Check out our latest Fleet Action!

 

Part of USS Odyssey: Order To Chaos

Order To Chaos – 16

USS Telemachus (NCC-80000/2-A), System VDQ-505, Gradin Belt, Delta Quadrant
Stardate: 78002.1
0 likes 631 views

“Computer, deactivate the holographic mirror.”

Responding promptly at the command, the computer did as it was told, and Fleet Captain McCallister’s reflection vanished. Grumbling under his breath, the Odyssey’s skipper did not like the request that his first officer and security chief had insisted on before meeting with the Borg leader. The bodysuit armour that he now wore under his uniform was unlikely to stop the drone from assimilating him. Still, it protected him somewhat if they got into a firefight. Moreover, getting dressed and sorted in his tiny cabin on the Telemachus had prevented any of his sons from confronting him over his decision to meet with a sworn Federation enemy. Recently they had taken on similar gestures and mannerisms that his late wife would say or do when he was putting himself in danger. Alfie was the worst. 

Picking up his handheld phaser, he checked to ensure the compression pistol was set to its mode to change its frequency with every shot randomly. It was a feature that Starfleet had developed to combat the Borg, though it was possible they would adapt after a dozen or more shots. He strapped it to his side and felt like he was joining the Hazard Team instead of going on a diplomatic mission.

The door chime went off, and he responded with a simple “enter”. Unlike the doors on the Odyssey, the smaller entrances to the Telemachus’ rooms were more like the ones seen on its distant cousin, the Defiant-class. Wide enough for one single humanoid to enter, which made who was waiting for him awkward to enter together. Visiting him were the three officers he had dragged with him on this crazy meeting. All three were dressed like him; however, Tomaz held a phaser rifle. Noticing that Flemen nor Slyvexs were bothered by the Barzan’s armaments, McCallister looked at them with a slight smirk. 

“Ready to negotiate with the Borg?” The captain asked ironically. 

“I am holding back the excitement, sir,” Flemen said. His sarcasm had no boundaries, which forced the captain to chuckle slightly. The Lumerian diplomatic officer wasn’t keen in the first place; however, it was his idea to meet with Three of Eleven.

“Cargo Bay One is ready for our guest,” Tomaz reported. “We’ve undocked from the Odyssey, and holographic security teams are active and stationed on every deck and by every access port.” 

“I thought Hazard Team Alpha was joining us?” Slyvexs asked, turning to the chief strategic operations officer.

“They are,” Tomaz confirmed to the doctor. “Lieutenant Jisaraa will be with us in the cargo bay while the rest of her team are dotted around the rest of the ship in critical locations.

“And Penny is in command?” McCallister checked as he stepped through the threshold and out into the corridor to join the group.

“She is,” Tomaz nodded before reaching into his pocket to pull out four small round devices. “Commander Duncan had Lieutenant Commander Tierra replicate us all one of these each.” 

Looking down at his palm, McCallister took one of the devices and stashed it away in his pocket. “Emergency transport unit, let me guess, it beams us back to the Odyssey?”

“Indeed, the rest of Alpha Team have one each too. He said it was our failsafe in case he has to destroy the Telemachus.” Tomaz remarked. 

“Do you honestly think Starfleet would be pleased we’ve lost another Aquarius-class support ship?” Slyvexs asked.

Flemen shook his head. “The captain does make it a habit of letting them ‘go’; we’ll be lucky to get a garbage scowl if we lose another one.”

“Hey, in my defence, I didn’t lose the last one.” McCallister pointed out as he gestured for them to walk towards the cargo bay.

Slyvexs laughed at that fact. Hearing the captain joke about it was good, considering his late wife lost the last one. “No, it’s drifting somewhere between a temporal anomaly or two.”

“Alternative future timeline,” McCallister corrected her. “Anything else I need to be aware of?”

Tomaz was behind him, Slyvexs was beside the captain, and Flemen was behind her. “Let’s just say Keli, and I have assessed the risks. Once Three of Eleven beams on board, forcefields will come online on every deck in every section. Doors will be sealed, and Penny will activate a fractal encryption lockout on the main computer processor. She will monitor the meeting from the bridge.”

“I take it we’ve increased the magnitude of the forcefields?” McCallister asked as they approached a set of stairs that took them down towards the deck where the cargo hold was. 

“We have, though we do know that Borg drones can adapt their systems to walk through forcefields,” Tomaz reminded the captain. “That said, if anything were to happen, Penny would open the cargo bay doors and flush our visitor out into the coldness of space.”

“Let’s just hope the ETUs activate in time before she blows us out into space,” Flemen said as he took the last step.

“And remind me again why we’re meeting with this drone?” Slyvexs asked as they carried on with their stretch of the walk.

“If Three of Eleven says who he is, if he is human, then I’d like to know why they need our help. That’s your job to assess, Slyvexs. I want you to scan him to determine if he says who he is,” McCallister stated. 

“You want me to run his DNA through the Federation database for a match?” She asked.

“It’d be worth it,” McCallister answered with a nod. “But I also want you to assess how this sub-collective frequency we’ve detected works.”

“While we distract him with all of our diplomatic might?” Flemen guessed.

“Something like that, Craigen,” McCallister agreed. “Meanwhile, Tomaz, you’re job is to assess the situation and see if he is trying to do something, then just meet with us.”

“Understood, sir.” Tomaz nodded.

The group eventually reached the cargo hold and was greeted by Lieutenant Jisaraa. The Orion woman followed them into the large room and approached the transporter station. “Looks like our guest is ready, sir.” She announced after tapping at the controls.

“Energise, lieutenant,” McCallister ordered.

Pushing the controls up, Jisaraa delicately activated the beam that brought Three of Eleven onto the Telemachus. Once he materialised correctly, she activated the transporter inhibitor network setup across the ship and a forcefield surrounding the platform. 

Taking two steps forward, McCallister welcomed the Borg drone. “My crew have taken the security precautions of preventing you from trying anything then speaking to us.”

Looking around slowly and carefully, Three of Eleven appeared to be scanning the room before returning his focus to the captain. “A wise precaution, captain.”

Studying Three of Eleven’s appearance further, McCallister was surprised to see scars across his face and the parts of his body not covered by Borg technology. Furthermore, the colour of his skin was not completely white. Compared to the images McCallister had seen as part of reports he had read a thousand times about the Borg, where they would ‘suck the life’ out of a drone during the assimilation processes. Could being disconnected from the main hive mind have done this to him? The other scars looked like a poor attempt at a possible medical treatment he had received. Knowing that Slyvexs would analyse him while they spoke, McCallister was content to begin this discussion. “So, you want our help? Clarify.”

“By now, your sensors would have detected a low-level subspace link between the remaining drones,” Three of Eleven stated. “This is sub-collective modulation we created to keep ourselves alive.”

“Interesting,” McCallister responded, crossing his arms. “I take it this sub-collective isn’t sustainable?”

“Correct,” Three of Eleven replied. “Our unit does not have the necessary resources to maintain itself.”

“In other words, you’re dying?” Flemen asked, stepping forward to join the captain by his side.

“A crude definition, but somewhat correct.” Three replied after looking at Flemen. Then, he snapped his attention back to McCallister. “We require your assistance with this matter.”

“You said you were human,” McCallister said. “I’m curious. What was your name before you were assimilated?”

“This body was assimilated thirty-nine years ago. It ceased to be human at that time.” Three replied. “Do not engage us in further irrelevant discourse.”

McCallister looked at Flemen, sharing an expression that he wouldn’t be agreeing with that request. “Tough, you want our help. You tell me who you were.” He told the drone. 

Three of Eleven appeared to pause at that point. “We suspected that a request to you would be impossible to engage with. You are curious to know who we are. There is no logic in that line of inquiry. You are erratic, conflicted, disorganised.”

“Really?” Flemen challenged. “You’re the sub-collective of Borg drones that cannot survive and need our help. It appears you’re more erratic, conflicted and disorganised than us.”

Three of Eleven turned back to Flemen. “Every decision is not debated within our Collective. It is analysed. Every action is not questioned. Every individual shares the same thought, the same direction as everyone else. Unlike you, we do not lack harmony or cohesion. That is your undoing.”

“I still haven’t heard why you need us,” McCallister stated. “You can stand here and insult our individuality, or you can share with us what you need. You said your sub-collective is not sustainable. Why not?”

“We lack the resources to maintain the technology required to regulate our systems.” Three of Eleven answered.

“In other words, you don’t have the energy to regenerate?” McCallister checked.

“Indeed.”

Pondering the dilemma, McCallister paced a few steps from the transporter platform and turned around to face the drone before them. “So let me guess, you want some power source?”

“That would be acceptable, however we do not have the time-”

“Commander Reuben Gray,” Slyvexs announced from the console she was at and looked up at the drone after interrupting him. “That’s your name. You were the chief engineer aboard the USS Tombaugh when it was assimilated in twenty-three-sixty-two.”

“We are Borg.”

“Were,” Slyvexs corrected the drone as she stepped forward with her tricorder. “Your human side is fighting against your Borg implants.”

Three of Eleven looked at her. “Clarify.” 

“Your physiology has been reasserting itself: your respiratory system, neurological functions and immune response,” Slyvexs said. “It’s not a new energy source you need. Your body is swarming with Borg implants that are no longer functioning.”

“A new source of power will ensure our regenerative abilities will reassert our implants,” Three of Eleven stated.

“I don’t think that’s what you want,” Flemen said. He looked carefully at the drone. “I’m Lumerian, and I can sense what you’re feeling. And I’m not talking about this sub-collective you have. I can feel Commander Reuben Grey and what he wants.”

“Listen to your human side,” McCallister said. “Or it will be your undoing.”

Three of Eleven stood up straight and turned to the captain. “I want-”

“Ah, so there is a sense of individuality in there,” Tomaz quickly stated.

“Undoubtedly,” McCalister smirked. Understanding why Three of Eleven didn’t look like most normal Borg drones now made sense since Slyvexs had exposed the truth. The captain paused as he noticed that perhaps Three of Eleven was becoming irritated with their barrage. He decided to change tact. “Listen to me. Tell me more about this sub-collective of yours.”

“It was developed after a group of us were freed from the Collective,” Three answered. 

“The neurolytic pathogen introduced to the hive mind by Voyager?” Tomaz checked.

“No,” Three replied. “Our cortical inhibitors were nullified from the nanovirus introduced into the Collective due to the Unimatrix Zero resistance.”

 “Another Voyager intervention against the Collective,” Tomaz shared with the group.

“Indeed,” McCallister said as he crossed his arms before he refocused on their cybernetic guest. “So you were part of the resistance.”

“Yes, however, to avoid detection, those freed created a sub-collective. As a result, we were able to process information more effectively, mask our activities, and begin to mount a strategy to liberate the entire vessel from the control of the collective,” Three shared. “The cube we were on had entered a transwarp aperture and had received orders to intercept Voyager when it began its assault on the transwarp hub network.”

“And let me guess, the moment the neurolytic pathogen was unleashed on the collective, it scattered your plans, created chaos with the other drones, and the moment the transwarp conduits collapsed, you were thrown out into space at incredible speeds?” McCallister summarised. 

“Correct.”

“And you crashed landed on this planet?” Flemen asked, knowing the answer. 

“Correct.”

Feeling like the puzzle pieces with what had happened were coming together, McCallister finished working out what had happened. “And with a Tactical Cube dropping out transwarp at those speeds, hitting a planet with a bemonite mantle would have caused massive irreparable damage to your vessel and the planet itself.”

“Correct.”

Rubbing his beard, McCallister took in a deep breath. He wasn’t prepared to help the start of a new Borg Collective, but on the other hand, he wasn’t prepared to ignore the call for help. “How many of you survived?”

“Ninety-three.” Three blinked once after answering. “Twenty-one of us were members of the Unimatrix Zero sub-collective. We assimilated the others into our collective; however, forty-seven were still neonatal drones. They could not remain in the maturation chambers.”

“Children?” Tomaz asked.

“They have…” Three paused as he considered his words for the first time. “Matured naturally since our arrival on the planet.”

“And their condition?” Slyvexs asked after lowering her tricorder.

“Operational.”

“Obviously,” Slyvexs said with a raised eyebrow expression. She turned to the captain. “Sir, if the others in his groups are in a similar condition, then it’s not a power source they need help with; they need medical treatment and their Borg implants removed.”

 McCallister turned to Three of Eleven. “You wanted our help, but I’m not prepared to offer you what you want. Though I am prepared to consider helping you in removing your implants.”

“We will adapt,” Three replied.

“Will you?” Flemen challenged. Doubt filled his voice. “You said it yourself. You were part of a sub-collective that opposed the hive mind. You purposely brought others into your line of thought. Unimatrix Zero was where you went to be individuals, not drones. That existence does not need to be your only option to survive. Decide to live. To be who you were in Unimatrix Zero. Let us help you.”

“Starfleet’s understanding of Borg technology has dramatically improved over the last two decades. As a result, we can help with the transitioning.” Slyvexs stated. 

Three of Eleven looked upon Fleet Captain McCallister. McCallister returned the glare. 

“Comply with our offer,” McCallister said. “As the Collective would say: Resistance is Futile.”

  • James Preston McCallister

    Squadron Commander

  • Tomaz

    Chief Strategic Operations Officer
    Chief Intelligence Officer
    Second Officer

  • Craigen Flemen

    Chief Diplomatic Officer
    Staff Judge Advocate
    Third Officer

  • Slyvexs

    Captain of Medicine

  • Jisaraa

    USS Triton
    Chief Security & Tactical Officer
    Former Senior Assistant Chief Security & Tactical Officer
    Hazard Team α Leader