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

Beyond Redemption, Beyond Reason – 9

USS Odyssey (NCC-80000), Kotaba Expanse, Swallow Nebula region, Delta Quadrant
Stardate: 78424.5
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“Fleet Captain’s log stardate seven-eight-four-two-four point five. The Odyssey has arrived at the class nine nebula that we have confirmed contains a Borg transwarp hub. We are now conducting further reconnaissance to ascertain its status. In the meantime, the Malon fleet continues to approach.”

Once again, the senior staff convened to develop strategies to address the existing and impending threats the ship now faced. Stuck between a rock and a hard place was undoubtedly the right mindset for them all. It was getting late, and most of them had been working for almost twelve hours now, and McCallister couldn’t blame any of them if they weren’t working at their best. Most of them were holding onto coffee or tea mugs to help them stay awake. 

“I’m getting a secure telemetry link from the probe,” Banfield finally announced from the central console. 

Pleased to hear they would finally know the hub’s state, McCallister sighed slightly before gesturing for her to share what their probe had discovered on the main screen. Straight away, a three-dimensional diagram of the sensor readings the probe transmitted appeared before everyone. After sending the probe in and directing it to return so it could share what it had found, they had to wait for the probe to return to a safe distance to transmit its findings without being blocked by any of the nebula’s natural interference. 

“Am I reading that correctly?” From where he stood, Duncan asked, leaning across one of the aft central consoles with a mug of tea in both hands. His husband stood beside him, sipping on a raktajino. 

Banfield nodded. “It’s not fully functional,” She breathed a sigh of relief, similar to what McCallister had done only a few seconds before.

“It’s still active, though,” Tierra pointed out as she took a closer look at one of the side stations. “I’m detecting active power nodes, shield generators and at least two construction vehicles being used.”

“Any vessels that pose a danger to us?” McCallister asked next. He hoped someone would not report anything as he didn’t want to deal with a Cube. 

“There appears to be a single Borg Probe operating nearby, too,” Tomaz shared. 

The screen was altered to show the location of the Probe. It hung near the transwarp hub. Unlike the other transwarp hub that Voyager had destroyed many years ago, this one only appeared to have six operational apertures. 

“So why are the Malon racing here?” Jonarom asked aloud.

McCallister thought it was a fair question, especially as the Malon ships heading in their direction weren’t a battle fleet. 

“They’re going to capture the hub,” Flemen replied. Everyone turned to him, McCallister too, intrigued by the diplomatic officer’s take on the situation. “Think about it: if they take control of the transwarp hub, they could open transwarp apertures anywhere in the galaxy and dump their radiation anywhere they like.”

“Six of their ships could easily overwhelm or even destroy that Borg Probe,” Tomaz added.

“Surely taking control of a Borg complex isn’t that easy?” Court questioned. He turned to Gray, “Reuben, surely a structure like this, one of the Borg’s most significant tactical advantages, must have some impressive security behind it?”

“It does,” Gray acknowledged. The SCE unit leader stood on the raised platform, reviewing the sensor information with crossed arms. It was almost like he was admiring the work of his former oppressors. He turned to the others, “However, this structure isn’t complete, and I’d imagine it is still damaged after the neurolytic pathogen.”

“So it’s an easier target?” Court confirmed.

Gray just nodded.

“Even a damaged Borg is dangerous,” Hilgan said from the back of the room. “Surely the Malon aren’t that stupid in attempting to take it?”

“Wouldn’t you?” Slyvexs retorted. She had sat on one of the stools near where Hilgan stood. The Denobulan doctor stretched her back as she spoke further. “If the Malon weren’t trying to take it, let’s be honest here, wouldn’t we?”

Jen spoke up in agreement with her. “The doctor is right; if we could get our hands on this, it would revolutionise Starfleet’s research into transwarp technology.”

“We wouldn’t need to depend on the Turei for their underspace,” Flemen added.

“The Barzan and Bajoran wormhole would become obsolete too,” Banfield stated.

“The Federation would become the envy of many species across the galaxy,” Keli said. “If the Federation took ownership of this and developed its potential, then other powers would either need to become our allies or members of the Federation.”

“We could probably see peace in our time,” Marova remarked.

“We can’t,” Gray shot their optimistic look on the Hub’s possibilities. “No one should have access to this level of Borg technology. If the Federation and its allies are to survive, then we need to develop those technologies off our own backs. We’ve seen what can happen when we try and use their technology to our advantage.”

“He’s right,” Duncan agreed solemnly. “Defending such a structure would require the resources of the entire Fourth Fleet. We would probably have to move both Starbase Bravo and Avalon Fleet Yards to it.”

“And the Jankata Accords strictly forbids territorial expansion into another quadrant,” Flemen reminded everyone. He turned to McCallister, “Sir, I know relations with the Malon have never been great, but I think we should attempt to open some sort of dialogue with them. Even if it’s to warn them away. They may not know what they’re heading towards.”

“Craigen’s right,” Duncan supported his former protégé. “They may just be heading to this nebula for other reasons unknown to us.”

McCallister couldn’t help but agree with their statement. “Alright, let’s try the diplomatic approach with them, but in the meantime, let’s start looking at the state of that hub. We may need to look at bringing it down before they arrive.”

“Sir, if we’re to deal with the Malon, I’d like to head to sickbay and start preparing large amounts of arithrazine. Just in case we are exposed to large amounts of theta radiation.” Slyvexs remarked. 

McCallister agreed with that idea, and after she was gone, he indicated for Jonarom to open a channel to the lead Malon vessel. He moved himself so he stood in the centre of the raised platform in front of the large screen. Duncan and Flemen had joined him on either side while everyone else continued their work behind them. 

Once their communication had been established, McCallister introduced himself. “Good day, I’m Fleet Captain James Preston McCallister of the Federation starship, U-S-S Odyssey.”

The Malon leader looked like every other Malon that they had records of. Scraggly hair, blistered mustard-looking skin, dirt and sweat pouring over their face while wearing an isolation suit. Not much had changed for the Malon since their first encounters with Voyager. “I’m Controller Frelk, what do you want?” 

Remaining calm after hearing that less-than-friendly response, McCallister kept his tone steady as he spoke. “We noticed your convoy of ships on our long-range sensors just before we started to map this nebula. I wanted to reach out and share a warm welcome.”

Frelk grunted at that response. “I suspect that’s not the case, fleet captain,” He extended his neck to rub it. “I know of your kind, and I know you disapprove of our way of life.”

“If you’re referring to your waste export industry, then it’s not a matter of disapproval,” McCallister said. “It’s more out of concern for the health and development of your people. We would only want to help your people reduce their need for managing theta radiation like you do.”

“Lies!” Frelk countered. He started to jab his finger in McCallister’s direction. “Now I suggest you move along, or when we arrive, I promise you that shiny ship of yours won’t be able to stand up against six of our top-of-the-line hauliers.”

“Is there any need for threatening language?” Duncan imposed.

“Ha! You think me a fool that your presence isn’t one that is hostile,” Frelk replied. “As I said, I know your kind.”

“The Federation’s mandate is to peacefully co-exist with all species in our galaxy. We do not seek conquest,” Flemen said.

Frelk chuckled further. “Ah, Fleet Captain McCallister, your officers are well trained in the art of subterfuge and diplomacy, I’ll give you that. Now, I suggest you take your clean vessel and leave our nebula straight away.”

McCallister crossed his arms against his chest. “Last time I checked, the Malon Consortium does not hold any territorial rights in this region of space.”

“You really want to see how long your ship can last against six of ours?” Frelk challenged. “Let’s cut to the chase, captain; you know about the wreckage of the Borg Transwarp Hub as much as I do. So I suggest you stand aside so we can take claim to it.”

That was it; McCallister knew his poker face was no longer needed for this exchange, “We won’t let you take any of the Hub. Furthermore, we know it is partially active. By the time you arrive, it will be destroyed! Do you honestly think we came unprepared?”

“You wouldn’t dare, plus you are only one ship; you cannot take on the might of the Borg,” Frelk stated.

Remaining confident, McCallister replied to the Malon’s words. “As I said, we came prepared, and this wouldn’t be the first transwarp hub that Starfleet has dismantled; we kinda experts.” 

“Yes, the legends of your Kathryn Janeway and the mighty Voyager are well known among my people, especially how they exited our quadrant. So, let me guess: your ship is equipped with transphasic torpedoes and regenerative ablative armour generators? I suppose that’s standard for your ships along with quantum slipstream drives?”

Not admitting they didn’t have that, McCallister used that false intelligence to his advantage. “I won’t confirm or deny, but let’s just say by the time you arrive, that hub will be gone, and you will see us only as an echo in your long-range sensors.”

“I won’t let you take what will be the biggest economic breakthrough for my people,” Frelk threatened. “We will stop you, even if you can destroy an entire Borg armada. My people can be just as cunning.”

“The biggest breakthrough for your people would be to accept our offer of helping you develop radiometric converters for your entire fleet and take your place as one of the many peaceful, loving people that reside here in the Delta Quadrant,” McCallister paused. “That offer is always on the table. Consider it before you arrive.” He looked to Jonarom behind him and signalled him to cut the channel.

Once Frelk was gone, Duncan exhaled a bit. “Let’s just hope that Mister Frelk doesn’t get close enough to realise we have none of that technology on us.”

“At least it put some fear in him,” Flemen added.

“It might not be enough,” McCallister said as he turned around to walk off the platform and looked at the others. He was eager to move on after taking a stab at diplomacy with the Malon. Though it may have wasted their time trying, it at least confirmed their suspicion of what the Malon intended. McCallister was pleased that at least they knew something. “Right, we need a plan to take out that Hub before the Malon or anyone else try to plant a flag on it.”

Comments

  • Hahahahaha. OMG that's perfect. The Malon are going to steal a transwarp hub not to be kings of the universe, but to have an easier route for dumping trash. Wow. You always do such a good job of respecting continuity and then weaving it into something completely surprising and yet somehow inevitable. I loved how Gray then turned the prime directive back on the crew of Odyssey as they salivated over the transwarp hub themselves. It's such a central conceit of Starfleet, it's always extra satisfying when they're hoist by their own petard. McCallister's debate with Frelk was immensely amusing. Frelk's crass approach and bottom lining might as well have been a different language from McCallister's diplomacy. The verbal sparring was superb!

    November 16, 2023
  • I love this post haha. The Malon were one of my favorite antagonists in Voyager and seeing them handled so well here is absolutely wonderful. This post has set up so much tension and set the pace for a great adventure with the Borg on one side and the Malon on the other. Can't wait to see how it ends!

    November 25, 2023
  • 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

  • Jonarom

    USS Bellerophon
    Chief Science Officer
    Former Chief Communications Officer

  • Marova

    Former Chief Flight Control Officer
    deceased