First Contact

The robe itched. It had never been an issue before, yet she now found herself incessantly ensnared in the confounding garment. How in the heck had she endured its scratchy clutches day in and day out?

Summoned to the Bridge, a call that swiftly followed her message, as if the Imperial forces were poised for her words. Alathea pondered the peculiar role she might unwittingly play in the grand tapestry of the new emperor’s existence.

She reached the Bridge just in time for Harry to spill the space beans. “We received a message on the radio, and our translator cannot translate it.”

“Can we hear it?” Alathea interjected.

“Sejbkajh tok!” thundered a resonant male voice through the bridge. Sounded a tad like a duke deep into the Terra project business. Perhaps because the gentleman was employing the Atreides battle lingo.

She gave a nod to Chakotay, “Open up the channel on that same radio frequency, please.” Once a signal blinked from an ensign, she responded in the peculiar tongue, “Sejbkah tok, rahento.”

Chakotay frowned, “Why translator does not work on that language?”

“Because the language is encrypted,” Alathea explained.

“Mylady, I can converse in old English,” chimed a somewhat less profound male voice over the radio waves.

“Marvelous! It seems my gracious hosts will grasp our discourse. Are you a Menthat?”

“Yes, Mylady. You find yourself in quite a tight spot. May we inquire about your status?”

“Menthat, I’m aboard a vessel resembling an unwell amphibian.”

“That ship sports shields akin to the Borg.”

“Aye, akin technology. Surprisingly effective against the Borg’s arsenal. There are humans aboard, descendants of those whose fathers lingered on the old Terra.”

“Mylady, you must transfer to our vessel.”

“That’s the strategy. Also, there’s the debris of my ship here, a package deal. And I’ve pledged payment to the Captain for the rescue and their benevolence. The ship I possess is top-notch and could tip the scales in your house’s favor. I recommend striking a deal with the Captain.”

“Aye, Mylady.”

Alathea faced Chakotay. “You’re well aware that Imperial tech dances to its own tune. No teleporters and an alien jig when it comes to ship connections. Any ideas on how we can make this rendezvous happen?”

“Where are these ships?” inquired Chakotay, giving a nod in Harry’s direction.

“Scanners only show Borg,” Harry chimed in.

“You cannot see them. They’ve got this thing called a no-field that keeps them off Borg and our scanners. Only when they flick that off, your gadgets will spot ‘em."

Chakotay mulled it over. “How sizable is their vessel?”

“We’ve got one ship with a radius of fifty meters,” replied the voice on the communication channel. “Can your accommodations handle something of that size?”

“Yes, indeed. Our shuttle bay’s got ample room. We’ll dispatch a navigation beacon on this frequency to guide them to our bay entrance.”

“So, Menthat, does this cover the plan?” Alathea queried.

A brief hush followed on the other end. The Menthat seemed to relay the conversation, likely to some higher-up noble, perhaps Beli himself. Thankfully, they remained oblivious to her ghola status. Her true life was slated to begin five centuries down the road.

“We’ll be primed for shuttle bay entry within half an hour. Kindly power down your shields and designate the entrance zone.”

Chakotay shot Alathea a worried glance. Alathea grinned. “And they’ll likely request you to keep those shields down. Witnessing the Borg’s reaction when you switch them off might prove rather intriguing.”

“Yes, they’ll come at us with all they’ve got,” Tom added.

Alathea shook her head. “No, they won’t initiate an attack on you.”

Chakotay eyed her, then nodded. “I’ll take your word for it. Harry, shut down the shields.”

As soon as the shields went down, the Borg flooded their communication channels, fervently urging them to halt the impending assault. Simultaneously, all the Borg vessels dropped their shields and armed their weaponry.

“Interesting reaction.” Chakotay raised his eyebrows and smiled.

Alathea chuckled, strolled over to his console, and pressed a button to open the communication channels. “Settle down, the damned ones! No assault imminent. I’ve given my word.”

The Borg ceased their incessant transmissions, but a few cubes hastily warped out of the vicinity, leaving just one—shieldless and armed to the teeth.

“Well, what can we expect now?” Chakotay inquired.

“Hmm, a commander, perhaps even a Menthat, will grace us with their presence along with some soldiers. The grander the reception, the smoother it’ll go for us. Think glitter, my friend. Loads of glitter. It’s like dealing with someone sporting Narcissistic disorder.”


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