Dark Territory: Staring Into The Abyss

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by DarKush, Jun 28, 2013.

  1. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
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    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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  2. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
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    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!”
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    Last edited: Aug 5, 2013
  3. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    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.
     
  4. TheLoneRedshirt

    TheLoneRedshirt Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    May 22, 2007
    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! :scream:
     
  5. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    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.

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    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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  6. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    ****************************************************************

    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.
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    Last edited: Aug 11, 2013
  7. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    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.
     
  8. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    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.
     
  9. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    *****************************************************************

    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.”
    *****************************************************************
     
  10. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Glover and Sisko will be having words ... serious words. I hope their friendship can survive them.
     
  11. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    CeJay,

    Thanks for reading and commenting. I hope I can do the Sisko-Glover talk justice, but until I get to that, here's another entry.


    ****************************************************************
    Somewhere in the Beta Quadrant....




    Legate Pinute Tarkon stormed into the room, the medals adorning his chest clanking in rhythm with each hard step from his polished boots. Behind him followed two guards, in heavily padded brown armor that belonged more to the era when Tarkon mastered warships and not paperwork. The younger men awkwardly held their rifles.

    Despite Tarkon’s exalted position, his retinue was afraid that he trod on dangerous ground. The old legate was inclined to agree with them, but his duty trumped his trepidation. The palpable fear was reinforced by the black clad, silent men accompanying them into the bowels of Obsidian Order headquarters. The two men hung back, and Pinute could only imagine they were sizing up his huge back to find the best place to insert their daggers.

    Tarkon’s quick eyes took in the scene before him. Two Romulan soldiers, roughly the same ages as Tarkon’s guards, were carefully unhooking the dead Reman from his harness. The porcelain-skinned, hairless Reman was swaddled in a crisscross of wires and circuits, some leading directly from his skull.

    Overseeing them was a tall, ascetic Romulan garbed in a dark gray, thatched uniform also worn by his fellow Tal Shiar subordinates. The locus of Tarkon’s ire stood behind the Romulans, hunched over a flat master display screen.

    “Shau Darcis,” Tarkon could barely keep himself from snarling. “This little experiment of yours is at an end. The drone ship has been eliminated.”

    The barrel chested Obsidian Order operative turned around slowly. In one hand he held a personal access display device. Tarkon was surprised that the man’s other hand wasn’t clutching a disruptor. Instead he was pecking on the small rectangular device. “Leave it to the Central Command to grow skittish even in victory.”

    Whereas Darcis should’ve been humiliated by Tarkon’s intrusion, the man smiled confidently instead. “This was a successful first run,” Darcis added.

    “There won’t be another,” Tarkon stated, his tone brooking no dissent. He bowed stiffly in the direction of the Romulans. “Colonel Lovok, please inform your superiors that the Union wishes to continue our cordial relationship with the Star Empire despite the deactivation this joint venture.”

    The colonel stood at rigid attention. He thumped his chest with a black gloved hand and gave Tarkon a stiff armed salute in a sign of respect. “We have no desire to interfere in internal state matters,” He declared. Lovok then paused and regarded Darcis with a long look, “However I would be remiss if I did not beseech you to inform the Central Command that the Obsidian Order in general, and Operative Darcis in particular, have been instrumental in advancing our telepresence technology.”

    “It is almost at the level to rival Starfleet’s interface technology,” Darcis added.

    Lovok nodded, “The operative is correct. This technological field had fallen into disrepute and disuse due to its failure during the war with Earth, and we allowed the Federation to make strides with interfacing. This demonstration proves that we are nearing their technical level.”

    “But at the cost of instigating interstellar war?” Tarkon rejoined. “That is a price that the Central Command feels is too high.”

    Lovok dipped his head respectfully, “I fully comprehend.” He snapped his fingers and his subordinates gathered up the Reman corpse. Tarkon gave him a once over.

    There were deep burn marks spreading out from where tubes had been attached to his scalp. As they drew near with him, Pinute’s nostrils twitched at the stench of cooked flesh. “The subject suffered severe neurological shock, due to the destruction of the drone ship,” Lovok explained, as dispassionately as Tarkon felt.

    “That was a rash move on the Central Command’s part,” Darcis said, “We could’ve destroyed the Federation starship and brought the drone back and no one would be the wiser.”

    “Are you really that daft?” The legate thundered, no longer concerned about his personal safety. “There was no way that Starfleet wouldn’t investigate the destruction of one of their starships on top of the Zubrin colony attack, and the behavior of the Borg ship was too erratic not to raise credible suspicions as to if the ship was really Borg at all.”

    “Without proof the best the humans could offer was mere speculation,” the Obsidian Order man shrugged.

    “Wars have been fought for much less,” Tarkon pointed out. He shifted his gaze to Lovok. The Romulan raised an eyebrow in silent acknowledgement.

    “What we did was remove some of our traitors while eliminating several Federation delegates as well,” Darcis said proudly.

    “At the cost of how many other Cardassian lives on Helophis?” Tarkon shot back.

    “That is immaterial,” Darcis answered, “They were necessary casualties. Martyrs if that sounds better to you.”

    “The only thing that would sound pleasant to me right now is you gurgling and gasping for breath with my hands around your throat,” Tarkon declared, unable to tolerate the man’s insouciance any longer.

    “We had to sell it that these were the Borg, or Rogue Borg what have you, and that meant the appearance of indiscriminate slaughter,” Darcis added, as if that explanation made his actions any more tolerable.

    “I was no fan of the peace talks,” Tarkon began.

    “Hence your faction of the Central Command signing off on this ‘little experiment’,” Darcis interrupted. “But now you’ve gotten cold scales. No matter, our objectives were achieved.”

    “I concur with Operative Darcis,” Lovok interrupted smoothly. “The peace talks were disrupted, some of your fiercest rivals for control of the Central Command were neutralized,” the Tal Shiar agent said, “And both of our nations stand to benefit from the technological advances we have wrought together. Before I take my leave of you, I must say that I look forward to working with the Obsidian Order again whenever the opportunity arises.”

    The Romulan nodded at both men and then looked his subordinates. He nodded at them as well. With one gloved hand he pulled a communicator from his belt and gave a command. The Romulans and the Reman corpse vanished in green shafts of light.

    “Now what I am going to do with you?” Tarkon asked. He could fell his guards tensing behind him. Worriedly, he couldn’t get a sense of the Obsidian Order men behind them at all. And that insolent smirk was still on Darcis’s face.

    “You are going to do nothing,” the agent said, “You’ve flexed your muscles in front of Colonel Lovok. You’ve showed who the real rulers of the Union are. What else is there for you to do? Are you going to expose our project, of which the Central Command is complicit in? I don’t think so.”

    Darcis’s summation brought Tarkon up short. He snorted and cursed in anger. What was he going to do? What could he do? Dukat had reported that the ship had been vaporized. There was nothing left that could even provide Starfleet a remote possibility to tie the attack back to Cardassia. And look at what had been gained? Tarkon’s faction was in firmer control of the peace process and they could push for more territory as a price to end for hostilities. Even with the war’s end the Union could expand.

    It was the riskiest of gambits, one he had not been in favor of and certainly not willing to leave in the hands of the honor deficient Obsidian Order, but it had worked. However he could never admit that to the now grinning Darcis. It was as if the broad-chested man had read his mind.

    “Until next time,” Tarkon said tightly, his words filled with promised retribution, before turning on a dime, with decades-drummed precision.

    “Yes, next time,” Darcis called out cheerily behind him. The legate didn’t look back.
    ******************************************************************
     
  12. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Didn't quite see this coming and yet it makes perfect sense.

    I like how this scheme both harks back to Enterprise where we first saw this technology at work and also looks forward to DS9 and the ultimate outcome of this doomed partnership between the Tal Shiar and the Obsidian Order.
     
  13. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    CeJay,

    Glad you liked the unmasking. Early on I figured out that I wanted it to be the Cardassians and then I thought about including the Romulans since this story was inspired by the Enterprise episodes that inspired this story. And then I thought about doing a little foreshadowing to the Tal Shiar-Obsidian Order Fleet that was destined to be wiped out by the Dominion.

    *****************************************************************
    Starship Cuffe
    Corridor


    Captain Terrence Glover walked assuredly, but with an eye out for debris on the floor. His crew had done an admirable job patching up the ship in the hours since the Borg ship had been destroyed, but the cleanup crews hadn’t reached every deck yet.

    And Terrence hadn’t expected them too. It was going to be a herculean task to get Cuffe shipshape again.

    He had been heartened in his last talk with Admiral Salk. The staid Vulcan that the Enterprise did had returned to the Alpha Quadrant safe and sound, and with the culprit who had instigated the Rogue Borg attacks, but that also he had redirected the Matheson to assist them.

    The crew from the Ambassador-class ship could provide much needed help in Engineering, Sickbay, and with other damage control measures.

    Though he had been fatigued after forcing himself off shift, Salk’s communique had rejuvenated him. After a shower and a go in the recreation room, Terrence had taken to walking the halls, checking the progress of various repair efforts, lending a hand from time to time, but more so often words of encouragement.

    Seeing his crew stressed beyond the breaking point, but seeing none of them actually splinter had been a powerful experience for him. For most of his career it had been all about his career, all about his ambition and needs, but seeing the grizzled and determined faces of the beings who served under him, served with him, it was finally hitting home to him that being a captain and keeping his crew safe was more than just a sign of a successful captaincy or even of compassion, it was simply what a comrade in arms did for each other.

    He was their leader, but he was also one of them. They rose or fell together, in a sense no different than the other ships he had served on. Glover thought he had given his all in the battle with the Borg, and he was so proud to see that his crew had done so as well. They each had a responsibility to bring the best out of each other and they all deserved a supreme effort.

    Even now he nodded and gave the occasional tight-lipped smile to the passing crewmen. Something had changed in many of their eyes. It was the first time Terrence felt like some of them had actually embraced him as the captain. Up until a few hours ago, this had still been Captain Diaz’s ship, but her ghost no longer walked the corridors.

    Glover was buoyed by the acceptance in ways he hadn’t imagined. He hugged the reaffirming sensation, wishing he could bottle it as he reached his destination.

    He sighed before pressing the door chime. “Enter,” Benjamin sounded forlorn even through the door. He must know it’s me, Terrence thought, with a shiver. He must be dreading this as much as me, the captain thought as he replayed Salk peppering him about the destruction of the Borg vessel and the role Sisko played in it.

    Glover pressed the release mechanism by the door and it slid aside. He took a moment to compose himself, and then he crossed the threshold.
    ****************************************************************

    Starship Cuffe
    Private Quarters

    Sisko sat at his desk. Similar to Glover, he wore a fresh uniform, neatly pressed. Though Benjamin had returned wearing a black jumpsuit, with a red command band across the shoulders. The man was hunched over his desk, pecking absently at a PADD.

    Terrence stood just inside the room. He cleared his throat loud enough to draw Sisko’s attention. “Benjamin,” he called.

    The commander turned slowly, still holding the rectangular device in his hands. “I’ve been trying to compose a letter to Katie’s…Ensign Gallagher’s relatives,” he said, shaking his head. “For some reason, the words…they just won’t come.”

    Glover grimaced. Despite the hardiness of his crew, there would be several similar condolence letters he would have to write himself. It wasn’t a task he was looking forward to, so he could sympathize.

    “She was so bright. She was updating the station’s historical database you know, and tutoring Jake with his history lessons,” Sisko’s gaze took on a far off cast as if he was looking back through time. His lip up curled slightly, “Jake-O had a little crush on her,” he shook his head first in wonderment, and then the smile faded and the head turning became slower, funereal.

    “All that promise, all that life!” Sisko threw the PADD. It cracked against a wall. Glover didn’t flinch and Benjamin seemed oblivious of what he had just done. “All of it, snuffed out…like a candle.”

    “Benjamin, I spoke with Admiral Salk,” Terrence said gingerly.

    Aroused from his anger, Sisko looked at him dead on, his mien combative. Whatever his fate would be, Benjamin would take it on his feet, metaphorically speaking. That was a glimmer of his old friend that Glover was glad to see again. “What did he say?” Sisko asked.

    “He was most curious about your reaction and actions during our battles with the Borg ship,” Glover said.

    Sisko’s posture grew more rigid. He didn’t pester Terrence to learn what wrath the admiral intended to bring down on him.

    “I told him you faced some emotional duress but performed admirably under the circumstances,” Glover said.

    “You lied for me?” Sisko’s tone brimmed with disbelief and anger. “You don’t have to lie or cover up for me Terrence. I should have received a formal reprimand at the least for not following your orders.”

    “Yes, you should,” Terrence said. “But since no one else was conscious except you and me, and I doubt Gul Dukat is going to send in a report to Starfleet Command, how about we just keep this between us?”

    “That isn’t right,” Benjamin shook his head, “I disobeyed orders. I-I let my emotions get in the way of my judgment.”

    “No,” Terrence corrected him, “Your emotions and your judgment were of one accord and both prevented you from carrying out my orders.”

    “I suppose so,” Sisko replied after a few moments, his voice reflective.

    “And I really wanted to bust you back down to cadet for doing so,” Glover said, quickly capping the embers that still hadn’t burned out.

    “You should,” Sisko said, “You still can. I can talk to the admiral.”

    “You’ll do no such thing,” Terrence ordered, “And this time you’re going to follow my orders damn it!”

    “But Terrence,” Sisko protested, not wanting to back down. “A price has to be paid.”

    “Don’t you think enough prices have been paid today?” Glover shouted. “Enough blood spilled; enough careers torn away! I’m not going to let that happen to you, I’m not going to let you sink into the mire again.”

    “You need DS9,” Glover declared. “You need a life again, you need more people needing you,” he surmised, “I never really got it, until today that is, how important that is. I mean, having that relationship, that connectivity with your crew. It’s symbiotic and it can give you strength and purpose more readily than if you are tacking into the wind alone. And I’m not going to let you crawl back into a hole. I’m not going to let the Borg win.”

    Sisko shook his head sadly, “I feel like it’s already too late. The anger, the rage…no the raw hatred I feel for them. I thought it had subsided over the years, but it all came roaring back. Even now, now that it’s over, my chest still constricts when I think about them, my skin burns with fever. I still want to make them pay.”

    “It’s never going to be over for you,” Terrence said, “And I can’t really understand that. I lost colleagues to the Borg, but Jennifer…I can’t grasp that loss.”

    “Every time I saw that Borg ship, I saw her face, and Jake’s face, tear-stained and sullen, his heart shattering, his soul wounded once he realized that his mother really wasn’t coming home. That he would never see her again. And then there was Ensign Gallagher…such hope, such promise…extinguished.” He paused and looked away from Glover. He hunched over and Terrence heard a wet, raw sob rip from the man.

    When Sisko faced him next, he was composed again, and there was only a hint of moisture around his eyes.

    “And that’s the thing, you wouldn’t be human if you didn’t want revenge, and you got it, and it didn’t make you a better man, but I do think it will make you a better commander of Deep Space Nine. One even more eminently aware of the costs of hatreds stalking the Bajorans and Cardassians,” Glover reasoned.

    Sisko was taken aback. “I-I never thought of it that way.”

    “You understand the empty promise of vengeance now,” Glover said, “I wish it were a lesson you didn’t have to learn while disobeying my orders, but we can’t take back what happened.”

    “To be honest,” Benjamin intimated, “I don’t think I would even if it were possible. I just couldn’t…Jennifer….” The man lowered his head, his chin touching his chest. He began searching the desk, “The PADD, what happened?”

    Glover nodded in the direction of where Sisko threw it. The mangled device was resting in pieces on the floor. Benjamin looked chagrined, “So there it is?”

    “I think you’re going to need another,” Terrence quipped.

    Sisko stood up and approached him, “Terrence you’ve been a real friend, throughout all this; risking your ship and crew, for me.” He wrapped the man in a bear hug. Terrence returned the embrace. “I don’t know how I can ever repay you,” Benjamin added after releasing Glover.

    “Yes you do owe me,” Glover wasn’t shy about that. “Three things: Continue doing what you’re doing on DS9, continue raising Jake as well as you have, and do your damnedest to make a new life for yourself. There has to be tons of beautiful women going through there all the time.”

    “There…are,” Sisko admitted, his tone a bit sheepish. “I just don’t have the time. Things are so busy you know.”

    “Promise me that things are going to be even busier, if you know what I mean,” Glover winked.

    “I-I think I can work on it,” the commander gave in after steady intense staring from Terrence. “Alright,” he said exasperated.

    “Seriously Benjamin, I don’t think Jennifer would want you to live like a hermit.” Glover advised.

    “I know,” he sighed.

    “And dwelling on the past, rooting yourself to all that pain, I think you understand now how not only unhealthy it is, but useless as well,” the captain added.

    “I-I’m getting there,” Sisko conceded, and for Glover that was enough.
    ****************************************************************
     
  14. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Nice reconciliatory scene here at the end between Glover and Sisko and one which undoubtedly saves these men's friendship mostly thanks to Terrence deciding to forgive and forget.

    I didn't quite like the early Ben Sisko, he only grew on me later in the show, but this scene really lays his character bare quite nicely as well as the journey he still has to go before becoming a more complete person again. Thankfully we already know that he will succeed. Nicely done.
     
  15. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    CeJay,

    Thanks again for reading and commenting. I'm glad you liked the Glover and Sisko reconciliation. I wasn't sure how to write the scene. I knew that their friendship had to remain intact at the end so I didn't think having Glover read him the riot act was going to work. Yet I didn't want Terrence to let Benjamin off the hook either. I wanted the incident to leave some lasting marks.

    As for Sisko, it took me a minute to warm up to the character too. I liked Avery Brooks right off the bat, even though I thought he had some acting quirks, but Sisko as a character didn't really come together for me until the fourth season. Basically when Avery Brooks was allowed to shave his head, it felt like he grew more comfortable in the role and the writing for him got better. He expanded as a character.

    I did enjoy going back to the Sisko with hair for this story though. I thought he was a fascinating character to build a Trek series around. I just hope I didn't impugn his character by what I had Sisko do or not do in this story.

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

    One Month Later…

    Bantaca Retreat
    Ashalla, Bajor

    “I’m bored.” Lt. Nyota Dryer leaned forward in her seat and yawned, stretching her full athletic frame. Captain Glover, sitting poolside, appraised the gesture appreciatively, the PADD in his hand forgotten. The trim chocolate woman nearly bulged out of her lime green bikini top. Nyota caught him leering. She swiped playfully at his knee. “And no I don’t want to do that either.”

    “Well you did just say you were bored,” Terrence grinned.

    “I think we should’ve just stayed on DS9,” Dryer intimated.

    “I thought the fresh air would do you some good,” Glover replied. “I mean, come on, you’ve got to admit this is a beautiful view?” The hotel had been built around Ashalla’s bantaca, the ancient spire that had once been at the heart of the city. The concierge had told Terrence that Bajorans, ancient and modern, built their cities around the obelisks.

    Though the provisional government now met on the other side of town, the city’s businesspeople had thought it best to build a new hotel for offworlders near one the capitol’s most revered landmarks. They were high up enough nearly to gaze the crown of the venerable architectural marvel. In the distance they could see the Grand Avenue of Lights, which was admittedly more impressive after sundown.

    Nyota shrugged, “Seen one spire, seen them all,” she admitted and Glover found her honesty refreshing.

    In truth, he just found her refreshing and he was ecstatic that she was here with him, complaining or not. Last month, during the final confrontation with the Borg, the captain had feared he lost her. But thankfully Nyota had only suffered a concussion. Mr. Tunepp had been more seriously injured, but was on the mend. Other crew members, including Ensign Ximenes hadn’t been so fortunate.

    “I guess quiet contemplation just isn’t your scene?” Glover playfully asked.

    Nyota looked down at him, pursing her lips, “You know how I roll.”

    He nodded, pursing his own lips. “You bet I do.”

    “You’re starting up again,” the security officer warned, wagging her finger. “Haven’t you ever heard of too much of a good thing?”

    “Never,” Terrence replied with a straight face.

    “Besides you aren’t actually taking a break yourself,” she said, pointing at his PADD. “I know you’re not reading one of the books I downloaded for you.”

    Glover sheepishly shrugged, “Okay, I admit. It was just the latest status report I had to go over.”

    “That’s what Commander Konall is there for,” Dryer said, “And you know that man’s blood would curdle at the thought of taking shore leave.”

    Terrence couldn’t help but laugh. He had been frightened that he had lost Konall too, but typical of his warrior’s ilk, the man had proved quite resilient. He had made his intentions to stay aboard Cuffe and oversee the repairs loud and unfortunately not completely spittle free. “You might be right. I sure hope Chief Hwang hasn’t stuffed him into a plasma tank yet.”

    He could only shake his head, imagining the rows occurring between the two strong willed officers. “I wonder what Chief O’Brien’s crew must be thinking.” He asked, imagining the startled looks on the Deep Space Nine engineering crew that Ben had dispatched to help speed up repairs.

    “I just hope they know when to duck,” Dryer chuckled. Terrence joined her.

    “Okay,” he said, putting down the PADD, “We’ll go up to DS9. I wouldn’t mind stopping by to see Ben and Jake.” With all of the work going into repairing Cuffe and the shore leave he wanted to spend with Dryer, Terrence hadn’t found much time for Ben. He knew deep down that was partly on purpose. Even though he had forgiven his friend, mostly, he could never forget what had happened between them.

    Glover still had serious doubts about the true culprits behind the Borg attacks on Helophis and Zubrin, and though his views hadn’t gotten any support from Starfleet Command, it hadn’t mollified his skepticism. It would always be there in the back of his mind and he blamed Sisko’s inaction for the drone’s destruction which left that question unanswered.

    And if he dwelled on that niggling mystery, and let it metastasize it could destroy their friendship. Terrence had finally resolved to not let the recent distance between them become a chasm. The captain stood up and stretched, mimicking Dryer from a few minutes ago. The nubile woman left her pool chair as well.

    “And I want to get in on some dabo action,” Nyota rubbed her hands expectantly.

    “You and Dr. Lage, what am I going to do with either of you?” The captain shook his head. He was learning, courtesy of Nyota, that the assistant medical officer was quite the gamester.

    “I hope that was a strictly innocent question,” Dryer regarded him with a squinty eye.

    “Oh, come on!” Glover threw up his hands, his cheeks warming. “I didn’t mean something like that!”

    Nyota tapped his arm lightly, chuckling all the while. “Got you!”

    “Very funny,” Terrence huffed.

    “If only you had seen the look on your face,” Dryer smiled. “Like a kid caught red handed in the cookie jar. Very cute.”

    “I’ve got your cute right here,” Glover said, wrapping the woman in quick embrace, before he swept her into his arms. Nyota playfully pounded on his bare chest.

    “You put me down this instance Terrence!” She squealed.

    “After you’ve had a drink,” He said, dropping her into the pool. He dived in right after.

    “If you weren’t so handsome and my commanding officer,” Nyota promised. Terrence wrapped her into his arms.

    “You look even better dripping wet,” he whispered into her ear before nibbling the lobe. Nyota scrunched her neck and purred.

    “You know that’s my spot,” she breathed, “you are so bad.”

    “Are you sure a little workout wouldn’t get those neurons pumping for a long night of dabo?”

    “I guess a girl is entitled to change her mind every now and then right?” Nyota smirked.

    “You’ll get no complaints from me,” Terrence grinned. “DS9 can wait,” he said before cradling the woman and pulling her under. Glover knew that when they came back up for oxygen, that both the station and his friend would still be there.

    THE END

    ******************************************************************
    I wanted to thank everyone who read and also who commented on this story. It was a long time in coming, this Sisko v. The Borg story, and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

    I wanted to thank my fellow UT writer DavidFalkayn for his creation of Nyota Dryer and for him allowing me to use her for several my stories. I also wanted to thank another UT colleague, Gibraltar, for creating Admiral Salk.
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2013
  16. admiralelm11

    admiralelm11 Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2009
    Location:
    Vancouver, WA
    Great story! I really enjoyed this one, especially with Ben Sisko in it. I can't wait to see what you blow our minds away with next. :bolian:
     
  17. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Agreed. I liked seeing the early days of Glover's command even if his crew on Cuffe was mostly unknowns at that point. I'd love to see another story set on that ship or maybe a return to the Aegis? And then of course there are plenty of questions about what happened to Glover around the Taskforce Vanguard time frame.

    So many interesting tales yet to spin.
     
  18. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Admiralelm11,

    Thanks for reading and commenting and for the challenge. I hope the next story and the one after that and so meet that challenge. I'm pleased that you liked how I wrote Sisko. I'm always worried about getting the voice or characterization right when I'm taking on one of Trek's iconic characters.

    CeJay,

    Thanks too. You've laid down another challenge :). I could see another Cuffe story since I've got roughly five years of time to play with. But Aegis's time frame is much shorter, however you have got my old brain to clicking on maybe sliding in another Aegis story. Taskforce Vanguard is still something I intend to get sometime in the future.

    I would like to get back to Shadow Puppets eventually, however I think I will not be continuing where I left off but doing another reboot. I would like to streamline that story and put Admiral Glover more front and center. But while I'm still figuring all that out in my head I might put together another Dark Territory adventure.