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Part of USS Odyssey: Beyond Redemption, Beyond Reason and Bravo Fleet: We Are the Borg

Beyond Redemption, Beyond Reason – 4

USS Odyssey (NCC-80000), Kotaba Expanse, Swallow Nebula region, Delta Quadrant
Stardate: 78423.06
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Standing around the pool table of engineering and discussing the final parts of their undertaking, Gray was finally pleased to see the end of this challenging work. The hyper-subspace amplifier project would only serve them and the rest of the squadron while they were in the Swallow Nebula region. Though the plan was ingenious in theory, he had reservations about it. It was based on a lot of experimental technology and the need for the Benthan Guard to assist in defending and maintaining it for them. 

“The interplexing beacon appears to be online and operational,” Tierra stated from the head of the table.

The Odyssey’s chief engineer had become a fast friend of Gray’s since he had joined the crew. Tierra knew her stuff and knew the Odyssey inside and out. Her engineering capability was impressive, just as much as the other two engineers who stood around the station with them. 

Beside Gray was his deputy, Jayshon, the Tamarian engineer who had served as the chief engineer on the Triton before it had been badly damaged during the Lost Fleet incursion and further ruined by the Frontier Day tragedy. Joining the Starfleet Corps of Engineers attached to the Odyssey Squadron as its second-in-command had been Jayshon’s request after turning down the chief engineer role on the Constitution. Thankfully, he had been with them or would have been lost when the Constitution went missing a few weeks ago. Gray had warmed up to him and was starting to understand more and more of his Tamarian metaphorical phrases. 

Then, there was Lieutenant Commander Carter Westerham. Husband to Captain Banfield, their second officer and chief science officer, again a former chief engineer himself, who had recently been rescued during Frontier Day as one of the many officers replaced by the rogue changelings. His doppelganger had held the role of leading the Cadet training unit on the squadron; it had been a bold bid by the changelings to ensure that as many younger officers were on the Odyssey, which had hosted many seasoned older officers. 

Westerham smirked at the marvel of their creation. “This may actually work.” He added.

“Arnock, on the night of his joining,” Jayshon said, pleased at their achievement.

Gray knew that Jayshon thoroughly enjoyed creating and building this type of work. He had to admit it himself; doing this type of thing was fun. Looking down at the display before him, he double-checked the test signal they were using. The fact that some of their design was based on Borg-inspired technology did resonate with him. Though those add-ons were his creations, he couldn’t help but find the irony in using Borg ingenuity to help them call home. The fact that the Borg had almost ruined the Federation, Gray wasn’t keen for another round with them. 

Looking up, Gray noticed Jonarom walking across engineering with pride plastered across his face. The young lieutenant was the epitome of optimism and a level of innocence that Gray envied. That said, Jonarom was extremely intelligent and how he saw the galaxy impressed Gray highly. 

“I told you all it would work,” Jonarom remarked as he joined the collective of engineers. “Science leads again!”

“Using a cyclic pulsar to increase our range of communication in this area is no new science, lieutenant,” Tierra reminded the younger officer.

“No, I know it’s not,” Jonarom replied, “However, this is the first time Starfleet has tried this attempt so far away from its other deep space sub-space relays, and if this continues to go well, then with help from the Benthans, the next phase of the project should go ahead without a hitch.”

Again, Gray admitted that Jonarom was right; the next part was more exciting. With help from the Benthans, they would test their theory of using folded subspace to assist in transmitting a data stream to Starfleet. Using a combined approach, they hoped to use a folded space compression wave to dispatch the data stream to the subspace relays in the Gradin Belt. 

He looked down at the console and was about to activate the following process in their test when he heard something in the back of his mind. Straight away, he stopped and looked around. Gray was sure no one called him. Shaking it off and putting it down to him being tired, Gray ignored it and pressed the button.

“Second test phase underway,” He said. 

“We…”

Again, this time, he heard the muffled noise of a transmission and a single word. It was almost like a broken echo. 

“We are…”

Again, Gray’s understanding was clearer.

“We are the…”

He went silent.

He fell sick.

He gulped as he could feel the sweat started to appear on his brow.

“We are the Borg…”

The familiar deep tones of the Collective were calling out to him in a shattered tone. The myriad of voices were there, but they were uncontrollable whispers. 

“Reuben!” 

Eventually, he snapped out of it to hear Tierra calling at him. Everyone was now staring at Gray.

 “Are you okay?” Tierra asked as she moved to his side, worry itched in her eyes. 

“Excuse me, I need to see Doctor Slyvexs,” Gray shared after a gulp and taking in a deep breath.

“You want me to come with you?” Tierra offered as Gray started to walk away.

Shaking just his head in response, Gray almost rushed to sickbay.

The voices in his head were growing more and more.


Now, with his uniform jacket off and sat up straight on one of the biobeds in sickbay, Gray was trying his hardest to block out the voices that were ringing in his ear while Doctor Slyvexs scanned him.

Muttering to herself, Gray could hear Slyvex’s annoyance with her tricorder as she adjusted it before scanning him one more time.

She sighed. “I’m sorry, Reuben, but your proximity transceiver has somehow repaired itself and is active.”

Gray sighed heavily. 

“We are the Borg…Resistance is…”

“Can you please deactivate it?” Gray pleaded. 

Slyvexs nodded. “I can, but it would seem I will need to extract several nanoprobes that are regenerating it.”

Accepting his fate in the doctor’s hands, Gray took another deep breath. “We should tell the captain in case I become a security threat.”

Slyvexs agreed with that idea and tapped her combadge before placing him behind a security force field with her on the outside. 

Trying to focus on her voice and not on the other millions of echoes he could hear, Gray closed his eyes. Slyvexs had contacted the captain and told him about what was happening. 

Gray knew that if his proximity transceiver was active, that also meant that Borg were nearby.

Seconds later, the captain’s voice was heard across the ship’s intercom as he called for red alert. 

Gray now hated himself. 

But as he closed his eyes one more time, he could see something that only existed in his nightmares. A Borg structure, somewhere deep in what looked like a nebula. Opening his eyes straight away, he then felt his stomach wanting to empty what little was in it as he was sick from the site of the Borg.

They were nearby and something was happening. 

He knew it. 

Comments

  • Oh hell yes. This post is absolutely excellent. I love the idea of Gray's proximity transceiver reactivating and him hearing the collective calling like a ghost from a nightmare in his past. This is excellent! I am so eager to see where this story goes from here. You're keeping me absolutely hooked with ever post! Killer job!

    November 4, 2023
  • That post is a wonderful build of everything I was looking for <3 The tension and seeing this from the perspective of Gray traumatic experience with the Borg is step by step a nightmare for him. But it also confirms the very fear that Gray has been telling himself for the past few posts, the Borg are near. Looking forward to more!

    November 4, 2023
  • Through Picard and Seven, we've seen how unnerving it can be to maintain some level of connection to the collective after a Borg escapes. I have to say, you kicked it up to a whole new level with the way you wrote the gradual pulsing of the Borg refrain growing stronger and stronger in Gray's head. That was incredibly affective. You quickly managed to make it even more unsettling to learn his own body is betraying him; rebuilding the thing that MAKES him Borg. It's so important to hold onto the body horror of the Borg and you're doing that so well. Then the image of some strange Borg structure in the dark is such an ominous reminder that this mission has to be about more than Gray. Oh no! Big trouble!

    November 5, 2023
  • Slyvexs

    Captain of Medicine

  • Tierra

    Chief Engineer

  • Reuben Gray

    Starfleet Corps of Engineers Unit Leader

  • Carter Westerham

    USS Triton
    Chief Engineer
    Former Senior Assistant Chief Engineer

  • Jayshon

    USS Bellerophon
    Chief Engineer
    Former Starfleet Corps of Engineers Unit Leader

  • Jonarom

    USS Bellerophon
    Chief Science Officer
    Former Chief Communications Officer