Suddenly, she was forced out of her thoughts as a sensor alarm sounded on her console. She quickly opened her eyes and brought the readings up. It was familiar and was what she had been waiting for.
"Captain," she spoke quickly. "Im reading a high-end energy emission traveling through subspace traveling on the course of the Transwarp conduit."
He was at her side in an instant. She continued her report as he looked over her shoulder. "The output is immense. It matches the output of the cube we encountered before we were stranded here but its definitely more powerful. Indicative of just how much more advanced this cube is."
"So youre sure its our Borg cube, and not some matter that randomly entered the conduit?" Chris asked.
Surprised at the obvious impossibility of the question, she looked up at him. "Sir, nothing can enter a Transwarp conduit unless at one end or the other, where the conduit was started, as well as where it ends."
Realization hit his face, and he nodded, giving her a glare that said, Dont make me look bad in front of the crew.
She quickly looked back at her console to avoid his glare. Suddenly, without warning, a comm channel was opened.
"We are the Borg. Disengage your pursuit on us or you will be assimilated. Resistance is futile."
Chris shook his head as the channel closed, then looked to Vendar again. "Have you found a way to attract their attention?"
"Detonating a high-yield Quantum torpedo in the path of the conduit might destabilize it slightly," she told him, having already worked on and concluded her research long ago. "Theyll see that as an attack on them, turn around, and give chase."
Chris quickly turned around and said, "Ada do it."
"Aye, sir," Vendar heard her reply.
"Launch as soon as youre ready."
"Loading high yield torpedo to launch bay number one arming warhead and firing."
After the sound of the launch siren passed, a rather bright blue colored torpedo streaked away from the Dragon, traveling at almost warp twenty itself. Vendar monitored the torpedo as it maneuvered into the path, slowed down for a moment, then detonated, causing a severe disruption in the surrounding subspace. As she had expected, the result was a slight destabilization of the conduit.
As a result, the Cube turned the course of the conduit to come at the Dragon. "Its coming about, sir."
Chris quickly walked back to the Command chair, ordering along the way, "Helm, get us back to that fleet, maximum warp!"
With that order, James brought the Dragon out of warp, swung a quick one-eighty, and kicked the ship up to warp nineteen point nine. Before, the Dragon was forced to remain at warp sixteen, otherwise it wouldnt have been able to monitor the conduit effectively. Now, however, it would take them approximately eleven and a half minutes to get back to the fleet of course, assuming they wouldnt have to slow down for the Borg.
Thankfully, however, they didnt. "Sir, the Borg Cube has matched our speed and is maintaining distance.
Suddenly, to Vendars horror, weapons fire seemed to come out of the conduit, and hit the Dragon hard, throwing her to the side. "Theyre creating micro-openings to get weapons fire through!" she stated in an alarmed voice.
"Shields at ninety two percent!" Ada quickly added. The ship shook hard again, causing her to amend with, "Eighty seven percent!"
"Bridge to engineering! I need more speed, now!"
"Ill try, sir!" Kalia quickly replied, sounding somewhat frustrated. "If we push it too much, though, the warp field could completely collapse, and we dont want that!"
"Understood, give me all you can muster!"
"Im reading micro fractures on the starboard nacelle strut!" Lieutenant Vicki Allison shouted from across engineering. "We need to reinforce its structural integrity field or we could tear the nacelle right off!"
"I can see that!" Kalia shouted. "Tarkent to Palzen, status of the Gamma core power transfer."
"Transfer pathways complete, Commander," Lieutenant Meylar Palzen replied quickly. "Youve got the power you asked for!"
"Reroute the power to the nacelles structural integrity fields," she stated quickly, aiding Vicki in the procedure.
Before she could even finish, the ship lurched yet again. "Hull breach on decks twenty and twenty one!" another engineer stated. "Damage control teams en route."
"Transfer complete!" Vicki stated. "Structural integrity on the strut is stabilizing!"
The thrumming of the warp core was quick and loud, quickly giving Kalia a headache. Never before had they pushed the warp core this far. She had thought that it had enough power to reach slipstream if possible but she was proven wrong today as power was quickly being used. Not to mention that the core temperature was slowly rising.
Four minutes she thought. I hope we can make it
"Watch those power relays, we dont want them to overload, or we could have a cascade core failure!" she stated, moving to a panel and removing it. She quickly began passing her tricorder over a large power conduit, seeing several imperfections forming along the inside of it. If this small subsidiary conduit was starting to fail
She quickly ran to the primary conduits leading from the warp core and started passing her tricorder over one. As she feared, the imperfections were even more prominent.
She turned around and tapped her comm badge, moving to her command console. "Engineering to bridge, I dont know if I can hold this speed long enough to get us there," she began, tapping commands into the console. "Im erecting a forcefield inside of the primary power conduits, but those forcefields could fail at any moment. We could find ourselves with a sudden warp core breach if we arent careful!"
The ship lurched again, hard this time, sending her to the deck. She barely caught herself, however, and only landed on her knees. She stood upright again, and finished erecting the forcefields.
"Understood!" Chris replied. "Maintain speed as long as you can, then slow us down to what ever speed you think is safe."
Vicki was at her side then, working on the panel next to her, trying to maintain the forcefields. "I think this is telling us just what the safety limits are on the warp cores."
"No kidding," Kalia bit back, un-amused. "From the looks of it, once those forcefields fail, well have ten seconds before the conduits breach. The conduits cant handle much power in their current condition, so well have to slow down to warp eighteen right before the forcefields fail."
"One minute until forcefield failure," she reported. "Two minutes until destination, deceleration accounted for in estimate."
"Weve slowed to warp eighteen," James stated, throwing alarm into Chriss thoughts. He didnt think they would have been forced to slow down that much
"The Borg are gaining on us," Vendar added. "One minute until we arrive at our destination."
"Shields are down to twelve percent!" Ada shouted above a ruptured conduit the same one that always seemed to rupture.
"Ready a full spread of quantum torpedoes, aft launcher," he stated. "Use them to disrupt the Borg conduit, give us a few extra seconds that we might need."
The ship lurched again, throwing him against the side arm of his chair, but he quickly recovered.
With that, eight blue spheres of energy streaked away, and quickly detonated.
"Conduit destabilizing," Vendar reported. "Reestablishing Transwarp field theyre back on their feet already!"
"Dropping out of warp in ten seconds!"
"Prepare a full spread of aft torpedoes!" Chris ordered. "As soon as the Borg follow us back to sub-light velocity, target their weapons and fire."
"Five four three two one "
With that, the streaking stars quickly shrank to infinite pinpricks. "Signal the fleet, and get us over to them!"
"Aye, sir!" James replied, altering course to head for the small fleet that had amassed.
"The Borg will arrive in five seconds," Vendar reported.
As the Dragon sped up to full impulse, Chris watched with anxiety as an elongated, green shape started to take form, only to become the huge Borg cube a moment later.
"Targeting weapons and firing!"
Eight Quantum Torpedoes and sixteen Photon torpedoes quickly streaked away behind the Dragon, all heading for the immense cube. A moment later, all impacted on different parts of the unprotected surface, causing several explosions.
"The New Republic fleet has launched their warhead weapons," Vendar reported. "One minute until they intercept the Borg ship."
Before Chris could acknowledge, however, the ship lurched hard once again, this time throwing Chris, as well as several other officers, to the deck. As he scrambled back into his seat, Ada reported, "Shields are down!"
No sooner did she say that then did the green-colored tractor beam lock onto the Dragon. "We are the Borg deactivate your weapons or we will destroy you."
"It doesnt work that way!" Chris stated defiantly, standing up. "Release us or you will be destroyed!"
"Youre technology is irrelevant. We will not warn you again. Deactivate your weapons."
"No!" he shouted quickly. "End transmission." He spun around to look at Ada and ordered, "Full phaser fire, target their tractor beam."
He turned back to the view screen and watched as crimson beams of energy lanced out and hit the Borg cube at the source of its tractor beam. However, to Chriss surprise the beam did not disengage.
"Theyre using the tractor beam to access our weapons harmonics!" Ada stated in alarm. "They adjust their shields precisely as we adjust our frequency!"
Suddenly, a thin beam lanced out from the cube and hit the Dragon somewhere on the stardrive section. However, unlike a normal energy beam, it did not cut out. It remained constant.
"Theyve activated some sort of cutting beam!" Vendar reported. "Its eating through our hull!"
Suddenly, before Chris could react or feel despair, hundreds of glowing warheads streaked by the Dragon. A moment later, they began impacting all along the surface of the Borg ships hull. Huge explosions ripped and melted the metal structure apart, quickly deforming the cubes surface.
That very same moment, the tractor beam disengaged. The explosions started rocking the Dragon about, causing Chris to automatically react by shouting, "James, get us out of here!"
Star Trek Dragon graphics and written
material copyright Jon Wasik. Star Trek is a registered