The officer's and crew began to crawl into the small tube-like passageways, though they didn't know where they were going to. The Jeffries tubes were interconnecting crawlspaces that occupied the walls and floors of a starships deck. The interwoven technologies of the massive interstellar vessels were accessible only through these utility corridors.
Again the ship rocked as something physical grabbed it. Kirk's mind ran with scenarios of escape and, even worse, of survival. How long could they evade the Borg inside the cube? Could they find help? Were all the Borg like the ones they encountered, was there more sentient types, could they illicit help from them?
If we can get to the shuttle, I can fly us out of here.
Faulkner's words echoed into Kirk's mind. But even if they could get to one, could they get away? Could they hide from the Borg? The damage to the Agincourt had ionized the hull, the Borg could beam in, but she was fairly sure they couldn't beam out. But once free of the Agincourt's charged hull they were dead.
The seven crawled through the small corridors. The walls seemed as if they were pressing against all sides, and the air was thick and humid. It was a labor to breath and an even greater labor to move. Sweat poured down their faces, and their uniforms were damp and clung uncomfortably.
"Hold it." Said Kirk as she brought the crawling line to a stop from the end.
"What is it?" Faulkner began, "Are they coming in the tubes?"
"No." She paused and listened, "The docking has stopped."
There was a pause from the others, the idea that the Agincourt now sat on the hull of the devil itself did not sit well with them.
"I've been thinking," Dan began, "The reports from the Enterprise didn't have any computer take over, and I believe that was because the Borg didn't have the capacity to talk to our computers."
"They do now. Even our communicators and weapons are useless." Jubae held up her rifle, which was powered down.
"Let me see it," Dan said.
Jubae protested for a moment but realized that without power it was just a fancy stick. Dan opened it up and pulled intently on an internal component. He reset the microprocessor and reactivated the phaser.
"This should work now. I pulled out the subspace transceiver assembly and reset the drive." He paused and then continued, "It's the Iconian translatory program. I had a copy of it from the Iconian temple we visited on the Einstein. When I sent it to shut down the Borg I only thought it would infect the drones on the ship. It seems they assimilated it and are using it against us now."
"You did what?" Jubae shouted.
"Hey, keep it down. Those things are all over the ship," Craig countered nervously.
"I'll shout if I want," Jubae said and pushed past Green and Craig, her two medical assistants. She reached out and grabbed Tien, "Thousands are dead!"
Tien struggled away, but the confines of their world were limited and the Andorian's grip was very strong.
"You killed half the damn Starfleet!" Bova struggled to reach her hands around Tien's throat.
"Let him go," Faulkner pulled over Tien and tried to push the Andorian away.
"People, enough." Kirk said as she reached over and jabbed Bova in her shoulder area.
"FRASH!" Jubae swore as she fell back. Her left arm filled with pin-and-needle sensations. She was stunned by the ferocity of the pain.
"Yeah, maybe now you'll listen to me!" Faulkner said with malice.
Jubae brought her good fist up right into Faulkner's face and sent the ensign back to the front of the line. Faulkner launched back but stopped short of being stunned by Kirk's phaser.
"Alright, we need to bring it together or we are never going to get out of here alive. We are Starfleet, and we have been trained for this. Faulkner you said something about getting a shuttle..."
"During the attack the Borg had trouble targeting close in, small targets."
"We aren't going to make it to the shuttle bay. It's on the other side of the ship. We only have about six minutes." Craig said with fear.
"We might not have to." Tien can you create a secure channel to a shuttle?"
"No, not if it's been taken over."
"What about a cold storage shuttle?"
"Yeah, if it's been off-line. But, I'd still need to establish an encoding so it won't be assimilated.
"Adam, where is the nearest transporter on this thing?"
"Okay people, we have two decks to go and three minutes to cover it in. Lets get moving."
It took less than two minutes to make the decent, but with time as short as it was, it seemed much longer. The seven had crawled through the claustrophobic world, their differences set aside, and their hopes erratic. They were surrounded by something horrific. They were a people who had believed that technology and science could solve all riddles, and that they were the masters of such things. Now something of nightmare stuff had come to slap them down. Its very existence was a violation of their basic principals and laws. The Borg mocked all reason and logic, and were like magicians to the Federation.
What they were running from wasn't just death, but the horror of becoming a slave to the great undead god. For it wasn't just an alien invader that had come to the Federation, but Hell itself. The Borg were not just monsters, they were an idea in form. They were death, the very antitheses of the Federation. And when Kirk and her troupe ran they ran from the reaper. These young Starfleet officers and crew were face to face with evil, and in that presence their mortal souls trembled.
"Rip out the subspace transceivers from anything you take, Chartreuse help me out here." Tien said as he furiously pulled apart the transporter control panel.
"Four minutes," Green's voice wavered.
The transporter room was clear, but the outside hall was not. Using transceiver-less tricorders they could see a dozen Borg outside the room. Kirk had locked the doors, but doubted that would stop them should they choose to enter.
The situation was grim, and the odds were definitely against them. And as Tien tapped into the various independent systems throughout the ship he learned a horrible fact.
"Oh my god," was all that he could say.
Chartreuse looked over to his side of the transporter console and saw that he had routed a secure lock on to the shuttles in the cold storage. He had brought them online and activated their sensor array. She gasped and drew the attention of the group.
"Report." Kirk commanded, but as she glanced to the panel she understood.
"We..." Tien couldn't finish.
"The Agincourt...We're inside the Borg cube." Faulkner said with disbelief.
And there was a pause as doubt came to the seven.
"Can we still transport to the shuttle?" Green said in a frightened voice.
"I think so, in fact we can transport the shuttle if we need to." Tien confirmed.
"Yes." Kirk had an idea.
"We can beam it out of the cube." Adam added.
"Keep it powered down, it might look like debris." Tien finished.
"We will have to match the annular confinement beam to something, otherwise they will detect the transport. They won't let us beam away without a fight." Kirk noted.
At system J24 the Enterprise crew had managed to damage one of the drones. The Borg retrieved the mechanism. Then again just prior to the battle, when Picard was abducted, had done it again. The Borg didn't like to let go of anything that belonged to them. It was a potential weakness they were protecting, one that Tien had unexpectedly been exploiting when he transmitted the virus to a drone.
"There is no way. Maybe if we had a fully functional ship," said Faulkner.
"We can mask it with a impulse flush. The engines were already modified to burn out Chaff." Chartreuse perked up, hope now having a reality to it.
Craig perked up, his attention focused on the young engineer.
"The impulse engines are on this deck, If we can get to them, then we can initiate the flush, beam the shuttle and ourselves out." Kirks voice was factual, as if the procedure had already been completed.
For a moment the other six considered her words, as if children being told that Santa is real. They had hope now, and they might make it out.
"Adam, you Chartreuse and Craig, you're with me, Jubae, Tien, and Green you stay here and get the transporter on line." Kirk spoke with confidence.
"We're ready, but once we have the buffers energized they'll know we are up to something." Tien's voice was cautionary. It would only be a matter of seconds, but he knew that it would take less than that to counter his transport.
Kirk pulled out her tricorder as they talked. She accessed a map of deck six of the Agincourt and noted the route. They had to make a quarter arch toward the aft of the ship, and then it was a straight line back to impulse engineering. It looked like there was twenty Borg between them and the impulse deck.
"These are main corridors so we should have enough room to maneuver. It looks like a straight run. I think we can make it." Kirk checked her rifle and moved toward the door.
"Are you insane?" Adam jumped up.
"We need to get to the impulse engines. The Borg that we have seen are slow, if we move quickly then we can do it." Craig added with a certain conviction. He spoke as if he were sure that this was the way.
Kirk took only a second to assess the young medical technician. He had been fairly quiet until now and there was a glimpse of hope in his eyes. She saw a fighter in him, something she could identify with. He wasn't afraid of what they had to do, and that was the type of person she needed now.
Craig was eager and ready, more so than any had expected.
"I agree, but Ensign Faulkner should stay here." Said the young blue doctor.
"Why is that?" Adam protested.
"We need you to pilot the shuttle once we are clear, and I am a better athlete than you." Jubae smiled.
"Yeah, whatever," Faulkner sneered at the cobalt girl.
"No, really I am. I can run faster than a human, and I have twice your agility."
"We have only two minutes left." Said Green.
"Adam, she's right you stay here. Jubae you're with us." Kirk's voice was adamant"My first away team." Jubae whispered.
Kirk keyed in the security lock on the door then turned to Adam, "Once we go out this door do not open it for anything. At ten seconds, beam the shuttle out, and as many of us as you can. We'll run without the Chaff. You're in command Mr. Faulkner."
"Yes Mam." He said it with total respect. The same ionization that had prevented the Borg from beaming them off would keep them from a solid lock on the away team. Kirk knew this, and she was sacrificing her life to make sure that at least half the team would make it out.