CHAPTER 05: THE BATTLE OF THE APERTURES [ DAY 06 | 1005 hrs. ]
We spend our lives, all of us, waiting for the great day, the great battle, or the deed of power.
But that external consummation is not given to many: nor is it necessary.
So long as our being is tensed, directed with passion, towards that which is the spirit of all things,
then that spirit will emerge from our own hidden, nameless effort.
―Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
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“Personal Log, Supplemental. Stardate 57556.23. While my fate aboard is still uncertain, I do know that the warp jump has just reached it's end. For one hour, the ship was locked in the warp solution that our T'fanrell provided us as a means to escape Admiral Sankolov. During this hour, it has been revealed to us - we who served on Vector 01 - that not only are the Borg about to invade Federation space, but all those of our crew abducted by the Savi have been killed. Fed to machinery of the white dreadnought that we barely managed to get away from three days ago. These news were hard on Commander Trent, since Heather McMillan was one of those who Nicander saw. Sufficed to say, Wenn Cinn remains our Commanding Officer.
Moreover, we have learned that Doctor Nicander - one of the Infested - used the same kind of farseeing to learn the shield harmonics of the Rotarran. While this might give credence to the Doctor's word and will to aid the crew, the more worrying aspect of that feat is that the Borg are about to invade, and there is a Host serving close to High Chancellor Martok. The nameless darkness we fight seek the knowledge of the Collective - to get access to the hive mind - and there is Host right at the gates, ready to be assimilated at the onset of the invasion.
Currently, we are in the Ithacae System, a stone's throw from the Coreless Moon. Our coordinates were set to the fourth planet, but the warp field did not carry us all the way there. Now, we prepare to stop the Borg, and to set a new course. For the Heart of the Azure Nebula.”
― Lieutenant Commander Dewitt, the USS Theurgy
[ Lt. Tyreke Okafor | Main Bridge | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ]
The sight of the Coreless Moon on the viewscreen did nothing to settle Tyreke's nerves, knowing that this was - allegedly - a place that had wiped out a Klingon carrier and its Phantom fighters. It seemed so derelict, and yet had some kind of hidden defence system. The reports from the away team that had visited the place suggested that - as far as Heather McMillan had learned - the moon's defence systems were depleted by then, and that they had naught to fear. Looking at it's ominous sight, Tyreke certainly wasn't interested in staying to find out whether or not the reports were correct.
"While propulsion system diagnostics are underway..." he said to Wenn Cinn, who sat in the centre chair on the Main Bridge, but also glanced towards the helm and Lieutenant Derik Veradin, "...I think we need to calculate how fast we can get to the apertures, now that we're out of the warp jump." At the Science station, Tyreke was accompanied by Vivian Martin and Vael Kaeris. Martin had the main console, and Kaeris was seated next to Okafor.
Next to Veradin, who would be telling them the distance for the next jump, sat Nator 159, the Acting Chief of Operations since Natalie Stark was standing next to Wenn Cinn. Behind them, at the holo table, Cameron Henshaw was back in her ordinary working environment. Meanwhile, in Tactical, Leon Marquez was back at his station, with T'Less and Salem Martin - Vivan's brother - at the stations behind Marquez. In Engineering, Suq was present with O'Connell down in Main Engineering. Behind Suq were Morgan Song and Ensign Carla Abner. Further towards the front of the bridge were Selena Ravenholm and Faye Eloi-Danvers, the latter having taken the seat of the late Keval ch'Rayya.
The bridge crew was ready, and as soon as ETA was settled, the Captain was expected to say words about what awaited them. Martok and a Klingon fleet might be there, at the heart of the Azure Nebula, along with the Cayuga, but be that as it may, the fate of the Federation was in the balance.
This was, however, the moment when someone unexpected entered the bridge.
An Asurian, no less.
MEANWHILE | FGC-SR37-758 | THE HEART OF THE AZURE NEBULA
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[ High Chancellor Martok, son of Urthog | Bridge | Negh'Var battleship IKS Negh'Var | Azure Nebula ] Attn: All
Entering the bridge of the IKS Negh'Var, Martok snarled to the present bridge officers. "What is this Federation starship I hear about?"
Martok had no inclination to rename the ship for his old bird-of-prey, like he had done with the carrier-version of a Negh'Var when he'd selected a flagship for himself. That damaged carrier had been sent limping back behind the Empire's borders, and this current command of the IKS Negh'Var was more out of necessity than choice. He was not so vain that he'd only lead a ship under the proud name Rotarran into battle. The older Negh'Var would suffice, and the stakes were too high.
"It's the USS Cayuga, Chancellor," said N'Garen, whom would serve with him still, along with the other trusted officers from the Rotarran. Since her hair had been melted in the battle with the Theurgy, N'Garen had shaved that side of her head. "They are saying they survived an encounter with the Borg in this nebula. They claim they know how to open the hidden gate, and to destroy it. Their Captain, a Human female named Ziegler, say they wish to speak with you privately. They have questioned my honour in not telling me anything more."
Martok loathed political schemes and tactics to begin with, even if he had to learn to navigate such waters when he took on his role, but openly refusing to speak with his bridge crew? He did not like the sound of it, even if it wasn't unheard of. It did irk him how strongly N'Garen reacted to the request, but most of all, he wished to know who this Ziegler was.
"Do we know anything about this ship?" he said curling his upper lip as he considered his options.
"Science vessel. Long range explorer. The Captain - Ziegler - is what stands out," said N'Garen, obviously having looked the ship up already. "She used to be the First Officer on the Theurgy, up until last year, when the multivector dreadnought went rogue. Chancellor, I do not believe this can be a coincidence."
Martok narrowed his eyes. As conspiratory as N'Garen was acting, there was some merit to her claim. What were the odds that the Theurgy would be in the Azure Nebula alongside the ship that it's former XO now commanded? What did this Ziegler wish to tell him our of eashot from the rest of his crew? Were it lies to affect his actions, or things of actual merit? He had little to loose, since the Empire had heeded his call, and mobilised a small fleet of ships within less than a day from the first sighting of the Borg cube.
He saw them there, on his viewscreeen. Four Vorcha-class attack cruisers and seven K'vort-class bird-of-prey. More were on the way, all other missions abandoned.
"Hail this Ziegler. I will speak to her here," said Martok, folding his hands into fists as he stared on the screen. Yet no feed came. After a couple of seconds, Martok turned to look at N'Garen. "I said, hail that starship. I will judge the merit of their claims."
"Chancellor..." said N'Garen, and somehow, the tone of her voice did not match the new threat on the horizon. "There is another ship. It's dropping out of warp now."
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[ The Borg Queen | Cube M-582 | Azure Nebula ]
Standing in her alcove, the Borg Queen opened her eyes - seeing with far more than those organic orbs might.
She saw the twelve Klingon ships in front of Cube M-582, along with the small Federation starship. The sensors told her how many living beings were aboard those vessels, available for assimilation. Expected outcome of a battle was set, the tactics required predicted. The priority was, of course, not the assimilation of more drones. No, the presence the ships were not opportune, since the arrival of the invasion force was due.
The Queen stepped out of her alcove, staring ahead of her as she walked - smiling faintly at the prospect of clearing out the area surrounding the apertures. All unnecessary organic tissue had been removed, her body restored to fit the royal platform. She had shed neither regret nor made any sound of pain when her limbs had been severed, and the majority of her torso had been discarded. She made her wish known, her will seamlessly executing her command. She was not separate from her vessel, much less the drones. She was the one who was many. She was the Borg.
NEW PRIMARY DIRECTIVE SET: NEUTRALISATION OF 13 VESSELS
/ TECHNICAL DATA FROM RECENTLY ASSIMILATED UNITS INDICATE EXPECTED OPPOSITION TACTICS AND CAPABILITIES
And thus, what would be known as the Battle of the Apertures began.
OOC: All right! New chapter is up! Considering how this is the day before Christmas, I feel that it wouldn't be sound to set a 7 day response time to this starter just yet. I will simply post it for now, and start up discussions about the development starting today. I hope this finds you all well out there, and that you are looking forward to begin the final chapter of this Episode. Don't forget to check out the Borg Queen!
Edit: Here is a new page I've made to help everyone learn what their characters might be doing! LINK
The naming convention for Chapter 05 threads is CH05: S [D06|1000] Insert Title. The important thing here is to keep the start-time at 1000 hrs. for the time being, running parallel with this thread. Once certain upcoming decisions have been made on the Main Bridge, I will be able to open up for a time span of Supplemental threads between 1000 hrs. and XXXX hrs.