Larger Font   Reset Font Size   Smaller Font  

Missing in Action

Peter David

  Star Trek: New Frontier novels by Peter David

  In chronological order

  House of Cards

  Into the Void

  The Two-Front War

  End Game


  Fire on High

  The Captain’s Table #5: Once Burned

  Double Helix #5: Double or Nothing

  The Quiet Place

  Dark Allies

  Excalibur: Requiem

  Excalibur: Renaissance

  Excalibur: Restoration

  Gateways #6: Cold Wars

  Being Human

  Gods Above

  No Limits (anthology edited by Peter David)

  Stone and Anvil

  After the Fall

  Missing in Action

  POCKET BOOKS, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

  1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020

  This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

  Copyright © 2006 by Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved.

  STAR TREK is a Registered Trademark of Paramount Pictures.

  This book is published by Pocket Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., under exclusive license from Paramount Pictures.

  All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever.

  For information address Pocket Books, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020

  ISBN: 1-4165-1645-X

  POCKET and colophon are registered trademarks of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

  Visit us on the World Wide Web:

  The Past

  We are Borg.

  Our current location is unknown.

  Theory: Enemy action attempting to disorient us.

  We cannot be disoriented.

  We are Borg.

  We are as one. One who are many, and many who are one. We can be neither disintegrated nor pulled apart. That which attempts to resist us invariably tries to sever our unity. Such attempts will always fail, for we cannot be resisted. Resistance is futile.

  Futile. Summarizing the hopelessness of the situation for any who endeavor to oppose us.

  We are currently faced with a situation.

  We have assimilated…

  The Queen will command a full report, and we must accommodate, for we are Borg.


  New technology.


  Summary as follows: We have assimilated new technology from a race we have designated as Species B221. Technology determined to be a conduit. A means of moving through space with an efficiency and speed that far surpasses that of simple light speed. It is technology we do not currently possess. It has now been assimilated.

  The technology, designated “a transwarp conduit,” was not completed. Simply under development.

  Had we known, assimilation might not have been undertaken. We could have permitted them to continue their development of the transwarp conduit so that we could then assimilate completed technology. Instead, that which we have absorbed is unfinished. Lacking in full functionality.

  But we are Borg.

  We are complete unto ourselves. Therefore, if we have assimilated the technology for the transwarp conduit, then we must be able to complete it ourselves. That is the way of the Borg. We complete what we find, and improve it beyond anything that its creators might have been able to conceive.

  This Borg vessel—the ship that is making this report—was assigned by the Collective to test the transwarp conduit, as it has been developed, retooled, redesigned, and completed by our Collective mind and will. Whatever the outcome of this initial test, and whatever the fate of this segment of the Collective, all information and results will remain part of the Borg core. If we are destroyed, the development will continue. The transwarp conduit will become a weapon in the arsenal of the Borg. The technology will yield its secrets to us. That outcome is inevitable, and nothing can change that.

  Resistance is futile.

  We are…Borg.

  We activated the transwarp conduit at precisely two-twenty-one-set-one-set-two. The mechanisms within our vessel functioned perfectly, or so we believed. The conduit appeared in space at heading of one-eight-one-mark-five. We approached the opening and took readings on the energy output from within the conduit. That was all we had intended for the initial experiment. The conduit, however, functioned beyond expected parameters.

  We were pulled in. As we passed through, this vessel was strafed by energies of uncertain origins. We believe they had a variety of effects upon us, but we do not know precisely what those might have been. We are still processing information and plan to have specifics soon.

  Although we did not expect to be drawn into the transwarp conduit, we did anticipate the possibility. We had projected potential scenarios in which our vessel would emerge at some other point in our galaxy, or perhaps another galaxy altogether. These anticipatory scenarios evolved from the fact that the conduit’s original developers had not yet found ways of limiting and channeling the technology’s potential. Since we had not been completely certain that we had accomplished our aim in tailoring the technology to our needs, we did not know what would happen once the conduit was activated.

  Our current situation is outside even the most liberal parameters that we had developed.

  We do not believe we are in our galaxy.

  We do not believe we are in another galaxy.

  We are not even certain we are in our known universe.

  Our surroundings are alien to anything that we have experienced before. We are not in space. We are in an environment that is entirely viscous. At first we thought it the fluidic space that serves as the point of origin for the troublesome Species 8472. But that seems not to be the case, since it contains fundamental trace elements that are not present in any biochemical analysis performed upon that species. If anything, the viscosity seems far greater than the environment of Species 8472. We are able to move within it, although not without effort. It resists our attempts to scan it. Although it is difficult to be certain, we believe there are traces of biogenetics all about us. Nevertheless, with the current status of our scans, it is nearly impossible to determine where it is, or how readily we can assimilate it for our own needs. There are also trace elements of oxygen and hydrogen permeating the thickening layers surrounding us.

  We are attempting to reactivate the transwarp conduit so that we can return immediately to our own space, although we do not know for certain whether such attempts can or will be successful. At the moment, we…


  Something is coming toward us.

  Our scanners remain unable to determine specifics. It appears to be another vessel. It is not Borg. We do not know the nature or background of the oncoming vessel. It is far larger than this vessel. It has noticed us and is approaching us in a manner that suggests an aggressive posture.

  We are not concerned. We are not deterred.

  We are Borg.

  We will conquer. We will assimilate all that endeavors to stand in our way.

  The vessel is almost upon us.

  It is contacting us.

  It seeks to communicate with us.

  Perhaps it is intending to surrender so that…


  It intends to attack us.

  We are informing it that it is proceeding from a false assumption. It cannot conquer us. It is we who will assimilate it, and not the reverse.

  It does not know who it has encoun

  It does not realize that its time of dominance in this sphere is over.

  It looms before us now, five times our size. Its inordinate size has lulled it into a false sense of security. It does not understand that it is at our mercy.

  And we have no mercy.

  We are Borg.

  We will inform it.

  “We are Borg. You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.”

  We wait.

  It responds.

  Processing assessment of tone and intent.

  Assessment completed.

  It is expressing amusement.

  Obviously it does not appreciate the gravity of its situation. It appears to be preparing to fire upon us.

  We will destroy it and assimilate its remains.

  “You will be assimilated. Resistance is fu

  The Future

  The Spectre


  Commander Soleta, late of the Federation, dedicated agent in the service of the Romulan Praetor, sat in her quarters aboard her stealth vessel and thoughtfully studied the data chip that she held delicately between her fingers.

  “I wonder who died for it?” she said aloud.

  She knew that someone had. Xyon, the cheery spacegoing pirate who had obtained it for them, had as much as said he’d had to kill someone to obtain it. She wondered who it might have been. She wasn’t concerned about the morality of it. She had been given a specific assignment: to get information on the new weapon the Orions were developing. She, in turn, had made use of Xyon’s unique talents, and he had gotten the job done. So here it was in her hand, and Xyon had needed to get it over someone’s dead body.

  Had it been an innocent? Had it been someone of no real consequence? Was it, perhaps, an Orion spy who had tried to get in Xyon’s way? And what of that spy? Knowing Xyon, he had probably left no traces of the body, or bodies, so it would remain a permanent mystery.

  Weapons systems. Sometimes she felt as if the universe was a massive chess game being played, where one side would come up with a weapon that another would put into check, and the other side would simply develop a new weapon to overcome the previous one. And so on and so on, greater and greater weapons, more and more impressive means of annihilating races, planets, star systems. She had to wonder if someday, someone would develop a weapon so powerful that there would be no such thing as a “check” for it. Instead it would be check, mate, and game over.

  “Who died,” she said again, staring at the chip, continuing to turn it over in her hand, “to try and keep this information from us? So that we can use it, build the weaponry ourselves, or figure out how to thwart whatever it is the Orions make…until, of course, they overcome us in turn. Perhaps…” She set it down carefully upon her desk. “Perhaps we should try and cease the endless cycle for once.”

  A small model of a Borg cube sat upon her desk, a gift once given her by Elizabeth Shelby—something of a Borg expert—and her only possession from her previous “life.” She picked it up, hefted it. It had satisfactory weight to it. She brought it up and held it over the chip. It would take such little effort to bring it smashing down upon the chip, crunching it into uselessness. Then the nameless Orion, who perished in an attempt to keep a secret, would not have done so in vain.

  Her hand did not tremble in the slightest, not betraying in the least the indecision within her. Then, very slowly and carefully, so as not to risk damaging the chip, she lowered the Borg-ship model and placed it gently next to it.

  A useless impulse left over from a time when I had a conscience.

  There was a buzz at her door. She called out, “Come.”

  Her tribune—the Romulan equivalent of a first officer in Starfleet—stood in the doorway. His name was Lucius and for as long as he had served under her, Soleta hadn’t the faintest idea where he stood in terms of his loyalty to her. He maintained a resolute poker face in all dealings with her, remaining always stiff and formal. He never appeared to relax or let down his guard with her. Then again, as near as she could determine, he never let down his guard with anyone. It was possible she was overanalyzing, or perhaps even underestimating the wisdom of keeping one’s guard up at all times.

  Lucius had uncommonly pale skin for a Romulan, which provided a sharp contrast to the darkness of his hair. His face was almost triangular, and his eyebrow was so perfectly arched that Soleta suspected he trimmed it to make it come out that way. His pointed ears were long, tapering, and elegant. He was only a year or two older than Soleta, but he had an almost regal bearing that made him seem even older. As someone who was half Vulcan and half Romulan, Soleta envied him somewhat. After all, Lucius knew exactly what he wanted and who he was, and so set out to get it. Soleta…well, there were days when Soleta didn’t have the slightest idea what she wanted or who she was.

  This was shaping up into one of those days.

  “Hail, Tribune,” she said evenly.

  “Hail, Legate,” he replied. He preferred that alternative Romulan term for captain to the “Commander” favored by others of her crew. When she had asked him point-blank why he would use the more archaic term, he had been utterly forthright in replying: “Because you have served in the Romulan military for a fraction of the time that I have. ‘Commander,’ to my mind, is a title earned through years of service. Not accorded by imperial whim to a latecomer with a history that is…dubious. However,” and he had squared his shoulders, “if you wish to register a complaint with the Praetor, and he instructs me to address you in that manner, then naturally I will comply. Or you can naturally request another second-in-command, who might prove more…flexible.”

  It was certainly tempting to do so, except that Lucius had a stainless record, was an experienced hand, and also commanded tremendous respect from subordinates. He could be of tremendous use to her, if only he’d cooperate. “And how will the rest of the crew view me, if my second-in-command is not referring to me by the proper title?”

  He had pondered that a moment, and then nodded. “I can see how it might possibly sow disrespect among them. Very well. I shall refer to you as ‘Commander’ in the presence of others, and ‘Legate’ privately. Would that be acceptable to you?”

  She had considered that, and then nodded. “I hope, Tribune, that eventually I will live up to your standards of excellence.”

  “As do I, Legate,” he had replied.

  Since then she and Lucius had maintained a calm, cordial relationship. But he still referred to her by the more antiquated rank. It had been annoying at first; however, she had come to be amused by it, even asking him what she would have to do in order to be addressed by him as “Commander.”

  “Convince me you could kill me,” he had replied. “Then you would have my full respect.”

  “I see,” she had deadpanned. “Well…I’ll keep that in mind.”

  Having put the Borg cube aside, she sat back in her chair, her fingers intertwined and resting upon her lap. “Do you bring me news, Tribune?” she asked. “I’m growing a bit bored sitting here, waiting for the next instruction from the Praetor.”

  “As am I, Legate,” he said. “Unfortunately, the situation has not improved. I am here to inform you that another communication cycle has passed and we still have not received instructions from either the Praetor or his recognized emissaries as to how we are to deal with the information chip.”

  She gestured for him to sit in the chair opposite her. Naturally he did not. He did, however, acknowledge her invitation to informality by drifting over toward the chair and resting one hand lightly upon it. “Our orders were most clear,” he said. “Once having met up with Xyon and recovering the data chip from him, we were to withdraw from the immediate area and wait for rendezvous information.”

  “The Praetor does like his secrets,” Soleta said regretfully. The individual they were supposed to turn the chip over to was then supposed to proceed with the ship to a hidden scientific research location. Praetor Hiren preferred to keep weapons knowledge seclude
d from those under him whenever possible, on the assumption that they might use it without authorization against enemies of the Empire or—even worse—against the Praetor himself. It was certainly a paranoid way to live. Then again, as the old saying went, just because one is paranoid doesn’t automatically mean that people aren’t plotting against you. She shook her head. “Even so…I’ve grown accustomed to his caution, but this is beginning to exceed reason. I feel as if we’re wasting time out here…ours and his. What’s the point of commanding a stealth vessel if we can’t utilize it?”

  “There seems to be very little,” her tribune agreed. He paused and then said, “Might I suggest an ‘activity’ to engage us while waiting to hear?”

  “Are you suggesting sex, Tribune?”

  He looked startled for a moment, but then actually smiled. “I have…vague memories of such activities. But merely vague ones.”

  “I can sympathize.” Soleta gestured for him to continue.

  “You have a permanent order to keep abreast of the movements of the Excalibur and Captain Calhoun, especially if they come within our sphere of interest.”

  “Yes,” she said cautiously. “Has that occurred?”

  “If coming within ten thousand klicks of us constitutes ‘within our sphere,’ I would have to say yes.”

  Her eyes widened. As far as distances in space were concerned, ten thousand klicks wasn’t much at all. It wasn’t enough to provide a threat of collision, but relatively speaking, it was spitting distance. “Why so close?” she asked. “Were they looking for us?”

  “I do not believe so,” said the Tribune. “They were heading into Thallonian space. Our trajectory projection indicates that—if they do not deviate from their present heading—they are on a direct course with the planet Priatia.”

  “Priatia?” Soleta frowned, trying to call to mind what she remembered of the world. During her time on the Excalibur, she had certainly spent enough time in Thallonian space. She had used what little downtime she had in a productive manner, researching every planet that she was able to find out about.