The whine of a transporter beam echoed throughout the empty corridors of the Regula Station. A luminescent glow spread over the center of a hallway, morphing into four distinct humanoid shapes.
Saavik waved her tricorder in all directions. “Indeterminate life signs.”
Kirk peered over Saavik’s shoulder and examined the mechanism. Cautiously, the admiral pulled a phaser from his belt.
“I don’t like this. Phasers on stun.” Kirk adjusted the weapon, signaling McCoy and Spock to do the same. “Spock, stay with Saavik. Bones and I will head over to the central computer lab.”
Spock motioned Saavik to follow him. “This way, Lieutenant.”
The pair traversed a hallway leading to the gravitronics array, stepping into the shadows and disappearing past the horizon of sight.
McCoy stood firmly at Kirk’s side. “If my scientific mind didn’t tell me otherwise, I’d swear this place was haunted.”
Kirk felt his stomach curling into a knot. The desolate corridors and ghostly vibe reminded him of the incident on Pyris VII. His imagination running wild, Kirk was half expecting a black cat, a trio of spectral hags, or another spook form to materialize around the corner, howling at him with the ominous cries of a damned soul. “Let’s just worry about finding Carol and the others,” he refocused himself.
Sensing body heat emanating from Kirk and McCoy, the octagonal folds of a mechanical door slid apart, revealing a dimly lit path leading to the central computer lab. With phaser searchlights guiding their way, Kirk and McCoy began navigating the bowels of a deepspace lab.
“What was that?” McCoy jumped as a tickling sensation crept across his heel. “Listen,” he shushed Kirk preemptively. “Do you hear that?”
Kirk shined a light on a small jagged crease at the bottom of a wall. A furry creature scrambled inside the hole. The animal squealed while wiggling its fat body through the opening.
McCoy breathed a sigh of relief. “Goddamn lab rats. Maybe that accounts for those ‘indeterminate life signs’ we picked up earlier.”
“I wouldn’t rule anything out just yet,” said Kirk. “Come on, the computer lab is straight ahead.”
Kirk and McCoy passed through another door, surrounding themselves with a circular assortment of flashing computer terminals. A comm-pic displayed the face of Uhura, broadcasting from the Enterprise. Her lips mouthed a silent greeting message. Spidery cracks ran across the other monitors, indicating damage of a deliberate nature.
“What happened here?” Kirk swept his phaser over a patch of blood-stained floor.
McCoy shuddered. “It looks like the scene of a massacre. But then, where are the bodies?”
Kirk turned to McCoy, eyes wide with shock, and jumped at what he saw. “Bones, get back!” he screamed, yanking his friend away from something lurking in the shadows.
A creaking noise grew louder with every step. The intruder stepped into a sliver of light, revealing itself.
Kirk wrapped his fingers tightly around his phaser. Then he gasped. “My God. . . .”
“Most peculiar,” said Saavik. “It is almost as if they . . . vanished.”
Spock observed his protégé gliding her tricorder over a cylindrical storage bar. He studied her expression for subtle changes, almost as if he was more interested in her reaction than in the mission at hand.
“Your speculation is most poetic, however illogical,” Spock contended. “A team of scientists cannot simply ‘vanish’ without the influence of external phenomena, the evidence for which is nonexistent.”
“What do you think happened to them?” inquired Saavik.
Before Spock could offer conjecture, the faint squeal of phaser fire snapped his attention away from Saavik. Spock and his protégé glanced at each other before rushing toward the disruption.
“Spock!” yelled McCoy, directing Spock and Saavik.
Upon arriving in the central computer station, Spock doubted his own senses. In the distance stood a monstrous, towering frame suited with exoskeletal armor. Wire bundles protruded from a strip of grey, half-mottled flesh covering what vaguely resembled a humanoid skull. Kirk wrestled with the creature, whose cybernetic appendage pinned the admiral’s neck to the wall.
Careful not to injure the admiral, Spock aimed his phaser and fired, triggering an emerald force field around the body of Kirk’s assailant.
“No, damn it!” McCoy yelled. “We already tried that!”
Spock holstered his weapon and lunged at the monster, prying its arm away from the admiral’s throat. Kirk dropped to the floor and cradled his neck, gasping for breath. McCoy rushed to the admiral’s side.
Spock twisted the shoulder flesh of his opponent and tried to administer a Vulcan nerve pinch. In response, the creature clamped its only organic hand onto Spock’s wrist, applying pressure until the captain released his hold. A blow from the mechanical claw sent Spock soaring through the air, crashing him against a facility comm-pic. Spock hit the floor, shards of glass jutting from both arms, soaked with green blood. Moaning, Spock struggled to remain conscious.
“No!” Saavik screamed.
Losing control of herself, Saavik charged the creature and leapt onto its back. The cyborg flailed its arms frantically, a limited range of motion preventing it from shaking the attacker. Following a momentary struggle, Saavik grabbed a spiraling cord bundle and tore it from the monster’s neck. Sparks flew in all directions. Saavik shielded her eyes, though not in time to avoid a bath of scorching heat. She dropped to the floor, quelling a scream. Amorphous shapes fluttered across her line of sight.
McCoy saw something move in the distance. “Lieutenant, look out!” he yelled, alerting Saavik of another cyborg surfacing from the shadows.
Saavik wasted no time in reacting. Still temporarily blinded, she felt around for Spock’s hand phaser. Recognizing the smooth surface with her fingers, she grabbed the phaser and shifted the power setting to maximum output. Relying on clunky footsteps to guide her aim, Saavik steadied the weapon and fired.
A crimson glow engulfed the creature, reducing it to a cloud of vapor. Saavik breathed a sigh of relief.
McCoy scoped around for a moment. Having cleared the area, he pulled off his jacket and fastened both sleeves around Spock’s biceps.
Saavik lowered her phaser, hands trembling. On the floor several feet away from her, the first cybernetic assailant lay on its back, still twitching slightly. Saavik raised her weapon at the creature and prepared to finish the job.
“Wait,” Kirk wheezed while standing up. Allowing McCoy to steady him, Kirk hobbled toward Saavik and gently pulled the phaser from her grip. “We can learn from it.” He turned his attention to Spock. “How is he?”
“He hasn’t lost too much blood. Fortunately none of his arteries were punctured by the glass. He can thank his Vulcan physiology for that,” McCoy quipped. “He’s a bit shaken, but he’ll live.”
Relieved, Kirk nodded. Then, still coughing, he ran his fingers over his throat, noting the impressions left behind by the creature.
“Are you all right, Admiral?” asked Spock, still lying on the floor.
“I think so, thanks to you. Speaking of which, your protégé is first rate. A trifle emotional, perhaps,” Kirk added.
“She’s half Romulan, Jim. The admixture tends to make her more volatile than—” Spock paused and reflected, “—me, for example.”
“Than you? Yes, I see that.”
“Admiral,” Saavik spoke up, reminding the others that she was still present in the room. “With all due respect, I do not agree that allowing the alien to continue living is a wise decision. I vote that we destroy it now, while we still have the chance.”
“Thank you, Lieutenant,” said Kirk. “I’ll take that under consideration, when this becomes a democracy.”
Saavik continued pressing her case, face red with irritation. “Sir, merely one of those creatures almost killed you, along with Captain Spock. If it manages to call for reinforcements—”
“Lieutenant,” Spock grunted, “the Admiral is correct. Though terribly damaged, the alien can possibly provide us with the information that we seek.”
“What do you have in mind, Spock?” asked McCoy.
“Through a mind meld, I might be able to ascertain a potential weakness in the Borg vessel—assuming that this creature is, in fact, a member of the Borg crew.”
McCoy injected Spock with a hypospray. “Easy now,” he cautioned, caressing the captain’s head.
“Spock, are you sure about this?” asked Kirk, his voice returning to normal. “It’s just that . . . remember what happened after you joined with V’ger? Your reaction to the probe left you in a disturbed emotional state. I won’t risk harming you for the sake of information.”
“As I recall, Admiral,” Spock defended, “my decision to join with V’ger, however risky, provided us with invaluable insight into the desires, thoughts, and motivations of an entity that would have destroyed every life on Earth if allowed to continue on its original course.”
“That’s true. But the information overload resulted in a severe form of shock. Even you, a Vulcan, were unable to fully process what you had discovered.” Kirk waved at the cyborg, its back glued to the floor despite jerking, robotic arm movements. “Here we have another ‘creature’ consisting of machine parts, and whose motivations are completely alien to us. Who knows if that monster even has a mind? If what Cochrane said is true, every one of those things could be controlled by a command center on the Borg vessel. Just like Landru and the Beta Three inhabitants.”
Spock pursed his lips and nodded, acknowledging the admiral’s point. “Your concerns are duly noted. If, upon initiating contact with the cyborg, I sense even the remotest possibility of danger to myself, or to any of you, I shall sever the bond immediately.”
Pressing his palms against the floor for support, Spock attempted to stand. A stabbing pain shot through his arms. Spock tried but failed to suppress a whimper.
“My God, man, take it easy!” McCoy exclaimed.
Leaning on Kirk and Saavik for support, Spock hobbled toward the creature. He knelt beside the alien and closed his eyes, purging all distractions from his mind. He allowed his fingertips to crawl across the creature’s clammy skin, searching for pressure points along its face.
The creature began to spasm, prompting Kirk to assume an offensive posture. Saavik tugged on the admiral’s shoulder and shook her head. Kirk knew when to back off, but felt uneasy about doing so. As desperate as he was to learn about the Borg, he wasn’t willing to sacrifice a fine captain—and personal friend—to do so.
The creature’s violent movements began to subside. Spock’s influence was starting to take effect.
“My mind to your mind, my thoughts to your thoughts. . . .” Spock flinched at the cacophony of voices that barked back at him. His face grew contorted with pain.
Concerned, McCoy stepped closer to Spock. Kirk placed a cautionary hand on McCoy’s arm.
“Order from chaos. We . . . are one.” At last, the logic of the Borg revealed itself to Spock. Tranquility swept over him as he continued on his quest for answers. He sensed a familiar pattern among millions, one whose voice was now an echo among the vast consciousness. Spock focused on the aberration and pushed beyond the surface of Collective thought. “Fascinating.” His expression brightened with understanding. “There was a Starfleet officer among the Collective. It was he who defeated the Borg during First Contact.”
Surprised, Kirk glanced at McCoy, then back at Spock.
“I am Locutus of Borg,” Spock said in a gravelly voice, channeling the memories of a now liberated drone. “Resistance is futile. Your life, as it has been, is over. From this time forward, you will service us. The knowledge and experience of the human Picard is part of us now.” Assuming Locutus’ frame of reference, Spock relived all of the events leading to a massacre at star system Wolf 359. “It has prepared us for all possible courses of action. Your resistance is hopeless, Number One.”
Spock visualized an alien viewscreen. Through it, he observed a flurry of Borg particle beams and gravimetric torpedoes, tearing through all Federation vessels in the sector. Soon only a graveyard of starships remained. The Borg cube continued on a trajectory toward Earth, all resistance cleared from its path.
Spock was overwhelmed with sorrow. Could this be the end of Starfleet? He pushed further into the future, desperate for answers.
Years flashed before Spock’s eyes. Another assault on Earth. This time, the battle for mankind would be waged in the past instead of the future. Here Picard, no longer enslaved as the drone Locutus, would guide the fleet to victory.
Still not satisfied, Spock continued his journey through Borg history, the Collective consciousness acting as a guide. He found himself traveling to the nether regions of the Delta Quadrant, whereupon a lone Federation ship, cut off from all human contact, had surfaced. Was it carrying survivors or explorers? Spock followed Voyager across the galaxy, rooting for her survival at every obstacle. At last, the ship’s captain—or rather, admiral—revealed herself. She was older than expected, perhaps a result of temporal displacement. The pieces were finally coming together.
In a single moment, all order collapsed into chaos. Unimaginably complex structures were reduced to rubble in the blink of an eye. The voices became unfocused before washing out in a wave of silence. Spock knew he was approaching the end of Borg history. He delved deeper into the abyss of time, searching for an end to the madness that confronted him.
An answer presented itself. During her final encounter with the Borg, Admiral Janeway of the starship Voyager had infected the Collective with a virus. Before all was lost, a final message containing instructions for where—or rather, when—to escape Janeway’s pathogen had been communicated to a lone Borg sphere, one that was immune from the sickness now spreading throughout the Collective. But from where, or whom, did the signal originate?
Sensing that the Collective was now aware of his presence, Spock stole every Borg secret that he could locate before severing the connection. Transphasic torpedoes, ablative armor, a new form of warp technology—
Spock flew back as if repelled by a violent force. Eyes bulging, Spock wheezed in shock. McCoy rushed to sedate him.
“No!” Spock exclaimed. “I am all right, Doctor.” He tugged his uniform and stood up, resuming his composure. “You should evaluate the status of the drone.”
“The drone? Is that what they’re called?” asked McCoy. Cautiously, the doctor pressed a finger on the creature’s neck, searching for a pulse. “I think it’s dead, Jim.”
“Just as I had feared,” said Spock. “The meld was too invasive for the drone in its weakened condition.”
“Spock, what happened? You were rambling about someone named Locutus,” Kirk said, “and a Starfleet admiral called Janeway. And what exactly is a transphasic torpedo?”
“Perhaps you should sit down, Admiral. I have much to discuss with all three of you.”
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Disclaimer: Star Trek and related marks, logos, and characters belong to Paramount Pictures and CBS Studios. Dialogue and scene excerpts from Star Trek: Voyager, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, and Star Trek: The Next Generation are used for transformative and non-commercial purposes only. Star Trek: Genesis is a fanfiction work and is unaffiliated with Paramount Pictures or CBS Studios. No commercial distribution of Star Trek: Genesis or its cover image is permitted.