NCC - 86105
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Two-Forked Approach

Posted on Mon Oct 21st, 2013 @ 4:01am by Commander Gaius Ra-Xialii & Captain Benjamin Byrne & Lieutenant Horatio Hawke & Lieutenant Ciaran McIntyre & Lieutenant JG Ethan Kessel

Mission: Remnant Part 1
Location: USS Endeavour - Observation Lounge

It had been twenty minutes since the Endeavour had beamed aboard the population of the research station and retreated, watching the oddly patched-together Borg cube start to assimilate the parts of the station that it had deemed worth obtaining - of course the data had been wiped from the computers as a matter of course during the evacuation, and any data that wasn't portable was now lost but for the minds of those who had created it, now housed aboard the ship. As Byrne walked into the observation lounge to the rear of the bridge followed by the head scientist from the station, the rest of his senior staff was already present as he had requested.

"Let's get right to it," the captain said, as he took his seat at the head of the table and activated the screen behind him. "This is the ship that attacked the station. As you can all see, it is not a standard cube. The Borg appear to have absorbed or used parts of other vessels to 'patch up' the ship - possibly from battle damage, or for some other reason entirely. Never the less, the ship is more than a match for the Endeavour in a straight-up fight."

"Sir, if I'm correct the Borg haven't been seen in years, not after Admiral Janeway found a way to weaken them by a neurolytic pathogen," Rose said. It had been very interesting from a medical point of view too, so she wasn't unfamiliar with the procedure. "Does this mean it didn't work?"

Benjamin nodded at the comment. "It is my understanding that the pathogenic virus introduced to the Borg during the Starship Voyager's escape from the Delta Quadrant caused the Collective significant damage. The viruses intent was to break the communication bonds between the Borg; not just turning much of the collective into individual groupings, but also affecting their ship's essential functions. It is assumed by Starfleet that this is the reason why the Borg have not launched an attack against the Alpha Quadrant in retaliation."

Hawke sat forward, the odd image of the Borg ship had been bothering him. "Does anybody else find the ship itself a bid ... odd? I mean, it doesn't strike me as being very Borg-like to just slap bits of starship on their hull and call it a patch job."

Ciaran grumbled in agreement before adding unhelpfully, "Smacks of desperation."

"Desperate enemies are all too frequently the most dangerous... We've seen whole fleets decimated by a single Cube, and with each loss they adapt... These Borg are survivors - which means they are more deadly than ever." Ethan said. He closed his eyes as this sunk in around them.

"Why couldn't it have been Klingons? You know where you stand with Klingons..." He said, to no one in particular.

"I get that they might be desperate for parts, or raw materials, which would explain odd pieces of hull plating and so on," the captain said, as he mulled over the points made. "But that would be akin to using a patch to cover a hole on a tent canvass. This ship appears to be in the process of absorbing other ships; I can make out a few hull profiles sticking out of the cube's exterior. We've never seen the Borg do anything like this before, desperate or not. Why not assimilate the technology, extract whatever raw materials they need, and then build their own version of whatever it is they are trying to get at?"

"I may be able to help shed some light on that," the station's chief researcher said, piping up from where he had thus-far been sat quietly observing the conversation between the officers. He stood and moved over to the screen and pointed at a particularly large object that was quite prominently protruding from the cube's surface. "This is one of our vessels; a prototype starship featuring a new engine design which produces produces orders of magnitude more power than a standard matter/antimatter warp core, called a binary open core. Rather than containing the fuel for the engine is separate sections of a standard core and mixing them in the intermix chamber, the entire engine serves as an intermix chamber, held within a very powerful containment field, which has the ability to regulate the reaction and the amount of matter and antimatter being used to generate power. By using two of these cores in conjunction, it can power ships with much faster engines than those presently in use, power stronger shields, communications arrays, and even provide the necessary power requirements for such experiments being undertaken by the Federation for longer-range propulsion solutions to replace conventional warp travel. The technology requires several unique components, which the Borg may not be able to manufacture."

He looked back at the image of his prototype ship grafted onto the Borg vessel. "If the Borg are able to implement the technology from our prototype ship - codenamed Chariot, it could make them infinitely more dangerous."

"Wonderful. That's all we need."

"Infinitely." Ciaran mimicked the researcher's flippant assessment of the situation. "Dangerous. What protection does the Chariot actually have? Weapons? An escort?"

"Never mind that - You perfected Binary Open Fusion, and you didn't tell Starfleet? Do you have any idea of the damage that kind of technology could do if the Dominion Got hold of it? Oh no, wait, it looks like the Borg have beat them to it!
I say we rig that Engine to detonate and get us out of here ASAP, before the Borg come looking..." Ethan suggested half seriously.
"What else do you have on that station? An Omega Torpedo?"

"Lieutenant," the scientist said, looking exasperated as he answered the engineer's question. "Our research facility is privately run. We are not a part of the Federation, and so don't answer to Starfleet. We don't manufacture weapons of mass destruction, or new ways to conquer new worlds. Besides," he said, as if throwing out Ethan's comment entirely. "You make an incorrect assumption. We have hardly perfected the drive; it is still very much in the prototype stage. This flight was Chariot's first under the new power drive."

"The Wright Brothers wern't known for their munitions, but that didn't stop men loading thermonuclear explosives onto planes and nearly wiping out mankind in its infancy! You might not have been able to iron out the little clinks in the system, but if a *single* Borg drone assimilated into the collective possessed the capacity do so, then each and every drone can do the same. Imagine that - ten billion minds dedicated to the task of solving those equations an you Doctor Serafim have given them the parts to build it!"

Ethan almost shouted in frustration, all sense of professionalism out the airlock. How could the Scientist not accept responsibility for this mess and expect the Federation to clean it up for them?

"Alright," Benjamin said, holding up his hands as if to be ready to push both men away from each other. "That's enough. Lieutenant; you seem to be familiar at least with the concept of the drive system Doctor Serafim's team has been working on. If this cube was able to get the technology back to whatever remains of the Collective, what kind of damage could it mean for the Federation?"

"On a single Cube? It could destroy colonies, outposts, satellites and space stations, and be out again in the blink of an eye. The Warp signature would be negligible, so we would be unable to trace them until we reworked the entire Fleets systems to account for it, and interception would be impossible. Hell, we'd need to rewrite the Warp scale... This thing could reach theoretical speeds of Warp 20+ at top speed on an optimized ship." he said. Then another possibility occurred to him.

"If this gets back to the collective and the Borg are able to integrate it into their Primary schematics. Then we would need to rethink our entire strategies concerning the Borg. This would be a Game Changer, sir. We absolutely cannot allow this to become integrated into the Borg Collective." He said.

"Then the answer is simple; we cannot allow that ship to return that technology to the Collective," Byrne announced. "Without knowing how exactly the Borg are 'absorbing' the Chariot, our best bet to prevent that is to destroy the vessel. What are our options?"

"Tri-Cobalt devices with a tachyon field have worked against heavily armed enemies before, but the Endeavour on her own doesn't stand a chance to deal out enough damage before succumbing to our own. Not to mention the damage we have already received," Gaius said, not bothering to lean forward in his chair.

"What sort of time frame are we looking at for repairs?" Byrne asked.

I can get hull breaches under-control, get the shields up and running at 65%, and all weapons back to 80% power in a couple of hours - but we're running on fumes and duck-tape. I don't know how long I can hold that together - certainly not long enough for a protracted engagement. Life support is already on auxiliary, and the engines are only at 55%. The old girl needs repairs left, right and center. If we get out of these alive, we are going to need to get back to a Federation controlled station as soon as we can." Ethan told them.

"OK, so a direct engagement is out of the question. Other suggestions?"

Gaius sat forward, "There is the possibility of luring the cube out into a minefield. We set up a few Tri-Cobalt warheads and a mix of antimatter mines and cloaking them. Doctor, can we rig this ship's warp core to emit the same energy signal as the Chariot?"

"I don't know, Commander," Serafin responded. The energy readings of an open core are vastly different to those produced by a standard warp core, and we would need to duplicate those readings due to the binary nature of the system. What are you thinking?"

"My thoughts are if we emit the output of our engines, the cube may be tricked into assimilating a second version of the engine, to further hasten its adaption to the technology," Ra-Xialli continued, looking to each officer in turn, then turning to the captain, "When the ship is crippled, we send them to Borg Heaven." Following his sentence Gaius imagined borg drones with halos and wings, before shaking the disturbing image from his mind.

"Providing they take the bait, and that they don't detect the devices, what sort of damage are we likely to be able to do?" the captain asked.

"Critical damage," Gaius said, "If it isnt enough to disable them, then we come in with all phasers blazing."

"What about the old fashioned way?" McIntyre asked, as he scanned the room. The blank faces of the scientists told Ciaran that they expected a suggestion of loading a musket and firing it out of a cargo bay. "If we could get aboard the Borg vessel, we could do a surgical strike on your little," he hesitated, unsure of the technical term which he had just heard, "thingymajig."

"If its any help, I am getting modulating readings from the Borg Cube itself - its less than healthy at the moment. This thing is a remnant of its former self. I don't think the Cube it operating at full power. If that's the case, many of its secondary systems will be offline - we'll be able to avoid detection for a decent period of time..." Ethan added.

"Even if the size of the explosion fails to destroy the cube itself, we should at least prevent the Borg from attaining the technology for themselves. We'll have to make sure to hit the data nodes too, to destroy any schematics they may have worked up," the captain said, mulling over the idea.

"The surgical strike will be our Plan A," he eventually announced. "The away team will consist of myself, Lieutenant McIntyre, Lieutenant Kessel and a security squad. Doctor, I want you to come with us as well; your expertise with the core may be needed when we reach it."

Serafim nodded, a little meekly. Obviously he didn't find the idea of going into a Borg vessel very appealing, but wasn't willing to say no to the captain.

"Commander, you will stay here and prepare to implement Plan B in case we fail. We may even be able to lure the cube into the mines in a damaged state if we do manage to accomplish our mission." Byrne knew that leading the away mission himself would likely be against his first officer's wishes, but it made more sense for Gaius to implement the minefield plan. Whilst Ben had spent time as a tactical officer, his focus was more diluted, with a stronger focus on science. The Efrosian's entire career had been spent in the tactical field until he switched to command.

"We will approach the cube by shuttlecraft. Hopefully we will be able to mask the emissions enough in the ambient radiation enough to hide it from the Borg, even if they do stay from their established practice of only attacking if they see a threat. We leave in one hour. Dismissed."

Captain Benjamin J. Byrne
Commanding Officer

Commander Gaius Ra-Xialii
First Officer

Lieutenant Ciaran McIntyre
Chief of Security

Lieutenant Horatio Hawke
Chief Helmsman


Lieutenant JG Ethan Kessel
Chief Engineer
USS Endeavour


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