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Old April 11 2010, 06:39 PM   #481
kes7
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Re: Star Trek: Tesseract

Thanks, Gibraltar! Yeah, stuff happened pretty quickly there, and while Icheb's trick gave them an edge, Adele surprised even herself with that little move. I can imagine the rumor mill will be working overtime ... at least it gives the crew something to talk about besides ill-advised romances or potential romances between various officers, hehe.


We'll see what happens with the situation in the brig ... it's a mystery and a mess and a lot of people will probably get the finger pointed at them before anyone has a clue who really did it.


Thanks for the review and the compliments ... more to come, hopefully very soon!
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Old April 20 2010, 10:03 PM   #482
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Re: Star Trek: Tesseract

Had to read this twice to figure out what happened - I'd make a terrible security officer!

Speaking of security officers I like that Ryzal is so single-minded. It reinforces his saurian aspect and it seems like you'd want someone who is always trying to stay ahead of trouble!

Been swamped at work and unable to do much more than duck in and out and play in the five word thingys. A great chapter and now I wish I'd waited longer - it'll be hard waiting for another chapter!
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Old April 21 2010, 01:06 AM   #483
kes7
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Re: Star Trek: Tesseract

You won't have to wait long. The conclusion of part one should be up tonight. Like, within the hour. Two chapters for the price of one, even. Thanks for the comment!

ETA: I'm warning you now, this is more of a season finale than the end of a novel ... so I hope you (and by "you" I mean "all of you," not *just* oldstredshrtevr, will tune in for Part Two when it starts up in a few weeks.
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Old April 21 2010, 01:38 AM   #484
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Re: Star Trek: Tesseract

CHAPTER FIFTY-ONE

USS Tesseract – Brig

Adele entered the literal and emotional chaos of the brig with trepidation, accompanied by two young security guards and carrying a sidearm of her own fastened to her jumpsuit. With raised eyebrows, she took in the sight of the unconscious Ensign Dean being tended to by the CMO and two medics, two lifeless Borg drones, and her chief tactical officer leveling a phaser rifle at her exec. It was then that she saw the small crowd of people standing behind Icheb, an odd mix of Borg drones and other species, including two Tyndorans.

“What, exactly, is going on here?” she demanded of Ryzal.

Ryzal gestured toward Icheb. “When I entered the brig, he was holding that rifle. Ensign Dean was unconscious and the commander had the weapon trained on those Borg,” he explained, pointing to the two unmoving drones. Adele looked to Icheb for an explanation.

“Permission to speak freely, Captain?” Icheb requested from behind his containment field.

“By all means,” Adele said, motioning to Ryzal to lower his weapon. The Saurian grudgingly complied, but kept a scrutinizing eye on his ex-Borg superior officer.

“All three were in this condition when you beamed us here,” he explained. “I picked up the rifle to attempt to gain control of the situation until I could activate a force field around the Resistance Borg. You should be able to check the security logs to confirm that.” Adele nodded at Ryzal, and he quickly complied.

“What is the condition of those drones?” Adele asked Icheb.

“Malik believes they are dead. I did not have a chance to confirm that before Ryzal arrived.”

Adele frowned. “Malik?” she asked, glancing at the Resistance and cocking an eyebrow.

“I am Malik,” the drone she recognized from their previous discussions over subspace informed her.

Adele looked him up and down and tried to keep her apprehension from showing. “Nice to finally meet you in person,” she lied. She looked down at Julian Bashir, kneeling next to Matthew Dean. “Is he all right?” she asked.

“He’s been drugged,” Julian replied with a troubled expression. “Kayolane. He’ll be out for hours.”

“Can you wake him?” she asked.

“Your officer’s condition is irrelevant,” Malik interrupted. “You brought us here because you wanted to talk.”

“We will talk,” Adele replied coolly, turning to face him. “On my terms.” She turned to Ryzal. “See that they’re put in separate cells. Same protocol as we used on the Borg. Stay here with them, call for backup, and stay alert.” Pausing, she walked up to Icheb. “Are you all right?” she asked him.

“Yes, sir,” he said, nodding.

“Good,” she replied, “because you’ve got an awful lot of explaining to do. Come on, let’s get you and Mr. Malik to sickbay and check you both out.” Icheb nodded, and Adele moved to deactivate the force field, but before she reached the controls, Ryzal spoke up from behind her.

“Captain?” She turned to face him. “The security logs for this chamber are missing.”

Adele tensed at the news. She knew she should have seen that coming. “Of course they are,” she muttered quietly. “Can you recover them?”

“Unknown,” Ryzal replied, frowning at his display.

Adele sighed. “Very well. We’ll deal with that later. In the meantime, just keep this area secured and try to find out what happened to those drones.”

“Understood,” Ryzal said with a short nod.

Adele turned back to Icheb, gave him a wary look, and without another word, deactivated the forcefield Ryzal had put up around him. As she did, Icheb noticed she kept one hand very close to her weapon.

*****

USS Tesseract -- Office of Admiral Shane Beckley

Admiral Beckley looked at the tactical alert that had just filtered into his datastream. Someone -- someone not him -- had made a decision. The drones were dead. He wondered who had done it, and why. It couldn’t have been Bashir – the idealistic Doctor wouldn’t, no matter what the Section might want. There had to be someone else.

He himself had been looking forward to the intelligence the young chief engineer might have been able to extract from their cortical arrays. He supposed it might not be too late for that, but it was still a shame. They had been more useful alive than dead. However, unless something had happened that he didn’t know about yet, there was still one left in sickbay, plus several resistance drones and the executive officer. There was no shortage of active Borg technology on board for them to take advantage of if they decided they needed it.

He checked the chronometer on his desk display. Soon, he would meet the Borg Resistance face-to-face. The irony of their chosen designation was not lost on him, and with a cynical smirk, he thought to himself, I guess someone forgot to tell them that resistance is futile.

*****

USS Tesseract -- Sickbay

Maren O’Connor sat fully dressed on her biobed, nervously monitoring as many systems as she could access with nothing but a PADD. She could feel the slight trembling of the ship as it navigated the nebula. Sickbay was eerily quiet. She wished she could see what was happening on the bridge, or in engineering. Finally, she slid carefully off her bed, gripping the side tightly for stability as she did so. She was relieved to discover that the dizziness that had been her near-constant companion since her unfortunate encounter with the Borg had finally begun to fade significantly. It suddenly dawned on her that she had gotten more sleep in the last 24 hours than she had in the entire week prior to that. Amazing what a little rest can do, she thought wryly.

As she stepped through the doorway onto the main floor of sickbay, she heard an oddly synthesized-sounding voice and turned toward the sound. To her surprise, she saw that the drone who had pushed her in engineering and then suffered so much damage at the hands of Lieutenant Telek was standing up behind her containment field, arguing with the young security guard who had his weapon trained on her.

“You will release this drone immediately,” the Borg insisted, her vocal subprocessor making her sound strangely robotic. Her single remaining organic eye darted around as she examined the forcefield she was trapped behind. The containment fields were invisible to humans, but Maren knew the imaging technology in the ocular implant that took the place of the drone’s missing eye probably made them perfectly apparent to her. Maren thought she looked scared.

“Step away from the forcefield,” the security officer ordered the Borg, staring her down.

Maren quickly walked over to the pair. “Where’s Doctor Bashir?” she asked the security guard.

“The brig,” he replied. “There was an incident down there. I notified Doctor Marchenko; she said she’s on her way.”

Maren frowned and nodded, wondering what had happened in the brig. “Step aside for a minute,” she requested of the crewman.

“Ma’am, my orders – “ he began to protest, but she cut him off.

“You know what?” she snapped, exasperated, “Last time I checked, I hadn’t been stripped of my rank. I just gave you an order. Comply.” She fixed him with a cold stare to rival any Borg’s, assimilated and perfected over five years of accompanying Icheb to spend time with Seven of Nine. The security officer backed off, and Maren stepped closer to the force field.

“Release us,” the drone demanded in her synthesized voice. “Where are the others?”

“You’re alone right now,” Maren informed her. “You’re damaged. Our doctor has been repairing you.”

The drone blinked once and for the first time, seemed to actually look past the forcefield and into the rest of sickbay. “Federation vessel. Class unknown. Medical bay.” Her eyes came to rest on Maren. “You were in engineering. We deemed your activities to be a significant threat. You were neutralized.”

Maren managed not to wince at the foggy memory of her head slamming against the support beam and the ensuing pain and fear. “I survived,” she replied flatly. “And my colleague neutralized you. So I guess we’re even.” The quip was lost on the drone, who simply cocked her head slightly and looked at Maren with an appraising expression that sent a sudden chill down the young engineer’s spine.

Maren took a deep breath and tried to calm her nerves. “What is your designation?” she asked, stalling for time and wondering what was taking the doctor so long.

“One of Fifteen, primary adjunct of bimatrix two-four-seven,” the drone answered. She paused a moment and blinked again, for a split second looking almost wistful. “Dena,” she murmured, so quietly that Maren wasn’t sure she had really heard it.

“Excuse me?” Maren asked in shock, but the fleeting hint of emotion had already left the woman’s face.

“Your queries are irrelevant,” the drone declared with an air of finality. “You will return us to the Collective. You will be assimilated or destroyed. Resistance is –“ she was interrupted by the sound of an active transporter beam, and Maren turned in surprise to see several humanoid forms materializing in the middle of sickbay.

“Icheb!” she breathed with relief, as countless points of shimmering light solidified into a shape almost as familiar to her as her own. Her sudden smile quickly faded when she saw Julian Bashir and two medics bent over a prone ensign; Adele Oyugo standing next to two Borg drones -- a male and a female, both of whom Maren was quite certain were not the same ones she had sent to the brig; and a tall, violet-skinned alien man; along with several heavily armed security guards all eyeing both Icheb and the newcomers. As soon as the transport was complete, the two medics assisted Julian in hauling the unconscious young tactical ensign over to a biobed.

Maren rushed to Icheb’s side. “What’s going on? Are you all right?” she asked, fighting the sudden impulse to physically grab hold of him and never let go.

“I’m fine,” he assured her quietly. “Why are you --” he started to ask why she was in sickbay, but found himself competing with her.

“What happened to him?” Maren was asking at the same time, looking wide-eyed at the unconscious officer Julian was treating.

“I’m not entirely certain,” Icheb answered. “He’s been drugged. There’s a lot to discuss,” he added, glancing over at the three visitors standing with Adele. Suddenly, he looked back in surprise at Maren’s civilian clothing, then narrowed his eyes and studied her face more closely. “You’re injured,” he observed with concern, reaching up to lightly touch the fading bruises on her forehead with his fingers. One of the guards, who seemed to be assigned to watch Icheb, instantly reacted, reaching for his weapon, but Adele caught his arm and subtly shook her head “no.” He quickly returned to parade rest.

“I’m okay,” Maren assured him, and it felt almost true, now that she could see he was all right. She turned to Adele. “The drone woke up,” she explained, gesturing toward One of Fifteen. “No one was here. I’ve been talking to her – not much, but -- ”

“Thank you, Lieutenant,” Adele replied, cutting her off. “We’ve got bigger issues at the moment. I need Icheb back on the job immediately. Do you feel up to checking him out like we discussed?” Maren nodded. “Good,” said Adele. “Do it, and quickly, please.”

“Yes, Captain.” Maren leveled a last curious look at the two unfamiliar Borg and their alien companion, then took Icheb’s arm and escorted him to a nearby biobed as a security officer trailed closely behind. On the way, they passed One of Fifteen’s containment area. “Dena,” Maren whispered quietly as they walked by, eliciting a briefly troubled look from the drone, who had up until that point been staring at the newcomer Borg with a vaguely perplexed expression.

“What was that about?” Icheb inquired as they reached the biobed. Maren was already fussing over him, helping him onto the biobed, visually inspecting him for damage, and assisting him in finding a comfortable position in which to lie down for the diagnostic scans.

“I don’t know,” she whispered, well aware that the drone could probably hear her. “I think she might remember something from her life before the Collective. I’ll tell you about it later.” She quickly changed topics. “Are you really all right? Did they do anything to you?”

Icheb shook his head. “Malik hit me once. That was it.”

“Malik?” Maren looked at him quizzically.

“One of the Resistance Borg, the leader of the ship I was on,” he explained. “His name is Malik B’akthi.” Seeing the persistent look of concern on her face, he added, “I’m really fine, Maren. Please try not to worry about me.”

“I’ve been worried every day for two years, why should today be different?” Maren retorted, surprising even herself with the sharpness of her tone. Her voice broke unexpectedly, and she bit her lip hard as the tears threatened to come. “I’m sorry,” she quickly apologized. “It’s been a rough couple of days. I, um …” her cheeks reddened and she trailed off.

Icheb gave her a long look and reached up to take her hand in his. “Don’t,” he said quietly. “Don’t apologize. We can talk about this later.” She squeezed his hand and nodded, still fighting back tears, then pulled her hand out of his grasp and brought the diagnostic arch over his head.

As she manipulated the touch display to configure the scans, she remarked quietly, “We’ve been here a time or two before, haven’t we?” It was Icheb’s turn to give a quizzical look. “Brain scans and biobeds,” she clarified. “This just feels very familiar.” Icheb nodded, understanding perfectly. It was, indeed, well-traveled territory for both of them.

When the machine was ready to go, Maren looked down at Icheb. “I’m going to be taking a detailed scan of your cortical array to ensure it hasn’t been tampered with or otherwise compromised,” she told him, in a tone of voice that made it very clear this hadn’t been her idea. “It’s merely a precautionary measure.” She shot him an apologetic look, and he met her gaze.

“I understand,” he said reassuringly. “Proceed.”

Maren gave him a brief almost-smile and activated the diagnostic arch. Icheb closed his eyes and focused on the sounds of her fingers tapping at the console. The scan took nearly two minutes to complete, and it passed between the two of them in silence. Finally, the computer sounded a tone and Maren examined the display. “Doctor Bashir?” she called out to the medical chief. “Do you want to come take a look at this?”

It was then that she noticed the showdown going on across sickbay.

*****

“You shouldn’t have Collective Borg on this ship,” Malik said with enough force that Irina Marchenko flinched slightly and took a step backward, still holding the medical tricorder she had been scanning him with. “My people are in your brig behind a force field, and you treat this drone like one of your own?”

“She’s behind a force field, too,” Adele assured him. “She was seriously injured. It’s our policy to treat injured prisoners.”

“Based on the current condition of your detention chamber, someone aboard this vessel disagrees with that policy,” Malik noted dryly. “Someone significantly more pragmatic than you appear to be,” he added, as Irina completed her scan and moved on to the female Resistance drone.

Adele didn’t take the bait. “When I find that person, he or she will be punished to the fullest extent of Federation law. I don’t take murder lightly, Mr. B’akhti.”

“Do you take annihilation lightly? Because that’s what’s going to happen to your Federation if you don’t assist us in stopping the Borg Collective.” He glared at One of Fifteen across sickbay, who stared back at him with an indecipherable expression of her own. Adele looked around the room at the odd collection of Borg and Resistance Borg and ex-Borg and aliens-helping-Borg and wondered exactly what was going to come of this meeting.

“I’ve heard enough vague warnings and threats out of you,” she finally told Malik coolly. “You went to the trouble of intervening during our encounter with the Borg, kidnapping my first officer and orchestrating this rendezvous. You’ve got my attention. Please. Explain to me what’s going on, and what exactly you want from us.”

Malik looked across the room at Icheb, who was now sitting up on the biobed watching him, alongside Maren, who was also staring with interest. “I believe he can answer your first question even more adequately than I can,” he said, “but as to your second question – what I want is simple. I want your Federation to finish what you started. And we want him,” he added, eye and ocular implant still locked on Icheb.

Maren’s eyes widened, and without thinking, she moved to put herself between Malik and Icheb. Adele narrowed her eyes. “My first officer is not on the negotiating table,” she informed Malik.

“Your Federation and the Resistance, we both want the same thing,” Malik retorted. “To destroy the Collective. I believe he can do it. But not without our assistance.”

Adele turned to look at her young exec. “How are his scans?” she suddenly thought to ask, looking to Maren and Julian Bashir, who at some point during the discussion had made his way over to the console to take a look. Both officers exchanged a glance and nodded.

“He’s fine,” Julian said. “Or I should say, he doesn’t appear to have been compromised,” he added, shooting Icheb a darkly pointed look.

“His scans are identical to the ones we have on file,” Maren added quickly, giving Adele a pleading look. Not here, not now, she seemed to be saying, and Adele agreed completely. This was neither the time nor the place for the ‘Why did you lie to Starfleet?’ conversation.

“Good,” Adele replied, in a tone that implied the matter was closed. The truth was, she had been fairly sure he hadn’t been tampered with the moment they had arrived in sickbay and she had sensed his reactions upon reuniting with his former fiancée. Even so, she was grateful for the confirmation.

Adele turned to the three Resistance members. “All right then, all of you, come with me. You too,” she said, looking at Icheb and Maren. “I want a thorough explanation for all of this, and I want my staff to hear it, too.”

Icheb slid off the biobed and sidestepped around Maren, who looked after him with a slightly panicked expression as he approached Malik. “I told you before, I’m willing to help,” he told him, “but I’m doing it as a Starfleet officer, and I want to do it my way.” He turned to Adele. “I’ll explain everything. But first we have to contact the Alpha Quadrant. They need to know the Borg are coming.”
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Last edited by kes7; April 21 2010 at 06:11 AM.
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Old April 21 2010, 01:39 AM   #485
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Re: Star Trek: Tesseract

CHAPTER FIFTY-TWO

USS Sol – Bridge

“Inertial dampers are offline!” Ensign Par Renn shouted from the ops console, as the bridge rocked under the latest volley of fire, while Ensign Anit Gopal sharply maneuvered the ship to avoid the worst of it.

“No shit,” John muttered to himself as he fell violently against the command chair. He rubbed his bruised elbow distractedly as he took the center seat.

Their attackers had come out of nowhere, disabling both ships’ shields and opening fire before the crews of the Sol and Luna even knew they had been intercepted. John had only a vague memory of jumping over his tactical console to reach Borux, who had been somehow incapacitated. He still didn’t know what had happened – only that when he had looked up from the tactical display to make his report, his commanding officer had been lying motionless on the deck. He had been relieved to find that the Denobulan was merely unconscious, but his pulse was thready and weak, and he had significant burns on his face and arms. John had called for medical, but Sheila was clearly overwhelmed with patients. Borux would have to wait for help. John was now the most senior officer on the bridge.

I had a bad feeling about this from the beginning, and I was right. I hate being right. I don’t know how Icheb can stand being right all the time. I really fucking hate it. A small part of his mind replayed the words over and over again as he tapped frantically at the tactical readout he had pulled up on the small display embedded in the arm of the command chair.

As John tersely shouted orders to the bridge crew over the din of sparking equipment and weapons fire impacting the hull, he kept an open visual comm. link to T’Pring, still in command of the Luna, in a corner of the main display. They were trying to coordinate their counterattack, but they couldn’t see where the fire was coming from, and the energy field that had taken out their shields was interfering with their scans. He was amazed by the Vulcan woman’s grace under pressure. Her bridge appeared to be in almost as bad of shape as his was, and bright green blood was seeping from a gash on her right cheek, but she sat perfectly calmly in her command chair, reasoning out the situation like it was just another day at the office.

“Our sensors are worthless,” John shouted over the comm. All romantic feelings aside, he suddenly desperately wished Maren was there simply to do some of her engineering magic and make things start working again. “Do you have anything?”

Onscreen, T’Pring was staring intensely at the armrest display on her own command chair. She waited an infuriating moment before answering, “No. But the energy field is similar to the one we encountered during our confrontation with the Borg. We may be able to temporarily disrupt it using a polaron burst. Reconfigure your sensors to the specifications I’m transmitting now,” she ordered, fingers flying across the small touchpad beside her chair with flawless precision despite the continued shaking of the ship. “If I am correct, our opponents are using the same technology as the Borg Resistance. We may be able to detect them using a modified tachyon scan.” She consulted her console once more and frowned. “Our systems are too heavily damaged. We lack the necessary power to initiate both the polaron burst and the tachyon scan. You will have to do the scanning. Your opportunity will be limited. Act quickly.”

“Acknowledged,” John replied tersely. If this is the Borg Resistance and they want us gone, why don’t they just destroy us with their superweapon or something? This is like death by a thousand cuts, he thought to himself, but there was no time to voice his query. He routed the new sensor configuration to Par Renn’s console and watched his own display intently.Moments later, T’Pring initiated the polaron burst with the Luna’s deflector shield.

“Now. Scan now!” John ordered Renn. For an instant, the armrest display lit up with what looked like useful data. A moment later, everything went blank.

“What the fuck ….” John murmured as he tapped at his now-inoperable console.

“Sir, I’ve lost helm control,” Anit announced from helm. “We’re dead in the water.”

“Tell me we have weapons,” John said, craning his neck to look at Renn. The Bajoran silently shook his head.

Before John could even think of an order to give, the Sol was rocked by a massive shockwave. As the ship was tossed in a vicious roll, John could hear the hull cracking under the stress. The overhead lights flickered, then went out completely.

“Bridge to engineering!” John shouted, at the same time realizing they would no longer be able to hear him over the main comm. He moved his hand to his combadge, trying desperately to remember the name of anyone in engineering. “Renn, who’s our engineer?” he called out to ops. When Renn gave no reply, John turned to see the younger man lying on the floor, injured and dazed. “Damn it,” he muttered under his breath. “Anit!” he shouted to the helm officer, who was picking himself up off the deck. “Get down to engineering. Find out what’s going on.”

“Yes, sir.”

As Anit headed for the door, he had to catch himself against the dark and now-unoccupied ops console as the ship rocked once more and the bridge was flooded with an eerie blue light from the overhead viewport. He and John exchanged a knowing look.

“Tractor beam,” John said resignedly, gazing up through the port and trying to get a better view. He shot Anit a wary glance. “Let’s hope it’s the good guys.”

“Quite the hopeless optimist, aren’t you?” Anit shot back.

Something has to go right one of these days,” John replied with a shrug. He decided not to add that he had the uneasy feeling today was not that day.

*****

Deep Space Five, Communications Array Control Center – a.k.a. “The Listening Post”

Lieutenant Commander Emily Theriault hated her job. The so-called “strategic listening post” to which she had been assigned to command three months ago was, so far, the most boring assignment she had ever had.

In twelve weeks on the job, the highlight had undoubtedly been the launch of the massive USS Tesseract mission. Besides the so-far unrepeated hustle and bustle of the preparations and pre-launch procedures, and meeting the dozens of dignitaries who had shown up to see the ship off, she had been able to briefly reconnect with one of her closest friends from her Academy days, a Bolian heiress named Iden Nix who had been assigned the enviable job of chief communications officer on the first starship to explore the Delta Quadrant since the return of the USS Voyager. As envious as Emily was of the assignment, she couldn’t be angry at Iden for getting it – after all, she hadn’t even bothered to apply for the position herself. The truth was, she was terrified of being that far from the intervening hand of her father, Admiral Andrew Theriault, who just happened to be Vice Chief of Starfleet Operations.

Maybe if you weren’t such a bitch and a fuck-up, you wouldn’t need Daddy to intervene so often, she thought to herself. She had been doing a lot of soul searching since being reassigned to this boring station full of engineers, at the ass end of the Federation, otherwise known as Deep Space Five. Strategic, my ass, she thought sourly.

Right now, however, her envy toward Iden seemed misplaced. The Tesseract had broken contact with Starfleet two days before, after a number of disturbing events, including the apparent hijacking of the deep space comm. array, the abduction of the ship’s first officer, and a barely-thwarted invasion by the Borg. Emily wondered frequently if Iden was all right. She had to admit she had been relieved two days before when the only real injury to have been reported before the ship went to radio silence was to the ship’s chief engineer, a young woman to whom she had been introduced in the DS5 officers’ lounge briefly before the launch and disliked on sight. She felt a little guilty for those feelings now, but she couldn’t help it.

She was shaken out of her reverie by a persistent beep at her console. She glanced down at the display and was surprised to see the transmission was coming from the extra-long range comm. array the Tesseract had been dropping behind her like a trail of breadcrumbs stretching from DS5 to the Delta Quadrant. It had to be them. She immediately jumped into action, attempting to decrypt the transmission.

Damn, this is really messed up, she thought as she looked over the codes, corrupted by distance, or buoy damage, or universe-knew-what-else. “Lewis, get over here,” she shouted to a nearby specialist known for his skill in clearing up low-quality transmissions. “See if you can clean this up,” she told him. She looked over his shoulder as he worked, and by the time he had made enough progress that the gist of the message was becoming clear, both officers looked stricken. Emily turned to the young Andorian ensign working the comm. desk. “Sheni,” she called out sharply. “Get me Admiral Varek. Now.

*****


Starfleet Headquarters -- Office of Admiral Kathryn Janeway
San Francisco, Earth
Alpha Quadrant


As the bright midday sunlight filtered through the wall of transparent aluminum windows behind Admiral Kathryn Janeway’s expansive desk, it shimmered off Dr. Annika Hansen’s golden blonde hair, reminding the admiral of something out of a childhood fairytale. She had to admit the former Borg drone was stunningly beautiful, no less so at thirty-six than she had been at twenty-four. If anything, age, experience and eight years spent mostly Earthside had tempered the woman Kathryn still thought of as Seven of Nine so much that she was somehow more alluring than ever, wearing soft civilian clothing instead of a dermaplastic suit and her hair in a much looser, more feminine arrangement than the severe twist she had favored during their years together on Voyager.


The Borg cybernetic implants on Seven’s face and hand were decidedly less fairy-tale than her human looks, however, and her flat-out refusal to sit down in one of the visitors’ chairs as Kathryn had invited her to do was yet another reminder of what set her apart. However far the ex-drone came in regaining the humanity the Borg had taken from her at the tender age of six, there was a part of her that still belonged to the Collective. The emotional exoplating Seven had built around herself after her separation from the hive mind was no longer as thick as it had once been, but that didn’t mean she was a pushover, nor even particularly willing to listen to reason when she set her mind to something. The discussion they were having now was proof positive of that.


As Kathryn looked up at the woman who had been by equal measure her protégé and her nemesis over the past twelve years, she couldn’t help but vividly remember a day nine years before when they’d had a remarkably similar conversation to this one. It had been the day Icheb had returned to his parents. That transition had been difficult for everyone – for Icheb, for the other children, for Kathryn herself … but especially for Seven, who had been almost like a mother to him since his rescue from the Borg. She had reacted emotionally, almost irrationally, openly questioning the Brunalis’ ability and willingness to provide for Icheb and keep him safe.


Unfortunately, she had been right about that in the end – with the help of the little Norcadian-Borg girl, Mezoti (who would be sixteen by now, Kathryn suddenly realized), they had discovered that Icheb’s parents were liars. They hadn’t really wanted their son back – they had wanted a second chance to use the weapon they had created to fight the Borg … a walking, talking, living weapon named Icheb, whom the crew of Voyager had grown to love. They had saved him then – now Seven wanted to do it again. But things were very different now -- Icheb was no longer a child under her care. He was a Starfleet officer -- a commander, no less, despite his young age -- and he was at least forty thousand light years away.


Kathryn sighed heavily. “Seven, I can’t order any more of our slipstream ships to the Delta Quadrant to help retrieve one officer, even if it is Icheb. It’s out of the question. The crew of the Tesseract has plenty of resources at their disposal, much more than we ever had. They’ll find a way to get him back safely.”


“Given what we know of what is happening there, it may be more than Icheb’s life that is at stake,” Seven replied with an ominous tone. “The damage at Aris 4 was extreme,” she added pointedly. The blond woman’s expression was stoic, but her enormous blue eyes – one cybernetic and framed by a dull metal ocular implant, the other every bit as human as Kathryn’s own – were deeply troubled, a single visible concession to the human emotions that obviously roiled within her.


Kathryn stood up and walked around her massive desk until she was standing beside Seven and rested a hand on the taller woman’s shoulder. “Captain Oyugo is a capable officer with the fleet’s most sophisticated ship at her disposal,” she assured the ex-drone. “Trust me, Seven, I want to intervene just as much as you do, but there’s nothing we can do to help any of them right now.”


“We simply lack the necessary information,” Seven retorted. “If I could take a single vessel and get close enough to communicate -- ”


Kathryn cut her off. “Seven, Starfleet will keep us both informed. No one is giving you access to a slipstream ship. You have to trust his colleagues to take care of him. If you don’t trust Adele, then trust Maren. She’s as protective of him as you are, and almost as strong-willed, and she’s on that ship, too. Whatever happened between them, I know she’d never do any less than her best to make sure he was taken care of.” The truth was, Kathryn thought it possible – no, probable – that B’Elanna’s young protégé was probably in Adele Oyugo’s ready room making the same arguments as Seven right this very moment, if they hadn’t found Icheb already.


Seven’s skepticism was obvious. “She’s far too emotional. She may allow herself to be compromis -- ”


“Let’s make one thing clear, Seven,” Kathryn interrupted, “you are compromised. You’re making unreasonable demands because you’re worried about Icheb. But that doesn’t make you any less capable, and I don’t think it will make Maren any less capable, either. Go home,” she suggested, in a tone that sounded more like an order. “I’ll let you know the second – “ she was interrupted by the chirping of her desk comm. She held up a finger to let Seven know she should wait.


“This is Admiral Janeway,” she announced, reaching over to touch the small console.

“Admiral Varek on subspace for you, Admiral.” Kathryn and Seven exchanged a glance. The Vulcan admiral commanded Deep Space 5, the station with oversight of the comm. post that managed all contact with the Tesseract.

“Put him through,” she said quickly. A moment later, the deeply lined face of Admiral Varek filled her wall display.

“Admiral,” Kathryn greeted her aged colleague. He nodded in reply. “I have Annika Hansen here with me,” Kathryn told him. “Shall I ask her to wait outside?” She shot an apologetic look at Seven, who merely stared back expectantly as if waiting for the answer.

“No, she may stay,” the Vulcan replied. “We made contact with the Tesseract about an hour ago. Commander Icheb has been recovered safely.”

Kathryn couldn’t suppress a relieved grin, and glanced over at Seven. The former drone gave no reaction other than to slightly relax as she let out the breath she had obviously been holding.

“Thank you, Admiral,” Kathryn replied for both of them. “Do you have more information you can give us?”

The Vulcan nodded somberly. “That’s why I’m contacting you. Command will be convening a subspace meeting within the hour. It seems your actions nine years ago have had lasting consequences. The Borg Resistance has made contact with the Tesseract. We don’t have all the information yet, but Captain Oyugo has advised us that the Borg Collective has survived, and the Resistance can no longer hold them back. They are coming, Admiral. And their mission is to either assimilate the Federation or destroy it. If they’ve come as far as Aris 4 -- ”

“The incident at Aris 4 was two weeks ago,” Seven interrupted emphatically. “No doubt they are closer to the Federation now.”

Onscreen, Varek glanced at Seven and nodded. “We just received word from the Romulans that they lost contact with one of their outer colonies late last night. Given the circumstances, they’ve requested one of our Altair-class vessels to investigate.”

“When will we know?” Kathryn asked.

“In about two days,” Varek replied.

Kathryn nodded. “Thank you, Admiral.” As they ended their brief conversation, Kathryn turned away from Seven to stare silently out the window for a long moment, as her mind drifted fifty-thousand light years away and eight years into the past. Not for the first time, she wondered if her older self’s sacrifice had been in vain … and if her own choice to violate the temporal prime directive had been fruitless at best -- and at worst, a selfish act that had saved the ones she loved at the expense of millions of lives.

She supposed she -- and the rest of the Federation, not to mention the crew of the far-flung Tesseract -- was about to find out.

----------------------------------------------------

To be continued in Part Two of Star Trek: Tesseract ....

Thanks for reading Part One!
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Old April 22 2010, 08:34 PM   #486
CeJay
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Re: Star Trek: Tesseract

"They're coming ..."

What a cliffhanger ending.

Nice to see that Icheb appears to have been cleared of any wrongdoing even while the mystery of the dead Borg drones remains. My first guess would have been Beckley but clearly he is not to blame for this incident. And I agree with the admiral, Bashir is a rather unlikely culprit. The question remains, who is this Section 31 spy and what is he or she trying to pull by killing a couple of Borg drones?

Looks like Tesseract, the entire Federation even, may have much bigger problems on their hands. I have a feeling the only way to stop this invasion is a tactical alliance with the Borg Resistance and their super-Borg-cube-stopping weapon.

But first they may have to go and rescue Tesseract's crew.

Terrific stuff you've spun together here. Looking forward to part two.
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Old April 24 2010, 04:58 PM   #487
CaptainSarine
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Re: Star Trek: Tesseract

KEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSS!!!!

Wow, what an abso-fracking-lutely awesome end to the first part of this great story. First off, sorry I never commented on the penultimate penultimate chapter, real life, working on my own stuff means I haven't had much time to spend on here thus the lack of update on Restoration as well. Anyways, sorry!

These three last chapters were brilliant! I loved the character interactions, the steadily mounting tension, Adele's telepathic coup de maitre, Icheb's moment of control followed by the reversal and the obvious lack of trust he now has amongst the crew. Then you throw that amazing action scene at us - what the hell is going to happen to the crew of Tesseract now?!!

Once again, you've shown your skills as a writer, wrapping up this introductory section and leaving us salivating for more. Oh and I loved the Janeway/Seven scene, you got Seven down to a tee.

All in all, absolutely amazing stuff! Can't wait for Part 2!!!!

Joel
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Old April 24 2010, 09:57 PM   #488
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Re: Star Trek: Tesseract

CeJay and CaptainSarine, thank you so much for reading all this and commenting along the way! I promise not to make you wait TOO long for the next part ... just taking a few weeks off. My fingers need a break!

So, in a few weeks we'll begin to find out what's happening to the Sol and Luna, who killed the brig Borg (maybe), whether anyone will ever trust Icheb again, and what's going to happen to the Federation ... along with all the other ongoing plotlines.

So glad you both enjoyed this. And thanks a million times over for the kind words of praise, they really mean a lot to me, especially coming from two talented writers like you.
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Old April 24 2010, 10:40 PM   #489
KimMH
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Re: Star Trek: Tesseract

Wow. You know that stinging feeling you get in your nose when you get surprised by a tear?

I'm completely derailed seeing Janeway again. I've gotten so wrapped up I actually forgot she is still very much alive and well in your Trek-verse and one of the guiding forces behind this expedition.

I am used to the idea of her being gone because of Pocket's current direction.

It was almost like seeing someone you thought was dead. It WAS seeing someone I thought was dead. Damn.
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Old April 24 2010, 10:47 PM   #490
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Re: Star Trek: Tesseract

Sorry to double post but my server times me out when I get too wordy.

It's a little dristracting. Grrrr!

Back to Tessseract. And I mean back to Tesseract! I do hope it's soon. I have greatly enjoyed this book and think you'd give any authors Pocket is currently using a run for their money. I can't believe you are managing this with little peanuts in the house and everything else.

I promise to be more coherent when I get over the shock of seeing Janeway again. I really am thrown for a loop here - sorry.

I hope to post more usefully upon subsequent readings.

For what it is worth - you've so exceeded my hopes when I first suggested A/U stories chronicling Janeway's career. This is a lateral move but it has been a very satisfying read!

Thank you for all your hard work and creativity and the pleasure you've given us *Kes7!*
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Old April 25 2010, 12:23 PM   #491
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Re: Star Trek: Tesseract

A classic cliffhanger ending to your opening tome!

Now, not only has Tesseract stirred up the proverbial hornet’s nest in the Delta Quadrant, the ship’s civilian dependants are in peril and the Federation now finds itself under the looming shadow of a potential full-scale Borg offensive.

Tense much?!

Phenomenal work, and I’ll be Jonesing for the continuation of your marvelous series.
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Old April 27 2010, 07:01 PM   #492
kes7
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Re: Star Trek: Tesseract

Don't cry, Oldstredshrtevr! She's alive!

I'm really glad you have enjoyed the first part of this admittedly long story I'm telling. I'll start up again soon -- just taking a breather. So stay tuned!

Gibraltar, thanks so much for reading all along and sharing your comments. Yes, things are definitely tense for the Tesseract crew and the rest of the Federation right now. I imagine they'll continue to be so for a while yet. We'll see what happens ... so glad to hear you'll be along for the ride.
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Old May 19 2010, 04:41 AM   #493
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Re: Star Trek: Tesseract

Update time. Just posting to let you all know that I plan to pick up with book two the second week in June. Yes, that's slightly longer than I'd planned on, but it's "that time of year" at work and I am buried in it, not to mention some other RL stuff going on. So that's the update, for those of you following this! I think I'll start a new thread for the second book when the time comes, though -- this one's HUGE.

Hope to see you back here in a couple of weeks!
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Old May 19 2010, 08:36 AM   #494
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Re: Star Trek: Tesseract

I'll be there.
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Old May 20 2010, 08:14 AM   #495
CaptainSarine
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Re: Star Trek: Tesseract

YAY!

More Tesseract!

YAY!

Can. Not. Wait!

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