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Part of USS Odyssey: Order To Chaos

Order To Chaos – 15

USS Odyssey (NCC-80000), System VDQ-505, Gradin Belt
Stardate: 78002.045
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Though the idea to order the squadron to open fire and wipe the Borg settlement off the planet ruins was tempting, McCallister didn’t consider that his first option. 

Maybe his second. 

When Jen had shared that the rest of the squadron were feeding in scans and ideas, McCallister had ordered Banfield to use them to build a better picture of understanding what they had just come across. After hearing the Borg’s opening hail, he hadn’t responded. The Borg were no threat to them, for now.

“Sir, security teams are deployed across the ship, and all crewmembers have been handed weapons,” Keli reported as she approached him and Duncan with a handheld weapon each. 

Taking the weapon, the captain attached it to his hip after activating it and putting the safety lock on. In the past, McCallister had seen Duncan hesitate in taking a weapon, but he now appeared more relaxed. 

Duncan turned to his superior. “What are you thinking, James?” He asked quietly.

“We need more information,” McCallister replied. “What on Earth are they, and what are their intentions.”

Hearing her captain’s remarks, Banfield called him and Duncan to join her with Tomaz at the science area. “Sirs, I think we have something.” She pointed to the scans from the probes they launched and everything else that the others in the squadron had shared. Like pieces of a puzzle being brought together, the two of them shared a clearer picture. “This Borg settlement is not part of the Collective, as we know it.”

“So, is it similar to The Artifact that the Romulan Free State salvaged?” Duncan inquired.

“Almost,” Tomaz replied. “Though they are disconnected from the main hive mind, they have their own low-level shared consciousness through a localised hive mind.”

“Talk about keeping control,” McCallister muttered. “Any theories on what caused their disruption to the Collective?”

“Nothing that our sensors can determine right now, sir,” Banfield answered. 

“However, we do know that when Voyager unleashed their neurolytic pathogen at the heart of the Borg Collective, it caused severe disruption across the hive mind,” Tomaz suggested. 

“So this Tactical Cube may have been at transwarp, lost control and crashed into this planet?” McCallister theorised based on what his officers had said. “And what, those that survived reinstated a mini-collective?”

“It’s a possibility,” Banfield remarked. She was about to say one thing when Jen spoke up.

“Sir, we’re receiving another transmission from the settlement,” The joined Trill operations officer shared. “It’s on a Starfleet frequency, that’s almost thirty years old.”

Intrigued to hear that, McCallister returned to the centre of the bridge with Duncan. “Open a channel and patch in the other captains privately and securely.”

The holographic viewscreen activated, and the sudden appearance of Borg drones caught almost everyone off guard. Standing side by side, the drones parted as another drone in the far distance walking down what appeared to be the central plexus of a Borg cube. Approaching the console on their side, the drone stopped and looked at them. He appeared human underneath all of the Borg gear. His ocular implant was glowing green, and his heading movement seemed more artificial than fluid and natural. “Starfleet,” He spoke in a monotone voice. 

“Yes,” McCallister replied. 

“State your designation.”

“You first,” The captain said crossing his arms and remaining confident.

“I am Three of Eleven, Primary Processor of Unimatrix Two. State your designation.”

Glancing at Duncan for a beat after hearing their response, McCallister wasn’t letting his guard down with the drone furthermore he wasn’t sure if engaging with them in dialogue was the right decision either.  “I’m Fleet Captain James Preston McCallister, commanding officer of the Federation starship U-S-S Odyssey.”

“Fleet Captain James Preston McCallister, we require your assistance.” Three of Eleven said as he cocked his head to the left. 

“Assistance?” McCallister echoed back. “What with?”

“Our survival.” 

“A moment ago you threatened to assimilate us,” McCallister responded. “Why would we assist?”

“This drone came from Species Five Six One Eight,” Three of Eleven explained. “We are…human.”

Glancing at the drone before him, McCallister kept his posture. “I did wonder that,” He replied. “However, just because we come from the same species, does not mean I automatically assist. How do I not know this is not a ruse for you to board my ship under a flag of distress and then attempt to assimilate my crew?” 

“We are unable to assimilate. We are not part of the Collective. We must survive.” 

Rubbing his chin for a few seconds, McCallister told the Borg drone to wait while he considers his options. Turning to the others, McCallister asked for opinions, including those of his counterparts on the other vessels.

“It’s unusual behaviour for the Borg,” Cambil said straight away. Her holographic representation appeared next to the pause screen with the Borg drone. She was grouped with the other two captains. 

“There’s still too many unanswered questions here,” Duncan advised. “We need to know more about what he means regarding their survival.”

“Max is right, JP,” Horatio said from his bridge on the Bellerophon. “Reaching out to you as a fellow human has got to be his way of attempting to make a link with you.”

“This ex-B is certainly the leader of this collective,” Canção stated. “They’ve established more than just a sub-Collective. They’ve got a leadership structure that is beyond the normal expected of the Borg. No queen.”

“Invite him over,” Flemen suggested as he approached from the far side of the aft section of the bridge.

“Is that really a good idea, Craigen?” Counsellor Horin asked the diplomatic officer. She had remained quiet for most of what was happening with the Borg until now. “That said, I’m not sensing any deception from him.”

“You never do,” Canção commented. “However, the commander’s idea isn’t a bad one.”

Surprised to hear his old friend say that, McCallister took it in and then looked to Duncan. “Number One?”

“It’s a risk,” Duncan replied sincerely. “It might be worth meeting with him on the Telemachus.”

“So if they attempt to assimilate us, we can easily eject the ship and destroy it?” Tomaz asked Duncan.

Duncan nodded. 

“We could use the holographic security teams to provide a majority of the security on the Telemachus,” Keli suggested. “Perhaps have Hazard Alpha Team there too, sir?”

“We know a lot more about Borg technology, sir,” Tierra shared from engineering. “If they’ve not made any advancement since their crash over twenty years ago, then we might be able to find a way to block them trying to take control.”

Agreeing to the suggestion, McCallister nodded and ordered everyone to prepare for their guest’s arrival before he turned back around to face the main screen. He nodded to Jen to re-open the channel. 

“Three of Eleven, before we take any other steps, if you are human as you claim to be, then you will not disagree with meeting with me to discuss your situation,” McCallister told the Borg drone.

After considering McCallister’s proposal for a moment, Three of Eleven answered him. “It is agreed.”

“Standby for us to transport you onboard one of our vessels. Odyssey out.” McCallister said before motioning for the channel to be closed. He turned to Duncan, “Number One, assume command of the Odyssey, have our cadet unit moved off the Telemachus. I want Hazard Team Alpha to meet myself, Doctor Slyvexs, Tomaz and Craigen on her within twenty minutes.”

“Me?” Flemen asked.

McCallister nodded. “It’s your idea to meet them, commander, plus with Tomaz and the good doctor with us, we can assess what is happening with these Borg.” 

“Very well, sir,” Flemen said in a deflated response. 

McCallister made a move for the turbolift before he turned to the image of Cambil. “And Bexa, have that fighter escort assume a position around the Telemachus once we launch her.”

“Don’t worry, James, they’ll have your back,” Cambil said with a smirk before closing the channel. 

As soon as Flemen and Tomaz had joined the captain in the turbolift, he ordered it to take them to the Telemachus at once.