©00- 02 Levite/The Media Desk [see below]
[WARNING: Some situations may disturb sensitive readers. Some mildly adult situations.]
Continued from Part 2
Polota slept for two full cycles. Then when she woke up, she was ravishingly hungry.
"I had people I could see in my sleep. Borg, not Borg. People I knew, things I'd never seen. Impossible things." She said as she ate. "But I was asleep. Because I woke up."
I smiled. "You had dreams."
She stopped chewing. "The Borg know of such things... But Borg don't dream."
Paig put another cup of tea in front of her. "You're not Borg now, you are Special."
Polota stared at the cup. "This drink is hot."
"That's the way it's supposed to be." I said. "You drank the first one."
She picked it up. "And it was good."
I had long finished my lunch and was working on trying to ID the third Q that had appeared, but with only a halfway human looking visual to work from, I was making little progress. The one thing that struck me was that although it had appeared human, it was taller than the other two known Q persona, and it appeared androgynous, if not even totally sex-less. It also had not spoken, but seemed to simply be an observer.
An idea I found fascinating.
But without more information, there was little more to learn about it.
Or was there?
I looked at Polota. She stopped drinking tea and looked back at me.
"You said you could hear me tell the Q to bring you back. How did you hear me?"
She got that far away look in her eyes. "It was like you were down a long passage. But I couldn't see anything. I couldn't feel anything. But I could hear you. You were very faint. But I could hear. But with my ear, not Borg ear."
It wasn't much, but it was something. I turned to the database and pulled the accounts of the few others that had been 'vanished' by the Q and brought back.
Some described it as being under water, or 'outside' of the real world. But all the reports had something in common. The people that were 'vanished' still existed, they were just out of touch with where they had been. Some could even see what was going on in their absence, but could not communicate. In two of the recorded cases, the people had been gone for some time, the real world got dimmer, but they still had self awareness, until they were brought back.
"So when the Q send someone away, they still exist. I could not find a single case where the Q directly killed anybody." I told Maeoish the next cycle during our meeting.
He tilted his head. "I too have noticed the same thing, but I never pursued it to your degree."
As I expected, the drone I had labeled 'the secretary' came around and collected the information from our implants. In a few minutes I got to watch myself deliver a somewhat censored speech about where the Q's victims go.
Evidently the knowledge that Polota had been de-droned by the Q was not to be widely disseminated, although they had not stopped me from going through the whole thing with Maeoish.
As we wrapped our collaboration up the light bulb and a Special I had not met yet came up to me to discuss the light bulb's idea that those 'vanished' by the Q and not brought back might still be alive in whatever part of the universe the Q used as a holding cell.
The other Special's name sounded like one quick word, but my ear translated it into 'Boneesinton Gue Harberingo'.
Our Firsts stood around together and watched the four of us go through all sorts of arguments and counter-arguments about whether this 'holding cell' was closer to the Continuum or actually part of our world and just out of phase or another dimension.
One of us (I honestly don't know which one and there is so much chatter on the Borg recording that it may have been proposed by two or three of us at once) said that this 'holding cell' might be a 'no man's land' between our world, and the Continuum. If we could find it, it might lead us, and the Borg, right into their neighborhood.
About an hour into this, I had an idea and told them I needed to check on something and I'd meet them at the next session.
Blatok almost couldn't keep up with me. I beat her back to the vehicle and gestured impatiently as she forced it to move faster back to my apartment.
My tricorder was right where I had put it on the bookshelf after I had used it to make sure Polota was OK. I got it and told my workstation computer to access the data on Polota. Then I had it go through any residual energy traces that had been in her body and her Borg implants.
It announced residual energies were found.
"Compare and contrast said data with Borg medical drone scan performed just after that scan and with all known spatial dimensions and phenomenon. Extrapolate conditions which would result in such energy residuals, compare with all known manifestations of the Q."
The workstation told me the requested comparison would require all available Special computer core capability for more than a cycle and a half.
"I'm not going anywhere." I told it.
It came back with 'Processing' across the screen.
"Two of the Fifth Branch has approved of your using total available system resources for your study. It will still require over half a cycle to complete."
"Oh. OK." I said to Blatok.
"The Borg are shutting down all non-essential functions."
Blatok walked out. Evidently she is non-essential as well.
In a few minutes the station was obviously quieter. The cubes working to re-fire the star stopped. The low hum of vehicles outside my door stopped.
I picked up the tricorder and got up and went to the door. It was still.
"Where are you going?" Polota said to me.
"For a walk." I said. "Coming?"
Paig and Polota exchanged glances, then we wandered out into the dead quiet passage.
"Which way?" I asked them. They didn't answer. "Let's go up. I haven't been up yet."
Polota seemed to think I was leading them to certain death, but she kept silent.
We walked down the passage until a branch led up. And up we went.
In great curving spirals we went up. Five levels, seven, twelve, I lost count and we were still going up.
At one point I stopped and we walked until I found a view into the center of the sphere. I had expected to be going around the center of a ball, but instead, we were climbing towards the top of a range of decks. When I looked out instead of facing the dark orb of their sun-to-be, I was looking out at the far wall which was now a lot closer than it was before. I could see the arc inward of the decks above us. There was a point where they met some distance above.
"So the Special area is around the equator of the sphere?" I asked Polota.
"Yes. Other areas are for Borg usage. We are now in the Borg communication area for this sector."
"How about that." I said. Then we started up again.
"How far up are we going?" Paig asked.
"All the way."
Paig reached out and touched my arm. "We can't."
I looked at her. "Why not?"
"That's where..." She paused. "That's where they hold those that are..."
Polota finished it. "Those waiting to serve or be assimilated."
I shrugged. "Q had been there. He picked Paig for me. I want to see if Q is still hiding there."
Polota stared at me. Then she turned to the left, "This way."
I followed her, Paig followed me.
Polota stopped in front of a shiny plain wall panel, there was a control panel next to it. She touched an indicator and the panel opened. We got into the lift and Polota spoke in Borg. Up we went.
The door opened onto a rather dark passage. You could hear many voices coming from somewhere.
Polota walked out and toward the right. Then she turned a sharp corner.
"The holding area." She said.
Beyond, under a great curving roof that was obviously the outer skin of the sphere spread what looked like the old images I'd seen of refugee camps.
Paig pointed to an area off to one side. "My people were there, but they are gone now. We had yellow shelters."
Polota went to a panel, she spoke in Borg and touched some of the controls. "They have all been taken below."
Paig sagged at the news. "Were they assimilated?"
"Some were, some are being used for tests, others are as you are."
I scanned the area with the tricorder. There was too much area and not enough tricorder. "How do I get down there?" I asked Polota.
"This way." She turned and led us to the side. A narrow passage led to the main floor.
There was some mixing of the species that were being held, but most seemed to collect in small clans and groups of their own kind. They were predominately more or less humanoid. With some others thrown in basically at random.
I walked around and scanned the silent people who watched me and Polota with suspicion and sometimes open hatred.
Then I came across somebody that didn't seem to belong there.
"Not a very good job of blending in." I said to the being.
"I thought I was doing quite well. You are the only one to notice. I've been here some eighty of their cycles." It said in reply.
"Perhaps we can discuss this in my..." It blinked. "Quarters." I said. We were there. "Thanks. But how do you explain that to them." I nodded up toward where we had been.
"They don't question it." It looked carefully at Polota. "You actually miss being Borg. Curious."
She said nothing to the tall plain looking being.
"Why are you here?" I asked it, carefully sitting the tricorder down.
"Why are you helping them?" It said.
"I don't really know." I answered, "Your turn."
"I'd rather be here than in the Continuum."
"I find that hard to believe." I said looking out the window.
"I am, shall we say, boring, to the other Q."
That got my attention. "Go on."
"Question for question. Do you think the Borg can truly assimilate or destroy the Q?"
"One question at a time. No I don't think the Borg can actually assimilate the Q, not yet at any rate." I paused. "You cannot read my mind?"
"No. Not totally. And neither could the other Q, no matter what he led you to believe. Your theory is correct at least that far." It went to the replicator. "What was that you had the other day, oh yes. Earth drink. Green tea. Japanese, hot, slightly sweet." It said to the machine. "For four."
The replicator sat there silent for a minute, the Q then looked at it with a rather stern glare to its eyes. The replicator then produced the required item. As a complete tea service.
"Would you like me to pour out?" Q said setting the tray on my work station.
The women said nothing, I nodded slowly.
"This won't do at all, if we are to continue this pleasant chat. We should be in pleasant surroundings."
And without even a blink this time we were... Well. Elsewhere.
"The only thing I like about your Risa is the views. Most spectacular."
We were all silent for a minute. Only the sound of Q setting out the tea on the small round table that had just appeared was to be heard. That and a bird singing someplace. And then a waterfall in the distance.
"This is a planet." Polota said. "I've never been on a planet." She walked in a slow circle looking out at the perfectly calm ocean to one side of us and the slowly rising mountains on the other side. The narrow peninsula we were on had fantastic vistas. Q had good taste in locales.
I looked out. Some sort of vessel skimmed across the water a good distance from the shore.
"But the attire here. Disgraceful." Again it didn't even blink.
Now Polota was wearing a full kimono, Paig was in a light summer dress. Q was wearing a Risian outfit. I looked down. I was dressed in a white suit from the twenty first century, complete with black leather tie.
"Now, about the Borg destroying the Q." It asked me.
I sipped my tea to put some moisture to my voice so I could speak. "That's possible. If they manage to get into the Continuum, or at least develop a way to attack it."
Q nodded and sipped the tea.
"Are you male or female?" Polota asked it as a chair moved out for her to sit in.
"Both. Or neither. Sometimes I feel like one, sometimes the other. Which do you think I should be?"
Polota couldn't answer.
"There are female Q." I said.
"Yes. And I don't like them any more than the male Q."
"Why don't you leave the Continuum?" Paig asked joining us at the table.
"I've thought about it. But there are advantages to still having access to it."
"Your powers for instance." I said.
"You are most clever. Q was right. Keen mind."
The tea needed just a touch more sugar. A bowl of it appeared on the table.
"What will happen to you if the Borg destroy the Q?" I asked.
"Is it my turn to answer or yours? No matter." It looked into its cup. "I believe if I am in physical form, I will be stuck whenever and wherever and whatever I am at the time. And if it's all the same to you, I'd rather not be anywhere near the Borg when that happens. Perhaps I'll stay here." It looked up at the perfect snow capped mountains.
"Could the Borg destroy the Continuum itself?"
Q smiled. An odd sight. "No, no, my turn. What have you come to know about our non-reality? Where Q sent the young lady." It looked at Polota, her outfit changed now to a small swimsuit. "That Borg hardware has got to go." A corner of Q's mouth twitched. Polota was now fully Atonn, not a trace of even a scar where the implants had been since her birth. "Much better. Most attractive."
She was. But I felt Q's eyes on me. I had to think hard to remember the question. "Non-reality. Yes. Only that it is not quite this reality, and not quite the Continuum. It may be the back door. If we can open a gateway, it may be possible for the Borg to move into it."
"As they did Fluidic Space." Q said.
"As they did what space?"
"Nevermind. A long way from here."
"Species 8472." Polota said. "Yes, that might work." She smiled her smile.
Without her Borg attachments. Polota was indeed very attractive.
"Now I'm playing at a disadvantage." I said.
"Look it up when you get home." Q said.
I nodded and sipped my tea, trying to think of something else I wanted to ask this most unusual Q.
"Are there more Q like you?" Paig asked it.
Q laughed. "Yes and no. More no than yes. There's a couple others that disapprove of the more 'active' of us."
That gave me a question that might prove useful. "How many Q are there?"
The Q sipped its tea. "Well, that's hard to say. Sometimes there's more, sometimes there's less. But the last time I passed through the Continuum, there seemed to be fourteen or fifteen Q."
"That's all?" Polota said in disbelief.
"Maybe it was only twelve." Q said actually counting fingers. "As far back as I can remember there have never been more than eighteen Q at once."
"How far back is that?" I asked.
"You really want to know?"
I nodded. Polota and Paig sat listening intently.
"Would it mean anything to you if I told you I am one of the second generation Q?" It looked at us. "There are no original Q left... No, that's not right. One of the first Q is still, as you would say, alive, except I haven't seen Q for millennia." It looked at us, "I am, by human count, over five billions of your years old."
"What generation is the other Q that were here? Or there?" I looked up.
"Sixth... Fifth." It looked at me. "Your Q is sixth generation."
"How many generations of Q are there?" Polota asked it.
"Our generations aren't like yours. We may go for an eon without a new Q joining us. But if even one does, it is a generation." It seemed sad for a moment. "My question now, for each of you. If you are offered the chance to stay here, would you?"
Paig responded immediately. "Yes."
"I don't belong here." Polota said. "I will go back."
"Back to being Borg or back to..."
"Back to being Special."
Q's smile was knowing and self-satisfied. But then it looked at me. "Your call. You've got one staying, one going."
"If Doctor go back to Borginia I go back too." Paig said.
"Loyalty. Something most of the Q will never comprehend." Q said.
"Among other things." I added.
"Very true, Q do not love, or even hate, for the most part, thusly all the emotions tied to those, are alien."
"The Q don't love?" Paig asked.
"We used to. In fact, I myself was in love once upon a time. But there are limits to love. After a few thousand years, we got too comfortable with each other. Then boredom, the greatest enemy the Q have, set in." It paused, "In fact, that's may be why the Q have not stopped the Borg. They are bored. An attack by the Borg would liven things up quite a bit."
"A fatalistic fascination with death." I said.
"Exactly." Q said slowly.
Paig seemed confused. "Do you die?"
Q looked at her, then at me. "I honestly do not know. I know I am completely out of contact with the Q that are not in the Continuum any more. Perhaps if they renounced their powers, or had them stripped from them by the rest of the Q, they, once fully mortal, like yourselves, do die. And thusly cease to exist."
"They die." Polota said. "You can be killed, if not assimilated."
"Not when they have their powers." I said looking intently at Q.
"Then Borg will assimilate their powers, and use them to kill them."
"Now there is an interesting proposition. 'Can the Q be assimilated?' I had never pursued that line of query before."
I shrugged. "It is possible. But I don't think the Borg are ready to even attempt it yet."
Q nodded. "That makes me feel better. They're not ready today, or next year. How about in a century? Five hundred years? That's a week to me."
I frowned. To the Borg, time was nearly irrelevant, to the Q, it was meaningless. "I cannot answer for what they may come up with in the next century."
Q finished its tea. "Perhaps the one disadvantage to being nearly a true immortal is, that you ALMOST live forever." It sat its cup down. "Well. Are you going back or not?"
I looked at Paig and Polota. "For now."
The words weren't out of my mouth and we were back in my office, I was still holding the tea cup. Polota was back in her Borg Special configuration, but Paig was still wearing the dress. I was back in my robe.
Q was nowhere to be seen.
We were silent for a second.
"Were we really gone?" Paig asked.
"By the elapsed time on the tricorder, no. But I know we were gone almost a full cycle by my personal time." I tapped one of my implants.
"Yes." Polota said. "It was real time."
"How can Q do that to time?" Polota said. "We were out of time for long time yet no time."
"From my research, they do not experience time as we do. While that Q may be thousands of millions of our years old, to them, it may seem only a few cycles. They seem to come and go in and out of our time at will, when they have their powers."
"Borg need to get their powers." Polota said.
"And thereby comes the rub. We might as well try to convince the Borg to un-assimilate themselves." I gestured at Polota.
And she was Atonn again. Fully Atonn. And completely nude.
"You did that!" Paig screamed at me.
Polota simply looked back and forth from her exposed, but whole, body to me and back again.
I was afraid to move. I didn't believe that I had done it, but I wasn't sure what Q would gain by trying to convince me I did. The safest thing to do was, nothing.
Polota walked into the chair room and put on the spare robe.
I looked at Paig, she cowered into the corner. "You're Q!" She said.
"No, not hardly." I said.
"Make me Special again." Polota said.
"I... I have no idea how, even if I could."
"Try." Polota said.
I tried to recreate the gesture and the frame of mind that I had then.
"Borg." I said and gestured her way.
A Borg drone appeared in the middle of the room.
"Purpose." It said roughly.
"Test. Dismissed." Polota said very Borg-like.
"Comply." I said standing tall.
It walked out.
"That was fun." I said sinking into my chair.
"Which Q did this?" Polota said walking to the window and looking out.
I shook my head and looked at my hands. I felt normal. Which was why I thought it was either a trick or a perverse joke. I thought about something I liked that I hadn't had since I'd been here.
"Orion malich sandwich." I said pointing at my work station. "With hot mustard."
And there it was. With a small dish of mustard next to it.
Polota walked to the desk. "Q did give you powers."
Paig hadn't moved. "You can take us back to planet."
I frowned. I wasn't sure if I could or not, and if I tried and did something wrong, we could all end up floating in space.
"The Q did this, or is trying to get us to think they did, for the same reason they made you a Special, and brought you here from the holding area." I said to them.
"To distract you from your work." Polota said.
"Then Doctor must work." Paig came out of her corner. "I will take care of everything else. If Q does not want you to work, then you must work harder."
"Maybe I can use it against them."
I stood up and stepped between them.
There was only one gesture that fit the word. I spread my arms and said, "Continuum."
Where are we?
I guess this is it.
I do not feel Borg or Atonn.
I do not like this.
We're here. What do you want?
Undo what you did to me.
We didn't do it.
We were back in the office.
Polota was back to Special again. My sandwich was gone.
"Did that happen?" Paig asked.
"Let me check." I picked up the tricorder. "Yes."
The work station was active, with the data and comparisons I had ordered what seemed like a week ago. I downloaded the new information into it and had it compare all readings for similarities.
I had my Q fingerprint. And maybe a smoking gun.
Now I had to come up with a working theory.
I was a little worried that one or more of the Q were still around. And that they were still letting me borrow their powers or something. But I pressed on anyway.
I pushed a string of buttons and demanded to speak to Two of the Fifth, Maeoish, and some others immediately.
Soon a vehicle showed up and whisked us to the Day Room, Polota and Paig and me.
Maeoish listened intently.
Two of the Fifth Branch alternated between a deadpan stare and a rather thoughtful expression followed by chewing on his knuckles.
Tha'lat had her fingers pointed and listened with rapt attention.
The other Specials I had requested spent the time about the same. A very short and small built being whose face I never saw and who spent most of its time lying down when in the day room jumped up at one point and jabbered at warp speed. When my hearing aid translated the speech it was simply a restatement of my theories and observations followed by several phrases of agreement.
I presented several different conclusions based on the observations I had made and the historical record. Two of those conclusions suggested it was just a matter of time before the Borg would be able to at least bring about their own access to the Continuum.
"It may well be beyond their existing technology right now. It's somewhat different than Fluidic space in that the Continuum is outside of the time- stream. But, given that the Borg now possess a considerable amount of information on both the Q's unreality step between here and the Continuum, how to work the door to it both ways, and the particle/energy/string interaction that makes their power possible, it is just a matter of time before the Borg attempt the leap to the Continuum. Then... I don't even want to think about it."
The light bulb being asked a question about whether the energy/particle interaction was the source of their powers or was it an after effect of its use.
"I believe that since the Continuum is nothing more than a quanta sauna bath that the Q have lived in for thousands of millions of years, they are living capacitors of unfathomable energy. It has become them as much as they are it. Perhaps complete symbiosis. And unless they are in actual physical form, they are drawing from it constantly. And even in corporeal form, they can manipulate the forces to their will on a scale we cannot even understand."
The murmured voices mostly agreed with me.
Two of the Fifth Branch asked a very un-Borg-like question. "If the Borg do assimilate the powers of the Q, do you think we will destroy ourselves?"
I thought about it carefully for a minute. "No." Mixed murmuring, "And Yes." Dead silence. "I feel that few, or maybe even one, Borg will have a bit more of it than the others, and I'm afraid that the old maxim is true. Power, corrupts..."
"And absolute power corrupts absolutely."
Yes Borg Drones can be stupid.
A drone fired a disrupter toward the speaker. The beam passed through it and killed a Special and his First who had been standing just outside our circle listening. Other Drones were aiming that way.
Two of the Fifth shouted in Borg and my ear translated it "Cease! Comply!"
There were no further shots, but the tension was almost painful.
The second generation Q, oblivious to the emotions in the room, walked up to my display hologram and nodded to me sincerely. "Excellent presentation. You are very close to the truth. Very close."
"On what point?"
"Several in fact. The power supply of the Continuum is the Q. And vise versa..." It looked at the display.
I glanced over at Two of the Fifth. He was standing there in actual disbelief that here was one of the enemy casually reviewing my work.
"That's not a good idea." It said to a drone nearby that was walking slowly towards us. It walked over to the drone. "Your nanoprobes wouldn't like me."
"You will be assimilated." The drone responded.
"Go regenerate. Comply." Q said to it.
The drone turned and walked away quickly.
Q turned toward Two of the Fifth. "I'm not your enemy. If I were, this would not be here now." It gestured widely to the Borg world. "Some of the younger Q don't know how to work it to deal with you. I do. Where is Third Level Sixth Section Security Unit Five right now?"
Two of the Fifth paused for a second. "Just entering his alcove." His Borg eye focused tightly on Q. "Then why have you not destroyed us?"
"I. Don't want to." It looked back at my display. "You're not right about the door to the middle dimension. While it does work both ways. It doesn't work the same both ways. I have to use a different... ah, I guess you'd say almost a different spell, or level of power, or something, to get in as I do to get out. Language fails at that point."
I made a note of the fact.
"So. What do you think of me? Of your mortal enemy. The Q?" It asked Two of the Fifth.
"If all Q were such as you we would not be making these plans."
"True enough. Which is one of the reasons I won't stop you."
"But I will." The Star Fleet Q said appearing in the middle of the crowd.
"You can't destroy the Borg. And your cohort has trouble keeping their star out."
The new arrival seemed upset by the senior Q's remark. "There are more than one way to skin a Borg."
"He's going to un-assimilate them all?" I asked the older Q.
It made a face. "That would be most difficult, I'm not sure I could do it. Because of the nature of the Borg, anything done to even a small group of them is disseminated through the group. You can work on one individual drone. As I did, and you did, with your First, by isolating them beforehand. But with the entire collective. That is indeed a tall order. And nothing less would suffice."
The Star Fleet Q seemed to have the air drain from him. Then some of his bluster returned. "There are other ways to stop them."
"Perhaps let the star begin to burn then Supernova it." I offered.
"I don't need a Star Fleet Science dropout to coach me!"
I backed up reflexively.
The senior Q put a hand on my shoulder. It was neither hot nor cold through my robe, it was just... there. "Don't worry about him."
The other Q seemed to have an aura of red flame around him. Then he vanished.
"His own impotence in this situation is hard for him to deal with. I'm surprised the other one hasn't appeared. He was here earlier. But he left."
"The Q. Impotent?" Maeoish said for all of us.
"Yes. Hard to believe isn't it." Q answered.
"The grounding effect of the collective."
"Not just the collective. The Borg are so ingrained with their technology that most of us cannot even do something to your ships or this world of yours. It is as much you as the Continuum is us."
"If they attack a Q they attack the Continuum." I said softly.
Q looked at me strangely.
I followed the thought out loud to Two of the Fifth. "You can't assimilate the Q, you can't destroy the Continuum. The Continuum is the base level energy matrix of the Universe itself. Perhaps multiple universes joined at the Q Continuum. If you destroy it, you destroy yourselves. If you manage to assimilate the Q, you become the Q, and destroy yourselves."
"The Borg Cannot End." Two of the Fifth said slowly. "What you have said must be pursued further. This assemblage is adjourned temporarily."
The others filtered away. I was left with Paig, Polota, and Q.
"He is right." Polota said to Q.
"You would never have said that as a drone." Q said. "I like you much better with your own head on your shoulders."
"Doctor must rest." Paig said pointing to a small indicator on my arm that let me know when whatever Borg part in me needed regeneration was getting to that point.
"I don't think so." Q said.
The indicator now said everything was just fine for at least another cycle. When I looked up, we were back in my office.
Q leaned over to me and actually whispered into my still human ear. "You are not going to believe what is happening even as we speak. They have not wasted any time."
I looked at it confused.
Q stepped to my work station and spoke to it in clear Borg. "Tactical live time stream display." My ear translated.
The displays all came to life.
There were several views from several different perspectives aboard different vessels.
A flotilla of cubes and a couple of small, elongated craft of obvious Borg design were sitting in space. The smaller ships emitted several beams of different colored light that varied considerably in intensity from one second to the next. The beams focused on a single spot in space.
Two of the cubes moved up and emitted different beams.
In a second energy started streaming out and away from the focal point.
The radiant area expanded, the armada of cubes moved toward it.
I knew, I just knew.
I looked over at Q. "Maybe we should have another cup of tea."
"An excellent idea." Q said.
And we were back on Risa.
Polota was Atonn again. Wearing a very attractive outfit.
I felt strange. My implants were gone, I was human once more.
Q was the same as always. But it seemed a little more masculine now.
"Are they succeeding?" I asked it.
It looked off to one side. My work station appeared, the displays still showing the progress. But now the views were confused.
"They are in the un-reality." I said.
Q nodded. "And making a perfect hash of it too."
A cube imploded. But the drones aboard still lived. Flailing around in space trying to do something, probably regenerate their ship.
The small ships began their energy dance again trying to open a gateway to the Continuum.
One of the elongated ships exploded. The others continued.
An opening appeared.
Two cubes simply disintegrated. Then a small ship came apart on the atomic level.
The displays went dark for a second.
Then the views were back in our universe. This time there was one long ship, a couple of small spheres, and one odd looking bulbous ship, followed by several cubes.
They began their light show to open the gateway.
"The Q destroyed that one ship. How?" I asked Q.
"Actual sabotage. One of them used a Borg weapon on a primary relay to the ion conversion chamber."
"Did the Q die?" Paig asked.
"No." Q said seeming concerned for its fellow being. "But he was severely weakened. He made it back into the Continuum. But if he had not, he would have died. Such as we die."
We all stood and watched the displays. The Borg ships created another rift and passed through.
There was no sign of the wreckage and drifting drones from the previous attempt.
Again, we watched as a couple of them succumbed to the effects of passing through into non-reality, then as they began to open another gate, things went badly. Several of the ships exploded.
The displays changed again.
A third convoy was beginning to open a door from our universe to the Q's.
"The Borg have over a thousand ships committed to this effort." Polota said.
Q turned from the display, it seemed to be in pain. "A Q just died."
It sat heavily on the grass.
Paig went to it in spite of herself. "Are you going to be OK?"
It shook its head. "I. I don't know. I've never felt an ending to one of us like that before. Q was in pain. He felt actual pain... And. And something worse." It looked up at me with blurry eyes. "Fear."
"Perhaps the Borg can destroy the Q. Or most likely, weaken them so they are no longer a factor."
Q sighed and stared at the clouds.
"What will happen to you?" I asked it.
"I shall stay here until it is over."
"Like that?" I said to it. "Neither male nor female?"
It seemed to consider it carefully. "So you think I am more male or female in this form?"
Polota, Paig, and I all said "Male." More or less at the same time.
"Very well." Q said, and its appearance changed. It was now male. Complete with a thin mustache that ran across his upper lip.
"We should get something to eat." Paig said.
"I don't have an account here." I said. "I've never even officially been to Risa before."
"I have plenty in an account here." Q said. "Remember, unlimited power also translates into unlimited wealth. I have enough to keep a whole clan of Ferringi happy for several generations. Even if I loose all my powers, it will be there. And if I die. It will all be assigned to you."
I stood and looked Q in the eye. Then I extended my hand to him.
The workstation vanished.
A surface skimmer approached the beach below. We began shouting and waving for it to wait and take us to the settlement up the coast.
This will be my last entry.
I am no longer Borg. And the Borg have more important things to worry about.
The Q have taken up the offensive against the Borg. But the battle is far from decided yet.
Q has taken to going by the name of Horatio. We have a large suite in one of the more luxurious long-term hotels just outside the city, with the women sharing the largest room by their choice. Q's powers have dwindled to the point where he has admitted he may not be able to get back into the Continuum while it is under attack.
There has been word of the Borg war on the Q through official Federation channels.
I am still listed as missing according to Star Fleet. I have no intention of telling them different for the time being.
Polota has made great progress being assimilated into Federation culture.
Paig is still the quiet and shy one.
I have gained a reputation as being something of a philosopher and poet if you can believe that.
How long will we stay here?
That is up to the Continuum and the Borg.
For us, the war is over.
For them. "Time is irrelevant." It may never be.
End Dear Diary.
For more Star Trek Fan Fiction by the Desk see:
The Station and the Patrol a novel length work
The Good OLD Ship JUPITOR a short story
The RAVEN page. The fictional history of a ship.
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