Star Trek TNG: Universal Schisms Part 2- Losses

PART 2

Captain Jean-Luc Picard and Captain Mark Smith stood at a critical turning point. The Borg had placed a demand for Captain Smith. Captain Picard knew that handing him over would only mean that the Borg would chase the Enterprise until they recaptured him. Picard also had a hostage situation on deck 14 where the malicious Borg queen had transported scores of drones aboard as leverage to get what they wanted. Picard was trying to maintain control of a hot-headed Captain Smith who wanted to rescue the remnants of his crew. “If you have my crew, show me” demanded Smith. The Borg queen didn’t respond, other than moving aside to show two drones holding a struggling figure of a woman in the same uniform as him. “Mark” came the struggled gasps of the woman. Again Captain Smith fell to his knees as he recognised Lieutenant Commander Alyssa Smith, his wife”. The Borg queen again stepped back into the picture, “Will you join us, Smith” asked the queen, knowing she had the Enterprise crew and Smith backed into a corner. Knowing the situation was beyond him, Smith looked to Picard, “Captain” he said, resigned and defeated. Picard looked to him, “I cannot allow you to leave this ship, the Borg will just come after us again regardless, but then again, I cannot expect you to abandon your crew” said Picard, “Sir, we can’t save them” said Smith, “The Enterprise is more important” he said. Riker exploded, “How can you abandon them to assimilation”. Smith glared at him, “I don’t do it easily, Commander, that’s my wife on the screen, but here and now I have a duty as a Starfleet officer” he said. He turned to the screen, “My love, I’m sorry” he said, head sinking, before turning his attention to the Borg queen, “Go to hell, you skinny mechanic bitch” he growled. The drone holding Lieutenant Commander Smith lifted its hand, injecting the nanites into her blood stream. She screamed, the pain unbearable as the Borg nanites began to alter her. Her scream was not long-lived. Soon only a shell of the former human remained. “Locutus, you will be ours again, Smith, you will make an excellent drone” said the queen, closing the channel. A sniffle escaped Smith.

Worf was intently watching the sensors throughout the whole exchange, nothing had really changed until now, “Captain, Borg weapons systems charging” he said. Picard wasted no time, “Helm, Warp 4, engage” he shouted. The Enterprise leapt away to warp 4. “Captain, receiving a distress transmission from deck 14” said Worf. Picard stood up, “Are the Borg following us from Earth” he asked. Worf checked the sensors, “Yes, Captain, closing at warp 7” said Worf. “Increase to maximum warp” he said, “Lets lead them away from Earth, Mr Worf, scan deck 14, I want to know what’s going on down there” said Picard. Worf worked the sensors, “Captain, visual contact” said Worf. “On screen” said Picard. The corridor was dark, drones moved around assimilating crewmembers of the Enterprise. Picard and the Bridge crew watched in horror, “Survivors” asked Riker. “None, Commander, all either assimilated or in the process of being assimilated” said Worf. The bridge was silent, “Vent deck 14” ordered Picard. The crew rippled, “Captain” said Commander Riker, “Number one, venting deck 14 might spare the crew a living hell, I’m doing it to save the Enterprise” said Picard. Worf keyed in the command sequence, “Ready, Captain” he said, indicating that the deck was primed for venting. “Make it so, Commander” said Picard. Worf punched it in. “Venting complete, Captain” said Riker, “Nothing is alive down there” he finished.

The Borg cube pursued the Enterprise relentlessly. The Borg queen was hell bent, if you could consider her hell bent, on capturing Locutus and Captain Smith. The Enterprise was going at maximum cruise speed. She watched as the Enterprise drew closer as the Borg ship was outrunning her. She could picture the resistance that Locutus and Smith would put up as they were assimilated into the Collective. If you could call what she felt pleasure, she had a pleasurable anticipation of the assimilation to come.

Back on the Enterprise, Captain Picard watched the Borg ship closing in, “What is our current velocity” he asked. “Warp 9.2, Sir” reported Data, “Increase to Warp 9.8” said Picard. Smith stood up, “Captain, Warp 9.8 puts the Enterprise at extreme risk, especially given that the Borg are pursuing us” said Captain Smith. Picard looked over at him, “What are you suggesting, Mr Smith” he asked. “Mr Data, show me a map of the region” said Captain Smith. The map came up at Data’s station. “There, the Archanis Nebula, if we head there at Warp 9.6, we can be there in about 11 hours. With that Borg cube as badly damaged as it is, it is unlikely that they will be able to go much faster that Warp 9.6” said Smith. Picard nodded, “Make it so” he said, returning to the command chair.

The Borg queen experienced something that could be likened to rage and frustration. The Enterprise had increased speed to Warp 9.6 and with the damage caused by the impact with the Lexington meant that the cube could not outpace the Enterprise. The only way they would out run the ship is if they carried on for more than 12 hours and had to drop out of warp. The entire collective consciousness of the Borg was focused on the Enterprise and little more.

10 hours 53 minutes 23 seconds later

The Enterprise dropped out of warp and headed into the nebula. Commander Riker stood next to Data’s station, “Captain, this nebula has a high level of Particle Flux, we can’t stay in here long” he said. Picard nodded, “How long do we have, Number one” he said, gravely. Riker looked at the screen, “24 minutes, Captain”. “Take us to the edge of the nebula, Mr Worf, prepare a full spread of Photon torpedoes to fire straight into the damaged section of the Borg cube” said Captain Picard. “Aye, Sir” said Worf. The Enterprise moved out at half impulse, Worf ready to unleash the Enterprise’s weapons systems on the Borg ship. When they reached the edge of the Nebula, there was no Borg ship. “Full sensor scan” said Picard. Data performed the Scan, “Captain Smith, please have a look at this information” said Data. Smith had a look, “Captain, the Borg vessel has set a course for Starbase 245, it looks like it’s just approaching the edge of sensor range, so presume it’s moving at Warp 9.7” said Captain Smith. Picard looked shocked, “Bridge to Engineering, Geordi, what is the effect on the warp engines from our prolonged travel at warp 9.6” he said, “We have to keep power output of the warp engines to a minimum, Captain, I suggest you don’t push her faster than warp 7”  said Geordi LaForge. Picard turned to Data, “Mr Data, how soon could we be there at warp 7” he said, “2 hours 28 minutes 45 seconds, Sir” said Data, “Helm, lay in a pursuit course, Engage” said Picard.

Starbase 245

Commodore Andre Heston was the base commander of Starbase 245. It was a quiet assignment as Starfleet had always routed invading forces before they approached the base. Today however, they were watching the sensors as they showed a Borg vessel approaching at high warp with no Federation Starships to route it. The Commodore watched as the crew bustled to the final preparations, making sure the weapons and shields were active. “Sir, Borg vessel arrival in 2 minutes” said an officer. This was it, the battle was afoot and there was nothing anyone could do about it. Moments later, the gargantuan cube dropped out of warp. Without warning it savagely attacked the Starbase. Within moments officers were reporting shield failures and hull breaches. After a meagre 7 minutes, the station was little more than a debris field. The Borg cube silently moved off, hoping to lure the Enterprise towards them.

2 hours 21 minutes later

The USS Enterprise dropped out of warp 50000 kilometres away from the debris field that was Starbase 245. “My God” said Captain Smith looking at the devastation left in the wake of the Borg. “Captain, the Borg are trying to lure us into a trap. Judging by the continuing trail away from this site, it is the only conceivable solution”. Riker thought hard, “We need reinforcements, Captain, but we can’t take the Enterprise back into Federation space. The Borg would just follow” he said. “Mr Worf, what is the nearest Starship to our location” he said. Worf checked, “The Galaxy, Sir” he responded. “Open a channel” he ordered. Within seconds, the face of Captain Alex Bertrum was on the screen, “Captain Picard, how can we help you” he said, “We need to get an officer back to Earth to brief the Council about a Borg invasion. But I can’t take the Enterprise back in to Federation Space, could you rendezvous with us” asked Picard, “Certainly, Captain, set a course to meet us and we will do the same, rendezvous in 3 hours, Galaxy out”  said Captain Bertrum. “Helm, lay in an intercept course and engage at warp 6” said Picard, “All senior officers, report to the bridge” said Riker.

Picard, Riker, Data and Worf walked into the observation lounge. Picard took the seat at the head of the table and waited, the tension palpable between the officers. Moments later, Doctor “Commander” Beverley Crusher, Lieutenant Commander Geordi LaForge and Councillor “Lieutenant Commander” Deanna Troi walked into the briefing room. When they were all seated. “For those who haven’t met our new crewmate, this is Captain Mark Smith. He commands the Federation Starship Lexington about 30 years from now and was only sent back when he intersected with a temporal distortion” said Picard, introducing Smith. There was a ripple of recognition as they all recognised the 41 year old version of the boy who still regularly saw Councillor Troi and Doctor Crusher. “Good Morning” said Smith, formally to the people who had helped raise him to what he was. “As you know the Borg are trying to lure this ship into a trap in an attempt to acquire Captain Smith and myself, so we can’t fly back to Earth, without bringing the Borg down on us. So we are setting a course to rendezvous with the USS Galaxy. I will go aboard the Galaxy and we will head back to Earth at maximum warp. Commander Riker and Captain Smith will assume control of the ship, with Captain Smith leading the Borg away” said Picard. Picard turned to Smith, inviting him to talk, “I know it won’t be easy, taking orders from someone you perceive to be a small boy, but I promise you, I will do everything I can to keep this ship safe. I would welcome any suggestions you might have while I’m in Command” said Smith. Picard turned back to the crew, “We rendezvous with the Galaxy in 3 hours, Captain Smith please stay, the rest of you return to your duties” he said. Captain Smith remained seated alongside Captain Picard. “Captain, what I’m about to do is dangerous. When I was assimilated by the Borg, they assimilated my thought patterns and its possible that wherever they are they know what I’m planning, or at least they can guess” he said. He looked distant for a moment, and Smith knew what pressure this was putting on the Captain. “I’m going to send a report to the Admiralty explaining who you are, but I’m going to classify it top secret, so you will have to get into a Starfleet uniform like what the crew wears. I also would like you to keep a sensor lock on the USS Galaxy for as long as you can in case the Borg attack. Are you prepared to command my ship, Captain” said Picard, “Aye, Sir” said Smith, “Computer, transfer all command functions to Captain Smith, authorization Picard Alpha Tango” said Picard. “There is no Authorization for Captain Smith, please enter the relevant information” said the computer. “Computer, enter authorization code Smith Zulu five” said Smith, “Register information under Captain Mark Smith” said Smith. “Command functions transferred to Captain Mark Smith” said the cool voice of the computer. “The Enterprise is now your ship, Captain” said Picard. Smith smiled sadly, “The Enterprise will always be your ship, Captain, I will just be another chapter in hers and your story, Sir” said Captain Smith.

3 hours later

The USS Galaxy was holding position just off the starboard bow awaiting Captain Picard’s arrival. “Smith to Transporter room two, is Captain Picard ready to disembark” he said, “Yes, Sir, just waiting for confirmation from the Galaxy, Sir” replied Miles O’Brien. Smith settled into his chair and his new uniform. “As soon as you have confirmation from the Galaxy, beam Captain Picard over” he said, “Yes, Sir” said O’Brien.

Captain Smith was somewhat uncomfortable. The universe was in a state of temporal flux that none could predict and he and Captain Picard were now right at the centre of things. A single mistake could result in the destruction of the Enterprise, writing the rest of history for the Federation in a completely different manner, it could even destroy the Federation. As the report came in that Captain Picard had been transported to the other ship, Smith ordered that a wide band covariant signal be transmitted on all frequencies and that the ship move away at warp 6. As far as all intelligence aboard the Enterprise, only one Borg vessel had been reported, so that meant they had to keep it busy until Picard could muster the fleet to destroy it.  “Captain, Borg vessel approaching from heading 232 mark 4” said Worf, his deep voice rumbling across the bridge, “Hold your course, Mr Evans” ordered Smith as the crew rippled with unease. “Mr Worf, Report” he said  turning to look at his tactical officer. Worf checked the sensors, “Borg vessel is approaching at warp 9.1 , visual contact in ten seconds, its weapons are fully charged” said Worf. Smith sighed, “On Screen” he said. The image showed a Borg vessel, but it looked to be too small to be a Borg cube. “Magnify” he said. The magnified image showed a Borg sphere, “Damn” shouted Smith, “Mr Evans, drop out of warp, Mr Data, contact the Galaxy, warn them that they might be at risk of attack” said Smith. “Time to intercept, 1 minute, 24 seconds”  said Worf. “Red Alert, all hands to battle stations” said Riker. “Captain, I am unable to raise communications with the Galaxy” said Data. “Sensors show a second Borg signal on an intercept course with the Galaxy” said Worf, as the Borg sphere dropped out of warp. “Mr Worf, fire a full spread of photons and phasers at a concentrated section of that vessel” he said, “Helm, lay in an intercept course for the USS Galaxy, maximum warp” he said. He watched dispassionately as Worf’s barrage of weapon fire slammed into the Borg vessel, ripping it apart. “Helm, the USS Galaxy, engage” he said, urgency gripping him.

The Enterprise jumped to warp. “ETA on the Galaxy” he said, “12 minutes, Captain” said the helm officer, “Maintain course and speed” he said, “Senior officers, report to the bridge” said Smith. He turned to Commander Riker, “Mr Riker, when we complete this briefing, I want  you and Mr Worf to prepare a fully armed security detail and lead it over to the Galaxy if I see fit” said Smith. “Aye, Sir are you expecting trouble” said Riker, “Yes, Commander” he turned to Councillor Troi, “Councillor, what do you imagine the news of an imminent threat to the Federation would do to the crew” he said, “ Panic them, and if we are wrong, it would cause resent and the crew would be bristling under your command” said Troi. Smith sighed, “Options, we are facing a real and present danger from the Borg and I cannot in good consciousness keep them in the dark” he said. Smith wished he had Picard’s wisdom in this situation, “We are informing the crew, I’ll address them at the proper moment” he said as the bridge turbolift doors hissed open and the senior officers stepped out. “This is a critical briefing, it will be given to all hands, open internal communications link” he said. He sighed, “All hands this is the bridge, there is an extreme risk to the Federation. We just lost contact with the USS Galaxy which Captain Picard transferred to in order to warn Earth of the impending Borg attack. We have reason to believe that the Galaxy is under attack from a Borg cube and are therefore setting a course to intercept, I want all stations battle ready in 4 minutes” he said, closing the internal comms. “I need to options. The Enterprise may be out matched by the Borg and I need ways to keep her in the fight. Mr LaForge, Mr Data, work on a way of increasing shields and weapons to compensate for the adaptive nature of the Borg, Commander Riker, Mr Worf, I need tactical strategies in place. Captain Picard may still be in a position where we can rescue him and so we must try to do so. The future of the Federation may depend on it” he said, “Doctor Crusher, Captain Picard may be injured if we can retrieve him, and the battle may cause injuries across the ship, I want your medical teams on full standby” he said as Doctor Crusher nodded her assent. “Councillor Troi, I need you to remain on the bridge, with the rest of the senior staff off the bridge, I’ll need you to act as my first officer” he said, Troi looked worried, but accepted his orders, “Captain, we are approaching the USS Galaxy I’m not reading any Borg vessels” said the Helmsman, “Slow to 1/3” he said. “Mr Worf, open a channel, we shouldn’t have met the Galaxy so soon” he said. Turning his attention to the Galaxy, he said “Enterprise to Galaxy”. There was no response, “Enterprise to Galaxy, please respond” still nothing, “Mr Worf, intensive scan” he said. Worf scanned the Galaxy, “Nothing out of the ordinary, Captain”. Then the first shot came. “Captain, we are being hailed” said Worf, “On screen” shouted Captain Smith.

The Borg queen observed the crew of the USS Enterprise with an almost excited disposition. She knew that they would be demoralized when they saw her, and even more demoralized to see who accompanied her and what she had done to him.  It pleased her to have so many new ‘children’ in her fold. “You, what the hell are you playing at” said Captain Smith. “Perfecting the galaxy” replied the queen cryptically. “Where is Captain Picard” demanded Smith.

The bridge crew of the Enterprise were bristling at the appearance of the Borg queen on the USS Galaxy. The Borg queen hadn’t responded to Captain Smith’s question as to the whereabouts of Captain Picard. Suddenly she stepped aside. A figure stepped forward, “I am Locutus of Borg, lower your shields and surrender your ship, resistance is futile”

To be continued…

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.