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

3 | The Sphere

Brunel Station | Beta Quadrant
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“Oppressive.” 

Lieutenant Commander Ralessa zh’Dar looked up from the her PADD, and shot a confused look at the Ride’s Chief Science Officer. Simon Balboa deLeon was young, and had precious little experience in the field. Captain Holmes had insisted that there wasn’t a need for a hazard team, but that she did need a capable scientist to come along, as well as a medic. So this was going to be a babysitting job, a rescue mission, and a “turn off the thing that could potentially spell the doom of the galaxy at large” mission all at once. To say she wasn’t pleased would be an understatement. 

The team had spent the last two hours inside the Sphere, and had so far encountered a handful of powered up consoles, evidence of a hard battle fought in the interior, and numerous pieces of Federation equipment plugged in at random points. They had not as yet found any scientists, but had mercifully found the route to the Vinculum, where the Beacon was likely to be found.

Clocking the look she was giving him, Balboa deLeon replied, “Oh! Uh sorry sir. I never did any of the holo courses or took any Borg electives,” Balboa deLeon responded. “There just never seemed to be any time with all of the advanced coursework I was taking, and then after Frontier Day, I just didn’t feel like there was much of a point. Kicking myself for those choices now, but anyway this is…it’s just oppressive. Everything looks brutal.”

“Oppresive’s a pretty good adjective to describe the Borg. So’s brutal,” the team’s Trill medic, Vaes, added. “Aesthetics aren’t a Borg ideal, it’s all about function over form. Good news though, four life signs down this corridor, Commander.” 

Tucking her PADD back into her satchel, zh’Dar nodded, and said “ I won’t belabor the point Simon, except to say that what you don’t know can get you killed. The Federation has had precious few dealings with the Borg aside from a couple of unlucky flag officers. Borg electives and the holo courses are important. I’m sure Picard thinks the Borg are all gone but…they adapt. This beacon proves him wrong. Let’s move.”

The team moved quickly down the long corridor. It was surprisingly well lit, thanks to the lighting fixtures the station’s crew had installed. Various bits of Federation tech were plugged into ports, and a number of dismantling tools were laid out neatly in boxes where they could be neatly tucked away. 

“Looks like they were pretty methodical about what they were doing here. But if they were here to dismantle the Sphere, why were they plugging equipment in?” Vaes quipped. 

“And what were they attempting to find out, if all the Borg equipment was offline and the ship was dormant. I know I’d be looking for clues to whatever caused this level of damage, but…would be hard to figure out if none of the data nodes are online,” Balboa deLeon replied. 

Quiet,” zh’Dar commanded. 

There was a soft, rhythmic electronic noise emanating from just around the next corner of the corridor. As zh’Dar rounded, she let out an audible gasp, and took several steps back, putting her hands to her side to keep Vaes and Balboa deLeon from approaching further. 

A green forcefield blocked a large alcove on the right side of the corridor. A pale human woman in a science teal uniform was pressing her hand against the shield, tapping at it continuously. Two thin black tendrils extended from the walls of the alcove, embedded into the woman’s neck, visibly pumping in a viscous black ichor. With a robotic jerk, she turned her gaze to the Andorian woman, a sense of recognition in her eyes. 

Looking past the woman, zh’Dar could see several other bodies in similar states slouched over against the bulkheads. Three of them were rocking gently in place, the rest very clearly dead. 

“Vvviiiiinculum,” the woman droned, robotic tones breaking through her voice. “B…bbbeeaaacon.” 

“Are you still in there?” zh’Dar gasped. 

“B….bbbeeaacon. Deeeeee-ac-ti-vate,” the woman replied, pointing weakly at a room at the end of the corridor. 

“That’s what we’re here to do, yes,” zh’Dar responded. “But your Commander asked us to find you and get you out. How do we do that?” 

“Al…reaaaaaady…gone. Not…assim…assimilated. Too much…damage. P…paaathoooogen. Nan..naaaaaaannnnop..robes not eff…effective. Death. Minutes. Tell G…Greeeeeyssst…stone. C…contingency…four.” 

“I’m so sorry,” zh’Dar responded, putting her hand against the forcefield. “We’ll get it done.” The woman moved to put her hand over zh’Dar’s in solidarity, before her eyes rolled back, and she slumped down onto the deck.

Andorians were widely renowned as one of the galaxy’s most aggressive species, with a renowned short fuse and quick temper. Ralessa zh’Dar had done her best in her career in both the Andorian Home Guard and in Starfleet to buck this trend, and be prickly, at worst. There were no words to describe the fury she felt witnessing the senseless scene she just had. 

Double time,” she barked, sprinting down the corridor to the alcove. Tapping her commbadge, she shouted, “zh’Dar to Greystone. Your people are dead, and you have some damned explaining to do once I blow up this beacon. Contingency four. Out.” 

The team looked at the Vinculum, the central hub of the Borg Sphere which disseminated information to the collective and purged individualistic thoughts among the drones. 

“Lot of plating on that device sir,” Vaes noted quietly. 

“Yeah.” 

zh’Dar gripped at the plating with her bare hands, using every muscle in her body and every ounce of her will to force the plate off, throwing it to the side of the alcove with a loud thud. An almost blinding, pulsing viridian light poured out of the internal circuitry. 

“Here’s hoping the ship’s too damaged to adapt,” she said, leveling her phaser. 

Comments

  • This story MOVES. I appreciate the assertive dressing down the officer who didn't take the time to take the Borg classes gets - that ignorance will probably have consequences. I also like the story's pacing - it's a slow burn with a good dropping of details as we go until the reveal of what's around that corner, and wowza I felt for everyone inside that forcefield. The description of their status alone made my heart a little faster in panic - I was worried they would break out and kill everyone! But the truth is better, and we are rocketing forward to the end of the story, and things are spinning out of control - I cannot wait to read more!

    November 8, 2023
  • It seems like a hazard team would indeed be warranted! Especially if one needs must “turn off the thing that could potentially spell the doom of the galaxy at large”. Just sayin. And after they find the trapped scientists, I stand by that! Great description, and creepy af. I'm really liking zh'Dar, but dang, just how strong are Andorians??

    November 8, 2023