"Temporary Retreat"

Author: Lieutenant JG Tricia McMillan
Date: April 10, 2384
Location: USS Ronin

The Ronin was finding it harder and harder to attack the Borg sphere. Although the Defiant class was designed to be performing just this task, fighting the Borg, slowly the sphere was getting the upper hand.

Tricia was doing her best to dodge or angle the ship so that the damage sustained was minimal. But the sphere was starting to make more and more hits on the Ronins' shields and hull, Tricia was running out of manoeuvres to try.

"Hull breach on deck one, sections eleven alpha and beta, force fields in place, but that last hit ruptured the main deuterium tank. I'm transferring fuel to the reserve tank, but we're going to lose about eighty percent of the remaining fuel." McQueen announced from the Engineering console.

"What's the status of the sphere ?" Commander Markos requested.

"They've suffered major damage to their outer hull, but their shields are regenerating faster than we can punch holes through. Each volley that we fire increases the regeneration rate of the Borg shields. Three more and our phaser cannons won't make a dent at all. Commander we're losing the battle." Tyran announced from the tactical station on the Bridge.

"But not the war." Kira replied. "McQueen, just how much deuterium are we about to lose ?".

"About 15,000 tonnes." McQueen replied.

"And Nige, how many anti-matter mines do we still have aboard ?" Kira requested.

"Six." Tyran replied.

"Tricia I need you to do some fancy flying." Kira announced.

"Commander ?" Tricia replied, never taking her eyes off the viewscreen, as she dodged the Borg disrupter beams.

"I need you to encircle the Borg sphere." Kira explained.

Suddenly McQueen realised what the Commander was doing.

"Commander, you're not thinking of igniting the Deuterium are you ?" McQueen asked.

"Exactly. As we vent the Deuterium, it's going to be attracted to the Borg shields. If we deploy the mines as well, we should get some spectacular fireworks when they detonate, hopefully destroying their shields." Kira replied.

"It's possible, but it's unlikely to cause much damage to the sphere ?. The shields will take all of the force." Tyran announced from Tactical. "And the way the Borg are regenerating their shields, they wouldn't be down for more than a minute."

"But it would be enough time to allow us to cause significant damage to the sphere, enough time hopefully time to allow us to retreat, make repairs and get help." Kira explained.

"If we'5re going to do something, we'd better make it fast." Tricia announced from the Helm. "Those disrupters beams are getting rather close again."

"Then it's now or never, Tricia start making your passes. McQueen, let me know when all the Deuterium has been vented. Tyran, each pass we make I want you to drop an anti-matter mine." Kira ordered.

The Ronin went around and around the sphere, creating a cloud of Deuterium gas, which as expected started to adhere to the shields of the sphere.

"That's the last of the Deuterium." McQueen announced.

"Now Tricia, get us away from here, maximum warp. Tyran, detonate the mines now." Kira ordered.

The Ronin went into warp and seconds later the anti-matter mines that had been placed around the sphere ignited the Deuterium, causing the shields around the sphere to collapse.

Ten seconds later the Ronin returned to the location of the Borg sphere.

"Fire all phasers now" Kira ordered.

The phaser cannons ripped into the Borg sphere, causing numerous explosions across the surface.

"Commander, we've caused extensive damage to their outer hull." Tyran announced.

"Can we target their transwarp systems ?" Kira asked.

"Most of them, yes." Tyran replied.

"Then do it, I want that sphere stopped for as long as possible." Kira ordered.

Five quantum torpedoes shot from the Ronin and headed to various locations on the sphere.

"Commander, we've hit and destroyed three of their five transwarp drives. The other two are damaged. We're detecting no transwarp activity aboard the sphere at all." Tryan announced. "It's dead in space."

Suddenly the Ronin rocked.

"Damn, they've locked onto us." Tricia announced "I can't keep dodging their attacks."

"Plot a course back towards Deep Space 11, we need to get help." Kira announced.

"Commander, DS 11 isn't capable of giving us assistance." McQueen announced.

"We're not heading back to DS 11, but to that L-class planet three light years from here. Tricia, how long until we reach the planet ?" Kira asked.

"About an hour." Tricia replied.

"McQueen start replicating more quantum torpedoes, we're going to need them. Once that's underway, I need you to meet me in the conference room. Tricia, Tyran, Fenris, I'll need to see you there as well, let's say fifteen minutes." Kira announced. "Until then I'll be in sickbay."

Five minutes later, Kira was in the small sickbay. All the bio-beds were occupied with injured crew.

Doctor Jin was attending to an injured Engineer when Kira arrived.

"Doctor, could I have a word." He asked.

"Of course Commander, I'll be with you in a moment." Jodana replied.

"I'll wait for you in your office." Kira replied, heading towards the small room in the corner of the sickbay.

A minute later, Doctor Jin came into the room.

"Close the door." Commander Markos asked.

"What's all this about ?" Jin asked.

"Doctor, is there a mood suppressant that won't alter the effectiveness of decision-making by the patient." Kira asked.

"No." Jin replied, promptly. "Why would you want a suppressant ?"

"I was hoping to inject the Bridge crew before I use the Gemini device." Kira replied.

"Commander, you can't use the Gemini device with any of us aboard. Look what happened to Torasu, the duplicate was aggressive and unresponsive. His brainwave patterns were severely altered by the duplication process, in the end they had to put the cat to sleep. Think of the effects that would occur if you duplicated one of us. Would you let an unstable crew command a starship like this ?." Jin asked.

"I know, but it's the only way we can defeat that Borg sphere. Maybe with two Defiant's, we'd have a good chance. That's why I want the suppressant, I was hoping that it would suppress the aggressive tendencies. Isn't there anything we could use ?" Kira asked.

"The best I can offer is Tetra-diosine. It a weak, but long acting suppressant. If we injected the duplicated crew with it, the effects should last at least twelve hours." Jin replied.

"Prepare the injections, have them ready in three hours." Kira ordered.

"I'll have them ready Commander." Jin replied.

Commander Markos left the Doctor's office and headed towards the corridor.

"Commander." Doctor Jin said. "Before you make your decision about whether to use the device, think about this. What do you intend to do about the duplicate crew once they've helped you defeat the sphere. Having a duplicate cat is one thing, having a duplicate Commander Markos is another, especially one who is prone to violence."

"It's an interesting thought and one which I'll have to deal with at a later time. The situation at hand doesn't give me much choice, I either use the device to create a duplicate ship or let the crew and the ship be destroyed, probably handing the Borg a powerful device." Kira replied.

"There is a third option." Jodana remarked. "Destroy the device, the Romulans, Cardassians and now the Borg all want the device. Now the Romulans and the Cardassians may give up on the device, but the Borg won't quit. They're just going to keep on coming until they get what they want."

"The device is too important to the Federation to destroy, if we can save it we must at any cost. Now have those injections ready." Kira said sternly.

With that last remark, Commander Markos left the sickbay and headed back towards the conference room.

As he walked in, the other officers were already seated. Kira headed for the head of the table and sat down.

To his left, sat McQueen and Fenris, to his right Tyran, McMillan and surprisingly Lieutenant Porat.

"Lieutenant, I don't remember requesting your presence at this meeting." Kira remarked at seeing To sat at the table.

"Commander, as this vessel's Intelligence officer I'm at liberty to attend any and all senior staff briefings. Also, I had a message from Doctor Jin saying that you intended to use the Gemini device and I thought it prudent that I be present at this meeting." To replied.

"OK people here's the score. We can't defeat that Borg Sphere alone and I think we all know that the Gemini device is now our only hope of succeeding." Kira announced. "Here's what I'm proposing to do. When we reach the L-class planet, we'll evacuate the majority of the crew to the surface, along with all the survival equipment we have aboard. They should be safe and we can pick them up again if we succeed."

"Don't you mean when !" Tricia remarked.

"No I mean if. This is a long shot and a risk. Only the people in this room will be aboard when the device is activated." Kira explained. "To, how well up are you on Engineering ?." Kira asked.

"Not too good I'm afraid Commander." To replied.

"Then I suggest that you take the Ops station on the Bridge. McQueen, I'll need you to find a volunteer from Engineering to assist you in keeping the ship running." Kira requested.

"Why not evacuate the entire crew before activating the device ?" Fenris asked.

"Good question. The device can't be activated remotely, someone must be aboard ship. Plus, we need someone to keep an eye on the power drain and keep the vessel stable." Kira explained. "The minimum crew required to operate the ship is six. McQueen, how are the repairs going ?"

"We should be operational within four hours, most of the damage was to the outer hull, which we can't repair until we drop out of warp. We should also have a full compliment of quantum torpedoes replicated by then." McQueen replied.

"Good. Do everything you can to speed up the repairs. Once they're finished, we'll use the device." Kira announced. "If there are no more questions, then dismissed."