534: The Force Behind It All: One

by Commander Salvek
Following The Deal is Done

-=USS Serendipity=-

"Third of fourteen. Provide tactical input of attacking vessel."

The drone did as he was told. Furnished the Borg with every piece on information he had to defeat their common enemy. The vessel was easily overwhelmed, and destroyed. The drone, once a member of the vessel's crew, went on about its business, turning it's focus to repairs required to the propulsion system after the battle.

There was no remorse, no moral dilemma. The killing of his former crewmates was nothing more then an objective to be accomplished for the greater good of the hive.

Salvek's eyes fluttered open, and readjusted to his quarters around him. Kellyn was sleeping peacefully beside him still. It was only a dream. Still, it felt like so much more.

He slid out of bed, pulled on a long black robe with sandals, and left his quarters.

"Salvek to Tryst."

There was a long pause, and then a reply.

[Go ahead, sir.]

"Do you have a moment?"

[Let me get dressed, but yes.]

"Meet me in the lounge. Salvek out."

Salvek walked to the lounge, and replicated himself a warm cup of tea. It was empty at this early hour, and that suited him fine after the unsettling dream he had had, recalling the time he had been one with the Borg. It was not so much the events of the dream that troubled him, but rather the very existence of it. His mental discipline afforded him the luxury to suppressing such terrors after a great amount of time. There was no logical reason for them to return.

He sat by the window, and awaited Vol's arrival. When he did enter the lounge, Salvek noted the Counselor had taken the time to dress in his full uniform. Vol was surprised to see that Salvek, of all people, did not take the time to do the same.

"I assume you did not ask me here at this hour to drink tea?"

"I did not." Vol sat down, across from Salvek, and could feel an emotion from him that could best be described as confusion.

"Counselor, are you familiar with my past? Do you know I was once assimilated by the Borg?"

"It is part of your file."

"Of course. Over the years I've come to be able to suppress the nightmares that are common to those who have gone through the assimilation process, and then returned to their previous lives. Which is why I am confused as to why I would have such a vivid dream of them now."

Vol shifted uncomfortably, knowing from his schooling what would cause someone to have vivid nightmares of the Borg, long after the fact.

"Commander, what you are describing is not an uncommon event, when one that has been assimilated comes in close proximity to the Borg. The collective can be sensed by someone even many years after they have left the hive. Perhaps we should alert Starfleet Command."

"No, Counselor. I do not believe that to be the case. The hive mind has a very specific impression that it makes. Something has heightened my telepathic senses and it feels almost as if my dream of the Borg was," Salvek took a long time to search for the correct word.

"Overlaid," Vol said, and his eyes showed a crystal clear understanding of what Salvek meant. "I had a similar dream, where I was speaking to my mother, but it felt very much as if our conversation was covering something else in my mind, beneath what I was seeing. We should both go to sickbay."

Salvek nodded. He finished his tea and stored the empty cup in the replicator. He accompanied Vol to Sickbay where they found Jack Hubbard, surprising up and about in the early morning hours.

"Gentlemen. How can I assist you?" Hubbard nodded at Salvek, but did not make eye contact with Vol.

"I'd like you to scan each of our telepathic centers, and determine if they are more active than usual." Vol said.

"You are up quite early, Doctor." Salvek noted.

"Just getting an early start on things, when I can have some peace and quiet to make sure Sickbay is ready for the day's business." Hubbard said, as he began his scans. Salvek and Vol each sat still and waited patiently. "Hmm."

"Hmm?" Vol said. One never liked to hear a Doctor say something like "Hmm."

"Well, you are both right to be concerned. There is a large neurological field that is heightening the telepathic centers of your minds. Like a current running through a filament to produce light." Hubbard said.

Salvek felt his intuition begin to peak. Something was terribly wrong about all of this.

"Rada Dengar, report to Sickbay immediately." Salvek called out. He regretted waking yet another of the senior staff, but he felt it too important to wait till the morning. Approaching a computer terminal, he overrode the medical readouts and brought up the sensor readings. He saw nothing out of the ordinary, which did not mean nothing was there.

"What is it you think you are looking for, perhaps I can help?" Vol offered.

"I'm not sure." Salvek said. Rada arrived, suppressing a yawn as he entered Sickbay and saw the group awaiting him.

"I'm not being relieved of duty, am I?" Rada asked, wondering why the CMO, Counselor and First Officer would want to see him at this insanely early hour.

"Mr. Dengar, please review the neurological field scans taken by Mr. Hubbard, and tell me if the pattern is similar to anything you've seen recently."

"All right." Rada said. He wasn't usually one to review medical scans, but he would give it a shot. He looked at the pattern on the tricorder, and felt a sickening feeling in his stomach. "Yes sir, Commander Reece and I saw these same patterns, when we were in the Sylph bubble."

"Are you saying we are in a Sylph bubble again? That one of their ships has captured ours?" Vol asked.

Rada joined Salvek at the computer terminal, and continued scanned the area around the ship. "No, I wouldn't say that. We are seeing the outside influence of a bubble. Many times larger and more powerful then the one we encountered."

"Can you adjust the scanners to be able to tell me the center point of the phenomenon?" Salvek asked.

"I think so, just a moment." Rada worked the controls, fine tuning the sensors as he had when they were trapped in the Sylph bubble before. "It's centralized in a nearby system. Klaestron, sir." Rada reported.

Salvek looked over Rada's shoulder, at the flashing crosshairs that indicated the location. If the Sylph were indeed emanating some massive field, the dream he had was no doubt meant to prevent him from sensing it, and Vol as well. He had not asked Rada if he had had any similar dreams, but he believed he already knew the answer. Salvek turned his back to his crewmates, and paced slowly across Sickbay.

He was to await the call of the rescue team to come retrieve them, and was not to approach Klaestron for any other reason. That call, he feared, would never come. What if, somehow, they had been trapped? Not captured, or killed by the Klaestron, but rather ensnared by the Sylph during their attempt to approach the planet, or leave it. That was a scenario his orders did not cover.

Hubbard, Vol, and Dengar all waited patiently, as Salvek weighed his options. It was still several hours until day shift. The crew was resting peacefully. No one other than Salvek even knew of the rescue mission on Klaestron. Arie was safe in bed, unaware any of this was happening.

Still, there was a very good chance the Captain was in peril.

Vol stepped forward towards Salvek. He sensed the conflict in Salvek, as the Vulcan searched for the logical course of action in this situation.

"Orders, sir?" Vol asked.

Salvek stood silent, and slowly turned to his crew mates. He nodded, once his mind was made up, and crossed Sickbay to the nearest Comm panel, where he opened a shipwide page.

"Red alert. All hands to battle stations. Senior staff report to the bridge."

Rada, Vol, and Hubbard nodded at each other, and dispersed to take their stations. As the klaxons rang out, Salvek called the bridge.

"Helm, set a course for the Klaestron system, maximum warp. I will be there in ten minutes."

Commander Salvek
Executive Officer
USS Serendipity NCC-2012