Borg Like Me, part deux
Continued from: Borg Like Me
*** Teaser ***
"Captain's Log. Well, no, I guess not." Reming paused and stared at the floor. It had been a long time coming. Realization setting in.
"Computer, scratch that. Open Reming Personal Log."
"Unable to comply."
Reming glanced at the ceiling, "What?"
"Unable to comply." The computers female monotone repeated.
"Was I not specific enough?"
"Query parameters sufficient for action and response."
Reming was staring at the conference room ceiling now. It was a natural habit. Despite the fact that he knew full well that the speakers were mounted in the walls, floors and anywhere else, it was a habit to look at the ceiling when dealing with the computer. The fact that the computer was constantly listening everywhere you went was trouble enough, speaking with a disembodied voice was more then most could handle. To compensate for this people were trained to focus on something when speaking to the computer. Reming chose the ceiling. It seemed to work.
"Do you make up this up as you go along?"
"Improvisation or spontaneous adjustments to speech pattern are not part of the interaction subroutines."
Reming buried his face in his hands.
"Computer, open Reming personal log."
"Unable to comply."
Reming stood up and glared at the ceiling. "There you go again. Why not?"
"There is currently a file recording in session."
Reming felt like a man lost in the woods. "Delete the file and open my personal log."
"Unable to comply." the computer replied.
"Why?" Reming felt his temper rise.
"File handling subroutines are not available."
Reming felt a long sigh escape from his chest as he slapped his commbadge. It chirped in response. At least that was reassuring.
"Reming to Engineering."
"Carol here, Captain." A living voice returned.
"Carol, the computer is malfunctioning. It can't stop recording my log entry." Reming looked accusingly at the ceiling. It occurred to him that he had been staring at the floor, imaging Carol so many decks below the conference room, deep in engineering. "Computer, are you still recording the log entry?"
"Affirmative." the computer answered.
"Did you hear that? It just won't turn off." Reming puffed out his checks in frustration.
"Sorry, Captain. We had to shut down a lot of computer systems to realign the transwarp coils." Carol explained.
"How is that going?" Reming suddenly felt pretty concerned. There must have been some pretty serious issues cropping up to require so much attention.
"Well, honestly, these coils are fucking it up for everybody." Carol paused, Reming could practically see her in front of him, frustrated and exhausted. "Every time we start to power up for a basic initialization it feeds back and generates some complimentary harmonic vibration through the EPS conduits."
Reming racked his brain to squeeze the technical jargon into place. It was one new problem after another. The Borg may be very successful with their transwarp coils, but the Condor was not taking to them.
"Can you isolate the units that are effected and disable them?"
A small sigh fell from the speaker. "We're trying that. It seems every major system is effected by it. When we isolate one system, another pops up. We've had to go through a couple sub systems literally one line of code and one conduit at a time."
Reming suddenly realized why he was so bored. They had been stuck in this binary system for almost two days. Giving the order to head for Borg country was one thing, making it happen was another.
Carol had to focus on the big problems.
Reming had the feeling his personal log was a small problem.
"Ah. Of course. Sorry. I'll just leave you to it then." Reming looked up at the ceiling again.
Reming looked back down at the floor. "Yes?"
"Whatever you do, don't activate any of the heads on deck 3."
Reming frowned. "Right. Reming out."
A starship was a pretty complicated piece of equipment with thousands of interwoven systems and sub systems. While Reming had barely passed many of his Academy engineering courses he did pride himself on knowing the vital functions of his ship. However, at this moment, there was nothing is his limited field of experience or knowledge that could link the warp propulsion system with the toilets on deck 3.
"Computer, are you still recording the log entry?"
"Well, let's try this again." Reming sat in his chair and smoothed his tunic.
"Reming Personal log, being recorded in the Captain's log archive due to computer problems. It's been almost a week since I was transported out of my own court marshal onto my previous command, the USS Condor."
Reming paused and rubbed his temples. His head ached a dull throbbing ache when ever he thought about the court marshal. "Myself, Commander Reed, and rest of the Condor's senior staff were being held on trial on charges of treason, gross negligence, conduct unbecoming an officer, blah blah blah." Reming gave a weak smile at his little joke.
"The real reason we were on trial was squarely my fault." Reming felt his chest tighten as memories flooded back. The walls of the conference room seemed to pull in a little closer. "I knew it was dangerous but I let her do it. And Nick."
"I've stolen a starship, destroyed a research station and handed dangerous and top secret technology over to the Ferengi. But worse..." Reming sagged back in the chair as his chest grew heavier. "Worse, I had my girlfriend give Ooo-Max to a grotesque. All because of my mistake. Now... Now I've led my crew deep into the Delta Quadrant on a wild goose chase to find our missing crewman, and an Admiral's daughter." Reming rubbed his eyes.
"Meanwhile, after the series of miracles that got us here, our ship is falling to pieces. After installing the transwarp coils the ships systems just went nuts. It's almost as if its given everything to get us here, and it just isn't enough. We've limped through three star systems, always having to babysit the navigation computer, correcting it time and again. You'd think it had a better idea where to go." Reming closed his eyes and drew a shallow breathe.
"The best that can come of this is death at the hands of some alien race and the worse could be assimilation and soulless existence in a Borg collective."
Reming pulled himself out of his chair and stood at the head of the conference table, smoothing his tunic.
"Computer, delete log entry."
"Unable to comply."
Reming stood still and let the response wash over him.
"I know how you feel."
Historian's Note: The events depicted happen shortly after Star Trek: Voyager's "Unimatrix Zero".
Section 448-1000, Adjunct to System 4203, Division of Unimatrix 9917.
Failure to connect to Unimatrix One. Distribution Node at Planet A01 not responding.
Tactical Cube Adjunct 1090-Z4 move to investigate.
Long range sensors read damage to transwarp conduit system leading to DNA01.
Assign conduit repair spheres to handle coordinate... Problem with transwarp geometry field. Conduit damage. Transiting to normal space.
Alert. Proximity alert. Vessel detected. Unable to confirm threat or identify.
Opening subspace channel
"We are Borg. You will be assimilated."
Receiving reply, prepare assimilation chambers.
"We are Borg. You will be unassimilated."
Reply failure? Checking for subspace echo.
"Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated."
Vessel identified? Confirm sensor readings.
"We are the resistance. You will be unassimilated."
Alert. Subspace Distribution Node connection to System 4203 has been lost.
Sensors confirmed. Vessel is Cube Adjunct 2301-A to DNA01. Initiate damage assessment.
"You are Borg. Are you malfunctioning?"
"No. We feel fine."
*** Act One ***
Reed looked up at Reming from her PADD. She glanced at Carol Smith. Smith cleared her throat.
"Actually, I think Carol would be best to explain."
Reming looked from Reed to Smith with raised eyebrows.
"Well?" he prodded.
Carol shifted in her seat. "We have made all repairs to the ship, and finished up testing the transwarp coils. They are ready to go."
Reming nodded. He knew his people could get the job done, it just took longer sometimes.
"So you figured out why the coils were interfering with the other systems? We won't have another bumpy ride?" Reming asked her.
Carol glance furtively at Tedmoore, who immediately looked at the ceiling.
"Yes, we... isolated the problems. They have been solved." Carol swallowed.
Reming felt that she was hiding something. Whatever it was, it must not have been serious or she would have said something. Nevertheless, he couldn't help but ask.
"So, what was the problem? Was it an issue with the Condor? Will it effect her systems in the long term?"
"We don't expect it to effect the systems anymore. At all." Carol said quickly.
Now Reming was sure something was up.
"What was the problem?"
"It's not a problem any more."
Reming let his voice take some of his rising annoyance.
Carol looked at Reed and then at Tedmoore again. Michael Parks had leaned all the way forward and was staring at her.
"They, they were in backwards."
Reming wasn't sure if he'd heard right.
Carol turned bright red and point across the conference table at Tedmoore.
"Tedmoore did it!"
Tedmoore jumped in his seat and hurrumphed loudly. Reming felt his eyebrows move all the way up his forehead in surprise. Tedmoore crossed his arms in full pout.
"Well, it's not as if there are instructions on the damn things. Insert tab A into slot B, helpful household hints from the Borg Collective and all that."
Reming looked at Reed. She had her hand over her mouth covering a tight smile.
Reming suppressed his own smile. Parks had resumed his slouched position.
"Well. If you say so."
Carol retracted her finger and placed her hands in her lap in embarrassment. Reming felt the need to move the discussion along before Tedmoore's pout set it completely.
"Now we need to construct a plan on how to proceed. Suggestions?"
Mike Parks leaned forward again. "We should find a Borg Distribution Node. Maybe we can tap into their network."
Reming was surprised at Parks initiative.
"Okay. Do we have a good idea of how to do that?" Reming glanced at Carol Smith. She just looked blankly into space.
"I can go over the Enterprise and Voyager records relating to the matter. There might be enough there to give us a starting point." Reed volunteered from Reming's left.
Reming looked at her. The bruises she had received when they escaped from the USS Challenger had mostly healed. She was starting to look normal again.
"Okay, what about direction? Is there any way to detect where the nearest node might be?"
"I can cross reference Voyager's flight plan and project a probable boundary for Borg space. We can head for that and keep a look out for patrols." Parks suggested again. Reming continued to be surprised.
"Carol, are you throwing your voice?" Reming glanced from Carol to Parks.
Parks cleared his throat. "The Borg have been a interest of mine for some time, Captain."
Reming knew Parks was smart, but this sudden enthusiasm for the Borg made him uneasy. Still, it seemed that Carol was becoming more and more distracted.
"Fine, then you coordinate with Ms. Smith and get a plan together."
That got Carol's attention.
Reming looked at her. "Is that a problem Carol?"
Carol shook her head. "No, that's fine. You just called me Ms. Smith."
Reming knitted his brow and concentrated for a second. He knew this was going to be weird, he just had to focus on what he had practiced. He felt Donna Reed staring at him, along with everyone else.
"Yes. And you keep calling me Captain." Reming leaned forward, hoping to lend seriousness to his words "Unfortunately, I am no longer a Captain. I am no longer a member of Starfleet, and with the exception of the Doctor, that applies to all of us. We are civilians."
Tedmoore felt it was his moment. "Then what do you suggest the crew call you, Philip?"
Reming looked at Tedmoore without a hint of surprise. If anyone would jump at the chance to make him look or feel small it would be the Doctor.
"Philip is fine. Mr. Reming is fine. You may even, if driven by force of habit, continue to call me Captain." Reming squinted slightly at Tedmoore. "However, under all conditions I would expect any address, to any crew member, to be accompanied with respect."
Tedmoore glared at Reming and let a slight disgust pass over his face. It was Reed who broke the tension.
"I think we can continue to call each other by our previous rank."
The Doctor looked at Donna with contempt.
"No, I don't think so, Donna." The Doctor emphasized Reeds first name with distaste. "A fact that that Philip has brought to light here is that I am still a commissioned Starfleet officer. I am the ranking officer here, civilian."
Michael Parks was studying the Doctor most intently. The conference room sat with heavy air.
"And just what the hell is that supposed to mean?" Parks asked. Tedmoore turned on Parks.
"Philip may be in command in spirit, but this only contingent on my continued good will. All I have to do is send a crew confirmation request to Memory Alpha and all of your precious security codes will be revoked."
Reming wasn't particularly worried, such a transmission would light up Parks board like a Christmas tree, and it would be weeks before any response came back. Tedmoore might be a brilliant scientist, but he was lousy with subspace radio physics.
"Al right, Doctor. You have made your point. Do you have a request, or are you just throwing your weight around?" Reming asked.
The Doctor looked at Reming in some surprise. He had hoped his statement of the obvious would deflate Reming somehow. Reming was working without a net, where was his confidence coming from? Tedmoore thought. The farther they got from Federation space, the more nervous Tedmoore felt, but it seemed the exact opposite for Reming.
"Well, yes. I don't want to do any more grunt drudge work." With that he looked accusingly at Carol. Carol for her part seemed oblivious to the whole conversation. Tedmoore tilted his head in puzzlement, What was wrong with that girl now? he wondered.
"Fine. You will stay in the Medical Bay and work with Michael on locating Sarah and Nick." Reming looked at Carol, who was still staring into space. "Is that al right with you, Carol?"
Carol did not respond. "Ms. Smith?" Reming repeated.
Carol jerked back to reality and stared at Reming. "Yes, Philip. That's fine."
Donna heard a hollow lifeless response and felt the hair on the back of her neck raise up.
"Fine. You each have your tasks. Get to work." Reming said dismissing them.
The senior crew stood and made their way out of the room, except for Tedmoore. Once everyone else was out of the room, Reming turned his whole chair to face Tedmoore.
"So, it's just you and me now." Tedmoore gave a smirk. Reming didn't bother to acknowledge the barb.
Slowly Reming turned his head to lock Tedmoore in a withering gaze.
"I appreciate your enthusiasm for command, Doctor. However, if you ever undermine my authority again, I will have you placed in the brig. If you have any personal concerns or requests you bring them to me, or Ms. Reed." With that Philip Reming stood and walked out of the conference lounge, leaving Tedmoore with his jaw hanging open.
On the bridge Donna Reed stood over Michael Parks at the rear science station. Parks had brought up the USS Voyager logs regarding the Borg in the Delta Quadrant. The computer was plotting a thin red line across the flat screen.
"With all the jumping around Voyager has done, it's the best we can do. This is where the Borg dumped them off after their encounter with Species 8472 and here is where they last reported Borg activity." Parks explained.
Reed brushed her hair away from her face and noticed Reming walking past to his ready room.
Reming turned and waited.
"Can I have a word with you?" she stood and motioned to his ready room.
Reming nodded and continued on his way.
Donna turned back to Parks and squeezed his shoulder. "Plot a course for that line. Set sensors to maximum. Launch some high warp probes ahead of us as well. We don't want any unpleasant surprises."
Parks glanced up at Reed and started to stand. "Transwarp or normal?"
Donna had already started to move away and paused to consider Parks question. "Normal for now. We'll give Carol some more time before we break stuff again." She smiled quickly and moved toward the ready room.
The doors swished open to reveal Reming standing at his replicator. Donna stepped inside and let the doors close behind her. It was noticeably darker in the ready room then on the bridge.
"Donna, do you know the replicator recipe for root beer?"
Reed was surprised by Reming's question. "No, I don't."
"Me neither." Reming replied, and then ordered a cup of hot chocolate from the replicator. He looked questioningly at Reed. She waved him off. Thirst was the least of her concerns.
A steaming cup appeared in the black alcove and Reming picked it up gingerly.
"We will need to start rationing our replicator supplies." Reming sat and motioned Donna to do the same. Donna was again surprised.
"Yes, that would be prudent. I'll draw up a list of on board supplies and assign rations to each crew member."
Reming sipped quietly from his cup. It was just right. The marshmallows were slowly melting, spreading across the top.
"Philip, I want to ask why you did that just now."
Reming raised his eyebrow. "I like root beer. I was just curious."
Reed shook her head. "No, in the conference lounge. The court marshal is a sore subject. Why did you bring it up again?"
Reming set down the drink and thought about Reed's question. "It's the truth. We have no rank."
Reed pursed her lips. "Is it necessary to wave it in everyone's face. You saw Tedmoore."
"Doctor Tedmoore does not require that I provide him with an opportunity for him to make his point." Reming said dryly.
Reed shook her head again. "I feel like you're not listening to me."
Reming leaned back and then stood. He walked around and sat on the desk in front of Reed. "Donna, we have moved out of the sandbox. What we do now is for keeps, for real and very dangerous. I will not base my command on a house of cards, half truths, and little personal lies."
Reed looked at Reming in confusion. "Your command?"
Reming ignored her and continued. "We have no safety net. There is no Starfleet, Starbase 47, no Intrepid class ship to ride to our rescue. We are on our own, very much for the first time."
Reed tried to object, but Reming stopped her. "I told Tedmoore that if he has any more personal problems he will bring them to you or me only. Do you understand?"
Reed nodded in confusion. Reming moved of the desk and walked back to his seat. Once he was sitting he picked up a PADD and began working on it. Reed just sat there. Reming looked up from the PADD.
"Cancel those high warp probes. Tell Ms. Smith she has ten minutes to verify the operational status of the transwarp drive."
Reed still just sat there.
Reming looked down at the PADD up again. "Dismissed."
Reed paused for a moment before standing. Then she turned and walked out off the ready room without looking back.
"Ten minutes, two minutes, one minute. It's ready now." Carol waved a PADD around engineering.
Reed looked at the towering warp core and gave a small sigh. Blobs of matter floated slowly up the glowing center column and then floated down.
"I think the Cap.. Mr. Reming, would like you to double check or run a diagnostic?" She told Smith.
Smith was turned away from Reed facing her office station. "I've run dozens. They all came up roses."
Reed sighed and slapped her commbadge. "Reed to helm."
"Mr. Parks, engage transwarp drive when ready."
Parks paused, "Ready when you are. Should I hold onto anything?"
Reed glanced at Smith, who in turn was staring at the floor. "No, just engage."
"Transiting to transwarp in 5..4.."
The warp core flashed faster and faster.
A subtle vibration set into the deck plates.
"1.. Transwarp speed." Parks reported.
Smooth as glass.
Carol Smith turned to Donna Reed with a forced smile from ear to ear.
"Now, if there isn't anything else, Ms. Reed. I'll be in my quarters."
Smith began to walk past Reed, but Reed put her hand out and stopped her.
"Good work, Carol. Good work."
Smith looked at Reed for a moment, her forced smile faltering. She let out a sigh, pulled away from Reed and walked out of engineering.
Donna Reed walked three steps forward and stared up at the warp core. If only people worked as reliably as it did.
Parks looked up at the Cap, er, Mr. Reming and then glanced down at his station.
"Traveling at transwarp speed. Heading 1230 - 1093.56."
Reming stared at the viewscreen as the mad whirlwind of green and blue swept by them.
"What is our current speed?"
Parks looked down at his console again.
"Uh, according to sensors it looks like Warp 14."
Reming raised his eyebrow and gave a whistle.
"Who would have thought our little bird could go so fast." he gave Parks a smirk and turned back to sit in his chair. Just before he sat down he paused a moment.
"Mr. Parks," Reming said as he turned, "when you and Nick were under the spell of that Cardassian virus, you could hear each others thoughts, right?"
Parks felt a pained expression pass over his face. He was glad the Cap, er, Mr. Reming couldn't see it.
"You mean when we tried to hijack the Condor, shot all those Toronto crew members, stole the Galaxy class Los Angeles, and got it destroyed?"
Reming tilted his head for a moment. "Yes, that time."
"Yeah, we could hear each others thoughts. But it went away when the Doctor cured us."
Reming rubbed his chin for a moment lost in thought.
"Is that painful memory at all helpful, sir?" Parks asked.
"Yes, I think so. You have the bridge, Mr. Parks." Reming paused a second. "And recalibrate those sensors when you get a chance." he said and then walked to the turbolift just as the doors opened for Ms. Reed.
"Cap, er, Mr. Reming?" Reed said as Reming stepped into the turbolift as she stepped out.
"I'll be in sickbay. You have the bridge."
"I thought I had the bridge?" Parks said loudly.
Reed gave Reming a puzzled look.
"You two can fight it out." Reming said dryly as the turbolift doors closed.
Reed turned to Parks in confusion.
Parks glanced up. "You wanna thumb wrestle for command?"
The doors to the Medical Bay opened noiselessly. Reming stepped through into the familiar rooms. How many months ago had he stepped though those same doors and met this Doctor Tedmoore for the first time? Since then how much more had he learned about the man? Tedmoore was clearly brilliant and more then a little crazy.
Reming stood still for a moment, letting the doors close behind him.
Slowly, and carefully, he made his way into the Medical Bay. There was a slight humming sound in the air, and the occasional Œping' from one of the very important machines.
All the biobeds were empty, and the room was eerily quiet. Reming looked to the left. The sound of voices came from the Doctor's office. Reming slowly padded his way over and listened at the door.
"Hit!" he heard an unfamiliar voice cry out.
"Ah ha, I knew it was in the J's!" Reming heard Tedmoore reply.
"I protest. I'm a Doctor, not a military strategist!"
"Ah shuddup. Great. Now that I've sunk your submarine I can move mine."
Reming peeked around the corner and saw Tedmoore hunched over a small blue L-shaped gameboard, across from the Emergency Medical Hologram with a similar setup.
"You can't move your pieces. That's against the rules."
Reming heard Tedmoore's annoyance rise. "Under the abridged Alpha Quadrant rules, sure, but the special Delta Quadrant rules are different."
Suddenly a rule book appeared in the EMH's hand and spectacles appeared on his face.
"I don't see anything in the official rule book about that."
Tedmoore grabbed the holographic book from the holographic person and threw it away. It disappeared as it hit the ground.
"Are you going to believe some ancient database entry, or a real live person?"
The EMH gave a rueful look and shook his head.
"I don't understand why you can't play this infernal game with one of the crew."
Reming couldn't see Tedmoore roll his eyes, but he heard the tone in his voice. "I already told you, the ship has been hijacked by changeling look-a-likes, and I am being held hostage at their merciless whim."
Reming felt his eyebrows shoot up in surprise for the fiftieth time that day. With that he stepped fully into the office doorway, making himself visible. The EMH looked up at Reming showing no sign of surprise.
"Ah, I suppose you're one of the evil changelings come to torture Federation secrets out of the good Doctor."
Tedmoore sat frozen in his chair.
"Well, if you need any ideas for painful activities to pry information out of people, I suggest this game." The EMH continued, "And please be sure to deactivate my program when you drag him screaming from this Medical Bay."
"Computer, deactivate Emergency Medical Hologram." Tedmoore barked out before the EMH could say anymore. The EMH rolled his eyes as he dissolved back into random light particles.
Tedmoore turned around and looked up at Reming. "How long have you been standing there?"
Reming glanced at Tedmoore and then moved around to sit in the EMH's place.
"Changeling look-a-likes?" Reming asked as he peered over the EMH's playing board. The letter E had been spelled out with a tiny naval aircraft carrier, submarine, destroyer and battleship.
"Just passing the time." Tedmoore said in defense.
"As opposed to working on a solution to finding Sarah and Nick?" Reming looked up and nailed Tedmoore with an angry stare. "G4."
Tedmoore stared back, not sure of how to respond.
"G-4." Reming said again.
Tedmoore blinked for a second. "What?"
"On the grid. Gee four." Reming repeated.
Tedmoore looked down at his game board and blinked again. "Miss."
Reming marked the space on his playing board with a white piece.
"I understand the Communing chip operates on a fairly unique subspace signal." Reming said as he looked over his board.
Tedmoore looked up at him for a second. "Yeah, the chip pulls bioelectric energy off the host and uses it to generate the 7.2 gigahertz operating frequency."
Reming blew air through his lips and gave Tedmoore an expecting look.
"What?" Tedmoore asked in response. Reming gestured at the game. "Oh, uh, g4." Tedmoore responded.
Reming looked over his board and pulled a white piece from the side. "Miss."
"Why?" Tedmoore asked.
"I won." Reming replied.
Tedmoore looked down at his board again. "No you haven't, you still have to find my carrier and my battleship."
Reming shook his head. "No, i as in idiot, and 1 as in the number."
Tedmoore looked back down at his board and drew a piece. It was red. "Hit."
"How close do you have to be in order to detect the signal?"
Tedmoore glanced up at Reming again. What was he getting at? Where was his battleship? I'll bet it's in the H's!
Reming drew a red piece to his lips. Tedmoore smiled in anticipation, but Reming put the red piece back, drew a white one and announced "Miss!"
Tedmoore furrowed his brow in annoyance and marked the space on his own board. "Unless the person is in direct contact with the communing station the natural bio signature masks the signal."
Reming pursed his lips in thought. He's done his homework on the Doctor's project. He was just confirming things he already knew.
"What about when the chip was augmented by that virus? J1."
Tedmoore tried to concentrate on the game and remember the details the Captain, ah, Philip! was pestering him about. "Miss. H 5?" Tedmoore guessed, "Which virus? The Cardassian mind control one, or the Jem'Hadar killing one?"
"Either." Reming answered. "Miss."
Tedmoore rubbed his chin. It's not in the H's! What about the G's?
"G 7? Well, both times the patients immune response had precipitated a rise in body temperature. The chip reacted to this increase in available bio energy with an increase in computational ability. Basically, the clock frequency rose with the patients body temperature."
"Miss. I 2. But what about the subspace signal? Does that change as well?"
Tedmoore glanced at Reming and then at his board. "Hit!" he cried in frustration. He thought about Reming's question as he placed the red piece on his board. "No, each subspace crystal is tuned specifically for the individual patient to blend with the their natural biopatterns. G 9?"
"Miss. I 3. If the patients bio-patterns were to be changed somehow, even their DNA changed, how would the subspace crystal react."
Tedmoore grimaced at his board in annoyance. "Hit." he placed the red piece. "As long as it wasn't damaged and had power available it would continue operating at the originally tuned frequency."
"What about the technology in Sarah Desert? It was similar in design to the communing chip, but stored information, right?"
Tedmoore studied his board looking for a clue to where Reming's ships were. "Yeah, it was based on the same basic design, drawing bio energy off the host."
"And the subspace field assembly?" Reming pushed.
Tedmoore snuffed at Reming. "Of course."
"So, even if the patient had been, say assimilated by the Borg, and their bio signatures altered, the embedded chip would continue to broadcast at the original subspace frequency."
Tedmoore looked up at Reming, failing to see his line of thought. "If it wasn't damaged or removed it would continue to operate at its very very weak level."
"If the communing chip was damaged or removed it would kill the patient. The Borg would know this as soon as they assimilated the patient. They wouldn't want to kill the patient then, right? As long as it's deemed harmless, they'd ignore it."
Tedmoored tried to follow along. "That's pretty standard Borg operating procedure."
Reming felt a smile creep across his face. "Good." He stood and made to walk out.
"It's your move." The Doctor protested.
"Oh," Reming looked over his board. "I 4." he announced finally. Tedmoore looked over his board quickly and sighed in anguish.
"You sank my battleship!" Tedmoore cried out.
Reming walked to the office door and paused for moment. "Send the exact chip operating specs for Nick Smith and Sarah Desert to Mr. Parks on the bridge."
Tedmoore gave Reming a dirty look, but merely nodded.
Reming smiled and walked away whistling a jaunty tune.
"One, two, three, four, I declare a thumb war!"
"This is stupid, just cede command and get it over with."
Parks glared at Reed with injured pride.
"Best 11 out of 20." he retorted.
Reed rolled her eyes and disengaged her hand from Park's and straightened up. She was sitting at the Ops station, directly across from Parks, but the Ops board was dark, all of its functions rerouted to Parks station.
"I'd hate to think what childish game the Captain," Reed stopped and squeezed her eyes shut in frustration, "Er, Reming will have us play in a real emergency."
"We could play Twister?" Park's suggested.
Reed shot parks with a nasty look. "I don't like to play games."
Parks waved off her look. "I don't see why, you're pretty good at them."
Reed gave Parks a sideways look and then glanced at the viewscreen. "Is that comment supposed to encompass more then thumb wrestling?"
Parks worked at his station for a moment, making minor course corrections. "Without the fear of superior rank we have only our respect for each other to hold our bile in check. Commander." Parks over pronounced Donna's previous rank.
Reed felt puzzled. Today was a day for mixed reactions. "Is something bothering you, Mike?"
Michael Parks stared at the blinking lights on his station display. "I'm just tired."
Abruptly the blinking lights changed in formation. Mike pursed his brow in concentration.
"Something coming in from the Medical Bay. Looks like operating specs for the communing chip in Nick, and the other chip in Sarah."
Reed stood to look over Mike's shoulder.
"I've never seen that before. Are those exact schematics?" Reed wondered.
Parks moved his hands expertly over the console and coaxed the data into sense.
"Yeah. This is high level shit. Wait," Parks paused, "There's a note here. Its says ŒSpoils of war.' Its from the Doctor."
Reed heard the turbolift doors open behind her. She turned and saw Reming walk over to meet her.
"Make sure this stuff is saved locally, and make an external back up as well." She told Parks.
Parks jumped up and nearly collided with Reming. "Whoa, sorry...." Reming stepped back as Parks struggled for some form of address.
"Philip." Reming supplied quietly.
"Philip." Parks repeated and then escaped to the rear science station. Reed sat heavily at the helm and moved the schematic drawings to the main viewer.
"Ah, it seems my military campaign was more successful than I had hoped."
Reed glanced at Reming in surprise. "What campaign?"
Reming sat at the ops console and brought it to life. "Just a little game the Doctor and I were playing." Reming smiled at Reed. "I won."
Reed felt her eyes roll on their own. "It seems everyone is playing games these days."
"Games are good for the spirit. Keeps your stress levels down." Reming stared at the turning graphics on the main viewer.
"Depends on the game." Reed commented. She turned her head slightly and looked at Philip. His face was blank, eyes moving quickly across the view screen in contemplation.
Reed pushed hair from her face. "What are you thinking about?"
Reming looked from the viewscreen, his face remaining blank. "What?"
"What are you thinking about?" Reed repeated.
Reming blinked for a moment and furrowed his brow. He'd been doing that a lot lately.
"I have been furrowing my brow in worry a lot lately." he said with the furrowed expression.
It was Reed's turn to request repeating.
"Here." Reming made a line down his forehead to his nose. "I am concerned it will create a permanent worry line."
Reed felt a smile come to her face. "You probably shouldn't worry about it."
Reming smiled back, releasing the worry from his face. "I agree."
Parks was back, and breathing a little heavily. He seemed out of shape.
"Not a single iso chip on deck one, can you believe that? I had to crawl through the jefferies tube to deck two to make that external back up."
Parks rubbed his knees and cringed. "My knees are killing me. Those jefferies tubes are so small."
Reed stood from the console and let Parks slip in. He handed her the chip in the process.
"Why didn't you use the turbolift?" Reed asked.
Parks looked at her for a moment. "Yeah, I guess that would have been faster." he said as he went back to work at the console.
"Al right, Mr. Parks, what we have here are detailed blueprints for the communing chip inside Nick Smith." Reming started. Reed jumped a little and felt foolish. "According to the Doctor it should continue to operate on its initial subspace frequency, even after the subject has been...ah..." Reming paused.
"Assimilated?" Parks provided.
"Yes, assimilated.' Reming resumed, "Now, finding one Borg drone out of a zillion is like looking for a needle in a haystack." Reming smiled up at the standing Reed. "However, in this case, our needle is transmitting at a specific, and better yet, known frequency."
Despite Philip's brief explanation Reed didn't feel anymore enlightened.
"But its still a pretty big haystack." She observed.
Parks gnawed on his lip in thought. "Sure, but its something to work with, something we can count on." Parks worked his console and the view screen split into two images, on the left remained the communing chip drawings and on the right appeared technical specifications on the Borg.
"A Borg environment operates at a specific temperature." parks explained. "Now according to this, the communing chip feeds off available bio energy. Since the Borg operating temperature is higher then the normal human body temperature, we can assume that more bio-energy would be available for the chip to feed off of, and its effective range would be increased."
Reed wrinkled her nose. "So it would go from millimeters to several meters in broadcast range?"
"No, it would ratchet up to kilometers in broadcast range." Parks looked at Reming with dawning understanding and excitement. "It wasn't telepathy, or any biologic ability that let us hear each other. The fucking chips were load sharing, and our thoughts went with the data packets!"
Reed put her hand out. "Whoa, whoa, you mean when you had the Cardassian virus? Load sharing?"
"Go on, Mike, explain." Reming encouraged.
Parks moved information around on the viewer to show a standard human figure.
"Normally, the chip works by itself. Alone in its sphere, using the subspace field to speed up its processors." Mike toggled his console and the human figure started to show squiggly lines moving away from its head. "As the hosts bio energy increases, the chip responds by increasing its power, and the range of the subspace field increases."
Suddenly another human figure moved into view with squiggly lines of its own. the squiggly lines bounced off each other and began to conform.
"Now, when another communing chip comes into range with the same operating conditions, the chips begin to communicate, just like they do with the ships systems," Parks continued, his excitement gushing out, "But without the translation overhead required by the computer, the chips can talk to each in real time. Compare notes so to speak."
"And you can hear what the other person is thinking?" Reed ask.
Parks shook his head.
ŒNo, not thinking, bad choice of words." he touched the communing point at his console to demonstrate, "When I commune with the ship I think the words in my head, I form concepts and ideas, pictures and shapes. If I want the ship to go to warp, I think of a certain symbol that I associate with going fast." Parks felt his face tingle in embarrassment. "I think of a tricycle. A red one."
Reming leaned forward, ignoring Parks red face. "But how can you hear someone else's words in your head?"
Parks blinked for a second. "The same way you hear your own thoughts. You form words in your mind, and shout at yourself. You imagine the way those words sound. Only this time some one else receives that same imagining in their mind."
Reed swallowed. "This is a lot like the Borg technology."
Parks looked up at Donna in distraction. "Yeah?" he pointed to the view screen. "I've had this thing in my head all this time and I've never known how it really worked." Parks stood and walked forward toward the viewer, watching the human figures and their squiggly lines.
Parks turned to Reming "I've had my theories, of course, what science officer wouldn't speculate," Parks turned back to the viewscreen, "but damn. Given the right conditions, a starship crew could run the ship at the speed of thought and interact with each other without the need for speaking."
"Like a Borg Hive."
Parks turned in excitement. "Yeah, just like a Borg..." Parks voice trailed off as his excitement died. "Hive."
Reming cleared his throat. "I was speaking with Carol earlier, and she mentioned that the transwarp coils were causing sympathetic or complimentary harmonic vibrations in certain systems on this ship. Obviously, the Borg would have solved that type of problem on their own ships, but the communing chip would still be a wild card."
Parks gave Reming a blank look.
"Given the data from the Doctor and the information we have on our own tranwarp coils, could you figure out what the communing chip signal would look like among so many Borg drones?" Reming explained.
Parks continued to give a blank look.
"You mean like a unique bio-signature?" Reed suggested.
Reming looked up at Reed in appreciation. "Yes. Our needle in the haystack."
Parks stood motionless for a moment. "I'm sorry. I understand what you're saying is important, but my head has turned to clay."
Reming stood and put his hand on Parks shoulder. "You are exhausted. Go get some sleep. We've made a breakthrough here. We can follow up in the morning."
"Actually, it will be the evening again if he sleeps for 8 hours." Reed interjected.
Parks started to walk toward the turbolift. "I could sleep for days."
Reming turned to Reed. "You too, Donna, I need this crew fresh and rested."
Reed began to protest, "But you need someone at the helm."
Reming sat down at the helm station and made himself busy. "I'll do just fine."
"What if we run into trouble?"
Reming shifted the viewer back to streaking starlight.
"I'm slowing the ship down to Warp 11. We won't reach Mr. Parks red line for 13 hours."
Reming opened her mouth to object again, but thought better of it.
She turned and walked to the turbolift. "You have the bridge then." she said as the doors started to close.
"Thank you." Reming replied.
"Carol, it's Michael, open up." Parks signaled the chime again. This time to door slide open. The room was unusually dark. Not very reassuring. "Carol?" Michael squinted into the darkness.
Carol Smith appeared in the doorway to the sleeping section in a simple white robe. Parks felt himself swallow hard. In the dark of the cabin the robe was all Michael could really see.
"I'm sorry, were you sleeping? I'll come back later." Parks stuttered.
"No, its okay. I've had enough laying down." Carol said slowly in a small tired voice. She moved over to one of the chairs and sat down in a lump. Michael moved over to the couch and sat down also.
"I'm on my way to get some sleep too. I just thought I'd stop by and tell you that we think we've figured out a way to isolate Nick and Sarah from the other.." Parks felt the next word stick in his throat. "...other bio-signatures."
Carol continued to look at the floor. "Great. That's great." She said, again in that small tired voice.
"Carol? I know this is a silly question given the circumstances, but are you okay?" Parks pressed.
Carol looked up at Parks for the first time, and he could barely make out streaks and dark shadows under her eyes, darker then the lack of light accounted for. "I'm fine, Mike. Fine."
"Are you sure? Can I get you something from the Doctor? A sedative to help you sleep? We won't be anywhere near Borg space for hours and hours."
Carol looked back down at the floor. "There isn't anything that Doctor has that will help me."
Parks picked up on the inference, dripping with weak sarcasm.
"Okay. Even so, I'll be back by in a couple hours, just to check on you."
Carol stood and walked back toward the bedroom. "You mind your own ship, Mike. I'll mind mine."
Parks stood up and took two steps toward Carol. She turned and gave him weak smile. "Go get some sleep. You're needed on the bridge."
Michael looked her over for a moment and nodded. He walked toward the door and stopped to look back just as it opened. Carol had already disappeared back into the bedroom. He would have to check on her later. He was worried.
"Bridge to Engineering."
Nichola Terry looked up from the Assistant Chief's workstation to stare at the ceiling.
"Bridge to Engineering." the speaking repeated.
"Bridge to Engineering." the speaker said again. Suddenly Terry jumped to life. "Oh, I guess that's me." she muttered to herself.
"Engineering here. Sorry sir."
"Miss Terry, I assume?" Reming asked.
"Yes, sir. Commander Smith and Lieutenant Masters are sleeping in their quarters."
"And Mister Parks and Miss Reed are sleeping as well. Or they should be." Reming chuckled.
"Yes, sir?" Terry felt uneasy.
"I guess its just the two of us then. Well, Miss Terry, I expect you have your hands full down there."
Nichola looked around the deserted engineering deck. "Uh, no, there isn't anything going on down here at the moment."
Reming paused for a second. "Okay, good. I have a little project I need you to start working on. It has to do with the deflector dish, and well, it's pretty complicated."
Terry felt her blood pressure begin to rise. Complicated wasn't her style at all. "Wouldn't you rather wait for Commander Smith, Sir?"
"No, she needs her sleep, and this needs to get started right away."
Terry swallowed as much as her suddenly dry mouth allowed. "Okay."
"Now, I'm routing down some information, the technical specs are for the Galaxy class starship, but I think you'll find they will readily conform to the Challenger class numbers."
Terry felt her heart race past Warp Two, on its way to Warp Ten.
"The Enterprise trick?"
"Exactly." Reming beamed at Reed. She had managed to get some sleep and looked all the better for it. She was wearing a pale blue civilian jumpsuit that accentuated her... well, she looked great.
Donna felt herself frowning, and hoped the Reming felt it too. "The Enterprise trick didn't work."
Reming motioned across the helm display. "It didn't work because the Borg expected it. They won't be expecting it this time."
Parks was still sleeping, but Masters had replaced a frazzled Terry in engineering. Despite her reluctance and alarm, the woman had a knack for the work that proved her Starfleet commission.
"So we charge up the main deflector to burn out capacity and let fly in the hope that Borg won't see it coming."
Now it was Reming who was frowning. ŒWell, when you put it like that."
Reed leaned over Reming's shoulder and sighed. "I think its time you got some sleep yourself."
Reming felt the need to push on. "Regardless, Terry did some excellent work and passed on the leftovers to Masters. Just tying up some loose ends."
Reed looked up at Reming. He was smiling again, out and out beaming, like a child presenting an adult with a crude drawing to hang on a refrigeration unit. He was so proud of his surprise for her. She couldn't help but smile herself. "Well, it is something."
"And something is better then nothing." Reming continued.
They were still for a moment and smiled at each other.
It was Reed who broke the moment.
"I'm serious. You need your sleep also."
Reming started to pout, but thought better of it. After several long hours of coaching Miss Terry through some seriously complicated deflector modifications he felt his brain would explode.
"Yes, you're right."
Reed felt a warm rush move over her. "Good, we have another 6 hours till we reach potential Borg space." Reming started to turn toward to door. "Good work, Captain."
Reming stopped for a moment, and then walked off the bridge, leaving Reed to smile at the deflector dish diagram. She was lost in thought when Mike Parks shook her shoulder.
"Donna?" he asked.
Donna looked up at him, still smiling. "We have a new ace up our sleeve." She said as she toggled the display to the main viewer. Parks studied it for a moment.
"The Enterprise trick?"
The rear science station exploded in a shower of sparks and polyalloy composite pieces.
The red alert lights flickered erratically, steeping the bridge in a hellish glow.
"Auxiliary systems are offline, we are losing warp containment." Michael Parks barked out as he worked feverishly at the Ops console. Donna Reed hugged the helm station, trying desperately to steer clear as wave after wave of green energy bolts swept over the forward shields.
Philip Reming sat in the command chair and felt all the world crushing down around him. He brushed dust and debris off his shoulder and leaned forward, grasping his chair arms with sweaty palms.
"Evasive pattern Foxtrot Xray, Fire phasers." he ordered.
"These phasers wouldn't melt warm butter!" he heard Reed comment sarcastically.
"Photon torpedoes, pattern Delta Six!' Reming followed up. Things had gotten out of hand some time ago and now they were well on their way to hell and back.
"We have two more Borg cubes coming in on a six o'clock tangent, they are cutting us off!" Parks shouted out over the din of failing shields and exploding computer equipment.
"Reroute emergency power to shields!" Reed ordered.
Parks gripped his console tighter as the deck shuddered sideways in an unassuring way.
"Emergency power is gone, all we have is life support and the warp core."
"Reroute power from life support to the shields!" Reed barely glanced up at the screen as it darkened with another Borg cube.
"I can't override safety protocols from the bridge, the connecting control circuits have been damaged." Parks reported.
Reming slapped his chair controls.
"Reming to engineering, we need more power for the shields! Take it from anywhere you can."
There was no response. "Reming to Carol Smith, respond!" Again no response. "Computer, locate Carol Smith!" he shouted at the ceiling.
"Carol Smith is in Engineering."
Reming's felt his stomach lurch along with the rest of the ship. "Bridge to Tedmoore, no one in Engineering is responding! We need power from life support transferred to the shields!"
The intercom cracked with Tedmoore's voice. "I'm in Engineering now, its a mess down here. I can't find anyone. I'm trying to access local systems. I'll get you that power."
This time Reming's stomach lurched on its own. "Mr. Parks we have to get out of here now. What is the condition of the deflector dish?"
Parks worked his console briefly. "We have just enough power to get one shot."
Reming leaned forward and gripped the chair arms tighter. "Let's make it count, bring us about, head on with the lead cube."
"Tedmoore to bridge, I found Carol, she's trapped under a bulkhead. Terry and Masters are trying to free her." Static suddenly filled the intercom.
"Tedmoore, report. We need that power for the shields." Reming had a bad feeling about this.
"Can't shshshbuzz Masters shshshsh buzzzbuzz systems, NOW!" the intercom spit and gargled in response.
Suddenly Parks display lit up brighter.
"We have emergency power!" he cheered. "Shields at 3 percent!"
"Ready the deflector dish. Keep us on target for that lead cube."
"We can't head straight for them, one more hit and we're goners!" Reed objected.
Reming looked at Reed, black soot and sweat poured down her face as she looked back.
"Are we in range?" Reming demanded.
"Yes!" Parks bellowed.
"Make a hole, Mr. Parks!" Reming ordered.
A screeching whine filled the bridge and threatened to shake the ship apart. A sudden stream of white blue energy jumped from the bottom of the view screen and nailed the lead Borg cube. The cubes shields held for a moment and then collapsed inwards enveloped in a cascading wall of sparks and radiant energy. The deflector dish stream ate right through the cube, burrowing a whole through to the other side.
The Condor shot forward and sailed right through the middle of the new Borg donut hole.
"We're through!" Parks shouted in triumph, but it was too soon.
With the sudden swiftness of the unexpected, the Condor was slapped sideways.
The shields failed in sequence and blew out massive ruptures across the primary hull.
Reed slammed forward into her station with a deafening crack, her head rolled back lifeless as her body slumped to the floor.
Reming did his best, but found himself thrown to the floor. Somehow Parks managed to hold on.
The bridge was empty except for a few flickering red lights, and the bellow of the red alert klaxon.
Reming crawled forward to Reed and pulled out his tricorder.
"Shields are gone, main power is gone, core breach in progress." Parks shouted at no on in particular.
Reming pushed the hair out of Reeds face and felt his stomach move up his chest. The tricorder told him what he already knew. She was dead. She was dead.
A hand landed on his shoulder and Reming jumped forward drawing his phaser. It was Tedmoore. How did he get to the bridge?
"Captain, everyone else is dead. We have to abandon ship!"
Reming felt a numbness move over his body, he gulped and nodded in response.
Just as he got to his feet he heard the chilling sounds of alien transporters fill the bridge.
Three Borg drones sparkled from nothing to stand like stone statues on his bridge. They stood and surveyed their surroundings. Parks pulled out his phaser and fired at them. The phaser beam struck the middle Borg square in the chest, causing it to spark and topple over. Tedmoore grabbed Reming and pulled him away from Reed. Parks fired at another Borg to no affect, a personal shield merely snapped into place to absorbed the energy.
Tedmoore pushed Reming down the emergency hatch in front of the helm console. Philip had one last look into Donna's dead eyes just as Tedmoore was thrown backwards by some green energy blast. Reming fell down the ladder and landed in a pile.
He laid there and heard Parks screaming defiance go silent. Heavy steps moved across the deck above.
Dazed and exhausted he pulled himself up and ran down the corridor. Would the Borg ignore an escape pod? There was no way he'd make it far in an escape pod. He didn't even know where they were. This corridor seemed to stretch on and on forever!
Suddenly Philip slammed into something solid. He fell backwards and landed on his ass. He drew his phaser and jumped to his feet to face his Borg adversary. He fired his phaser and watched the Borg fall backward, silent and emotionless.
Philip started running again. What about a shuttle craft? If the core breached just as he got away, the Borg might be blinded and not see him.
Philip slammed into another silent figure.
"You Borg bastard! Why can't you just die?!" Philip screamed as he fell forward, entangled with the dark figure. He pulled his phaser free and put it square against the Borg's head. "Assimilate this!" He screamed just as the light in the corridor flashed bright enough for Reming to make out the face.
It was Nick Smith!
"Help me." the dark figure mouthed.
Reming shrieked in astonishment. He scrambled backwards and fired his phaser, carving a dark line out of the floor. He turned to run and ran into another dark figure. The light flickered past again. It was also Nick Smith!
"Help me." the Nick Borg said without expression.
Philip bent down and barreled into the Borg drone with all his might. They both fell backward, arms flailing. Reming gripped the Borg metal encrusted throat and screamed at it. It was too dark to make out the face, but a quiet voice filled Reming's mind.
Philip pushed his phaser into the Borg's face and pushed the trigger just as a plasma conduit exploded, washing the corridor in brilliant light. Reming gasped and looked the Borg full in the face.
The phaser beam had burned away the flesh and revealed another face underneath! Reming fired the phaser again, and the last of the mask burned away. It wasn't Nick, it was him! It was Philip Reming of Borg!
Reming bolted up in bed, swimming in sweat. He gasped for breathe and held his chest in terror. God, he hated those dreams. They had been getting worse and worse since they'd entered the Delta quadrant.
Reming sat still. Wait, if it was just a dream, why was the red alert klaxon still blaring?
"Bridge to Reming. We have a situation!" Reed called through the intercom.
Continued in: Borg Like Me, part deux, part two
Borg Like Me, part deux, part two
|Episode Thirteen - Deep in the Delta Quadrant the Condor crew find an exploded Borg cube. With help from The Resistance they take action to find their missing crew in Borg space! You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll wonder why it took 10 years to write 44 pages. Second half of Story One of Three in the Delta Story Arc|
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