The Irrelevance Count
Seven of Nine may no longer be Borg enough to have retained her defensive shields, but she still has one very potent weapon in her armoury. The word "irrelevant".
For Seven, this one little word has many purposes. It enables her to be comprehensively dismissive if there is something that she really doesn't want to do. She uses it in order to refuse to do things, to refuse to discuss things, as a way of criticising the thoughts or actions of others. It is her buffer against the strange new world she now finds herself in, and a way of keeping herself aloof and distant from her own humanity. And if she sometimes gets a little petulant in her use of it, taking on the guise of a sulky child, that's understandable too. She was, at least at first, a somewhat unwilling recruit to the Voyager crew.
Perhaps that will change, eventually. She has already progressed from outright refusal of everything that humanity stands for, to being able to co-exist with a human crew, more or less. As she learns greater tolerance and understanding of them, she may not need to assert her differences quite so defensively. But until she learns diplomacy - and the person best capable of teaching it was Kes, who is no longer with the crew - it's fun to see just how many different contexts she can assimilate into irrelevance.
- "Do not engage us in further irrelevant discourse."
Seven doesn't like the way that the conversation is going, so she declares that it's pointless. Then she tries to change the subject.
- "Irrelevant. Your appeal to my humanity is pointless."
Chakotay tries to bring back Seven's memories of human childhood, to confuse and distract her from a course of action which would endanger the lives of the Voyager crew, and probably get them assimilated. Seven sees it as the diversionary tactic that it is although, at a different level, it is also very relevant since the crew are attempting to remind her that she is - or was - very like them once. It's a little soon to attempt an appeal to her sense of fellowship however!
- "What was her favourite colour?" -- Janeway
"Irrelevant! Take me back to the Borg!" -- Seven
Janeway asked Seven considerably more questions than just about her favourite colour, but that's the one which obviously stuck in Seven's mind since - eventually - she actually answered it. (Red, by the way.) At the time that Janeway first quizzed her about what she remembered of her pre-assimilation life as Annika Hansen however, she was incarcerated in the Brig and feeling less than co-operative.
Day Of Honor
- "Guilt is irrelevant."
Seven simply doesn't see the point when B'Elanna Torres suggests that perhaps she ought to feel a little guilt about the billions of lives that she - as part of the Borg - was responsible for destroying, or at least terminating in their original form. She was Borg, and assimilation was what the Borg did. She sees no need to apologise for it.
- "Comfort is irrelevant."
Seven is dismissive of Harry Kim's suggestion that they should put the lights down low and encourage a little more ambience in their working environment. Of course, work isn't exactly what's on Harry's mind, even if it is on Seven's.
- "Beauty is irrelevant."
Of course, as Seven is an innocent with an encyclopaedic knowledge, it doesn't take her long to figure out the lines that Harry's thinking along. He's picked the wrong person to talk romantic Ktarian moonrises with though. Seven's willingness to "explore her humanity" doesn't include romance!
- "Pleasure is irrelevant."
And the more delicate stomached amongst the Voyager crew would certainly agree with Seven on that one. However, on this particular occasion, Neelix's culinary instincts may be correct. Certainly his chadre-kab sounds considerably more appealing than the Doctor's precise measurements of polypeptides and fibrous glycogen.
- "Preparation is irrelevant."
However, since Seven has hitherto satisfied all her nutritional requirements via a quick recharge in a Borg cubicle, one form of food is much the same as another. She doesn't much care how her energy needs are met, just so long as they are, even if Neelix thinks it of vital importance whether the chadre-kab's boiled, baked, stir fried or steamed.
Year Of Hell: 2
- "It is offensive. Fortunately, taste is irrelevant."
On the other hand, it's amazing what a few weeks of real food can do for the palate. By the time that Neelix foists his Elixir of Endurance on the skeleton crew of the ship who are on the run from the Krenim, Seven has become altogether more interested in the preparation of her food. Enough so that even she has a problem with pureed ration cubes, with a few extra Talaxian spices thrown in for luck.
- "Our experience with the Mari gave us an insight into a culture we've never encountered." -- Janeway
"But that is irrelevant" -- Seven
A rather curious statement, coming from someone who was once part of a collective that assimilated anything that moved. Assimilation has to be the ultimate insight into the culture of other races!
- "What did she say, exactly?" -- Doctor
"It is irrelevant. Suffice it to say, I was correct, she was not." -- Seven
Seven tries to change the subject, and get the last word, all in one. To her frustrated audience, the Sickbay-bound Doctor, B'Elanna Torres's words are extremely relevant, since he's panting for every meagre crumb of gossip that he can scrounge from those passing his door. The Klingon linguist might be interested as well, since it's on this kind of occasion that B'Elanna usually scrapes together the few Klingon phrases that she knows and comes out with something... colourful. Not to mention picturesque!
- "I don't really like the idea of Borg technology swimming around inside me." -- Neelix
"That is irrelevant. You need the nanoprobes to live." -- Seven
Nanoprobes are relevant, apparently. Neelix's feelings of revulsion about having them inside him however, aren't - or not from the perspective of Seven's view of the world, anyway.
- "Life is irrelevant."
In one of his depressive vision quests to the Great Forest, Neelix sees a Seven who echoes all his deepest, darkest thoughts. Somewhat curiously, this stereotypical Borg version of Seven tells him the exact opposite of what the real Seven actually thinks. Life is relevant - or Neelix's life anyway - or she wouldn't have made her offer to revive him in the first place.
- "Did you ever determine who did it and why?" -- Doctor
"No. It was irrelevant." -- Seven
Seven displays a perfect example of Borg tunnel vision. If you come across something that doesn't have any obvious use to you, ignore it. Don't worry about the fact that it might come back and assimilate you some day...
Killing Game: 2
- "Logic is irrelevant."
Seven can be pretty stubborn at times. She also seems to have a far more highly developed sense of personal dignity than you'd expect of an ex-Borg. But then, she has been hanging around with Tuvok. Faced with an ultimatum - sing or die - she chooses death as the preferable alternative. When Tuvok tries to sway her with logic, she remains unmoved. As a Borg she could be pragmatic with the best of them, but this is personal.
Vis À Vis
- "Lieutenant Paris's opinion of me is irrelevant to your being in this room."
Unfortunately for him, Steth couldn't have picked anybody on the crew less suited to the blindside-them-with-flattery technique. Seven's very unlikely to stop wondering what he's up to, just because he's told her that Tom Paris thinks she's intelligent. She probably thinks that Tom Paris is irrelevant too.
The Omega Directive
- "Tell me, how many Borg were sacrificed during this experiment?" -- Janeway
"Twenty nine vessels, six hundred thousand drones, but that is irrelevant." -- Seven
To Seven the pursuit of knowledge is a worthwhile end in itself, whatever the sacrifices required in order to achieve it. Janeway, however, clearly believes that it might be a good idea to keep the pursuers of knowledge around to investigate again another day.
- "They ... were primitive and believed it was a drop of blood from their creator." -- Seven
"Fascinating" -- Janeway
"Yes, but irrelevant" -- Seven
Seven's not real big on mythology. Give her scientific data any day. Except when she's having a mystical experience watching a perfect molecule, that is.
Hope And Fear
- "This crew needs your expertise. Abandon them and you diminish their chances of getting home." -- Janeway
"Irrelevant." -- Seven
Seven turns down an opportunity to save the day - and the crew - one more time. I guess she thought she'd had her quota for the season! As it turns out that her destiny and theirs are to continue to follow the same path for the foreseeable future however, perhaps it's not as irrelevant as all that...
- "Chance is irrelevant. We will succeed."
Seven throws in her lot with the rest of the crew and endorses their decision to risk the entire ship in an attempt to run the Malon blockade and reach the vortex which is their ticket to trimming a further two years off their journey, rather than allow the Captain to stay behind alone to run interference, and destroy the shortcut after they've used it. Is her participation in a near mutiny against the Captain further evidence that the two of them can't agree on anything, or is it that she'd actually quite miss her mentor if she wasn't there?
- "Designation is irrelevant."
Seven plays tutor to the drone offspring of her nanoprobes and the Doctor's holoemitter. Busy trying to get across the concept of individuality to him, she brushes aside his demands for having his role in their collective clearly defined by the bestowal of a designation. Being a little new to this individuality thing herself, she hasn't quite got to grips with the fact that one of the things individuals tend to have is a name... Is it any wonder that she's stated a preference for being called "Seven" over "Annika"?
- "While I was linked to the Borg, I could hear their thoughts, their objectives. They are aware of my existence. They will pursue me." -- One
"Irrelevant. They will fail." -- Seven
Seven shows a touching faith in her new collective, Voyager, and seems to have decided that they're more than capable of defeating the Borg single-handedly. Of course, she was probably banking on One sticking around to help them do it...
Once Upon A Time
- "What about the search? Anything new?" -- Neelix
"Every scan reveals something new. But as yet, little of relevance." -- Seven
Never give an ex-Borg the opportunity to take something too literally. Seven is, of course, perfectly correct in pointing out to Neelix that every extra scan she makes of the caverns where the Delta Flyer has crashed shows her something new, and adds extra detail to her map of them. Of course, Neelix isn't interested in the map; he wants to know whether the Flyer itself is showing up on her scans. She does just about pick up on that interrogational nuance enough to answer that question too.
- "The Captain left me in charge during Lieutenant Torres' absence. Her feelings about me are irrelevant."
Talk about kicking a Chief Engineer when she's down! Not only has B'Elanna Torres to put up with an alien bug cuddling up to her all close and personal - all the way from the little tail wrapped lovingly around her leg to the tendrils it's wrapped lovingly around her lungs, liver and kidneys - but she also has her favourite person, Seven of Nine, running her department while she's on the sick list. Maybe Seven's right, and B'Elanna's feelings are irrelevant to her ability to do the job... but you'd have thought the less than rapturous welcome she receives from B'Elanna's staff ought to be worthy of a little more consideration.
- "Janeway was right about one thing. You are unique. It would be a shame to lose you." -- Ransom
"Your compassion is irrelevant." -- Seven
Captain Ransom may be able to overlook the suspect nature of the deeds that he and his crew do in killing creatures to fuel their swift return home, but he turns out not to have the stomach for torturing others of his own kind. Seven, naturally, cuts straight to the heart of the matter. His sympathy for her plight is very touching, but if he's going to let the torture and damage to her brain functions continue anyway, then all the pretty apologies in the world are pretty pointless, except to let him feel better about himself. And she's not so sure that he has any right to.
NOTE: Irrelevancies for seasons six and seven have not yet been tallied. I hope to get around to it as soon as I've finished migrating the Nebula from Geocities.