V: The Borg
"We are the Borg, lower your shields and surrender your ships. Your biological and technological distinctiveness will be added to our own. You will be assimilated; resistance is futile." Spoke the billion voices of the dark collective led by a single mind. Led by one of the Federation's finest, Jean Luc Picard.
The Cube shaped ship was five kilometers square on each facing side and was like a small city that had dropped out of warp. Its subspace wake washed against the first line formation and the starships lurched in the waters, but where quick to respond.
The Federation ships moved and lanced out with highly tuned and adapted phasers and torpedoes. The great cube swatted at the gnats and cutting through the front line in less than ten seconds. It proceeded forward breaking the second line just as easy.
Admiral Hansen ordered all ships to create a subspace wake with their warp drives, stirring up the waters to prevent the cube from escape. It was a good strategy, but left only one option for the dark juggernaut.
The Federation had lost three ships with in the first twenty seconds of the conflict, and nearly 1500 lives thrown into the black oblivion, but they were now one up on the cube. They had effectively trapped it and were now swarming at the leviathan.
The great cube pushed forward and rammed two more ships, with no consequence to itself, ending another thousand lives callously. Billions of joules of energy poured onto the monster but its strange metal skin was not touched. Phasers, photon torpedoes, and even anti-matter detonations thundered onto the great beast, but nothing could seem to touch the dark black metal flesh.
The Kushyu, a powerful ship, moved to deploy a special torpedo. Her weapon bays were hit with a single swipe of the dark cube's cutting beams and imploded her hull. The ship split in two: its upper portion spinning wildly into the cube, and its lower part tumbling away severely damaged by one of the Borgs' slight attack. It ejected its warp core and in an uncontrolled moment the great gem, the heart that sits within all starships, exploded with all the rapture of a god. Billions of rads swam out and several Federations starships were wounded by the blast. The cube paused as if to take a breath, but then moved forward again.
The Yorktown, an Excelsior class vessel, had come up with a multi-band torpedo and moved in, to fire at the cube. As it attacked with its modified photon barrage, the cube reached out with a green glowing net and grabbed the mighty vessel. It didn't fire at the ship, it didn't hurl it or rend it nacelle from nacelle. It simply drained its shields, beamed off the crew and sent the ship adrift. Seven hundred men and women were lost.
Four minutes had passed and only 19 ships were left. The Saratoga ran in with two other ships, but they were repelled like nothing more than a small annoyance. The casualties were now in the tens of thousands and the fleet wasn't doing well.
"Tien, have you been able to deliver a virus?" Hansen commanded.
"No sir, I have tried nearly twenty-eight different modulations, I think it might take more time."
"Kirk, any damage to the cube?"
"No damage sir, and we are down to eleven torpedoes," Kirks voice was tense and she didn't think that there was a way to win.
"Cease fire." Hansen said flatly. "This isn't going to work. Kirk, target a spread of five torpedoes between us and the cube. Faulkner, I want you to bring us in and under that thing. Try to keep ground zero of the warp core detonation between us and it, that might screen their sensors."
Hansen stepped from his chair and walked back to the tactical station. He glanced at Kirk with a confident smile; "We are gonna to go in and grab as many of the survivors as we can."
Kirk didn't agree with the action, "Sir, we have to stop that cube first."
Mr. Leeds looked up as Kirk spoke.
Hansen began to coordinate the shields and the transporters, "Well, if we survive you might eventually be a first officer and then you can question the captains orders. Until then, ready the spread." He was kind with his words.
Kinder, Kirk thought than she would have been.
"Mr. Leeds, help Dan create some chaff with our Impulse exhaust," Hansen commanded in such away that it seemed nothing more than a suggestion to aid a friend.
Leeds was a Centaruan, similar to humans with some minor internal differences. He was a pacifist by nature, but had not paused to order the Agincourt to fire. There was something about the Borg that drove to the heart of the humanoid psyche. They were a perversion of life, the undead, and by all that was right and holy they had to be stopped.
"Mr. Faulkner, go!" said the Captain as he began the operation.
Adam Faulkner focused and intently initiated the impulse drives. He could feel the loss of power from them as Tien and Leeds readjusted the exhaust to create a radioactive cloud to confuse the Borg. He compensated and arched the ship below the belly of the beast. A slight smile betrayed the situation as he deftly slipped though fire and debris to run his ship within transporter range.
In the wake of the leviathan a debris field swam. Trapped in severed corridors and conduits thousands of officers huddled, praying for a rescue. Unknown to the survivors, the Agincourt was on the way.
Standard transporters have an effective range of over 40,000 kilometers; more so if you have a good transporter technician at the pad. But the same effect that kept the cube at bay also dropped transporter range to point blank. With only a few thousand meters of reach, the Agincourt was forced to fly into the fire and sweep away her fallen comrades.
Kirk and Hansen began to beam the survivors of the drifting ships aboard. Kirk collapsed micro portions of the shields, so that Hansen could coordinate the transporter rooms. The plan was working well and in only one minute of maneuvering they beamed aboard one hundred and twenty survivors. Then there was a horrible shudder and the ship rocked as if it had been hit by a giant fist.
Hansen fell to the ground, Kirk wanted to help him, but her panel lit up with multiple shield breaches and she chose instead to keep the shields together.
"Report!" Hansen shouted and pulled himself up. A cold shudder ran through him for he already knew the answer.
"The Borg are draining our shields with a tractor beam. Helm is sluggish," Faulkner shouted as the ships began to vibrate unnaturally.
"Rotate us one hundred and eighty degrees starboard-" Leeds never finished his command. Debris from a destroyed craft began to pelt the Agincourt. A large part of the Melbourne's secondary hull bashed into the shields, collapsing them and digging into the superstructure. The ship shuddered under the conflicting pull of the Borg tractor beam and the unstoppable impact of the debris. The bridge was lit with a series of explosions from both inside and outside the ship. Wiring fell from the ceiling and conduits ruptured with uncontrolled surges of energy. The Ops panel exploded into a shower of fire as super heated plasma. The panel was broken in half and threw Leeds and Tien back. The two men lay slumped on the floor of the bridge, making no movements and surrounded by smoldering bits of plastic and metal.
Faulkner wanted to help his friends, but the ship was being pulled off course by the Borg tractor beam. He overloaded the port reaction control thrusters and changed the yaw of the ship while there was still some shields left. The Agincourt was now facing the leviathan with its belly up.
"Kirk, initiate an emergency saucer separation before -"The bridge again exploded, all were thrust forward, and before Hansen could finish his order it was too late. The Agincourt was being tractored by the most powerful force in the known galaxy.
"Damn it." Hansen swore under his breath. He looked on to the view screen its entirety filled with the black steel skin of the giant Borg cube. His gaze then drifted down through the red lit smoke. He saw sprawled on the deck of the bridge his first officer and Dan Tien.
"Alright, let's get to the escape pods. Divert all power to transporters, for those who can beam to the nearest surviving ships." He turned to the console and spoke. His words echoed across the sinking vessel, "All hands abandon ship...repeat all hands abandon ship."
Faulkner locked the controls to ram the cube. Should the Agincourt free herself from the tractor beam she would run full throttle into the enemy vessel. He then jumped to the two fallen men. Leeds was dead, but Tien had only been knocked out and was already coming to. Adam helped him to his feet and the two began to hobble to safety.
Hansen and Kirk turned to the nearest turbo lift. They could drop down to deck three and leave the ship via the escape pods. They didn't know if they would be able to escape the tractor beam, but they were limited on options. As they moved towards the turbo-shaft, a green wavering glow interceded their path and Kirk was face to face with the Borg itself.