“This is incredible,” Kim said as he read the information that was displayed on his PADD.
“What?” Chakotay asked, as he sipped his drink. The two had decided to take a little break in the officer’s mess before the fleet would move on to Kalat.
“If this data is correct, we are lucky something like this did not happen a while ago. We seem to have been going through a part of space that the Borg have almost entirely conquered for over a month now. I thought that Kes had thrown us well beyond Borg territory. Perhaps it is not as well defined as we once thought.”
“Maybe the ‘silent invaders’ the captain of the Quahi vessel we ran into a few weeks ago referred to were the Borg. The Borg don’t tend to talk to much.”
“You can add conversation to the list of things the Borg feel are ‘irrelevant,” Kim joked. Chakotay had to laugh along with him. “Ever tried holding a conversation with Seven of Nine? She can end one before you ever start it.”
Chakotay smiled. “Most of my conversations with Seven of Nine never go beyond ship’s business.”
Harry started with a nervous stutter, swallowed it, and continued, “According to this data. It will take us another two years to get out of the Borg sphere of influence!”
“What about the rest of the journey home? Are we going to have to make any long detours to stay out of Borg space?” Chakotay asked.
“I have no idea. The data Tuvok got doesn’t have anything like a map showing the boundary of space that the Borg have claimed. That would make sense, as the Borg don’t seem to respect any boundaries. But there are several star systems noted in the information, and the computer was able to extrapolate a map of the nearby systems. Seven has been converting the data for use in astrometrics, so we should have the area charted in the next day or so.
“It looks like the Borg are really worried about us, too. There are only two other cubes within a month of here. By all outward appearances, they do not plan to mess around. We are to be destroyed.”
Chakotay smiled. “Not if B’Elanna has anything to say about it. She is driving the Engineering department insane with all of the modifications she wants done. She’s having three different shield nutation programs installed, modifying all of the phaser banks, and trying to get reaction time on the impulse drive down by fifteen percent. I am glad I’m not down there right now. I am sure some of them haven’t slept since she came back on duty.”
“She probably has Borg on the brain now. I was talking with Oro, from the surface, and he told me some pretty tall tales about her. It seems that she has become something of a legend on Bint’Ari. One story had something to do with her killing fifty Borg in one battle,” Kim said.
“That doesn’t surprise me. She bottles up so much of her aggression that I am certain that once she let it out, anyone who stood in her way regretted ever even looking at her.”
“I hear they named her after an animal on the planet. Ti’hat, I think it was. Oro described it, and it sounded something like a large Tasmanian devil,” Kim explained.
“Well, I wouldn’t call her that, if I were you,” Chakotay smiled. “From you, she might take it as a joke, but I don’t think I would take that chance.”
“All senior officers, to the bridge,” Janeway’s voice said over the comm-system.
“Oh well,” Kim said. “Looks like the fun is over.”
Kim and Chakotay walked on to the bridge in time to catch the end of the conversation between Janeway and the Khamish Colonel.
“The modifications your Ensign helped us make to our shields are completed, and are working well,” the Colonel said. “The auto-nutation program may fail, however, if the shields are hit too hard.”
“That is to be expected,” Janeway replied. “Your shield generators aren’t designed for constant frequency modulation. Honestly, I am surprised that your engineers were able to manage it at all.”
“There is not a lot that we cannot accomplish, Captain,” the Colonel said. “The fleet is ready to depart. We’ve taken on the last of the Guard units the Bint’Ari sent to accompany us, and all of the repairs are completed.”
“Excellent,” Janeway replied. “Let’s be on our way, then.” As the channel closed, Janeway ordered Paris to proceed towards the Borg planet at Warp 6. Unexpectedly, The Doctor strolled onto the bridge, and sat down at an empty console.
“Doctor, I am surprised to see you,” Janeway said. “Is there something wrong?”
“It was my understanding that the Chief Medical Officer had a spot on the bridge. I was merely following tradition,” The Doctor replied.
“Drove yourself out of sickbay, did you?” Paris snickered.
“Certainly the presence of my ‘copies’ contributed to the decision to leave sickbay. I had no idea that I was so annoying! The copies are being entirely unreasonable. None of them will submit to deletion, and none of them will shut themselves off, for fear that they will be deleted if they do.”
“A reasonable fear, Doctor,” Janeway explained. “The only reason that you are not being pressured to delete yourself is that when the malfunction occurred, you were the first to reappear, and you were the first to get to your holo-emitter, and haven’t taken it off since. How would you feel if one of your copies were insisting that you be deleted?”
“They are!” The Doctor exclaimed. “In fact, the only thing that they can agree upon is that I should be the first one to go.”
“Rest assured, Doctor,” Janeway interjected. “Your problem will be dealt with once we are safely under way.”
“I need to learn to stop trying to improve my program,” The Doctor mumbled to himself.
“Captain, ETA to Borg planet two-point-five minutes,” Paris reported. The fleet was moving along at impulse speeds, after stopping for a short time about ten minutes away from the planet. The Khamish Commander thought it best to come into range of the planet with all of the fighter deployed, in case the Borg attacked sooner than expected.
“Any luck on the sensors, Mr. Kim?” Janeway asked.
“I’m afraid not, Captain,” Kim replied. “I can’t figure out what it is the Borg are doing to jam us. I can get a clear picture of the planet, and the surrounding space, but the cubes I’ve detected keep disappearing and re-appearing from the sensors. It is like nothing I’ve ever seen before.”
“How many different cubes have you seen so far?” Chakotay asked.
“I’ve confirmed that there are at least two Attack Cubes and one Scout Class Cube,” Kim replied. “There could be a hundred more, though. It is almost like there is a layer around the planet that is totally cloaked. I’m not reading any matter what-so-ever between the altitudes of ten and fifteen kilometers.”
“Species 756 exhibited a similar technology,” Seven suggested. “It is possible that the Borg assimilated that species since my, ‘liberation’ from the Collective.”
“Any idea how to neutralize it?” Janeway asked.
“None,” Seven replied.
“One minute until we are in range, Captain,” Paris reported.
“Captain!” Kim exclaimed. “The sensor interference is gone! Suddenly, I have a clear picture of the matter in that altitude range.”
“Perhaps it was impairing their sensor readings as well,” Chakotay suggested. “Maybe one of the cubes that was outside of the belt detected us, and they turned off the sensor screen to get a better picture of us.”
“A reasonable hypothesis,” Seven confirmed. “Our experience with the sensor screen indicated it blocked all sensor scans, regardless of their source.”
“How many ships are you reading, Ensign?” Janeway asked.
“Five Attack Cubes, two Destroyers, and six Scout Class cubes,” Kim replied.
“Looks like we have them outnumbered by a few thousand,” Janeway half-heartedly joked, referring to the thousands of one-man fighters that surrounded the fleet. Notify the Colonel our scans, she might not have a clear read yet.”
“Can you get any details on the planet’s surface?” Chakotay asked. “If we are going to knock out the Borg planet-based collective network, we will need some information of the location of the transceivers.”
“There is still some sort of dampening field blocking details about the planet’s surface from our sensors,” Kim replied. “I can tell that the planet-bound Borg are operating under an extremely decentralized system, much like a cube itself. The ground strike units are going to have to use the information from Tuvok’s download as well as their own sensors to locate the transceivers.”
“Such an attempt would almost certainly prove futile,” Seven added. “There could be several thousand transceivers on this planet. An invasion force would have to be significantly larger to disable all of them.”
“That is a chance we are going to have to take,” Chakotay replied.
“Janeway to Tuvok,” the Captain said as she tapped her comm-badge. “Are the shuttles ready to launch?”
“The Hesoid, Heston, and Aust en are standing by,” Tuvok replied. “The last quantum torpedo is being secured inside of the Heston, and we should be ready to depart in ten minutes.”
“We’ll try to get you as close to the planet as we can,” Janeway replied. “Janeway out.”
“Status of the Borg fleet?” Chakotay asked.
“It looks like they’ve seen us. They are moving this way,” Kim reported. “But they have not tried to hail us.”
“It will not be long,” Seven replied.
“We are the Borg,” the monotonous voice was heard over the ship’s comm-system. “Lower your shields and surrender your ships. You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.”
“I spoke too soon,” Harry said.
“Have the Khamish fighters engage the cubes,” Janeway ordered. “We need a distraction in order to get close enough to the planet for the shuttles to get into the atmosphere without a problem.”
“Fire at will, Ensign Young,” Chakotay ordered the young tactical officer. “And if you would avoid the attack cubes for the time being, Mr. Paris, that might be a good idea.”
The Khamish fighter pilots, eager for the confrontation, surged towards the Borg cubes at full speed. A few disappointed pilots stayed behind with their ships, to prevent an attack on one of the Mothers. The Mother ships, in the meantime, were maintaining a very tight formation, and managed to lock their shields together so that each ship would benefit from the shielding of the others. Voyager skirted the edge of the battle, to avoid getting into range of one of the Attack cubes.
Janeway glanced several times at Seven of Nine during the opening minutes of the battle, trying to read some kind of reaction on the woman’s face. Seven did not oblige her with any discernable response. She remained transfixed on the view-screen, blinking only when necessary.
“Signal the Captain of Delta Mother, Mr. Kim,” Janeway instructed. “We need her to break formation and follow us towards the planet, so that we can drop off the landing parties.”
“Aye Captain,” Kim replied. “Delta Mother and four fighter squadrons will be here in about a minute.”
“Captain,” Paris called from the helm. “I’ve got a Borg Scout heading straight for us.”
“Mr. Young, fire a spread of torpedoes as the Scout,” Janeway ordered. “Perhaps we can discourage it.”
Five torpedoes lanced out the rear of Voyager, and impacted the Scout one after another. The small cube shuddered under the force of the explosion, but it did not slow down. Several bits of the ship were blown off during the explosion, so it looked more like a jagged rock than a cube.
“Captain, it’s on a collision course,” Paris warned. “I’m trying to move out of its way, but the cube keeps adjusting its course to match mine. I can’t stay ahead of it.”
“Aft phasers, Mr. Young,” Chakotay ordered.
“No effect, Commander,” Young replied.
“Set up the frequency rotation program,” Janeway ordered. “They may have already adapted to our current frequency.”
“The Khamish fighters have arrived, Captain,” Kim reported. “One of the squads is dropping several anti-matter pods between us and the Borg Scout.”
“Has the Scout changed course, Mr. Paris?” Janeway asked.
“No,” Paris replied. “In fact, its about to hit that antimatter-”
The viewscreen flashed a bright white glow. The Scout collided with the antimatter pods, which resulted in a spectacular explosion. Voyager was far enough away to avoid being caught up in the antimatter reaction, but two of the fighters weren’t so lucky. The explosion damaged one of the fighters, which in careening off course, collided with the second fighter, destroying them both.
“Signal the fighters our thanks, Mr. Kim, and give the Captain of the Delta Mother our heading,” Janeway ordered. “Mr. Paris, take us to the planet.”
“Aye Captain,” Paris replied, adjusting the ship’s course.
“The Captain of the Delta Mother is following,” Kim reported. “One of the Borg Destroyers in changing course to intercept.”
“Is it on a collision course?” Chakotay asked.
“It doesn’t look that way. A few of the Delta Squadrons have turned to engage it,” Kim replied.
“More speed, Mr. Paris,” Janeway ordered. “We need to get the landing party off before we can engage the cubes.”
“Captain, we are receiving a message from the Delta Mother,” Kim said. “They are going to make a stand here against the Destroyer so that we can make a run for the planet.”
“So long as some of us get to the planet,” Janeway replied. “Let’s see it, Mr. Kim.”
The view-screen blinked to a view of the rear of Voyager, and the crew watched hopefully as the Delta Mother engaged the first of the Borg destroyers.
The commander of the Delta Mothership signaled her intentions to Voyager and the Colonel before she made her move. The Borg were not just going to allow the fleet to land troops on their planet, she knew that all along. But the Major felt that the Borg would have a harder time sending ships to attack the enemies that were heading for their world. They had only expected the five Attack cubes, though.
“We are coming about, Major,” the Lieutenant at the helm reported.
“Excellent. Give me a view of the Destroyer.”
The small view-screen shifted to the cube. Small flecks surrounded the giant vessel, the flecks being the attacking swarm of fighters. Several groups of fighters moved in tight formation towards the cube, each carrying out a different set of orders, in order to bring down the big cube as quickly as possible.
The Destroyer, which was vainly trying to hit the fighters that were swarming towards it with disrupter beams, did something unexpected. Invisible to those on the Delta Mother, the cube opened up a small circle on the side of their ship, and released a tiny, spherical probe. The sphere targeted one of the Khamish fighters that was moving towards the cube, and collided into it. The resulting explosion was so large that it engulfed the entire squadron that surrounded the assaulted fighter.
“What the hell was that?” demanded the Major, who stared at the blinding explosion with amazement.
“Some kind of explosion, sir,” the Corporal replied. “The sensors are reading a high level of radiation emanating from the explosion.”
“Get a fix on that squad,” the Major ordered. “How many made it through that explosion?”
“Two sir,” the Lieutenant replied. “They were out of formation at the time with engine trouble.”
“What about the rest of them?”
“Destroyed, sir,” the Lieutenant replied.
“There were two hundred fighters in that squad,” the Major sighed. “All but two of them gone.”
“Major, two more explosions have been detected. We have lost all contact with Blue and Green squads.”
“They have to be using some kind of nuclear weapon, Major,” the Lieutenant said. “A nuclear reaction involving antimatter results in a huge explosion, much larger than a conventional nuclear explosion. Any ship anywhere near such an explosion centered in a fighter squadron would be engulfed.”
“Lieutenant, order the fighters to break formation and engage the cube at point blank range,” the Major yelled across the bridge. “They won’t use those nukes so close to their ship.”
“Alpha Mother reports four of their squadrons have been lost in similar explosions,” the Lieutenant reported.
“How long until we can fire?” the Major asked.
“One minute until the MF cannon is fully charged,” The Lieutenant replied.
“Launch the Bint’Ari landing ships, and send a squad to accompany them.”
“They will reach the surface in ten minutes,” the Corporal said. “They won’t have a chance out there! There are too many Borg ships out there.”
“I don’t see us having much of a choice!” The Major replied, angrily. “Keep your station!”
“Bint’Ari ships away,” the Lieutenant reported. “White Squad is accompanying.”
“Have the Borg responded?”
“No, I would imagine that the Borg believe that they are retreating.”
“MF cannon is charged, Major.”
“Fire it then!” The Major yelled.
Seconds later, a brightly colored bolt of energy leapt from the Delta Mother’s cannon, and shot towards the Borg Destroyer. It opened up into a broad net, and collided with the cube at close to the speed of light. After the bright explosion died down, the Captain could see the barely damaged cube start to move.
“What happened?” The Major demanded. “I thought you said that the cannon was fully charged!”
“It was!” the Lieutenant nervously replied. “It seems that the fighters were unable to completely lace the cube, and there was too little antimatter to begin the chain reaction.”
“Major!” the Corporal called. “Two more Borg ships coming in to our sector. A Scout and an Attack cube!”
“Fighter status!” The Major yelled.
“White Squad is gone with the Bint’Ari, and we have lost most or all of six other squads.”
“Request assistance from the Command Mother,” the Major ordered. “Full reverse! Get us away from here!”
The mothership began to move backwards, then shuddered to a stop. The engines grew louder as they futilely tried to push the ship backwards.
“We are caught in a tractor beam!” the Corporal called. “The engines are at their maximum!”
“Activate the shield nutation program!” The Major ordered.
“It’s off-line, Major,” the Lieutenant replied. “The strain on the engines overloaded half of the computer systems. We have no shields.”
The Major continued to bark useless orders, as the Borg cube cut into the Motherships hull with a thin beam, until it reached the engine room. The beam stopped a split second before the ship erupted into a spectacular explosion.
Star Trek, Voyager, and related properties are © Paramount Studio, and the author makes no claim towards them.