Author: Anthony Butler
Then everything went dark.
Captain Andy Baxter opened his eyes, trying to shield them from the light that shined down into them.
“Over here, Seeker!” A voice said, as the weight of the sheet of duranium that had fallen on Captain Baxter was lifted.
“Captain!” a voice cried out. Baxter’s eyes began to adjust as he pulled himself out of the command chair.
“Jum?” Baxter asked, trying to clear the dust and grime from his face.
Jum walked around the tactical railing over to Baxter’s position. “It seems as though our roles are reversed.”
Baxter looked around at his ruined bridge. Maloxians were helping some of his officers onto stretchers. “How on Earth did you get here?” he asked.
“We came as soon as we could muster up a fleet.” Jum said, smiling. “Turns out I had more support among my people than I had thought. We chased the Borg out of this system before they had a chance to finish you off.”
One of the Maloxians helped Lt. Commander Prescott to her feet. “You didn’t chase them anywhere,” she said. “They could have destroyed us all had we interested them enough.”
“Still.” Jum said. “The point is, you’re safe.”
“For the moment.” Prescott said coldly.
“Do you know where they went?” Baxter asked wearily.
Jum turned to Baxter. “The last we saw, they were heading for the Flarn system.”
“We are about thirty minutes from the Borg vessel’sssssss position, Emperor.” Interim Overmaster Krenek said on the viewscreen in Emperor Mordrid’s private chamber.
“Need I remind you how important it isssss that you desssssstroy thissss pessssst, Krenek?” Mordrid asked, shifting his mighty bulk in his throne and scratching at the knob on his royal staff nervously with one claw.
“Of courssssse not, Emperor. We ssssshall not fail to protect the Empire.”
“Ssssee that you do not, Krenek.” Mordrid growled. “I will not lose a millenia-old Empire during my adminissssssssstration. Do you undersssssstand?”
“Abssssssolutely.” Krenek said. “Trussssst that I will dissssposse of thisssssss menace.”
Mordrid grunted in approval. “When I picked you to sssssserve as Interim Overmasssssster until we find a replacement for Granok, I put my absssssolute trusssst in you. Sssssee that it isss not missssplaced.”
“Undersssssstood. Crastat out.” Krenek said, his image disappearing from the screen.
Emperor Mordrid leaned over and hit a button on his terminal, switching it over to ‘A Galactic Affair.’
“And, tonight, as part of our ‘Eye on the Empire’ series,
we take a look at the powerful invader that is at this moment moving into the system.” The news reporter said. “The Federations call them Borg, and so far they have destroyed a Garibid vessel, a powerful Flarn warship, and even the Federation vessel Aerostar. Is this threat too great for even the mighty Flarn? We polled people outside the Garibid Trade Center with that question today, and this is what they had to say…
“‘It’s all over man. Judgment day. Kiss your butts goodbye, everyone!” One overzealous Garibid said.
Mordrid brought his huge claw down on the terminal, smashing it to pieces.
Doctor Janice Browning slid underneath the fallen shelves, tipped over diagnostic equipment, and ruined bulkheads, pulling out her tricorder and scanning her patient.
“Say something to me, Holly, come on!” she said, pulling out a hypospray. “I can’t lose my best nurse…not now!”
Nurse Holly Carter’s eyes fluttered open. “Dean?”
“Not even close.” Browning replied, injecting the hypospray into Carter’s neck. “C’mon with me, kiddo. You’re okay.”
“Where’s Dean? The Borg…they took him!”
Browning helped Holly stand up while Engineering crewmen and Maloxian soldiers cleared some of the debris from the science lab. “Oh, dear. That is bad. Well, don’t worry. We’ll get him back.”
“He wouldn’t give up that homing device. I should never have let him play with it…they probably killed him to get it!” Carter said as her and Browning left the science lab.
“Don’t blame yourself, Holly. There was nothing you could have done,” Browning said, leading Carter down the corridor. “Right now, though, there are injured crewmembers that need us. And I need my head nurse by my side.”
“My name is Christopher J. Henricks, my rank is Private First Class, and my serial number is 045-21-332. What do you want with me, you robotic bastards?” Henricks asked defiantly, looking out over the interior of the vast Borg ship. Huge screens all around him displayed colorful areas of space, ships, and planets.
“Christopher J. Henricks, Private First Class, 045- 21-332. You will speak for the Borg in all matters involving the humanoids of this quadrant. You will help us find our missing hive member, and you will hand over the secrets of the Federation and the Starship USS Aerostar.” The Borg collective said.
“Says who?” Henricks asked, looking angrily at the Borg soldiers that flanked him.
“Says the Borg.”
“So this is your new flagship?” Baxter asked, stepping out onto the Nantucket’s bridge.
Jum turned in the command chair to face Baxter. “Yes, Captain. Do you like it? We salvaged it from the starship graveyard, along with fourteen-odd other ships from your quadrant. This one has some stains on the upholstery and doesn’t get very many light years to the dilithium crystal, but I have to say I like the Captain’s chair.”
“It still boggles my mind how many ships were sucked into the Bermuda Expanse.” Baxter said, sitting down beside Jum.
“Well, your quadrant’s loss is our gain, Captain. And right now, we need every ship we can get.” Jum said, gesturing around. “And call me sentimental, but I really wanted another Federation ship. They’re so much more stylish than the Ferengi, Klingon, and Romulan starships.”
“That’s why everyone loves the Federation.” Baxter said sarcastically. “Now, why did you call me over here?”
“We’re receiving a subspace transmission from Sulan for you, from Wujan.” Jum replied.
“Oh, really?” Baxter asked. “Is there somewhere I can take it in private?”
“The Captain’s readyroom is back there.” Jum said, pointing at a door behind the command area.
“Thanks.” Baxter said, heading for the readyroom.
“Captain,” Wujan said on the terminal with worry on his face. “What a relief it is to see you. We weren’t exactly sure if anything or anyone would survive your battle with the Borg.”
Baxter looked down at the terminal, distracted for a moment, since he had been busy looking at the readyroom decor chosen by the Nantucket’s former Captain. It seemed as if he was a genuine fan of the old music group, “The Monkees.” How strange.
“We barely made it, Mister Prime Minister, though I’m sorry to say, your two starships did not.”
“A shame.” Wujan said gravely. “But we must press on. I just received an alarming report from the Flarn homeworld. It seems the Borg are advancing on their territory with ferocity. Their fleet of warships is doing little to slow them down.”
“So you’re going to go to their aid, after all they’ve done to this quadrant?” Baxter replied in amazement.
“I see little choice. If they assimilate the Flarn homeworld, we will doubtless be next. Jum seems to agree.”
Baxter nodded. “I see. What do you want me to do?”
“Whatever you think will help, Captain. We have been working on some new technologies here. Some that, once tested on your vessel, may be useful in defeating the Borg.”
“Do we have enough time to repair the Aerostar?” Baxter asked. “She’s pretty banged up.”
“We have a team of good engineers. As do you. It can be done. In the meantime our entire fleet, along with Jum’s, will go to the Flarn system to render whatever assistance we can.”
Baxter stood up, straightening his uniform. “I understand, Wujan. I’ll oversee the Aerostar’s repair personally.”
Wujan shook his head. “No you won’t. If I’m not mistaken, you have other matters to attend to.”
Baxter sat back down again. “What are you talking about?”
“We’ve lost contact with the Romulan vessel that attacked Jum’s vessel and kidnapped your officers. We think that something has happened to them in the Crebius cluster.”
Baxter’s eyes went wide. “Perhaps they made it home…”
“Perhaps, Captain. If so, I think you should investigate.”
“But the Borg offensive…”
“Has a slim chance of success at best. If that Romulan vessel has found the way back to the Alpha Quadrant, perhaps you can go back and get help. A few people won’t help this war, but if you are successful in returning to the Alpha Quadrant you might be able to bring back help.”
“We’re grasping at straws here, Wujan.” Baxter said, picking up a Mike Nezmith doll and idly twisting its head around.
“I know, Captain. But that is what this conflict has come to.”
Baxter put the doll down and stood up. “I can’t say I disagree. I’ll leave for the Crebius Cluster as soon as I can.”
“Good luck, Andy. And be careful.”
“Thank you, Wujan.” Baxter said, turning off the viewer and leaving the conference room.
“Everybody hold on!” Mirk cried out as the turbolift plunged downward, throwing Gellar, Peterman, Danel, and himself upward.
“You can use your powers to stop this thing from falling, right?” Gellar said fearfully. “Right?”
“I think so.” Mirk said, closing his eyes and concentrating.
“You think so?” Peterman cried. “Oh, well, then, I for one feel much better about this whole thing.”
“I don’t need your sarcasm right now!” Mirk shouted, as the turbolift continued to plummet.
“If you’re going to do something, Mirk,” Danel said, her eyes growing wide with fear. “You’d better do it n–”
Suddenly the lift stopped dead, throwing everyone to the floor. At the same time, there was a blinding flash of white light.
“Ouch.” Gellar said, trying to peel his face away from the floor.
“What happened?” Peterman said, rubbing her head.
“Mirk, you saved us…” Danel said, looking around. “Mirk?”
The Maloxian bartender was nowhere to be found.
Monstrous Flarn warships swarmed around the even more monstrous Borg vessel, weaving in and out of its flight path, weapons streaming, in an attempt to slow it down.
“What is your statusssssss, Krenek?” Mordrid asked, his image beginning to break up on the Crastat’s viewscreen.
“We are losssssing!” Krenek shouted, as the ship rattled from the Borg vessel’s fire. “Thesssse Borg are unsssstoppable!”
“We jussssst lossssst three more vessels!” Lord Jevna cried out, trying to balance himself in the command throne. “We can’t hold our posssition for long!”
“It’ssss usssselesss!” Krenek cried. “We cannot hold them for long, Mordrid…evacuate Flarn Prime…before the Empire is lost!”
“NEVER!” Mordrid shouted. “You all are Flarn. Ssssstart acting like it!”
“With all due resssspect,” Krenek said, as the ship continued to shake. “I’d jusst as sssoon be a live Lobsssstraxian than a dead Flarn!”
Mordrid looked off to the side a moment and nodded. “Lisssten, Krenek, our sssstrategists here think they have a way to defeat thesssse Borg.”
“I’m lissssstening!” Krenek cried, holding on to his command chair.
Stardate 51990.6. We are being towed back to Sulani space by one of Jum’s ships, where the Aerostar will undergo extensive and quite hurried repairs, in hopes that we can add her to the Borg offensive. In the meantime, I am meeting with my senior officers in what’s left of the conference lounge to discuss our next steps.
“They hit us pretty hard.” Lt. Commander Richards said, pointing to the destroyed sections of the Aerostar on the viewscreen in the conference room. “They cut the port nacelle right off and severely damaged the starboard one. The heaviest hull damage was in the lower Engineering decks and on scattered areas on our upper and lower saucer where the cutting beam hit.”
Captain Baxter cleared some debris from his chair and sat down. “How about casualties?”
“Janice estimates at least seventeen dead as of this moment, but there are some parts of the ship that we still can’t get to because of all the damage. I know we lost Gordy and Dunbar when Engineering was hit,” Richards continued.
“You’re forgetting Henricks and Wilcox, Commander.” Lt. Commander Prescott said warily, wiping the soot from the conference table and leaning forward. “We can’t do anything about the dead, but we sure as hell can do something about them.”
“Do you suggest we fly up to the Borg ship and ask if they would pretty please with sugar on top give us our shipmates back?” Conway asked.
“Why not?” Baxter asked, turning around to face Conway ant Prescott. “It worked for the crew of the Enterprise when Picard was kidnapped, if I’m not mistaken.”
“Yeah,” Conway said. “But that doesn’t mean it will work for us.”
“There’s only one way to find out.” Baxter said, looking to Conway. “I want you to go along with Jum and the fleet and intercept the Borg vessel. From there we can dispatch a team to recover our lost men.”
“You can’t be serious, Captain.” Conway said. “Haven’t we learned anything from Wolf 359?”
“Hopefully.” Prescott said. “Whatever the case, I’m going too.”
“I wouldn’t have it any other way.” Baxter said, turning to look at the other officers at the table. “I want you, Richards, and Larkin to go along with Commander Conway. It will be your job to penetrate the Borg defense field and rescue our officers.”
“Do you really think we have a shot at winning this thing, Andy?” Richards asked.
“Stranger things have happened.”
“And what, may I ask, will you be doing while we’re out getting carved up by the Borg?” Commander Conway asked angrily.
“I’m taking a team to the Crebius Cluster, in hopes of finding the Terminix and finding a way back to the Alpha Quadrant.”
“Sounds pretty damned contrived to me, sir.” Conway said, leaning back in his chair. “As a matter of fact, it sounds like this whole damn scheme is going to backfire on–”
Suddenly there was a loud snap, and Commander Conway fell backwards as the chair he was sitting in collapsed.
“Okay then,” Baxter said, clapping his hands together and standing up. “If there are no other objections, lets get moving.”
“We will not ask you again.” The Borg soldier said slowly. “Give us the device.”
“No give.” Crewman Wilcox said, shaking his head. “Mine.”
“We are Borg. We are superior. You will give us the device.”
“Dean superior. Dean know.” Wilcox replied. “Borgnine never get square.”
The Borg soldier moved forward. “Why must you resist? Certainly you can see that we only seek to improve the quality of life for all species.”
“Species.” Dean repeated. “My species.”
“Yes, your species.”
“Yes.” The Borg said, growing impatient. “Now hand over the square.”
“This square?” Wilcox asked, holding the square out.
“Yes.” The Borg said with anticipation, moving forward. “That square.”
“I don’t care if the power systems need to be retrofitted, I need those multiphasic scanners.” Baxter said, motioning to the small engineering crew as they prepared the runabout Pocomoke.
“Captain…” Lt. Commander Richards said, entering the shuttlebay with Dr. Browning at his side. “Are you sure this trip is a good idea?”
“No. As a matter of fact, I’m pretty sure it’s not.” Baxter said, trying to drown out the engineering crew’s rendition of Janis Joplin’s “Me and Bobby McGee.”
“This is a macho guy thing, isn’t it?” Browning asked, staring at the Pocomoke. “The Pocomoke here is just an extension of your genetalia.”
“Except mine don’t come with warp engines.” Baxter said, smiling as he called up the ship’s manifest on one of the shuttlebay’s few functioning terminals.
“This is no time for jokes,” Richards said.
“You shouldn’t lecture me on risking my life.” Baxter said, climbing into the runabout’s cockpit. “You’re going to fight the Borg. A Romulan ship and a spatial anomaly are child’s play in comparison.” Richards and Browning followed Baxter in,
looking over his shoulder as he did his preflight check.
“I never really considered that.” Richards said.
“Don’t chicken out now, lover.” Browning said, looking up at Richards. “There’s too much testosterone in the air.”
“Contrary to popular belief,” Baxter said, tapping at the panel quickly. “I don’t think any of us want to die.”
“We’re all set, Captain.” Lt. Tilleran said, entering the cockpit from the aft section.
“Good.” Baxter said. “Where are the others?”
Suddenly there was a yelp from beside the cockpit entrance where Dr. Browning was standing. The Doctor spun around, looking to see who had poked her.
“You are blocking the entrance, Doctor.” J’hana said, sliding her batleth into its sheath behind her. “Please step aside.”
Browning moved aside, rubbing her butt painfully. “You could have said excuse me.”
“But where would the fun in that be?” J’hana said. Ensigns Ford and Saral climbed in after her, weighed down with phaser rifles.
“Think you brought enough firepower?” Richards asked.
“Hardly.” J’hana said, heading towards the aft section. “It always pays to be prepared. That’s the slogan of the Andorian Space Corps, you know.”
Baxter laughed, standing up. “It’s also happens to be the motto of Earth’s Boy Scouts, but I’m sure as hell not going to tell her that.”
Browning and Richards laughed. “Me neither.” Richards said. “You guys better go.” Baxter said, extending his hand for Richards to shake. “Good luck to both of you.”
Richards pulled Baxter into a forced hug, in which Dr. Browning quickly joined.
“Stay safe, buddy.” Richards said.
“You too, pal.” Baxter said.
“I’m hungry.” Browning said.
“Where are those damn photon torpedoes already?” J’hana called out from the aft compartment, ruining the moment.
“I’ll go check.” Richards said, grabbing Browning’s hand and leading her out of the cockpit. “I’ll see you soon, Captain.”
“Undoubtedly.” Baxter said, as the cockpit doors closed.
“Okay,” The Borg soldier said with exasperation, trying his best to maintain the ominous sense of scariness that the Borg were known for. “One more time. Give us the damn device.”
“Pretty please?” Wilcox said sweetly.
“Pretty please.” The Borg repeated.
“With sugar on top?”
The Borg rolled his eyes. “With sugar on top.”
“And a cherry?”
“And a cherry.”
The Borg clenched his fists in anger, when suddenly the collective posed an interesting new strategy to him.
“Crewman Wilcox. We believe we see a triangle over there behind you.” The Borg said, pointing.
Wilcox turned his head. “Where?”
The Borg took that opportunity to bop the human over the head with his armature and grab the device.
“It is done.”
“It is no matter.” A voice said from outside the interrogation chamber. “We know all we need to know to defeat the crew of the late starship Aerostar and take over this quadrant. The device is inconsequential now. Huh-huh.”
“As you say, Beevus of Borg.” The Borg soldier, also known as twenty-two thousand three hundred and thirty-three of thirty thousand said solemnly, handing the device to the other Borg as he entered the room.
Beevus of Borg, once known as Private Christopher J. Henricks, took the device and examined it. “We now know that there is no lost Borg hive member here, and that we have been lured here under false pretenses. However, the Flarn will soon buckle under our pressure, and then we will add their biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Heh-heh.”
“Where the hell did he go?” Jelo asked angrily, looking around the dimly lit bridge of the Terminix. The last thing the changeling had seen was a blinding flash of light, and now Colonel T’Phil was conveniently gone.
“Beats me,” Cridis said, pulling himself up to the helm console. “But I know we’re not where we were a few minutes ago.”
“We made it then…” Jelo said, looking at the static filled viewscreen. “We made it back…”
“Not exactly…” Ensign Taylor said from the science console.
Jelo whipped his head around. “Where the hell are we then?”
Taylor shook his head, rechecking his readings for a third time. “In a word…nowhere.”
“Thissss doessss not ssssound sssafe.” Jevna said, as Krenek walked around to the science console.
“It isss not.” Krenek said silently, looking at the readouts on the screen. “But it may be necesssssssary.”
“But will it be worth it to desssstroy an entire inhabited planet, and possssibly the bulk of our fleet?”
Krenek nodded. “Yesssssss, if it meansssss ssssaving the empire. Helm, direct the fleet to Flarn Five, and open a channel to the duridium reactor command center there.”
“Yesssss, Overmasssster,” the helmsman said.
“Do you think desssstroying that reactor will take out the Borg vesssel?” Jevna asked, as he and Krenek looked at the schematics of the reactor core and the planet Flarn Five itself.
“I do not know, but Mordrid’s advisorsssss seemed optimissssstic.” Krenek replied.
“That may be, but it issssss not they who are putting their thorax’sss on the line.” Jevna said fearfully.
“Ssssssilence!” Krenek hissed. “The decisssion hasss been made. Now break the newssss to the poor sssssshmucksss on Flarn Five.”
First Officer’s Log,
Supplemental. We have reached Sulan, where I’m told the Aerostar will receive a somewhat hasty but nonetheless comprehensive overhaul. All I can say is that they’d better have some freaking geniuses working on her. It’ll take a miracle to make that bird fly again. After packing a few necessities for the trip ahead, I’m ready to turn the Aerostar, what’s left of her, over to her new…temporary Captain.
“What does this button do?” Dr. Browning asked, as she rubbed her hands up and down the plush, albeit somewhat charred, upholstery of the command chair.
Conway bent down, slapping the doctor’s hand away from the button. “That’s the Red Alert Button.”
“Oh.” Browning said. “So I shouldn’t push that unless there’s like, a big emergency?”
Conway picked up his shoulder pack and checked it to make sure he hadn’t forgotten anything. “Right. But you won’t need to worry. There won’t be any big emergencies. We just need a senior officer to oversee the bridge in case something does happen, and, frankly, you’re the highest ranking officer we have left around here.”
“What about all the injured people left in sickbay?” Browning asked.
Conway thought a moment. “Oh. Well, Nurse Carter can take care of them.”
“Good point.” Browning said happily, leaning back in her chair. “I’m Captain! Yay!”
“Don’t get used to it.” Conway said blandly, heading for the turbolift. “And don’t do anything stupid!”
“Come on, Commander, give me some credit.”
“Not likely.” Conway said, stepping through the turbolift doors and suddenly realizing that there was no turbolift waiting on the other side.
Browning heard Conway yelp in surprise, and as soon as she turned around, he was gone, and the lift doors had closed again.
Browning walked over to the doors and pressed the button. They opened, revealing Lt. Commander Richards. “I finally got this shaft cleared. It was a mess. But now the computer is telling me there’s another blockage on this deck.”
Dr. Browning made a disgusted face and gulped. “Christopher, I think that blockage is Commander Conway.”
Richards sighed, turning around. “Great. Computer, lower this turbolift one meter and open the doors, command override Richards Sigma two five nine.”
“Working,” said the computer.
The turbolift doors suddenly opened, allowing Commander Conway to stumble out.
“Are you okay?” Dr. Browning asked, concerned.
Conway picked himself up with a grunt. “You could have at least let me know that you were working on the turbolift, Richards!” he said, looking at the engineer in annoyance.
“Well, I’ll say one thing for you, Commander, you’re durable.” Browning said with a laugh.
“That damn thing almost crushed me.” Conway said, feeling himself all over to make sure that nothing was broken. “I could have been killed.”
“The night is still young.” Richards said, packing away his engineering tools.
“Nantucket to Aerostar.” A voice said over the comm system.
Conway walked timidly over to the tactical console, still fearing that he might have injured something. “Conway here. Go ahead, Jum.”
“The fleet has been assembled. Are you and your team ready for transport?”
“We’ll be over shortly.” Conway said. “Have your transporter room prepare for our arrival. Aerostar out.” Conway turned to Richards. “It’s time to go, elevator boy.”
“Okay, just let me say goodbye to Janice.” Richards said.
Conway nodded. “Okay, go ahead.”
Browning and Richards stared at the First Officer a moment. Finally, Richards cleared his throat.
“Oh,” Conway said, smiling nervously. “You guys want to be alone? Fine, I’ll just wait in the turbolift.”
Richards rolled his eyes. “Computer, reset turbolift to normal specifications.”
Conway approached the turbolift doors closely, timidly putting one foot down on the floor of the lift as the doors opened, looking back towards Browning and Richards. “It’s safe now, right?”
“Yes.” Richards said exasparatedly.
Conway stepped in and tugged on his uniform top indignantly. “Yeah, I knew that.”
As the lift doors closed, Richards took Browning into an embrace, hugging her tightly.
“Be careful, Christopher.” Browning said, hugging him tighter.
“You too, Captain.” Richards said, smiling.
“And bring me back a souvenir!” Browning said, as Richards bent down to grab his engineering kit.
“I’ll bring you a whole Borg to dissect, honey.” he said, stepping up to the turbolift doors.
“A tee-shirt would be fine,” Browning said, as Richards stepped into the lift with an annoyed Conway.
<Hey, look alive now. We have a lot to talk about,> The giant eyeball said, as it floated in the great expanse of the Crebius Cluster like a grape floating in purple Jell-O.
Mirk looked up. “Do I know you?”
<Let’s just say we’re acquaintances of your Captain’s. Now where is he?>
“Captain Baxter?” Mirk asked. “I have no idea. Where am I?”
<We’ll ask the questions here, bucko. Now, who the heck is this Jervat turd?>
A figure suddenly appeared in the purple expanse that Mirk floated in.
“Colonel T’Phil?” Mirk asked with disbelief.
<So you do know him. What was he doing with that ship of his? Concentrated ionic pulse indeed.>
“He was trying to get back to the Alpha quadrant.” Mirk said, rubbing his eyes. “Am I dead?”
<No, but you’re getting warmer. So, he was trying to get back to the Alpha Quadrant. I guess he thought he was pretty darn smart.>
Mirk shook his head, trying to clear his mind and organize his thoughts. “Wait a minute…you’re not the Directors, are you?”
<We sure as hell aren’t Shirley Temple.>
“Wow,” Mirk said, suddenly becoming very excited. “You don’t know how long I’ve been wanting to meet you.”
<Uh-huh. So where’s Baxter?>
“I told you, I don’t know.” Mirk said. “You guys are the Directors. Shouldn’t you know?”
<We do know where Baxter is. Let’s rephrase the question: Why isn’t Baxter here?>
“I couldn’t tell you that. Boy, do I have a lot of questions for you.”
<Indeed. We’ll try to answer as many as we can, but first, this T’Phil fellow…>
“What about him?”
<Well, is he a nice guy?>
“Definitely not.” Mirk replied.
The eyeball considered this a moment. <Uh-huh. Well, what should we do to him?>
“A painful death would be great.” Mirk said, smiling as T’Phil hung there limply in space.
<Very funny. Seriously, though. We have to do something about this ship of his. It’s in storage right now, but, frankly, it’s taking up a lot of space. And we’re in the middle of renovations as it is.>
“I really don’t know what to tell you.”
<Fair enough. We’ll send you back then, for the moment. Oh, and be careful with those powers, okay?>
“You gave me these powers, didn’t you?” Mirk asked with wonder. “I knew it.”
<We’ll talk later,> the eyeball said, as Mirk suddenly disappeared.
Commander Conway walked out onto the bridge of the Nantucket, cup of coffee in hand. The replicators had evidently been altered to produce only Maloxian cuisine, which was unfortunate, since Conway hated Maloxian coffee. It was too sweet, nutty and fruity. And right now, there weren’t any moments in Conway’s life he felt like celebrating.
“Conway,” a voice said, as the command chair turned to face the Commander.
Conway’s face twisted in disgust. “Ronan.”
Ronan smiled. “None other than. I hope you’re enjoying that coffee, Commander. May I get you something to eat to go along with it?” she snickered.
“I don’t think so. Because of you I’ll never eat salad again. Not that I did anyway,” Conway said. “Now where’s Jum?”
“In the readyroom.” Ronan said, sighing and turning the chair back to face the viewscreen. “It’s really a pity we didn’t defeat you when we had the chance. Maybe we could have prevented this whole ‘Borg’ thing from happening.”
“I guess you’ll never know.” Conway said, walking over to the readyroom doors and pressing the call button.
“Come.” Jum said from within.
Conway strolled into the readyroom and looked around. “Wow, who’s the Monkees fan?”
“The who?” Jum asked.
“No, the Monkees.” Conway replied.
“What?” Jum returned.
“Never mind.” Conway said, sitting down. “So you’ve got Ronan working with you?”
“Many of our people follow her and trust her. I needed her.”
“But she doesn’t sound quite as ready to work for the same cause as you do.” Conway said.
“Well,” Jum replied. “She did try to kill you. That has a way of sticking with a person. I believe everyone deserves a second chance, though. Give her time.”
“That’s one thing we don’t have in abundance, Jum.” Conway said. “But my team is aboard and ready to help, assuming your friend Ronan doesn’t decide to make them dinner.”
Jum shook his head. “I assure you, Commander, your team is quite safe here aboard the Nantucket.”
“I’ll take your word for it.” Conway said, when suddenly the comm system chirped pleasantly.
“Ronan to Jum. The fleet is cleared for departure. We are assigned to follow the lead vessel, the Rangar.”
“Herwan’s ship.” Conway said.
“Yes,” Jum said, standing up. “It was the idea of your Captain and of Wujan that each Maloxian ship would be paired with a Sulani vessel…for safety reasons.”
Conway followed Jum out onto the bridge. “I can just feel the trust around here.”
“Funny, I can’t.” Jum said, taking the command chair as Ronan vacated it. “Ronan, put the fleet on screen.”
Conway watched as the fleet appeared onscreen. “Good Lord, how many Sulani ships are there out there?”
“All of them, I think.” Jum said. “In addition to our own fleet. We scraped everything we could out of the starship graveyard. Ferengi, Vulcan, Breen, Yridian. We didn’t care. As long as it could go warp speed and fire those…phasers…you guys are so fond of.”
“Sounds promising.” Conway said. “How many ships are out there total?”
Jum looked to Ronan, who looked down at the tactical panel. “Eighty-seven, give or take.”
Conway let out a low whistle.
“Ronan,” Jum commanded. “Send a signal to the Rangar. We’re ready for departure.”
“The Rangar acknowledges.” Ronan said. “They are about to go to warp…”
“Helm, set course and speed to follow.” Jum said. “And engage.”
And with that, the entire fleet of eighty-seven ships (give or take) fired up their warp engines and took off into space.
“Hi there, Captain.” Counselor Peterman said, spread out on the ham and cheese sandwich seductively as it floated out in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico.
“Kelly?” Baxter asked, suddenly realizing that he was drowning.
“Come on, Andy! There’s room enough on this sandwich for both of us!”
Baxter struggled through the swelling waves, trying to grab hold of a piece of lettuce.
“Hurry!” Peterman cried.
“I’m trying, honey!” Baxter said, yanking at the lettuce. He looked back momentarily to see why Peterman was so insistent on himhurrying.
There was a whole school (or was it herd, or pack?) of sharks heading toward him.
“Help me!” Baxter said, pulling harder, when suddenly the piece of lettuce, slick with mayonnaise, slid out of the sandwich.
“Here!” Peterman cried, kneeling down and giving Baxter her hand. “Come on, hurry!”
Baxter struggled to get up and finally pulled himself on top of the piece of whole wheat bread, rolling over and sighing with relief. “Thanks, Kelly.”
Peterman leaned down and kissed him. “Don’t mention it.”
Baxter leaned up to see if the sharks were still pursuing him, and, sure enough, they were, except these were no ordinary sharks. They were cyborg sharks, with mechanical fins and eyes attached to them, and tubes coming out at odd places. And they were ghostly pale.
“Just when you thought it was safe to have a ham sandwich.” Peterman said, staring out at the sharks.
“What the hell does all this mean?” Baxter asked, trying to steady himself on the giant sandwich.
“You tell me,” a familiar voice said. Baxter turned around, to find Captain Alexander Rydell standing on the sandwich with him.
“Not you again.” Baxter sighed. “I thought I finally got rid of you.”
“You can’t get rid of your inner voice, Captain.” Rydell said. “You have to accept that.”
“So what do you mean ‘you tell me.’? I’m sitting on a ham sandwich with my girlfriend, and I’m surrounded by a school of angry Borg sharks. What the hell am I supposed to tell you?”
“I don’t know.” Rydell said mysteriously. “Although personally I’m more of a roast beef man.”
“This doesn’t make any sense.” Baxter said, when suddenly the sharks began to gnaw away at the sandwich.
Rydell laughed. “It’s not supposed to. Just like life.” With that, the apparition was gone.
Baxter clutched Counselor Peterman close to him as the sharks continued to eat around the sandwich, coming closer and closer to them.
“Just hold on to me, Kelly. Everything will be okay!”
“Yeah, right, we’re about to be eaten!” Peterman cried.
“Don’t worry, this is my dream.” Baxter said. “I can do whatever I want, right?”
“Well, then think up something to fight the sharks with!”
Baxter closed his eyes and concentrated as hard as he could. “I’m thinking, I’m thinking. Sharks…sharks…sharks…”
Suddenly four people in leather jackets emerged from the gulf, wielding bats.
“We are the Jets!” they sang. “We’re gonna get ‘em. They want to eat Captain Baxter and Counselor Peterman, but we won’t let ‘em!”
“What a messy rhyme.” Peterman said, as the gang beat mercilessly on the sharks.
“Well,” Baxter replied. “I can’t remember how the rest of the song goes.”
“Boy, boy, silly boy, be cool boy!” one of the Jets said.
“AAAAAAAAAAAAAH!” Baxter and Peterman screamed, when suddenly Baxter felt a hand slap against his face…
…Captain Baxter shot up in his bunk, banging his head on the roof of the small space.
“Goddamn runabout bunks.” Baxter cursed, when suddenly he realized what woke him up. Ensign Ford was snoring noisily in the bunk above him, and, in his sleep, his hand had fallen down into Baxter’s face.
“Stop snoring!” Baxter shouted.
The snoring continued.
Finally, Baxter grabbed Ford’s hand and dragged him out of his bunk and onto the floor. “Time to wake up, Ensign!”
Ford blinked his eyes in confusion. “What happened?”
“You were snoring.”
“Sorry.” Ford said sheepishly, rubbing his aching rear end. “Did you have to wake me up? I was having a great dream.”
“I don’t want to know about it.” Baxter said, heading out into the front compartment.
“Ah, you are up.” J’hana said from the Pocomoke’s sensor console. “We have almost reached the Crebius Cluster.”
“That’s good.” Baxter said, walking to the front of the runabout and staring out the windows as Ensign Saral and Lt. Tilleran operated the controls. “Start scanning for any telltale signs of a cloaking device.”
“You realize that the gravometric distortions within the cluster aren’t going to make that very easy,” Tilleran said.
“Yeah,” Baxter said, yawning. “Just do your best.”
“Would you like some lunch, Captain?” J’hana said, looking up at Baxter.
“No thanks.” Baxter said, rubbing his stomach. “I don’t have much of an appetite right now. I’ll be in the back if you guys need me.”
Baxter took one last look out the window as the Crebius Cluster came into view and then he turned around and headed back towards the aft section.
“Hey, Ensign Ford.” Baxter said, stretching and yawning again as he walked back into the bunk area. “Why don’t you…”
“…do a diagnostic on the scanning equipment.” Baxter said, looking around. “Ensign Ford?”
But Ford wasn’t there. As a matter of fact, nothing much at all was there, except a huge expanse of gelatinous purple cloud.
<There you are. We’ve been looking all over for you.>
“Hello?” Baxter asked, looking around. <Behind you,> the voice said exasperatedly.
Baxter turned around, to be greeted by the now familiar giant eyeball he had encountered twice before. “Oh, hi.” He said sheepishly.
<Is that all you have to say? ‘Oh, hi’? No, ‘Gee, I’m sorry I haven’t stayed in touch,’ or ‘Whoops, sorry I let an insane Romulan try and break through the portal.’ Well doesn’t that just beat all.>
“But…” Baxter said.
<No buts. Now listen carefully. We don’t have much time. Correction…you don’t have much time.>
<We said no buts. Now, we’re holding the Romulan ship, as you call it, in a pocket of non-space just on the other side of our universe. I assume you came here looking for that ship, and your…little friends?>
“Uh, yeah, actually…” Baxter said.
<Good. Well, you can have them. Get them out of our sight as soon as you can.>
“We were trying to…” Baxter replied.
<We’ll even give you a head start. Now get moving!>
“Have we found anything yet?” Ensign Ford said, walking out into the forward compartment and zipping up the front of his uniform.
“No.” J’hana grunted. “Lt. Tilleran has found nothing.”
“Of course, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t anything there.” Tilleran said from beside J’hana. “They may be cloaked.”
“Then why don’t we go in, get a closer look?” Ford asked.
“Excellent idea.” J’hana said. “However, the Captain must give the order, and I assumed he would prefer we wait until he was done with the sensor diagnostics in the aft compartment.”
“What do you mean?” Ford said. “I thought he was up here.”
“J’hana to Baxter.” J’hana said, turning in her chair. There was no response. J’hana turned to Tilleran.
“Lieutenant, reset scanners to detect Captain Baxter’s comm badge and life signs. We are going into the Cluster.”
“Acknowledged.” Tilleran said, as J’hana steered the runabout into the cluster.
Ford took a seat behind J’hana’s chair, next to Ensign Saral. “So, Ensign. What’s your sign?”
“Vulcans do not have an analog for the Zodiac system, Ensign.” Saral said, as she worked at her station.
“Too bad.” Ford said, glancing at the sensors on one of the panels near his chair. “Myself, I’m a Capricorn. You should know, Ensign, that we Capricorns are a fiery sort.”
Saral looked up momentarily. “Is that so?”
“Oh, yeah.” Ford said. “I mean, we’re unstoppable, if you know what I mean.”
“Indeed.” Saral said, returning her attention to her panel. She raised an eyebrow. “Strange. Lieutenant J’hana, I am picking up a surge in neutrino emissions twenty kilometers off our starboard bow.”
J’hana glanced over at Tilleran. “Well?”
Tilleran glanced at the readings on her panel. “I can’t be sure. There’s just too much gravometric interference.”
“Damn.” J’hana replied.
“You wouldn’t believe how much stamina a man like me has. I can go for-“ Ford said, suddenly looking out the front viewport. “J’hana!”
J’hana looked up, just in time to see a Romulan Warbird appear, seemingly from out of nowhere.
“I guess we found what we were looking for.” Ford said nervously.
“That’s not all.” Tilleran said. “I’m picking up the Captain’s comm signal inside the Warbird.”
“Their shields are down.” Saral reported from her station. “And their engines are inoperative. They appear to be drifting.”
“I wonder what happened to them?” Ford asked.
“It appears the Crebius Cluster happened to them.” J’hana replied, bringing the runabout in closer. “Ensign Saral, lock transporters onto the Captain’s signal and prepare to beam us over there.”
Captain Baxter was about to come up with a witty comeback to the eyeball’s remarks, when suddenly he found himself in a dark corridor, aboard what he supposed was the Terminix.
He was about to try and contact the runabout when he heard shuffling down the corridor. Not about to be ambushed, Baxter quickly withdrew his phaser and leaned back against the bulkhead, trying to shield himself from view.
Baxter remained this way for almost a minute, finally peeking around the corridor to see if whoever he heard was still there.
That’s when a fist came flying right into his face, sending him reeling backwards.
Lt. Gellar peeked around the corner. “Sneak up on me will ya, you Maloxian…uh-oh.” He quickly offered Captain Baxter his hand. “Where did you come from, Captain?”
“A runabout.” Baxter said, wiping the blood from his mouth. “You know that really hurt, Lieutenant.”
“That’s why I’m a security officer, Captain.” Gellar said proudly.
“Right.” Baxter said. “Where is the rest of your team? Mirk…Taylor?”
“Mirk disappeared about an hour ago. And Taylor is one of the traitors.”
“Damn.” Baxter said, his eyes becoming desperate. “And the Counselor?”
Gellar shook his head. “We were trying to find the shuttlebay after Mirk disappeared, and we were attacked by a contingent of Maloxian guards. They grabbed Peterman and Danel, then transported to who knows where.”
Baxter rubbed a hand over his face. “I would assume they were taken to the bridge. Wait a minute. Did you say Danel? Mirk’s female friend?”
“Yes, sir.” Gellar nodded. “She’s here as well.”
“Well, we’re not leaving without the others.” Baxter said, waving Gellar down the corridor.
“So what are we going to do?” Gellar said, following. “Just march right onto the bridge and ask them to please give us our people back?”
“That’s the second time someone has asked me that today. And I’ll give you the same answer. Yes.” Baxter said, proceeding down the corridor.
“Well, well, well.” Colonel T’Phil said, as Peterman and Danel were placed before him. “Aren’t you two a pretty little sight?”
“Where’s Mirk?” Danel asked angrily. “What have you done with him?”
“Oh, I have no idea where that little pissant is.” T’Phil said. “But I did have a quite fascinating discussion with the Directors, as his people call them.”
“Do we look like we care?” Peterman asked, when suddenly she felt a disruptor rifle crack against the back of her head.
“Gentle, gentle, Cridis. Human females break easily.”
“Wanna try me?” Peterman asked defiantly.
“All in good time.” T’Phil said, steepling his fingers. “Our sensors just picked up a Federation runabout moving toward us. They seem to have sent over a boarding party.”
“And we are doing nothing?” Jelo said, storming up to the command chair angrily. “How can they simply be allowed to board this ship?” “Quite simply,” T’Phil said, annoyed. “Our shields are down, our engines are inoperative, and our weapons are almost useless. But do not worry. The bridge is quite secure.”
“We’ll see.” Peterman said.
“His signal is getting very close.” Lt. Tilleran said, as J’hana, Tilleran, Ford, and Saral moved quickly through the Warbird’s corridors.
“How close?” J’hana asked, her fingers tensing around the grip of her phaser.
Suddenly Ford was pulled around the corner of the corridor, as a disruptor was jammed painfully into the side of his head.
“Whoops.” Gellar said, releasing the Ensign quickly.
“You have to stop doing that.” Baxter said. “Well, it took you guys long enough to find me.”
“Do not press your luck, Captain.” J’hana said, holstering her phaser. “What happened?”
Baxter sighed. “It would take too long to explain. And as far as luck goes, I think that ran out along time ago. Now let’s move.”
“Where are we going?” Ford asked, bringing up step next to Gellar.
“To kick some ass.” Gellar said.
“We are entering the Flarn system.” Ronan said, looking at her panel. “All ships coming out of Warp.”
“Red alert.” Jum said, leaning forward in the command chair. “Raise the shields and arm the weapons.”
Commander Conway looked down at the panel next to his chair. “Well, there’s no welcoming party, Flarn or otherwise.”
“I did not expect one.” Jum said gravely. “The Flarn have enough problems right now.”
“I am detecting a huge amount of debris.” Ronan reported.
“Enough for a fleet?” Conway asked.
“Yes.” Ronan replied, looking back down at her panel. “Wait…I’m picking up something else. A massive energy displacement near Flarn Five. Correction…where Flarn Five used to be.”
“What?” Conway asked, looking back.
“That planet has been destroyed.”
“By the Borg?” Jum asked.
“Negative.” Ronan replied. “It looks like they overloaded a duridium reactor that was directly attached the the planet’s core. Probably a strategy to defeat the Borg.”
“Sounds like it didn’t work so well.” Conway said. “Unless there happens to be some Borg debris in there somewhere.”
“Negative.” Ronan said. “As a matter of fact, I’m picking up a Borg energy signature in orbit of Flarn Prime, and-“ Ronan looked at her panel again. “Wait…one of the Flarn vessels is still functioning.”
Jum leaned forward more in the command chair. “Hail them.”
“They are responding.” Ronan said. “Their primary power core is heavily damaged, however. The ship will not last much longer.”
“On screen.” Jum ordered.
A ruined Flarn bridge appeared on the screen. All of the Flarn on the bridge appeared unconscious or dead, save the one in the command chair, who leaned his head forward weakly, supporting himself on his one good talon.
“Ssssso…your united fleet hasssss arrived.”
“What happened here?” Jum asked.
“What doesssss it look like?” the Flarn said, annoyed. “We failed. And now the empire…along with this whole quadrant…isssss doomed.”
“Maybe not.” Commander Conway said. “We’re working on a way to destroy the Borg.”
“I’m ssssssure.” The Flarn said, letting out a strained chuckle. “Good luck.”
“Who are you, anyway?” Conway asked.
“I am Krenek, Interim Overmassssster of the late Flarn Empire.” The Flarn said, revealing his shining teeth in a nasty smile. “And I’d just like to say…it wasssss fun while it lassssted…”
“Seeker…” Ronan said, when suddenly the picture of Krenek was replaced with a picture of the badly damaged Flarn warship, which promptly exploded in a huge ball of light.
The Nantucket rocked slightly as the shockwave passed.
“Proceed to Flarn Prime.” Jum said urgently.
“Having fun?” Lt. Hartley asked, strolling onto the bridge.
Dr. Browning grabbed the tactical railing, in a mad attempt to stop the Captain’s chair from spinning. “Uh…” she said dizzily. “I was doing a diagnostic on the…um…inertial dampers.”
“Right.” Hartley said, leaning on the tactical console. “Face it. You’re bored.”
Browning shrugged. “Yeah, I guess I am. There’s not a lot to do up here while the ship is being repaired.”
“Guess that’s why everyone else left to go fight the Borg and Colonel T’Phil. There’s nothing exciting happening here.”
“I for one am utterly fine with that.” Browning said, ordering a cup of hot chocolate, with extra marshmallows.
Hartley watched Dr. Browning quizzically. “You think Baxter will find us a way home?”
Browning sipped her hot chocolate and flashed Hartley a whimsical smile. “I have a feeling that somehow, along this journey, we’ll find a way home.”
“Yeah, yeah, who says an ant can’t move a rubber tree plant, I know.” Hartley said. “You can stick all that optimistic bullshit right up the warp plasma exhaust.”
“Speaking of which,” Browning said, sitting back down in the command chair. “How are the repairs coming?”
“Slow.” Hartley said. “I just came from Engineering. They just installed the new warp core, but they’re having trouble adapting the Sulani systems to ours.”
“We have a new warp core?” Browning asked in amazement.
“Yeah,” Hartley said. “Our old one was blown up along with one of our warp nacelles and half the power couplings from here to engineering.”
“Sheesh, that is bad.” Browning said. “When are the repairs supposed to be done?”
Hartley raised an eyebrow. “You sure don’t know much for an acting Captain.”
“I’ve been dizzy…I mean busy.” Browning said. “Now how long?”
“Several hours at least. And that’s a bare minimum. We’ll have the new engines and weapons, but the hull damage will still be significant.”
“Wonder how long Conway’s team can hold off the Borg until we arrive?” Browning asked, rubbing her chin.
“I hate to tell you this, Doc,” Hartley said, heading for the turbolift. “But I don’t think we’d make a hell of a lot of difference either way.”
“Yeah, well I’ll bet that’s what the grasshopper said.” Browning replied.
“It was an ant.” Hartley said, as the lift doors closed.
“Well, what do ants know anyway.” Browning said quietly, sipping at her hot chocolate.
“So you’re just going to barge in there and ask them if they will please give us our people back?” J’hana asked as she and Baxter and the rest of the team proceeded along the ruined corridor.
Baxter rolled his eyes. “I’m not even going to dignify that with an answer.”
“You realize, of course, that it will be a rollicking firefight through thirty decks all the way up there.” J’hana said.
“Yes, I do.” Baxter replied.
J’hana smiled. “Good. Just wanted to make sure we were both on the same wavelength.”
“Why don’t we just use the runabout’s transporter?” Lt. Gellar asked.
“The bridge is shielded.” Tilleran replied. “The Warbird’s outer shields are inoperative, but the internal ones are still working.”
“Exactly.” Baxter said.
“Then how the hell are we going to get to the bridge?” Ford asked.
“Simple.” Baxter replied. “We’re going to use our charm.”
Emperor Mordrid took one last look at his huge Imperial Place as Flarn One, his Imperial Shuttle, took off, en route to a special bunker created for just such an eventuality.
Mordrid watched as a Borg cutting beam lashed out of the sky and laid waste to the palace.
The (former) Emperor sighed as the intricate spires and towers crumbled and exploded in a cloud of billowing smoke.
“Emperor…we jusssssst received word…” Drak, his aide, said hurriedly, approaching Mordrid’s seat on the spacious Flarn Sky Cruiser. “The Ssssssulani and Lobssssstraxian fleet hassss entered thisssss ssssystem. They will be here within the hour.”
Mordrid grunted in satisfaction. “Good. They can die with ussss.”
“Is it not posssssssible that they may save us?” Drak asked.
Mordrid narrowed his compound eyes and smiled. “That would be ironic, don’t you think?”
“Indeed it would, Emperor.” Drak replied.
“We’re almost there guys,” Commander Conway said, sticking his head into the Nantucket’s conference lounge, where Richards, Prescott, and Larkin had set up a temporary workshop.
Richards looked up from his work, which, at the moment, happened to be Larkin’s head. “Good. We’re almost ready here.”
“What the hell are you doing?” Conway asked, surveying Larkin’s head as it sat serenely on the conference table.
“Lieutenant Larkin here is going to invade the Borg’s central net and take over its command structure,” Lt. Commander Prescott said, leaning against the table. “All we have to do is find a Borg to plug her into and we’re in.”
“But I thought Lt. Commander Data tried that when the Borg invaded the Alpha Quadrant seven years ago,” Conway said. “Won’t the pathways be protected?”
“We have prepared for that eventuality.” Larkin said as Richards rooted around in her head. “I have developed a subroutine that should break through the Borg’s defensive programs.”
“Is there any way to know if it will?” Conway asked.
“Not until we get there and try it out.” Richards said.
“Lovely.” Conway replied dryly.
“Jum to Conway. You and your team better get out here,” came Jum’s voice over the comm system.
Conway tapped his comm badge. “Acknowledged. We’ll be right out.” He looked up at Larkin again before leaving the conference room. “And for Pete’s sake, get her head back on.”
Richards, Larkin and Prescott stepped out onto the Nantucket’s bridge just as a hideious face appeared on the viewscreen.
“Federation Starship Nantucket. You will power down your engines and surrender. Resistance is futile,” the Borg that once was Private Christopher Henricks said.
“Oh my God.” Prescott said uneasily.
“You should have expected this, Commander.” Larkin said, staring at the viewscreen. “This outcome is logical, according to what we know of the Borg.”
“That doesn’t make it any easier to take, Larkin.” Prescott said softly.
“What do we tell them?” Jum asked uncertainly.
“We tell them to go to hell.” Richards said, grabbing his engineering kit and holstering his phaser and tricorder. “We’re going over there.”
Jum looked up to Ronan. “You heard them. Signal the fleet to begin their attack.”
“I repeat: Power down your engines and surrender.” Henricks repeated on the screen.
“Don’t do this, Christopher!” Lt. Commander Prescott protested, as she prepared to leave.
“Private Henricks no longer exists. There is only Beevus of Borg now. Huh-huh.”
“Sounds almost the same to me.” Conway muttered, inclining his head towards Richards’s team. “Proceed as planned, Commander.”
“Yes, sir.” Richards said, leading Prescott and Larkin to the turbolift.
“Power down your engines now or you will all be destroyed.” Beevus ordered once again.
“Listen here, Private,” Commander Conway said angrily. “You should already know this by now: we humans don’t die easily.”
“That may be so,” Beevus said hauntingly. “But you will die.”
TO BE CONTINUED…