Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to Star Trek. Star Trek was created by Gene Roddenberry; Star Trek and related marks are the trademarks of CBS Studios Inc. I am in no way advertising, nor selling the characters names, likenesses, trademarks or logos mentioned in these stories for profit. I am simply borrowing them to create fictional pieces of writing for personal entertainment purposes only.
The Worst of Both Worlds
Chapter One: Stardate 47295.3 (18 April, 2370)
The bridge of the USS Enterprise shook violently as their shields were struck by another Borg tractor beam. The smell of cordite was almost a permanent fixture now, along with the flickering lights, and the static of the viewscreen. Half-working computer consoles, the smell of sweat, blood and fear lingered in the stale air. This had become their lives…
It has now been four years since the initial invasion of the Borg into Federation Space, in which case, the Federation no longer existed. Earth was the first to fall, and then Vulcan, Andoria, Tellar Prime, Denobula, Betazed and all the rest had soon followed. Within six months, the Federation was no more. Four months after the Federation was assimilated, the Klingon Empire was also absorbed by onto Collective. The Romulan Star Empire was assimilated five months after, then the Breen, the Gorn, the Cardassians… Hell had fallen upon the Alpha Quadrant and there was nowhere left to run. The Enterprise was the last of the Federation ships to survive, at least as far as they knew. They had lost contact with the USS Valiant nearly six months ago, the last of the Nebula Class vessels of Starfleet. Ever since then, all communications between any of the surviving ships, if there were anymore, had completely ceased... Not even a whisper... The Enterprise, and its surviving crew of 483 people, most of which are children, was all that was left of the once proud United Federation of Planets. Over half of the original crew have been killed, or worse assimilated, over the 4-year long battle of survival against the Borg Collective.
Commander William Thomas Riker was then granted a battlefield promotion to the rank of Captain and was given command of the Enterprise shortly after the ship's original captain, Captain Jean-Luc Picard, was taken prisoner and transformed by the Borg, the man once known as Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the USS Enterprise became known as Locutus of Borg. During their mission to assimilate Earth, the Borg decided that a human voice was necessary to facilitate their introduction into Federation society. Captain Picard was chosen to be that voice. With his capture, the Borg had assimilated all of the tactical and strategic knowledge of Starfleet. The knowledge held within Jean-Luc Picard's mind became the key to the Federation's demise. On Stardate 43997, Locutus lead the Borg into battle at Wolf 359. There, what was to be Starfleet's last line of defense turned into a massacre, 39 starships destroyed by one Borg cube. By the time, the Enterprise had reached the coordinates to take part in the battle alongside the rest of the assault fleet, it was too late. They learned that the cube was on its way to Sector 001, the home system of Starfleet and of the Federation itself… Earth…
They had managed to kidnap Locutus from the Borg cube in an attempt to not only save Picard, but to find a way into the Borg collective itself via their subspace transmissions. The goal had been to disrupt their communications and to shut down their weapons systems. However, their plan had failed. When they succeeded in hacking into the Borg subspace transmissions signal, an attempt was made to bypass the Borg defense command systems. The Enterprise was still two minutes behind the Borg, and every second counted. But the attempt by the Enterprise had alerted the Borg to their plans, and made the Borg disconnect the subspace link between the Collective and Locutus once the threat had been identified. The severing of the link, however, had caused a feedback loop through the implanted cerebral, subspace neural transceivers. The feedback looped triggered a massive brain hemorrhage that killed Locutus and their former Captain, Jean-Luc Picard, almost instantly. When they finally arrived at Earth, two minutes later, the invasion was already underway. The Borg cube had easily destroyed Earth's small defense force, and had just launched a Borg sphere onto the planet's surface and began assimilating the population below. That was the beginning of the end.
However, even with the fall of the Federation, and along with its allies and enemies, the Enterprise still managed to survive through it all. With the leadership of its Captain, and with the strength and determination of its crew, the Enterprise still survived… Barely… Now they have been targeted by the Borg once again; and once again, they must find a way to survive.
"Shields are continuing to modulate at random frequencies Captain, but I don't know how much more they can take. The Borg are going to adapt to the modulations sooner or later!" shouted a very long-haired, stubble-faced and ragged looking Wesley Crusher.
"I know Wes, but we can't let them adapt to our shields! Execute pattern Foxtrot-Delta and hope that we make it!"Shouted Riker
"Aye, sir!" Wesley acknowledged. Dipping the Enterprise under the Borg tractor beam at full impulse, the Enterprise began to fly straight into the local star. A yellow dwarf star, similar to Earth's sun.
"Geordi we're going to need the warp drive back online now! We don't have much time left!" Riker shouted over the intercom to main Engineering.
Down in Main Engineering, Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge; his uniform dirty and torn, his hair, long and his beard unkempt; tapped his comm-badge. "Yes, sir! We're working on it as fast as we can, we just need a few minutes to get the plasma injectors back online in order to achieve warp!" Geordi responded. Main Engineering itself looked as worn-down and haggard as the rest of the surviving crew themselves. Only half the lights were operational, and of those that did work, half of them flickered constantly. The floors and walls were dirty and smeared with soot and scorch marks from previous Borg attacks that they had somehow managed to come out of alive. Equipment and component failures became standard, and most of the engineering staff was dead. All that remained were Lt Commander Geordi La Forge, Senior Chief Petty Officer Miles O'Brien, Junior Lt Reginald Barclay, and Ensign Sonya Gomez; just four people, filling the rolls of a fully staffed engineering crew that once numbered nearly a dozen and a half.
"We might not have a few minutes, we need them now or we're dead!" Riker replied
"Aye, sir!" said Geordi and ran towards Warp Core. "Reg, Miles we need those plasma injectors online! Try redirecting the power flow through the interface couplings, that should to allow us to get them operating at sufficient levels to get the warp engines working again!" Geordi shouted up to the next level where the two men were trying desperately to get the warp drive working again.
"Yes, sir!" Shouted Miles O'Brien.
"Got it!" Responded Reginald Barclay, called Reg for short, and the two men went back to working on the plasma injectors as fast as they could.
"Sonya!" Geordi shouted to the bottom of the Warp Core. "Keep an eye on the intermix assembly, if it starts to overheat let me know immediately, and keep applying the energy-coolant flow at 12.5 micro-cochranes. We can't let it drop below 11.8 or they'll ignite!"
"Yes, sir!" Replied Sonya as Geordi went back to his console.
Back on the bridge, the situation was no less intense. "How long until we reach the chromosphere!?" Yelled Riker
"Three minutes!" said Wesley, "Sir, the Borg are pursuing us and are matching our speed!"
"Well, it doesn't look like they're in much of a hurry to assimilate us if they're only matching our speed, now does it?" Said Riker
"Why should they? They've already assimilated the Federation and everyone else." Stated Worf. His haired had grown down the middle of his back, his beard was down to his chest, and he wore a deep, long scar across face. A small memento, from one of his many battles with the Borg.
"Sir, we're being hailed by the Borg." Said Wesley
"Damned Borg… Why won't they just leave us alone? What can we possibly offer them that they haven't already taken from us?" Said Riker
"Our lives…" Said Worf
"True…" Riker said. They were still alive, and independent from the Collective. Such a thing is inconceivable for the Borg to tolerate. "Alright then… Put it through Wes." Riker ordered
"Yes, sir." Wesley replied, and patched the Borg hail through.
An image of the interior of the Borg cube, with levels upon levels of Borg drones, appeared on the static filled screen, followed by the voices of the tens-of-thousands of voices of Borg. "We are the Borg. Existence, as you know it, is over. You will be assimilated into the Collective. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to serve ours. From this time forward, you will service us. Resistance is futile."
"That's it!?" Riker shouted angrily. "That's all you damned Borg have to say to us!? You'd think that after four years, you stupid Borg would've come up with something a little more entertaining and creative than the standard pick-up line!"
"Entertainment is irrelevant. Creativity is irrelevant. You will be assimilated." The Borg responded
"Kiss my ass!" Riker shouted and terminated the link.
"I wonder what their response to that would have been." Worf smirked
"Kissing your ass is irrelevant." Said Wesley and a short burst of chuckles and snickering erupted on the bridge as the three glanced at each other, knowing that this round of laughter could very well be the last brief, good moment they'll ever have. "Sir, we are passing through the star's corona."
The Enterprise began to dive into the corona of the local yellow sun; waves of hydrogen atoms bathed its shields, radiating them with hues of yellows and orange. From the outside, any passive observer would see this and think it beautiful. From the inside however, it the situation was much more dire. The entire ships began to tremble and quake, the immense heat, gravitational and electro-magnetic forces worked to tear the ship apart, if not for the shields.
"We have passed through the corona and have now reached the chromosphere Captain." Said Wesley.
"Good! You know what to do Wes, skim along its surface at maximum impulse." Said Riker
"Aye, sir!" Wesley punched in the commands into his console.
Throughout Starfleet history, it had been extremely rare for a starship to travel at maximum impulse. At full impulse, the ship would be traveling at 25 percent of the speed of light. Fast enough for almost any situation for a ship travelling at sublight speeds. However, for a ship to travel at maximum impulse, or 75 percent of the speed of light, the effects of time dilation would be greatly felt. Therefore, it had always been a part of Starfleet regulations to keep the ship at full impulse or less during sublight travel, except for cases of emergency when the need for maximum impulse is absolutely required. Running for your lives, from the Borg, would fulfill the requirements of an emergency. Not that it mattered, since there was no Starfleet anymore, the regulations no longer applied. You did what you had to do, to survive. The immense heat and radiation washed over the shields as the Enterprise raced across its surface like a speed boat across the surface of a lake, splashing up giant sprays of thermonuclear waves in its wake.
"Shields are at 41 percent and dropping!" shouted Wesley
"What about the Borg?" said Riker
"Their shields appear to be holding, and they're gaining on us!" Yelled Worf
The Borg cube, its shields shimmering in golden yellow light as it chased after its prey, gradually shortened the distance between itself and the Enterprise until it was within its tractor beam range. Suddenly, the ship shook as the emerald green energy of the Borg tractor beam attempted to snag the Enterprise in its deadly grip.
"Shields are down to 37 percent, random frequency modulations are continuing to resist the Borg's attempt to adapt, but they won't hold out forever!" said Wesley
"Geordi! We need warp drive!" Riker shouted through the inter comm.
As Riker's desperate words came through to Engineering, Miles and Reg had made their final repairs to the plasma injectors. "Geordi, we're finished!" shouted O'Brien
"Got it Miles!" said Geordi and hurriedly punched in the commands to bring the warp engines back online, as the screen to his console came to life, a broad smile appeared. "Reg, Miles, I love you guys!" Tapping a few more buttons, his heart raced as the pulsing blue lights of the Warp Core began to thrum like it used. "Geordi to bridge, the warp engines are online!"
"Yes!" Worf shouted as the good news reached them.
"Good work Geordi! Wesley, reduce to full impulse and let the Borg get to within 100 kilometers, when they've reached that distance, engage warp." Riker commanded
"Aye, sir." Wesley acknowledged
As planned, the Borg had closed their distance upon the Enterprise, their tractor beam was still attempting to adapt to the ever changing shield frequency modulations of the last Federation Starship. The bright green beams of energy from the tractor beam of the Borg cube, pulsating against the flickering of the Enterprise's weakening shields, grew wider as the cube reached within 100 kilometers of the Galaxy Class Starship.
"Do it!" Riker shouted
Immediately, Wesley furiously punched in the commands into his console. The Warp nacelles grew bright and suddenly, to the naked eye, the Enterprise appeared to have stretched remarkably thin against the backdrop of space and instantly disappeared with an amazing flash of white light. As the Enterprise entered warp, the 'backwash' from the warp engines caused the surface of the star to erupt in a giant solar flare, completely engulfing the Borg cube. The massive amount of heat, energy and radiation devestated the Borg's shields making them collapse, and leaving the ship itself exposed to the nuclear hellfire of the yellow star... The cube was vaporized, leaving behind nothing of the Borg ship or the 130,000 drones that had once been its crew, at least, as far as they could tell.
Slumping back into his chair, Riker let out a long sigh of relief as the static filled view screen revealed the destruction of the Borg cube. "Good, now maybe we can…" Riker began to say but was suddenly interrupted.
"Sir, sensors are picking up Borg energy signatures." Said Wesley
"On screen." Said Riker, and the view screen showed an image of a small black dot against the background of the yellow sun. "Magnify." Riker ordered and then the image changed from the black dot, to a large, damaged, sphere.
"Why won't they just learn to die?" Worf growled, not truly expecting an answer.
"The sphere is in the process of regenerating, sir. I estimate they will be fully regenerated within the next four minutes." Said Wesley
"Damn it, they must have launched the sphere just before the solar flare destroyed the cube." Riker stated. "Riker to Battle Bridge."
"Shelby here, sir." Answered the voice of Commander Elizabeth Shelby.
The Battle Bridge was dimly lit, and had very little room, in comparison with the Main Bridge, but it didn't need a lot of room. Just enough to carry out its purpose, and that was to command the Star Drive section of the Enterprise into combat as the Saucer section separated itself and flew away to safety. As a Lt Commander, Shelby had first been assigned to Starfleet defense and was placed in charge of the Defensive planning program for a potential Borg invasion of the Federation, under the supervision of Admiral J.P. Hanson almost five years ago, after the Enterprise's first encounter with the Borg. When the Borg began their invasion one year later, Shelby arrived on the Enterprise with Admiral Hanson as a specialist in Borg technology, although that meant very little at the time. The Federation only had the one previous meeting with the Borg, so their knowledge about the Borg overall was very small. She was later granted the battlefield promotion to Commander, and the position of first officer on the Enterprise, just before the Battle of Wolf 359, and has remained so ever since.
"It looks like we are going to have to go to Plan 'B' after all." Said Riker.
"Understood, sir." She said. Her hair was pulled back in a long pony tail, and her uniform was tattered. Much like everyone else on board the Enterprise, she was exhausted and stressed almost daily. Unfortunately, that was now the norm.
"Worf, Wesley… It looks like we've run out of choices here. So, when we do this, we have to get it perfect the first chance we get, because we won't be getting a second one." Riker said somberly.
"Aye, sir." They both answered in unison. Both Worf and Wesley knew what was at stake. If they failed, they will all be assimilated into the Borg Collective, and become nothing more than drones.
Down in the Battle Bridge, a very similar conversation was taking place between the only two people there. Commander Shelby, and Lt. Commander Data. "We have to get this right Data, if we don't then we're dead." She said, as she took the Ops position, next to Data.
"More likely, the crew will be assimilated. However, I understand the point you are trying to make Commander." Said Data, while sitting at the helm on the Battle Bridge. Of all the surviving members of the Enterprise crew, Data was the only one who didn't show, or even possess, any signs of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, as everyone else. Being an android sometimes had its advantages. Especially in the times that they were living in now.
Shelby couldn't help but smile at Data's comment, as gloomy as it may have been. Even after four years of fighting the Borg, he still had some small sense of innocence about him. "You know Data… If we don't make it through this… I just wanted you to know that, I've enjoyed your company, and… I've come to think of you as a friend." She said
Data looked up from his console over to her, and for a split second, Shelby could have sworn that he smiled. "Thank you. My mental pathways have become accustomed to your sensory input patterns as well Commander." He said
Back on the Main Bridge, though only minutes had passed, it seemed like hours. Waiting for the Borg to complete their regeneration in order to hunt them down was nerve racking. Then the moment that they had all been waiting for, and dreaded, had finally come… The Borg had completed their regeneration process and were now on the move.
"Captain, the Borg are in pursuit and increasing to warp 9.5. At that speed they'll catch up to us in about a minute." Said Wesley
"Alright people get ready, remember we only got one shot at this, so let's make it count." Riker said.
Within moments, the Borg were literally on top of the Enterprise. Their green tractors beam slammed into the Enterprise's shields in an attempt to slow them down and to grasp them in their cybernetic net with no promise of escape. However, the Enterprise would not go down without a fight. It almost seemed as if the Enterprise was almost as capable, if not just as capable, to adapt as the Borg themselves. Combined with their tractor beam, they also began firing emerald colored energy discharges which were specifically designed to drain the power from a ship's shields. It wasn't having the desired effect that the Borg were looking for.
"Just as predicted, Captain. They're attempting to tractor us in and they are firing energy pulses to weaken our shields. Random frequency modulations are rotating, but shield strength is down to 31 percent. We can hold out, but not for long." Stated Worf
"Maybe so, but they'll hold for long enough." Said Riker. "Riker to Shelby, prepare for Saucer separation on my command, and execute attack pattern Tango-Alpha on my mark."
"Yes, sir." Came her response over the intercom.
"Get ready Wesley." Said Riker
"Aye, sir." He said, and prepared himself. If things didn't go exactly as planned, the Borg would have them.
"Drop out of warp and set heading for 124 mark 79, at full impulse." Riker commanded
"Course setting 124 mark 79 at full impulse. Aye, sir" Wesley responded and punched in the commands into the helm
The Enterprise immediately dropped back into normal space, out of warp, and began to speed away at full impulse, in a vain attempt to escape their Borg pursuers. However, the escape attempt was only a ruse in order to lure the Borg in a position that would best ensure their own survival. The Borg had also dropped out of warp and was now chasing the Enterprise at sublight speed, and gaining on them.
"Just a few more seconds, wait until they to within 1,000 kilometers and then the plan." Said Riker
"Aye, sir." Said Wesley
"Riker to Engineering, the Borg are almost in position, get ready." He said
"Don't worry, we'll get them." Geordi's voice answered
"Okay Shelby, get ready." Riker stated
"Yes, sir. Don't worry about us. We'll teach those bastards a thing or two." Shelby responded
As the Enterprise made its way through space at full impulse, it did not take long for the Borg to finally catch up to them, and when they had reached within 1,000 kilometers, the plan was put into action. "Now!" Riker shouted
The Enterprise slowed to one-quarter impulse, turned towards the Borg sphere, and flew directly towards death itself. The Borg closed is and attempted to lock on with another tractor beam, however, as it did so, the Enterprise began to separate. The Saucer split from the Star Drive section turned towards the sphere's starboard flank while the Star Drive turned towards the port. Both sections of the Enterprise were now only 1,000 meters form the Borg sphere. The Borg then sent out another tractor beam in an attempt to capture the Star Drive as well, but now the Star Drive's warp nacelles began venting plasma, and the Saucer began to vent drive plasma from its impulse engines. The two sections of the Enterprise started to circle the Borg sphere from opposite directions, venting both their warp and drive plasma.
This maneuver forced the Borg to come to a complete halt as the two sections encircled the sphere on both sides. Also, the combination of both the warp plasma and drive plasma disrupted the lock on the Borg tractor beams. The only purpose it served was to draw in the two forms of plasma closer to the Borg sphere, compromising their own shields. The maneuver had been rehearsed in simulations, knowing that one day they'll have to implement it one day, and that day had come. The Saucer section and Star Drive passed within two-dozen meters of each other at one-quarter impulse, going around for a second pass.
"Alright, here it comes people. When we come around the second time, you know what to do!" Shouted Riker
Now, the two sections of the Enterprise were coming around for a second pass, and as they did both the Star Drive and the Saucer ceased the venting of plasma and sped away in completely opposite directions, targeting both the Borg sphere and the plasma trails they left behind. The Saucer fired its phasers at full power as well the Star Drive, along with a compliment of torpedoes. The phaser fire ignited the combination of plasmas, ensnaring the Borg sphere in a ring of fire which overwhelmed the Borg's shields and destroying the outer primary hull of the Borg ship, while at the same the added destructive fire power of the modified photon torpedoes slammed into what remained of the Borg and exploded in a series of antimatter detonations. Vaporizing what remained. The fireworks of light and explosions filled the view screens of both sections of the Enterprise, and a sense of relief, and righteousness fell upon everyone who witnessed the death of their pursuers.
"Finally… They're dead…" said Worf.
"Good… Riker to Shelby." He said
"Shelby here, sir" Came her response over the comm.
"Initiate sequence for reintegration of the Saucer section and the Star Drive." He told her
"Aye, sir." She answered
After several minutes, the Star Drive lined up behind the Saucer section of the ship, and slowly approached until finally the faint 'thud' of the two halves recombined to once again form a whole ship. "Perfect... How's the rest of the ship?" asked Riker
"We appear to have pulled through with little damage Captain." Worf responded. "Shields are down to 29 percent, minor hull damage to sections 24 through 29, and casualty reports are coming in… No fatalities, reports of only minor injuries, sir."
"We were lucky this time. The next time could end up very different." Said Riker "Riker to Engineering, how's it going down there?"
Sitting at his console and looking over all the information flowing across his screen, Geordi sat there for a second, taking in a deep breath and listened to the deep thrum of the warp before he finally answered, "Better… But not good either Captain. The warp engines are functioning, but I can't get you more than warp 6.5, maybe 6.6 at most. The Dilithium crystals are fractured at 19 percent, if they go beyond 25 percent I won't be able to get us flying faster than 4.5, and only that if we're lucky."
"Understood." Stated Riker, and rubbed his temples. They couldn't afford to lose any more speed that they already had, otherwise they would literally be run over by the Borg in their next encounter. "Riker to Battle Bridge, respond."
"How is everyone doing?" Riker asked
"We're doing as well as we possibly can, sir." She responded.
"Captain, if I may make a suggestion." Said Data.
"Go ahead Data." Said Riker
Data tapped the display button on his console, "Sensors indicate that we are 5.6 light years away from the Devolin System in the former Romulan Neutral Zone, and according to Starfleet records, there is a rather large asteroid field in that system."
"An asteroid field…" Riker said to himself, and then it dawned on him. "That's actually a good idea Data. We could use the field to cover ourselves and make repairs."
"Yes, sir. There may even be raw materials within the asteroid field itself that could prove useful." Said Data
"Sir." Wesley interrupted, "At current maximum warp of 6.5, we should reach the Devolin System within 4 days."
"Do it Wes." Said Riker
"Aye, sir." Wesley responded, entering the destination into the helm. The Enterprise responded to the new commands by turning on its axis and engaging at warp 6.5.
"Geordi, do you think you can keep the warp engines going for the next four days until we reach the Devolin System?" Riker asked
Looking over his shoulder at Miles, Reg and Sonya, who had all made their way to the main level of Engineering, he could tell by the looks in all of their eyes that they had no idea if the repairs they had made to the engines will hold that long or not. "We'll give it our best shot Captain… That's all I can promise." Geordi said solemnly…"
"…Understood…" Riker responded. He could only hope that the engines would hold out, because if they didn't, then they would be sitting ducks for the next Borg cube that came along. "Just do your best…"
"Yes, sir. We will…" Said Geordi, and disconnected the comm channel.
"We can do it." Said Sonya, her long, black, wavy hair hung low near her lower back.
"We've got no choice. Because if we can't, then there will be no way of telling when, or if we'll be able to get them back up again." Stated Miles O'Brien, like most of all of the other men still left alive on board the Enterprise, his hair and beard had grown long, with patches of grey in it.
"Well… If we can't… And the Borg do come for us and board the ship…" Reg began to say as he pulled a small, type-one hand-held phaser from the frayed pocket of his uniform. "I'm not going to let those cybernetic bastards turn me into one of them… I'd rather die first, and if I am going to die… Then I'd rather die as a human."
Miles simply put a steady hand on Reg's shoulder and squeezed gently. He understood what Reg was thinking about. Hell, they all understood, because they've all had the same thoughts go through their minds on more than one occasion. Every person on the Enterprise had a phaser on them now, even the children did. No one was innocent anymore. Everyone had seen their friends and loved ones die or be assimilated by the Borg in the last four years… Everyone… No one was spared the horror of the Borg, so everyone knew their jobs. If the Borg should ever again make it onto the ship, then it was everyone's duty shoot and kill as many of them as possible, because the Borg didn't care if you were male or female. Adult or child. As far as they cared, you were nothing more than parts to be gather and used at their disposal, nothing more than potential drones.
Back on the dimly lit Main Bridge, the star field flickered in and out on the view screen and the tension was slowly beginning to subside, and everyone was thinking the same thing. Four days… Just four days… If they could go at least that long without running into another Borg cube, then maybe they'll have a chance to rest and repair the ship. But it's going to be a very long four days.
Then the turbolift doors opened as Commander Shelby and Lt. Commander Data walked onto the bridge. "Shelby, Data…" Riker said tiredly
"Sir." Said Data and took the conn next to Wesley.
"Captain." Shelby stated simply as she took the first officer's chair next to Riker
"We've set course for the Devolin system, but it's going to take us four days to get there. So we're going to have to be vigilant until we arrive." Riker told Shelby
"Yes, sir. Hopefully we'll be able to make repairs while we're there and lay low for a while." She said
"My thoughts exactly…" Said Riker as he once again rubbed his temples.
"You should go and get some rest, sir. You've been up for almost 30 hours. You need to sleep. I can take it from here." Shelby told him
"Are you sure?" He asked. "You haven't exactly been getting any beauty sleep yourself, you know… No offense."
Shelby couldn't help but smile and chuckle at his last comment. "None taken, sir. I've only been up for about half the time that you've been awake. Besides, you should take a look at yourself in the mirror. You're not exactly an image of masculine fitness and health either."
He laughed at her answer and quietly admitted defeat. "Very well, you have the bridge Commander… Wake me in eight hours if we don't run into anything."
"Aye, sir." Shelby answered as Riker stood up and proceeded to his quarters.
The turbolift doors opened to a corridor of near darkness. But that didn't matter; his eyes had adjusted to the dark a long time ago. All of the overhead lighting were off and only the narrow strips of the floor lights were operational. One of the main reasons for this was to conserve energy; the other was because only about half of the overhead lights were working to begin with. The walk to his quarters was long, and silent. There was a time when these corridors would have always been busy. Even during the evening hours, members of the crew would have always been bustling about their duties, going from here to there. But now, only the silence was constant. Finally reaching his quarters, the doors slid open, and closed behind him. Removing his boots and uniform, he shuffled his way to the head and attempted to activate the sink. Only a couple of fluid ounces of water came through the tap, and he gladly accepted the bounty in his cupped hands. Taking a small sip, he savored the sensation of the cold liquid passing over his lips and down his esophagus. The rest of the water, he lightly splashed over his face, attempting to wash away the dry sweat. After drying his face with an old rag, he looked into the broken mirror in front of him. He looked worn down, tired, but most of all, he looked old. He wasn't even in his 40's yet, he was still only 35, but he looked as if he was in his 50's. Grey had streaked through his hair and bear with abandon, and the wrinkles in his face caused by anxiety and stress was plainly obvious. He had aged, considerably.
Sighing heavily, and turning away from his reflection, he slowly made it to his bed and slipped under the covers. If he had the means to do so, he would have jumped into the shower and washed himself clean. A real shower, with real running how water instead of a sonic shower. It effectively did the same thing, but didn't feel the same. However, he didn't have the means to do either one. They couldn't afford to use what little water reserves they had left for bathing, and it took precious energy to operate the sonic showers. So they had to go for neither. Sighing heavily again, wishing that he could, just once take that long overdue and most desired shower, he laid his head on his pillow and pulled the covers over himself. It took nothing more than mere seconds before Riker had fallen into a deep slumber. Unaware of what the future was going to hold for him and his crew… The last of humanity.
Author's Note: I've been wanting to write a story like this one for a while. It's obviously inspired by the Star Trek: TNG episode "Parallels" from season seven, where you just get a brief glimpse at what life would be like if the Borg was successful in assimilating the Earth. I plan to make this story an eventual crossover with another Sci-Fi series, but that won't be for at least a couple more chapters, I plan to make it mainly based in this AU universe and have the crossover influences slightly more subtle.
Also… I've been thinking about possibly handing over the right to a few of my stories "In a Mirror, Daedalus," "The Tides of War," and "Of Heroes and X-Men" to other people who would like to continue them. As much as I liked writing them, I honestly don't see myself completing them. I simply have too much going on in my life to dedicate my time to finishing them up the way I would like to. So, if there is anyone out there who would be willing to take up the responsibility in picking up where I left off, simply email me and let me know. Tell me which story, or stories, you would like to take over, and why. Fill me in on how you would continue the plot line and character arches. The one who I feel is best suited to continue the story will be given the rights to do so.