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Flight to Ops

Posted on Wed Aug 19th, 2009 @ 1:28am by Chief Warrant Officer Akina Jrez

Mission: Seraphim Requiem: Season 1, Episode 2.
Location: Jeffries tubes

They waited until they were sure no Borg were going to try to re-establish their preferred conditions. When nothing happened and teeth were starting to chatter, they emerged.
Jrez fully expected a hostile welcoming committee but nothing of the sort was apparent. When they turned the corner the same drones were doing the same work as before. It was as if the hive mind had written the four drones in the control room out of the Collective consciousness and for the rest it was business as usual.
Now that their primary objective had been achieved, they had time to eliminate these drones before they did any permanent damage. For all Jrez knew, they were building a sub-space transponder to attract more Borg cubes. Or they could be attempting to assimilate the base so they could use it as a staging post for raids deeper into Federation territory. He signalled Thalal and Endrijure to go ahead; he and Vartog stayed where they were.
The first volley killed three drones but two remained. The second volley had no effect.
“They've adapted,” Jrez yelled. “Scatter!”
He turned and ran back down the corridor then turned away from the control room. He knew he could outrun most anyone over long distances but outrunning a Borg in a sprint might be another matter, even one handicapped by adverse conditions.
As he ducked around another corner he threw a quick glance back. One drone was following he and Vartog. It was not running but it was walking at a pace Jrez could not have matched. It did not look at all hurried.
Up ahead, Jrez spotted the entrance to a Jeffries tube. He put on a burst of speed, got the cover open and climbed in. He waited for Vartog to join him but the Klingon kept going. Jrez decided he'd done so deliberately and pulled the hatch closed behind him.
There he sat. he dared not move in case the drone, with its enhanced hearing, detected the sound of movement behind the corridor wall. He waited for what seemed like hours but was probably only five minutes before moving along the tube in the direction he'd come from.
His general plan was to move up and towards Ops but his mental map betrayed him. Jeffries tubes did not conform to the layout of the corridors, designed as they were to allow access between areas not connected by corridors.
He soon found himself well and truly lost on a base he'd not had time to scout out in anything like its entirety. The few times he dared poke his head out of an access port, he didn't recognise where he was.
He decided to stay in the Jeffries tube system rather than risk a chance encounter in the corridors. He'd encountered no Borg – well, not so far anyway – so it seemed the safer option. Crawling and climbing, he moved in what he hoped was the right direction.

Jrez was halfway up the ladder when he heard the sound. Not the normal sounds of a vessel in space – the creak of metal expanding and contracting, the hum of motors and air recyclers. This was distinctly different. His ears burnt as he strained to catch it again.
Yes, there it was, a sound like the scuffle of a bootheel on metal flooring. It definitely came from below him.
He looked up but the top of the ladder was too far away to hope to reach it before the sound materialised into whatever was causing it.
Why here. After all the Jrez symbiont has been through, to end up like this, caught by myself in no-man's land.
He forced clenched muscles to relax; he took deep breaths to calm himself as best he could.
The sound came again; nearer now, clearer. He reflected that it being below him was a blessing of sorts, at least. It would be easier to watch and wait looking down than up. He hooked his left arm around a rung of the ladder and propped his feet so that he could fire between his legs. Then he settled down to wait. He seemed to be doing a lot of that lately.
If I'm to defend myself I won't get much of an opportunity, so I'd best make it a good one.
Hanging awkwardly as he was, he determined to wait until the Borg was at least half out of the tube before firing. That way, he'd get one good, clean shot in if nothing else.
The head that poked out had hair. Jrez couldn't tell what colour in the dim light and he didn't care. It wasn't bald and there were no tubes coming out of it.
He was so relieved he nearly dropped his phaser.
“Don't shoot,” he called down. “It's Jrez. We reset the climate controls to lower the temperature and humidity on the base. Hopefully it will slow the Borg down. I got separated from the rest of the party on the way back and got lost in this maze of Jeffries tubes. The sort of ships I'm used to don't have Jeffries tubes, let alone this warren!”
“I know, Chief, I was there with you.”
There was no mistaking that gruff voice. Vartog was alive. As the Klingon climbed up the ladder he filled Jrez in on his activities.
“So what's the body count?”
“Eight so far. It won't make much of a difference but anything....”
“Anything helps,” Jrez finished for him. “I'm on my way up to Ops.”
“I'd like to stay down here. I can be more useful here until coordinated resistance can be mounted.”
Jrez nodded. He began to move up the ladder. To his surprise, Vartog followed.
“The secret of guerilla warfare is to keep on the move,” the Klingon explained. “As you would say, you have to act in an unexpected fashion. My last kill was two decks down. If I skip one deck, I should catch the Borg unawares.”
Jrez couldn't but agree with that.
At the top of the ladder, Vartog went straight ahead. “I'll move over to the other side of the deck before ambushing my next drone,” he explained. “I do not want to endanger you.”
Jrez nodded and turned left. He clambered down a long section of tube and was about to climb to the next deck when he heard noises. At first he assumed it was Vartog then realised it could not be. Vartog acted silently. He listened again. It was muffled but...yes, it was definitely voices. He crawled towards the noise, certain in the knowledge that it could not be Borg. Drones did not speak to each other – why bother when the Collective voice communicated far more efficiently?
As he got closer, he could tell that this was no mere conversation; it sounded like a full blown argument. He slowed down, cautious now lest someone be a bit trigger happy while emotions were running high.


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