DISCLAIMER: The story and characters belong to Paramount, etc. They are so not mine and no money is being made from this and no copyright infringement is intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is very much an AU; I wanted to reveal that TPTB are impotent when it comes to understanding of what makes a good interaction and a powerful bond. For some reason (no offense to any men on the list) a lot of male writers think powerful women always must engage in fragile-ego futile pissing contests. (Men who write for CSI have done the same thing there as well.) It is true just because there are strong females doesn't mean they have to have slumber parties and be members of "we're woman in a man's world so we have to bond club" either. However I'm playing B'Elanna as a true Maquis someone who sees atrocities and fought against it. I want to play her as if she had seen first hand Cardassian Concentration camps and 'in the like of' Stockholm syndrome refugees freed from those nests of horror. I want to write her as I think she might have reacted to Seven given her background.
AUTHOR'S NOTE 2: B'Elanna isn't rebelling against her Klingon self in fact she embraces it despite her past is the same as it is in Canon. No declawed Klingons here!
SOILERS: Directly for Scorpion I-II, The Gift, Day of Honor, off-hand First Contact, previous seasons of Voyager and all Borg related episodes of the Trek series. Time line and canon are a little off but you are fanfic readers and can adapt.
WARNING:please take careful note there will be mentions of pain and torture as B'Elanna recalls the things she had seen in the Cardassian concentration camps, bearing in mind Voyager Canon as well as Jean-Luc's torture at the hands of a Gull it isn't too hard to believe the crimes they committed against another soul. I have used much of what I heard from survivors of the camps in Germany, documentaries as well as what is available on the net. Please bear in mind I am not trying to exploit this dark history but use the information in this story as writers of the show have done in the past to shed some light on the troubling context. We must remember.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
By Elizabeth Carter
Janeway was back on the Bridge in the command chair by the time her tactical officer returned to his post, she and Chakotay turned watching as the dark skinned Vulcan emerged from the turbolift to cross into their path. The others on the deck were still diligently working hard. Kim and Paris didn't even look up from Ops when their fellow senior officer entered.
"How's Kes?" Janeway's smoky voice hinted at her true deep concern over the young woman.
"Unsettled... and uncertain... Over the past two hours, she has experienced several telepathic "visions" about the death of Borg... and the destruction of Voyager." Tuvok delivered his report in the deep precise cadence of his race.
"Some sort of... premonitions?" Chakotay's spiritual upbringing would never allow him to scoff at the idea of visions becoming fact. Indeed his shaman grandfather said when dreams become flesh trouble is not far behind, beware.
"Possibly." Stoic Tuvok concurred.
Janeway considered it but she was more pragmatic than the others, her scientific mind would not be jarred from the set course, "We can't just ignore her "intuition" but I see no reason to alter our plan." She paused a beat, "Tuvok, I want you to keep an eye on "
The last word of her sentence was cut off by a sudden shrill alarm wailing from Ops. Harry blanched and quickly schooled his features so he might report, "Captain... long range sensors are picking up transwarp signatures... five point eight light years distant... closing from behind..."
"Red Alert." Chakotay commanded.
Immediately the klaxon ripped the siren of red alert the light panels blinking on and off the fiery hue allowing everyone to see if they hadn't already figured out what the screeching siren was for.
Without missing a beat Janeway gave the next order, "Evasive maneuvers."
Paris' hands flew expertly over the helm and still the ship shuddered. It felt like a giant toddler was shaking its birthday gift trying to figure out just what the rattling sound was.
Chakotay growled as the jarring had caused him to bite the inside of his cheek, "What's happening?"
"We've dropped out of warp..." Paris announced a bit shocked because he hadn't commanded the ship to do so.
Janeway slapped the panel of her chair, "Bridge to Engineering-what's going on down there?"
Engineering was in chaos. In the midst of the purely humanoid cacophony, a new sound came, the whine of the cooling warp-core. Gas expelled from behind panels making a dire situation more fraught with hidden dangers meaning that Engineering may not be the safest place on the ship.
A frustrated Torres growled out her answer in a quick succession of words "I'm not sure, Captain. Some kind of subspace turbulence is preventing us from creating a stable warp field."
Once more the ship trembled at first it was only slight but enough to knock a few fillings loose in the teeth. Tension was mounting on the Bridge, wave after wave of fear echoed in the pounding hearts of the valiant crew. The shaking grew worse.
Tuvok had to raise his voice over the ominous rumbling ripping through the ship, "Turbulence is increasing..."
But it was Ensign Kim's announcement that turned blood into chilled essence, "I'm reading two Borg vessels... three... four... five " his dark almond shaped eyed opened in terror "Fifteen Borg vessels. Distance: two point one light years and closing!"
'Frack me!' Janeway gasped rising from her command chair in astonishment. Gravity made her knees buck or maybe it was the tremors of the ship had thrice worsened in the past few seconds the rumbling louder. "Shields to maximum! Stand by all weapons!"
"They're in visual range..." The Vulcan felt as if he had just announced their doom. Perhaps he had.
On the view screen flashed astern, a whole armada of Borg cubes were rapidly approaching - an awesome sight to behold and terrorizing all the same. Fifteen vessels: a doomsday fleet. It was only one ship that had annihilated Wolf 359. What match was one puny scout ship against fifteen behemoths?
"My God!" Chakotay gasped, 'We're dead. There is no escape from this We're gone.'
Kathryn resisted the urge to cross herself in the old maritime fashion. She could only stare at the leviathans bearing down on Voyager. 'Not without a fight! We will die free. I will self-destruct before I allow them to assimilate us. Oh God let them think we're irrelevant.'
The entire ship's lights began flickering, dimming whilst the fear in the hearts of Voyager's crew rose. They were dead in space with the onslaught of fifteen Borg cubes coming at them like a school of sharks after a solitary dolphin. Their speed increasing getting them closer closer
'What I wouldn't give for a cloaking device.' Janeway thought, 'just close our eyes and make them think we're not here.'
The Borg cubs roared directly past either side of Voyager, super tankers keelhauling a small fishing boat. A speck. Voyager was tossed, rocked and bucked in the wave of the stampede of ships. Lights blinked on and off, the entire ship shaking so violently rivets should have been shaking loose end hull over bow Voyager flipped her passengers hanging on to anything, everything for dear life.
The cubes had not stopped they hadn't even considered Voyager, they raced past pursed by hell itself.
All was dead in space. The shaking had quieted the rumbling subsiding, the lights and consoles coming back to life. Everyone recovered looked at each other smiling. They hadn't met with death.
Chakotay managed to find his feet and helped his captain to her own command chair. "Captain?"
She had no time to answer. For all fifteen had not passed one had remained behind. One ship had noticed Voyager. It loomed before them and would not move.
Kim just managed to scramble to his station as a greenish Borg scanning beam began to sweep across the Bridge. "We're being scanned," he reported needlessly.
Wearily Janeway answered, "Think good thoughts..."
Harry took her seriously and tried his best to think of good thoughts, the only one he could come up with that fourteen cubes had thought him, thought Voyager was insignificant enough to ignore. 'Just keep ignoring us. We're space-dust, nothing, irrelevant, just go away .'
A long tense beat and then the impossible happened the cube had zipped off to rejoin the cybernetic armada.
Harry Kim nearly whooped, Tom Paris did.
"The last Cube has rejoined the others." Tuvok reported.
Everyone clearly stunned and more than a little shaken paused for a moment before checking readings, and reports from other decks.
Kathryn's expression hadn't relaxed in fact it grew tighter more tense - that was too close for comfort. "Did we sustain any damage?"
"No." Harry shook his head, "Shields held... warp engines are coming back on-line... all primary systems are stable."
"Stand down Red Alert." The captain ordered pulling her tunic tighter around her body. The ship now out of Red Alert was almost transcendental in effect a wave of peace rippled through the air even if the crew and especially their captain had tried to make sense of what just happened. "Harry... maintain a long-range sensor lock on that Borg "armada." They seemed to be in quite a hurry... I'd like to know what they're up to."
"Yes, Ma'am." His voice still a little shaken from the experience of the Borg rush.
More somber Janeway turned her attention first to helm then to her first officer, "I'll take this near-miss as a good omen. Resume our course."
Paris didn't answer her as he obeyed. Chakotay looked at her before finding his voice. "If we needed any more evidence that we've entered Borg space... I think we just got it."
Janeway didn't answer; lost in her own thoughts... she rose silently and almost as an after thought threw tautly over her shoulder "I'll be in my Ready Room."
Chakotay's eyes merely followed her as she left the Bridge proper.
It seemed as if hours had gone into warp drive only to stop dead still in space. Kathryn had called up on her desk-top files that were captain's eyes only. The Starfleet insignia was centralized on the screen just below the words: STARFLEET DATABASE. CLASSIFIED. THE BORG."
Opening the file blocks of text flashed up, responsive to Janeway's touch screen scrolling. She was so intensely absorbed by what she was reading the chime at her door actually gave her start. Startled out of her concentration she found her voice, "Yes... come in."
It was Chakotay with a data-PADD presumably the ship diagnostic report. "We've just completed the latest sensor sweep. So far, so good. The "Northwest Passage" is still clear of Borg activity."
Janeway gave a terse order, "I'd like to see a tactical update." It was a dismissal and her concentration returned to the monitor. Chakotay had nodded to the order but lingered a breath longer seeing his Captain was deeply troubled. Of course it was completely understandable why she was. They all were.
It was of course the self-appointed task of every first officer to help with the burden of command. With that in mind Chakotay made an attempt to lighten the room a little. "According to my calculations, neither of us has eaten since last night. Join me for dinner?"
Janeway didn't even look up from her study as she answered, "No. Thanks. I'm not hungry. And I've got a lot of work to do." Her hand rubbed over her face in a futile attempt to release the tension building up behind her blood-shot eyes.
Again a dismissal and again Chakotay chose to ignore it. "I see." He didn't retreat as Janeway would have preferred.
Sagging in her chair with a heavy sigh indicating the mega-ton weight she was carrying, Janeway leaned back in her chair finally feeling the fatigue that had crept up her shoulders, neck and make itself right at home in the form of a headache. She indicated the monitor with a slender finger, her voice deep with her weariness. "I've been looking through the personal log entries of all the Starfleet Captains who encountered the Borg. I've gone over every engagement, from the moment Q flung the Enterprise into the path of that first Cube... to the massacre at Wolf Three-Five-Nine. Every battle, every skirmish... anything that might give me an insight into the mind of the Collective."
"And?" Chakotay leaned in to the desk waiting for his captain to finish her exposition.
"In the words of Jean-Luc Picard." Janeway started reading the quote and somewhere a hint of formality in her tone and phrasing but not an accent translated in her tone. "In their Collective state, the Borg are utterly without mercy... driven by one will alone: the will to conquer. They are beyond redemption. Beyond reason." She paused for a beat then continued to read the notes of the other captains. "And then there's Captain Amasov of the Endeavor." Again, Janeway reads with a subtle change in her inflection there was of course no hint of the man's accent she was quoting, even still a hint of a smile found its way on Chakotay's face. "It is my opinion that the Borg are as close to pure evil as any race we've ever encountered. All attempts to negotiate with them have failed. They are ruthless in their pursuit of..." She trails off when she sees that Chakotay is smiling slightly. "What's so funny?" It couldn't be the context of what she was reading. There was nothing humorous about the Borg.
"Nothing." Chakotay was trying his best not to smirk and it was pissing Janeway off.
"You're smiling. Obviously, I've said something amusing..."
"You sounded just like Amasov."
"Just now, while you were reading his log. You were using his inflections."
"I was not." Janeway scowled.
"Yes, you were." Chakotay nodded vigorously "And before that, you were doing a pretty good Picard."
Janeway hesitated for a heartbeat trying to recall if she truly had impersonated her fellow captains. "Was I..?"
"It's nothing to be ashamed about... echoing the Greats. Ensign Hickman in Astrophysics does a passable Janeway."
Janeway paused for a breath but couldn't help but break a smile. Chakotay had disarmed her with humor and for a moment some of her tension melted away. Her voice lighter than it had been in the past two days. "If we manage to survive the next few days, I'm going to have a little chat with Ensign Hickman. Imitating the Captain... surely that violates some kind of Starfleet protocol." She came to her feet moving about the room suddenly becoming serious again, but opening up a little... taking this opportunity to share her concerns with a trusted colleague and friend.
"This day was inevitable... we all knew it... and we've all tried to prepare ourselves for the challenge ahead..." steel blue eyes looked at the man before her, probing, asking the hard questions. "But at what point is the risk too great... at what point do we come about and retreat to friendly territory? Could the crew accept living out the rest of their lives in the Delta Quadrant?" her eyes cast a glance to the monitor, "I keep looking to all these Captains... my "comrades in arms." But the truth is... I'm alone."
The elephant had settled in the room making the air stifled with tension once more. Finally Chakotay found his voice, "If that moment comes... we'll face it together. And we'll make the right decision." He took a step closer to his captain and touched her arm "You're not alone, Kathryn."
The gaze she gave him was appreciative. His quiet solidarity was as reassuring it always had been. "Three years ago... I didn't even know your name. Today... I can't imagine a day without you." She placed as tender hand upon his thick chest, a silent testament to her appreciation of their friendship.
The warmth between them had shattered by the cold comm signalling and Tuvok's voice breaking in, "Captain Janeway to the Bridge."
Janeway and Chakotay emerged from the Ready Room their gaze going first to Tuvok then to the main-viewer then back to the Vulcan standing at the aft science station with Kim, studying the console. Kim and Tuvok looked up.
"Something strange is going on." Kim answered the unasked question of their captain.
"The power signatures of those Borg vessels have terminated." Tuvok extrapolated.
"All of them?" the disbelief was very apparent in Chakotay's voice.
Harry nodded, "They're dead in the water... about five point two light years from here."
"Cause?" Janeway demanded curiously.
"Unknown." Tuvok said.
A mystifying beat passed on the bridge as their captain pondered the wisdom of her next order. If the Borg Armada was so easily neutralized what ever it was that did this could be a powerful asset. That idea alone made the decision for Janeway. "Mister Paris, set a course for their position. Warp two."
"Go to Red Alert," Janeway commanded taking her seat and waited as with the rest of them had been doing each holding figurative breaths in the anticipation of what they would uncover. It would not take long.
"We're approaching the ships." Harry announced moments latter.
"Slow to impulse. On screen." the captain's commands were quickly followed.
Breaths previously held expelled in gasps of awe. Before them the utter wreckage of the Borg Armada. Destruction on such a scale it was difficult to fathom that it was even real. How? How could fifteen vessels of unstoppable hostile enemies be .well, stopped?
"Life signs?" Chakotay had to ask the question even though he knew what the likely answer to be. How could any one - even the Borg - survive the carnage floating before them?
"A few," Kim answered "but they're erratic."
"Captain, I'm detecting two residual weapons signatures in the debris. One is Borg... the other is of unknown origin." Tuvok announced from his station.
An ominous beat thundered in the hearts of the crew as if children traipsing through an ancient necropolis at midnight on Halloween. Something was bound to go bump in the night, and that bump might not be something they wanted to see.
"Who could do this to the Borg?" Paris asked the question all of them had been wondering.
No one could tear their eyes from the visceral image displayed before them as Voyager slowly cruised through the cemetery of destroyed ships. Fifteen Borg Cubes blown to pieces... a graveyard of debris, chunks of hull, flotsam and jetsam some of the larger pieces still crackling with energy. The devastation was incredible to behold and just as impossible to believe.
"Someone more powerful than the Borg... it's hard to imagine..." Kathryn uttered in disbelief.
"But they did it - fifteen Cubes!" Harry protested. "We might've just found our ticket through Borg space... an ally."
"I'd like to shake their hands... if they have hands." Hell, Tom felt like a celebration and Sandrine's was in order, the drinks were on him.
"Let's not jump to conclusions. Scan the vicinity for other vessels." Chakotay brought them all back to ground with his leery pessimism.
"There are none." Tuvok said.
Harry however reacted to something on his console. "Hold on. I'm picking up some sort of bio-readings... they're coming from the outer hull of one of the Borg ships."
"Let's see it." Janeway once more pushed herself off the arms of her chair to stand behind the helm.
The image enhanced showing a closer view of a large broken-off corner of a Cube. Yet that was not as awesome as the astonishment sight of a small, organic-looking Bio-Mass on the hull. It's bulbous and ashen. Strange, almost like a toppled over bishop from a game of chess.
"Magnify." Kathryn's voice ordered, her hands gripping the back of Tom's chair.
Tuvok hit a control, and the viewscreen changed to a closer view of the bio-mass. Now they could truly see what it was that had attached the Borg. What they saw now was less a fallen bishop than the body of a tentacles-less squid attached to the hull like a parasite.
"It's definitely organic." Harry said a bit repulsed and at the same time deeply fascinated by the discovery. "But our sensors can't penetrate its surface."
"Send a standard greeting." Janeway ordered.
Tuvok must have anticipated his Captain's request for it only took a breath later to give his answer. "No response."
"This could be a space-dwelling organism." Chakotay reasoned thinking that a space-dwelling creature may not have vocal ability, an occurrence that was not on the whole uncommon. "or a biological weapon..."
Janeway had to agree both theories were very plausible. "I'd like to know what kind of weapon could destroy the Borg." She turned to her Tactical Officer. "Can we beam it away from the ship?
Ops responded, "I can't get a lock on it."
"Tractor beam?" Chakotay suggested.
Tuvok's hands moved on the kiosk but he shook his head, "No effect."
"Whatever that thing is... it seems impervious to our technology." Harry added his own findings from the readings upon his display.
"Tuvok, are you reading an atmosphere in the Cube?"
Janeway turned to Chakotay. Commander, I want you to take an Away Team inside... try to get a short-range scan of the bio-mass."
"There are still Borg life signs, but they're unstable." Tuvok warned.
Her attention still on the First Officer Janeway issued her next orders knowing she was sending her people into unknown danger with possible threat from a very deadly enemy. "We'll keep an open com-link and an active Transporter lock... we'll pull you out of there at the first sign of trouble."
Chakotay nodded and understood he might not be coming back. His team was easily chosen on the merits of their skills and the ability to face unknowns without losing control over their emotions. Paris would never do in a circumstance like this he was too hot headed as was B'Elanna. "Tuvok, Harry - you're with me."
For a moment Kathryn allowed herself to watch as the three men left for the turbo lift before turning back to the viewscreen. She couldn't lift her eyes from the pulsating "bio-mass" gripping the side of the Cube...
Return to Other Voyager Fiction
Return to Main Page