The Dark Times Cycle, Episode 1 – ‘Nightfall’

Star Trek – Voyager

The Dark Times Cycle, Episode 1 – ‘Nightfall’

By Ben Russell-Gough

Star Trek – Voyager, and all characters and technologies of the Star Trek universe are the sole property of Paramount Pictures, a division on Viacom Communications. No breach of copyright or trademark rights intended. This is a non-profit work written for the author’s (and the readers’) enjoyment.

Species 704 (The Destroyers) are my work.

The Crew of the Voyager try to solve the problem of getting home, but instead meet up with a terrifying new enemy… The Destroyers!

This story is presented in the form of a screenplay by way of an experiment. Please tell me what you think!

TEASER

SFX – The Voyager is travelling through space at sub-light with a big blocky starship acting as an escort

JANEWAY (v/o)

Captain’s Log, stardate 56888.9. The Voyager is currently travelling through the space of a species known called the Adronai. Although our hosts have been most courteous at every stage, I do feel that we are not truly welcome. I am currently showing the Captain of our Adronai escort around the ship’s facilities as part of our agreement to share our scientific knowledge of this sector.

INT. ASTROMETRICS

While TORRES, SEVEN and KIM work at various consoles, JANEWAY shows an ADRONAI officer around the facility. TUVOK and a SECURITY CREWMAN hover in the background.

JANEWAY

And this is Astrometrics. All the information we gather with our sensors is processed through this facility, creating a map of unparalleled accuracy of the space we travel through.

ADRONAI

Fascinating, Captain. [Sounds bored. When he sees SEVEN, he perks up a bit] And who would you be, my dear?

SEVEN

I am Seven of Nine, Tertiary Adjunct of Unimatrix One Zero.

The ADRONAI officer rears back in surprise at this sudden gush of information.

ADRONAI

A Borg? [Looks at Captain Janeway in some surprise] You let a Borg work in your ship’s primary information gathering unit?

JANEWAY

Seven is no longer connected to the Collective, Captain. Over the past few years she has become a trusted part of my crew.

ADRONAI

[Patronisingly, with a sneer] Really, Captain? I must say that your taste in crewmembers has little to recommend it. [He begins to pace around ASTROMETRICS as if he owns it] Everywhere I see non-optimised stations [Rudely shoves KIM aside to gesture at his screen.] No wonder that your people are still so stunted intellectually if you can’t even set a simple mapping facility up correctly.

JANEWAY stiffens in outrage and her smile comes close to becoming a snarl. She is obviously trying to keep her temper

JANEWAY

[Trying to maintain a diplomatic tone] Well, Captain, we try. We have come over 15,000 light years so far, and have over 50,000 light years to go in our voyage home.

ADRONAI

[Sneers again] Well, I wish you good luck, my dear. From what you have shown me so far, you will need it. Now, I believe that you are going to show me the Engineering spaces next. I do hope that you keep it at a better level of efficiency, as I don’t want your ship breaking up on me…

The ADRONAI exits the room, followed by a fuming JANEWAY. TUVOK raises his brow before following. There is a long, stony silence in ASTROMETRICS before Harry KIM starts laughing.

KIM

[Still laughing] Oh, man. This is precious. That guy’s ego makes its own gravity well. Did you see the Captain’s face? Tom tells me that they are ALL like this.

TORRES

[Doing a Klingon slow burn] He’d just better keep clear of me during his ‘tour,’ that’s all I can say.

SEVEN

It is unfortunate that the Captain feels it necessary to indulge the races whose territory we cross. Certainly it reduces our efficiency having to assuage their egos and overcome their paranoid delusions.

TORRES and KIM smile at each other as they listen to SEVEN’s analysis of the situation.

TORRES

Well, in the interests of ‘efficiency,’ Seven, have you found any likely subspace depressions yet?

SEVEN

[Checking sensors] There are several likely spots in an area of generally low subspace integrity by the supernova remnant at 028 mark 111. I will list them in order of subspace distortion in millicochranes.

KIM

I still think this theory is a little, uh, strange, B’Elanna. I mean, using a natural subspace depression as an energy shortcut to building a transwarp gateway? It sounds very dangerous, especially with Subspace so fragile because of Subspace pollution from warp drives.

SEVEN

[Distractedly] There is no such phenomenon, Lieutenant Kim. A regular drop in subspace integrity is part of a natural universal cycle that repeats approximately every 100,000 years.

There is a long leaden pause.

TORRES

[With a touch of acid] I’m sorry Seven, what was that?

SEVEN

[Blinks, shakes her head then faces TORRES, reciting like a student] The integrity of subspace changes in a regular cycle that repeats every 100,217.68 years. The Borg have observed two such cycles. This is the third. Primitive races frequently misinterpret the phenomenon as an artificial effect, due to over-use of warp drives.

KIM and TORRES look at each other. Once again SEVEN turns the face of science upside-down. One of the most pressing problems facing Federation engineering is an illusion.

TORRES

[With elaborate patience] Seven, it would be good in future if you volunteer any relevant information you have on a project.

SEVEN

I apologise, Lieutenant Torres. [Frowns slightly] I cannot explain why I did not think to mention this before.

TORRES shakes her head in disgust and KIM smiles encouragingly. SEVEN pauses for a long moment before continuing. This disturbs her, as she is certainly never ‘forgetful’ or even ‘absent minded.’ Suddenly she hears [FX] the voice of the Collective in her head.

SEVEN

[Quietly] Go away.

The voice grows louder. Suddenly there is a discontinuity. Film the next few shots using bright lighting to generate the ‘dream-like’ quality in DS9’s ‘Visions of the Prophets’.

SEVEN looks up and sees a massive grey-white starship on the main display. It has two long cylindrical hulls with lots of lumps and bumps. At the rear, the hulls flare out into five long ‘spines’ that shoot out perpendicular to the hull and glow blue-white. The fronts are blunt with many projectors, sensors and other glowing bits and five ‘teeth’ sticking forward on either side of the hull.

The voice of the collective grows louder. Seven sees a MONTAGE of nightmare images, the Voyager under heavy attack by similar ships, flame rising from burning cities, a formation of seven ships forming a six-pointed star firing just once. The electric blue beams combine into one bright blast that destroys a world.

SEVEN

[Shouts] No!

TORRES and KIM are looking at her in concern. The images and voices are gone, but she is clearly shaken. Without a word she rushes out of ASTROMETRICS.

FADE.

[New opening to titles] SFX – The Voyager moving at sub light in deep space.

JANEWAY (v/o)

Space: The final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Voyager. Her ongoing mission, to find her way home. To cross a galaxy, carrying the dream of exploration beyond the farthest stars. To boldly go where no one has gone before!

Opening titles

ACT 1

INT. CAPTAIN’S READY ROOM

JANEWAY is sitting at her desk, nursing a cup of coffee and a headache. [FX] The door chime sounds.

JANEWAY

Enter.

CHAKOTAY enters wearing his patented mischievous smile.

JANEWAY

Go away, Commander. [Smiles slightly at CHAKOTAY’s expression] No, I don’t mean it, get a coffee and pull up a chair.

CHAKOTAY goes to the replicator.

CHAKOTAY

Tea, blend Chakotay Alpha Zero Five.

[FX] Tea replicated. CHAKOTAY walks over to JANEWAY’s desk and sits down. He spends a moment considering the Captain’s expression.

CHAKOTAY

I take it that our ‘guests’ have returned to their ship?

JANEWAY

[Sighs] Yes, and we can proceed without close escort too. To quote Captain D’kargon: “Such a disorderly and ineffective culture does not need close observation.”

CHAKOTAY laughs. JANEWAY gives him a lethal stare.

CHAKOTAY

Well, it seems we have reversed our usual state of affairs. [JANEWAY raises a brow in surprise] Usually we have to put off the curiosity or avarice of younger species like the Kazon. Now we have found a species that does not even think we are worth their time!

JANEWAY

[Grimly] I should be glad we’ve got off so likely, but the attitude of them, Chakotay. We are ahead in dozens of fields, but we aren’t organised to their liking. Hence, we are primitives! [This has obviously offended the good Captain] I swear that I was THIS close [Holds thumb and forefinger and inch apart] from demonstrating how ‘primitives’ react to condescending…

INTERCOM sounds

TORRES (v/o)

Torres to Janeway.

JANEWAY

Go ahead, Lieutenant.

TORRES (v/o)

Captain, you will be glad to hear that Harry and I have found a nearly perfect candidate for our Transwarp experiments. I’d like permission to divert to the co-ordinates and proceed.

JANEWAY

Pass the co-ordinates to Tom, B’Elanna. However, I want to review your procedures again before I give a go-ahead for the experiments.

TORRES (v/o)

Understood, Captain. Torres out.

JANEWAY

[To CHAKOTAY] Well at least something is going right today!

CHAKOTAY smiles slightly and salutes JANEWAY with his cup.

INT. SICKBAY

SEVEN is sitting on the main BIO-BED while THE DOCTOR passes a sensor over her head. She is explaining what has happened to THE DOCTOR

SEVEN

[Continuing] When the experience ended, I determined that I had spent less than point five of a second unconscious. The apparent duration of the incident was much longer, however. As much as sixty seconds.

DOCTOR

[Finishes scanning. Begins to work the controls of his tricorder]. Well, Seven, your experience is not unusual. The humanoid brain processes information several times faster than the senses can gather it. Hallucinatory experiences often occur in such a ‘fast time’ fashion.

The DOCTOR finishes working and smiles warmly as he checks the results.

DOCTOR

Ah! Excellent. You will be glad to know, Seven, that there is no sign of anything untoward. Your neuro-electric readings are normal, as is your neuro-transmitter activity. There is no indication that your Borg implants have become active.

SEVEN

[Nods warily] That is reassuring news, Doctor. However, I would prefer an explanation of my… experience.

DOCTOR

[Shrugs helplessly] I am afraid that I don’t have any data at this time, Seven. I will continue to run tests and I will monitor your neuro-electric activity.

The DOCTOR picks up a sensor and attaches it behind SEVEN’s left ear.

DOCTOR

This monitor will allow me to examine all your cerebral activity. If you have another experience, it will inform me immediately and record your brain activity. Until then, I recommend that you avoid stress and increase the amount of rest you take every cycle.

SEVEN

Thank you Doctor. Given the critical experiments currently in progress, however, I doubt that I will be able to rest as much as you would prefer.

SEVEN leaves SICKBAY without a backward glance

DOCTOR

[To himself in a huff] Why do I bother give recommendations when no one actually listens to them?

INT. ASTROMETRICS

Lieutenants KIM and TORRES are manning various consoles. SEVEN walks in.

KIM

[To Seven] How are you doing, Seven?

SEVEN

I am functioning within normal parameters, Lieutenant Kim. The Doctor is monitoring my neurological activity and will provide further treatment as soon as he has sufficient diagnostic data.

KIM grins at TORRES at this typically Seven of Nine statement.

TORRES

She’s back to normal all right.

SEVEN

[Coldly] Indeed.

SEVEN moves to her preferred console and pulls up a screen of data.

SEVEN

The Voyager is currently holding station near subspace anomaly three-five-nine-seven-tango-yankee-seven.

TORRES

[All business] That’s right. We’re just about to start our preliminary scans.

SEVEN

That is relevant. I will assist you.

The three tech-heads work in silence for a moment. Seven frowns slightly as she notices something.

SEVEN

Lieutenant Kim. Please confirm that this anomaly is exceedingly regular and symmetrical.

KIM

Yeah, we noticed that on our long-range scans. All the better for B’Elanna’s scheme.

SEVEN

There is something about the configuration that I recognise. Something ancient yet important…

TORRES and KIM turn to look at SEVEN with nervous expressions.

TORRES

[Trying to keep her voice steady] What is it Seven?

SEVEN

I am uncertain, Lieutenant Torres. I am feeling… [Pauses, frustrated. She has difficulty in expressing her feelings] I am feeling… anxiety? I am experiencing a clear fear response to this subspace anomaly, yet I cannot determine the source of those fears.

TORRES walks up to SEVEN and touches her on the shoulder. SEVEN virtually jumps out of her skin and turns to face TORRES. She is pale and is obviously throwing fear pheromones off in all directions.

SEVEN

I… [She shakes her head to clear it] The ship is in danger. We must leave this area immediately.

KIM works his console.

KIM

Sensors aren’t picking up anything in this area, Seven. Where is this danger supposed to come from?

SEVEN

I… [Pauses and seems to loose her track] I do not know. This is disturbing. I am no longer experiencing the sensation of danger. Indeed, I cannot explain why I experienced it originally.

TORRES looks genuinely concerned. Once she would have sneered at this show of weakness, but she knows SEVEN too well now to dismiss this out of hand.

TORRES

Is it the Borg?

SEVEN

[Frustrated, almost shouting] I do not know! [Pauses. Her eyes narrow] Yes. The sensations of my earlier hallucinatory experience included the voice of the Collective. The Borg are somehow connected with this anomaly.

KIM

[Grimaces] Kim to Janeway. Captain, we have a problem.

FADE.

ACT 2

SFX – The Voyager holding station. In the distance is the distinctive ring nebula of a supernova remnant.

JANEWAY (v/o)

Captain’s Log, Stardate 56890.2. Our investigation into the use of subspace anomalies as a shortcut home has come up against an unexpected problem. Seven of Nine believes that we have stumbled upon some previously unsuspected work of the Borg Collective.

The command crew is meeting to discuss this development.

INT. BRIEFING ROOM

JANEWAY is at the head of the table. NEELIX, PARIS, TORRES and KIM are along one side. CHAKOTAY, SEVEN, TUVOK and THE DOCTOR are along the other side. TUVOK is just finishing his comments.

TUVOK

There is no indication of any Borg activity within sensor range. The Adronai assure us that they have not had any Borg incursions into their space for over a century.

JANEWAY

Thank you Mr. Tuvok. [Turns to THE DOCTOR] Doctor, what is your prognosis?

DOCTOR

Seven is in her usual good health, Captain. However, I have been monitoring her since her first blackout in Astrometrics yesterday morning. The results have been quite remarkable.

THE DOCTOR rises and walks to the VIEWSCREEN. It activates with an OKUDAGRAM line graph.

DOCTOR

This diagram shows the recorded activity of Seven’s normal neurological activity. [He touches a button and the OKUDAGRAM scrolls to show a later time period] This is Seven’s neurological activity during her… ah… ‘anxiety attack’ yesterday afternoon. As you can see, there are the normal wave patterns for anxiety, but please notice the Synaptic Establishment activity. [Traces out one remarkably squared-off curve]

KIM

That isn’t an analogue curve, it’s a digital code. It looks more like a record of computer activity.

DOCTOR

Correct Mr. Kim. This anomaly coincides with a sudden burst of activity in Seven’s bio-transceiver implant. [Points out a sudden jump from zero to a series of jagged peaks, then falling back to zero]

SEVEN shifts uncomfortably. Almost subconsciously, she starts to toy with the interface ‘spider’ implant on the back of her right hand. She is obviously frightened at the thought that the Collective is trying to influence her again.

SEVEN

I have not been aware of any contact with the Collective during my experiences.

JANEWAY

[Kindly] And no one is about to start accusing you, Seven. Mr. Kim? [KIM turns to face her] Is there any indication that the Collective has tried to contact Seven?

KIM

No, Captain. We’ve checked all the options, including their trying to mask their signals in subspace radiation bursts again. There is nothing.

JANEWAY

So direct contact is out of the question. What other options are there?

DOCTOR

The most unusual aspect of this is that the activity is confined entirely to the Bio-transceiver itself. There has been no increased production of nanoprobes or even increased activity in any other implant.

TORRES

Could it be a malfunction in the implant?

SEVEN

[A little sharply] I dislike the thought of people thinking of me as malfunctioning equipment. [She suddenly pauses and turns to TORRES] My apologies, Lieutenant, I am clearly suffering from the tension.

TORRES smiles thinly and nods to show she isn’t offended. SEVEN thinks for a moment.

PARIS

A malfunction is the most obvious possibility, though. Remember that Seven is progressively becoming more human. Could her body be rejecting the implant?

DOCTOR

A fine theory, Mr. Paris, [Suddenly smug] but I would have detected increased T-Cell activity.

SEVEN

I believe I know what is happening, although I remain unsure of why. [When everyone is facing her, she continues] The Bio-Transceiver is primarily a communications device. However, its secondary function is to record all instructions and communications received by a Drone. This activity is consistent with an attempt to download copies of previously received instructions into my brain.

There is a long uncomfortable pause as everyone digests this.

NEELIX

I’m sorry, Seven, but I thought you had perfect recall, or a computerised memory or something. Why would you need a copy of previous instructions?

SEVEN

That is the mystery, Mr. Neelix. I have no other memories of the images and sensations I have had during my experiences. Drones do not have information withheld from their minds, so I cannot explain why I have no previous memories of this matter.

CHAKOTAY

[Thoughtfully] Maybe this is a ‘race memory.’

JANEWAY

A what?

CHAKOTAY

A race memory is a theory I heard at a psychological conference I once attended. The basic concept is that we all are born with information about the most fundamental aspects of our species’ nature in our subconscious. These are not ‘learnt’ but ‘pre-loaded’ through our genetics.

DOCTOR

[A little snide] I am familiar with the theory, Commander. Unfortunately, there is no way memory information could be transmitted genetically. ‘Race memory’ is a myth that went out with the whole concept of organisms inheriting behavioural attributes.

NEELIX

[Thoughtfully] But Seven isn’t entirely organic, is she? [He shoots SEVEN an apologetic glance] She is at least fifteen percent machine and computers CAN come with information hidden away in some part of their structure. It stays hidden until it is needed. Could that be what is happening to her? [Looks around] I’m… not making any sense, am I?

KIM

More than you think.

JANEWAY

This is all very interesting, but I am most concerned whether this is a threat to either Seven or the ship.

TUVOK

[Quietly] If this is indeed a subconscious memory stored in the Bio-Transceiver implant rather than Seven’s organic memory, it may be possible to access it through a structured meditation. [Looks at SEVEN] If you are willing?

SEVEN

These experiences are most disturbing. I will be glad to unravel their mystery. [Turns to TORRES] If I can be spared from the current project?

TORRES

There’s nothing that needs your special touch right now, Seven. We can spare you until you’ve sorted out… whatever this is.

JANEWAY seems happy with this solution.

JANEWAY

All right Mr. Tuvok, proceed as soon as Seven is ready. Doctor, I want you to continue monitoring Seven’s neurological activity. I would like to read your report as soon as possible, Tuvok. Dismissed.

ALL rise and begin to leave the room. KIM pauses by SEVEN.

KIM

[With a smile] Don’t let Tuvok tie your superego in knots, Seven.

SEVEN

[Confused] I fail to see… ah, humour. You are trying to alleviate your concern for my safety with a joke. Your concern is noted and appreciated, Mr. Kim.

KIM

[Sighs] Seven, we’ve known each other for almost two years now. I even kid myself that I am your friend. I think that you should have got to the point where you feel comfortable calling me ‘Harry.’

SEVEN

It would be inappropriate to use your given name whilst on duty. [Cocks her head curiously] Do you consider me a… friend?

KIM

Uh, well yes! Of course!

SEVEN

[Smiles slightly] I find such a change in our parameters of association welcome. I would be glad to be your friend Lieut… [stops and considers KIM’s expression] Harry.

SEVEN leaves. PARIS leans over KIM’s shoulder

PARIS

Harry you sly dog, it looks like you’re making progress at last.

KIM

[Goes red] Do you have to drag everything through the gutter, Tom?

KIM storms off. PARIS grins mischievously.

INT. TUVOK’S QUARTERS

The lights of the room are on dim and the only source of illumination is a single Vulcan DEVOTIONAL CANDLE sitting between SEVEN and TUVOK. Our two heroes are sitting cross-legged and eyes closed.

TUVOK

Visualise the flame. The flame is your fundamental self. Each part of the flame represents a thought or feeling.

SEVEN

[Dreamy voice] Yes. I can see it.

TUVOK

Focus on the core of the flame. Inside the light is the darkness. This is the mystery of the inner self.

SEVEN

I understand.

TUVOK

Allow the centre of the flame to draw you in. Tell me what you see.

SEVEN

I see… darkness…

FX – Slow zoom on the black core of the candle flame. In the blackness there are images. Initially, they are blurred and indistinct. As we zoom in closer, the voice of the BORG Collective whispers.

SEVEN (v/o)

[Fearful] I hear the Collective!

TUVOK (v/o)

Do not allow your emotions dominate your perceptions. [Beat] Listen to the message the Collective would give you.

SEVEN (v/o)

[Nervous} I will try.

BORG (v/o)

Danger. Seven of Nine, Tertiary Adjunct to Unimatrix One Zero. Strategic alert.

FX – The images begin to clear. Discontinuity… A hole in the stars, a ball of flame shoots from it right at our POINT OF VIEW. The flame metamorphosises into…

The vast blue-white spacecraft of SEVEN’s first vision looms forward. Others of a similar, almost insectoid design. All have the basic single or double cylindrical hulls with flank spines either equally spaced around the base (single hull) or in two groups of the same number either side (double hull). The spines have a blue glow in the core. The forward facing ‘fangs’ also have glowing blue cores. Regular bumps and linear plates line the length of the hull

Discontinuity… There is a flash of electric-blue energy weapons-fire from between one ship’s ‘fangs’. A BORG cube is torn apart.

BORG (v/o)

Danger. Do not forget them.

FX – Seven of the largest type (two hulls, a pair of five spines) group into a six-pointed star. They fire ‘Death Star’-style. A world explodes.

BORG (v/o)

The invincible enemy.

FX – Discontinuity… Inside a BORG ship. Four legged, four armed creatures in blue-white armour charge. They swat DRONES aside like skittles and fire electric-blue pulses from black rifle-like weapons held in their upper limbs.

BORG (v/o)

From beyond the furthest stars…

SEVEN (v/o)

[Whispers] No…

FX – Highly stylised images of burning cities echoing with screams, the Voyager tumbling away from an electric blue energy pulse and insectoid armies. A star explodes, consuming an inhabited world (stock footage from ST-Generations?)

Discontinuity… A hole in the stars, a ball of flame shoots from it right at our POINT OF VIEW.

BORG (v/o)

From beyond the darkness in which the stars shine. Species Seven-Zero-Four.

SEVEN (v/o)

[Stronger] No…

FX – Discontinuity… The Voyager’s BRIDGE, smashed to pieces and ablaze. A crying SEVEN is cradling a blooded and dead (?) KIM.

Discontinuity… SEVEN sees herself standing on the steps of a smashed Federation HQ watching legions of the aliens ships scream over a ruined San Francisco.

Discontinuity… The Voyager attacked by a smaller alien vessel… the Voyager explodes.

Discontinuity… A hole in the stars, a ball of flame shoots from it right at our POINT OF VIEW, this time boiling around with a sound of shattering glass and exploding stone as if it has struck the viewer…

BORG (v/o)

The Destroyers.

SEVEN

[Screams] No!

SEVEN jumps to her feet and tumbles gracelessly onto her backside with a grunt of pain. The medical MONITOR behind SEVEN’s ear is screaming an alert. TUVOK jumps back to full awareness with a shocked look.

TUVOK

[Dryly] Have you found the information we seek, Seven?

SEVEN

[Shaken] I do not know, Commander. I… [Pauses to take a calming breath] I must take time to consider what I have seen.

The DOCTOR rushes in at this point and walks over to SEVEN with a concerned expression. SEVEN simply looks down at her hands with a preoccupied frown.

FADE

ACT 3

INT. MESS HALL

SEVEN is standing at the counter, chewing thoughtfully on some hot food (no Leola Root, thank the Maker!)

She looks around at a semi-full MESS HALL. JANEWAY and CHAKOTAY are discussing something in a lively fashion, much to the bemusement of TUVOK. PARIS and TORRES are teasing KIM, trying to get him to put down his PADD and concentrate on his meal.

SEVEN

[Quietly] They are my Collective now.

NEELIX

Lost in thought Seven?

SEVEN looks round at NEELIX. He seems genuinely concerned.

SEVEN

The images I saw in meditation were of destruction and disaster for us all. [Beat, looks down at her hands] I fear that I am going mad.

NEELIX

[Concerned] Why?

SEVEN

[Sighs] Much depends on the next few days. The experiment that Lieutenant Torres proposes may open a way home for my friends. It is my fear that it may be the destruction of us all.

NEELIX

Well, warn them. What’s the problem with that?

SEVEN

It is such a nebulous warning, possibly the result of a malfunction or corrupt data… Do I steal their chance for happiness because of my fears? I do not know the way forward. How can I make this choice?

NEELIX

Seven, they are your friends. They trust you. If you genuinely believe that there is something in this warning from your subconscious, then tell them. Even if it is exaggerated or a false alarm, they will still appreciate you. You will still be their friend for all your faults. Your fallibility and your making paradoxical choices are what make you Human.

SEVEN

[Wryly] I could see that as an insult.

NEELIX

[Delighted] See? A joke! You are getting more Human every day, Seven.

SEVEN smiles. She nods to NEELIX and leaves the MESS HALL.

INT. VOYAGER CORRIDOR

SEVEN walks along the corridor, passing several CREWMEN.

NAOMI

Hello, Seven.

SEVEN turns to see NAOMI standing there, grinning up at her with her typical insolent good humour.

SEVEN

[Dryly] Naomi Wildman.

NAOMI

How are you doing Seven? My Mom was saying you’ve been sick!

SEVEN

I am… somewhat recovered, Naomi. Although the Doctor still insists on monitoring my vital signs.

SEVEN moves her head to show the SENSOR attached behind her ear.

NAOMI

[Suitably impressed] Ooh, I bet that tickles!

SEVEN

[Dryly] Tickles… I do not believe so…

NAOMI

[Cocks her head. She seems to be saying to SEVEN “you know better than to try that with me“] Well, I’m glad you are feeling better. Can you visit me to play a game of Dom Jot this evening?

SEVEN

Unfortunately, I cannot. I have to assist with several experiments this evening.

NAOMI

[Grunt] Typical! Well, that’s what you get for being good at everything! [Giggles at the thought] Well, some other time, Seven? [Grins engagingly] I’m sure I can trust you to get things done so you have free time.

NAOMI skips off down the hall.

SEVEN

[Thoughtfully] Trust. A curious concept.

With a sudden sense of determination, SEVEN carries on down the CORRIDOR.

INT. CAPTAIN’S READY ROOM

SEVEN and TORRES are sitting in front of JANEWAY’s desk.

JANEWAY

[Obviously finishing her comments] There are no obvious flaws in your procedures, B’Elanna, so you can proceed with the experiments. [Sees SEVEN’s preoccupied expression]. Yes, Seven, you have a comment to make?

SEVEN

Yes, Captain. [Pauses, gathering her thoughts] I do not make this comment lightly, Captain. I agree with Lieutenant Torres that this study remains the Voyager’s best hope for finding a short cut to the Alpha Quadrant. However, my own investigations into my recent experiences have revealed that there may be an unsuspected danger either in the experiment or in this area of space.

JANEWAY

[Shoots TORRES a surprised look] What kind of danger?

SEVEN

[Rueful] I cannot provide many details, Captain, as I do not have them. During my structured meditation, I experienced a detailed sensory hallucination that referred directly to a ‘Species 704,’ who successfully resisted assimilation and nearly devastated the Collective several millennia ago.

TORRES

[Wry] Who or what are ‘Species 704,’ Seven?

SEVEN

Again, I have no details, Lieutenant. My experience only confirmed that they had access to military capabilities broadly equivalent to Species 8472 and that their first appearance is somehow related either to the use of subspace depressions for movement or to this region of space. [To JANEWAY] I am sorry that I cannot offer any more precise data, Captain.

TORRES

I’m sorry, Seven, but where is the usual encyclopaedic knowledge of all things Borg? If the Collective gave this species a number, there should be millions of quads of data on them.

SEVEN

Indeed, there should. In this case, however, there is not. In fact, there is no reference in Borg records to any ‘Species 704.’ This anomaly is incomprehensible.

TORRES draws in a breath but JANEWAY cuts her off before she can make a typically acid comment.

JANEWAY

I have read Tuvok’s report on the structured meditation, Seven. According to him, the images you saw were so traumatic that they caused you to snap out of the trance-state spontaneously. He adds that this is virtually unheard of in Vulcan meditation.

SEVEN

The images included very specific imaginings of the destruction of the Voyager and the conquest of the Alpha Quadrant. The images of the death of the crew were vivid. They were most… disturbing.

TORRES

Captain, Harry has been over the sensor readings every way in the book. Hell, he has even created some new ways and there is NO indication of ANY potential threat related to this area. [Turns to SEVEN] I don’t want to insult you, Seven, but there is simply NO physical proof to back up this warning. I am sure it was a very frightening nightmare, but I don’t see ANY reason to delay our experiment!

SEVEN bridles a little at this and is about to retort. Janeway, who has been sipping meditatively at her coffee, breaks in before there is any further escalation.

JANEWAY

I am afraid B’Elanna is right, Seven. [TORRES smirks. JANEWAY gives her a ‘death stare’] Nonetheless, I am not willing to disregard a considered warning of potential danger. During all stages of the experiment, we will keep checking all sensor readings. If there is anything, anything at all, to indicate a threat to this ship, we will desist at once and leave the area.

TORRES

[Disbelieving] Captain…!

JANEWAY

My decision is final, Lieutenant. [Waits for TORRES to subside] I have conferred with Tuvok, Chakotay and The Doctor. They all agree that these… ‘visions’ are not related to any kind of illness, malfunction or malign telepathic influence. There may be no physical proof, but I am not going to ignore such a vivid experience, especially from such a reliable source. [Shoots SEVEN a little smile]

JANEWAY rises and gestures the other two women to leave the room with her.

JANEWAY

Seven, I want you on the bridge to help monitor the situation. If you have any more ‘premonitions’, I want you to tell me immediately.

SEVEN

Understood, Captain.

JANEWAY, SEVEN and TORRES leave the READY ROOM

INT. BRIDGE

JANEWAY, SEVEN, and TORRES are entering from the READY ROOM.

TORRES

Captain, I really could use Seven’s help in Engineering. [Pleading slightly] Surely she could monitor the situation from there?

JANEWAY

She could, but I prefer to have her immediately to hand, B’Elanna. She will be more at the centre of things here.

SEVEN

[To TORRES] I shall endeavour to operate at peak efficiency despite my absence from engineering.

TORRES grunts sceptically and scowls. She walks towards the TURBOLIFT. As she passes PARIS, he offers her a wink. This makes her a little happier and she leaves the BRIDGE without a ferocious scowl.

SEVEN

[To JANEWAY, quietly] Thank you for believing in me, Captain.

JANEWAY

[Quietly, with a smile] Trust is a part of friendship, Seven. [More loudly] Stations, people. We’re doing this one by the book.

FADE

ACT 4

F/X The Voyager still hovers before the typical supernova remnant.

JANEWAY (v/o)

Captain’s Log, Stardate 56982.1. We are preparing to perform our first experiments at enlarging and controlling a subspace depression. The best case scenario is for a flood of data that will help us create super-efficient quantum slipstreams that will bring us home decades earlier than our wildest expectations. The very worst case scenario… Well, given Seven of Nine’s clear visions… I don’t want to try to imagine what that could be…

INT. BRIDGE. The following crew is present. PARIS, TUVOK and KIM are at their stations. CHAKOTAY is looking at the central console. SEVEN is at the bridge ‘horseshoe’ console. JANEWAY is standing behind Lt. J. G. Samantha WILDMAN at the science station. An unnamed CREWMAN is at the Engineering console and another is behind SEVEN at the Ships’ Operations wall display.

TORRES (v/o)

Engineering to Bridge. Seven, is the deflector dish charged and ready?

SEVEN

The dish is charged Lieutenant, I am ready to monitor feed-back along the subspace pulse.

JANEWAY is obviously satisfied at whatever she has seen on WILDMAN’s console. She walks to stage centre and sits down in her chair.

JANEWAY

Status report, Commander?

CHAKOTAY

All decks and departments report ready, Captain.

JANEWAY nods decisively. She seems tense.

JANEWAY

Tuvok, go to Yellow Alert. [SOUNDS – Yellow Alert siren, yellow tracer lights and buzzer] Mr. Kim, keep an eye on the sensors. Mr. Paris, keep an eye on the space conditions, if navigation gets hazardous, back us off. Lieutenant Torres?

INT. MAIN ENGINEERING

TORRES is at her console. The ENGINEERING CREW all stand at their stations in tense anticipation.

TORRES

Torres here, Captain.

JANEWAY (v/o)

Commence the first low-power subspace pulse when ready, B’Elanna.

TORRES

Aye, Captain. [Turns to CREW] Alright people, look sharp.

There is a BLEEP. TORRES looks down and sees an E-MAIL on her display from PARIS: “They say that ‘there are old engineers and bold engineers but no old and bold engineers.’ The ones who say that have never met you, love.” TORRES grins and enters a series of commands.

TORRES

As Paris says, let’s rock!

F/X – A huge beam of blue-white light shoots out of the VOYAGER’s main deflector. It hits some invisible barrier and spreads out in a pretty light show.

INT. BRIDGE. Everyone is poring over the results of this first experiment.

SEVEN

Seven to Lieutenant Torres. The beam returns are normal. However, the impact point is marginally off target. Modify the beam at x plus 1.0055 degrees, y minus 0.005 degrees.

TORRES (v/o)

[Irritated] I see it, Seven. [Beat] Is this any better?

SEVEN

[Frowns] The error factor is now less than one in one thousand. That is sufficient.

JANEWAY grins at CHAKOTAY as she hears the exchange. SEVEN makes a few more adjustments.

SEVEN

[To JANEWAY] The beam is now calibrated, Captain. We may proceed with the tests on enlarging the depression.

JANEWAY looks at the centre console and looks up to reply to SEVEN. Whatever she was about to say is now lost to history.

KIM

[Alarmed] Captain! I’m reading a transwarp egress at 133 mark 027. It’s a Borg Cruiser-class Sphere!

JANEWAY

Red alert!

LIGHTS and SOUND – Lights dim, red tracer lights begin to shine and the siren begins to hoot.

JANEWAY

B’Elanna, cut off the beam. Tuvok, maximum power to shields. Stand by all weapons!

There is ordered chaos as the BRIDGE CREW quickly performs the evolution to battle stations. It is something of which, unfortunately, they have too much practice.

KIM

The Borg vessel is on a heading directly for the subspace depression, Captain. [Beat] They have scanned us, but don’t seem to be taking much notice. [SOUNDS – HAILING SIGNAL] They’re hailing us.

JANEWAY

I can guess what this is going to be about. Let’s hear it anyway, Lieutenant.

VIEWSCREEN – The Borg Sphere swooping across the screen, the camera tracking it. There is a bleep and the view switches to the typical interior of a BORG vessel (matte painting). The BORG address the crew.

BORG

We are the Borg. You have intruded onto our territorial space. You will withdraw, immediately, or we will annihilate your ship. Resistance is futile.

JANEWAY

[Nonplussed, to CHAKOTAY] Well that was unexpected. [To BORG] This is Captain Katherine Janeway of the Federation starship Voyager. We mean you no harm. We are simply performing some scientific experiments.

BORG

Your intentions are irrelevant. You will comply with our demands or we will annihilate you. [Signal cuts off. VIEWSCREEN shows to the SPHERE, now taking up station between the Voyager and the subspace depression]

JANEWAY

[Turns to crew] Suggestions or comments, people?

TUVOK

The appearance of a Borg Cruiser is most unusual, Captain. As you know, they are designed for defensive patrols within Borg space, not assimilation. They are heavily armed, but relatively lightly crewed. I do not believe that we are their target.

CHAKOTAY

Agreed, they want us out of the way, Captain. The question is why?

PARIS

[Concerned] I say the question is “Why are we still here when the Borg have asked us to leave so nicely?”

JANEWAY gives PARIS her ‘death glare.’ PARIS looks back innocently and KIM covers a smile.

KIM

The Borg are scanning the subspace depression with full sensors, Captain. Their shields are at maximum power and their weapons are running hot.

JANEWAY

Are they targeting us?

TUVOK

Negative, Captain. [Does the eyebrow trick] Indeed, the Borg seem to be ignoring us.

SEVEN

The Collective always ignores vessels that are not of immediate interest.

JANEWAY

I find that vaguely insulting.

WILDMAN

Captain, the anomaly!

Everyone swings around to face the VIEWSCREEN.

VIEWSCREEN – F/X – The ANOMALY is now visible as a blue-green tinged depression against the stars darkening towards the centre. Everyone snaps into action.

INT. BRIDGE

SEVEN is working at her console. JANEWAY is still in her chair, looking up at her.

SEVEN

Captain, the depression is deepening. Subspace distortion is a 5,250 millicochranes and still rising.

The ship suddenly begins to shudder.

WILDMAN

Captain, there is an awful lot of subspace disruption coming from the anomaly. It’s getting worse by the second.

JANEWAY

Tom, pull us back 20,000 kilometres.

PARIS

Yes Ma’am!

PARIS works his console, but nothing happens, except the quality of the ship’s shuddering changes.

PARIS

This crazy subspace distortion is affecting our impulse engines, Captain. It’s almost as if the engines can’t ‘grip’ space anymore. [Looks up] B’Elanna, can you give me more power?

TORRES (v/o)

I’ll try Tom. I’ve got a few tricks that may improve impulse drive performance in this environment, too.

JANEWAY

Try them, Lieutenant. [Turns to SEVEN] What is the situation, Seven?

SEVEN does not seem to hear. Her normally pale face has gone ghostly white and she is staring at the anomaly on the VIEWSCREEN. Her expression is blank with pure terror.

JANEWAY

[Firmly] Seven! Snap out of it!

SEVEN

[Shakes her head] I’m sorry, Captain. The subspace depression is now showing a distortion of over 100 kilocochranes. [Examines readings with a frown] The readings are similar to the proposed subspace tunnel that was the ultimate goal of our experiments. However, they are thousands of times more powerful.

JANEWAY

[Hopeless and quiet] B’Elanna…?

INT. ENGINEERING

TORRES is working desperately at her console to increase the power to the impulse engines and improve their performance. She seems annoyed that everything is suddenly her fault.

TORRES

Not our doing, Captain. We only used our scanning-intensity beam. Anyway, even if we had used a full-power subspace beam, it would not have created a result even a hundredth of the power of the anomaly.

JANEWAY (v/o)

Could the scanning beam have tripped off this effect?

TORRES

I don’t see how.

TORRES moves to another console. She shoves VORIK aside and makes a few adjustments. It is obviously ineffective as she hits the console in frustration and moves back to her own station.

TORRES

Besides, the numbers are all wrong, Captain. These frequency readings are all inverted. It is almost as if something were coming through from the other side!

INT. BRIDGE

JANEWAY looks at CHAKOTAY in disbelief. The big Indian’s jaw is slack with disbelief.

JANEWAY

Something coming through from the other side…?

JANEWAY looks at SEVEN. Pure terror has almost paralysed the young woman. She is standing stiffly and holding the console almost hard enough to start to deform its structure.

WILDMAN

Captain, the subspace distortion is going off the top of the scale. Distortion is now greater than a megacochrane. I’ve never even seen a theoretical description of such conditions.

TUVOK

The Borg Sphere is over-charging its weapons systems.

JANEWAY

Who are they targeting?

TUVOK

[Surprised] They are targeting the anomaly.

F/X – The Borg SPHERE fires several emerald-white torpedoes into the anomaly. They flash forward and are torn apart by the massive distortion fields.

INT. BRIDGE

KIM is checking his console, wearing an amazed expression.

KIM

[Amazed} Captain, the Borg are sending an all-frequency distress signal!

Before JANEWAY can react to that, SEVEN suddenly cuts in. Her voice is rough with fear.

SEVEN

Captain, we have to get out of here! NOW!

JANEWAY has already decided on this. Whatever it is that could get a Borg ship sending distress signals, she has no desire to meet it.

JANEWAY

Get us out of here, Mr. Paris. Maximum Warp.

PARIS works his console. Nothing is happening.

JANEWAY

Engineering we need more power!

The shuddering of the ship grows worse.

JANEWAY

B’Elanna, we are not going anywhere! Boost the power levels to maximum tolerance!

INT. ENGINGEERING

The WARP CORE is flashing and flaring brightly. TORRES and an ENSIGN look on aghast. The Voyager is obviously at maximum power and nothing is happening.

INT. BRIDGE

PARIS

It’s no good, Captain; our warp field isn’t generating any propulsive power!

JANEWAY

Engineering, report!

TORRES (v/o)

Captain, the Warp Core is at 115% output now and I don’t like the look of the temperature of our coolant. I can’t give you any more power!

WILDMAN

[Hysterical] Oh my god!

EVERYONE looks at the VIEWSCREEN.

F/X – The centre of the anomaly seems to be stretching away from normal space as if something were pulling it. It now looks like water racing down glowing blue-green hole. At the very ‘bottom,’ there is a bright blue-white glow… Suddenly there is a mighty flare of light from deep within. A spear of energy is sent flaring out from the centre, deep out into space. A vivid blue-white ring shoots away from the perimeter of the anomaly.

INT. BRIDGE

The shock wave throws everyone about.

F/X – As the flare dies away, there is now a deep blue-white vortex leading into a pitch black hole. It is very like the Babylon 5 exit jump point effect. Occasionally, the vortex flares as a ring of energy races up from deep within.

INT. BRIDGE

KIM

[Awed] It’s a… an artificial wormhole! I’ve never seen these power readings before! It could link us to a point billions of light years from here!

WILDMAN

Captain, I’m reading six objects emerging from the… Well, from the ‘super-wormhole,’ or whatever it is. They are definitely artificial.

F/X – The six objects are identical and are travelling along the perimeter of the vortex. When they reach the event horizon, they stop. They are trapezoid-shaped with four long ‘arms’ that hang backwards from each corner. As we watch, the trapezoids move so that their largest face points out of the wormhole. Two arms attached to the long end move to run along the rim of the vortex, while the two from the narrow end lie parallel to the vortex’s walls, pointing towards its black heart. A strong blue-white glow appears from long vents along the length of the arms.

The Borg SPHERE opens fire with everything it’s got: Repulsor beams, disruptors, torpedoes and cutting beams. The objects’ shields absorb everything without even a flicker of strain.

INT. Bridge

PARIS is still fighting the helm as TUVOK examines his console.

TUVOK

The Borg are putting more power into their distress call, Captain. They have fired upon the unidentified artefacts, but their weapons have no visible effect.

PARIS

[Frustrated] Captain, I still can’t make any headway with either Warp or Impulse engines. This distortion field is so scrambling the structure of subspace that our generators can’t affect it. It’s like trying to swim up a waterfall. Our thrusters are the only propulsion system not affected, and they are barely strong enough to keep us from falling down the gravity well of that thing!

JANEWAY

Keep at it, Tom. [She looks at CHAKOTAY. He is using the centre console to co-ordinate some function. His expression is grim] If anyone has any ideas, now is the time.

KIM

If the anomaly and the distortion are somehow related, then we have to generate a powerful subspace pulse, something so big that it drowns out everything else. If that happens, we’ll have a window of a few seconds to get clear.

JANEWAY

How big a pulse are we looking at, Harry?

KIM

Too big, Captain. [His editorialising does obviously not impress JANEWAY] Equivalent to the simultaneous detonation of about a thousand photon torpedoes. The Detonation of our warp core might just be powerful enough.

That is obviously not an option, as JANEWAY’s expression makes quite clear.

TUVOK

Captain, I believe that this wormhole is, indeed, intended to function as an intergalactic conduit. [Quirks an eyebrow] Interesting. The six vessels appear to be generating some form of resonant subspace field that is stabilising this end of the wormhole. [Looks at JANEWAY] While the technology that makes this possible is beyond our ability to reproduce, it is a most efficient way to stabilise such a construct using lower power levels.

Then, as if to prove TUVOK’s point, WILDMAN checks her readings and rears back in shock.

WILDMAN

I’m reading another ship coming through the wormhole, Captain. It is much bigger than those six stabilising generators. I mean much bigger. At least 2 kilometres in length and well over 250 million metric tonnes mass.

JANEWAY

[Nearly a whisper] On screen, Mr. Kim.

SEVEN

[Terrified] Captain, we MUST leave this area! I mean it; this may be our last chance!

EVERYONE’s attention is again fixed on the VIEWSCREEN as the new contact WILDMAN detected begins to emerge.

F/X – We see the Voyager, the warp pylons raised and glowing brightly as the ship struggles to get free of the subspace distortion. The POV rotates past the Borg ship, which has ceased firing for the time being to the wormhole.

Beyond the stabilising generators, the blue-white vortex flows off into infinity, a deep well of black. The occasional power surge still races along its length like spirals of light. From the very centre, a huge object rolls forward that looks like two long, thin cylinders with various sharp projections connected side by side. NOTE – for the first time we get the scale of the anomaly. From WILDMAN’s estimates, it is obvious that the mouth of the wormhole is over 2 miles in diameter.

New POV, looking virtually across the mouth of the wormhole as IT emerges. First are ten forward-facing ‘blades,’ five each side of the cylindrical hull, which taper forward to a blunt end at their fronts. The teeth have flush vents that glow with the same blue light as the generators’ ‘arms.’

The hull continues, melding smoothly into two pairs of five smooth ‘booms,’ each pair spaced equally around the circumference of one of the egg-shaped forward hulls. More blue light glows from various spots and from in between the booms. The booms meld once more into a the two cylindrical hulls that curve smoothly towards the join of the two hulls, ending with two pairs of four claw-like protrusions on the outward-facing surface that glow with the familiar orange-red or impulse power.

The mighty ship slips clear of the wormhole and hovers for a moment, then ten long, graceful spines swing away from the outer hull, five on each outward-facing side of the rear hulls, creating what look like two fans, or possibly something like a solar sailing ship’s masts. These spines end with short, vicious-looking sharp forward-pointing ends. The spines have long vents along their length. They begin to glow with the same blue-white power.

The Borg SPHERE opens fire once again. The ship’s shields, without a flicker, deflect the blasts. Blasts powerful enough to kill a Federation starship with one shot. It is, of course, the ship from SEVEN’s vision.

INT. BRIDGE

SEVEN

[Verging on the hysterical by now. It makes her voice very quiet, very young…] It’s too late…

TUVOK

I am reading a massive power surge from the alien vessel.

F/X – From in between the ten ‘blades,’ there comes a powerful, pencil-thin beam of blue-white light. The shot reaches out and smashes right into the very centre of the SPHERE. The SPHERE’s running lights go out. What looks like a distortion wave spreads out from the impact point and flows along its hull, causing it to ripple like a wave, until it meets again at the far side of the hull. Then the SPHERE explodes with a massive yellow-white explosion. There is very little wreckage. From impact to explosion, it is all over in less than a tenth of a second.

INT. BRIDGE

KIM is sweating, staring at his rear wall displays.

KIM

Tom, the subspace distortion…

PARIS

I see it, Harry!

F/X – PARIS does not waste time with unnecessary manoeuvres. The VOYAGER swoops forward, right over the alien still poised at the entry to the wormhole, and leaps to high warp. Even though the manoeuvre is fast, it is not fast enough. As the VOYAGER races past, the alien is able to get in one shot. It is not a clean hit, indeed it is only a glancing blow, but it still is almost enough.

INT. BRIDGE

The entire crew is thrown forward by a tremendous concussion. TUVOK’s rear wall displays explode with a bright white flash, throwing him over his console to the deck. The CREWMAN at the Ship’s Status display is also thrown to the deck beside SEVEN.

Bits of the Tactical console rain down and fire burns in the shattered remains. Several overhead ODN trunks in the same area are ruptured and fibre-optic cables create a strangely art-deco background to the fire. The Ship’s Status display begins to flicker

JANEWAY

Trauma Team to the Bridge! I want a full damage report!

CHAKOTAY checks the centre console.

CHAKOTAY

My god!

JANEWAY

What?

CHAKOTAY

That was just a near miss, Captain! A single glancing blow and it still nearly knocked out our shields! Our rear shields are down 67% and our forward shields are down 25%.

There is concussion damage to all decks with sections far to the aft. We will have to evacuate the main shuttlebay, the main doors are shattered and the mag shield generator has been knocked out! We are reading all kinds of damage to the ship’s systems, especially tactical and drive systems.

JANEWAY is amazed and horrified. The medical team arrives and goes to TUVOK and the CREWMAN. JANEWAY turns to them.

JANEWAY

How are they? [She means, ‘How is TUVOK,’ of course]

MEDIC

They are both suffering from concussion, lacerations and severe plasma burns, Ma’am. We’ll get them to sickbay.

SEVEN seems to be recovered from her terrified paralysis. She has an extinguisher and puts out the fire in the wreckage of the Tactical station. She then turns back to her console and touches a few controls.

Two CREWMEN exit the lift and move to assist in repairing the damaged stations.

SEVEN

Captain, I have re-routed Tactical to my console.

JANEWAY

[Wry] Good to have you back, Seven. All right, status report.

PARIS

We are stable at Warp 6 on a course radially away from the wormhole, Captain. Now we are clear, the drive systems are functioning normally.

SEVEN

All weapon systems except Phaser Banks Ten through Thirteen are operational. I have re-enforced the rear shields with power from our forward shields, but I am unable to increase general shield power above 50% of nominal.

TORRES (v/o)

We’re still picking up the pieces down here, Bridge. There are no serious problems I can see, but I’ll have to get back to you.

KIM

[Tense] Captain, we are being pursued. The alien vessel has just come into rear sensor range. They are at Warp 8 and accelerating.

JANEWAY’s jaw goes all square and she seems grim.

JANEWAY

What are our chances, Seven?

SEVEN

[Calmly, but tense too now it is clear it is not over] Very slim, Captain. Our damaged shields could not protect us against another attack. Even if all systems were nominal, we would stand little chance against a Species 704 warship.

JANEWAY

[Quiet] You are certain it is them?

SEVEN

[Grim] I am certain, Captain.

JANEWAY

So, we’re in no condition for another confrontation. All right, Tom. Take us up to maximum warp.

PARIS

Yes, Ma’am [Touches some controls] Warp 7. Warp 8. Warp 8.5…

KIM

[Urgent] Captain, the alien vessel is already at Warp 9 and it is still accelerating.

JANEWAY

[Urgent] Tom, when I said ‘maximum warp’ I meant it!

PARIS

[Concerned] She seems a little sluggish, Captain. [Checks a display] It looks like we took a little more damage to our warp drives than we thought. We’re at Warp 9.2 now.

TORRES (v/o)

Captain, how much warp power do you think you are going to need?

INT. ENGINEERING

The place has seen better days. There are damage control parties and medical teams all over. The WARP CORE seems undamaged, but that could be deceiving. TORRES and CAREY are both standing at the main console, examining the power flow read outs.

JANEWAY (v/o)

How much can you give me, B’Elanna?

TORRES

Not as much as I would like, Ma’am. The concussion of that near miss has damaged both warp plasma feeds. We have the leak under control now, but if we increase the plasma pressure too much, they’ll rupture.

JANEWAY (v/o)

You mean we could loose warp speed?

TORRES

I mean that we could loose most of the ship aft of Section 18, Captain.

JANEWAY (v/o)

[Grim] Well I’d rather blow up than be vaporised, B’Elanna. Take it as far as she can handle, then give me an extra ten-percent on top of that.

TORRES

I’ll do my best, Captain. Try to keep the ride smooth.

JANEWAY (v/o)

No promises, Lieutenant. Janeway out.

TORRES

[To Carey, with a little shake of her head] I don’t know if we are going to make it this time, Bill.

An ENGINEERING CREWMAN shouts to TORRES from the other side of the Core. Torres runs to see the problem, leaving Carey at the main console.

INT. BRIDGE

PARIS is visibly sweating as he tries to coax more power from the damaged starship. JANEWAY is at the aft section, walking between KIM and SEVEN, looking grim.

PARIS

We’re at Warp 9.6, Captain.

JANEWAY

Keep pouring it on, Tom.

PARIS

Yes, Ma’am. All right, we’re at Warp 9.8… Warp 9.9. That’s our maximum rated speed, Captain. The core will SCRAM automatically after 12 hours tops.

KIM

[Grim] Captain, the alien vessel is already at Warp 9.95 and they are still accelerating. There is no indication that their acceleration curve is levelling off.

SEVEN

They will intercept us in thirty minutes at current rates of acceleration.

JANEWAY

[Frustrated] Chief Engineer, we need more speed!

TORRES (v/o)

I’m giving it all we’ve got left, Captain.

There is a sudden sound like a loud bang over the INTERCOM and TORRES is cut off.

JANEWAY

Torres, what’s happening? Torres? [Louder] B’Elanna?

TORRES (v/o)

[Urgent] We’ve just lost one of our primary coolant pumps, Captain. The engines will rip themselves apart at this rate! The plasma conduits are ready to burst!

JANEWAY

Keep on top of it, B’Elanna! Hold those conduits together with your bare hands if you have to, but keep those warp factors coming!

TORRES (v/o)

[Exhausted] I’ll do my best, Ma’am.

JANEWAY walks to the lower level and stands next to PARIS

JANEWAY

How are we doing, Tom?

PARIS

We’re at warp 9.92, and I really don’t like the look of those drive stress dynamics. [Turns to JANEWAY] I don’t think we can take her any higher without shedding our nacelles.

KIM

[Slightly shrill] The alien vessel is at Warp 9.99 and still accelerating!

SEVEN

Interception in 5 minutes, maximum, Captain.

JANEWAY

On screen.

VIEWSCREEN – F/X – The alien warship is in the very centre of the screen. Small right now, but getting bigger very quickly.

JANEWAY

Prepare to fire aft torpedoes. Full spread, pattern gamma.

SEVEN

Weapons armed, locked on and ready to fire.

JANEWAY

There’s one last chance to stop this. Mr. Kim, open hailing frequencies.

SEVEN

[Bold] I find it highly unlikely that this course will benefit us. Species 704 has no reason to open communications at this time.

JANEWAY

[Quiet and firm] I didn’t ask you, Seven. [Now sounds angry] Despite your preconceived notions, these people may not be conquest-obsessed berserkers.

SEVEN straightens at her post, reacting as if she has just been slapped.

SOUNDS – Hailing frequencies.

KIM

Hailing frequencies open

JANEWAY

This is Captain Katherine Janeway of the United Federation of Planets starship Voyager to unidentified vessel in pursuit. We are a peaceful vessel on a mission of exploration and wish to avoid hostilities. May we discuss this matter openly?

There is a long pause. There is no reply.

JANEWAY

We are no part of the Borg Collective and have no knowledge of any grievances you may have against cultures in the area of space. Can we at least attempt to avoid needless bloodshed?

Still there is no reply.

KIM

They’re listening, Captain, they’re just not replying.

JANEWAY

[Frustrated, maybe a little desperate] Alien vessel; please state your intentions

SEVEN

Captain, they are scanning us.

F/X – A distortion wave suddenly flashes across the BRIDGE. EVERYONE looks around in disorientation.

SEVEN

It was a full scan. [Beat] Captain, the Species 704 vessel has obtained a missile targeting lock. We will come under attack at any time.

CHAKOTAY

[Grim] They have stated their intentions, all right.

JANEWAY seems defeated. She slumps down into her chair before speaking again.

JANEWAY

Fire torpedoes.

SEVEN responds immediately, touching a single control.

F/X – Three torpedoes spit from both of the Voyager’s rear tubes and flash away through space, rapidly forming a five-pointed star.

INT. BRIDGE

SEVEN at her station.

SEVEN

Torpedoes away. Weapons running straight, hot and normal.

F/X – The weapons reach the alien warship and detonate against their shields. NOTE – It is a strangely muted detonation, almost as if the torpedoes were not fully armed.

JANEWAY

[Amazed] Seven?

SEVEN

[Checks console] The torpedoes functioned normally, but seemed to disintegrate on impact against their shields. [Amazed] It is almost as if their molecular structure was disrupted. The antimatter seemed to simply… vanish, as if it aged a million years in an instant. Their was only a kinetic impact and their shields are undamaged. The attack was ineffective.

JANEWAY

[Not fazed] Reload and fire again. Set the torpedoes to detonate a few metres short of their shields. We’ll see if we can knock them down.

SEVEN does not hesitate for a second. She performs the required functions and launches the reprogrammed second barrage.

VIEWSCREEN – F/X – We see the alien warship. The second five pointed star of torpedoes flashes into view and detonate minutely short of its shields. Six enormous red fireballs blossom out and the alien disappears for a second.

PARIS

[Slight smirk] Eat that, buddy.

VIEWSCREEN – F/X – The alien warship emerges untouched. Several Starfleet jaws hit the deck.

SEVEN

The alien shields somehow de-phased all incident energy from the torpedo detonations, reducing the weapons’ effectiveness by over 99%. Sensors detected a momentary point-zero-zero-one percent loss of power in the alien shields.

KIM

[Whispers] That’s impossible!

JANEWAY

Time to interception?

SEVEN

They will be at point-blank range in 150 seconds, Captain. [Beat, a look of inspiration] Captain, I suggest that we alter course to 233 mark 107. This will take us into the shock front of the supernova remnant and reduce the effectiveness of their sensors.

CHAKOTAY

It will also render most of our sensor systems useless, Seven. We can’t fight blind.

SEVEN

[Firm] I do not believe that we can fight them at all, at present.

JANEWAY considers SEVEN’s expression closely. The younger woman radiates certainty and it is enough. The Captain nods decisively.

JANEWAY

You heard the lady, Tom, new heading 233 mark 107, maintain maximum warp.

PARIS

Aye aye, Captain!

The ship begins to shudder

JANEWAY

Engineering, what is happening down there?

TORRES (v/o)

I’m sorry Captain, but I can’t give you much more. The warp core is overheating and the plasma conduits are shaking themselves apart.

JANEWAY

[Grim] I will only need another three minutes, B’Elanna, one way or another.

TORRES (v/o)

[Horrified] Yes, Ma’am!

F/X – Small clumps of nebulosity and patterns of distortion from the supernova remnant fill our view. The Voyager races past, deeper into the remnant at full power. After a few seconds, with the Voyager dwindling into the distance, the alien ship also races past with an unearthly banshee-like scream.

INT. BRIDGE

KIM

Captain, the hostile vessel somehow turned inside our manoeuvre! Intercept now in ninety seconds!

JANEWAY

I don’t understand why they haven’t fired yet.

CHAKOTAY

[Bitter] They probably want to gloat. You know, see the looks of terror on our faces before they finish us…

SEVEN

Unlikely, Commander. It is more probable that Species 704 is deliberately prolonging this engagement to determine our strengths, weaknesses and tactical behaviour. We are, after all, an unfamiliar culture to them.

F/X – The alien ship at high warp. It fires a single blue-white torpedo, a little like a quantum torpedo in appearance but brighter. Our POV tracks the torpedo as it races past towards the distant Voyager.

INT. BRIDGE

SEVEN’s console begins to beep loudly. Seven freezes for a second before reporting.

SEVEN

Species 704 has opened fire. A single missile is approaching at approximately Warp 9.999. Impact in 30 seconds.

VIEWSCREEN – F/X – The alien torpedo is moving fast towards the bottom of the screen.

SEVEN

Sensors indicate that the weapon has some form of artificial singularity for a warhead.

JANEWAY’s jaw drops open.

JANEWAY

Now that is what I call overkill. Mr. Kim, begin jamming. Mr. Paris, commence evasive…

SEVEN

[Interrupts] That will be useless, Captain. [Excited] I can defeat this attack but I must have total computer control!

KIM

Impact in fifteen seconds. [Beat] Jamming has no effect; weapon is still locked on and homing. Impact in ten seconds…

JANEWAY

Do it Seven. [To INTERCOM] All hands, brace for impact!

SEVEN extends her ASSIMILATION TUBULES, which punch into her console. She closes her eyes and concentrates on becoming one with the ship’s computer systems.

KIM

Impact in five seconds. Four… three… two… Torpedo impact… NOW!

F/X – There is a massive blue-white explosion that sends the VOYAGER tumbling end over end. The starship’s lights go out and glowing red deuterium fuel begins to spill from the ship’s bussard ram-scoops.

INT. BRIDGE

The explosion sends EVERYONE flying about the compartment. Several consoles spit sparks. The Engineering console explodes, incinerating the luckless CREWMAN stationed there. KIM is thrown hard against his console. He pulls himself up just as the display explodes, spraying him with plastic shards and sparks. He is flung back and tumbles to the deck, his face a mass of bruises and cuts. The lights go out and the only source of illumination is the fires in the tactical and engineering consoles.

F/X – The VOYAGER is still tumbling end-over-end, apparently dead. The glowing deuterium vapour generates an eerie shroud around the ship. Around her are the wisps of nebulae and distortion waves from the supernova remnant. There are several bright flashes from within the vapour, as if something were flashing spontaneously into flame.

INT. BRIDGE

The emergency blue lights underneath the stair tread light up, as do a few other dim emergency lights. The control displays flicker weakly. There is a groan as JANEWAY pulls herself onto her knees and looks around the darkened, burning bridge.

JANEWAY

[Nonplussed] I don’t believe it! We’re alive!

SEVEN

[Whispers] Captain, shh! Their sensors will detect the reverberation of speech. I have already signalled silent running.

JANEWAY looks around at SEVEN, who is cradling a semi-conscious KIM in her lap. The Captain nods decisively and touches CHAKOTAY on the shoulder, signalling him to lie still. His chair has bent forward, tipping him unceremoniously onto the deck.

F/X – The alien warship hovers above the cloud of deuterium gas, now mingling with the supernova remnant’s nebulosity. The huge warship hovers silently for a long moment, as if contemplating its work. Suddenly, it quickly rotates 100 degrees to the left. It’s ten spines retract and it accelerates forward very fast. As it reaches the middle distance, it seems to plunge through space, surrounded by a bright white light. It disappears with a white flash [The TNG – Descent Transwarp effect].

INT. BRIDGE

SEVEN gently lies KIM’s head on the deck, rises and examines her controls. She audibly sighs with relief and touches a control. The lights slowly come up to about 50% of normal illumination. The displays become steady. Vent fans begin to suck away the smoke from the fires and the automatic extinguishers activate.

SEVEN

I’ve detected a transwarp ingress. They are gone.

JANEWAY

[With a hiss of discomfort as she rises] Stations, people. I want a full damage report.

EVERONE is picking themselves off the floor. PARIS manipulates the Helm controls (he stabilises the ship). JANEWAY moves to help KIM, who is pulling himself to his feet. CHAKOTAY moves to the CREWMAN who sat at Engineering. He is beyond help. CHAKOTAY sighs, closes the man’s eyes and looks away. KIM is standing and he moves to his battered console. The forward console is out, but the rear wall displays are working.

SEVEN

[Absently] Harry, you are damaged. You should rest.

KIM

I’ll live, Seven. My brain is still working and we need to get working NOW or, according to these readings, we might have to abandon ship!

EVERYONE looks at KIM as the import of his report sinks in.

FADE

ACT 5

F/X – The VOYAGER stabilises and its running and internal lights come back on.

INT. BRIDGE

JANEWAY stands in the centre of the BRIDGE as reports begin to trickle in. The impact knocked most ship’s systems off-line, but the damage is more cosmetic than serious. CHAKOTAY has replaced KIM at Ops. The young Lieutenant is doubtless now in Sickbay.

JANEWAY

That was an interesting trick, Seven. What exactly did you do?

SEVEN

I over-charged our rear deflectors and shaped the field to create what would appear to the sensors on the graviton torpedo to be the ship’s hull. The shield pulse also absorbed over 75% of the detonation energy. I then shut down all ship’s systems and vented deuterium and antimatter to simulate the destruction of the Voyager. In the low-sensor efficiency environment of the supernova remnant, it was enough to shield us from Species 704’s scans.

JANEWAY smiles slightly and nods in approval of SEVEN’s initiative. CHAKOTAY looks up from Ops.

CHAKOTAY

A ‘Play Dead’ manoeuvre worthy of the Maquis, Seven. Well done.

SEVEN

The Borg found it was the only tactic small vessels could use to avoid a graviton torpedo attack.

There is a long pause before JANEWAY speaks again.

JANEWAY

Seven, you said that Borg records did not contain any details of Species 704.

SEVEN

[Frowns] They do not Captain. [Beat] The tactic simply appeared in my consciousness. It is possibly another download from my bio-transceiver chip.

TORRES (v/o)

Wherever it came from it saved our lives, Seven. Unfortunately it also knocked main power, most of the Electro-Plasma System network and all the ship’s shield generators off line. I’ll need your help to put them back together.

JANEWAY

Get going, Seven. [Looks around] I want a full meeting of all senior staff in six hours time. We’ll discuss these events then. Until then, we have a ship to save.

F/X – The Voyager is still hovering within the scattered nebulosity of the supernova remnant.

JANEWAY (v/o)

Captain’s Log, stardate 56988.5, six hours after the attack. After four hours of the most urgent repairs, we are no longer in any immediate danger of loosing the Voyager.

MONTAGE – VOYAGER CORRIDOR. JANEWAY is pacing along the corridor, skirting around a REPAIR TEAM who have opened a wall panel and are fixing some damaged system.

MONTAGE – MAIN ENGINEERING. TORRES, CAREY and VORIK are working on several exploded consoles in the atrium. TORRES is giving orders to VORIK, who nods and walks away.

JANEWAY (v/o)

Engineering has now restored main power and the ship’s systems are beginning to function normally again. With the immediate pressure off the crew, shock is beginning to set in. The sheer brutality and overwhelming power of this new species has left everyone amazed.

MONTAGE – ASTROMETRICS. SEVEN and JENNY DELANEY are inputting information into the main console, while two CREWMEN shore up one of the vertical supports. DELANEY, whose right arm is in a sling and has a bandage on her forehead, is talking fast and excitedly, much to SEVEN’s patent bemusement.

MONTAGE – BRIDGE. CHAKOTAY and KIM are discussing something as KIM works on repairing his console. A CREWMAN walks past carrying a coil of ODN cable.

JANEWAY (v/o)

Mercifully, casualties have been light. There was only one fatality: Crewman Joel Stanford was killed when the bridge engineering station exploded. Nonetheless, over a quarter of the crew are currently under The Doctor’s tender care.

MONTAGE – SICKBAY. The DOCTOR and PARIS are working on a badly burnt ENGINEERING CREWWOMAN on the main BIO BED. A round dozen other patients are either on the other beds, or sitting on the floor, wrapped in thermal blankets.

JANEWAY (v/o)

It is a mercy that our Red Alert protocols include automatically transferring The Doctor to his Mobile Emitter. If he had gone off-line along with the other primary systems, we would have lost a lot more of our people.

MONTAGE – MESS HALL, acting as an auxiliary infirmary. NEELIX and a MEDIC are handing out food and help to the wounded, while a grim JANEWAY paces through, occasionally talking to a crewmember and smiling in an attempt to bolster morale. She has a slight limp, but has obviously refused treatment until the DOCTOR has seen to the rest of the crew.

JANEWAY (v/o)

I have summoned a meeting of the senior staff. I hope that, working together; we can determine what, if anything, we can do next.

INT. BRIEFING ROOM.

A battered-looking JANEWAY is sitting at the head of the table, drinking a coffee and looking like she would rather be asleep. TUVOK sits to her left. He has a large bandage on the side of his face and wears a meditative expression.

The DOOR opens and the DOCTOR and PARIS walks in. The DOCTOR shoots JANEWAY a worried look.

DOCTOR

Captain, I expect to see you in Sickbay after the meeting.

JANEWAY

[Weak smile] I’ll try to find the time, Doctor.

The DOCTOR snorts and takes a seat to her LEFT. PARIS watches with bemusement. The door opens again and TORRES walks in. Grease and burns cover her uniform and she looks like she has just gone three rounds with a garbage compactor. PARIS smiles and drapes an arm over her shoulder. She leans on him gratefully and allows him to lead her to a seat table to the Captain’s left.

KIM and CHAKOTAY enter talking about the repair schedules. CHAKOTAY gives JANEWAY a worried look, making her smile. If she does not go to SICKBAY willingly, she has no doubt that her First Officer will throw her over his shoulder and carry her there.

The last to arrive are SEVEN and NEELIX

NEELIX

Thanks for helping out in the Mess Hall, Seven.

SEVEN

You are welcome, Mr. Neelix.

NEELIX sits to the Captain’s right. SEVEN remains standing by the door. She seems distracted.

JANEWAY

I’m sure you all know why we are here. Let’s start with a full status report.

There is a long pause while JANEWAY waits for someone to go first. Finally, TORRES draws the short straw.

TORRES

We’ve finally got the Warp Plasma Conduits repaired, Captain. Lt. Carey tells me that we should have the EPS system running at 80% efficiency within the next hour.

JANEWAY

Only 80 percent, B’Elanna?

TORRES

Unfortunately. [Sighs] The gravitational pulse from that alien torpedo destabilised the pressure balances throughout the entire system. We’ll have to make do until we can finish recalibrating all the flow sensors on the network.

JANEWAY

Keep on it, B’Elanna. If you need any more hands, tell me. What about propulsion, Mr. Paris?

PARIS

[Seems to jump at the question] Ah, all drive systems are running according to the shipyard specifications, Captain. I would take any warp manoeuvres slowly until we have time to calibrate the subspace field generators.

CHAKOTAY

What’s the problem, Tom?

PARIS

[Easy going smile] It’s just a precaution after being hit by that enormous gravity well. I want to be sure of the generators in actual operation rather than simulation before trying anything too dramatic.

JANEWAY

That will be your first priority, Tom. I want all ship’s systems reliable before we face those creatures again.

KIM

Ah, Captain, about that matter…

EVERYONE turns to look at KIM, who begins to shift uneasily under the scrutiny.

KIM

Do we have the right to get involved with this? [Uncomfortable pause] I mean this seems a perfect Prime Directive situation. We aren’t at war with these people. We aren’t even from this part of the galaxy. Whatever they want it probably doesn’t involve us. We should just leave the area and let nature take its course.

KIM winces at the looks everyone is giving him. TUVOK finally breaks the silence.

TUVOK

Mr. Kim seems to make a valid point.

JANEWAY

Yes he does [Reassuring ‘Mum’ smile] And normally I’d agree with him. This is not a typical situation, however. Species 704, that’s their Borg designation, refused to respond to an attempt at communication. They continued to attack, although we told them that we weren’t from this quadrant. I suspect that they will attack any space vessel they encounter. We will have to face them eventually. I prefer to do it on our own terms and at our own time.

There is a long thoughtful pause before JANEWAY continues.

JANEWAY

How is our tactical situation, Mr. Tuvok?

TUVOK

All weapons systems are on line. However, Lt. Torres informs me that it will be another 6 hours before we have full shielding capacity back.

JANEWAY looks at TORRES for an explanation.

TORRES

[Sits up nervously] That’s right, Captain. Seven’s timely idea might have kept us alive, but it also burnt out the subspace solenoids in all our shield generators. We’re replacing them as fast as we can.

TUVOK

In any case, the utility of our tactical systems against the recorded capabilities of this new species is questionable. We expended twelve photon torpedoes for infinitesimal gains and a near miss from the aliens’ main weapons nearly disabled our shields. I doubt that our phasers will perform any better against this threat.

JANEWAY

[Nods thoughtfully] Yes, we are outgunned at the moment. [Turns to SEVEN] Seven, can you access the hidden Borg files on Species 704 and determine if the Borg found any weaknesses in their tactical systems we can exploit?

SEVEN does not seem to be listening. She has moved over to the side of the main screen. She almost appears to be daydreaming.

JANEWAY

Seven, I asked you a question.

No reply. SEVEN stays in almost a catatonic state.

JANEWAY

[Concerned] Seven are you alright?

SEVEN slowly turns to look at JANEWAY, her expression blank, her lips quirked in a sneer of superiority. Nightmarishly, a flare of red laser light flashes out from her prosthetic eye and scans the Captain.

SEVEN

[Slowly, mechanically] We… are no longer… the one you call ‘Seven of Nine.’ We… are the Borg.

There is chaos. TUVOK jumps to his feet, pointing his phaser at SEVEN. CHAKOTAY is a second behind, interposing himself between SEVEN and JANEWAY, pointing his own phaser at SEVEN. The DOCTOR and NEELIX dive out of SEVEN’s reach. The medical MONITOR behind SEVEN’s ear begins to shriek its warning.

SEVEN looks around at the forest of phasers now pointed at her before continuing.

SEVEN

We mean you no harm. We have merely appropriated this former Drone to relay information you will require to survive.

The DOCTOR begins to scan SEVEN with his Tricorder

DOCTOR

This isn’t the Collective, Captain. There are no subspace communications activity, no increased activity in her implants. The readings of Seven’s neurological activity are like her previous hallucinatory experiences.

JANEWAY

[Outraged] Whoever you are, you have appropriated my crewman’s body without her permission. I demand that you release her immediately.

SEVEN

[Lots of electronic overtones] Your friend will come to no harm from our actions, Captain Katherine Janeway. She is a conduit to allow us to communicate, no more.

JANEWAY

Who are you?

SEVEN

We are a warning implanted into each successive generation. A warning of a terrible mistake made so long ago implanted not in the mind but into the most fundamental aspect of our collective self so that we may never forget.

CHAKOTAY

An electronic ‘race memory.’ [Puzzled] What mistake do you refer to?

SEVEN

Species 704. Our greatest failure, the result of the first mistake: [Beat] arrogance. Now they are your greatest threat.

With a blur of motion, SEVEN whirls and stabs her ASSIMILATION TUBULES into the viewscreen’s controls. Everyone jumps and KIM pulls out his Tricorder. He starts scanning.

TUVOK

What is she doing?

KIM

[Amazed] She’s injecting reengineering nano-probes into the viewscreen. They’re turning it into… a holo-projector!

SEVEN

It is more suitable for our needs.

As the crew look on an image forms above the table (F/X). Our POV zooms on the image and it becomes an F/X sequence.

F/X – Near a class-M planet, three Borg CUBES fly through space.

SEVEN (v/o)

Two hundred thousand years before this time, the Borg were already a mighty race, dominating much of the area you now call the ‘Delta Quadrant.’

F/X – The CUBES swing away from the planet and head off into space at high warp speed.

SEVEN (v/o)

We had assimilated hundreds of races; brought order to thousands of worlds. Many younger races regarded us as gods or demons. In our arrogance, the Collective began to agree with this assessment. We determined that we were greater and above all other things. This was our greatest fault.

Like many other races, we detected the first signs of the periodic reduction in subspace integrity. At first, we were alarmed, seeing the end of our great empire of worlds, but soon we assimilated the knowledge transwarp travel. This taught us that the changes were simply a natural universal cycle. In our arrogance, we did not realise that if we could use reduced subspace integrity to travel further at transwarp speeds, so could others.

F/X – The Cubes drop out of warp and join large flight of other CUBES and SPHERES surrounding a large planet. Doubtless they are there to assimilate some luckless species.

SEVEN (v/o)

We heard the first cries of distress from species in an area of particularly low subspace integrity, but we ignored them. What ever could threaten the scuttling small things inhabiting the galaxy could never harm the might Borg. So we continued oblivious… until it is too late.

F/X – The POV swings around. Behind the Borg flotilla, there are a series of flashes as ships drop out of transwarp. In moments, it is clear that they are DESTROYER warships of various types. Pencil-thin blue beams and bright pulses of electric blue energy smash into the Borg vessels, which fall quickly and with a minimum of resistance.

JANEWAY (v/o)

Who are they?

SEVEN (v/o)

They are the antithesis of all you value, Captain. They are anti-life. They are ancient, older than the oldest known civilisation of this galaxy, and are possessed of technologies that defy the laws of physics. They believe only they have the right to rule this universe, and that all other life forms exist only to serve them. In their own corner of the universe, they are the masters of trillions of worlds, the overlords of billions of races. They hold hundreds of galaxies in their sway. They are conquerors of worlds, destroyers of civilisations.

F/X – MONTAGE – DESTROYER warships fighting Borg vessels in deep space. Seven DESTROYER warships in a star formation, firing ‘Death Star-style’ to blow up a planet. Massive ground vehicles exchanging fire with a Borg ground facility.

SEVEN

We designated them ‘Species 704,’ but as time went on, we gave them a name that fits their purpose. They are The Destroyers.

F/X – A Borg flotilla engages a squadron of DESTROYER warships head on near a class-M planet. An immense firefight eventually renders the planet a fiery wasteland. Despite using incredibly powerful weapons, the Borg looses the battle decisively.

SEVEN

Despite our mightiest efforts, the Destroyers totally resisted assimilation. They drove us back, world by world, smashing our civilisation. Other races, too, fell before their advance.

F/X – Another septet of DESTROYER warships smashes a Borg planet (use the one from Scorpion, Part 1). All the CUBES in the area flee. DESTROYER ships catch and destroy some of them.

PARIS (v/o)

Very dramatic, but explain why the Collective still exists if these ‘Destroyers’ were so powerful.

SEVEN (v/o)

We learnt that we were no better than any other race. In desperation, facing our final defeat, we joined with the mightiest races of our galaxy and managed to hold the Destroyers back.

F/X – Borg vessels flying in formation with ships from many other cultures (use any imaginative designs you like). They race forward and manage to kill a small squadron of DESTROYER vessels. The allies suffer heavy losses in the battle.

SEVEN (v/o)

Working with these others, we realised the Destroyers’ one weakness. They relied on a single artificial wormhole to connect us with their home territories. Destroy that link and you defeat their invasion.

F/X – An amazing battle near a wormhole like the one we saw only a few scenes ago. Ships of all kinds throw themselves at Destroyer warships, ramming them if necessary. Finally, a blazing CUBE manages to reach the wormhole. It rams a stabilising generator and the impact destroys both. The wormhole remains steady for a moment, then finally collapses, destroying the other five generators.

KIM (v/o)

Wow!

SEVEN (v/o)

Although we had won the war, the enemy still won many further battles. In the time the wormhole existed, the Destroyers moved hundreds of thousands of warships into our galaxy and suborned entire systems to construct others. These refugees were powerful enough to strike deep into our territory and extract a horrible revenge.

F/X – Seven Destroyer battleships do their planet-killer routine.

SEVEN (v/o)

[Sadly] So died the homeworld of Species 1, the Borg. With our central nexus destroyed, the Collective almost collapsed. It took us over 180 millennia to rebuild our empire and again start assimilating species. [Darkly] In that time, we learnt that the Destroyers had returned, 100,000 years after the Great War. A race called the Iconians fought them and drove them away, but the price was their civilisation.

F/X – MONTAGE – Images of archaeology, including Iconian, T’kon, Promellian and unidentifiable artefacts. Each artefact disappears in flame and we see a Destroyer spacecraft firing at unseen targets.

SEVEN (v/o)

Nine times in the last million years, the Destroyers invaded our galaxy, seeking to extend their empire. Nine times, they were driven back at a nightmarish cost.

INT. BRIEFING ROOM

The HOLOGRAM disappears. SEVEN retracts her TUBULES and faces the room once more

CHAKOTAY

Then this is [beat] the tenth host?

SEVEN

[Cocks her head] Yes. The religious implications are relevant. This time, they appear to have learnt their lesson. There is no great civilisation to face them in the region around their wormhole. They can build up their numbers undisturbed before moving to widen their conquests.

SEVEN looks around the table, looking each character in the eye.

SEVEN

The Collective has again fallen into the trap of arrogance. Even now they withdraw their ships to their core worlds, thinking to ride out this dark invasion. Consequently, you are the only people aware of the true nature of this threat and have the means to act against it.

Do not believe you can avoid this conflict. If the Destroyers are not stopped while their forces are still weak, then they will not be stopped.

SEVEN looks directly at JANEWAY

SEVEN

The Voyager is the last hope for galactic civilisation. The Destroyers must be stopped before they can build up their forces to too great a strength. If they are not stopped quickly, then they will not be stopped at all. You must act or the light of civilisation will be snuffed out forever beneath the darkness of their tyranny. You must stop them, Captain! You MUST…

SEVEN’s eyes suddenly roll back into her head and she collapses in a heap. EVERYONE jumps forward at once. The DOCTOR runs his medical scanner around SEVEN’s head.

DOCTOR

Her synaptic establishment activity has gone off the scale! [Adjusts his Tricorder] Her body is rejecting the Bio-Transceiver Chip. [Turns to PARIS] Alert Sickbay and get ready for emergency surgery!

SEVEN’s eyes flicker open and she looks around worriedly.

SEVEN

[Weakly] My head hurts…

KIM

[Kindly, but worried] Hold on, Seven. The Doctor will look after you.

SEVEN

[Eyes closing again] Don’t worry, Harry. I’ll be alright…

POV on SEVEN’s face and pulling back and up, out of the BRIEFING ROOM. THE DOCTOR supervises PARIS and KIM as they lift SEVEN onto a hover-stretcher just brought in by a MEDIC. As they wheel her away, JANEWAY turns to CHAKOTAY. The Captain is holding herself as if to ward off the cold.

JANEWAY

[Whispers] Now what?

CHAKOTAY

[Gently] I guess we go to war.

FADE

MONTAGE of various departments including ENGINEERING, ASTROMETRICS, the BRIG, SICKBAY and the SHUTTLEBAY with the crew standing, watching monitors. The monitors are showing edited highlights of SEVEN’s show-and-tell, along with plenty of images of the Destroyers’ power. MONTAGE ends with JANEWAY on the BRIDGE, watching the highlights conclude on the main viewscreen. When the program ends, JANEWAY addresses the crew.

JANEWAY

So, there you have it. We are at war. This isn’t a war any of us wanted or expected, but it is a war we must fight nonetheless. If the Destroyers are not beaten while their presence in our galaxy is still small, then we have virtually no hope of stopping them from overrunning every civilisation in the galaxy, [Quiet, but clear] including the Federation.

JANEWAY begins to walk around the BRIDGE, passing the various SENIOR OFFICERS and smiling at them reassuringly. It is like her speech at the beginning of the voyage home.

JANEWAY

[Firm] I won’t lie to you. We are alone out here. We must somehow forge an alliance out of the squabbling civilisations of this sector to fight the Destroyers and somehow destroy their passage to our galaxy from theirs. [Beat] We have one advantage. Before it failed, Seven of Nine’s Bio-Transceiver Chip downloaded into her memory everything the Borg learned about the Destroyers during their war 200,000 years ago. Perhaps, somewhere in that information there is the vital clue that can win this struggle.

JANEWAY smiles at SEVEN, who nods gravely, sensible of the immense weight on her shoulders.

JANEWAY

[Rousingly] The Borg may be trying to sit out of this one, but we have proven ourselves their equal time and time again. This is it, people: the time you keep on reading about in the history texts. This is the moment that will define future history for millennia to come. Either we win this war [beat, gravely] or the future ends, here and now.

JANEWAY looks around at her senior officers, her crew, her friends, the only family she is ever likely to have.

JANEWAY

I will just say this. [Proud] I have never served with a finer, more capable, more professional or more courageous crew. Time and time again, we have done the impossible. [Mischievous] So, let’s do it again! [Firm] I know that you will continue to do the highest traditions of Starfleet, and me, proud. Janeway out.

The CREW scatter to their stations. JANEWAY sits in her chair, straight and proud, much to CHAKOTAY’s approval.

JANEWAY

Signal yellow alert. [LIGHTS and SOUNDS – Yellow Alert] All departments, status reports.

PARIS

All drive systems operational. Full manoeuvrability is available in all flight modes.

TUVOK

All weapons and shielding systems operational. Targeting sensors are at optimum efficiency. All combat teams are armed and standing by.

TORRES (v/o)

Main power fully available. Secondary power is on immediate standby. Auxiliary generators are ready. All batteries are charged.

WILDMAN

All sensor systems read green. Once we are clear of the supernova remnant, all sensors will be at maximum efficiency.

SEVEN

Borg modifications to power and tactical systems read nominal. Hull auto-regeneration nano-probes are armed and ready.

KIM

All stations read manned. Stand-by and emergency crews all ready.

JANEWAY

[Proud] Good. Mr. Paris: set course 042 mark 067, ahead Warp 4 until we clear the supernova remnant, then decelerate to Warp 1. Lt. Wildman, prepare for full sensor sweep.

The CREW reply with the appropriate “Aye, Captain,” making JANEWAY smile.

F/X – The voyager leaps to warp speed away from the supernova remnant.

INT. BRIDGE

WILDMAN checks the sensors as the ship races forward.

KIM

We are clearing the worst of the interference, Ma’am.

JANEWAY

[Rising] Slow to Warp 1, Mr. Paris. Lt. Wildman, begin sweep with passive sensors only.

WILDMAN

Commencing sensor sweep. [Pause] Damn!

JANEWAY walks over to WILDMAN’s station.

JANEWAY

What is it Sam?

WILDMAN

It looks like our playmate has called his friends. There are at least thirty Destroyer vessels detectable to passive sensors, all surrounding the anomaly.

JANEWAY

[Wry] Well, I wasn’t expecting it to be that easy.

CHAKOTAY

So I suppose we go about building an alliance.

KIM

[Urgent] Captain! I am picking up an all-frequency distress call. Captain, it’s the Adronai. They say they’re under attack by ships that match known Destroyer designs.

JANEWAY

[Firm] Mr. Paris, alter course for the Adronai homeworld and accelerate to Warp 9.6. Let’s hope we can make a difference.

F/X – The Voyager accelerates away and vanishes into the distance

CONTINUITY

To be continued, next time on Star Trek – Voyager!

In Conclusion…

So, what do you think? Should I continue, or desist in wasting my time on this pap? J

Feedback? Ooh, yes! I crave it at BenRG@RGFlat.freeserve.co.uk

Star Trek – Voyager

Episode 626 – ‘Nightfall’

By Ben Russell-Gough

Star Trek – Voyager, and all characters and technologies of the Star Trek universe are the sole property of Paramount Pictures, a division on Viacom Communications Incorporated.

Species 704 (The Destroyers) are my work. All rights reserved.

TEASER

SFX – The Voyager is travelling through space at sub-light with a big blocky starship acting as an escort

JANEWAY (v/o)

Captain’s Log, star date 56888.9. The Voyager is currently travelling through the space of a species known called the Adronai. Although our hosts have been most courteous at every stage, I do feel that we are not truly welcome. I am currently showing the Captain of our Adronai escort around the ship’s facilities as part of our agreement to share our scientific knowledge of this sector.

INT. ASTROMETRICS

While TORRES, SEVEN and KIM work at various consoles, JANEWAY shows an ADRONAI officer around the facility. TUVOK and a SECURITY CREWMAN hover in the background.

JANEWAY

And this is Astrometrics. All the information we gather with our sensors is processed through this facility, creating a map of unparalleled accuracy of the space we travel through.

ADRONAI

Fascinating, Captain. [Sounds bored. When he sees SEVEN, he perks up a bit] And who would you be, my dear?

SEVEN

I am Seven of Nine, Tertiary Adjunct of Unimatrix One Zero.

The ADRONAI officer rears back in surprise at this sudden gush of information.

ADRONAI

A Borg? [Looks at Captain Janeway in some surprise] You let a Borg work in your ship’s primary information gathering unit?

JANEWAY

Seven is no longer connected to the Collective, Captain. Over the past few years she has become a trusted part of my crew.

ADRONAI

[Patronisingly, with a sneer] Really, Captain? I must say that your taste in crewmembers has little to recommend it. [He begins to pace around ASTROMETRICS as if he owns it] Everywhere I see non-optimised stations [Rudely shoves KIM aside to gesture at his screen.] No wonder that your people are still so stunted intellectually if you can’t even set a simple mapping facility up correctly.

JANEWAY stiffens in outrage and her smile comes close to becoming a snarl. She is obviously trying to keep her temper

JANEWAY

[Trying to maintain a diplomatic tone] Well, Captain, we try. We have come over 15,000 light years so far, and have over 50,000 light years to go in our voyage home.

ADRONAI

[Sneers again] Well, I wish you good luck, my dear. From what you have shown me so far, you will need it. Now, I believe that you are going to show me the Engineering spaces next. I do hope that you keep it at a better level of efficiency, as I don’t want your ship breaking up on me…

The ADRONAI exits the room, followed by a fuming JANEWAY. TUVOK raises his brow before following. There is a long, stony silence in ASTROMETRICS before Harry KIM starts laughing.

KIM

[Still laughing] Oh, man. This is precious. That guy’s ego makes its own gravity well. Did you see the Captain’s face? Tom tells me that they are ALL like this.

TORRES

[Doing a Klingon slow burn] He’d just better keep clear of me during his ‘tour,’ that’s all I can say.

SEVEN

It is unfortunate that the Captain feels it necessary to indulge the races whose territory we cross. Certainly it reduces our efficiency having to assuage their egos and overcome their paranoid delusions.

TORRES and KIM smile at each other as they listen to SEVEN’s analysis of the situation.

TORRES

Well, in the interests of ‘efficiency,’ Seven, have you found any likely subspace depressions yet?

SEVEN

[Checking sensors] There are several likely spots in an area of generally low subspace integrity by the supernova remnant at 028 mark 111. I will list them in order of subspace distortion in millicochranes.

KIM

I still think this theory is a little, uh, strange, B’Elanna. I mean, using a natural subspace depression as an energy shortcut to building a transwarp gateway? It sounds very dangerous, especially with Subspace so fragile because of Subspace pollution from warp drives.

SEVEN

[Distractedly] There is no such phenomenon, Lieutenant Kim. A regular drop in subspace integrity is part of a natural universal cycle that repeats approximately every 100,000 years.

There is a long leaden pause.

TORRES

[With a touch of acid] I’m sorry Seven, what was that?

SEVEN

[Blinks, shakes her head then faces TORRES, reciting like a student] The integrity of subspace changes in a regular cycle that repeats every 100,217.68 years. The Borg have observed two such cycles. This is the third. Primitive races frequently misinterpret the phenomenon as an artificial effect, due to over-use of warp drives.

KIM and TORRES look at each other. Once again SEVEN turns the face of science upside-down. One of the most pressing problems facing Federation engineering is an illusion.

TORRES

[With elaborate patience] Seven, it would be good in future if you volunteer any relevant information you have on a project.

SEVEN

I apologise, Lieutenant Torres. [Frowns slightly] I cannot explain why I did not think to mention this before.

TORRES shakes her head in disgust and KIM smiles encouragingly. SEVEN pauses for a long moment before continuing. This disturbs her, as she is certainly never ‘forgetful’ or even ‘absent minded.’ Suddenly she hears [FX] the voice of the Collective in her head.

SEVEN

[Quietly] Go away.

The voice grows louder. Suddenly there is a discontinuity. Film the next few shots using bright lighting to generate the ‘dream-like’ quality in DS9’s ‘Visions of the Prophets’.

SEVEN looks up and sees a massive grey-white starship on the main display. It has two long cylindrical hulls with lots of lumps and bumps. At the rear, the hulls flare out into five long ‘spines’ that shoot out perpendicular to the hull and glow blue-white. The fronts are blunt with many projectors, sensors and other glowing bits and five ‘teeth’ sticking forward on either side of the hull.

The voice of the collective grows louder. Seven sees a MONTAGE of nightmare images, the Voyager under heavy attack by similar ships, flame rising from burning cities, a formation of seven ships forming a six-pointed star firing just once. The electric blue beams combine into one bright blast that destroys a world.

SEVEN

[Shouts] No!

TORRES and KIM are looking at her in concern. The images and voices are gone, but she is clearly shaken. Without a word she rushes out of ASTROMETRICS.

FADE.

[New opening to titles] SFX – The Voyager moving at sub light in deep space.

JANEWAY (v/o)

Space: The final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Voyager. Her ongoing mission, to find her way home. To cross a galaxy, carrying the dream of exploration beyond the farthest stars. To boldly go where no one has gone before!

Opening titles

ACT 1

INT. CAPTAIN’S READY ROOM

JANEWAY is sitting at her desk, nursing a cup of coffee and a headache. [FX] The door chime sounds.

JANEWAY

Enter.

CHAKOTAY enters wearing his patented mischievous smile.

JANEWAY

Go away, Commander. [Smiles slightly at CHAKOTAY’s expression] No, I don’t mean it, get a coffee and pull up a chair.

CHAKOTAY goes to the replicator.

CHAKOTAY

Tea, blend Chakotay Alpha Zero Five.

[FX] Tea replicated. CHAKOTAY walks over to JANEWAY’s desk and sits down. He spends a moment considering the Captain’s expression.

CHAKOTAY

I take it that our ‘guests’ have returned to their ship?

JANEWAY

[Sighs] Yes, and we can proceed without close escort too. To quote Captain D’kargon: “Such a disorderly and ineffective culture does not need close observation.”

CHAKOTAY laughs. JANEWAY gives him a lethal stare.

CHAKOTAY

Well, it seems we have reversed our usual state of affairs. [JANEWAY raises a brow in surprise] Usually we have to put off the curiosity or avarice of younger species like the Kazon. Now we have found a species that does not even think we are worth their time!

JANEWAY

[Grimly] I should be glad we’ve got off so likely, but the attitude of them, Chakotay. We are ahead in dozens of fields, but we aren’t organised to their liking. Hence, we are primitives! [This has obviously offended the good Captain] I swear that I was THIS close [Holds thumb and forefinger and inch apart] from demonstrating how ‘primitives’ react to condescending…

INTERCOM sounds

TORRES (v/o)

Torres to Janeway.

JANEWAY

Go ahead, Lieutenant.

TORRES (v/o)

Captain, you will be glad to hear that Harry and I have found a nearly perfect candidate for our Transwarp experiments. I’d like permission to divert to the co-ordinates and proceed.

JANEWAY

Pass the co-ordinates to Tom, B’Elanna. However, I want to review your procedures again before I give a go-ahead for the experiments.

TORRES (v/o)

Understood, Captain. Torres out.

JANEWAY

[To CHAKOTAY] Well at least something is going right today!

CHAKOTAY smiles slightly and salutes JANEWAY with his cup.

INT. SICKBAY

SEVEN is sitting on the main BIO-BED while THE DOCTOR passes a sensor over her head. She is explaining what has happened to THE DOCTOR

SEVEN

[Continuing] When the experience ended, I determined that I had spent less than point five of a second unconscious. The apparent duration of the incident was much longer, however. As much as sixty seconds.

DOCTOR

[Finishes scanning. Begins to work the controls of his tricorder]. Well, Seven, your experience is not unusual. The humanoid brain processes information several times faster than the senses can gather it. Hallucinatory experiences often occur in such a ‘fast time’ fashion.

The DOCTOR finishes working and smiles warmly as he checks the results.

DOCTOR

Ah! Excellent. You will be glad to know, Seven, that there is no sign of anything untoward. Your neuro-electric readings are normal, as is your neuro-transmitter activity. There is no indication that your Borg implants have become active.

SEVEN

[Nods warily] That is reassuring news, Doctor. However, I would prefer an explanation of my… experience.

DOCTOR

[Shrugs helplessly] I am afraid that I don’t have any data at this time, Seven. I will continue to run tests and I will monitor your neuro-electric activity.

The DOCTOR picks up a sensor and attaches it behind SEVEN’s left ear.

DOCTOR

This monitor will allow me to examine all your cerebral activity. If you have another experience, it will inform me immediately and record your brain activity. Until then, I recommend that you avoid stress and increase the amount of rest you take every cycle.

SEVEN

Thank you Doctor. Given the critical experiments currently in progress, however, I doubt that I will be able to rest as much as you would prefer.

SEVEN leaves SICKBAY without a backward glance

DOCTOR

[To himself in a huff] Why do I bother give recommendations when no one actually listens to them?

INT. ASTROMETRICS

Lieutenants KIM and TORRES are manning various consoles. SEVEN walks in.

KIM

[To Seven] How are you doing, Seven?

SEVEN

I am functioning within normal parameters, Lieutenant Kim. The Doctor is monitoring my neurological activity and will provide further treatment as soon as he has sufficient diagnostic data.

KIM grins at TORRES at this typically Seven of Nine statement.

TORRES

She’s back to normal all right.

SEVEN

[Coldly] Indeed.

SEVEN moves to her preferred console and pulls up a screen of data.

SEVEN

The Voyager is currently holding station near subspace anomaly three-five-nine-seven-tango-yankee-seven.

TORRES

[All business] That’s right. We’re just about to start our preliminary scans.

SEVEN

That is relevant. I will assist you.

The three tech-heads work in silence for a moment. Seven frowns slightly as she notices something.

SEVEN

Lieutenant Kim. Please confirm that this anomaly is exceedingly regular and symmetrical.

KIM

Yeah, we noticed that on our long-range scans. All the better for B’Elanna’s scheme.

SEVEN

There is something about the configuration that I recognise. Something ancient yet important…

TORRES and KIM turn to look at SEVEN with nervous expressions.

TORRES

[Trying to keep her voice steady] What is it Seven?

SEVEN

I am uncertain, Lieutenant Torres. I am feeling… [Pauses, frustrated. She has difficulty in expressing her feelings] I am feeling… anxiety? I am experiencing a clear fear response to this subspace anomaly, yet I cannot determine the source of those fears.

TORRES walks up to SEVEN and touches her on the shoulder. SEVEN virtually jumps out of her skin and turns to face TORRES. She is pale and is obviously throwing fear pheromones off in all directions.

SEVEN

I… [She shakes her head to clear it] The ship is in danger. We must leave this area immediately.

KIM works his console.

KIM

Sensors aren’t picking up anything in this area, Seven. Where is this danger supposed to come from?

SEVEN

I… [Pauses and seems to loose her track] I do not know. This is disturbing. I am no longer experiencing the sensation of danger. Indeed, I cannot explain why I experienced it originally.

TORRES looks genuinely concerned. Once she would have sneered at this show of weakness, but she knows SEVEN too well now to dismiss this out of hand.

TORRES

Is it the Borg?

SEVEN

[Frustrated, almost shouting] I do not know! [Pauses. Her eyes narrow] Yes. The sensations of my earlier hallucinatory experience included the voice of the Collective. The Borg are somehow connected with this anomaly.

KIM

[Grimaces] Kim to Janeway. Captain, we have a problem.

FADE.

ACT 2

SFX – The Voyager holding station. In the distance is the distinctive ring nebula of a supernova remnant.

JANEWAY (v/o)

Captain’s Log, Stardate 56890.2. Our investigation into the use of subspace anomalies as a shortcut home has come up against an unexpected problem. Seven of Nine believes that we have stumbled upon some previously unsuspected work of the Borg Collective.

The command crew is meeting to discuss this development.

INT. BRIEFING ROOM

JANEWAY is at the head of the table. NEELIX, PARIS, TORRES and KIM are along one side. CHAKOTAY, SEVEN, TUVOK and THE DOCTOR are along the other side. TUVOK is just finishing his comments.

TUVOK

There is no indication of any Borg activity within sensor range. The Adronai assure us that they have not had any Borg incursions into their space for over a century.

JANEWAY

Thank you Mr. Tuvok. [Turns to THE DOCTOR] Doctor, what is your prognosis?

DOCTOR

Seven is in her usual good health, Captain. However, I have been monitoring her since her first blackout in Astrometrics yesterday morning. The results have been quite remarkable.

THE DOCTOR rises and walks to the VIEWSCREEN. It activates with an OKUDAGRAM line graph.

DOCTOR

This diagram shows the recorded activity of Seven’s normal neurological activity. [He touches a button and the OKUDAGRAM scrolls to show a later time period] This is Seven’s neurological activity during her… ah… ‘anxiety attack’ yesterday afternoon. As you can see, there are the normal wave patterns for anxiety, but please notice the Synaptic Establishment activity. [Traces out one remarkably squared-off curve]

KIM

That isn’t an analogue curve, it’s a digital code. It looks more like a record of computer activity.

DOCTOR

Correct Mr. Kim. This anomaly coincides with a sudden burst of activity in Seven’s bio-transceiver implant. [Points out a sudden jump from zero to a series of jagged peaks, then falling back to zero]

SEVEN shifts uncomfortably. Almost subconsciously, she starts to toy with the interface ‘spider’ implant on the back of her right hand. She is obviously frightened at the thought that the Collective is trying to influence her again.

SEVEN

I have not been aware of any contact with the Collective during my experiences.

JANEWAY

[Kindly] And no one is about to start accusing you, Seven. Mr. Kim? [KIM turns to face her] Is there any indication that the Collective has tried to contact Seven?

KIM

No, Captain. We’ve checked all the options, including their trying to mask their signals in subspace radiation bursts again. There is nothing.

JANEWAY

So direct contact is out of the question. What other options are there?

DOCTOR

The most unusual aspect of this is that the activity is confined entirely to the Bio-transceiver itself. There has been no increased production of nanoprobes or even increased activity in any other implant.

TORRES

Could it be a malfunction in the implant?

SEVEN

[A little sharply] I dislike the thought of people thinking of me as malfunctioning equipment. [She suddenly pauses and turns to TORRES] My apologies, Lieutenant, I am clearly suffering from the tension.

TORRES smiles thinly and nods to show she isn’t offended. SEVEN thinks for a moment.

PARIS

A malfunction is the most obvious possibility, though. Remember that Seven is progressively becoming more human. Could her body be rejecting the implant?

DOCTOR

A fine theory, Mr. Paris, [Suddenly smug] but I would have detected increased T-Cell activity.

SEVEN

I believe I know what is happening, although I remain unsure of why. [When everyone is facing her, she continues] The Bio-Transceiver is primarily a communications device. However, its secondary function is to record all instructions and communications received by a Drone. This activity is consistent with an attempt to download copies of previously received instructions into my brain.

There is a long uncomfortable pause as everyone digests this.

NEELIX

I’m sorry, Seven, but I thought you had perfect recall, or a computerised memory or something. Why would you need a copy of previous instructions?

SEVEN

That is the mystery, Mr. Neelix. I have no other memories of the images and sensations I have had during my experiences. Drones do not have information withheld from their minds, so I cannot explain why I have no previous memories of this matter.

CHAKOTAY

[Thoughtfully] Maybe this is a ‘race memory.’

JANEWAY

A what?

CHAKOTAY

A race memory is a theory I heard at a psychological conference I once attended. The basic concept is that we all are born with information about the most fundamental aspects of our species’ nature in our subconscious. These are not ‘learnt’ but ‘pre-loaded’ through our genetics.

DOCTOR

[A little snide] I am familiar with the theory, Commander. Unfortunately, there is no way memory information could be transmitted genetically. ‘Race memory’ is a myth that went out with the whole concept of organisms inheriting behavioural attributes.

NEELIX

[Thoughtfully] But Seven isn’t entirely organic, is she? [He shoots SEVEN an apologetic glance] She is at least fifteen percent machine and computers CAN come with information hidden away in some part of their structure. It stays hidden until it is needed. Could that be what is happening to her? [Looks around] I’m… not making any sense, am I?

KIM

More than you think.

JANEWAY

This is all very interesting, but I am most concerned whether this is a threat to either Seven or the ship.

TUVOK

[Quietly] If this is indeed a subconscious memory stored in the Bio-Transceiver implant rather than Seven’s organic memory, it may be possible to access it through a structured meditation. [Looks at SEVEN] If you are willing?

SEVEN

These experiences are most disturbing. I will be glad to unravel their mystery. [Turns to TORRES] If I can be spared from the current project?

TORRES

There’s nothing that needs your special touch right now, Seven. We can spare you until you’ve sorted out… whatever this is.

JANEWAY seems happy with this solution.

JANEWAY

All right Mr. Tuvok, proceed as soon as Seven is ready. Doctor, I want you to continue monitoring Seven’s neurological activity. I would like to read your report as soon as possible, Tuvok. Dismissed.

ALL rise and begin to leave the room. KIM pauses by SEVEN.

KIM

[With a smile] Don’t let Tuvok tie your superego in knots, Seven.

SEVEN

[Confused] I fail to see… ah, humour. You are trying to alleviate your concern for my safety with a joke. Your concern is noted and appreciated, Mr. Kim.

KIM

[Sighs] Seven, we’ve known each other for almost two years now. I even kid myself that I am your friend. I think that you should have got to the point where you feel comfortable calling me ‘Harry.’

SEVEN

It would be inappropriate to use your given name whilst on duty. [Cocks her head curiously] Do you consider me a… friend?

KIM

Uh, well yes! Of course!

SEVEN

[Smiles slightly] I find such a change in our parameters of association welcome. I would be glad to be your friend Lieut… [stops and considers KIM’s expression] Harry.

SEVEN leaves. PARIS leans over KIM’s shoulder

PARIS

Harry you sly dog, it looks like you’re making progress at last.

KIM

[Goes red] Do you have to drag everything through the gutter, Tom?

KIM storms off. PARIS grins mischievously.

INT. TUVOK’S QUARTERS

The lights of the room are on dim and the only source of illumination is a single Vulcan DEVOTIONAL CANDLE sitting between SEVEN and TUVOK. Our two heroes are sitting cross-legged and eyes closed.

TUVOK

Visualise the flame. The flame is your fundamental self. Each part of the flame represents a thought or feeling.

SEVEN

[Dreamy voice] Yes. I can see it.

TUVOK

Focus on the core of the flame. Inside the light is the darkness. This is the mystery of the inner self.

SEVEN

I understand.

TUVOK

Allow the centre of the flame to draw you in. Tell me what you see.

SEVEN

I see… darkness…

FX – Slow zoom on the black core of the candle flame. In the blackness there are images. Initially, they are blurred and indistinct. As we zoom in closer, the voice of the BORG Collective whispers.

SEVEN (v/o)

[Fearful] I hear the Collective!

TUVOK (v/o)

Do not allow your emotions dominate your perceptions. [Beat] Listen to the message the Collective would give you.

SEVEN (v/o)

[Nervous} I will try.

BORG (v/o)

Danger. Seven of Nine, Tertiary Adjunct to Unimatrix One Zero. Strategic alert.

FX – The images begin to clear. Discontinuity… A hole in the stars, a ball of flame shoots from it right at our POINT OF VIEW. The flame metamorphosises into…

The vast blue-white spacecraft of SEVEN’s first vision looms forward. Others of a similar, almost insectoid design. All have the basic single or double cylindrical hulls with flank spines either equally spaced around the base (single hull) or in two groups of the same number either side (double hull). The spines have a blue glow in the core. The forward facing ‘fangs’ also have glowing blue cores. Regular bumps and linear plates line the length of the hull

Discontinuity… There is a flash of electric-blue energy weapons-fire from between one ship’s ‘fangs’. A BORG cube is torn apart.

BORG (v/o)

Danger. Do not forget them.

FX – Seven of the largest type (two hulls, a pair of five spines) group into a six-pointed star. They fire ‘Death Star’-style. A world explodes.

BORG (v/o)

The invincible enemy.

FX – Discontinuity… Inside a BORG ship. Four legged, four armed creatures in blue-white armour charge. They swat DRONES aside like skittles and fire electric-blue pulses from black rifle-like weapons held in their upper limbs.

BORG (v/o)

From beyond the furthest stars…

SEVEN (v/o)

[Whispers] No…

FX – Highly stylised images of burning cities echoing with screams, the Voyager tumbling away from an electric blue energy pulse and insectoid armies. A star explodes, consuming an inhabited world (stock footage from ST-Generations?)

Discontinuity… A hole in the stars, a ball of flame shoots from it right at our POINT OF VIEW.

BORG (v/o)

From beyond the darkness in which the stars shine. Species Seven-Zero-Four.

SEVEN (v/o)

[Stronger] No…

FX – Discontinuity… The Voyager’s BRIDGE, smashed to pieces and ablaze. A crying SEVEN is cradling a blooded and dead (?) KIM.

Discontinuity… SEVEN sees herself standing on the steps of a smashed Federation HQ watching legions of the aliens ships scream over a ruined San Francisco.

Discontinuity… The Voyager attacked by a smaller alien vessel… the Voyager explodes.

Discontinuity… A hole in the stars, a ball of flame shoots from it right at our POINT OF VIEW, this time boiling around with a sound of shattering glass and exploding stone as if it has struck the viewer…

BORG (v/o)

The Destroyers.

SEVEN

[Screams] No!

SEVEN jumps to her feet and tumbles gracelessly onto her backside with a grunt of pain. The medical MONITOR behind SEVEN’s ear is screaming an alert. TUVOK jumps back to full awareness with a shocked look.

TUVOK

[Dryly] Have you found the information we seek, Seven?

SEVEN

[Shaken] I do not know, Commander. I… [Pauses to take a calming breath] I must take time to consider what I have seen.

The DOCTOR rushes in at this point and walks over to SEVEN with a concerned expression. SEVEN simply looks down at her hands with a preoccupied frown.

FADE

ACT 3

INT. MESS HALL

SEVEN is standing at the counter, chewing thoughtfully on some hot food (no Leola Root, thank the Maker!)

She looks around at a semi-full MESS HALL. JANEWAY and CHAKOTAY are discussing something in a lively fashion, much to the bemusement of TUVOK. PARIS and TORRES are teasing KIM, trying to get him to put down his PADD and concentrate on his meal.

SEVEN

[Quietly] They are my Collective now.

NEELIX

Lost in thought Seven?

SEVEN looks round at NEELIX. He seems genuinely concerned.

SEVEN

The images I saw in meditation were of destruction and disaster for us all. [Beat, looks down at her hands] I fear that I am going mad.

NEELIX

[Concerned] Why?

SEVEN

[Sighs] Much depends on the next few days. The experiment that Lieutenant Torres proposes may open a way home for my friends. It is my fear that it may be the destruction of us all.

NEELIX

Well, warn them. What’s the problem with that?

SEVEN

It is such a nebulous warning, possibly the result of a malfunction or corrupt data… Do I steal their chance for happiness because of my fears? I do not know the way forward. How can I make this choice?

NEELIX

Seven, they are your friends. They trust you. If you genuinely believe that there is something in this warning from your subconscious, then tell them. Even if it is exaggerated or a false alarm, they will still appreciate you. You will still be their friend for all your faults. Your fallibility and your making paradoxical choices are what make you Human.

SEVEN

[Wryly] I could see that as an insult.

NEELIX

[Delighted] See? A joke! You are getting more Human every day, Seven.

SEVEN smiles. She nods to NEELIX and leaves the MESS HALL.

INT. VOYAGER CORRIDOR

SEVEN walks along the corridor, passing several CREWMEN.

NAOMI

Hello, Seven.

SEVEN turns to see NAOMI standing there, grinning up at her with her typical insolent good humour.

SEVEN

[Dryly] Naomi Wildman.

NAOMI

How are you doing Seven? My Mom was saying you’ve been sick!

SEVEN

I am… somewhat recovered, Naomi. Although the Doctor still insists on monitoring my vital signs.

SEVEN moves her head to show the SENSOR attached behind her ear.

NAOMI

[Suitably impressed] Ooh, I bet that tickles!

SEVEN

[Dryly] Tickles… I do not believe so…

NAOMI

[Cocks her head. She seems to be saying to SEVEN “you know better than to try that with me“] Well, I’m glad you are feeling better. Can you visit me to play a game of Dom Jot this evening?

SEVEN

Unfortunately, I cannot. I have to assist with several experiments this evening.

NAOMI

[Grunt] Typical! Well, that’s what you get for being good at everything! [Giggles at the thought] Well, some other time, Seven? [Grins engagingly] I’m sure I can trust you to get things done so you have free time.

NAOMI skips off down the hall.

SEVEN

[Thoughtfully] Trust. A curious concept.

With a sudden sense of determination, SEVEN carries on down the CORRIDOR.

INT. CAPTAIN’S READY ROOM

SEVEN and TORRES are sitting in front of JANEWAY’s desk.

JANEWAY

[Obviously finishing her comments] There are no obvious flaws in your procedures, B’Elanna, so you can proceed with the experiments. [Sees SEVEN’s preoccupied expression]. Yes, Seven, you have a comment to make?

SEVEN

Yes, Captain. [Pauses, gathering her thoughts] I do not make this comment lightly, Captain. I agree with Lieutenant Torres that this study remains the Voyager’s best hope for finding a short cut to the Alpha Quadrant. However, my own investigations into my recent experiences have revealed that there may be an unsuspected danger either in the experiment or in this area of space.

JANEWAY

[Shoots TORRES a surprised look] What kind of danger?

SEVEN

[Rueful] I cannot provide many details, Captain, as I do not have them. During my structured meditation, I experienced a detailed sensory hallucination that referred directly to a ‘Species 704,’ who successfully resisted assimilation and nearly devastated the Collective several millennia ago.

TORRES

[Wry] Who or what are ‘Species 704,’ Seven?

SEVEN

Again, I have no details, Lieutenant. My experience only confirmed that they had access to military capabilities broadly equivalent to Species 8472 and that their first appearance is somehow related either to the use of subspace depressions for movement or to this region of space. [To JANEWAY] I am sorry that I cannot offer any more precise data, Captain.

TORRES

I’m sorry, Seven, but where is the usual encyclopaedic knowledge of all things Borg? If the Collective gave this species a number, there should be millions of quads of data on them.

SEVEN

Indeed, there should. In this case, however, there is not. In fact, there is no reference in Borg records to any ‘Species 704.’ This anomaly is incomprehensible.

TORRES draws in a breath but JANEWAY cuts her off before she can make a typically acid comment.

JANEWAY

I have read Tuvok’s report on the structured meditation, Seven. According to him, the images you saw were so traumatic that they caused you to snap out of the trance-state spontaneously. He adds that this is virtually unheard of in Vulcan meditation.

SEVEN

The images included very specific imaginings of the destruction of the Voyager and the conquest of the Alpha Quadrant. The images of the death of the crew were vivid. They were most… disturbing.

TORRES

Captain, Harry has been over the sensor readings every way in the book. Hell, he has even created some new ways and there is NO indication of ANY potential threat related to this area. [Turns to SEVEN] I don’t want to insult you, Seven, but there is simply NO physical proof to back up this warning. I am sure it was a very frightening nightmare, but I don’t see ANY reason to delay our experiment!

SEVEN bridles a little at this and is about to retort. Janeway, who has been sipping meditatively at her coffee, breaks in before there is any further escalation.

JANEWAY

I am afraid B’Elanna is right, Seven. [TORRES smirks. JANEWAY gives her a ‘death stare’] Nonetheless, I am not willing to disregard a considered warning of potential danger. During all stages of the experiment, we will keep checking all sensor readings. If there is anything, anything at all, to indicate a threat to this ship, we will desist at once and leave the area.

TORRES

[Disbelieving] Captain…!

JANEWAY

My decision is final, Lieutenant. [Waits for TORRES to subside] I have conferred with Tuvok, Chakotay and The Doctor. They all agree that these… ‘visions’ are not related to any kind of illness, malfunction or malign telepathic influence. There may be no physical proof, but I am not going to ignore such a vivid experience, especially from such a reliable source. [Shoots SEVEN a little smile]

JANEWAY rises and gestures the other two women to leave the room with her.

JANEWAY

Seven, I want you on the bridge to help monitor the situation. If you have any more ‘premonitions’, I want you to tell me immediately.

SEVEN

Understood, Captain.

JANEWAY, SEVEN and TORRES leave the READY ROOM

INT. BRIDGE

JANEWAY, SEVEN, and TORRES are entering from the READY ROOM.

TORRES

Captain, I really could use Seven’s help in Engineering. [Pleading slightly] Surely she could monitor the situation from there?

JANEWAY

She could, but I prefer to have her immediately to hand, B’Elanna. She will be more at the centre of things here.

SEVEN

[To TORRES] I shall endeavour to operate at peak efficiency despite my absence from engineering.

TORRES grunts sceptically and scowls. She walks towards the TURBOLIFT. As she passes PARIS, he offers her a wink. This makes her a little happier and she leaves the BRIDGE without a ferocious scowl.

SEVEN

[To JANEWAY, quietly] Thank you for believing in me, Captain.

JANEWAY

[Quietly, with a smile] Trust is a part of friendship, Seven. [More loudly] Stations, people. We’re doing this one by the book.

FADE

ACT 4

F/X The Voyager still hovers before the typical supernova remnant.

JANEWAY (v/o)

Captain’s Log, Stardate 56982.1. We are preparing to perform our first experiments at enlarging and controlling a subspace depression. The best case scenario is for a flood of data that will help us create super-efficient quantum slipstreams that will bring us home decades earlier than our wildest expectations. The very worst case scenario… Well, given Seven of Nine’s clear visions… I don’t want to try to imagine what that could be…

INT. BRIDGE. The following crew is present. PARIS, TUVOK and KIM are at their stations. CHAKOTAY is looking at the central console. SEVEN is at the bridge ‘horseshoe’ console. JANEWAY is standing behind Lt. J. G. Samantha WILDMAN at the science station. An unnamed CREWMAN is at the Engineering console and another is behind SEVEN at the Ships’ Operations wall display.

TORRES (v/o)

Engineering to Bridge. Seven, is the deflector dish charged and ready?

SEVEN

The dish is charged Lieutenant, I am ready to monitor feed-back along the subspace pulse.

JANEWAY is obviously satisfied at whatever she has seen on WILDMAN’s console. She walks to stage centre and sits down in her chair.

JANEWAY

Status report, Commander?

CHAKOTAY

All decks and departments report ready, Captain.

JANEWAY nods decisively. She seems tense.

JANEWAY

Tuvok, go to Yellow Alert. [SOUNDS – Yellow Alert siren, yellow tracer lights and buzzer] Mr. Kim, keep an eye on the sensors. Mr. Paris, keep an eye on the space conditions, if navigation gets hazardous, back us off. Lieutenant Torres?

INT. MAIN ENGINEERING

TORRES is at her console. The ENGINEERING CREW all stand at their stations in tense anticipation.

TORRES

Torres here, Captain.

JANEWAY (v/o)

Commence the first low-power subspace pulse when ready, B’Elanna.

TORRES

Aye, Captain. [Turns to CREW] Alright people, look sharp.

There is a BLEEP. TORRES looks down and sees an E-MAIL on her display from PARIS: “They say that ‘there are old engineers and bold engineers but no old and bold engineers.’ The ones who say that have never met you, love.” TORRES grins and enters a series of commands.

TORRES

As Paris says, let’s rock!

F/X – A huge beam of blue-white light shoots out of the VOYAGER’s main deflector. It hits some invisible barrier and spreads out in a pretty light show.

INT. BRIDGE. Everyone is poring over the results of this first experiment.

SEVEN

Seven to Lieutenant Torres. The beam returns are normal. However, the impact point is marginally off target. Modify the beam at x plus 1.0055 degrees, y minus 0.005 degrees.

TORRES (v/o)

[Irritated] I see it, Seven. [Beat] Is this any better?

SEVEN

[Frowns] The error factor is now less than one in one thousand. That is sufficient.

JANEWAY grins at CHAKOTAY as she hears the exchange. SEVEN makes a few more adjustments.

SEVEN

[To JANEWAY] The beam is now calibrated, Captain. We may proceed with the tests on enlarging the depression.

JANEWAY looks at the centre console and looks up to reply to SEVEN. Whatever she was about to say is now lost to history.

KIM

[Alarmed] Captain! I’m reading a transwarp egress at 133 mark 027. It’s a Borg Cruiser-class Sphere!

JANEWAY

Red alert!

LIGHTS and SOUND – Lights dim, red tracer lights begin to shine and the siren begins to hoot.

JANEWAY

B’Elanna, cut off the beam. Tuvok, maximum power to shields. Stand by all weapons!

There is ordered chaos as the BRIDGE CREW quickly performs the evolution to battle stations. It is something of which, unfortunately, they have too much practice.

KIM

The Borg vessel is on a heading directly for the subspace depression, Captain. [Beat] They have scanned us, but don’t seem to be taking much notice. [SOUNDS – HAILING SIGNAL] They’re hailing us.

JANEWAY

I can guess what this is going to be about. Let’s hear it anyway, Lieutenant.

VIEWSCREEN – The Borg Sphere swooping across the screen, the camera tracking it. There is a bleep and the view switches to the typical interior of a BORG vessel (matte painting). The BORG address the crew.

BORG

We are the Borg. You have intruded onto our territorial space. You will withdraw, immediately, or we will annihilate your ship. Resistance is futile.

JANEWAY

[Nonplussed, to CHAKOTAY] Well that was unexpected. [To BORG] This is Captain Katherine Janeway of the Federation starship Voyager. We mean you no harm. We are simply performing some scientific experiments.

BORG

Your intentions are irrelevant. You will comply with our demands or we will annihilate you. [Signal cuts off. VIEWSCREEN shows to the SPHERE, now taking up station between the Voyager and the subspace depression]

JANEWAY

[Turns to crew] Suggestions or comments, people?

TUVOK

The appearance of a Borg Cruiser is most unusual, Captain. As you know, they are designed for defensive patrols within Borg space, not assimilation. They are heavily armed, but relatively lightly crewed. I do not believe that we are their target.

CHAKOTAY

Agreed, they want us out of the way, Captain. The question is why?

PARIS

[Concerned] I say the question is “Why are we still here when the Borg have asked us to leave so nicely?”

JANEWAY gives PARIS her ‘death glare.’ PARIS looks back innocently and KIM covers a smile.

KIM

The Borg are scanning the subspace depression with full sensors, Captain. Their shields are at maximum power and their weapons are running hot.

JANEWAY

Are they targeting us?

TUVOK

Negative, Captain. [Does the eyebrow trick] Indeed, the Borg seem to be ignoring us.

SEVEN

The Collective always ignores vessels that are not of immediate interest.

JANEWAY

I find that vaguely insulting.

WILDMAN

Captain, the anomaly!

Everyone swings around to face the VIEWSCREEN.

VIEWSCREEN – F/X – The ANOMALY is now visible as a blue-green tinged depression against the stars darkening towards the centre. Everyone snaps into action.

INT. BRIDGE

SEVEN is working at her console. JANEWAY is still in her chair, looking up at her.

SEVEN

Captain, the depression is deepening. Subspace distortion is a 5,250 millicochranes and still rising.

The ship suddenly begins to shudder.

WILDMAN

Captain, there is an awful lot of subspace disruption coming from the anomaly. It’s getting worse by the second.

JANEWAY

Tom, pull us back 20,000 kilometres.

PARIS

Yes Ma’am!

PARIS works his console, but nothing happens, except the quality of the ship’s shuddering changes.

PARIS

This crazy subspace distortion is affecting our impulse engines, Captain. It’s almost as if the engines can’t ‘grip’ space anymore. [Looks up] B’Elanna, can you give me more power?

TORRES (v/o)

I’ll try Tom. I’ve got a few tricks that may improve impulse drive performance in this environment, too.

JANEWAY

Try them, Lieutenant. [Turns to SEVEN] What is the situation, Seven?

SEVEN does not seem to hear. Her normally pale face has gone ghostly white and she is staring at the anomaly on the VIEWSCREEN. Her expression is blank with pure terror.

JANEWAY

[Firmly] Seven! Snap out of it!

SEVEN

[Shakes her head] I’m sorry, Captain. The subspace depression is now showing a distortion of over 100 kilocochranes. [Examines readings with a frown] The readings are similar to the proposed subspace tunnel that was the ultimate goal of our experiments. However, they are thousands of times more powerful.

JANEWAY

[Hopeless and quiet] B’Elanna…?

INT. ENGINEERING

TORRES is working desperately at her console to increase the power to the impulse engines and improve their performance. She seems annoyed that everything is suddenly her fault.

TORRES

Not our doing, Captain. We only used our scanning-intensity beam. Anyway, even if we had used a full-power subspace beam, it would not have created a result even a hundredth of the power of the anomaly.

JANEWAY (v/o)

Could the scanning beam have tripped off this effect?

TORRES

I don’t see how.

TORRES moves to another console. She shoves VORIK aside and makes a few adjustments. It is obviously ineffective as she hits the console in frustration and moves back to her own station.

TORRES

Besides, the numbers are all wrong, Captain. These frequency readings are all inverted. It is almost as if something were coming through from the other side!

INT. BRIDGE

JANEWAY looks at CHAKOTAY in disbelief. The big Indian’s jaw is slack with disbelief.

JANEWAY

Something coming through from the other side…?

JANEWAY looks at SEVEN. Pure terror has almost paralysed the young woman. She is standing stiffly and holding the console almost hard enough to start to deform its structure.

WILDMAN

Captain, the subspace distortion is going off the top of the scale. Distortion is now greater than a megacochrane. I’ve never even seen a theoretical description of such conditions.

TUVOK

The Borg Sphere is over-charging its weapons systems.

JANEWAY

Who are they targeting?

TUVOK

[Surprised] They are targeting the anomaly.

F/X – The Borg SPHERE fires several emerald-white torpedoes into the anomaly. They flash forward and are torn apart by the massive distortion fields.

INT. BRIDGE

KIM is checking his console, wearing an amazed expression.

KIM

[Amazed} Captain, the Borg are sending an all-frequency distress signal!

Before JANEWAY can react to that, SEVEN suddenly cuts in. Her voice is rough with fear.

SEVEN

Captain, we have to get out of here! NOW!

JANEWAY has already decided on this. Whatever it is that could get a Borg ship sending distress signals, she has no desire to meet it.

JANEWAY

Get us out of here, Mr. Paris. Maximum Warp.

PARIS works his console. Nothing is happening.

JANEWAY

Engineering we need more power!

The shuddering of the ship grows worse.

JANEWAY

B’Elanna, we are not going anywhere! Boost the power levels to maximum tolerance!

INT. ENGINGEERING

The WARP CORE is flashing and flaring brightly. TORRES and an ENSIGN look on aghast. The Voyager is obviously at maximum power and nothing is happening.

INT. BRIDGE

PARIS

It’s no good, Captain; our warp field isn’t generating any propulsive power!

JANEWAY

Engineering, report!

TORRES (v/o)

Captain, the Warp Core is at 115% output now and I don’t like the look of the temperature of our coolant. I can’t give you any more power!

WILDMAN

[Hysterical] Oh my god!

EVERYONE looks at the VIEWSCREEN.

F/X – The centre of the anomaly seems to be stretching away from normal space as if something were pulling it. It now looks like water racing down glowing blue-green hole. At the very ‘bottom,’ there is a bright blue-white glow… Suddenly there is a mighty flare of light from deep within. A spear of energy is sent flaring out from the centre, deep out into space. A vivid blue-white ring shoots away from the perimeter of the anomaly.

INT. BRIDGE

The shock wave throws everyone about.

F/X – As the flare dies away, there is now a deep blue-white vortex leading into a pitch black hole. It is very like the Babylon 5 exit jump point effect. Occasionally, the vortex flares as a ring of energy races up from deep within.

INT. BRIDGE

KIM

[Awed] It’s a… an artificial wormhole! I’ve never seen these power readings before! It could link us to a point billions of light years from here!

WILDMAN

Captain, I’m reading six objects emerging from the… Well, from the ‘super-wormhole,’ or whatever it is. They are definitely artificial.

F/X – The six objects are identical and are travelling along the perimeter of the vortex. When they reach the event horizon, they stop. They are trapezoid-shaped with four long ‘arms’ that hang backwards from each corner. As we watch, the trapezoids move so that their largest face points out of the wormhole. Two arms attached to the long end move to run along the rim of the vortex, while the two from the narrow end lie parallel to the vortex’s walls, pointing towards its black heart. A strong blue-white glow appears from long vents along the length of the arms.

The Borg SPHERE opens fire with everything it’s got: Repulsor beams, disruptors, torpedoes and cutting beams. The objects’ shields absorb everything without even a flicker of strain.

INT. Bridge

PARIS is still fighting the helm as TUVOK examines his console.

TUVOK

The Borg are putting more power into their distress call, Captain. They have fired upon the unidentified artefacts, but their weapons have no visible effect.

PARIS

[Frustrated] Captain, I still can’t make any headway with either Warp or Impulse engines. This distortion field is so scrambling the structure of subspace that our generators can’t affect it. It’s like trying to swim up a waterfall. Our thrusters are the only propulsion system not affected, and they are barely strong enough to keep us from falling down the gravity well of that thing!

JANEWAY

Keep at it, Tom. [She looks at CHAKOTAY. He is using the centre console to co-ordinate some function. His expression is grim] If anyone has any ideas, now is the time.

KIM

If the anomaly and the distortion are somehow related, then we have to generate a powerful subspace pulse, something so big that it drowns out everything else. If that happens, we’ll have a window of a few seconds to get clear.

JANEWAY

How big a pulse are we looking at, Harry?

KIM

Too big, Captain. [His editorialising does obviously not impress JANEWAY] Equivalent to the simultaneous detonation of about a thousand photon torpedoes. The Detonation of our warp core might just be powerful enough.

That is obviously not an option, as JANEWAY’s expression makes quite clear.

TUVOK

Captain, I believe that this wormhole is, indeed, intended to function as an intergalactic conduit. [Quirks an eyebrow] Interesting. The six vessels appear to be generating some form of resonant subspace field that is stabilising this end of the wormhole. [Looks at JANEWAY] While the technology that makes this possible is beyond our ability to reproduce, it is a most efficient way to stabilise such a construct using lower power levels.

Then, as if to prove TUVOK’s point, WILDMAN checks her readings and rears back in shock.

WILDMAN

I’m reading another ship coming through the wormhole, Captain. It is much bigger than those six stabilising generators. I mean much bigger. At least 2 kilometres in length and well over 250 million metric tonnes mass.

JANEWAY

[Nearly a whisper] On screen, Mr. Kim.

SEVEN

[Terrified] Captain, we MUST leave this area! I mean it; this may be our last chance!

EVERYONE’s attention is again fixed on the VIEWSCREEN as the new contact WILDMAN detected begins to emerge.

F/X – We see the Voyager, the warp pylons raised and glowing brightly as the ship struggles to get free of the subspace distortion. The POV rotates past the Borg ship, which has ceased firing for the time being to the wormhole.

Beyond the stabilising generators, the blue-white vortex flows off into infinity, a deep well of black. The occasional power surge still races along its length like spirals of light. From the very centre, a huge object rolls forward that looks like two long, thin cylinders with various sharp projections connected side by side. NOTE – for the first time we get the scale of the anomaly. From WILDMAN’s estimates, it is obvious that the mouth of the wormhole is over 2 miles in diameter.

New POV, looking virtually across the mouth of the wormhole as IT emerges. First are ten forward-facing ‘blades,’ five each side of the cylindrical hull, which taper forward to a blunt end at their fronts. The teeth have flush vents that glow with the same blue light as the generators’ ‘arms.’

The hull continues, melding smoothly into two pairs of five smooth ‘booms,’ each pair spaced equally around the circumference of one of the egg-shaped forward hulls. More blue light glows from various spots and from in between the booms. The booms meld once more into a the two cylindrical hulls that curve smoothly towards the join of the two hulls, ending with two pairs of four claw-like protrusions on the outward-facing surface that glow with the familiar orange-red or impulse power.

The mighty ship slips clear of the wormhole and hovers for a moment, then ten long, graceful spines swing away from the outer hull, five on each outward-facing side of the rear hulls, creating what look like two fans, or possibly something like a solar sailing ship’s masts. These spines end with short, vicious-looking sharp forward-pointing ends. The spines have long vents along their length. They begin to glow with the same blue-white power.

The Borg SPHERE opens fire once again. The ship’s shields, without a flicker, deflect the blasts. Blasts powerful enough to kill a Federation starship with one shot. It is, of course, the ship from SEVEN’s vision.

INT. BRIDGE

SEVEN

[Verging on the hysterical by now. It makes her voice very quiet, very young…] It’s too late…

TUVOK

I am reading a massive power surge from the alien vessel.

F/X – From in between the ten ‘blades,’ there comes a powerful, pencil-thin beam of blue-white light. The shot reaches out and smashes right into the very centre of the SPHERE. The SPHERE’s running lights go out. What looks like a distortion wave spreads out from the impact point and flows along its hull, causing it to ripple like a wave, until it meets again at the far side of the hull. Then the SPHERE explodes with a massive yellow-white explosion. There is very little wreckage. From impact to explosion, it is all over in less than a tenth of a second.

INT. BRIDGE

KIM is sweating, staring at his rear wall displays.

KIM

Tom, the subspace distortion…

PARIS

I see it, Harry!

F/X – PARIS does not waste time with unnecessary manoeuvres. The VOYAGER swoops forward, right over the alien still poised at the entry to the wormhole, and leaps to high warp. Even though the manoeuvre is fast, it is not fast enough. As the VOYAGER races past, the alien is able to get in one shot. It is not a clean hit, indeed it is only a glancing blow, but it still is almost enough.

INT. BRIDGE

The entire crew is thrown forward by a tremendous concussion. TUVOK’s rear wall displays explode with a bright white flash, throwing him over his console to the deck. The CREWMAN at the Ship’s Status display is also thrown to the deck beside SEVEN.

Bits of the Tactical console rain down and fire burns in the shattered remains. Several overhead ODN trunks in the same area are ruptured and fibre-optic cables create a strangely art-deco background to the fire. The Ship’s Status display begins to flicker

JANEWAY

Trauma Team to the Bridge! I want a full damage report!

CHAKOTAY checks the centre console.

CHAKOTAY

My god!

JANEWAY

What?

CHAKOTAY

That was just a near miss, Captain! A single glancing blow and it still nearly knocked out our shields! Our rear shields are down 67% and our forward shields are down 25%.

There is concussion damage to all decks with sections far to the aft. We will have to evacuate the main shuttlebay, the main doors are shattered and the mag shield generator has been knocked out! We are reading all kinds of damage to the ship’s systems, especially tactical and drive systems.

JANEWAY is amazed and horrified. The medical team arrives and goes to TUVOK and the CREWMAN. JANEWAY turns to them.

JANEWAY

How are they? [She means, ‘How is TUVOK,’ of course]

MEDIC

They are both suffering from concussion, lacerations and severe plasma burns, Ma’am. We’ll get them to sickbay.

SEVEN seems to be recovered from her terrified paralysis. She has an extinguisher and puts out the fire in the wreckage of the Tactical station. She then turns back to her console and touches a few controls.

Two CREWMEN exit the lift and move to assist in repairing the damaged stations.

SEVEN

Captain, I have re-routed Tactical to my console.

JANEWAY

[Wry] Good to have you back, Seven. All right, status report.

PARIS

We are stable at Warp 6 on a course radially away from the wormhole, Captain. Now we are clear, the drive systems are functioning normally.

SEVEN

All weapon systems except Phaser Banks Ten through Thirteen are operational. I have re-enforced the rear shields with power from our forward shields, but I am unable to increase general shield power above 50% of nominal.

TORRES (v/o)

We’re still picking up the pieces down here, Bridge. There are no serious problems I can see, but I’ll have to get back to you.

KIM

[Tense] Captain, we are being pursued. The alien vessel has just come into rear sensor range. They are at Warp 8 and accelerating.

JANEWAY’s jaw goes all square and she seems grim.

JANEWAY

What are our chances, Seven?

SEVEN

[Calmly, but tense too now it is clear it is not over] Very slim, Captain. Our damaged shields could not protect us against another attack. Even if all systems were nominal, we would stand little chance against a Species 704 warship.

JANEWAY

[Quiet] You are certain it is them?

SEVEN

[Grim] I am certain, Captain.

JANEWAY

So, we’re in no condition for another confrontation. All right, Tom. Take us up to maximum warp.

PARIS

Yes, Ma’am [Touches some controls] Warp 7. Warp 8. Warp 8.5…

KIM

[Urgent] Captain, the alien vessel is already at Warp 9 and it is still accelerating.

JANEWAY

[Urgent] Tom, when I said ‘maximum warp’ I meant it!

PARIS

[Concerned] She seems a little sluggish, Captain. [Checks a display] It looks like we took a little more damage to our warp drives than we thought. We’re at Warp 9.2 now.

TORRES (v/o)

Captain, how much warp power do you think you are going to need?

INT. ENGINEERING

The place has seen better days. There are damage control parties and medical teams all over. The WARP CORE seems undamaged, but that could be deceiving. TORRES and CAREY are both standing at the main console, examining the power flow read outs.

JANEWAY (v/o)

How much can you give me, B’Elanna?

TORRES

Not as much as I would like, Ma’am. The concussion of that near miss has damaged both warp plasma feeds. We have the leak under control now, but if we increase the plasma pressure too much, they’ll rupture.

JANEWAY (v/o)

You mean we could loose warp speed?

TORRES

I mean that we could loose most of the ship aft of Section 18, Captain.

JANEWAY (v/o)

[Grim] Well I’d rather blow up than be vaporised, B’Elanna. Take it as far as she can handle, then give me an extra ten-percent on top of that.

TORRES

I’ll do my best, Captain. Try to keep the ride smooth.

JANEWAY (v/o)

No promises, Lieutenant. Janeway out.

TORRES

[To Carey, with a little shake of her head] I don’t know if we are going to make it this time, Bill.

An ENGINEERING CREWMAN shouts to TORRES from the other side of the Core. Torres runs to see the problem, leaving Carey at the main console.

INT. BRIDGE

PARIS is visibly sweating as he tries to coax more power from the damaged starship. JANEWAY is at the aft section, walking between KIM and SEVEN, looking grim.

PARIS

We’re at Warp 9.6, Captain.

JANEWAY

Keep pouring it on, Tom.

PARIS

Yes, Ma’am. All right, we’re at Warp 9.8… Warp 9.9. That’s our maximum rated speed, Captain. The core will SCRAM automatically after 12 hours tops.

KIM

[Grim] Captain, the alien vessel is already at Warp 9.95 and they are still accelerating. There is no indication that their acceleration curve is levelling off.

SEVEN

They will intercept us in thirty minutes at current rates of acceleration.

JANEWAY

[Frustrated] Chief Engineer, we need more speed!

TORRES (v/o)

I’m giving it all we’ve got left, Captain.

There is a sudden sound like a loud bang over the INTERCOM and TORRES is cut off.

JANEWAY

Torres, what’s happening? Torres? [Louder] B’Elanna?

TORRES (v/o)

[Urgent] We’ve just lost one of our primary coolant pumps, Captain. The engines will rip themselves apart at this rate! The plasma conduits are ready to burst!

JANEWAY

Keep on top of it, B’Elanna! Hold those conduits together with your bare hands if you have to, but keep those warp factors coming!

TORRES (v/o)

[Exhausted] I’ll do my best, Ma’am.

JANEWAY walks to the lower level and stands next to PARIS

JANEWAY

How are we doing, Tom?

PARIS

We’re at warp 9.92, and I really don’t like the look of those drive stress dynamics. [Turns to JANEWAY] I don’t think we can take her any higher without shedding our nacelles.

KIM

[Slightly shrill] The alien vessel is at Warp 9.99 and still accelerating!

SEVEN

Interception in 5 minutes, maximum, Captain.

JANEWAY

On screen.

VIEWSCREEN – F/X – The alien warship is in the very centre of the screen. Small right now, but getting bigger very quickly.

JANEWAY

Prepare to fire aft torpedoes. Full spread, pattern gamma.

SEVEN

Weapons armed, locked on and ready to fire.

JANEWAY

There’s one last chance to stop this. Mr. Kim, open hailing frequencies.

SEVEN

[Bold] I find it highly unlikely that this course will benefit us. Species 704 has no reason to open communications at this time.

JANEWAY

[Quiet and firm] I didn’t ask you, Seven. [Now sounds angry] Despite your preconceived notions, these people may not be conquest-obsessed berserkers.

SEVEN straightens at her post, reacting as if she has just been slapped.

SOUNDS – Hailing frequencies.

KIM

Hailing frequencies open

JANEWAY

This is Captain Katherine Janeway of the United Federation of Planets starship Voyager to unidentified vessel in pursuit. We are a peaceful vessel on a mission of exploration and wish to avoid hostilities. May we discuss this matter openly?

There is a long pause. There is no reply.

JANEWAY

We are no part of the Borg Collective and have no knowledge of any grievances you may have against cultures in the area of space. Can we at least attempt to avoid needless bloodshed?

Still there is no reply.

KIM

They’re listening, Captain, they’re just not replying.

JANEWAY

[Frustrated, maybe a little desperate] Alien vessel; please state your intentions

SEVEN

Captain, they are scanning us.

F/X – A distortion wave suddenly flashes across the BRIDGE. EVERYONE looks around in disorientation.

SEVEN

It was a full scan. [Beat] Captain, the Species 704 vessel has obtained a missile targeting lock. We will come under attack at any time.

CHAKOTAY

[Grim] They have stated their intentions, all right.

JANEWAY seems defeated. She slumps down into her chair before speaking again.

JANEWAY

Fire torpedoes.

SEVEN responds immediately, touching a single control.

F/X – Three torpedoes spit from both of the Voyager’s rear tubes and flash away through space, rapidly forming a five-pointed star.

INT. BRIDGE

SEVEN at her station.

SEVEN

Torpedoes away. Weapons running straight, hot and normal.

F/X – The weapons reach the alien warship and detonate against their shields. NOTE – It is a strangely muted detonation, almost as if the torpedoes were not fully armed.

JANEWAY

[Amazed] Seven?

SEVEN

[Checks console] The torpedoes functioned normally, but seemed to disintegrate on impact against their shields. [Amazed] It is almost as if their molecular structure was disrupted. The antimatter seemed to simply… vanish, as if it aged a million years in an instant. Their was only a kinetic impact and their shields are undamaged. The attack was ineffective.

JANEWAY

[Not fazed] Reload and fire again. Set the torpedoes to detonate a few metres short of their shields. We’ll see if we can knock them down.

SEVEN does not hesitate for a second. She performs the required functions and launches the reprogrammed second barrage.

VIEWSCREEN – F/X – We see the alien warship. The second five pointed star of torpedoes flashes into view and detonate minutely short of its shields. Six enormous red fireballs blossom out and the alien disappears for a second.

PARIS

[Slight smirk] Eat that, buddy.

VIEWSCREEN – F/X – The alien warship emerges untouched. Several Starfleet jaws hit the deck.

SEVEN

The alien shields somehow de-phased all incident energy from the torpedo detonations, reducing the weapons’ effectiveness by over 99%. Sensors detected a momentary point-zero-zero-one percent loss of power in the alien shields.

KIM

[Whispers] That’s impossible!

JANEWAY

Time to interception?

SEVEN

They will be at point-blank range in 150 seconds, Captain. [Beat, a look of inspiration] Captain, I suggest that we alter course to 233 mark 107. This will take us into the shock front of the supernova remnant and reduce the effectiveness of their sensors.

CHAKOTAY

It will also render most of our sensor systems useless, Seven. We can’t fight blind.

SEVEN

[Firm] I do not believe that we can fight them at all, at present.

JANEWAY considers SEVEN’s expression closely. The younger woman radiates certainty and it is enough. The Captain nods decisively.

JANEWAY

You heard the lady, Tom, new heading 233 mark 107, maintain maximum warp.

PARIS

Aye aye, Captain!

The ship begins to shudder

JANEWAY

Engineering, what is happening down there?

TORRES (v/o)

I’m sorry Captain, but I can’t give you much more. The warp core is overheating and the plasma conduits are shaking themselves apart.

JANEWAY

[Grim] I will only need another three minutes, B’Elanna, one way or another.

TORRES (v/o)

[Horrified] Yes, Ma’am!

F/X – Small clumps of nebulosity and patterns of distortion from the supernova remnant fill our view. The Voyager races past, deeper into the remnant at full power. After a few seconds, with the Voyager dwindling into the distance, the alien ship also races past with an unearthly banshee-like scream.

INT. BRIDGE

KIM

Captain, the hostile vessel somehow turned inside our manoeuvre! Intercept now in ninety seconds!

JANEWAY

I don’t understand why they haven’t fired yet.

CHAKOTAY

[Bitter] They probably want to gloat. You know, see the looks of terror on our faces before they finish us…

SEVEN

Unlikely, Commander. It is more probable that Species 704 is deliberately prolonging this engagement to determine our strengths, weaknesses and tactical behaviour. We are, after all, an unfamiliar culture to them.

F/X – The alien ship at high warp. It fires a single blue-white torpedo, a little like a quantum torpedo in appearance but brighter. Our POV tracks the torpedo as it races past towards the distant Voyager.

INT. BRIDGE

SEVEN’s console begins to beep loudly. Seven freezes for a second before reporting.

SEVEN

Species 704 has opened fire. A single missile is approaching at approximately Warp 9.999. Impact in 30 seconds.

VIEWSCREEN – F/X – The alien torpedo is moving fast towards the bottom of the screen.

SEVEN

Sensors indicate that the weapon has some form of artificial singularity for a warhead.

JANEWAY’s jaw drops open.

JANEWAY

Now that is what I call overkill. Mr. Kim, begin jamming. Mr. Paris, commence evasive…

SEVEN

[Interrupts] That will be useless, Captain. [Excited] I can defeat this attack but I must have total computer control!

KIM

Impact in fifteen seconds. [Beat] Jamming has no effect; weapon is still locked on and homing. Impact in ten seconds…

JANEWAY

Do it Seven. [To INTERCOM] All hands, brace for impact!

SEVEN extends her ASSIMILATION TUBULES, which punch into her console. She closes her eyes and concentrates on becoming one with the ship’s computer systems.

KIM

Impact in five seconds. Four… three… two… Torpedo impact… NOW!

F/X – There is a massive blue-white explosion that sends the VOYAGER tumbling end over end. The starship’s lights go out and glowing red deuterium fuel begins to spill from the ship’s bussard ram-scoops.

INT. BRIDGE

The explosion sends EVERYONE flying about the compartment. Several consoles spit sparks. The Engineering console explodes, incinerating the luckless CREWMAN stationed there. KIM is thrown hard against his console. He pulls himself up just as the display explodes, spraying him with plastic shards and sparks. He is flung back and tumbles to the deck, his face a mass of bruises and cuts. The lights go out and the only source of illumination is the fires in the tactical and engineering consoles.

F/X – The VOYAGER is still tumbling end-over-end, apparently dead. The glowing deuterium vapour generates an eerie shroud around the ship. Around her are the wisps of nebulae and distortion waves from the supernova remnant. There are several bright flashes from within the vapour, as if something were flashing spontaneously into flame.

INT. BRIDGE

The emergency blue lights underneath the stair tread light up, as do a few other dim emergency lights. The control displays flicker weakly. There is a groan as JANEWAY pulls herself onto her knees and looks around the darkened, burning bridge.

JANEWAY

[Nonplussed] I don’t believe it! We’re alive!

SEVEN

[Whispers] Captain, shh! Their sensors will detect the reverberation of speech. I have already signalled silent running.

JANEWAY looks around at SEVEN, who is cradling a semi-conscious KIM in her lap. The Captain nods decisively and touches CHAKOTAY on the shoulder, signalling him to lie still. His chair has bent forward, tipping him unceremoniously onto the deck.

F/X – The alien warship hovers above the cloud of deuterium gas, now mingling with the supernova remnant’s nebulosity. The huge warship hovers silently for a long moment, as if contemplating its work. Suddenly, it quickly rotates 100 degrees to the left. It’s ten spines retract and it accelerates forward very fast. As it reaches the middle distance, it seems to plunge through space, surrounded by a bright white light. It disappears with a white flash [The TNG – Descent Transwarp effect].

INT. BRIDGE

SEVEN gently lies KIM’s head on the deck, rises and examines her controls. She audibly sighs with relief and touches a control. The lights slowly come up to about 50% of normal illumination. The displays become steady. Vent fans begin to suck away the smoke from the fires and the automatic extinguishers activate.

SEVEN

I’ve detected a transwarp ingress. They are gone.

JANEWAY

[With a hiss of discomfort as she rises] Stations, people. I want a full damage report.

EVERONE is picking themselves off the floor. PARIS manipulates the Helm controls (he stabilises the ship). JANEWAY moves to help KIM, who is pulling himself to his feet. CHAKOTAY moves to the CREWMAN who sat at Engineering. He is beyond help. CHAKOTAY sighs, closes the man’s eyes and looks away. KIM is standing and he moves to his battered console. The forward console is out, but the rear wall displays are working.

SEVEN

[Absently] Harry, you are damaged. You should rest.

KIM

I’ll live, Seven. My brain is still working and we need to get working NOW or, according to these readings, we might have to abandon ship!

EVERYONE looks at KIM as the import of his report sinks in.

FADE

ACT 5

F/X – The VOYAGER stabilises and its running and internal lights come back on.

INT. BRIDGE

JANEWAY stands in the centre of the BRIDGE as reports begin to trickle in. The impact knocked most ship’s systems off-line, but the damage is more cosmetic than serious. CHAKOTAY has replaced KIM at Ops. The young Lieutenant is doubtless now in Sickbay.

JANEWAY

That was an interesting trick, Seven. What exactly did you do?

SEVEN

I over-charged our rear deflectors and shaped the field to create what would appear to the sensors on the graviton torpedo to be the ship’s hull. The shield pulse also absorbed over 75% of the detonation energy. I then shut down all ship’s systems and vented deuterium and antimatter to simulate the destruction of the Voyager. In the low-sensor efficiency environment of the supernova remnant, it was enough to shield us from Species 704’s scans.

JANEWAY smiles slightly and nods in approval of SEVEN’s initiative. CHAKOTAY looks up from Ops.

CHAKOTAY

A ‘Play Dead’ manoeuvre worthy of the Maquis, Seven. Well done.

SEVEN

The Borg found it was the only tactic small vessels could use to avoid a graviton torpedo attack.

There is a long pause before JANEWAY speaks again.

JANEWAY

Seven, you said that Borg records did not contain any details of Species 704.

SEVEN

[Frowns] They do not Captain. [Beat] The tactic simply appeared in my consciousness. It is possibly another download from my bio-transceiver chip.

TORRES (v/o)

Wherever it came from it saved our lives, Seven. Unfortunately it also knocked main power, most of the Electro-Plasma System network and all the ship’s shield generators off line. I’ll need your help to put them back together.

JANEWAY

Get going, Seven. [Looks around] I want a full meeting of all senior staff in six hours time. We’ll discuss these events then. Until then, we have a ship to save.

F/X – The Voyager is still hovering within the scattered nebulosity of the supernova remnant.

JANEWAY (v/o)

Captain’s Log, stardate 56988.5, six hours after the attack. After four hours of the most urgent repairs, we are no longer in any immediate danger of loosing the Voyager.

MONTAGE – VOYAGER CORRIDOR. JANEWAY is pacing along the corridor, skirting around a REPAIR TEAM who have opened a wall panel and are fixing some damaged system.

MONTAGE – MAIN ENGINEERING. TORRES, CAREY and VORIK are working on several exploded consoles in the atrium. TORRES is giving orders to VORIK, who nods and walks away.

JANEWAY (v/o)

Engineering has now restored main power and the ship’s systems are beginning to function normally again. With the immediate pressure off the crew, shock is beginning to set in. The sheer brutality and overwhelming power of this new species has left everyone amazed.

MONTAGE – ASTROMETRICS. SEVEN and JENNY DELANEY are inputting information into the main console, while two CREWMEN shore up one of the vertical supports. DELANEY, whose right arm is in a sling and has a bandage on her forehead, is talking fast and excitedly, much to SEVEN’s patent bemusement.

MONTAGE – BRIDGE. CHAKOTAY and KIM are discussing something as KIM works on repairing his console. A CREWMAN walks past carrying a coil of ODN cable.

JANEWAY (v/o)

Mercifully, casualties have been light. There was only one fatality: Crewman Joel Stanford was killed when the bridge engineering station exploded. Nonetheless, over a quarter of the crew are currently under The Doctor’s tender care.

MONTAGE – SICKBAY. The DOCTOR and PARIS are working on a badly burnt ENGINEERING CREWWOMAN on the main BIO BED. A round dozen other patients are either on the other beds, or sitting on the floor, wrapped in thermal blankets.

JANEWAY (v/o)

It is a mercy that our Red Alert protocols include automatically transferring The Doctor to his Mobile Emitter. If he had gone off-line along with the other primary systems, we would have lost a lot more of our people.

MONTAGE – MESS HALL, acting as an auxiliary infirmary. NEELIX and a MEDIC are handing out food and help to the wounded, while a grim JANEWAY paces through, occasionally talking to a crewmember and smiling in an attempt to bolster morale. She has a slight limp, but has obviously refused treatment until the DOCTOR has seen to the rest of the crew.

JANEWAY (v/o)

I have summoned a meeting of the senior staff. I hope that, working together; we can determine what, if anything, we can do next.

INT. BRIEFING ROOM.

A battered-looking JANEWAY is sitting at the head of the table, drinking a coffee and looking like she would rather be asleep. TUVOK sits to her left. He has a large bandage on the side of his face and wears a meditative expression.

The DOOR opens and the DOCTOR and PARIS walks in. The DOCTOR shoots JANEWAY a worried look.

DOCTOR

Captain, I expect to see you in Sickbay after the meeting.

JANEWAY

[Weak smile] I’ll try to find the time, Doctor.

The DOCTOR snorts and takes a seat to her LEFT. PARIS watches with bemusement. The door opens again and TORRES walks in. Grease and burns cover her uniform and she looks like she has just gone three rounds with a garbage compactor. PARIS smiles and drapes an arm over her shoulder. She leans on him gratefully and allows him to lead her to a seat table to the Captain’s left.

KIM and CHAKOTAY enter talking about the repair schedules. CHAKOTAY gives JANEWAY a worried look, making her smile. If she does not go to SICKBAY willingly, she has no doubt that her First Officer will throw her over his shoulder and carry her there.

The last to arrive are SEVEN and NEELIX

NEELIX

Thanks for helping out in the Mess Hall, Seven.

SEVEN

You are welcome, Mr. Neelix.

NEELIX sits to the Captain’s right. SEVEN remains standing by the door. She seems distracted.

JANEWAY

I’m sure you all know why we are here. Let’s start with a full status report.

There is a long pause while JANEWAY waits for someone to go first. Finally, TORRES draws the short straw.

TORRES

We’ve finally got the Warp Plasma Conduits repaired, Captain. Lt. Carey tells me that we should have the EPS system running at 80% efficiency within the next hour.

JANEWAY

Only 80 percent, B’Elanna?

TORRES

Unfortunately. [Sighs] The gravitational pulse from that alien torpedo destabilised the pressure balances throughout the entire system. We’ll have to make do until we can finish recalibrating all the flow sensors on the network.

JANEWAY

Keep on it, B’Elanna. If you need any more hands, tell me. What about propulsion, Mr. Paris?

PARIS

[Seems to jump at the question] Ah, all drive systems are running according to the shipyard specifications, Captain. I would take any warp manoeuvres slowly until we have time to calibrate the subspace field generators.

CHAKOTAY

What’s the problem, Tom?

PARIS

[Easy going smile] It’s just a precaution after being hit by that enormous gravity well. I want to be sure of the generators in actual operation rather than simulation before trying anything too dramatic.

JANEWAY

That will be your first priority, Tom. I want all ship’s systems reliable before we face those creatures again.

KIM

Ah, Captain, about that matter…

EVERYONE turns to look at KIM, who begins to shift uneasily under the scrutiny.

KIM

Do we have the right to get involved with this? [Uncomfortable pause] I mean this seems a perfect Prime Directive situation. We aren’t at war with these people. We aren’t even from this part of the galaxy. Whatever they want it probably doesn’t involve us. We should just leave the area and let nature take its course.

KIM winces at the looks everyone is giving him. TUVOK finally breaks the silence.

TUVOK

Mr. Kim seems to make a valid point.

JANEWAY

Yes he does [Reassuring ‘Mum’ smile] And normally I’d agree with him. This is not a typical situation, however. Species 704, that’s their Borg designation, refused to respond to an attempt at communication. They continued to attack, although we told them that we weren’t from this quadrant. I suspect that they will attack any space vessel they encounter. We will have to face them eventually. I prefer to do it on our own terms and at our own time.

There is a long thoughtful pause before JANEWAY continues.

JANEWAY

How is our tactical situation, Mr. Tuvok?

TUVOK

All weapons systems are on line. However, Lt. Torres informs me that it will be another 6 hours before we have full shielding capacity back.

JANEWAY looks at TORRES for an explanation.

TORRES

[Sits up nervously] That’s right, Captain. Seven’s timely idea might have kept us alive, but it also burnt out the subspace solenoids in all our shield generators. We’re replacing them as fast as we can.

TUVOK

In any case, the utility of our tactical systems against the recorded capabilities of this new species is questionable. We expended twelve photon torpedoes for infinitesimal gains and a near miss from the aliens’ main weapons nearly disabled our shields. I doubt that our phasers will perform any better against this threat.

JANEWAY

[Nods thoughtfully] Yes, we are outgunned at the moment. [Turns to SEVEN] Seven, can you access the hidden Borg files on Species 704 and determine if the Borg found any weaknesses in their tactical systems we can exploit?

SEVEN does not seem to be listening. She has moved over to the side of the main screen. She almost appears to be daydreaming.

JANEWAY

Seven, I asked you a question.

No reply. SEVEN stays in almost a catatonic state.

JANEWAY

[Concerned] Seven are you alright?

SEVEN slowly turns to look at JANEWAY, her expression blank, her lips quirked in a sneer of superiority. Nightmarishly, a flare of red laser light flashes out from her prosthetic eye and scans the Captain.

SEVEN

[Slowly, mechanically] We… are no longer… the one you call ‘Seven of Nine.’ We… are the Borg.

There is chaos. TUVOK jumps to his feet, pointing his phaser at SEVEN. CHAKOTAY is a second behind, interposing himself between SEVEN and JANEWAY, pointing his own phaser at SEVEN. The DOCTOR and NEELIX dive out of SEVEN’s reach. The medical MONITOR behind SEVEN’s ear begins to shriek its warning.

SEVEN looks around at the forest of phasers now pointed at her before continuing.

SEVEN

We mean you no harm. We have merely appropriated this former Drone to relay information you will require to survive.

The DOCTOR begins to scan SEVEN with his Tricorder

DOCTOR

This isn’t the Collective, Captain. There are no subspace communications activity, no increased activity in her implants. The readings of Seven’s neurological activity are like her previous hallucinatory experiences.

JANEWAY

[Outraged] Whoever you are, you have appropriated my crewman’s body without her permission. I demand that you release her immediately.

SEVEN

[Lots of electronic overtones] Your friend will come to no harm from our actions, Captain Katherine Janeway. She is a conduit to allow us to communicate, no more.

JANEWAY

Who are you?

SEVEN

We are a warning implanted into each successive generation. A warning of a terrible mistake made so long ago implanted not in the mind but into the most fundamental aspect of our collective self so that we may never forget.

CHAKOTAY

An electronic ‘race memory.’ [Puzzled] What mistake do you refer to?

SEVEN

Species 704. Our greatest failure, the result of the first mistake: [Beat] arrogance. Now they are your greatest threat.

With a blur of motion, SEVEN whirls and stabs her ASSIMILATION TUBULES into the viewscreen’s controls. Everyone jumps and KIM pulls out his Tricorder. He starts scanning.

TUVOK

What is she doing?

KIM

[Amazed] She’s injecting reengineering nano-probes into the viewscreen. They’re turning it into… a holo-projector!

SEVEN

It is more suitable for our needs.

As the crew look on an image forms above the table (F/X). Our POV zooms on the image and it becomes an F/X sequence.

F/X – Near a class-M planet, three Borg CUBES fly through space.

SEVEN (v/o)

Two hundred thousand years before this time, the Borg were already a mighty race, dominating much of the area you now call the ‘Delta Quadrant.’

F/X – The CUBES swing away from the planet and head off into space at high warp speed.

SEVEN (v/o)

We had assimilated hundreds of races; brought order to thousands of worlds. Many younger races regarded us as gods or demons. In our arrogance, the Collective began to agree with this assessment. We determined that we were greater and above all other things. This was our greatest fault.

Like many other races, we detected the first signs of the periodic reduction in subspace integrity. At first, we were alarmed, seeing the end of our great empire of worlds, but soon we assimilated the knowledge transwarp travel. This taught us that the changes were simply a natural universal cycle. In our arrogance, we did not realise that if we could use reduced subspace integrity to travel further at transwarp speeds, so could others.

F/X – The Cubes drop out of warp and join large flight of other CUBES and SPHERES surrounding a large planet. Doubtless they are there to assimilate some luckless species.

SEVEN (v/o)

We heard the first cries of distress from species in an area of particularly low subspace integrity, but we ignored them. What ever could threaten the scuttling small things inhabiting the galaxy could never harm the might Borg. So we continued oblivious… until it is too late.

F/X – The POV swings around. Behind the Borg flotilla, there are a series of flashes as ships drop out of transwarp. In moments, it is clear that they are DESTROYER warships of various types. Pencil-thin blue beams and bright pulses of electric blue energy smash into the Borg vessels, which fall quickly and with a minimum of resistance.

JANEWAY (v/o)

Who are they?

SEVEN (v/o)

They are the antithesis of all you value, Captain. They are anti-life. They are ancient, older than the oldest known civilisation of this galaxy, and are possessed of technologies that defy the laws of physics. They believe only they have the right to rule this universe, and that all other life forms exist only to serve them. In their own corner of the universe, they are the masters of trillions of worlds, the overlords of billions of races. They hold hundreds of galaxies in their sway. They are conquerors of worlds, destroyers of civilisations.

F/X – MONTAGE – DESTROYER warships fighting Borg vessels in deep space. Seven DESTROYER warships in a star formation, firing ‘Death Star-style’ to blow up a planet. Massive ground vehicles exchanging fire with a Borg ground facility.

SEVEN

We designated them ‘Species 704,’ but as time went on, we gave them a name that fits their purpose. They are The Destroyers.

F/X – A Borg flotilla engages a squadron of DESTROYER warships head on near a class-M planet. An immense firefight eventually renders the planet a fiery wasteland. Despite using incredibly powerful weapons, the Borg looses the battle decisively.

SEVEN

Despite our mightiest efforts, the Destroyers totally resisted assimilation. They drove us back, world by world, smashing our civilisation. Other races, too, fell before their advance.

F/X – Another septet of DESTROYER warships smashes a Borg planet (use the one from Scorpion, Part 1). All the CUBES in the area flee. DESTROYER ships catch and destroy some of them.

PARIS (v/o)

Very dramatic, but explain why the Collective still exists if these ‘Destroyers’ were so powerful.

SEVEN (v/o)

We learnt that we were no better than any other race. In desperation, facing our final defeat, we joined with the mightiest races of our galaxy and managed to hold the Destroyers back.

F/X – Borg vessels flying in formation with ships from many other cultures (use any imaginative designs you like). They race forward and manage to kill a small squadron of DESTROYER vessels. The allies suffer heavy losses in the battle.

SEVEN (v/o)

Working with these others, we realised the Destroyers’ one weakness. They relied on a single artificial wormhole to connect us with their home territories. Destroy that link and you defeat their invasion.

F/X – An amazing battle near a wormhole like the one we saw only a few scenes ago. Ships of all kinds throw themselves at Destroyer warships, ramming them if necessary. Finally, a blazing CUBE manages to reach the wormhole. It rams a stabilising generator and the impact destroys both. The wormhole remains steady for a moment, then finally collapses, destroying the other five generators.

KIM (v/o)

Wow!

SEVEN (v/o)

Although we had won the war, the enemy still won many further battles. In the time the wormhole existed, the Destroyers moved hundreds of thousands of warships into our galaxy and suborned entire systems to construct others. These refugees were powerful enough to strike deep into our territory and extract a horrible revenge.

F/X – Seven Destroyer battleships do their planet-killer routine.

SEVEN (v/o)

[Sadly] So died the homeworld of Species 1, the Borg. With our central nexus destroyed, the Collective almost collapsed. It took us over 180 millennia to rebuild our empire and again start assimilating species. [Darkly] In that time, we learnt that the Destroyers had returned, 100,000 years after the Great War. A race called the Iconians fought them and drove them away, but the price was their civilisation.

F/X – MONTAGE – Images of archaeology, including Iconian, T’kon, Promellian and unidentifiable artefacts. Each artefact disappears in flame and we see a Destroyer spacecraft firing at unseen targets.

SEVEN (v/o)

Nine times in the last million years, the Destroyers invaded our galaxy, seeking to extend their empire. Nine times, they were driven back at a nightmarish cost.

INT. BRIEFING ROOM

The HOLOGRAM disappears. SEVEN retracts her TUBULES and faces the room once more

CHAKOTAY

Then this is [beat] the tenth host?

SEVEN

[Cocks her head] Yes. The religious implications are relevant. This time, they appear to have learnt their lesson. There is no great civilisation to face them in the region around their wormhole. They can build up their numbers undisturbed before moving to widen their conquests.

SEVEN looks around the table, looking each character in the eye.

SEVEN

The Collective has again fallen into the trap of arrogance. Even now they withdraw their ships to their core worlds, thinking to ride out this dark invasion. Consequently, you are the only people aware of the true nature of this threat and have the means to act against it.

Do not believe you can avoid this conflict. If the Destroyers are not stopped while their forces are still weak, then they will not be stopped.

SEVEN looks directly at JANEWAY

SEVEN

The Voyager is the last hope for galactic civilisation. The Destroyers must be stopped before they can build up their forces to too great a strength. If they are not stopped quickly, then they will not be stopped at all. You must act or the light of civilisation will be snuffed out forever beneath the darkness of their tyranny. You must stop them, Captain! You MUST…

SEVEN’s eyes suddenly roll back into her head and she collapses in a heap. EVERYONE jumps forward at once. The DOCTOR runs his medical scanner around SEVEN’s head.

DOCTOR

Her synaptic establishment activity has gone off the scale! [Adjusts his Tricorder] Her body is rejecting the Bio-Transceiver Chip. [Turns to PARIS] Alert Sickbay and get ready for emergency surgery!

SEVEN’s eyes flicker open and she looks around worriedly.

SEVEN

[Weakly] My head hurts…

KIM

[Kindly, but worried] Hold on, Seven. The Doctor will look after you.

SEVEN

[Eyes closing again] Don’t worry, Harry. I’ll be alright…

POV on SEVEN’s face and pulling back and up, out of the BRIEFING ROOM. THE DOCTOR supervises PARIS and KIM as they lift SEVEN onto a hover-stretcher just brought in by a MEDIC. As they wheel her away, JANEWAY turns to CHAKOTAY. The Captain is holding herself as if to ward off the cold.

JANEWAY

[Whispers] Now what?

CHAKOTAY

[Gently] I guess we go to war.

FADE

MONTAGE of various departments including ENGINEERING, ASTROMETRICS, the BRIG, SICKBAY and the SHUTTLEBAY with the crew standing, watching monitors. The monitors are showing edited highlights of SEVEN’s show-and-tell, along with plenty of images of the Destroyers’ power. MONTAGE ends with JANEWAY on the BRIDGE, watching the highlights conclude on the main viewscreen. When the program ends, JANEWAY addresses the crew.

JANEWAY

So, there you have it. We are at war. This isn’t a war any of us wanted or expected, but it is a war we must fight nonetheless. If the Destroyers are not beaten while their presence in our galaxy is still small, then we have virtually no hope of stopping them from overrunning every civilisation in the galaxy, [Quiet, but clear] including the Federation.

JANEWAY begins to walk around the BRIDGE, passing the various SENIOR OFFICERS and smiling at them reassuringly. It is like her speech at the beginning of the voyage home.

JANEWAY

[Firm] I won’t lie to you. We are alone out here. We must somehow forge an alliance out of the squabbling civilisations of this sector to fight the Destroyers and somehow destroy their passage to our galaxy from theirs. [Beat] We have one advantage. Before it failed, Seven of Nine’s Bio-Transceiver Chip downloaded into her memory everything the Borg learned about the Destroyers during their war 200,000 years ago. Perhaps, somewhere in that information there is the vital clue that can win this struggle.

JANEWAY smiles at SEVEN, who nods gravely, sensible of the immense weight on her shoulders.

JANEWAY

[Rousingly] The Borg may be trying to sit out of this one, but we have proven ourselves their equal time and time again. This is it, people: the time you keep on reading about in the history texts. This is the moment that will define future history for millennia to come. Either we win this war [beat, gravely] or the future ends, here and now.

JANEWAY looks around at her senior officers, her crew, her friends, the only family she is ever likely to have.

JANEWAY

I will just say this. [Proud] I have never served with a finer, more capable, more professional or more courageous crew. Time and time again, we have done the impossible. [Mischievous] So, let’s do it again! [Firm] I know that you will continue to do the highest traditions of Starfleet, and me, proud. Janeway out.

The CREW scatter to their stations. JANEWAY sits in her chair, straight and proud, much to CHAKOTAY’s approval.

JANEWAY

Signal yellow alert. [LIGHTS and SOUNDS – Yellow Alert] All departments, status reports.

PARIS

All drive systems operational. Full manoeuvrability is available in all flight modes.

TUVOK

All weapons and shielding systems operational. Targeting sensors are at optimum efficiency. All combat teams are armed and standing by.

TORRES (v/o)

Main power fully available. Secondary power is on immediate standby. Auxiliary generators are ready. All batteries are charged.

WILDMAN

All sensor systems read green. Once we are clear of the supernova remnant, all sensors will be at maximum efficiency.

SEVEN

Borg modifications to power and tactical systems read nominal. Hull auto-regeneration nano-probes are armed and ready.

KIM

All stations read manned. Stand-by and emergency crews all ready.

JANEWAY

[Proud] Good. Mr. Paris: set course 042 mark 067, ahead Warp 4 until we clear the supernova remnant, then decelerate to Warp 1. Lt. Wildman, prepare for full sensor sweep.

The CREW reply with the appropriate “Aye, Captain,” making JANEWAY smile.

F/X – The voyager leaps to warp speed away from the supernova remnant.

INT. BRIDGE

WILDMAN checks the sensors as the ship races forward.

KIM

We are clearing the worst of the interference, Ma’am.

JANEWAY

[Rising] Slow to Warp 1, Mr. Paris. Lt. Wildman, begin sweep with passive sensors only.

WILDMAN

Commencing sensor sweep. [Pause] Damn!

JANEWAY walks over to WILDMAN’s station.

JANEWAY

What is it Sam?

WILDMAN

It looks like our playmate has called his friends. There are at least thirty Destroyer vessels detectable to passive sensors, all surrounding the anomaly.

JANEWAY

[Wry] Well, I wasn’t expecting it to be that easy.

CHAKOTAY

So I suppose we go about building an alliance.

KIM

[Urgent] Captain! I am picking up an all-frequency distress call. Captain, it’s the Adronai. They say they’re under attack by ships that match known Destroyer designs.

JANEWAY

[Firm] Mr. Paris, alter course for the Adronai homeworld and accelerate to Warp 9.6. Let’s hope we can make a difference.

F/X – The Voyager accelerates away and vanishes into the distance

CONTINUITY

To be continued, next time on Star Trek – Voyager!

In Conclusion…

So, what do you think? Should I continue, or desist in wasting my time on this pap? J

Feedback? Ooh, yes! I crave it at BenRG@RGFlat.freeserve.co.uk

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.