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Part of Olympia Station: If You Give The Borg A Warp Core and Bravo Fleet: We Are the Borg

Prologue

Olympia Sector
Stardate 2401.6
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It was a quiet night on the bridge of the Nellie Bly, and newly-minted junior Lieutenant Scott Bowens was out of his mind with boredom. It was week two of a three-week scouting expedition out of Olympia Station towards the edge of the sector, and the scout vessel was traveling at high warp toward their next destination. The command division ensign had his legs swung over the side of the captain’s seat, filing his nails in the center of the mostly dark bridge.

“Are we there yet?” Bowens asked.

At the helm, Bowens saw Thonan’s antennae twitch in annoyance—or at least he imagined that he did. He was never quite sure how it worked for Andorians.

“No,” the helmsman reported, turning to give Bowens a look that he was absolutely sure was simply saturated with annoyance.

“No, what?” Bowens pushed.

Thonan sighed. “No, acting captain,” he said before turning forward to his duties.

Bowens reclined further in the chair to look at the Vulcan ensign at the tactical rail. The old Challenger-class scout had been upgraded a few times since she was built in the 2350s, but she’d retained the wooden horseshoe rail that every Starfleet officer associated with the fifth Enterprise—Bowens wondered if that mid-century style might come back into vogue following the modern fleet being humiliated by an antique admiral on the bridge of a museum ship.

“You’re not as fun to tease,” Bowens noted to the Vulcan.

She just arched an eyebrow in response.

It was Bowens’ turn to sigh. “Anything to report, tactical?”

“Negative, acting captain,” the ensign replied. She glanced down at her panel and arched an eyebrow. “Apologies. Yes, acting captain. I am picking up a distress call from the USS Galena.”

Bowens sat up straight. “On screen,” he ordered.

“It is an automated homing signal indicating general distress, sir. The Galena has released a distress beacon,” the Vulcan replied. “Relative bearing 219 mark 14 from our current heading, distance 0.15 light years.”

“Bowens to Goodman,” Bowens said after tapping his badge.

“Goodman here. I’m working out. What is it?” the captain replied after a short delay, which prompted Bowens to roll his eyes—for Goodman to say he was working out was redundant.

“Sir, we have picked up a distress call,” Bowens said, pulling up the registry entry for the Galena on the command panel. “USS Galena, ex-Curie. Oberth-class surveyor assigned to Starfleet Auxiliary for mineralogical surveys in the Olympia Sector. Crew of 15. It’s an automated signal.”

“Red alert. Alter course and get us there at maximum warp. I’ll be there in 30 seconds,” Goodman replied. “Out.”

At the captain’s order, the lighting on the bridge shifted to red, and the klaxon began sounding. It always got Bowens’s pulse elevated

“Alright, you heard the hunk—the captain, I mean—helm, pull us out of warp and bring us around to 219 mark 14,” Bowens ordered.

“Aye,” Thonan at the helm confirmed. The streaks on the viewscreen resolved into a thousand points of light before the Nellie Bly arced around at full power to come about on a near-reverse course. “New course ready,” the Andorian reported.

“Maximum warp. Engage!”

Bowens had just completed his order and settled back into the seat when Adir Goodman entered the bridge. Commander Tall, Dark, and Handsome was just fastening his duty uniform jacket as he crossed the threshold. Bowens scrambled out of the seat and moved over to the first officer’s chair.

“We’re on course, mister captain sir,” Bowens said. “ETA, approximately nine minutes,” he added.

“Understood. Tactical, is there anything else on our scopes?” Goodman asked.

“Negative. The system appears empty.”

“Let’s be ready for anything. These old science ships are pretty fragile, though, so let’s also hope it’s just a systems failure,” Goodman replied.

The following eight and a half minutes were tense as the bridge crew went through every system check possible to ready their ship for everything ranging from combat to search and rescue. None of them were prepared for what they actually found when they dropped out of warp. Directly in front of the Nellie Bly were the remains of an Oberth-class starship and the hulking wreckage of a Borg sphere. The sphere was missing massive sections, making it look like the skeleton of some sort of enormous mechanical egg.

“Detecting no lifesigns aboard the Galena. Her warp coils have been ripped out as well,” Bowens said, astonished at the readings coming in from the sensors. “This looks like an ambush.”

“The Borg don’t do ambushes,” Goodman muttered. “Still… Helm, come about heading 180,” he ordered.

As soon as the stern of the Nellie Bly was turned, the Borg sphere began to glow in haunting green. It attached a tractor beam to the aft quarter of the Starfleet vessel, stopping it in its wake.

“We are the Borg,” came the hail that gave every member of Starfleet that chills. What followed was not expected, though. “Cease movement and surrender your reactor assembly.”

“This is… weird,” Bowens blurted out.

“The sphere is heavily damaged. I’m reading 200 Borg lifesigns, along with… 5,760 Sheliak lifesigns, sir,” the tactical officer reported. “Fascinating, there is also evidence of Iconian technology aboard.”

“You can be fascinated when we get out of here. Fire aft torpedo banks!” Goodman ordered.

The Nellie Bly got off a salvo, but even in its weakened state, the sphere shrugged it off. A cutting beam lashed out from the Borg vessel without any of the precision or efficiency one might expect from them, sawing haphazardly at the aft ejection hatch that covered the warp core.

“They really want our warp core,” Bowens noted.

“I don’t think there’s much we can do to stop them from getting it,” Thonan replied. Alarm klaxons began to sound. “Captain, if we don’t eject the core, they’re just as liable to breach it as rip it out.”

Goodman tapped his fingertips on the command console for a moment, hesitating just for a split second to make a decision.

“If they get our warp core, we’ll be sitting ducks, and they could assimilate us at their leisure,” he noted. “Computer, active auto-destruct sequence, authorization Goodman Nine-Zero-Beta.”

“Does the first officer concur?” the computer asked.

“Confirmed. Authorization Bowens Alpha-Zero-Zero,” Bowens replied, finding the confidence and automaticity in his own voice to be shocking. It was the right choice, but it took the wind out of him once the authorization was complete. “So much for the Nellie Bly.”

“Auto-destruct sequence initi—,” the computer started before all of the consoles on the bridge went black, and all computer interfaces stopped accepting commands.

Random green characters appeared all over the bridge displays for a split second before they again went blank. They were left in silence, other than the dull roar of the hull sheering dozens of meters behind them in engineering.

“The Borg have terminated the auto-destruct sequence,” the tactical officer reported. Bowens turned around to see the Vulcan duck under the tactical rail, and he heard him open a panel. “I am attempting to switch to secondary systems.”

The ship shuddered again. A few moments later, the consoles came back online, prompting Bowens to run a systems diagnostic.

“They’re ejecting the core,” the lieutenant said. On the reactivated main viewer, they could see the still-glowing warp core sucked up into the green beam from the Borg ship. “Remote denotation triggers are offline, too,” he said, tapping through the options on his console.

“Helm, put everything you have into impulse power and get us away from that thing,” Goodman ordered.

As the Nellie Bly started to pick up speed, Bowens watched the warp core get pulled into the sphere itself. As soon as it was inside, the sphere began to glow brighter, and he could see its skeletal members start to fold back into their standard shape. The Borg were using the power from their reactor to repair their ship.

“I am now detecting a Federation warp coil signature from within the Borg vessel. They have integrated our warp core and the coils from the Galena to repair their warp drive,” the tactical officer said.

Moments later, the sphere jumped to warp with an odd combination of a Starfleet blue warp jump and the sickly green one expected from the Borg. The Nellie Bly was left there ignored.

“Should we report this?” Bowens asked sarcastically.

Comments

  • There's this lower deck feel to the start with some layers of humor - the crew and officer dynamics made me chuckle. I appreciate that we get some light into the dynamics of the group. I chuckled at "Hun..." moment as an example. The story isn't all fun and games - we've got a messed-up Sphere who has a very special need. It is interesting to me that the Borg here is only interested in the mechanical and not the biological - there are a lot of curious moments at play here that will have what I think will be an interesting payoff. And yes, Bowens...you should report this. :)

    December 6, 2023