First off, CBS, Paramount, and Viacom own Star Trek. You know that by now, though. Secondly, I would like to personally and humbly apologize for continuing to bring back the original series characters even though I keep saying I'm done with them. What can I tell you? I'm a bad person.

Author: Alan Decker
Copyright: 2002

Star Traks: The Lost Years #1

It’s Good to Be King


Alan Decker

As the turbolift doors opened onto the bridge, Captain Alexander Rydell stretched tiredly and wondered how the hell he’d gotten stuck on the morning shift. Only freaks like Commander Dillon liked being up at 0600.

“Morning, Sir,” Lieutenant Commander Emily Sullivan said as she rose out of the command chair.

“I didn’t keep you waiting long, did I?” Rydell asked, not really caring about the answer.

“Fifteen minutes late as usual,” Sullivan replied. “And thanks again for letting me have the graveyard shift. Scott’s snoring is the worst then, and I can’t get any sleep anyway.”

“Not a problem,” Rydell muttered heading over to the replicator and ordering up an iced coffee. “Anything I need to know?”

“We mapped three systems over night, so we should have the sector done by the time Beta Shift reports. Oh, Jaroch’s got Ensign Leeves at the science console so she can learn the ropes. So far, she seems to be doing fine.”

“Then I’ll be happy to leave her alone,” Rydell said, slumping into his command chair. “Steady as she goes. Wake me if there’s a problem. Night, Sullivan.”

“Good morning, Sir,” Sullivan replied and headed towards the turbolift to roust her husband out of bed and hopefully get some sleep herself.

Years of experience in mundane mapping missions had taught Rydell the secret of sitting upright in his command chair with his eyes open and appearing attentive while he was actually sound asleep. With the usual soft bleeps and blips of his bridge sounding around him, Rydell settled in to return to dreamland.

He didn’t get very far before a voice broke into his clouded mind.


“What is it, Leeves?” Rydell asked without opening his eyes. Most likely the rookie science staffer just wanted permission to go to the bathroom.

“Well…I think someone’s playing a mean trick on me.”

“Tell them to stop.”

“I would, but I don’t know who they are. They just reprogrammed the sensors to show…mean stuff.”

“Such as?”

“A cube.”

Rydell bolted awake and turned to face the startled Ensign Marcia Leeves. “As in Borg cube?” Leeves just nodded her head.

“Headed where?”

“Here,” Leeves squeaked fearfully.

Showing a calm he didn’t really feel, Rydell headed back to the science station. Surely she was right and this was some kind of joke.

“I’m getting it on tactical now too,” Lieutenant Prescott reported from the tactical console.

“Just stay calm everybody,” Rydell said as he looked over Leeves’ shoulder at the sensor data. Cube, yes. Big, yes. Borg, YES! “Okay everyone,” Rydell said, returning to his seat. “RED ALERT! GET US THE F**K OUT OF HERE, BAILEY!”

Ensign Bailey worked the conn console faster than a man trying to get a snake out of his pants, spun the ship around, and raced away from the incoming cube of doom and destruction at maximum warp.

“So, did I do well?” Leeves asked hopefully.

“Peachy,” Rydell replied. “I’ll be sure to put you in for a commendation from the collective.”

“Thanks!” Leeves faced darkened with the realization of what that meant. “Oh…”

The turbolift doors opened allowing Commander Dillon, Commander Jaroch, Lieutenant Commander Hawkins, Lieutenant Commander Sullivan, and Lieutenant Carr to race onto the bridge.

“What’s going on?” Dillon demanded.

“Can we put it on screen, Prescott?” Rydell asked. The viewscreen image changed to show an unpleasantly familiar- shaped ship advancing towards them rapidly.

“I thought you’d wake me up for something important,” Sullivan muttered sarcastically as she took over the conn from a relieved Bailey.

“They’re hailing us,” Hawkins reported as she took over the tactical console.

“Maybe they just need to borrow a cup of sugar,” Rydell replied as he stood up and straightened his uniform. The cube image was replaced by the interior of the cube. Walkways filled with Borg alcoves stretched off in all directions as the group voice began to boom over the comm system.


Rydell rubbed his hand across his face and sighed. “Borg vessel, I am Captain Alexander Rydell of the USS Secondprize. You’ve got the wrong ship. Believe me, it happens. We get their mail all the time.”


“So is intelligence obviously,” Jaroch remarked.

“Guys, I don’t even look like Picard!” Rydell insisted. “LOOK AT ME.” The Secondprize jolted as the Borg attempted to lock on with a tractor beam.

“Shield modulations are holding for now,” Hawkins reported.

“I’m looking for a system to hide in,” Sullivan added.

“Jaroch?” Rydell said hopefully.

“They are definitely Borg.”

“Thanks a lot there, buddy,” Rydell said. “Anybody got any other bright ideas?”

“Let me try,” Dillon said, taking a step toward the viewscreen. “Borg vessel, I can promise you that this is not the Enterprise and this man is not Jean-Luc Picard. You have my word on it.”

“That will fix everything,” Sullivan muttered.


“They just aren’t listening, Captain,” Dillon said.

The ship rocked again, this time much more violently. “They’ve got us. Shields are down,” Hawkins said, pulling her sidearm.

“Now just hold on,” Rydell said. “Maybe they’ll just come over, have a look around, realize we’re not the Enterprise, and leave us alone.”

“Or assimilate us all horribly and painfully,” Jaroch said.

Hawkins checked the settings on her phaser. “Don’t worry. I’ll kill us all first.”

“That’s comforting,” Rydell said. A few moments of silence passed on the bridge.

“Shouldn’t they be doing something to us by now,” Carr asked.

“You people are in such a rush,” Rydell replied. “Just relax and wait.” They didn’t have to wait long. A second later, a Borg materialized in the center of the bridge just about a foot away from Rydell. “Hi there,” Rydell said, extending his arm to shake the Borg’s hand…er…cybernetic armature. “I am Captain Alexander Rydell. Got that? Alexander RYDELL. This is the USS Secondprize. S-E-C-O-N-D-P-R-I-Z-E.” The Borg just stared at him blankly.

“I have an idea,” Dillon said, reaching under his chair and pulling out two blue and red flags. He began gesturing wildly with the flags.

“What the hell are you doing?” Rydell demanded.

“Semaphore. I keep the flags up here for situations just like this.”

“Because flags are so useful against the Borg,” Jaroch said.

The Borg either finally got bored of the show or received new orders from the collective because it suddenly grabbed Rydell’s arm in an iron grip. “CAPTAIN JEAN-LUC PICARD, YOU WILL COME WITH US.” The Borg stopped for a moment and looked at Dillon. “WE ARE WELL STOCKED WITH ANAL LUBE. THANK YOU FOR ASKING.” Then, in a flurry of green molecules, the Borg and Rydell vanished.

On the viewscreen, the Borg cube opened a transwarp conduit and raced inside. Sullivan immediately turned the Secondprize around and shot in after the cube before the conduit had a chance to close.

“What the hell are you doing?” Dillon demanded.

“Following the captain! That is what you were about to order, wasn’t it?” Sullivan retorted pointedly.

Dillon felt the glares of the other officers bearing down him. “Um…absolutely,” Dillon lied taking a seat in the command chair. “I just wanted to give the order myself. Keep on them, Sullivan.”

“Would you just listen to me for two seconds?” Rydell pleaded as a pair of Borg led him through the dark corridors of the Borg cube. “I am not Picard. What the hell do you want with him anyway?”

“We require Picard,” the Borg to Rydell’s left said simply.

“Well, you don’t have him.” Rydell pushed his face up close to the Borg’s optical implant. “Do I look like Picard to you?”

“That is not for this drone to say.”

“Then take me to your leader.”

Rydell could almost swear he saw the Borg smirk.

Hours passed with little change as the Secondprize pursued the Borg cube through the transwarp conduit. Sullivan couldn’t tell exactly where they were or how fast they were really going, but she was positive they had traveled a hell of a long way from Federation space. The last thing she wanted was to become one of those loser ships that ended up stuck in the Delta Quadrant.

Sick of the waiting, Dillon set the senior officers to work developing plans to rescue the captain and ordered a staff meeting to discuss the result. At the end of the staff meeting, they were still no closer to a plan, but they all agreed that the eulogy Carr had written for Rydell was lovely.

Rydell shifted again on the uncomfortable bench he’d been ordered to sit on while he waited. He looked up at the two Borg standing guard. “Do you at least have an in-flight magazine?”

“No,” they both replied.

“Can you tell me where we’re going?”

“Home,” they replied. They were silent for a moment. “We are there.” The Borg on the left activated a small monitor mounted in the wall across from Rydell’s bench allowing Rydell to see an outside view. What he saw didn’t raise his spirits any.

As far as he could see in any direction, Borg structures of varying sizes and shapes filled the horizon, hovering in space like some giant erector set.

“Get up,” the Borg said, grabbing Rydell’s arms and yanking him to his feet.

“So I get to meet the Queen now?” Rydell asked, hiding his nervousness. The Borg didn’t reply. Instead, the three dematerialized, reappearing a moment later inside a large, open chamber. In the center of the room was a cylindrical structure large enough for a person to stand inside. It was unoccupied at the moment.

“Get in,” the Borg said.

“Is this the elevator to the Queen?” Rydell asked futilely. These guys didn’t like to answer questions. With no other options, Rydell obeyed. In an instant, various tubes and attachments sprung out of the sides of the cylinder and started jabbing, poking, and otherwise violating Rydell.

“Wait a second!” he shouted. “No one said anything about assimilation.”

“Sorry about that,” the Borg said.

“But…I’m not…Picard,” Rydell said, struggling not to lose consciousness as he felt the rush of tubes and nanoprobes under his skin…

…and then he felt nothing.

But then he felt EVERYTHING.

Rydell’s eyes shot open.

“WOAH!” he shouted. Every Borg in the room shouted along with him. “I AM THE BORG!”

The mood on the bridge had become decidedly morose as the Secondprize hovered on the outskirts of BorgVille trying to figure out what the hell they were going to do. Dillon had pulled out Starfleet’s The Borg’s Greatest Hits holovid to try and get some ideas, but nothing was presenting itself.

“We’re being hailed!” Hawkins announced suddenly.

“Is this a good sign?” Carr asked.

“Probably not,” Jaroch replied.

“On screen,” Dillon said, hoping against hope that he wasn’t about to be facing a Borg-controlled version of his captain all covered in implants and stuff. As the image on the viewscreen switched, Dillon grimaced. It was Rydell…all covered in implants and stuff.

“HEY, GUYS!” Rydell said warmly, his voice echoing with the plurality of the Borg.

“Return Captain Rydell to us at once!” Dillon demanded.


Dillon gestured for Hawkins to mute the comm signal and turned to face her and Jaroch. “So does this mean we attack or not?”

“No, Travis,” Hawkins said, reaching over and patting him on the head. “Just talk to the captain.”

“Right. Mute off. Sorry about that, sir. We just needed to confer for a moment. Um…well…what’s happened to you?”

“I’M THE BORG KING NOW,” Rydell replied. He leaned in toward the screen as if to speak confidentially. Somehow, he separated his voice from the rest of the Borg. “These schmucks lost two queens in three years. They decided to get Picard to be their new king figuring with his Borg experience and leadership skills that he’d be perfect for the job. But they got a little mixed-up. That happens when you don’t have a strong hand at the helm.”

“And will you be keeping this job permanently?” Dillon asked. Oh god. The paperwork required to explain this one to Starfleet would be a nightmare. On the upside, then he’d get to be captain.

“Nah. Just a week or two to get things straightened out over here and find a replacement. You guys just hang loose for a while. Rydell out.” Rydell’s image vanished and was replaced by the exterior view of BorgVille.

“Well…” Dillon said, searching through Starfleet regulations in his mind looking for some sort of precedent for the situation. “I guess we’ll…um…consider it shore leave…without the shore part. Anyone want to see my old Days of Honor vids?”

For most of the next week, Rydell was completely unaware that the Secondprize even existed. There was just too much else to be aware of. He could be anywhere other Borg were, and the best part was that he was in complete control. At the moment, he had the crews of several Assimilation-class cubes busy rebuilding several planets they had been in the process of attacking when Rydell became king. Meanwhile, he had other drones poring through books in the great libraries of the cosmos feeding him more and more knowledge. It was almost too much to take in at once. Over time, though, he learned how to keep a general level of awareness without micro-managing each little details. Besides, trying to see through several trillion Borg points of view at once gave him one hell of a headache.

His attention was drawn back to his immediate vicinity. The Secondprize was hailing. He listened in on and participated in the conversation between the Borg and his former ship at the same time. It was an oddly-dissociated feeling he was getting more and more used to. In the end, he approved the Secondprize’s request. It was reasonable after all.

Moments later, Dr. Beth Aldridge and Commander Dillon materialized in Rydell’s chamber. Aldridge immediately pulled out her medical tricorder and set to work.

“Life-signs are stable and are within Borg norms,” Aldridge reported to Dillon.

“You can talk to me, Beth. I’m right here,” Rydell said. “WE ALL ARE,” he added, taking control of the forty assorted Borg who milled about his “throne room.”

“He’s as healthy as he can be under the circumstances,” Aldridge continued without acknowledging Rydell’s words.

“What’s with her?” Rydell asked.

Dillon shuffled his feet a bit as he tried to phrase his response diplomatically. “Well…Dr. Aldridge has expressed a bit of disagreement with your decision to be the Borg King.”

Aldridge snorted derisively. “That’s an understatement.”

“What’s wrong with him?” Rydell demanded.

Aldridge turned on her captain, eyes blazing. “Just look at you. You’re hardly even human anymore. You’ve got more pipes coming in and out of you than the Secondprize’s entire plumbing system!”

“We don’t have plumbing,” Dillon corrected.

“Shut up when I’m ranting!”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“I’m still the same Alex,” Rydell said.

“When was the last time you ate?” Aldridge said.

“I don’t need food anymore.”

“Then how are you the same Alex? And what about…oh, I don’t know…sex?!?”

“Sex!” Rydell exclaimed, his face brightening. He resumed his control of the other Borg’s voices. “SEX! WATCH THIS! GROUP ORGASM!”

Suddenly, every Borg in the room began to quiver erratically and moan softly. Then, all at once, they all shuddered violently, a look of euphoria filling their faces.

“AND NOW JUST THE LADIES!” Rydell said, his voice echoing like a night club DJ. As per his command, the female Borg repeated the orgasm process.

“And you know what the best part is?” Rydell asked, his face all aglow. “I FEEL ALL OF IT!!!”

Aldridge slammed her tricorder shut and turned on Dillon. “I’m ready to go now.”

Dillon ignored her for the moment and took a couple of steps towards Rydell. “What about you, sir? When can we expect you back?”

“Just give me a few more days,” Rydell said. “There’s a couple more things I need to do.”

“Right,” Aldridge muttered.

“Think of it this way,” Rydell continued. “If I’m successful, the Borg may never be a threat again.” Dillon couldn’t argue with that logic. They’d all get commendations, probably even promotions, if Rydell was able to change the nature of the Borg.

“You know where we are if you need us,” Dillon said, slapping his commbadge. “Dillon to Secondprize. Two to beam aboard. Energize.” A second later, the two officers vanished, allowing Rydell to return his attention to the drones he had initiating contact with a lovely Delta quadrant species that had deciding clothing was completely unnecessary. Sometimes anthropology could be FUN!

Rydell’s “couple of days” stretched into two more weeks as the Secondprize sat on the outskirts of BorgVille waiting for some word from Rydell. Rydell was far too busy exploring the universe to even think about the Secondprize, much less the passage of time. Through the trillions of Borg drones scattered throughout the Delta Quadrant as well as bits of the Alpha and Beta Quadrants, Rydell had visited more worlds in three weeks than most Starfleet Officers saw in their whole lives. The contents of entire libraries were at his disposal. With no effort at all, he could remember the formula for resnofafaline and who won the Astroball tournament of 2267. Using the drones as his eyes and ears, Rydell stretched out to see the cosmos… Orlon Prime –

Patroller Sergeant Mardisa Quiri couldn’t believe her rotten luck. How had she gotten stuck on orbital duty during the Renewal Festival? Down below, the streets of every city on Orlon Prime were choked with drunken revelers engaged in all sorts of debauchery, while she sat alone in her patrol interceptor monitoring the huge crowd of starships parked in various orbits around the planet.

Orlon Prime was always packed with intergalactic tourists during Festival Week. But these latest arrivals were exactly the kind of tourists she didn’t need. Rotten luck. Rotten rotten luck.

Quiri checked her scanners again. The sensor image was unmistakable. Of course, she’d heard about this species in stories from visitors to Orlon Prime, but she’d hoped that she’d never actually be faced with a Borg cube in person.

“All right, flight group,” Quiri said into the microphone mounted in her helmet as she addressed the eleven other interceptors assigned to her patrol wing. “We’re just going to have to find a way to hold these bastards off until the fleet arrives.” Like there was a chance of that. Since it was Festival Week, the Orlon Spacefleet had moved to a neighboring system to make room for more parking. Besides, the tourists got a little jittery when they saw the huge Orlon battlecruisers. Of course, if the Borg attacked, Orlon Prime could just kiss tourism goodbye anyway.

“Standard trio flight patterns. Charge weapons to full strength.” She watched the cube slowly entering the Orlon system. Did the damn thing have a front? Hard to say. It did seem to generally be keeping one face forward, though. “We’re going to come in from underneath that monster. All trios follow my lead.”

Quiri yanked her interceptor hard to port, then rocketed ahead to meet the oncoming threat. As she passed Orlon Four, she sent her ship into a sharp dive, skirting under Orlon Four’s ringed moon just as the cube was approaching, seeming unaware or uncaring that an attack group was closing in fast.

With finely-honed precision, the trios of interceptors swept up under the massive cube ship and let loose with a devastating barrage of disruptor weapons and krionium torpedoes. As she sped away to prepare for another attack run, Quiri braced herself for the Borg’s retaliatory strike.

Instead, her comm system crackled to life with the plural voice of the Borg that had spelled doom for so many civilizations:


Quiri stared in shock at her cockpit speaker. Was this some kind of joke? “Borg vessel, um…you aren’t going to assimilate us?”


“Uh…sure,” Quiri said. Orlon Prime did have an open door policy for the Renewal Festival. If the Borg wanted to get drunk, they had as much of a right as anyone else in the galaxy. “But no assimilating!”


“Right then. Off you go, and welcome to Orlon Prime. Just check in with the parking valet.”

“THANK YOU.” And with that, the cube sailed off toward Orlon Prime…while Quiri was still stuck on patrol. Rotten luck. Mystery Moon Amusement Park –

Bufox Tanno checked to make sure his badge was on straight just before he lumbered his 300 pound frame into the control room of The Rampager, Mystery Moon’s award-winning sub-orbital roller coaster. “Good morning, ma’am, “ he said, tipping his hat to the woman operating the ride controls and flashing a toothy grin. “Somebody call security.”

“Yes,” the woman said nervously. “I just don’t know if this is really a security problem or not.”

“All right…” He looked at the woman’s name tag. “Janrell. Just tell me what’s wrong.”

“Well, I was loading the last run…the one that’s on the ride now…and, well…look.” Hitting a few quick controls on her console, she brought up a recording of the roller coaster cars loading. Bufox stared hard at the two figures climbing into the front seat.

“I’ll be a judeling fargik! Are those…?”

“I…I think so,” Janrell replied. “The coaster is arriving now.”

Bufox looked out the control room window at the cars pulling into the station. “By hybilt, those are Borg! What the nudel are they doing here?”

Suddenly, the two Borg sitting in the front seat of The Rampager leaned over in unison and began puking their cybernetic guts out.

“How can they throw up? I didn’t think Borg ate,” Janrell said in confusion.

“Could have fooled me?” Bufox replied. Rings of Rulok Ranch –

“Now let me get this straight,” Madam Mulovis, proprietress of the Rings of Rulok Ranch, i.e. brothel, said, eying the five “customers” who had recently entered her establishment. “If I give you fellas a free night with my girls, the Borg promise never to assimilate any of us. Is that it?”

“YES, MA’AM,” the five drones replied in unison.

“Sounds like a square deal to me, boys.” She looked the drones up and down one more time as she paced the foyer. “But, if you don’t mind my asking, just what do you fellas intend to do? You seem to be missing the necessary equipment.”

The lead drone turned his head to face Mulovis’ new position, his blank gaze never wavering.

“We have…attachments.” USS Secondprize –

During the additional two weeks the Secondprize spent in BorgVille, the crew gradually got used to seeing nothing but Borg architecture outside the viewports. Actually, most of them just got so drunk that the Borg presence didn’t phase them anymore. Jaroch had decided several days earlier that rescuing the captain was impossible, so he adjourned to his lab to work on something more useful: a crush-resistant uniform top that would protect the crew from Counselor Webber’s bone-crunching bear-hugs. Having been a victim of several of them himself since Webber accompanied him to Yyns a year and a half earlier, he knew the immense force she was capable of exerting.

Dillon spent most of his free time filling out the “Oops, We Lost Our Captain” paperwork Starfleet would want in case Rydell didn’t return, while Hawkins ran rescue simulation after rescue simulation in an attempt to find some way to get Rydell back. She was unsuccessful, but she did manage to set a new record for most consecutive simulated deaths in a holodeck program.

In short, the situation was not looking all that great until one day…

“Sullivan to Dillon,” the ready room speakers barked.

Commander Dillon leaned back away from the computer terminal on Rydell’s desk and rubbed his eyes. Never had he been asked to answer so many ridiculous questions. “Was your captain eaten by a Mugatu? Could you have been eaten instead, thus saving your captain’s life?” They just went on forever.

“What is it?” Dillon replied.

“We’re being hailed by a Borg drone. He wished to beam aboard.”

“Just one drone?”


“And he’s asking permission?”


“That is weird. I’ll be right out.” Dillon pulled himself out of Rydell’s desk chair (It was a damn comfy chair, too.) and headed out onto the bridge where Sullivan was waiting in the command chair. She immediately vacated it as Dillon approached. “Did he say what he wanted?” Dillon asked.

“Just that it’s about the captain,” Sullivan replied.

“What do you think, Commander?” Dillon asked, turning to Hawkins. She already had her phaser out.

“They haven’t attacked us so far,” Hawkins said. “Well, other than the initial kidnapping of Captain Rydell.”

“And they don’t usually ask nicely,” Sullivan said. “Maybe we shouldn’t piss them off.”

“Fine. Hawkins, tell him he can come aboard…alone! And get Jaroch up here.”

Moments later, a lone Borg drone materialized in the middle of the bridge. He quickly looked around with what looked like fear in his eyes. “You must help me …us…me,” the drone said finally.

“How can we be of assistance?” Dillon asked, straightening his uniform and switching into Starfleet Helper mode as Jaroch emerged from the turbolift.

“I see we have more company,” the Yynsian said.

The drone, deciding that Dillon was in charge, fell to his knees in front of the surprised officer. “The King is…driving us CRAZY!!! You have to take him back. Please! I’m…we’re…begging you!”

“Hold on a second,” Hawkins said. “What’s happened? Why are you talking like that?”

“It was the only way,” the drone replied. “I offered to be separated from the Collective to plead for your help. We can only do so much without the King becoming aware. Someone had to relinquish perfection briefly. It is painful, but it is the only way I can save us.”

“What is Captain Rydell doing?” Dillon asked. The Borg stepped over to the panel on Dillon’s command chair and inserted a long, metal spike extending from his hand into the panel.

“Look,” the Borg said pitifully as the image on the viewscreen changed. Hundreds of Borg stood in lines, their hands waving above their heads.




“Oh my god!” Dillon gasped.

“And they’re better at keeping the beat than you are, hon,” Hawkins added smiling.

The Borg pulled his spike out of the panel, ending the show. “You see how we are suffering.”

“What do you expect us to do?” Dillon said. “Captain Rydell doesn’t want to leave.”

“We cannot act against our own King directly, but we can ‘accidentally’ destroy this ship before the King completely becomes aware of what we are doing.”

“Gotcha,” Dillon said. “Okay. What’d you have in mind?”

“We will help you stage a rescue of your captain and allow you to escape without interference.”

Dillon thought for a moment. “I don’t know. Captain Rydell will be awfully upset if we take him before he’s ready to go. But…”

“Yes?” the drone said hopefully.

“We’ll do it if you promise that Borg ships will never ever attack the Secondprize ever again.”

“Yeah!” Hawkins said. “And that you’ll blow up anyone else who attacks us.”

“Yeah!” Dillon concurred.

“And you’ll give me a multiphasic interplexing quantum imager,” Jaroch exclaimed.

Dillon and Hawkins looked at each other for a moment in confusion, then shrugged.

“YEAH!” they shouted.

“Your demands will be met,” the drone said. “Now, by the collective, HELP US!”

“I still don’t like the being shot at part of this,” Lieutenant Carr groused as she piloted the shuttlecraft Consolationprize along the surface of BorgVille towards the large module housing the King’s chamber.

“It has to look real,” Hawkins said. “You ready, Doctor?”

“And waiting,” Dr. Aldridge replied anxiously as she double-checked the supplies in her med-kit. She had to get Rydell detached quickly, before he had time to take control of the drones and stop the “rescue.”

The shuttle slowed to a stop over BorgVille’s central module. “We’re in position,” Carr reported. Hawkins and Aldridge stepped back to the small transporter pad at the rear of the shuttle.

“Energize,” Aldridge said.

As soon as Aldridge and Hawkins rematerialized in Rydell’s chamber, they sprang into action. Aldridge dove at Rydell, slamming a hypospray against the side of his neck before he got much beyond, “Hey, folks. What’s up?”

Using the tightest beam she could get out of her phaser, Hawkins began slicing though the various tubes and conduits connecting Rydell to the central node of the Borg Collective. Finally, the last tube vaporized, allowing Rydell’s limp form to slump to the ground.

“He’s okay for now,” Aldridge said, leaning over Rydell with her tricorder. “But he’ll be waking up any minute now. With all those nanoprobes running around, I couldn’t be sure of my sedative dose.”

“It got the job done,” Hawkins replied, slapping her commbadge. “Hawkins to Carr. Let’s go!”

“Energizing,” Carr’s voice replied. Soon, the group was racing back towards the Secondprize.

“Power surge from the Borg!” Hawkins shouted, watching the readings on the co-pilot’s console. On cue, a green blast of energy seared past the shuttle, rocking its occupants violently. Rydell began to stir. Another shot from BorgVille grazed the port nacelle.

“I sure hope Vaughn got that cargo bay ready,” Hawkins muttered as she activated the shuttle’s comm system. “Hawkins to Secondprize. Energize!”

“Acknowledged,” Lieutenant Monica Vaughn’ voice replied even as Hawkins, Carr, Aldridge, Rydell, and the shuttle around them began to dematerialize.

Dillon waited anxiously in cargo bay two while Vaughn worked the transporter controls. Not wanting to lose a shuttle in this fake rescue (the paperwork for that was almost worse that losing a captain), Dillon had insisted that they find a way to retrieve the shuttle safely, so they had quickly set up an additional set of transporter pads in the cargo bay.

Slowly, the Consolationprize appeared complete with a couple of new scorch marks courtesy of the Borg.

“Dillon to Bridge. Get us home.”

“You got it,” Sullivan replied. “The Borg are opening a transwarp conduit for us now. I’m taking us in. Bridge out.”

“Good work, Lieutenant,” Dillon said to Vaughn as he stepped toward the shuttle hatch.

“You haven’t seen my best stuff,” Vaughn replied sultrily. Dillon ignored her and waited for the hatch to open. He didn’t have long to wait, and, judging by the sounds from within, there was at least one unhappy passenger on board.

“Why the hell did you people go and do that?” Rydell demanded as he pushed back Dillon out into the cargo bay proper followed by Aldridge, Hawkins, and Carr. He suddenly turned back on his first officer. “Well? Why?”

“Um…well…Carr heard this rumor about rogue Borg,” Dillon said. He saw Carr’s eyes widen in horror as Dillon mentioned her name. Oh well. Always sacrifice the lowest ranking officers first.

“Where did you hear this?” Rydell said, turning his glare on Carr.

“Seven Backward. News travels fast,” Carr lied as she tried to shrink into her uniform top like a turtle heading into its shell.

Rydell vented his rage at the entire group. “Do you realize what you’ve made me lose? Can any of you orgasm on command?”

“I can,” Vaughn said, raising her hand. Rydell ignored the moans coming from Vaughn’s direction as she suddenly fell behind the transporter console.

“We probably saved your life,” Dr. Aldridge insisted. She’d about had enough of Rydell’s tirade. “If we hadn’t pulled you out when we did, you most likely wouldn’t have come back at all.”

“But…but…I WAS THE BORG,” Rydell wailed.

“Here, sir,” Carr said, handing Rydell a Cherry Icee she’d ordered from the replicator while Rydell was ranting about orgasms. Rydell’s eyes brightened as he greedily sucked on the straw.

“All better now?” Carr asked.

“I missed these,” Rydell said, finally coming up for air. He shook his left arm and leg, which were covered in implants and other hardware. “Someone get this crap off of me!”

“Come on,” Aldridge said, wrapping an arm around Rydell’s shoulder as she led him toward the door. “I’ll have you back together in no time.”

“Captain’s Personal Log. Stardate 53102.4. After a thorough de-Borging by Dr. Aldridge, I have returned to duty. Meanwhile, the Secondprize is moments away from exiting the transwarp conduit which should dump us back right where we were in the Alpha Quadrant. I for one really don’t look forward to explaining all this to Starfleet, so we’ve come up with an alternate plan.”

Sullivan watched the readouts on the conn console as the Secondprize neared the end of the Borg-supplied transwarp conduit. “Exiting in three…two…one…now!”

The electrical blue of the conduit gave way to stars and blackness as the Secondprize slowed to a stop.

“We’re right where we were,” Sullivan reported.

“And surprise, surprise we’re getting a hail from Starfleet,” Hawkins said.

“Straight faces, everyone,” Rydell said as he relaxed into his command chair. “On screen.” A moment later, the agitated face of Admiral Gelbart, the commanding officer of the starbase nearest the Secondprize’s position, appeared on the screen.

“This is the Secondprize. Captain Rydell speaking. Can we help you?” Rydell said leisurely.

“Help me?” Gelbart demanded. “You’ve been missing for three weeks! Where the hell have you been?”

“What do you mean?” Rydell asked confused. “We’ve been surveying this sector for the last couple of days. Before that, we were at your starbase.”

Gelbart glared at Rydell. “Captain, the Secondprize disappeared in Sector 744 three weeks ago. Now you’re telling me nothing happened?”

“Well, we felt a little bump a minute or two ago,” Rydell offered helpfully.

“A bump, huh?” Gelbart muttered. “Damn temporal anomalies. Gelbart out.”

“And that takes care of that,” Rydell said, rising out of his chair and heading towards his ready room. “I’ll be in here if anyone needs me.”

In the meantime, he had to do some serious catching up on his Cherry Icee consumption.