Literary Challenge #32 : Into the Hive, Part II
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Join Date: Sep 2012
11-16-2012, 07:59 AM
"Everyone loves it when a plan comes together." Jinx said, looking over her desk at Phantom, the other Trill sitting opposite her. "So why does it happen so damned rarely?"
Phantom chuckled at her. "It's your own fault for asking your Borg officers if they can think of anything relevant to your plans that you may have overlooked. Although, I have to admit, I do wish you kept your mouth shut. If you had, you would still be going on this suicide mission instead of me."
A few hours earlier, Jinx and Phantom had sat down with their command staff to hammer out any final issues with their plans for dealing with the Unimatrix and the Borg Queen. When it was mentioned that the virus Phantom had created would automatically install and distribute itself across the Borg network, One, Two, and Smiler (Phantom's Borg crewman) had stepped in to object. Their reasoning was that the Borg network was effectively alive, which would let it respond a lot faster to intrusion than a standard network, even more so if the Borg Queen herself was there. Having Phantom on the away team meant that there was a far greater chance of successfully installing the virus.
As a result of this, the task force was already on their way to the system where the Unimatrix had been spotted, and in a reversal of roles, Phantom would now be leading the away team and Jinx would command the space battle. Their plan was to have the Omega, D'Vak's flagship, enter the area first, and try to draw off some of the Borg vessels protecting the Unimatrix, opening a gap in their defenses to allow the Nightingale to slip through. Phantom and a couple of her engineers had already checked and tweaked the Nightingale's cloak to help them get through undetected.
Once the Omega and pursuing Borg vessels were a safe distance away, the warlord and other elements of the task force would warp in from the edge of the system right on top of these Borg and destroy them, before the fleet would move into position to engage the rest of the Borg ships.
A few hours later, One calls out that they are entering visual range of the Borg fleet.
"Drop out of warp and signal the rest of the fleet to do the same. Let's have a look at what we are up against." Jinx commanded. "On screen and magnify. See if we can identify numbers and types of ships out there."
A few minutes later you could hear the murmering of most of the bridge crew swearing under their breath.
"This is insane! There has to be at least 10 Cubes and double that in Spheres between us and the Unimatrix. Jinx, is it too late to quit?" Jinx glanced across at Phantom and saw the look in her eyes that said she was only half joking about quitting. Deep down though, Jinx agreed. Unless this was done perfectly, this was going to be messy.
A few more minutes of analysis, and Jinx and Phantom had worked out where their best approach would be from. Jinx passed on some orders to be passed on to other members of the fleet and the task force split up and warped away to get into position. Phantom looked a bit nervous. "I don't like sending her into combat with out me on the bridge." She admitted to Jinx. "I know how you feel." Jinx replied, one hand caressing the back of her Captain's Chair.
"Ok, One, take us in. Vranlek, make sure our cloak is up and at 100% efficiency. Two, get ready with the Impulse Burst in case we need to get out of here quickly. Stand by. The Omega should be starting her attack run... Now!"
Sure enough, on the viewscreen, the Omega warped into the system fairly close to one of the Cubes. Bright orange phaser fire erupted from the surface of the Omega, smashing into the Borg ship. Green beams of plasma energy shot back at the Omega as she turned and began to pull back away from the rest of the Borg fleet, the Cube and a small number of Spheres following.
On the bridge of the Nightingale, Jinx cried out "Engage!" and the little ship shot forward, aiming directly at the gap left behind by the Borg forces chasing the Omega, then as they passed the Borg's defensive line, One turned the ship to bring the Nightingale closer to the Unimatrix.
"Wait, what's that?" Phantom asked, moving closer to the viewscreen. "Let me see here, zoomed in." She said, pointing. The image exploded, showing Phantom what appeared to be a second hull hidden behind the Unimatrix. Phantom turned to look at Jinx and One. "Don't get too close. Go over or under it instead. I think something else is there."
The communications array crackled to life and the Nightingale bridge crew hears the Captain of the Omega calling for the rest of the fleet to join him, and a string of acknowledgements.
The Nightingale cruised over the Unimatrix vessel, only to discover that, tucked in beside it was a second Unimatrix. And what was that? A diamond?
"We are Borg. Resistance is futile." The crew jumped, then realised that this was the Borg broadcasting over any and all frequencies they could.
"Captain..." One looked a little distant. "I believe it may be better if you took over piloting." She looked over towards Two, seeing his eyes a little vacant too. "We can hear her. She is on that." One points to the diamond shaped ship on the viewscreen. "We are resisting, but it is difficult."
Jinx shifted over to take the helm. "Resistance is futile, eh? I guess not. Keep it up One, Two. Phantom, to the transporter room. I'll let you know when we are in position."
Phantom left the room, as One turned to Jinx. "Captain, she does not understand. The Queen. She does not comprehend how we resist her. She is also unable to pinpoint our position."
"Good news at last." Jinx muttered as she brough the nose of her ship round to point at the Diamond.
This close in to the Unimatrix vessels, Jinx dropped all pretence of being slow and sneaky. Sneaky, she kept up, but certainly not slow. As soon as she got close enough to the Diamond for Mat to report that transport was now possible, Jinx hit her combadge. "Jinx to Phantom. Ready to go?" "Affirmative, Jinx. Just don't forget to come back to pick us up." "As if I would do such a thing!!! Energising." Mat reported the away team was successfully beamed aboard the Diamond, so Jinx turned Nightingale around, and throttled her up, getting out of there as quickly as possible.
Back at the edge of the engagement area, the Omega, Warlord and the other members of the taskforce had crippled a Cube and destroyed 3 Spheres, and were working on drawing another Cube from the Borg fleet. Since the Nightingale was flying up behind the Cube, it's shields were down in that arc, being focused forwards on the enemy.
"Prepare to attack!" Jinx yelled. Mat started warbling orders, then as soon as Jinx yelled "Now!!!" switches were thrown, buttons pressed, and the cloak dropped and the weapons opened up, spewing red fire and quantum torpedoes into the back of the Cube. After less than a minute, something inside the Cube exploded and parts of it went dark. it stopped maneuvering and its shields and weapons went offline.
"Nice shooting Mat." Jinx called out with a smile. She got a warble in response.
Looping around the wreck of the Cube, the Nightingale joined another escort in blowing up a Sphere, then turned just in time to see another one explode under heavy fire from the Warlord and her support craft.
"Task force, this is Admiral Jinx. The plan proceeds as discussed, but please be aware, there are two, repeat, two Unimatrix vessels in there, and a Borg Diamond. We have it confirmed that the Queen is on that Diamond, and that is where our away team is. Proceed as planned. Jinx out."
Suddenly, an explosion ripped through the Nightingale's shields, launching people from their seats and causing a momentary loss of power. "Damage Report!" Jinx yelled, pulling herself back into the pilot's seat. Tosk reported that one of Nightingale's turrets had been destroyed, and that rear shields had been completely diminished. Other voices from around the ship called in, reporting a few minor casualties and some damage, but no deaths. "Two, hit the Impulse Burst. 3 seconds." Two, also back on his feet now, just stared blankly at the console until Vranlek pushed him aside and hit the button. The Nightingale shot forward as though fired like a photon torpedo, clearing the battleground in the 3 second burst.
As Jinx brought the Nightingale round for another attack run, they noticed what had taken a shot at them. Three more Cubes and their Spheres had left the main defense group and engaged the task force, one of them taking an easy shot at the Nightigale's rear. Vranlek rushed back to his console and started recharging shields and Two walked around to where he could get a good look at the viewscreen.
"We hear them." He looked at Jinx. "We hear all the Borg here. The entire fleet is mobilising toward us, and they are clearing the way for the Unimatrices to fire their Plasma Lances." For a moment, his eyes cleared, and the glance he shot Jinx was clear and a little afraid. "Captain, we do not want to be in the way of the Lances when they fire."
One spoke up. "Captain, we have informed the other vessels in our task force, and recommended 20 seconds, then evasive patterns to spread out and away from the Unimatrices. 20 seconds... Mark. Captain, as we can hear the Borg, we have a good understanding of their ships. I think we have some weak spots in their formation. Assigning targetting data." One turned and walked over to where Tosk and Mat were sat at the tactical consoles. She started speaking to them quietly.
18 seconds later, with a few more Spheres resting in pieces, Jinx opened her communications to the rest of the task force "Evasive patterns, go! Spread out and deny them a solid front to fire through." As she demonstrated her words by hitting the thrusters and moving away from the line of fire, she kept talking "Fleet, once we are out of the way of their big guns, come about track the targets being supplied to you now. We believe they may be weak points and allow us to break their fleet quickly." Glancing quickly at the sensors, she finished her orders with "Omega take the left anchor in our line. Warlord, you are our right anchor. Martok and Terra, form up on me. We're going to punch a hole through their centre."
The Omega Collective that Phantom had rigged up gave the task force the information and coordination needed so each ship began their new attack with optimal targetting. Almost moving as a single entity, the five ships that formed the task force turned and moved into position, opening fire on their designated targets as soon as they were in range. Several Spheres and a single Cube exploded under the barrage, with another two Spheres bowing up in the ensuing explosions.
Nightingale broke up, and flew above the explosions, curving over in an arc which brought it nicely in line to open fire on a Cube when, suddenly, a massive green beam erupted from the nearest Unimatrix, wiping out 2 Cubes and the IKS Martok, who had gone to the right when Jinx flew up.
"What the...?!?!?" Jinx yelled and quickly checked her sensors to make sure her other ships were still there, then swearing when she realised the Martok was missing.
"Plasma Lance." Replied Two, his head cocked slightly to one side. "We did not expect her to open fire on her own ships."
"Ok, new plan. Into the scrap. All ships, this is Jinx. Close and engage. Wipe out that fleet. Try to keep them between you and the big ships, and if you spot them charging their Lances again, call out and get out of the way. Jinx, out."
The task force surged forward, bright beams and bolts of energy passing from them to the Borg ships and back again. Nightingale took a few more hits, and once had to loop out of the fight for a few seconds for their shields to recharge, and minor damage was reported from all ships, but within a few minutes, the rest of the Borg fleet lay broken before them, and the way to the Unimatrix ships was open.
The task force spread out a little as they moved forward, and although a warning was called out by the Omega, the Terra was destroyed when a Plasma Lance was fired by the nearest Unimatrix.
"That Lance is nasty. We need to get in close, and stay to the sides of the Unimatrix. It can't target us with it then. No doubt it will have a few more tricks though, so keep your eyes open. Jinx out."
The three remaining ships in the Omega Force group charged in towards the first Unimatrix clearing it's nose before it had time to fire the Lance again. Omega and Warlord slowed down and started directing their fire into the side of the Unimatrix. Jinx kept the Nightingale flying at high speed, pulling low close to the Unimatrix hull.
"Let her have it! Everything you have!" She called out to her bridge crew, as she concentrated on staying as close to the hull as possible without impacting on the Unimatrix shields. All of the remaining weapons on board opened up, sending bolts of red energy and a few silvery quantum torpedoes into the Unimatrix.
After a few minutes, in which the Unimatrix shields started dropping slowly, the Warlord called out that a Probe had just exited the Unimatrix and warned the task force to watch for others. A few seconds after that, the Omega took massive damage as the Unimatrix fired a massive plasma torpedo out towards it. It tried to move out of the way, but didn't react quickly enough. Jinx saw the Omega, plasma fires burning all over the hull, turn and limp further away from the Unimatrix.
"Mat, Tosk," She said, not taking her eyes off the screen and her controls, "If you spot one of those torpedoes coming our way, activate the Point Defense System. Vranlek, keep your eyes on the sensors."
The battle continued, with the Omega returning once sufficiant repairs had been made. Several more Probes and Spheres were launched, then destroyed before Vranlek called a warning to Jinx to move the Nightingale away from the Unimatrix. She barely had time to hit the thrusters and get away before the Unimatrix exploded, hurling plasma fire and chunks of itself out in all directions.
Vranlek quite sensibly called out to the crew to brace for impact and shifted extra power to the rear shields, as the Nightingale rode the wave of fire and debris into clear space. Some minor scrapes and bruises were reported, but for the whole, the task force escaped unscathed.
Forming up, the attack commenced against the second Unimatrix, concentrating fire towards the centre of the ship to stay out of the way of the Plasma Lance. The battle against his ship went much the same as the battle against the first Unimatrix, but they were able to protect the Omega from the giant plasma torpedoes. After 15 minutes, which seemed like hours, the second Unimatrix exploded.
Immediately, the Nightingale juddered as it came under fire from the Diamond. After a second under the barrage of energy coming from the last remaining Borg ship, the Nightingale was lurched over to the side as the Borg weapon penetrated the shield and impacted directly on the hull. Alarms sounded all across the bridge as people were flung from their seats, Jinx barely hanging onto the console to stay upright. Damage reports started coming in from all over the ship, along with casuality reports, this time with some deaths.
Vranlek pulled himself to his feet and was about to hit the Impulse Burst when the Warlord pulled her heavy bulk in between the Nightingale and the incoming fire. Security alerts started sounding as unidentified transporter signals started appearing on the ship.
"Warlord signals they are beaming over engineering teams to help repair the damage, Captain."
"Send our thanks. And turn off that alarm."
Jinx set her speed to match the Warlord while the crews frantically tried to repair enough damage to make Nightinale combat capable again.
"They have arrived." One and Two said together. They turned to look at the Captain. "Phantom has reached the Borg Queen. We can feel her virus running through the Collective. Individuals are falling from it. Omega Collective is trying to reach out to these individuals. Communicating. Explaining."
"Captain, sensors indicate one of the Cubes is operational again, and heading this way."
"Acknowledged, if it gets too close we'll hit that before getting back to the Diamond."
"Negative. Incoming Cube is Omega Collective."
"What? Confirm, that Cube is friendly?"
"Confirmed." Both of Jinx's Borg offiers answered her.
"Ok, flag that up... Oh, never mind. You already told the other Captains, right?"
"We are doing so now."
"Good, then get ready to get back into the fight. Reports here say most emergency repairs are done, so we're heading back in."
For the first time the fight had started, Two took up his station with his customary efficiency. One moved over to an engineering console to check progress on repairs.
Jinx brought the Nightingale up to flank speed, and told One to activate the cloak. Looping first away from the Warlord, she brought the ship in to fly over its bow, opening up with weapons as soon as the target was in view.
A few shots burst through the Diamond's shields, blasting a weapons emplacement out of existance. The Warlord on Omega were both taking a pounding, but their experienced crews were adept at keeping shields between them and the incoming fire, so neither had taken critical damage.
As the Nightingale looped around for another pass, Vranlek called out from sensors.
"Captain, sensor sindicate the Diamond is dead in space. It just shut down!"
Jinx glanced across to confirm the readings, and One turned to her.
"Away team report mission accomplished. Two dead, the remaining three in need of medical attention. Omega Collective reports the Diamond and Cube are secure and ours."
Jinx heaved a sigh of relief. The price, as always, was expensive, but the job was done.
Last edited by bortjinx; 11-16-2012 at