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[2007: JUL-AUG] Evolution


Nemitor
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Evolution

by Nemitor Atimen

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“Tell me” was yelled in its face as he held up the captive by the throat. “Tell me what you’re planning”

“Lt. Saul Get away from that thing” yelled another voice from across the room as the sound of tens of charging phasers echoed in his ears. “We don’t know what it can still do”

The Lieutenant dropped it, the machine falling right back on its feet. Jones backed up a few feet, and was handed his rifle.

“We removed its implants – all it’s got is brute strength – it’s about as harmful as an ape.” he replied, calming himself consciously, his eyes still locked on the machine. The last think he needed was to lose his own temper. He supposed it was a little late for that…

“Intimidation and threats won’t work against me, Captain Jones.” smirked the machine, or at least it made a face that Jones assumed was a smirk, “With time all will be revealed – and you don’t have much time at all.”

“How much time?” said Jones calmly, holding up a hand to quiet Saul.

“Heh, sorry Captain, but until you restore my link I won’t be telling you anything.”

There was a pause in the room as Jones sighed. The officers in the room still had their rifles pointed straight at the machine, refusing to blink.

“Let me kill it, Captain. It won’t tell us anything. Keeping it alive is a threat to the ship and crew.”

“No. Even machines crack.”

“Not the Borg, Sir” spoke Saul, his Chief Security.

“The silence will get to it, just give it time.”

“We don’t have time, Captain…” said Saul once more, leaning in a bit closer to Jones as he kept his phaser on target.

“I suggest you listen to Lt. Saul – he seems to be the most intelligent out of you all.”

“Quiet Drone” yelled Saul, his phaser being pushed a bit closer to the Borg.

“Calm down, Lieutenant. Last thing we need is you losing temper.” muttered Jones as he aimed his phaser and motioned for the drone to move into a cell. “Get in. Now.”

“Or what, Captain Jones? You’ll kill me? There are trillions of my brethren on their way, one measly drone won…” a shot echoed through the room as the drone collapsed, a small amount of smoke rising from its body. A split second later the mass of officers moved forward, pointing their weapons at point blank range.

“Captain”

“I wouldn’t kill it that easily. It was on max stun.” The Captain moved over and nudged the drone with his foot, his phaser still aimed. “Ensign, make sure it’s out.”

“Aye, Captain.” a security Ensign moved forward, handing off his rifle and drawing his sidearm. As he reached over with his tricorder, an arm flew across him, gripping his neck. A second later it was on its feet, the Ensign being held a good few inches above the ground.

“Freeze, Drone” screamed an officer as the Ensign began twitching, “Captain, Orders?”

“Set phasers to maximum stun”

“Quite noble, Captain – still wishing to capture me alive?” snickered the drone, his right arm dangling lifelessly.

“It isn’t for your protection. Fire”

Flashes of light and sound filled the room as each officer fired nearly simultaneously. With remarkable agility, the drone ducked and dodged the shots, using the Ensign as a shield. A scream filled Jones’ ears as he saw the unused arm of the drone spring to life, slamming full speed into an officer. Falling backwards the hit officer tumbled into another, collapsing to the ground. More shots were fired as the captive Ensign dangled lifelessly from the iron grip of machine.

Chaos ensued as officers went flying, their once accurate shots hitting walls or friendlies as they hit the floor in agony. Smoke began to billow from crushed rifles as people were being crushed by the drone’s strength. Seeing the drone began to head for him, Jones ducked and ran, barely avoiding the once captive ensign who just got his first experience being thrown through the air.

“Shoot to kill”

Jones almost ran into the wall as he slowed down, his rifle laying discarded on the other side of the room. He turned to run, but found himself in a corner, the smoke of the destroyed rifle beginning to fill his lungs. Drawing his sidearm, Jones barely had time to react as he saw the Borg charge straight for him, two tubules extending out of its arms.

“Captain” came a yell as Jones fired off multiple shots, He quickly tried to move, but there was no escape route possible. He was cornered, and he prepared for impact, his arms over his head. Seconds before impact a blurry object slammed fully speed into the Borg, a subsequent burst of light hitting the Drone in the head. Jones was saved, but just barely.

Slumped against the wall, Jones pushed the body in front of him out of the side, the Borg collapsed a few feet away from him. Jones fired off multiple shots, and the drone remained immobile. He took a deep breath, instantly regretting it as the smoke infiltrated his lungs completely.

“Computer” coughed Jones, trying to get to his feet. There was no response… or none he could hear. He could barely see three feet in front of him – it was amazing how much smoke some 24th century technology could give off.

“Computer” he coughed once more, falling to his knees.

“Captain Are you alright, Sir?” yelled someone from the distance, barely audible over cracking and moaning.

“Open the [...] door” Jones tried yelling, the sound coming out at normal volume.

“Computer – open door” The smoke was immediately sucked out of the room, Jones’ eyes and lungs clearing almost instantaneously. Coughing a few times and pulling himself to his feet, Jones looked around the room. There were originally 12 security officers, plus Saul. It looked like a good half were now on the ground, blood flowing freely out of some.

“Jones to Sickbay – Medical Emergency in the Brig” he said into the computer console. “Get that drone into the cell immediately Saul, when you get checked out, meet me in my ready room immediately. Tell the doctor to also come when he arrives.”

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Jones sat in his ready room, sweat on his face and adrenaline in his blood. What the hell was that… a Borg Drone that can think, move, and react independently from the collective? Something was different… that Borg was not the mindless drone that the Federation had always dealt with. And it had mocked him…

“Come.” Jones looked up and saw the Doctor and Saul enter the room. “Ah, hello Doctor, Lt. Saul. Please, take a seat. Casualty Report.”

“No casualties, but Ensign Ret is currently in intensive care – he was hit with one too many phaser blasts.” Jones nodded slightly – Ret was the shield used by the drone.

“The Borg attempted to inject almost every person with nannites. Even me.” said Saul half-heartedly, has he pulled down his collar to show two holes. Saul was expecting Jones to jump, but he didn’t even react. “Don’t worry, Captain. The doctor sterilized it before awakening it. We’re all safe, luckily.”

“Alright, I need to know what happened back there. That was not standard Borg behavior.”

“Agreed. It spoke like it was independent, like it was alive. Not only that, but it moved with incredible speed, definitely not the bulky slow Borg we’ve always faced.”

“Doctor, you did remove it from the Collective, correct? I need your guarantee that it was not communicating.”

“Captain, I manually removed its transmitter, and disabled its nannites. There is absolutely no way it could communicate with the Collective or build itself a new one.”

“That’s bad news. Command needs to be told immediately about this. Without the Collective, the drone must go independent, but it seems like now it’s still controlled partially by the machine, thus making our hybrid.” stated Jones, going out on a limb. It seemed to be the logical reason for its actions. It definitely made sense to him.

“So that’s why it could mock you and move so quickly?”

“Yes. It must be designed since we’ve been capturing and studying more drones and the Queen must not be happy about it. A radical unpredictable drone is much more effective at disrupting research and individual ships than a normal one.”

“Then why not do that for all their drones?”

“It would be impossible to control a few trillion independent drones. Anyway, for the time being we need to know what they’re planning. There is a Borg fleet approaching Earth, and we need to know how big it is, what it contains, and their plans. This Borg, no matter how radical, unpredictable and independent it is, it still contains the knowledge we need.” said Jones as he stood up, straightening his uniform. The others followed suit. “The future of the Federation may rest in its hands, and subsequently ours.”

“But Captain, I doubt it will tell you anything – it seemed pretty resilient last time.”

“That’s because we were treating it like a Borg. We need to go after the one thing the Queen gave it – freedom.”

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“You really caused a lot of damage out there.” stated Jones calmly, staring into the face of the drone, metal bars between them. Since the war has started, the Federation has become keener to the abilities of the Borg, and that included replacing Brig force fields with old fashioned metal.

“Had we not sterilized you, you could have taken over the ship.”

“The Collective will come for me, they will assimilate you all.” declared the drone with hostility, his face pressed directly against the metal. “Return my subspace transmitter immediately”

“How does it feel to be all alone?”

The drone froze and Jones smirked internally – the drone looked like it was just hit in the face. It removed its face a few inches and blinked. “They…”

“We removed your subspace components, you can’t hear them anymore.”

“The voices… they’ve all stopped – I’ve only realized it now…” the drone’s face suddenly shifted from shock to rage, “What did you do?”

“We made you free – the collective doesn’t control you anymore. It’s just like it was before you were assimilated. Can you remember back then?”

There was a distinct pause as the drone attempted to recall the past… the past that the collective worked so hard to destroy.

“Yes… I was… human?”

“Can you remember Earth?” prodded Jones. He was making great headway – he had never expected to be moving this quickly.

“Yes… I miss it. I remember… My family… my friends I want to go back” muttered the drone, longing becoming more predominant in its voice.

“You can, but by the time we arrive there may be nothing to get back to. Your friends, your family, they’re in danger. The Collective is preparing to invade, and we need your help. Without your help, your family may be assimilated or killed.” Jones paused for a moment, sympathy in his voice. “Do you know anything that could help them?”

“The Borg… I know what they’re doing… I know what’s coming”

“Tell me”

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“Are you sure about this, Captain?” asked Saul, standing at his post on the bridge. The drone had been exceptionally cooperative, giving the coordinates of a transwarp conduit, from which the primary Borg fleet would exit. Not only that, but the number and class of ships, as well as the time of the fleet arrival.

“We can’t trust it… there’s something suspicious going on. Two hours ago it almost took out the whole security staff and now we’re letting it on the bridge?” angrily said Saul, motioning to the Borg in the corner, five officers surrounding it with phaser rifles.

“Keep in mind this sort of thing has happened before.”

“But not at this rate Sir, I do not suggest we go find this conduit. You will be endangering this crew, ship, and the Federation.” objected Saul, his eyes slits.

“Your objection has been duly noted, Lieutenant.”

Saul breathed deeply, reminding himself to keep calm. He didn’t like this one bit…

“Captain, we are approaching the coordinates.” informed the ensign at helm.

“Good. Now what?” asked Jones as he faced the drone, its face blank and emotionless.

“Enter the nebula. The conduit should be in the center, in a bubble of normal space.”

“Excellent. Helm, prepare to enter the nebula.”

The ship hummed as it began to speed up, entering the reddish colored nebula. The bridge was silent; everyone’s eyes were locked on the screen.

“Sir, we are approaching the bubble.”

“On screen.” he commanded, and the screen brought up a blurry red cloud. Slowly it focused, the red being replaced with black. Jones squinted his eyes, a hint of green catching his eyes.

“Zoom to sector 103.” the screen focused, and Jones cursed.

“Reverse course! Heading 103 by 204 mark 5, Maximum warp!” yelled Jones at the Ensign sitting at help as what he saw on the screen was not empty space, or a transwarp conduit, but rather an amassing fleet of Borg Cubes... their massive hulls glowing green with energy.

“I can’t let you do that.” stated the drone, and Jones felt the push of a phaser to the back of his neck.

“You tricked me” yelled Jones, spinning around to face the holder of the weapon.

What he saw was Lieutenant Saul… with a face that was not flesh…

Edited by Nemitor
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