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Part of USS Odyssey: This Far, How Further? and Bravo Fleet: Frontier Day

This Far, How Further? – 12

USS Odyssey (NCC-80000), Spacedock, Earth, Sol System
Stardate: 78278.08
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“Sir, it’s time,” uttered the gentle, soothing voice of Penelope. The Emergency Command Hologram had just fizzled into the ready room and stood by the entrance.

Fleet Captain James McCallister checked his appearance in the mirror once more. He adjusted his dress uniform and smoothed out his collar. With a smile, he glanced over his shoulder at the hologram. “Thanks, Penelope.”

She bowed her head a little. “No, thank you, sir, for allowing me to be active during the day’s celebrations.”

“You’re every part of this crew as any other crewmember,” As he spun on his heels, McCallister waved his hand to deactivate the computer mirror. “Shall we get this show on the road then?”

Penelope nodded and stepped aside, holding the door open for him to exit his office. As he left his ready room, the captain tugged on the ends of his cuffs and made his way onto the Odyssey’s bridge. Before McCallister, he was greeted by his entire senior staff being present on the bridge, along with several others, including his son and a few cadets. 

“Captain on the bridge,” called Tobias Court. 

The former Master Chief Petty Officer had secretly completed his officer’s training only a few days ago and, with the supervision of Banfield, had completed the bridge officer’s test. Now he held the rank of commander, but his old enlisted instincts in calling out the arrival of a senior officer remained. 

McCallister grinned at the formal display of his crew as they all stood at attention before him. Each one of them donned their dress uniforms and presented themselves professionally. He couldn’t have been prouder of every single one of them. He had expressed that gratitude in the recent round of promotions handed out. 

Court hadn’t been the only one who was recently promoted. Starfleet had insisted on McCallister expanding the crew tremendously before its return to the Delta Quadrant. However, not every position was filled yet. Eventually, the Odyssey would become like a mobile starbase in his eyes. As a result, he had put in multiple requests for promotions, which he was surprised were granted. 

Banfield, Slyvexs and Horin joined him and Duncan as captains of their respective departments. Tomaz, Flemen and Jen became commanders with Court. Both Tomaz and Jen had completed their work on the Command Training Program. And finally, Keli was made a lieutenant commander. Though McCallister wanted to promote Tierra and others, he didn’t know how just far he could take it. That said, Tierra needed a few more years under her belt to be considered for three full pips or at least undertake training like the others had. He had spoken to her about it in the evening before, and already she said she would consider her career options and appreciated his support in wanting to make her a full commander soon.  

“As you were,” McCallister signalled as he walked across the bridge and noticed at the corner of his eyes that Penelope had transferred matrix from her ready room to the other side of the bridge. Like a quick blink, the ECH was by one of the mission ops stations. 

Smirking at his first officer, McCallister knew what Duncan was thinking. They shared how excited they were to be a part of the celebrations over a glass of Aldebaran whiskey during last night’s Frontier Day Eve promotion party. 

Now they were here on Frontier Day, and they got to show off the Odyssey to the entire Federation; they were ready. Moreover, their sons were both present to see everything. It was exhilarating. Unfortunately, the ship’s civilian population would not return until after Frontier Day, so the only two they had present with them were Jordan and Alfie. Both cadets looked smart and handsome in their dress uniforms, standing at ease on the periphery of the bridge with their fellow cadets—a sort of honour guard. 

Duncan cleared his throat. “Sir, the Themis and Triton are both ready to follow us out. We just need to give the word. However, we must leave shortly before they launch the Enterprise.

Sitting down in unison with Duncan, McCallister smiled at Horin on his left. The counsellor, who was getting bigger and bigger as her pregnancy drew to a close, winked at him. Like Banfield and Slyvexs, she wasn’t keen on becoming a captain. However, when he had explained the future of the Odyssey, the three women understood why he was promoting them. Moreover, he wanted to see the ship continue to return to its exploration roots, so having his three lead science-based departments led by captains was another approach he wanted to take. He had to promise they would not be transferred to any other ship in the squadron to command them. The compromise had been if he did it, then it would be for temporary reasons. They agreed.

Now looking beyond the counsellor, he caught the attention of the newest, if temporary, member of their crew. “Lieutenant Jonarom, open a squadron-wide frequency and then hail the dockmaster and request permission for the squadron to get underway.”

Jonarom replied with a nod. “Aye, Captain.” He pressed the nearby communications console and connected the other two ships present before getting hold of the station’s ops. “Spacedock, this is N-C-C-Eight-Zero-Zero-Zero-Zero, ready for ceremonial departure with N-C-C-Seven-Six-Five-Five-Four and N-C-C-Eight-Oh-One-Oh-Six. Fleet Captain McCallister in command.”

The bridge speakers came to life with the response. “Copy that, Odyssey. Happy Frontier Day to you, the Themis and Triton. Godspeed Odyssey Squadron.” 

The spacious hangar doors of Spacedock glided open with a fluid grace, allowing the three magnificent starships to embark on their journey. Fireworks were set off, and although the display was not as grandiose as the one that was planned for the Enterprise-F’s departure from the colossal station, it was still enough to provide a visual spectacle for the onlookers scattered across the Federation. With the Odyssey positioned at the heart of the formation, flanked by the Themis on its starboard side and the Triton on its port, the squadron navigated across the vast expanse of space with utmost caution and precision as they made their way towards the rest of the assembled fleet.

“Lieutenant Marova, move us into formation ahead one-half impulse,” McCallister commanded. “Lieutenant Jonarom, patch me through on a ship-wide channel to everyone in our squadron.”

The pilot and communications officers complied and gave the fleet captain what he wanted. When Jonarom gave him a nod, he was on; the faces of Captains Cambil Bexa and Horation McCallister appeared to the side of the wide viewscreen. Like the Odyssey’s bridge, they had their senior staff assembled.

 “Attention to everyone in the Odyssey Squadron; I just want to take this opportunity to share some words of inspiration with you before the big finale Starfleet has planned.” Standing up, McCallister recited the Odyssey’s dedication plaque quote. We shall not cease from exploration. And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”

McCallister paused. “Those words cannot be truer for these fine crews and the work we do. An old friend of mine, someone who many of us knew and had the privilege of working with, reminded me why we put on the uniform every day. She’s not here to see the work we’ve accomplished or will undertake, so I will speak for her.” McCallister paused. The loss of Captain Rio Canção had hit him and others hard. After a breath, he continued. “I am fortunate enough to lead these ships into the deepest unknowns with people who know the work, though dangerous, is worth doing. So I thank you all for your service,” He looked around his bridge, “And to quote Captain Canção, ‘let’s get to work’!”

Everyone started to applaud and cheer as McCallister returned to his seat. The short tribute to Canção was what got everyone, especially those on the Triton

“Captain,” spoke Banfield over the top of the commotion. “The Enterprise is being launched.”

“On screen,” Duncan ordered.

The viewscreen changed to show more fireworks going off and the main doors of Spacedock opening. This time the flagship of the fleet elegantly made her way out and turned over to glide around the station.

“Fleet Admiral Shelby is hailing all ships, sir,” announced Jonarom.

“Put her up,” McCallister ordered.

The admiral’s speech linking Frontier Day to the launch of the Enterprise NX-01 brought goosebumps on the back of McCallister’s neck. He had read the stories of Archer and his crew and the other NX-class ships like those commanded by Hernandez, Burton, Lopez and Campbell. “…that will lead to the birth of what we know today as Starfleet!”

As the firework display continued, more cheers and clapping filled the bridge of the Odyssey. The admiral resumed her speech, and the moment she mentioned Fleet Formation, McCallister looked down at his operations officer.  “Commander Jen, bring us online with the rest of the fleet.” He ordered.

“Aye, Captain,” Jen replied.  

“…and what still remains our final frontier!”

“We’re in formation with everyone, sir,” Marova shared. 

As the demonstration of the new system got underway, McCallister started to tour his bridge, interacting with one another as Fleet Admiral Shelby continued to present this new technological revolution for Starfleet to the rest of the Federation. Happy that everything was going well, McCallister made his way back to his seat and stood still just before it. Taking in one more glance at everything, he was pleased with how well it was going. When He was about to sit down, Kelli stopped him when the proximity alarm went off. 

“Sir, the U-S-S Titan has just arrived.” 

Confused to hear that, McCallister had heard a Starfleet report about Captain Shaw and the Titan going quiet, Starfleet believing the ship had been taken over and compromised. What made it worse was there were confusing rumours that Admiral Jean-Luc Picard and Captain William Riker were also on board. Several ships had been sent to search for them but had not succeeded. Before McCallister could respond, Jonarom then spoke up. “Sir, I’m detecting a transmission from the Titan; it’s an emergency hail.”

“Open a channel, lieutenant,” McCallister ordered.

The gravelly voice of Picard then flooded the bridge. His warning of the changeling infiltration of Starfleet shocked everyone. However, his final remarks about their vulnerability to the Borg sent a shiver down McCallister’s spine. He looked to his right and noticed Lieutenant Commander Gray standing up from one of the engineering stations. The exB looked horrified at hearing the admiral’s forewarning. 

“Red alert!” McCallister called. “Captain Banfield, start scanning the area for the Borg; Commander Jen, deactivate our connection with Fleet Formation.”

Picard’s exchange with Shelby was interrupted, and the message of ‘Connection Lost’ appeared suddenly on the main viewer. 

“What happened?” Duncan asked Jonarom.

“Unknown, sir, all communication lines have been shut down,” Jonarom replied.

“Sir, I can’t disengage from the Fleet Formation program.” Jen shared. “We’re locked out.”

Feeling like something wrong was about to happen, McCallister returned to his seat and sat down. His instinct to pull out the handheld phaser that sat underneath it kicked in, which was noticed by others. “Everyone arm yourselves.”

“Captain, I’m detecting a massive energy spike from Jupiter!” Banfield declared. 

“What?” McCallister said as he shot her a look.

Every console on the bridge started to flicker, and green interlacing lines, like a spider’s web, appeared across them. A high pitch noise then filled the room. It was loud but not too discomforting for any of them. Except for one of them. 

Gray fell to his knees and held on to his head in pain—his hand covering the last remains of his Borg implant, just above his left eye. Moving swiftly from where she was, Doctor Slyvexs had grabbed a medical kit and was by Gray’s side as Commander Tierra held him.

“What on Earth is that?” Slyvexs asked as everyone looked at her and her patient.

“It’s a- it’s a Borg signal,” Grey stated. Still clutching to his head, he looked at McCallister. “We need to get out of here now, sir!”

Quickly, McCallister turned to his helm officer. “Marova, break formation and get us out of here. Maximum warp!”

Marova didn’t do anything.

“Lieutenant, I gave you an order,” McCallister said more sternly. 

Marova turned herself around in her chair, and her face was filled with what looked like black veins, and her eyes changed into the same dark abyss. While this was happening, Jen spoke up. “Sir, we’re losing computer control! We need to lock out the primary processor.”

Hearing his operations officer, McCallister knew he would lose his ship if he did nothing from what he witnessed happen to Marova. “Computer, deactivate all command functions and encrypt the main computer core with a level ten fractural encryption lockout, authorisation McCallister-Four-Seven-.”

He didn’t get a chance to say any more of his command clearance when Commander Carter Westerham screamed across the room, “No!” The Academy Unit Training Leader had somehow extended his arm in a fluid-like fashion and shoved McCallister across the bridge, smashing into his chair. The force was powerful enough to break the captain’s chair off his hinges. “The young must rise!” He added. 

“By the power of Kahless, he’s a changeling!” Banfield screamed at her husband, raised her weapon, and started to fire upon him.

Everyone else did the same thing, and Westerham was hit by phaser bolts fired by the other members of the senior staff. He didn’t survive as he disintegrated into dust on the floor.

Tomaz had helped McCallister to his feet when they all saw what was happening around them. The rest of the junior staff and the cadets were all starting to look like Marova. Like tiny black branches darting across their faces, overgrowing, none of them could stop it.

Captain Duncan and Commander Court ran over to their son, Jordan. Jordan looked frightened at first. “Dads, I’m not feeling like I’m in control-”

“It’s okay, Jordan, we’re here,” Court assured his son as he fell to the floor.

Duncan had called Slyvexs over.

At the same time, McCallister had gone over to his son, Alfie, who was in the same state. Though they all looked ridged, the younger cadets were in pain. Alfie, like his friend, fell into his father’s arms.

“Dad, I don’t feel so good,” Alfie said, tears almost in his eyes.  

“You’ll be alright; stay with me, Alfie,” McCallister said, holding his son. 

“I don’t know what’s happening,” Alfie whimpered more in his father’s arm. “Please, Dad, don’t let them take me.” 

“I won’t; stay with me, Alfie. Think about your brothers, me, your friends, your mom,” McCallister pleaded.

“I’m sorry Da-” Alfie whispered before he was gone, and utter darkness overtook him.

McCallister watched with even more horror as he lost his son and heard him (and the other younger members of his crew) utter four spine-chilling words. 

“We are the Borg.”

“James, get away from him!” Court cried out as he and Duncan let go of Jordan.

Dropping his son and holding his phaser at him, McCallister took a few steps back as he noticed every single one of them that had been taken over was now standing to attention.

“Sir, it’s happening across the entire fleet, everywhere; the Borg are back!” Gray announced from where he was. 

“Eliminate all unassimilated!”

Standing closer with the others now in the centre of the bridge, McCallister raised his weapon. Marova, Jonarom, Jordan, Alfie, all of their younger crew were turning against them. How did the Borg do this? How were the Changelings involved? Was this something that the Westerham changeling had done to them? There were too many questions rolling in the captain’s mind.

“We need to take them all out now!” Banfield urged. Though she had just shot a changeling pretending to be her husband, she was still focused on the task at hand. 

“Set your weapons to stun and open fire,” McCallister ordered as he aimed his weapon at Alfie. He whispered ‘I’m sorry, son,” and shot him immediately. He noticed Duncan doing the same to Jordan; both lads fell to the ground as they started to march towards them. It only took a few more moments for them to wipe out the junior staff, and the Odyssey’s senior staff were now stuck in the middle of fallen officers. 

 “Any idea on how the Borg have assimilated our younger members?” Horin asked as she went over to help Slyvexs. 

The Denobulan doctor was scanning those they had just stunned. “I can’t see how, but I detect small traces of Borg DNA and nanoprobes. This is impossible.” She replied.

Behind them, the others were trying to secure the bridge and attempt to retake the ship. Gray, Jen and Tierra were trying to override the computer lockouts while Keli, Tomaz, Flemen, Rosle and Court were trying to seal the doors and hatches that led off the bridge. 

“Sir, I’ve been able to restore power to one system,” Tierra announced. The Deltan Chief Engineer looked at her commanding officer. “But’s it not one you’ll be pleased with.”

“What is it?” McCallister asked.

“The auto-destruct,” She replied.

McCallister turned to his first officer and second officer. Both Duncan and Banfield nodded at him. He knew what he had to do.

“Captain, I’ve got access to internal sensors and the intercom; it looks like the Borg are trying to take over the entire ship,” Kelli announced. “Those who are left are trying to stand their ground, but they’re being overwhelmed.”

Hearing that news convinced McCallister of what he needed to do.

He sat down in his chair and opened a ship-wide intercom. “All hands, this is the captain. Abandon ship! Take whatever escape pod, starfighter, shuttle or runabout you can and get off the ship. We can’t beat the Borg.” He looked around at everyone else. “Get yourselves out of here,” He shook his head in disappointment and defeat. Their cause was hopeless. He saw on the main screen as the Borg took control of the rest of the fleet and opened fire at the numerous orbital space stations. The break in the communications channel announcing that the Excelsior had freed itself before other ships in the fleet turned on it, destroying it. This nightmare didn’t seem like it was going to end soon.

McCallister, though would end it for him, his crew and his ship. 

Now.

He took in a breath before speaking. “Computer, begin auto-destruct sequence, authorisation McCallister Four-Seven-Alpha Tango.”