November 26, 2007

Resistance Is Futile - pt 53

Deanna Troi joined Picard and Guinan on the edge of the activity in Sick Bay. "How is she?"

"Doctor Crusher is still working on her," Picard replied. "She hasn't told us anything yet."

The three stood in silence.

"She's in so much pain," Deanna whispered. "But it's deeper than the physical pain. She's lost in a sea of...Borg."

"But they were destroyed," Picard said. "We saw the explosions."

"I don't know how else to describe it, Captain. Whatever is left of in her..."

Crusher approached them then. "That would explain why I can't revive her."

"Can't revive her?" Picard asked sharply.

"No. She's been extracted from their machinery, and it will take some time before we can do the grafts that were begun for her...but her mind is...rebelling. I've never seen anything like it."

Deanna sighed in frustration. "Where is Q? She was trusting him to show up."

Guinan raised a hand, halting further conversation.

"Guinan?" Picard asked.

"They're watching."

"Who?" asked Crusher.

"She is no doubt referring to the Oryon Council," came a measured voice.

The four turned in the direction of the voice and beheld two men. Q they knew, but the man holding him by the shoulder wasn't as familiar. He was taller than Q, with darker hair and a darker complexion.

"Their eyes are riveted to this moment," continued Ambassador Raven-Cloud.

Picard left his crew and walked up to Q. " have to heal her...I know you can...either one of you."

"It's not that simple," Q replied, his own eyes were riveted to Virginia's prone form.

"But you love her!" argued Picard. "What simpler reason could you have for healing her? And she loves you."

"I know," whispered Q.

"Then what are you waiting for?" Picard turned to the ambassador, a man he'd only ever seen in news releases. "Please, you must let go of him. She's destined to be your can't just let her die."

"What do you know of her destiny?" questioned Raven-Cloud, truly curious.

"I know the prophecy that surrounds her. 'Born of Sol and Gandraleay, bloods mixed to form a new Star. She shall rise from the ashes of death, heralding the dawning of a new age for Gandraleay. As a pebble ripples water, so shall she bring change to her people both near and far.' There are more. You can't just let her die because the change she brings frightens you."

Sick bay was silent save for the sounds of the medical equipment.

"Our prophecies are not common knowledge," Raven-Cloud commented, not offended but troubled.

"I shared them with him," said Guinan, coming to the captain's side.

"And how do you know them?" Raven-Cloud asked.

"Virginia told me."

Raven-Cloud sighed. "That is one of the very reasons why the Council distrusts her. If she cannot keep something confidential..."

"They distrust her because she brings change," argued Picard. "She threatens the way you've always done things. And why they want her dead." He looked at Q, made sure he had the others attention. "And that is why they're keeping you from healing her."

Q looked at Raven-Cloud, whose face was as shocked as his own.

Raven-Cloud let go of Q. "Go to her."

Q wasted no time with questions, but moved quickly across the room to the woman his heart beat for.

"How did you know?" Raven-Cloud asked Picard.

The Enterprise captain shrugged. "Do you deny it?"

"Of course he doesn't," answered a strong feminine voice. "He and Ian have been working for centuries to uncover this plot."

Picard, usually ruffled at unexpected and sudden visitors, turned calmly at the new voice. The family resemblance was uncanny, but he asked anyway, "And you are?"

The tall woman smiled, "Why, my dear captain, I am Rixa Champlagne, Empress of the Gandraleayian Empire and more importantly, Virginia's grandmother."

November 24, 2007

Resistance Is Futile - Pt. 52

Hours had passed since the shuttle Andromeda had crossed over into Borg space.

Picard was ill at ease, to say the least. Not that he showed it at all. Had Ro turned around from Conn, or Crusher from Helm, they would have seen the picture of calm control. Had Worf given up his faithful glaring into the view screen, he would have thought his captain immovable. Had Deanna sat at his side, she would have felt the unrest and unease inside of him and would have asked him what was wrong. No doubt she would have asked to speak with him in his Ready Room. But she wasn't here.

What had they been thinking? Sending two women into a battle zone with no back up. Boothby would have his hide if he was still alive.

"Captain," announced Data from Tactical. "Sensors are showing a widespread disturbance in Borg space."

"A disturbance?" Picard rose to his feet. "Onscreen."

"At maximum magnification, clarity will be somewhat of an issue," said Data, his fingers flying across the controls. "I will attempt to clean the images."

The view wasn't clear...but it was clear enough to see tiny explosions dotting the star field.

"Where's the Andromeda?" Picard asked.

"The explosions are causing interference," Data answered. "I am unable to ... the Andromeda is hailing us."


"Aye Captain."

Deanna's voice filled the bridge, broken up with static. "...prise, this is ... meda. Mission accom..."

Then nothing but static.

"Captain," interrupted Worf. "At Warp one we can signifigantly reduce..."

"Agreed. Make it so." Picard barely heard his first officer voicing the orders to go to Warp speed as he left the bridge. "Sickbay," he instructed the turbolift. Tapping his commbadge he said, "Transporter room 1...prepare for emergency medical transport as soon as the shuttle is within range."

"Aye Captain," came the feminine reply. "We will be in range in just under two minutes."

"That quickly?"

"Yes sir. Admiral Hamilton and Reg, er...Lt. Barclay did some upgrading before she left."

"I see. Very well. As soon as you can." Picard terminated the conversation and waited as the turbolift carried him closer to sickbay.

He arrived in time to see a half-borged Virginia materializing on a specialized bio-bed. Her body had been butchered, he could see that even from across the room.

Guinan stepped up beside him, her normally tranquil face pained. "I would guess that Doctor Crusher wouldn't wants us to get in the way."

"Probably not," replied Picard. The two stepped closer anyway listening as Crusher calmly issued orders and wielded different instruments. Stopping at a safe distance, the two watched.

"Now...we wait," commented Guinan.

November 22, 2007

Resistance Is Futile - pt 51

In that dark dimension where Q had hidden himself and later been joined by Gandraleayian Ambassador Raven-Cloud, Q - that cynical menace - was on his knees with tears streaming from his face.

"Please...let me go to her..." Q begged.

There were tears on Raven-Cloud's face as well. He was an empathic being, and he could feel his old friend's pain he restrained him. Truthfully, the restraint hurt him as well. "Not yet."

"Why?" He had followed her lead and lowered the Muting on their Bond. He wanted to reach out to her, especially when the Borg began to assimilate her, but he had sensed her need to just know that he was there. He had to wait for her to reach out to him. And then...he had never imagine such pain. Fire running across his skin wouldn't have hurt as bad as the Borg asserting their will over Virginia's. He couldn't feel her now. Their Bond hadn't been Broken, he could feel that much and that meant she was still alive in that husk of a body. But all he could feel was numbness...and he couldn't even tell if it was her pain or his own.

"He has to be moved by her sacrifice," Raven-Cloud answered. "He has to make a plea for her life."

"Why isn't my plea good enough?" Anger kindled deep in Q. He was tired of the meddling ways of his people. Always meddling. They couldn't leave well enough alone to Fate and destiny and God.

"Who better to plead the case of a half-breed than a full-blooded human?"

"I am! I've been by her side since the beginning...the only one who's known her longer as a friend is Rachel and Rachel forfeited her position long ago when she made the case against me. No one knows her strengths and weaknesses better..."

"And no one is more impartial than you are." Raven-Cloud wiped the tears from his face. The backlash of emotions coming from the pairbond was near staggering. "Dammit, Ian...Picard isn't stupid..."

"If Picard hasn't learned anything yet, and lets her die..."

"I'm telling you it won't happen. He'll figure out what the Council is waiting for. He was able to figure out that she's being tested."

"Tried by fire, you mean."

"Trust me..."

"Trust you? If it wasn't for you none of us would be in this position in the first place!"

" have to believe that I've changed. One can't work with Virginia for any amount of time and not end up changing."

Q had no reply. Deep within, he felt something begin to She was leaving, she was dying, and he was being held back. He could only scream in frustration and despair.

November 20, 2007

Resistance Is Futile - Pt 50

One hour stretched into two, and then three. Deanna stood a vigilant guard at her station, never once leaving or letting her eyes waver. Although the Borg were a Collective body, there was still a myriad of emotions from the various Cubes that assaulted her senses. She knew that she didn't have to have her mental shields lowered, but she didn't want to miss a single nuance of the events happening around her.

Each time Admiral Hamilton's vital signs spiked at all, her hand would hover over the controls ready to beam her superior officer over at the first sign of trouble. But each time, the readings would stabilize. Until they must have started assimilating her. Then the heart rate and breathing remained high for several long minutes, occasionally spiking higher, until they all of a sudden dropped and evened out into what Deanna knew to be normal readings for a Borg.

Deanna could not stop herself from tensing. It took her a moment to realize that it wasn't her own emotion, but that of the Borg. She glanced at the other screen the Admiral had pointed out and was surprised to see it alive with readings. The Borg were in turmoil. She wondered what the Admiral was doing to cause such a thing. She took a deep breath to steady herself and reached out Empathically ---- but she was too far away to sense anything more than turmoil and fear and anger.

A Borg Cube suddenly exploded, causing Deanna to jump. It was close enough to rock the shuttle gently. She looked at the readings on both screens, and saw that the Admiral's life signs had slipped lower and that Borg Cube after Borg cube were beginning to explode. She of course could see no pattern to it, though she was sure that there must be.

Virginia's life signs were still above the level she had indicated, but Deanna wasted no time in beaming her back. The half-borged woman had barely finished materializing on the platform when that Borg Cube exploded as well. Deanna turned in time to catch the falling woman, barely able to hold onto her. Borg attachments were heavy.

"I am Borg...I am Borg..." issued out of the Admiral's stiff mouth over and over again in a bland monotone. Her one eye had a dead look in it, beyond that of a Drone. Her body was limp and unmoving except for a twitch that coincided with the word Borg as she spoke.

"We have to get out of here Admiral," Deanna said, more for her own comfort. The emotions issuing from her though were nothing close to being dead...the intensity being so strong that Deann threw her mental shields up in defense. She struggled to get Virginia away from the transporter pad, but decided to leave her there. She flew to the pilots chair as the shuttle rocked from the continuous explosions. For a moment, her eyes were riveted to the exploding Cubes. "My God," she muttered by reflex.

Shields were holding strong and steady, no doubt something else the Admiral and Reg had "tweaked". Deanna wasn't the best pilot, but she was more than adequate. It was easy for her to turn the ship around and kick it into Warp.

Opening communications, she contacted the Enterprise. "Enterprise, this is shuttle Andromeda. Mission accomplished..."

November 13, 2007

Resistance Is Futile - Pt 49

Perhaps because she was expecting the pain, it didn't hurt as badly as she recalled from Picard's memories...or perhaps because she was more used to pain, it didn't hurt as bad. Or maybe the pain was so bad that she was actually in shock and it just didn't register. Virginia didn't know.

They had strapped her down, something that made sense because one certainly didn't want the subject to suddenly bolt when they saw the wicked looking assortment of instruments brought out. The long needle they were presently wielding her way particularly terrified Virginia and she closed her remaining eye. They had already taken the other one, though they hadn't plugged the new improved version in yet.

Lt. Haskas had tortured her with needle when she had been his prisoner in the Eugenics War. Slowly, methodically tortured her over a matter of several days. She hadn't liked needles before that...but afterwards, she abhorred them.

The needle bore deep into her, delivering a powerful serum designed to weaken her mental facilities and allowed the Collective Consciousness to indwell her.

There was nothing gentle about the intrusion of the Borg consciousness into her mind. One moment she was alone in her thoughts, save for the comforting Presence, and then suddenly they were there. There was no order to the cacophony of voices suddenly in her head. It was worse than her normal telepathy, a thousand times worse. She struggled against them...struggled to retain her identity, her wasn't an easy thing for her to give control of that type over to anyone. Her body might be immobile, but her mind fought and clawed for survival.

And beneath the pain, beneath the voices, beneath the drugged obedience of the Borg consciousness...there lay an undercurrent of despair and anguish. Loved ones that had been left behind, or killed, when they had been assimilated by this madness. Guilt for having done the same to thousands of other people who had their own loved ones. Grief for the worlds they had devastated. Muted, far beneath the layers, but she sensed it. And compassionate woman that she was, Virginia grieved for them....grieved for the broken dreams, for the lives stolen and destroyed...

"Lord," her heart asked. "Is there no way to save them? Free them?"

Most of them have been dead for years, their bodies kept alive and used by this machination evil. For the rest, their only freedom can be found in death.

Then the Queen came into the struggle. "I thought you wanted this?" she mocked. "Oh, they all fight at first..."

Mid sentence, Virginia seized the Queen's mind with her own. "I will not rest until you are destroyed!"

Wordlessly the Queen fought back, trying to assert her will over the other woman.

Virginia dug deep, accessing the despair and the guilt the Borg felt...and she threw it into the face of the Borg. "Do you see what you have done? This is not order, this in not optimum...this is evil...we were not created for this..."

"The Borg were created to conquer and assimilate...we are Optimum," argued the Queen. "We are perfection..."

" experiment gone wrong!"

The two fought...minds sparring in the dark void...until at last, The Queen was overcome when a third presence entered into the fray. A Being so powerful, so frightening. It wasn't the Q...those she knew. She wasn't afraid of them, they had never bothered her. But this Being that came with the half-breed was more powerful than the Q. He was someone she knew from a memory of a memory...memories of memories as she was filled not only with her own memories, but those of thousands upon thousands of drones. She had long ago rejected Him, before she had ever been assimilated, as had many of her drones. She rejected Him now, even as the other woman clung to Him.

One by one, the Borg were overwhelmed...and then the order to self-destruct was issued...

November 12, 2007

Resistance is Futile - pt 48

Three levels up, Virginia began to trek deeper into the Borg's cube. She could still feel God's leading, His gentle nudges, though there was no conversation. So far, she had seen no Borg drones...but she could hear them. She held her breath as she turned each corner, but each time she found an empty corridor.

The odor remained consistent, as did the oppressive humidity. No wonder the Borg had to assimilate one in their right mind would choose to live here.

A drone!

Virginia froze, watching in silence as he...she? by her without even glancing at her. But it didn't stop her from seeing the deadness in the eyes. Watching the retreating back of the drone for just a moment, she continued on her way. Left here, then a right...and then a chamber.


She had the sense that she was in the center of the cube, even though she had lost all sense of direction by now. Usually she could spin around in circles and still tell you which direction was which when she stopped, but ever since she had beamed over here that sense had vanished. Maybe it was the humidity.

The albino-white queen sat on a raised chair in the center of this dark chamber, though it wasn't quite a throne. Her attention was on a wall of monitors that displayed either different corridor of her cube, or what looked like different sections of space...including a close up shot of the small StarFleet shuttle.

Several different drones worked around their queen. Virginia crept further in, holding herself tensely. Something told her that the time for skulking was over.

The Queen rose from her seat and turned to face her, and for her part, Virgina didn't stumble in her pace. With a sensuous grace that was very unBorg-like, the Queen approached her.

"I've been watching you," the Queen said.

While this surprised and unnerved Virginia, she didn't let it show. "I'm here to be assimilated."

"I feel like I ought to know you," the Queen said as the two came to a stand still on front of each other. "You were in Locutus's memories of his old life."

"The life he returned to," the admiral replied.

"For now." The Queen reached out and lifted Virginia's chin with her fingertips. "Your name is Hamilton...a person of rank among those yet to be assimilated."

"I was. Until I realized that there is no point fighting you, that you're going to win anyway...and they drummed me out of the service."

"I almost believe you half-breed. Why would a woman of your power...who could destroy me with a thought...not do so, but instead ask to be assimilated?"

"My powers are useless. I've been drinking and that turns them off. But once you assimilate me, and the alcohol leaves me powers will be at your disposal and you will be able to overcome the Federation at last."

"What makes you think I need your powers to succeed?" the Queen asked haughtily, her fingers tightening on the others chin.

"Well, what you've been doing so far hasn't been working has it?"

"It has been difficult," the Queen admitted, dropping her grip on Virginia. "I've certainly never had anyone ask to be assimilated before, but far be it from me to refuse you. Drone 186, escort this woman to the assimilation chambers."

The nameless drone approached and took hold of Virgina's arm. It was a firm grip, but it didn't hurt. And the drone wasted no time in moving her along.

"You won't regret this," Virginia said to the Queen.

"I know." The Queen turned her back and dismissed the woman from her thoughts. She had a new war strategy to plan.

November 06, 2007

Resistance Is Futile - pt 47

The area that Virginia materialized in looked typical of a Borg was dark and looked more like a hastily assembled junk pile or a pile of scrap metal than the interior of a spacefaring vessel. There was a smell that was far from pleasant, a smell that she remembered only from the memories of those like Picard and Seven of Nine.

Not knowing where she was going, just flying by the seat of her pants like she had done for years, she began to walk off to her right. It led deeper into the ship, so it made sense to her.

Before you go...

Virginia stopped in her tracks at a Voice she had not heard for years. He had probably been there all along, but when Marcus had died, she had really rather ignored God as it didn't seem fair to her the life she had been dealt. But He was making it a little hard to ignore Him now. "What?" she said into the emptiness. It was far from quiet here, with that constant humming of the Borg machinery, so the fact that she could hear Him was something extraordinary. Though to be fair, the Voice was as much inside as it was from outside.

Do you really think you ought to be doing this without Me?

"Do you really care?"

I wouldn't ask if I didn't.

"Good point." Virginia sighed. "Why Lord? Why would You want me after I've been so angry with You and ignored You?"

Because I love you. You are my child, and I would not want you doing this alone.

He still loved her. "What happens if I do this alone?" she asked out of curiosity, knowing that He wouldn't translate her question as further rebellion.

You will be overcome and you will die...such a death that Ian would not be able to save you from.

So, the question really was about how much she really wanted to live. Would it really be so bad to die? Her people would be taken care of...Mariah would be an excellent Empress in her stead.

It is not Mariah's time to rule your people. I have set you in the life I have for a purpose...and for a time such as this. Even now I am working in the hearts of the Council members...appealing for mercy on your behalf...Ian's too.

"Why me? They don't need me or want me! I'll have to fight for everything I see for them."

Not as hard as you think, but you are will have a fight on your hands over some things. But they do need you...more than they want to admit. You bring to them the message of humility and sacrifice. You bring innocence...yes, innocence...with you. And a strength that can only be found by going through the fire of life. I did not give your father race the powers I did to make their lives easier...but that is how they use them...and it grieves Me. Which is why I am giving them a ruler who is half human...because while the mix brings brings greater power...and the instability creates a deeper reliance in Me.

"And I do know how to function without my powers." Virginia sighed, then asked, "Are you sure? Because I've been accused of being proud and arrogant."

Have you been?

"At times. Even now, I worry that the only reason I'm doing this is out of pride. But Lord...sometimes I really am the best person for a mission..."

If you go in alone, without Me...this mission will be out of pride my daughter...

"And pride comes before the fall." Virginia drew a deep breath. "Would You come with me? Even though I've sinned greatly since I left you...I've slept around...and to be honest, Lord...if Ian rescues me...I...want him Lord..." All those admissions hurt, though that last was harder to admit than that she had sinned.

There was a chuckle...yes, a chuckle in reply... Daughter, I knew of your sins when they occured...and I know of the joy they brought you...and the deep sorrow. I knew all this when I stopped you to talk with you....even when I said that I love you. As for Ian...though you were Bonded in sin, outside of the laws of the land and outside My are Bonded...far deeper than you ever were with Marcus...he is as your husband.

Virginia didn't know how to respond to that. "But they Exiled him...because of me," she said, grief was heavy in her voice. "Won't they ask for the Bond to be Broken when I go to the throne? I don't know if I could do that, Lord. I don't want to lose him."


She hesitated only a moment before saying the words..."Because I love him."

Do you trust Me?

"Do I have a choice?!" Virginia laughed at herself, pleased when He laughed with her. "Don't answer that. I know I always have a choice."

I know your heart daughter...and I will not fail you. Can you name one time when I did?

"Marcus," she answered without hesistation. "I prayed and You still let him die."

It was his time, child. He had already lived longer than any human should. And while he was an excellent husband for was only for a time. I could have let you prolong his life, I could have prolonged his life...but he is not the one that would be best to rule along side you.

"Damn," she muttered...then started. She had just sworn while talking to God! "Oops, sorry." Then she thought about what He had said. She had to admit, Marcus wouldn't have been very good ruling next to her....not because he didn't have the head for it...but because of his dislike for her people. That and he had so little knowledge about her people...truthfully, she didn't know that much herself. She had yet to even set foot on Gandraleay. She dared to consider Ian...if he wasn't considered an Exile...he'd be great. He had the knowledge...he had his Special Ops background...he knew when to let her have her own way, and when to come in and rescue her when her own way landed her in hot water...he wasn't afraid to challenge her... "I don't know how you're gonna do it, but it'll be interesting to watch."

Oh, I have my ideas. Again, that chuckle. Now, since we are going at this together...How about turning left and shimmying up the outside corridors for a few levels before going in deeper?

"Why not? Makes no sense to me, but ok." Decision to trust made, Virginia did an about face. As she went...slowly...inch by inch...she relaxed the Muting on her Bond with Ian. She didn't reach out to him...she just wanted to know he was there.

November 05, 2007

Resistance Is Futile - pt 46

The shuttle hovered far from the Borg cubes. Closer than before certainly.

"Are we in transporter range?" Deanna asked.

"Not quite, but almost." Virginia was busy at the small transporter unit. "Come here."

The Betazoid rose from her seat and stood close to the unit. "Then why have we stopped?"

"So I can tweak this a little more and boost the power and then we'll be in transporter range. Do you see the differences on the screen from what you're already used to?"

Deanna moved around to stand behind the console and studied the mentioned console. It did looked different, with a small screen that looked almost like a medical tricorder display. "I see the differences," Deanna said simply.

"Good. The small screen you see will soon be displaying my life signs." Virginia stood from where she had been kneeling, with her head in the console on the opposite side of Deanna. She tapped a few keys, and came to stand next to Deanna. Her finger tapped the screen that was no alive with lights. "These lines here are my pulse and heart rate. This one is my respiratory rate." She tapped a spot and they suddenly dropped. "Doctor Crusher said that this is what they'll look like once I've been fully assimilated. If they drop below this level...or if this screen over here," Virginia drew Deanna's attention to a smaller screen to the right, "shows any anomaly...beam me out of there as fast as you can and get this ship headed home. Where we are right now, we are out of their reported transporter range. They shouldn't be able to shoot you either, unless they've assimilated some new weapon technology in the past month. So, keep an eye on these monitors and be ready to act in a heartbeat."

Deanna nodded.

"Are you religious at all, Counselor?"

"Not really."

"That's too bad. I'd have liked knowing I had someone praying for me while I was in there. No matter..maybe Ian is." Virginia sighed. She bent low and flipped a panel open. "All right..there we go. We're ready." She straightened and climbed onto the small transporter pad. "At your convenience, Counselor."

Deanna's hand hovered over the controls. "Godspeed, Admiral." Her hands moved effortlessly and the admiral disappeared in the shimmering lights of the transporter beam. Alone, her eyes riveted themselves to the two screens she had been told to watch.

November 04, 2007

Resistance is Futile - Pt 45

As Virginia surveyed the Borg ship in the distance, the only word that came to mind was an old earth slang comment she had heard in a movie once. No two ways about it...the Borg ship was gianormous.

It hung in the distance, surrounded by scores of other ships of the same kind. One cube in a rubix cube. Stacked like pieces on a three dimensional chess board.

She hated tri-d made no sense to her. Spock always claimed that it was because her mind had trouble thinking on only a three dimensional level. The conversation had taken place long after they had become intimate, long after they had mindmelded. She had caught the 'only' in his comment and had asked about it. Spock had raised that eyebrow of his. "Virginia," he said in that 'it's only logical' tone of his, "Your mind, like mine, is a hybrid between that of two races. And the human mind does not meld well with the Gandraleayian mind. They are considered the most unbalanced creatures, and often times dangerous. However, yours is one of the better balanced minds. This means that your mind works at a level far above the norm for humans. You not only see things as they are...but as they could be. And sometimes, you see things as they should be, even though they are not. This your mind does without conscious thought or effort. You also have a tendancy to see far beyond one moment in time, again without your needing to focus on it at all. So for you to focus on something so trivial and simple as tri-dimensional slows you down."

Deanna thought it odd that at a time when her vision was filled with an endless sea of Borg cubes, she could find herself distracted by the emotions of the person next to her. And with such clarity. Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that the Admiral was without her powers. "What are you remembering?" she boldly asked.

"A conversation between Spock and I about the reason why I haved such a hard time with tri-dimensional chess," Virginia answered. Shields were up and at a mid level frequency that was even now shifting to keep the Borg confused. "That's what the Borg ships reminded me of...a tri-d chess board. I hate that game. Spock claimed that it was too simple for me. I also think he said I have a hyper active mind."

The other woman caught the humor in the statement and couldn't stop from lightly laughing. "I'm sure he didn't mean it that way. Although I must admit that you are a highly driven woman."

"Ian always called me focused," Virgina said softly. "Marcus referred to me as high strung. You know...the more I look at these cube ships...the more I see the system to it. I mean, we are talking about the Borg...they don't just stack their cubes without reason. Even we have a certain way we place our ships when traveling in a fleet. What we put the ship carrying the highest ranking official in the middle...better protection that way."

Deanna viewed the ships again. "Do you think they do the same?"

"I don't know. If our intelligence information is correct...each ship carries its own Queen...With a Matrix Queen over several ships. Nothing has ever been said about an "alpha' over them all."

The counselor dared to ask, "What does 'logic' tell you?"

"Logic? Logic tells me to turn this damn ship around and abort the entire thing." In her minds eye, Virginia saw Spock's eyebrow raise and she winced at his imaginary scrutiny. "Ok, that's not logic...that's fear talking. Logically, since the Borg have been compared to know, the entire hive would make sense for there to be an Alpha Queen."

The two considered the starfield before them.

"If I were a Borg Queen..." mused Virginia. "Where would I put myself?"

"What do you mean?"

"Do I hide myself behind the underlings...or do I put myself out front, where it is least likely to be suspected. Even though it's the most dangerous, but hey...we're the superior race, right?"

Deanna caught on to her thinking. "Right. And we're in our own borders, so what danger is there really?"

"Shouldn't be any...we've assimilated everything worth assimilating and destroyed the rest." Virginia paused and decided to guess. "We're going to that ship...there." The admiral pointed to a dot on her display screen. It was a ship about midlevel and only a few rows in.

Deanna swallowed hard. "Then let's go."

Virginia nodded, though her hand hesitated over the controls. "Deanna?"

"Yes Admiral?"

"I'm scared."

Deanna reach out and patted the other's shoulder. "So am I."

Comforted by their shared fear, Virginia nudged the ship into motion.

November 03, 2007

Resistance Is Futile - pt 44

"It almost sounds like she loves you," Raven-Cloud commented into the hidden spot where Q had sequestered himself.

Q looked at his newly arrived visitor in annoyance, but didn't comment.

Raven-Cloud chuckled. "I'd forgotten how passionate she can be when riled. Why didn't that come out at your trial? And did she really seduce you?"

"It didn't come out because her father didn't believe it had happened and because they viewed her as too unstable at the time to be a viable witness."

"You didn't answer the other question."

Q took a deep breath, almost a sigh. "You're right I didn't. Yes, Virginia took advantage of me in a weak moment. I suppose you want to hear the story?"

"Not for my own purposes. The Council will want to know what happened...and why you never said a word about it before. Although I would be grateful if you didn't go into detail for all of it."

"I didn't say anything because I was protecting her. Our people have punished her enough, and I couldn't stand the thought of her being punished for this. And the only thing seduction is, is to convince someone to do something they already want to do. So, I probably could have fought her off if I had really wanted to."

"What happened?" asked the solemn ambassador.

"She had a nightmare. It seemed like every time she regained a piece of her mind back after Marcus' death...something about it triggered a reoccurring nightmare she'd been having. I guess she even had it while in the Sanctuary."

Raven-Cloud nodded. "Many bad things happened to her in there."

"I lost count of the times she woke me up while screaming in her sleep. This particular night...she had woke me up from a rather erotic dream about her. So when I was holding her..." Q made a frustrated sigh. "We were both in our nightclothes and, well, my body wasn't exactly subtle that night. I tried to apologize, and to leave her...I thought for sure she was offended and would never be comfortable around me again. She grabbed ahold of me before I could even get off the bed...and kissed me...rather unchastely. I tried to tell her all the reason why we shouldn't...but she wrapped herself around me. She kept telling me that I wanted to. And I did Raven, it's not like I could call her a liar. And so...I did...I made love with her."

Raven-Cloud cleared his throat. "I think most men would find it hard not to give in to that. She is a beautiful woman...and determined."

"I had...I still have the hardest time telling her no. For anything." Q sighed. "Is that enough?"

"When did you realize the two of you had Bonded?"

"At the time, neither one of us realized it until she went to leave the room. She turned and told me I could get out of her mind. Imagine our surprise when I couldn't. She flipped out...we fought for hours. In retrospect, I think we both knew when it happened."

"Did you offer to have it Broken?"

"Yes. I've asked her that several times over the years. Each time she damn near takes my head off."

"Interesting. Do you suppose it's because she's afraid it will be like when Marcus died...or because she loves you?"

"I've always thought she was afraid. After that outburst...I don't know. I know what I want to believe."

Raven-Cloud paused, unsure of how to ask his next question. "Since that time, have the two of you...?"

"With you as her watchdog? No, Raven, we haven't been physically intimate since then. There have been times when she's needed me...but we rarely ever lift the Muting off our Bond...and touching is something we don't do often, and then it is very guarded."

"Is that by your choice, or hers?"

Q shrugged. "Mostly hers. I won't deny that I wish things had been different, but for so long...she seemed to hate the very sight of me...except when she needed me. And if we don't touch....I won't be tempted to try anything she doesn't want. I'm half afraid, that after this Borg thing is over and she is well...she won't want anything to do with me again. Which is a moot point I guess since I'm an Exile not allowed contact with others."

"The Council will probably want to conduct a review of your trial." Raven-Cloud snorted, a loud sound in the darkness. "It'll give them something to do while..."

"While what?"

"Do you trust me, Ian?"

At first, he was taken aback at the use of his old name. But then Q considered the other man. They had a history together, as did most men of their race and ages. Raven-Cloud was a pure-blood a few centuries older than himself, but the elder had never held the younger's mixed heritage against him as others in Special Ops had. So, almost all their history was good...all except for that one time...but...that was a long time ago. "Yes," Q decided. "I trust you."

"The Council has given their permission for you to rescue Virginia...on one condition. That you wait until my say so before you do."

"No other catch?" Q asked, surprised.

"Actually, yes there was....but after what I've just heard...I will do everything in my power to have it reconsidered and voted against."

"What?" dread filled Q's voice.

Raven-Cloud hesitated. "They wanted you to Break your Bond with her...willingly and sacrificially. To prove that your love for her is real. But, you say you've offered...and I heard her words to the Trio woman. I think that if they were to have you do that...just the notion would cause her to panic."

He considered. "It probably would."

"So. You stay here, mind your watch...and I'll be back shortly."

"Try to hurry," requested Q.

"I'll do my best."

And again Q was alone in the darkness, watching...

November 02, 2007

Resistance Is Futile - pt 43

Little was said between the counselor and the admiral for the first several hours beyond the needed working conversation. Close to half an hour had stretched by in total silence.

"So," said Deanna. "Exactly how close are we to Borg Space?"

"We should be in their borders within 6 hours," Virginia answered. "And that's at Warp 3. Reg and I tweaked the warp drive when La Forge wasn't looking."

"And sensor range?"

Virginia shrugged. "It depends on where their patrol ships are. They might be able to pick us up on sensors already."

Deanna turned in her seat. "You sound like you don't know for sure."

"I don't."

"But..." The dark-haired woman recalled the rumor that the admiral had been drinking at her wedding reception. And she well knew what alcohol did to the other woman. "Have you been drinking?"

"Like a fish," the admiral answer honestly. "Up until yesterday."

"Your powers..."

The accusation hung thick in the air, though unspoken.

"My powers are unneeded for this mission, Deanna."

Deanna's voice was cold when she spoke again. "You're not going to rescue me after all."

"'re going to rescue me." The admiral spoke without hesitation, giving Deanna no chance to reply. "Reg and I rewired the transporter system so you'll be able to pick me out of the crowd after I've beamed over. You'll have to keep a close eye on my life signs and that of the Borg ship. We can't have you pulling me out too soon...and I'd hate to have you pull me out too late. Even if Ian were to rescue me, I'd still have that memory and that particular one would suck."

"Ian?" asked Deanna.

"You know him as Q." Virginia sighed, regretting her decision not to let the good doctor talk to her friend. "Look, Doctor Crusher is even now preparing sickbay to undo the assimilation process. Ian...Q...might not even need to lift a finger, something I know the Oryon Council would hope for."

"But, why are you doing this?"

"Do you really want to be the one to be assimilated?"

"Well, no. Does the War Council know you've decided to take my place?"

"Not on your life. They'd've court martialed me for just thinking it. Which they might do yet. Yeah, they probably will. But I couldn't let them do this to anyone. If you'd refused, they'd have ordered you. And if you had still refused, they'd have drummed you out of the Fleet. They'd have faked the charges, since we couldn't let it go on record that we were discharging you for refusing orders to march into Borg territory and let yourself be assimilated. Don't look so disbelieving...those contingencies were discussed."


"Why what?"

"Why are you taking my place, and why not tell me sooner?"

"I thought we'd been over that. You said you didn't really want to be assimilated."

"And you do?" Deanna asked.

The admiral was silent before answering. "It's better this way, Deanna. I know that you're not unfamiliar with the pain and terror that comes with war and undercover missions and whatnot. I know that you would be able to withstand the horror of assimilation. So my decision has nothing to do with you personally, and it was made before I ever met you. I've been commanding missions before I was 18. I wasn't always followed at first, but once my team realized that I would ask nothing of them that I wouldn't do myself they followed me to the end. Even when they died. But I learned that I hate sending people to their death. I've come close to death a couple hundred thousand different times, usually before breakfast. And to be honest, I find that it's easier to send myself in to face that possibility than it is to send others."

"It's about guilt then?" the counselor asked.

"No. I have a hero complex. Usually I have my powers...but not this time. It's about..."

"Prooving that you can still win without them?"

"Maybe. I hadn't thought about it quite like that."

"And what happens if you do die this time? Because of your selfish desire to proove yourself better than the rest of your people? Who will rule your people then?" Never in her life would Deanna been able to imagine herself talking so to Admiral Hamilton, but the woman seemed unoffended. "You can't just leave them without a ruler. You have to think beyond yourself. Your first duty is to your people, not to yourself."

"If I die...and Ian doesn't rescue me...then my daughter Mariah will rule in my stead. She is my oldest daughter, and she has had far more training at court than I, and she has the heir gift of the mind access."

"You cannot depend on Q," Deanna said harshly. "He is irresponsible and juvenile. His arrogant cruelness has led my ship into danger too many times and cost the lives of the crew. And to depend on one who has been exiled from your people only further serves to alienate you from the people you would rule. They would not have named him a member of the Rogue Q faction had he not been so deserving."

Virginia rose angrily. "Do not speak so of a man you do not know! He has saved my life more times than I can count...when Michael raped me, he was the one who held me afterwards and Healed me...when my own people would have left me for dead, he came after me, when my husband had died and my mind was lost and I was wandering Earth...they didn't look for me, they didn't even try...Ian searched until he found me and he kept me safe until I was able to remember who I was and function again. His only crime was to sleep with the Daughter-Heir...He was named Q because I seduced him...but they claimed that it was the other way around, that all he wanted was to be Bonded with me because I'm heir to the throne. I know that man, Counselor...He was the first one the heir gift of the mind access manifested itself...and I know there was no deceit in him. I know. He only ever wanted what was best for me. He's never had any designs on the throne. But when I tried to testify on his behalf, I was told to sit down and shut people wouldn't even listen to me. What he is now...the man that you know...comes from a heart of bitterness. His people banished him...for my crime. My crime, counselor."

Counselor Troi was speachless. The emotions coming from the enraged woman were a bit overwhelming. The best she could manage to say was, "I didn't know."

Virginia calmed. Some. "Remember that the next time you go to speak of a person you don't know. Or even if you do know them...because chances are, you don't know them half as well as you think you do."

"I will."

November 01, 2007

Resistance Is Futile - pt 42

Guinan watched from Ten-Forward, not knowing if her friend's shuttle would be going by the windows, but unwilling to miss it if it did. Borg Space was dead ahead in this direction, she knew that without needing a navigational console or star map. Home used to be right...there. Her eyes picked out the dim pinprick that used to be her sun. But knowing Virginia, she might well circle the long way around.

Guinan," he replied coolly, gazing out the window next to her. "I had thought about watching from shuttle bay and bothering Picard at the same time, but the view just wouldn't be the same."

"Is she going to come this way?" Guinan asked.

"Yes. No trying to sneak in this time, she's going boldly into the lion's den." Q pointed. "There she is."

The shuttle was barely visible, but Guinan could just make out the silver white form as it pulled away from the ship at impulse speed. The two watched in silence until the warp tale appeared and the small ship disappeared from sight.

"So," said Q.

"She's going to take Deanna's place, isn't she?" Guinan asked, fearing the answer she felt she already knew.

"Of course," the other alien answered. "She could do no less."

"Is it because of what happened with Picard?"

"No. She had already decided to do this before she had even met Deanna. Some things about Virginia will never change. She does her best to bend to the changing times, but in her heart...when it comes to war...there can be no other way. Her own people sent her into battle time and time again during the Eugenics and Third World War, half expecting her to die, most wanting her to. Each time made her stronger and more resistant to pain and defeat. Each time set in her heart a desire to protect others from the pain she felt."

"She's never felt the pain that the Borg inflicts," Guinan pointed out.

"Hasn't she? Virginia has experienced that pain through friendship with you think you are immune to the mind access she inherited? She felt your pain upon meeting you just as she felt Picard's pain the first time he looked in her eyes."

"Virginia was drunk the first time we met."

Q sighed. "It only postponed the Access, Guinan."

Guinan was introspective. "She's never mentioned it."

"Of course not. She well knew your desire not to speak of the Borg."

The hostess nodded. "You will be there to rescue her if things go sour, won't you?"

"Even without the Council's permission if necessary."

Guinan smiled. "That never has stopped you from helping her before."

"Guinan, there is one thing that the Borg are right about in this life. Resistance truly is futile. I can no more deny her than I could deny myself. These three things continue forever: faith, hope, and love. And the greatest of love.*"

She turned to asked him what he meant...but he was gone. Guinan sighed. "How typical."


* 1 Corinthians 13:13 New Century Version paraphrased