Agamemnon Voyages: The God Particle

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by CeJay, Apr 14, 2012.

  1. The Badger

    The Badger Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Dec 11, 2008
    Im in ur Tardis, violating ur canon.
    Well that complicates matters!

    Another excellent chapter. Maya's verbal duelling with Toreth was very well written, and there was a definite sense of tension as things escalated.
  2. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Feb 5, 2006
    Lexington, 2267

    In the transporter room, Wesley found his Zulu chief of security already waiting with two of his red-shirted officers. They both held type-II phaser pistols which they kept trained on the as yet empty transporter platform while awaiting the Xenarth representative to beam on board.

    “Quite the friendly welcoming committee we’ve put together here,” said Doctor Vincent who had joined the commodore and Alexei Kuznetsov.

    “These creatures have already demonstrated their hostile attitude twice,” Lieutenant Nealo Mtolo pointed out. “I’d rather be prepared for any other such displays.”

    “Armed guards is a wise precaution, Lieutenant,” said Wesley. “But have your men holster their weapons until they may be needed. And let’s try to refrain from calling them creatures.”

    “Yes, sir,” said Mtolo and gestured to his men who quickly attached the phasers to their hips before standing at attention.

    “Ensign,” said the commodore, looking towards the officer manning the transporter console. “Do you have the coordinates?”

    He nodded. “Just come through, sir.”

    Wesley faced the platform while his first officer and chief surgeon flanked him on either side.

    “Do they really look like bugs?” asked Doctor Vincent.

    “Da. Imagine an ant, walking upright and with a particularly nasty disposition,” said the Russian first officer.

    “That be all of that, gentlemen,” said Wesley. “These are our guests and we will treat them us such. Ensign, energize.”

    Vincent couldn’t help himself but subconsciously start scratching himself.

    The beam effect lasted only a few seconds and promptly revealed a tall insectoid. As already expected she stood on two legs and was as much upright as an average human. Thanks to her long feelers protruding from the front of her face, she stood quite a little taller than anyone else in the transporter room. Now that Wesley got to see a Xenarth up close, he realized that they were perhaps not so different after all. That was of course besides the clearly hardened exoskeleton, the antennae, the mandibles, the disturbingly large and round black eyes and the four arms.

    He also thought he could see a few, what he believed to be, female characteristics. Her torso was slim and bulged out slightly around her hips. She had slender legs and appeared to wear hints of facial painting around those large eyes which could be considered make-up. She wore a form-fitting, simple green dress with golden, crescent-shaped marking across the chest.

    “Welcome aboard the Lexington. I’m Commodore Robert Wesley. This is my first officer Commander Alexei Kuznetsov and ship’s physician Doctor Charles Vincent.”

    But the Xenarth was paying little attention to the Starfleet officers and instead kept studying the transporter with great curiosity.

    When Kuznetsov cleared his throat, she whipped her head towards the officers as if seeing them there for the first time. They didn’t hold her interest for long. She looked passed them and towards the transporter console. When she stepped off the platform and towards it, Wesley quickly stepped aside to let her pass.

    Mtolo and his security detail tensed up noticeably, all three reaching for their phasers but Wesley raised his hand to let them know to hold their positions.

    Their curious guest looked over the red and black console and the colorful control panel.

    The ensign behind it had taken a step away but apparently couldn’t help himself but stare wide-eyed at this alien creature as her head twitched back and forth. Then she stopped moving suddenly and looked up and right into the surprised ensign’s face. “You appear startled. Is this because of my appearance?” she asked, the universal translator now working perfectly to re-modulated and translate her language.

    The ensign was completely stone-faced, apparently unable to speak.

    Wesley stepped up. “I apologize for the behavior of my crew. We don’t meet non-humanoid life-forms like yourself very often.”

    The Xenarth turned around to study the commodore, her head once again twitching back and forth slightly. “No apologies necessary.”

    “You are not Queen Quelphi, I presume,” said Wesley. In truth he wasn’t able to tell by her appearance but her mannerisms appeared very different to the Xenarth he had dealt with earlier.

    She uttered a series of quick clicks which the UT was unable to decipher and Wesley interpreted as a laugh. Either that or a sign of great offense. He hoped it wasn’t the latter.

    “All-Mother, no,” she said. “I feel I am the one who should offer apologies. I was so distracted and intrigued by your matter-conversion technology that I have failed to behave like a guest is expected to,” she said and lowered her head in a universal gesture of apology. “I am Artisan Queen Selphi and I most humbly ask your forgiveness.”

    Wesley took a step forward and smiled. “Not necessary,” he said, repeating her earlier words. “First contact situations like these are fraught with misunderstandings and misconceptions as we try to learn each other’s mannerisms and behaviors,” he said. Making it quite obvious, at least to his fellow officers, that this wasn’t his first encounter with a new species he’d had in his illustrious Starfleet career. “I appreciate that going through our transporter can be disturbing when you experience it for the first time.”

    Quelphi looked up and then passed him to look back at the platform. “It is a most curious machine. Tell me, does it allow you to move matter over any distance?”

    If Wesley appeared surprised by the question, he did not show this. “It has a limited range. We can easily and safely transport persons and objects from a planet’s orbit to the surface. Just as we have you just now.”

    The Artisan Queen appeared almost disappointed by this revelation. Of course Wesley couldn’t be entirely certain. It was too early to be able to fully interpret the Xenarth’s complex facial expression.

    “Perhaps you would like to join us in our briefing room. We could continue our conversation there in greater comfort.”

    “I would be delighted to,” she said.

    Wesley nodded and pointed towards the doors. The Xenarth required only a couple of seconds to correctly interpret the gesture and then headed out of the transporter room.

    “I think you can relax,” said Vincent in a hushed town to Mtolo as he passed him by. “Looks like we beamed up the agreeable one.”

    Of course the security chief showed no intentions of doing so and promptly followed Selphi and the senior officers.

    The short trip to the briefing room unexpectedly took longer than usual. Most crewmembers stopped upon seeing the alien creature walking passed them and did a poor job at avoiding staring at the insectoid. Thankfully the Xenarth didn’t seem to mind and instead simply stared back. Overall she seemed more interested in Lexington and her technology then in her crew, leaving Wesley to think that she had a greater familiarity with humanoid life than he and his officers had with insectoids.

    Once they had arrived at their destination, Wesley had the two security officers positioned outside while he, Kuznetsov, Vincent and Mtolo joined Selphi at the briefing room table.

    As it turned out the Artisan Queen was not at all shy about speaking of herself and her people and quite curious to learn about Lexington and the Federation. Within moments the conversation was in full swing.

    “You are saying that you Federation encompasses dozens of planets and different species? This is very interesting.”

    Wesley nodded. “We have only explored a very small percentage of our galaxy. And as you can tell we haven’t come across very many species which are as different to us as you are.”

    “We have made similar discoveries,” she said.

    “Forgive me if I’m too forward,” Vincent said. “But we have never heard of your species before and we know for a fact that this planet used to be uninhabited just a few years ago. Naturally this makes me wonder –“

    “Where we come from?” she completed for him.

    The doctor nodded.

    “I suppose that is a valid question, considering that we have appeared within your territory uninvited.”

    “As I have tried to explain to Queen Quelphi. While you may have come here uninvited, you are certainly not unwelcome,” Wesley said.

    The Xenarth queen lowered her head again slightly before continuing. “Having a rational conversation with the Warrior Queen is a great challenge, I have to admit. If she’d had her way we wouldn’t be having this conversation at all and you’d be fighting off our swarm ships instead.”

    “She is not your leader then?” Kuznetsov asked.

    “No. However she wishes she were and the way things are progressing in the Aggregate, perhaps she will be soon. It is not a prospect I am looking forward to and I fear what it may mean for the good of the Colony.”

    When neither of the Starfleet officers could think of a response, she continued. “I understand that you have offered to help us and it is solely because of that reason that I have been allowed to come and meet with you. But before we continue any further it is imperative that you understand the complexities of the Xenarth Aggregate and the difficulties we face,” she said, making an effort to look at each of the four men she was sharing the table with. “We have come here from a place we assume to be very far away. Please do not ask me where our now lost home world is located as I am not well-versed in such matters and I fear not even the Scholar Queen and her scientists would be able to explain it adequately. What I know for certain is that the stars in this place are very different to what they used to look like.

    Driven by our ancient texts and promises, our entire Colony has been obsessed over the last one hundred sun-cycles to find Xendaru, the realm of our God-Queen. A new and powerful force we discovered not so long ago convinced our Supreme, Queen Semunstra, that it would allow the entire Colony entry into Xendaru. In hindsight however Queen Quelphi remained right and it has only attracted elements which have nearly let to our total destruction. And as we stood at the very cusp of the downfall of our once great civilization, we placed all our trust into this powerful force, hoping against hope that it would take us to Xendaru and to our salvation.”

    The room was quite for a moment after Selphi had told the tale of her people as Wesley and his officers took in this tragic and yet fascinating story.

    “So instead of reaching Xendaru you and your people landed here?” said Vincent.

    “That is correct,” she said. “But not everybody survived this journey. Millions of our sisters and brothers perished, including Supreme Semunstra.”

    “That would certainly explain how your and your Colony appeared out of seemingly nowhere. This force you speak of? It must be immensely powerful,” said Kuznetsov and shot a quick glance towards Wesley at his side. Both men realizing that whatever Ketteract had discovered was clearly linked to the forces that had moved an entire civilization over presumably many hundreds of light-years of space.

    “We have named it the Xendaru particle for the promises it was supposed to fulfill. And I have long since come to see it as a great curse on our people. Thousands of fellow colonists were killed in the sun-cycles wasted to attempt to create it and now millions more have been lost. Sadly our leaders have not learned from those mistakes and our new Supreme, the Cleric Queen Ergia, is determined to make use of this hellish force yet again to try and reach Xendaru once more.”

    “I take it from your earlier talk about complexities in your ruling faction that there is opposition to this plan,” said Wesley.

    She jerked her head in what could only be interpreted as a nod. “Yes. The Warrior Queen has made no secret of the fact that she is staunchly opposed to try for Xendaru once more. Sadly she lacks the subtleties for reason and negotiation while Ergia is far too obsessed with reaching the All-Mother to listen to anyone but her own best advice. I fear that the Aggregate will tear itself apart and the Colony along with it.”

    “I sympathize for your situation, Queen Selphi,” Vincent said and then glanced towards Wesley. “But we usually don’t involve ourselves in the affairs of other races.”

    The commodore considered this for a moment, fully aware the doctor was right. If the framers of the Prime Directive ever had a situation in mind to which their rules needed to be applied to, than this was it.

    “I certainly don’t fault you for not wishing to become entangled in the power plays of my people,” Selphi said before Wesley could render some form of verdict. “But I fear that if Ergia and Quelphi are not stopped, the next time the Xendaru particle is employed, the disaster that will follow will wipe out the entire Colony.”
  3. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Feb 5, 2006
    The doors to the briefing room swished open and loud voices interrupted the meeting.

    Mtolo quickly jumped out of his seat and brought up his phaser, apparently expecting the worse.

    “Sir, you can’t go in there,” one of the security officers insisted.

    “Let me go, you red-shirted dimwit,” Ketteract complained loudly. “You couldn’t possibly fathom the seriousness of this situation. The entire galaxy is about to go up in flames and I may be the only person who can stop it.”

    Surprisingly the comparatively frail scientist managed to sidestep the much bigger security guard and slip passed him and into the briefing room. He froze when he noticed Mtolo’s phaser pointed at him. Then he saw the Xenarth, now also standing with her feelers fully raised in alarm, before he managed to tear his wide-open eyes away to focus on a clearly annoyed Wesley.

    “What is the meaning of this?” Kuznetsov barked.

    Not a moment later Zha’Thara appeared by the open doors. She looked flustered and out of breath as if she had run all the way from the bridge. “I’m sorry, sir. I tried to stop him but he’s faster than he looks,” she said.

    “Doctor, I’m waiting for an explanation before I have Nealo here shoot you were you stand and then dragged to the brig from where you may enjoy the rest of this mission,” the Bear said, clearly fuming over this entirely inappropriate display by the scientist.

    But Ketteract ignored the Russian and the phaser pointed at his chest and instead took a step towards the commodore. “My findings leave no doubt. This Omega Molecule will kill us all if we don’t take immediate action.”

    This seemed to pique Queen Selphi’s interest. “And you believe you can help us avoid a disaster?”

    Ketteract looked at the Xenarth for a moment, now carefully considering his response. “Yes. I think so.”

    “Doctor Ketteract, after this meeting you and I will have a serious conversation about expected decorum on a starship,” said Wesley sternly. “Until then, sit down and tell us what you’ve found. You too, Commander.”

    Ketteract and Zha’Thara took a seat and after a moment the security chief secured his weapon again and joined them.

    “I apologize for this rather unexpected interruption, Queen Quelphi,” said Wesley once he and the Xenarth were in their seat again as well. “As you may have deduced, Doctor Ketteract is not a regular member of my crew and still has to learn about the behavior I find acceptable on my ship,” he said and shot the scientist a stern look even though he didn’t appear to notice.

    “Doctor Ketteract is the main reason we are here. He is the one who first discovered the energy readings from your Xendaru particle and pinpointed them to the planet you currently inhabit. Commander Zha’Thara is my science officer.”

    Quelphi looked at them both but seemed slightly more interested in the Andorian, studying her closely. “A pleasure to meet you both. And if I may say, I am rather fond of your antennae, Commander.”

    The science officer smirked at the unexpected compliment. “Yours are not that bad either, your … majesty.”

    The title was properly incorrect but Quelphi didn’t seem to mind and she moved her head from side to side which appeared to be a sign of appreciation.

    “If I may ask, are all the leaders of your world female?” asked Vincent.

    “Only a female can become a queen,” she said. “It has been this way for a great many generations and as long as anyone can remember.”

    Vincent nodded, now seemingly understanding why she seemed to take so well to Zha’Thara.

    “Doctor, you were about to tell us about this … Omega Molecule, was it?” Wesley said.

    “Yes,” he said excitedly. “A fitting name for the substance which is going to bring an end to the universe as we know it.”

    If nothing else Ketteract was a master of hyperbole with a flair for the dramatic and he seemed to enjoy the reactions he had forced from his audience as he waited patiently for his words to sink in.

    Wesley had not use for this. “Doctor, by all means, don’t leave us all in suspense here and elaborate on your theory.”

    He nodded quickly. “From what I can tell, further to my detailed analysis of the substance I have located on Iota Crucis’ surface, this molecule is even more powerful than I previously anticipated. I now believe that the shockwave we experienced earlier was nothing more than a tiny taste of what kind of forces would be unleashed if it became unstable.”

    “The shockwave you speak of was the result of an accident in our research facility which killed over six hundred of our workers and scholars. Sadly it has become a common occurrence,” explained the Artisan Queen.

    “I think they tried to synthesize maybe a handful of molecules when this accident must have taken place. But from my scans the Xenarth have the ability to generate thousands of molecules. And another accident could easily trigger them all in a chain-reaction of unimaginable proportions.”

    “Let’s try and be a little less vague, Doctor. Let’s assume something like that would happen. What kind of damage would it do?” Wesley asked.

    The scientist didn’t even have to think about that. “Total.”

    Wesley uttered a heavy sigh and then looked towards his science officer.

    Zha’Thara cleared her throat. “Subspace damage on a quadrant-wide scale is not out of the question. I’m still having a hard time wrapping my head around this Omega Molecule and its potential. But I am certain that subspace is particularly vulnerable to it.”

    “Subspace in this region is already damaged,” said Kutznetsov. “We attributed this to the black hole at first but do you think it may be linked to this molecule?”

    Ketteract jumped back in. “Yes, I do. Now imagine the same kind of damage not just across the sector but the entire quadrant and on a much more severe scale. Forget warp drive and subspace communications. This is a ticking time bomb we’re dealing with here and once it goes off it’ll throw the Federation back into the Stone Age.”

    Wesley looked at his science officer for confirmation and he got it when she nodded along slowly. “And you can prevent this?” he asked Ketteract.

    “I have a theory on how it could be safely stabilized, yes. If I’m right and I think I am, the potential applications for this kind of power source would be endless. It would completely replace anti-matter engines on starships. Hell it may even replace starships all together. You could build portals so powerful, they’ll beam you across the quadrant instantaneously.”

    At that Queen Selphi peaked up a little more. “The Star Portal.”

    Wesley and the others gave her puzzled expressions.

    “The name of the device we have used to bring us here and powered by the Xendaru … your Omega Molecule,” she explained.

    “Don’t get me wrong, this all sounds quite horrific to an old country doctor like myself, but do we really want to take the chance to mess around with powers so clearly beyond our understanding?” asked Vincent.

    Except for Ketteract nobody in the room appeared to be perfectly comfortable with the idea.

    It was Quelphi who spoke up first. “I don’t see how we have much of a choice in the matter. The future of my people is at stake and from what you have said perhaps the future of yours as well. If you are willing to assist us, I will gladly recommend your services to the Supreme.”

    “Of course. In fact I can come with you right now,” said Ketteract, clearly excited about the opportunity to finally see with his own eyes that which he had only imagined previously.

    Vincent shot the commodore a concerned look, one he understood perfectly. “Queen Quelphi, further to what we’ve learned today I agree with you that we stand much to lose if we don’t take swift action. And yet I am not entirely confident in making any rushed decisions on this subject. Perhaps it would be best if you relay to your leaders what has been discussed here and we will communicate further afterwards.”

    Selphi stood from her chair and everyone else quickly followed. “Commodore Wesley, I share your trepidations in this matter. I will do as you ask so that we can reach a solution which will be beneficial for the both of our people,” she said and then looked at the other humans and the Andorian. “It was my pleasure to make the acquainted of such fascinating creatures.”

    “The pleasure was ours,” said Wesley. “I’m certain we will meet again soon. Lieutenant Mtolo, please escort our guest back to the transporter room.”

    The security chief nodded and led the Xenarth out of the room.

    “Doctor, why don’t you get back to the bridge and look over your readings again. I want to be absolutely certain that we know what we’re dealing with here before we make any firm pledges of assistance,” said Wesley.

    Ketteract seemed offended by the suggestion that he could have made a mistake. “I’m confident in my assertions.”

    “I don’t think that was a request, Doctor,” said Kuztnesov sternly.

    Ketteract huffed but ultimately left the briefing room.

    “We could just let him go down there and see if he can talk them out of this whole Omega Molecule business,” said Vincent. “Ten minutes around that man and they’ll do whatever he asks as long as we promise to take him back.”

    Even the Bear had to smirk at that.

    “On a serious note,” said Wesley. “I don’t like where this is going. Putting the Prime Directive implications to one side for a moment, we’re potentially talking about not only the complete annihilation of a race but a threat to the entire Federation.”

    “Are you suggestion that we don’t give Ketteract a chance on stabilizing these molecules?” asked Zha’Thara.

    “We can’t just ignore this, that much is certain. But I need you to look into an alternative to Doctor Ketteract’s plan. I don’t think we can talk the Xenarth out of experimenting on this molecule.”

    “Which means we help them to stabilize it, avert a catastrophe on a galactic scale and watch them beam themselves hundreds of light-years away,” said the first officer.

    Vincent looked doubtful. “And if they cannot be stabilized?”

    The commodore looked straight at his Andorian science officer. “Then we have to find a way to destroy it. If the Xenarth like it or not.”
  4. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Sep 25, 2005
    US Pacific Northwest
    While Amaya plays a high-stakes game of chicken with the Romulans in the present, a century ago Commodore Wesley is faced with the unwelcome prospect of violating the Prime Directive in order to safeguard the entire quadrant.

    Too many fantastic character moments here to list, but you’ve clearly infused everyone in the story with their own unique personalities and perspectives.

    I very much enjoy how the 23rd century portion of the story informs the events of the 24th, and that you’re unveiling both in interlocking installments. :techman:
  5. The Badger

    The Badger Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Dec 11, 2008
    Im in ur Tardis, violating ur canon.
    Another excellent instalment. Switching between the two time periods lets the story progress in an unusual and interesting manner. And as Gibraltar pointed out, every character has their own personality.
  6. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Feb 5, 2006
    Agamemnon, 2372

    Her day couldn’t possibly get any worse, thought Amaya Donners as she sat in her chair on the bridge, considering recent events. She had well known that becoming a starship captain would also bring with it a new set of challenges and responsibilities she’d never faced before. It felt naïve now to think that she had thought herself ready for them.

    But then again how could she have ever imagined that within a week of assuming her new post she would be given one of Starfleet’s most secret and seemingly controversial orders, hunting down and destroying a molecule whose existence she hadn’t even been aware of until that point? How could she have known that this mission would lead her and her new ship into a direct confrontation with the Romulans who threatened her with interstellar war if she didn’t back down? And how could she have possibly predicted that she would have to face the Federation’s most dangerous and deadly enemy?

    Maya’s deliberations only lasted a couple of seconds, it was all the time she really had to spare during this unfolding crisis. Then she spotted Vej’s eyes upon her once more but this time he neither frowned nor showed concern. Instead he gave her a reaffirming look, one that seemed to suggest that he had complete confidence in her ability to get the ship and crew through this in one piece.

    She considered herself extremely lucky having the counselor at her side and without uttering a single word, she unlocked the determination she was sure she’d require to survive the next few minutes or so. The doubts and fears still remained but for now they were banned to the farthest reaches of her mind as she focused on what needed to be done.

    The captain took in the image of the oddly shaped starship on the screen, bearing down on Agamemnon. She couldn’t fault her tactical officer’s confusion earlier. She didn’t think she’d ever seen the asymmetrical designed vessel before either. The size was impressive, easily numerous times larger than Agamemnon and the warbird put together, it had an almost vase shaped central core with two arms protruding outwards, a short horizontal one connecting to a rectangular section, while the second arm angled downwards and ending in a third section which looked like a smaller version of the central core.

    “You are certain this is a Borg ship?” she asked.

    Allenby nodded firmly. “Absolutely, sir. I encountered a similar vessel while on the Enterprise two years ago.”

    “Confirmed. Starfleet has this vessel designated as a Borg Type 03,” said Mer’iab, clearly flustered by the fact that he hadn’t been able to bring up this information before. “The only previously encountered vessel was destroyed two years ago. At the time there was no indication that a second vessel exists.”

    “There is now,” said Texx.

    “Where did it come from? How come we didn’t detect it sooner?” Maya wanted to know.

    “When we encountered it on the Enterprise, the ship was able to utilize transwarp conduits just like other Borg vessels,” said the operations officer.

    Maya glanced towards Daystrom who quickly nodded in agreement. “I’m detecting residual readings of a massive triquantum waves close to the Borg ship’s position. I should have seen it sooner.”

    “We had our hands full, Lieutenant,” said Vej quickly. “Besides with all the subspace disruptions around here it probably didn’t stand out much.”

    The science officer didn’t seem entirely convinced that the oversight was as forgivable as the counselor implied.

    “Time to intercept?” asked Donners.

    “One minute, forty-six seconds,” said Mer’iab.

    “Looks like our Romulan friends have already changed course to greet the Borg,” said Texx as he studied his console.

    “We must have lost our appeal,” said DeSoto.

    “What’s the tactical analysis?” the captain wanted to know. “What are the chances the Khazara can survive against that ship? What are ours?” she added and looked at the Aurelian at tactical.

    Mer’iab shook his head. “Not good,” he said. “Perhaps if we combined our assault but even then our chances are not favorable. The only way the Enterprise defeated this ship was by tricking it into the corona of a star and causing a solar flare.”

    “Not much of an option for us,” said Texx. “It’ll take use hours to reach the Iota Crucis sun.”

    “Sir, I don’t think this ship is necessarily hostile,” said Allenby.

    Maya shot the younger woman a puzzled expression. “Explain.”

    The blond-haired operations officer took a breath. “This isn’t the Collective we’re up against but a rouge faction of liberated Borg. When the Enterprise encountered them they were led by an android with self-serving intentions but after he was neutralized a Borg by the name of Hugh took over.”

    Vej looked perplexed. “The Borg have names now?”

    She nodded. “This one had. Thanks to the Enterprise crew. As I said these are liberated Borg and last I checked they were on friendly terms with us. I cannot imagine that Hugh would want to fight us.”

    “Let’s hope you’re right as otherwise this could be an extremely one-sided battle,” said Maya.

    “Sir,” Mer’iab said. “The Romulans are engaging the Borg.”

    The bridge crew immediately focused on the view screen were the massive Borg vessel and the comparatively diminutive warbird had opened fire on each other. The Khazara circled the much larger vessel as it unleashed one disruptor salvo after the other, seemingly trying to locate the enemy’s Achilles Heel. The counter-attack appeared much more devastating, judging by the way the warbird’s shields flared brightly with each hit. Some of the Borg weapons managed to penetrate and smashed into the hull with immense force and exposing atmosphere to the vacuum of space.

    “Not going well for the Romulans,” said DeSoto.

    “Mister Mer’iab, warn them off, tell them that they don’t stand a chance,” said Maya.

    But the tactical officer quickly shook his head. “They are not listening, sir.”

    “There’s a surprise,” said Texx.

    “Sir, we’re being targeted,” Mer’iab shouted urgently.

    Not a second later the powerful Borg weapons smashed into Agamemnon’s shields with such severity, it threw Vej right out of his chair. The other bridge officers barely managed to hold on.

    “Direct hit,” said Mer’iab. “Shields down to seventy-eight percent.”

    Maya jumped out of her seat and reached out for the counselor, easily pulling him back onto his feet. He aimed a grateful look at her.

    But Maya was busy staring at Allenby. “You said they wouldn’t attack us, Lieutenant.”

    She shook her head in perplexed fashioned. “I don’t understand,” she said. “Maybe they think we are in league with the Romulans.”

    Maya turned towards tactical. “Open a channel to the Borg.”

    A quick nod confirmed it was done.

    “Attention Borg vessel, this is Captain Donners of the Federation vessel Agamemnon. We have no hostile intentions against you. I say again, we are not your enemy.”

    Her response was another bone-rattling hit.

    “Shields at sixty-two percent. Hull breaches on deck seven and eight,” shouted the tactical officer over the red alert klaxons and the sounds of the ship almost tearing itself apart.

    “Evasive pattern Tango-Four,” Maya said and took her chair again. “Return fire, try to target the same areas the Romulans are shooting at, maybe that way we can punch through their shields.”

    DeSoto had the ship break-off sharply, avoiding another volley of incoming fire that had been meant for Agamemnon. Mer’iab quickly unleashed the various phaser arrays with near pinpoint accuracy, hitting the same spots the Romulan disruptors had attempted to break through just moments before. The results were discouraging.

    “Multiple direct hits,” said Texx but shook his head as he spoke. “Minimal damage.”

    “Captain,” Wayne Daystrom said excitedly. “I’m reading another transwarp conduit opening.”

    Maya mentally chided herself for her earlier presumptuousness that this day couldn’t possibly get any worse, realizing belatedly that she had jinxed herself in the process.

    “Bobby, stand by to disengage,” she said quickly, fully aware that if a second Borg vessel would join the fray, Agamemnon wouldn’t last seconds.

    “Wait a minute,” said Daystrom. “It’s not the Borg,” he said and then turned to look at the captain with a growing smirk. “It’s one of ours, sir. The Cuffe.”

    Maya glanced back towards the screen to watch the Nebula-class starship emerge out of seemingly nowhere and then immediately bearing down on the massive Borg vessel with a barrage of phaser fire and photon torpedoes. She couldn’t help herself but smile at the sight. Leave it to Terrence Glover to brazenly introduce himself in dramatic fashion.

    “They are hailing us,” said Mer’iab.

    “On screen.”

    Captain Glover’s lopsided grin gave proof that he enjoyed the role of shining knight coming to rescue the damsel in distress. The dark-skinned, broad-shouldered starship captain had known Maya for over four years and ever since she had become his father’s adjutant at Deep Space Five. And barely a visit had gone by that the younger Glover had not tried to flirt with her one way or the other. It came as little surprise to her then that he quickly found a way to make levity of the situation. “First day on the job and you’re already taking on the Romulans and the Borg?” he said. “What are you planning for tomorrow? Going a few rounds with Q?”

    “I like a challenge,” she shot back despite herself. She was fully aware that Cuffe’s timely appearance didn’t mean they were out of the woods just yet.

    “Lucky for you we were in the neighborhood. Came across this misshapen Borg monstrosity a few light years from here and followed it when it disappeared into a transwarp conduit,” he explained even as he had to hang on to the armrests of his seat as his ship was being pummeled. “Keep firing, all weapons. Hit that thing were it hurts,” he instructed his crew before he glanced back towards Donners. “Follow my lead, Amaya and we’ll make the Borg curse the day they thought they could take on Starfleet’s finest. Glover out.”

    And with that he blinked out.

    “Follow his lead?” said Texx and glanced at the captain. “I thought we were here first.”

    “Glover likes to take charge. It’s in his psychological profile,” said the counselor.

    As grateful as she was for Cuffe’s unexpected appearance, she couldn’t deny that it annoyed her that her fellow captain had simply decided to take the lead and expected her to quietly fall in line. Of course she had expected nothing less from the notoriously audacious starship captain and quite frankly there was neither the time nor the opportunity to come up with an alternative.

    Cuffe is engaging attack pattern kappa-six,” said the tactical officer.

    “That’s pretty aggressive,” the first officer pointed out.

    Maya nodded in agreement. Glover had decided to throw everything he had at the Borg, going in close and personal and sacrificing his defensive for a loud and devastating offense. It wasn’t her favorite strategy and it was usually reserved for those rare times when an all-or-nothing approach was required. Glover clearly felt the situation was desperate enough.

    “Match her attack pattern but I want all auxiliary power transferred to shields and hull integrity,” she said.

    Moments later both starships blasted away at the Borg vessel with everything they had, phasers firing at a near constant rate, interspersed with photon and quantum torpedo volleys.

    And it still wasn’t enough.

    The science console exploded in a spark of flames, slinging both Daystrom and Ket to the floor.

    Vej was up in an instant checking on the young science officer first and thankfully finding him mostly in one piece except for a few bloody scrapes covering his hands and face. Together they quickly tended to the Xenarth who had apparently taken the brunt of the explosion.

    The two men helped her onto her feet but it was quickly apparent that she could not stand on her own.

    “Crewman, take her to sickbay,” Vej said to a nearby security guard who took over bracing Ket without delay, helping her to the turbolift. When the counselor turned towards Daystrom, the science officer quickly waved him off. “I’m alright,” he said. “Just a few scratches,” he said and then headed for an auxiliary station to repurpose it to replace the damaged science station.

    “Shields at twenty-eight percent. We have hull breaches on deck three, six, nine and twelve. Casualty reports are coming in from all over the ship,” said Mer’iab.

    Maya glanced at the first officer who seemed to understand what she was after straight away. The usually sanguine Bolian looked discouraged. “The Borg vessel’s shields are still at over fifty percent in strength and hull damage is minimal. Cuffe’s shields are fluctuating.”

    “This is madness,” said Vej who had found his chair again after helping the injured Ket off the bridge. “We’re not going to survive this.”

    Mer’iab seemed to disagree. “At this rate I estimate that we will be able to overwhelm the Borg vessels defenses within the next twenty to thirty minutes.”

    “Yes but at what cost?” the counselor shot back.

    Maya left her seat to make her way next to Allenby at operations. She had to hang on tightly to her chair to avoid being thrown around the bridge like a rag doll. “Tess, tell me about this Hugh. Why would he be trying to destroy us if he was an ally of the Enterprise?”

    Allenby looked up at her captain by her side. “I’m not sure but this strikes me as very odd. Granted, I was not as involved with what was happening at the time but the rumors on the ship were that some of the senior officers had become friends with him and I know that he was instrumental in helping the crew rescue the captain from the rogue Borg who had been manipulated by the android. Afterwards he became their leader.”

    Another hit disintegrated part of the adjacent helmstation.

    “I’m alright, I’m alright,” said DeSoto quickly as he grabbed a handheld fire extinguisher he kept underneath the console and efficiently put out the flames which had already rendered part of his console unusable.

    Maya focused back on Allenby. “You think he’d listen to reason?”

    “I … I don’t know,” she said, sounding a lot less sure of herself now.

    The captain placed a hand on her shoulder. “Tess, you are one of the senior officers now,” she said. “I need you to be confident.”

    The woman responded with a firm nod. “I think we have to try,” she said more resolutely.

    Maya nodded and headed back for her chair. “Put me through to the Cuffe,” she said before sitting back down.

    Terrence Glover appeared on the screen. The man had lost some of his earlier swagger and there were noticeable sweat pearls trickling down his forehead. A few blackened and soot covered stations behind him were evidence of a recent fire on his bridge. “Not a good time,” he said even as he continued to bark orders at his crew.

    “This isn’t working, Captain. I suggest we disengage and try something else. I have cause to believe that we may be able to reason with the Borg.”

    Glover actually stopped what he was doing for a moment to shoot Donners the kind of look usually reserved for misbehaving children or mad people. “I appreciate you haven’t been in that chair for very long but even you have to realize how insane that sounds.”

    Maya frowned. “These are not your garden-variety, one-minded Borg drones we are dealing with. They are individuals and behave as such. Let me try to talk to them.”

    “They don’t seem to be in a talking mood, besides we are winning this battle,” he shot back.

    “I don’t know about you but I’d like to have a ship left afterwards,” she countered. It became quickly obvious that Glover had no intention on letting himself be swayed by somebody who had been a starship captain for less than a week. “We both pull back in a sign of good faith and I try to appeal to their individuality. What’s the harm? If it doesn’t work we come back with guns blazing in a final, glorious hurrah.”

    The grimace on the other captain’s face spoke volumes. He didn’t care for the plan in the least. “You’ve got sixty seconds,” he said sharply. “Then we’ll finish this. One way or the other.” And then he cut the transmission.

    Cuffe is disengaging,” said Mer’iab.

    “Even if we don’t win this,” said Vej,” you just managed to single-handedly change Terrence Glover’s mind. That’s a victory all in itself.”

    “I attribute it to my feminine charm and magnetic personality,” she said with a grin before quickly adopting a more serious expression. “Ensign, follow their lead and back us off from the Borg. Lieutenant, cease fire.”

    And just like that both Starfleet ships turned tail and ran. At least for now.

    “Commander Toreth must have listened in,” said Texx, monitoring his console. “The Khazara is also breaking off.”

    “They know they don’t stand a chance by themselves,” said Mer’iab.

    “Open another channel to the Borg vessel,” said Maya.

    “Channel open.”

    Maya took a deep breath and stood. “This is Captain Donners on board the Agamemnon calling the Borg vessel. I am requesting to speak to the individual named Hugh,” she said and then glanced at the Aurelian tactical officer who shook his head in response.

    Texx turned his computer console so that the captain could see that the Borg vessel was now on a pursuit course and would be back within weapons range in a matter of moments. Maya quickly understood that she had far less time than the sixty seconds Captain Glover had given her.

    “Hugh, we know that you are on that vessel and quite frankly I’m at a loss why you are attacking us. From my understanding you were friends with the Enterprise crew who spoke very highly of you.”

    The only response remained silence. On the screen the imposing vessel continued to bear down on Agamemnon and Cuffe.

    “All I’m asking,” Maya continued, “is that we open a dialogue. Let us discuss the matters that have made you betray your friendships and open fire on us. As an individual you have that option. You do not have to follow the same path of death and destruction as the Collective does.”

    The pale face that appeared on the view-screen was unmistakably Borg. A large ocular implant covered most of the seemingly young man’s face and a number of black tubes protruded from parts of his cranium. His remaining natural eye considered Amaya Donners coolly.

    “I have not betrayed my friendships,” he said in a heavily modulated voice.

    Maya had never faced the Borg before but she had heard plenty of stories. She had very shortly served on the Bellerophon but had transferred off that ship mere weeks before it was completely destroyed by the Borg in the battle at Wolf 359. She was still haunted by occasional nightmares involving the crew she had left behind which Vej had attributed to survivor’s guilt. She felt a cold shudder shooting down her spine as she felt the Borg’s meticulous gaze upon her now.

    “I am not sure they would agree once they learn of your actions here today,” she said.

    He seemed to genuinely consider this for a moment and finally nodded. “I shall allow you and the other vessels to depart this system peacefully. If you do so I will promise no further harm shall come to you.”

    “I cannot do that.”

    Hugh’s cold look returned. “And I cannot allow for you to interfere with my mission. It is far too important to allow friendships to keep me from what I must accomplish here. No matter how much I value them.”

    “Here’s my suggestion. Come on board my ship and let us sit down together and discuss this mission of yours. Perhaps we can find a solution which will be agreeable to all parties,” she said.

    “I cannot see what could be accomplished by such a gesture.”

    “For one it may avoid further bloodshed. Our mission is as important to us as yours appears to be to you. And the Romulans have made it clear that they will defend this system no matter the cost,” she said, her voice firm and steady. “The alternative is we all go back to shooting at each other until whoever is left standing will be far too damaged to have any chance at completing their objective here. How about we give my idea a chance first?”

    Hugh looked off-screen for a moment and while Maya couldn’t be entirely sure, she thought he was communicating with somebody unseen for a moment. Then he looked back at her. “For a long time I cursed Geordie, Data and the others on the Enterprise for what they did to me,” he said and Amaya noticeably tensed. “But the truth is that I would not wish to rejoin the Collective and give up my individuality for anything. My people and I remain in their debt which we will never be able to fully repay. I will grant your request and join you onboard your vessel,” he said just before he closed the channel.

    “Did we just invite the Borg over for dinner?” said DeSoto, not quite able to turn that frown into a smile.

    Tess Allenby aimed a disapproving look at Bobby. “Not just any Borg,” she said and then swiveled her chair to face the captain. “Hugh can be reasoned with,” she added. “We just might be able to get out of this without having to go back into battle, sir.”

    “I appreciate your optimism, Lieutenant,” she said, clearly not completely sharing Allenby’s outlook. “But we’re about to negotiate with the Borg and the Romulans over the most powerful force known in existence and without so much as a single diplomat to back us up. We’ll need more than a miracle to come out of this without providing the lynchpin for an incident of galactic proportions.”
  7. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Sep 25, 2005
    US Pacific Northwest
    Leave it to Terrance Glover to come riding to the rescue through a subspace conduit! And of course the man doesn’t know the meaning of the word ‘subtle’ so he opens fire and goes for broke right out of the gate.

    Fortunately for him, Amaya’s got a better head on her shoulders when it comes to avoiding an unnecessary fight. Her establishing a dialogue with Hugh likely saved their collective butts (heh, see what I did there?) ;), and allowed Glover to hang onto Cuffe for a few more years, at least.

    Terrific, action-packed segment here, CeJay! Well done.
  8. The Badger

    The Badger Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Dec 11, 2008
    Im in ur Tardis, violating ur canon.
    I'm guessing from Gibraltar's comments that Captain Glover has appeared in your earlier work Cejay. Not having read it I was unfamiliar with the character, but was able to get a general sense of him even in these few paragraphs. That's very efficient writing.

    The situation continues to escalate, leading to a tense, exciting battle the heroes have little chance to win. Diplomacy has bought them some time, but it could still kick off at any moment. As always, I'm left curious as to what comes next.
  9. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Feb 5, 2006
    Thanks for the comments guys, it's greatly appreciated as always. I may start posting at less regular intervals as this story will now have to share time with my other project. But not to worry, it's still very much alive and kicking with much more to come.

    And Badger, Terrence Glover is a character from DarKush's Dark Territory series and he has appeared in a number of other United Trek works. I'm glad I've managed to introduce him in a manner that made sense to you. Please check out DarKush's excellent stories right here on the TrekBBS if you want to learn more about the guy. He's one of the more ... complicated, maybe even controversial characters in United Trek.
  10. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Feb 5, 2006
    New Xenarth (Iota Crucis IV), 2372

    “Apogee is reporting fully operational and ready to begin synthesizing Xendaru. Secondary site on Zenith will be ready within twenty lirkiks,” said Liphra, the reigning Worker Queen of the Xenarth Aggregate as she considered a read-out from one of the many computer displays in the central command room.

    Supreme Klestra communicated her agreement by jerking her oblong head to the side. “Ensure all the required boronite will be available at both sites, I do not want any further delays. What is the status of the Star Portals?”

    “The Portal on Apogee is complete. The secondary site is undergoing finally testing and fine tuning now,” Liphra responded.

    “Well done,” said the Supreme and then turned to consider everyone in the control room. “Well done, all. To think that we achieved so much in such little time is a testament to the unbreakable will and dedication of the Colony.”

    “It’s a sign of the God-Mother,” said Cleric Queen Nadelphi. “She has imbued us with a faith that shall overcome all obstacles, even our own short-sightedness of abandoning the pursuit of Xendaru for too long. She still awaits her children with baited breath and eager anticipation.”

    Klestra considered the Cleric Queen for a moment, focusing her large compound eyes on the fellow insectoid. “And soon we shall be forever reunited,” she said.

    Nadelphi appeared too preoccupied with her own visions of basking in the glory of the All-Mother that she did not seem to notice the hesitation on Klestra’s part.

    “There may be a complication to our plan.”

    The supreme turned to find the Warrior Queen enter the room at a brisk pace. The imposing leader of the Xenarth military was at least a full head taller than any other Xenarth assembled. And even here, at the center of their power and influence, she wore her dark body armor which only added to her already naturally toughened exoskeleton.

    “You bring news of our new allies?”

    “I fear the situation has become more complicated. Another vessel has now appeared in the system,” she said, waving a computer slate in one of her hands.

    “Another vessel? More Federation ships?” asked Klestra.

    “Much worse,” the Warrior Queen said and passed the slate to the supreme.

    The leader of the Aggregate took the device and look over its content. Before long her own agitation over the news was blatantly obvious by the way her feelers stood fully extended, pointing at the ceiling above. “It cannot be,” she said and raised her head to look at the leader of her military. “How certain are you about this?”

    “We have no definitive confirmation but the comm. chatter we have picked up suggested that they are the Borg.”

    The utterance of that name was enough drive the Xenarth assembled in the room into a frenzy of nervous clicks and agitated mumblings. The Borg were synonymous with the greatest evil the Colony had ever faced. If Xendaru and the All-Mother were tantamount to Xenarth salvation than the Borg were the bringer of death, doom and destruction. The destroyers of Xenarth Prime had returned.

    “Calm yourselves,” the Cleric Queen implored to her fellow sisters and brothers around herself. “Calm yourselves. The All-Mother will provide. We stand but at the brink of eternal salvation. This is merely another challenge to overcome on our path to deliverance. Another test of our faith and dedication to the God-Queen.”

    “We must immediately accelerate our work on the Portals,” said Queen Liphra. “Ensure that they are ready to engage as soon as possible to transphase the Colony to Xendaru.”

    There was immediate agreement with the Worker Queen, especially from Nadelphi.

    But the supreme did not miss the fact that the Warrior Queen did not appear as convinced. “Samma, what are your thoughts?”

    She glanced at the supreme perhaps surprised to be asked her opinion. The warrior caste had long since lost its influence it had once enjoyed over the Aggregate for generations. Ever since it had been her people which had steered the Colony away from modern technology and the heralded Xendaru particle and its power to reunite them with the God-Queen which in turn had led to a century long dark age.

    “Perhaps it is time to consider a new strategy,” she said carefully.

    The Cleric Queen was not pleased with this view and immediately communicated this with a series and clicks and whistles which were meant to show her disagreement. “Our strategy is sound and ordained by the All-Mother herself.”

    But Klestra was curious now. “Continue, Samma,” she said, paying little attention to the clearly flustered Cleric Queen.

    “Consider this,” she said with newfound confidence in her tone. “We have pursued this exact same strategy before. We tried to rush our journey into Xendaru because we were afraid of these invaders laying waste to the Colony and instead of joining the God-Queen, millions perished and we found ourselves at the other end of the galaxy.”

    “But what is the alternative?” asked the Worker Queen. “We are now beset on all sides by enemies, including those who’d like to pretend that they are our friends.”

    “Yes,” Samma said quickly. “And they all want one thing.”

    “The Xendaru Particle,” said the supreme.

    The Warrior Queen jerked her head in agreement. “They understand its awesome power and they fear it like nothing else in the galaxy. Let us give them reason to,” she said and balled her four hands into fists. “Let us use it against them and remake the Colony into the power it once was. Let us rise out of the darkness and take what is ours by birthright. The Xenarth are meant to rule the galaxy, not run away and hide at the first sign of danger,” she proclaimed with a passion which had the room spellbound to her every word.

    Even the Cleric Queen seemed to warm to this new line of thinking. “Is this … possible?” she said and then looked from Samma to the supreme.

    “Using Xendaru as a weapon? With a few modification, it may be done,” said the Scholar Queen who was perhaps the most knowledgeable individual on New Xenarth when it came to the Xendaru Particle after pursuing research into the powerful molecule for nearly a lifetime. First in secret, studying tirelessly the old texts of her predecessors and later successfully leading a revolution against the seemingly shortsighted Aggregate who had long since forbidden such technology. Upon claiming the title of Supreme, Klestra had wasted little time to throw every last resource the Colony had to offer into resurrecting the long dormant Xendaru project.

    “The All-Mother would be greatly pleased if her children reclaimed domination over this plane before we rejoined her in the next,” said the Cleric Queen.

    As was the nature of the Worker Queen, Liphra was more concerned with the practicalities of this bold new plan. “But do we have the time? The enemy is at our doorstep.”

    “They will, no doubt, be preoccupied with each other for a while,” said Samma.

    Kelstra jerked her head. “Then we must not waste this opportunity. I shall head to Apogee myself and ensure the modifications are completed as necessary.”

    “Is that wise, Supreme,” said the Liphra. “The greater your proximity to the Xendaru generators, the greater the danger.”

    Klestra dismissed the warning. “Nobody understands Xendaru better than I,” she said with determination. “I shall personally ensure the Portal is turned into a weapon of no equal which shall turn all who stand against us into dust.”

    The Worker Queen lowered her head in agreement and submission.

    “And so it will be done,” said the Warrior Queen.

    Nadelphi raised her four arms into the air. “The All-Mother shall provide for us all.”
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2012
  11. The Badger

    The Badger Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Dec 11, 2008
    Im in ur Tardis, violating ur canon.
    Every time I think the situation has got as bad as it can, things escalate further! Great way to pile on the tension CeJay!
  12. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Sep 25, 2005
    US Pacific Northwest
    As Badger noted, the Romulans and Hugh's Free-Borg were complications enough, but now the Xenarth have embarked upon a nightmare path that could expunge life throughout the quadrant (if not further).

    Apparently, nobody backs the Warrior Queen into a corner.

    Amaya Donners is going to need a starship sized backhoe to dig her way out of this mess! :evil:
  13. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Feb 5, 2006
    Agamemnon, 2372

    “Permission to come aboard.”

    Amaya Donners rolled her eyes when Terrence Glover stepped off the transporter platform before she had even had a chance to respond to his request. It was a mostly outdated naval tradition which barely anyone took seriously any longer but the barrel-chested starship captain didn’t even pretend to care. She had no idea why it annoyed her, after all she had gotten quite used to Glover’s ways while she had served as his father’s adjutant and first officer.

    “Granted,” she said quickly but of course by then he already stood in front of her.

    “I have to give it you, Maya, you don’t exactly believe in taking things easy, do you? Most shakedown cruises don’t involve starting an intergalactic incident,” he said with a big smile, revealing a row of brilliantly white teeth which stood in stark contrast to his dark skin.

    “This mission wasn’t my idea,” she said, sounding more defensive than she would have liked.

    “Of course not. We go where we’re told,” he said. “And from the looks of it you may have managed to defuse this situation by talking the Borg and the Romulans into a meeting. That was an interesting approach.”

    She smirked at that. “You mean talking instead of shooting? That a new concept to you, Captain?”

    Glover pretended to look hurt. “Ouch. Is that the kind of thing they say about me behind my back?”

    “You don’t want to know what they say behind your back,” she said and pointed at the doors.

    “And I couldn’t care less either,” he said and stepped out of the transporter room.

    Within moments the two starship captains were walking down the corridor side-by-side. “Commander Toreth and Hugh have been in the observation lounge for ten minutes. I’m not entirely comfortable with letting them wait so long,” she said.

    “Trust me, it’ll soften them up a little to be kept waiting,” he shot back.

    “Or it could make them more belligerent,” Maya said. Glover had suggested the tactic of keeping her guests waiting for the meeting to start as she had found herself taking cues from the more senior officer even if she didn’t agree with them.

    They stepped into the turbolift. “Deck two,” said Donners.

    “Our first priority will be to get the Borg to back down. I’ve reviewed the Enterprise logs regarding this Hugh character and I think you were right in appealing to his common sense. He just might see reason once more and agree that pursuing whatever crazy mission he’s on is only going to get him and a whole lot of others killed. The Romulans are going to be tougher,” he said and reviewed a data padd he had brought with him. “I like what you did when you put down your foot in regards to Iota Crucis. And you were absolutely correct, it’s our system and we’re not giving it up because some civilization has decided to make it their new home. Toreth may have been willing to take on Agamemnon over this but I’m sure she’ll think twice now that Cuffe is here as well.”

    The doors to the turbolift opened and Maya showed Glover to the doors leading to the observation lounge where the Borg and Romulans had gathered. They stopped short of entering.

    “Lastly of course we have to deal with this Omega molecule and something tells me we don’t have the time for the Volta and her fancy scientists to get here and take care of this for us. So we’ll need to take the initiative, track down any traces of this thing and wipe them out. According to my science officer we may be able to achieve this by –“

    “Hang on,” said Maya who wouldn’t have been able to get in a word edgewise if she had let him carry on. “You briefed your crew about Omega?”

    Glover shot her a perplexed look. “Of course. Some orders are just too stupid to follow, even if they come from the old man,” he said with a grin. “Don’t tell me you managed to keep it a secret.”

    Maya was visibly relieved at the other captain’s admission. The thought that he had also disregarded the Omega Directive, at least the part of not sharing any knowledge with his crew came as a huge weight being lifted off her shoulders. She had hated the idea of starting her first command disobeying orders. “Let’s just say I’ll be standing right next to you at that court martial.”

    “It won’t come to that, trust me. End of the day we’re out here having to make difficult decisions. It’s us and nobody else. Not my dad and certainly not the brass at Starfleet Command.”

    Maya nodded along slowly.

    “Tell you what, we’ll figure out how to deal with Omega after we’ve dealt with the Romulans and the Borg. I think we’ve left them smoldering in there just about long enough,” said Glover and turned towards the doors.

    “Captain,” she said before he could slip into the observation lounge.

    He turned and sighed heavily. “You really need to start calling me Terrence. I’ve put up with the captain business for the last two years because I outranked you. No more excuses.”

    She nodded her assent. “I’d like to head the talks if you don’t mind.”

    The look on the other captain’s face made it clear that he did.

    “It’s was my idea,” she said. “And it’s my ship.”

    “I have more experience here, Maya and I’m the more senior officer. It really should be me.”

    She took a step closer to him. “No offense but if it had been up to you we wouldn’t even be having this meeting right now. And about experience, I’ve spent the last four years getting people to change their minds on a regular basis as your father’s adjutant. I think I can handle this.”

    Terrence still didn’t look convinced but Maya could tell that he wished to avoid pushing the issue. She couldn’t blame him for that, the last thing they needed was to start fighting over who should be in charge. Starfleet regulations were not as clear on the subject as she would have liked. Agamemnon was arguably the tactically superior vessel and therefore overall command of any joint operations should have fallen to her but with only having been in the big chair for less than a week, Starfleet Command would have undoubtedly backed Glover in this situation.

    Judging by the hard expression on his face, he was convinced that he was the right man for the job.

    “Just give me a chance to talk them down,” she said. “One shot, that’s all I’m asking for, Terrence.”

    His facial features softened. “I see what you’re doing.”

    She shrugged her shoulders innocently. “Your idea,” she said with a smirk.

    “Yeah and if I had known you’d use it against me I would’ve thought twice about letting you go to first-name basis,” he shot back. “Fine, you take the lead for now,” he added and pointed at the doors.

    Maya aimed a wide grin at the man. Sometimes all you needed to defuse a tense situation was a little bit of charm, she thought. Donners quickly wiped that smile off her face as she stepped through the doors, fully cognizant that it would take much more than that to get the Romulans and the Borg from starting a war.

    The male Romulan officer who had accompanied Commander Toreth onto Agamemnon was out of his chair the moment Maya had stepped foot into the briefing room.

    “This is outrageous,” he said immediately. “You’ve been keeping us waiting here on purpose. This is entirely unacceptable.”

    “My apologies, Subcommander …?”

    “Rekar,” he shot back. “And I do not accept your apology.”

    But Donners turned to look at Toreth instead who had remained in a semi-relaxed posture in her chair with a lopsided grin on her lips.

    “You must forgive Mister Rekar. Tal Shiar officers are infamous for their impatience. You’d think an intelligence officer be able to show more restraint.”

    Rekar shot a vile look at his superior, communicating his displeasure at being denounced by one of his own, before he quietly took his seat again.

    By the time Maya took her seat at the end of the table she thought she had already figured out the Romulan’s game plan. Toreth had used her own man to voice her displeasure for being kept waiting but then sacrificed him openly to show her determination not to take any prisoners. And if that was true for her own people, this was devastating news for her enemies. Maya couldn’t help but admire the bold gambit. But she also thought that the tone of her voice had been a little sharper than it had to be, possibly hinting towards the fact that she wasn’t in fact particularly fond of Rekar.

    Maya gave the woman a sharp nod in acknowledgment and then glanced towards her left were the two Borg sat. It took some serious willpower on her part not to be visibly discomforted by sitting at a table with the two cyborgs whose race had been responsible for the deaths of so many of her fellow Starfleet officer and countless more civilians. She had to make an effort to remind herself that these were individuals now and no longer connected to the Borg Collective.

    Hugh appraised her coldly. “It occurs to me, Captain, that you are merely attempting to avoid the inevitable by delaying these very talks on which you have insisted. I assure you that my patience is quite extensive considering the great reward which my mission offers me and my people.”

    The same however could apparently not been said for the former drone sitting to Hugh’s left. The man looked impossibly younger than the Borg leader himself and he seemed to almost fidget in his seat as if he had never been in a chair before. And while Maya figured that that was completely plausible, she had a feeling that his agitation was not solely due to the unfamiliar furniture.

    She shot a quick glance to the two doors leading out of the observation room she found guarded by a set of a security officer and one Marine each. It had been Texx’s idea to mix up protection assignments and to prove to their reluctant department heads that if their men could work together there was no reason that they couldn’t.

    Under normal circumstances Maya wasn’t a great proponent of armed guards but right at this moment their determined faces and ready weapons actually put her at ease.

    She let her gaze wander across the table and made eye contact with their other guest, Queen Ket, who she’d asked to attend. She had fully recovered from the injuries she had suffered during the battle and now sat next to Glover who had taken the head of the conference table at the opposite end.

    “Again, I’m sorry to have kept you all waiting. There were some details we had to consider before we were able to begin,” she said.

    “Details on how best to convince us to give up our claims here and leave everything to you, I take it,” said Toreth even while she didn’t give up her calm posture or dropped that dangerous little smile.

    “Contrary to what you may believe, Commander,” she said. “The Federation is not here to stake any kind of claim. Certainly we are happy for the Xenarth to continue to remain were they currently are.”

    “You’re contradicting yourself, Captain,” said Rekar. “Not too long ago you were willing to go into battle over this system.”

    She fixed him with a stare. “Don’t make the mistake of doubting our resolve here,” she said and shot a look at Hugh as well. “While we respect the Xenarth’s sovereign right to chose their allies we cannot allow a permanent Romulan presence in a Federation system. I cannot imagine that you’d be willing to start a war over a system with limited strategic value and few resources worth mentioning.”

    “I have no interest in this star system or the people who have made it their home,” said Hugh. “If you wish to battle amongst yourselves for control over it than that is your business alone.”

    “Last time I checked, Borg, you are in this system as well. If you wish it or not, you are involved here,” said Toreth.

    “Our only interest is to procure Particle 010. Once it is in our possession we will leave this system at once.”

    Maya noticed Ket’s mandibles and feelers twitch nervously. “Your people came for our world before. They destroyed everything we’ve ever built along with billions of us. Your attack on our home, if it can be called that, is the only reason for our presence here now. And now you want to make us believe that your only design for what is left of the Xenarth Colony is this particle?”

    All eyes in the room turned to look at the Artisan Queen.

    Hugh appeared surprisingly sympathetic. “There are no words I could offer that could give justice to the horrors the Borg have been responsible for. All I can assure you is that my people and I are nothing like the Borg who destroyed your world. We are not driven by the singular mind of the Collective. We are individuals and we do not wish to harm anyone.”

    “A Borg with a conscience,” said Rekar dismissively. “Now I’ve heard it all.”

    Hugh ignored the statement.

    “Hugh, I believe what you say about not wishing to hurt people and not being driven by the Collective anymore. But how is your seemingly tenacious pursuit of this particle any different to what the Borg did to the Xenarth all this time ago?” Maya wanted to know.

    “We may no longer be Borg,” he said. “But there are still certain overarching desires we are simply unable to ignore. Particle 010 is the closest thing in the universe to total perfection and complete harmony. Its power could bring order to the chaos that has been created since we were cut off from the voice of the Collective. And it is more than that,” he said and then stopped himself as if he was thinking of the right words to describe what he was trying to say. Ultimately he just shook his head. “I am unable to put it in a way that could make you understand. This pursuit, for us it is simply beyond logic or reason. It is something much more unquantifiable.”

    “Almost sounds as if you are on a religious quest,” said Terence Glover.

    The former drone considered that for a moment. “I have studied the concept of religion and spirituality in various cultures and I have never been able to fully understand the concept,” he said. “But you might be correct. I cannot explain to you adequately why we pursue Particle 010. All I can tell you is that we must.”

    Glover and Donners exchanged a concerned look across the table, both of them fully aware how difficult it would be to argue against a religious motive. It would throw reason and common sense right out of the airlock.

    “A Borg cult that has rediscovered its spirituality is all really interesting,” said Toreth, “but it doesn’t alter the simple fact that the legitimate government on Xenarth has chosen to become a Romulan ally. Therefore everything owned by the Xenarth, including this particle, is now under Romulan protection.”

    “And you seriously believe that you would be able to protect it?” said the younger Borg. “You wouldn’t survive five minutes in a battle with us.”

    Maya tensed as the hostility in the room was becoming more palpable.

    “Perhaps not,” the Romulan subcommander said with a self-satisfying smirk. “But our fleet will arrive here shortly and then you will find yourself in a much altered situation, I promise you that.”

    “Then we must act now,” said the Borg and stood from his chair with surprising swiftness.

    The armed guards responded instantly. In an unspoken agreement the two security officers quickly stepped closed to Donners and Glover to protect the high-ranking officers while the Marines kept their positions but drew their weapons to target the potential threat.

    Donners waved them all off. “Don’t let them rush you into a decision you might come to regret,” she said urgently. “They know that if you attack now, we will not be able to stand on the sidelines. And in a battle between us and you, nobody is going to come out on top.”

    “Goval, calm yourself,” said Hugh, addressing the other Borg.

    “Why should I?” he responded. “This talk is pointless. We are so close to obtaining Particle 010 and we shall not be denied now. We cannot.”

    Hugh’s influence on the other Borg seemed limited, Maya quickly realized, as the one called Goval did not return to his seat, preferring to hover over the other people in the room menacingly and keeping the Marines and security guards on high alert. “Talk is never pointless if it can avoid conflict,” she said but found that she sounded lame even to her own ears now. The truth was that she was nowhere close to having achieved what she had hoped for.

    Hugh looked at her and for a moment she thought that maybe he was getting ready to make a compromise. As it turned out it wasn’t the one she had hoped for. “Allow us to obtain 010,” he said. “In return we will offer you our assistance against Romulan designs on this system. If we join forces they would not risk going into battle against us both.”

    Rekar tried to stand as well to protest but Toreth held him down by gripping his arm. Then she focused a deadly stare at Donners. “But you cannot do that, can you, Captain?” she said very methodically. “Because the truth you haven’t revealed here yet is that you couldn’t care less about this system or the Xenarth even if you pretend otherwise by having this convicted traitor to her people join this farce. The truth is you are only interested, as are we all, in this magnificent particle. You want it for yourself,” she said, apparently reading the Starfleet captain like an open book now. Then she quickly shook her head. “No, that’s not it, is it? You just want to keep it out of our hands. Don’t you see, Hugh, it is the height of Federation arrogance and moral corruption. They talk about peace and cooperation but all they are truly interested in is to maintain the status quo,” she said, keeping her laser-like focus on Donners as she spoke. “Tell us it isn’t true, Captain. Tell us you are not here to destroy this particle at any cost rather then have it fall into your enemy’s hands.”

    Maya knew past a shadow of a doubt that no matter what she’d say next, Toreth had already made up her mind. And why not? After all she had been absolutely correct about her mission and the Omega Directive.

    “Listen to me,” she said. “What we call the Omega molecule is powerful beyond even our understanding. Beyond yours,” she said and looked at a self-satisfied Toreth. “Beyond that of the Xenarth,” she added and shot a quick glance at Ket. “The Borg nearly wiped out an entire race to get their hands on it and who knows how many others they have done the same to,” Maya said and looked at Hugh whose facial expression had become difficult to interpret. “You want the truth? The truth is that no matter your intentions, by obtaining the Omega molecule and trying to utilize it for practical applications you risk not just your own lives but those of countless others in the galaxy. One misstep and you could destroy the very fabric that holds the universe together.”

    This time Rekar did jump to his feet. “I’ve had it with your haughty condescension,” he shouted. “Admit that your only interest is to destroy the particle.”

    “It’s the only way,” Maya said.

    “No,” Hugh shouted as he left his chair so swiftly it fell over. “I will not allow it.”

    That’s when the red alert klaxons came to life, startling the already agitated occupants in the observation lounge even further.

    The words that followed were the kind that no starship captain ever wanted to hear, especially while away from the bridge and entirely ignorant of the events that had led to this particular moment.

    “All hands, brace for impact.”

    Donners had just enough time to hold on to the table which turned out to be for naught as she was ripped out of her seat a moment later. Gravity went haywire and she found herself flying across the room and right towards an unyielding bulkhead.
  14. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Sep 25, 2005
    US Pacific Northwest
    Having Glover aboard with both Hugh and the Romulan commander proved just as volatile a combination as I’d feared. Though Toreth is being unusually pragmatic, Hugh is obsessed with the Omega molecule for what it represents, a future for the Free Borg.

    Donners does well holding Glover in check while asserting her authority on her own ship, no small task for a newly promoted captain.

    It appears that the widow of opportunity for a diplomatic solution to this impasse is quickly closing.
  15. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Feb 5, 2006
    Iota Crucis IV, 2267

    What Lexington’s away team found upon materializing on Iota Crucis IV was nothing short of impressive. The L-class planet had been considered by Starfleet as barely inhabitable but apparently that hadn’t stopped the Xenarth to make it their home. And they had done so with surprising effort, considering Queen Selphi’s own admission that this world had never been their destination, nor did they plan to stay here for long. At least if it were up to their current Supreme.

    Even more astonishing was what the Xenarth had achieved after only having arrived on this world a few years prior.

    The rusty-red and rocky surface had been repurposed with huge, transparent domes, the largest of which were a good three hundred meters tall. The Xenarth worked and dwelled within the habitats in structures of various size. Most buildings were spiral-shaped, built in a corkscrew design and arranged in what looked like circular pattern with the tallest building close to the center of the habitat and surrounded on all sides by steadily lower structures. It almost gave it the appearance as if they had tried to emulate the look of an old-fashioned circus tent, made up of dozens of buildings, each one gleaming in uniform, metallic silver.

    Each of the transparent domes was connected by an extensive network of equally transparent tubes, snaking along the surface in every which direction. The tubes not only provided wide walkways to easily reach the closer habitats, a rapid moving bullet-style train ran at the center to allow quick travel to other sets of habitats located further away.

    Towering over the settlements was one single, massive structure. At least twice as high as the tallest habitat and painted in dark black, it bulged outwards towards the top not unlike an umbrella, trying to protect the domes below. This, Bob Wesley had learned, was the newest incarnation of the Star Portal. The same device which had brought the Xenarth to this world and which was to be used once again to allow them to depart as well.

    Commodore Wesley and his landing party consisting of Commander Kuznetsov, Doctor Vincent, Commander Zha’Tara, Lieutenant Mtolo and Doctor Bendes Ketteract were treated to a great view to all of this from their beam in location within a dome on top of a small mountain range at least five kilometers from the nearest cluster of habitats.

    “This is amazing,” said the Andorian science officer, standing next to her colleagues and taking in the sight presented to them in the valley below. “And you built all of this within only three years?”

    Queen Selphi, who had greeted their arrival, and now stood nearby answered promptly. “The Star Portal transphased most of the materials we needed to re-build the Colony from Xenarth Prime. And while we lost a great many sisters and brothers in the process, we’ve always had a very dedicated work force. And those who remained, quickly took to the task of building a new home for us here,” she sounded noticeably proud by what they had been able to achieve. “The structures on the surface are only part of what makes up our Colony. Each of the larger domes also has extensive subterranean dwellings which you are not able to see from this vantage point.”

    “Like busy little ants,” said Vincent quietly as he too let his gaze wander across the settlement blow.

    “Hardly little,” said Mtolo.

    “How many of these settlements are there, Selphi?” asked Wesley.

    The Artisan Queen had been quick to point out that her name was all that was acquired when addressing her. “There are twelve main settlements across this continent of which this one is the largest,” she said. “If it were up to some, we’d built many more on Xentarra.”

    Selphi gestured the team to follow her towards one of the corkscrew shaped buildings within the dome and the landing party followed.

    Wesley had not missed the fact that they had been practically surrounded by armed guards form the moment they had arrived. They were distinctive by a golden moon-shaped symbol on their simple tunics which differed from the crescent symbol on Selphi’s dress. The guards carried spears which appeared to be more sophisticated at second glace and kept a respectful distance. He could tell however by their stances and their erect feelers that they were on high alert. He doubted that the Xenarth had come across many, if any visitors since their arrival on this world.

    He and his landing party quickly followed the Artisan Queen and the guards were close behind. “Xentarra? Is this was you have named this word?” he asked.

    “It is the name Supreme Ergia has chosen,” she said and not doing a great job at hiding her disapproval. “It is an ancient term of my people which translates to ‘Place In-Between’.”

    Vincent nodded in understanding. “The place in-between where you came from and where you’re trying to get to,” he said. “This Xendaru, was it?”

    “Yes,” she said sadly as they stepped into the building. “Ergia is more determined than ever that we will reach Xendaru this time. She is convinces that an error in our original calculations landed us here by mistake but that this time we will end up in the right place.”

    “You do not sound convinced of this,” said the Russian first officer.

    She jerked her head slightly. “I fear that we are more likely to wipe ourselves out of existence than be able to transphase again. The Xendaru particle is far too unpredictable to be a reliable means of transportation. I am convinced our first transphase was pure luck. That is if you believe that losing more than half of the Colony can be considered lucky.”

    “That’s why I’m here,” said Ketteract. “I will help your people to stabilize the Omega molecule so that you’ll be able to go on your marry way to wherever it is you are hoping to go.”

    “Doctor, with all due respect,” said Vincent. “The Xenarth have had decades to study this molecule. You’ve had days. What makes you think that you’d be able to succeed where the Xenarth have failed.”

    Ketteract looked almost hurt by the doctor’s implication. “No disrespect to our hosts,” he said and shot the tall insectoid a quick look. “But I have made incredible advances in quantum physics over the last two decades and I have long speculated of the existence of a super-particle like what we’ve found here. Applying my groundbreaking research to the Xenarth’s own findings, I am absolutely convinced, my dear doctor, that I will find a way to not only stabilize Omega but harness its power for the safe use for countless practical applications. Without exaggerating, I believe you are all about to be witnesses to a revolution in the making.”

    “Without exaggerating?” mumbled Mtolo and shot the others an incredulous look.

    Zha’Thara replied with a little smirk to let the security officer know that they were getting used to the scientists’ relentless hyperbole.

    Selphi let her alien visitors enter a lift which was too small to allow for their entourage to follow. The Artisan Queen turned to the landing party after the doors had closed behind them and the lift had begun to move downwards. “I must make you aware of the precarious situations we find ourselves in at this moment in time,” she said. “While Supreme Ergia may be determined to move forward with her plans to make use of the Star Portal once more, Queen Quelphi and her followers have made their opposition to this plan known quite publicly and relations between the castes are more strained than they have ever been in the past.”

    “Are you concerned that it could turn violent?” said Wesley.

    Selphi didn’t respond to this straight away, perhaps because she hadn’t considered that question before. “For a queen to turn against the Aggregate and the decree of the Supreme is unheard of,” she finally said.

    “But you said it yourself, the risks of using your Xendaru particle are enormous,” said Vincent and immediately raised his hand to stifle a comment he expected from Ketteract on that subject. The scientist closed his mouth wisely and the chief surgeon continued. “Perhaps this warrior queen of yours is right to try and stop this from happening.”

    At that Selphi’s antennae noticeably twitched. In indignation or agreement, not immediately apparent. “Don’t misunderstand,” she said. “While I may not fully agree with Ergia on her plans and I do believe that Quelphi’s point of view of trying to make this world our new and permanent home instead warrants further consideration, I do not support the Warrior Queen. I believe her blatant xenophobia and lust for power are as dangerous to our people as Ergia’s obsession with Xendaru. If Quelphi had her way, not only would we abandon the Xendaru particle, she would throw our entire world into a technological and social dark age from which we may never recover.”

    The lift arrived at its destination, the doors opened and Selphi promptly disembarked.

    The Lexington landing party remained behind for just a couple of seconds longer, enough time to allow Vincent to shoot his captain an imploring look that seemed to say; see what kind of mess you’ve gotten us into. You should have listened to me and stayed away.

    And Robert Wesley was beginning to think that his doctor may have been right all along.
  16. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Sep 25, 2005
    US Pacific Northwest
    Yeah, if not for the Federation's discovery of the Omega molecule, I'm sure this First Contact would have been in any number of Starfleet Academy textbooks. :scream:

    Doubtless filed under: First Contact Scenario, Worst Case
  17. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Feb 5, 2006
    Agamemnon, 2372

    She heard a faint and distant voice calling her name and for just a moment she couldn’t help but think of the stories she’d heard as a child of a very old and very wise man inviting her to join him in a glorious afterlife.

    Then her vision cleared and she realized her mistake. She smirked despite herself when she saw Terrence Glover’s concerned face looking down at her.

    “Judging by that expression, I take it you enjoy being thrown around like a ragdoll,” he said, not entirely able to hide his confusion.

    She shook her head. “It’s not that. Just a silly mix-up.”

    The response didn’t dispel his puzzlement and she resolved to move on quickly. The last thing she needed was to reveal that he had mistaken him, if even for a split-second, with an omnipotent being. She doubted his already massive ego would survive the additional boost. “What happened?”

    “I don’t know yet. One moment your peace summit is falling apart, the next we’re all flying through the air.”

    “Thanks for reminding me,” she said and aimed a displeased look at her fellow captain. “Help me up.”

    He did and she immediately regretted the sudden movement. Her entire body felt as if it were on fire. She desperately wanted to hide the pain from Glover but failed as she winced noticeably.

    “You’ll need to go to sickbay,” he said.

    “I’ll survive,” she shot back as she finally got onto unsteady legs. She was forced to lean against the bulkhead however, at least until she could trust her aching bones again. “First I want to know what happened to my ship,” she said and surveyed the room.

    Chairs and a couple of plants were littering the floor. Subcommander Rekar was sitting in a corner nursing what appeared to be a broken arm while Toreth seemed to have little interest in aiding her fellow officer.

    Ket was on all four arms and legs while a security officer tried to get her back onto her feet slowly.

    Hugh was kneeling next to Goval who was lying on the floor unmoving.

    One of the Marines was also down, his head bleeding from a vicious forehead wound and a female security officer was hovering over him with a tricorder.

    The second Marine stood close by but had his weapon out and kept his eyes on the Borg and the Romulans in case they decided to use the distraction to make a move.

    Maya admired the man’s dedication to his duty but judging by the state of the people in the room, nobody was going to be able to make any kind of move any time soon.

    Glover was rubbing his shoulder on which he undoubtedly had fallen.

    The captain addressed the standing Marine first. “Get whoever needs medical attention to sickbay.”

    The man nodded sharply.

    “We’ll tend to our own, Captain,” Hugh said as he looked up from his fallen man.

    “Same goes for us,” Toreth added quickly even if Rekar desperately looked as if he could have benefited from some immediate medical care.

    “Suit yourself,” she said and then tried a step towards the doors. The pain shooting through her bones was not easily ignored but somehow she managed nevertheless.

    Glover was right behind her and he looked ready to steady her if the need would arise. Maya was determined not to let it come to that.

    Hugh and Toreth left their wounded and followed Donners.

    Terrence shot both of them incredulous looks. “And where do you think you’re going? Transporter is that way,” he said, pointing at the other set of doors.

    Before either could protest, Donners waved Glovers objections aside. “You may join us on the bridge,” she said and then to the security guards, “Make sure the others find their way back to the transporter room after you have seen to our wounded.”

    The two security officers and the conscious Marine quickly acknowledged.

    Ket had gotten back on her slender feet and now slowly followed Donners, Glover, Toreth and Hugh out of the room.

    “Report,” said Maya the moment she stepped onto the bridge. But her eyes had already drifted towards the view screen which offered at least a partial explanation of what had happened.

    “By the All-Mother,” Ket muttered under her breath upon taking in the sight.

    “What happened?” Hugh asked and moved closer to the screen.

    Lure Mer’iab had immediately tensed upon seeing the Romulan and Borg commanders on the bridge and had a phaser clipped to his waist in seconds before offering a report. “The Borg vessel was severely damaged by an unknown energy discharge emanating from one of Iota Crucis’s moons.”

    That was an understatement. The massive ship appeared to have been torn apart, literally split in half, the two pieces were now drifting aimlessly surrounded by a field of debris.

    “Life signs,” Donners wanted to know, unable to tear her eyes away from the carnage on the screen.

    She didn’t notice that Tess Allenby was actually sitting on the floor next to her station, holding on to a gushing wound on her temple. DeSoto was kneeling next to her, trying to treat it with a medkit.

    Upon hearing the order she harshly shoved the ensign away and climbed back into her chair like the consummate professional she liked to present herself as. With one hand holding a bandage to her wound, she used the other to operate her console. “I’m reading about three-hundred life signs on the Borg ship. Many weak or fluctuating.”

    Hugh had also not been able to take his eyes off what had once been his ship either. “There are over one-thousand former drones on that ship.”

    “Not anymore,” said Toreth dryly. “What exactly caused this?”

    Maya wasn’t crazy about the idea of a Romulan giving orders on her vessel but seeing as it would have been her next question, she let it slide.

    “We didn’t have much notice before the discharge hit but according to sensors the residual energy signature is consistent with the Omega molecule,” said Daystrom who had seemingly weathered the impact in mostly one piece safe for a few bruises.

    “A weapon?” asked Toreth, unable to hide her fascination.

    “Were we hit?” Donners asked.

    Mer’iab quickly shook his head. “The Borg vessel appeared to be the only target for now.”

    Glover didn’t seem satisfied with that response. “Then you want to explain why we were knocked on our collective butts as if we went through a class nine ion storm?”

    The Aurelian security officer didn’t appear to have an explanation ready for that.

    “It’s probably because of that,” said DeSoto just as the screen shifted again.

    The bridge fell silent as they saw what remained of one of Iota Crucis’ moons. Maya likened the image on the screen to those she had once seen of the Klingon moon Praxis being torn apart due to a mining accident some eighty years ago. Perhaps a third of the satellite appeared to remain after the majority of it had shred away and disintegrated. Its fiery red core lay bare and if the debris field around the crippled Borg ship had looked expansive, this one rivaled that of a massive asteroid belt.

    “My God,” said Donners.

    “According to our sensors,” began Daystrom, “the moon exploded roughly 0.23 seconds following the discharge.”

    “Could this all have been an accident?” asked Ket.

    “No the discharge itself,” said the science officer. “It was too precisely modulated and targeted.”

    “I think we can safely assume that the following explosion was not part of their plans,” said Terrence. “They tried to weaponize Omega and blew up their own moon in the process.”

    “It was a success,” said Toreth. “At least partially.”

    Maya turned on the Romulan woman. “You call that a success? Thousands of Xenarth were likely killed in that along with hundreds of people on the Borg ship,” she said, her voice raising a little higher than she would have liked but the cold apathy in the Romulan woman’s voice had gotten to her.

    Noticing the many angry eyes resting on her, including the hate-filled look on Hugh’s face, Toreth wisely decided to keep any further comments to herself.

    “Captain, there is more,” said Daystrom. “According to my calculations the shockwave has further destabilized subspace in this system and beyond. Sensors are registering multiple tears within the EM spectrum making large pockets of the Iota Crucis system completely impassable now. I still need to analyze the data coming in but I also estimate that the subspace instability in this system has expanded by at least two light-years in every direction following the shockwave.” The science officer never looked up or stopped working at his station as he eagerly sorted and analyzed the myriad of data being picked up.

    “Tears in subspace,” said Ket, her voice sounding small and weak as if she hadn’t quite come to grips yet what had happened here. “What does all that mean?”

    “It means that if something like this happens again, this entire system may be wiped off the face of the galaxy along with every last thing in it,” said Glover.

    Daystrom nodded absent-mindedly. “Crude analogy but essentially correct.”

    “All-Mother,” the Artisan Queen mumbled.

    “Your offer to assist us moving the Xenarth to a new home sounds much more appealing now,” said Toreth.

    Maya restrained herself from snapping at the Romulan again. Instead she found a couple of security guards which had since entered the bridge. “Gentlemen, please escort Commander Toreth to the transporter room,” she said and shot the woman a cold glance. “I think it’s time for you to return to your vessel.”

    Toreth merely nodded at the rather rude way she had been dismissed probably seeing no point in putting up a fight considering she was entirely outnumbered. She allowed the security guards to show her to the turbolift and promptly left the bridge.

    “Smooth,” said Terrence with a smirk but quickly dropped it when he noticed Amaya turning her evil eye on him next and not wishing to get a similar treatment.

    Agamemnon’s captain considered the Borg next. “Hugh, I’m sure I speak for Captain Glover as well when I say that we stand ready to assist you with any medical needs you may have.”

    The former drone turned away from the screen and coldly appraise the woman. “We take care of our own,” he said and then touched a device attached to his upper arm before he shimmered out of existence in a green torrent of energy.

    Donners sighed and looked at Glover who responded with a mere shrug.

    Then she stepped over to her science officer. “Wayne, there were two Omega facilities in this system. What happened to the other one?”

    Daystrom checked his sensors. “Iota Crucis IVb is still in tact. We are picking up increased activity from the surface,” he said and looked up. “And according to this they are in the process of ramping up Omega molecule production.”

    She nodded and turned back to her fellow captain. “We’ll have to stop this happening again. Another incident and we may lose the entire system and potentially destabilize subspace throughout the quadrant.”

    “What about your diplomatic solution?” he asked.

    “We tried diplomacy and it didn’t work,” she shot back. “It’s time for a more aggressive approach.”
  18. The Badger

    The Badger Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Dec 11, 2008
    Im in ur Tardis, violating ur canon.
    Every time I read the Lexington sections, I imagine it with TOS sound effects and music. The surface of Iota Crucis IV is represented by a matte painting!

    Meanwhile the Agamemnon parts feature good quality CGI.

    Both parts capture their sources excellently. And, as I've said before, the tension keeps escalating.
  19. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Sep 25, 2005
    US Pacific Northwest
    Holy crap, they blew up their own moon! :eek:

    The fact that the Xenarth could do such damage, and still continue their pursuit of the Xendaru particle demonstrates just how dedicated they are to this mad crusade for ultimate power. I loved the obvious parallels to the Praxis tragedy, and how that weighed on people’s minds here.

    The diplomatic effort appears to have evaporated in the face of this latest development, and if it comes to open combat between the interested parties, at the very least the Free Borg and their juggernaut warship have been excised from the equation.

    Oh, and good call on Maya’s part to avoid telling Glover who she momentarily mistook him for!

    What’s the difference between Terrence Glover and God? God doesn’t think he’s Terrence Glover. :lol:

    Terrific work, you’re keeping me hungry for more!
  20. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Feb 5, 2006
    Thanks for the comments, guys.

    Badger, I'm glad the Lexington scenes come across with that same nostalgic feel one gets when watching TOS these days. That was my intention and I try hard to capture that as best as I can.

    Gibraltar, yeah this clearly has to be stopped by any means necessary. After all they have a second moon which gives them another chance to do immeasurable damage to the system, the sector, maybe even the entire quadrant.