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

Beyond Redemption, Beyond Reason – 8

USS Odyssey (NCC-80000), Kotaba Expanse, Swallow Nebula region, Delta Quadrant
Stardate: 78424.21
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As the senior staff gathered on the bridge, Keli could sense McCallister’s displeasure at Tomaz’s revelation. 

“How many ships?” McCallister asked, standing before his chair.

“At least half a dozen,” Tomaz answered. Keli took comfort in the sound of Tomaz’s calm voice, which had a soothing effect on her nerves. As she listened, however, she detected a subtle edge of concern in his tone that made her wonder what was on his mind. Having worked together on countless tactical missions, Keli and Tomaz had developed a unique rapport that enabled them to anticipate each other’s thoughts through the slightest changes in inflexion or body language. It was a bond that had saved their lives more than once and that Keli valued more than anything else. “And all of them are heading to the nebula.”

McCallister muttered under his breath, “Damn!”

“I didn’t think the Malon operated this far out?” Duncan asked from his chair beside McCallister’s.

“It’s the Void,” Banfield shared. 

“Care to explain, captain?” Duncan asked Banfield.

Keli had always liked Banfield; she was fiery, confident and got straight to the bottom. Sure, she ruffled some feathers when she was assigned to the Odyssey over a year ago. However, since then, her transition from being this scary liaison from the Department of Temporal Investigations to being the ship’s chief science officer and second officer had mellowed her image with most. 

Banfield manipulated the image on the large widescreen by showing the feed from the multi-spatial probe they had sent to the nebula. She shrunk the image of the incoming six Malon ships to show a detailed map of the Void. 

Like everyone else on the senior staff, Keli had attended one of Tomaz’s briefings about this particular section of the Delta Quadrant. It was a vast area of space spanning over two thousand five hundred light years, devoid of any stars. Twenty-six years ago, Voyager had stopped a single Malon ship from using it as a dumping ground for their antimatter waste. High levels of theta radiation had not only prevented ships crossing it from seeing what was beyond with their long-range sensors, but it had harmed the indigenous species that inhabited the Void. Voyager had stopped that single ship and had collapsed the Malon’s use of a vortex to enter the Void. 

Banfield spoke up for everyone to hear her. “I did some digging about the Void, and it would seem that its thick theta radiation clouds haven’t been quite dissipating as we had imagined after Voyager left.” She pointed to one area of the Void. “By its far edges is where the thickest amount of theta radiation can be detected. The concentration levels here are higher than twenty-five years ago.”

“Rumours had reached the Markonian Outpost that other Malons had gotten word about the Void, and some were using certain locations on its perimeter as a dumping ground again, while some others were known to cross it in large groups as part of their commerce attempts to gain further trade links with species located in the Swallow Nebula area,” Tomaz added.

“Strength in number to fight off the Void’s residents,” Keli said from her station.

“Precisely,” Tomaz agreed with her. 

“So the question still remains, why are they heading to this nebula?” Flemen asked. “The Malon are known to exploit anything that can help them dump their pollution far from their territory. Does this nebula have something that will help them with that?”

Banfield shook her head before answering. “I don’t think so; besides the heavy graviton flux and sensor interference properties, it’s not an area that could hide their mess from others.”

“Also, isn’t it quite far away for them to travel to?” Marova asked from the helm.

Keli hadn’t considered that point until Marova had mentioned it.

“Another point to remember about the Malon is they will do anything to help cut their expenses; perhaps there’s something of value in the nebula that will do that?” Hilgan suggested. 

“It’s the Borg signal,” Gray said after remaining silent for so long.

Tierra turned to him, where they sat at the engineering stations. “How can you be certain, Reuben?” She asked him. “Unless they have a Borg transceiver, how can they know what we’ve detected?”

 “Borg technology is advanced compared to Malon technology,” Gray replied bluntly. “They’ve had the chance on many occasions to use radiometric converters to stop living the way they live. Instead, they’ve focussed on the greed of their waste export industry and, if it collapsed, the massive impact it would have on their economy. So whatever is there will certainly help them if they retrieve it.”

Gray’s speculation on the Malon’s intent certainly made everyone go silent for a bit. Keli felt a gnawing sense of unease, a feeling that something wasn’t right. She knew they needed to get to the bottom of things to find the answers to their questions. With a deep breath, Keli steeled herself and spoke up, determined to push forward in unravelling the mystery. “Then shouldn’t we move on in sending the probe further into the nebula? Isn’t it sitting on the periphery?”

Jen, who was sat at ops, agreed with Keli’s point of view. “We should, who knows what awaits us there besides the Malon.”

“We could increase power to the probe’s subspace radio, improving the telemetry by using the probe’s emergency power supply,” Jonarom suggested. “We would better understand what the Malon want there.” 

After considering the situation, McCallister recognised the rationale behind the plan and gave the green light to send the probe further into the vast and mysterious nebula. Keli knew they needed to know what was calling out to Gray, especially if that meant stopping the Malon from getting their hands on whatever it was.

Banfield had changed the output on the main viewscreen towards the live feed from the probe as it entered the nebula. 

Everyone waited with waited breath as the probe pushed through the pinkish and purple clouds. This class nine nebula was causing some static interference with their uplink. 

“It looks like the Paulson Nebula,” Doctor Slyvexs remarked from where she stood behind the captain’s chair. “Let’s hope we don’t have to endure any more temporal shenanigans.”

Keli smirked at that remark and was joined by a few others, including McCallister.

“I’ve got something coming through from the centre of the nebula besides the intermittent graviton flux,” Banfield reported after a few more minutes. She looked up, and her expression showed only concern. “High neutrino emissions.” 

“Doesn’t that mean…” Court started to ask from one of the mission ops stations but was stopped by Banfield.

“A wormhole.”

Hearing that news made everyone, Keli herself as well, look up from their stations.

“Marova, increase speed to maximum warp,” McCallister ordered the pilot before turning to Banfield. “Do the same to the probe; increase its speed to reach the centre. Let’s see what’s there.”

It only took a few more minutes for the probe to reach its destination. As clear as a crystal, the image of the nebula’s centre was now displayed for everyone to see. More silence filled the bridge, and Keli couldn’t take her eyes off what awaited them. 

A Borg Transwarp Hub.

  • James Preston McCallister

    Squadron Commander

  • Max Duncan-Court

    Commanding Officer

  • Tomaz

    Chief Strategic Operations Officer
    Chief Intelligence Officer
    Second Officer

  • Craigen Flemen

    Chief Diplomatic Officer
    Staff Judge Advocate
    Third Officer

  • Tobias Duncan-Court

    Chief Administrative & Training Officer
    Senior Officer of the Watch

  • Slyvexs

    Captain of Medicine

  • Tierra

    Chief Engineer

  • Keli

    Chief Security & Tactical Officer

  • Reuben Gray

    Starfleet Corps of Engineers Unit Leader

  • Corella Banfield

    USS Triton
    Commanding Officer
    Former Captain of Science
    Second Officer

  • Lukiz Jen

    USS Triton
    First Officer
    Former Chief Operations Officer

  • Krizon Hilgan

    USS Bellerophon
    Chief Counsellor
    Former Senior Assistant Chief Counsellor

  • Jonarom

    USS Bellerophon
    Chief Science Officer
    Former Chief Communications Officer

  • Marova

    Former Chief Flight Control Officer