Maya Donners and the rest of her team had beamed off the Nelson Mandela
, leaving it behind as a necessary sacrifice to speed and efficiency and if the Borg didn’t destroy it in their pursuit, and if they were still around to do so, they planned on recovering it later. The fate of the runabout, of course, was the last of their worries at the moment.
Amaya had beamed directly onto her bridge and both Texx and Vej were immediately on their feet when they saw their captain appear, her hair dirty and disheveled, her uniform torn in places and her body covered in scrapes and cuts. She had assured them that she was alright but that hadn’t stopped her first officer from calling Doctor Rass onto the bridge.
The main screen had been split into four rectangular sections. Glover and his bridge on the Cuffe
were displayed in the top left inset. To his right was a view of one of his cargo bays where the Omega resonance chamber had been set up and where N’Saba, Pedro Rojas and Hugh were hard at work implementing their latest plan. In the lower left quadrant was Agamemnon
’s main engineering section where Commander Chen and Daystrom were making their own preparations while to their right was the reason everybody was on edge. Two Borg cubes racing to catch up with the fleeing Starfleet ships. According to a timer underneath the imposing image, they had less than fifteen minutes until the Borg were within weapons range. They had gained a little precious time by diverting all available power to their sub-light engines but Maya already feared that it still wasn’t enough.
Within fifteen minutes they were either all dead or assimilated by the hands of the Borg, or quite possibly, wiped out of existence by collapsed subspace brought on by unleashing a seemingly unstable and uncontrollable Omega molecule powered weapon.
“Don’t these kind of ideas usually go through years of testing before anyone considers using them in a real world application?” said Vej who had been the first one to utter skepticism after learning of their upcoming plan. He had kept his voice purposefully low enough so as not to disturb the scientists and engineers hard at work on both ships.
Maya nodded sharply but didn’t look his way, instead keeping her eyes glued to the various sections on the main viewer and that unforgiving timer, counting down the seconds to the moment she had hoped against hope to avoid.
“We’ve seen the Xenarth use something similar just a few hours ago,” said Texx. “They destroyed themselves in the process but we’ve made precautions to limit the damage. Both to ourselves as well as to subspace itself,” said the first officer and doing an admirable job to sound confident and reassuring but judging by the look on the telepathic counselor’s face, he wasn’t buying the Bolian’s poise, probably seeing it for what it really was. An attempt to dispel the legitimate uncertainty among the crew.
“Right, and these are the same people who’ve studied the Omega molecule for hundreds of years longer than we have,” said DeSoto from the helm, apparently also seeing through the first officer’s words.
“Bobby,” Allenby hissed, shooting him a withering look. “Zip it.”
“In my people’s defense,” said Queen Ket who had also returned to the bridge to witness the coming showdown with the Borg. “We have only recently re-emerged from a long period during which most research into the Xendaru particle or most other technology was either frowned upon or strictly forbidden. Much knowledge has been lost to us during those dark times.”
Vej glanced at the Xenarth female. “From what I understand the Federation has also suppressed any study into Omega and for good reason. Knowledge can be a very dangerous thing. Unfortunately, a little bit of knowledge can be even worse.”
The bridge settled back into an uncomfortable silence while for the next few minutes only the voices of the busy engineers on Cuffe
could be heard as they spoke in rapid-fire dialogue which sounded almost like Klingonese to the uninitiated.
It wasn’t until Terrence Glover barked, “Report,”
with less than six minutes left on the timer that the relative silence was broken again.
“It’s not going to work,”
said Pedro Rajos almost without preamble and perhaps even sounded a little relieved at the prospect of not having to attempt to initiate a sequence of events which could destabilize subspace for light-years or worse.
“We can fire the weapon,”
said the lupine N’Saba, “but we simply have no way of controlling the resulting and uncontrolled release of Omega particles. We might end up dooming the entire sector. Maybe even the quadrant.”
Maya got onto her feet in one swift motion, her face turned into a frown, making it clear that she was not happy with that statement. “A couple of minutes ago Commander Chen suggested the use of Agamemnon
’s warp core as an energy conduit by reversing the polarity of the reaction chamber and allowing it to harmlessly channel the residual Omega molecules. Hugh agreed that this could theoretically work. Why are we not pursuing this avenue any further?” she said, making it plainly obvious, not only that she had paid very close attention to every word that had been exchanged by the engineers and the scientists on both vessels but also that she still was an engineer by trade herself.
She was greeted by blank faces initially, perhaps a little surprised by her poignant question.
Chen was the first to respond. “While this is a feasible solution to our problem on how to handle the excess Omega molecules being released by the weapon, we simply do not have the time to carry out the necessary modifications to the warp core and reactor assembly.”
The others quickly nodded in agreement.
“How much time would you need? And be precise,” she said.
There wasn’t an immediate response.
“How much time, gentlemen?” she barked
“If we get every available man on it,”
said Daystrom. “Maybe seven, eight minutes. But that’s an optimistic estimate.”
Maya glanced at the timer. Five minutes until the Borg made contact. Everybody understood that once they were in weapons range, the damage the Borg would be able to cause in their initial attack would more than likely nullify their chances to safely deploy a weapon which was already unstable in the first place.
She looked back at Daystrom and Chen. “Get started and use whoever and whatever you need to get it done in seven. I’ll get you two more minutes,” she said and immediately headed off into her ready room without saying another word to anyone.
To their credit Daystrom and Chen didn’t dally and immediately attended to what needed to be done, fully aware that time was now their second biggest enemy.
Terrence Glover stared at Texx and the remaining bridge crew on Agamemnon
with an asking expression. “Anyone want to tell me how exactly she plans on doing this?”
The empty faces made it clear that they didn’t have the slightest idea.