“Your kidding me,” B’Elanna moaned. “They want us to take a Borg BACK to the surface? Is that safe?”
“Mr. Kim has assured me that the Borg will pose no threat to us. In fact, according to him, most of the Borg’s internal circuitry has been removed.”
“What is this supposed to accomplish?” Oro asked.
“That was not specified. I can only assume that this is intended as an alternative plan to our failed strikes.”
The familiar transporter effect filled the back of the shuttle, inside of the shielded area that Tuvok has quickly set up for the Borg’s containment. Inside was something resembling a Borg soldier, with most of its external hardware removed. Several blue streaks were glowing along a side of the Borg’s usual pale face. The Doctor stood over the Borg, scanning it with a medical tricorder.
“I am here to instruct you to proceed back to the surface in an expedient manner,” the Doctor said, without even looking up. “There is a cube on an intercept course, and the Captain would like to raise her shields as soon as possible.”
“Setting a course,” Tuvok replied, and the shuttle surged forward. B’Elanna, who was curious about their cargo, strolled to the back of the shuttle.
“Why are we delivering that back to the surface?” She asked. “It doesn’t even look Borg anymore.”
B’Elanna impatiently listened to the Doctor’s long explanation of his plan. Still not convinced, she returned to her seat in the shuttle, and impatiently waited for the Borg’s departure from the shuttle.
“Shields are down to thirty-four percent!” Kim called from his station.
“Status of the cube?” Janeway demanded.
“They have sustained minor damage, about twenty percent,” Kim replied. “But they are regenerating quickly. The cube managed to avoid being laced, there are no anti-matter pods for us to target.”
The entire bridge shook as the Borg tried to lock a tractor beam onto Voyager, but Paris was well prepared for that tactic. The instant the tractor beam got any hold on Voyager’s shields, he would swing the ship around to another side of the cube, so that they would be out of range of the tractor projector.
“Captain, we have an incoming squad of fighters from the planet,” Kim reported. “They are engaging the cube.”
“I don’t know how much they can help,” Chakotay said. “Two hundred fighters against a cube?”
“All of the fighters have grouped around the far side of the cube, and are focusing their lacing efforts there,” Kim said.
“Mr. Paris, keep us opposite to those fighters. We don’t want to get in the way.”
Paris nodded his head, and Voyager backed away from the cube. After a moment, the cube moved to follow Voyager, deeming the fighters nothing to be overly concerned about. The Khamish ships struggled to keep up with the cube, and a few of them collided with the massive ship when it finally came to a sudden stop. Quite unexpectedly, neither Voyager nor the Borg fired at one another, causing a moment of great tension on the bridge of the Federation ship.
It was the Borg who broke the silence.
Voyager’s view-screen flipped to an ominously infinite view of the inside of the cube. The corridor extended as far as any could see, with nothing abnormal interrupting the almost hypnotic patter that the various walkways made. The all too familiar voice of the Collective boomed over the communicator.
“Surrender your vessel,” the voice boomed. “Further resistance is futile. Be assimilated or be destroyed.”
Janeway laughed. “We will not be assimilated.”
“Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated into the Collective or you will be destroyed. You have no other alternative.”
“You have lost ten ships in this battle, you have but three left. How is it that you can insist that we will be destroyed, when you are so close to your own defeat?” Janeway asked.
“The defective cubes are of no concern to us now. We endure. Your vessel escaped from us once before. It will now be Borg.”
As soon as the view-screen blinked back to the exterior view of the Borg cube, the entire ship tossed as if it were rammed. Janeway and Chakotay, both on their feet at the time, flew across the bridge. Janeway was stopped short by Paris, who was right in front of her. Chakotay flew over the console and collided with the view-screen with a loud crack.
“Report!” Janeway ordered as she got back on her feet.
“They used a repulsor beam,” Kim replied. “They hit the top of our shields hoping that it might cause our shields to fail, no doubt. They only succeeded in tipping the ship. Our shields are holding, no major damage.”
“Besides cracking my skull open,” Chakotay moaned and he pulled himself to his feet.
“Captain, the Borg are using the repulsor beam against the fighters,” Kim reported, with a tone of dismay in his voice.
“Well,” Kim began, “the fighters are a lot smaller than Voyager, so when one is hit it spins uncontrollably off course. But the fighters are close enough to the cube and spread out enough that they are having a hard time making any hits.”
Voyager tipped again as the cube tried another assault with the repulsor beam. This time the entire bridge crew was securely in their seats, so no one had any serious spills.
“See if you can take out that emitter,” Janeway ordered. “If we take enough shots from that thing, it might actually cause some serious damage.”
“Captain, we are getting a message from Tuvok,” Kim reported. “They have delivered the Borg to the surface and are requesting orders.”
“Tell them to get back to the planet,” Janeway shot back. “We don’t need that cube going after them.”
“It’s too late,” Chakotay interrupted. “There they go.”
The cube suddenly shot past Voyager, and headed straight for the unprotected shuttle that had just emerged from the planet’s atmosphere. The Heston turned as quickly as it could, but the cube overtook the shuttle too soon. It lashed out with a tractor beam and began to haul the shuttle in towards a small port that had opened up on the side of the cube. The shuttle fired back at the cube, trying to free the massive ship’s grasp, but the shuttle’s phasers were nothing more than a pinprick against the menacing cube.
“Beam them out of there, Mr. Kim!” Janeway shouted.
“I can’t, Captain,” Kim replied anxiously. “The shuttle is too close to the planetary disruption belt. There is too much interference.”
“Mr. Paris, get us within weapon’s range. We need to try and distract the cube.”
Voyager came about and dashed towards the cube, and fired a full barrage of torpedo and phaser shots as soon as it got into range. The cube would not release its hold on the helpless shuttle. The shuttle, at this point, had given up firing on the cube, and had turned away from it, straining its engines to their limit trying to break the hold of the Borg tractor beam.
A short distance from the scene of the battle, a small white fleck against the starry background of space quickly grew larger and took on the identifiable form of a Khamish Mothership. It raced past the confused jumble of fighters that had been left behind when the cube suddenly dashed towards the planet, and quickly approached the point of conflict.
“Captain, the Alpha Mother is on a collision course for the cube,” Kim reported.
“Are you certain?” Janeway asked. “Why would they sacrifice their ship like that?”
“Sensors indicate that there is a catastrophic failure within the Alpha Mother’s main drive,” Kim explained. “They can’t stop, nor can they power down.”
“They can’t eject their main drive?” Chakotay asked.
“Their ships aren’t equipped for that.”
“Paris, back us off, and keep a lock on that shuttle, Mr. Kim. They might not be able to get away in time.”
Voyager instantly began backing away from the cube. The Borg ship, who ignored their arrival, also ignored their departure. They were more concerned with the package that they had in their grasps right now- a Federation ship with computer records that would give the Collective valuable insight on the larger ship that was now retreating.
The cube also felt that the rapidly approaching Mothership was no threat. That ship was already heavily damaged by another cube, and would pose no threat. Its attack would be a futile gesture, and as soon as the Federation shuttle was aboard, the Khamish ship would be dealt with.
A second before the Alpha Mother collided with the cube, the Collective contemplated moving the ship out of the way.
The Mothership crashed into the cube as fast as it could muster with its damaged engine. The shock of the collision caused a massive shutdown of all of the communications relays aboard the cube, and the tractor beam shut down to conserve energy. The shuttle shot forward like a rubber band, skipping off of the atmosphere of the Borg planet, and spinning wildly out of control. Before the shuttle could collide with anything, it was transported aboard Voyager’s shuttlebay.
Voyager quickly turned and fled from the ensuing explosion, which grew so large that it momentarily blotted out the entire planet below from Voyager’s sensors. Voyager paused a moment to regroup with the remaining fighters before moving on towards the remaining cube.
What an odd defect!
This soldier, seemingly damaged beyond repair, attempted to assimilate itself in order to rejoin the Collective.
The Borg was stripped of all of its external hardware, not even the black outer garment designed to regulate a soldier’s body temperature remained.
But it was clear that this being had once been Borg, the pale skin, missing eye where more advanced optical components were added, scars all over the bald head, the signs were all there.
The defective soldier could not convey what had happened to it. It lost a vast majority of its memory capacity when the internal cranial storage units were removed. But it knew it was Borg, and the preliminary micro-implants had been set by the nanoprobes, allowing some communication with it.
A decision had to be made. Should they reassimilate the being, or destroy what appeared to be a worthless, defective component?
Curiosity got the better of the Collective. Perhaps once the soldier was re-integrated, they could help to revive the being’s biological memories inside of that primitive organic brain, and determine what had happened to it. The nearest, unoccupied soldier escorted the defective one to an assimilation facility.
Components were quickly attached and implanted into the revived soldier, and a permanent link was made with its mind. Once the final data transfer was made, the soldier was restored to normal operating status.
A short time later, the Collective experienced what would best be described as a dizzy spell.
Suddenly, orders were forgotten. Each of the major sub-sections of the planetary Collective branch requested a clarification of purpose simultaneously.
“What were we doing?” the Collective thought.
In response to the confusion, various Borg were given random tasks. A group of Borg were instructed to begin dismantling a repair bay. Another group was assigned to construct a massive debris-incinerator. Two groups were each instructed that the other was defective, and must be eliminated. An orderly brawl ensued.
Something wasn’t right. The planet-bound branch requested clarification of purpose from the central Collective body.
In human terms, this would be like the heart, after a lifetime of independent work, asking the brain how to beat.
The central Collective was shocked at the request. A minor neural probe confirmed what the Collective had feared, an invasive virus. One that had spread too far to be eradicated. There was only one remaining option, containment.
Unfortunately, that involved deeming an entire planet defective. However, the protection of the Collective was of utmost importance. As soon as that fact was considered, the link with Planet 0495 was severed.
Every Borg on the planet went into a frenzy. Defective! Each and every Borg was defective! Once the link to the Collective was cut, some Borg broke free of the hold that the weak planetary neural link provided. Some had to but look at themselves, and see what had been done to them by the Borg. They WERE Borg, and that was enough to drive them insane. Many killed themselves. Some lashed out violently against those still linked to the planetary network.
Some Borg lapsed into a regeneration cycle, for no good reason. Many self-destructed, the Planetary Collective finding scapegoats for the loss of contact with the rest of the Collective.
The liberated Borg began attacking structures, using anything that they could find to tear down buildings or destroy computer components. The planetary consciousness slowly began to lose hold of more and more individuals.
The entire planet erupted into a chaotic war.
Borg fighting Borg, soldiers randomly disintegrating, explosions raging across the planet. Some buildings were destroyed by the massive chunks of debris that fell from orbit, the result of the collision of the Khamish Mothership and the Borg attack cube. The destruction raining from the heavens only seemed to fit into the general chaos all the better.
A Klingon-Borg pulled a pole from the ground and began crushing the heads of a group of Borg that stood nearby, locked in a regeneration cycle.
An Orkhian-Borg grabbed a confused soldier with its long arms and tossed it into a wall.
A trio of loyal Borg drones charged into a rioting group, who were trying to tear down a repair bay. The building exploded, killing all of them.
In less than an hour after the initial introduction of the virus, the entire planet was converted into a fiery war-zone. Within a day, almost every trace of the Borg on Planet 0495 would be gone.
Star Trek, Voyager, and related properties are © Paramount Studio, and the author makes no claim towards them.