FEDERATION'S END II: THE WITCHING HOUR
by E. L. Zimmerman

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

Deep within Transport 327's Endemic Processing Post, a blue-green, swirling, particle mist materialized, teleported through a highly-kinetic and complex data stream directed toward all sentient Borg vessels ...

... via Channelspace.

The swirling mass slowed, a cloud revolving on an unseen axis, its blue-green hue softening, and a solitary drone took shape from the dancing and drifting particles. Given the vast distance and multiple transports the drone had crossed, the molecular integration process took longer than the usual 2.7699512 seconds, Borg standard. Immediately, upon establishing cohesion, the coloring faded, and the drone mechanically dropped its arms to its sides.

Suddenly, ultra-thin foot-long kelbonite blades erupted from the drone's prosthetics. They locked into place, clicking loudly though there was no one present to hear them, defensive weapons honed to a fine edge, thin enough to slice Borg armor should self defense become necessary. Any attempt at subverting the mission would be result in eradication of the meddling party. Should any interfering drone present itself, that drone would be dealt with.

Dealt with harshly.

Dispatched fatally.

Without possibility of re-initiation into the Collective.

Ignoring all known protocols, the drone kept its arrival unannounced from the ship's other cybernetic lifeforms. Rather, the slumbering crew were disregarded, regenerating on command in their respective alcoves throughout the Cube ...

... until the decision had been reached.

The Borg would 'know' soon enough.

The United Federation of Planets would 'know' soon enough.

The universe would 'know' soon enough.

And ... the consequences would be catastrophic.

Designationless, the drone glanced in no particular direction. Simply, it stepped forward, approaching the internal multiplexing communications beacon, the unit responsible for electronically distributing and coordinating universal orders to Transport 327's resident crew, the unit responsible for maintaining the fraction of the Collective assigned to this ship.

Unflinchingly, without hesitation, the drone raised its right arm, blades stretched outward.

From its wrist, the drone quickly extended a two-inch silver commlink. Abruptly, the commlink ignited brilliantly and then diffused, a series of tiny optic inducers lining the metallic surface coming alive. Without warning, the commlink began to spin, first very slowly, with practiced cause, but with increasing alacrity. After the spin stabilized at its precise revolution, the drone succinctly deposited it in appropriate receptacle on the multiplexing beacon, latching it into place. As commanded, the drone began uploading the directives.

The Borg would 'know' soon enough.

The United Federation of Planets would 'know' soon enough.

The universe would 'know' soon enough.

Once the mission was accomplished, the nameless drone would return, as programmed, via Channelspace teleportation, to the homeworld ...

... of the Dia'Soto.

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