Literary Challenge #48 : The Long Road
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Join Date: Jun 2012
08-21-2013, 05:31 AM
Captain's log, stardate 91240.12, Admiral Rygobeth Lerginas reporting. The
is finally returning home. We were sent on an experimental 7-month journey into the Delta Quadrant which has finally come to an end. The mission, on paper, was simple: use the
's quantum slipstream to make the three-month trip to the Delta Quadrant - in fact, to the heart of Borg Space - find the new Primary Unicomplex, do as much damage as we could, and come home.
An easy task, the
was a dreadnought-retrofitted
-class starship. We had a Cloak, we had a crew of the finest officers in the Fleet, and we had experience fighting and sabotaging the Borg. And indeed it was - the Unicomplex was crippled to the point of being non-operational and the Queen abandoned it (sadly, we could not destroy her first). But not everything went to plan, as so often happens in the field. I just wish... I just wish it hadn't gone this bad. The ship is in good condition, thanks to the cloak and a fine engineering staff. But this family isn't coming home whole. We... damnit... we lost Sokek. I wasn't fast enough, not strong enough... she's not dead, she's worse. She's Borg. Somewhere, in that ruined Borg starbase, the drone that used to be one of my oldest friends serves the Collective, a fate I wish not on even my most hated enemies. How did it go so wrong...
From the helm, the robotic tones of Kopaka, Rygobeth's helm officer, issued. "Captain, we are approaching the Unicomplex. Cloak functioning normally, disengaging Warp drive." The whine of the engines dropped, and the stars visible from the transparent aluminum skylight shrank from lines to small dots once more. They were at impulse... and in the heart of the lion's den.
"Onscreen," the red-skinned admiral ordered, and it was done. The sprawling, seemingly-disorganized super-starbase appeared on the main viewscreen. All design of Borg ships could be seen milling about, a testament to the power and atrocities of the Collective. A thought came into the mind of the admiral. How many cultures had been destroyed, how many planets had been strip-mined, to build that? How many millions of innocent people now existed (for they no longer lived) on that floating pile of metal, perpetually tormented and unable to escape, suffering a fate worse than the most painful death? His face gawked slightly at the private thought. Sokek, who was sitting next to Rygo, noticed the gesture and raised an eyebrow, but the Vulcan woman said nothing.
Rygobeth truly hated the Borg. Not the drones, it was not their fault. The Hive. The ungodly madman that at some point long at the past started the creation of this horror. He pitied the victims... and knew their salvation. Eventually, the Collective would fall... they would be saved. Perhaps the first domino of that collapse would fall here. Millions, billions, could be saved by what they did here. Fortunately, they had a plan, cooked up over their three-month journey and one-month hunt for this place.
Rygo turned his head to Ilaa'kshis, his Gorn Operations officer. "Ilaa, have you found it?" The Gorn nodded. His true voice, not totally masked by the universal translators, hissed behind the interpretation. "Primary energy control node located. Coordinates relayed to the helm." Kopaka brought up the coordinates on the console he sat before and laid in a course for the place. The plan was nearly foolproof: Access the primary control node and upload a simple virus that would rapidly increase power generation from the main reactor exponentially and store it in every energy control node on the station, while hiding the buildup from Borg sensors. At first, it would seem like nothing. But then, after a few hours, the power would spike drastically every second, and every power conduit on the base would blow. By the time the increase would be detectable, it would also be irreversible. They would lose large portions of the Unicomplex, even if they managed to contain the destruction. And the
would be LONG gone.
The admiral tapped the comm control on his chair and hailed the medical bay. "Tasop, how comes your end?" Over the comm, the Aenar CMO responded.
"Neural suppressants prepared for the entire away team, just in case. Emergency ward has been prepared for as many casualties as you can bring us. We're sitting on pins and needles waiting, and everything's tip-top."
"Well done, Tasop. The operation will begin soon." The channel closed. Rygo looked up.
"Remata'klan, your project?" The Jem'Hadar tactical officer nodded. I managed to construct an artificial Shroud generator that will last approximately six hours. We will be invisible to the Borg; however, it must be directly connected to our Personal Shield systems, and will prevent those systems from functioning. We will not be as well-protected as normal." The admiral nodded in reply. "Acceptable. We shouldn't need our shields if all goes to plan." Remata'klan simply said, "In the field, nothing goes to plan. I have made them quickly swappable in case we need our shields." Kopaka chimed in then, reporting they were near their target. Rygo chimed Main Engineering now.
"Seven, how'd you do with the transporters?" The former drone's voice came through as she responded.
"I should be able to beam your team through the clock without dripping MOST of it. I had to isolate the transporter pattern transponder, so it will decloak for 10 seconds - enough to stealth-transport the team. The Borg won't detect a thing."
Seven always did the impossible. "Well done, Seven. Get to the transporter room." The channel shut. "Sokek, Remata'klan, Kopaka, with me. Ilaa, you're in charge until we get back." The admiral rose from his chair, and the three designated officers fell into line behind him as they entered the turbolift.
The team, shrouded, materialized withing the Unicomplex. Tasop had given them the neural suppressant before they beamed over. The team, visible only to each other, made their way silently through the corridors, past countless drones, but none saw them. Finally, they came into the room. The primary control node was massive - it had to be, it was part of the heart of the station's power system. Only the main reactor was larger. Rygo nodded to Seven, who injected a panel with her tubules and installed the virus. She nodded, and they went to leave.
Halfway back, alarms blared. At an intersection, they found drones. Staring at them. "They can see us," said the admiral. In unison, the four non-Jem'Hadar yanked the Shroud modules, and their personal shields gleamed into place. A short firefight ensued, but the group escaped. Sokek brought up the rear... but there was a gap in the formation. Rygo, Remata'klan, Seven, and Kopaka crossed another intersection... and four drones appeared in it, cutting Sokek off. Another firefight, but this time, the party wasn't so lucky. Sokek was wounded. Not fatally, but she would be slower on her feet. Instead, she shook her head. "No, Captain," she said. "I cannot allow you to bring me. You must go. I will distract the drones."
Rygobeth's heart sank. "No, Sokek... no one gets left behind." Sokek held up a hand, telling him to stop. Rank was no longer a concern. This was a privilege few had, and Sokek did. Rygo had known her since the end of his second sabbatical, he'd met her at the Academy in 2371. They were friends, family, for too long for them not to be able to talk frankly. "Rygo," she said, "You and the others must escape. If we all fall here, the
and her crew will be lost to the Borg. I cannot allow this. The needs of the many-"
"-outweigh the needs of the few," Rygo finished sadly. He knew they were true, but he didn't want to admit it. Before him was one of his closest friends... and in all likelihood, she would die, or worse. "Sokek... sometimes I hate your damned Vulcan logic." He chuckled at the joke. "Do what you have to do, old friend." She nodded, and again raised her hand, forming the traditional Vulcan salute. "Live long, Rygobeth Lerginas... and prosper." Then she rose, and so did her captain. "I'll see you're commended for this, Sokek. And... I'll miss you. You have been a better friend than I could ever ask for." He then jogged away, and caught up to his team. Shots rang out behind them. The team turned, all but Rygo. Far down the long hall, they saw Sokek surrounded.
They saw the drone inject her, saw her fall. For the crime, Remata'klan took that drone's head off with his weapon, even from all that range. Jem'Hadar really were crack shots. Rygo soldiered ahead, his face blank. the party knew the face. Rage, grim determination. It crossed the admiral's face whenever they fought the Borg, whenever he was upset to his core. This was certainly one of those times. They managed to beam back, but none forgot that they had lost family in the Unicomplex. The
beat its hastiest escape, but a Cube somehow caught a whiff of them on the outskirts of the base. The
baited it out. On the bridge, as the ship came about, Rygo's mask cracked. The rage crossed his face, and he roared the order to crush the Cube. Remata'klan and Kopaka were more than happy to comply, and the full viciousness of the dreadnought lashed out in Lance and in cannon. In that rare moment, the full power of the
was brought to bear on a single target, and the cube was laid waste to. More came, and the Determination put up a fierce fight. Four Cubes fell before the
finally veered off and went to warp. The Cubes tried to pursue, but found a unique gift in thew Determination's wake - a specially-built mine, for if just this happened. It detonated with a massive graviton surge, preventing warp or transwarp fields from being stabilized by the Borg. The
was gone, and was in Slipstream long before the remaining ships could pursue.
Many hours later...
Sokek heard them. Physically, she was Borg. It hurt, but one of the Borg implants dulled the input. But she'd heard them. The neural suppressant was wearing off. She was calm. It was already too late - for her, and for the Borg. She resisted, but she did not fear. Her last thought was a silent farewell to her captain...
The Borg parsed the new drone's mind. The female from Species 3259 had been assimilated in an assault on the Unicomplex. They knew the neural suppressant had prevented them access until now. But now, they needed to know... what was that group's plan. Too late, they discovered it all. The Collective set out to stop it, but the female had not been briefed on the nature of the virus. They failed to crack the code, but redirected the flow away from the Queen's Chamber as the system blew. The Unicomplex was torn apart, 90% of it totally useless.
The Queen's ship departed. As it tried to jump to transwarp, a ship decloacked, the same one the female came from. Her access codes didn't work, and the ship assailed the Octahedron, crippling its weapons before the Queen could fire. They tried to damage the engines, but the Queen was too fast. The Queen, after all, was perfection. The Octahedron jumped to transwarp, and the Starfleet ship departed under Slipstream. Eight of Ten, the female drone went about her new duties to attempt to rebuild the Unicomplex.
Rygobeth rose his glass. "To Sokek," he said. "Never have I had a better friend or a more dutiful officer. Her loyalty and service were always far above and beyond the call of duty. And she will never be forgotten." The assembled senior staff raised their glasses, and sipped, but Rygobeth could not. He tried, desperately, but could not drink it. In a show of emotion none assembled had ever seen, the admiral sat down and wept openly, for the first time in almost forty years. His parents, Q'Tar, and now Sokek... he was old, far older than he looked, and his heart was heavily with their loss. The crew sat with him, consoling and mourning with him. Rygobeth swore one day... somehow, some way... he would rescue her. And he renewed his blood oath for revenge against the Borg, a forty-two-year-old vow originally made over the graves of his parents.
The Borg would take no more of his family.
CHARACTER GRID (@Lord-Ice):
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Lukor Son of Q'Tar