod, and every piece that they were attempting to build.

The nanites were amazed at both his fragility and potential. When they'd encountered the Borg, the nanites, called the Nanjing, determined the Collective was hostile. The fact that the Borg attempted to assimilate them was was proof enough that the cube and the drones had to be destroyed. This human, however, was different. He aspired to be more, and now that he knew, he wanted to protect them, to learn from them.

Tom had willingly submitted to the Nanjing and allowed them to fully assess him. The nanites could only work so fast, and Tom had to keep supplying them with materials. His throat, esophagus, and stomach had been reinforced with various materials which would allow him to process the metals and materials he now ingested. Normally, they would quickly erode the organic walls and quickly poison his body, but those threats had been removed. He'd moved past the duranium-gold laced water, and he now worked on a half-finished glass of duranium sludge. He could feel the Nanjing inside him apply this solution to parts of his brittle skeleton, strengthening his body for the next stage of his evolution, whatever that would wind up being.

He'd turned his attention from the skeletal work to the nanites working on the medical implant he wore. For hours now it had been sending false signals to sickbay, preventing the doctor from learning what was truly happening to Tom. In addition to the false signals, it was being gutted and reassembled inside of Tom's brain, refashioned into a transceiver to allow him to communicate with Rivers, and eventually, Maddy. It was still an hour or so away from being ready. Thankfully, Tom's patience had been restored.

Had his auditory systems been upgraded, he would have heard Maddy awaken in the bedroom. Instead, it took her pounding on the door for Tom to learn she was now awake. He took another gulp of the sludge, rose from his stool, and crossed the room to open the door, which he did with a simple tap of a button on the nearby control panel.

The left door panel slid open easily, but the right panel did not make it far into the frame, having been dented by Maddy's pounding. "How are you feeling, Maddy?" Tom asked, reaching up with a free hand to grab the stuck panel. He was impressed that he was able to shove it into place as if it were a simple piece of thin cardboard. Clearly, these Nanjing were able to deliver.

A surge of emotions flooded through her when she saw him, but anger was definitely in the forefront. "What. Did. You. Do. To. Me?" Maddy asked slowly, making sure she enunciated each word. Her blue eyes narrowed as she fought the urge to pummel him, for now, though her hands were clenched in tight fists at her sides.

"I've introduced you to the Nanjing," Tom replied, almost matter-of-factly. His eyes, still with black irises (but the red glow was gone), met her blue ones. "They are the ones who dismantled the Borg cube, which they'd done because the Borg threatened them. The Nanjing only wish to study, explore, and be accepted."

"Introduced me..." Her voice trailed off as she attempted to wrap her mind around what he'd just told her. If these Nanjing were capable of destroying an entire Borg cube, what would they do to a human being? What were they doing to Tom? maddy was still very confused. She brought her hands to her head. "Why? For what reason?" Then, she spotted a glass with something inside it sitting on the table. The redhead didn't understand why she wanted it, but she did, and without hesitation, moved over to it and began to drink what was inside.

"To learn from each other," Tom replied, following her over to the table. The glass she'd picked up was something he'd replicated for her shortly after he placed her in the bedroom, a concentrated mixture of the duranium-gold water, along with a few polymers to help with the conversion of her stomach. "For the last few hours, the Nanjing have been studying you, learning how each part of you operates in order to determine how best to enhance our lives."

Maddy emptied the glass, using the back of her hand to wipe a bit that managed to miss her mouth. The anger was back, and it was mixed with rage. She smashed the glass in her hand, cutting herself in the process. The redhead didn't seem to notice, though, as her attention was back on him. "Enhance our lives? You've successfully seen to it that we're going to be killed when the rest of the ship finds out about this!" And without hesitation, she found herself lunging toward him.

Incredibly, Tom remained absolutely calm. The Nanjing told him they'd only injected her with the worker class, not with any of the Nanjing that could instruct and condition her with the truth. She would have to be taught in order to understand. The hand that held his sludge released its hold, and the glass fell to the floor. It did not shatter, thanks to the drink it held, but Tom did not care. He raised both hands to reach out and catch Maddy before she could strike him.

He was strong. Much stronger than she remembered. Maddy dropped the glass in her hand and looked at him for a long moment. He still looked the same, but his eyes were different. Would hers change? "Why did you choose me?" She asked softly, wanting nothing more than to understand. Tears began to well in her eyes, though they remained unshed for the moment.

"Choose?" Tom asked, showing a hint of confusion. As he held her, he could feel that her strength had grown by eleven percent, very much a byproduct of the conversion. There was still much for her to learn, to explore, and that would take time. Still, her question confused him. He was still very much Tom. His thoughts were his own, just counseled by the Nanjing that shared his brain. "We belong together, Maddy. You are my love, my queen. This is a journey that I would not do without you."

She expected some kind of malicious answer, and had received something so far from that that now she felt slightly confused. Maddy brought a hand to his cheek and said nothing as she leaned in to kiss him. The redhead would go on this journey with him.

Tom returned the kiss, showing a true display of emotions for the first time. He was beyond pleased that she was beginning to understand, and that her resistance had ended. "I knew you would understand," he told her, looking into her blue eyes.

"We are going to have to be extremely careful around the others. If they suspect anything, this will have all been for nothing," she said softly. "Your eyes... they give you away. Can you change them?"

Tom blinked twice, and they returned to their original brown color. "Keeping up appearances is just one of our problems," he told Maddy. Now that he could trust her, he could release her. He gestured first to the device on his neck. "The Nanjing have already modified this, sending false signals, but if someone starts running sensor scans, it won't take them long to realize that a lot has changed in my body. You'll pass, for now, especially since your conversion is several hours behind mine. Soon, your Nanjing will become impatient and destructive."

It was her turn to blink. "How do we prevent that from happening?" Maddy asked. "As for the sensor scans, we can program those to pick up whatever we want them to as far as we're concerned. They don't have to find anything other than what they've been finding for years."

In nanoseconds, multiple pieces of information flashed in Tom's mind, including the answer to her question, a plan for dealing with the sensors, and a dozen other things. That information could have been relayed in that same time period, assuming Maddy was ready to receive that information. She had only completed the first phase of her transformation, and she still had three to go. Tom was several hours in front of her, and still had a couple hours to finish the second phase himself; not to mention the Nanjing still needed another hour for the transceiver.

He held up his left hand, the same hand that had performed the unspeakable deed to her several hours ago. "It is easier for them to show you." Unlike before, when his emotions controlled his urges, he awaited her permission.

She nodded her head. "Go ahead."

"This will sting," he warned her. Tom reached for her neck and released two of his tubules into her neck just below the left ear.

The new Nanjing immediately interfaced with the worker nanites in her system and assumed command of the neural interface. In a manner of seconds, they had uploaded the schematics for the Phase Two updates which had been based upon Tom's physiology. It would take some time to compare those specifications against Maddy's anatomy and chemical structure before an implementation could begin. Testing would begin momentarily for her occular upgrades, as would the tests of her other systems.

While those workers prepared for the tests, the governors turned to Maddy's thoughts and began to download the information Tom had gleaned over the last several hours, ranging from his experiences in the engineering lab, converting Ensign Rivers, the discussions they'd shared with Tom, as well as the records of how he had responded to all of their tests. It was their hope that by making these available to her, they would be preparing her for her lengthy conversion as well. Like her beloved, she would receive the same enhancements Tom was currently undergoing.

Ten seconds later, Tom retracted the tubules, having deposited enough of the governing Nanjing into her brain, and knowing that their initial task was now complete. "You will feel the nausea soon," he told her as he moved over to the replicator to prepare a new elixir. "You are ready to have your digestive system converted for the next phase. Once it is prepared, you will be able to ingest the necessary materials. But it will hurt."

Hurt? Her new life was going to take some getting used to, but with him by her side, she would be able to. "What do you recommend I do while the conversion is happening? And how long would you say the process takes?" She asked. Of course, Maddy was willing to do what needed to be done to see the changes to the end.

Tom returned to her side and handed her the tall glass with a dull gray mixture that resembled a paste. "The best thing to do is to be as still as possible. If you can imagine the last time you had food poisoning, and then increase that by forty-seven percent, that would be approximate."

It struck Tom in that instant how much the Nanjing had changed even his basic speech patterns in that process. "It will take fifty-three minutes for the conversion to complete, but you won't feel the first five minutes of it."

"Perhaps, it would be best if I returned to the bedroom for this part, then," she said as she accepted the glass. If it was going to be that painful, lying down was probably for the best. "You are welcome to join me, but I wouldn't hold it against you if you didn't. Either way, I will come out when it's over." She pressed a kiss to his cheek and moved back into the bedroom where she tossed back the contents of the glass, then crawled onto the bed to wait things out.

Tom followed her to the bedroom. While he considered joining her, he had to consider what the Nanjing were telling him in his head. "The Nanjing are telling me that they are requiring assistance in order to complete the next phase in a timely manner," he told her. "I have been drinking a polyduranium mixture and the Nanjing have been applying it to my skeleton. I can already feel my limbs becoming heavier, and it is becoming more difficult to move. I think we need to head back for the Engineering lab. Ensign Rivers should be able to accelerate our conversion."

"If we can make it there within the next few minutes, then we can go. If not, I'll have to meet you there in roughly an hour when this process is over."

"It's just a turbolift ride and a short walk," Tom assured Maddy. He reached out a hand to help her up. "And since it's after midnight, we shouldn't run into anyone on the way."

Maddy accepted his hand and rose to her feet again. "Then let's make our way there. I can undergo the conversion there just as easily as I can here."

"With any luck," Tom said, leading her to the door, "it will be faster than sitting here and waiting for what little is already in our system. Come, my queen. Let us continue to enlightenment."

Maddy, who didn't let go of his hand, made her way out of their quarters, forgetting about the precious little man asleep in the spare bedroom.


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