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Old September 17 2007, 02:37 PM   #56
Lieutenant Commander
Location: Pacific NW
Star Trek: Shepard; Recovery, Chapter 5

Alright kids, here's a section, A bit shorter, but I hope enjoyable.

USS Persepheron

If Master Chief Rexar Arthrun had been surprised when Ensign Dulak followed a crewmember into engineering shortly after the boat had gone to red alert, he showed no sign, other than perhaps a slight twitch to one antennae.

When the Ensign walked over to where he and Chief Marconi, the senior NCO who had assaulted the Cardassian less than a day before on Starbase 214, looked both squarely in the eye, and asked “Can I help?” Master Chief Rexar had smiled.

In all his years in Starfleet, the number of wet-behind-the-ears Ensigns who didn’t have to be taught when it was important to drop any issues of personality that didn’t deal directly with the task at hand were few and far between. His opinion of Dulak had gone up a notch.

The three had quickly gotten caught up in frantically helping Thompson keep the tractor beams online, and everything else was forgotten.

Then a Borg Drone materialized next to Thompson at the main tractor beam control station.

While he had more experience in Starfleet than any of the other crewmen or officers in the room, Master Chief Rexar was a little out of the loop in dealing directly with the Borg. Not that any of the others had ever seen one first hand, but when they had been receiving briefings and training on the new threat to the Federation, the Andorian Master Chief had been retired and busy gardening. More precisely, like a true engineer he had been maintaining the environmental controls of a greenhouse on Andoria, for gardeners.

As the Drone walked towards the control panel and extended it’s arm, replete with various interface junctions and rotating micromanipulators, Thompson opted to throw any chance of a covert response out the airlock. Pressing the intercom and activating all call, he announced quickly, “Intruder alert, Engineering.” He only said it once, then had the presence of mind to unceremoniously deactivate the control station.

The tractor beam station control was automatically routed to a new console by the damage control computer that maintained all current adjustments and power levels for the three hundred and twenty microseconds it took for station control transfer.

The drone stood with its arm extended, waving it about over the de-energized panel for several seconds before stepping back, and looking around.

Before the drone had the chance to choose a new course of action, Chief Marconi took the initiative briefly and charged the intruder. Attempting a simple leg tackle, the Chief did surprise the drone and managed to knock it forward a step.

For his efforts, the Borg rewarded Chief Marconi with a metallic cuff to the side of his head, which loosened the human’s grip on its legs and sent the Chief tumbling several feet across the deck, limp and apparently unconscious.

Master Chief Rexar’s opinion of Chief Marconi went down a notch, and the Chief was quickly running out of notches. In case anyone else was thinking of trying a similarly futile stunt, Rexar spoke up. “Unless someone can find a really big wrench, no more heroics people!”

Then to the Master Chief’s surprise, Dulak spoke up as well. “He’s right, until we can get some firepower down here, we need to prevent it from accessing our systems or assimilating us, but we need to do it by being an occasional annoyance, not a direct threat. Our best chance is to be subtle enough to stay out of its direct path, but still thwart its plans.”

The Master Chief nodded as Thompson moved to the newly activated control panel on the other side of engineering, staying out of the Borg’s direct line of sight.

Dulak continued. “Petty Officer Thompson, how long until we can expect a security response?”

Thompson held up five fingers outstretched.

Dulak nodded, “OK, let’s keep switching the panels as it approaches, that seemed to work, and with any luck, we should be able to keep it....”

Suddenly, behind the drone and from the opposite side of Dulak and Master Chief Rexar, a blur of motion was followed by a crunch and a shower of sparks from the drone’s head. The drone spasmed and jerked as it fell to the ground, head at an awkward angle.

Standing, holding a huge plasma-inductor spanner in one hand was a short, but extensively muscular crewman. The man had the top of his coveralls off with its sleeves tied around his waist, wearing only a tightly stretched tank top over his broad muscular chest. He had matching arms that would have, in previous centuries, been called guns. The crewman also wore a smirk as he said, “Someone ask for a wrench?” He swung the spanner against the Borg’s head once more for good measure.

Still grinning, he looked at Dulak, “That subtle enough for you?”

The Cardassian Ensign was already moving to examine the Borg, and only half heard the crewman. His “What?” was an honest question, and nothing else, but the crewman thought he was being chastised, and half came to attention, “I said, is that subtle enough for you, Sir!”

Master Chief Rexar realized Dulak was distracted by the Borg drone, and took charge. “Thompson, keep those tractor beams up. Crewman...” He looked at the tank-topped crewman, and the man was sharp enough to catch the pause, “Crewman Kellis, Master Chief.”

Rexar continued, “Crewman Kellis, It looks like you are now our security detachment. Keep that spanner handy and an eye out for more Borg.”

The Andorian wondered if the grin ever left Kellis’s face as the crewman slung the spanner over one shoulder, casually, and replied, “Yes, Master Chief.”

Then Master Chief remembered Marconi, who was still lying on the deck. As he moved to the downed man, Marconi started groaning. Looking at the Chief’s head, Rexar saw that swelling was already starting where he had been struck. There was, however, no obvious deformation, and when Marconi opened his eyes, both of his pupils contracted slightly.

“Still with us Chief? You really need to stop getting hit in the head.”

Marconi grimaced as he sat up, “Yeah, but this time it wasn’t my fault.”

Master Chief Arthrun chuckled, “Wasn’t it?” He held up a finger to forestall Chief Marconi’s protest. “Chief, I have to assume for the time being that we are going to be working with each other, that is unless you somehow manage to get yourself killed or thrown in the brig. I never thought I would have to say this to anyone with actual experience under his belt, but I suppose there is a first time for everything. I expect my people to find things less valuable than themselves to throw at intruders. That does include you, am I clear?”

Chief Marconi managed to look sheepish and in pain at the same time, “Yes, Master Chief.”

Rexar nodded, “I also expect them to use their heads for something other than battering rams. Am I clear?”

“Yes, Master Chief.”

Master Chief Arthrun stood up and offered a hand to his counseled engineer and said, “Good! Now how about checking into that deflector grid? Maybe we can keep any more surprises from popping up.”

Chief Marconi took the offered hand and hoisted himself to his feet. He wobbled a bit but kept his balance.

Dulak remained oblivious to the conversation mere feet away as he examined the inert drone. He half expected it to dematerialize when it had been incapacitated, but when it didn’t, he knelt to examine it more closely.

He actually had some difficulty placing where his unease came from. Other than the normal discomfort at being inches from one of the most dangerous enemies the Federation had faced, Dulak at first couldn’t identify his misgiving. Then it stuck him. The technology this Borg evidenced was different than the training holograms he had seen, and seemed to vary significantly from the stats he had studied in exo-engineering classes.

It was almost as if this Borg were more primitive than those the Federation had encountered previously. The various cybernetic implants seemed larger and cruder. The union between flesh and machine seemed less smooth, and in several places Dulak noticed the inflammation of rejection, something not reported on other Borg examined.

Dulak brought himself out of this introspection, realizing that they were still in the midst of a situation. Any examination would have to wait. Standing, he walked over to Thompson at the tractor beam controls.

USS Persepheron

No sooner had the Borg drone begun to materialize on the bridge than Davis reached under his console. His hand came up empty and he cursed, “Damn,” as the drone finished materializing.

Instead of attempting to interface with any control systems, this drone walked straight over to Petty officer Shelton, who was still monitoring communications and grabbed her by the hair, pulling her head sideways.

With it’s cybernetic forearm held to her neck, a narrow yet strangely rigid cylinder pistoned out and back, leaving a bloody hole in Shelton’s neck. The half-centimeter hole started gushing arterial blood, but was staunched by some kind of thick spray that emanated from another cylinder and quickly congealed.

The drone released Shelton, and stepped towards Davis, who was seated at the next console.

Ridgeway had had enough. Actually he had had enough as soon as the Borg appeared, but had spent several futile seconds looking for something to hurl at the drone. Nothing obvious presented itself and not seeing any other course of action, he acted a bit impulsively.

A handle, identical to the one where he stood, projected from the overhead between where he stood and the drone. Ridgeway took two quick steps and launched himself into the air, grabbing the suspended handle with both hands as he brought his feet up far enough to clear the console previously occupied by Petty Officer Shelton. His feet slammed into the Borg directly between it’s shoulders and it fell forward, tumbling over the control panel and one full revolution before stopping in a seated position, legs straight out to it’s front.

Ridgeway grunted as he neglected to lift his legs back up on the return swing and both of his calves hit the front side of the console full force. He somehow managed to retain his grip on the handle and then safely drop to a seated position atop the console.

Adrenaline allowed him to hop off the console and walk, despite a severe cramp in each calf, but he was anything but graceful as he lumbered toward the seated Borg.

Captain O’Connell darted past Ridgeway with a hypo-spray in one hand. It was her turn as she held the device against the Borg’s neck and activated it with a hiss.

The drone convulsed once in a very humanlike manner and fell to its side.

O’Connell turned towards Ridgeway and stopped his lurching progress with a gentle hand to his chest. “That should give us a few minutes as its nannites repair the nerve damage. You should sit down Commander.”

Ridgeway made as if to shrug off the doctors advice, but took only one step before his adrenaline wore off enough for the full and painful effect of his leg cramps to reach his brain. He leaned awkwardly against the control console. “OK Doc, you were right.”

O’Connell pulled out a tricorder in bio-scanner mode, but instead of attending to Ridgeway she quickly moved to where Petty Officer Shelton lay on the deck, unmoving.

Running the scanner over the injured crewmember, Doctor O’Connell let out a stunned exclamation, “Well, if that isn’t something!” She took a plasma scalpel out of her bag and held it against Shelton’s neck, activating it quickly and then just as quickly turning it off. The device left a small cauterized wound next to the original Borg incision.

O’Connell then scanned the woman again with her tricorder, took a different hypospray from her medical pouch and adjusted it before pressing it to the woman’s neck. It hissed and almost instantly, Petty Officer Shelton started awake. “What? Where am I?”

Then a look of terror crossed Shelton’s face as she asked, “Am I turning into a Borg?”

O’Connell smiled and shook her head, “I don’t know what happened Dearie, but the only thing that Borg put into you was a tracking beacon, which I neutralized. I didn’t detect any nannites at all, and since you are not already turning into a Borg, I think it’s safe to say that you won’t be.”

Ridgeway spoke, “Doctor, I don’t think that Borg is waking up anytime soon.”

O’Connell looked quickly towards the drone. It was lying in exactly the same position as before, but its eyes were open and glassy. None of the cybernetic implants were moving and all power seemed extinguished.

The Marine Captain was puzzled and she shrugged. She walked over and scanned the drone with her tricorder. Then, almost awkwardly she reached over and felt for a carotid pulse. Finding none, she shook her head.

“I think you are right Commander, but you shouldn’t be. I only gave it a hundred units of Dermapentazine. It’s a class II neuro-toxin used in micro doses for cosmetic purposes. It should have been neutralized by the drone’s nannites...”

O’Connell scanned the drone again with her tricorder. “Except this drone doesn’t have any nannites.”

DULAK (AKA E. Patrick Dorris)
United Trek Author (Star Trek Shepard series)
and writer of the John Smith, World Jumper at
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