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Old July 22 2013, 10:33 AM   #16
DarKush
Rear Admiral
 
Re: Dark Territory: Staring Into The Abyss

CeJay,

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.

TLR,

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.

************************************************** ***************
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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Old July 22 2013, 08:26 PM   #17
TheLoneRedshirt
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Re: Dark Territory: Staring Into The Abyss

Again, Glover is showing a cool head in the midst of a tense situation. Nice portrayal of Sisko in his younger days with DS-9 where he tended to be more hot-headed. (Avery Brooks did a great job as Sisko IMHO.) Also liking Konall - he's every bit the Klingon warrior, yet respectful of Glover and showing he's able to respond thoughtfully as well.

Now, what the heck are these silly Borg up to?
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Old July 30 2013, 02:56 AM   #18
DarKush
Rear Admiral
 
Re: Dark Territory: Staring Into The Abyss

TLR,

Thanks again for reading. I'm glad you are enjoying how Glover is handling this, and that you like Konall as well. I'm also pleased that you like my take on Sisko. I've been concerned about getting him right, especially during this time period. I think you'll get a little bit of an answer to your question with this next passage.

************************************************** ***************

Starship Cuffe
Main Bridge

“Sensors detecting intense subspace fluctuations,” Lt. Tunepp said; his tone deeply curious.

“What’s the cause?” The captain asked quickly, his eyes darting back and forth across the screen expecting a transwarp conduit to swallow the cube at any moment.

“Still investigating,” the Rasiianian replied, displeasure now layering his curiosity. Glover glanced at Konall.

The Klingon was sitting on the edge of his seat. His eyes were narrowed, his nostrils twitching as if he smelled something foul. “My hackles have risen,” he answered Glover’s unspoken question.

Terrence’s skin tingled right before it hit. And then his thoughts were momentarily subsumed by confusion and fear as he flew through the air. Fingers hard as steel blades dug into him dragging him hard to the deck.

“Captain,” Konall’s voice was ragged with concern. “Are you well?” The first officer crouched over him.

Glover winced as he did a quick body check. He pulled him arm from the Klingon’s grip. His body ached all over and the patch of his arm throbbed from the warrior’s grasp. Terrence wondered if the man’s thick digits would be permanently indented onto his flesh.

“What happened?” Terrence said, craning his neck around. The ship pitched violently again. Glover’s head smacked painfully against Konall’s knees. Both men grunted.

Without asking Konall grabbed Glover’s arm, the other one this time, and yanked him to his feet. Though his feet were unsteady, the captain surveyed the situation. A cacophony of klaxons, sparking terminals, shouts and screams sawed through his brain.

Glover’s legs wobbled, and Konall propped him up. Terrence shook the fog forming between his ears. He narrowed his eyes, willing his brain to focus.

Pushing off from his first officer, Glover saw that Tunepp was still at his station. He glanced briefly at the empty console beside him. Terrence couldn’t worry about Ximenes’s whereabouts at the moment.

“Tunepp, what happened?” Glover said, wincing at the newly discovered soreness in his jaw.

“The subspace fluctuations…” the Rasiianian stopped as a violent cough rattled him. He leaned over, spit out a glob of dark blue blood, wiped his mouth, and continued. “They were subspace mines.”

“The infernal machines!” Konall spat.

“They led us into a minefield,” Glover stated. His ops officer mistook it for a question. He turned slowly, and Terrence saw a growing dark stain covering his chest.

“Yes sir,” Tunepp wheezed, “the Borg moved out of position only to make sure we followed them into their trap.” Glover quickly strangled the murmurings in his head that Captain Diaz would've seen the Borg's snare and avoided it. He didn't have time for second guessing. Such self-flagellation would be a luxury, if he was allowed to engage in it if his ship and crew somehow survived what was about to befall them.

“And now they are attacking!” Konall pointed. Glover followed the man’s thick finger to the cracked view screen. Through the spider web, he saw the Borg cube beginning to spin, that morbid green light within it pulsing maniacally.

“Borg vessel is powering weapons,” Tunepp said.

“Raise shields,” Glover ordered, looking behind him. His heart thudded painfully, hoping that Nyota was still at her post. He was both concerned and relieved to see his paramour leaning over her terminal. A nasty, bleeding cut ran across her forehead.

“Forward shields are at twenty percent,” she said, “and forward phaser banks are inoperative.”

“Damn,” Glover muttered. Louder, he asked, “What about torpedoes?”

“One forward launcher is still functioning,” Dryer replied.

“Get it ready to fire,” Terrence said, “and transfer any power you can to bolster the forward shielding.”

“Aye sir,” the tactical officer said, her voice trailing off as she committed herself to his orders. Glover turned back toward the main screen. The cube was whirling so fast now, the green energy winked like stars.

Konall leaned down and whispered, “Captain, Chief Hwang informed me that we’ve lost warp power and impulse engines are off line.”

So there was no running, Terrence realized. The Cuffe was going to have to slug it out with the Borg vessel. The lighting dimmed and Glover could only imagine he felt the power coursing through the circuitry of the ship to its primary hull.

“Borg vessel is firing,” Tunepp said with surprising calm. Perhaps the man had accepted his death. Terrence would go down fighting. Long green fingers stretched out from the gyrating cube.

Terrence set his jaw, ignoring the new flicker of pain. He mustered as much bravado as he could, “Commander Konall, I would find something to hold onto if I were you.”
************************************************** **************
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Old July 30 2013, 09:07 AM   #19
admiralelm11
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Re: Dark Territory: Staring Into The Abyss

I hate traps. Awesome work. I'm really loving this story.
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Old August 3 2013, 01:27 AM   #20
DarKush
Rear Admiral
 
Re: Dark Territory: Staring Into The Abyss

Thanks Admiralelm11! It's always great to hear new comments. I'm glad you are enjoying the story and hope you will continue to do so.

************************************************** ***************

Starship Cuffe
Main Bridge

Glover was a hair too late. Amidst the tumult, the ship shaking to its duranium skeleton, cables were unloosed from a cracked bulkhead above. They swung down, writhing like snakes, coiling with lethal energy. Commander Konall had been so focused on barking orders that he had been oblivious to the doom descending upon him.

Barely thinking, Terrence leapt toward the unsuspecting Klingon and electric doom. He tackled the Klingon hard, his shoulder cracking into the man’s armored side. But Glover wasn’t fast enough to prevent some of the cords from connecting.

Konall’s surprised grunt quickly morphed into short enraged scream that too quickly, and frightfully gave way to silence. The man jerked spastically for a few horrific seconds. The stench of burned hair and cooked flesh overwhelmed the captain’s nostrils, and the Klingon fell to the deck.

Glover fell on top of him, no doubt adding to the man’s pain, if he could feel anything at all. Terrence quickly rolled the insensate man over. Most of the hair on the right side of Konall’s head and been seared off. That half of his face received even worse, with part of his nose and mouth melted into his face. The captain held his nose as he gingerly touched the ragged flesh at the man’s neck.

Terrence sighed in relief. There was a pulse. It was weak, but steady. The captain didn’t know how much longer that would be, and if to prove his point, Konall’s body twitched wildly. But the man remained unconscious. He was going to need medical attention and soon.

But so was just about everyone else, Glover darkly thought as he scanned the bridge. The forward shields had crumbled shortly into the Borg assault and they had been relentless ever since, just unloading on the crippled starship.

The bridge was wrecked and Terrence didn’t want to imagine how badly the rest of the ship looked. A thin acrid film permeated the bridge, stinging his eyes, a mixture of smoke, dispelled smoke and fire suppressor residue.

The new fires breaking out were being contained with handheld extinguishers, wielded by the few crewmen still on their feet or alive.

Terrence didn’t have time to check if Nyota was among them. Instead he rushed to the unoccupied flight control terminal. He glanced down at the still form of Ensign Ximenes and silently prayed for the young man. There wasn’t time to inspect the El Aurian for injuries or a pulse.

Glover also prayed for himself before he ran his hands over the console’s smooth surface. Ensign Ximenes had been gripped in a power surge that had emanated from the innocuous looking terminal moments after the Borg had sprung their trap.

Terrence did a quick systems check and nodded approvingly. Despite the hell going on around him, it did feel good being behind the steering wheel of the ship. He felt the most comfortable at the helm. It was the closest connection he could have on a starship to actually directing it where to go. It reminded him of being in the driver’s seat of his life.

He nodded at the suffering Tunepp. Glover admired the man’s dedication. “Keep going Mr. Tunepp,” Terrence said, with surprising jauntiness. “We’re going to get out of this.”

Tunepp nodded in affirmation, but the opaque coloring of his eyes told a different story. Terrence looked back at the helm and rerouted all control to the station. He hated stealing away protection from other parts of his ship, but the Borg was directing the majority of their fire at the primary hull and the bridge had to be protected.

There was a good trembling underneath his feet and he saw several red spears of light cut a furious path, from below, towards the cube. From above, golden fire rained from the superstructure over the primary hull. It had been outfitted with a phaser bank for this mission and someone, hopefully Nyota, had been able to get it back online. All the salvos impacted; their crimson and gold clashing against the Borg’s verdant shielding.

“Direct hits,” Lt. Dryer said and Terrence was relieved to hear her, and for her voice not sounding the worse for wear. He didn’t chance a look at her. His fingers were too busy flying over the companel. With only one functional torpedo tube they needed additional firepower. What power Glover wasn’t stealing for forward shielding, he diverted to the navigational deflector. He didn’t know how helpful a punched up deflector beam would be, but he had to do all that was within his grasp to save his ship or give the Borg one hell of a final fight.

“Minimal damage to Borg vessel,” Dryer said glumly.

“We’re not down for the count yet Lieutenant,” Glover said, still not looking back. His fingers skated over the controls. A coiled, crackling blue resonance burst blazed from the deflector dish.

Without needing to be told, Dryer sent more torpedoes the cube’s way. His heart rose as he saw the Borg’s shielding beginning to crumple. It forced the drones to break off their attack as they took evasive maneuvers.

Terrence felt the smallest sense of victory that they had stanched the Borg onslaught momentarily. “If only we had some juice in our engines,” he muttered, “I want to stick these bastards to the wall.” But what he didn’t voice was that he didn’t want the Borg to simply angle behind them and slice into Cuffe’s unprotected stern.

On cue his compin coughed. Glover activated it. The only word from Hwang that he made out was impulse. He checked his console and grinned. The chief engineer had restored impulse.

“Hwang I could kiss you,” he said, prompting a curious look from Tunepp. His smile turning a bit sheepish, Glover announced, “We’ve got impulse power back.” The rest of the crew didn’t seem quite as stoked about that as he did. The situation was still pretty grim, but now that Cuffe could move their chances of survival had increased exponentially.

“Moving to counter Borg vessel,” Terrence said again. Even though he was directly controlling the ship instead of sitting back and giving orders, he felt the need to vocalize what he was doing or wanted done. A captain was a captain no matter where they sat.

Terrence felt a pang at the creaky sounds the starship made as it slowly turned to keep pace with the Borg and to protect its aft section. “Keep firing at them,” Glover ordered, “Rotating modulation for torpedoes and phasers,” Terrence said, reminding the tactical officer, more for his own benefit than for her.

“Captain,” Tunepp intruded, prompting a scowl from Terrence. He was more dreadful than annoyed this time though, at the interruption. He knew that the Raisiinian would only be interrupting him to impart bad news.

“What is it?” Glover asked, not taking his eyes off the screen and the Borg scout ship.

“I’m picking up something on long-range sensors.” The captain didn’t have to look at the man to hear the frown in his voice.

“Well, spit it out man!” Terrence snapped, his irritation now besting his trepidation.

“Two vessels have just entered the system and are on an intercept course,” the Operations Officer said, “their transponders identify them as Cardassian warships.”

“Cardassians?” That did draw Glover’s attention. The captain pinned Tunepp with a questioning stare. “Did I hear that correctly?”

“Yes sir,” Tunepp nodded, “And they are making their way here at maximum warp.”

“That’s a good thing right?” Nyota ventured, “We certainly can use the assist.” Both men shared a knowing look. Tunepp dipped his head respectfully, giving the captain the floor.

Terrence finally looked back at Lt. Dryer. The athletic young woman was standing tall at her post, though her uniform and face were heavily smudged. Terrence hoped none of the dark spots marring her natural ebon beauty were dried blood.

“With the Cardassians you never know,” he said, his words sown with hard-bitten experience. “You just never know.”
************************************************** **************
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Old August 4 2013, 02:03 AM   #21
DarKush
Rear Admiral
 
Re: Dark Territory: Staring Into The Abyss

************************************************** *************

Starship Cuffe
Main Bridge

Space boiled before them as each ship traded shots in slow dance of death. Captain Glover was surprised that the scout ship simply hadn’t used its superior speed to jump behind them and blow Cuffe to atoms.

Terrence wasn’t complaining though and he certainly wasn’t about to hail the Borg and provide that suggestion.

As he kept the ship steady, in the best position possible for Lt. Dryer to land the most striking blows she could against the enemy vessel, the captain replayed the whole battle back through his mind. There was nothing about the scout ship’s tactics that Starfleet had encountered before.

So far the Borg had not used a cutting beam to slice off sections of the ship or sent over drones to assimilate personnel. Granted the small number of drones aboard the ship might have prevented them from doing that.

It seemed like these Borg were toying with them. From what Terrence knew of Borg weaponry, the Cuffe should be slag now. Glover couldn’t fully accept that maybe the starship was still around because the scout ship’s armaments weren’t powerful enough to completely overwhelm them. Terrence just couldn’t wrap his head around that.

Just about every Borg incident had involved vessels that were drastically more powerful than their Starfleet counterparts. The scout ship surely was holding back, but for what purpose?

“Mr. Tunepp, what is the ETA for the Cardassian vessels?” Glover asked. He had only asked less than a minute ago. Tunepp took it in stride however.

“At maximum warp they will be at our location within twenty minutes,” the Rasiinian said.

“Thanks Lieutenant,” Glover replied. If Cuffe had picked up on the Cardassians’ transponders there were no doubt that the Borg had as well. Were they waiting for them? Did the Borg want to destroy both the Cuffe and the Cardassian ships before making its exit? Did it want to vaporize Cuffe in front of the Cardassians? Was the Borg intending to use Cuffe’s destruction to send a message to the Cardassians? A stark example of the futility of resistance?

Or could the Borg and Cardassians be allies? No, the captain shook his head at the preposterous thought. As far as he knew, the Borg didn’t have compatriots, only victims. It was far more likely that the Cardassians were seeking payback for Helophis.

Terrence’s ponderings were subsumed by an intense flash that almost shorted out the main viewer. Behind him, Lt. Dryer gave out a loud whoop.

Glover turned to her, afraid of what he was about to see. “What is it Lieutenant?”

“We got them sir,” Dryer said, with an unnaturally predacious grin. He swiveled back around to the main viewer. Glover stifled a gasp.

Nyota had finally punched through the cube’s shields, taking a piece of the ship containing one of its disruptor emitters with it. “Borg vessel’s shields are down,” Dryer added.

“Hit them again,” the captain ordered, “With everything we’ve got.”

“Captain,” Tunepp said, “With their shields down, I’m getting some unusual readings on the Borg ship.”

“Fire,” Glover barked, ignoring his operations officer. The deck vibrated with several large thooms as Cuffe lit into the vulnerable scout ship. Huge chunks were torn of the cubical vessel.

“All direct hits,” Dryer announced.

Glover held back the urge to do a fist pump. “Damage report,” he demanded instead.

“Sir, sensors are not picking up any warp or impulse readings,” Nyota replied.

“So they are almost as crippled as we are?” The captain asked, unable to hide the hopefulness in his voice.

“That would be affirmative sir,” Dryer answered.

“What about their weapons?” The captain next brought up.

“Not sure,” the Tactical Officer’s renewed confidence slipped, “We took out one disruptor emitter, but I can’t be sure what else the Borg might have.”

“Odd that they haven’t unloaded anything else on us,” Glover mused.

“And we can’t discount the regeneration capabilities of Borg technology,” Dryer added. Terrence nodded at that. He was surprised in fact that the Borg’s technology hadn’t regrown or adapted to the literal sticks Cuffe was throwing them.

“Perhaps we can,” Tunepp ventured.

Terrence regarded the Rasiinian. “You were saying something before Mr. Tunepp?”

“The scout ship’s shielding was distorting our sensors,” Tunepp said, “When their shields first became inoperative, I began picking up strange readings.”

“Elaborate,” Glover prodded.

“I postulate that the Borg vessel had been receiving constant subspace signals,” Tunepp said.

“The drones are part of a hive mind,” Terrence pointed out though he felt he shouldn’t have needed to. “Perhaps they are in communion with a larger vessel or even their homeworld. We don’t know how much distance Borg communications technology can cover.” The captain hoped it was the later rather than the former. Cuffe still might not survive this scrape and he would hate to take on a full-sized Borg cube.

“I don’t think that either are the case,” Tunepp paused, his eyes turning silvery, his lips pursing with consternation, more at himself than with the captain. “Perhaps I have not explained myself well enough sir.” Glover nodded in agreement. “But our fight with the Borg vessel did not start to have positive results until you used a resonance burst against them. It wasn’t so much the power of that attack, but the disruption in the subspace field surrounding the Borg cube.

“Your actions inadvertently created an interference signal that temporarily blocked their subspace transceiver. Without the instruction, the ship…for lack of a better term…didn’t know what to do.”

“Okay, I’m not following you,” Glover admitted.

“Sir, I think that ship itself is a drone, it’s being remote controlled,” Tunepp spelled it out. Terrence sat back in his seat, stunned by the revelation.

“But what about the five Borg drones our bio readings detected?” Dryer took the words out of his mouth.

The Rasiinian gingerly shifted in his chair, wincing audibly with the effort, as he addressed, “Bio readings can be falsified.”

“Yes,” Glover rubbed his chin, entertaining the possibility, “If someone can build a drone ship they can mimic Borg bio-signs.”

“Well, there’s only one way to find out,” Nyota grinned, also lifting thoughts right from the captain’s gray matter.

“Tunepp reconfigure the deflector to produce a subspace damping field,” Glover ordered. “If your theory is correct this should keep them on the mat.”

“Aye sir,” Tunepp said, beginning to transform Glover’s words into actions. Terrence glanced out the frizzing viewer at the motionless Borg vessel.

“Up for a boarding party Nyota?” He asked.

“I’m game sir,” Glover could hear the smile in her voice.

“Don’t do it Terrence,” a frayed baritone issued through a fissure in the turbolift doors. It drew everyone’s attention to the carriage. Strong brown fingers reached out, grasping the edges of the doors and pushed them outward.

Commander Sisko almost stumbled onto the bridge. His uniform was blackened by smudges and burn marks and torn in several places. One side of the man’s face was severely blistered. Dryer rushed from her post to help him, but Sisko waved her away. She glanced at Terrence, awaiting instructions and the captain nodded for her to return to her post.

Terrence’s shock had given away to anger that Sisko had disobeyed his orders, and that quickly fell to his concern about his friend’s wellbeing. The captain thought about attempting to help his old friend as well but knew that the DS9 commander would have none of it.

Sisko looked nearly dead on his feet, but he lumbered along, willing himself to stay upright.

He staggered down into the command well, his hard eyes glaring at the quiescent cube. Glover could feel the hate roiling from the man’s gaze and knew that was what was animating his friend, keeping him conscious and quite possibility, at the moment, even alive.

Stopping between Terrence and Tunepp, fighting against his injuries, gravity, and black sleep, Sisko stabbed a finger at the cube. “Destroy it now,” spite spewed out of him like lava. “Do it while we still have the chance.”

“Ben,” Glover began, not quite sure how he was going to make his friend see reason. He could only imagine that Jennifer’s face was superimposed over that cube in Sisko’s mind. “There’s something else going on here and we’ve got to find out what it is.”

“It’s a trap,” Sisko declared, “Just like before. Don’t let them lure you in. Don’t let them destroy this ship!”

Terrence eased out of his chair. He stood up and faced Sisko, looking at him in the eye. His words were careful, measured, but strongly given. “Ben, this is my ship. I give the orders here. Something has been shady about this whole affair from jump and we’re going to get to the bottom of it. We owe all who died on Helophis, Zubrin, and Ensign Gallagher nothing less.”

“Katie,” Benjamin whispered, taking a step back. His vision became less clouded as he remembered her. Moisture formed in the corners of his eyes. He wiped at them, shaking his head. “She was so young, so much to look forward to…and now she’s gone, winked out like a candle, just like Jennifer.” He lowered his head.

Terrence placed a hand on his shoulder. “Ben, we can’t give into our hatreds. I can’t relate to what you are really feeling right now, but I know this isn’t the person I know.”

Sisko’s head snapped up, the fire reignited in his eyes, “You’re right Terrence, I am not the person you once knew. What I am now, the Borg made me, and they have to pay for that.”

Glover shook his head sadly. “Ben, oh God, what have they do to you?” Tears began to form in his own eyes at the hunched, embittered figure his friend had become, quaking and malformed by his wrath.

“Captain, there is a feedback loop forming in the deflector dish,” Tunepp warned. He pushed away from his console seconds before it a blue-white crackle and the companel exploded. The force of the blast threw Sisko into Glover. Terrence latched onto the commander and kept him upright. He ignored his own pain as bits of melted plastics and tiny shards of metal pelted his face, arms, and hand.

Looking beyond Ben, the captain saw that Tunepp was on the deck, and it didn’t appear that the man would be getting back up anytime soon. “Can you stand?” He softly asked Sisko. The DS9 commander nodded. Terrence let him go.

The captain stepped around him. He bent down where Tunepp laid and checked the man’s vitals. “How is he sir?” An anxious Nyota asked.

“He’ll live,” Glover looked up, relieved. “But for the moment, it’s just us.”

“And me,” Sisko added. The commander was already ambling back to the upper deck where there were a row of unfortunately unattended terminals.

“And them,” Nyota proclaimed. Instinctively, Terrence faced the viewer. Two Cardassian warships now flanked the Borg scout ship. Both of their frames reminded him of Earth manta rays, though the Galor class cruiser dwarfed the Hideki class patrol ship.

“Cardassian vessel Prakesh is hailing sir,” Dryer informed them.

“Prakesh,” Sisko muttered, his voice coated with suspicion.

“What’s up with the Prakesh?” Glover asked, sliding behind the helm console again. He checked the status of the ship’s impulse drive. He wanted to be able to try to run if the Cardassians considered them a bigger enemy than the Borg. “You know these guys?”

Sisko paused. He swayed unsteadily beside Lt. Dryer. “Yes,” he intoned sourly.

“Put them on screen,” Glover ordered. A gray-skinned, long necked Cardassian greeted them with a smirk. His dark, hooded eyes roved over the trashed bridge, alighting with interest on Sisko.

“Benjamin, though the circumstances are less than ideal, it is a pleasure seeing you again nonetheless.”

Terrence shifted his gaze to his old friend. His look was cold enough to freeze a stellar nursery. “Gul Dukat,” he replied, his words clipped, his teeth clenched. “Why am I not surprised to see you here?”
************************************************** ***********
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Old August 4 2013, 11:02 AM   #22
DarKush
Rear Admiral
 
Re: Dark Territory: Staring Into The Abyss

************************************************** ***************

Starship Cuffe
Main Bridge

“Benjamin,” Gul Dukat’s tone was mildly chiding, “I would expect you would be a bit more grateful at the sight of your rescuers.” Sisko grunted loudly in response. Dukat chuckled, “Certainly the fabled Emissary of the Prophets appreciates the idea of a savior.”

“You are many things Dukat, but a messiah isn’t one of them,” Sisko retorted. Dukat sat back in his chair, feigning hurt.

“I guess that depends on where you’re sitting,” the Cardassian replied jauntily, “And right now you are in need of my help.”

“I’m Captain Terrence Glover, Starship Cuffe,” Glover interceded, “I am the captain of this ship and any entreaties you make, you will address them to me.”

“Ah yes,” Dukat’s gaze flicked to Glover. Terrence got the distinct impression that the still smirking Cardassian was sizing him up, “Benjamin’s roommate.”

Terrence kept his face impassive, not wanting to give Dukat the surprised expression he was digging for. He was astonished though that Dukat had studied Sisko’s history so thoroughly and perhaps his own. This guy was one to keep an eye on. “And a moderately successful record during our war,” Dukat added, his smile receding a bit.

“I’m still here, I can’t say the same for many of the ships I fought against,” On one level Terrence knew it was not the smartest thing to antagonize the Cardassians, but he couldn’t help taking the smug Dukat down a peg or two. And he wasn’t going to let the man think that he or anyone on his ship was going to beg them for help.

“Yes, you are still here, but that existence is precarious,” Dukat’s tone carried just a tint of threat, “unless we deal with our common foe.”

“So that is how you found us?” Sisko asked.

“Though it might pinch your ego I did not start out in search of you,” Dukat replied, with an exaggerated pout. “Of course I had heard about your visit to Helophis and subsequent disappearance and I prayed that you were alright. It is good to know that prayers can still be answered.” Dukat gave a pointed nod and paused, waiting for a reaction.

“Gul Dukat please continue,” Terrence groused. Inwardly he was pleased that Sisko hadn’t taken the bait.

“Ah yes, so the Vanaste and I were sent to render assistance to Zubrin colony, in return for Starfleet’s aid on Helophis. It was from your crew on Zubrin that we learned you had followed the Borg scout ship. We picked up the warp trails and laid in a pursuit course. To be honest I was expecting your ship to be mere debris by now.”

“Thanks,” Glover retorted.

“You have earned my respect Captain Glover,” Dukat added.

“Just what I’ve always wanted,” Terrence flashed a hard smile. His counterpart chuckled.

“You are the fun one I see,” Dukat beamed. “Hopefully you’ll be around the next time I visit Terok Nor. Benjamin can be so serious. He needs more cheer in his life.”

“Sirs, I hate to interrupt,” Lt. Dryer said.

“What is it Lieutenant?” Glover swiveled around in his chair, glad to have an excuse to not have to look at Dukat’s arrogant mug.

“The scout ship,” The woman frowned, “It’s charging weapons!”
************************************************** **************

Last edited by DarKush; August 5 2013 at 10:04 AM.
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Old August 4 2013, 05:55 PM   #23
CeJay
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Re: Dark Territory: Staring Into The Abyss

Well, that certainly wasn't a painless battle. But the mere fact that Cuffe survived is almost enough proof that something very odd is going on with those Borg.

And now we've got everyone's favorite Cardassian evil-doer on site as well. Dukat's presence is not going to make Glover's job any easier. But perhaps we're about to learn the truth behind what these Borg are up to and who's behind it all.
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Old August 7 2013, 08:09 PM   #24
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Re: Dark Territory: Staring Into The Abyss

Definitely a strange battle with the Borg. Glover fell to the common error of tunnel vision during battle - he was so intent on pursuit he did not realize the Borg were luring him into a trap until it was too late. Fortunately, he was able to salvage the situation (even if by chance) and level the playing field.

Gul Dukat is the wild card. If they succeed in destroying the Borg scout ship, it might provide opportunity for Dukat to attack Cuffe. Her loss could be attributed to the Borg. I'm sure the thought has crossed Glover's (and Sisko's) mind.

Lots of ways this could still go sideways!
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Old August 11 2013, 08:43 PM   #25
DarKush
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Re: Dark Territory: Staring Into The Abyss

Thanks guys,

For reading and commenting. These are very strange Borg indeed. And I think you both are astute when it comes to the Cardassians.

************************************************** **************

Starship Cuffe
Main Bridge

“Evasive maneuvers!” Glover cried, more from habit than necessity. He quickly imparted instructions through his console and the starship darted out of the way of a beam of molten disruptor energy. The Cardassian ships were a little slower on the uptake. “Dukat, get away from that cube!”

“We are taking necessary defensive measures,” Dukat shot back, his overconfidence dampened by concern. The viewer shifted from Dukat’s no longer smirking visage to the emerging battle outside.

Both Cardassian warships started to break away from the pulsing cube, but the Hideki-class patrol ship was a fraction too late. As it broke left, exposing its underside, the scout ship sliced it in half, creating a violent, blinding explosion.

Despite the main viewer’s illumination regulators, Terrence threw up a hand over his eyes. When he removed it, he saw that the Prakesh had fled, at high impulse.

Behind him, he heard a loud grunt from Sisko. Ben wasn’t surprised. Though that piqued Glover’s curiosity about how much Benjamin new about the Cardassian, he had more pressing concerns to attend to at the moment. “Ben, I need you to convert one of the aft stations to handle operations!” As he yelled out the order, Terrence couldn’t help but look down at the prone Rasiinian, crumbled at the base of his damaged terminal.

“Got it,” Sisko said.

“And I want you to pick up on Tunepp’s work developing a subspace damping field,” the captain added.

“Terrence…Captain,” the station commander balked.

“Just do it,” Terrence snapped. “We need any and every weapon we can scrounge up if we are going to defeat that ship.”

“Aye. Sir,” Sisko’s reply was clipped and cold.

Though Glover knew he didn’t need to explain himself, he wanted to make one thing clear, “Disabling that ship is more the priority than destroying it,” he declared. “This isn’t just a random incursion.”

“No, it isn’t,” Sisko’s voice had thawed just a little.

“Looks like it’s just going to be the three of us, and Chief Hwang, against the Borg,” Glover declared.

“Our odds have just increased sir,” Dryer proudly declared. “Damage control teams are reporting in. We’ve got the secondary hull phasers and torpedo launcher back.”

“Nyota, I really could kiss you,” Glover grinned at her.

“Later,” She smiled back, prompting a questioning look from Sisko. Glover shrugged and just for a nanosecond, Benjamin’s knocking chuckle reminded him of the man he used to tear down Pelios Station with. What Terrence wouldn’t give to relive one of those jaunts now.

“Those rust buckets should’ve run when they had the chance,” Dryer promised.

“Like Gul Dukat?” Terrence couldn’t help quip. Sisko chortled again, this time the sound was flavored by dark humor.
************************************************** **************

Starship Cuffe
Main Bridge


The extra weapons the damage control team had been able to reactivate were proving to be life savers. Glover threw every maneuver he remembered, even from the Academy and his time serving in the Klingon Imperial Fleet, to keep his ship from bearing the brunt of the Borg barrage.

Still the ship was taking a pounding. “Modulated dispersal pattern, Sierra,” he ordered.

“Yes sir,” Lt. Dryer crisply responded. Normally the maneuver used five photon torpedoes fired simultaneously. They would spread out mid-flight and strike at multiple angles. Unfortunately they were only working with two launchers and two phaser emitters.

Nyota’s strikes were true, but robbed of their full destructiveness. The scout ship’s shields held.

“What’s the status of the damping field?” Glover barked.

“I have completed the calculations,” Sisko said brusquely. Terrence sometimes forgot how great an engineer Benjamin was.

“When we get those shields down, be ready to activate it.” The captain said.

“Aye,” Benjamin’s reply was stiff.

The bridge rattled as the Borg returned fire.

“Minimal damage sir,” Dryer called out, without Terrence’s prompt.

“Luck might just be a lady after all tonight,” Glover quipped.

“Excuse me sir?” Dryer asked.

“Guys and Dolls. Early 20th century Earth musical,” Terrence called back, “I guess they don’t teach ballroom dancing at the Academy anymore.”

“Or maybe Lt. Dryer just wasn’t taking courses where she expected potential paramours to be,” Sisko jabbed.

“Hey, you’ve never danced until you’ve Lindy Hopped with a ten-limbed Phyllosi,” Glover replied.

“I can only guess she was all hands sir,” chimed Dryer. The trio chuckled and it surprised Glover how they could even manage such a feat while still locked in mortal combat with the Borg. But the levity was a needed stress reliever, and it reminded Terrence of what he was fighting to maintain, the lives of his crew but also their humanity or respective sentience.

Another hard shot from the Borg brought his concentration fully back onto the task at hand. “We can’t take too many more like that one,” Chief Hwang called up from Engineering. “A few more like that and we’ll lose antimatter containment.”

“Got it,” Glover called. “Where are we at with warp power?”

“Still offline,” Hwang said, not sugar coating it, “I’m doing the best I can just trying to prevent a warp core breach.”

“Do what you can to maintain full impulse,” Glover replied. “And main power, and we’ll do the rest.”

“Yes sir,” Hwang replied.

“Fire another full spread, or our best approximation,” the captain ordered. Dryer unloosed the quiver. While the beams pelted off the scout ship’s shields, Glover jerked the ship forward toward the maelstrom.

“Hold on,” he said a second too late.

“Too late for that,” Sisko groused. There was a terrible rending noise as the Cuffe’s shields slammed into the Borg vessel’s, the ships being too close for either to attack.

“What are you doing Terrence?” Sisko asked. The captain didn’t answer. With clenched teeth, he ground Cuffe’s shields into the scout ship. The Borg ship started to reverse course, but Glover kept on them.

Now unmanned consoles across the bridge sparked anew and belched smoke. “Sir, what’s the game plan?” Dryer asked. “If you keep this up you’re going to cut us in half. We can’t penetrate their shields.”

“Not yet,” Glover said. “But if we add our shielding to theirs, we can create a graviton surge that will overwhelm their shield generator.”

“Great idea, wish you had run it by me first,” Sisko admonished.

“No time Ben, sometimes you just got to roll with a great idea,” Glover riposted.

“Graviton build up occurring,” Sisko informed them. “Soon it will reach critical levels, for them and us both.”

“The feedback might not be something we can withstand,” Dryer pointed out.

“And I doubt they could either,” the captain replied. “In fact I’m counting on that.”

“I don’t follow sir,” Dryer admitted.

“Just be ready to fire secondary hull phasers and torpedoes at this location, on my mark,” Glover said, transmitting the information to the tactical officer.

“Alright sir,” Dryer said. A steady klaxon whooped and the ship’s computer droned a warning about the increased graviton buildup.

“What are you up to Terrence?” Sisko asked.

“Just monitor the Borg’s shield power distribution,” Glover ordered.

“Ah,” Sisko said after a moment. “The Borg vessel is diverting power away from their forward shielding. They are trying to prevent the graviton surge.”

“Is their shielding weak enough to punch through?” Glover asked.

“I don’t know,” Sisko answered.

“Me either,” Dryer added.

“Well, we’re just going to have to find out,” Glover declared. The computer voice had begun a sterile countdown as the klaxons blared more urgently.

“Disengaging,” Glover announced, “Now.” The ship backed off. The Borg’s shielding roiled, exposing seams. “Fire, Nyota, fire!”
************************************************** *************
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Old August 11 2013, 08:59 PM   #26
DarKush
Rear Admiral
 
Re: Dark Territory: Staring Into The Abyss

************************************************** **************

Starship Cuffe
Main Bridge

There was no way Terrence could’ve prepared himself or his remaining crew for the explosion. The second the phaser beams and torpedoes connected with the Borg’s shielding, Cuffe was torn from its position and tossed like flotsam within a turbulent sea.

Terrence had to grip the sides of his console just to stay in his seat. Terrible seconds stretched out as the ship spun out of control. Glover marshaled dizziness and a lurching stomach as his fingers flew over his console in a frenzied attempt to right the starship. It jarred to a stop, almost throwing Terrence out of his seat. Bodies lie jangled in new places among the downed cords, melted plastics, and shorn metal strewn across the bridge.

Checking his readouts to see where the scout ship was, he slowly angled the Cuffe towards it. “Damage report,” he called out.

“Primary shield generators are inoperative, structural integrity field is down, and antimatter containment field is severely impaired,” Sisko called out. Glover’s heart welled up in his throat. Had his spur of the moment action got Nyota killed, along with his best friend and the rest of his crew? He forced himself to turn around, knowing that Dryer was no longer at her post, and fearing that her corpse would be splayed across her station.

Sisko stood vigilant at the tactical terminal. His soft gaze contrasted with his hard features. “Lt. Dryer took a spill and bumped her head Terrence,” he said. “I’m no doctor but I think she’ll be okay.” Glover breathed a sigh of relief.

“Thanks,” he replied.

“Though if we attempt something like that again that’s it for all of us,” Sisko advised.

“We might not have to,” Glover said, turning back to the main viewer. The Borg vessel was listing, venting plasma.

Sisko informed him, “The Borg ship’s shields have collapsed. It’s a sitting duck.”

“Employ the damping field and hail them,” Terrence said.

“Terrence, I think we should destroy them now, why we have the chance,” Sisko recommended. From his terminal’s readouts the captain saw a damping field, represented in baleful yellow, project from the deflector dish to envelop the cube.

“We need to know who is driving that boat,” Terrence rejoined. “Now, hail them.”

“Aye sir,” Sisko said tightly.

A few silent moments passed. Glover’s eyes never left the still Borg vessel, yet they narrowed nonetheless. “Benjamin, why haven’t you opened hailing frequencies?”

“Sir,” Sisko started, and then the main screen split between a view of the Borg and an oncoming Cardassian warship. The ship was thundering toward them. Even from this distance the red eye of its forward weapons array glowed menacingly. “The Prakesh has returned.”

“I wonder who their target is, the Borg or us?” Glover pondered.
************************************************** *************

Last edited by DarKush; August 11 2013 at 10:28 PM.
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Old August 11 2013, 09:58 PM   #27
CeJay
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Re: Dark Territory: Staring Into The Abyss

I loved the banter on the bridge. Not the best time for it but it felt so natural and seamless, and it makes a certain kind of sense to try and release some of the pressure during a long brutal battle like this.

Glover's concern for Dyer is endearing but it also shows why Starfleet likely discourages starship captains to have relationships with members of their crew. It could function as a significant distraction during a critical moment. Glover keeps things together however, thanks to his unconventional thinking, in more ways that one.

I enjoyed the three-man tag team here, trying to bring the Borg ship down. It's down to two now and the danger potentially far from over now that Dukat is back in the picture.

Excellent stuff.
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Old August 11 2013, 10:32 PM   #28
DarKush
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Re: Dark Territory: Staring Into The Abyss

Thanks CeJay,

I wasn't sure about the banter but decided to just keep it. I wanted to show that the Glover-Sisko friendship was still holding though it was being severely tested and I wanted to show the easy flow of the Glover and Dryer relationship and how she easily can mix it in with the guys. Dryer was such a great character created by David Falkayn for his Sutherland series and this story gives me an opportunity to revisit her time on the Cuffe. Dave graciously allowed me to use her and to create an important part of her backstory with her shipboard romance with Glover so I wanted to build on that a little. The cautious note you raise though is a good one.

Cutting down the number of people in the story hopefully heightens the tension and it brings it back-hopefully-to Sisko and Glover.
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Old August 12 2013, 02:32 AM   #29
DarKush
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Re: Dark Territory: Staring Into The Abyss

************************************************** ***************

Starship Cuffe
Main Bridge

Glover’s breath caught painfully in his chest. “Prakesh is powering weapons.” Sisko intoned, his voice detached.

Terrence forced the trapped air up his wind pipe and through his lips. “We’re dead anyway,” he surmised. “Prepare to throw everything we have left at them.”

“Aye sir,” Benjamin said, “And Terrence…”

“I know Ben,” Glover replied, not looking back at his friend, unable to accept the man’s resignation or his own. “It sucks that this is the only mission we’ve served together on.”

“Agreed,” Sisko added.

“On my mark, let’s give these bastards Hell,” Glover commanded. He stood up as the Galor-class cruiser bore down on them, the crimson eye appearing to wink as energy ribbons coruscated across it. Terrence wanted to be on his feet, standing proudly on the deck of his starship as he met his fate. It was a short ride but at least he had made it and would die a Starfleet captain.

“Hold,” Glover told Benjamin. The man hadn’t asked to activate the ship’s weapons yet, but Terrence knew him well enough to know how Sisko thought.

He wanted the Cardassians to get in closer, so that Sisko could deliver as fatal a blow as possible.

“Prakesh is hailing us,” Sisko said a moment later. Glover glanced back at him. Both men wore perplexed expressions.

“Put them on screen,” Terrence said after a thoughtful pause.

“Why are you targeting us?” Gul Dukat demanded.

“You’re bearing down on us!” Glover shot back.

“Your sensors are off,” Dukat countered. Terrence glanced again at Sisko. His friend scowled. Was this some trick? Glover’s look inferred. Sisko gave a short shrug. The DS9 commander wasn’t sure.

“We came back to help,” Dukat declared. “Our weapons are aimed at the Borg ship.”

“Oh and I thought you were coming back to scavenge over our remains,” Glover charged. Though it was unwise to taunt a man commanding a fully functional battle cruiser, Terrence wasn’t in the mood to mince words. “Why did you turn tail and run?”

Dukat shifted his ridged jaw and his eyes receded into his bony sockets. It gave an ominous cast to his face. “I don’t retreat,” he said, his tone dangerous. “I thought the Borg ship would follow us. We are the more powerful vessel, the bigger threat. I thought our ruse would give you time to escape. Once I realized that the Borg had not chased us, we circled back.”

“Seems like you took the scenic route,” Terrence smoldered.

Dukat’s head reared back, like a serpent’s. “I see that you and Benjamin also took the same etiquette class at the Academy. Both of you could learn a thing or two about gratitude.”

“My hero,” Glover gave a grandiose bow. “Well at least you can provide backup.”

“Backup?” The gul asked. “What are you talking about?”

“I’m leading an away team onto that vessel,” Terrence said. “I think they would think less about bolting with you around.”

“I can’t allow that Captain,” Dukat declared. “We are going to destroy the Borg cube.”

“We need to find out who or what is really onboard or powering that ship,” Glover replied. “This could not be the Borg at all.”

“It certainly looks like the Borg to me,” Dukat scoffed.

“But have they acted like the Borg, at either Helophis or Zubrin?” Glover ventured, “Or even in their battles with my ship?”

“This odd behavior on the part of the Borg was observed by Starfleet in the Ohniaka system,” Dukat replied. “Who knows what affliction has befallen them, or maybe the Borg are evolving. I don’t care which. The victims of Helophis…and Zubrin must be avenged.”

“He’s right,” Sisko said quietly, his voice riven with guilt. “Dukat is right.”

Terrence tore himself away from the main screen. “Benjamin, you can’t believe that. We have a duty to find out what’s really going on here.” Sisko said nothing and his eyes were just as empty.

“Captain Glover, I think Commander Sisko understands our higher duty is to protect lives, respective to each of our nations,” Dukat said, his tone sympathetic. That enraged Glover more than the man’s reasoning.

“No, what you’re talking about is murder!” Glover charged, turning back around to face Dukat.

“I’m talking about justice!” Dukat declared, exasperated. “What is with you Starfleet officers and your high horses?”

“This isn’t a speech I’m making,” Glover said in return. “It’s a promise. If you fire on that scout ship we will fire on you.”

“Commander Sisko?” Dukat looked past Terrence.

“I’m in command!” Glover snapped. Dukat regarded a mute Sisko for a few more moments before shifting back to Glover again.

“Of course Captain Glover,” Dukat said, punctuating his words with a respectful head nod. “It seems we have reached an impasse.”

“I’m going to assemble an away team,” Terrence said. “You’re welcome to join us aboard the Borg ship.”

“That will not be possible I’m afraid,” Dukat said, glancing off the screen before communications were cut.

“What’s going on?” Glover’s head swiveled back to the tactical station. Benjamin loomed over it, even more morose.

“Prakesh is powering its forward weapons array,” Sisko said.

“Target that array Commander,” Glover snapped.

“Terrence,” Benjamin hesitated.

“Do it!”

“Prakesh is firing,” Sisko announced. “Multiple volleys.”

“Fire,” Glover ordered. Sisko’s hands palsied over the controls. He looked up at Terrence, his lips working but no sounds coming out, his face contorted by a tidal wave of emotions.

“I…can’t…”

“Damn it,” Terrence half-pleaded, half-roared, “Fire!”

Several beams tore at Prakesh, but the battle cruiser had already moved and they seared harmlessly through empty space.

There was no trace of the Borg ship. It had been completely vaporized by the Galor class cruiser.

Prakesh swung back into view. The image shifted to a solemn Dukat. “Justice has been served,” he said gravely. “I hope that the victims’ families can find some comfort in that.”

Terrence seethed. He wasn’t sure who he was angrier at: Ben or the self-righteous Cardassian. “I think its best you leave Dukat, now.”

“But don’t you need further assistance?” He asked, with mock innocence, “We could utilize our tractor beam to tow you back to Deep Space Nine.”

“You’ve ‘assisted’ us more than enough today,” Terrence spat. “And if you really don’t want to see how ungrateful I can be, I advise you to depart.”

“It is a shame Captain that you would darken this great example of cooperation between our nations,” Dukat chided gently. “I think it portends to a great future for the Federation and Cardassian Union.”

“Not one more word,” Glover threatened.

“Well at least one person on your ship understood what had to happen,” Dukat slid another needle in.

“That’s it,” Glover stomped over to the helm. He dropped down into the seat and redirected tactical controls to his terminal. He charged Cuffe’s weapons and aimed them all at the Prakesh. “You’ve got thirty seconds.”

Dukat held up his hands in a very humanlike gesture. “Okay, I can see there is no talking reason to you at the moment. Perhaps some other time?”

“Ten seconds,” Glover itched to pull the trigger.

“Some other time then,” the Cardassian gave a curt nod. The picture changed back to the Galor. Prakesh angled around quickly and was gone in a wink.

Glover sagged in his seat, the hatred boiling out of him like steam. He restored control back to the tactical station. “Commander I want a condition report as soon as possible.”

“Aye sir,” Sisko responded slowly, his uncertainty about their friendship palpable.

Glancing across his ruined bridge, Glover had more vital concerns than that. “Once we get this ship running again and the injured cared for, we’re going to talk.”
************************************************** ***************
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Old August 16 2013, 08:54 AM   #30
CeJay
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Re: Dark Territory: Staring Into The Abyss

Glover and Sisko will be having words ... serious words. I hope their friendship can survive them.
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