Literary Challenge #39 : Lone Drone
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Join Date: Jul 2012
02-21-2013, 01:59 AM
Ship Records, USS
, UFP Starfleet
Vice Admiral Jonathan R. Sills, commanding
Captain's Log, stardate 91374.2. On standard patrol of Gamma Orionis sector, we have detected a rogue planet. Its star of origin has not yet been determined. Long-range scans indicate metallic debris in orbit; Commander Sham has requested a closer look, and with nothing else on scanners, I see no reason not to indulge him.
"Approaching planet, Admiral."
Sills leaned forward in his seat, knowing it was a foolish gesture, but straining to make out the unlit planet against the backdrop of deep space anyway. "Overlay a tactical plot, if you please, R'shee."
The Andorian navigator nodded. "Aye, sir," she replied, her fingers brushing her console. On the screen, a false-color image sprang up, delineating the dark world they closed in on. Green grid-outlined shapes showed the debris orbiting the planet, forming the beginning of a tiny ring.
"What is that, anyway?" Sills asked.
"It would appear," Sham, his science officer, replied, "to be what's left of a Borg cube. No records of any combat here - it's possible the cube was damaged elsewhere, and laid up in this planet's sensor shadow to attempt repairs." He shrugged. "Looks like they didn't work."
"Hmm. Can't say I feel a lot of sympathy." Sills peered at the display, then walked up to it and pointed at a small blinking dot. "What's that?"
"One moment, sir... It seems to be a life sign. Species indeterminate - it's not doing well at all. Not sure if it's even a Borg."
"Interesting." Sills stroked his beard for a moment, considering the dot, and the life it represented. What might it be? Could it be dangerous? A source of intelligence on their enemy? All of the above? He turned to his first officer. "Dominic, have that beamed into Sickbay. Set up a level-three security screen, and station at least two security personnel there at all times as well. This might be something we need."
Commander Traxx, his security chief, turned to him, her Bolian head flushing slightly bluer than usual. "Sir, I cannot recommend this course of action. In my opinion, this will expose the ship to an undue level of risk."
"Thank you, Bohdiso," Sills replied. "I'm glad you take me at my word when I say I want my officers to speak freely." Traxx blushed even more. "I appreciate your concern," the admiral went on, "but if this
a lone Borg, it might be a valuable source of intel. Besides, you know Quinn wants us to liberate as many Borg as we can - you don't get much more efficient officers than Borg, except maybe those exocomps. And heaven knows we need as many officers as we can get, what with the Undine, the Iconians, the Tal Shiar, and the low-level thing that's still brewing with the Klingons. No, I think we want to pick this up."
"Energizing," Commander Dominic Tascher announced. "It's in sickbay's secure bed." He paused. "The doctor would like to see you, sir. He says you'll want to check this out."
"Thanks, Dominic. Let him know I'm on my way."
The sickbay doors slid open, barely getting out of the admiral's way. "Tascher said you wanted to see me?" he asked Dr. Merida.
The photonic doctor nodded. "Yes, sir. That's partly because I don't really know how to classify this patient you've given me."
"What do you mean? Is it a Borg? An unknown species? Somebody we might know?"
"That's - not entirely clear, sir. If you could come this way?" Merida gestured.
Rounding the corner, Sills saw - something. He wasn't entirely sure what he was looking at. Part organic, part machine, mostly looking unfinished, like a do-it-yourself project abandoned by a bored handyman. Sills shuddered.
"Yes, that was my first reaction as well," the doctor said. "I can't be certain, of course, but I'd say that what we have here is someone in the process of assimilation, a process interrupted when his ship was destroyed. There are Borg implants present, but not all are functional - the adaptation systems, for instance, are offline, and the nanoprobes are completely dormant." He shrugged. "I'm not even certain what to do here - standard liberation protocols don't seem to apply; some of the systems I'd have to modify aren't even there. I've stabilized his vital signs - but it's an interesting question as to whether this patient is even alive, in any conventional sense."
"Can you tell what it - used to be?"
"Preliminary DNA analysis of the organic segment is incomplete, but it looks like it's probably Vulcanoid in origin. If I had to hazard a guess, I'd say he was probably Romulan. Almost certainly male, as well. If the original personality still remains, that could make him even more dangerous - Elements alone know what his
might demand then. Speaking of which--" The doctor's image blurred for a moment, then steadied into a Romulan appearance. "If you do elect to let this patient regain consciousness," he said, "it might be best if he saw a - friendly face."
Sills grinned. "I take your point," he replied.
Merida cocked his head, his face puzzled. "Was that a pun on the ears?"
Sills winced. "Not intentionally, no." He looked again at the half-formed Borg on the table. "Well," he said reflectively, "I don't suppose he'd be as dangerous as a real drone if we woke him up. Go ahead, we can sort it out after."
"Very well, sir. If you could please step back? I can almost guarantee he won't react well to a human face."
Sills moved away from the table, taking up a position near the guards. He rested his hand on his sidearm -
just in case
, he thought. The metal of the grip was reassuring under his hand.
Merida applied a hypospray to the exposed organic portion of the patient's left arm. The patient stirred, then suddenly leaped from the table, screaming, punching repeatedly at Dr. Merida. The doctor, fortunately, was able to reduce his tangibility in time, and took little damage from the attack. After a moment, the patient stopped, looked at the doctor, then down at himself, and moaned.
"Computer," Sills asked aloud, "were you able to pick up the language there?"
"Affirmative," the compute replied cooly. "Subject language is Rihannsu. Translator is online."
"That's nice," the doctor said in fluent Romulan. "Now then, young man, how are you?"
"How am I??" The patient looked as if he wanted to start screaming again. "I'm half one of those - those
, those undead monstrosities!" He looked up at the doctor again. "Can this be undone?"
"It is to be hoped," Merida replied. "My name is Dr. Merida. Who are you?"
"I am Seventeen of--
Elements curse it! I am
I am chief weapons officer of the... of the...
why can't I
"It is understandable," the doctor said. "You have, after all, been through rather a lot..."
tr'Hheinia looked around wildly. "This is no Rihannsu ship!" he said accusingly. "Who are you, that wears the face of a friend?"
"As I said, I am Dr. Merida. You've been picked up from the debris of a Borg cube-ship by a Federation starship."
"Federation?" What could be seen of the Romulan's face seemed taken aback. "Well," he said grudgingly, "it could be worse. I could have been 'rescued' by one of those Fire-accursed Gorn." He half-shrugged - all that could be done, lacking implants in what remained of his right arm. "Well, so long as I am your prisoner, you may as well take on your normal appearance. You are one of those Starfleet hologram officers, are you not?"
"Yes, I am," Merida replied. "However, I'm beginning to think I like this face. I may keep it."
tr'Hheinia raised his remaining eyebrow. "You have such freedom?"
"Of course. Don't your photonic crew members?"
"Romulans do not use photonics. It would seem - heresy, to create the semblance of a man from Fire and Air, as if we controlled the Elements themselves." Another half-shrug. "I've never been very devout, myself."
Sills stepped toward the force wall. "Let me introduce myself. I'm Admiral Sills, commanding the
. I must say,
, you seem rather more, well, open than I would have expected. Don't you fear the Tal Shiar, should you be repatriated?"
"The Tal Shiar?" The Romulan tried to spit, but seemed to lack saliva. "Those Iconian lap-dogs, trading away their honor, and the soul of the Empire, for the borrowed power of their masters! We refused to submit to our own kind during the Sundering, and they would surrender to aliens now!"
"Hmm. Interesting. I take it you're not a big fan of the Empress, then?"
"Empress? Hah! None have tried to seize that title for over a thousand years! And she deserves it less, the half-breed
She could not gain support of the Fleet, did you know that? She had to bribe those Hirogen
to back her! No, our ship had come seeking a rumor of a new ch'Rihan, a new home for our people, a new beginning for our Empire, free from her corruption. We followed what hints we could, until that damned cube caught us, and it-- and it..." He began to shake.
"Admiral," the doctor interrupted, "his heart rate has become unacceptably high. I must administer a sedative. You'll have to leave my patient alone." His hypospray hissed against the Romulan's flesh again.
Sills turned to leave. "Wait," the Romulan called out, his voice already sounding drugged. "What are you to do with me now?"
"I don't really know," the admiral admitted. "If you'd been assimilated, we'd put you through liberation protocols, and then after your implants had all been deactivated we'd try to persuade you to join Starfleet. If you had just been their prisoner, we'd probably repatriate you - we're not at war with your people, after all. Under the circumstances--" He shrugged. "We have a lot of leeway out here. What would you like to have us do with you?"
"I would pledge you my service,
. You have saved my life, and serving you would provide me vengeance against those
would be served. Please."
Sills stroked his beard. "Provisionally, that might be a good idea. What say we get those implants out of you, then reach a final decision? You might like to see Mol'Rihan first, though - we'll be stopping by there after this patrol."
"Mol'Rihan..." tr'Hheinia said, his voice drifting toward sleep as he did his best to smile with a half-ruined face. "It
Last edited by jonsills; 02-24-2013 at