Check out our latest Fleet Action!

 

Part of USS Cardiff: Gods of the Hive// We are the Borg and Bravo Fleet: We Are the Borg

Shades in the Night

USS Cardiff
0 likes 267 views

 

    “What the bloody hells?” Commander ap Gareth flung himself from his chair and began pacing in tight circles behind his chair. 

     “How can this be, Captain?” Kaalir asked. Her voice was soft, a slight tremor running through it. After the horrors of the past few months, Reva couldn’t fault her reaction. Or Gareth’s, for that matter.

     “We know there have been other queens in the past. Hive mentality in other species suggests young queens are molded and sent with swarms to build new hives, though the Borg do it through assimilation. Destruction of one or two doesn’t suggest destruction of all,” Rev’arric rumbled. “Another may be coming.”

     “Rrr’varric is right.” Reva tipped a nod to her Caitian CMO. “Dormant tech has begun sending out the Borg emergency homing beacon. The Borg vessels that have been sighted have ignored those around them, so long as they aren’t interfered with and allowed to reclaim their equipment.

     “The problem lies with top secret facilities, and black market traders. The Fourth Fleet will be discreetly looking into signals with an eye to shutting them down for good, or garnering info on possible Borg movement if that fails.”

     “Of course we are! Thrown to the wolves again!” Gareth growled as he sat back down. “After all that just happened, the whole of the Fleet should be preparing. What happens if they decide to start attacking?”

     “So far they’ve been as shades in the night. There and gone again. They’ve not initiated attacks, only responded to aggression.”

     “Perhaps, if there is a new queen, they’ve realised allowing Borg tech to remain in non-Borg hands is a bad idea,” Lt. Ch’shraonness piped up. 

     “I agree with Commander Gareth. The whole of the Fleet should be mobilised.” Lt. Faarn pounded a fist in the table to punctuate her point.

     “I do not disagree,” Reva said. “However, ours is but to serve. We don’t need a repeat of the conservative paranoia sparked by Mars. So, for now it’s just the Fourth.

     “The Cardiff has been tasked with investigating a series of signals originating in Tofalu. There are black market enclaves among the rubble ring of Tofalu Secundis and within the upper atmosphere of the gas giant. We have Urzas Al’Sienko to thank for that, what with our unofficial upgrades.”

     Reva gave the Technomancer a fond glance. The brass had been so mad that he wouldn’t move to a ship more ‘worthy’ of his gifts. He refused to leave Reva and her crew of eccentrics. He’d dwelled within Reva’s head, unbeknownst to her, since her crash some years previous, silently repairing horrendous damage that should have killed her. It had been slow work to hold neural pathways so they would anchor in the mage metal that now formed part of her brain and skull, and all of one eye. 

     An attack on the Cardiff by Jem’Hadar had prompted Tallos to remove Urzas’ soul chip from her, and wake the giant whose ‘body’ had been in one of their morgue stasis chambers since they’d returned to the site of the accident and raided the crashed Sikkaran ship that Reva led them to following Urzas’ silent guidance. That trip had gifted them Tallos and a slew of tech the al’raj had helped them adapt to the Cardiff. Yet, as game-changing as it had been, Urzas had been moreso. He could use the tech as it was meant to be used. What the Technomancer did seemed like magic, but to him it was simply science. 

     “Indeed.” Urzas looked around the table. “I’ve read the information you have on the Borg. We, at least, will be safe. Tallos and I have modulated the shield interface to be adaptive and the ion cannon additions are nearly ready.” 

     Ch’shraonness nodded agreement. “We have a few more tests to run, Captain, and we should be good to go. The interface with ship systems for Tallos and Urzas are ready.” The Andorian engineer gave a feral grin, antennae twitching. “We’ll be able to have our very own al’raj running things, should we need.”

     “Very good. Let’s get those tests wrapped up so we’ll be ready once we reach Tofalu.” Reva looked around the table, making eye contact with each of her chiefs. “Prep those in your departments what to expect. Dismissed!”

 

      Urzas stayed behind as the others filed out. Tallos fluttered through the conference room door as they left, settling on Reva’s shoulder. 

      “This has to stop. Has to end.” Reva walked to the window dominating one wall and stared out at the starblur. “How much more can we take before we break?”

     Tallos nuzzled her hair, picking up on her emotional state. The little al’raj demonstrated an acute awareness that had deeply endeared him to her since he’d been liberated from the tomb of the Planeswalker.

     “If I know anything, it’s that this crew can weather anything thrown at it.” Urzas joined Reva at the window, pressing a hand against the window. “And Tallos and I are still with you for now.”

     “And for that I’m thankful.” Reva turned to look at Urzas, eyes narrowed. “For now? Are you planning to leave us, Urzas?”

     The tall Sikkaran looked discomfited. He walked back to the table, gathering up a tablet. Tallos flew to the table, gripping Urzas’ arm. 

     “We are leaving?” the al’raj asked. “When? Why?”

     “No, we are not leaving, not any time soon, anyway.”

     “I don’t want to leave at all, al’sienko. It… it has been nice, being on a living ship again. To do what I was created for, even if it’s not a Sikkaran ship.”

     “It is not to worry about now, honoured brother. Please, put it from your mind.”

     “And should I put it from mind, too, al’sienko?” Reva was still near the window. She joined the pair at the table, looking up into Urzas’ grey eyes. They changed with his mercurial temperament, sliding from a pale dove grey to the gunmetal grey of storm clouds, though Reva thought he was unaware of it. She found it a distinct advantage in understanding him. They were currently a few shades darker than the normal pale grey. He was uncomfortable and hiding something. 

     “Kas, until this current crisis is resolved. After that, we shall see.”

     The grey swirled deeper, then spiraled back to pale dove. Uncomfortable, conflicted, depressed. She knew better than to press. He would talk when he was ready. 

     Tallos made a distressed noise and resumed his place on Reva’s shoulder. He leaned against her for comfort and she reached up to scratch behind his ears. Urzas’ features smoothed. He put a hand on her other shoulder. 

     “It will end, Reva, and you will survive. The Cardiff will survive.”

 

Comments

  • Rev’arric gives us an interesting take on the notion of the Queen, Ch’shraonness posits a strangely positive hypothesis about the Borg movements, and Gareth reminds us of the exhaustion and desperation the crew must be feeling after everything they’ve been through, all right in the opening scene. This helps me get oriented, and then you give us the mission: tracking down signals originating in the Tofalu system, where there’s black market activity. Thinking back to what Ch’shraonness suggested though, if the Borg have “realised allowing Borg tech to remain in non-Borg hands is a bad idea”, doesn’t that set the Cardiff on a collision course? You close with “It will end, Reva, and you will survive. The Cardiff will survive,” likely meant to be positive and reassuring, but instead it reminds us yet again of the danger they’re walking towards.

    November 1, 2023
  • I really enjoyed this post. I have to admit, it's my first chance to delve into the lore of the Cardiff, and I'm glad I did. There's so much nuance and hints of high fantasy playing in the back of it for me, and I love it. I also love Tallos! Such a fun little bunch. I also really enjoyed the anger and frustration that you brought into the post right away! It makes sense that they'd be upset with the smaller scale response. It's a perfect note to build form. I can't wait to read more!

    November 2, 2023