Old Enemies Never Die
Location: Bridge, and Decks 3 and 4
The internal scan Lt. Isuri was running started lighting up with a string of intruder warnings. It hadn't been sleepwalkers she sensed- it was the Borg! "Sir, we have eleven Borg signals scattered on decks three, four, nine, and thirteen! Engaging forcefield containments, dispatching security teams!" She was torn between knowing her duty was on the bridge-- especially with an approaching Borg vessel to contend with-- but also wanting to go below to support her teams.
"Lieutenant, lead your teams against the intruders. We're getting out of here before that ship arrives." With that, Captain Barrett ordered the helm to break orbit and head out of the system the opposite way of the impending ship's trajectory. He knit his brow in thought. We have to stop the Borg from taking over the ship. Starfleet has to know what's going on out here.
"Yes, Sir." Ozzie prompted for the assistant chief to come to the bridge and left before the officer arrived- other bridge officers were cross trained well enough to handle the ship's weapons in the interim if they needed to. She called out while she was already walking, "My team will take the infiltrated decks closest to the bridge. Engineering is the next most strategic point for the borg. I've already scrambled teams below decks, but we should send extra help to Engineering, if there's anyone interested in assisting." The borg were probably already overcoming the force fields she'd thrown up. They were drones, not dummies.
"I will come," Vriha volunteered, exchanging a quick glance with Eilaea. What she could do at the science station was limited, and as the more junior, she was the one who should join the fight against boarders.
Ozzie met shoulders with Vriha as they marched around the back exit from the bridge to the nearest weapons locker. She keyed it open and was pleased to see the fully stocked row of rifles, side arms, and assorted power packs.
Ozzie chose a rifle and checked the multi band settings. "Looks like my Master-at-Arms hasn't been slacking." The rifle hummed to life as she slapped in the charge pack.
"Indeed," Vriha commented, taking one herself, as well as extra charge packs. She looked across the locker. "Are there grenades or swords - any long bladed weapon could prove useful."
"We have pulse and concussion grenades." It was no bueno using shrapnel devices within a pressurized tin can. Might pop open the hull-- although that would probably take care of your intruder problem, along with anyone else standing around in the section. "Knives.... I think..." Ozzie found the latch on an upper panel with a set of military grade knives from small utility sized ones up through forearm length. She had her own knife already on her and that was enough for her. Ozzie had never extensively trained with blades any longer than that. She took down the longest knife in the case and extended it to Vriha in the sheath. "Will this work?"
Taking the blade, Vriha tested its balance then nodded. "Yes, it will do." She slung it over a shoulder and then took a brace of knives sized for throwing. Lastly she grabbed a couple concussion grenades - they were designed for limited fragmentation in a localized area, and she knew enough of ship specs to be confident that hull walls designed to withstand the pressure differential between living space and the void of space would also be minimally affected by such shrapnel.
Ozzie was busy prepping a firing pattern on two side arms but stopped to strap a tactical read out to her arm. It blinked on with live updates from the dispatched security teams. There were not yet any engagements, but the locked out sections were being converged on by teams just as they had trained for. "Ready? Calleo and Nelsworth are gearing up and meeting us on deck 3."
"Daie." Vriha nodded sharply, then realizing she had lapsed into Rihannsu, replied, "Yes." Taking a sidearm, held nose up but at ready, she fell in beside the security chief.
They loaded into the nearest turbolift for the very brief ride down two levels and stepped off into a hallway that had nothing very sinister going on, apart from a the slow on and off red lighting. She turned her head left, as if sniffing. That was the direction of the 'sleepwalkers' she had felt before. She glanced down at her wrist readings while the tall, bald-shaven Ensign Calleo joined them from down the hall on the right.
"Ensign. Where's Nels?"
"He's not with you, Lieutenant?"
"Dammit, c'mon. He'll have to catch up." Isuri waved Virha and Calleo towards the Borg life signs. "Three... no" she shook her wrist as a fouth Borg life signature came up from seemingly nowhere on the targetting display. What the circle of torment? "Four Borg about 100 meters out." The hall in this portion of the saucer was laid out in an arc, limiting visibility, and though she was fast-walking towards the targets, Calleo and Ozzie took turns clearing each major junction on the off chance another borg was not displaying on sensors. The checks hardly slowed them down as it was a regular security drill.
After jogging along like this, Ozzie finally held out a hand for them to halt, and took in a deep breath. She could sense the sleepwalkers, but also Nels seemed close by. ~Shake a tail feather, Nels! We're about to engage.~ she tried telepathically. But there was a strange stomach churning feeling that washed over her when she tried to speak to him.
Ens. Calleo saw the Security Chief waver and grabbed her by the shoulder, giving her a reassuring shake.
"Let's hit them fast," Ozzie said quietly, recalling the almost shambling motion of Borg from the holodeck drills. "Remember to cycle your phaser bands." She looked at Vriha and nodded.
With a simple return nod of acknowledgment, Vriha brought her phaser to ready, while drawing a knife to throw with the opposite hand - grateful now for all the times ri'nanov had made her made practice with each hand. Her heart was hammering in her chest, but she had been trained from early childhood never to show fear so her face was set in an ice cold mask.
As they came around the curve of the corridor the Borg came into sight - 3 with extensive cybernetic implants and one in Starfleet uniform connected to a full Borg by nanoprobe tubules, his skin already turning grey and mottled, with smaller cybernetics sprouting from the swiftly spreading nanite infection. It was the first time Vriha had witnessed this horror, and her heart went out to the victim. Without hesitation she fired a blast at the head of the Borg connected to him and then sent her knife into his chest to end his misery.
Ozzie and Calleo were each going through phaser rounds and punching through the other two borg's field armor. As she finished off her target, she witnessed Vriha's knife throw and reflexively barked "no!" but it was too late. The blade had already left her hand, her throw drove him through the heart.
Ozzie gasped and then rushed forward, too late to catch the fallen officer. "Jason! Jason, hold on..." she knelt and took in the full horror of his death whitened skin and the purpled veins that spidered over his face.
~Jason! Hang on, we'll get help.~
"Mom?' Jason's glazed eyes stared at something past Ozzie as he chocked out the words. "Mom, I'm back I... I didn't let them beat me."
Telepathically, Ozzie felt a huge wave of relief from Nels as he started choking on his own blood involuntarily. She caught it with her jacket as if she could put it back together, make the bleeding stop. And then Nels hand dropped lifelessly to the deck.
"Transporter room, emergency medical transport, PO2 Jason Nelsworth. Alert medical, he's been assimilated and has a chest wound. I don't have a pulse."
"Yes ma'am please hold." It took a long moment as the transporter rooms were occupied with the recovery of people from the planet's surface. "Initiating transport." Nels evaporated in her arms, though the blood stains remained.
"Lieutenant." Calleo was standing over her, looking at her own status display. Her voice was pain tinged too, but insistent. "We still gotta clear deck 4. The team got locked out but we can get down through the Jeffries tube in section delta."
"Best we get there before there is danger of descending into Borg," Vriha said, turning toward section delta.
Ozzie picked herself up and reslung her rifle on her shoulder, fixing Vriha with a cold look. "No one targets any more crewmembers without clearance."
Vriha blinked, surprised at the tone. She had done what was right to eliminate a danger, and moreover what was merciful - what she would want if it had been her turning into a Borg. The idea made her shudder, her disquiet all the greater for the thought that these Starfleeters would grant her no such mercy.
Angry, Ozzie yanked off a Jeffries tube access hatch and lead the way in, scanning to be sure they weren't sharing the crawlspace with anyone unexpected. Calleo took up the rear with Vriha between them, and closed the hatch behind.
Ozzie stopped crawling at a floor hatch and unlatched the manhole cover plate to access the ladder rungs. She reslung her rifle and started down.
Calleo looked at her life sign display and on her way down the ladder and announced her thoughts to the women waiting at the below. "I think they know we're coming. They must have decided we're a threat because of the last engagement. Three Borg life signs are grouping and moving towards our exit point on this deck. We have to hurry to avoid getting choked off."
Nodding, Vriha let Ozzie reach the bottom and then put her feet outside the rungs and slid down the ladder quickly. With a short hop, she pulled her phaser and another knife, ready for action if the Borg appeared before Calleo could get clear of the exit. There was no room for fears or second-guessing - it was lesson she had had drilled in from her earliest marital arts training - but she held the knife flat against her wrist. It would take little to turn it to slash or throw, but the position would also give her the best chance of ending her own life if the Borg got to her.
Since their cover was already blown,there was no sense being quiet about it. Unceremoniously, Ozzie popped the latch on the hatch ahead and kicked through it feet first, coming into a crouch in the hall. Unlike the deck above, this portion of deck 4 had dimmed and flickering power to the lighting. The Borg had already started accessing the systems and overcome the security forcefields. Ozzie counted out in her head how many frequencies she had left to cycle through. If the Borg didn't figure out the sequences already.
Up ahead the corridor was dim, but lances of red laser light seemed to scan the space. Kneeling, Ozzie used her rifle's life sign targeting to get a lock in the dark. She picked off one of the Borg, then switched frequencies and tried for the second one. There was a resistance field in the chest plate that lit up, and it didn't fall. The last two shambling forms continued towards the three woman team.
"They've adapted!" Calleo announced, unstrapping her rifle into her hands by the barrel and rushing forward to club the left-most Borg.
Vriha had fired her rifle but it also was deflected. Tossing the rifle aside, she threw her knife overhand, planting the blade in the Borg's shoulder, but it barely paused. Unslinging the sword, she moved forward, holding the blade forward to keep the Borg at distance until she could strike.
The Borg shuffled forward, it hardly seemed to be attacking, just moving inexorably toward her, the red light of its ocular implant glowing with implacable intent.
Coming within reach of it filled her with revulsion, but there was no choice. She pulled the sword back, angled across her body, point over her shoulder, her own weight balanced on her toes. And then with a sudden swift lunge side-stepped forward, bringing the sword up and slashing across the neck.
The Borg's head dropped to the deck, but for a terrible moment its hands still reached. Vriha backpedaled in horror until a beat later the body also collapsed.
Calleo was finishing up delivering a good clubbing to the Borg she'd charged. It lay face down on the floor, twitching.
"Stop!" Ozzie shouted. Calleo froze with her rifle up over her head for another whack at the borg's augmented skull as Ozzie approached with mag cuffs. "We'll beam this one to the brig. Maybe it will be useful." She secured its wrists together as it twitched with errors from all of the blunt force trauma and then called down to the brig. Ozzie rested her foot on it's shoulder to make sure it stayed down.
"Isuri to brig. There's one borg prisoner beaming direct to a cell. I want a full detail on this one, armed with short stoppers."
"Aye Lieutenant." Ozzie waited a few beats, counting out in her head how long it might take her brig team to switch out for ballistic rounds. Ballistics weren't preferable on the ship in general, but the brig wasn't anywhere near the outer skin of the hull and there had been enough encounters with personal energy shielding that keeping a few bullets on hand had seemed prudent. She finished counting to 30.
"Transporter room, one borg intruder for the brig. We've incapacitated the borg's personal shielding so you should be able to get a lock. Site to site transport."
The borg prisoner twinkled off to his new accommodations. Ozzie let her shoulders fall. "Let's head back to the bridge."
Lieutenant Ozanna Isuri
Chief Security/Tactical Officer, USS Orion
Lieutenant Vriha t'Ehhelih
Science Officer, USS Orion