Captain's Log, Stardate 87830.12: On orders from Starfleet Command, we have arrived in Ker'rat System near the Klingon Neutral Zone.
The Red Cloud came out of warp, the swirling non-colors of subspace giving way to the familiar stars of the galaxy. Donovan Locke was in sitting at the Helm, personally guiding the ship as was his wont. A hailing chime rang out across the bridge.
"Sir, the Bonaventure is hailing us. Captain Thrax."
Thank you, Mister Sera." Locke responded to his Tactical Officer, as he arose from the flight control station. His second officer, Lieutenant Witko, moved quickly to replace him. "Put him onscreen."
The screen flickered from the starfield to the bridge of the task force flagship, and the face of her Captain.
"Commander Locke, Welcome to the Ker'rat system. You were the most distant ship, so we are ready to begin the operation. You will have noted the presence of the Borg vessels in the asteroid belt. We are to investigate their activity and shut it down before any Klingons arrive in the system. As soon as your ship reaches escort position we'll move closer to the Borg."
"Acknowledged, sir. Red Cloud out."
Locke sighed as he took his proper place in the Captain's chair. "Mister Witko, take us in."
The turbolift doors swooshed open and the ship's surgeon, Dr. Ginevra Locke, emerged. Locke looked over his shoulder and winked at his wife.
"Sickbay is ready. Dr. Kijembe has it covered for now."
"Great. Thanks, Hon. Locke to Engineering. Status, Jimmy."
Chief Engineer Blish's voice crackled over the intercom. "All systems are nominal, Captain."
"Thank you, Chief. All hands: yellow alert."
The Red Cloud slipped into formation with the rest of the task force, on the port flank. A total of seven starships now faced the Borg facility.
Locke turned to his tactical officer. "Sera, inform the Bonaventure we are in position and ready."
"Aye, sir." She paused, then said, "Captain Thrax is hailing the fleet."
Bonaventure's Saurian commander reappeared. "Wayfarer, move in to ascertain the Borg's purpose in this system. Ajax and Red Cloud, you will provide escort coverage to Wayfarer, while the Bonaventure, T'Pol, Occitan , and Laibok maintain perimeter security."
Locke joined his "Acknowledged" to the chorus and terminated the transmission.
"Witko," Locke addressed his first officer and helmsman. "Move in slightly ahead of the Wayfarer and prepare to draw fire if needed."
"Ahead one quarter impulse." The Jem'Hadar officer moved to comply. Locke sat back in the command chair and fidgeted.
The three starships approached the closest, typically large, Borg structure. It dwarfed the cube that hovered nearby. The Wayfarer increased its speed to one-half impulse and maneuvered into a flyby scan of the structure.
Lieutenant Commander Starblanket's voice came over the open channel.
"Wayfarer to Bonaventure. Captain Thrax, the structure appears to be a repair facility. There is a cube on the opposite side that is non functional and moderately damaged. We are also detecting possible Klingon contacts in the system, but the Borg emissions are making it difficult to be sure."
"This is Thrax. We need to disable that repair facility, and destroy the Borg technology before the Klingons can exploit it. Ascertain the shield frequencies around the Borg hubs."
"Acknowledged." The Wayfarer scanned the hub again.
Sera piped up from the tactical console. "Captain, I have detected several Borg signatures coming this way. They appear to be scout spheres."
"Relay your data to the Bonaventure and open a channel to Wayfarer." The telltale chimed. "Locke to Starblanket, we have incoming hostiles."
A slight delay, then, "Understood. We need a few more minutes to assess the frequency pattern from the encryption nodes."
"We may not have a few minutes, hurry. Locke out. Witko, put us between Wayfarer and those spheres. Red Alert!"
The Ajax and the Red Cloud moved to intercept, joined by the cruiser, Laibok. The spheres accelerated toward the formation and opened fire.
Sera let fly destruction at the Borg spheres, as Witko took action to avoid the response. Not entirely successful, as the tremors which rocked the Red Cloud indicated.
"A glancing shot on our starboard shields, sir. They are down to 90 percent and holding."
Locke looked at Sera incredulously. "That was a glancing blow?"
"Attack pattern Alpha. Prepare the quantum torpedoes."
The bridge rocked again. "Shields at 78 percent. The lead sphere's facing shield has collapsed."
The Red Cloud delivered its deadly payload at the Borg sphere as the Ajax followed suit. The sphere broke apart, no longer a threat, but there were two more to contend with.
"Wayfarer to fleet. Transmitting shield algorithms now."
"Thrax to fleet. We and the T'Pol will destroy the repair hulks. Keep those spheres off us."
"Occitan to Bonaventure. Some of those cubes are not as defunct as we thought."
Another blow to the Red Cloud sent Lock an inch off his chair.
"Evasive pattern Delta-Five, Mister Witko."
The Red Cloud's port shield buckled, and the Borg cutting beam ripped into her side.
Ensign Jackson, the bridge engineer, replied, "Hull breech on decks nine though thirteen, starboard, forcefields holding. Structural integrity at 70 percent."
"Dammit, keep us out of their fire!" Locke shouted. "Sera, ready another photon spread. Witko, bring us around."
The deck heaved again.