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"Through the Ocular Implant"

Updated: Mar 18, 2023

Wolf 359, Wolf System

Stardate 43997

Resistance is futile.

This was the first time most members of Starfleet had heard these three words. For some, it would also be the last. Now recognized by every surviving citizen of the United Federation of Planets, they were the unofficial mantra of the Borg, a group of cybernetic, hive-minded beings seeking to assimilate all organic species in the galaxy into their collective. It was odd how striking an effect that a simple grouping of three words could have; in previous times, they would have been something like "We did it" or "I love you" or "I'm so sorry." The meaning of these withered away upon hearing this new phrase and the heart swelled up, not with passion or grief, but with absolute dread, and moments later, with the little nanites of the Borg.

You will disarm your weapons and escort us to Sector Zero Zero One. If you attempt to intervene, we will destroy you.

The Borg broadcast their three words every single time before an attack, warning those standing against them that defeat was assured. Surrender or not, the fate of all who faced the Borg was the same, gruesome conversion into one of their drones. Though he did not yet know what was about to transpire, Commander Benjamin Sisko could not help but feel a wave of unease at the words spoken so methodically, so monotone, delivered without emotion whatsoever yet inspiring so much.

"Red alert. Load all torpedo bays, ready phasers."

Captain Storil, the Vulcan commanding officer of the USS Saratoga, was as stoic as ever. He gave the commands as if this were just another mission, pacing calmly across the bridge as he made his way to his seat in the centre of the room. While many found Vulcans annoyingly stubborn due to their unwavering dedication to logic above all else, in this case, Storil's presence was nothing short of refreshing. It reminded Sisko that they had an entire fleet of forty starships facing one vessel, and that their odds were not so poor after all.

"Move us to position alpha, ensign," Commander Sisko joined in, maintaining a professional demeanor as well.

The ship flew forwards in formation with the rest of the fleet as it approached the enemy. Their opponent drew closer and closer on the viewscreen, a massive cube in the middle of space. The simplicity and symmetry of it was unusually orderly compared to the Federation starships around it, and as it loomed over them it seemed like a mighty force of nature itself. Nature liked symmetry, yet there was something wrong with the boxy shape of this construct; stars, planets and moons were all round- symmetrical, but not so jagged around the side. From a certain point of view, the cube was a perversion of nature, a distortion of the laws of the universe, an apocalyptic symbol that mocked the very idea of existence.

Their view was abruptly interrupted as the Saratoga shook.

"They've locked on," stated the operations officer.

"Remove auxiliary power," Sisko instructed.

"Our shields are being drained!" the same officer exclaimed. "Sixty-four percent, forty-nine!"

"Re-calibrate shield nutation," Captain Storil spoke in his usual, calculated voice.

The ship continued to rock violently as their Bolian tactical officer informed that, "Modulation is having no effect."

"Shields have failed!"

Shield and weapons modulation were the measures developed by the USS Enterprise to counter the Borg. Their cybernetic adversaries drew upon the intelligence of a network of minds, which allowed them to think, communicate and act incredibly quickly. As a result, the Borg became capable of adapting to their enemies; if an attack worked on them before, they will immediately ensure that it does not work the next time. The only way of harming them or defending against them was to vary the shields and weapons by almost continuously remodulating them, but even this seemed to be useless here. It was no doubt because of the fact that the Borg had assimilated Captain Jean-Luc Picard, the captain of the crew who developed this method in the first place, and a distinguished officer who knew all about the fleet's tactics. Knowing this, even the Vulcan captain showed a hint of fear in his voice as he gave the next order.

"Full reverse! Maintain all pow-"

He never got to finish. The bridge burst into flames, and the force of the impact threw Commander Sisko off his chair, knocking him hard on the floor. A shower of sparks blinded his sight, and when that had passed the thick smoke that still lingered watered his eyes, making his eyes all but useless. He could make out the limp form of Captain Storil, and though he did not check the Vulcan for a pulse nor were any doctors present to perform a medical scan, Sisko knew that his commanding officer was dead.

"Damage report," Sisko asked.

The blaring of the red alert alarm was his only answer.

"Damage report!" he yelled louder.

"Warning: Transporter signals detected. Intruders on board," the mechanized feminine voice of the ship computer replied.

"Direct hit!" the tactical officer added as he crawled back to his feet. "Weapons and engines offline but we're holding together!"

"We're sitting ducks out here. Let's get the civilians to the escape pods, lieutenant," Sisko instructed as he too stood, though not to his full height, stumbling out of the bridge.

"Aye sir," the Bolian acknowledged, following the new commanding officer.

The hallways were in chaos. Broken lights flickered like the last sputters of a failing heart. The smoke was not exclusive to the bridge, filling up the halls and clogging up airways and lungs. The blood vessels had burst; death was but a moment away now. Whether it be darkness or panic, the occupants of the ship crashed and tripped on both the debris and on each other.

"Leave everything!" Commander Sisko called out as he made his way down the corridor. "Get to your assigned evacuation area now!"

He stopped as he spotted a familiar figure, a blonde woman running by. He called her by name and she stopped, recognizing the voice she clung on to its owner tightly for the briefest sense of safety in this hellish environment.

"I'll take care of her, you go on," offered the Bolian.

"Have you seen Jennifer?" Sisko asked, his voice more desperate than before, a fact that struck the terrified woman even more.

"S-sh-she's in quarters," she stammered out. "'s overrun, these things, they're turning us in-into..."

"Warning: Intruders detected on board."

Sisko didn't listen to either the woman or the computer as he rushed past, sprinting for his quarters. The doors were left wide open, though there were several pieces of broken metal struts in the way. Seeing the flickering firelight coming from within, Sisko mustered all his will in one concentrated effort, lifting the debris with more strength than he ever knew he had. He called his wife's name, "Jennifer!" but there was no response. He spotted his son, Jake, lying unconscious amidst the wreckage of the room. He grabbed him, pulled him out, set him aside.

"I'm gonna get your mom. You're gonna be okay."

He turned his eyes back to the rubble, frantically tossing pieces off until he finally made out the face of his wife. Sisko paused for a moment, relieved to see that she was here after all, before he got back to work, knowing that she would not remain for much longer if he did not free her. He leaned down and gripped tight around the next piece of debris, struggling to tear it away when he felt a sharp pain in his neck.

At first, he thought he had cut himself on something jagged, but when he reached his hand up he felt a small arm there. A strange sensation he could not describe filled his body and he suddenly felt extremely drowsy; perhaps the smoke was getting to him or perhaps he was losing blood fast from his new wound. He turned his head to try and ascertain what had happened when he saw the face of Jake Sisko. It was the boy he raised, even amidst all this he could recognize him. But something was wrong.

His face was not his face. Mechanical protrusions stuck out of his skin like some sort of rash, and both of Jake's eyes had been replaced by two red flashing lights. In his hurry, Benjamin Sisko had failed to notice the alteration that had been done, and it proved to be his undoing. Two long, flexible wires extended from the Jake drone's hand, stabbing right into the Commander's neck and pumping him full of nanites. He looked back to his wife and realized that the same mechanical growths were beginning to take over her body as well. He slumped to the ground as he underwent the transformation. He fought it at first, until it told him that he was joining his family now. Perhaps it wouldn't be so bad after all.

The voices overwhelmed him at first, the billions of voices speaking at once in his head, so much, so fast, so loud, too much, too fast, too loud! He wanted to free Jennifer. They wanted him to return to the bridge. He wanted to free Jennifer. He was one voice in a sea of voices. He had no choice. He had to obey. He went to the bridge. Jennifer could free herself. The Borg will regenerate. Sisko must help Saratoga regenerate.

He was no longer Benjamin Sisko. He was Four of Seven, Primary Adjunct of Vessel 21609. He went to the bridge with the other transformed crew to do his job. The viewscreen was still online. He could not just see the massive cube looming in the distance now, he could feel it, feel all his fellow drones on board, hear their thoughts, and it all made sense. He did not view it as an abomination anymore. The cube was an improvement upon nature, creating a shape so fine tuned that it could not be formed from the chaos of organic evolution. It was perfection, and he was now an instrument to craft such perfection.

Four of Seven improved the Saratoga more than Benjamin Sisko the Starfleet commander ever could. When the USS Enterprise arrived, they had only gotten started, but they had already restored the ship's primary systems. They only needed to delay the Enterprise. Even if it won against all the assimilated vessels, the cube would have long arrived at Earth. The Enterprise knew this. The Borg fleet opened fire. It managed to flee, though barely in one piece. No matter. Earth was theirs. Vulcan and Andoria will soon follow. Starfleet Command databanks offered them a list of ships that were still active: USS Enterprise, USS Pegasus, USS Phoenix, USS Galactica...all those who reject improvement will be hunted down.

Resistance is futile.

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