“The Delta Mother has been completely destroyed,” Kim said, shaking his head.
“What about the fighters?” Chakotay asked.
“About twelve hundred of the fighters from the Delta Mother were destroyed. Two hundred are nearing the planet, along with three Bint’Ari ships. The rest of them are still engaging the Borg,” Kim replied.
“What about the cubes?” Janeway asked.
“The Attack and Scout cubes are heading for us. The Destroyer is maintaining position, trying to hit the fighters.”
“How long until the cubes reach us?”
Janeway scratched her head. They had thirty seconds to drop their shields, launch the landing party, and re-raise their shields. And every second she thought about it gave them less time.
“Mr. Kim, signal the shuttlebay that they have their clearance to leave,” Janeway said. “And tell Tuvok that they have fifteen seconds to get out of here.”
“Aye Captain,” Kim replied. “Shields are down, the shuttles are under way.”
“Borg cube coming into range, Captain,” Paris said.
“Mr. Young, fire phasers,” Janeway ordered.
“No effect, Captain,” Young reported. “The Borg are coming to a stop in front of us.”
Suddenly, two Borg soldiers materialized on the bridge, one next to the weapons console, and the next in the center. The two security officers on the bridge drew their weapons and moved towards the soldiers.
“Intruder alert! Mr. Kim, get me those shields, now!” Janeway barked, and she leapt to her feet. Ensign Young rose and grabbed the heavy mechanical arm of the Borg that stood near him before it cracked open his skull. The Borg reached around with its free arm and backhanded Young, sending him crashing into his own console.
The other Borg made its way towards Janeway. The Doctor, after a moment’s hesitation, got to his feet and stepped in front of the soldier. The Borg moved foreword, reached up, and stabbed the Doctor in the neck with the two talons from its fingers. Both The Doctor and the Borg looked to the ground, where several tiny metallic flecks had fallen between The Doctors feet. His program, detecting an unwanted foreign substance within the holographic matrix, had simply took away the Doctors solidity long enough for the metal bits to fall to the ground.
The Doctor bent down, and looked closely at the flakes.
“Nanoprobes,” he commented. “An effective means of assimilation for humanoids. Of course, ineffective on a hologram.”
The Borg, though confused, decided that assimilation was not going to work on the Doctor. The only alternative was death. It raised its mechanical arm and brought it down on the Doctor’s head. Instead of the intended result, the arm passed straight through the Doctor and the Borg fell foreword. The Doctor moved aside, allowing the Borg to fall to the ground. Before the Borg could rise to its feet, the Doctor reached over and plucked the necessary component off of the Borg’s chest, causing it to instantly disintegrate.
The second Borg’s attack on Ensign Young was stopped short by Seven of Nine, who leveled the drone with a vicious backhand. Young fell to the ground, and the drone turned to engage Seven of Nine. She was too quick for it, though. She lashed out, grabbing the drone’s head and snapping its neck. The drone dropped to the floor with a loud thud.
“How many more of those got on the ship before the shields went up?” Janeway demanded.
“Five,” Kim replied, returning to his console. “Two others have been eliminated. There are still some on decks three and four.”
“Transport them into space,” Janeway ordered.
“Doctor,” Chakotay began. “Ensign Young is severely injured. He has lost a lot of blood, and is unconscious.”
The Doctor moved to examine Ensign Young, ordered transport to sickbay, and the two disappeared a moment later.
“You have tactical, Chakotay,” Janeway ordered, returning to her seat. “Status of the Borg ships?”
“They haven’t attacked us yet,” Kim replied. “The remaining fighters from the Delta Mother arrived before they could. The Borg Destroyer and the Scout have both been destroyed. The Attack cube has no appreciable damage, but I estimate that there are at least three thousand antimatter pods attached to it.”
“Signal the ranking fighter, and tell them to fall back,” Janeway ordered. “Target as many of those pods as you can and fire phasers, Chakotay.”
“Aye Captain,” Chakotay replied.
Seconds later, Voyager’s weapons came alive, phasers hitting different parts of the cube. Small explosions which could be seen all over the surface ruptured many of the pods. After a moment’s wait, the antimatter leaked out of the containers, causing several explosions that spread all around the cube. Finally the entire ship went in a giant explosion, and several chunks of the Borg cube fell towards the atmosphere of the planet.
Not used to flying several kilometers above a hostile alien planet, Oro resisted the urge to close his eyes. Instead, he sat with his hands firmly gripping the sides of his seat, and stared unwaveringly as Tuvok calmly plunged the shuttle towards the planet’s surface.
“Voyager’s shields are up,” B’Elanna’s disembodied voice reported. Oro jumped at the voice, and shook his head as he reminded himself that she was on another shuttle, and that they must have a sort of communication system that linked the ships. He finally gave in, and closed his eyes. Better to be calm than a nervous wreck.
“The three Bint’Ari ships are following close behind,” Torres continued. “And the Khamish squad is going to stay behind, and make certain that none of the Borg ships interfere with our landing. The ranking Lieutenant says that as soon as we are safely on the surface, they are going down themselves to make several attack runs before regrouping with the landing parties.”
“Acknowledged, Tuvok out.” Tuvok glanced over at Oro, who still had his eyes closed.
“Are you alright?” he asked.
Oro opened his eyes, and focused foreword, trying not to let his embarrassment show. “I’m fine,” he calmly replied.
“Out of curiosity, how many Borg are on this planet?” Oro asked, after several moments of silence.
“Exactly two point six billion,” Tuvok replied. Still focusing on piloting the shuttle, he glanced casually at the sensors, to affirm his statement. With a look of confusion, Tuvok reached over and punched commands into the sensor console.
“What’s wrong?” Oro asked.
“The sensors are completely inoperative,” Tuvok replied.
“Sappho to Heston,” Torres’s voice filled the cabin. “Tuvok, can you see anything?”
“Negative, Lieutenant, it would appear that the Borg have reactivated their sensor block,” Tuvok replied. “I would recommend descending as quickly as possible to an altitude of nine kilometers, and holding position there until we get a clear view of the area.”
“OK Tuvok, I’ll relay that to the other ships,” Torres replied, before she closed the channel.
“What if we get attacked?” Oro asked. “We won’t be able to see to avoid being destroyed!”
“We will not be attacked,” Tuvok steadily replied. “The Borg would not be able to get a weapon’s lock on any of our ships while we are in the disruption band. Here is the safest place for our ships.”
“I see,” Oro replied. He returned his gaze to the planet below, and found it fascinating. Oro had never seen another planet before, at least, not this close. He could still remember his father taking him to the observatory when he was younger, to look through the giant telescopes. For a long time, Oro wanted nothing more than to be an astronaut.
His father had killed himself rather than endure the Borg’s voice one moment longer. Hanged himself less than a day before the destruction of the cube in orbit of Bint’Ari. Less than a day before most of the people who were afflicted by the Borg mind-rape had their burdens lifted.
One day longer and Oro would have had his father. Now both of his parents were gone forever, victims of the Borg.
Suddenly, Oro was not quite so afraid anymore.
“Sensors are coming back online,” Tuvok reported. Before he finished that short sentence, the entire cabin was bathed in the flashing light of a red alert. Tuvok quickly turned his chair to see what had set off the alarm.
“Three small ships are approaching from the surface,” Tuvok said, before Oro could ask what was wrong. A diagram of the ships appeared on the lower corner of the view-screen.
Each of the craft were nothing more than a Borg drone equipped with an impressive exo-suit. The suit resembled a small jet, with two large disrupter protruding on both sides of the Borg’s head, as well as thruster packs scattered along the belly and the rear of the small ship.
The Borg fighters wasted no time. They immediately moved in and destroyed one of the Bint’Ari transport ships, and swung around to begin their second pass.
Each of the shuttles raised their shields and moved to protect the remaining two transport ships. The dogfight was short-lived, as the shuttle far outclassed the small Borg flight-suits.
“I’m feeding the coordinates of likely target sights to the other ships,” said Tuvok, without wasting a moment. Without another word, he turned the shuttle towards the surface and began a rapid descent.
The leader of the Delta Blue squad made her way through the giant cloud of debris. Not that she had any idea where she was going, she had not been privy to any of the alternative plans for the attack on the cubes. When the attack began, she was but a mere Captain, one of over a hundred in the squad. Now, she was the only member of the squad, the rest destroyed in a nuclear/antimatter blast. Her onboard sensors were totally destroyed in the explosion, and she was unable to reach her own Mothership for direction, as her comm-signal was drowned out by the thousands of other signals that flooded the ship.
The silence of the space around her made the situation even more uncomfortable. She knew that all around her was a battle of epic proportions, yet she could not hear any of the explosions, none of the engines of the fighters streaking by their targets, nor could she hear commands filtering down the channels, each squad leader given orders on where to strike next. Her own communication system was blocked from receiving signals from any other squadron. This feature was suppose to ease the confusion of several thousand signals being exchanged by an equal number of fighters, so that the proper orders were received and followed by the proper people.
This was supposed to be an easy victory, a decisive defeat of the Borg by the powerful Khamish. But now that the Borg had found a way, one ridiculously primitive way, to destroy hundreds of Khamish fighters in one blow, defeat of the Borg seemed an almost impossible task.
The hopelessness of her situation snapped inside of the Captain. With her mothership destroyed, it was entirely possible that even if the battle ended in a victory, she would not be returning home. Death, at this point, was inevitable. Her ship could not return home, nor could it dock with another Mothership. Those would undoubtedly be filled to capacity. And the fighter was not designed for planet-landings, only tractor-docking in Motherships. No matter what happened, the Captain would be stranded out in space.
Death in the void of space by dehydration, hunger, or suffocation when the fighter’s life support system went down was not the way the Captain wanted to go out. With a renewed determination, she looped her fighter out of the debris field, and charged towards the first combat area that she could find.
“Identify yourself, pilot,” the voice over her comm-system demanded as she blew past a nearby Mothership.
“Captain, Delta Blue One-Two-Six,” she replied, still surging foreword.
“This is Alpha Mother, Delta Blue One-Two-Six. Where is your commanding officer?”
“The Lieutenant Colonel is dead, Alpha Mother. I am the ranking officer,” the Captain replied.
“Please maintain position beside Alpha Mother, so that we can reassign you to an active squadron.”
“Negative Alpha Mother. Delta Blue One-Two-Six out.” The Captain ignored the string of protests that bled through her earpiece. She knew that what she had just done was a capital offense, akin to mutiny, and technically she was now an open target to any and all Khamish ships in the area. Somehow, she doubted that any of the struggling fighters would even take notice of her.
The battle around the cube was hard for the Captain to take in all at once. There was no sense of order to the surrounding fighters, all were trying to stay as far away from each-other as possible, to avoid any chain-reaction explosions. The Borg cube was still trying everything that it could to destroy the attackers, everything from random shots of a cutting beam, grabbing a fighter with a tractor beam and swinging it out of control, to suddenly moving one way or the other in hopes that some of the fighters were moving to close to the cube to avoid being hit. Their efforts were not entirely futile, occasionally a fighter would lose control, and come to a violently explosive end.
It did not take long for the Captain to reach the cube, as fast as she was traveling. She turned along the one of the sides of the massive ship, coming as close as she could to it without scraping the bottom of her hull. From this perspective, the Captain thought that the cube looked frighteningly like the surface of a planet rather than a ship, the edge an ever distant horizon. She focused attentively to the metallic lattice that made up the hull of the cube, the seemingly random grooves and crevasses covering the whole of the surface.
Directly in front of her, a circular door on the surface of the cube opened up, and a sphere slightly larger than her fighter shot out. After she passed underneath it, she turned her attention briefly to her sensor readout to check its progress. It had collided with another fighter making a lacing run at a higher altitude, destroying it and two other fighters in the resulting explosion.
Then an idea came to her. She programmed her ships sensors to look for similar circular impressions along the cube’s surface. She then slowed her fighter in order to get a clear picture. She changed course and headed for the first one that her sensors found. As she passed over it, she released four of her full load of antimatter pods, and waited for the automatic signal that each pod sent out after it had attached itself to the surface. She then looped around for another pass, and fired her bolt cannons at the circular indentation. As she had hoped, several of the shots hit the pods, rupturing them. The resulting explosion tore away a small section of the cube’s outer hull, revealing what the Captain had hoped for, one of the tubes from which the spheres were being launched from.
The Captain recited a prayer to the Great Hive Mother, and slipped her fighter into the dark tunnel. She could not even see the sphere in front of her when it crashed into her ship, igniting the antimatter onboard into a fantastic explosion that eventually worked its way through the entire cube.
Hundreds of Khamish fighters limped their way back to the Alpha Mother to regroup. Each and every person who was involved in the attack had no idea why their enemy had suddenly exploded, but not one of them wished it hadn’t happened.
Star Trek, Voyager, and related properties are © Paramount Studio, and the author makes no claim towards them.