Star Trek TNG: Universal Schisms Part 1 – Sacrifice

PART 1

Stardate 77372.14

Captain Mark Alexander Smith stood on the bridge of his starship, the USS Lexington. He looked out at the gargantuan Borg vessel on the viewscreen. “Captain, the Borg seem unaware of our presence, but their scans are increasing” said his operations officer, “Maintain Grey-mode Protocol” he ordered. The ship was following the Borg Cube trying to divert it from its course to Earth. Starfleet was bogged down with the Borg in other sectors and even with help from the Klingons and Romulans, they were not making much headway. Planet after planet in system after system were falling to the Borg. a siren alerted at the tactical status, “Captain, we’ve been detected, Borg vessel altering course to an attack position” reported his tactical officer, “Full shields and weapons, fire” he ordered. The Borg vessel was faster as his crew bustled. The first shot was staggering. Explosions rocked the vessel, throwing the Captain to the floor. “Damage report” demanded the Captain, staggering to his feet, “Hull breach on deck 24, main power to 15%, secondary power and emergency back-ups are destroyed, weapons are offline, shields are at 27%, Sir” shouted his tactical officer, “Number 1” he shouted, mimicking an old mentor and role model. His first officer was dead under some debris. The ops officer shouted up, “Captain, what’s left of the sensors are detecting tachyon emissions “. The Captain ignored that and shouted, “Helm, all forward, lay in a collision course, Lieutenant, drop an emergency beacon with information about what happened here” he ordered to his bridge staff, “Bridge to Main Engineering, shunt all available power to the impulse engines on my mark” he said. He took a deep breath to calm himself, “Mark” he said, “Power shunted, Captain” said the Chief Engineer. “Helm, Engage” he said. The ship moved forward, disintegrating as it went, the computers warning system kicked in, “Warning, collision detected, impact in 30 seconds”. The Captain watched with resignation as the Borg ship completely filled the viewscreen. Just before impact he saw a bright light, then lost consciousness.

Stardate 48905.72. USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D. Earth

Captain Jean-Luc Picard sat face to face with Admiral Edward Robertson. Sat next to him was Commander William Riker. The Admiral was briefing the Enterprise command officers as to their mission, “Captain, you understand this mission is to be classified, news of the possible return of the Borg could destabilise the Quadrant. Given that previous Borg attacks have been targeted at humanity, it might give those hostile to Starfleet the excuse they have been looking for to launch assaults along the Federation Borders” said the Admiral, “Understood, Sir, shall we be on our way, time is critical if it is indeed the Borg” said Picard. The wizened Admiral nodded, “Very well, Captain, I pray that I’m wrong” said the Admiral. The Admiral stood, shaking hands with Picard and Riker before leaving the briefing room. Before Picard or Riker could say anything, Lieutenant Commander Data contacted them, “Data to Picard, Captain, internal sensors are reading massive tachyon and chronoton emissions on deck 4” he said. Picard and Riker looked at each other, “Are you sure, Mr Data” said Picard, “Quite certain, Captain, the emissions seem to be occurring in an area about the size of a humanoid male about 6 feet tall” said Data. “Very well, Mr Data, have a security detail meet me and Commander Riker on deck 4” said Picard, leaving the briefing room with Commander Riker close behind.

5 minutes later, Picard, Riker and the security forces sent by Data and Worf were at the area where the tachyons were concentrated. The corridor seemed normal. Nothing seemed out of place, “Picard to Data, we have arrived at the area you directed us to, but there doesn’t seem to be anything here” he said. There was slight interference when Data responded, “Captain, the emissions are concentrating into one area, you might see something in the next few minutes” said Data, through the interference. They did.

As the emissions condensed and concentrated, a bright light filled the corridor. When it cleared enough for the crew to look, a man lay on the deck. His uniform wasn’t recognisable, but the insignia showed he was a Starfleet officer. “Medical scan” ordered Picard. He watched the medic scanning the new man, and looked at him with a comparative eye. Whereas his uniform was black all the way up to the shoulder with red on the shoulders and a blue collar showing with his four command pips, the strangers uniform was black up to the shoulder where the shoulder pads turned grey. The collar was red and Captain Picard noticed that he was looking at another Starfleet Captain. “He’s alive, Captain” said a Security Ensign, “Picard to Transporter Room Three, two to beam directly to sickbay” said the Captain. They both dissolved and left the Commander and the security team on the deck. “Picard to Riker, return to the bridge and set a course for Ceridian III, Warp 6” said the Captain as Doctor Beverley Crusher examined her patient. The Captain watched the bustle quietly as they worked to heal the man’s extensive injuries. Thirty minutes later, the medical team stepped away from the patient, “I’ve stabilized him for the moment, but he is very weak. The next hour should determine his rate of recovery” she said. The Captain pondered the situation, “Can you wake him” he asked. The Doctor looked at him again, “Yes, of course, but he will be very weak” she replied.

Captain Mark Smith was slowly becoming aware of his surroundings. It took him a few seconds to realize that he shouldn’t be able to become aware of his surroundings at all. He tentatively opened his eyes and saw a face that he hadn’t seen in the 20 years since his death. Captain Jean-Luc Picard stood over him. This was impossible as the Captain had been dead for 20 years. “My name is Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the Federation Starship Enterprise” he said briskly, “I know who you are, Sir” said Smith weakly, “I’m Captain Mark Smith, USS Lexington” he said. Before the Captain could reply, Smith fed him the vital piece of information, “Captain, I grew up on this ship, I think I have travelled back in time” he said. Picard didn’t seem surprised, “Yes, we observed tachyon emissions around the time and place you were discovered. But who are you to have grown up aboard the Enterprise” said Picard. Smith sighed, “My dad was the Deputy Chief Engineer who was killed in an EPS explosion when I was eleven” said Smith, “Yes, Lieutenant Smith was killed a week ago, Mr LaForge is trying to find out exactly what caused the explosion. Counsellor Troi is working with, erm, you” said Picard. There was a moment of awkward silence between the Captains. “What’s the Stardate where you’re from” said Picard. Smith cleared his throat, “77371.95” he said. The Captain sighed, “What’s Starfleet doing 40 years from now” said Picard, genuinely interested, “Well, Sir, there is lots I can’t say because of the Temporal Prime Directive. I couldn’t tell you much about the next forty years. However, for the last two years in my time, the Federation has been plagued by the Borg. The USS Alaska monitored several temporal distortions around the badlands, and a number of them had Borg signatures. When the Borg started hitting Federation colonies, the temporal schisms became a low priority” said Smith. Picard looked at him, looking ever so slightly haunted at the mention of the Borg, “What were you doing when you ended up on the Enterprise” asked Picard. Smith wracked his brain, “I believe that we were following a Borg vessel when we were detected. My ship was heavily damaged so I ordered all power to be diverted to the impulse engines and lay in a collision course” said Smith. Picard responded instantly, “Captain, we are on a mission to investigate the sudden appearance of Borg vessels in the Ceridian System. There have been no Borg incursions since the Battle of Wolf 359, but a deep space sensor relay suddenly picked up about 20 signatures. The Enterprise has been sent to investigate” said Picard. Smith frowned, “What’s the precise Stardate, Sir” said Smith, “48905.72” replied Picard. Smith suddenly had all his fears confirmed, “Captain, my recollection of this Stardate is the Enterprise going to Starbase 384 for weapons system refits” said Smith. Picard looked at him, “Yes, but Admiral Robertson redirected us to investigate the readings from the deep space sensor array” said Picard, equally concerned. “It would appear that some event has changed the timelines, quite possibly starting with the Borg invasion in my time, leading to the destruction of my ship to my appearance aboard the Enterprise” said Smith.

On the bridge Commander Riker was looking at the sensors with Data. “What could be causing these readings, Mr Data” said Riker. Data made a face that almost looked pensive, “The parameters do not conform to that of any known sub-space or temporal distortions currently on record, Sir” said Data. Riker considered his options, “Any theories” he said. Before data responded, Worf spoke up, “Commander, there is a Borg signature emanating from the distortion. A Gravimetric distortion extending from the main disturbance” he said. Before the commander could give an order, the ship was enveloped in the gravimetric disturbance. “Red alert, Captain Picard to the bridge” said Riker, “All engines, full reverse” he ordered. The ship shuddered violently as the helm officer carried out Riker’s orders, “Commander, engines are at full reverse, it’s not having any effect” said the helm officer.

Down in sickbay, Captain Picard was deliberating with Captain Smith, “Captain, come with me” said Picard. The Captains left the sickbay and walked towards the bridge. “Picard to the Bridge, Number One, what’s the situation” said Picard. “We are caught in a gravimetric distortion expanding from a larger anomaly. Mr Worf has detected a Borg signature and Mr Data has no theories. Engines are at full reverse but it’s not having any effect” said Riker. Picard sighed, “Understood” he said.

Riker was watching the situation evolve in front of him. “Bridge to LaForge, I need more power to the impulse drive” said Riker urgently as the ship shook more violently, “I’ll do what I can, Sir, but if we keep this up the manifolds will rupture and we’ll be dead in the water” said Commander LaForge. The turbolift doors hissed open and Captain Picard stepped out with the other Captain, Riker was aware of the ripple of unease at the stranger on the bridge. “Report, Commander” said Picard, “Sir our best indication is that a Borg vessel is about to emerge from the distortion, there are chronoton emissions emanating from the distortion” said Riker, he looked at the other Captain, “It’s possible that this distortion could also lead to your time, Sir” said Riker. Picard looked to Smith, “Suggestions” he said. Smith thought for a second. “Mr Data, can you display sensor readings or the distortion on the main viewer” said Smith. Data complied instantly and Smith studied the readings, “This looks like a Borg Transwarp conduit, but the readings are unusual. Commander Riker’s assessment is correct, Sir, this distortion could indeed lead to my time” said Smith. He walked over to Worf, “Commander, launch a photon torpedo at these coordinates , prime it to explode on arrival. The antimatter discharge may break the ship free, helm reduce power before the manifolds rupture” he said, walking back to Picard and Riker at the centre of the bridge. He looked at Picard, “Ready, Sir, that should free the Enterprise from the distortion field” he said. Picard nodded, “Mr Worf, fire torpedoes” said Picard. Worf nodded, “Firing, Captain”. The torpedo flew from the ship, exploding right on target, “Captain, gravimetric distortion is weakening” reported Data, “Helm full reverse” said Picard.

As the Enterprise  reversed away from the distortion, a Borg vessel protruded from it. The vessel was enormous in size and scope. “Captain, engines are overtaxed from the effort of escaping the distortion, we must power down or the impulse manifolds will rupture” said the helm officer. Picard focused on the helm officer, “Warp Engines” he questioned. The helm officer checked, “No, Captain, the gravimetric disturbances are interfering with the warp bubble I can’t get it to stabilize” said the helm officer. Smith stepped in, “Ensign, is there a way to reduce the warp profile of the Enterprise” said Smith. The Ensign thought for a second, “Yes but we can’t do it from here” she said, “ there is a malfunction in the command relays, it will have to be done from Main Engineering” she said. Picard stood, tapping his communicator, “Picard to Engineering, Mr LaForge, find a way to lower the warp profile of the ship” he said. The Borg ship continued to emerge from the distortion when LaForge contacted them again, “LaForge to Bridge, warp profile should be concealed” said LaForge. The Borg vessel was fully out of the distortion and the distortion was dissipating. “Scan the vessel, Mr Data” said Picard. Data scanned the Borg ship. “It is larger than the Borg vessels we have encountered so far, but its structure is perfectly geometric. There is a large section of damage to the vessel, indicating that a starship similar in size to the Enterprise collided with the ship” said Data. A sound of anguish and pain came from Captain Smith. The crew looked at him, “Remember what I said, Captain. The last thing I remember before waking up on deck 4 was my ship being heavily damaged in a Borg attack as a Borg vessel headed for Earth. I rammed the Borg to try and destroy them. I failed” said Captain Smith, sinking to his knees. A beeping cut through the tension on the bridge, “Captain, we are being hailed” said Worf. Captain Smith still knelt on the bridge, head held in shame, Captain Picard stood and walked forwards. Before he could order the channel open Worf said, “We are being scanned, Sir”. Picard looked at the damaged vessel, “Open a channel” he said. The screen showed an image of a terrible creature. It looked like a woman, only it had tubes sticking out of the crown of its head. Captain Picard and Captain Smith recognised it as a Borg queen. Her face showed an expression that had she not been an emotionless cybernetic abomination would have been likened to imperious and smug. “Locutus” she said to Picard. Picard’s face stonewalled, “That is not my name” he said, “Why do you resist us, Locutus, you know what we are capable of” she said. The bridge was quiet as Captain Picard and the Borg queen faced off. “Lucky for you, Locutus, we are not interested in you today” said the Borg queen suddenly. “Then what do you want” demanded Picard, coldly. She almost smiled, “Captain Mark Smith” she said, the words carefully measured for maximum effect. Picard’s gaze swung toward Smith briefly, “And if we refuse” said Picard. The Borg queen didn’t answer straight away. After a couple of seconds she said, “Deck 14 is now overrun with drones. If you do not had us Mark Smith, they will force visual and audio imagery of the slow assimilation of your crew until you change your mind” she said. Before Picard could respond, Smith stood, rage filling his thoughts. “You want me? Fine. Prepare to receive me, but if you want an easy assimilation subject, no if you expect an easy assimilation target then prepare for the biggest resistance you have ever encountered” said Smith. Picard flashed him a steely glare. “You’re threats are irrelevant, you know I won’t sacrifice a member of my crew” said Picard. Smith shot Picard an equally steely glare, “With respect, Captain Picard, the lives of the crew aboard this ship are worth more than mine. I lost my ship and all my crew are dead, so I will do anything to protect this ship and this crew” said Smith. Before Picard could respond the Borg queen smiled, that same mechanic, mirthless smile. “Not all of your crew are dead, Captain” she said.

To be continued…

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