Star Trek: Wildfire

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Triskelion, Jul 15, 2010.

  1. Triskelion

    Triskelion Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Mar 8, 2008


    Systems came offline and ship's status returned to normal. Grif looked at Vexa. “That was new.”

    Leroux looked around. “I was a hundred different people just now.”

    Vexa analyzed her chair sensor readings. “Four hundred eighteen, to be precise, Ensign.” She looked at the viewer. “Curious sensation.”

    Vexa regained her composure and completed her analysis. “Sensors.”

    Grif replied, “All clear, Lieutenant. The Borg ship is nowhere to be found. We did it!”

    “The torpedo detonations collapsed the threshold of the quantum bifurcation,” Vexa persisted. “The other stream may not have held.” She turned to the tactical station, calmer now, cooler now, but with a conviction that felt like desert-baked bedrock. “Lieutenant Grifahni. Your refusal to obey orders caused a mission failure.”

    “And quite probably spared the galaxy a new enemy. I'll pay that price.”

    “Nevertheless, as we are still alive to perform duty, my duty is clear.” She stood and faced him. “Lieutenant Grifahni Jace, you are hereby relieved of duty and confined to quarters pending further evaluation. Computer, security protocol seven one eight.”

    Two Emergency Security Holograms compiled on either side of Grif.

    “I trust you will not resist, Lieutenant.”

    “No, I'll go.” He stopped at the turbolift. “I just hope you don't regret this later, Vexa.”

    “Regret,” she replied, “is your logic. Not mine.”

    “Vexa to sick bay, report.”

    – Sick bay here. We had some problem with power fluctuations but managed to pull through using a portable holographic generator. Nothing like a little field medicine to keep a doctor sharp. You know, these holographic systems are programmed with all the latest techniques and marvels of modern medicine, but for a while there I had a moment of deja vu working as a frontier medic again, stitching up neural connections with crossed fingers. Not that I ever did, mind you, being a poor simulacrum of that outstanding physician and unmatched bottle washer – but I remember it like I did. A little mending of the temporal lobe and our patient is doing fine. She'll be on her feet in a day or two. Until then, you'll have to make do in the big chair, Lieutenant.

    “Logical work, Doctor. When would a visit be permissible?”

    – A few hours, Lieutenant. For any normal humanoid it would have been a minor procedure. But this one – I've never seen so much neural activity, even during alternating wave cycles. Outside a Borg, that is. Had a lot of repairing to do. A little downtime will be good for her.

    “Thank you Doctor.”

    Bridge, one other thing.

    “Yes Doctor?”

    About the officer who brought her in.

    “Lieutenant Grifahni.”

    He was adamant about being called the moment surgery ended. Yet I can't seem to, uh, contact him.

    “Thank you, Doctor.” Vexa paused in acceptance of logical truth. “I'll see he is informed.”

    “Can we resume course, Ensign?” Vexa asked Leroux.

    “Engine power is experiencing some fluctuation, Lieutenant.”

    Vexa straightened in the command seat, redoubling her concentration. “Vexa to Ensign Hret.”

    – Hret here. We lost three CP emitters in the temporal event, Lieutenant. Had several relays fuse across every deck. I'd like to run a full diagnostic on warp and quantum systems to be safe. Give us a chance to replace some of these systemwide components and avoid any unforeseen imbalances in TPS distribution. I'm also detecting some minor fluctuation readings with the matter/antimatter reaction I'd like to pin down. An hour?

    Vexa looked at Ensign Leroux, whose temple was running with blood. “Ensign, are you -”

    Behind the Ensign, a quantum vortex ripped space into an energetic turmoil on the main viewer.

    A salvo of lit energy torpedoes emerged and arced toward them. Then the Borg Heavy Cruiser streamed into position and fired its disruptors, delivering a devastating broadsides as it passed.

    The Perseus Tertiary quaked, systems exploded, power and holograms began winking out.

    “Shields! Evasive maneuvers!” Vexa commanded. “Red alert!”

    The ship shuddered against the explosive impacts. Engines surged with power and relays began blowing out.

    The Tertiary pitched downward through the torpedo detonations.

    Several engineering crew entered the bridge. “Ensigns! Man those stations!” Vexa ordered. “All weapons! Maximum yield! Target their forward stardrive!”

    The Tertiary discharged phasers and photon torpedoes against the Heavy Cruiser, and spiraled away to strafe with its aft weapons arrays, while minimizing its target profile. “Direct hits!” said the Ensign. “That thing they call a stardrive is as fragile as it looks! They're pulling off!”

    The Borg stardrive fractured and disgorged a trail of charged electroplasma, and the Heavy Cruiser began to keel. Vexa held off ordering pursuit; a wounded enemy was a desperate enemy, and the Tertiary had its own wounds to assess. The ships drifted apart.

    “Vexa to Engineering! Status of quantum drive!”

    – That last attack overloaded a deflector manifold, Lieutenant! We're bypassing and sending in repair teams now! Lieutenant, the warp fluctuations are a likely result of the chronophasic temporal event; it's doing something to our warp mix. We're showing a multiphasic variance in harmonic band frequencies. I've never seen anything like it. It's like – it's sprung a leak into another phase, Lieutenant.

    “Do not be alarmed, Ensign. It is likely an ionic phase misalignment in subspace radiative geometries. Exposing the core to prolonged inverted metaphasic pulses can realign core phase reactions and restore efficiency.”

    – And...just how does one go about configuring something like that, Lieutenant?

    “I'm on my way, Ensign Hret. Leroux, will you be -”

    “Go, Lieutenant,” Leroux replied. “I've had light sparring injuries worse than this. And the Borg seem to be adrift.”

    “You have the bridge, Ensign.” Vexa took one last look at the retreating cruiser. “Let me know the second they alter course.”

    “Will do, Lieutenant. Lieutenant!”

    Vexa paused at the lift.

    “Don't you think – we could use his help about now?”

    “His help is what landed us here, Ensign.”

    “At least - give him a chance to make it right – sir. You may not feel regret. But some of us do.”

    Vexa paused; logic was clear. The fact that the pilot would even suggest an alternative to logic – Vexa considered whether this may be one of those times calling for a more humanoid imprecision. Logic could withstand its misapplication; but could the crew withstand unyielding obedience to logic? Which would serve the greater logic of command?

    She tapped her communicator. “Vexa to security. Please release Lieutenant Grifahni from quarters and return him to duty.”

    – Security here. Grifahni's not in his quarters, ma'am. He's – gone off the grid.

    Vexa eyed Ensign Leroux, and felt the hot desert bedrock again.

    Last edited: Sep 15, 2011
  2. Triskelion

    Triskelion Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Mar 8, 2008


    Change of plan indeed, Vexa thought, as she made her way to engineering. Whether Grifahni had plotted these events or not, she was uncertain. Regardless, she would not allow his continued interference to jeopardize ship and crew. Security would be on high alert for his signal; but Vexa did not doubt Grif had prepared his own countermeasures for dealing with the holographic grid, among other security measures. It was, after all, his own department which had consulted on their installation.

    But Vexa extrapolated the logic of events and knew, that if Grif was to succeed in his own plan, there was one bottleneck he would have to navigate. If she only waited, the Tactical officer would inevitably be forced to confront her command. He would be expecting an easily-intimidated scientist, who would fold in the face of strong conviction and a stack of tactics - or sheer masculine pressure.

    She reached into the weapons locker, over the hand phasers, and withdrew a phase rifle. “Security solution,” she said, and powered the weapon.

    United Federation of Planets Starfleet Lieutenant Junior Grade Vexa, Chief Operations Officer of the USS Perseus, Provisional commander of the Perseus Tertiary cruiser, former adjunct of the Vulcan Science Systems Engineering and Applied Theoretical Science Directorates to the Theoretical Propulsion Group under the Advanced Starship Design Bureau at Utopia Planitia, Technology Officer late of the Vulcan Diplomatic Courier Defender Zhalanyai, hiked her way to the troubled engineering deck, amid the running damage control responders and wrecked corridors of her command.

    What was it about this rogue Bajoran soldier that seemed to place him confirmedly at odds with command? Born into a legacy of chaos, his independent spirit a double-edged sword, as she'd heard humans call it. Starfleet will have instilled in him the ability to trust and rely on fellow fleet officers and crew. But with this Grifahni, there was something of the mercenary soul which had survived, despite the years of heavy fleet training.

    She peered around every corner, instantly assessing the lay of every upturned panel, every ruptured conduit. Subconsciously cataloging every Jefferies tube, phase rifle at the ready; unable to dismiss the logic of the threat the mercenary Grifahni presented. His gross illogic was almost inconceivable - that he should directly disobey chain of command. Vexa had never encountered this depth of intransigence in her life. How does someone spend his life qualifying for Starfleet, and then so easily discard his career? And now that he'd violated command - just how far was he willing to go? The phase rifle felt unwieldy in her grasp; her finger searched for the phase trigger.

    But was it only his action she disavowed? The shock of his insubordination, his defiance of her up to now logical, ordered duty?

    Or was it – the deceitful, unrequited illogic of her primeval Vulcan heart? Which was she truly punishing him for? His lack of control – or her own?

    Regardless of the source of her logical shortcoming, the result was yet another abuse against logic she would not, could not disregard. The ship – took precedence over their failings. She would have to find a way to do the same. The universe might not obey logic – but without it, she dared not think of what she might become. The mad truth lurking under her crumbling pillars of control, in the mortal devastation of this Perseus Trial.

    You can't outrun yourself.

    Vexa thought back on their experiences together. Logic had demonstrated Grifahni's insubordinate tendencies during the ship's security lockout, when he went on a one-man crusade against the power grid; as well as the Perseus maiden flight, when he had gone alone on a hunt for the intruder, instead of reporting his concerns. He had defied the Board of Inquiry and its Assembly; the Bajor sector crewmembers in the mess. Culminating with today's direct insubordination that put the entire ship under attack.

    Vexa stepped cautiously down a darkened, gutted corridor, toward a turbolift; noting the low-key patter of a shorting circuit, a scent of burning ozone. She queried her logic: what if anything, was the common factor in all these cases?

    She stopped. There was a common factor.

    Her logic retracted in uncertainty, around this singular persistent element:

    Starfleet Lieutenant Junior Grade Vexa, Chief Operations Officer of the USS Perseus.

    She loured. Jace had been rescuing her from the day they had met.

    The Vexa Paradox, rearing its unworthy head yet again.

    “This will not be permitted to continue,” she told the universe, the gods of the turbolift, or whoever was listening.

    Vexa entered engineering, where Ensign Hret labored in solitude, cursing at a thermal regulator he was trying to force out of position.

    The Denobulan spanged his hand forcing an isolinear spanner from position, and brandished the spanner at the equipment. “Make a fool out of me, will you?” he threatened, hand on mouth.

    “Perhaps if you did not use the device outside of its rated specification, Ensign.”

    “What? Oh, Lieutenant, I didn't hear you.” He stood and dusted off his uniform. Vexa scanned engineering. It was in a shambles with battle damage and half-finished repairs. “Ensign Hret. Are you alone here?”

    “Don't think this is over,” he warned the thermal regulator. “What? Oh yes, Lieutenant, all my crews are scurrying all over the ship holding it together. Are you here to help me set up the, erm -”

    “The inverted metaphasic pulse. Yes.”

    “Yes. Ah. Anticipating some trouble from the warp core?” he asked, eyeing her phase rifle.

    “Merely a precautionary measure, Ensign. Shall we proceed.” She stepped over a dislodged panel and righted a chair on her way to the warp core.

    “This, uh, inverted metaphasic pulse. You've done this before, have you?”

    Vexa activated the core station. “Once. I assisted my father in a field repair.”

    “Need I ask how old you were at the time?”

    “You needn't,” she said, and left it at that.

    The overhead lights started flickering, and erratic power disruptions of primary and secondary systems indicated a sudden fluctuation in the power grid. Her station diagnostic of the ship schematic overlay revealed the source of interference. It seemed to be emanating from numerous origin points around the entire ship.

    “Vexa to bridge. Report.”

    – The Borg are holding position, Lieutenant. They have resumed an attack bypassing communications bands using the carrier wave. We are attempting to override but the signal has locked a channel open somehow. They seem to be stimulating the hull itself with a tetryon-based waveform, to somehow resonate dielectric interferences through the isomagnetic shielding of the TPS conduits.

    “Ensign Hret, perhaps you should go to the bridge to see about this interference. I will continue with the inverted pulse assembly here.”

    “Aye, Lieutenant. You might want to keep an eye on thermal regulation. Feel free to use this unit for target practice if it gets too cantankerous.”

    Humanoids. Vexa wondered how they managed to accomplish anything, spending so much energy on the illogical personification of inanimate objects.

    Her thoughts were interrupted by a processing error.

    “That is not logical,” she said to her panel.

    Suddenly the lights fell, and red warning lights flashed across the deck. Intruder alert, announced the computer.

    The blast doors to engineering whirred open. Vexa crouched. She heard the unmistakable tread of magnetic boots, and hit the deck.


    Taking her phase rifle, Vexa scurried across the deck to barricade herself behind a rack of replacement parts. She peered between the shielded canisters at the shadows moving across the threshold. From the corridor, phaser fire hit several drones, before their personal shields adapted to the frequency rotation cycles. So much for her phase rifle.

    Five. Ten. Sixteen Borg filed into Engineering. Vexa turned cold, but somehow doubted it was due to environmental control.

    They began to operate on the warp core interface as well as several stations around the bay. Had the Borg ship approached, Vexa knew the bridge would have warned her. Logic dictated that the Borg had found a way to enhance transport for a long-range boarding intrusion. Perhaps using the carrier signal as a means of puncturing the shield harmonics to permit an energy beam. They would be able to exceed transporter range maxima if – and she was particularly mathematical about this – they were willing to incur statistical probability of losses in pattern cohesion. Which would imply a one-way journey for a major fraction of their number. This may also explain how the Heavy Cruiser overcame its design limitations to close on the Tertiary. Structural damage was irrelevant.

    This boarding was likely, in human terms, a winner-take-all gambit.

    She studied the cold, bloodless faces of the cybernetic humanoids, embedded with self-replicating technology, and remembered what Grif had called them. The cult of living death. And now, her failure in command may have damned the entire crew to a Borg fate. Regret, perhaps not, but a more damning logical sentence against her command, and perhaps even her very existence.

    She studied their procedures. They had begun assimilating manifolds and generating power transfers, as Borg interfaces emerged over their systems. Gas vented from pulled life support conduits and spilled over the deck, cloaking everything in a reddish fog lit by the sickly green ambient glow of Borg interfaces. It seemed the Borg were attempting to override the Tertiary's chronophasic systems. One drone had positioned himself to study Vexa's inverted metaphasic pulse, and began altering its energy transfer.

    This was more than a takeover of ship.

    She calculated and speculated and observed. Only one hypothesis she could generate would fit all the available data:

    The Borg were going to recreate the slipstream temporal event.

    Such an occurrence could lead to...she performed a calculation – and apprehended a numerical result she could only describe in scientific notation. They would create an instant army using temporal replication, with themselves as templates. This process would overcome the replicative fading effect of cloning, a previous limiting factor to their population expansion, no doubt. They were going to duplicate themselves in time, and build an armada. A spacefaring fleet with hundreds, thousands of temporal replica Borg vessels based on – the USS Perseus.

    Each with its own capability of exponential temporal reproduction. Using Vexa's chronoalignment technique, the Borg could build an entire civilization in a day. A strategy, in Borg terms, which would more than justify the recent willful losses within the drone ranks.

    Things were about to get very bad very quickly for the galaxy.

    She extrapolated the process based on their equipment configurations. It would require controlling a running series of multiphasic terminal nodes along the slipstream, in order to dissociate and reintegrate each timeline separately; but theoretically – there was enough evidence to suggest the Borg found it an outcome likely enough to abandon the spent Enqarian Heavy Cruiser and take major transport losses in order to board Perseus.

    If that were the case, coupled with the inferred state of the Heavy Cruiser, which would be useless to them now – Vexa extrapolated that there was a ninety-eight point four five probability the entirety of the Borg crew had beamed to the Perseus Tertiary. Save any sleeper drone lifepods they may have seeded along the way, she qualified.

    The truth of logic was, there would be no way to know entirely the extent of Borg reemergence in the galaxy. But for this ship, Vexa knew there was a strong likelihood the Borg Heavy Cruiser no longer posed a threat from without. Which meant, if they could somehow eliminate this boarding party, they may be able to make good on Commander Munich's decision to eliminate the Borg – a compensatory proposition, as she now lay in sick bay recovering from a near-fatal Borg attack.

    They hadn't been able to direct her neural pathways. All they had managed to do was ruin existing pathways. The neural encoder had presented a new technology to them. The Borg were intrinsically incapable of interfacing with it prior to assimilation. All they would do is interfere. And if possible, destroy. When self was willfully destroyed, all that could possibly remain would be the outward transmission of destruction.

    As they would no doubt commit on a galactic scale – again – given the opportunity.

    The Vexa Paradox writ large.

    Hypothesis and speculation. Yet it all seemed to fall into place with the logical congruency of truth. The question was, why should this hypothesizing satisfy her? Perhaps it was due to the contingencies of ship duty. Perhaps working among imprecise humanoids was taking a toll on her logic. Perhaps, in the field, evidential confirmation was a luxury she simply did not have time for.

    Logic poorly obeyed
    , was how Jace had described it. Is that the Vulcan she was becoming?

    Where was he now, she wondered, and found herself unduly distracted by sudden concern for Jace's well-being.

    He was right, she realized. We should have listened to him all along. We should have attacked. Just like the Rucarel.

    But Vexa had been all too convincing, all too convinced of her own incomplete logic. And now, the entire ship would face the consequences of her illogic – once again.

    Her heart hammered against her lower ribcage, preparing her for a fight or a flight, neither of which, she knew, could possibly succeed against so many drones. She could call for a transport, but if the Borg disrupted it with a carrier wave, she would only hasten her own assimilation. She was trapped. In the belly of the beast.

    She peered over the edge once more, into the deathly fog of her illogic. Wondering if she was about to lose her individuality and join them, and seal their success with the temporal stream. Transmit her destructive illogic across the entire galaxy. She looked at her phase rifle. The Borg would easily locate and disarm it before it could overload.

    Vexa suddenly found herself stalemated by logic, with no more ideas. They had all led her to their inevitable, logical conclusion: a galaxy stalemated in the Vexa Paradox.

    An immutable Kal'toh sphere of logic without meaning.

    Her eyes fell.

    Her communicator chirped.

    The Borg raised and responded as one. Each drone in engineering, stimulated to the command, turned and marched – toward her.

    You were right.

    I need you, Jace.

    She activated her phase rifle with a tremoring finger. Maximum kill setting.

    And turned it back upon herself.

  3. Triskelion

    Triskelion Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Mar 8, 2008


    A metal scrape shrills from the fog.

    A shadow falls.

    Another metallic shriek; another shadow falls: a Borg drone.

    She peers through the murk: A wave of reaction passes through the Borg, like a herd of prey to a predator.

    All Vexa can see is a glimmering, and sprays of dark droplets against interface panels. The metal scrapes in her ears, taut and quivering.

    The dark figure courses through their number like water through rocks. The shadow whirls. Something emerges from the back of a Borg drone.

    A long, thin blade.

    The Borg falls, and the wakizashi hisses through the fog with its aria of death.

    The mercenary Grifahni.

    He whips around and penetrates their number again. One falls. Another. A drone clutches for him, and dies. Blade levers appendage, sash cut, impalement. Assimilation tubules cut down in mid flight. They were already falling when Vexa first saw them. Two more drones fall.

    His entire body, an unceasing instrument of death. The wakizashi, death's radius in spiral.

    He moves in silent, explosive grace, in unceasing counterbalance to the live blade. The wakizashi slices unhindered through energy shields and molecular matter, cleaves mathematically-precise vectors through flesh and blood and bone. It arcs through the hivemind a drone at a time.

    His kill efficiency, pure logic. The wakizashi hums like a live wire, finishes a sweep through limb and strikes anew. Grif attacks the Borg as one – like an impenetrable vortex whirling through their number. Everything that violates the wakizashi radius falls. The many, outnumbered by the one.

    He cuts a swath through them like a reaper scything through the thin Vulcan grasses in the high valley of her home.

    The remaining Borg retract.

    And fall like cut rustweed.

    The wakizashi sings through the last standing Borg like it wasn't there, as he rotates down into a lunge, sword extending like a stinger, listening as the last body falls behind him. Breathing hard in shadow, deadly appendage runneling from its razor tip.

    “No surrender,” he says, rising.

    Vexa stands, phase rifle hanging. He was right, and her logic would always be subservient to this moment, her life, held in the wakizashi scabbard. Forever subjugated to this emotional, illogical being. She thought death by the wakizashi might feel like drowning. Peaceful.

    He flicks and scabbards his sword in one fluid motion.

    He sees her, and locks the wakizashi – and her katra - into place with the finality of a winning argument.

    Suddenly more transport patterns helixed into cohesion with a greenish glow. Light transmuting to matter, matter coalescing into cyborganic Borg drones. Laser rangefinders centered on Grif in the fog. The master systems display indicated that the remainder of the invasion party were redoubling in engineering, to entrench and finish the job. The wakizashi came alive, drawn and cut in one lightning-fast motion – into a hammering barrage against the Borg's body shield – but it had adapted to the ancient weapon's atomically-thin edge. All Grif received was impact shock of blade against energy shields reconfiguring into some kind of translucent cohesing shell.

    Vexa saw the scene, and decided that if Jace were to die, the Borg would first have to go through her. She fired her phase rifle.

    No physical effect. But in capturing their attention, she succeeded.

    She jumped a rail into the bay and ran across to the opposite wall. The Borg followed her and moved toward her, while Grif battled his way through their reach.

    Vexa slammed open a wall panel to expose a plasma relay, and set to manually disengage it.

    It would not respond to her input. The Borg had overridden commands.

    “Remember, Grif!” Vexa shouted. “Where the last intruder put you!” She ran to the master systems display and engaged the impulse engines. “You may wish to save yourself some trouble and assume your position now! Or this will be your last broken order!”

    The Perseus Tertiary warp core powered up, thrumming through the deck and through her bones, and Vexa engaged engines at half-impulse. As the Borg centered on her, she backed up to a wall and leaned hard.

    A drone raised his arm appendage as he neared her.

    “Adaptation is futile,” Vexa said.

    She lowered her phase rifle and fired a beam at the exposed plasma relay. It exploded.

    The ship launched into impulse.

    The Borg blurred like inky watercolors - and vanished.

    They were caught in a dead zone formed in the engineering inertial dampening field. As one, they hit the back wall at half the speed of light.

    Vexa skirted the wall and made her way to the station. She powered down the engines. As the ship stopped, the Borg shield cocoons rolled through the fog, into the center of the bay, each a capsule of crystallized Borg sand. Not even the polyalloys of their mechanical components had retained molecular cohesion.

    Grif emerged from the shadows and looked over her handiwork.

    “That was new,” he said.

    Death. Someone speaking. So much death.

    “They were already dead,”
    he whispered.

    “Walking neuroelectric impulses led by machine. Not alive like you and me.”

    “You and me. Illogical.”

    “That may be. But we just saved every life on this ship, and millions and billions more.”

    “The galaxy, Jace.”

    “Lieutenant Grifahni, I am in your debt,”
    she heard herself say.

    He faces her. “Not debt. An unbreakable chain. Each to the other. Our lives forged in honor.”

    Grif engaged the workstation and activated the decon environmental controls. “I'll go turn myself in. I, uh, don't want to cross you. Ever.” He paused at the blast door. “Sochya eh dif, Ve Xa.”

    Peace and long life. She noticed him.

    “You wanted to know when Commander Munich got out of surgery. She is recovering well, Lieutenant.”

    He thought better than to speak, and retreated.

    Mene sakkhet ur-seveh, T'hai'la,” she said when he was gone. Live long and prosper, my lifelong friend.

    Grif left her there, lost in her fog of illogic. She leaned against the console, thoughts conflicted, body producing a storm of overwhelming neurosensory impulses. She felt like the Borg Heavy Cruiser - an abandoned vessel in coldest, uncharted space, whose core was overloading.

    Suddenly, a transporter field penetrated the space and formed its reconstituting array. Vexa, twitching with uncertainty, breathing heavily, defied her body's overwhelming impulse to run. She lifted her phase rifle at it, the emitter nozzle steady as hot desert bedrock. Her finger slid on the trigger. She inhaled deeply, and did not blink.

    “Drop those weapons or die,” she warned the five clad in commando black.

    The weapons were lowered. The leader dropped the nose of his compression rifle, turned and removed his face shield. “Stand down, crewman,” said Captain Tuvok. He waved off the security commando team behind him.

    She lowered her weapon and straightened, attempting to restore her logical composure. “Captain, you have well exceeded...expected probabilities.”

    “As have you, distinctly, Sublieuten – Lieutenant.”

    He bent down to inspect a halved Borg, forensic logic sorting itself in his mind.

    “And where is Chief Grifahni now?” He eyed the bay.

    “Lieutenant Grifahni has been confined to quarters, sir.”

    Tuvok processed the information with no indication of judgment Vexa could discern.

    “The Borg Collective?”

    “Dissolved, Captain.”

    “Do you require assistance Lieutenant Vexa?”

    She slung her phase rifle.

    “Everything is under control, sir.”