Star Trek: Defiant

"Absolute Zero" - Part Five

Written by T'mal


THE BRIDGE:

"Come in!" Admiral Tourles turned to Bridges and invited him in. Only, he wasn't a Starfleet Admiral anymore. He was Borg. He sat in the Captain's chair, with Bishop standing beside him. Bridges looked around and saw Mak at Ops, Tyrell at Science. K'larn manned the weapons station, Ensign Maerret, the Helm. And worst of all, there was Dr. Laine, his dear Imzadi. All transformed into Borg.

On the main screen was a view of the Draco in it's nearby orbit. The blue-green curve of Cavitch III hovered in the background.

Mak turned a cyborg eye to scan Bridges, the old Mak grin warped by a Borg faceplate.

"Good to see you, Captain." he said, in unison with Bishop.

Jeffrey couln't take his eyes off of Rael. He felt a coldness seeping into his heart, threatening to stop its beating at any moment. He felt the world coming to a crashing stop.

"No!" The word was torn from his soul while his feet took an involuntary step backward in an attempt to escape the horror. He wanted to go back to yesterday, or this morning, when there was still a chance he could have stopped this from happening. He wanted to go anywhere but here.

Bridges bumped into Hardin. Behind him, his First Officer still hadn't seen what his Captain had, but from the set of Jeffrey's shoulders, he knew it was bad.

Trapped, Bridges' mind began to shut down. He caught himself as the blackness began to envelope him in its warm, comforting grip and he turned it outward. In one great leap, he flew from the doorway to lock his hands around Bishop's throat.

"You did this! You traitor!" he shouted, tightening his grip.

It was largely an inneffective gesture. Bishop couldn't be choked, at least not by Bridges.

"Now, Captain, you've always known it would come to this one day. We don't want to hurt you, we just want you to join with us. Your skill and knowledge is much prized by the collective. We have waited for this day."

Bishop had managed to restrain the Captain, with some help from Mak.

K'larn and Maerret had taken hold of Hardin before he had had a chance to react.

Rael approached Jeffrey. She touched his face with the one human hand she had left. He tried to turn his face from her horrible appearance, but her grip was strong and she forced him to look at her. The beautiful soft hair he had so enjoyed touching was matted and streaked with blood and other unnameable fluids while her human eye had a glazed, preoccupied look.

"Relax, my... Imzadi." The pause came as many minds worked together to process and understand this new word. " It won't take long and then we'll truly be of one mind."

Caught in a spell of horror, Bridges barely noticed when she jabbed him in the neck with her other hand, the one which injected his body with Borg nanites, the first step in the assimilation process. The Dr. moved toward Hardin with the same deadly intent. Having seen what she had done to his Captain, Hardin was not surprised when she did the same to him.

"Take them to 8-Forward, and do them next." Tourles ordered.

DECK 8:

Wolfram and Matute were making a methodical search of the ship. Not only had they failed to locate the Doctor, they had discovered that the ship as a whole seemed empty. After searching crew quarters and the Science labs, they were headed in the direction of 8-Forward.

As they approached the intersection of two corridors, they were greeted by the site of Captain Bridges and Commander Hardin being forcibly accompanied along their way by a party of Borg. The two senior officers were putting up a valiant effort to escape, but were at a distinct disadvantage, given the power of the mechanically enhanced limbs that imprisoned them. Wolfram gasped and pulled Matute back into a doorway. The group passed from sight and Wolfram began to breathe again.

"Was that Bishop?" Matute asked Wolfram. Having only gotten a quick, shocking glance, she was having trouble believing what she had just seen. Acclimated to the look of Bishop, he was easily recognized. She was still processing the rest of what she'd witnessed.

"I think it was. And...I think one of the others was Mak...and maybe Maerret. It is difficult to tell."

"We have to help them!"

Matute moved to pursue, forgetting in her haste that she was unarmed and outnumbered.

"Wait!" Wolfram stopped her. "We need a plan!"

MAIN ENGINEERING:

"I think that should do it." Lebin said, stepping back to admire his work. He touched his comm badge, heard the satisfying chirp that was a good sign he'd done something right.

"Lebin to Bridges."

No reply.

"Lebin to Wolfram."

"Wolfram here. Adam, we have trouble."

Suddenly, keenly aware of Ensign Joel's lifeless presence, he was afraid to ask what kind of trouble they had. He asked anyway.

"I do not think it is a good idea to discuss it like this. We are on Deck 8, Corridor C. How fast can you get here?"

"Give us two minutes."

Matute had an idea. "Bring an Engineering kit. And watch your back, we have intruders."


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