The Matriarch (Sandoval Family)
-Wolf-359 December 31, 2366-
“I am Locutus of Borg, resistance is futile…” The silhouette of Jean-Luc Picard was backlit with a hue of green. Picard’s stoic face was broken by metallic implants of the Borg.
“Cut that off! Helm bring us around 036 mark 51.” Captain Malcolm Ryder shouted. Despite the chill of the ship’s ventilation system beads of sweat had formed on his forehead.
Ryder never looked away from his readout on the armrest of the command chair as he ran his hand through his Marine styled white hair. With the concentration of a Buddhist monk he tapped commands into the console, “Bring all weapons to bear.”
“Weapons locked and ready captain,” the young male tactical officer replied. There was an odd look upon his face… a mix of fear and excitement; a mark only seen in some youth.
Ryder’s XO, Lt. Commander Rebecca Sandoval sat to her captain’s right. She could not help but admire the calmness that Ryder displayed. Rebecca took a deep breath and stood up and took a position next the tactical officer.
“The Borg Cube has sustained minimal damage… the Saratoga is sustaining heavy damage. The Townsend and four others have been destroyed,” Rebecca reported. This allowed the tactical officer to concentrate on the weapons.
“Becca, is there anything we can do for the Saratoga?” Ryder asked.
Rebecca entered a series of quick commands, “Warp core is critical. They are evacuating. We’d have to drop shields to beam them out…”
“Helm evasive maneuvers Kirk epsilon four. Roll to starboard, and pitch negative thirty-degrees along the Y-axis. Nothing we can do then.”
The ship rolled and dipped towards the underside of the Borg vessel as phaser fire lanced out of the much smaller Federation starship.
The ship shuddered and the lights flickered as a Borg energy weapon slammed into the ship. “Shields are holding but, down to sixty-three percent,” Rebecca announced as she frantically ran though the systems reports.
Ryder swallowed and took a moment to think, “138 mark 04. Rout emergency to the shields. Cut power to all non-tactical systems including life-support. If we don’t stop these bastards now the ability to breath will be the least of our problems!”
Rebecca stared wide eyed at the screen, “I have confirmation; the Melbourne, and Beleraphon have both been destroyed, and the Cortez is venting drive plasma…” She swallowed, and by the glances from those around her she knew that she would not need to proclaim her destruction.
For the first time in her career Rebecca felt the icy grip of death descend upon her. She had been in battle before, but she had never seen such carnage and even during the Tzenkathy War. This time it was different. They were fighting an unstoppable force… Their single-minded, and emotionless drive to conquer was unsettling.
“Shields down forty-eight percent. Aft torpedo launchers are off-line. Repair crews are moving into position. Engineering says they should be working in at least ten minutes.” Rebecca reported. She took a second to glance at the tactical officer to her left and the excited smirk was gone, replaced with wild eyes and his fingers frantically danced over the panel.
“There is no need to be frantic, Ken.” She patted him on the shoulder and gave him a solemn grin. “We are already dead. This is a battle we cannot win. Put your faith in Christ, and what we do here will echo in eternity. Fear is natural, but will not help you.”
What the hell am I talking about? She thought. How is speaking in clichés going to help? She shook away tears at the verge of pooling under her eyelids. I’ll see you soon mom. Christ, forgive me of my sins… and deliver us from evil...
The ship shuddered; the squeal of tearing metal filled the bridge sent chills down Rebecca’s spine. Uncontrollably, she held her breath when the roar of escaping atmosphere filled the bridge. The computer bleeped and electronic buzz as the emergency forcefields came to life to protect the crew from the vacuum of space.
“Ventral shields are inoperative, main power is holding at twenty-three percent. Torpedo launchers are completely destroyed and will require a starbase. Hull breeches on all decks, and emergency forcefields are in place on all but deck 8. Deck 8 has been exposed to space, and there is no response from sickbay. Casualties are coming in from all decks and forty-eight were on deck 8 before the breech.” Her fingers danced over the control panel the fear long gone replaced with the mission at hand. “Phasers are still fully operational as are dorsal shields.” Rebecca stopped and looked at Ryder with her soft green eyes.
“We need to get the non-essential personnel off the ship. There is no need for all of us to perish. But, there is still more fight left in the ship.”
Ryder took a moment to consider the recommendation and nodded, “Your right. While there is still fight in this old lady we should see this through… which, likely will result in our deaths.” He nodded, “Get them out of here, volunteers only.”
Rebecca keyed the evacuation alarm and made the announcement, “Crew, we are evacuating the ship… Those of you who wish to carry on the fight may chose to stay and show the Borg what Starfleet is made of. Bridge out.”
With no emotion on her face as she closed the comm. Breathing deeply she took a moment to glance around to see who was leaving… One junior science officer ducked away, and a tear of pride welled up in her eyes.
Next to her she heard Ken take a deep breath overcoming his fear, and she squeezed his shoulder. Of all of them, Ken, she expected him to be the first to leave. He was young and inexperienced in the tribulations of war.
“Bring us about 071 mark 1 roll us one-hundred and eight degrees. Keep our belly to the beast! Fire at will!” Ryder shouted at the top of his lungs.
Months ago Ken decided that the ship needed a battle hymn and had modified a Klingon battle song to fit. The rest of the senior staff politely smiled and learned it, but for some reason now it didn’t seem so silly. Ken’s deep baritone filled to walls and the remaining bridge officers joined in pounding on their consoles with their hands in unison awkwardly singing in the Klingon tongue.
Koi keh-less pook load.
Koi Pook beh poo
Yoch bow math bow je shuv wee
Say moach chyu may ew
Mah shoov, mah nong, ej ma choch chew
Nee beh yin mahj ach wov, coo!
Bath ma cheth bejj, ej yo keej dahk
Vaav, poo ma de, muv pa rech, ma shoov tach
Koo ma mev, ko ma shoov tach, ma ov
The Miranda class U.S.S. George Washington rolled and swung around the Borg cube. Angry orange beams of phaser fire lanced out slicing away at the cube. Small explosions erupted along the surface. The small ship was dealing damage to her foe and for once the Borg actually took note of the George Washington.
Rebecca felt like her stomach had sunk to her feet as she was launched forward over the tactical terminal as showers of sparks filled the air. She landed several feet away from the help slamming her head with a sickening thud and cracking of bone. The carpet tore into the skin of her face leaving it bloody and raw.
Acrid smoke filled the air thick enough to give the command center. Rebecca lay face first on the deck trying to make the spinning of her head to calm. Through the rumbling of a dying starship she tried to force her mind to focus. The pushed herself upright sitting crossed legged on the littered deck. Her head swam and vision blurred, but she managed not to lose the contents of her stomach.
Her right hand the brushed her hair from her face had come loose and tugged at her open wounds where it had come in contact with the flowing blood that was already starting to coagulate. Out of the corner of her eyes she could see flames starting to run up the walls licking at the partially flammable walls.
She willed herself to her feet and survey the carnage. The ceiling had come crashing down upon the center seat. A heavy beam bisected Captain Ryder. He was still breathing but, it was shallow and labored.
She kneeled next to him. She did not need a medical tricorder to see that he was dying. She grasped his hand and his blue eyes opened through the pain. “You know what to do.”
Rebecca nodded fighting back the tears. She watched him slip away. She struggled to her feet. “All hands this is the bridge. Abandon ship. I repeat abandon ship.” She shuffled to the helm and made a grim mental note. The Bolian helmswoman lay sprawled and burned on the deck.
Her fingers tapped over the console as she piloted the crippled ship. It was sluggish under commands, but with some effort she managed to pitch and roll around wreckage.
“Phasers are still operational Captain.” Ken’s voice broke her from her concentration.
“I am not the captain. I thought I ordered you off the ship Mr. Larson.”
“You did, piss on that. If you are not going, I’m not going. We are in this together… you and I. Because we are already dead.”
“Very well let’s keep the Borg off of us long enough for everyone to get off the ship.”
“Should I fire?”
“Yes damn it, fire! I will not go down without a fight.”
Ken snarled a yes, ma’am. “You know, calling you captain feels right.”
“Really? How so?” Rebecca asked as she rounded the wreckage of the Tolstoy narrowly avoiding the Borg weapon.
Ken shrugged, “You have a way about you. You inspire those you lead and make them want to crawl over broken glass for you.”
“I… we had a good teacher.”
“Indeed.” There was a pause as Ken worked the console, “Minimal damage to the Borg cube. Thirty six of the ships in the fleet have been either destroyed or disabled. Systems are failing through-out the ship. The evacuation is at seventy-two percent.”
“Just a little bit longer…” Rebecca’s fingers danced over the helm trying everything she could to hold the ship together. It felt a little like bailing the water out of a boat with a teaspoon. Every time she routed power to thrusters, structural integrity would dip bellow minimal levels, and vise versa. The list of sources to draw power from was growing smaller and smaller. “Ken, I have to take phasers.”
The tactical officer nodded, “The phaser emitters are done for anyway.” There was a pause. “Weapons off-line, structural integrity at eighteen percent, but I’m having trouble boosting power to the aft thrusters.”
“Got it. Had to rout it through several sub-systems, but I’m getting overload warnings across the board.” Rebecca replied. Anticipating the Borg attack she rolled to the left and dipped under the burned hulk of a Freedom class ship to be met by a Borg energy beam.
The helm exploded in a shower of sparks and shrapnel. She looked away and shielded her face with her arm. The plasma burned her arms and hands and the components from the device dug into her flesh.
Another blast tossed her from the chair as beams, conduits and all matter of debris from the ceiling collapsed upon the helm where she had been seated only moments before. Dragging herself upright on the deck she could feel the heat of the flames All the consoles and the emergency lighting winked out sending the bridge into darkness. A sole red light blinked at the back bathing the chaos in an angry glow fading to nothingness and then back.
“Ken are you okay?”
The silence told her all that she needed to know. He was either dead, dying, or in a few minutes dead.
“Warning warp core breech eminent.” The flat voice of the computer echoed off the walls.
“God have mercy on us all…” The ship groaned as the hull plates buckled, and tore free from their welds. Rebecca let the pain wash over her and she hardly gave the familiar tingle of a transporter beam as it whisked her way from the ship moments before an anti-matter explosion ripped the George Washington apart.