She heard a faint and distant voice calling her name and for just a moment she couldn’t help but think of the stories she’d heard as a child of a very old and very wise man inviting her to join him in a glorious afterlife.
Then her vision cleared and she realized her mistake. She smirked despite herself when she saw Terrence Glover’s concerned face looking down at her.
“Judging by that expression, I take it you enjoy being thrown around like a ragdoll,” he said, not entirely able to hide his confusion.
She shook her head. “It’s not that. Just a silly mix-up.”
The response didn’t dispel his puzzlement and she resolved to move on quickly. The last thing she needed was to reveal that he had mistaken him, if even for a split-second, with an omnipotent being. She doubted his already massive ego would survive the additional boost. “What happened?”
“I don’t know yet. One moment your peace summit is falling apart, the next we’re all flying through the air.”
“Thanks for reminding me,” she said and aimed a displeased look at her fellow captain. “Help me up.”
He did and she immediately regretted the sudden movement. Her entire body felt as if it were on fire. She desperately wanted to hide the pain from Glover but failed as she winced noticeably.
“You’ll need to go to sickbay,” he said.
“I’ll survive,” she shot back as she finally got onto unsteady legs. She was forced to lean against the bulkhead however, at least until she could trust her aching bones again. “First I want to know what happened to my ship,” she said and surveyed the room.
Chairs and a couple of plants were littering the floor. Subcommander Rekar was sitting in a corner nursing what appeared to be a broken arm while Toreth seemed to have little interest in aiding her fellow officer.
Ket was on all four arms and legs while a security officer tried to get her back onto her feet slowly.
Hugh was kneeling next to Goval who was lying on the floor unmoving.
One of the Marines was also down, his head bleeding from a vicious forehead wound and a female security officer was hovering over him with a tricorder.
The second Marine stood close by but had his weapon out and kept his eyes on the Borg and the Romulans in case they decided to use the distraction to make a move.
Maya admired the man’s dedication to his duty but judging by the state of the people in the room, nobody was going to be able to make any kind of move any time soon.
Glover was rubbing his shoulder on which he undoubtedly had fallen.
The captain addressed the standing Marine first. “Get whoever needs medical attention to sickbay.”
The man nodded sharply.
“We’ll tend to our own, Captain,” Hugh said as he looked up from his fallen man.
“Same goes for us,” Toreth added quickly even if Rekar desperately looked as if he could have benefited from some immediate medical care.
“Suit yourself,” she said and then tried a step towards the doors. The pain shooting through her bones was not easily ignored but somehow she managed nevertheless.
Glover was right behind her and he looked ready to steady her if the need would arise. Maya was determined not to let it come to that.
Hugh and Toreth left their wounded and followed Donners.
Terrence shot both of them incredulous looks. “And where do you think you’re going? Transporter is that way,” he said, pointing at the other set of doors.
Before either could protest, Donners waved Glovers objections aside. “You may join us on the bridge,” she said and then to the security guards, “Make sure the others find their way back to the transporter room after
you have seen to our wounded.”
The two security officers and the conscious Marine quickly acknowledged.
Ket had gotten back on her slender feet and now slowly followed Donners, Glover, Toreth and Hugh out of the room.
“Report,” said Maya the moment she stepped onto the bridge. But her eyes had already drifted towards the view screen which offered at least a partial explanation of what had happened.
“By the All-Mother,” Ket muttered under her breath upon taking in the sight.
“What happened?” Hugh asked and moved closer to the screen.
Lure Mer’iab had immediately tensed upon seeing the Romulan and Borg commanders on the bridge and had a phaser clipped to his waist in seconds before offering a report. “The Borg vessel was severely damaged by an unknown energy discharge emanating from one of Iota Crucis’s moons.”
That was an understatement. The massive ship appeared to have been torn apart, literally split in half, the two pieces were now drifting aimlessly surrounded by a field of debris.
“Life signs,” Donners wanted to know, unable to tear her eyes away from the carnage on the screen.
She didn’t notice that Tess Allenby was actually sitting on the floor next to her station, holding on to a gushing wound on her temple. DeSoto was kneeling next to her, trying to treat it with a medkit.
Upon hearing the order she harshly shoved the ensign away and climbed back into her chair like the consummate professional she liked to present herself as. With one hand holding a bandage to her wound, she used the other to operate her console. “I’m reading about three-hundred life signs on the Borg ship. Many weak or fluctuating.”
Hugh had also not been able to take his eyes off what had once been his ship either. “There are over one-thousand former drones on that ship.”
“Not anymore,” said Toreth dryly. “What exactly caused this?”
Maya wasn’t crazy about the idea of a Romulan giving orders on her vessel but seeing as it would have been her next question, she let it slide.
“We didn’t have much notice before the discharge hit but according to sensors the residual energy signature is consistent with the Omega molecule,” said Daystrom who had seemingly weathered the impact in mostly one piece safe for a few bruises.
“A weapon?” asked Toreth, unable to hide her fascination.
“Were we hit?” Donners asked.
Mer’iab quickly shook his head. “The Borg vessel appeared to be the only target for now.”
Glover didn’t seem satisfied with that response. “Then you want to explain why we were knocked on our collective butts as if we went through a class nine ion storm?”
The Aurelian security officer didn’t appear to have an explanation ready for that.
“It’s probably because of that,” said DeSoto just as the screen shifted again.
The bridge fell silent as they saw what remained of one of Iota Crucis’ moons. Maya likened the image on the screen to those she had once seen of the Klingon moon Praxis being torn apart due to a mining accident some eighty years ago. Perhaps a third of the satellite appeared to remain after the majority of it had shred away and disintegrated. Its fiery red core lay bare and if the debris field around the crippled Borg ship had looked expansive, this one rivaled that of a massive asteroid belt.
“My God,” said Donners.
“According to our sensors,” began Daystrom, “the moon exploded roughly 0.23 seconds following the discharge.”
“Could this all have been an accident?” asked Ket.
“No the discharge itself,” said the science officer. “It was too precisely modulated and targeted.”
“I think we can safely assume that the following explosion was not part of their plans,” said Terrence. “They tried to weaponize Omega and blew up their own moon in the process.”
“It was a success,” said Toreth. “At least partially.”
Maya turned on the Romulan woman. “You call that a success? Thousands of Xenarth were likely killed in that along with hundreds of people on the Borg ship,” she said, her voice raising a little higher than she would have liked but the cold apathy in the Romulan woman’s voice had gotten to her.
Noticing the many angry eyes resting on her, including the hate-filled look on Hugh’s face, Toreth wisely decided to keep any further comments to herself.
“Captain, there is more,” said Daystrom. “According to my calculations the shockwave has further destabilized subspace in this system and beyond. Sensors are registering multiple tears within the EM spectrum making large pockets of the Iota Crucis system completely impassable now. I still need to analyze the data coming in but I also estimate that the subspace instability in this system has expanded by at least two light-years in every direction following the shockwave.” The science officer never looked up or stopped working at his station as he eagerly sorted and analyzed the myriad of data being picked up.
“Tears in subspace,” said Ket, her voice sounding small and weak as if she hadn’t quite come to grips yet what had happened here. “What does all that mean?”
“It means that if something like this happens again, this entire system may be wiped off the face of the galaxy along with every last thing in it,” said Glover.
Daystrom nodded absent-mindedly. “Crude analogy but essentially correct.”
“All-Mother,” the Artisan Queen mumbled.
“Your offer to assist us moving the Xenarth to a new home sounds much more appealing now,” said Toreth.
Maya restrained herself from snapping at the Romulan again. Instead she found a couple of security guards which had since entered the bridge. “Gentlemen, please escort Commander Toreth to the transporter room,” she said and shot the woman a cold glance. “I think it’s time for you to return to your vessel.”
Toreth merely nodded at the rather rude way she had been dismissed probably seeing no point in putting up a fight considering she was entirely outnumbered. She allowed the security guards to show her to the turbolift and promptly left the bridge.
“Smooth,” said Terrence with a smirk but quickly dropped it when he noticed Amaya turning her evil eye on him next and not wishing to get a similar treatment.
’s captain considered the Borg next. “Hugh, I’m sure I speak for Captain Glover as well when I say that we stand ready to assist you with any medical needs you may have.”
The former drone turned away from the screen and coldly appraise the woman. “We take care of our own,” he said and then touched a device attached to his upper arm before he shimmered out of existence in a green torrent of energy.
Donners sighed and looked at Glover who responded with a mere shrug.
Then she stepped over to her science officer. “Wayne, there were two Omega facilities in this system. What happened to the other one?”
Daystrom checked his sensors. “Iota Crucis IVb is still in tact. We are picking up increased activity from the surface,” he said and looked up. “And according to this they are in the process of ramping up Omega molecule production.”
She nodded and turned back to her fellow captain. “We’ll have to stop this happening again. Another incident and we may lose the entire system and potentially destabilize subspace throughout the quadrant.”
“What about your diplomatic solution?” he asked.
“We tried diplomacy and it didn’t work,” she shot back. “It’s time for a more aggressive approach.”