Paul Gadzikowski


No Lesser Evil

Chapter 2
          Captain's log, supplemental: Voyager has survived its
     intrusion into the Borg-Species 8472 war only to drop from
     the frying pan into the fire - our attempt to leave Borg space
     quietly despite lack of warp power has been interrupted by the
     arrival of a Dalek invasion fleet.

     "The new fleet are hailing, Captain," said Forrester. "Wide beam
     "On speakers, Lieutenant."
     The voice was a harsh monotone with a strident artifical buzz, and
behind it there was a rhythmic, throbbing mechanical hum.
     "Red alert," said Janeway.
     "Quickly as you can," said the Doctor quietly to Paris, as if the
Daleks could hear, "find us somewhere to hide."
     Paris looked to Janeway for confirmation of course. "Do it," she
     Paris looked at his navigational display, successfully ignoring the
Doctor peering over his shoulder. "Well, here's a trick I learned
during my first tour in Starfleet - and used all the time while I was
with the Maquis -"
     "I don't think blowing in the Daleks' ears is going to distract
them from your intentions any," Chakotay said. Janeway shot him a smile
for cutting through the tension.
     "The other trick," Paris said, much put-upon.
     "This ship is a lot bigger than anything we had then," said
Chakotay, apparently genuinely aware what Paris was talking about.
     "There're a couple of gas giants in the system we just passed,"
said Paris. The main screen showed he was turning Voyager around.
     Janeway trusted Paris enough to give him his head, but suddenly the
Doctor said, "Ah! You're going to hide at the magnetic pole of the planet,
where the planetary magnetic field provides a blind spot to sensors."
     "Ten points to the man in the long coat," said Paris. "That's why we
need a gas giant; the magnetic field of your normal Class M is only big
enough for the scout or destroyer things we had in the Maquis."
     "Captain," said Tuvok (Janeway hadn't seen him return to the tactical
station, but was unsurprised that the red alert had drawn him back to the
bridge), "hostilities between the Borg and the Dalek invasion fleet have
commenced." He transferred visual to the main screen.
     The scene wasn't an unfamiliar one to the Voyager officers after
their last few days. But instead of Species 8472 bio-ships darting among
the Borg cube ships, it was saucer-shaped Dalek craft. They danced with
each other in deadly desire, keeping the beat with the flashes of energy
weapons and the explosions they wrought when they found their mark. It
was beautiful and it was horrible.
     "Are they going to see us?" Janeway asked her tactical officer.
     "The Borg background traffic pattern as plotted by Mr. Paris is
completely disrupted," said Tuvok, watching his consoles instead of the
main screen. "However the Dalek fleet did come out of warp at the
extreme range of our sensors. Probability is high that both forces'
attention will remain a great distance away from us until we reach Mr.
Paris' 'hiding place'."
     "How long, Tom?"
     "Eighteen minutes," said Paris.
     Janeway sat down to wait it out, but the Doctor paced in front of
the viewscreen until Janeway told him to sit down. He plopped into the
seat on her right and fidgeted. 
     "There is a Borg cube heading our way," Tuvok said suddenly, "with
a Dalek ship in hot pursuit." 
     "Onscreen," snapped Janeway.
     Tuvok had been generous to apply the term "cube"; less than half of
it remained. The Dalek ship in pursuit of it was still largely intact but
was leaving a contrail from a damaged plasma drive core. The continuous
barrage of aser battery fire of both ships on each other made it look,
as the Dalek gained on the Borg, as if it were reeling the Borg in on
several glowing orange or green ropes. And, on the aft view on the
screen, they seemed to be heading straight toward Voyager.
     "Have they scanned us?" the Doctor called.
     "At the moment, they are too occupied with each other," understated
     Abruptly the screen flashed white-bright. When it and Janeway's eyes
had cleared, only the Dalek saucer was left. 
     "That situation has now changed," Tuvok announced.
     A tone at ops confirmed this. "The Daleks are scanning us!" warned
Kim, also returned unnoticed to his post for the alert. 
     "Shields at full capability!" ordered Janeway. "Full stop - all
engine power to shields!"
     "Aye captain. At present full capability is eighty-seven percent,"
Tuvok reported. 
     The ship rocked. By process of elimination Janeway learned that the
orange beams had been the Borg's. 
     "Shields at fifty-three percent and falling," said Tuvok. "Without
the warp core we can withstand this attack less that ninety more seconds." 
     The Doctor stood. "Put me on hail!"
     "Do it!" Janeway said to Kim without having to think about it. She
knew no Dalek would listen to anything she had to say.
     "Go ahead," Kim told the Doctor.
     "Dalek ship!" the Doctor sent. "This is the Doctor! I'm aboard the
ship you're attacking!"
     "Great! Now we're doomed," said Paris.
     The Dalek fire stopped.
     Paris looked at the Doctor, startled, but the Doctor was calmer than
he'd been for ten minutes. "The Daleks may be ruthlessly logical and
monomanaically megalomaniac," he said, "but they have this over the Borg -
they're individuals. About all they have that's collective is their ego.
They're not going to let me die unnoted and un-gloated-over on some
anonymous Earth ship - not after all we've been through together."
     "They're hailing, Captain," from Kim.
     "On screen."
     The superficial appearance of a Dalek was of a rounded-topped metal
cone about a meter and three-quarters tall (not that Janeway could have
told scale from the viewscreen without already knowing), with an eyestalk
at the top, and a weapon and a gripping limb about halfway down. It might
even appear laughable to some - but inside was a horribly mutated
descendant of a once-humanoid species who now hated all species besides
its own. This one's coloration was gunmetal silver with blue and black
fittings; if Dalek coloration had any order or significance Starfleet
intelligence had never learned it.
may or may not have meant this as a question. Dalek inflection didn't
allow for such subtleties. 
     "I am," said the Doctor, shooting a smug look at Paris and moving
toward the viewscreen.
     "Very well," said the Doctor.


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