by Robert Morganbesser

Chapter Five

Ben Sisko sat at his desk, poring over intelligence data recently sent in from Starfleet. Some of the data was useful, such as how many ships were en route to the station to use the wormhole, or the amount of weaponry the station would receive when it's upgrade of these systems was put into effect. Other was useless, making Sisko wonder what the people at Starfleet were thinking of. As he deleted the file proclaiming that the last Bragga bird, native to the Erbnam system had died, making the species extinct. Sisko rubbed his eyes. Usually the extinction of the species was a sad event for the galaxy, but the Bragga bird was universally renowned as a pest. It soiled the nests of other birds, couldn't be eaten (his father had tried to make Bragga bird gumbo, the dish was a miserable failure, since the birds when cooked, tasted like barbecued castor oil), ate more than their fill, then regurgitated it back up. As useless a species as ever existed, not even the Klingons could digest one.

"Ops to Captain Sisko."

"Sisko here."

"Sir," Kira Nerys, his second in command and former Bajoran freedom fighter (terrorist if one was Cardassian) was calling from ops. "We've got something coming through the wormhole but we have nothing scheduled."

"Go to red alert." Sisko wondered if the Dominion forces, which had recently destroyed a Federation Starship, were making their play? Coming on into ops, he stared at the screen where a disc-shaped, vaguely manta ray looking ship was coming through.

"Hail them, Major."

Kira leaned over her control board, fingertips dancing on the pressure sensitive controls. "No response on any channels." As the attractive Bajoran said this, a flurry of poorly aimed blaster bolts erupted from the gray ship.

"Fire back, weapons and engines."

A streak of red-gold erupted from the stations phaser emitters. They impacted on the alien ships hull, cutting right through it, sending the ship into a crazed spin. Kira stared. "If they have shields, they certainly don't work very well."

Sisko moved closed to the viewscreen. "Lifesigns?"

Kira shook her head. "Intermittent. Almost mechanical." Her head turned sharply to face him. "Could they be Borg?"

Sisko's face paled. Like a fellow Starfleet officer, Captain Picard of the Enterprise, he too was haunted by the Borg. They had killed his wife during the battle of Wolf 359. "Chief O'Brien, lock on to the crew and beam them to a holding cell. Major, let Odo know he'll have company."

Sisko was already in the lift as his orders were carried out.

Odo stood in the main bay facing the three holding cells. In the center one which a moment prior had been empty, was now filled with an odd sight. Three silver clad beings all better than two meters tall had been beamed in. Actually, Odo noted, there was one full being and parts of two others. All were dented and scorched, as if they had been in battle. The one that stood glared in Odo's direction (the changeling wasn't really sure it could see him, since it stood oddly, head cocked at a strange angle) through a red visual sensor that bobbed back and forth. One of its hands was gone, showing wires - wires! - Hanging out of it's damaged wrist.

Finally the creature spoke; it's voice deep and sonorous with a hollow, metallic edge. "You are a prisoner of the Cylons. Surrender."

Odo made a wry face. "I'm afraid your information is wrong. It is you who are the prisoner. Please sit down before you fall down."

Sisko entered the holding cell area and stopped. "Any problems, Constable?"

Odo turned and said, "Other than we are all prisoners of the Cylons, whoever they might be? No. Not really."

Sisko moved toward the holding cell and stared at their prisoner. "I'm Captain Benjamin Sisko. This is Deep Space Nine. Where are you from? Do you require assistance?"

The large metallic biped staggered closer to the force field separating them. "We require nothing from organics, other than they die." Sisko's brows went up at this threat. "No one is dying today, thank you. I wouldn't…"

The Cylon walked into the screens but rather than collapse as an organic being would, it stood there a moment, then began to spark. Sisko moved back, raising the phaser he'd brought with him. "Odo! Deactivate the field!" Even as Odo moved to complete the command, the Cylon shot backward into the far wall of the cell and collapsed to the ground. The red orb that served as an eye moved back and forth then stopped. The creatures voice slurred out, "You are all pris…" Then the light and the voice stopped.

Sisko stepped into the cell. All three of the metallic creatures were still, none of the red eyes glowing. Holstering his phaser, Ben grasped the faceplate of one of the other Cylons (the one who'd touched the field was smoking from the energy absorbed) and pulled it free. Peering into the faceplate, Sisko was amazed. The creature was a robot!

"Constable, get Chief O'Brien down here. I think these are more his field of expertise than mine."

As Odo stepped out to his office, Sisko knelt and stared at the circuits and micro gears that he'd revealed. What the hell is going on here, he thought.

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