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

Objectivity vs. Morality

USS Century
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A full day had elapsed since the Borg Scout ship had assault what appeared to be a secret Romulan facility before departing deeper into contested territory, leaving the crew of the USS Century to piece together everything they could while at a considerable standoff distance from the attack site. The Senior Staff aboard the ship had assembled in the Observation Lounge to discuss their findings.

“I have gone over the tactical scans we conducted during the assault, and I have isolated the area within the facility the Borg were the most interested in. Scans indicate that they sent at least three boarding parties of drones to the station, thought the return signals are more sporadic, given the Borg propensity to transport heavily wounded drones back to their vessels rather than allow them to be captured whenever possible. Energy readings inside of the facility were extremely garbled, but it does not appear that the Romulans used their disrupters very long prior to having to resort to hand-to-hand combat,” Lieutenant Khar reported from his place at the table, “The Romulan vessels outside the station were marginally effective against the Borg vessel itself, though the Borg showed far more resiliency that previously recorded. It would appear that this particular Scout has encountered Romulan vessels at least once during its raid, as their weapons were adapted to within the first few minutes of their engagement.”

“Sensor readings suggest that not only has this vessel encountered Romulans previously, but it was also somehow able to anticipate a number of the hit and run tactics that Romulans are known to use with the aid of their cloaking devices. This gives credence to the hypothesis that they have assimilated some of the Romulan officers they have done battle with, giving them a tactical advantage in this instance,” Lieutenant Commander Sorreth spoke up from his place just to Captain Gar’rath’s left. 

“I’ve isolated the signal that the station was emitting, the one that drew the Borg to it as far as we can tell. I’ve managed to track three other locations within the range of our sensors, though unfortunately none of them come from a system we could actively investigate. On the bright side, Federation citizens aren’t at risk, at least in any area we’re able to scan locally,” Lieutenant James rogered up from near the end of the table.

“But people are under threat, Lieutenant,” Commander Peters cut in, “We just sat here not even a day ago and watched this ship cut through the Romulans defending that outpost as if they were made out of cloth.”

“While your assessment is correct, Commander,” the Vulcan officer turned to address the XO, “Our objective was not to intercede on the defenders’ behalf, nor do we have the means or the ability to stop a vessel of this type without a great deal of assistance. Our interference in the matter would have simply added our names to a considerable list of casualties, and potentially placed our crew in the hands of the Borg as victims of assimilation.”

Lt. Khar let out a displeased growl, “While most days would be a good day for a warrior to die, walking into the arms of the Collective willingly is not an honorable death.”

Cmdr. Peters seemed visibly shocked at both the Ops officer and the Security officer taking the same stance on the subject of doing combat, even if they took two completely different paths to get there. It took her a moment to collect her thoughts before she continued, “Fine, I’ll concede that entering a fight we can’t win is pointless and self-defeating, but the battle is over. Why are we still here and not attempting to rescue any survivors.”

“Because we have not been asked to,” Captain Gar’rath spoke up for the first time in the meeting.

His Executive officer turned and stared at the Gorn in open shock, as if it had never occurred to her that he would make such a cold, calculating statement.

“I understand that,” Peters nodded, “But we haven’t seen any ships enter the area, and there could be survivors that need help. They may just be so badly crippled by the assault that they can’t hail us to ask.”

“That is assuming they know we are here… or care,” Lt. Khar remarked.

“It is logical to assume that the Romulans know we have taken up a position along their border,” Lt. Cmdr. Sorreth interjected, “However, it is not a general practice for Romulans outside of the Republic to call for aid in situations such as this, even less so when a facility they wished to keep out of sight is raided. Often times they would rather the installation be destroyed entirely than answer the obvious inquires that come upon such an installation’s discovery.”

Lt. James offered up a weak shrug, “I see where the Commander is coming from, though. There is a chance that the Borg didn’t assimilate any of the crew on the Romulan ships, though if my scans are accurate, there’s almost no possibility that anyone aboard any of those vessels could have survived after they were crippled. The only way anyone might have made it out of the encounter would have been via a life pod. I’m going to assume that since Commander Sorreth didn’t mention any life pod readings in his report, he didn’t detect any.”

“Your assumption is correct,” the Ops officer remarked.

Cmdr. Peters bit her lower lip as she listened to the exchange, following up the gesture with a disheartened sigh, “I still think it would be worth investigating the site, if for no other reason than to find out what it was the Borg were after so that we can pass it along to Starfleet Command to see if we have anything of a similar nature that might attract them to Federation planets.”

“We will not be entering contested space,” Capt. Gar’rath said with a finality in his voice that generally only came out when he meant for a conversation to end.

Most of the officers assembled around the table seemed content with the declaration, and looked to their commander for leave to return to their duties. The Gorn answered their expectations with a rather brisk “Dismissed,” sending them out of the Observation Lounge and back to their posts. The only person that handed departed was Cmdr. Peters, a situation that Gar’rath had fully expected and anticipated given the tone of the meeting they’d just had.

“With all due respect,” Abigail said, her face the very picture of someone speaking with none of the aforementioned respect, “Leaving people to die is not in keeping with the spirit of Starfleet.”

“Encroaching into contested space after we watched an installation get assaulted and did nothing, sifting through ship wreckage and blasted secret facilities under the guise of humanitarian aid is also not in keeping with the spirit of Starfleet,” Gar’rath retorted coldly.

“They might need our help, Captain,” Abigail repeated herself, an obvious attempt to invoke an emotional response.

If the Gorn’s face had been capable of it, he might have sneered at the very idea of someone trying to appeal to emotions, especially in him. Despite being one of the more gregarious and outgoing of his species, he was still at heart a Gorn, and as one he did not base his actions on emotion alone. More to the point, emotion almost never played a factor in his decision making, a fact he had thought his XO was aware of.

“My experience dealing with Romulans outside of the Republic, limited as it may be, does not support your appeal in the slightest. Until the star Romulus orbited went supernova… the very thought of asking anyone, let alone the Federation, for help was a laughable concept to them. Our cordial relationship with the Republic has… distracted us from the very real condition that exists in the collective psyche of most Romulans on the other side of the border we are currently sitting behind. We are intruders, our motives are not altruistic in the slightest, and everything we do is for our own gain and their detriment. If I were to order our ship to enter their territory, and we did find survivors, they would likely greet our aid with suspicion and accusations, however baseless and false they might be, simply because we watched them be overrun and did nothing to stop it,” the Captain explained.

“Our entering their territory to render aid isn’t an invasion,” Peters argued, “We aren’t looking to loot their facility or the ships that were destroyed. You can hardly compare what I’m suggesting now to any of the raids they’ve committed on Federation planets along the border in the last few years.”

“Simply because our enemies do not always follow the rules of engagement doesn’t give us the ability to ignore them. I can not justify moving the Century to that outpost given the likelihood that our presence there will do little more than give whatever warlord is currently in power all the ammunition they need to open hostilities with the Federation under the guise of responding to our ‘invasion’. The loss of life an armed conflict would bring is not worth the small morsels of information we may not even be able to glean from that place. My decision is final, Commander. We remain where we are and we go no further,” Gar’rath said, pushing himself to his feet.

“I object to this course of action, Captain,” the Commander said as she rose to her own feet.

The Gorn responded flatly with, “I will note your objection in my log.”

“This isn’t right…” Abby said, thinking she’d done so quiet enough for him to miss.

“Sometimes, doing what’s right doesn’t feel that way,” Gar’rath responded, walking out of the Observation Lounge without turning back.