Remember that Lore's Borg didn't assimilate anyone either, not counting Data. Though we later learn their seemingly random attacks were really a lure for the Enterprise and Data. We'll see what the lure could be in this story.
I always had hoped there would have been a Sisko-Borg story, preferably pre-Dominion and pre-First Contact film. He never really got his comeuppance, though of course I guess he didn't need it since he had learned to move on with his life. That being said, the fanboy in me wanted to see a round two so I'm sort of living out that fantasy with this story. (I do think that First Contact could've easily inserted Sisko over Picard in the film and it could've worked nearly as well, but I have no desire to rewrite First Contact with Sisko. I also think the VOY episode "Unity" could've worked with Sisko instead of Chakotay, and just switch the venue from the Delta to the Gamma Quadrant. It also would've gotten fans salivating at the prospect of a Borg-Dominion encounter more than they already were and still are).
Thanks again for reading and commenting.
“You alright Commander?” Glover asked quietly, leaning over in his seat. Sisko, who had taken over a noticeably annoyed Konall’s chair, grimaced as he nodded. The man was veering over the edge of the chair as if was about to topple onto the floor, sweat slicking his brow. His face was pallid. The DS9 commander seemed to be holding on by sheer determination. Benjamin had insisted on coming to bridge, inveighing upon even the formidable Eaves to clear him.
The technician had at least convinced Sisko him change his uniform, opting for the style still used on the Cuffe, with the division colors prominently displayed on the torso and sleeves and not by a strip along the shoulders. The Cuffe hadn’t made the switch over yet to the newer duty uniforms.
Despite his protestations Terrence could see that the man hadn’t fully recovered, his movements stiff and laced with pain. However he wasn’t going to deny his friend the opportunity to face off against the Borg again and Terrence also didn’t want to not have the station commander close by for immediate consultation.
“I’m fine,” Sisko said. “Please continue your conversation.”
“Dr. Lage,” Terrence turned back to the main viewer. “Continue.” The bronze-hued Caldonian assistant medical officer was looking at Sisko with a practiced eye. She pursed her lips, her eyes sending a message her mouth wasn’t ready to convey.
“Captain,” the woman finally said, “There were at least a dozen fatalities before we arrived and several we were unable to prevent,” Lage paused, her face pinching with frustration. Glover felt for the young medic. There was only so much any of them could do, even with all of the miraculous technology at their disposal.
The captain hated to ask, but he knew he had to. “Doctor were any of those fatalities our delegates?”
“Yes sir, unfortunately half of the initial dozen was comprised of members of both delegations,” she replied. “The others were local officials.”
“So the Borg attack was localized?” Sisko spoke up.
“Very much so Commander,” Lage said, her eyes regarding him as if she were seeking to diagnose him. “The Borg only attacked the conference hall were the peace talks were taking place. The remaining victims were those unfortunates who were nearby the building when it was assaulted.”
Both Terrence and Ben briefly looked at each other, with nearly identical curious expressions. Glover turned back to the main screen. “Thank you for the report Dr. Lage.”
The Caldonian nodded curtly in acknowledgement, her elongated cranium made the gesture look unwieldy. “Gul Evek has already contacted us. His starship, the Vetar, will be arriving within the hour. Should we return to Cuffe once the Vetar has arrived?”
“No,” Glover shook his head. There was no need for all of his crew to die today, he thought. But he said, “It’s doubtful but the Cardassians might actually want your help. If so, render the requested aid. Plus your presence will likely comfort our delegates.”
“But sir,” Lage began delicately, “I think our skills could best be used for the likely encounter with the Borg.”
“Medics are the last thing we’ll need if we encounter the robots!” Konall scoffed from an aft console. Lage was unperturbed and Glover ignored his sour first officer.
“You are needed more there, for our own citizens and for the Cardassians as well, a sign that we care and are responsive to their needs,” Terrence said. “That could go a long way to patching up any anger or dejection caused by this attack today. The peace process is of prime importance and your being there is now a key to keeping that process going forward. We’ve got things taken care of here,” The captain promised.
Lage relented. “Understood captain.”
“If there are any new developments inform me at once,” Glover advised.
“Aye captain,” the doctor answered. Once she had signed off, Terrence shifted his gaze to his old friend.
“So the Borg were seeking to disrupt the peace talks. But why?” Glover asked.
“Perhaps they wanted both sides to blame the other,” Sisko offered, “And just weren’t anticipating a runabout being nearby to interrupt their plans.”
“Maybe,” Glover said, something squirming in his gut about the whole affair. “But with random Cardassian and Starfleet patrols in this sector of space, doesn’t that seem like too unlikely a gamble for them to take and expect it to pay off?”
“That would be if they knew there were random patrols,” Sisko replied. The man was sitting up in his chair, his face now dry, and his voice returning to its normal rich deepness. Terrence hoped this was an indication that Benjamin was finally on the mend.
“Good point,” Terrence conceded.
“Captain, commander,” Ensign Kalos gingerly interjected. After Glover gave the Vulcan permission to continue, the junior Science Officer said, “If the Borg did or not consider encountering a patrol, the result of their discovery was a likely possibility, which I conclude meant they weren’t concerned about being identified as the culprit.”
Benjamin looked askance at his old friend. “Where are you going with this Ensign?” Terrence asked.
“It is a logical summation to conclude that the attack on the peace talks could disrupt them, but it is equally logical to conclude that the opposite would occur. The attack on Helophis could unite the Federation and the Cardassian Union together through shared tragedy,” Kalos finished.
“But why would the Borg want to do that?” Konall stole the words right off Glover’s tongue. Kalos’s left eyebrow arched skyward but no answer was forthcoming.
Konall had no problem elaborating on his thoughts. “A Federation-Cardassian alliance would make it even harder for the Borg to conquer this area of space, even lay waste to it.”
“Nor would it make sense for any other power with designs or hostile intentions against either the Federation or the Union to do such a thing,” the Klingon added. Which Glover thought was deft coming from him, because the Klingons and Romulans were on the short list of powers with either beefs against the Cardassian Union or the Federation. His voicing the concern disarmed the suspicion from taking hold, or did it….
“Maybe we are looking at this all wrong,” Lt. Tunepp waded in carefully. “What if the attackers weren’t worried about uniting the Federation and Cardassian Union? What if they didn’t care, because the Borg have displayed power sufficient to topple both nations…or, they already assumed they were united?”
“Come again Mr. Tunepp?” Glover asked.
“What if this wasn’t the Borg,” the Rasiinian suggested. The room went deathly quiet. Terrence glanced at Sisko and saw a storm forming over his countenance. Unfazed, the Operations Officer continued, “What if someone was making this look like a Borg attack.”
“But why?” Glover asked, adding, “And who?”
“The Brigade,” Tunepp offered. The Cuffe had just untangled itself from a plot involving the Brigade, a faction of renegade Starfleet officers helping foment revolt against the peace process. Terrence had actually been assigned to Cuffe to determine if Sabrina Diaz, the previous commanding officer, was a Brigade member. That concern had proven false, but the mention of the recreants brought back unpleasant memories of the cruddy way Glover had ascended to the throne.
“That’s reaching don’t you think?” Glover asked, incredulous. “And it conflicts with eye witness accounts of a Borg vessel.” Unbidden Terrence looked at his old roommate.
“It was the Borg,” Sisko’s frigid pronouncement chilled Terrence. There was no equivocation, no doubt. Just absolute certainty cresting on a wave of cold fury. “That cube has haunted my dreams for years. It was no magician’s trick, no sleight-of-hand, they are back and whatever they are up to we have to do everything within our power to stop them!”
“Commander Sisko is right,” Terrence said, reaching out to clap his friend on the shoulder for support, but Sisko shrank from the gesture. The man pulled within himself, his hard eyes returning to the main viewer.
“From what we do know of these allege…new Borg they are unpredictable,” Tunepp conceded. “There has been no established pattern in their previous activity in the Ohniaka system.”
“If I may sirs,” a voice came from the upper deck. The call kept Sisko from being pulled too deeply into his memories. Both he and Glover turned around in their chairs. Tunepp did likewise.
“Go ahead Lt. Dryer,” Glover encouraged.
“I’ve been pouring over what my security detachment sent me, and when you add in Dr. Lage’s report, this was a very organized attack,” Dryer said. “There was nothing unpredictable about this. It was done with precision.”
“What does any of that matter?” Konall fumed, throwing up his hands. “So the jat’yIn hate diplomats and know how to shoot straight, so what?! It’s not going to help them when we run them down!”
Dryer paused, allowing her superior officer to vent. “Bravado aside sir,” she said coolly, “The actions on Helophis demonstrate that these Borg aren’t as feral as the ones the Enterprise encountered. There might be a method to their madness and it would behoove us to figure out what that might before we rush off into battle against them.” The Klingon snorted loudly, throwing up his hands again, and Glover exchanged a smirk with Sisko.
“You make a good point Lieutenant,” Glover said. “These Borg might not follow the standard script and keeping that in mind just might keep us alive.”