The Road to Hell

"The Road To Hell Is Paved With Good Intentions"

The scans of the vessel had not deceived him, and the seemingly insignificant craft of Species 5717 had yielded an unexpected treasure. While the species itself was well-represented within The Collective, what was inside of these beings was valuable indeed. Species 132 was rare, and difficult to assimilate, as the assimilation of the host invariably killed the parasitoid. Taran was not so rash as to assimilate the hosts at once, he couldn't risk this opportunity. The host of the Spawnmother had already been dead when brought aboard, his internal organs ravaged, devoured by the creature nestled in his thoracic cavity. She had kept the body in an almost flawless simulation of life, and he only ceased to function completely when his chest was opened to allow access to the Spawnmother. She was, in her own way, a queen, commanding lesser queens and soldier drones who in turn controlled their hosts. A grisly monarch sitting upon a throne of flesh and bone.

Taran regarded the opened corpse, and it's inhabitant, with a morbid blend of curiosity and revulsion. He was familiar with the existence of parasitoid life forms, but rarely were they sentient. And, to his knowledge, this was the first encounter between a living Spawnmother and the Borg. She was a bloated, pink-skinned creature, a hexapod with a heavily armoured, fiercely jawed head. She hissed defiantly from the dead host's thoracic cavity, attempting no doubt to intimidate him.

Taran cocked his head slightly, there was no force field between himself and the Spawnmother, as there was with her children and their still living hosts. She was capable of dislodging herself from the corpse and attacking him, but he was confident he could fend her off, especially with K'erash by his side. The Fek'lhr eyed the being warily, ready to defend his master.

"Fascinating." he said softly, "You are, in a way, like us." It was meant as a compliment.

"We will destroy your wretched Collective, and you with it." There was utter confidence in her voice, "My assimilation will gain you nothing. We are many, we will prevail."

"You act as the central nexus for this collective," he continued, her threats were irrelevant, "All of the others are your spawn. You control then through psionic means, correct?"

"You will pray for the fires of the Pits..." She lunged slightly forward, but Taran didn't budge, he mentally prevented K'erash from attacking her.

"What was your purpose with these hosts and this vessel? Did you intend to travel to a new world and spawn? Have you conquered Species 5717?"

"We will conquer all life, all humanoids will be our slaves. The Borg will be destroyed. You are useless as hosts."

"Indeed we are." He admitted, these creatures couldn't feed on Borg flesh, the nanoprobes would assimilate them.

"Cardassians are useless as well, we cannot control your kind, so we will destroy them." She was trying to goad him.

"A vain threat from a powerless entity. I had hoped for better conversation." he said mildly. His voice was soft, pleasant. "We will assimilate Cardassia soon, and give them the gift of perfection."

The creature hissed, her thick head pulled back slightly. "You intend to assimilate your own species!?"

"Of course, how could I deny them perfection?"

The Spawnmother came the closest to looking horrified as any member of Species 132 could.

"Do you seek perfection as well?" Taran asked.

"We seek the same thing the Borg seek, power."

"The Borg do not seek power, we seek..."

"Power! You fools even lie to yourselves. You were right, Borg, we are very much alike indeed. The Borg want power, you manipulate, dominate and conquer even as we do. You simply refuse to admit it. " Her voice was thick with contempt.

"We wish to bring Order to Chaos."

"The universe is chaos. Your quest is futile." The Spawnmother gave a sharp hiss, the equivalent of a laugh.

He turned slightly, and spoke gently, "No, resistence is futile. Now you will join our Perfection." In a last show of defiant courage, she let out a hideous, high-pitched shriek and flung herself toward Taran's throat as he stepped forward, and two slender tubules extended from his right servo-armature and pierced the being's lower jaw even as his left arm blocked her attack. Her jaws bit deeply into his arm with surprising strength, severing a cable, spilling dark fluid across the Spawnmother. As soon as the tubules bit into her skin, she fell slack, pacified by the Borg nanoprobes.

Once again, he held K'erash back. A medical repair drone immediately moved to attend to the damaged cable, repairing it swiftly and efficiently. There was little pain, her bite had produced great pressure on his arm, enough to bruise the flesh beneath, but the armored exoskeletal plating had borne the brunt of the damage. It was worth the injury, the knowledge the creature possessed was vast and unique. There was nothing so exhilarating as joining his mind, his essence, with another form of life, having new and totally alien thoughts, concepts, perceptions and memories flowing into him, into The Collective. Most humanoid sentients tended to view non-humanoids as unintelligent animals, but this prejudice was foolish and unfounded. These creatures rivalled many humanoid races of the known universe in intellect, and surpassed most. This was an excellent addition to The Collective.

She would be proud of him.

He would personally oversee this creature's surgical enhancements, but first he had to give her body time to adapt to the nanoprobes, he did not want to damage her. So, he decided to make himself useful elsewhere while she was prepared in the surgical sector. Using the Spawnmother's power he commanded the spawn to leave their hosts, and walked to Sector 18 Grid 1, to prepare them for assimilation as well.

Species 5717 was a typical humanoid race, humanoid being a humanocentric term, of course, but it was the recognized term in most of the Alpha Quadrant, where he had been born. Slim mammals with smooth, obsidian skin and bright orange hair and eyes. They and their controllers had been placed within a small cell, and now four small, pink hexapods with massive jaws skittered madly across the floor as the dazed humanoids huddled together.

"Where's Borca?" One of the males demanded, somewhat groggily.

"I'm sorry, but your companion was already dead when we captured your vessel." He said softly, then began to explain, "The Spawnmother had devoured his internal organs and had been keeping him in a state of necrotic animation, using her own body and certain glandular secretions to continue the illusion of life. When we removed her, his body ceased to function."

One of them began to weep.

"Rest assured, it was better this way. Now he can rest in peace."

"What do you know about peace!?"

Taran cocked his head. Why had he said that? What did it matter if a corpse was animated by unnatural means. The Borg could do the same with drones that were required even after they had ceased to function biologically.

"What are you?" The first male asked, moving closer, "Borg don't say 'I', and they sure as hell don't apologize."

"I am Exarch of Unimatrix One, I was specially chosen by She-Who-is-All to serve as her Consort."

The creatures' faces betrayed an utter ignorance of his terminology.

"I was chosen by The Borg Queen to be her Companion."

Now two of them were weeping.

"Believe me, it is far better than the miserable existence I had before."

"She gave you free will?" The male asked, a hint of hope in is voice.

"Yes. To an extent."

"Then please, help us." He whispered, as if it could go unnoticed.

"I will help you achieve perfection. You will have no more fear, no more hunger or suffering." His voice was soothing, consoling, "You will have everything you could possibly require."

"What good is having everything if you can't enjoy it!" he hissed.

Taran considered that.

"I can't believe it, it's like some kind of sick joke." A female said, "Being freed from those... things, only to be turned into mindless Borg!"

"You do not understand, we seek to better your existence..." he began.

"Tell me," The first male said, "If being a Borg is so wonderful, why does every race you encounter fight so hard to prevent it?" He pointed to a nearby drone, a Tactical Drone, 12 of 12, "Did he want to be a drone? Or did he fight you? Is he happy?"

Taran entered 12 of 12's mind. He saw the moment through the Hazari's... (Species 4228), eyes, fighting the Borg, literally ripping the servo-armature from the drone that had assimilated him. No, he had definitely not wanted to be assimilated. But surely he was content?

Taran peered deeper into the being's mind.

He found only rage.

It made Taran very uncomfortable.

Taran lowered the force field, "We have many specimens of Species 5717, and I wish to focus my full attention to assimilation the Spawnmother of Species 132. 12 of 12, escort these beings back to their vessel." he paused, "And have the remains of the deceased male put aboard as well." he turned, "You may now leave."

Stunned silence. Then, a profusion of expressions of gratitude.

"Do not thank me yet. You are still aboard a Borg vessel, and She may overrule my judgement at any time."

Taran watched the vessel leave at maximum power as he carefully inserted the Primary Cortical Node into the Spawnmother's skull. Of all the implants, this was the most essential, as it both regulated the other implants and prevented the drone's body from rejecting them.

"Why did you let them go?" The soft voice of the Queen echoed in his mind.

"They were irrelevant, this creature is the one that is important." He stated flatly.

"You pitied them." It was not a question, it was a statement of fact.

"It seemed..." he hesitated, "Unfair. They were finally freed of the domination of Species 132, only to find themselves among the Borg."

"So now they must survive alone in a cruel and chaotic universe."

"They did not wish to join our Perfection. We already have members of Species 5717, they would have added little to us." He finished with the Cortical Node and prepared to attach an Optical Implant. Species 132 was highly intelligent and resilient, but the Spawnmothers had poor eye-sight, the Queens and Soldiers were totally blind, they were dependant upon their hosts for visual sensory input. The Spawnmother would not have a host, (indeed, she was approaching the stage in her life-cycle when she would naturally be leaving her host anyway), but she and her children were Borg now. The Collective would feed them, shelter them, provide them with all the necessities of life. They were family now.

"They did not understand us. Few beings do. That is why they fight us. They fear what they do not understand. " She said soothingly, "Once they have tasted The Collective, they understand that we have only their best interests in mind. Their 'wishes' are irrelevant, they are ignorant children, in need of guidance."

He was silent for a moment, his mind buzzing with countless voices.

"What is the point of perfection, if you cannot enjoy it?" He asked.

"The drones, they do not have joy as non-Borg would understand it, but they do not have sorrow either, or loneliness, or fear. We have our own form of joy in our Unity, the Harmony that binds every Borg together. Free will brings only poor choices, hatred and pain. Bajorans and Cardassians work side-by-side in our family, planets that have been at war for centuries are now at peace. Is that not worth the sacrifice?" She paused, "Remember how eager you were to join The Collective? You were lost, alone and afraid, and you understood what we had to offer."

"I remember, and I am grateful to you." he sighed, "Do you want me to pursue them?"

"No, you were right, they are irrelevant. But you must not let petty sentiment influence you in the future."

"Of course." He said softly, and turned his full attention back to the assimilation of the Spawnmother. He had learned from her assimilation that, when fully developed, a Spawnmother could reach over four meters in length and produce thousands of young.

Now that was something he wanted to see...


This is set shortly before Emotional Response.

If anyone wonders why a street kid who grew up with no supervision of any kind is so polite, between the Cardassian Military and The Collective he has been 'taught' how to behave 'properly'.

K'erash is currently the only Fek'lhr Borg, so he's special to Taran, he was specially selected by the Consort and has a measure of freedom. He's actually loyal to Taran, and the closest thing he has to a friend.

Fek'lhr, depending upon the source, are either an extraterrestrial race so powerful the Klingons respect them, or Klingons born with a specific mutation. K'erash is the latter. Fek'lhr is also the mythical being who guards the gates of Gre'thor, home of the dishonored dead.


Designation - 1 of 1

Biological Distinctiveness - Species 5008 (Klingon {Subspecies, Fek'lhr})

Task - Protect The Exarch of Unimatrix One

Significant Enhancements - Left servo-armature contains cutting laser, retractable hooks, retractable lance and sonic cannon. High energy phaser set in palm of right hand. Neural implants to enhance intelligence.

Profile - Klingon male of mutant sub-species known as Fek'lhr. Only member of his subspecies within The Collective. Has unusual degree of freedom, fiercely loyal to Taran. Carries a Bat'leth strapped to his back.

K'erash would have been present during the events of "Emotional Response", he just played no role in the story.

His weapons borrow somewhat from two Naruto characters, Abumi Zaku and Kinuta Dosu. Zaku had openings in the palm of each hand which allowed him to fire powerful, even lethal, sonic waves, while Dosu wore a Sonic Cannon which fired crushing sonic blasts.

Once again, I made up the Species designation for a race, this time the Parasitoids. The Klingon and Hazari designations are canon, and Species 5717 is original. I did not know if Fek'lhr would have a separate designation, so I list them as Klingons. I'm probably wrong, but I can't think of a good number for them. It would doubtless be far higher than Klingons, as they are so rare. "Bluegills" have such a low number because in an original, unused storyline, they were actually agents of the Borg. I doubt that, but there's no reason they couldn't come from the Delta Quadrant. (It was never said where exactly the Spawnmother's message was sent just before she was killed in 'Conspiracy'). I don't buy that they are mutated Trill Symbionts, the Symbionts are vermiforms, (Worms), Bluegills are arthropods, (Like insects, spiders, crabs, etc..).

Species 132 - "Bluegill" Parasitoid

Species 2000 - Cardassian

Species 4228 - Hazari

Species 5008 - Klingon

Species 5717 - Aranshi

A Parasitoid is not the same as a Parasite, a Parasite gains something from its host, usually without killing it, while a Parasitoid devours its host from the inside out, like young Xenomorphs. A Symbiont shares with it's host and both benefit in some way.

The parasitoids mentioned are called "Bluegills" in some works and cards, but I have no idea what they call themselves.

I assume the Spawnmother would be assigned a role as a Data Processing Drone and Sector Controller, as well as reproducing more of her kind, (she is already fertile, obviously), to serve The Collective.

Taran's right servo-armature is fully artificial, his left arm is merely covered by protective armor.

Borg, Klingons, Fek'lhr, etc belong to Paramount.

Abumi Zaku and Dosu Kinuta belong to Masashi Kishimoto