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USS ANGEL – BRIDGE
September 12th 2371 – 1224 FST
Dan sprinted on to the bridge and as he took the centre seat from Kat, DeSalle called out from tactical.
“Sir I have messages from both General Mendark and Lieutenant Martari.”
“Pipe them through to Commander Gray at Mission Ops and open a channel to Scorpion
As the screen switched from the view of the dock to show Chariscarpia, Dan heard Kat fielding the other incoming calls behind his left shoulder.
“Chariscarpia, I’m not quite sure how you managed that disappearing act but what the hell is going on? You need to…”
“No Captain, YOU need to act and quickly. My sensors indicate that there is a vessel within the dock that currently holds in excess of two hundred Borg drones and it is preparing to depart. The command decks of the dock still hold unassimilated personnel so I cannot fire on the station until I am in position.”
Her demeanour had changed from affable first contact to military commander in the space of seconds and Dan felt he was rapidly falling behind on the plot.
“Chariscarpia, I understand that you are trying to help but the Borg…”
“…are well known to me Captain. Trust me or do not Captain, but I assure you that I can and will deal with the Borg. There is no time for explanation, just remain clear of the Borg vessel when it emerges and maintain a clear path between the dock and the spatial rift.”
Dan was about to argue when Chariscarpia cut the channel.
coming about Sir, shields up, weapons now charged…I think.” DeSalle looked slightly abashed at his fuzzy readings. “I’m sorry Sir, we have no previous data on Scorpion
’s weapons but if the board is telling me what I think it is we’d be well advised not to get between Scorpion
and the Borg ship.”
“Damn it!” As if shocked by Dan’s sudden outburst, Angel
shook. “What was that?”
“Tractor beam from the dock Sir.” DeSalle looked directly at him. “Borg configuration.”
Dan pointed towards the screen that now showed the sickly green pulsing thread tethering them to the dock and effectively immobilising them.
“Tactical, target the emitter on the dock, full phaser spread but watch the command decks. Conn don’t fight the tractor.”
He watched as a concentrated burst of phaser fire splashed against the Borg enhanced shields of the dock but failed to penetrate to the hull.
Kat Gray had taken comms duty as DeSalle attempted to neutralise the tractor beam.
“Incoming hail from Scorpion
Chariscarpia once again appeared, this time bathed in a milky white light that gave her a shimmering halo.
“Captain, cease fire and prepare to take evasive action on my command. I believe in your co-ordinates it translates to heading 133 mark 180.”
“Even I’m not perfect Captain!”
Dan almost laughed at the half smile the line was delivered with, but nodded and hoped he wasn’t making the biggest mistake of his short captaincy.
“Conn, standby full impulse, 133 mark 180.”
“Standing by Sir.” Pharana rapidly input the heading commands and her hand hovered over the final sequence entry.
Dan nodded to Chariscarpia. “It’s in your hands.”
With a look of gratitude mixed with determination she returned his nod. “Good luck Captain. Three, two, one, now!”
Simultaneously a lance of pure white light leapt from a port on Scorpion’
s bow and knifed through the Borg shields as if they didn’t exist. The surgical precision of the shot disrupted the tractor beam and Angel dropped away at full impulse.
“Ensign, get us out to starboard. Keep us clear of the lane between the dock and the rift.” As Pharana, swung the huge vessel back up and around, Dan turned to T’Sell. “Commander, what’s the state of the rift?”
“Sensors have been monitoring it Sir. In the past two hours it has been fluctuating, though it still appears to be open.” Adjusting the sensors, she shook her head. “I cannot penetrate beyond the rift’s opening Sir.”
What the hell is she up to?
thought Dan. He didn’t like handing the reins to Chariscarpia, but having just witnessed the power she wielded he wondered what else she had up her sleeve.
By now Scorpion
had swung around with its stern facing the dock and for a moment, all was strangely quiet.
“Captain?” Kat leaned over her console to speak quietly to Dan. “Those two calls were confirmation of Borg activity on the planet. General Mendark says that his aide Captain Rousseau was one of those assimilated along with several HazTeams and Lieutenant Martari witnessed a crashed shuttle full of drones.”
Dan turned in horror. “Planetside as well?”
T’Sell chimed in from her science station. “I believe that’s where it all started Captain, after the crash.”
Dan couldn’t believe how quickly this had snowballed and right now he really didn’t want to start thinking about it.
“Let’s mark it for the after action report. Commander Gray, get the Valkyries
back up here but leave the runabouts on recovery duty. Advise General Mendark he may want to redeploy his aerospace units in case this falls apart.”
It was then that the Borg ship emerged from the dock.
September 12th 2371 – 1234 FST
In full boost from the planet’s surface, the pair of Valkyries
were at maximum power in their ascent.
“Raptor Flight this is Eyrie, new instructions from command. You are to maintain contact with Scorpion and the Borg vessel but you are to monitor only and not, repeat not, intercede unless instructed.”
Mo could only guess at what had been occurring in their absence but acknowledged the instruction. Ordering Homer to take tactical separation, she watched as he swung out to starboard giving them both manoeuvring space and better sensor coverage of whatever was going to happen next.
“So any idea at all why we’re on weapons hold here?”
Homer’s puzzled tone mirrored her own confusion.
When she’d landed after the crash of Assault Shuttle Three, she’d been expecting little in the way of survivors but when the first thing she saw was a black prosthetic limb her mind had flashed back to the hangar deck. Borg!
Sure enough, as she had drawn her phaser and scouted the periphery of the crater she found more evidence. Sprinting back to the Hildr
she’d scrambled back into the cockpit, immediately taken off and sent an encrypted transmission to both General Mendark and Angel.
“No idea at all Homer, but if that’s what the Boss wants that’s what he gets.”
Overhead, there was the brilliant white flash of what appeared to be an energy discharge, but nothing like the green blast of a Borg weapon.
“Whoa, something is occurring my man. Increase the spread to two thousand metres.”
SCORPION – NULL NODE AREA
CLOSE TO ZETHANDER
September 12th 2371 – 1236 FST
As she had detected the Borg vessel leave the dock, Chariscarpia had ensnared it with a collector beam and then attached a second and a third. She knew the Borg were strong but she was hoping that a hastily assimilated vessel may still be underpowered.
She had believed them left behind long ago in the Delta Quadrant but they were here. Still stealing. Still murdering. Her mind was in turmoil, partly fear but mainly anger. It was the Borg Collective that had forced her mission into being as they had assimilated a swathe of planets carving a path headed directly towards her home world. Escaping with her crew, they had begun the long trek to freedom never knowing for certain if the home they had known was gone forever as they maintained communications silence.
In her heart though, she knew. The Borg would not stop, they never had. Her people, the Chellantherians, had known what the Borg had wanted and why they were making a beeline for the home world. The Shomach molecule.
It was a source of intense pride when the Chellantherians eventually synthesised and stabilised the molecule. Harnessing that molecule to power a ship had taken longer still, but it had been the next successful step and the generational vessel had been born; a ship that would perform a mission lasting not just a lifetime but many lifetimes as they crossed the galaxy surveying, watching, mapping.
But then the Borg appeared drawn, it seemed, like nightwings to the bright light of the Shomach molecule. The Chellantherians were aware of the molecule’s destructive nature and when the horrors of Borg assimilation became known a final plan of action had been drawn up that would prevent others suffering the same fate.
The three remaining stable Shomach molecules that would have powered Chariscarpia’s sister ships were detonated at equidistant points from the planet creating an area over 20 light years in diameter where subspace travel became impossible. 27 Borg cubes that had been converging on the home world became trapped like flies in amber and their molecular prize destroyed. The Chellantherians, pacifists to the end, had stopped their enemy without a shot being fired.
They had heard nothing from the home world after that, but Chariscarpia knew. Home was no more. Despite that, her ingrained pacifist beliefs would not allow her to destroy the Borg here today. Instead she had formulated a plan in which the Borg threat would be removed without further loss of life, even to the Borg.
As long as it worked of course.
USS ANGEL – BRIDGE
September 12th 2371 – 1237 FST
has the Borg vessel in a tractor net Sir.”
Dan looked to the screen and saw a pure white filament connecting the Borg vessel and Scorpion. At the point where it connected to the Borg ship, it spread into a spider web pattern of pure energy. An alarm chimed at tactical and DeSalle silenced it quickly.
“Borg charging weapons Sir.”
“Monitor it Mr DeSalle, conn prepare evasive pattern gamma. T’Sell, rift status?”
“Still fluctuating Sir, aperture appears to be closing but still 80 kilometres wide.”
“Advise me of any change.” Dan turned as Kat called from Mission Ops.
“Sir, just a reminder we still have three personnel aboard Scorpion.”
Dan nodded, aware that Dixon, Asheen and Xantharik had remained aboard Scorpion gathering data.
“We’ll have to trust that Chariscarpia takes care of them for now.”
“Sir! Borg preparing to fire!”
As his eyes swung back to the screen, Dan watched in amazement as the weapons ports on the assimilated border cutter glowed green and simultaneously the white filament glowed brighter. A beam of green light sprang forth from the weapons port but before it had reached halfway towards Scorpion, it slowed and stopped before gradually fading.
“T’Sell, what happened?”
“I cannot be certain Sir, but sensors indicate that Scorpion
deployed some form of mass stasis effect. The chroniton readings are off the scale Sir, it must be using vast amounts of energy.”
Slowly but surely Scorpion
began to move, the tethered Borg vessel struggling to break free but following nevertheless. Several times the Borg attempted to fire with identical results, their shots coming nowhere near reaching Scorpion
Suddenly a green beam lanced out sideways and though Scorpion snared it once again, it managed to brush Angel’
s shields. Reduced in power as it may have been, the large vessel still reeled from the shot. Lights went out ship wide to be replaced by dull red emergency lighting seconds later.
Dan picked himself up from the floor, wishing he’d worn the harness that was now standard fitting for the command positions.
“Warp and impulse offline, shields down to 72%, no hull breaches. We still have photon torpedoes but phasers are resetting. Awaiting casualty reports Sir.”
“Mr DeSalle, what did they just hit us with?”
“Plasma weapon Sir. Scorpion
attenuated most of the strike.”
Thanks be for small mercies
thought Dan. Opening a channel to engineering Dan spoke quickly to Machilveen.
“How long until we can get impulse or warp back up Andi?”
In the background he could hear the shouts of harried engineers struggling to get the mighty starship mobile again.
“I’d love tae give ya better news Sir, but right now we’re havin’ all on to stop EPS taps rupturin’ across the board. I’m thinkin’ it’ll be thirty minutes minimum, an’ that’s bein’ optimistic.”
“Do your best. Bridge out.” Turning to DeSalle he requested a channel to Chariscarpia.
When she appeared on screen, she spoke quickly. “Captain, I have very little time to talk.”
“I realise that, but I thought you should be aware we’re out of the fight here. We have no drive capability and only torpedoes to support you if you should need it.”
“Understood Captain. I see that your fighters are monitoring the situation, if I might ask that they stand by in case I require them? I will maintain them within my protective screens.”
Dan turned to Kat and nodded as she opened a channel to Raptor Flight.
“I’m advising them now. Whatever it is you’re planning Chariscarpia, I want to thank you.”
“Thank me when it is complete Captain.”
As she nodded her antennae twitched and her eyes opened wide. Almost simultaneously, T’Sell called from Science One.
“Aperture has begun to collapse more rapidly Sir, down to 47 kilometres. I estimate it will be closed completely in fourteen minutes thirty seconds at its current rate.”
“Captain, I must go. Whatever happens, thank you also.”
Before Dan had chance to reply, the screen flashed back to the tug of war between Scorpion
and the Borg vessel.
CLOSE TO ZETHANDER
September 12th 2371 – 1242 FST
“Raptor Flight, this is Eyrie. Command requests you maintain current profile at request of Scorpion. She reports that you’ll be within her protective screens.”
Mo checked her panel and saw that Homer was now at a point on the opposite side of Scorpion
and an equal distance away.
“Raptor Flight copies. Confirm any change in rules of engagement?”
There was a pause before O’Hara replied.
“Negative Raptor Flight, you’re still on weapons hold unless directed otherwise or fired upon.”
Then why the hell are we up here like sitting ducks
“Understood, Raptor Flight standing by.” She quickly switched to her discrete frequency. “I assume you got all that Homer?”
“Yep got it all, and I suspect I’m wondering exactly the same thing you are.”
No doubt about it
thought Mo. No doubt at all.
SCORPION – NULL NODE AREA
CLOSE TO ZETHANDER
September 12th 2371 – 1243 FST
Time was now Chariscarpia’s enemy. The Borg were struggling to break free of her collector net and their power seemed to be increasing while all the time the fissure that had spewed the Borg cube into Zethander space was rapidly closing. The line between success and failure was hair thin and for the first time Chariscarpia wondered whether this might truly be the end of her mission.
Having chosen her course of action, she knew it was the right choice and if this was to be her final day then there were things she must attend to. She closed her eyes and summoned the remote that the human female had nicknamed Fido.
BORG ASSIMILATED VESSEL
CLOSE TO ZETHANDER
September 12th 2371 – 1243 FST
One of Fourteen showed no sign of anger at their current predicament. They had attempted to transport to the alien vessel but been rebuffed by a field similar to the one that had nullified their weapons.
Through the Collective he had transmitted details of this species to the Queen and awaited a reply. There was no record of them anywhere in the Collective’s memory and yet they possessed the one thing that the Borg desired most. How had they missed them?
Increase power to drive
he instructed. Already life support had been shut down and the only other systems drawing power were weapons and shields, neither of which were currently likely to avail them. He ordered that they too be taken offline and their power fed into the drive.