"Nevertheless it is a fore-gone conclusion that there will be more 'hawks' than ‘doves’ within the Klingon delegation to the Unity Conference. It is essential, therefore, that we...” The other three were never to learn what Captain Picard thought essential, as he suddenly winced, his face instantly draining of colour.
“Captain?” Asked Riker, puzzled. Without answering Picard slowly stood, then all but dashed to the door of the ready room and out onto the bridge.
“Increase speed to maximum warp!” he ordered the helmsman.
At Op’s Data swivelled in his chair to face the captain. “Might I remind you, Sir, of the warp limit of factor 3 imposed by Starfleet Command within 10 light-years of Earth?”
“Engage!” Insisted Picard, ignoring the android’s interruption. “Picard to Engineering; I’m going to need everything you can give me, Mr LaForge. I want all systems operational and all back ups ready.” The thrum of power that permeated the ship rose in tone as the engine that was the heart of the Starship Enterprise took on a faster, harder, more urgent beat.
“Captain Picard?” asked Spock, who with Worf and Riker had followed Picard out onto the bridge.
“Sir? What is the matter? I sense a ...” began Deanna Troi who had had the Conn whilst the others were in conference.
“Not now Deanna,” Picard interrupted, shooting her a quelling look. “Mr Worf, we could use some help at tactical.” He said without looking at him.
Commander Riker strode down to stand next to the captain whom he knew perhaps better than anyone in the galaxy. “...Is it...?” He asked. Picard nodded grimly, his lips a hard, tight line. Riker’s face too paled, and his eyes widened.
“Red alert!” All hands to battle stations!” Commanded the Enterprise’s First officer.
* * *
Between the orbit of the Earth and the Moon the fabric of space twisted in upon itself, then a hole opened up, the edges of which pulsed with unimaginable energies. From out of the rift, in single file, shot one huge metallic cube after another in a long line, like a blockish armada. Before the last cube emerged and the rift closed in upon itself the line had broken up. Each cube split off to take up a position above the Earth until all 32 of them formed a geometric pattern surrounding the planet.
Effortlessly all of Earth’s communications were subverted. From each active device came the chilling, quasi-mechanical voice feared the galaxy over.
“WE ARE THE BORG...”