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>> Star Trek fan fiction >> Columbia >> 001


Captain Danielle Rees sat in the ready room of the Federation Starship Columbia, brooding. She was reading all previous reports from Borg encounters...again. She was sure she knew everything Starfleet had to offer about the Borg, and yet she felt ill-prepared. The Borg were coming, and the fleet was waiting. Once again they were striking directly at the heart of the Federation. Earth. Starfleet had managed to assemble a fleet to meet them, but it seemed insufficient. "If we survive this" she thought, "we'll have to be much more careful next time". She was interrupted by the door chime. Rees thought she could use a break from her dark thoughts. "Come".

Commander Mitchel Davis strode through, and immediately looked at the screen his Captain had been studying. "Giving yourself an ulcer?"

"As a matter of fact I am." Rees indicated Davis should sit down. "We ready for this Mitch?"

"As ready as you can be against the Borg I suppose". Davis looked worried. It was something rare for him. Rees was very happy with her X.O. They'd served together on the Columbia for 3 years, and it had been a perfect match. Both of them liked to joke, especially when things seemed thier worst. Thier Vulcan helmsman didn't seem to apprieciate the humor, but Rees thought it helped everyone else relax. It was an ongoing competition to see who could be the first to make her smile. No one thought they could make her laugh. Might as well ask a Klingon to try ballet.

Rees tryed to be lighthearted, "We've got a fair bit of firepower here, we'll give them a few holes to fix." She smiled, but Davis saw it was without humor.

"A few ships yes, few being the operative word." Davis said.

"No, you're right about that, we've been far too complacent. It's inexcusable considering we nearly lost everything last time." Rees paused thoughtfully. "There are some of the new classes here however. Akira, Norway, Steamrunner. I've seen the specs on the Steamrunner. Pretty scary ship."

Now Davis smiled genuinely. "There's also one kick ass Excelsior here Danni."

Rees smiled too, and turned to look at Earth. "This ship's gotten us through some tough one's hasn't she?" She thought of the Maquis fight near the badlands, the quantum filament, and the temporal distortion, just to name a few. She had full confidence in her ship and crew, but this was the Borg. A feeling of dread kept gnawing at her. Could this be thier last mission?

Davis saw his Captain's face cloud. "What are you thinking about now?"

Rees lied. "I was thinking about the time on Risa when I set you up with those 3 Orion girls and had them all meet you at the same restaurant. At the same time." She chuckled at the thought.

"You laugh, but it all turned out quite well thank you."

"Are you actually sticking with that story?" Rees exclaimed. "There's no way any normal human could survive such a thing."

"As you so often point out Captain, I ain't normal."

Rees was laughing, and felt a bit better. But it was time to get down to buissness. "How long till the Cube arrives?"

"We're estimating about 10 minutes." Davis looked at his datapad. "Shields operating at 104 percent, phasers and torpedo launchers ready. Photons are loaded first, as per your orders. Quantums on standby. We're ready Captain."

"104 percent? My compliments to the chef." Rees looked at the ceiling. It was an annoying habit she had when she called people on the conn. She couldn't stop doing it, but as Davis had told her, the rest of the crew thought it was ...cute. "Rees to engineering."

"Dalhousie here sir."

"Commander, congratulations on the shields. Where pray tell did you steal the power from?"

"Oh umm.. I didn't think you'd mind sir, I uh.....

"Get on with it Dalhousie."

"Food replicators sir, "Dalhousie sounded harried. "I took the replicators offline an hour ago."

Rees did her best imitation of an angry Captain. "You should've told me Commander, I've missed my afternoon tea." Rees looked at Davis. He had his hand over his mouth, trying to stifle a laugh. Dalhousie was new, he'd transferred from the Sarek a month ago. Rees was still trying to train him on what to take seriously from his C.O.

"Umm, Oh gee Captain, I didn't think, I mean I realize that you, well, you said shields were the priority...

Rees wasn't quite cruel enough to let it continue. "Commander, I was kidding. Good work. That 4 percent could make a difference."

"Oh, of course sir. Thank you."

Rees thought Dalhousie had closed the channel, but it was still open.

"How the hell am I supposed to tell if she's kidding or not? She sounded pretty serious to me! There's something to be said for a Vulcan captain I'll tell you. None of this muckin around, that's for sure!"

Rees suppresed a laugh and said, "Commander?"

Dalhousie sounding utterly terrified responded, "Yes Sir?"

"Your channel is open."

"Oh God...Captain, how much did you hear?"

"Enough to courtmartial you for insubordination."

"You're kidding again aren't ya Sir?"

"Maybe" This time she closed the channel herself. "We'll learn him yet."

Davis was about to reply when he was interrupted by the red alert klaxon. Commander Mushashi came over the comm. "Captain to the bridge. The Borg have arrived."

Act 2

Rees and Davis arrived on the bridge in time to see the Borg cube come out of warp. Coventional wisdom was to have opposites in the C.O and X.O positions, to offset any weaknesses the other might have. These two were very similar however. In style, command, even looks. Some people on first meeting them wondered how sister and brother came to be number one and two on the ship. They may have seemed relaxed in most situations, but when it came down to it, they were as professional as anyone in Starfleet.

"They're early." Rees said, and felt fear stab at her heart. Not many looked on a Borg cube and survived. She controlled her fear, and only an empath would've known her true feelings.

At the tactical station Mushashi said, "The Borg are transmitting Captain."

Rees frowned, "I think I know what they'll say. Put it on anyways."

Over the speakers, they heard the voice of doom. "We are the Borg, lower your shields and surrender your ships. We will add your technological and biological distinctivness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service us. Resistance is futile.

Davis deadpanned, "They've gotta get some new material." "Captain" it was Mushashi again. "The admiral is signaling cruiser wing delta to attack.

"You heard her helm, Go!"

The Columbia sped towards the cube at full impulse, along with the ships of her wing. They tried to maintain some sort of formation, alittle order. But that was forgotten when they lost the lead ship, the Miranda class Ramses.

"Evasive" Rees screamed. The Columbia narrowly missed the remains of the spinning saucer section. Now a green tractor beam reached out and attempted to get ahold of the Columbia.

"Shield modulation is working so far," Lt Thievin said over his shoulder at ops. "Shields are holding."

Shield modulation had no effect against Borg energy weapons however. Green pulses shot out at the ship, and the shields absorbed the energy. There was a cost however.

"Shield strength at 78 percent." Mushashi said. The Vega, another of the first ships in, was caught in a tractor beam. The Borg now proceeded to unleash thier cutting beam on the helpless ship.

Rees would have none of it. "Mushashi, target that tractor emitter. Fire at will."

Mushashi, sounding very calm said, "Firing phasers, photons away."

The viewscreen glowed orange now. Phasers and photons crashed into a very small portion of the cube, disabling the tractor beam.

"The Vega sends thier thanks, says they are going to fall back and attempt to get some shields up." Mushashi said.

"Acknowledge that. Helm we're in abit tight. New course 180 mark 25." Rees ordered.

While the battle raged around him, and he did his duties, Davis was pondering a new kind of attack. They had 40 gravitic mines onboard. The Columbia had been in the process of turning them over to Starfleet security on Earth. They'd caught a Ferengi trying to smuggle them out the Federation. He thought he knew how they could use them.

"Captain, those gravitic mines..." Davis was shaken by another attempted tractor lock.

"What about'em Commander?"

"I'm thinking, Borg cubes aren't really known for thier quickness. What if we got in real close and deployed all the mines at once, righton the flight path of the Borg. They'd never be able to change course in time."

Rees pondered the idea. She was about to ask why they couldn't just transport them, but then realized they couldn't transport them all at once. They all had to be there at the same time, for maximum effect. As she thought this, an Akira was hit by an energy weapon. It wobbled, and broke off the attack, with a glowing hole in her saucer section. They'd lost 3 ships already. It was crazy. They'd have to get within 50 kilometers of the cube to make it work. They would be subjected to every kind of Borg weapon. But it would make one hell of a bang.

Rees turned to Davis. "Those mines will have to be moved to the shuttlebay, all personel are to clear the area immediately."

Davis smirked, "Way ahead of you Ma'am, already started. Should be ready in a couple minutes."

Rees was starting to like the idea more and more. She turned to Ops. "Get me the Admiral."

"You're on" Thievin said.

"What is it Columbia?" The Admiral sounded harried.

Rees looked at the ceiling. "We have a chance to do some serious damage, I don't have time to explain, but it involves us getting to within about 50 kilometers of the cube. We'll need cover fire."

There was a pause. "Alright Captain, this better be worth it. I'm signalling Bozeman and Nebula to assist. Good luck."

"Thank you Admiral. Helm take us out wide, 135 mark 33."

Ensign Telar was brief as always. "Aye."

"Bozeman and Nebula report they are in position." Mushashi said. "Shields at 55 percent, all weapons ready."

"Mr Davis?" Rees asked.

"Gravitic mines have been moved, all personel have cleared out. We're ready Ma'am."

Rees looked back at the mayhem on the viewscreen. "That's far enough Ensign. New course, 035 mark 110. Engage at full impulse."


The Columbia swung around and headed for the cube at a 45 degree angle. Now they came under heavier and heavier fire. The viewscreen filled with green energy and the blue flash of shields. The ship was hammered again and again as it sped towards its target. Occasionally orange phasers would pass the ship to take care of persistent emitters. Finally they were getting very close.

Rees walked nearer to the helm. "When we get to 50 kilometers, change course to cut directly across the flight path of the Borg."

The entire screen was filled with the cube. Rees wondered for how many people this was the last thing they ever saw. Ensign Telar waited about 2 more seconds before changing course. With a few deft finger strokes, the Columbia turned. The cube sped by to the right of them. Rees waited till they were near the middle of the cube. "Drop shields, decompress shuttlebay."

40 gravitic mines were sucked from the main shuttle bay. There were only seconds. "Shields up, helm safe distance!" Rees shouted. "Aft viewer."

There was a massive explosion as the Borg plowed through the mines. A cheer went up on the bridge of the Columbia, and on the other ships of the fleet. After the debris cleared, a huge hole could be seen. The cube however, plodded on towards Earth. It seemed like a nightmare. The cheering was short lived. They had new problems...

Act 3

"Shields at 13 percent" Thievin cryed out at ops. They were hit hard again. "Correction. Shields are down."

As Rees stared at the screen, she saw the Defiant flash by. Her starboard nacelles ablative armor eaten through, and glowing. She danced and dodged, firing her phaser cannons all the way. Only at the very last moment was the ship hit again. "Take us in for another run, Ensign. Full impulse."

"Aye." Ensign Telar replied.

Telar was well aware this was likely to be the last attack run this ship would make. She knew she was a good pilot, but the Excelsior class wasn't really a warship. Its quickness wasn't up to the standards of most other Starfleet ships. She managed to dodge two green bolts of energy, but a third scored a direct hit on the saucer section. The fourth also hit the saucer, the fifth, the port nacelle. She swung the Columbia hard to port and missed two more shots, but another scored a direct hit on the deflector dish. The Federation ship shuddered to a stop as a tractor beam found its mark.

"Full reverse, damage report." Rees shouted above the noise.

"We've been holed twice through the saucer, port nacelle is off-line, we've got a hull breach on decks 12-14, sections 1a-29a.

Now a white beam sought out the stranded vessel. Mushashi reported, "Cutting beam, they're targeting the saucer."

Rees face was a mask of hate. "Full ahead NOW!"

The change from full reverse to full forward spoiled the Borgs aim. The cutting beam missed the saucer entirely, but found the port pylon. About 2 seconds later that nacelle was floating off on its own.

Rees surveyed the scene. An Akira's warp core breached, bathing the area in white light. A steamrunner was hit by multiple energy beams, but kept on target. A hapless Miranda class was cut to bits. The mighty little Defiant, built to fight, was dead in space. She pounded her fist in frustration. "We've got to break free dammit!"

"Captain!" Commander Davis said beside her. Did Rees hear hope in his voice? "There's another ship coming in. It's...The Enterprise!"

For the first time since the start of the battle Rees smiled genuinely. The big Soveriegn class passed in front of the Defiant and Columbia, breaking the Borg hold on the ships.

"Helm, course 121 mark 0."

The one nacelled ship climbed back into the fight under (miraculously) full impulse. Another Excelsior was torn to bits 450 kilometers away.

"The Admiral, damn. Weapons status." Rees asked.

Mushashi reported. "Torps only Captain, phasers off-line."

Davis spoke up now. "Message incoming from the Enterprise."

"Let's hear it."

"This is Captain Picard of the Enterprise. I'm taking command of the fleet. Target all of your weapons on the following co-ordinates. Fire at my command."

Rees could only raise her eyebrows. "Balls. You have the numbers Mushashi?"

"Yes Ma'am, but it doesn't really make any sense...Another message from the Enterprise sir."

Captain Picard's baritone came over the comm system. He said one word. "Fire."

All remaining ships fired phasers, photons and quantums into one point on the Borg cube. It was breath taking. The Columbia managed to get six photons away before the Borg ship began to destabilize.

"Captain," Thievin said, "I'm picking up massive power fluctuations in the Borg power grid."

Rees looked at her own terminal. "Helm, get us out of here, NOW!"

When the cube exploded, it enveloped about a half dozen ships. Including the Columbia. Everyone was thrown violently to the floor. The ship was tossed like a child's toy.

When Rees awoke with a severe headache, the first thing she did was look out the viewscreen. Nothing but debris and a few Starfleet ships. The second thing she did was ask for a damage report.

Thievin was still conscious. "It'd be easier to tell you what was working, rather than what's not. Main power off-line, no warp, no shields, no sensors, no impulse, life support at 72 percent, transporters are down."

Rees had had enough. "OK, OK."

"Captain, we're being hailed by the Vega."

"On Screen."

"Captain Rees, looks like you could use a power transfer."

"Much obliged Captain." Rees looked around her shattered bridge, and saw most of her crew up and working. Those still down were being tended to by medical staff. "How's she look from the outside?"

Captain Faulkner looked genuinely uncomfortable. "Well, Captain, you really don't wanna know."

"Yes I do."

"You should be dead Captain Rees." Faulkner blurted. "You should all be dead."

Read more from Columbia and Jarret S. Ronning.
Jarret S. Ronning
Valor and the Horror, The
On Site

Follow Captain Danielle Rees and the crew of the USS Columbia.

Evil Must Be Opposed.
-- Vedek Yassim,

(DS9: Rocks and Shoals)
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