The terrifying sight of a Borg Sphere
To: Admiral Vonte Burfict, Commander, Narendra Station
From: Captain Matsumoto Sulu, Commander, USS Excelsior
On further exploration of the space around the wormhole we found the USS Aurora, like a celestial Marie Celeste. We helped Captain Harper and her crew check the vessel and returned Aurora to her rightful master and commander: we didn’t detect any sign of tampering, or anything untoward at all for that matter. Harper reported it was as if they had left her just an hour ago. The mystery continues, but we had other matters at hand.
Adding the USS Aurora to our little flotilla was very welcome, especially after our first probe into the wormhole returned and reported back. At the far end we found a system deep in the galactic core, bright with millions of stars and dominated by a predatory black hole and its accretion disc. We also found a new signal, this time one we could decipher, and one that promised wonders for those who had “passed the test.” By this I assumed that included us, and the “test” was finding our way here…
But this interesting development was over-shadowed by the rest of the probe’s report, that we were not first to find this system: the Borg had beaten us here…
A full-sized Borg Cube, dwarfing us at a full 3000m across, was busy trying to assimilate an alien artefact similar to that we have come across before, the Cube’s entire side under some kind of re-configuration to swallow the alien ship whole. But that was not all: the Cube was accompanied by three Borg Spheres, one of which was heading slowly towards our probe at the wormhole. Only one tenth the size of a Borg Cube, these Spheres are still enormous.
The Borg’s intent was clear: they were coming for the wormhole and would find their way into the Shackleton Expanse, and at our back door.
I took the decision that we had to stop the Sphere and stop it here: after all, resistance is not futile and we should take every opportunity to let the Borg know it. Captain Nurama of the Devian agreed, and Harper placed her ship and herself under my authority as senior Captain: I took command of our little flotilla, the first example in history, I expect, of a joint Federation – Romulan military venture.
We agreed the plan:
– Excelsior and Devian would face the wormhole, and open fire as soon as the Sphere appeared, in an attempt to draw the Borg away from the wormhole;
– Aurora would hold their fire until the Borg was away from the wormhole. Aurora’s top priority was to detect and destroy any probes that the Sphere may launch to alert the other Borg ships;
– As Excelsior and Devian draw the Borg further away Aurora should attack from behind, the combined firepower hopefully enough to destroy the Sphere, and destroy the Sphere quickly;
– And all vessels should prepare tactical teams to repel the inevitable attempts by the Borg to board at strategic locations.
We waited, as ready for battle as we could be.
Five hours later the wormhole started to shimmer, and we knew the Borg was almost upon us. I issued a call to arms across the inter-linked comms systems of all three ships, and issued the order to Excelsior and Devian – “Fire At Will.”
As the Sphere appeared Tokhtakhounov fired Excelsior’s Quantum torpedoes and Devian opened up with her Disruptors. The torpedoes missed, and an explosion in Excelsior’s torpedo bay put them out of action. But the Disruptors hit, the Borg shields glowing as they took the energy.
The Sphere returned fire at Excelsior, but the evasive manoeuvers taken by Banks at the Helm meant the blast passed harmlessly by our port side.
Switching to Excelsior’s Phaser Banks Tokhtakhounov achieved a solid hit, burning through the shields – explosions shook the Sphere, but had little other noticeable effect. Devian’s Disruptors continued to fire, but with minimal impact.
The Sphere advanced, exactly as we had hoped. I ordered Excelsior to back away, keeping the distance between us to limit the threat from the Borg’s cutting lasers: I’d seen the damage these deadly weapons could wreak at Wolf 359 and wanted to protect Excelsior from that kind of punishment. Devian, on the other hand, held her ground.
As the Borg moved away from the wormhole Aurora moved into position behind the Sphere – any probes would have to go through her to get to the wormhole.
As we feared, the Borg attempted to board Excelsior, our shields useless against the strength of the Borg transporter technology. Five drones beamed directly on to my bridge, and suddenly were standing there before us.
But we were ready for them, First Officer Rekan on Excelsior’s transporter controls. He locked them as soon as the green glow of the Borg transporter beam started to appear and beamed them straight back into space: the fact that the transporter signal would be annihilated by Excelsior’s shields, and the Borg drones with it, was neither here nor there, but the threat was expertly dealt with.
As this drama played out on Excelsior’s bridge the Borg Sphere fired on the Romulan Warbird, their cutting lasers shredding but not breaching Devian’s shields. Devian returned fire at close range, and Excelsior’s Phasers scoured across the Sphere again, this time joined by Aurora’s opening attack. The Borg’s shields collapsed and more explosions rocked the grim vessel.
Excelsior was hit, but her shields took the blow. Devian was hit again, and this time their shields barely coped – another hit and the Warbird’s shields would be down. Tokhtakhounov fired the Phasers, hitting a solid blow but at the cost of blowing a circuit: Excelsior’s banks suddenly went offline. Chief Engineer Resh and his engineering crews worked feverishly to get the repairs done and get the weapons back in the fight. The Sphere was damaged but had some fight left.
Another hit from the Devian, and blasts from Aurora’s overheating Phasers, inflicted even greater damage, and the Borg Sphere was visibly struggling. This was our chance, and all three ships opened up with everything they had: we stopped firing when the Borg Sphere was a mess of twisted metal, molten debris and suffocating drones.
The battle was won, with no casualties and with only shield damage sustained. Indeed, most of the damage we need to repair was not inflicted by the Borg, and Resh and I will have a long conversation about maintenance and the upkeep of Excelsior’s weapon systems.
This report, and what looks like a one-sided victory, hides the fact that this fight could have turned out very different: one lucky hit from the Sphere, or a more successful boarding attempt, may have made the outcome very different indeed. There is room for some pride in this small achievement, but no room for complacency or over-confidence.
And as such I am formally requesting reinforcements from Narendra station. Even though I believe the Borg Cube is too large to traverse the wormhole there are still two Borg Spheres (that we know of – there may be more the probe did not detect) that could be tempted to check what happened to their third ship. We have probes stationed at the far end, so will get some warning if the Spheres head in our direction.
I think my little flotilla should be able to destroy two Borg Spheres should they both come at the same time, but it will be a close run thing.
In the meantime Nurama, Harper and I continue to plan our next step. What we need is the ability to travel stealthily in the far system, whilst keeping the flotilla together… I floated the idea of sharing the Romulan’s cloaking technology, to allow all three ships to travel cloaked. I even suggested that Romulan crews should oversee and maintain the equipment, fully expecting a flat “no.”
But Nurama simply smiled and said “we will see…”