Studying his defensive screens, Tuvok watched the outermost boundary of Besaria's Planetary Shield fast approaching. He didn't have to look at his monitor to know that, behind Voyager, the Borg were, literally within an arms reach.
"This will take precise timing, commander," the Vulcan spoke through the open comm channel. "Please listen carefully. When I give the order, lower the Planetary Shield. Then, two seconds later, raise it. Can you comply?"
"Give the word, Tuvok."
"Very well," the Vulcan agreed. Momentarily, Tuvok looked up from his station and glanced in the direction of the pilot's console. "Mr. Paris, bring us within fifty meters of the Besarian shield."
Again, the ship rocked.
"Have they established a tractor beam yet?" Janeway asked.
"Negative, captain," Tuvok replied.
From navigation, Tom announced, "Presently holding at fifty meters."
Tuvok nodded. "On my mark, Mr. Paris, power down impulse engines to one-tenth."
Turning around to glare at the head of ship's security, Tom asked, "Uh ... sir, are you crazy? At one-tenth impulse at this proximity to the planet's gravity well, Voyager will drop like a rock ..." Realization suddenly washed over the pilot's face. "Oh." He turned forward and stared at the main viewer. "Oh, I get it."
"Thank you for 'getting it,' Mr. Paris," Tuvok said.
"My apologies for speaking out of turn, Tuvok."
"If this works, there will be time for pleasantries later," the Vulcan agreed. "On my mark, Mr. Paris."
Janeway closed her eyes.
In her mind, she saw Packell, Aulea, and the other Trakill humbling praying to Sonah in the Grand Hall.
Undoubtedly, she knew she'd never see any of them again. She wouldn't have the chance to thank Packell for all that he had shared, for the hope that he had fostered in her once again.
Silently, she wondered if the crew of Voyager would be in Packell's prayers.
"One ... mark!"
Tom's fingers quickly played across the engine controls. Despite the inertial dampeners, everyone on the bridge sensed Voyager dropping.
Tuvok tapped his comm badge. "Now, Commander Chakotay!"
On the main viewer, the blue energy haze that was the Planetary Shield suddenly vanished.
Easily, Voyager dropped under the boundary of that invisible umbrella.
"Let's just hope this works," Janeway muttered, digging her fingernails into the arms of her command chair.
"The Borg are pursuing," Harry Kim announced from Ops.
Her eyes still closed tightly, Janeway imagined her first officer, on the planet below, re-initializing the shield.
"Planetary Shield has been engaged," Tuvok announced.
"On screen!" Janeway ordered, opening her eyes.
The main viewer morphed from a view of the crumbling Besaria City to the two lumbering Borg Cubes in hot pursuit.
Suddenly, the two vessels were obscured by a the familiar haze of blue Twelfth Power Energy ...
... but not before the leading Cube was cleanly sliced in half by the reactivated energy shield!
"Tom, evasive maneuvers!" the captain shouted.
"Yes, ma'am!" he concurred, and Voyager pulled away from the rupturing, tumbling remains of the vanquished Borg Cube. The remaining Cube bounced off the atmospheric protection, igniting a plasma discharge that ripped into the craft's structure, but the Cube managed to pull away into higher orbit in the knick of time.
'Damn!' Janeway thought. 'One more! Only one more!'
"Tuvok," she began, "send word to those evacuation ships. Get them into formation as fast as possible. We don't have time for dallying about, and, like the last time, the Borg aren't going to fall for the same trick twice."