Harry Kim heard clanking footsteps all around him. The Borg were on the move, marching around, obviously carrying out orders dispersed through the Collective. He listened and he watched intently, but, so far, not a single drone had entered the long corridor he was trapped in, standing watch as he was over Mandakorr's lifeless body. If he had his way, Harry Kim wasn't going to allow the Borg to claim it, to touch it, to desecrate it in any way. He had no intention of granting them an approach the fallen Gallenian.
Tapping his comm badge, he quietly tried, "Kim to Voyager."
"Please standby, Mr. Kim," Tuvok replied.
"Tuvok," Harry continued, despite an order to the contrary, "when you find a way to beam me out, I'd like you to beam Mandakorr as well."
"The Gallenian is deceased," the Vulcan stated.
Trying to control his anger, the ensign protested, "Tuvok, would you please just do this for me? I'm asking you ... as a friend."
"Mr. Kim, I value your respect. At present, I am asking you to please standby."
"Tuvok, I want you to take Mandakorr with me."
"I cannot," came the response.
"Mr. Kim, now is not the time -"
"Why CAN'T you?" Harry persisted.
"Mr. Kim," Tuvok responded firmly, "we are presently coordinating a proposition to save your life. As I value your service to this vessel and your fellowship as a shipmate, it would be illogical for me to jeopardize a single attempt to acquire you. I appreciate Mandakorr's sacrifice, and I will not ask you to be another. This retrieval is not without risk. I cannot, in good conscience, gamble with the lives of this crew. It defies my oath as a security officer." There was a brief pause before the Vulcan concluded with, "I ask you to please standby."
Clunk. Clunk. Clunk.
Shocked, Harry turned in the direction of the sound. A single drone marched down the corridor toward him.
"Kim to Voyager," he repeated, nervously. "The Borg know I'm here!"
"Harry," he heard Captain Janeway's voice over the open comm channel. "Defend yourself!"
Quickly, he brought his plasma rifle to bear on his mortal enemy and fired.
The drone stopped as the energy bolt collided with it. Immediately, the drone crackled with energy, absorbing it into its personal defense shield. The shielding danced rhythmically with miniature thunderbolts in a manner that Harry didn't recognize.
"Captain," he shouted, "they've adapted!"
"Resistance is futile," the drone stated, stepping forward and closing the gap between the two of them.
"Like hell, it is!" Harry replied.
As the Borg reached the ensign, Harry reacted quickly, fueled by anger over his friend's death. Flipping the plasma rifle around like a baseball bat, Harry lashed out and cracked his enemy alongside its head. The implants he struck exploded, and the drone's arms flailed. Clearly, it hadn't anticipated a personal assault. Stunned, the Borg teetered sideways, slowly. It lost its footing and, teetering, crashed into the wall.
Quickly, Harry tapped his comm badge. "Kim to Voyager!" he shouted. "Requesting emergency beam-out!"
"Standby, ensign," was Tuvok's reply.
"I can't do that for long!"
Continuing, the drone righted itself. It brushed at the sparks flickering alongside its biologic eye, and it said, "You will be assimilated."
"Not today!" Harry retorted.
The ensign leapt forward, raising the rifle before him. He pushed outward, and the weapon crunched into the drone's jaw. As its head rocketed backwards, Harry was doused in a shower of sparks erupting from the Borg's chest plating.
"Standby, Ensign Kim," Harry heard Tuvok over the open comm channel. "I will be attempting molecular substitution in five seconds."
'Molecular substitution?' he thought.
'What's he talking about?'
Quickly, the drone brought its head back down and focused on Harry.
Reacting, Harry again twisted the rifle in his hands, aiming the conical emitter at the Borg before him.
"This is for what you did to Mandakorr," Harry spat.
Then, with all his might, he stabbed the tapering rifle muzzle forward and impaled his enemy's neck. White fluid, oddly mixed with the blue blood of the drone's organic components, gushed through the open wound. Again, sparks erupted from the drone's chest. The Borg body trembled violently, surrendered its footing, and dropped to the floor.
"Initiating transport," he heard.
Harry Kim stood perfectly still as a second Borg appeared at the end of the long corridor. Then, he sensed the tingling of a transporter lock reverberate through his body, and the scene before him disappeared into the all-to-familiar molecular static accompanying the transporter effect.
The Borg drone marched to the spot the Starfleet ensign had occupied, facing the icy blue sphere of sizzling transporter energy sizzling. The human's form flickered from existence, but the transporter cocoon stayed, shifting, churning, until finally shrinking much lower, closer to the deckplates ... where a photon torpedo materialized.