Nelson Mandela, 2372
The plan to stay behind and get a chance to rescue her marooned away team had gone right out of the airlock. The stakes were no longer roughly fifty crewmembers surrounded by enemy forces, the moment those two Borg cubes had showed up out of seemingly nowhere, it had become every last person on Agamemnon
, perhaps even every last crewmember on Cuffe
as well. Not to mention what kind of destruction the Borg would be able to unleash on the galaxy would they be able to get their assimilated hands on the Omega molecule.
had immediately altered course to head for the black hole in hopes to reach it before the Borg had a chance to catch up and Agamemnon
was not far behind. Donners had decided to forgo the by-the-book docking maneuver and instead asked for a much riskier high-impulse landing in order to avoid the precious minutes it would take to carry out a more traditional docking maneuver. Timing had now become absolutely essential and any second was now a valuable commodity.
She had left the details of arranging the landing to Star-Wanderer while she remained in conference with her fellow starship captain who simply could no longer hide those worry lines now crossing his face.
“We’ve run the number three times already,”
Glover said who, perhaps for the first time since Maya had known the man with the infamous iron resolve, sounded almost defeated by the circumstances who had presented themselves. “We’re simply not going to make it. These cubes are travelling at far higher rate of sub-light speed than we can match. We’re already pushing our impulse engines to the absolute maximum and they are still gaining on us. We’ll be intercepted about eight minutes before we reach the black hole.”
has to hold them off,” she said firmly. “Buy you guys the time you need.”
Glover shook his head. “I appreciate the offer but that’s a suicide mission.”
“I’m well aware of that,” she said. “But what choice do we have? If the Borg manage to catch up with you and secure the Omega molecule, we all lose.”
“Maya, I’ve spent a lot of time studying the Borg. One cube is bad enough but going up against two in a single ship, you won’t even make a dent.”
She offered a little lopsided grin. “Don’t underestimate Agamemnon
But his face remained grim. “I’m not. I’m really not. Maybe you could keep one cube occupied for a few minutes but the other one will simply keep coming. Hell, considering how bad the Borg want this thing they might as well barrel right through you and it won’t slow them down much. Tell her, Hugh.”
The former Borg drone stood near Donners and when Glover made eye contact with the young man, he offered an almost mechanical nod. “He is correct. Your vessels have insufficient firepower to be able to delay them. In fact they may even ignore you completely as they won’t see it as a significant threat considering the high reward of obtaining Particle 010.”
“Damn it, there has to be something we can do?” she said, clearly frustrated by their lack of suggestions other than talking her out of her own.
Terrence Glover picked the worst time to—for the first time in his life—not to have any words to offer.
“There is an alternative you have not yet considered,” Hugh said. “Turn both your ships around and fight.”
Maya shot the former drone an incredulous look. “You just said we wouldn’t stand a chance. That we have insufficient firepower.”
“That is correct,” he said and then looked straight at Glover. “However you have on board your ship all the power you need to be able to destroy both cubes.”
It was Wayne Daystrom, also hovering around Donners, who was the first to make the connection. “The Omega molecule.?”
“You cannot be serious,” Maya said. “You want us to weaponize Omega? Out of the question.”
“You have seen what it has done to my own ship when the Xenarth used it with a similar purpose. It will stop the Borg,” Hugh said.
Maya still shook her head. “And they destroyed their moon, not to mention destabilized subspace in this sector so much, it barely hangs by a thread now. Another release of Omega energy and the fabric of space keeping this system together may collapse completely.”
“Besides, we have less than ten minutes before the Borg catch up to us,”
said Glover who sounded skeptical of this plan himself. “How do you expect us to make the required modifications in that time?”
Daystrom stood suddenly. “It’s possible,” he said, pacing for a moment before looking up again. “It would probably blow out every single relay on Cuffe
but if we were to tie in that resonance chamber into the EPS relay we could channel some of the Omega-generated power right into the main deflector for one incredibly effective energy discharge. If you shut down the warp engines and dump all your anti-matter, you might even survive the outcome.”
“Wait a second, I cannot believe we are considering this,” said Donners as she regarded first her science officer and then Glover. “Putting aside for the moment the fact that this is in complete and utter violation of the Omega Directive, we’re also talking about purposefully destabilizing subspace in this sector.”
“Perhaps not,” said Hugh. “I don’t believe the Xenarth understood the side-effects of 010 when they first attempted to weaponize it and therefore took little to no precautions. The concern is that the excessive energy and radiation created as a byproduct of releasing Omega particles is likely to cause irreparable damage to subspace. There are theoretical ways in which to lessen this danger.”
“We need a secondary outlet,” Daystrom said, clearly in his element now and thinking along the same lines as the liberated Borg.
“And we have one. Agamemnon
Hugh offered a nod. “That could indeed work.”
“Slow down,” Donner said. “What does that mean, an outlet?”
The science officer turned to his captain. “Think of it like a huge lighting rod. What ever radiation or harmful energy the release of the particles will created, Agamemnon
will catch and defuse it.”
She began to shake her head but Daystrom was not done. “The dangers to ship and crew, I believe, would be minimal. The shields and hull will protect the crew from the radiation and again, if we take the right precautions, other than damaging power relays, Agamemnon
has a good chance to survive this.”
But Maya did not look convinced at all.
“Time is running out,”
said Glover on the screen, “and it’s the best idea I’ve heard so far. I say we give this a shot. The alternative may as well be to surrender Omega to the Borg and I think we can all agree that we’d rather sacrifice both our ships, perhaps even this system, before that happens.”
Maya couldn’t argue with that even if she absolutely hated the idea. Since being made aware of the existence of the Omega molecule she had come to realize what an incredible dangerous substances this was and how people in the past, including the Xenarth, had believed to be able to control it with disastrous consequences. The Federation’s foremost molecular scientists had once thought they’d be able to bend Omega to their will and no doubt they hade sounded just as excited and sure of themselves as Daystrom and Hugh did now. And yet they were no longer around to talk about the mistakes they had made.
“If we wish to proceed with this plan, we have to commence now,” Hugh said. “There is much work to be done and I am not certain we will have enough time.”
Daystrom nodded. “Captain, with your permission I’ll beam directly to Agamemnon
and work with Commander Chen to start making the modifications.”
“I suggest I beam over to Cuffe
to support their engineers there,” said Hugh.
For a moment everyone was looking at Donners who was the only one who hadn’t yet spoken and whose agreement was key to get their risky plan underway.
She nodded her head so slightly it was almost not perceivable at all. “Get started.”
Hugh and Daystrom wasted no time and headed for the runabout’s transporter to beam themselves were they had to be.
Maya glanced back at Cuffe’s
captain. “If we pull this off and it works,” she said, “that court martial I was talking to you about, we’re both going to be the main attraction.”
He offered a wry smile in response. “On the flipside, if it doesn’t work, we won’t by needing to worry about anything like that ever again.”