Disclaimer: Neither Star Trek or assorted other references belong to me. This work is intended for its mere amusement value.

Episode 0, the Battle for Vega.

The USS Kagutsuchi entered the outskirts of the Vega system. Damaged Federation starships and drifting debris litter the area.

"We have entered the Vega System, Captain," Lieutenant Dreve said.

"No active Borg vessels detected, Captain," Lieutenant Beth Hawkwood said, "There is some Borg debris about. There are many disabled and destroyed Federation vessels however. It looks like this was recently the scene of a major fight."

"Viewscreen," Captain Ithay ordered. The view screen came to life, showing a scene of devastation, "My word."

"Captain, I am receiving a hail from the USS Coridan's Emergency Medical Hologram. He reports the vessel has been boarded by the Borg and lost contact with the Captain. He is requesting assistance in securing the ship", reported Delarosa

"Tell him we are mobilizing a Tactical Team now to aid him," Ithay said, "Regday, Hawkwood, you two will lead the team. Assemble squads one and two in the transporter room. Beam over as soon as you can."

"Yes, Captain," Commander Regday said.

"Yes, sir," Lieutenant Hawkwood said.

"Meanwhile we are going to patrol the area and see if we can find some Borg survivors to finish off," Ithay ordered, "Can we reach Admiral Quinn?"

"Negative Captain," Delarosa answered, "Long range communications appear to be jammed."

Beth donned her tactical armor vest and pulled a phaser rifle out of the weapons locker. Also in the room with her were the twelve men and women of tactical squads one and two. Commander Regday was en route to the transporter room to make final arrangements to beam over. He had left Beth to explain the situation.

"Alright boys and girls, this is the situation. By now you know the Borg are back and attacking the Vega colony. We were late to the party but all that means is we are going to work twice as hard to take down as many Borg as the rest of the Fleet. The USS Coridan is being overrun by the Borg. We need to get over there and teach those spawn of Nurgle not to mess with the Emperor's Chosen," Beth said, "Any questions?"

Upon being greeted with a round of 'No ma'ams', Beth smiled and said, "Alright, let's kick whatever those Borg use for a butt. Transproter room on the double."

Beth and squad two materialized on the Coridan. Squad one and Commander Regday were already there. Regday was speaking with the EMH. "Still no word from Captain?" asked Regday.

"Negative. He led a force to engineering as that is the Borg were concentrating their assaults," the EMH explained.

"And where are they concentrating now?" Regday asked.

"Unknown. Some kind of jamming is restricting our communications," the EMH said.

"Not a pretty situation. First objective is to restore the communications," Regday said, "Beth, move out and take point. See if you can find any jamming devices the Borg may have brought aboard."

"Yes, sir," Beth acknowledged, "Squad two, move out. Be on your guard."

Beth led her squad through the Coridan. The ship was a Sovereign class, a beautiful vessel, Beth thought. Will I get through this to command my own ship some day?

"Beth, I have isolated the source of the jamming I think," Petty Officer Azrio said, "Corridors on deck sixteen."

"Not far then," Beth said, "We are on deck seventeen. Lifts are down, we need to tube it. Find me a Jeffries Tube."

"Right sir," Azrio said, "Just ahead, about fifteen meters and left."

Beth led her team forward. After ensuring the corner was clear, they moved forward to the tube and popped it open. Out fell a disheveled looking Bolian ensign.

"Who are you?" asked Beth.

"Ensign Etrum," the Bolian answered.

"And why are you in the Jeffries Tube?" Beth asked.

"Going for help," he said, "The Borg have deployed some kind of devices on deck sixteen. They seem to be some kind of jamming device."

"Excellent. You heard the man. Team, we go destroy the jammers. Into the tube," Beth said, "You come with us, Etrum. We need someone who knows the layout of the ship by memory."

"Right. But I am unarmed."

Beth pulled out her phaser pistol. "Not anymore."

Beth was out first. She heard beam fire not far away. Beth scanned the area while her team exited the tube.

"Alright Etrum, which way?" Beth asked.

"Right ahead," Etrum said.

"Good job," Beth said, "Let's shut these machines down."

Around the corner were six large, black machines. Definitely Borg looking. Even worse there were ten drones shuffling about, making adjustments to the machines it seemed.

Beth had eight with her counting herself and Etrum. She also had Midshipman Yuri Zurikov and his auto assault phaser and a few grenades. "Yuri, I want this corridor swept of Borg. I toss a grenade in and you mow'em down."

"Affirmative, Lieutenant," said the husky Russian.

Beth tossed a photon grenade down the hallway. It exploded, taking down four of the Borg. Yuri opened fire while Beth and the squad picked off any he missed. In a few seconds it was over.

"Forward," Beth said, "Revei, demo those machines."

"Yes, ma'am," the Bajoran Midshipman Revei said started planting light demo charges on the machines.

A drone came about the corner. Beth took it down with a well aimed shot. Poor drones. Wish we could free them but we don't have time for that now.

"All set," Revei answered.

"Clear the area and then we blow them," Beth said.

Squad hurried back the way they came. Beth almost ran into a drone that seemed to be as surprised as her of the situation. She slammed it with the butt of her rifle, knocking it down. She reached for her sidearm, but it wasn't there.

Etrum shot the drone. "Got it. First drone I have killed."

"Good work Ensign," Beth said.

"Thanks. What next?" Etrum said.

"Blow the charges Revei!" Beth ordered.

"Blowing charges," Revei said. Explosions reverberated down the corridor.

"I am picking up Team One over the Kagutsuchi's frequency," Azrio said.

"Team Two here. We have neutralized the Borg jamming devices," Beth said, "What next Commander?"

"Lieutenant Hawkwood? This is Petty Officer Uthala, "Commander Regday is dead. I have taken command of Team One. We were on our way to Engineering when we came under attack my Borg. Orders?"

"Give me your position and we will relieve you. Until then hold," Beth said, "How far are they Azrio?"

"Deck Twenty. The lifts though seem to have power restored to them," Azrio said.

"Thank the Emperor and Haruhi for small miracles. Etrum, nearest lift, where is it?" Beth said.

"Back that way," Etrum said, pointing at the corridor with the destroyed Borg devices.

"Team Two, let's go," Beth said. Regday was a good superior officer, Beth thought, he always did the best for his subordinates. He probably went down protecting his team.

Two drones were surveying the damage. They were quickly dispatched by the rifles.

The lifts were quickly reached. Azrio was right, they still worked. "In we go team," Beth said. She got in last, ensuring no other Borg were appearing.

The lift opened onto deck twenty, which for now was known locally as hell. Dead drones and Federation personal were everywhere. A surprised Midshipman looked at Beth and her team. "The lifts are working again?" he asked.

"Yes Midshipman. What is the situation?" Beth asked.

"Borg are trying to push through to Engineering. We are holding them, but barely. They seem to be specifically targeting officers and some heavily armored and shielded ones are coming up. We can't stop them with phasers."

Beth nodded. "So they are smarter then they seem in the past. Your ship's EMH has setup a casualty center on deck seventeen. How many wounded do you have?"

"A lot. Most are still fighting but we have some severe cases," the Midshipman said.

"Get them to the casualty center so they can get treatment. My team will hit the Borg to unbalance them while you do," Beth said.

"Thank you, Lieutenant," the Midshipman said.

Borg were advancing. Or at least attempting to. Beth saw six of the armored ones advancing. The Coridan crewmen were pulling their wounded out. "Okay, here is the plan. Revei, use the last of your charges and set them to blow up anything in this section of corridor. We lure those armored ones down here and take them out that way."

Revei smiled, "I like that plan."

Beth and Zurikov went forward and opened fire on the Borg. The six plus a couple other drones advanced on the two. They fell back down the hall. "How are the charges?" Beth asked.

"Set," Revei said.

"Alright team, fall back in good order," Beth said.

As the drones entered the kill zone, Revei blew the charges. The smoke cleared. The drones had been splattered.

"Good work. We push on," Beth said.

As the team worked their way through deck twenty they found four security officers of team one. "Lieutenant, glad to see you," Uthala said.

"Report," ordered Beth.

"The Borg have broken off their attack," Uthala said.

"Unlikely. The Borg don't quit. They are regrouping and concentration for another push or amassing force elsewhere," Beth said, "Etrum, where is Engineering?"

"Down that hallway a ways and some turns," Etrum said, "That is one of the entrances."

"We retreated from that way," Uthala said.

"I see," Beth said, "That is why they have stopped attacking you. They have pushed you out of the way, which was their objective. Well we are going to retake that corridor."

"Yes, ma'am," Uthala said.

Twelve troopers. Beth hoped she had enough. "Team two, take point."

Team two slipped forward. They found a raging battle in the main corridor. Twenty drones were trying to gain entrance to a room and overrun four security officers.

"Grenades!" Beth yelled. Six grenades sailed into the Borg force, blowing them to kingdom come.

The Kagutsuchi's men advanced. "Identify yourselves," called a Starfleet officer.

"Lieutenant Elizabeth Hawkwood, USS Kagutsuchi. We are here to provide support," Beth said coming out.

"Kagutsuchi? Thank you for coming, Lieutenant. I am Captain Evard Townshend. Now that communications have been restored to the ship, I can see that my crew is rallying and driving out the last of the Borg," the officer said, "But I have bad news. I have been informed that a Borg Sphere warped in and attacked the Kagutsuchi. Your ship destroyed the Sphere, but there was heavy damage and losses."

That explained the silence on Kagutsuchi's channel. Can't do anything about what has happened. All that remains is vengeance.

"Captain, I need to return to Kagutsuchi," Beth said.

"Understood. My crew can handle it here," Townshend said, "Etrum, you too. Make sure the Lieutenant has her ship in hand."

"Yes, sir," Etrum said.

"Why are you sending one of your men with me?" Beth asked.

"From what I can tell, your Captain and most of the senior officers are dead. Borg raiding party made a mess on the bridge. They are targeting officers to disrupt our chain of command I think," Townshend said, "Our transporters are still up. They are that way."

Kimiko arrived on the Kagutsuchi. A Midshipman was alone in the transporter room. "Lieutenant! I am glad you are back," he said.

"Status report," Beth said.

"Terrible. Captain Ithay is dead. As are Lieutenant Commanders Cerles and Mavo, Lieutenants Dreve and Tokai, and I doubt Lieutenant Delarosa will make it. Crew casualties are over fifty percent and the warp core is damaged. Ensign Thomas has taken over Engineering and reports he expects to have the core repaired. Ensign Selvok is in Medical doing what he can. Ensign T'Bumo has the bridge," the Midshipman reported.

Each new piece of information made the situation seem more grim and desperate.

"You are the highest ranking officer Kagutsuchi has," the Midshipman reported.

Beth stopped. "Wait. Are you serious?"

"Yes ma'am," he said.

A ship of my own. This is not how I hoped it would happen though. This is horrible. So many good officers dead. All I can do is avenge them.

"Inform T'Bumo I am en route to the bridge," Beth said, "Etrum, you are with me."

Upon entering the bridge the first thing Beth did was ask about control status.

"No warp drive, but we have impulse engines, shields, and weapons online," T'Bumo reported.

"How is bridge control?" she asked.

"We can manage, sir," T'Bumo responded. T'Bumo was a Romulan. She was always serious, all the time. This was a serious time, however.

"Good," Beth said, "This is Etrum. He is from the Coridan and will assist us here."

"I was the assistant helm on the Coridan," Etrum said, "I can take the helm on Kagutsuchi."

"Good. T'Bumo, I need you on Operations. Midshipman Dulles, get on communications," Beth said.

The lift opened. Ensign Rei Ayanami stepped onto the bridge. A bandage hung over an eye and her right arm had a number of bandages on it. "Ensign Ayanami is reporting. I am qualified as an assistant science officer."

"Ayanami, why are you on the bridge in that condition?" asked Doctor Selvok.

"Yes, your dedication to your duty is admirable, but you are injured and should report to sickbay," T'Bumo said.

"I understand what I should do, however I fear that the battle is not over and this ship will need a science officer if it is to realistically fight the Borg and I am the only living officer on this vessel qualified to do so," Ayanami explained, "My injuries are inconvenient however not incapacitating. I can still operate at acceptable levels."

"Very well," Beth said, "But as soon as the battle is over you will report to sickbay."

"Understood," Ayanami said with a nod.

"Congratulations on making safe the Coridan, Lieutenant Hawkwood," Selvok said.

"Thank you Doctor, but Ayanami is right, we are not out of this crisis yet. I need you to report to sickbay and make sure my crew that has been injured makes a swift and complete recovery," Beth said.

"Understood, Lieutenant," Selvok said as he left the bridge.

"Will, report," Beth said calling Engineering.

"Warp core will be repaired within two hours, Lieutenant. I have as many of my men as possible working on it," Will answered.

"How are weapons and shields?" Beth asked.

"Shaky, but still up," Will said.

"Will, I need you to direct your repair crew to stabilizing weapons, shields, and impulse engines. Those are your priorities. We appear to be the only active ship here and we need to protect the Coridan until she can get underway again," Beth said.

"Understood," Will said.

"T'Bumo, status of ships around us?" Beth said.

"Your assessment was correct. Despite her damage, Kagutsuchi is the most effective ship in this area. There are nine other ships in the area in various stages of disabling," T'Bumo said.

"Lieutenant," Rei said from her science station, "I am picking up Borg transmissions from behind the planetoid. There is something coming around the planetoid."

"Helm, move to intercept," Beth said.

"Aye, aye," Etrum .

A Borg Cube moved into view. It was badly damaged. Plasma and radiation leaked from numerous points on it's surface, evidence of the hard battle.

"By the Emperor and the Suzumiya," Beth mumbled.

"We don't have a chance against that," Etrum said.

"Maybe. It is showing signs of heavy damage," T'Bumo said.

"Rei, scan it. How is the Cube?" Beth ordered.

"Ensign T'Bumo is correct in her assessment. The Cube is heavily damaged and is suffering from multiple systems failures. It seems to be attempting to withdraw to repair the damage and replenish it's complement," Ayanami said.

"And we are the only thing that stands between it and the crippled ships," Beth said.

"Yes," Ayanami said.

"T'Bumo, lock weapons. Etrum, I want you to get us into torpedo attack run position," Beth said.

"Ensign T'Bumo, I recommend aiming for the area around this plasma leak I am indicating," Rei said.

"The Chicago and Chekov are reporting their weapons are online and are ready to fire, although neither has shields or engines, making them sitting ducks," Dulles reported.

"Tell them to hold fire unless we go down," Beth said, "Avoid drawing attention to themselves."

"Affirmative," Dulles said.

"Weapons locked," T'Bumo said, "Thank you for the target suggestion Ensign Ayanami."

"Fire," Beth ordered.

A volley of phaser cannon fire raked the Cube followed by a volley of Quantum Torpedoes.

"As expected, the Cube appears to be approaching critical. Plasma fires are spreading throughout the vessel," Ayanami said.

"Etrum, pull us back from the Cube," Beth ordered.

"Will do," Etrum said.

An explosion rocked the Kagutsuchi. About a third of the Cube's mass had exploded from the Kagutsuchi's attack.

"Press the assault," Beth ordered.

The Kagutsuchi pulled out from the Cube and doubled around firing into the Cube. Smaller explosions rocked the Cube.

"Is that the primary reactor?" asked Beth.

"That is likely," Ayanami stated.

"Hit it with everything we have," Beth ordered.

On a third attack run, the Kagutsuchi delivered a volley or torpedoes and phaser cannon shots into the area of the reactor. The Cube detonated in a brilliant burst of light and fire that quickly dissipated in space.

"The target is…destroyed," T'Bumo said.

"That it is," Beth said.

"Communications with Admiral Quinn have been restored," announced Dulles, "Two other Cubes have been destroyed. Relief ships are en route to aid in rescue and recovery efforts."

"Do what we can to assist in rescue and recovery," Beth ordered.

Quinn appeared on the main screen, "Well done Lieutenant Hawkwood. I have received reports from several other officers regarding your conduct in this battle. I wish to have a face to face meeting with you at your earliest convenience."

"Thank you Admiral," Beth said, "For now the Kagutsuchi will assist in rescue and recovery efforts. There are many damaged ships in this area."

Will had gotten the warp core fixed on schedule. The Kagutsuchi limped into Earth orbit on two of her four nacelles. As expected, Lieutenant Delarosa did not survive. She had died of her injuries shortly after the attack had begun on the Cube. Upon captaining the Kagutsuchi into a repair bay, Beth was taken by shuttle to Earth space dock.

The medical facilities at the space dock were being worked to their extreme. Beth thought back to stories about Wolf 359 and Sector 001. At least Starfleet had defeated the three Cubes.

Beth arrived in the Admiral's officer still in her red duty uniform. "Welcome Lieutenant Hawkwood. Once again I would like to compliment you and your crew from their actions in Vega."

"We were simply doing our duty, sir," Beth answered.

"The full casualty reports are still coming in, Lieutenant, but we are looking at upwards of twelve thousand casualties. Officers have been exceptionally hard hit," Quinn said.

"So I noticed. Borg raiders boarded many ships and killed the officers. I am speculating this was intended to break our chains of command," Beth said.

"Sound reasoning and one of the oldest strategies in the book," Quinn said, "But this may be an attempt to deprive us of senior officers to injure us more in the long term."

"Also reasonable, sir," Beth said, "I also noticed an increased tendency for the Borg to attempt to kill rather then assimilate."

"You too," Quinn said, "What do you make of this?"

"The Borg see us as major threat. Often assimilation is impractical and time consuming, but simply killing an enemy is usually pretty time efficient," Beth said with a shrug, "How many groups have managed as much resistance as the Federation against the Borg?"

"Not many," Quinn said, "Well we need to keep resisting. We are developing new technologies to fight the Borg with. And we need officers who show initiative and creativity to test them for us."

"What do you mean, sir?"

"Kagutsuchi was heavily damaged. Current estimates are the warp drive alone will take a month to fully repair. Entire compartments will need to be rebuilt. So, Starfleet has authorized the Kagutsuchi to be refitted to an experimental weapons platform," Quinn said, "We will be testing a new generation of Tetryon weapons on her."

"Very well, sir," Beth said, "And what of myself and my crew."

"Like I said, I need officers and crews to man these ships. I am promoting you to Captain, you will make recommendations for your crew to receive promotions and they will form the cadre of new crew," Quinn said.

"Thank you sir," Beth said.

"Unfortunately your ship will be in refit and repair for the next two months. We have some training classes scheduled for you and your crew to accommodate them with the new weapons while that is occurring," Quinn explained.

"Yes, sir. Thank you again, sir," Beth said.

"Congratulations Captain. I only wish that your promotion had come under better circumstances," Quinn said with a salute.

"Me as well, sir," Beth said.