COLLISION OF REALITIES
by Robert Morganbesser

Chapter Seven

Data turned in his seat. "Commander, sensors are reading a spacecraft at 210 mark 3."

Riker came to his feet. "Type?"

"Unknown."

"Battle stations. Captain to the bridge!"

Picard appeared in an instant, eyes already on the main viewscreen as he came onto the bridge. On the screen was a battered ship that might have one been white, but was now a dingy grey. Sparks and bits of metal spun away from the ships hull where a dark scorched area bisected what appeared to be a cargo hold.

"Lifesigns?"

Worf, on temporary assignment while hitching a ride back to Deep Space Nine, glanced at his panels then, in a low voice said, "One intermittent life sign with a Borg energy signature."

Picard spun to stare at his temporary security chief. "Beam the life sign directly to sick bay." Tapping his communicator, Picard said, "Sickbay."

"Crusher here."

"We're transporting what may be a Borg drone to sickbay. It's injured, take the necessary precautions."

"Transport complete."

"Jean-Luc…" Beverly's voice held and uncertain tone to it. "Perhaps you'd better get down here."

"Number one, you have the bridge."

Beverly stared at what had once been a human being that lay on her biobed. Surrounded by a class one forcefield, she decided to take matters into her own hands. Lifting a hypospray, she said, "Computer, lower forcefield." She could have used the EMH, but with all the bugs in it, she wouldn't trust it to wash decks, let alone treat a person."

The human was in terrible pain. One side of his face was disfigured by implants that seemed to have gone wild. A tube where his left eye had been grew up, sank down, grew up again. Under the left side of his orange spacesuit were lumps that grew and stopped, rearranged themselves wildly. His still human eye stared at Crusher, finally in a voice wracked with pain he gasped, "Please help me."

Beverly administered the hypo. "This will ease the pain. Who are you?"

Picard came into the sickbay and moved alongside the doctor. If he was angry over the lack of a forcefield, he didn't say it. The injured human turned his head slightly. Cables trailed out of his skull where the Borg implants had stopped growing. A thin trickle of blood ran out of the corner of his mouth. Beverly quickly wiped it away, gave him another shot. His tortured muscles relaxed and Crusher took the instants respite to glance at the biobeds read out. The man didn't have long.

"My name is Alan Carter," the man spoke slowly and painfully, his voice rasping out. "Who are you?"

Picard leaned forward, "We are from Earth."

Carter's good eye moved around. "Never saw a ship like this."

"What happened to you?"

"I was out in my Eagle when we were attacked by the Borg." Carter lay his head back. "They took the base apart, one appeared on my ship. I shot it with my laser, but it hit me, then this started to happen. Alpha blew up…" Carters eye froze, staring at the ceiling as the readings on the biobed faded.

Crusher pulled a sheet from a storage area and covered him. "He might be better off."

Picard stared at the still form under the sheet. "What happened? I've never seen Borg assimilation go so badly."

Beverly consulted her tricorder. "His tissues are saturated with a type of gamma radiation I've never seen. It may have interfered with the assimilation process. But that's a guess. I'll have to do an autopsy."

Picard lifted the sheet and stared at the patch on the mans spacesuit. "Moonbase Alpha? I've never heard of a Moonbase Alpha." Lowering the sheet, Picard said, "Let me know if you find out anything else Beverly. I'll be on the bridge."

As he left, Picard wondered what his strange visitor could have shed any light on this.

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