Chapter 29: Playing Dead
“The Serenity? I don’t know…”
“Yes you do. You know each and every member of that ship.”
“What do you mean…”
The Queen sighed.
“The USS Serenity is 96 percent inoperable. 47 percent of the ship is destroyed. No life signs detected. No salvageable parts detected.”
“Well, that’s taken care of itself…”
“The Borg ship is moving away…”
A flash filled the screen of the Serenity.
“They’ve just entered subspace.”
Jameston paced the bridge.
“Malo, I must say you’ve done an excellent job in masking our signal.”
“You can thank Magnus and Erin Hansen for that.”
“Forgive my ignorance, but who?”
“The Hansens were two exobiologists, the first humans to study the Borg up close… Y’know they followed a Borg vessel for about three months without being detected… Voyager sent back about 10 million teraquads of data earlier this year from the Hansens’ logs via the Pathfinder Project before we… got lost. I just modified the shields to emit incorrect signals rather than no signal at all.”
“But why not just no signal?”
“The Borg would become suspicious if they found no trace of the ship. They would eventually find us and… absorb us and our technology.”
She sat down.
“Ming, follow that vessel. Match speed and course. Malo, can you shield our signal completely?”
“Can do, Cap’n,” replied Malo.
“Make it so. Ming… engage.”
“Lets see… to get to corridor four, you must… uh… go through corridor five…”
419 muttered instructions to herself as she voyaged through the many passageways of the ship.
She stopped suddenly. There, in front of her, was Experiment 626.
OK, he’s looking the other way… run!
419 rushed around the nearest corner.
Stitch turned around… nothing.
“Are you sure it was 626?”
“Yes, I’m sure,” replied 419, for about as many times as experiments preceding her, holding a walkie-talkie to her ear, and trying to walk steadily down the corridor.
“And you’re sure that there is no other way…”
“OK, alright, just checking…”
“Of cause I’m sure! I know this ship like the back of my hand…”
Abruptly, a gong… noise… thingy… rang through her ears, and 419 saw no more.
Minutes, hours, days passed.
Lilo waned in and out of consciousness. Her eyes seemed… detached from her brain, seeing when she did not want to, and not when she did. In the brief moments when she was aware of her surroundings, she could only see the mutant zombies.
“Now, ready to continue the narrative?”
Lilo glanced upwards. The Queen was back.
She shook her head.
“You won’t be so defiant for long.”
She paced the room.
“I reviewed the Queen’s decision, and decided that she had chosen a date too late. I settled on an earlier date – 2003, to be precise, a time when humans were less technologically advanced, and thus less susceptible. I sent a sphere.
But you and your ‘experiments’ just had to play the hero. Remember the asteroid? It destroyed the sphere, and with it my chance – our chance – of assimilating Earth. I realised that it was essential to terminate you. So I went back to 1999. And that’s when things started to go the right way.”