11 SID Second Coming
Disclaimer: I do not own Star Trek or its related properties. All such rights and considerations belong to CBS/Paramount.
This is yet another installment in a long running series. Reading said series would have this make much more sense since it rapidly references previous installments without warning. Of particular note is the "Justice" chapter in the Star Trek the Next Generation story: Vignettes featuring Ro Laren also found on this site.
Special Investigations Division stories that would prove helpful are "Pax Romana", "Covert Force", "Arrivals", and "Relics". Additional reading that would be of value is SID "Twilight".
Nearly six weeks had passed since the mysterious subspace pulse had delivered the ominous message to the planet Omicron. That message had simply said, "We are coming." No one, including the Omicron, knew who the "we" referred to.
The starship Endeavor had been engaged in a study of the Omicron for almost three months now. It had been a Starfleet team that discovered the mysterious monolith that sent and received subspace pulses. Both times that the monolith went active it had sent and received pulses that registered far beyond anything Starfleet had ever seen outside of a planetary scale shockwave before.
Captain Adolae Thrax sat in his Ready Room and reviewed reports from his Away Teams. His XO, Commander Sela Hennessy, was coordinating the research effort on Omicron. "On" Omicron meant they were all inside of a mountain range. Thrax had recently finished reading a human fable entitled The Hobbit and horrific creatures within its pages had created habitats inside of caverns and caves secreted within the Misty Mountains.
At one time, the Omicron presented themselves as a threat, both direct and indirect. The indirect threat had been their organizing and arming thousands of terrorist and insurgent cells throughout the Alpha and Beta Quadrants. The Omicron had even briefly intervened personally on these groups' behalf.
That brought one to the direct threat. The Omicron used biotechnology they way other species used water. They even engineered their own kind. No Starfleet vessel had been found to be able to overcome their bioships.
50,000 year ago the Omicron Empire had been crushed and their homeworld razed. This accounted for their retreat underground. They'd secreted themselves away and played with their own genome. The catalyst for their genetic experiments was a fragment of "ultramatter". A substance thought to be a fragment from the celestial egg that birthed the current universe. The full capability of these fragments, yes, fragments for there were two; because the extragalactic Kelvans that destroyed the Omicrons' fleet also ejected the ultramatter out into the void between galaxies. Astronomers were even now eagerly studying the stellar nursery that the fragments had created between the Milky Way and Andromeda Galaxies.
A unit of Starfleet's nebulous Special Investigation Division had first encountered the Omicron and unlocked what secrets had been known before this expedition. If the Cardassian Union hadn't joined the Khitomer Accords then they'd have to worry about their skirting the Cardassian Farside border. Still, the Omicron homeworld was far enough beyond Breen and Cardassian space to lend neither the Typhon Pact nor the Union claims to this region.
Besides which, the SID had secured an invitation from the Omicron for Starfleet to send a vessel. One vessel. No more, no less. The decision to send in a Sovereign-class explorer had been logical enough. What Thrax saw as a grand chance to wave the flag and showboat a little, Starfleet Command saw as an opportunity to occupy Thrax in a remote system where he couldn't complicate matters between the Typhon Pact and the Khitomer Accords.
Thrax hadn't risen in Starfleet due to his stellar career. He'd risen because his uncle controlled the Federation Council's Appropriations Committee. This wasn't to say that dozens of Thraxes hadn't achieved prominence in Starfleet. They were almost as great a Starfleet family as the Parises. Sadly, the current scion of the family enlisted in Starfleet was a disaster waiting to happen.
Thrax had graduated from Starfleet Academy at the bottom of his class. Not in the periphery of the bottom but dead last. Starfleet officers across two Quadrants shook their heads and wondered how a nincompoop like Thrax had achieved command. So while the bulk of Starfleet wondered, Starfleet Command sat safely on Earth and prayed he wouldn't screw up a routine survey.
Thrax sat behind his desk and lifted one padd after another. He dutifully perused them but he had to admit that most of it went waaay beyond him. The sociologists were dissecting Omicron behaviors and the archeology and anthropology people were taking their artifacts and society apart piece by piece.
What had become glaringly apparent was that the Omicron had lost their ability to create specialized lifeforms. That meant their biotech had been reduced to a level comparable to that of the Breen. Thrax was certain that the Omicron had done it on purpose just to make him look bad. Well, his scathing reports regarding the Omicron would settle up the karmic debt.
He picked up the latest report from Commander Sonya Gomez. His Chief Engineer had been examining the monolith since the initial subspace pulse erupted from it. She'd been on hand for the reception of the second. While she still had no clue as to how the monolith functioned, she did know what it had done.
It had emitted a pulse, everyone knew that, but it had shot it through mountains that arose above them. The trace minerals and metals laced throughout the cliffs and peaks channeled and amplified the signal. It was an elegant solution as to how to transmit across space from a literal hole in the ground. A hole that was buried under a million tons of rock.
Gomez noted that she'd arrived at this solution with the aid of Lieutenant Tim Prentiss. Prentiss was the ship's Archeology and Anthropology Officer and headed the department that was scattered across the Omicron's domain. Thrax had been considering putting Prentiss on report because he hadn't provided these very answers in short order.
He thought better of it now but he would demand that Prentiss be removed from his post and demoted. What good was an A & A Officer that couldn't immediately cough up answers when you asked a question? He'd let Hennessy handle the dirty work. He'd already approved a transfer request in reply to the inevitable protest.
Now we just have to determine the origins of these ugly buggers and determine who is planning on joining us, Thrax thought to himself. His comm badge chirped and he tapped it, "Captain Thrax."
He always added his rank, just in case the petitioner wasn't aware of it. Gev's voice entered the room, "Captain, you wanted to be apprised when our probes detected something unusual."
Gev was Thrax's Tellarite Second Officer. He liked Gev. If Hennessy weren't in the way he'd install Gev as the First Officer. He'd logged a thousand fitness reports reporting that Hennessy was unfit for her position and that Gev was better suited for it but Starfleet Command refused to see his side of things. They hated him.
"How close is the disturbance?" Thrax asked. The unspoken question was, Can this wait?
"The subspace distortion collapsed at the edge of the system. We have readings on three massive objects headed into the inner system," Gev replied.
"Are they headed for us?" Thrax asked. He knew his voice quavered with fear. Hopefully Gev didn't detect that.
"Straight for us, sir," if Gev knew his captain was terrified out of his mind, he hid it well.
"I'll be right there," Thrax groaned.
Thrax stepped out of the Ready Room and went straight for his chair. Gev sat in the XO's chair as if he were born to be there. He was, Thrax glumly thought.
"Status?" he asked. It was always a good icebreaker…and it established his absolute authority in the situation.
"I don't know what these critters are using for propulsion but they are hauling!" T'Lisa Park reported from Science.
Thrax stared at the Vulcan-Korean hybrid, "Care to rephrase so we can all understand?"
"These things are travelling at .99c but there are no time dilation effects from travelling at relativistic speeds. It's like they're bending time to suit their purposes," she reported.
Thrax tried to grapple with that but the implications went right overt him. All he saw was a potential threat that could bend space-time in order to travel faster without resorting to subspace.
Suddenly a new thought gripped him, "You said 'critters'."
Park nodded, "Our outer system probes indicate that these, ships for lack of a better word, are alive."
"Ships?" Ice stabbed through Thrax's guts.
"Yessir, three of `em," Park bobbed her head enthusiastically. She was excited beyond belief whereas her captain was terrified out of his mind.
"How big are these 'ships'?" Thrax inquired.
"Roughly the size of Earth's moon, sir." Park happily replied.
A moon? Thrax's mind quailed. Outwardly he asked, "Are they spherical? Like the ships of the First Federation?"
"No, they're almost fish shaped," Park mused.
Thrax chewed on that while his OPS Officer of the watch reported, "Sir, the unidentified craft are entering visual range."
Thrax wanted to go hide in his Ready Room but starship captains juts didn't do that. At least not yet.
"Put it on visual," Thrax ordered.
The screen shifted and three monstrous fish appeared on approach. They even swam through space. They were all sleek lines except for some bulbous protrusions sticking out of their flesh.
"What are those…bulbs?" Thrax asked.
"Mechanical implants," Park answered as she studied her sensor readings, "It's almost as if the Borg assimilated these creatures."
"Borg?" Thrax was instantly galvanized. When the Borg had invaded with murderous intent just a few years ago, he'd been shuffled to the sidelines escorting refugee convoys. Now was his chance for some action.
"Shields up. Arm phasers and quantum torpedoes," Thrax ordered.
"Sir, what are we doing?" Gev quietly asked.
"You heard her. It's the Borg. Now we can have revenge against them," Thrax answered with a malicious gleam in his eyes.
"Sir, Captains Picard, Dax, and Riker all stated the Borg threat was ended. They were reintegrated into the Caeliar civilization that inadvertently spawned them," Gev inquired.
"What do they know? Who are these Caeliar anyway? Everything about them is classified. All we have to say that the Borg are free and benevolent now are those officers word for it," Thrax argued.
"Sir, these forms resemble whale sharks," Park desperately tried to salvage this First Contact scenario.
"Aren't sharks predators on your planet?" Thrax wanted to know.
"Most sharks. Whale sharks are benign hence the appellation whale shark," Park tried to explain.
"A predator is a predator, Ensign. These creatures, benign or not, have been assimilated by the Borg. The last time the Federation saw the Borg they were trying to annihilate us as an unredeemable source of imperfection in their merry world. They've been hiding but they're back now and I intend to blow them all straight to hell," Thrax outlined his plan, such as it was.
Park leapt to her feet, "But this is a First Contact encounter. These ships don't have any of the Borg's power signatures. In fact, most of what they have is so exotic we can't identify it. They haven't initiated hostilities yet you want us to open fire on them. Where in the hell did you learn your First Contact protocols?" Park had to ask.
"At Starfleet Academy in a class that you obviously failed," Thrax demeaned her, "You're relieved, Ensign. Report to the brig where you will await your court martial."
"Gladly," Park huffed and she stormed off the bridge.
Thrax looked around and the entire bridge crew was staring at him, "What?
They all looked to their instruments and he began to make demands, "Target all power sources and look for anything that a 'whale shark' would consider a vulnerable point."
Seeing resistance he shouted, "Move!"
"Sir!" the OPS Officer cried, "Our computers are being tapped."
"Disconnect the core," Thrax ordered. Seeing his officer's surprise, he added, "Now! Or I'll have you up on charges."
"How will we target the weapons and modulate the shields?" Gev asked.
"Manually," Thrax said with pride, "I have the best crew in Starfleet. They'll defeat these cybernetic monsters."
"Have you thought about hailing them?" Gev asked.
"And listen to them blather on about how 'Resistance is futile'? I think not," Thrax huffed.
"Sir, we don't know if this is the Borg," Gev snorted.
Thrax gave Gev a baleful look. How could he? How could Gev of all people betray him?
"Commander, you're relieved," Thrax commanded.
"Sir?" Gev couldn't believe his ears.
"I said you're relieved!" Thrax thundered, "Report to the brig. The charge is insubordination."
Gev stood, "I'm going to love testifying at my court martial."
For a half second Thrax wisely felt fear but then his bluster overrode all concerns, "Just go before I add treason to the charges."
Gev snorted his disgust and departed.
"Where's my damn firing solution?" Thrax demanded.
"Locked in, sir," the Beta Watch Tactical Officer reported.
"Keep that in mind, sonny," Thrax retook his seat, "Helm, take us down the throat of one of those things."
"Yes, sir," the CONN Officer sighed. Frankly, she knew she was about to die. Anything that could utilize creatures like this as ships obviously had a tech base far beyond the Federation's. To antagonize them seemed like certain doom.
"Tactical, apprise the Helm of your targets. Helm, angle our approach to maximize the effectiveness of our attack," Thrax ordered.
"I'm sorry, sir. I can't lawfully obey your orders," the CONN Officer, one Sheila Walsh, stood from her post, "Should I report to the brig now?"
"Yes, dammit!" Thrax snarled, "Ensign Pottipher, abandon whatever the hell it is that you're doing and man the CONN."
"Yes, sir!" the young Egyptian yelped.
"Anyone else have an objection?" Thrax loudly inquired, "Anyone else want to suggest that we're not handling this like a First Contact mission? I know we're not! These creatures have been assimilated by the Borg. These are replacement for Borg cubes. They think we won't attack their craft because they have a biosignature. Well, I say the hell with that! These frinxers have invaded our territory and by Draxis I intend to make them pay for it!"
At the helm, Pottipher tried not to contradict his CO by pointing out that they were a hundred light years outside of Federation territory. These were clearly the beings that had received the monolith's signal and replied in kind.
He wanted to be brave and object like the others but he was ambitious and he didn't know if a blot on the record like a court martial ever truly went away. Rather than risk it he'd stay at his post and see of you could mitigate Thrax's madness. And it was madness. Every junior officer and enlisted crewman on the bridge could easily tell that.
"Helm, are we on course?" Thrax wanted to know.
"Yes, sir. I vectored us so that…" Pottipher began to explain.
"Shut up, Pottipher. You're just an ensign. No one wants to listen to you unless they have to," Thrax snapped, "Tactical! Where's my barrage?"
"We'll be in position in three…two…one...firing!" the ensign railed off.
Quantum torpedoes were thrown into space and they headed for the lead bioship. Type XII phasers lashed out and stretched across the gulf to wreak havoc. The weapons dissipated hundreds of meters away from the mechanical portions of the tremendous creature.
"What happened?" Thrax demanded to know.
"Our weapons just…dissipated," the Tactical Officer explained.
"Launch a second spread," Thrax ordered. He turned to the reluctant Tactical Officer, "Now!"
A second salvo went forth with the same results. Thrax was apoplectic, "Analyze what happened and adjust our weapons accordingly."
"Sir," the Tactical Officer said. He could barely refer to his CO by that title, "I'm registering massive power build-ups at key points across the creature's body."
"Why?" Thrax asked in an almost childlike tone.
"We fired upon them. My guess is that they're charging their weapons," the Tactical Officer dryly retorted.
"But why?" Thrax was plaintive now.
The Tactical Officer held his gaze and his eyes possessed no mercy or remorse, "You just essentially declared war on these people. If the readings I'm seeing are correct, then they have planet busters."
"Evasive action!" Thrax squawked.
"Too late!" the Tactical Officer reported.
The salvo lasted three seconds but that was enough to destroy the Endeavor. Ironically, Thrax was the only member of the bridge crew to survive. Those in the brig had been freed and led the scant survivors to the escape pods and headed for Omicron after ejecting.
Thrax numbly heard the computer reciting a 60 second countdown until the warp core lost containment. He managed to situate himself into his seat and remarkably his control panels still functioned. He downloaded everything he could of the encounter into the log buoy and ejected it. Hopefully the Federation would receive it before these creatures arrived.
Even at the end, he didn't see the fault as being his. He rather expected to be recognized as a hero for his actions particularly the launching of the buoy. He died with his delusions intact.
The massive bioships took up station thousands of kilometers from Omicron. They essentially became the moons it was lacking. They swam in a three point formation, covering every square centimeter of the planet at every moment. They hailed the Omicron but there was no reply.
Seeing the devastation wrought upon the planet 50,000 years ago, they debated before sending down a representative. In the end, a low ranking contact specialist was dispatched in a manner very similar to a transporter's effect.
The Argyn rematerialized in the long abandoned comm center. The Omicron, abandoned by their creators, had forgotten about the chamber and its monolith 100,000 years ago. Their factual origins were replaced by myths and theories. They forgot the language of their creators and subsequently didn't know how to operate the monolith when the Federation scientists found it.
The garbled message sent by the Omicron, after millennia had past, greatly vexed the Argyns. The Omicron had been their greatest success and their greatest failure. Where Argyn society fostered the notion that life was meant to be shaped and nurtured, the Omicron had deluded themselves with the concept that life was meant to be enslaved and used for their own selfish motives.
The Argyn had abandoned the Omicron to fend for themselves. The Omicron weren't barbarians. They possessed the secrets of non-organic technology and space flight. Some of them also remembered the arcane secrets of genetic manipulation and biotechnology. The discovery of the ultramatter and its potential availed the Omicron with the ability to tap into the birth of the universe itself.
They spent 40,000 years mastering their techniques and then they set out on a mission of conquest. 10,000 years later, their subjects rebelled and decimated the homeworld. They then spent 50,000 years rebuilding in secret. When they were defeated it was by an inferior mammalian species and their extragalactic allies.
To make matters worse, the Lowlies arose and rebelled. The cast off failed genetic experiments, the Lowlies represented the antithesis of Omicron's society. Instead of a rigid caste system determined by genetic purity and ability, the Lowlies were egalitarian to an extreme the Omicron had never even considered.
Led by an outsider cast into their midst, the Lowlies followed Rab Daggit as he marched on the Omicron and crushed them even as Brin Macen and the SID attacked them in space with the support of the Kelvans. The Omicron had transferred every able bodied soldier to the fleet's manta ray-like bioships and therefore the Overlord was vulnerable.
The Lowlies dethroned the "First One" and executed him just to prove their point. All Omicron were equal, no matter their genetic make-up. Those that felt moribund under the oppressive yoke of caste regulations quickly embraced this philosophy. Those that had lost power and prestige plotted against the newly installed democratic government.
The former leaders felt Omicron was now guided by the least capable. They waited for an opportunity to strike. Starfleet's arrival had opened an unexpected door as an up swell of support became apparent because of the aliens' presence.
All of that was a moot point as the Argyn gazed upon Tressib, Commander Hennessy, Commander Gomez, Lt. Prentiss, and a half dozen other engineers and archeologists. The appearance of the Argyn disturbed them. It was a gumdrop shaped blob with a snail's lower torso. A dozen tentacles extended from its body. Four of these contained true hands with four fingers and two opposable thumbs.
Perhaps most disturbing to the Starfleet crew was the presence of a wide, ovular mouth with rows of razor sharp fangs. There were also at least twelve eyes. All of them were focused on the team that had been examining the monolith.
"What are you doing?" it asked.
Hennessy was startled that she could understand it. She looked to Prentiss. He grinned.
"He spoke in Omicron. Our universal translator is geared for Omicron," Prentiss explained. Addressing the alien presence, he asked; "Do our devices allow you to understand us as well?"
The Argyn nodded with its entire body bobbing once. It unleashed a squishy sound, "Indeed, young one. Who are you?"
Hennessy took over, "We're representatives of the United Federation of Planets."
"Like those fools that fired upon us?" the Argyn grew irritable.
Hennessy held up her hands to shoulder height, "I have no knowledge of what you speak of. However, I can assume the worst. The commander of our vessel was…incompetent at best, dangerous at worst."
"He is no longer either," the Argyn announced with grim finality.
"You killed him?" Hennessy was shocked.
"He fired upon us while we peacefully approached. He did not attempt to communicate with us. He only reacted with violence. He reaped what his violence provoked," the Argyn explained.
"I see," Hennessy could. She honestly could. She'd repeatedly warned Starfleet that Thrax's stupidity would provoke an interstellar incident some day.
"It seems we're at your mercy then," she replied, "I'm Commander Sela Hennessy."
The alien pondered this overture and finally he chuckled, "Well played, Commander. I am Beriel. I am the Contact Specialist for the bioship Neffyndr."
"May I ask if there were any survivors from our ship?" she inquired.
"Yes, they are being recovered by the Omicron as we speak," he informed her.
"I'm assuming you're the species we inadvertently contacted with this communications device?" she asked.
"We are," he said simply.
"My species is called human. What are you called?" she prodded him.
"Your ship's history tapes indicated that your federated species were explorers. We are collectively called the Argyn." Beriel answered.
"We received your reply that you were coming," Hennessy revealed, "Why did you come?"
"We came to see the progress of the Grand Design. We sensed that it had gone astray and we came to put it right again," Beriel shared.
"Pardon me, but what is the Grand Design?" Hennessy inquired.
One of Beriel's true hand tentacles waved towards Tressib, "This is an example of the Grand Design and as you can see, it has horribly gone awry."