"We're not going anywhere until we have some questions answered!" Chakotay demanded, struggling to heard over the frenzy that the Voyager crew was making behind him.
The Voyager had landed on Besaria.
Over the past twenty minutes, Borg sentries had ushered the crew out of the ship and into a mass on the Spaceport floor. There, the crew stood, surrounded by sentries, in the pouring rain. The Spaceport commander, a Borg named Grayson, had begun issuing what appeared to be new duty assignments for the Voyager crew.
That's when the revolt began.
"Your captain has sworn her allegiance to the One," Grayson explained to Chakotay, also struggling to be heard over the noise. "A Federation captain speaks for her crew."
"That's correct," Chakotay agreed. "But..."
"Negotiation is irrelevant. You will be inducted into Lemm Society."
Frustrated, Chakotay wiped the rainwater from his face. "Look, Grayson ... we're not trying to be difficult here. If I could just give my people something ... some update on Captain Janeway..."
"Your captain will be inducted into the Quorum of the One," Grayson explained.
"Quorum of the One?" Chakotay asked. "What is that? Who is this One you speak of?"
"The One rules Besaria."
"This?" Chakotay asked, pointing at the ground. "This entire planet? Are you kidding me? From orbit, I could tell there was just one city. And this? You call this a spaceport? It doesn't even have a roof!"
"Your opinion is irrelevant."
Chakotay tried a different approach. "And ... just why do we follow the One?"
"This conversation is irrelevant." Grayson gestured toward the sentries, and the Borg moved in on the crew. Chakotay whirled and watched as the army tried to arrange the Voyager crew into a single line.
"Your induction into the Lemm shall begin immediately."
"Okay," Chakotay resigned himself, turning back to Grayson. "Okay, fine. Grayson, fine! But, from one officer to another, will you at least give us your word that Captain Janeway is in no danger."
Silently, Grayson stared straight ahead, observing the Voyager crew and the Borg sentries instead of meeting Chakotay's glare.
"That is up to Ambassador Janeway."
"She is currently being inducted..."
"Yes, yes," Chakotay muttered. "Inducted into the Quorum of the One! Yes! Thank you! Thank you! As we say on Earth, you're a wealth of information!"
Over his shoulder, the first officer heard the sounds of a scuffle.
Quickly, he turned around in time to witness a Borg sentry hit the ground hard. Sparks erupted from the drone's chest plates. The body twitched involuntarily for several seconds under the pouring rain.
Over the fallen Borg stood B'Elanna Torres, her fist feverishly gripping several Borg control wires.
"I said," she screamed, lifting her head in defiance, "to keep your filthy Borg hands off me!"
"B'Elanna!" Chakotay shouted, running over to where she stood.
Three Borg sentries immediately closed on their position.
She snapped her head in the direction of her commanding officer. "What, Chakotay?!"
Stopping in front of her, he glanced down at the fallen Borg. "Well, I guess someone's feeling better." Smirking, he then looked her in the eyes. "And, by the looks of it, someone's feeling a lot worse."
"Don't let them fool you, Commander" B'Elanna spat, calmed slightly at the closeness of her superior. "The Borg don't feel anything."
Seven of Nine stepped nearer the two. "Your assessment is not entirely accurate."
B'Elanna directed a vicious stare at her crewmate.
"However," Seven began, "I am willing to accept your hypothesis as a work-in-progress."
The closing Borg sentries raised their prosthetics.
Chakotay whirled around, pushing B'Elanna behind him, defending her.
"Commander," she shot, "in case you hadn't noticed, I can take care of myself!"
"Obviously," Chakotay reasoned, "but your Klingon attitude just might get you killed." Turning his head, he yelled, "Grayson, what's going on here?"
Fortunately, Grayson approached the scene where the altercation had occurred. "B'Elanna Torres is to be punished."
"How do you know my name?" she asked.
"I maintain the crew roster," Grayson explained. "The names and service records of each Voyager crewmember is stored in my individual cortex."
"Individual?" she spat. "Since when do the Borg know anything about individuality!"
"B'Elanna! That's enough!" Chakotay ordered.
"Or what?" she asked. "Are you going to throw me in the brig? In case you hadn't noticed, we don't have a brig any more!"
"Nor does Besaria," Grayson said.
"What do you mean?" Chakotay asked. "If B'Elanna's to be punished, what are you going to do to her, besides locking her into a prison cell?"
"Besaria maintains no prison," Grayson continued. "The all shall serve the One. Those who resist are eliminated.
"So you might follow the beat of a different drum," B'Elanna challenged, "but resistance is still futile? Is that it?"
"B'Elanna Torres resisted," Grayson concluded. "She is to be eliminated."
"Absolutely not!" Chakotay ordered.
"You are not in charge here."
"Grayson," the first officer pleaded, "give us a chance! We just arrived here! We don't know a thing about ... about your civilization. You said we were to become Lemms..."
"You are trying to divert my attention," Grayson countered.
"I'm asking you to be reasonable," Chakotay explained. "It's not B'Elanna's fault. She didn't know your law. None of us do! Be reasonable. That's all I'm asking."
As Grayson grew quiet, the Borg sentries slowly lowered their prosthetics.
"B'Elanna Torres," Grayson began, "will you willingly accept induction into Lemm Society? Without incident?"
Before she could spit her intended reply, Chakotay whispered to her, "You know what your answer had better be, Lieutenant."
The group stood silent for several moments. No sounds were heard other than the drumming of the pouring rain.
Finally, B'Elanna cracked. "I will serve the One."
"Thank you," Chakotay whispered.
"Don't thank me," B'Elanna spat. "I was following orders."
Grayson nodded. "I understand Species 5618. I am a former member."
"What?" Chakotay asked. "You're human?"
"I am a former member of Species 5618."
"You were assimilated?"
"I served the Collective briefly."
"Briefly?" Chakotay inquired. "What happened?"
A Borg?! Chakotay mused. Smiling?! This can't be happening!
"Conversation is irrelevant," Grayson concluded. "However, I understand Species 5618. I understand the natural inclination to defy servitude."
"But, you're human," Chakotay reasoned. "Why haven't you defied servitude?"
Grayson ignored the inquiry. "The Lemm Society is the worker class. You will be inducted into the Lemm. You shall serve the One."
Quietly, Chakotay nodded. "Anything, so long as it keeps us alive. And, just as long as you're not assimilating us."
"Assimilation is unnecessary," Grayson replied. "It is time for the demonstration."
"Demonstration? What demonstration?"
Mechanically, Grayson turned and walked several paces away from the Voyager crew. Except for Chakotay, B'Elanna, and Seven, the crew had been dispersed as a group. They were lined up, single file, near the base of the dry-landed Voyager. Grayson faced them. Again, he smiled.
"Crew of the USS Voyager," he shouted to be heard over the rain, "I welcome you to Besaria City. It is the only city on the planet. No others are necessary. Here, you shall serve the One. You are to be inducted into Lemm Society. You will be given positions of servitude according to your skills and knowledge.
"Your captain," Grayson continued, "will serve as your ambassador to the Quorum of the One. She will assist His Highness, the One, in the ruling this planet. The Quorum of the One is forbidden to interact with Lemm Society. They interact only with the Borg Army and His Highness, the One. You will not see Ambassador Janeway again.
"The all shall serve the One. This is the only law of Besaria. Those who fail to serve are eliminated. Is the law understood?"
The Voyager crew maintained a solemn silence.
"There is no escape," Grayson began again. "Escape from this planet is impossible. The One retains exclusive control over the planetary shield. I will now demonstrate the effectiveness of this defense system."
Grayson waved his human hand toward another Borg sentry who stood near an independent console of the Spaceport. The sentry activated several switches on one panel, and then he nodded at the Spaceport commander.
"Observe overhead," Grayson ordered.
Chakotay suddenly heard a distant explosion. On the horizon, nearby, there appeared what resembled from Earth's history a glowing white rocket, launching toward the Besarian sky. The rocket gradually split the darkness, the flames of its engines burning brightly beneath. It rose and rose into the sky, approaching the blue haze occasionally flickering amongst the storm clouds. At first, Chakotay had guessed the effect to be high atmospheric lightning, an event common to some M Class planets. Now, he understood what it really was.
"The planetary shield," he muttered to himself.
The rocket slammed into the flickering blue. The collision produced a brief, intense ball of flame. Instead of exploding, the rocket merely vanished gradually, as if eradicated from existence piece by fragile piece, until there was nothing left but sparkling embers, extinguished by the falling rain.
"This concludes the demonstration," Grayson broke the silence of the group before him.
Chakotay glanced around at the Voyager crew. Their faces were sullen.
"You will now be granted positions of servitude."
Turning to B'Elanna and Seven, Chakotay mused aloud, "I don't know about the two of you, but I certainly hope that the captain is faring better than we are."
What people are saying about this story:
Well done! A sequel would be excellent. Resistance is futile, you will comply and make a Federation's End follow-up...
Federation's End was fantastic! I hope a follow-up is planned. Seven of Nine SMILING?? Ye gods, say it isn't so!
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