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Saviour's Revenant

richardhanlenrichardhanlen Member Posts: 15 Arc User
This story is actually a sequel to a story that I have not completed in a usable form yet. So a lot of references are to this previous adventure. The main character here is the daughter of the main character of the previous story. In time I may have a workable story that I can present here if there is enough interest for it. Because of this, I am open to questions and constructive criticisms. If I need to append this work so that it is more understandable, I will do so. There is a new class of ship that I have created in keeping with this story and I will post and appendix with details about it when the time is appropriate. In the meantime, please enjoy this story and I will hopefully be able to post further parts as time goes by.

It has been nineteen months since his death. Nineteen months of rescuing the people freed from the Borg collective. Hundreds of thousands have already found their way home with our help. Yet there are hundreds of thousands more out there still. It was a daunting task and some days it overwhelmed her. How could I hope to rescue a fraction of them, much less all of them, Seven asked herself repeatedly. And every time she did ask, his face would appear in her minds eye and smile at her the way he did when it was just for her. And he would tell her, you have saved so many already, I know you can bring them home. She missed him terribly, so terribly.
What she didn't expect, shortly after his death, that she would be quite busy with another miracle as she saw it. She had been pregnant. When the doctor told her that, she just sat there, stunned. After a long moment, stoically, quietly, she wept, unconsciously holding her abdomen with her hand. That's when the doctor shocked her again. It turned out that the nature of her pregnancy would be different and very dangerous. Whatever Borg heritage she kept was playing a large part of what was happening. An even larger part was due to, not only Hanlen's DNA, but his Borg nanites as well. The tests revealed that she had become something akin to a Borg maturation chamber. The pregnancy would be sped up and development of the child would be concentrated in time. What would naturally have taken nine months, her pregnancy was two.
The doctors were right and it was a difficult time for her and the child. She spent a lot of time in the Starfleet research hospital. The medical community were stunned at the nature of the process and many things they couldn't explain and even her knowledge of Borg technology was inadequate to explanation. However, after two months, she gave birth to a healthy baby girl. In that moment she was remembering the things Hanlen showed her through his telepathy and the way only he could see them as a way to get her through the ordeal. In that moment she was seeing a star in nova in all its glory and the beauty of it as seen by him. Then she saw her child and that beauty paled to this wonderful gift. So she named her Nova Hanlen.
But, that wasn't the end. Whatever happened in the combination of her DNA and his, her nanites and his, it was still at work. In a month, the newborn was a toddler, up and walking. The maturation process was still in effect, even though what she, or anyone else, knew it was impossible without outside help. Federation scientists kept a close eye on things and Seven was protective of her child. They wanted to do all kinds of experiments but, she wouldn't have it. She agreed to some tests that were not invasive and the results were stunning. She was perfectly healthy and well on her way to becoming a well developed human.
Seven half expected that Nova would inherit her fathers genetic mutation. Yet, she had the most intense, striking green eyes and jet black hair. Well, once she had hair of course. According to the medical examinations, she was a normal child with no mutations. She could see just as any normal human could. The doctors did discover that her biological make-up was heavily infused with Borg nanites. Yet she appeared normal, no pale skin, no implants, no irritation from said implants. Whenever Seven looked at her in wonder, Nova would look back at her and smile. Seven swore it was a knowing smile too.
Within a few months it became readily apparent that her mental capacity was also sped up along with her physical. It was confirmed that Nova's intelligence was rated very high at all stages of development. It was expected that because of the accelerated development that she would develop psychological problems related to lack of time for that development. Yet, she didn't. She was still a normal child three or four times her actual age. In fact, she was on par with the children who were that age. As time went by though, Seven noticed something about her that was different.
She was out walking with Nova. She appeared to be about five years old (she was actually 10 months) and they walked past Hanlens memorial. It was a bronze statue that was forty metres tall. It featured Hanlen standing atop a model of his Borg cube that he personally commanded during a massive attack on the Federation a few years ago. He had his right fore-arm held out, palm up with a hologram of the seal of the United Federation of Planets floating above it. When Nova first saw that statue, she pointed at it and said "Daddy". Seven had to stop, she hadn't had time to show her what her father looked like yet. There she was, beaming up at the statue and Seven had no idea how Nova knew that was her father.
"Nova," Seven said, with a catch in her throat.
Nova looked back at Seven, "Yes Mommy?"
"How-" damn it, why did her eyes have to burn with these tears she didn't want to shed, "How do you know that was your father?"
She shrugged, "I just do."
Seven stared at her a moment, looked at the statue then back at Nova.
She patted Sevens hand that held hers, "It's okay Mommy, he was a hero."
Seven could only stare for a moment. She blinked, "Yes he was Nova."
That shook her to the core. It appeared that Nova had information that no one had imparted to her yet. At least not that she knew of, yet Seven was always with her so how could she have known? Maybe there was a transfer of information through the nanites. But that would mean she would have to have been connected to the collective to get it. But the collective didn't exist anymore. Could she have gotten the information from Seven somehow? She didn't know. What she knew of the Borg and it's collective memories was imparted to her through her link to that collective. There wasn't a link to her daughter, she didn't hear Nova's voice in her head. Something else must be going on here.
Another indication that there was something more to Nova occurred four months later. At this time she appeared to be eight years old. Seven had been going over her notes of the latest batch of freed Borg when she heard Nova crying. Nothing overly dramatic, just some soft sobbing. She went to find Nova and find what was wrong. She found Nova at her desk in her room. Seven flicked her eyes at the holo-screen that Nova was watching. Surprisingly it had the interview that Richard had shortly after he returned from being tortured and he became a Borg. Nova looked at her mother when she paused at her doorway.
Tears were streaming down her face, "Why did they do that to him Mommy?" she said breathlessly.
Seven immediately went to her and gathered Nova in her arms.
"I don't know honey. They wanted some information from him or they wanted to make him do what they wanted. I don't know."
"Daddy said some terrible things, what they did to him. They.. They- Oh Mommy, it was horrible." she began sobbing again.
Seven looked at the paused recording and looked at his image. He looked terrible, she saw the demons behind his black eyes. The horrible pain that was inflicted on him. That darkness that nearly consumed him stared back at her through that recording. She flicked her eyes to the information stamp in the upper left corner. She had to take her eyes off him, it was too frightening to see at that moment.
That's when she noticed the header: 'Top Secret: eyes only or better. Level fourteen security clearance or better to view this file.'
Seven's eyes widened in fear. They'll know she's accessed this file, they'll be here any minute.
Gently, Seven held Nova out at arms length so she could look at her, "Honey, this file is highly classified. You're not supposed to be looking at it. How did you get access to it?"
Nova sniffed and visibly got herself under control once she realized her mother was afraid, "Oh, don't worry Mommy, I made sure they wouldn't know I saw it."
"But they have all kinds of security on these files. You'd have to be more than a master hacker to get around them."
"I know Mommy." she smiled reassuringly.
She stared at Nova for a moment, glanced at the recording, "But you've barely started school and-"
"It's okay Mommy. I know what I am doing." she turned around and worked the holo-screen and the recording winked out and she shut down the unit.
Nova turned back to her mother and smiled. Seven was struck by how much she looked like her father whenever he smiled at her like that. It was usually his way of telling her to trust him when she wasn't sure what he was doing was going to work at all.
Seven realized she was still bracing herself for the inevitable invasion of security forces into her home. She saw that smile and relaxed despite herself.
"All right honey, just... don't do it again. Please. I don't want you to get into trouble."
"Okay, I'll be good." her smile slowly disappeared as she remembered what she had watched, "It still wasn't right what they did to him Mommy."
"I know sweetie, I know." Seven hugged Nova again.

Comments

  • richardhanlenrichardhanlen Member Posts: 15 Arc User
    It appears my formatting has not translated well. I while endeavour to fix this and keep it mind in future.

    It was shortly after this that Seven was visited by Captain Harry Kim. He visited them a lot as well as the others from that memorable time aboard the USS Voyager. He took to Nova like a favourite uncle and she always loved it when he came by. Might have something to do with the fat bag of butterscotch cream hard candy he always seemed to have for her.

    "Captain Harry!" squealed Nova when Seven answered the door. She flung herself into his open arms.

    "Hey there, short stuff, good to see you." sure enough she pulled away from him with a big bag of candy in her hands.

    "Thank you Captain Harry." she said as she looked up at him with a candy in her mouth.

    "You're welcome. I hear you have been doing very well in your school work."

    Nova nodded excitedly, "Yes, my teacher thinks I can move on to even harder stuff."

    "That's great. Are you sure you can do it?" He said with a mock seriousness.

    "Of course I can! It's me remember?"

    "Oh, how could I forget that." he said, smacking his forehead.

    Seven rolled her eyes at him.

    Kim winked at Seven, "Unfortunately, I gotta talk to your Mom for a little while now. Why don't you look for a book for you to read to me. You know how terrible my eyesight is with reading."

    "Okay Captain Harry. But your eyesight is just fine. I know you scored a 95 at the rifle competition last week." with that, she ran off to her room.

    "You know you can't fool her Mr. Kim." Seven said.

    "Yes I know, but I can try can't I? And how many times do I have to tell you it's Harry." He stated as they walked into the living room.

    Seven ignored the admonishment, "I take it you have some news for me?" she asked as they sat in paired armchairs.

    "Astute as always and straight to business huh?" His smile diminished a little, "I just came to let you know that they finalized the new class of ship that I told you about."

    "Oh? Is it going to be that new class that was brought forward by the Department of Naval Procurement six months ago?"

    "Yes," Harry answered soberly, "it'll be a brand new type as well as class for Starfleet. Navy brass are calling it a dreadnought type. Given that 85% of her length is taken up by a graviton pulse cannon. Based on the fact that she will be two and half, three times the size of an old D'Deridex class Romulan warbird in every dimension, that's a pretty darn big weapon."

    "What about Starfleet's mandate that they are an exploration organization as opposed to a military one?"

    "Well, there was a lot of resistance to this new type of ship. For one, it's strictly military, no provisions for exploration, at least not overly large ones anyway. I can understand the resistance to it; we are a peaceful nation after all and learning new things is what we strive for. However, the case for a type like this was well made and a lot of past incidents have shown that something like this is needed. Given the foes we have faced, I tend to agree." He looked pointedly at Seven.

    "Granted. However, the Borg no longer exist, therefore their threat is no longer relevant."

    "Oh, of course. I can understand that but, who's to say there isn't something nastier out there. The dissolution of the Borg collective left a very big power vacuum and who knows what will replace it."

    "I can't imagine anything nastier than the Borg but, your point is valid."

    "Not to mention the unrest that seems to be taking root here at home. Not just here but, all over the Alpha and Beta Quadrants."

    Seven nodded.

    "On a more personal note, they have decided that I will captain the first of it's class."

    "Really? That's wonderful Mr. Kim, congratulations."

    "Aren't you curious as to what they are going to call her?" he said with a playful smile.

    "Mr. Kim, I am normally not one for guessing games."

    "True. Although you could use a little playtime now and then."

    She stared at him, clearly not amused.

    "All right," he raised his hands in mock surrender, "you win. I can never resist the Seven of Nine stare. She is going to be christened, the USS Richard Isaac Hanlen."

    Her eyes widened, she forgot for a moment that Richard was held very highly in the esteem of the Federation, let alone Starfleet. Not to mention many of the other nations of this part of the galaxy.

    She sat there for a moment, trying to sort through her emotions. She was happy they were going to recognize him this way. He loved commanding starships. Pain at the loss of him because he did. Trepidation that his name would be attached to something like this. The Federation didn't really like anything overtly military. Amusement because she knew what he would think of this. Sorrow because she wouldn't see his amusement.

    She felt Harry's hand on her forearm.

    "Seven? Are you okay?" he asked softly.

    She took a deep breath, "Yes, I will be."

    "They want you to christen her." still softly.

    "They do?"

    "Yes, however, they are prepared to ask someone else if you'd rather not. They'll understand, so would I when it comes down to it."

    She shook her head, "No, I will do it. I'm pretty sure Nova would be quite upset if I didn't."

    "We'd never hear the end of it." Harry smiled.
  • richardhanlenrichardhanlen Member Posts: 15 Arc User
    Three months had passed, the USS Hanlen was launched and Nova was set to begin her junior high education. She appeared to be twelve or thirteen and her ability to absorb knowledge was phenomenal. Her physical abilities seemed to be keeping apace with her intelligence development. Seven was worried about her and how all of this was affecting her but, Nova kept reassuring her she was all right. The doctors kept commenting on her nanites and how many she had. It appeared she had more than the average drone would have. Yet she had no implants, no symptoms of being a drone. She appeared to be a normal twelve year-old girl. Seven knew that appearances can be deceiving.

    So far, life had been tough, at least from the friends aspect. Nova appeared to be around eighteen years old but, in truth, she was a year old. That kind of growth and development should have caused many problems, physical as well as psychological, but it didn't. At least she didn't think so, she felt fine and normal. Apart from the fact that she seemed to know a lot of things without being taught them. Her mother knew that but, she didn't understand how or why it worked. Come to think of it, neither did Nova. Yet, there it was. Her tenure at school was very intense as she proved to everyone she knew all that information anyway. Not to mention short. To her, school was nothing but a battery of tests to show what she knew and she knew all of it. The doctors and scientists that came in on her case were baffled, they couldn't figure out what was going on.

    She is a Borg. But not just any Borg apparently. She was the daughter of the famous Admiral Richard Hanlen. She had nanites in her system like a Borg but, the scientists told her that they were different somehow. They were similar to the Admirals nanites but not exactly the same. For one thing, she had no outward signs or symptoms of an assimilated human. No implants, no irritation of the skin, none of that. They doctors looked for internal implants but, there didn't appear to be any. Her organs however, weren't quite... normal. It seemed to be beyond their knowledge. Nova took the practical view that she was just a normal human being with exceptional parents.

    Today they had her doing physical tests, how much she could lift, how good was her eyesight, how well she could hear, etc. She just did the tests and didn't let it bother her. For one thing her mother was there and she loved her very much. When things got hard, mom was always there for her. She could see her sadness and knew that she was still grieving her father. She never knew him, yet she did, she couldn't explain it but, he was there, in her mind. Mom would describe to her on lonely nights the things he saw and the unique way he saw them and she would fall asleep imagining the universe the way he knew it. Somehow, that made life without him a little easier, having mom willing, even though it clearly hurt, to share him with her. She just wished she could take moms pain away.

    She was sprinting on a treadmill and the doctors and scientists were measuring all kinds of things. That's when Captain Harry came in. She looked over at him and waved cheerily. He smiled widely and waved back. She continued her sprint. She could give him a hug when she was done.

    "Hello, Mr. Kim." Seven greeted Harry.

    Harry sighed as he contemplated telling her to call him Harry. Again. He looked into her eyes and knew it would have been futile. "Hello Seven, how is she doing." he pointed at Nova.

    "Remarkably." she stated simply. She looked over at her daughter, "She has surpassed all expectations. The doctors tell me they can't really quantify her potential."

    "Quant-" Harry began incredulous, "This is your daughter Seven. She isn't Borg."

    She looked back at Harry, her eyes the usual Borg cold, yet something else was there, something Harry hadn't seen there before. "She is my daughter. She has Borg technology in her physiological makeup. What else would she be?"

    "Seven, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to offend you."

    "Do you know how long she has been running like that?" she pointed at Nova, still looking at Harry.

    He glanced at Nova, he looked at her readings displayed for them to see. He noticed that given the amount of exertion, they were low. "I'd say she just started a few minutes ago."

    "She's been in full sprint for forty-five minutes, with no sign of slowing down."

    Harry's surprised face twitched back to Seven. "Fort- That's impossible. Even a drone couldn't do that."

    Seven just shook her head with a small smile. There was warmth in her voice now, "I know Mr. Kim. Nova is something else entirely."

    Harry could only nod his head. He turned and looked at Nova fully and watched her run. The grace she ran with was definitely not borg-like. She looked at Harry and she smiled as she ran. She had no signs of heavy exertion, her breathing seemed just a little faster than at rest. Her skin was a little flushed but, there was no sweat, no visible signs of fatigue. The doctor in charge sighed heavily and turned to Nova.

    "Okay Ms. Hanlen, I think that will do. Thank you." he said heavily.

    Nova slowed down and stopped with that same grace. It was almost other-worldly. "Okay doc. I hoped I helped."

    The doctor smiled and nodded at her.

    Suddenly she was hugging Harry in her usual enthusiasm. She was 170 centimetres tall so it was quite the hug. "Hi Captain Harry! It's always good to see you."

    Harry held her out by the shoulders, "I see the inquisition hasn't curbed your spirit."

    "Nothing I can't handle Captain Harry. Although I will question your presence here. You don't usually come to my tests."

    "Well, you caught me. I did want to catch you both before I had to go off to my next command."

    Seven's face went stony for a moment but, it was surprisingly brief, "The USS Hanlen."

    "Yes, although I have a general briefing with high command and the other two captains." The other two captains being in command of the subsequent ships of the Hanlen class that will be completed before long. "I think they want to be sure they're giving the ships to the right people. My ineptitude may have been found out."

    "Oh stop it Captain Harry. I am sure they have the right people." Nova stated firmly. "I know you, you're a great officer. Mom told me all about your time on the USS Voyager."

    Harry shrugged, "I guess I was pretty lucky Admiral Janeway didn't drag me out and had me shot."

    Nova shook her head, "After that comment, she should have."

    Harry looked at Nova fondly and turned to Seven, "I am going to miss you guys. I am not sure when I'll be back in these parts. When I do, I will take you out for some good food."

    "Sounds like a plan to me." Nova said, "But, I need to change. These unitards don't do a thing for my hips." and she was off to the changing room.

    Harry looked at Seven, "I think your plans are most agreeable." Seven stated.

    "Don't get too excited," Harry said as he saw the twinkle in her eye, "you're buying."

    "There's that smile." Harry grinned as she did, "Take care of yourself. Let her take care of you too. I am pretty sure that whatever she wants to do in life, she will be damned good at it."

    Seven nodded, "You be careful out there Mr. Kim, you and I both know what is out there."

    "Don't I know it." He gripped her forearm affectionately and left.
  • richardhanlenrichardhanlen Member Posts: 15 Arc User
    Barely fifteen minutes later, Harry was sitting at the conference table in Starfleet Command. Admiral Maitland had just finished his report on the capabilities of the Hanlen class for the edification of the rest of the people there. Admiral Halston as the Chief of Naval Operations thanked the Chief of Naval Construction and Procurement.

    "As many of you know," he addressed everyone at the table, "this is not only a new class of ship but, a new type as well. Starfleet is not strictly a military organization seeing as our mandate is one of exploration and discovery. However, it has become increasingly evident that there are many threats out there that require a stronger fleet for the Federation. The Dominion and their battleships are one example, the Borg are another stark example. Many powers out there are fielding larger vessels and even hints of superweapons are being whispered about.

    "In the past, our fleet has overcome many hardships and battles with what we have fielded in the before and today. Admiral Picard and his encounter with the Scimitar comes to mind. Admiral Hanlens desperate battle against the mad Borg Queen is fresh in our minds and how close we all came to defeat. The Undine are more than a credible threat and we need to be able to deal with them and other threats like them.

    "The Federation council and the President himself has mandated that we have the tools to deal with these threats. The USS Richard Hanlen is the first of that mandate, followed closely by the USS George Patton and the USS Georgy Zhukov. These ships represent a purely military tool and have little, if any, provisions for scientific research. They are weapons. Let's not kid ourselves about this. And they aren't the only weapons to be added to our arsenal. At least two more classes of ship are being designed as we speak that fit the designation as weapons only. It should be noted that the planned run of the Hanlen class is twelve ships."

    Harry goggled at the admiral and there was a collective gasp as everyone heard the numbers.

    "Sir," Harry began, "Isn't that a little excessive? In the original report, it was suggested that six, maybe eight at most, would be sufficient."

    Admiral Halston looked at Harry, his expression unreadable, "The President did not think it would be enough."

    Harry looked around at Captain Bertrand Halverston and Captain Dostanya Shapirovska, who were the other Hanlen commanders. Halverston nodded encouragingly and Shapirovska gave Harry a "Go ahead."

    "Sir, I would be the first to agree that these ships are needed. But, that many ships seems to me a little overkill. Not to mention that ships this size and purpose need support by smaller vessels. They would need a small fleet to cover all contingencies. Twelve ships would commit more ships to this than we have."

    "That is why new ships are being designed Captain. They will be built for the sole purpose of support and defence against threats too small for the Hanlens to deal with effectively."

    "And what about our exploration mandate that you mentioned earlier? With the entire fleet busy like this, how are we to discharge that mandate?"

    Halston looked at Harry and the other captains, he clearly wanted to agree with them, "I can sympathize Captain. However, we must think of our survival. We can't do much exploration if we are extinct."

    "Are there threats out there that you aren't telling us about? I have kept up on the intelligence briefings, just as we all have and I just can't see why we need this many Hanlens."

    "This is a presidential decree by President Clarke himself. Signed off by the Federation Council. This is going to happen, one way or another."

    Harry noted that he didn't answer the question and that made him uneasy.
  • richardhanlenrichardhanlen Member Posts: 15 Arc User
    Here are the statistics of the Richard Isaac Hanlen class dreadnought:

    The Richard Isaac Hanlen is not only a new class of ship but, a new type for the Federation. In terms of size, this would be considered a dreadnought type of ship, larger than a battleship.
    At the largest, Starfleet fields battlecruiser size and type classes before the Hanlen. The Hanlen class is roughly two and a half to three times the size of a D'Deridex warbird of the Romulan fleet.

    Weaponry:

    Main weapon:
    Graviton pulse cannon spinal weapon. This weapon takes up 75% of the length of the ship.

    Forward weapons:
    35 Triplet phaser cannons.
    12 Twin phaser cannons.
    4 Twin phaser banks.
    8 Torpedo tubes capable of firing photon, cobalt and quantum torpedoes. Provisions in place to modify the tubes to fire other torpedoes as need arises with minimal turn around time.

    Port / Starboard weapons:
    6 Twin phaser cannons.
    2 Twin phaser banks.

    Aft Weapons:
    8 Twin phaser cannons.
    2 Phaser banks.
    4 Torpedo tubes capable of firing photon, cobalt and quantum torpedoes. Provisions in place to modify the tubes to fire other torpedoes as need arises with minimal turn around time.

    Defensive weapons:
    150 Gatling phasers designed to combat small craft from frigate downward. Limited utility against projectile weapons.

    Shields:

    The USS Hanlen utilizes a triple layered, composite shield. The outer shield is designed to withstand directed energy damage, the middle shield is designed to withstand thermal damage, and the inner shield is designed to withstand kinetic damage.

    Armour:

    The USS Hanlen utilizes a layer of ablative armour with standard armour underneath. This armour covers the entire ship apart from exhaust and other areas of the ship that need direct contact with space and / or atmosphere.

    Power:

    The USS Hanlen is powered by four M/ARA type reactors as follows:
    One reactor is dedicated solely to the graviton pulse cannon.
    One reactor is dedicated to weapons.
    Two reactors are used for other power requirements such as propulsion, life support, sensors, etc.

    All reactors are capable of switching out its power to all or one ships system. In emergency situations, all four reactors can be tied into one system or all as needed. All systems installed are designed to handle the power inherent to four reactors at once at full output.

    Small craft:

    The USS Hanlen has a standard complement of shuttle craft, workbees and utility craft.

    The USS Hanlen utilizes a maneuvering system designed around aiming and keeping the graviton pulse cannon on target. Thus the ship is more maneuverable than the size suggests. This also means that the ship is more easily moved around to keep it's forward 90 degree arc on target to bring it's massive forward firepower to bear. Having stated that, the ship is still slow and somewhat sluggish compared to smaller, fleeter craft or ships. This ship is not an exploration or science vessel, it is strictly a combat vessel and therefore it's sensors and detection systems are geared toward a combat role. There is no science department and it's laboratory space is somewhat limited. The ship is designed to operate solo but, it performs much better with support ships that are selected for the mission at hand. This design was original created with combating Borg in mind, therefore it's systems have a highly adaptive modulation and many frequencies to operate under. The weapons were designed with a modular construction to facilitate weapons modification and experimentation. This means that the phaser weapons can be modified to any of the different types of energy weapon designs available such as polaron, disruptor, tetryon, etc. Much of the ship has been given this same modular concept to facilitate refitting and experimentation to extend its service life.
  • richardhanlenrichardhanlen Member Posts: 15 Arc User
    The USS Hanlen was on mission as of a week tomorrow. Halston sent her out on a "show the flag" mission, touring the Federation. He wanted her seen, to show the Federation and the galaxy that when it comes to the defence of their nation, they are prepared. He knew that these ships were needed and the threats out there were getting bigger and heavier. This class and type of ship would help to counter those threats. He and most of Starfleet Command didn't see the threat was as serious as President Clarke insisted it was. Halston tried to reason with the President but, he was unmoving.

    "Admiral," began Admiral Allen Stockton of Logistics Command, "I just don't see how we are going to be able to support this many dreadnoughts. We are in the middle of a construction program to recover the loses we suffered, not only from the Mad Borg invasion but, the other conflicts we have endured over the last decade. In case you hadn't noticed, we are woefully under-strength almost across the board. We are barely able to discharge our commitments and mission mandates. Piracy is starting to rear its ugly head in the outer colonies because we are short on light units. Not to mention the unrest that's bubbling away along our borders. ALL of our borders, Admiral."

    "The sharks smell blood in the water, sir." Stated Admiral Cyrus Maitland.

    "Cyrus, you and I both know very well that our construction is blasting away at full speed. Unless we can expand our construction yards and drydocks, it will be a long time before we catch up."

    "And we are using all raw materials on shipbuilding, yes Michael, I know."

    "Sir, the attrition we have suffered over the last decade has strained our manpower as well." Admiral Sheryl Mannerheim of Personnel and Training stated.

    Halston slammed has hand down on his desk. He and his Chiefs were all in his rather spartan office. He had plenty of chairs for meetings like this but, they were all utilitarian by nature. Not much in the way of decorations or art. Just a few pictures of his family on his desk and that was it.

    "My hands are tied." he said angrily.

    After a moment of staring at his blotter, he stood quickly and turned to look out the window.

    "I joined Starfleet because I wanted to explore the galaxy." he said to the window, his temper abated for now, "Since I was a small boy, I wanted to know things, to know how things worked, to discover new places and marvel at it's beauty and the grace of it's natural balance with the universe. I knew that Starfleet was the place to be to satisfy that hunger to discover. So I worked hard in school to be able to join the Academy and become a Starfleet officer. Not only did I discover that I loved being an officer and exploring but, I found I had a gift for organizing such efforts. Knowing where to send the right people, ships and material. Through that delegation I was able to explore and discover more, amazing things, new species, new knowledge. I was happier than I ever was."

    He turned and the look on his face was anything but happy, "Then I was shown the dark side of sentience. The greed, corruption, vengeance, and anger that darken everything they touch. I had to make decisions to combat that darkness. I have sent people to die knowing they would. I sent Admiral Hanlen to die. And because he did, he saved us all. Not just Starfleet or the Federation but the entire galaxy. I never wanted to be a combat officer.

    "And yet, here we have a ship designed solely for combat. It is a needed ship yes, but now it is being used as a tool to spread darkness and there isn't anything I can do about it. Make no mistake, we are in a bad position and the Council knows it. However, they and, more strongly, the President are blind to it because they want something else. I am not privy to whatever it may be but, I am positive it is not good for the Galaxy, much less the Federation."

    There was silence for a moment, then Admiral Argus Fenton of the Office of Naval Intelligence spoke up, "But, sir, as far as we know, there isn't a threat out there that needs this many Hanlens. The reports and the state of the nations around us don't support it. As it is, if we do build all of those ships, Starfleet will only barely be able to support them. As Al said earlier, our mandates and commitments are already strained. If we do this, we may be at the breaking point."

    Halston nodded, "I know and it's worse than you know."

    Halston took a deep breath, "The President wants to build another class of dreadnought that could support the Hanlens or operate on it's own. Basically they will be a little less heavily armed and will have no spinal weapon. They will be much more maneuverable and faster. But make no mistake, they will be just as powerful in their own right. Unfortunately, the President wants to build thirty of these ships."

    There was a stunned silence for a moment, and then the room erupted.

    "We can't possibly build-"
    "He's crazy-"
    "Where are we going to find the manpower-"
    "The Klingons, Dominion and the Romulans are going to see this as a threat-"
    "This will break Starfleet-"

    Halston knew this would happen and he barked, "Enough!"

    The room was still ringing as everyone stopped.

    "Those are the orders I have been given. The design is still on the board and not complete yet, so we have some time."

    Admiral Maitland spoke up first, "But sir, if we are strained to operate twelve dreadnoughts, another thirty of them will be impossible to support, much less build."

    Halston nodded, "I know. Trust me, I have looked at the numbers and came to the same conclusion. I argued with the Council and the President until I was blue in the face. They wouldn't listen and I believe that the Council is too afraid of President Clarke to go against him. We are in an untenable position and we have to find ways to follow our orders, and yes they are orders. I don't like it and you all most certainly don't like it either and I agree with you. We have to make this work or we will be beached, all of us, and at this point, Starfleet cannot afford an upheaval in its command structure.

    "Given the reports I have read, our internal problems are not the only ones. We have another boiling pot to contend with." Halston looked at Admiral Fenton, "Go ahead Argus. Tell them."

    Admiral Fenton became very uncomfortable, "We have been getting reports and rumours of attacks on shipping and colonies. At first it appeared to be the upsurge in piracy as was mentioned earlier, but the nature of the attacks and who it was became clear about two weeks ago. It appears that a new Borg collective has emerged from the ruins of the old one."

    Deathly silence descended on everyone there. Dread filled every corner of the office. Despair was evident on their faces.

    "It seems that this new collective has recovered some of the abandoned ships, stations and colonies the Borg had before Admiral Hanlen freed them all. However, the reports also show a disturbing development with this new collective. They appear to be much more ruthless, cunning, and unpredictable. They have been using strategies and tactics that don't fit into past encounters with the Borg. Stealth, ambushes, willingness to recover their own at risk to themselves. They appear to be behaving as a normal military and political entity. One frightening aspect that was discovered was a spy that was recovered on one of the colonies just before it was raided. They found a drone that was disguised as a colonist through DNA masking and holo-projection. Another incident involved a supply convoy that was hit by Borg vessels shrouding themselves with holo-disguises to make them look like an outbound convoy. There are other similar reports and the incidents are increasing."

    Admiral Halston looked at his staff grimly, "As you can see people, we have no choice, one way or the other, but to follow these orders."
  • richardhanlenrichardhanlen Member Posts: 15 Arc User
    Nova had felt that her place in the universe was not what it seemed. Too many things didn't seem to fit who she was, or at least who she thought she was. Somehow she didn't fit in with those around her. The way they looked at her, the way conversations didn't feel right. She had friends, not many, but she had them. Although those friends didn't seem to know her too well. Heck, she didn't really know herself too well either. She just wished she knew more, being only a year old had it's drawbacks. She knew she was treated differently because of that but, it was also because of her father too. Being the daughter of a galaxy-spanning hero can be a tough gig. She weathered as best she could and she tried to be friendly with everyone she met. But not all thought her father was a hero.

    A boy slammed into her as she walked down the crowded school corridor. She wasn't expecting it and it certainly wasn't a case of crowded jostling. This guy deliberately knocked her down.

    "What's the matter Borg TRIBBLE?" he was one of the boys who favoured sports to academia. Normally he would be handsome but, his obvious hatred made that a moot point, "Not everyone will kiss your TRIBBLE and get out of your way."

    She looked up at him, her temper starting to fray, "At least I am not compensating for inadequacies in certain departments." she glanced at his crotch.

    Seeing the glance, he turned red with fury, "I should teach you a lesson in manners, TRIBBLE!"

    "Oh look, another department you're inadequate in. You couldn't teach your mother to suck eggs." She started to get up.

    This time he screamed in a high-pitched squeal, "Don't talk about my mother!" and he kicked her as she was struggling to stand.

    She hit the ground again hard. The pain was bad but, she weathered it, closing her eyes and grimacing. Oddly, she felt a tingling sensation, almost like cold water sprinkling all over her body. She heard a collective gasp and shuffling of the many feet of the crowd that formed.

    She opened her eyes, her temper in abeyance, gritting her teeth, getting ready to fight back.

    That's when she noticed the expression on his face. It wasn't anger, he was wide-eyed and his mouth was open. He had paled and was looking frantically around as if he was looking for her. The crowd, oddly enough, was looking around the same way and were trying to get further back. She was confused for a moment but, she used that moment and stood. She took a step and roundhouse kicked the bully in the face. People screamed as he went flying away. Blood sprayed the crowd and they screamed, trying to get away. He landed in an awkward sprawl and she was on him.

    She flipped him over, noticing missing teeth. He was still looking frantically around.

    "How do you like that lesson TRIBBLE!" she growled. Her voiced sounded odd, like it was coming from behind a screen of some kind. She raised her fist, holding the lapels of his jacket at his thought.

    <Nova, stop> A voice sounded. It was calm yet had an authority that made her stop, almost against her will.

    She looked down at the boy and noticed the fist holding him was not there. She felt his shaking body under the hand that held his jacket, yet she didn't see her hand. She let go of him and he hit the floor with a thud. She stood and looked at her hands. She couldn't see them. She looked around at the crowd, but they weren't looking at her. They were fearfully looking at the boy. She looked down at her body. It too was not there. Or appeared to be not there. That's when she realized she was invisible.

    One of the teachers finally broke through the crowd, "Break it up! Get to class, all of you! Mr. Ringstorff? What are you doing on the floor? Why are you bloody?" the teacher looked around at the crowd, "What happened here?" Silence. "Something obviously happened. Mr. Ringstorff here has lost some teeth. I seriously doubt they fell out on their own." Nobody spoke, nobody knew what to say. A ghost had knocked out his teeth? Yes, that would be helpful.

    Nova stepped forward and spoke, as she spoke, that odd tingling happened again, "I'm afraid I did that Mr. Sorden." There was a scream as she reappeared and the normally stoic Vulcan teacher was startled by her sudden appearance.

    In true Vulcan fashion, he recovered quickly, "Fighting is ultimately destructive and not conducive to solving problems, Miss Hanlen."

    "I understand sir."

    Sorden looked at the crowd, he pointed at a pair of students, "Mr. Carlyle and Mr. Siddock, help Mr. Ringstorff to the medical station. The rest of you, back to class."

    The crowd broke up and the wounded was escorted away.

    Sorden looked at Nova, "I'm afraid you will be disciplined Miss. Hanlen."

    Nova nodded, "Yes sir."

    "You will escort me to the office then. Come along."

    Nova followed meekly without another word. That strange, yet familiar voice running through her mind.

    Seven of Nine looked at her daughter. The events of the day ringing through her mind. She accepted the punishment the school decided was appropriate for her daughter. It was the other aspects of the incident that disturbed her. The school had provided a visual and audio recording of the incident and she saw her daughter disappear, kick the boy bullying her, and her reappearance. She recognized the phenomenon instantly.

    Nova's head was down as she sat on the couch facing her mother in one of the chairs across the coffee table.

    "Do you accept your punishment?" Seven asked her.

    Nova nodded her head, but didn't look up, "Yes mother."

    "Look at me."

    Nova's head snapped up and she looked her mother in the eye.

    "I agree with and support the punishment of the school. You will serve it without complaint. Same as here at home. Do you understand?"

    "Yes mother."

    "As I understand it, the young man who accosted you is also being punished. He will not get away with this. It is done, you must accept his punishment and let that be the end of this."

    "Yes mother, I will not make this worse."

    Seven nodded, "Good." She stared at her daughter for a moment, then her face softened a little bit as well as her voice, "Believe it or not, I do understand how you felt and feel at this moment. I still get harsh stares from people I pass in the street. However, I try to remember that what I am doing, is for them. I strive to reunite them with those they lost to the Borg. I like to think that to some extent I have succeeded. I remember the looks on their faces as I reunite them with those they thought lost forever. And that makes it all worthwhile."

    Nova smiled as she nodded.

    "Please don't give in to anger and hatred." Seven said softly, "It will take you down a dark path that will make you a monster. A monster that you would have recoiled from before you took that path."

    Nova's smile disappeared, "I will try mother."

    "I know you will. Just remember, you have your fathers temper. He didn't lose it very often and I understand why he kept it under tight control. I have seen him in nasty hand-to-hand combat, it's not something I want to remember of him. That may sound terrible but, it was truly a frightening thing to see. What they did to him, broke him, not completely, but it did. He was an irresistible force of nature, able to channel all that fury into... a monster." the tears came again, damn them, "His face lost all warmth, he wasn't a raving lunatic although some would say he was, yet he devastated his enemies all around him and the cost...oh God... the cost." She broke and buried her face in her hands and sobbed.

    She felt strong arms around her, and for a crazy moment she thought it was him.

    Nova hugged her mother, and held her that way, stroking her head, until the sobbing stopped. For a few moments she held her until she was coherent once again. She broke the hug and looked into her mothers eyes. The pain there nearly engulfed her. She felt her own eyes starting to tear up, but they didn't fall.

    "He was not a monster." She whispered.

    Seven touched Nova's cheek and gave her a watery smile, "He would disagree." she whispered.

    Nova didn't know what to say to that.

    Seven straightened up, "I know what happened to you when you seemed to disappear."

    Novas curiosity was piqued. She sat back on her ankles on the floor, "It was the weirdest feeling. I didn't know I was invisible until I looked at my hand holding that bully. What was that?"

    "That was how a Jem'Hadar shroud works."

    Nova's eyes widened. "But... I am human."

    "More accurately, you are Borg,"

    Nova was confused, "The Borg are a collective, not a race. And the shroud isn't Borg."

    "No, but the Borg have assimilated its share of Jem'Hadar."

    "Oh." Nova said quietly.

    Nova stared at the floor for a moment.

    "But how did I do that? I had no idea I could. Aren't you supposed to be trained to use it?"

    "Yes you need to be trained to use it. But the school record shows you using it like Jem'Hadar would."

    "I am not a Jem'Hadar!" Nova stood. She stood there a moment, seething. Then she visibly got a hold of herself and sat on the couch.

    "No, you are not. Yet you have the knowledge and the ability to shroud. You got that from your Borg heritage."

    Nova sighed heavily, looking down at her lap, she muttered, "I am human, I never wanted to be Borg."

    Seven ached for her daughter for she understood, at least a little. She was assimilated and was human for a little while. Nova, was born as a Borg.

    Seven got out of her chair and knelt in front of her daughter and gently lifted Novas chin.

    She looked into her eyes, "You are Nova. That is who you should be. You are not a Borg, you are not a human. You are you."

    Nova looked into her mothers eyes, trying to catch her in a lie. All she saw was the love only a mother could have for her daughter.
  • brian334brian334 Member Posts: 2,186 Arc User
    I hope you don't mind that I post in your thread uninvited, but I am enjoying your story so far.

    I'd like to also note how our fanfic ships are at extreme opposite ends of the scale: your ship is a class much larger than Starfleet uses, and mine is a class much smaller than Starfleet uses. (Mine has a maximum capacity of 26, designed for 22, and currently carrying 13 crew members.)

    I am guessing a lot of things which appear to be foreshadowed but I'll save my speculation so I don't spoil the surprise when it comes, (or expose my complete ignorance. Yeah, probably that one.)

    Anyway, keep it up, and I'll keep reading. Thank you!
  • richardhanlenrichardhanlen Member Posts: 15 Arc User
    brian334 you're welcome. I will endeavour to continue.


    That night, Nova settled in bed to end the trying day. She hoped tomorrow would be better and that people wouldn't treat her any differently. She doubted it, but she could hope. She tossed and turned for awhile trying to get her mind to shut up so she could sleep. Self-doubt and self-recrimination kept yammering at her. Finally, after what seemed an eternity, she drifted into sleep.

    She found herself in an infinite space. She felt gravity and was warm but, everything stretched away from her in all directions in a slightly green tinge of whiteness. She was wearing a black unitard, it was alien and yet familiar to her. She looked around and there was nothing. No landmarks, no objects of any kind, just the same emptiness, not even a horizon. Her feet were solidly on the ground and she could move around easily enough.

    "Where am I?" she said aloud. Her voice was a little loud and had an odd echo to it.

    <This is the collective.> that same voice she heard earlier spoke in her ear. Or was it her mind? She couldn't figure out what direction it came from. If it came from a direction at all.

    She looked around quickly to try and locate the voice. But, there was nothing there.

    "Who are you?" she demanded, still looking around.

    <I am a part of this collective just like you.>

    "I am not in the Borg collective. I am not a Borg!"

    "You are who you are." the voice was close and she whirled around to see her tormentor.

    There he was, standing a few metres away. He was wearing the same style of unitard as she was but, his was white. It was whiter than the slightly green whiteness all around. He was over two metres tall, had short black hair with a white streak at his right temple. His eyes were all black and had a scar of some kind on the left side of his face. His face was warm and he wore a slight smile.

    "Hello Nova." His voice was a deep bass and had a hint of command about it.

    Nova goggled, she knew who this was. He had no implants visible, but it was him.

    "Daddy?" she whispered.

    He nodded, "Yes my daughter. I am your father. Or at least, I was."

    Nova could only stare.

    "This is not a dream." He waved his arm to encompass everything around them, "This is the collective. At least what is left of it. When I dissolved the collective, the minds that were held by it were freed and only the collective remained. At the time, I encompassed the collective into myself to free them. Now, all that remains is this."

    "If that is true, why am I here?" Nova asked skeptically.

    "You were born into it. You are my daughter after all. I am- was a Borg and I connected you to it. I didn't just pass on my genes to you, you also inherited my nanites as well. Which connected you."

    "I am not a Borg. I am human."

    Hanlen smiled, "Of course you are, on both accounts. But you are also neither."

    "What?"

    "My dear, you are something new. My efforts at stopping the Mad Borg Queen resulted in the collective achieving what we considered perfection. It was the only way to stop her. Permanently. All the knowledge that the collective acquired through assimilation is yours. All of it. The Borg used technology to augment themselves and the tools they used. Most often a solution was found through technology. Adaptation of the mechanical to overcome obstacles and, yes, opponents. I realized that this was not the only solution. We could also adapt our biological make up as well."

    "I saw you do that in some of the records I have seen. You adapted your physiology to the vacuum of space in order to survive the destruction of your ship. You used the DNA records of a space-borne entity that the Borg had encountered."

    He smiled, "Yes I did. You shouldn't access classified Starfleet records, sooner or later, they will catch on."

    She tossed her head uncomfortably, "I was careful."

    "I know. But you should also think of how that could affect your mother too."

    She glanced sharply at him, "Why would they bother her? It was me who did it."

    "She's your mother and you are still under her care."

    She nodded after a moment, "I see."

    "She is here too you know."

    Novas brow furrowed, "She is?" She looked around, "I don't see her. Besides, I thought she was no longer in the collective."

    "She wasn't. Until she became pregnant with you. At first, you weren't developed enough to connect her, but as you grew, you subconsciously yearned for that connection, you connected her. She is not aware of it, at least not on a conscious level. That is why you cannot see or hear her but, she is here."

    She pointed at him, "But how are you here? You... you are dead."

    "Yes I am. However, when I freed the collective I was still in it. After I passed on, the collective tried to retain enough of me to attempt to rebuild me as the centre of the collective as the Borg Queen was. There was nothing left of the collective to do so, at least physically. So I am here as a reflection of what I was at the time of my death. I cannot reconstitute because that part has been lost in order to destroy the Queen."

    His face hardened, "Unfortunately, there was a splinter that broke off and there was enough former drones around to create a new collective."

    Her eyes widened, "Oh no."

    "The same corruption that inflicted the Queen, affected the new collective."

    "That would mean..."

    His hard stare bore into her soul.

    "There is a new collective with a Borg King out there." He said darkly.

    Nova stared at her father wide-eyed and fearful. In actuality, this really wasn't her father, it was just his memory. Yet, his observations rung true to her. If what he said was true, then the Federation - no, scratch that - the entire galaxy was in danger once again. This time by the revenant of a man who saved the galaxy. How the hell where they supposed to stop someone like that. Nova knew that the collective that he may have at the moment was small and not much of a threat. Yet with his knowledge, experience and ability; even that much was dangerous and had the makings of catastrophe.

    "I have no doubt that this time," Richard Hanlen said coldly, "the Borg may not be stopped. With the developments that have happened since the day of my death and the bickering between nations do not fill me with confidence."

    Nova looked into that dark face and knew why so many of his enemies feared him. There was no empathy, no compassion, no quarter asked, none given. She wasn't sure what she believed in yet but, if the devil himself was here, he would fear this man.

    "Wh- what can we do?" she finally asked.

    The darkness disappeared from his face as if it had never been there, "There really isn't much 'we' can do. However, YOU can."

    She stared at him in disbelief. She scoffed, "Me? I'm just a girl. I'm not even two years old yet. I mean, sure, I know stuff that a two year old wouldn't know yet."

    "And how did you come by that knowledge." he interrupted.

    She raised a finger as she opened her mouth to reply, she didn't know. She stood frozen that way for a moment. She dropped her finger, "I don't know." she replied puzzled.

    Hanlen smiled, "Species 832."

    "A race of armoured humanoids who evolved from a type of armadillo creature. Originally from system 84-3245. They had space-faring technology equivalent to the early Federation and thus was assimilated by the Borg. Their resilience and ability to withstand stresses of all kinds have been invaluable to the collective. Although they do have a weakness towards chocolate or its equivalent. They will stop what they are doing to eat it."

    Nova's eyes widened and she slapped her open mouth with her hand.

    Hanlen's smile grew broader, "How did you know that?"

    She stared at him.

    "This race isn't known by the Federation. Or any other nation here in this part of the galaxy. At least not yet. They where assimilated a long time ago." he was grinning now, "So, how did you know about them?"

    She found her voice finally, "I just... knew. It was suddenly... there in my mind."

    Hanlen nodded, "You accessed the collective for that information. It's all there my daughter, all you have to do, is need it and it will be there."

    "Tal Praxis was right about you." she said suddenly.

    The grin was gone. Hanlen stared at her for a moment, "Yes he was." he said softly.

    "Can you hear the song father?"

    He continued to stare at her. His face was dark yet, sad. A tear slid down his cheek, "Yes." he whispered.

    She grabbed his hand in both of hers and squeezed fiercely, "I can hear it now. I hear you singing it."

    He gave her a small smile, "You are probably hearing me sing it to your mother before I died."

    She shook her head slowly, "No. This is different."

    Richard snorted softly, "I despaired before, but now." He looked into her eyes, "But now I have hope. Not much, but it's there."

    Nova smiled.

    He pulled his hand free and held both in his for a moment and then let go. "Now, I think you should give genetic adaptation a try."

    Nova was puzzled, "gen... what do you mean?"

    "I mean the ability to manipulate your genetic makeup to reflect traits of other races that have been assimilated. I mentioned that before."

    She nodded, still unsure, "But that was something you perfected. How would I know how to do that?"

    He smiled knowingly.

    "Right." she said.

    He gestured to his side and an alien appeared there. It was definitely avian in origin with golden body and head feathers and wings / arms of white feathers. It had the beak of a raven yet, it was yellow-gold in colour. Talons of white protruded from foot analogs. It was very tall, about 3 metres.

    "This is species 4521. I want you to take it's DNA and incorporate it into your own so that you have wings. Only the wings and they must be wings and not part of your arm like this." he gestured at the aliens arm.

    Nova stared at the alien, unsure how to go about what her father asked.

    She felt wind at her back and looked over shoulder and down. The unitard had changed so that the wings could grow without injuring her from the restrictive clothing. Odd, she didn't recall making it do that but, she vaguely realized she had.

    "It helps if you can visualize the wings on your body and concentrating on making them your own."

    She nodded and closed her eyes. She saw herself with white wings and smiled. She looked cool. Or so she thought anyway. This is-

    Nova doubled over in pain. She howled as it increased, amazingly holding onto her visualization.

    "It hurts!"

    "I know Nova, it will pass, just hold on for a moment longer."

    The pain was great, more than she felt in her life and she fell to her hands and knees and tried to curl into a ball.

    Suddenly, the pain stopped. She opened her eyes. She was staring at her balled fists on the floor. She looked up at her father. He was smiling while he held out a hand to help her up.

    She took his hand, stood slowly. When she stood straight, she nearly fell over backward. There seemed to be more weight in her upper body in her back. Richard still held her hand so she didn't topple over. She nodded when she got her balance and he let go.

    "You see, you can do it." Richard gestured over her right shoulder.

    She looked and saw black feathers. She was puzzled.

    "What's the matter?" he asked.

    "I thought they would be white."

    "That is because of your own DNA. You have black hair." he gestured at his own head, "The wings are not just an aliens DNA, they are yours too. I once gave myself bat wings and they where red. The reason they where red is because the race I drew from had cobalt-based blood and they where blue. However, since humans have iron-based blood..."

    She nodded in understanding as she admired her wings.

    "The Borg collected knowledge through assimilation, primarily, along with the collective mind conducting research on all it has learned. It also learns from the minds and memories of all they have assimilated. Therefore, the collective has access to all of a races accumulated knowledge. ALL of it, there are no secrets, you cannot hide it in a vault somewhere. Once the collective knows there is knowledge hidden away, it will take steps to acquire it. Even a whiff of something will send the Borg to retrieve it. When a being is assimilated, the individual is suppressed and the mind becomes an open book. No amount of training or tinkering will hide anything. That training and tinkering is now part of the collective. And then it is a simple matter of waving it away."

    "They sound so brutal, so... so..." Nova struggled to find the right word.

    "Single-minded." Richard replied with a smile.

    "Yes."

    "What the Borg Queen seemed to grasp, and grasp it quite well, was that she could find a solution with technology and modify the collective, drones and the ships with it, whatever hurdle or obstacle stood in the way. What she didn't realize, was that you could find a biological answer as well, given whatever the problem was. I changed that. I showed the collective, or reminded them, really, that we where made of the biological as well as the technological, and that we can manipulate both."

    "Is that how you defeated her?"

    "That was part of it, yes."

    Nova looked at her wings as she flexed them, "Can I fly?"

    "Can you?" he asked knowingly.

    She looked at him and smiled, "I think I can."

    She started flapping her wings and felt the wind around her. She tested her muscles and got used to them. It didn't take long, she was surprised.

    With one strong beat of her wings, she was airborne. She didn't try anything fancy at first, just got used to flying for a bit. Then she started turning and before long she was flying around as if she had been doing it all her life. She let loose a whoop of joy. A few more minutes and she landed next to her father.

    Panting she looked at him, "I suppose I can remove them just as I gained them?"

    He nodded.

    "I almost don't want to."

    "I understand, believe me, but remember who you are. You're identity is important."

    She concentrated and the wings melded back into her. The pain was still there but, she knew it was coming and thought that she could get used to it.

    "Identity?" she asked quizzically, "Bit odd coming from a Borg."

    "Not for you. Not for me. And in some ways, not from the Queen. You need to know who you are, who you really are, in order to understand your place in the collective."

    "A collective of three? I think that's pretty easy."

    "Not when you have all this-" he gestured around him "-to draw from. You can get lost in all this knowledge. And after you change yourself, you become something else. And the more you do that, the greater the risk of losing yourself. Keep true to you and you will rise above it and control it, instead of it consuming and controlling you."

    "I think I understand."

    "Don't worry, you have a strong personality. Wonder where you get it from?"

    She nearly rolled her eyes, but she contented herself with a little smile.

    Nova looked around as if looking for something, "Can Mom come here too?"

    "Yes, but she has to be ready. Remember, she didn't become a Borg willingly. Her memories of that time are not all that warm and fuzzy. You can come here anytime you like, it's easier when you are sleeping or meditating. I am sure you know how and can show your mother."

    She nodded. Suddenly she hugged him. He was caught off-guard for a moment but, then he hugged her back.

    "I know it's not really you Daddy, but at least we can talk and be a family, sort of."

    "I know sweetheart. I never knew you when I was alive but, I know you're my daughter, without a doubt in mind."

    They broke the hug, "I take it I have much to learn before I can begin to think about stopping the... other collective."

    "Yes. Your mother will need to learn as well. That may take a little longer."
  • richardhanlenrichardhanlen Member Posts: 15 Arc User

    Nova opened her eyes. She was in her bed in her room. She looked around and saw that the early morning light was pouring in. She got up and went to the window and looked out. It was a cloudless sky in early Spring. The city was bright and full of activity, even at this hour. The city never slept really as it was the centre of the Federation. Many shuttle's and pods flew across the sky in their quest to get to their next destination. Nova smiled at the beauty of it all. Inevitably her eye settled on the statue in front of Starfleet Command. Even here she could see it clearly. Normally that sight made her sad but now, she smiled.

    After a moment she turned from the window and quickly got dressed. She wanted to tell her mother what had happened. She left her room and found her mother already in the kitchen getting breakfast from the replicator. She saw Nova and said her good mornings. Nova grinned and was barely able to keep her news from bubbling over. Seven saw the grin and creased her brow a little as she tried to ascertain why her daughter was so happy. In her time with Richard she never saw him grin. Smile, yes, but his demeanor didn't support grinning with happiness like that.

    "And what are you so happy for?" Seven asked as she passed over Nova's breakfast.

    Nova took the plate with a thank you and looked at her mother with sparkling eyes, "I talked to him last night mom."

    Seven's brow creased a little more, "Who did you see? Did you dream?" Seven's dreams where not always pleasant. Something to do with being a former Borg and the subconscious trying to deal with the residual memories that where not hers.

    Nova shook her head, "It wasn't a dream. I learned how to do this." With that she pulled back her long, wavy black hair from her forehead. Seven watched in alarm as her daughters forehead morphed into that of a Klingons with ridges and bumps of their kind. Her alarm turned to shock as she realized that there was only one other Borg who could do that.

    "See? Dad taught me how to adapt physiologically. He showed me the collective that we are a part of. He made me realize that all that information that the collective has is right at my finger tips."

    Seven was silent. She looked at Nova uneasily, trying to understand what she was saying. How could her father have told her this? He was buried with honour in this very city.

    Nova's giddiness slipped as she watched her mother, "Mom? Are you all right? I didn't mean to frighten you, I am sorry."

    Seven shook are head quickly. Damn this fear, why was she feeling like this? "I'm okay dear, I'm just..."

    "Shocked? Uneasy? Maybe even fearful?" Nova replied with her usual piercing insight. The Klingon brow ridges didn't help as they made Nova looked quite fierce, even with concern on her face.

    "Yes," Seven admitted, "I don't understand what's happened. Your father is the only other Borg who can do that." she pointed at Nova's forehead, "He never really told me how he did that."

    "It's not that hard really," Nova said, "you just have to visualize the species you want to acquire a part of, concentrate on yourself building it into your physiological make up, and ding! Jobs done." she pointed at her forehead.

    "I see."

    "You can do it too."

    Seven shook her head, "No. Your father was... special. His implants and nano-probes were different from the rest of us."

    It was Nova's turn to shake her head, "Mom, you got more than just me when I was conceived. I know you don't sleep for long periods. Nightmares I believe. But how do you think you lasted that long without sleep? After only a few days, a human will start hallucinating. I have never seen you go through that. Not to mention that your fatigue is abated until your brain has to enter a dream state. I know for a fact that you have gone over a week without sleep several times. Normal Borg technology cannot do that. After a day, a Borg drone has to regenerate for a period about the same as for sleep."

    Seven could only stare at her daughter. After a moment of thought, she realized that Nova was right. That wonderful night gave her more than she expected.

    "Mom? Have you had a vivid dream about a place with nothing in it? All you could see was white with a hint of green all around. Did you dream of my father there?"

    Seven started at Nova, "Yes. He kept telling me it was going to be okay. I... I knew he was gone and it... hurt to see him, smiling at me. A few times he would... hold me and say nothing. He knew just what I needed. Sometimes you were there too, sleeping in your crib or your bed. He told me you were special. I just thought that was parental bias talking. But, I always woke up and realize that it's just my subconscious trying to comfort me."

    "I have been there last night Mom. Dad showed me what it was to be a Borg. A Borg like him. He is there mother, even now. The collective is real and it is still there. When he dissolved the collective, he took it and incorporated into himself. He told me that his essence has been the only one there when the collective tried to reconstitute the queen. His was the only being that was strong enough to replace her. But this collective was gone and it couldn't bring him into the role of king. Unfortunately," Nova's voice grew dark, "the process was already completed elsewhere."

    "What do you mean?" Seven's voice was filled with fear.

    "I'm saying there is a collective out there and it is being led by a revenant of Father."

    "I see."

    "The corruption that drove the queen mad is still there."

    Seven could only stare in horror.

    "Mother, we have to find it and stop it, whatever it plans to do. Already, Starfleet has had reports of attacks. I will not allow this madness to threaten the galaxy again."

    Seven looked at her daughter. Last night Nova went to bed a child, now she was a woman. A woman who may be the only one who can stop this new threat.

    "What do you need from me?"
  • richardhanlenrichardhanlen Member Posts: 15 Arc User
    Why am I here?

    Admiral Halston found himself asking that question a lot lately. The demands of Head of Starfleet was one thing but, having to keep things going with the current political 'realities' as they are was something else entirely. He tried to do what he was instructed to do but, the physical realities just wasn't enough to make it work. His staff where pulling off miracles on a daily basis and he was just so damned proud of all of them for it. But, it wasn't enough.

    "Good morning Admiral." the receptionist of the Presidents office greeted Halston as he entered said office.

    Not for the first time did Halston note the fact that the receptionist was human. It seemed to him that unlike the previous Presidents of the United Federation of Planets, Clarke's staff was entirely made up of humans. He tried not to read into it and thought it just a coincidence but, the longer he served this administration the more he started to doubt that thought.

    "Good morning April." He replied with a small smile, "I take it he is already here?"

    "Yes Admiral. In fact I wonder if he even went to bed last night. Always working it seems." the young woman stated.

    Well that smacked of indoctrination. Halston shook his head mentally. Stop it, you're being paranoid Lester.

    He pointed at the closed doors of the inner office, "I take it he's expecting me."

    "Yes Admiral, I already told him you where here. You may go on in." she smiled.

    "Thank you, have a good morning."

    She nodded as he went through the doors.

    The inner office was large as to be expected for someone such as the President of the Federation but, the lack of personal decorations intensified the effect. Halston wondered if that was deliberate. The only furniture was the large desk, a few functional chairs, a small service bar and a couch with table and a couple of matching chairs. He wondered how anyone could work in such an austere setting but, everyone functioned differently he concluded.

    The man behind the desk was tall and wiry. He was in his fifties but he looked much younger. His suit was plain and modern but not flashy. He seemed plain until you looked into the eyes. Piercing and full of the knowledge of personal power. If you knew what to look for, the eyes mirrored the quick and ever busy mind behind them.

    Presently President Clarke looked up from the PADD he was reading and smiled. Again, Halston wondered at the fact that the smile never reached the eyes.

    "Admiral, so glad you could be here." Clarke's voice was cultured and fine tuned as the political weapon that it was, "I was just reviewing the latest reports from the outer colonies. Most of it's pretty dry stuff but, there are the odd ones worth noting." He looked expectantly at the Admiral.

    So it's straight to business then, very well.

    "I take it you are referring to the attacks by what appears to be a new Borg collective." He made it a statement and not a question.

    "That's the one. I hope you are taking steps to find out what's going on and put a stop to it."

    "Mr. President, I have sent the Hanlen, Zhukov and the Patton, along with some supporting ships and light units, to investigate. I have also ordered a fleet-wide readiness to respond to any escalation that may occur."

    "Excellent, and I do hope we can get more Hanlen units out very soon to counteract this threat."

    No rest for the damned it seems.

    "Mr. President," Halston was deliberate in his reply, he didn't want to be misunderstood, "I have already made reports on the lack of resources and construction facilities that would expedite these units."

    The smile was gone, "We need those units Admiral."

    "I understand Mr. President, but the numbers speak for the themselves: we cannot produce more Hanlens, much less support them, with the existing infrastructure, manpower, and resources."

    "I seem to recall telling you to get more of these things."
    "I do recall that as well and I say again, these things, as you put it, take time. We cannot just create resources out of nothing."

    "I don't like hearing excuses Admiral." Halston heard the implied threat.

    "I don't make excuses." It was the first time Halston challenged this man. He needs to face the reality of the situation, the Admirals career be damned.

    "That is what I am hearing Halston. I need you to rectify this and get me those units."

    "What would you have me do Mr. President? I have my people working on this day and night for months now and the situation has barely budged. My people have put off their other duties, duties that are essential for the continued existence of this Federation I might add, to try and get this done. Some on the Council would question what I need to do to give you what you want. In fact some already have. I told them the truth of the situation and they went away grumbling."

    "If the job is too much for you, I can find someone else."

    "Really Mr. President? I find that hard to believe. There isn't a single individual that can do what you are demanding. Not one."

    Clarke stood up and slapped his palms onto his desk and leaned over it, "I could have you drummed out of Starfleet in disgrace for that Admiral. Don't test my patience. I will not suffer insubordination."

    Halston stared back into the hard agate eyes of this madman. He was playing with fire and he knew it but, he was not going to back down. His people deserved better.

    "I am just stating the realities that are prevalent in this situation Mr. President. We cannot do what you are demanding no matter how much you threaten, cajole, or beg the system. It is physically impossible. I do not know how to mitigate the situation any more than I have already. Too many compromises and sacrifices have been made and it isn't enough. Can't you understand that?"

    "I want those damned ships Admiral!" Spittle hit Halstons face but he dared not wipe it away. "The very existence of the Federation is at stake here damn you!"

    "What is the threat that is facing us that you are so sure is out there that you must have these ships as soon as possible? I for one cannot fathom from the information at hand and the galaxy at large what could need such ships in the numbers you are asking for. Not even the resurgence of the Borg could warrant this. Tell me Mr. President what is it that we need these ships for? I and the rest of the galaxy want to know."

    Clarke pointed his rigid finger at Halstons nose a centimetre away, "Do not question me Admiral, just do your damned job or I swear, you and your rebellious bunch will be strung up. Do you hear me?"

    "More than you know. I will say it again: we cannot build these ships and support them with what we don't have. I will remind you that if you string us up as you put it, then who is going to build and run this fleet you want?"

    Halston executed a perfected about-face and marched smartly out of the office without being dismissed. He realized that the greatest threat to the Federation was no longer an external one.
  • richardhanlenrichardhanlen Member Posts: 15 Arc User
    Seven and Nova sat in the living room facing one another. Seven sat in her chair and Nova sat on the couch. Seven still was rather dubious about her daughter's claims that she has been in contact with her father's... what? A ghost? A dream? A technological representation of her father's essence? She didn't know and for some reason this frightened her. However, Nova's conviction was obvious and she so wanted her mother to experience what she had. Seven had dreams yes, but they haunted her and she did everything she could to not dream. She did not even have the haven of unimatrix zero for it was dissolved when the collective was dissolved. Or was it? She was confused, she didn't know what to do, didn't know what to believe. She looked at her daughter and saw no confusion, just... conviction and her love for her mother.

    Nova had said all she knew she needed to, it was now up to her mother to make her own decision. She wanted her mother to believe, to take that step of faith. It hurt her to see her mother so conflicted and confused. She worked so hard to find the lost former Borg and bring them home, wherever it may be. She saved so many lives and reunited so many families that Nova thought her mother a hero of great stature that no one will know of. Except those that she finds. She went with her mother a few times and witnessed the reunification of families. It moved her like nothing else has. A family tries to move on and live their lives with this huge hole that was a loved one who was assimilated. Convinced that they would never see them alive again. Then Seven comes to their door with the lost one in tow. It was a heartbreaking experience to watch. Yet it made ones heart soar to see them united again. And through those times she witnessed this, she heard that song in her mind. The one her father sang to her mother before he died in her arms.

    "What must I do?" Seven asked, committing to the path laid before her.

    Nova visibly relaxed, she was hoping her mother wouldn't be too afraid to try, "It's simple really and from what you have told me of your dreams, you have already been there."

    "As I said before, I believed that they were just dreams. Nothing more."

    "Yet every time you went there, you could remember everything about it. Every detail. You can't do that with your dreams can you?"

    "No. Most of my dreams have been... disturbing."

    The compassion on Nova's face was obvious, "I know Mom. Sometimes, you would cry out. Sometimes, you would scream. It frightened me and I came to you and all I could think to do was hold your hand."

    Seven didn't know Nova did that. She realized that sometimes her dreams would start out horribly and then she felt a presence and the dreams subsided. Now she knew why.

    "Yes. It will please you to know that it worked."

    Nova smiled, a smile so like her father's, "I am glad Mom."

    "Now," Nova began getting to business, "it's just a matter of emptying your mind and reaching out to me or Dad. Or both if you can manage it. For me, I just sit, close my eyes, and relax as if you were meditating."
    Seven nodded her head, "Okay, I am ready."

    The last thing she saw before shutting her eyes was her smiling daughter.

    Seven did her best to clear her mind. It was difficult considering the work she did and what she had learned from her daughter. She drew on her experiences with Tuvok and the Doctor's guidance. It was hard to let go but, she pushed the conscious worries aside as best she could. However, because of Tuvok's teachings she realized someone else was helping her. As soon as she realized this, she knew it was her daughter. Maybe she had already made the connection and saw her mother struggling and lent a hand. Or maybe it was someone else. She concentrated and let go at the same time as Tuvok showed her. Soon, her mind cleared and all she could feel was herself without the outside stimulus of the universe. That's when she realized she wasn't alone.

    She opened her eyes and saw the place that Nova described to her. The only thing she could see was the infinite white with a tinge of green all around. Nova was standing in front of her wearing a black unitard. The unitard that she recognized as the style used by the Borg. She looked down at herself and saw that she too, was wearing the black unitard. She looked up and around at her surroundings. It was oddly lonely and cold. The only other thing she could see was Nova.

    Then she felt the only other presence here. It was behind her as if to minimize the shock of seeing him again. She closed her eyes to the pain as she fought to face him. After a few moments she opened her eyes and looked at Nova who looked back at her with a small smile. She took a deep breath and slowly turned around.

    There he was, wearing a white unitard of the same style. He was exactly as she remembered him before... before... just before. He wore the same smile that she just turned from. She realized that she was holding her breath.

    A brilliant smile flashed across her face, "Richard!" she breathed.

    Suddenly, she ran to him and into his arms that wrapped around her and held her tight. Nova saw the pain in her father's face as he held her mother. And the love.

    "I didn't know what was going to happen." Seven said into Richards chest as the tears flowed, "I thought I might scream at you. Tell you I hated you. You left me. I... was frightened. I thought... I was strong. I tried... to do what you... asked. I tried. I tried. So. Hard." She sobbed.

    Richard lifted her chin to look into her eyes, "You have done so much. So much more than I thought possible. You are still doing it, saving all of those people. Never doubt what you have done. Even if you only ever saved one, it'll be enough. But you have saved hundreds, thousands. I cannot ask for more. However, you are not alone." He gently held her away and turned her around to face Nova. "You are not alone." He said again.

    "I have watched you suffer Mother." Nova began, "I saw you dive into your work without thought of your own well-being. I didn't know what I could do to help you. I was too young, relatively. It hurt that I couldn't help. But, now I can. We can." she held a hand to her father and he took it in his own.

    Seven looked up at Richard and back to Nova, "But now we have an even greater threat to deal with." She said.

    "Yes," Richard began with hard conviction, "and we will face it together."
  • richardhanlenrichardhanlen Member Posts: 15 Arc User
    My apologies for the long silence. Have been ill. This bit is not part of this story but it is related by a past story. I will do what I can to continue the story when I can.


    I am Captain Richard I. Hanlen of the starship Impulse. I am also One of the Borg Collective X. You may be thinking, how can I stand with two diametrically opposed ideology's? Is it really that hard to fathom? Given who I am?

    As a Captain in Starfleet of the United Federation of Planets I have a responsibility to, not only the fifteen hundred beings that crew my ship but also to the Federation as a whole. My standing mission is to explore this galaxy and discover truths that have so far eluded us and bring them into the light for the betterment of all. A mission my crew have been successful at. So far. So much is as yet to be discovered and just waiting for us to behold and unravel. I am proud to serve my nation in this capacity and I am proud of the people who serve me. In the end, I serve them so that they may carry on in their chosen path and achieve that which they desire most. Knowledge. I believe this is what it is to command a starship of exploration.

    My role as the guiding soul of the collective is not much different.

    As the One of Collective X I give them purpose and a guiding hand in their efforts in achieving perfection. For many, this goal is impossible and in many ways they are correct. I put to you this: The pursuit of perfection is just as enlightening and full of knowledge to be gained as the goal itself. Since taking control of this collective, I have modified this objective of blind pursuit of the impossible. I have given them a purpose of gaining knowledge and using that to better themselves. One answer to perfection is not enough. We are many and we are one. This is what it is to command the Borg.

    Some have expressed doubt as to my fitness to command in the name of two different nations. My first duty is to the Federation and the oaths I took to solidify that duty. I will not break that covenant. Ever. I believe I have dispensed my duties as starship captain with intelligence, justice, and discipline. The collective I am a part of pulled me out of Hell when I was alone and out of reach of those who could help me. For they were without a guiding force themselves. A splinter off the regular collective that we all know. When I touched the collective mind I found chaos. They were more than lost, they were dying. They had no direction, no purpose. Yet one underlying purpose was still there: the fact that they did not want to go back to the collective and be lost in the whole. I gave them purpose by showing them what I am a part of through Starfleet and the Federation. That same quest for knowledge.

    Under the Borg Queen, the Borg have assimilated, absorbed, and taken everything they have deemed worthy of inclusion. For those that resisted, destruction. This is the threat that they pose: if you are not with us, you are against us. It is only through intrepidity, intelligence, justice, and the pursuit of knowledge has she been defeated. The Federation has all but sworn to stop the Borg at every turn. That oath includes me. How can I make that oath given who I command? Simple: I command. I have shown my Borg a better way and they are better for it.

    Some of you have accused me of hubris and arrogance. Believe me when I say that my purpose is not my own. It is shared by many of you. And for those of you who believe the Borg have corrupted me and that I will turn against the Federation, I say this. When I was connected to the collective, I sincerely believed at that time that I was going to lose my identity and free will to become a drone. I did not. I have retained my faculties and I am in full control of myself and the duties I have been given. I have served the Federation to the best of my ability up until this point and I will continue to do so. Even if it means my life.

    For those of you who demand that I give up my collective and destroy it, my answer is and always will be no. I will not abandon the beings that have saved me from a fate worse than death. Conversely, I have saved them from dissolution and a slow painful death. Mindless Borg they are not. Every drone is a living being with memories, ideas, personality, a soul. Everything they are is shared with the rest of the collective thus, they have become something more. I have shown them the very ideals that sentient beings across this Federation have died for. Trust me, they are pleased that they can count themselves a part of that. Because of fear you would have me destroy that? Go to Hell.

    Yes, I serve two masters. At this point I cannot see how I can continue without doing so. It's not just the Federation that needs justice, freedom, equality, and the pursuit of knowledge. It's every soul that lives in this galaxy and further, that deserves these things. But like all living things out there, we are all different and the form that these ideals can manifest can be quite different from the Federation. This is not a bad thing. Can you imagine if all the nations came together to pursue a common goal? I can and believe me when I say there isn't anything we can't do together. To stand up to madness and destruction and say 'no, I will not yield to hate.' We have done this before, we can do it again.

    There are others out there who do not believe I will fight when it becomes necessary. You have no idea what I have fought against. You also have no idea how hard I will fight when necessary. If you want to bring a fight, I am ready.

    - Captain Richard Hanlen at the completion of his treason court-martial.
    He was acquitted of all charges.
  • richardhanlenrichardhanlen Member Posts: 15 Arc User
    Captain Harry Kim was relieved that the last mission of political flag waving was finally over. He swore that if he had to put on his class A mess uniform again and mingle with politicians, he would challenge a klingon to a Bat'leth duel. Which would be fatal as he didn't even own a blade much less know how to use one. Besides, the neck of the dress tunic always felt like it was choking the life out of him. Mind you that could have been the conversations he had to endure. The Federation Council insisted on the mission, although Harry had a suspicion that it was the President who wanted it. Wanting to wave his new toy around so everyone could see it and realize that he was the strongest. If that was the case, Harry thought that in reality it was the opposite.

    Now, the USS Hanlen was on its way to another colony that went dark a week ago. As he knew, Harry had read the reports of similar incidences of the last six months that it may be another victim of this new borg collective. He was not looking forward to what he was going to find. The reports were grim, violent, and bloody. There were subtle differences to these borg attacks as opposed to attacks of the past. Some of them disturbing.

    "Captain," the helm officer announced, "we are approaching the Saracen system. ETA: 3 minutes."

    "Thank you helm," Harry replied confidently, "drop us out of warp at one-third AU from the system and takes us in at three-quarter impulse."

    "Aye sir." the ridiculously young looking officer replied. Harry wondered at times if he was just getting old, or if they were recruiting kids out of kindergarten.

    Soon, the big ship dropped out of it's warp conduit and the blackness of space surrounded her as usual. Being so large, it looked like it took her a few minutes to move in real space. However, she was gliding quietly toward the normal looking star system ahead. In a few minutes she would arrive at the second planet. The colony that was supposed to be here.

    "Captain," Harry's operations officer began, with a sense of urgency, "scans have picked up debris of what looks seven or eight ships in close proximity to the colony."

    Harry's brow knitted, "Cross reference Starfleet records, let's find out who was here."

    "Aye sir." he turned to his work with the usual beepings of the computers system being utilized. After a few moments he was done, "It appears there were five freighters of different registry doing usual business with the colony. Three were incoming and the other two were outgoing."

    "What about the other two or three?" Harry asked.

    "Unknown. Scans have increased their resolution and they have confirmed the freighters by registry, the rest are Starfleet vessels that must have been here unexpectedly and they must not have been here long enough for their reports to have reached home yet."

    Sensor console beeped, "I have just got confirmation of the Starfleet ships. They were the USS Courageous and the USS Monarch."

    Harry goggled for a moment.

    "A Defiant and a Sovereign."

    "Aye sir."

    Harry leaned back in his chair, hand on chin.

    "Both older classes but, still viable with major refits."

    "Yes sir. It appears that they may have responded to distress calls from colony."

    "Sir?" the communications officer spoke up, "I am not picking up any lifepod transponder beacons."

    Harry started. "None?"

    "Yes sir." he looked stricken.

    "I have scanned the debris sir," the operations officer added, "there is no evidence of any lifepods at all. Some of the larger chunks of debris show that lifepods were launched from at least three of the ships."

    The implications hit Harry, "They were taken."

    A grim silence fell on the bridge. Even the computer seemed to be subdued.

    "According to the number of bodies we've been able to find, your theory may be correct sir." operations office said, breaking the spell, "There aren't enough out there to account for one ship let alone seven."

    "They never had a chance." someone whispered.

    "Is there debris that fits borg signatures out there?" Harry asked.

    "We've had some time to widen and refine our scans but, the only debris is Federation. There is energy signatures consistent with combat with the Borg." the operations brow furrowed.

    "But there is something else." Harry said, it wasn't a question.

    "Yes sir, the energy signatures that fit the borg generally, aren't... they aren't exact"

    Harry dreaded the answer, but asked anyway, "In what way?"

    The officer definitely feared his reply, "They have elements of energy that are consistent with weapons used by the Undine."

    "TRIBBLE." someone else swore with feeling.

    Normally Harry would have said something about the swearing but, he felt it was appropriate in this situation.

    "Scan for transwarp signatures. Find out how long ago they were here."

    Harry sat back and waited for the results.

    It was going to be a copper-plated TRIBBLE finding the borg and now they had confirmation that they still had assimilated technology from fluidic space. Harry suspected that this and the last attacks were supply raids. They also needed personnel which made things worse. So far, there were no survivors found here but, he would stick around find them before flying off to find the borg once they had the transwarp signatures.

    "Sir," the operations office seemed oddly panicked, "we've found the transwarp signature of the arrival sir, but... not for their departure. Sir, they're still here insystem."
  • richardhanlenrichardhanlen Member Posts: 15 Arc User
    Harry's blood ran cold. That meant that they were being watched. He knew it deep down. The TRIBBLE were waiting.

    "Battle-stations." Harry ordered quietly and confidently, the alert klaxons sounded and everyone snapped to their duty stations, "Move us away from the colony. I don't want to fling ordinance if there is a chance that any survivors down there could get hurt."

    "Moving sir." came the quick reply from the helm.

    Harry felt the ship begin to move as he turned and took his seat in the captains chair. He looked around the bridge and saw that his primary crew where all there and quivering with readiness.

    "Report." Harry barked.

    Tactical: "Weapons, shields and ablative plating ready and all online."

    Helm: "We are underway at full emergency power and we should be at maximum safe distance in four minutes."

    Operations: "All combat systems report ready and full power available."

    Engineering: "All three Mara's show ready and all fusion plants are pumping out at nominal levels."

    Security: "Teams in place and ready. All systems operational."

    Medical: "All sickbays prepped and ready."

    Small Craft: "Squadron primed and ready to scramble."

    Marines: "Battalion in position, Borg combat protocols initiated."

    Harry nodded to himself with satisfaction. That couldn't have gone smoother. He just hoped it would be enough. He had read the reports on this new brand of Borg that have arisen from the freed Borg lead by the revenant of Richard Hanlen. As small as this new collective was, it was an even greater threat than anything the Borg was with the Borg Queen at the helm. But Harry would do what Richard Hanlen would do, he would do his duty.

    "We're in position sir." Helm reported.

    "Good." Harry turned to his tactical officer, "configure the shields for double forward and one quarter rear, for now."
    "Aye sir," she said as she manipulated her console as if she was a concert pianist.

    "Helm, keep our nose to the Borg cube as much as you can. I don't want to have them get around to our rear. Standby evasive pattern Kim-Alpha19."

    "Understood sir."

    "All right, be ready for anything people."

    The bridge was cloaked in anticipatory silence broken only by the readiness reports and beeps of the consoles as the ship waited.

    "Sensors picking up a ship decloaking dead ahead sir, a big one."

    Sure enough, on the viewscreen, the familiar warp of light and the appearance of an object formerly in cloak, in its place was a full sized Borg cube. However, this cube was nothing like anything Harry had seen before. It looked, if it were possible, even more menacing then before.

    "Sir," the officer manning the communications stations began, surprised, "incoming signal from the Borg."

    Hoping to resolve this without combat, but not expecting it to, Harry said, "Onscreen."

    The dark visage of Richard Hanlen looked out at Harry. Harry was surprised to see that this revenant had normal green eyes. But there where more implants too. He looked a lot more grim than the Hanlen he knew. But then, he supposed that this is what happens when your genetic codes where hi-jacked to create a new Borg King.

    "Captain Harry Kim," The Borg King's voice was familiar but it had a more Borg sound to it now, "congratulations on your new command."

    Harry was momentarily taken back by this formality, "Thank you, to what do we owe this... pleasure?"

    He smiled, it was cold and calculating, "Why, I'd thought it would be obvious to someone like yourself captain. I have come to see my daughter."

    Harry was aghast. How could this kind of slaughter be a prelude to this... monster visiting his daughter? How could getting this ship here bring that about? Now that he thought about it, Harry kind of figured that this was why he was here, "I don't think that anyone here would acknowledge you as the father."

    "Oh I know, she is still of my blood. Whether or not I was directly involved doesn't matter. My original progenitor was though. I guess that kind of gives me some right to see her."

    "I seriously don't think Seven of Nine would let you see her child."

    "Annika surely would see my logic."

    "I think not. She is Borg after all, despite at attempts to humanize her."

    "She is more human than you are."

    "It is true that I am Borg. Yes I am aware of the contradictory nature of that statement. But then it is correct, everything I am does represent the fact that I am Borg."

    "I think it would be in the best interests of everyone if you just turn around and go back home."

    The smile disappeared, "Not my interests captain." Borg King inclined his head to Harry, "So be it. You'll forgive me if I endeavour to try anyway."

    The viewscreen blinked as it returned to the view of the Borg cube as it began to move.

    "Helm, engage evasive pattern."

    The Hanlen gracefully leapt to action and began to weave around as the Borg cube fired on her.

    "Tactical, return fire at will, but use only the phaser banks."

    "Aye sir! Engaging."

    The Hanlen returned fire as she continued to avoid the onslaught of fire from the Borg cube. She weaved and rolled as the cube relentless pursued her. For such a large ship she was surprisingly agile, pulling off moves a ship a quarter her size couldn't pull. However, the cube began to adapt and began to score hits.

    "Rear shield area down to 80%. Ablative armour holding. Surge protection system at 63% nominal." Tactical reported.

    "Engineering here captain, fusion 1 through 3 are holding at 85% output, the others are holding just below safety margins. Structural integrity fields are operating a little hot but I think they'll hold. The Mara's are just warming up. You should have all the power you'll need."

    "Great job Gagnon, keep it up." Harry replied tersely.

    "Sir, they're starting to anticipate our manoeuvres. Ad-libbing." Helm piped up.

    True enough, the ship started to shudder more as she tried to evade her opponent.

    "Switch to Kim-Gamma3 helm."

    "Aye sir."

    Within moments the hits lessened.

    "Status of the Borg cube."

    "She's taken a lot of hits and we're still pouring it on. I detect only minor damage at this point."

    "All right, time to give them a bloody nose." Harry tapped his comm-badge, "Squadron control this is Kim: scramble, scramble, scramble. Attack pattern Hammer Feint."

    "Confirmed: Pattern Hotel Foxtrot." came the reply.

    As the attack craft launched, Harry prepared the Hammer.

    "Tactical, power up the cannon."

    "Aye sir."

    It took a long time (at least relative to combat time) to charge the heavy graviton rail cannon. The cannon was an amazing amalgamation of technologies and the nay-sayers said it wouldn't work. Harry was about to find out.

    Attack pattern Hammer Feint was a tactic that involved the attack craft squadron attacking a target to keep it busy while the Hanlen powered up it's cannon. Once it was ready, the squadron pulled out just before the cannon fires. It was risky and dangerous but, the squadron practiced and was fully briefed on the capabilities of the cannon. They knew exactly how long it took to power up. No orders needed, thus the enemy didn't know it was coming. At least that was the theory.

    The attack squadron swarmed around the cube. The pilots really knew their job as they poured on the damage without getting in the way of the other pilots. The Borg where taken aback at this new development but, only briefly. Point defences began to score hits on the little fighters as they buzzed around. The Borg where scoring more hits as the minutes ticked by. Finally, to the relief of the pilots, time was up and they immediately fled from the cube in one wave.

    Harry saw the fleeing fighters and said the word, "Fire."

    The tactical officer jabbed her finger on the now fully charged cannon firing button.

    A small green glow began at the nose of the ship and it quickly grew. The power in the weapon hummed to full capacity and the bolt fired at the Borg cube. The aim was true and it struck the cube squarely and with full force. The cube shuddered and their attacks ceased. The cube was suffused with the same green glow for a moment and then she was still. Harry turned to his operations officer.

    "Report." he demanded.

    The operations officer was already running the scans, anticipating his captains order, "The cube appears to have suffered major damage to her propulsion, weapons and defensive systems. Life support seems to be holding steady but at a reduced level. Attack squadron has returned to the ship sir."

    "Thank you, start loading up the-"

    "Sir!" helm exclaimed, "look!"

    Harry looked at the cube on the viewscreen, it was glowing green again.

    Oh TRIBBLE! Harry thought, "Helm! Get us out of here!"

    It was too late, the cube fired the energy it had absorbed from the cannon blast back at the Hanlen.

    The amount of energy was nowhere near the original amount but, it was still substantial and it struck the ship hard.

    The Hanlen lurched violently as the bolt struck. People flew all over the ship, knocked from their stations. Systems overloaded, bulkheads groaned and chaos ensued. Acrid smoke was everywhere and the groans of the wounded was the only sound in many places on the ship.

    Harry picked himself up off the deck of the bridge. He tasted blood and he felt his forehead. There was a nasty gash from where his head hit the edge of his chair.

    "Damage report." he said groggily as he worked his way back into his chair.

    The operations officer was also pulling himself into his chair. His left arm was limp at his side and Harry knew it was broken. "Propulsion is down, warp is down, all weapons are offline, shields are at 14%, ablative armour is spent and will take 20 minutes to recharge, life support at 53%, casualties all over the ship."

    "How many of those where fatal." Harry asked grimly.

    It took a moment for the reports to finalize, "We lost 23 all told, sickbay reports that we may lose another 12."

    Harry sighed, he hoped that no one had died, "All right, thank you. Sickbay."

    "Emergency Medical Hologram here" came the reply.

    Harry knew that his CMO must really have his hands full if the EMH is answering, "We need medical teams sent out to tend the wounded that couldn't get to sickbay. We need one here on the bridge."

    "Sir," the tactical officer said wearily, "incoming signal from the Borg."

    Harry looked up at her, she was definitely in shock and she had blood staining her uniform at the left shoulder. "Put it up, maybe it'll buy us some time."

    She nodded and winced.

    Once again, the revenant Hanlen appeared onscreen. It appeared that the cube had suffered just as much damage if not more by the smoke and organized chaos going on behind the Borg King.

    "It appears that we are at a stalemate, Mr. Kim." the Borg King declared.

    "How do you know I won't just blast you back to were you came from?" Harry asked.

    The Borg King smirked, "Because you would have tried before now."

    Harry looked at the Borg King for a moment, "So what do I owe this parley?"

    "I propose that you let me, and just me, see my daughter. Once I am satisfied, I will return here and see to the completion of repairs. Once they are done, we will leave."

    "As I mentioned before, she will not allow you to."

    "I am sure you can provide appropriate 'escorts' for myself."

    "I still don't think she will allow it."

    "Let me put it another way captain: the alternative is that we sit here and conduct repairs. Let me assure you that we will complete ours well enough to travel before you do. Once we arrive at Earth, I will beam down in force and many people will be assimilated or 'removed' who try to stop me. Once I am satisfied I will return here to finish you off. Don't think I won't be able to. Believe me, more people will die or be assimilated this way. Is that what you want?"

    Harry weighed what he knew of the situation with what the Borg King said. He realized that he really didn't have much choice.

    "All right. When can you be here?"

    The Borg King smiled.
  • richardhanlenrichardhanlen Member Posts: 15 Arc User
    Kim didn't like that smile. It seemed devious and out of place coming from the figure that was once the namesake of his ship. He knew Admiral Hanlen personally and when he smiled there was warmth and understanding there. This was nothing like that. It was at this point that he realized that the smiling visage of the Borg King was actually standing in front of him and not on the viewscreen. He sighed mentally, he couldn't believe he was woolgathering at a time like this.

    "Well Captain?" asked the Borg King, "I'm ready, are you?"

    Without taking his eye off the King, Kim motioned to his security chief.

    The security chief punched in a few commands on his console and waited. Within a few moments, two marines arrived on the bridge in full battle gear and armed to the teeth.

    The Borg King glanced at the new arrivals and regarded Kim, "How nice, an escort. I suppose you wish to utilize one of your shuttlecraft?"

    Kim nodded, "Yes. Shall we?" Kim motioned towards the waiting marines by the turbolift.

    The Borg King approached the watchful eyes of the marines, "Good afternoon gentlemen, I seriously hope there will be no need for those." he waved at the newest model of the assault phaser rifles the marines where carrying.

    The marines just watched the King as Kim approached the turbolift.

    "Not very friendly are they?" the King said to Kim.

    "Not when there is an obvious threat around, no." Kim answered with his own little smile.

    With that, the small party left the bridge and made their way to the nearest shuttlebay. Once there they boarded a prepared shuttle and left the USS Hanlen. The trip was made in silence and it wasn't long before they arrived at Earth.

    Nova was working on the latest reports about the Borg that Seven was able to secure from Starfleet. They had been at it for a few weeks now and have discerned a pattern that suggested that the Borg were collecting resources, including manpower. At this point, Nova and Seven were trying to figure out where they would strike next and strike back. So far, no luck and inspiration was a little lacking. Seven sat across from Nova and was reviewing what was taken, hoping to find a weakness. Suddenly, they both looked up in alarm at each other. Something was coming, it felt familiar, yet not. It was dark and... confused? Yes, confused. It was hidden underneath a cunning intelligence that was executing a well thought out plan.

    "He's here." Nova whispered at her mother.

    Seven was staring at the door with dread. When Nova spoke, she glanced at her and nodded once.

    A few minutes later, the shuttle touched down softly near the residential are where Seven of Nine and Nova lived. The small party left the shuttle and entered the building. Silence fell when they entered and all activity nearby stopped as the people inside watched these strange newcomers. It wasn't everyday that they saw a rather large borg, two heavily armed marines and a starship captain. The party made their way to Seven's residence and wherever they went to get there, silence and watchfulness followed. All the while, the Borg King smiled that odd smile. Kim didn't like that smile and he found himself several times wanting to wipe that smile off his face. Soon they were at Seven's home and activated the chime.

    Inside, Seven was standing behind the dining room table, her daughter was standing beside her with Seven's arm around her protectively. They were already glaring at the Borg King as they entered.

    "Hello Annika," again, that cold smile, "I have come to see my daughter."

    "Get out." Nova growled menacingly.

    "Awww, is that any way to treat your father?"

    "You are not my father."

    "Maybe not in the direct sense but, we are connected nonetheless."

    "You are a sad and twisted reflection of the man that gave me life, nothing more."

    "I suppose he loved you very much too." he mocked.

    "Get out." Seven growled with venom this time.

    "Now, now," the Borg king said to Seven, "I just came to see the child. No need to be hostile."

    "I won't let you touch her."

    "I don't need to touch, I just came to see her. Is that really too much to ask? Besides, these nice Starfleet gentlemen are here to make sure nothing bad will happen."

    Seven glanced at the marines and Kim.

    "I'm sorry Seven, Nova," Kim apologized, "I didn't have a choice."

    "Sure you did," the King replied, "you always have a choice."

    "It's okay Harry," Nova said, "I understand what may have happened."

    Harry nodded grimly at Nova.

    "Well Annika?" the King asked.

    Seven stared angrily at the abomination for a moment. Against her better judgement she dropped her arm to her side and stood there facing the Borg King. Nova stared angrily at the towering Borg King. She didn't make a sound, just watched. To the average observer, the child appeared to be eighteen years old but she was really two years old. The Borg King stepped closer and got very close to Nova. Seven tensed but said nothing. He stared at her and she stared back at him. After a few moments, he looked at Seven.

    "This one is very special Annika." He said to her, "Your service as her maturation chamber must have been quite rough."

    Seven just glared at him.

    The Borg King turned to Seven, "Protect this one Annika. I would be most disappointed if something should happen to her." he turned to Kim and the marines, "I am satisfied, we may return if you please."

    Kim looked at Seven and Nova, "I'm really sorry about this. If I could have prevented-"

    "I know Harry," Seven replied firmly, "don't feel guilty about it. Just get him out of here and return home safely."

    Harry nodded at Seven, "I will."

    "Touching." the Borg King said and left the residence with the marines in tow.

    "When this is over, I will come and visit." Kim promised Seven.

    Seven smiled, "I'd like that. Good luck."

    "He is not my father!" Nova stated suddenly.

    Seven looked at her daughter, "That's right sweetie." Seven hugged her, "It wasn't."

    Nova shook her head with tears in her eyes.

    Seven glanced at Kim.

    "Nova, you are special." Kim said, "But not in the way he thinks."

    Nova smiled at Kim gratefully and with that, Kim left.
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