Chapter 5
Resistance is Futile


The transport to Earth was one of the slower lines, which took nearly 2 days to reach its destination. In that time Scott had slept for a while, eaten a little and drunk a lot. By now he should be as drunk as a Klingon on the eve of a battle and well down the road to forgetfulness. But he was not. In this century, synthahol had none of the incapacitating benefits of real alcohol - which annoyed him greatly.

He had been trying to remember McCoy as he had seen him at Kirks memorial service, full of life and energy and rampant emotionalism. But all he could remember was his last sight of McCoy lying in that hospital bed, old, frail and tired of living.

The transport to Earth was one of the slower lines, which took nearly 2 days to reach its destination. In that time Scott had slept for a while, eaten a little and drunk a lot. By now he should be as drunk as a Klingon on the eve of a battle and well down the road to forgetfulness. But he was not. In this century, synthahol had none of the incapacitating benefits of real alcohol - which annoyed him greatly.

He had been trying to remember McCoy as he had seen him at Kirks memorial service, full of life and energy and rampant emotionalism. But all he could remember was his last sight of McCoy lying in that hospital bed, old, frail and tired of living.

Had it had been a mistake to look up his old friends? Jean-Luc had warned him not to. But he had felt so very alone in this Time. Not his time. Somehow he had been shocked to find that time had caught up on those people he had known so well. Spock was different, he was a Vulcan. He could live to be 300. But McCoy - to find him still alive only to lose him a few weeks later. Scotty refused to feel regret. At least he'd had the opportunity to see his friend one last time before he died. That was a precious gift.

Scott slid down from the barstool and looked around the transport's large bar area for Spock. There he was, exactly where Scott had left him four hours ago, at the viewing ports. Spock sat in one of the "comfortable" viewing chairs staring out into space. Scott had decided to leave him to his private grief but now found that he desperately wanted to talk to the Vulcan - his only link with his own time. Spock turned as Scott approached, his Vulcan mask firmly back in place.

"I trust you are suitably inebriated Mr Scott"

"Not by a long shot Spock but it doesn't matter now. How are you feeling?"

There would have been a time when the Vulcan would have made some glib comment about Vulcan's not having feelings but not now. "Apprehensive. Vulcan memorial services are not emotional, the healing of body and soul is accomplished before such events. The ceremony which follows, where the Katra is given over to the hall of Ancient Thought, is a time of serenity for all involved. I find Human services much harder to cope with."

"It's our way of dealing with the grief Spock. We try to mix the sadness with some joy at remembering the life of the person that has gone. We are supposed to feel much better after a Wake."

Spock cocked an eyebrow. "My father held a Wake after my mother died for the benefit of her human friends. It did not make me feel better"

Scott glanced up in time to see the quickly concealed pain in his friends' eyes. Spock still chose to retreat into his More-Vulcan-Than-Thou persona when human emotionalism threatened to swamp him. Scott knew better than to push. He quickly changed the subject.

"I always thought I'd go before McCoy. I'm 5 years older than him, did ye know that?"

"Of course. Your personal files were available to me whilst on board the Enterprise. However I believe I understand your situation. As a Vulcan, the probability was high that I would outlive my human friends. It is not an easy thing to witness but I have had many years to prepare for it."

"Is that why ye never married a human lass Spock? After that debacle at your wedding ceremony no-one would blame ye for bein' sworn off women for life but I always felt you would benefit from a relationship."

Spock decided to let the breach of privacy pass without comment. "I could have sought out another bond-mate among my own people Mr Scott, however the opportunity did not arise. I was never on Vulcan long enough to set the wheels in motion as you would put it."

Spock looked down at his knees and seemed to be brushing as some invisible lint. The engineer got the distinct impression that Spock was embarrassed about something.

"Is there something yer not telling me Mr Spock?"

"I..... have in fact found a wife Mr Scott"

So many question assaulted the engineers brain at the same time that the incomprehensible babble that issued from his mouth made the Vulcan wonder if he was having some sort of seizure. Eventually, Scott managed to get control of his faculties by taking several deep breaths.

"When did this happen?"

"Approximately 40 Standard years ago on my third independent trip to Rihannsu."

"A ROMULAN? You married a Romulan Spock?...."

"It was not actually our first meeting. You will recall an incident some years ago where the Enterprise shall we say 'acquired' some Romulan technology?"

"Bloody hell - yer talkin' about yon Commander are ye not? The one we stole the clocking device technology from. I thought the Empire demoted her or something equally terrible"

"Actually, they dismissed her from military service, which is a great disgrace within the Empire. However through hard work and effort, she managed to make a success of her life as a civilian and became an aide to a local senator. It was in his office that I first encountered her. Fortunately she decided not to expose me right away."

"And how exactly did you manage to accomplish that?" Scott could not hide the broad grin that was fighting for prominence on his face at that moment.

Spock allowed that eyebrow to climb into his hairline. "You do not suppose that I associated with Jim Kirk for all those years without picking up some of his - techniques?"


The Q had become bored with the image torn from Picard's mind of a fiery, blazing landscape, which he had called hell. The Captain seemed to have a particular aversion to fire. Although he had derived the greatest of pleasure from torturing the Starfleet Officer, there were other images in the man's head that would do the work for him. With a wave of his hand, the flames subsided and Picard sunk to his knees gasping.

"What do you want from me?" he cried.

This time the words were weaker. The Q smiled. Little by little he had been wearing down Picard's strength so that now the human was barely able to stand. Soon enough he would reveal to this puny creature exactly what he wanted from him.

"There is an image in your mind that I find most intriguing. It fills you with terror. Let us explore it"

Picard gasped at the now familiar sensation of movement through darkness. When he could force his eyes open, he realised with deep dread that he was on a Borg cube-ship.

He was on a long platform of black metal, suspended over an enormous bank of Borg Regeneration Alcoves. Strange machinery stretched out around him in all directions, snakelike conduits and cables connecting them together in a manner Picard could not fathom. In his head the voices of the approaching drones had begun their familiar litany.

"We are the Borg. Resistance is futile. We will add your biological distinctiveness to our own"

Picard could not prevent the stab of terror that shot through his body. Still on his knees, he struggled to stand as the Borg closed in on him from both ends of the platform.

"You will be re-assimilated. Resistance is futile....."

"No!!!!!!!", he screamed as a drone closed its clammy grey hand on his arm, the vice-like grip nearly crushing the bones. He frantically searched for a means of escape, but there was no where to go.

"The collective requires the services of Locutus once more"

"No!!" he sobbed.

Then he felt the sharp sting of a nano-probe injector as it pierced his neck.

"No" he whispered, with a voice that was no longer entirely his own.

 

 

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