Chapter 2

Odd Things

"Is there a problem, Riker?"

"Just hoping this isn't the usual way our missions will go, sir."

"Oh no, Number One. I'm sure most will be much more interesting."

- Picard and Riker, Encounter at Farpoint

"Commander, why are we taking a shuttlecraft and not transporting over to the station?" asked Wesley, spinning his chair toward Riker.

"Well, Ensign, the ion storm is interfering with our communication and transporting ability, and I personally don't want two opposite sides of me running around the station and second, the transporter is down for repairs in the first place."

"The Station only needs its system checked and updated every five years, it has only been four, why are we going?"

"Because Wes, we are the best ship in the region and we are the only ship within a 100 light year radius from the station. Think of it as an adventure, we are going to find out what is causing these mysterious break downs that keep happening on the station."

"An adventure. . ." He thought to himself turning back to his console. The mere thought of it made Wesley feel sick to his stomach. He looked out the porthole into the odd ion storm. Never in his life had he heard of green ion storm. This storm was unusual. It made the space around them look a little less calm and becoming even more threatening with every passing minute. He suspected by now that the storm would be tossing them around like a pinball. He wondered if he could spend a couple minutes studying the storm before they left.

As the shuttle came into the Messier Station's shuttle bay. Wesley noticed three other shuttles.

"Sir, why are there three other shuttles here?" Questioned Wesley. It was LaForge who answered him.

"Because Wes, if the repair teams' shuttle ever broke down and they could not fix it, they would have another shuttle waiting for them."

The shuttle came down gently on to the bay's floor with a little jolt. They all got up from their seats and walked out of the shuttle.

"Remember, the quicker we get these repairs done. The quicker Mr. Crusher can ask that pretty Ensign on a date." Riker said with a smile. "And the quicker we can eat cake and celebrate Wesley's 18th birthday." He thought to himself.

A Few hours later . . .

Wesley was, from his point of view, looking for a needle in a haystack, but instead of a needle it was a chip and instead of a haystack it was a panel. He was looking for a faulty chip that was causing trouble for Geordi and Data on the other side of the station, who were working on the main generator.

His comm badge chirped. Wesley pulled himself out the panel to answer his communicator.

"Crusher here." Wesley said as he tapped his communicator.

"Wes have you found that chip yet?" asked LaForge.

"No, Sir I have not found it yet. But when I do I will contact you."

"Well good luck!" With that the line went dead leaving Wesley alone with his thoughts. He sighed and went back to work.

Wesley leaned into the panel and got a glimpse of something odd under a tangled mess of wires. Carefully he began unhooking the wires and put them into their proper place. Once he put the wires in order, he found himself looking at an odd chip. It was not like the other chips that he had seen. He pulled it out of where it was to take a closer examination. It was no bigger than a regular chip, it was opaque and not translucent like the chips on the Enterprise. The chip had a swamp green color to it. Wesley put it his pocket, but what Wesley didn't see was a red flashing light pulsing out a message as he put it in his pocket.

His communicator sounded. "Hey Wes whatever you did, it worked and I do believe we are done for the day, Mr. Crusher." LaForge said enthusiastically.

"Sir, I found something odd when I was doing repairs over at my end and I was wondering if I could study it before we left?

"Wes, give it a rest we're done . . .what about your hot date?"

"I just need a few minutes, and I would also like to analyze this ion storm more carefully, Please Sir."

"Well. . . Ok Wes. You better make those minutes count because we are leaving in thirty minutes."

"Actually Geordi we are leaving in 23 minutes and . . ."

Wesley cut the connection and went the other side of the station to the main science facility.

Back on the Enterprise

Worf was perplexed, he'd been monitoring the station for more than four hours, and for the past four hours there was this little blip that kept showing up for five seconds and then disappeared for an hour. It was troublesome. His gut told him that it was nothing more than a glitch in the system. After all nothing out of out the ordinary had been reported.

Picard on the other hand felt uneasy about the entire situation. He felt something that was familiar, but he dismissed it as "just a feeling" Picard was actually worried about his AWAY team as he stared out at the storm surrounding them. He knew he could not jump the gun just because of the odd things that were happening like the station's mysterious breakdowns or just because he felt something familiar. He could not because he was their Captain.

"Mr. Worf, you have bridge." I need to clear my head, he thought to himself, getting up from his chair and heading toward his ready room.

Messier Observation Station

Wesley was stumped. The chip was not of Federation, Ferengi, Klingon or Romulan origin.

"Where could this chip could have come from?"He thought.

The storm itself was not a storm at all, but some kind of trail like exhaust from a rocket. This was troublesome for him. What kind of technology was powerful enough to leave a storm behind in its wake. On the long range sensors was picking up a what seemed to be a wormhole, but it wasn't a wormhole Wesley's gut told him. But then what was it? He thought. He looked out the window to see the "ion storm" was almost completely opaque. Boy were they going to have a hard time going back to the Enterprise.

He sighed and spun his chair around to see humble Data standing in the doorway.

"Wesley it is time to leave." He said calmly.

Wesley suddenly had a revelation. What if the "storm" was somehow connected to the "wormhole."

He got up from his chair and went over toward another scanner. "Data can I have thirty more minutes, please, I am just about done, sir."

"Wesley I must inquire why you want to stay here and not carry your on with your work on the Enterprise."

"Because I am set up here and I know you are going to ask me if I require any assistance. I think I can handle things on my own." Wesley answered with full confidence.

Data was momentarily stunned and then replied. "I do believe Wesley you have taken the words right out of my mouth."

Wesley giggled at this. Data the strongest and probably most intelligent man, no Android he corrected himself, he had ever met and he still managed to have to surprise him with his social naivety. Data was one of his best friends in the entire ship, he was one of the most genuine guys he had ever met in his life, he would not kill a fly if he wanted to. Data was a gentle giant to say the least and he was proud to have him as a commanding officer and as a friend.

"I guess I will see you later Commander. I will take a shuttle back to the Enterprise, You can leave without me." Wesley waved goodbye as Data walked out.

As Data walked out he was joined by LaForge and Riker. Riker saw that Data didn't bring out Wesley, this concerned him a little, they were suppose to surprise him once they got back and celebrate his 18th birthday.

"Data, where is Wesley?"

"He said that he would finish his work and he would take a shuttlecraft to join us later."

"I hope that Wesley is ok staying here alone." Retorted LaForge.

"Wesley is an intelligent young man that is quite capable of taking care of himself. May I remind you Geordi that he is about to move out of Beverly's quarters and without a parachute may I add."As the small group walked into the shuttle and started the engine and took off.

Messier Observation Station

The thought that kept on bothering him was the chip. It was not of Federation, Ferengi, Klingon or Romulan origin. Where could it come from? He thought.

But from the distance he heard the sound of machinery. Wesley pulled his head out from his work. He ignored it, but when he heard it again it was closer. His heart pounded 100 miles per hour. He laughed at himself, it was probably Geordi or Riker pulling his leg and trying to scare him.

"Ha Ha very funny guys you scared me." He said sarcastically. Wesley got no reply, he licked his lips. "Ha Ha guys, the joke is over. You can come out now!" He shouted with fear creeping into his voice.

Once he heard the sound again, he listened more intently. He recognized that it had the distinct sound of a Borg drone's machine parts moving. His face lost all of its color. He was terrified of the Borg ever since Q brought them face first with them. Wes had nightmares for weeks because during that battle he'd also lost a few friends too because they cut a section out of the ship like a cookie cutter. But that experience with the Borg was nothing compared with his recent experience with them a couple months ago. They were forced to hide in a nebula because they were outmatched in every way.

Then they did they unimaginable, the Borg took Jean-Luc Picard, a man who he saw as a fatherly figure, he was at main engineering when they came on to their ship, he only wished that he was on the Bridge, maybe if he was on the Bridge he could have stopped them from taking Picard, but he wasn't. What shocked him to the core was what they did to him, they ripped his humanity away and made him into a puppet.

When his mother de-assimilated him, he was not the same person. He wondered if he changed for the worst or the better because he treated him with a lot more respect, but there was always this aura of revenge against the Borg around him. He guessed Picard experience with the Borg made him rethink his life.

Getting his head out of the past. He ran toward the microscope which he was studying the chip with. He at the slide under the 1000x setting, to his horror it was Borg. Wesley looked up and he was surrounded by darkness.

The power went out.

"My God the power went out, the power went out!" His mind panicked.

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