Check out our latest Fleet Action!

 

Mission 6 - Hunter or Hunted

A Borg sphere has been seen at the edge of Federation space.

There It Is

USS Eagle
June 2401

The bridge science console beeped.

“Haia?” said Captain Matt Kirby.

“We’ve detected an object at extreme sensor range,” said Ohtani.  “This could be it.”

“Confirmed,” said Iziraa at tactical.  “Size and mass readings…  This is the sphere.”

At the word sphere, Kirby’s stomach churned.  He could also sense the already tense atmosphere among the bridge crew getting thicker, like soaking a wool blanket in water.  There were scattered and unconfirmed reports that a Borg sphere was in the sector at the edge of Federation space.  Sent to investigate, the Eagle confirmed the reports were accurate.

“Tactical analysis,” said Kirby.

Iziraa paused for a few seconds, her antennae moving in slow circles.  “It’s heading for the Calus system, a free Romulan colony.”

“Is there anything special about that system?” said Kirby.

“Nothing out of the ordinary in the database,” said Iziraa.

“Helm, follow the sphere, but keep our distance.  Don’t do anything aggressive.”

“Aye, Captain,” said the officer at the helm.

Kirby glanced at Doctor Weaver who was standing nearby to his right.  A reassuring smile from her made him feel better, but not by much.

At the mission briefing with the senior staff after being given this assignment, his officers took it in stride, but it was easy to see they were deeply concerned and troubled.  They wanted to do more than run humanitarian aid missions, but when they got something different, why did it have to be the Borg?

Lieutenant Commander Roger Allen

Roger had been quiet since the briefing, speaking only when his XO duties required it.  He felt guilty about that, as he was responsible for setting an example to the crew.  At that point in his career, he was satisfied with his accomplishments and career track to one day captain his own ship.  Deep within, a bitterness was growing that this mission could put an end to all of that.

Lieutenant Haia Ohtani

Haia was normally so laid back, nothing bothered her.  In fact, people often joked that she might be part Vulcan.  In reality, her mind was so ordered and focused, she learned early to not worry or fuss about things she couldn’t control or change.  If they were going to face the Borg what could she do about it?  She would do her duty with her usual efficiency and whatever came of it would be what it would be.

Though no one truly wanted to face the possibility of a direct encounter with a Borg ship, even a smaller one like a sphere, Haia was fascinated at the opportunity to study them.  Concerned, but not afraid, she waited patiently to see what would happen next.

Lieutenant Iziraa

When Izi heard the captain reveal the nature of their next assignment, her mind, emotions, and passions were racing.  She was prepared to do what needed to be done, but she also thought about everything in life she would miss if something terrible happened to them.  Though her refusal to enter into marriage with her bond mates, they were now all she could think of.  If the mission ended badly, she would never get to see them again or tell how much she loved them.

Lieutenant Nick Saunders

Nick was carefully observing the others on the bridge.  He was nervous about what lay ahead, but he found himself more concerned for the others than for himself.  Unsure why, as he had no desire to die or be assimilated.  He just found his thoughts going in that direction.  His thoughts moved to Delvis IV and what Mara was doing that very moment.  He smiled.

Lieutenant Doctor Lori Weaver

The Eagle had a crew compliment of ninety-five and had no dedicated counselor, so in addition to being chief medical officer, Lori took on that role as well.  Hearing their next mission was searching for a Borg ship, then shadowing it if they discovered one, she first had to deal with her feelings and emotions.  Scared, concerned, and overwhelmed didn’t do it justice, but she had to be strong for the others, especially for the captain.  After confirming there was a Borg ship, Matt looked to her.  She gave him a smile of assurance she didn’t feel.

Captain Matt Kirby

The bridge was silent, an eeriness Matt never felt before.  Only the ambient sounds of the bridge functions were heard.  He was deep in his own thoughts, so he allowed everyone else to do the same.  There wasn’t really anything else to say or do.

At least for now.

 

What Are They Doing?

USS Eagle
June 2401

The long silence on the bridge was broken by a chime from the main tactical station, bringing Captain Kirby out of deep reflection.  He was glad for whatever report was coming, even if it was bad news, as his thoughts had become dark over what the presence of a Borg ship could mean.  His mood matched the lower light settings on the bridge which were part of running the Eagle at low power to appear as less of a threat.

“Borg vessel is entering the Calus system,” said Iziraa.

“Helm, keep our distance,” said Kirby.

“Aye, sir.”

“Captain, we’re receiving a planetary distress signal from Calus,” said Iziraa.  “They’re pleading for anyone in the area to help them.”

“Ignore the call,” said Kirby.

“Sir?”  Iziraa’s antennae were leaning slightly forward.

“If the Borg think we’re responding, they could consider us to be a threat.  We have orders to not engage them.”  Kirby could see the Andorian tactical officer was not happy about that.

“Yes, sir.”

The bridge lapsed again into silence, but this time Kirby could clearly sense the frustration coming from the others.  They all wanted to do something to help the people on Calus, even if they knew it would ultimately fail.

“The sphere is now in low orbit over Calus,” said Iziraa.  “They’re scanning the planet.”

“The Borg are in a pattern that will allow the greatest coverage in the least amount of time,” said Ohtani from science.  “It’s quite efficient.”

Kirby saw Iziraa scowl at Ohtani’s comment, but he understood what the science officer meant.

More silence.

Kirby wondered if they would end up having a front-row seat of the Borg attacking and wiping out the Romulan colony.  It both angered and made him feel sick over being so helpless.

=====

“The sphere is leaving Calus and heading out of the system,” said Iziraa.

“Lieutenant?” said Kirby.

“”They didn’t launch an attack or beam drones to the surface,” said Iziraa.  “They just conducted a detailed scan and left.”

“Do we know what they were looking for?” said Kirby.

“Impossible to tell from this distance,” said Iziraa.

“Track the sphere and determine where they’re going now.  Helm, in ten minutes, take us to Calus,” said Kirby.  This was turning from suspecting a massive Borg attack into a mystery that needed to be solved.

=====

Kirby put on a submissive air as the governor of the Calus colony read him the riot act for not responding to their distress call.  Kirby’s explanation that it wouldn’t have mattered and everything worked out anyway, fell on deaf ears.  Looking at the view screen, he waited patiently for another chance to speak.

“Captain, I assure you I will report this to the highest authorities in Starfleet!”

“That’s fine, Governor, but in the meantime, what can you tell me about what the Borg did?”

“They orbited our colony and scanned the planet.”  The governor was still upset.

“Is there anything special or unique about Calus?  Resources, minerals, technology?  Anything that would give them a reason to scan you and just leave?” said Kirby.

“No, Captain, we’re just people trying to live our lives in peace.  There’s nothing here other than that.”

According to the information in their database, there wasn’t anything else.  Either there was and the governor was hiding it or the Borg were searching for something specific.  Not finding it on Calus, they simply went away.

“Thank you for your time, Governor, but we have a Borg sphere to follow.  I’m glad you’re all okay.  Iziraa.”

The image on the screen went from the governor’s exasperated face to a view of Calus from high orbit.

“Are we still tracking the sphere?” said Kirby.

“Based on its current trajectory, the Borg are heading to Alpha Brama,” said Ohtani.  “I’m sending the colony information to your station now.”

Through all the stress and trepidation, Kirby could always count on Haia to get the job done.  “Helm, you know what to do.”

“Yes, sir.”

Letting out a bigger sigh than he probably should have, Kirby went back to reflecting on their assignment.  Based on what happened with Calus, the logical conclusion was the Borg were searching for something.  It was frustrating not knowing what that was, but it was also a relief they most likely weren’t interested in another attack.  Hopefully that would turn out to be true.

 

Reckoning

USS Eagle
June 2401

“The Borg sphere is approaching Alpha Brama,” said Iziraa.

Captain Kirby was laser-focused on the image of the sphere on the forward view screen.  Based on what they had seen so far, the Borg weren’t scouting for an attack, but were searching for something specific.  It was frustrating not knowing what that was or what they would do if they found it.  It was even more frustrating being helpless observers.  The Borg were ignoring them, which would be insulting if the Borg had thoughts like that.

“Captain, I’m detecting two vessels from Alpha Brama on an intercept vector to the sphere,” said Iziraa.

That was a surprise.  Kirby expected another planetary distress signal, but the people on this world were different, being remnants from the Romulan Empire.  It seemed they preferred going down fighting.

“The ships are taking a position blocking the sphere,” said Iziraa.

“Magnify.  Helm, keep our distance,” said Kirby.

The Romulan ships held their ground as the sphere closed.  When at point-blank range, the Romulans opened fire.  Kirby frowned as the scene unfolded.  The sphere was undamaged.  One Romulan ship exploded in an orange fireball.  The second ship was floating dead in space.

The sphere continued on its way as if nothing had happened.

“The sphere is in orbit and is scanning the planet,” said Iziraa.

“All stop and hold our position here,” said Kirby.  “Once the sphere leaves, move to the Romulan ship.  We’ll see if we can help any survivors.”

“Yes, sir,” said Helm.

=====

“The sphere is breaking orbit and heading out of the system,” said Iziraa.

“Helm, make sure the sphere is gone, then move to the Romulan ship,” said Kirby.

=====

“Roger, prepare an away team and beam over to the Romulan ship,” said Kirby.

“Captain!  The Borg sphere has reversed its course,” said Iziraa. “It’s coming back here.”

The tension that had been present on the bridge just got worse.  The entire time the Eagle shadowed the sphere, it ignored them.  Now, for whatever reason, the Borg seemed to have changed their minds.

“Hold our position.  Do not raise shields or prepare weapons,” said Kirby.  He could see the incredulity on each officer.  “We can’t outrun them and we can’t defeat them in battle.  Our best chance to survive is to do absolutely nothing that can be interpreted as aggressive.”  Kirby hated issuing those orders, but he had to do what he could to protect his people.

Kirby felt a hand on his shoulder.  Turning to see who it was, he stared into the worried eyes of Doctor Weaver.  Without saying anything, she expressed fear that couldn’t be put into words, but also confidence in him that he was making the right decisions.

He reached over and squeezed her hand.

 

 

They’re Here!

USS Eagle
June 2401

Matt Kirby

While the Borg sphere grew in size as it got closer to the Eagle, Matt could only sit in his chair and watch, his hands gripping the armrests so tightly, his fingers hurt.  On this mission, he knew he had followed orders.  He knew he had done everything right.  He had given the proper commands to his crew.  Even with doing everything correctly, things could still go badly.  They could be heading for a dark and horrifying disaster from which he would rather die than experience.  Because the Borg looked at things so differently, he clung to the tiny bit of hope that they would survive.

Roger Allen

The bitterness Roger initially felt over the possibility their mission could end in their deaths or assimilation, was gone.  Now he was angry, his Vulcan half unable to give him the discipline that normally carried him.  He wasn’t upset that the Eagle drew this assignment; Starfleet service often had danger.  He was, well, he couldn’t really explain it.  Whatever was going to happen, he would survive if he could.  He’d always done that, being orphaned at such a young age.  A long time ago someone said, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.  He chose to focus on that.

Nick Saunders

Staring at a Borg sphere on the view screen, Nick should have been filled with fear.  Looking at the others on the bridge, he could see they all were.  For some reason, he was numb.  Maybe thinking about Mara helped him go that route.  Of course he wanted to get through this alive and not spend the rest of his years as part of the Collective, but that overwhelming terror just wasn’t there.  He felt guilty, like he was acting as though he was better than the others.  What could he do?  He felt what he felt.

Lori Weaver

Lori was so scared she thought she was going to vomit on the floor of the bridge while standing next to her captain.  The last time she experienced something that intense, was three years after graduating from the Academy.  On the Mithrandir, her first assignment, she was part of an away team sent down to Vendek III to rescue a freighter crew from a pirate attack.  A team member had been wounded and she had to cross open ground to help him.  She never thought it was possible to be so terrified.  Looking at a Borg sphere, the experience on Vendek seemed like a routine and quiet day.  If it came to being assimilated, could she end her own life instead?  Everything in her was about preserving life, but was being a Borg drone any kind of life?  Please, Matt, get us out of this!

Haia Ohtani

Following the Borg ship gave Haia the opportunity to study them in ways not normally given.  Dedicated to science, she was hoping to be able to observe or discover something that would give her acclaim in the community.  Expanding knowledge was something that drove her.  Now that the Borg were paying attention to them, Haia was stunned at how quickly she went from curiosity to wanting to run screaming off the bridge.  Though no one knew that was in her, she was embarrassed.  With her eyes wide, she fixed her gaze on the sphere.

Iziraa

Izi was fuming inside, her antennae leaning forward.  She understood what their assignment was and she respected the captain’s way of following it, but she was a woman of action, a warrior.  Shadowing a possible enemy from a distance while trying to not be an imposing threat, irritated her.  Not responding to someone needing help or waiting until the Borg left the area, was infuriating.  Now that their adversary came after them, the orders were still to do nothing.  She wanted to pound her fists on the tactical console.

Matt Kirby

The Eagle and the Borg sphere were facing one another, the damaged Romulan ship drifting nearby.   What were the Borg thinking?  What did they want?  Why was the Eagle worth attention now when they previously weren’t?  Why were they waiting to do something?

=====

“The Borg are scanning us,” said Iziraa.

“Don’t do anything,” said Kirby.  “Let them give us a good looking over.”

“Their scan is complete,” said Iziraa.

Seconds ticked past and the maddening silence was broken by a swishing sound.

A Borg drone had appeared on the bridge.

 

Intruder Alert

USS Eagle
June 2401

Matt Kirby

The stress of waiting for the Borg to do something ended when a drone appeared on the bridge. Reacting quickly, Captain Kirby leaped out of his chair.

“Don’t do anything! Stay where you are and don’t make yourself a threat.” Kirby looked at Iziraa, who had her hand on the phaser on her hip. “Lieutenant!” His voice was stern.

Iziraa held her hands up in a surrender position. She was clearly unhappy about the situation.

The drone had paused, apparently observing everyone on the bridge. Once it seemed to be satisfied that no one would attack, it moved directly to the science station.

Haia Ohtani

Trying very hard to not panic, Haia gasped when a Borg drone transported onto the bridge. After the captain ordered everyone to stand down, the intruder walked straight for her. Her eyes widened. Her breathing increased. Her heart was pounding so hard, she thought it would burst from her chest. She whimpered. When the drone reached her, it pushed her out of her chair, sending her sprawling across the floor.

Matt Kirby

“Iziraa!”

The Andorian was again reaching for her weapon.

Iziraa

Swearing in her native tongue, Izi stood still, watching as Haia was tossed aside like a rag doll.  Her anger was boiling.

Matt Kirby

No one moved. No one said anything. The Borg accessed something on the science console. Words flashed across the screen, but Kirby couldn’t make out what they said. He didn’t know how much time passed, it seemed to stand still, but when the drone was finished, it turned to look at the captain. Their eyes locked, sending a cold, chilling feeling rushing through him. It felt like he was seeing something that was literally undead.

The drone shimmered away, gone from the bridge.

“Nick,” said Kirby.

“I’m on it,” said Saunders as he hurried to the science station.

Doctor Weaver was tending to Ohtani.

“Sir, the drone accessed our crew files,” said Saunders.

“That’s it?  Anything else?” said Kirby.

“That’s all,” said Saunders.

Kirby wondered why the Borg would be interested in their crew list. He also wondered why they waited to search them only after they went to the aid of the damaged Romulan ship. They had scanned two planets and a starship. Who were they looking for?

“Sir, the sphere is on a course that will take them directly to their space,” said Iziraa.

“They’re leaving?” said Kirby.

“It would seem so, sir.”

“Continue tracking it for as long as you can,” said Kirby.

Iziraa nodded.

Kirby was more flustered now than he was before. What was going on?

=====

Internal scans revealed there were no other Borg on the ship. Commander Allen led an away team to help the survivors on the Romulan ship. Kirby had a short conversation with the leaders of Alpha Brama, but none of them could answer why the Borg scanned them or what they wanted. It was now six hours later and there was no sign of the Sphere. It seemed they got what they wanted, so they went back home.

“Helm, take us to Starbase 93, best speed.” Kirby sighed. It seemed this was a mystery they just may not ever solve.