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Part of USS Redding: Starve the Borg and Bravo Fleet: We Are the Borg

Node 8: Mend

Sickbay, USS Redding, Xi Velorum
June 2401
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Consciousness came back to Iskander in degrees. For a long time, he felt like he was being suspended in an amorphous, gelatinous space, bathed in beige light, hearing nothing but people speaking light years away, yet his skin raw and sensitive.

After that he fell into a dreamless sleep, from which he re-emerged for what seemed to be his quantum mechanics exam. He sat, nervous for he had forgotten to study, but fortunately the exam was interrupted when the faceless professor started showing signs of having been assimilated by the Borg — her skin growing white and pale, decorated by black veins and by emerging bioimplants.

We are starving, said the Borg teacher in what certainly didn’t feel like a dream.

We gave you back the nanomolecular forge, answered Iskander. I died reattaching its stupid antenna. Take it and eat it.

Our hunger is never sated, said the Borg teacher. Why do you think we assimilate yet? Hunger is our only drive. And you starved us. We can’t be stopped. We can’t be denied. We will come for you, and we will devour you.

Iskander was about to tell the Borg teacher that he would have loved to discuss, but the quantum mechanics exam was more important. But he fell again into a thoughtless slumber.

Then, after a time that might have been one second or one week, he opened his eyes.

His body felt… hot and painful. His skin still felt coarse, his throat hoarse. There was no mistake where he was: on a bed in sickbay. Above him floated Nurse Trinxi, smiling, a hypospray in his hand.

“Well here you are, Lieutenant!” said Trinxi. “You had us worrying for a moment. How do you feel? Name, rank.”

Iskander had to try twice before he could actually say something.

“Iskander al-Kwaritzmi, Lieutenant Junior Grade.”

“Are you? So, what’s Perseval’s identity?” asked Nurse Trinxi.

“Eh… an infinite version of Pythagoras’ theorem for Fourier transforms?” answered Iskander wondering if this was a continuation of the quantum mechanics exam and a Borg teacher would manifest now. That had to have been a dream.

“I have no idea whether that’s true” said Trinxi, “but I think there’s no brain damage.”

“Am I healed?”

“Do you feel healed? No, your body is still a mess. But you’re stable and we’re going to take you into surgery in twenty minutes. Do you want to sleep until then?”

Iskander considered for a moment the question.

“I’d rather stay conscious, if that’s all the same.”

“Certainly! Just… don’t move. Don’t do nothing. We do not want to have to reattach your skin.”

Iskander nodded and Nurse Trinxi seemed to float away.

Another face appeared in Iskander’s field of vision. Vulcan, female.

“Commander T’Konte?” he recognized.

“It pleases me that you have not perished” she said. “What you did was unconscionably dangerous.”

“Wasn’t it logical? There was no time to wait, nor to explain it to someone else, nor to put you inside an EV suit. I was the logical choice.”

“It was, but I am not here to debate logic” she said, expressionless, emotionless.

“Did it work, Commander?”

“Your repair, Lieutenant? Yes. It was adequate. The beacon was repaired and attracted the attention of the Borg.”

“And your plan? The one that had a 27% chance of working?”

She raised her eyebrow.

“It worked. A Borg sphere appeared shortly after all the non-assimilated personnel had been beamed to the Redding. It retrieved the nanomolecular forge, and any partially assimilated drone, but did not take the ship.”

“So all the 200 crew you had put into the transporter buffer…”

“They are safe.”

Iskander closed his eyes and breathed deep (which hurt).

“Can you put on record that I’m doing a small celebration dance? It would be a factual lie, but emotionally it would be true.” he asked the Vulcan. She raised her eyebrows and didn’t say anything. “I have been instructed not to move.”

“I wanted to thank you personally” she said instead. “As I have thanked all other members of your away team. Without your assistance, we would all have been assimilated.”

“So there is hope, right?” said Iskander. “Against the Borg, I mean.”

The Vulcan seemed pensive.

“Your Commander Siouinon has been using eating-based metaphors this whole time to describe the Borg” she said. “I’m going to try. The Borg are ravenous. They can be starved but they can’t be stopped from wanting to eat. The only hope is not to be on the assimilation menu tonight.”

Iskander smiled faintly.

“Was that a rational use of a metaphor?” wondered the Vulcan.

“It was perfect” answered Iskander.

She saluted him and left.

In the brief time before being brought to the surgery theater, Iskander thought of his father, killed in the Battle of Sector 001, and never stopped smiling.

Comments

  • Iskander had to take a huge gamble with his life in an extremely risk bid to save the lives of over 200 officers and crew, most of which were in the transporter buffer; which in itself was a great plan to keep them out of danger. In the end things worked out and Borg collected what was theirs and left. A good story and plot from start to finish.

    December 11, 2023