Written Summer 1993

Part One: Capture

Preliminary Intelligence Report, First Draft
On Imperial Date 1424:067, the IKV Dark Justice, en route to Defense Complex 29, encountered a vessel using old though still valid, identification codes. Scanners showed the vessel to be a Romulan Stormbird. Upon challenge, the Stormbird attempted escape, was overtaken and engaged. Boarding parties quickly dispatched, disabled the vessel's self-destruct sequence. Prisoners have been taken. Initial electronic surveillance suggests that no distress call was made. Intelligence inspection is pending.

Lieutenant Kordite stands from his duty station, a cell of a compartment packed full with communication interception, computer and intelligence panels. He collects his tricorder and other equipment, choosing a hold-out disrupter rather than the larger duty weapon. The boarding crews should be finishing up soon, mopping up remaining resistance, collecting prisoners and securing the vessel. There shouldn't be any combat, but for a shipboard intelligence officer there is no greater opportunity than the inspection of a captured enemy vessel. Glory takes many forms.

Kordite exits his 'closet' and finds Lieutenant Kehlt lightly marching down the corridor, wielding her sharp smile like a dagger. Kehlt, the ship's chief interrogator, is obviously on her way to begin processing the Romulan prisoners. Kordite smiles at her joy.

She walks straight up to him and grabs the front of his uniform in her fists, saying, "Dozens of Romulan prisoners, Kordite, and they're all mine!"

"All ours, Lieutenant," Kordite replies, still smiling but disengaging her hands. "We can't begin the serious interrogation until after I've completed my inspection of the Stormbird."

Kehlt pouts. "You just like to watch me work. Hurry back, then. I am like a child with new toys to play with."

"What is the saying?" Kordite asks. "If you play with something long enough you will surely break it."

Kehlt looks thoughtful for a moment, then, tilting her head replies, "No, not really."

Kordite laughs out loud, bids Kehlt success and then proceeds down the corridor towards the transporter room.

He arrives just as the captain's voice announces that inspection crews are to report to the transporter room. Without pause, Kordite steps onto the platform and orders the transporteer to deliver him to the Stormbird's bridge.

"The captain can claim the victory," Kordite thinks as the Dark Justice dissolves from view, "but, for now, the Stormbird is mine."

Part Two: Inspection

Kordite materializes on the shattered Romulan bridge. The only light is from emergency panels, main power was lost when boarding parties jettisoned the engine core to prevent self-destruction. More important to Kordite is that, in spite of the damage done during boarding, most panels are intact.

As Kordite's eyes quickly adjust to the dim lighting the progression of the battle becomes evident. Boarding parties beamed to a compartment below the bridge. An explosive charge blew a hole up through the floor. The marines followed on immediately and disruptered the bridge crew not already killed by the boarding charge.

A Klingon marine stands in a shadowed corner, guarding the bridge with a disrupter in one hand and a thermal grenade in the other. Kordite doesn't question the weapon pointed at him when he materializes; it's the marine's duty.

"You have made quite a mess here, sergeant," Kordite says.

"Thank you, sir," the Marine replies, accepting the compliment and pointing his weapon elsewhere.

Kordite shoves a Romulan body off a control panel and begins working. The central computer core is shut down and volatile. A task for a team of technicians at a defense complex. Kordite's portable computer has its own power supply and code breaking programs for accessing sub-processors throughout the ship. Generally, these distributed systems contain non-classified information about daily routines but oftentimes this information is more valuable than the restricted data locked deep within the core.

Kordite browses personnel files, sensor, communication and transporter logs, cargo manifests, a myriad of information bits. The details are locked in the shut down core, but the trails left behind lead Kordite to the cargo hold.

Once there, Kordite retrieves an electronic notebook from a dead Romulan. It takes a few moments to locate the specific items, contained in a stasis pallet, that were brought aboard while the Stormbird was within the Empire's borders.

Another few minutes and a lock decryption device opens the crate. Kordite looks inside.

Within is a humanoid female. She has armor plates, wires, tubes and circuits integrated into her. She is injured but apparently reparable. Even though she is contained within a stasis field, Kordite is disturbed because he knows what she is:


Part Three: Assessment

"You want to what?" Captain Kerge's voice rises above the disbelieving voices of his senior officers.

"Activating and interrogating the Borg will provide invaluable intelligence," Kordite defends. "An opportunity such as this cannot be cast aside."

Kul'ro, Chief of Security, yells, "This is madness! A single Borg vessel destroyed 39 Federation starships in pitched battle over a matter of hours! You can't tell me. . . "

Kordite interrupts, "I will tell you that beyond the recordings from several Klingon vessels also destroyed at Wolf 359, the Empire has received little or no useful intelligence on the Borg. Our Federation 'allies' have all such information highly classified and are reluctant to share. The Empire knows practically nothing."

"What little we do know," Kordite continues, "is that the Borg are a collective intelligence connected by sub-space link. Isolate a single Borg from the collective and it is no more dangerous than any other prisoner."

Kul'ro stands and roars across the table, "This Borg is a threat to ship's security and should remain in stasis until off loaded at a defense complex at the earliest opportunity! I will not allow it to be activated!"

Kordite remains seated, his voice only slightly louder than his normal volume, "We have captured a sentient engaged in surreptitious reconnaissance within the Empire's borders and, as such, interrogation of said sentient falls well within my authority."

He pulls an electronic notepad from his tunic and slides it across the conference table towards the captain. "The Borg's sub-space transmitter has already been removed and an explosive device mounted in its place. If, for any reason, the captain decides the Borg has become a threat, these codes will set off the charge, destroying the Borg." Kordite turns again to Kul'ro. "Does that satisfy your security concerns?"

Other officers voice protests, with Kul'ro the most vocal, but Kerge dismisses them to speak with Kordite privately. "You assure me there is no risk."

"By my honor, captain," Kordite replies. "Without the link the Borg cannot track this individual nor can the individual contact them. You may change the codes. Give them to Kul'ro if you wish but a single Borg is no warrior and no threat."

Kerge looks long and hard at the electronic notebook before announcing his decision. "The prisoner is your responsibility. Activate and interrogate it but if it gets out of control I'll kill it . . . and you also."

Kordite leaves the conference room to join Kehlt preparing for the interrogation.

Kehlt is intent on a monitor taking notes when Kordite enters the small office and deposits a small device on her desk.

"What's this?" she asks.

"Your detonator and override," Kordite says, then asks, "When will we begin the interrogation?"

"I've already started. I had the Borg activated just after you left for the briefing. Since then, except for sitting up and the occasional turning of the head, she's been stationary."

"Just couldn't wait, could you?" Kordite laughs, pulling up a chair. "Tell me of your plans."

"This Borg is separated from the collective, alone for the first time in its existence. Having her alone in the cell heightens that isolation. When the time is right, we will go in there and become her new 'family.' From there the interrogation will proceed with reward and punishment, inclusion and isolation."

"Your voice carries the passion of an artist," Kordite notes. "When do we go in?"

Over the monitors, the Borg, stationary for so long, suddenly stands.

"Now," Kehlt says, smiling.

Part Four: Interrogation

When Kordite and Kehlt enter the cell, the Borg assesses them unemotionally. "Biological sentients. You will be assimilated."

"We will die before assimilation," Kehlt announces.

The Borg responds, "Resistance is futile."

"Futile or not, we will resist because we are Klingons," Kehlt states proudly. "You, however are isolated and without an identity."

"We are Borg. Identity is irrelevant."

"But isolation is very relevant. Your links have been severed. It's not temporary interference, it's permanent. You are no longer part of the collective. You are no longer Borg."

Kehlt has turned the Borg's attentions from the objectives of the collective to her own situation. Without the collective to provide direction she is lost and confused, searching for the subspace link that provided her identity. Kordite watches her carefully, waiting for the signs of defeat.

The Borg says, "We are. . . " then pauses.

Kordite smiles and Kehlt moves forward like a friendly predator to fill the Borg's isolation with a new presence.

"You are not Borg. You are an individual." Kehlt quietly imitates the Borg's monotone, "Augmented biological sentient. Individuality can be frightening and lonely. We can help you. . . I can help you."

Kehlt is now standing behind the Borg and, with hands on her shoulders, directs her to sit on the chair. "But we need to know some things first. If you do not help us you will continue your isolation. You will tell us all we wish to know and only then will you be. . . included."

The Borg turns her head slightly, as if looking for her thoughts. She begins to speak, "We . . . " but Kehlt interrupts with a caress along the exposed skin of the Borg's jawline.

"Resistance is futile," she says huskily, "you will be assimilated."

Part Five: Assimilation

Intelligence Report, Event Synopses
On Imperial Date 1424.043, a Romulan Stormbird encountered a Borg scout craft in the Contuernius system within Romulan space. The cloaked Stormbird pursued the Borg scout, loosing contact when the scout utilized a transwarp subspace conduit. Without communicating its intentions to Romulan Command, the Stormbird followed the Borg craft through the conduit by means of a tachyon activation pulse. The Borg craft had exited the conduit in the Klingon Rektar system and immediately collided with an asteroid.
The Stormbird emerged soon after, having had its cloaking device and shields overloaded by the passage through the conduit. The Stormbird salvaged what it could of the Borg craft, destroyed the rest and, unable to return through the conduit, attempted to bluff its way across the border. The Stormbird and all its contents were captured on Imperial Date 1348.067

Captain Kerge sets down the electronic notepad copy of Kordite's report. "So," he addresses the intelligence officer. "This is everything, then?"

"No, sir," Kordite responds, standing before his captain's desk at a casual attention. "It is my opinion, and that of Chief Interrogator Kehlt, that even after two weeks of investigation, significant information is still contained within the Borg memory subsystems, locked behind collective protocols."

"The Borg memory is semi-holographic. Just as in the old glass plate holograms, if shattered, each shard contains the entire image from varying perspectives. This one was primarily focused on shipboard systems. Navigation, propulsion and the like. But, it's mind is a window into the entirety of the whole."

"To access that information requires that the Borg be included in a collective. Our collective. If that surrogate link can be established and reinforced, those locks should eventually fall."

After Kerge calmed down, he actually found himself considering his intelligence officer's suggestion that the Borg be made part of the Dark Justice's crew.

Kordite enters Kehlt's quarters to find the lieutenant studying documents on the sleeping platform while the Borg sits stationary at the desk, a thin cable running from the side of her head into the desktop terminal.

"So, Kordite," Kehlt says. "Did the captain accept another of your mad schemes?"

Kordite replies, "The Borg will be listed on the cargo manifest as 'spoils of war.' She is essentially part of the ship's stores."

"Then you should look at this," Kehlt says, handing him a printout as he sits on the other side of the platform.

"Is this what I think it is?" he asks after studying the document.

"Yes," Kehlt explains. "The Borg, by linking into the ships computer, should be able to re-calibrate shield frequencies after each impact, reducing the effectiveness of the next attack by a little more that the energy the shields lost from the attack."

"That's impressive. It could give an assault ship like the Justice the combat fortitude of a destroyer or light cruiser. I would not have expected the Borg to bring such honor to our vessel so quickly."

With this, the Borg turns her head. She disconnects her computer link and stands, walking towards the two Klingons.

The mechanical stiffness in her step is greatly reduced and she moves with the more fluid motions of a young predator, hinting of future lethal grace.

Kehlt notices Kordite's admiring gaze and comments, "Amazing what a little posture discipline can do, isn't it?"

Kordite agrees.

"What is honor?" the Borg asks Kordite.

He looks at Kehlt in surprise, wondering what else the young officer has been teaching. He turns back to the Borg. "Honor embodies the rules we apply to ourselves to define who we are as individuals. Honor focuses our behavior towards an ideal. Without honor, we are little more than puppets of fate."

The Borg considers this information, stationary and expressionless. "Honor is relevant," is the conclusion. "You are individuals. You have individual designations. . . "

"Names," Kehlt corrects.

"You have names," the Borg continues unfazed. "I am an individual now. I do not have a name."

Kordite says, "There is a tradition in the Klingon navy for a newly commissioned officer to change his name to represent his new life in service to the Empire."

"Tradition. . . this is honor that perpetuates?" the Borg postulates.

"Correct. Tradition is the vehicle by which the basics of honor are learned."

"Then I must choose a name." The Borg stands imobile, consumed in thought. Kordite wonders how a Borg might determine a name for itself. Can such a creature discover its soul and be reborn, and if so, what name could be the symbol of that rebirth?

The Borg, after silent minutes, turns her head towards the waiting Klingons and announces, "I now have a name. My name is Stormbird."

http://www.tasigh.org/index.html -- Revised: 18 May 2002
Copyright © 1993, 2002 Kevin A. Geiselman