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Part of USS Mackenzie: Mission 10 – Ghost Machine and Bravo Fleet: We Are the Borg

GM 018 – Save the Last Dance for Me

USS Mackenzie
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“Approaching intercept vector.”  The ensign at the helm was not Gabrielle Castillo, as she was in the shuttle bay, ready to launch in the first of two runabouts.  The Mackenzie was intentionally lagging behind the Sphere, and Captain Wren Walton was pacing the area before the command chairs.  She was nervous, and the thought of what they were about to do deeply unsettled her.  They had pressed their luck throughout their time in the Delta Quadrant.  Every hour and day that passed lowered their chances of returning home in one piece.

Walton tapped her badge, “Shuttle one, you are cleared for launch.  Save travels.”  She watched the view screen as the shuttle arced out and away from the Mackenzie.  She looked more like a trash heap than a New Atlantis runabout.  A cold wash of relief and hope washed over her – maybe it all worked. Maybe the Borg wouldn’t try to see through the facade.  She whispered a prayer before she ordered, “Engage course to the next intercept vector.”


“This sucks.”  Castillo sat roughly in the pilot’s chair, pulling away from the Mackenzie and aiming towards the last known position of the Sphere.  They each looked like a Borg Drone and even smelled like one.  That was thanks to Charge Nurse HIro, who had made it her goal to ensure they were as hidden as possible. It was rank, and Gabrielle breathed carefully to avoid her gag reflex.  

Communications Chief Oscar Reede was in the ops chair beside her and hated it as much as she did, “I am not enjoying this…and I don’t think I’m supposed to.”

The figure of their Chief Engineering Officer, Katsumi Okada, appeared in Borg form, “Remember our mission, remember to listen and follow…and we’ll get back home.”  She made eye contact with them, “We’re going to get these bastards.”  A nod from each of them was confirmation they understood. Whether they genuinely believed it wasn’t what Katsumi was worried about.  She was worried about what would happen in those first few minutes once they stepped aboard.  Would they be discovered?  Or would they be ignored?


The second shuttle was clear and jumped to warp. Ensign Deborah Callaway piloted them toward the Borg Sphere.  Lieutenant Kondo De La Fontaine’s hands worked the operations console as they flew, updating the sensors.  A voice from the back of the shuttle spoke, “I know I’m the last person to remind us…but we gotta stay calm.” Seraphina Pearce was the voice, and the instructions from her captain were still ringing in her ears.  She was being put in charge of this team because she had proven herself to Walton.  The unspoken warning was – don’t screw it up.  Lives were in the balance.  

Calloway was one of the better flight control officers, and she was still nervous.  Castillo’s encouragement was still fresh in her ears.  You can do this, Deb.  I believe the simulation results and your real-world exercise.  You can and will do this.  I’ll be flying the other shuttle.  Deb swallowed her fears as best as possible and kept the shuttle on its path.


The bridge of the Mackenzie was quiet.  Chief Science Officer Thasaz observed her monitor, gently touching the earpiece every few minutes to ensure it was still working.  They had put enough distance between them and the Borg Sphere.  Long-range sensors wouldn’t be of much use.  They could tell who was in the sector and if they were moving.

Commander Park had the CONN and was sitting in the center chair, her eyes staring at the screen while she updated the console on the arms of her chair.  She sent Wren to her ready room after her pacing made everyone nervous.  They would be blind to whatever was happening until the shuttles reached out or the Borg came hunting for them.

That fear held in everyone from the command deck to engineering.  The Borg had proven their talent for destruction and annihilation.  Everything depended on the shuttle crews and their mission.  It was on the mind of Assistant Chief Engineering Officer Carolyn Crawford as she sat in the crew mess, nursing a lukewarm coffee.

“May I sit?”  The voice of Cadet Cardamon interrupted her thoughts, and she gestured to the chair across from her.  He sat, steaming cup in hand.  “I have been searching the databases for the concept of waiting.”  Cardamon slipped a PADD across the table, “There are many songs, poems, and stories written about the subject.”  He sipped, ”It is a..foreign concept to me.”  His face made a frown, even as it looked like something else.  “This tea…is fascinating.  It is marketed as the favorite drink of Jean-Luc Picard.”

Crawford couldn’t help but smile.  Cardamon was mature and thoughtful in some ways, but other times, he was like a child, discovering the taste and feel of the world around him for the first time.  She asked, “Do you…like it?”

“I am…not sure.  It is a bold taste with a heavy flavor…it is not…as you humans would say, a subtle tea.”  He took another sip and pushed it away, “It is a very angry tea.”

Carolyn offered, “Well, traditionally, people would add cream and sugar until they got the mixture they wanted.” She slid over the small container of the team accouterments and watched, amused, as he experimented with the Earl Grey.  

A few moments later, he smiled, a look of peace settling into his eyes.  “Three sugars and two cream.  That has made this tea acceptable to my palette.”  He took another pleased sip, “How do you wait, Ensign Crawford?”

She accepted a replacement cup of coffee from the mess staff and tried to answer the Voth’s question, “I…I guess my dad taught me.  He taught me that the universe has a speed that runs at…and we can’t think to try and outrun it or beat it to the line.  We must wait for whatever it has for us, even if we think we know better.”

He looked at her for a long while, considering her words.  Learning from humans and aliens of the Alpha Quadrant had been generally a helpful experience.  Sometimes, they confused him and made him wonder if they had trouble with their complicated minds.  This was one of those times.  He asked, “Does that really work?”

She scoffed, “Sometimes.  Like when I was waiting for my application for Starfleet…my final grades…or my first assignment. It works, then.  But waiting for word that your friends are safe and that they’ve managed to save the day?  That’s harder.”

He sipped at his drink, ruminating on the conversation.  She didn’t speak either.  They remained like this until he concluded, “It is hard because you’ve become connected with them.  You don’t want to lose that connection.”

Crawford lifted her coffee to him, and they clinked them together, “To getting our friends back.”

He rejoined, “And to beating the Borg.”


  • 'Smelling like Borg' the new fragrance for him and her! Its something you don't always think about, you see and hear them on TV, so you can imagine that in your mind whilst reading, but to know what they smell like, its something different to consider. Evidently not all that pleasant. Cadet Cardamon is proving to be an interesting character and we get to discover and learn things from a different perspective through his eyes.

    December 5, 2023