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Part of USS Ride: Waylaid by Necessary Interdiction and Bravo Fleet: We Are the Borg

2 | Unexpected Parallels

Brunel Station | Beta Quadrant
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As the swirling effervescence of the transporter beam died out, and her field of view returned to her, Captain Nushif Ejoma immediately noticed that there were no fewer than ten scientists cramped into this relatively small transporter room. She couldn’t think of any reason that she and the Ride’s chief of security would need such a welcome party, but they’d received one nonetheless. 

“Captain Nushif? Welcome aboard. I’m Commander Amanda Greystone, head of the research project here. These are my team…” 

“I hope you’re not about to tell us all their names, sir,” the Andorian woman to Nushif’s right quipped, straightening the sleeves of her uniform jacket. “We’re not here to meet the staff, we’re here to ascertain what’s going on with the beacon sending a klaxon out to every Borg drone across space and time.” 

Greystone raised an eyebrow, before turning to her team and saying, “I can take it from here, thank you.” 

Ejoma stifled a snorting laugh as the scientists filed out of the transporter room and said, “Apologies for the brusqueness of my chief of security, but she’s right. A pleasure to meet you, Commander Greystone. I’m Captain Nushif Ejoma, first officer of the Ride. This is Commander Ralessa zh’Dar.” 

Stepping down off the transporter pad, Ejoma offered as big a smile as she could on two hours of sleep and a cup of coffee. Following the group out of the room and down the hall she continued, “Admiral Tondro has sent us to ascertain the threat level of the Sphere your team has been dismantling. Can you tell me where you came upon it? I presume it wasn’t during Frontier Day or any of the various battles against the Borg.” 

“You can’t battle the Borg, sir,” Greystone replied flatly, gesturing for the two to follow her down the corridors. “You can run from them, sometimes successfully. You can hide from them, usually with decent efficacy. But calling any encounter we’ve had with the Borg a battle would be charitable at best. We’ve had a few wins against the Collective in a running tally of losses. It’s why Brunel station exists. To study how we can do better, be better, against the biggest threat the Federation has ever faced.” 

“And you didn’t answer the question,” zh’Dar replied. 

“And I’m not going to,” Greystone sighed. “We don’t get many visitors here. We’re kind of a backwater station, even as far as the Starfleet Corps of Engineers is concerned. It’s why my entire team showed up to see who was coming. I don’t know why Admiral Tondro, who until now has largely been concerned with Bajoran and Cardassian matters, has suddenly decided to take a vested interest in Borg technology, but I can tell you what I do know. I don’t report to her, and I don’t report to you. I report to the Chief of Starfleet Engineering, and to Admiral Clancy.” 

This is going well, Ejoma thought. 

“That said, yes the emergency beacon on our Sphere has activated, and we have been as yet unsuccessful shutting it off. To add to the issue, intermittent shielding has gone up inside of it, trapping some of our crew. It’s been dormant forever, so we didn’t think it would be possible, but as it turns out the Borg really do prepare for every eventuality. Imagine our stroke of luck when an Odyssey class starship shows up at our doorstep and insists on seeing the Sphere; ascertaining whether the emergency beacon is a threat.” 

Greystone stopped at a large set of doors and announced, “Authorization Greystone zero-four-four-Alpha-Iota.” 

Whether by design or by coincidence, Borg vessels are imposing. Lacking any of the graceful curves of Starfleet’s cruisers or the sharp jutting angles of Klingon warships, they are instead simple, functional geometric shapes with hull plating and a glowing, sickly green light oozing from every junction. Ejoma had seen them, in holographic simulations. She had read reports and seen videos of ships going up against them. These did nothing to prepare her for the actuality of coming face to face with one. 

The Sphere dominated most of the facility’s massive bay. Large pylons gripped the Sphere like a hand tightly grasping a ball. A flurry of scientists and various other crew were walking and dashing around the makeshift gangways they’d built for access to various levels of the vessel. This Sphere was in rough shape, to be certain. Large chunks of it were missing along its “equatorial” region, as if someone had taken a scooper to the ship itself and pitted it out. There were telltale scorch marks across most of it, and a deep scar running at least four decks deep from the top of the Sphere curving down toward the bottom. 

Something, or someone, had been in battle with this vessel. Given that she was told the ship was here for dismantling and to discover any potential new technology that could be gleaned from it, she’d expected the ship to be dormant. But a soft green light was pulsing menacingly from somewhere in the center of the ship, bathing the bay in an occasional sickly viridian glow.  

“By the Prophets,” she intoned under her breath. “How did it…” 

“We don’t know, Captain,” Greystone interrupted. “We are some of the most qualified engineers that Starfleet can offer to study and dismantle this Sphere, and we don’t know how or why it’s doing this. What I do know is that there are twenty of my crew stranded in the Sphere, and none of us have been successful at figuring out how to retrieve them.” 

Turning pointedly to the Bajoran woman, Greystone continued, “My contingency orders were to lock down this facility should this ever happen, and do whatever we could to disable or destroy the Sphere. Admittedly, that would be a pretty easy job. Whatever enemy this Sphere did battle with made sure there wasn’t much of it left, when we found it, and we’ve dismantled a fair bit of the rest of it. But I have friends in there, Captain Nushif. Friends who I’ve served with for decades. Admiral Tondro wants to ascertain the threat of the emergency beacon? She can send as many people as she wants in there, and pour over it to her heart’s content. Just…just save my crew, and we’ll call it even.” 

Heaving a sigh, zh’Dar tapped her commbadge. “zh’Dar to Ride. We’re gonna need a hazard team.” 

Comments

  • Well, that's an escalation! I love the combative nature of Greystone, very much protecting her project and her people, but she can't help but acknowledge the threat the recent change must pose given Ride's presence. I really appreciate the way you describe the Sphere and its glow, particularly the pulsating from its core. Something so deep is going to be hard to stop. As a lover and frequent writer of Andorians, it's pleasing to see one as cold as the landscape of her home world - at least for now. Following that amazing monologue in your opening post, this must have been the thing Nushif was dreading the most. Will a hazard team be enough to contain this threat?

    November 6, 2023
  • I find myself hungry to learn more about Brunel Station, Commander Greystone, and the backstory of how this whole place came to be. Who managed to inflict damage like this upon a Borg Sphere? How did Starfleet come upon it? And what are Greystone and her team really doing here? Your choice to make her a foil, rather than just having her share the backstory, makes it that much more mysterious. And none of this is even the main plot, which even absent this mystery, would still have me hooked. Can’t wait to see where it goes from here! But we’d better do more than just save the scientists and destroy the Sphere… hope we get some answers to the rest!

    November 7, 2023
  • Well, the Ride certainly has their work cut out for them with the scientists studying the Borg Sphere. They seem like such a welcoming bunch. At least at first. I loved the description of the Sphere, and I really want to know more about how it came to be damaged since it doesn't seem to be by the Federation. Looking forward to reading more about the Sphere and hoping the Ride can get the trapped people free before the Borg respond to the emergency beacon.

    November 8, 2023