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Old July 22 2013, 11:33 AM   #16
Rear Admiral
Re: Dark Territory: Staring Into The Abyss


I'm glad you liked the tense scenes between Sisko and Glover. I wasn't sure about throwing him off the bridge at first. I don't want to do anything that would humiliate or take Sisko, or any of the established good guys down a peg to make any of my characters look good, but as I was playing the scene out in my imagination it just felt like something a captain would do. I also thought it would add some more drama and turmoil to their relationship and that was interesting for me to write and hopefully for you to read.


Thanks for reading and commenting. It's good to hear from you. I hope things are going well. I'm glad this story caught your interest despite Glover not being the UT captain you would most like to serve under . I had wanted to do a Borg story but since I had written that Glover wasn't at either Wolf 359 or at the Borg incursion in First Contact, it took me a while to figure where I could find a Borg event that he could fit into (plus I wanted to find one that the audience had some familiarity with to heighten the tension). Settling on "Descent", I imagined that there would have been widespread fear gripping a good swath of the Federation over the possible return of the Borg and the event wouldn't have been as localized-to me anyway- as it felt in "Descent".

And when I looked back at that 2370 time frame I realized that there was a lot of space there after my story "The Crucible" when Glover gets command and the next written adventure and Lore's Borg fit within that time frame. Further it gave me the opportunity to add a largely new cast of characters to the Cuffe. I thought this too would reinforce Glover's greenness and his issues with relating to command and a new crew. Plus I like writing new characters and for any new readers they wouldn't have to plow-if they felt the desire to-through old stories to figure out who most of these guys were.

With Konall I couldn't settle on a first officer so I thought it might be fun to use the officer exchange program again and since Glover participated in the Klingon program, I could see him wanting to pay the favor back. Konall also provides me a first officer with a limited shelf life so that maybe if I do another story in this time period he'll be off the ship.

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Starship Cuffe
Main Bridge

Captain Glover was restless. He shifted constantly in his chair, his eyes darting from the empty screen to the tense bridge over and over again. He forced himself to remain seated. It wouldn’t help his crew if he started pacing the bridge. Terrence didn’t want to make them even more anxious.

A vise squeezed his stomach and pressure built in his chest. He wanted to find the Borg, he wanted to end this. He had already rifled again through the Starfleet Tactical and Enterprise files on Borg scout ship schematics. The scout ship the Enterprise had discovered in the Argolis Cluster was crewed by only five drones. From the dimensions captured by Cuffe’s scanners, they were dealing with a similar ship. However the armaments the Big D had been able to catalogue meant little for a species that voraciously pilfered technology from other species.

He didn’t know what kind of destruction that cube was capable of unleashing. Terrence didn’t even know what kind of shielding or propulsion the blasted thing even had.
“Impulse trail has dissipated,” Tunepp said, pausing a beat, “The Borg vessel went to warp. We have the new trail.”

“Why didn’t they go to warp immediately?” Glover pondered aloud. And why the hell hadn’t they opened a transwarp conduit like the Ohniaka Borg vessel had? There was no way Cuffe would’ve been able to pursue them then. “It’s almost as if they want us to follow them.”

“I hope they do!” Commander Konall declared, pounding an armrest console. The Klingon had retaken his seat beside Terrence. “They will soon learn the folly of their arrogance! This will be a glorious hunt!”

“I hope so too,” the captain replied, with less confidence. Something wasn’t right; he could feel it in his gut. Though what course did he have but to follow them?

“Helm lay in a new course, based on the Borg ship’s warp signature,” Glover ordered.
************************************************** ****************

Starship Cuffe
Main Bridge

“Oh gods,” the gasp escaped from Ensign Ximenes lips. Glover’s eyes widened. He could only imagine that the younger man was looking at Hell incarnate. Before them loomed the Borg cube.

It had returned to normal space. It was waiting for them. Terrence sat up in his chair. Unconsciously tugging down his tunic, the captain tightly ordered, “Ready weapons.”

“Aye sir,” Lt. Dryer said crisply.

“All stop,” the captains said next and the El Aurian brought the ship to a stationary position, just within phaser range of the enemy vessel. Terrence wanted to be able to strike and dance away if the Borg responded hostilely.

“Hail them,” Glover ordered.

“Why?” Konall asked, exasperated.

“Doesn’t any of this strike you as odd behavior on the part of the Borg?” Glover asked.

“Does even the Federation know enough about Borg tactics to form a correct answer?” Konall rejoined. Terrence nodded, conceding the point.

“What we do know of their behavior as recorded by the Enterprise at System J-25 and their actions in Section 001,” the captain said. “And they don’t jibe with the Borg we’ve encountered.”

“Neither does the actions of the Borg at Ohniaka,” the Klingon pointed out.

“I’m aware of that,” Glover groused. He paused and smirked, “But I never let all the facts get in the way of a good hypothesis.” Konall guffawed at that.

“If we die today Captain,” the warrior intoned, “I will be honored to storm Sto-Vo-Kor with you by my side.”

“Let’s just hold off on the heavenly gate crashing just yet,” Glover advised. “Nyota, what’s up with the hail?”

“The ship isn’t responding,” she answered.

“Tunepp do another scan of that ship,” Glover asked.

“What’s on your mind captain?” Konall asked quietly, or what passed for surreptitiously from a Klingon.

Glover glanced at the Rasiinian ops officer before he spoke, “Maybe Tunepp was right. What if this isn’t the Borg?”

“Bah!” Konall snorted. “Who else but those petaQ would want to fly around in a garbage scow like that?!” His countenance turned more serious. “I thought their ships were operated by some kind of group mind?”

“If the Borg cobble together technology from myriad worlds it stands to reason that one of the races they stole from could operate a Borg vessel,” Ensign Kalos piped up. “Further there are several races, even within local space that have hive minds or telepathic abilities that could simulate a shared consciousness such as Betazoids, Xoxians, Talosians…”

“We get the picture Ensign,” Glover cut her off. “What are the readings Mr. Tunepp?”

He glanced back at the captain, his eyes turning scarlet. “Sir, we are picking up five life signs, all different species, but all with Borg implants.”

“That solves that,” Konall said, “Now let’s blow them apart!”

“Lt. Dryer, try them again,” Terrence said. He wanted to punish the Borg, but he also wanted to know what had happened to make them act so out of character. If he could peacefully resolve this he would do so, even if it didn’t satiate his desire for vengeance. Before Dryer replied, Terrence’s compin squawked.

“Terrence what are you waiting for?” Sisko balked, his voice thick with disbelief. Glover smothered an angry retort.

“Ben, we’ll discuss this later,” he said frostily before silencing the combadge. “Dryer, continue.”

“Terrence, captain,” Ben interrupted again. “They are right there, in our sights.”

“Commander Sisko!” Glover’s anger erupted. “Don’t interrupt me again.”

“We’ve got to hit them before they strike us!” Sisko pressed. “Attack now before it’s too late!”

“That’s it! You’re restricted to quarters,” the captain ordered.

“But Terrence,” Sisko protested.

“Don’t make me come down there myself and haul you to your quarters,” the captain threatened. “I’ve got far more important matters right now to attend to than that.”

“I…Aye,” Sisko’s voice lowered, disbelief smothered with contrition. “I apologize.”

“Ben,” Terrence lowered his voice, “We are going to get to the bottom of this, I promise.”

“I…” the station commander choked up, “I understand. I am heading to my quarters now.”

“Good,” the captain nodded, stung at the sound of resignation in his friend’s voice. “As soon as this is over we’ll talk.” This time the promise was more sympathetic.

“No response again,” Dryer finally answered.

“All right, then I’ll talk,” Glover said. He tugged sharply on his tunic. Raising his voice, he spoke resolutely into the receivers that would carry his words into subspace. He made sure his tone was steady, but seeded with malice. “Borg vessel, I am Captain Terrence Glover of the Starship Cuffe. Lower your shields, power down your weapons, and prepare to be boarded. I will not ask again.”

A green light pulsed within the silent ship. “Borg cube is powering engines,” Lt. Dryer had almost drained the relief from her voice. A scowl slashed across Konall’s face.

“The dishonorable curs are trying to run again,” He snarled.

“That’s not going to happen,” Terrence declared. “Arm weapons and prepare to fire on my mark.”

“Borg scout ship charging to full impulse,” Dryer said. The Borg ship was slowly turning from them.

“After them,” Glover said. Ximenes quickly relayed the captain’s order into action. Terrence’s stomach lurched as Cuffe shot forward.

Here we go, the captain thought.
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