Part of USS Century: 0. The Great Chase and Bravo Fleet: We Are the Borg

Sophistic Behavior

USS Century
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Captain Gar’rath sat perched in the center chair on the bridge, staring at the view screen as it displayed a Borg Scout vessel surrounded by the streaking star field that accompanied warp flight. The crew around him kept themselves busy monitoring their situation as well as that of the craft before them. Their encounter had come just on the cusp of them giving up their search, meaning that most of them had let their guard down just enough to have to scramble to keep up with the situation.

“It would appear the Borg are preparing to drop out of warp,” Lieutenant Commander Sorreth announced from his console forward of the Captain’s position.

“Try to match our own drop out as close as possible. It is fine if we drop out a second or two before them and have to chase them down a bit,” Gar’rath remarked, leaning forward in his chair.

A shift in view accompanied a brief sensation of deceleration as the Century dropped out of warp and came to a relative stop about one million kilometers or so away from the Borg Scout. The vessel they were chasing after sat at a stand-off distance with a dilapidated communications relay of Romulan design. As far as ‘targets’ went for Borg attention, the current one certainly seemed incredibly out of place.

“What are they doing?” Commander Peters asked from her chair to Gar’rath’s right.

“Sensors are picking up transporter signals at various locations throughout the relay station,” the Vulcan Operations officer reported.

“Are they going to assimilate the relay? That thing looks like it’s barely holding together as it is…” the XO muttered in confusion.

“I am not reading any life signs aboard the relay. It would appear they are harvesting components from the remains of that installation,” Sorreth replied to Peters’ utterance.

“What components are they taking from that station?” Capt. Gar’rath asked, his reptilian eyes narrowing.

“Redundant power relays, fragments of the inner hull, several non-essential workstations…” the Vulcan answered before commenting, “A most illogical assortment of items.”

Lieutenant Khar grunted at statement from his place at the tactical console, “Knowing the Borg, they could turn a chair into a weapon if you gave them enough time.”

Gar’rath turned to regard the Klingon for a moment before letting out a huff of air, “I’m not sure this is a means to procure more weapons, Lieutenant… but keep your eyes on them nevertheless.”

“Sir, the craft is prepping to go to warp again,” the helmsman spoke up, drawing the Captain’s attention toward him.

“I believe I have located their next destination. It appears to be a star system just outside of the Velorum Nebula. That particular system is currently controlled by a local warlord and outside of allied space,” the Operations officer explained.

“Follow them as far as the border of Republic space, and notify the local authorities of our purpose and mission. I don’t want anyone to be caught up in a conflict with that vessel in ignorance,” Gar’rath ordered.

The communications officer set about making contact as the Captain requested, while the helmsman busied himself adjusting their pursuit course to reflect his wished. As soon as the Borg Scout departed the system, the Century jumped to warp immediately behind it.

“Lieutenant James, any thoughts on what the Borg might be doing with the equipment they took aboard from that station?” Gar’rath turned toward his Science officer.

The man scratched the back of his head briefly, “Hard to say. Some of that gear was most likely to replace aging systems. We know that vessels like that tend to go for long periods without any support from the Hive, and need to scavenge for parts from time to time. The fact that they only took what seems to be redundant systems is a bit concerning, though. If they are only taking parts that would go unnoticed for long periods of time, they may have been attempting to avoid detection, which shows a level of guile we haven’t really seen from the Borg previously.”

“It would be a terrible day indeed if the Borg adapted subterfuge into their tactics,” Lt. Khar growled from his console.

“I am inclined to agree,” Gar’rath nodded, “A Borg vessel you didn’t see coming is an ever bigger threat than one you did…”

“This may not be intentional subterfuge,” Sorreth interjected, “And merely a case of coincidental happenstance. Without knowing how many other stations they have visited and what was taken from each one and why, it is impossible to conclude that their actions were anything but sophistical at this juncture.”

“In other words…?” Cmdr. Peters asked, fishing for a more simplified explanation.

“In other words,” Sorreth paused in what amounted to Vulcan displeasure at having to ‘dumb things down’, “It is just as likely we are assigning motive where none exists.”

“Ah… so we’re reading too much into it then,” Abigail nodded in comprehension.

Lt. Khar let out an exhausted huff of air, “I will never understand the Vulcan need to use a hundred words to say something anyone else can say in ten…”

“I find it equally puzzling how Klingons have reached the level of technological prowess they possess while being obsessed with combat nearly exclusively,” Sorreth shot back.

“Alright, gentlemen, you’ve had your fun… Let’s focus on the mission at hand, shall we? We can compare notes on cultural differences after we figure out what these Borg are doing here,” Cmdr. Peters cut in before another volley of ‘friendly fire’ could be launched. Lt. Cmdr. Sorreth nodded silently from his console while Lt. Khar growled in displeasure but didn’t add anything further.

“Perhaps we should just let them fight it out,” Gar’rath suggested just loud enough for his XO to hear him.

Abby pressed a hand to her temple, “Let’s not… I’d be the one to have to clean up that mess and I am not ready to file that kind of paperwork…”

“It isn’t that hard,” Gar’rath issued a chuckle, “I used to have to generate those kinds of reports all the time when I was a security officer.”

“Yes… well I was a pilot most of my career, and flying a desk isn’t something I’m especially great at. Bar fights, yes… the aftermath of said fights… not so much,” Cmdr. Peters said with a strained smile.

“Another time, then…” Gar’rath remarked, returning his attention to view screen once more.