FEDERATION'S END III: TWILIGHT
by E. L. Zimmerman
Dawn seeped languidly into Hallaxus's magenta sky. The splinters of light from the planet's twin suns slowly pierced the crimson blanket slung from the heavens over the top of the manufactured world.
From where it stood, Ruvienne the Prime knew that in precisely seventeen seconds the first of its home world's suns would break the barrier of the distant horizon. In precisely thirty-one-point-nine seconds, the first sun - then fully exposed in the morning sky - would painfully glare down upon that Mechadel, Ruvienne's city. Precisely six-point-nine seconds later, the second sun would follow its twin into view of all the Hallux Moderators in the northern hemisphere, the star taking only twenty-three-point-eight-five-eight seconds to reach full visibility. Ruvienne knew that the second sun's mass was marginally less than Hallaxus's primary star, but for reasons incalculable, it stood, monitored, and studied every sunrise since inception and activation. Once both suns had risen, the sky would transform from shades of red into daytime blue, the ultraviolet radiation interacting with elements comprising the world's troposphere.
The twin suns climbed above the world's edge and into the sky as they had for hundreds of millennia before, and another day dawned on Hallaxus.
As Ruvienne knew, the Dia'Soto knew, and, if need be, the simple thought of reflection, of appreciation, of admiration, would be shared throughout all the connected species of the Hallux Sentience ... even with the lowly Borg Collective. However, it doubted there existed any need to share such a fundamental - if not inconsequential - impression with the Sotan operatives spread across the Delta Quadrant. In fact, the drones should have other objectives on their collective mind. If they didn't, they were far better off being sublimated into gas and jettisoned like refuse into the great vacuum that was the cosmos than in facing the vengeful wrath of the Moderators.
As Ruvienne concluded, so the Dia'Soto agreed.
'Time is measurable only as a nuisance,' it mentally told the Sentience. There was no need for speech when living amongst linked beings.
Surprised, Ruvienne lifted his massive robotic head instinctively.
It was experiencing an unexpected break in the data stream due to a massive influx of unanticipated facts filtering through Hallaxus's planetary Central Information Processing Core.
A Sotan operative - a drone of his design and dispatch - had interacted with a crewmember of an Alpha Quadrant starship.
Ruvienne knew, as did the Dia'Soto, that this interaction was not the first time that the Sentience had dissected, contemplated, and classified experiences with the United Federation of Planets. In fact, the Dia'Soto had known about Earth, the Alpha Quadrant, and the Federation for quite some time. Earthlings, as they were known colloquially, didn't compute. They were organic in nature, comprised primarily of carbon. Due to their composition, they were classified as untrue life forms, and untrue life forms warranted either assimilation or eradication. As their primary residence - a planet called Earth - lay tens of thousands of light years beyond the present reach of the Collective, the Dia'Soto had elected eradication. It was, simply, easier. To Ruvienne's recollection, a primitive space probe, one called V'ger, had recently been equipped and dispatched to properly deal with the 'Incalculables.'
The Dia'Soto understood that V'ger had failed in its mission.
The operative's transmission confirmed that the Incalculables had access to information regarding ChannelSpace. Additionally, the operative's initial conclusion was that the crew of the USS Voyager, Federation Registry #74656, would be attempting to breach ChannelSpace for purposes unknown, presumably to attempt transit back to the Alpha Quadrant.
Ruvienne was displeased, and the Dia'Soto agreed.
Indeed, Hallux traffic logs had recently recorded an unauthorized, unrecognized access to ChannelSpace. As the complex sensor stream showed only negligible traces of interference, the transportation was deemed irrelevant. It had been ignored and allowed. At a glance, Ruvienne concluded that the transmission coordinates that would've allowed a ship too small to transport any life form to emerge within the Alpha Quadrant ... in reach of the Incalculables.
Ruvienne was disappointed, and the Dia'Soto agreed.
Immediately, it retrieved the static sensory scans of the unauthorized transit, and it studied the information in greater detail. Specifically, the transit was a pod, primarily constructed for the transportation of communication signals across a narrow width of the subspace band. Broadcast range was limited to one-point-nine light years. Based on markings appearing on the transit's hull, Ruvienne concluded that the pod was property registered to ...
However, upon closer inspection, it learned that the pod had been altered - no doubt by one of the Incalculables aboard the Starship Voyager - and the projectile contained a rudimentary data storage receptacle. With extreme care, Ruvienne enhanced the sensor resolution, concentrating its focus around the information contained within the receptacle.
To its astonishment, Ruvienne reviewed encrypted Sotan computer files that had been designed to lay dormant within a Borg drone's neural matrix.
Ruvienne was incensed, as were the Dia'Soto.
Classified existence data ... somehow co-opted from a member of the Collective ...
... information privy, by intent and design, only to the Moderators ...
The time had arrived, once and for all, for the carbon-based units to be removed.
Within a millisecond, Ruvienne understood that the message was bound for Earth, dispatched by that rogue starship wandering aimlessly through Borg Space.
In a moment of perfect clarity, Ruvienne peacefully concluded that he was left a single alternative: the moment had arrived, once and for all, to personally rid space of the infantile 'carbon units' infesting the universe. As the Borg had proven themselves inadequate time and time again to the task of subjugating the human race, assimilating them into the Collective where they could be more closely moderated, he concluded that the time had finally come for a more stringent, more permanent measure.
Where the message was bound, he would follow.
Where the message was received, he would annihilate.
And the Dia'Soto agreed.