by Robert Morganbesser

Chapter Eleven

From the observation deck, Picard, Riker and the Doctor watched as the Jupiter 2 left the Enterprise. It flew off, the spinning engine on its bottom hull flashing yellow and white. When it was two thousand meters away from the Enterprise, the ship grew hazy and then faded away.

The Doctor sighed. "They had only fourteen seconds left. Now that wall of reality is repaired."

"Are we done, Doctor?" Riker asked, wishing he could have gone onboard the TARDIS.

"There is one last mission, my friends. Possibly the most dangerous of all."

The Doctor removed a small device from his belt. "In my reality, my greatest enemies are the Daleks." An image of a strange creature, two meters tall, with odd appendages and what looked like a telescope on top of its 'head' appeared. "The Daleks are, inside that armored mobile unit, the most malevolent beings in my reality. They have tried many times to conquer the Milky Way, indeed at one point in my history they have conquered a good bit of it."

Picard stared at the holo-image. "What are they inside?"

"Once they were humanoid, then on a planet called Skaro, a brilliant demented scientist mutated them into what they are today. Unable to move without the travel machines, they are brilliant and utterly ruthless. It was the Daleks who discovered taranium."

"Taranium?" Riker echoed. "I've never heard of it."

"That is because it doesn't occur in your reality. If it did, your dilithium would be unnecessary. Taranium as a power source is so powerful that 1 gram of it could run your starship for ten years."

Picard's brows went up. "Ten years! But what do the Daleks use it for?"

"The Daleks," the Doctor replied sadly. "Use it to create time corridors through which they have attempted to conquer worlds or change events. On the earth in my reality, they caused world war three and then conquered Earth. I undid those events."

The Doctor put his arms out. "But the Daleks went a bit further this last time. They crossed dimensions rather than time. In doing so they encountered a race that's rather reminiscent of them to me, the Borg."

Picard could feel his heart begin to race. He had been a prisoner of the Borg, had defeated them twice now, but still feared them. "And what happened?"

The Doctor's face grew grim. "The Borg assimilated the Daleks. One of them, the Supreme Dalek, fought back and actually pulled a part of the collective away. These are the Borg who are running rampant throughout your reality, destroying whatever crosses over or assimilating it. The Borg now know of Taranium and where they can get the only known deposit of it in your reality."

Picard wiped sweat from his face. "Where is that?"

"An outpost on the edge of Federation space called Deep Space Nine. The Borg are going to go there and harvest the Taranium from the wormhole there."

Picard tapped his commbadge. "Bridge, set course for Deep Space Nine. Warp 9.8!"

Even as the words left Picards lips, the Enterprise-E formed its warp field and shot off toward the distant system of Bajor.

But would they be in time?

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