Captain Ramirez, Ensign Edgar, Lt. JG York, and Ha’Roh were soon on the bridge of the USS Rogue and Commander Freeman was in the command chair. Her face looked weak and she stood to the captain and sat in the first officer chair.
“Edgar, show Mr. Ha’Roh to the Engineering Room and let him and Seerik work on getting all power converted to the deflector dish”, Alvin said.
“All power?” Carol asked. “How will we get through the wormhole then?”
“Quantum slipstream drive”, Jerrod said, and he walked to the science station.
Carol looked around the bridge. “Where’s Dara?”
“On Felar”, Jerrod said. “Captain...does converting all power to the deflector dish include shield power? Won’t we need shields to keep us in one piece?”
“All power means all power, Lt.!” Alvin retorted. “This is risky, but it’s our only way of getting there quickly.”
Tension rose as officers rushed on and off the bridge. The Engineering department was once again chaotic with engineers scurrying around. Seerik stood at the main engineering console and Edgar and Ha’Roh walked in as the turbolift’s doors swished shut.
“Seerik”, Edgar said, “this is Ha’Roh, Executive of Felar Engineering. He’s going to be helping us get to the Delta Quadrant.”
Seerik half smiled and shook the man’s hand. “Nice to meet you.”
Edgar bowed and left the engineering room. He looked down the corridor and saw officer running and hurrying. He then wondered why Dara wanted to stay, then it was obvious to him. Edimir was her guardian and she loathed for the Felarain to die. Or maybe Dara wanted to be Head of Felar Sciences and was upset that Ha’Roh would be the one in charge. He shrugged and proceeded down the corridor.
“Sir”, said a Felarain scientist, “the quantum matrix is ready to be powered.”
Edimir looked at Dara. “But is the Rogue read to try?”
Dara tapped her communication badge. “Dara to Rogue. Is the ship ready for the wormhole?”
“Affirmative”, Seerik replied.
Dara nodded at Edimir and then looked at her black boots. Finally she came out. “Why is Ha’Roh becoming Head of Felar Sciences when he’s an engineer?”
Edimir sighed and looked into Dara’s eyes. “Dara...he’s the best damn person suited for the job.”
“But I am superior to him. I am more suited than him.”
Edimir nodded. “Yes, but you’re a Starfleet officer now. That’s your duty, not Head of Felar Sciences. I wish I didn’t have to give it up, but I do. I can tell my time is coming soon...my hair is getting short of breath everyday.”
Dara gasped. “Do not say that! You will live!”
Edimir held Dara in his arms to calm her. “Dara...we both know it’s time. I know this is difficult for you but━”
“Captain Ramirez to Lt. Dara. Please report to the Rogue immediately as we prepare to enter the Delta Quadrant.”
“Dara, I love you. You’ve been the best daughter I’ve never had”, Edimir said. He kissed her and Dara beamed onto the bridge of the USS Rogue.
Edimir was on the viewscreen. “We are now using our black hole generator in five...four...three...two...one.”
A bright beam of blue energy pounded from Felar Science Labs and into space. Gaseous clouds were formed and the cycle of a star was artificially being created. On the stage of supernova Edimir said, “Get ready to fire the resonance burst directly in the middle of the black hole. Once then, we will use the quantum matrix. Be careful...it’ll be a bumpy ride.”
The black hole was now formed and the USS Rogue converted all it’s power to the deflector dish and a resonance burst was fired. Everyone watched in amazement, especially Ha’Roh.
“Prepared for warp slipstream drive, Captain”, Lia Frost said. “Waiting for your call.”
Alvin looked around at his crew wondering if these really were the people he wanted to be staying with if they were permanently stuck in the Delta Quadrant...his answer was yes. He’d grown fond of the Romulan engineer, the Q/Human ops officer, the sassy but now reserved commander, and the growling doctor. He stood out of the command chair confidently and exclaimed, “Engage!”
Once the quantum slipstream was activated, they were breaking the warp speed barrier. Disruption pounded through the bridge and Alvin was thrown from his command chair to the front of the bridge. Carol Freeman held onto her chair but soon was thrown into the wall. Dara was lifted into the air and flipped multiple times until she hit Lia Frost at the helm and then Quiana at the operations station. Jerrod York cried out of agony as his arm had got caught into the structure of the bridge rails. A large gash formed from the the sleeveless uniform. The USS Rogue exited the wormhole.
Alvin stood weakly. “Report?”
“Damage to h-hull on decks five, six, and seven”, Dara replied.
Carol limped to her seat and sat with a thump. “Bridge to sickbay...we have a medical emergency!”
“This is Crewman Avery Brontos!”, replied a voice, “Sickbay has been damaged and our chief medical officer has....has been mutated! Apparently the wormhole affected his DNA and caused him to mutate.”
“Captain!” Jerrod shouted. “Sensors picking up an ion storm nearby.”
“Shields up! Red Alert! All hands to battle stations!” Alvin yelled.
The klaxons screamed and everyone ran to their stations. Crewman Avery Brontos ran on the bridge to Lt. JG York and began treating him.
“This is Seerik, Captain. We’re currently on emergency power, and I’m sending it all to shields.”
Alvin shook with the disruption. “Good! Lia can you stir us away from the storm?” There was no response. “Lia? Ensign Frost!”
Ensign Lia Frost lay dead on the bridge floor with her skin splitting from the top of her forehead to her chin. Blood dripped gently off her chin and onto her neck. Carol quickly ran to the helm and clicked buttons.
“Impulse engines offline, Captain”, Carol reported.
Avery took Jerrod off the bridge and onto sickbay. His relieve was Ensign Andzzi th’Danlti, an Andorian. He sat at the damage science station.
“Seerik get those damn engines online right now!” Alvin shouted. He regained his balance and reached for his command chair.
“Engines are back online, Captain”, Carol said moments later.
“Full impulse! Go!”
Sickbay was filled with patients and there were only a handful of medical officers. Alvin entered worried about the chief medical officer. He went to a biobed that held the Monchezke doctor. Alvin looked at the doctor scanning him. “Who’s the assistant chief medical officer?”
“We don’t have one”, the female doctor replied.
“Computer, activate emergency medical hologram.”
The Computer did as instructed and a Human male doctor appeared. With a neutral face he said, “Please state the nature of the medical emergency.”
Alvin looked at the doctor. “You deal with that and get Dr. Zordock ready in━”There was turbulence and everyone lost their balance and fell to the floor. “Ramirez to bridge, what the hell is going on up there?”
“That was a warp malfunction, Captain”, Seerik replied. “Warp drive is offline.”
Alvin nodded to the EMH and left sickbay. He turned tightly in the turbolift and headed for the bridge. Once on, he took the command chair. “Report.”
“We’re getting a distress signal, sir”, Crewman Elenna Marziolath stated. She was a female Trill (joined) and the relief helmsman. “From a freighter.”
The viewscreen went dark for a moment and then the setting change to a fiery room engulfed in flames. A human man stood in front of the screen coughing vigorously. “Please! To anyone out there! We need...(cough)...we need help! Our ship is under attack by━”
The message blinked off and everyone looked horrified. Alvin bit his lip and looked at his first officer whose eyes were red and watery with a long cut on her cheek. “Anyone guessing who’s attacking them?” Alvin asked loudly.
“Impossible”, Carol said. “The Borg are...were...are supposed to be defeated!”
“Their like God damn cockroaches”, Alvin spat. “No matter how many times you flush them down the toilet...they always come back up.”
Carol shook her head. “We’re not going after them are we?” Alvin nodded. “But for all we know...that message could have been...sent years ago!”
“Crewman”, Alvin sighed, “when was that signal sent.”
“Approximately three point seven minutes ago, sir.”
“Damn!” Carol shouted and sat in her seat.
Alvin sat in his. “This is Captain Ramirez to every single person on this ship...we have just received a distress signal from a freighter...and they are currently being attacked...we don’t who it is...but my guess is the Borg. We are preparing to warp to the coordinates of the freighter and help them...All hands on deck and to battle stations. Crewman, engage!”
“We will be reaching the designated coordinates in exactly five minutes, sir.” The Trill helmsman punched in some buttons on the console and swallowed.
Alexander and Betsy entered the bridge of the Rogue nervously. Alvin hadn’t seen them since the ship launched and he was sad about it. Betsy had tears in her eyes. “Alvin, I guess you were right...but how do you manage to defeat the Borg with a damaged ship?”
“I don’t intend to fight”, he replied. “I intend on━” The bridge shook and everyone fell.
“Captain we are being attacked by a Borg cube”, Dara said.
“We are the Borg. Lower your shields and surrender your ship. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Resistance is futile.”
“We’re caught in a tractor beam”, Dara said. “And the Hilton is hailing us sir...the freighter.”
“Hail the Borg”, Alvin demanded.
“Captain is there a logical reason why you are hailing them and the Hilton is taking a beating!” Dara asked.
“Damn right there is.” He stood. “Fire all weapons.”
“No damage to shields sir”, Dara said. “And they’re firing weapons now.”
The was a huge explosion and the klaxons were screaming like crazy crows. “Seerik to bridge! I’ve got a coolant leak! We need to eject the warpcore now!”
“Captain shields at forty-five percent and lowering by each hit”, Dara explained.
“Damage to decks seven and eight!” Quiana shouted.
“Shields at thirty percent!”
“Thirteen seconds until warpcore breach”, the Computer sounded.
“Hull breach on deck nine!”
The science station exploded and the Andorian officer sprung from his seat with a giant hole in his chest. “Medical emergency on the bridge!” Carol shouted as she clicked her communication badge.
“EJECT THE GOD DAMN WARPCORE BEFORE IT KILLS US!” Alvin’s eyes widen. “Wait! Eject it and aim it for the Borg cube!”
The tactical station shot spontaneous sparks and Dara’s hands were burned. She screamed in agony and hit the floor. Carol quickly took the station and looked angrily at Alvin. “The Borg are killing us!”
The warpcore shot out the Rogue and landed directly at the Borg cube causing a shockwave. The freighter twisted and turned and ended with an explosion. The Rogue’s hull had been badly breached and several officer flew out into space and their heads exploded.
“Borg cube destroyed, sir.” Dara said softly.
“Seerik to bridge...”, said the Romulan’s voice over the intercom. “I’ve lost over three hundred engineers including...Ha’Roh.”
“What?!” Dara said quickly.
“Captain”, Quiana said. “We are deeply in need of repairs.”
“Send a distress call to any ships in the Delta Quadrant”, Alvin said.
“Captain!” Carol said angrily, “who the hell would be in this quadrant!”
“Anyone I’m hoping”, he said and sat in his chair. He wished this would have been like he planned.
“What a stupid idea!” Carol shouted. “Why did you think the Borg would be negotiable?”
“Stand down commander!” Alvin said.
“No I will not stand down!” she hollered. “You are the most idiotic man I have ever met! You don’t deserve to wear that uniform, hold that rank, or command this ship!”
“Security!” Alvin sounded.
Dara looked awkwardly but nodded. She apprehended the first officer with a shrug. Counselor Edgar approached her. “As ship’s counselor, I am relieving you of duty due to emotion stress.”
“Oh go fuck yourself!” Carol retorted, and Dara pushed her into the turbolift.
“I will take her to the brig, sir”, Dara said to Alvin.
Alvin looked at the rest of the crew who were stunned with amazement. Most were wondering who would be the provisional first officer, because there wasn’t a second officer on the Rogue. They wondered if the Captain would randomly pick someone or would he pick the next highest rank.
The turbolift opened and Lt. JG Jerrod York stepped through. He held a PADD in his hand and his face was sorrow. He came straight to the Captain and said, “Betsy and Alexander are dead.”
Alvin’s face looked miserable. “How?”
Jerrod looked up and wiped tears from his arm and held his formerly cut up arm. “When there was a hull breach they were one of the hundreds who were flung into space. I’m terribly sorry, sir.” Alvin looked at Jerrod’s arm. “I lost my arm completely...now I have a prosthetic arm.”
“Sorry to hear that Lieutenant”, Alvin said.
Edgar walked over to the science officer and hugged him. Jerrod’s insides lit up like a Christmas tree. He was still attracted to the Deltan counselor, but he didn’t make it seem obvious anymore. “Let me know if you need me, Jerrod.” Edgar wiped away tears. He had grown close to the science officer now, but not romantically close, more like brotherly love. Edgar exited the bridge.
“Sickbay to bridge”, Crewman Brontos said over the intercom. “We’re trying our best to get Dr. Zordock back Captain, but with sickbay badly damaged we can hardly do anything.”
“All I ask is for you to do your best”, Alvin replied. He stood. “If you need me I’ll be in my ready room. Quiana....you have the bridge.”
Alvin left and Quiana looked scared for a moment.
Alvin looked around his officer and slumped in his seat. Everything he had done was a failure. Nearly half his crew was dead and they were stuck in the Delta Quadrant without warp power. He’d hoped that his distress call would be found by someone and that they would find the Rogue and help his crew, but now he doubted that would happened. He blamed everything on him. He considered himself the cause of their deaths.
The chimed beeped and Alvin looked at his door. “Enter.”
Edgar entered smiling slightly. “How do you feel, sir?”
“Is that supposed to be a trick question?” Alvin asked rudely.
“No sir”, the Deltan counselor replied. “I am simply doing my job. How do you feel, sir?”
“I feel like an idiot!”
“Is it because of what Commander Freeman said to you?”
“Please tell me the rest, sir.”
Alvin sighed. “Well...if you haven’t noticed half my crew is dead...including my two best friends, and it’s my fault their dead.”
Alvin looked Edgar in the eyes. “Because I was leading this mission. I invited them to come!”
“The mission was voluntarily.”
“And I’m responsible for their deaths! Maybe I don’t deserve to wear this uniform....or hold this rank...or command this vessel.”
Edgar rubbed his chin. “I’d disagree, sir. You hold that rank because of your dedication to Starfleet and proved to be able to command a ship.”
“Then why’d they give it to me? The rank?”
“They didn’t. You earned it”, Edgar said. “You should be proud, sir, and I’m not just saying that to make you feel better. I know you’re upset for your lost, but you’ve got to pull it together if we’re going to get out of here.” He still stared at him. “Your goal was to get to the Delta Quadrant in less than thirty years and we got here in a few minutes! You wanted to study the Borg’s origin, and we’re not going to do it unless you pull yourself together. The Rogue needs a Captain, and you’re the perfect one.”
“Quiana to Captain Ramirez.”
“Ramirez here. What is it Lieutenant?”
“Someone has answered our call...and they’re coming on their way to rescue us.”
“On my way!”
Carol sat down and the force field zapped. She sighed and Dara stared at her with disapproval. Carol rolled her eyes at the lieutenant because she knew what she had to do. She’d probably be demoted from defiance and removed of duty as first officer. But Carol didn’t care too much because the only thing she cared for right now was living another day to see her son. But this is what she feared; being stuck in the Delta Quadrant, the possibility of being assimilated, and never seeing her son again. In her opinion she didn’t think she deserved to be apprehended like the way she was. Of course she should have requested permission to speak, but she was sure everyone else was thinking the same thing she was saying to the Captain.
“You betrayed us”, Dara finally said.
“How so?” Carol said under her breath. “Oh you mean because I was the only one brave enough to tell the Captain the truth? Or because I was the only one caring about our safety?” Carol laughed. “You know...half those people wouldn’t have died if he’d have fought back instead of trying to negotiate.”
“He did what he thought was right”, Dara said between gritted teeth.
“He did the stupidest thing in the world”, Carol replied. “I deserve to be Captain.”
“You won’t now”, Dara said and turned around and began walking out of the brig.
“How do you know? Can your hair talk as well as breath? Medusa...”
Dara’s anger rose and boiled. She used every muscle in her body to frown at the former first officer and she quickly strutted to the holding cell and turned off the force field. She grasped the woman by her neck and threw her against the wall. Carol let out a small cry and looked up at the Felarain officer. Dara gripped Carol by the neck and choked her. Carol gasped for air, but she received none.
“Go ahead”, Carol wheezed, “kill me...and prove Felarains don’t deserve to be in Starfleet.”
Dara let her go and Carol breath deeply for the new obtainable oxygen. Dara looked down at her and left and also making sure the force field was back up.
“And who hailed us, Quiana?” Alvin asked.
“The USS Skybender, sir”, she replied. “A Galaxy-class starship under the command of.”
“Captain Albert Johnson!” said a man on the viewscreen happily. “We were sent as backup by Starfleet Command when the heard you were discovering the Borg’s origin. Starfleet was astounded to find out you got here by generating an artificial and stable wormhole, but figured you might need help from us if you’d come in contact with the Borg...I’d say we’re either right on time or a few minutes late, eh?”
“Over half my crew has died, we don’t have a warp core, and my first officer has been apprehended”, Alvin said sharply, “you tell me, Captain.”
“We have medical teams ready for treatment and engineers ready for repairs on your call”, Albert said a little less friendly.
“You may beam aboard.”