(Tank rolls into view) Ron the True Fan: Good day, everyone, to another chapter of Facets. Today, we see what happens when the Borg are allowed to roam free in the Star Wars universe.
Titanic X: And just what happens when they run across the Federation in the same place.
Ron the True Fan: In short, utter chaos. On with the fic!
STAR WARS: FACETS
Chapter 3 - Battle of Coruscant: Borg Assault
Coruscant orbit - USS Ra-Cailum
Captain's Log, USS Ra-Cailum, Stardate 87011.2: We have begun to set up a transwarp network at Yavin IV and Coruscant, and have begun connecting the worlds of the Republic for swift access for Starfleet, KDF and eventually Romulan Republic ships to quickly defend their worlds from a Borg assault. Chancellor J'mpok of the Klingon Empire and President Okeg have placed me in general command of all forces in this universe. I wish I could say the same for Chancellor Palpatine. Stubborn fool.
The battle fleet was ready. All that mattered now was getting prepared for the next time the Borg made their appearance. Surprisingly, almost all of the Republic members were supportive of the idea to an alliance with the CIS, which was saying something considering the two sides were at war with one another.
Still, that did little to shake the bad feeling that was starting to become prevalent amongst the Starfleet crew that did assemble.
Chancellor Palpatine refused to give Captain Pinkerton command of the Grand Army of the Republic, although really, there was no point: the GAR was powerless against the Borg. Still, a sign of a unified front was needed. Palpatine was just being stupid. A trio of Armatage-Class escort carriers flew past what was now the flagship of the task force: the Sovereign-Class USS Ra-Cailum. A pair of Klingon K'Vort-Class BoPs flew alongside, as it was Klingon tradition to protect the leader of an army.
Beside the ship hovered Jessica's newly repaired fighter. She was in the cockpit to help run interference for the fleet if they needed it. She eyed the To'Duj fighters that took off from the Y'Bung, which, despite the Republic's best efforts, were still superior to their fighters, including her own. "Ra-Cailum to Miller." Jessica activated the comm system. "Go."
"Starfleet Command is requesting you to come aboard: I think someone wants to speak with you."
"Okay. I will." Jessica banked her fighter around and flew back towards the Ra-Cailum. The doors to the shuttlebay opened and she let her fighter coast inside before she shut down the repulsorlifts and landed it. The cockpit opened and she hopped out, landing on the hangar bay floor. A trio of security officers walked toward her. "Miss Miller? We're here to escort you to the Captain's ready room."
"Understood." Jessica let them guide her to the ready room, which didn't take very long. Just a turbolift ride up to the bridge and then across to the room. Once inside, she was greeted by Ron.
"Ah, Jessica. Welcome. Computer, is the communication system securely connected to the FedCommNet?"
"Affirmative." He clapped his hands together. "Alrighty, then. Computer, activate holocommunicator."
A male human wearing a Starfleet uniform akin to T'nae's appeared, with the rank insignia of an Admiral. "Captain Pinkerton."
"Admiral Oscar." The man identified as Admiral Oscar looked at Jessica.
"And this must be the young lady you've told me about."
Ron nodded. "Yes, sir. Jessica, this is Admiral Gerald Oscar. Admiral, Jessica Miller."
Oscar extended his hand before retracting it. "Right, holograms. Captain Pinkerton has a proposal for you."
"All right. What is it, sir?" she asked.
"Captain Pinkerton wants to make you the liaison between the Republic and the local task force. In order to do that, you need to have a commission in Starfleet. The Captain is willing to vouch for you, however, and will give you your billet."
He looked around the office as he took in a breath. "Couple of ground rules, first. You cannot hand over any advanced technology over to the GAR, or to the CISAF and you will obey Starfleet regulations to the letter. Remember, it's not just your ass on the line. Any misconduct on your part will reflect on Captain Pinkerton."
"Understood!" Jessica said.
"Alright, then. Captain?" Ron reached into his pocket and tossed a commbadge toward Jessica, who caught the device.
"The Captain's going to be relying on you, Lieutenant. And we're relying on him. No screw ups." The transmission ended, and Ron looked at Jessica. "Well, you've got a choice between wearing that outfit or switching into a uniform. The quartermaster'll see what size you need if you do choose to take a uniform, and you'll need to choose a division."
"What division?" Jessica grinned and clenched the badge. "Tactical!"
"Red as blood and black as night."
"It's from an old 21st Century song from Earth. Tactical is red, science/medical is blue and engineering/operations/security is gold. As you've noticed, tactical is the track to command. Of course, you won't be taking command of a ship unless we need you to." The door opened and in came Tarae.
"Commander, escort Lieutenant Miller to the quartermaster's office: she needs a uniform."
Jessica nodded and followed her out.
Tarae and Jessica walked back onto the bridge and into a turbolift. "Deck 6, section 22." The doors shut and took them close to the quartermaster's office. "So, which uniform are you going to wear?"
"Tactical," Jessica said.
It didn't take long to find the uniform that she wanted. It was black mostly on the upper body with red on the shoulders and tops of the sleeves. The pants were black and so were the boots she wore. All in all, it was a perfect fit.
"It's a new version of the uniform. Captain Pinkerton thinks they look ridiculous, but that's him. We'll have several more uniforms for you replicated and sent to your quarters."
The planet Alderaan was a peaceful world, having almost nothing to do with the war other then being part of the Republic. Now it was going to become something else. A ship dropped out of hyperspace, covered in black hull plating with green power nodes. Two CR90 corvettes approached the ship, with their meager weapons active and armed. "This is the Alderaan defense ship Delta V to unknown vessel. Please identify yourself." The massive black ship locked a green tractor beam onto both ships. "We are the Borg. You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile." The Borg had arrived at Alderaan, and they were almost unstoppable.
But that didn't mean they were going to give up.
Any and all fighters of the Alderaanian defense forces opened fire on the enemy, as did a number of other ships in the close vicinity, if they had weapons. Down on the surface, it was quickly becoming apparent with the fighting as it began that the unknown ship possessed the uncanny ability to adapt to their weapons on the fly. So it was discussed and decided by the government to use their powerful defensive armaments.
But concerns about their potential uselessness reigned. Some protested and insisted that they flee instead of fight. Yet the order to fire the planet's armaments and superweapons alike was given and within time, the first shots were fired. Warnings were sent to all their native forces and they retreated as the first shots hit the unknown ship in the hull and around it. The explosions were enough to convince some right off the bat that they had won.
But it was far from over…
The flagship entered a low orbit, continuing its' upload into the Jedi Archives. Jessica walked into Ron's ready room, where the man was reading a PADD. He glanced at her. "Well, not the uniform I would've picked, but it's part of the uniform code." He pulled out another PADD and handed it to her. "I want you to represent the Federation at the next Senate meeting and try to convince them to put the Republic military under TF Omega control."
"I'll do what I can," Jessica said.
"Captain, Senator Organa is requesting to speak with you. His shuttle is already on its' way up and is requesting to land." Ron sighed. "Politics. How I loathe them. Tell him that his shuttle is cleared to land, and that he'd better have a damn good reason to bother me."
"I'll make sure he knows."
He stood up, straightening his uniform. "My mother wanted me to join the Federation Council when I was younger. I had no interest in listening to her, and joined Starfleet under the pretext of making it the jumping point of my political career."
"Yikes! Bet you would've hated it!' Jessica remarked.
Ron shook his head. "I lied. I had no intention of entering politics. My job is to explore and defend the Federation. Problem is, I know how to deal with politicians, no matter which universe they're from. Now, according to the schedule..." He looked at a PADD. "The next meeting of the Senate is in four hours. I want you there in one, and I want a report on everything that goes on there."
"Understood," Jessica said.
"There's something odd going on. Your comments were just the start. I've started to notice something wrong with the Republic's leadership as well, and I don't like it. Watch everyone and everything."
Jessica nodded and saluted. "Roger!"
The door to the ready room opened, revealing Senator Bail Organa entering the room. "Captain Pinkerton, I presume?" Ron glanced at Jessica. "Dismissed." The newly-commissioned officer left the ready room, and Bail walked toward the desk. "So, what can I do for you, Senator?
Bail sighed. "I don't want this fleet in orbit of Coruscant, Captain. It's unnerving the people."
Ron shrugged. "Well, there is nothing I can do about it. Starfleet Command chose Coruscant as our primary staging point because of the simple fact that it has the largest population in the known galaxy."
Bail didn't seem to get it. "Captain-"
"The Borg will return to try and assimilate this world. The fleet stays in orbit, like it-"
A tone played as the internal comm system activated. "Tarae to Pinkerton."
Ron sighed in annoyance. "Always in the middle of a conversation. Pinkerton here."
"Sir, we're picking up a transmission from Alderaan. Should I inform the Senator?"
Ron nodded. "He's in here with me. Patch it through."
The comm activated and a message that sounded frantic came over. "Sir, this is Lianna Barstrow. We've got a major problem here!" the commander of the Alderaan armed forces replied.
"What?" Bail asked.
"It's got to do with an unknown ship that appeared over Alderaan! It's currently taking us all we;ve got just to fight it off!" Barstrow exclaimed. "We've had to use two superweapons to try and take it out, but with no luck. It just keeps adapting to our tactics and firepower! At this rate, we'll be overwhelmed and possibly taken over!"
Ron glanced at Bail. "And you didn't want the fleet here at Coruscant. Hope this proves that you're an idiot." Ron tapped his commbadge. "Pinkerton to bridge: set a course to Alderaan, transwarp speed."
The Ra-Cailum turned and prepared to go to transwarp. This time, no one was about to get assimilated on his watch!
The Borg, however, had already begun to deploy assimilation probes from the ship, and had landed them in major population centers, where they used assimilated B1 battle droids, outfit with Borg-adapted blasters and reactive EM shielding, allowing the Borg to assimilate the people without endangering their meager number of drones. And they were doing just that: the defense forces were being overwhelmed as their weapons used the same frequency. A family attempted to get away from the Borg onslaught, but the assimilated droids marched toward their hiding place, and one grabbed a young boy and injected him with assimilation tubules, beginning the process of assimilation. In higher orbit, the Borg were assimilating ADF vessels, turning them into vassals of the Collective. "Coordinates located for five planets: Corellia, Kamino, Geonosis, Naboo and Ryloth. Assimilation will commence when all vessels are converted for use."
USS Ra-Cailum - en route to Alderaan
"Maintain tactical alert and stand by to engage and destroy all targets."
"Let's just hope we're not too late…" Bail whispered.
"The moment the call went out, we were too late, Senator," Ron said, his eyes hard. "The Borg have likely already assimilated most of the planet by now. The only thing that remains there is something that needs to be destroyed."
"Captain-" Bail tried to protest, but was cut off by Ron.
"I will NOT allow the Borg to have a base in this universe. I will destroy Alderaan if the planet is lost," Ron said.
Bail bit his lower lip, but said nothing as he nodded, feeling defeat filling his mind.
Ron turned his attention back to the matter at hand. "Status?"
"Torpedo tubes loaded: all photon torpedoes have been set to their highest yields and tricobalt weapons are ready. All I need is the order for General Order 25," Barry relayed.
Ron sighed. "You might be getting that order, Barry."
"Approaching Alderaan, Captain," Asuka reported.
"Drop us out of transwarp, Asuka. Red Alert!" Warning alarms blared throughout the ship, and the Ra-Cailum dropped out of hyperspace. "Alderaan in visual range."
What they saw stunned them all, but mostly Bail. He swore his heart stopped at the sight of his home…
Assimilated by the Borg.
Half of the continents were already turned to metal and structures were transformed as well, forever altering the landscape. The ruins of ships that once served his people drifted around the planet's orbit, a reminder of their futile fight against the Borg. But something sent hope surging through him as he recognized it as being one of the explosives used by their primary superweapons. That was enough to prove that they had at least fought back, but as his gaze returned to the planet below, he felt his hope fading.
He didn't know why, but it felt like all hope was drained when seeing what the Borg could do to people and planets as a whole. The whole fight…
It seemed useless, especially as they lacked projectile and kinetic weapons to do the damage necessary to destroy or at least disable the Borg.
So how could they fight them without the necessary firearms?
"T'lar?" Ron asked.
"I'm picking up over 2 billion lifesigns: mostly Borg, but there are a few human lifesigns down there. Readings are erratic," she said.
"Meaning they could be alive!" Bail snapped,
"Or being assimilated as I speak," Ron said.
Bail looked at Ron. "What?"
"The readings are changing. They're being assimilated as I speak: the nanovirus infected every lifeform down there. Barry, ships?" Barry looked at his tactical sensors.
"Five ships: four of them CV90 corvettes. The last one is our old friend from Coruscant."
Ron sighed. "Target the corvettes. Leave no trace."
The fighting broke out almost right away. The corvettes opened up, along with the assimilated Providence-class. Phaser fire and lasers lanced across space, forcing the Ra-Cailum to dodge and pull off all kinds of moves just to stay ahead of the enemy forces. The defense corvettes also fired on them, their assimilated lasers being enhanced with greater power and accuracy. Bail was stunned that this was even happening.
The Ra-Cailum suddenly shuddered as lasers hit their shields, and as enhanced as they were, that was enough to start the decrease at a slightly more significant percentage. Ron's eyes narrowed as the vessel sheared to the right and fired on the corvette, blowing its hull apart. The other three started to rely on greater agility, but the Federation vessel's firepower negated that advantage…
At least for a while.
The corvette closed to them took a shot directly to where its transwarp drive was located, but its hull only sustained a moderate amount of damage.
Jessica heard and felt the commotion as the vessel dodged again and ran into the bridge. "What's going on?" she asked.
"Borg," was all Bail said as she spotted the assimilated corvettes outside.
"Damn!" she swore. "How are we gonna stop them?"
Ron smiled grimly. "Only one way to stop them, and it goes against all of Starfleet's regulations. Barry, target the larger Borg ship."
Barry did just that, bringing all available firepower to bear on the Providence-class cruiser.
"Fire!" The ship's weapons lit up, sending a powerful barrage right for them. The cruiser shook under the firepower hitting its hull, but the Borg adaptation merely shrugged it off and returned fire. But Ron had a plan in mind.
"Fire tricobalt and photon torpedoes: set them to proximity detonation. And target their transwarp drive: we can't let them escape." The forward launchers fired off their respective weapons, exploding close to the ship, knocking it around slightly and causing heavy damage, but it was still intact. The ship then jumped into transwarp, avoiding destruction again.
"Fucking Christ!" Ron swore. "We couldn't get that ship, but we can still take care of Alderaan. Barry, target the major fault lines and turn that planet into a molten ball of rock: we can't let the Borg have a major foothold here."
Bail gritted his teeth and turned away. He couldn't bear to watch, but he figured it was for the best. His people deserved better than to be some slaves to the Borg.
Another ship appeared from behind an asteroid: this one being another CV90 corvette, but it lacked any sign of Borg assimilation. "What the hell?" Ron murmured. It lowered a grappling arm and snared the wreckage of an assimilated CV90 before jumping into hyperspace. "Track that ship!"
"It's too late, sir: it dropped out of hyperspace, then changed course and jumped back in. I couldn't track it."
Ron gritted his teeth before turning to Barry. "Barry!" he snapped.
Barry nodded. "Aye, sir: General Order 25 acknowledged. Firing all weapons." The Ra-Cailum's phasers opened fire on major fault lines, cracking them open wide enough for larger, more destructive weapons to get in. Tricobalt warheads and photon torpedoes fired out from the forward launchers, detonating inside the planet, turning it from a class-M world to an E-class world, similar to Excalbia back in their home universe. "Status?"
"Nothing but molten rock now. Anything humanoid won't survive for long."
"But what about that other ship?" Jessica asked. "Aren't we going to do something about that unassimilated vessel?"
"Out of our hands for now. The Borg have been dealt a heavy blow here, but the Republic has lost one of its worlds. Asuka, take us back to Coruscant."
"Aye, sir." The Ra-Cailum spun around, then entered transwarp, heading back for Coruscant.
Coruscant - Chancellor's office
Palpatine would have been tapping his fingers in annoyance, but he wasn't at that stage yet. If anything, he was kind of worried. His plans were in motion, yes, but who knew for how long? This whole thing was starting to worry him. But the biggest issue was the fact that the Federation was getting involved. This spelled trouble.
The only question now was how long until they found out?
His deck console beeped out a text message: 'Technology acquired. Heading for Maw research station.' Palpatine sighed in relief. He had foreseen the attack on Alderaan, and ordered a mercenary ship to capture one of the wrecks or at least a piece of them. Now all was according to the Grand Plan, and soon the Republic would turn into the first and true Galactic Empire.
But the Federation…
They were considered a wildcard at this point. While he did have an idea of some of their technology, it wasn't enough. He needed more intelligence on them.
And soon, if his plans were to succeed...
"Chancellor, you have a message from the Ra-Cailum: Captain Pinkerton on the line." Palpatine calmed himself. It was what he did best. "Put him through." A crude hologram (by Federation standards) appeared, flickering slightly. "T'-u clean t-little?" "Work-sir." The transmission stabilized, and the transmission was clear.
"Captain, is there a problem?"
"We had to destroy Alderaan's surface: nothing lives anymore. I hope this shows you that the GAR needs to be put under TF Omega control for the duration of the crisis if we are to survive this!"
Palpatine didn't want Starfleet controlling anything, but he didn't want to be turned into one of those cybernetic monsters. "I know now, Captain. I resisted simply because I feared the Republic would lose its' military and thus the war if I put them under your control."
Ron shook his head. "I have no intention of pulling back your forces, nor will I deny reinforcements to your lines. The CIS is just not the issue anymore, sir."
He nodded. "Very well. Until the Borg are gone, the Grand Army of the Republic is under your provisional control."
"Very good, Chancellor." The transmission ended, and Palpatine was seconds from throwing a fit.
But he didn't. Instead, he turned and fired off a blast of Force Lightning to hit the wall of his office. The bolt only scorched the surface, and it could easily be cleaned up. But for now, he had to remain calm and keep the Federation in the dark on this.
His only fear was that they'd find out sooner or later.
The Ra-Cailum dropped out of hyperspace, and passed by the new hexagonal transwarp gate in orbit of Centax-1, one of Coruscant's moons. It was the beginning of a massive, galaxy-wide transwarp network, starting with Yavin and Coruscant. Jessica watched in the conference room as the ship passed the large Federation/Klingon task force, comprised of ships she had no idea what were called.
All in all, it was an impressive fleet. She turned just as the door slid open and Sonja walked in.
"Task Force Omega's pretty big, isn't it? hundreds, if not thousands of starships, all working against the Borg. It's almost like the Khitomer Accords were never rescinded," she said.
"Tell me about it. And I thought my own home world's defensive forces were large in numbers…" Jessica said.
Two Kamarag-Class battlecruisers flew past, followed by an Ambassador-Class cruiser and a pair of Emissary-Class heavy cruisers. This was showcasing just some of the might that the other universe had.
Sonja narrowed her eyes a bit. "Still, what the Captain had to do isn't winning him any favors. Senator Organa contacted Senator Amidala, and she's raising all kinds of hell down there. Not that he wanted that to happen: I think he was trying to tell her that if they don't help us, more worlds will end up like Alderaan."
"I get the idea," Jessica said as she sighed. "I just hope it won't happen to my world…"
"We don't have much of a choice. If we don't have a large transwarp network, we can't defend this galaxy. If she doesn't want another repeat of Alderaan, she'll shut the hell up."
The young woman nodded. "Good." Then she became serious. "Aside from that though, we need to figure out how to develop the necessary weapons to defeat the Borg."
"Well, our database is full of firearms from Earth and the Captain's a fan of-" A ship appeared out of hyperspace, followed by six others. It was another Providence-class destroyer, but it was not an assimilated one. The ship was escorted by three Subjugator-class heavy cruisers, two Munificent-class star frigates and a Lucrehulk-class battleship. "What the fuck?"
"Commander Henderson, Lieutenant Miller, report to the bridge."
Jessica and Sonja bolted for the door and ran out of the room onto the bridge. "What's going on, sir?" the lieutenant asked.
"The lead ship is hailing us on a diplomatic channel, IDing itself as the Invisible Hand." Ron glanced at Barry. "Open a channel." The screen changed from the sight forward of the ship to the bridge of the Invisible Hand.
The first one was no doubt an android, but something was clearly off about it. For one thing, the eyes that gazed back looked organic in nature, not mechanical. That, and the face was reminiscent of a mask of sorts, looking like a skull of some kind. The shoulder guards were visible and reminded Jessica of old holo images she had seen of droids. The droid wore a cloak and in one hand held a saber.
The second was a woman, but with pale skin and light blue eyes. She had no hair and had a tattoo on her head. She wore a cloak as well, but thrown back and a sort of long dress except for the top which fit her body nicely.
The third was a man with greying hair and a beard with mustache. He wore a cloak as well, but thrown back to show his dark uniform with lightsaber on his belt.
"This is Captain Ronald Pinkerton of the United Federation of Planets starship Ra-Cailum. Please identify yourself."
The bearded man looked directly at the captain. "I am Count Dooku, leader of the Confederacy of Independent Systems. I come to Coruscant on a mission of peace, and to deliver a warning to the Republic of a threat that has claimed one of our worlds."
Ron arched an eyebrow. "Oh?"
"The planet of Muunilinst has been taken over by an unknown force that has captured one of our ships as well. They call themselves...the Borg."
"The same thing happened here," Jessica said. "But with Alderaan. They put up one hell of a fight, but… it was for nothing."
Dooku nodded. "We could not force them out. They took over the planet, and even using nuclear weapons was pointless, as they shot the weapons down before they could enter the atmosphere. I come to request aid in ending this threat before it consumes the galaxy, making this war...utterly pointless."
"Agreed, Count. Send a shuttle over to the Ra-Cailum: we'll talk here. I'll have Republic and Jedi representatives to meet with you."
The other two looked like they were about to go on a rampage. Dooku, however, gave them a look that clearly said 'do anything, I will kill you both'. "In one hour, Captain."
The image faded, returning to the sight over Coruscant. "Lieutenant, I need you to tell me everything you know about those three, if anything."
Jessica nodded and began to explain what she knew about them from her travels. It wasn't very much, but what she did know was very valuable to the captain and his crew.
"All three of them are high-ranking members of the CIS government and military, and two of them are former Jedi."
Jessica nodded. "More or less."
R"And according to the scans we made of Kenobi, Tano and Skywalker, all Jedi have telekinetic abilities. T'lar, Barry, set up a psionic dampening field: I don't want these people to kill us by accident."
"I'll go grab my sword and magnetize the damn thing: might as well have something to counter those lightsabers of theirs."
USS Ra-Cailum - 59 minutes later
The shuttlecraft drifted over to the Ra-Cailum, the occupants clearly waiting for the CIS forces to arrive. It wasn't that long before it docked in the shuttlebay. "Just remember, you are NOT to kill one another. I don't care if you hate each other: the Borg are our enemy."
"Understood, sir," Ventress replied, even though she hated the "droid" standing next to her.
The hatch opened, and they were greeted with the sight of the ship's captain, two human women wearing uniforms akin to his own and the three Jedi they didn't want to see: Obi-wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker and Ahsoka Tano. Grievous pulled out two of his stolen lightsabers, activated them and charged at them. The captain rolled his eyes and snapped his fingers. The moment that happened, Grievous was caught in some kind of tractor beam. "General, I would remove your weapons. There will be no fighting on this ship. Even if I need to shove your ass into a tank of plasma coolant to make it so."
"Fine! But only because of the circumstances at hand!" the cyborg spat.
Ron snapped his fingers again, deactivating the beam and releasing Grievous. "On another note, there is a psionic dampening field active, so you don't have access to your fancy Force powers. Now, please follow me."
Ventress glared at Kenobi while Grievous generally glared at every Jedi there, while Dooku was much more composed and civilized. He didn't glare at any of them, although Anakin wasn't too pleased to see him. "Captain, I hope you have an explanation for these Borg and their attack upon one of our worlds."
Ron handed him a PADD containing all the relevant information, translated into Galactic Basic. "Believe me, you're not going to like it."
The count grabbed it and scanned it over, his eyes widening as he began to realize the implications for them and the Republic both. He actually began to shake because he was so stunned.
He handed the PADD back to Ron. "I...I see what you mean," he said, although the tremor of fear in his voice was enough for Ron to understand that the information had made its mark.
They walked into a conference room, with one of the monitors showing the emblem of the United Federation of Planets. "Now, I understand that you guys don't exactly like one another. To be honest, I don't care and neither do the Borg. They will some in force and take this world and this entire galaxy from you if given the chance."
"I can understand your position then. You are proposing that we form a united front against them. Am I right?" Dooku asked, narrowing his eyes a bit.
"More or less. In this case, you have no choice. The Borg will slowly take over your galaxy if you don't put your differences aside. If you don't, you will be forced into the Collective, and then our galaxy is fucked!" Ron hissed.
Dooku nodded. "I see. Well, considering how big of a threat the Borg are, I think we can make it happen. But only until they are driven back."
"Well, I actually think this is a good start to a lasting peace between both sides. Eventually, you might end the war through tal-"
"Bridge to Captain Pinkerton."
Ron planted his face on the table. "ALWAYS. In the middle of my sentences." He rose up once more and tapped his commbadge. "Pinkerton."
"We've intercepted several communiques from the galactic comm network. Two planets have come under attack from an 'unknown force'."
"Which worlds?" Ron asked.
"Neimoidia and Naboo, sir."
Dooku looked at Ron. "A Confederate world and a Republic world, both under attack."
"I don't like this any more than you do, hakushaku, but if the Borg ARE attacking two worlds, we need to move quickly. The Ra-Cailum will take the Resolute and 9 other starships to Naboo. The Y'Bung will take your flagship and 12 ships to Neimoidia. Agreed?"
"Agreed, Captain," Dooku said.
Ron nodded. "Good. Then get back to your ship. In case it's not too late, we'll send a few Republic troop ships to transport everyone offworld with both forces. Get back to your shuttle and let's get this done."
USS Ra-Cailum - 10 minutes later
The CIS 'delegation' had left the ship, and the Ra-Cailum, along with two Galaxy-Class cruisers, three Ambassador-Class support cruisers, a Defiant-Class escort, the Resolute, an Intrepid-Class science ship and two Constitution-Class heavy cruisers, were en route to Naboo. On board were Senators Organa and Padme Amidala, the latter of which was condemning Ron for his actions over Alderaan every second she could. Bail tried to stop her, but really, could you stop that woman when her mind was set on something?
In truth, no one could. She was quite the woman, he had to admit, but this time, he could tell that she was quite determined as well to prevent such a thing from happening to her own world. The only question was how were they going to stop them?
Ron was trying to be diplomatic, but his patience was REALLY being tested. 'If that bitch does not SHUT THE FUCK UP within the next 10 seconds, I will fucking KILL HER.'
Thankfully, Jessica intervened and managed to talk to Padme about other stuff, pulling her away from the slowly pissed off Ron and engaging her in a conversation about her life on Naboo and the recent events prior to this whole mess.
"Sir, what if it IS the Borg? If we're too late, Naboo will be little more than a Borg wasteland. And knowing the Borg, it probably is."
"If I am forced to use General Order 25 again, I will not be pleased. And if Amidala objects, I'm beaming her onto a Borg ship. Let THEM deal with her."
It would take roughly two days to reach Naboo using conventional hyperspace, but the Ra-Cailum's modifications were applied to every ship in the fleet, including the Resolute (it was something they could've come up with and it was their technology to begin with, so the Prime Directive didn't apply) so they would get to Naboo within three hours.
The entire trip there was tense, as the atmosphere on board could testify to. Even Jessica had to admit that she was on edge. She paced the room a bit, but kept herself as calm as she possibly could under these circumstances.
"Sir, we're entering the Naboo system."
"Slow to impulse. On screen."
The Ra-Cailum dropped out, and Naboo entered view. "Sir, I'm not detecting the Borg nanovirus in the atmosphere. Nor any sign of Borg ships."
"Then what the hell attacked the planet?" T'lar looked at Ron. "Sir, I'm detecting traces of tachyon particles and antiprotons throughout the planet's lunar orbit."
"Tell the Vessalius to fire off a charged particle burst, NOW!"
The burst from the Intrepid-Class ship revealed the form of a green ship that from the front looked as if it had two handles on the sides. But upon closer inspection, it was revealed that it had a support on the bottom and a corridor-like structure on the top, connecting the bridge section to the large rectangular-shaped object, which was in fact the drive section of the unknown starship.
"Son of a bitch. That's a D'Deridex-Class Romulan warbird!" The Romulan warbird fired on the Ra-Cailum, causing the shields to flare with each hit. "Shields down to 91%! Vessel is identified as the IRW Khazara!" That meant one thing: Romulan Tal Shiar. "Return fire!"
The Ra-Cailum opened up with her phasers, hitting the vessel repeatedly as its own shields flared.
"Fucking Romulans! They ALWAYS do this!" Ron swore.
Jessica gritted her teeth. She wanted so badly to do something...but what could she do?
"Sir, I'm detecting more ships uncloaking! Romulan warbirds, Norexan and T'Varo-Class!" At least 20 Romulan warbirds decloaked, firing on the Federation fleet. "Launch our Peregrines! Knowing them, they've got Scorpion fighters ready to launch."
"I'm going out, too!" Jessica said.
The Romulan warbirds were firing at everything that moved, with three of the T'Varos attacking the Resolute.
Jessica gritted her teeth and ran for the turbolift at the end of the bridge. She darted inside and barked out "Shuttlebay!" The lift descended and once it reached the bay, she was out and in her fighter in less than fifteen minutes. She buckled up and closed the cockpit, starting the engines and heading out into the fighting.
The Peregrines were already launching by the time she was out. The black fighter seemed to blend with the darkness of space, giving her an edge that most other fighters lacked. She flipped her fighter upside down and fired off a barrage of lasers at the closest Scorpion fighter.
As usual, the turbolasers did nothing to the Reman-designed fighter: she had yet to upgrade her weapons to Federation standards. The Scorpion flipped around, firing its' deadlier disruptor cannon at her fighter, hacking through the weak shielding and causing heavy damage to it. Five more ships decloaked, two of them being D'deridex and Norexan-Class, but the other three ships were something else entirely.
The three vessels all looked the same at first glance, but the differences became clear once one looked closer at them. One of them had its warp nacelles built onto the main hull while another possessed openings in the wings, pylons, and nacelle covers. The last one had a much more distinctive array on the nose and glowing slots on the wings.
"Damn!" she muttered. Thinking fast, she engaged the stealth coating, her fighter vanishing from sight. She turned it and limped back to the Ra-Cailum.
On the bridge, Ron was almost reduced to tears. "Talwar, Falchion, and Scimitar-Class warbirds. We're fucked."
"Sir, we're being hailed by the RRW Republic!" Barry reported.
Ron smirked. These weren't Tal Shiar. They were Romulan Republic warbirds. "Tell them that we're engaged in a defensive operation and are requesting assistance!" The five warbirds, now identified as belonging to the Romulan Republic, entered the fight, with the three sisters engaging their cloaking devices, disappearing from sight and opening fire on the enemy Romulan fleet.
The Tal Shiar vessels were forced to try and engage them just to stay alive, but it was impossible with the cloaking devices. The warbirds of the Republic kept it up before the tal Shiar ships were forced to flee.
The Tal Shiar ships regrouped near one of Naboo's moons just as a pair of unwanted guests dropped out of transwarp: two CV90 corvettes, covered in Borg power nodes and exoplating. "Son of a bitch. Those Tal Shiar fucks lured the Borg here!" The matter was made worse as a pair of proper Borg ships appeared: two cubes, covered in armor. "Tactical cubes. There's no way in hell we can hold off four Borg ships AND a Tal Shiar armada. Get those landing ships as close to the planet as possible: we'll beam the inhabitants onto the troop ships!"
"What about those other ships, the ones that are from the Romulan Republic? Can they help?" Padme asked.
Ron nodded. "They've got transporters, but they'll be busy. We can't save everyone, Senator. If possible, I'll save as many as I can. But Naboo is lost. Asuka, take us into position and begin mass beam outs: as many as possible. We need to get there before the Borg introduce that nanovirus into the atmosphere."
The ships of the Romulan Republic engaged the enemy ships, staying in cloak and opening fire from warp as well. The advantage would last, but only for so long before the Borg took them out or adapted to the tactics.
The Ra-Cailum and three Acclamator-Class assault ships entered low orbit, with the Ra-Cailum's 14 personnel transporters and 6 cargo transporters beaming 250 people off the surface at a time and sending them onto one of the Acclamators. Considering Naboo's population, they wouldn't even get a tenth of the people off the planet before the Borg introduced the nanovirus into the atmosphere and began assimilating everything down there. "How many?"
"I've got roughly 2000 people on one of the troopships, and I'm picking up dozens of transports and escort fighters taking off from the surface. But even so, sir-"
"We're going to lose a lot of people today."
Padme nodded. "I see." In truth, she wanted to save even more, but any person they saved would be grateful and it was one less person for the Borg to assimilate. That sort of eased her despair at losing her home, but not all the way. Still, it provided some hope so she wasn't as upset as she could be.
Ron seemed to sense her despair and an idea formed in his mind. "As soon as the last transport is clear, I want you to fire a spread of torpedoes into the atmosphere. Attach a pair of cargo pods filled with trilithium resin to them."
"You're going to poison the atmosphere?!" Padme blurted.
"The Borg can't operate as well in a toxic atmosphere: they'll be forced to clean it up before they move on to another system. It might buy us some time." Dozens of transports and Naboo N-1 starfighters cleared the planet, but two of them didn't get clear in time as the two CV90s locked tractor beams onto them and began transporting assimilated B1 battle droids onto them.
"Barry, lock photon torpedoes onto the transports." Barry flinched, but obeyed.
"Believe me, we're doing them a favor."
Ron bowed his head in respect for the lives about to be lost. "Fire."
The torpedoes fired and streaked out from the ship's launchers, homing in on them. The two ships exploded, leaving no trace behind.
"Lock phasers on the two corvettes and disable them, then fire the toxic torpedoes as soon as the last safe transport is clear." The Ra-Cailum's phasers fired at the two Borg ships, hitting their vulnerable engine blocks and disabling the two ships before being free and clear. "Torpedoes ready."
"Kami wa kono kōi no tame ni watashi o yurushite mo. Fire." Five torpedoes launched from the Ra-Cailum's stardrive-mounted launcher, then entered and detonated in the atmosphere, spreading the toxic trilithium resin throughout the thermosphere. Naboo had become a poisoned world. "The Tal Shiar are holding the line, sir. It looks like they just wanted the Borg to gain a foothold here."
"And the Borg got what they wanted. Get us back to Coruscant!"
Coruscant - Senate chambers
"You have got to be kidding! He did what?!" a Senator shouted.
"It was necessary to save my planet," Padme said as she looked at the other Senator. "He knew that the Borg could not operate as well in a poisoned atmosphere, so it will buy more time to evacuate as many people as possible. It may not save everyone, but it could save more than what we did rescue."
"That only proves that the Borg need to be destroyed at all costs!" another Senator cried.
"We know," Bail remarked seriously. "That is why we need the help of everyone we can get. Regardless of race, alliance, or whatever. A united front is all we can do at this point."
"What about building combat oriented projectile weapons? He said something about them being weak to those, right? So, why are we not doing that?" a third Senator cried.
"While it would be to our advantage, we currently lack the blueprints for such weapons," Bail reasoned. "Just give them some time and our allies can provide the weapons blueprints we need."
Watching from a balcony were Ron and Sonja. "Any news from General Guinlong?"
"The Borg attacked Neimoidia: they couldn't do a damn thing to stop them," Ron said grimly/
"Sir, with all due respect, if we can't stop them in our universe-" Sonja tried to protest, but was cut off by Ron.
"We can stop them here. They're too firmly entrenched in our universe: we can't destroy them there. HERE, they're vulnerable." His eyes were hard as he said those words.
"And I take it that it will be somewhat of a challenge?" Anakin asked from beside them.
Ron nodded. "To a point. The Borg have taken two worlds from both of your powers and forced us to destroy a third. If we can make the Borg understand that holding a planet here is anything but cost effective, we have a chance to force them out. If not, we'll need to evacuate every inhabited world and relocate them back in our universe."
"...Senators, Senators! Please! I have something to add to this!" All eyes were on Palpatine now. "Due to the direness of this threat, the state of war between the Republic and the Confederacy of Independent Systems must come to an end. I have met with Count Dooku, and he agrees with me."
"I have to agree!" Padme said as she stood up. "The Borg are a threat to everyone! And that includes you-" She pointed at one of the senators. "-And you-" She pointed at three others. "And you… Everyone! I may not like the idea, but it is necessary if we are to win this war against the Borg! We need all the allies we can get, and despite the controversial decisions carried out by Captain Pinkerton at two of those worlds, they were carried out with the best interests of the respective peoples at heart! My world was poisoned, yes, but it was to buy more time for evacuation! Think about what that would mean! The Borg lose more drones that way! And we can try to reinforce our other worlds, but we need to start gearing our industry for war against them, not each other! And if we fail...do you realize what it will mean?! Drones everywhere! All of us, assimilated and no free will! So, if you want to save your families, your peoples, and your worlds, stop this petty bickering and start thinking about the possible future we face if we let divisions keep us divided against this dire threat!"
She was panting by the time she ended her speech. But she had gotten through to them.
Palpatine seemed pleased by that. "Thank you, Senator Amidala. To that end, the Confederate droid army and the Grand Army of the Republic have been united in the common goal of ridding the galaxy of this...plague once and for all. Despite his...controversial actions, Captain Pinkerton will be taking command of both armies, with assistance from the Jedi Order and from the commanders of the Separatist army."
Obi-Wan glanced at Ron. "A lot of responsibility on your shoulders, Captain," he said.
Ron snorted. "There's a galaxy at stake. I don't plan on losing this war to the Borg."
On the other side of the Gate, as it was now termed, a lone Avenger-class cruiser was making it way towards the Gate. This ship was none other than the USS Nighthawk, under the command of one Captain Sarah Miller, also known as the Kage no Satsujin, or Shadow Killer. She was assigned to help Ron with something happening on the other side, so she was unsure of the whole issue.
But orders were orders.
It also helped that she had taken out a few Borg-assimilated ships herself, especially a Romulan Tal Shiar vessel taken over by those cybernetic bastards.
Her eyes locked onto the Gate as they narrowed a bit. "Helm, all stop."
The helmsman nodded and brought the vessel to a stop just five kilometers from the Gate.
This time, she knew, there was no going back. The Borg were invading another universe, and they had to be stopped before it was too late.
Near the remains of Hobus V was a Regula-type starbase, surrounded by Federation and Klingon starships. "Captain, we're being hailed by Admiral Ushiromiya."
"On screen." The image changed to that of a red haired man in wearing a much older version of the uniform: from the 2280s, in fact. Admiral Battler Ushiromiya was a man who had risen through the ranks faster than any Starfleet officer before or since: at 25, he was the youngest flag officer in the fleet.
"Captain Miller. I just wanted to wish you good luck before you went through." He was also a notorious ladies man.
"Thanks, sir. I'll do my best," Sarah said. She saluted as the comm went down and she turned back to the helmsman. "Full impulse. Let's go!"
"Right!" the helmsman said.
The Nighthawk inched closer…
And passed through the Gate.
Her mission had begun.
The Maw was a massive research installation, covered by dozens of black holes. It was almost impossible to get in or out without getting killed. The mercs had long since delivered the Borgified CV90 to the Maw, and the mercs were...dealt with by one of the facility's Imperator-Class Star Destroyers, informally called Imperial-Class by the facility personnel who knew of Palpatine's plans. Now they were beginning to modify one of the ships with salvaged Borg technology, upgrading the ship's internal structure, weapons and power systems. They would do a bit of pruning, so to speak, in order to make sure the ships remained under their control, and not delivered into the hands of the Borg.
The one in charge of this was none other than Wilhuff Tarkin. He was actually impressed by the plans that the Sith Lord had crafted, especially considering this new technology they possessed now.
His musings were interrupted by one of the Clones assigned to work the project.
"Sir, we're ready to begin the project," he said.
"Good. And from what we have learned, we need to be wary and make sure that the Borg do not try anything against us. We shall figure out their secrets and use them to our advantage…" Tarkin mused as he grinned.
"Yes. And we will keep you informed of the progress we make," the clone said.
Tarkin nodded. "Good. Now get to work!"
"Sir!" The clone saluted and ran back to the dock where the ships were being stored for examination and study.
The Borg technology would enhance the ship, perhaps making it into a new subclass. He would have to think of a name for them.
The fleet was splitting off, escorted by Republic and CIS ships to their new protectorates until the end of the Borg crisis. Most of the fleet remained in orbit over Coruscant, as there weren't too many planets with a population of one fucking trillion. Over the artificial Western Sea was the Ra-Cailum, and the crew were trying to relax by taking in the view. But it was impossible, as the Borg and the Tal Shiar had secured a world for themselves in this galaxy, and they had lost millions of lives on both planets. Thankfully, someone was coming back. An Ambassador-Class starship docked with the Ra-Cailum, and several new personnel were sent over, alone with their first officer. On the bridge, Ron was busy drinking his sweetened tea while Asuka paced the deck. "She should be here by now."
"She spent two months at Starfleet Command. It's to be expected that she doesn't know her way around-" The turbolift doors opened, and in came Commander Riza Pinkerton, Ron's younger sister and the usual helmsman/XO for the Ra-Cailum. Riza took more after their mother with brown eyes, while Ron was blue-eyed and rather darker when it came to their hair. "Riza. Welcome back."
"Oniisama. It's good to be back," she said.
Ron waved an arm toward the helm, and Riza walked to her usual post. "So, how was Earth?" "I spent most of my time at ESD, oniisama. Admiral Quinn was rather unnerved about having my training done on Earth." Ron shrugged. "Man's always been overprotective of our family. That was to be expected."
"Sir, transwarp signature detected approaching Coruscant." A flash of light signalled the arrival of another Starfleet ship: the Avenger-Class USS Nighthawk.
The ship pulled up alongside the Ra-Cailum not even a moment later.
"Captain, the Nighthawk is hailing us."
Ron sighed. "Miller. Why, exactly, did they send her here?" Sarah Miller was something of a hothead in Starfleet Tactical: a good captain, yes, but she prefered shooting first rather than trying to talk her way out of a fight. Starfleet Command had court marshalled her twice, although she narrowly escaped being thrown out of the service by virtue of the war and the need for all captains on the front line. If she had one more misdemeanor, she would be thrown out of the service, probably into a penal colony if she was unlucky.
Still, her tactics of attacking from stealth were good, if not unconventional at times for a Starfleet officer. If Ron didn't know any better, he'd say she was Romulan. "Open a channel." The Nighthawk's bridge appeared on the screen, with Miller sitting in the captain's chair. "Captain Miller, welcome to Coruscant."
"It's good to be here, too, Ron," she said. "Although I am wondering what the mission exactly is. Starfleet Command wasn't exactly clear on that."
"Beam over and report to my ready room. You'll find out."
"Understood, Captain. Nighthawk out." The image faded, and Sonja shook her head
"This is the third chance she's been given. She fucks up again, her ass will be out of the service faster than Warp 10."
Ron stood up and walked toward his ready room. "And I will be drilling that into her head. This is the last straw."
It didn't take long for Sarah to arrive on the Ra-Cailum. She arrived on the bridge a few minutes later.
"I think you know the way to the Captain's ready room, Captain Miller," Sonja said.
Sarah nodded. "Sure do." She turned and walked over to the ready room with Ron behind her.
Ron was sitting at his desk, PADD in hand. "Captain Miller. My orders from Command said I would be taking command of a small fast-response task force in order to blunt any more Borg advances in this galaxy. Problem is, I didn't know they would send you." He handed her the PADD. "I don't care what accomplishments you've got, Miller. It's your bad reputation that I'm paying attention to. Starfleet Regulation 191, Article 14 means that I have command of this task force. And that means you will follow my orders like the word of God. Am I understood?"
She saluted. "Yes, sir!" she remarked.
"Lose the salute: we're the same rank. I just have the better ship."
Sarah relaxed as he said that. "Sorry. Force of habit," she said.
"Try to not do that. My ship might be tightly run, but I let my people relax as long as they don't fuck up. Your job will be to act as my heavy scout: you'll patrol the outer reaches, listening in on all comm traffic. The millisecond you pick up a distress call relating to the Borg, you get to that system and hold the line as long as you can until reinforcements arrive. You'll have three support vessels to gain maximum coverage: two Vigilant-Class tactical escorts, the Hayabusa and the Berkeley and a Defiant-Class, the Yucatan," Ron explained.
"Got it," Sarah said.
Ron scowled, noticing her tone of voice. "You're not happy with being my subordinate, are you, Miller?"
"I'll deal with it," Sarah replied. "Even though I don't like it. After all, even I know when to relent."
"I recommend shoving your attitude and ego out the airlock. I've seen your record, and while you've had a few engagements, I've had 50 against the Borg, including an attack on the Gamma Orionis unicomplex. You don't have that many. This is also the last chance you've been given by Tactical, so I recommend you vent your frustrations on the holodeck instead of toward your superiors." This was a bit of a veiled threat. If Sarah didn't shove her cowgirl attitude into a black hole, she would spend years in a penal colony. And there was nothing she could do about it with the war being over. "My new attache will be on board your ship for the time being. She's new to the job, but I suspect you'll get along just fine. Dismissed."
Sarah nodded and left the room. Her eyes narrowed a bit, but she kept her thoughts to herself. The biggest threat was the Borg right now, and she had to focus on that. She could keep her complains until she got to the holodeck. Or the shooting range, at least.
Ron sat back down, working on something that resembled a proper chain of command. He needed the Klingons, the GAR and the Separatist armed forces to work together with Starfleet. And he needed to make sure that it was respected, otherwise the only thing they would be doing would be mass-evacuating the entire galaxy and attempting to seal the Borg in.
Sarah returned to her ship and headed down to the shooting range to let her frustrations out. Her crew knew to not bother her when she was down there. She kept firing her phaser for twenty minutes before she felt relaxed. She holstered her weapon and headed off back towards the bridge of her ship.
"All right. Let's get to work!" she said.
"Right!" one of the officers said.
USS Ra-Cailum - bridge
"If this shit keeps up, we're going to lose this entire galaxy to the Borg, and I'm not willing to risk them using this universe's resources to assimilate ours."
Tarae looked at Ron's PADD, wondering what he was working on. "Sir, what...is that?"
Ron flipped the PADD over. "Level-6 clearance. That means captain's eyes only." Ron turned the chair to face Barry.
"Open a channel to the Nighthawk." Barry did so, and the Nighthawk's bridge appeared on screen. "Captain Miller, I assume you're treating my aide well?"
"Yes," she said. "We are."
"I need more then that, Captain. Your voice makes you sound a bit...unnerved. Problem?"
"It's just that I've never met someone like her before," Sarah admitted. "And this whole thing is a bit nerve wracking."
"I get the feeling it's more than that, but I'll drop it for now. Good luck at the outer rim: God knows you're going to need it."
"Understood," Sarah said. The comm closed down, leaving Ron alone.
"Bit of a bitch, ain't she. Take us to the transwarp conduit. We'll head back to Earth in order to make contact with Starfleet Command. I have a proposal they aren't going to like."
Titanic X: And done! Chapter 3 is finished! :D
Ron the True Fan: And cue the pain. And Borg. Mostly Borg.
Titanic X: So stay tuned for more action, peeps! You never know what will happen in the facets of a diamond!
Both: Ja Ne!