Chapter 21 The battle was turning and not in their favor. Prin glanced at the holographic screen hovering in the air in front of her, showing the tactical situation around Onyx Station. The blue and green shapes signalling Redemption and her allies were slowly being pushed further and further away from the centre of the system, forced back by the enemy Laurentii forces. Very soon, there would be no point in remaining anymore. And still the enemy kept on coming. She watched her viewfinder as Redemption’s phasers and torpedoes streaked through the void, flaring briefly at the heart of one of five tendril ships. The ship flew apart, purple gore congealing in space. Simultaneously, the four remaining ships fired bright searing beams, striking the nearest Behemoth amidships. The huge living vessel bucked, great stripes of flesh tearing away revealing vivid red flesh beneath. The creature, mortally wounded, began to shut down. That’s it, Prin thought before she could stop herself. We’re not going to get out of this one. The view around her shifted as Williams banked, bringing the ship’s belly around. The dorsal phaser banks let rip, keen lances of energy tearing at the oncoming ships. One of them lost all of its tendrils, another one fled the onslaught. The comm. line buzzed, breaking through the battle induced fog in Prin’s mind. She reached up and slapped her badge. “Prin here.” “Engineering. I have an idea.” Kane’s voice and inflection had taken on the emotionless tones of a computer. He must be directly interfaced with the computer. Prin tried to repress a shudder at the thought, forcing fire into her voice. “You’d better, Kane. We’re getting torn apart up here and I don’t know how much longer we can hold out before we have to run.” “There is a 95% chance you will not like my suggestion.” “You let me worry about that.” “Very well. I have interfaced with the sensor network and correlated the little information our science department gathered before the attack. All current data seems to indicate that the station is a living organism, like all the Laurentii technology. Biotech, through and through, with very few mechanical components. Simulations indicate that what we are calling the interference field is in fact a natural defensive mechanism.” “Natural?” “All probabilities indicate that no one over there has any control over it. It is like a second layer of skin, automatically generated when the creature we call Onyx Station feels it is in danger.” “What’s your idea, Kane?” “Nanoprobes.” Prin hesitated before answering, unsure if she had heard him correctly. “Nanoprobes. Borg nanoprobes?” “You know of any other kind?” he asked, a little of his own personality seeping past the Borg conditioning. “What by the Prophets are you suggesting?” “A torpedo loaded with Borg nanoprobes. We fire it at the station, wait for the nanoprobes to infect the station, then use the neural interlink frequency to lower the defences.” “You’re talking about assimilating the station.” “Yes.” “You’re insane.” “All simulations indicate that it is the most viable option, Commander.” “I can’t believe that—“ “Commander?” Prin broke off, looking up at Ianto, still stoo on the edge of the Pit. “What is it Mister Ianto?” “I think that Lieutenant Kane’s idea has merit.” Prin couldn’t believe what she was hearing. “Merit? We’re talking about unleashing a weapon that was banned by the Dominion. The Dominion!” “Lieutenant Kane, if my understanding of Borg technology is correct, there is a special frequency that could be used by the Borg to destroy all of the nanoprobes within an assimilated body, is that correct?” “Yes,” Kane responded. “After various Delta Quadrant races conspired to infect the collective with various biological and cybernetic viruses at the moment of assimilation, a frequency was designed that—“ “So,” Ianto interrupted, cutting off Kane’s robotic explanation, “once the nanoprobes have been used to drop the defences, you could use that frequency to deassimilate the station?” “As long as the assimilation process has not proceeded too far.” “Would you have time to drop the interference field before the process goes too far?” Prin asked. There was a moment of silence. “Kane?” “Calculating.” Prin waited for the answer, still not quite believing that she was even considering the plan. Finally, Kane replied. “There is a 95% chance that I will be able to destroy the nanoprobes before the assimilation goes too far.” 95%. Prin winced. A five percent chance that she could end up with a Borg space station on her hands did not seem like particularly good odds. She had always prided herself on being unshakeable during emergencies, willing to take the time to consider all of the options on their own individual merits, without allowing emotion to take over. She had trained herself so that even when faced with a seemingly insurmountable crisis, a logical part of her brain would detach and allow her to make the right decision. But all of the training couldn’t help her here. It’s like the Kobayashi Maru, she thought. No win, and a snow ball’s chance of a solution. Well then, so be it. A snow ball’s chance is better than none. She nodded. “Alright Kane. Prepare the torpedo.” “Yes, captain. There is one difficulty. The station is going to be defending itself against anything it sees as a threat. A warhead set to the exact frequency of the interference field would have a chance of getting through, but the field is changing every few seconds. The torpedo would have to be fired from close range and harmonized just before launch. We are going to need to get closer.” Closer to that? Prin thought. Space around the station boiled with Behemoths, fighters and energy blasts. We’ll be slaughtered. “I may have a solution to that, Commander.” Prin looked back up at Ianto. “Mister Ianto?” “If you reinstate my commission, I think I can fly a shuttle close enough to get off the shot.” “That would take a pilot with superhuman skills.” “Or one who can download his personality directly into the shuttle’s computer.” Prin frowned. “You can do that?” “Give me ten minutes.” “Alright. Make it so, gentlemen.” As Kane cut the comm and Ianto prepared to transfer part of his matrix, Prin turned to Barani. The ops officer had listened in on the whole conversation and her wide eyes told Prin everything she needed to know of how the lieutenant felt about the plan. “Do you have something to add, lieutenant?” Barani shook her head, turning back to her screens. “No, sir.” “Good. Hail the lead Laurentii Behemoth.” Prin looked back at the raging battle. No matter what Ianto said, he was going to need support to get the shuttle that close to the station. Leaving me to convince our “allies” to follow me into the plaktar’s nest.