Battle of the Apertures
From Star Trek: Theurgy Wiki
The Battle of the Apertures was an engagement fought in the Azure Nebula in 2381 between various factions aligned against the Borg Collective. The battle marked the climax of the renegade starship Theurgy's initial escape from Starfleet pursuit, as well as the final battle of the Borg's third invasion of Federation space. Due to the scale of the battle and its consequences, the Battle of the Apertures would come to be recognised as one of the most significant events of the 24th century.
The Battle of the Apertures serves as the climax of Season 01 of the Theurgy story.
Following the failures of their first two invasions of the Federation, and significant losses during conflicts with Species 8472 and the USS Voyager, the Borg were forced to resort to unconventional means to reach the Alpha Quadrant. Thus, in early 2381, two Borg cubes discovered a subspace aperture within Borg space that led to the Azure Nebula. The cubes promptly used the 50,000 lightyear shortcut and emerged in the Alpha Quadrant, swiftly moving to reconnoiter the sector, while the Collective amassed a large armada on the other end of the subspace tunnel. The invasion had begun, and the Borg Queen entered the Azure Nebula on a Tacitcal Cube ahead of the invading force - joining the two scouting cubes in Federation Space.
It didn’t take long before the Borg vanguard encountered resistance. One cube engaged and destroyed a Federation starship, the USS Endeavour. The other cube found and engaged the USS Cayuga, inflicting heavy damage and forcing the crippled Federation vessel to flee into the Azure Nebula. Still, Borg jamming prevented either the Endeavour or the Cayuga from warning the Federation of the threat. However, good fortune ensured that the Cayuga’s distress call was answered by a vector of the renegade USS Theurgy, which rendered assistance and spread the word of the Borg threat.
Meanwhile the Tactical Cube that carried the Borg Queen was discovered by a fleet of eleven Starfleet ships from Task Force Archeron, which had been hunting the Theurgy. The ensuing battle would prove to be savage. All eleven starships were lost, with all their crews either killed or assimilated, but against all odds, the Starfleet force did succeed in destroying the Borg cube. Their sacrifice, at the cost of nearly four thousand lives, would prove crucial. Shortly after the battle, the other two Borg cubes reached the debris field of the battle, and initiated the Royal Protocol - using a female drone to create the new Borg Queen.
At the same time, the USS Theurgy was locked in a battle for survival after it was forced to separate into three vectors to enact the Continuance Protocol. After numerous engagements with the Asurians, Klingons and the rest of Task Force Archeron, the three Theurgy vectors finally reunited. However, thanks to the USS Cayuga - as well as survivors of the USS Endeavour - the crew of the Theurgy now knew of the Borg threat and, faced with the prospect of an all-out Borg invasion, the Theurgy raced to the heart of the Azure Nebula and the apertures. It was there that the USS Cayuga, in conjunction with a Klingon fleet under the personal command of Chancellor Martok, engaged the Borg cube that guarded the subspace aperture.
The Battle Begins
Captain Zeigler and Chancellor Martok had a plan. The Cayuga would use its main deflector to try and seal the subspace aperture leading to Borg space, thereby thwarting the arrival of the Borg armada, while the Klingon fleet would attack the Borg cube to buy them time. However, given how long it would take for the Federation ship to seal the aperture, the Klingons faced a brutal battle.
In the following hour, the Klingons sustained heavy losses. Out of the twelve ships which started the battle, several were destroyed while yet more were assimilated. The Klingon flagship, the battleship IKC Negh’var, sustained serious damage, but nevertheless, the Klingons successfully defended the Cayuga. During the hour, however, more of High Chancellor Martok's forces arrived to the field of battle.
Unfortunately for the Klingons, however, they were compromised from within. N’Garen, a weapon’s officer onboard the Negh’var, was secretly infected by one of the parasites that had taken clandestine control of Starfleet Command. Seeking a Borg victory, N’Garen drained energy from the Negh’var´s shields, allowing Borg drones to board the battleship, with drones even beaming into the Bridge so that N’Garen herself could be assimilated. With that, the parasites would be able to infect the Borg Collective itself, a key step to the final victory of plunging the entire galaxy into darkness and chaos.
Nevertheless, the Martok and his bridge crew swiftly demonstrated their skill at close-range combat. The Klingons countered the boarding action with their signature bladed weapons, their bat´leths and d´k taghs, with Chancellor Martok himself fighting the Borg in personal combat. N’Garen saw an opportunity to assassinate the Chancellor, but after exposing herself for what she was, she was swiftly overwhelmed and killed by the Klingons.
Soon enough, the Klingons regrouped. More reinforcements joined the battle in the form of five Klingon warships, and all the while the crew of the Cayuga worked frantically to seal the aperture, the battle continued.
Finally, after an hour of battle and bloodshed, the USS Theurgy decelerated out of warp to join the battle. Under the command of acting captain Wenn Cinn, the once formidable multivector dreadnought had suffered considerable damage in the previous week. Many of its crew, including Captain Jien Ives and the ship’s artificial intelligence, Thea, had been taken captive by the Savi. All three vectors had sustained heavy damage, preventing the use of the Theurgy’s potent Multi Vector Assault Mode, while the vessel’s squadron of warp fighters were similarly diminished.
Nevertheless, Captain Wenn Cinn gave the order to engage. The Theurgy launched its squadron of warp fighters, the Lone Wolves, along with the Captain’s Yacht, the USS Allegiant, while the Borg fired upon the new arrival. Though the Borg had thus far been unable to destroy the nimble Cayuga, the far larger Theurgy was unable to evade in time as two devastating salvos slammed into the dreadnought. Within seconds, their shields were compromised and, just like the Negh´var, Borg drones beamed aboard the ship.
The Starfleet crew managed to contain the boarding party, but at great cost. Nevertheless, the Theurgy remained operational, and the large ship began to maneuver around the Borg Cube to join the Cayuga in attempting to seal the aperture, firing upon the Cube with phasers and torpedoes as they went. The Lones Wolves squadron, along with the Allegiant and the surviving Klingon ships, used the debris field around the Borg Cube to maneuver in cover, fighting desperately.
It was a few minutes after the Theurgy’s arrival, with the Negh´var trapped by a tractor beam and the Theurgy being hammered mercilessly, that they deployed a surprise weapon. The so-called “Soup Sandwich”, a cyberwarfare program developed by Lieutenant Commander Carrigan Trent, successfully compromised the Borg’s defences and weapons. The combined fleet took swift advantage with all ships firing upon the Borg cube, inflicting massive damage on the defenceless vessel. Fighters of the Lone Wolves launched bombing runs, destroying various weapons emitters before fading back into the relative safety of the debris field, while the Negh’var was able to escape the tractor beam that held it.
The Borg retaliation was both swift and brutal. Immediately after adapting to the unconventional attack, Borg weapons struck out at the exposed Klingon ships, subsequently crippling or destroying the last of them, leaving only the Federation ships to stand alone against the Borg.
The Theurgy successfully avoided the first salvo of torpedoes through the use of a Reman cloaking device, but the cloak soon failed, and yet more torpedoes overwhelmed the dreadnought’s shields, disabling a nacelle and inflicting even more damage. The Cayuga was soon hit as well, also disabling a nacelle, and it was soon apparent that neither ship would survive much longer.
The Tide Turns
It was then that a new vessel arrived: the Versant, a five kilometer long Precept-class ship of the Savi Flotilla. Following the liberation of the ship’s prisoners, a mix of captives from the USS Endeavour and the USS Theurgy, they had proceeded to gain control of the goliath ship and bring it to the battlefield. Thus, under the command of Captain Ives and with the aid of the AI Thea, the Versant opened fire on the Borg Cube with its graviton beam lances, spearing three large cavities all the way through the Borg vessel and inflicting heavy damage.
Seizing the opportunity, the surviving Lone Wolves regrouped to launch a daring attack. At the orders of Lieutenant Commander Thomas Ravon, callsign "Razor", the fighters flew directly through the holes in the Cube, firing their weapons on the unshielded interior of the vessel as they went before emerging on the other side. The density of the metal mass amplified the shockwaves of the blasts, proving far more devastating than any external attack could have been. The damage inflicted was catastrophic, permanently crippling the Cube’s ability to defend itself. The Versant and the Theurgy later finished off the Borg ship with a final barrage, permanently destroying it.
Meanwhile, through a joint effort with the Cayuga, the Theurgy was finally able to fire the soliton wave that would open the aperture that the Borg had been so ferociously defending. The mouth of the subspace tunnel was opened wide, exposing it to the Cayuga´s photon torpedoes, which impacted upon the edges of the aperture. The weapons fire successfully collapsed the aperture, but to an unexpected effect: far from collapsing the subspace structure, the torpedoes had in fact stabilised it. There seemed now to be no way of stopping the Borg armada from coming through and assimilating the entire Quadrant.
However, the sudden appearence of Doctor Nicander on the bridge of the Theurgy offered a solution - one which Captain Ives saw merit in. The officers on the Versant held a device powered by what the Borg termed “Particle 010”, but what the Federation knew as the “Omega Molecule”. If detonated, the particles were capable of unfathomable destruction that would undoubtedly destroy the subspace tunnels as well as affecting the local subspace strata for lightyears around the Azure Nebula. Warp travel in the region would be rendered impossible for millennia.
Since it could not be done remotely, the plan - desperate as it was - involved someone staying behind the detonate Omega device while the Theurgy, Cayuga and the Klingons fled at maximum warp. Two volunteers stood out: Doctor Lucan Nicander, who's credibilty was low because of him being infected by a parasite, and Captain Wenn Cinn, whom the Bajoran Prophets had manipulated events to make the sacrifice.
The decision was made, and Captain Ives gave hir orders. The Versant prisoners were beamed back home to the Theurgy, while the Omega device was taken by Wenn Cinn onto a shuttlecraft. Too heavily damaged to escape the Omega detonation, the Theurgy moved to access a different aperture, although they didn’t know where it would lead. Thus, with the Borg Cube falling apart and the Borg Queen dead, all other ships began to retreat from the battlefield. As they did, Wenn Cinn prepared to activate the weapon in last sacrificial gesture.
The Omega detonation, as feared, was enormous. The subspace tunnels were instantly destroyed, as were the hundreds of Borg cubes that were already flying through them as the tunnels collapsed. The Azure Nebula was ignited in an explosion even brighter than a supernova, with the light due to be visible across the entire galaxy for decades to come. Warp travel would become impossible in the vicinity of the Azure Nebula after the detonation, stranding millions of people and five inhabited planets without warp drive. The farthest the shockwave reached was the Nimbus System, but Starbase 84 was spared.
While the Negh´var had been disabled, more Klingon ships had arrived before the detonation, so Martok could escape on the IKS Vor'nak. The Cayuga survived, successfully outrunning the blast at high warp, as did Task Force Archeron, having been warned by the Cayuga of the threat as they approached the battlefield.
The third Borg invasion had been thwarted. While the Federation and the Klingon Empire each lost dozens of ships in the effort, the victory saved hundreds of billions of lives throughout the Alpha and Beta Quadrants and permanently closed off the Borg beachhead.
For the Savi, the battle was the start of an enormous upheaval. The presence of the parasites was exposed, as was their corruption of Savi culture and society, while the Savi themselves were exposed to both the Federation and the Klingon Empire. In the weeks to come, the Savi would become wracked by civil war.
For the USS Theurgy, the battle was extremely costly. Many lives were lost, including Lieutenant Commander Wenn Cinn, dozens of crewmen and a full third of the Lone Wolves squadron. The Theurgy itself came close to destruction during the battle, and even after emerging from an aperture several hundred lightyears away, the ship was barely spaceworthy.
Nevertheless, it had been a victory. The plans of the Infested had been foiled, while the Borg threat had been neutralised. As a result of the battle, the crew of the Theurgy gained an alliance with the Klingon Empire after Chancellor Martok personally witnessed the truth of their claims about the parasitic threat. As such the Theurgy set a course for the world of Aldea, a vassal world of the Klingons, where the Theurgy could make repairs, find safe harbour... and rest.