The Prize – The plan
by HoD Ro' Matlh & 2nd Lieutenant Zorc Dat'oxo & Sogh Germite Ephilom & Ne' Michelle "Mike" Young & Soghla' HIchop Matlh & Soghla' Terri (Tell) Hope & Soghla' Jared & Soghla' Marie St. Helene

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Title   The plan
Mission   The Prize
Author(s)   HoD Ro' Matlh & 2nd Lieutenant Zorc Dat'oxo & Sogh Germite Ephilom & Ne' Michelle "Mike" Young & Soghla' HIchop Matlh & Soghla' Terri (Tell) Hope & Soghla' Jared & Soghla' Marie St. Helene
Posted   Tue Feb 21, 2017 @ 11:46pm
Location   IKC FHew Briefing room, Deck 3
Ro' sat at the head of the table. On either side of the table the senior crew had assembled to hear the plan Jeeves, the computer, had developed. In the centre of the table was the lynch pin to the whole exercise. All the crew watched it uncomfortably.

Ro' listen as the plan was outlined. The Corporation were a dangerous group made up of a number of small cultures and capitalist interests. They were smarter business people than perhaps the Ferrengi. They had the power to tempt and cajole even the most hardened and honourable warrior. Each of the crew had been faced with a tempting offer, and it was still unclear if any of them had succumbed. When the corporations reach grew large enough they would be able to tear down empires, by simply supplying the populace what they desired at the subtle cost of what they needed most and valued least.

"The Corporation," he said softly when the plan was finished, "Would sell us our glory in exchange for our honour. The would sell the Federation peace in exchange for integrity. The Cardassians would exchange intelligence for wisdom. The Galaxy would dance to the Corporation puppeteers. It is true, they must be stopped."

"But this," he gestured to the device sitting on the desk, "does it warrant this?"

He stood up and walked around the room talking aloud, reviewing the plan, "We have a way to cripple and demoralize the Corporates in a single strike; a Borg beacon planted on their Corporate home world. There is a prize there that the Corporation guard more closely than any other, as it is the reason the Vetus supply them with what they need. when the beacon summons the Borg, the Vetus will not help them, they cannot risk their technology falling to the Borg. The remaining tech is all fairly primitive, and no match for the Borg. The planet will be over run and every man, woman and child will be assimilated."

"But the prize, whatever that is, will be lost. The Vetus Warlord will withdraw his support. The epicenter of the Corporation will be lost and the Borg will slowly clean up any stragglers, using their own technology and connections against them. It is a master stroke."

"But to destroy a world like this..."

He turned to look at each of his senior staff, "There will be no songs sung of this action. It cannot be known that we have done this. We act for the good of all without their knowledge. We are the only ones with the capacity to do so. I need to know what each of you think before we make a final decision."

"Tell, you are my first officer, and this is a command decision. What would you have us do?"

"It's a hard decision Cap'n. You can't condemn innocent people to the Borg. We all know you can't make a deal with em and they have assimilated so many. The Corporation might be the better option, we hit them right were it hurts, right at the center to it's leader. There is a saying in Africa If you cut off the head of a snake, it is then only a rope.

"HIchop, of everyone, you feel most strongly about the Corporation. Have you the stomach for this task?"

HIchop was silent. He had been so sure when he gave the order, but now?

"Jared. I hesitate to ask you, knowing what we do of your races past, and how you have come to be here today. But you of all of us are aware of the impact this could have. What do you have to say?"

Jared just shrugged.

"Marie, always the pragmatist. Does the cost balance with the benefit?"

“No,” she said without hesitation. “I know what I would say if I was on that planet. I know what I would say if it was Nouvelle Nouvelle Caledonie...and the gods know I have no love for the people there. I don’t care if the people who run this Corporation want to rule the galaxy. We are talking about a planet of trillions but how many run the Corporation? A few thousand maybe. I will not condemn trillions to Borg slavery because of the sins of a few thousand, no matter how despicable those sins.”

"Germite, our man in the field. You understand when a knife is needed more than a bandage to close a wound. What say you?"

This was beyond mind boggling. He had seen battle after battle, but never the complete destruction of a world. It seemed to be more a matter of state than the crew of a small ship sitting around a table making decisions that had potentially far reaching consequences. "This seems like the no-win scenario that Starfleet is fond of putting their junior officers through, what is it called? the Hakuna Matata? ( I don't know, it's mind boggling.

"Zorc, you have not seen the Corporation first hand, so I think you will have the hardest time on this mission. Share your thoughts."

"I think to kill a few to save many is a price; to put a planet ablaze to defeat and Enemy is what the strong are capable of doing." Dat'oxo said. "In the words of of Generals past,' to defeat an enemy is to wage a war they cannot win.' If we give this Corporation to the Borg and a few innocents are killed I would not care, the battle would be honorable." He said with some pride. "But sending the Borg; honorless automatons in essence is to send a machine in humanoid skin to do a Klingon Job. "Kahless has said in his beginning 'The way of the Warrior is found in death, Honor is found if fighting for what is right." HE looked at the Captain. "Sending vile targs to do a warrior's job from the shadows is no Honor. If it is found what we did Kahless will judge us and I fear he will cross his arms and turn his back on this plan." The Borg are an enemy as well as the Corperation, let them fight among themselves alone is fine, A warrior protects the weak that is what we do. Billions made into living death is not a war I wish to fight."

Ro' took his seat again, his eyes never leaving the device, "I thank you for your opinions. They are much the same as mine."

"However, If I were to ask each of you a different question, perhaps the answer would be different. Marie talks of trillions in slavery to the Borg, but I ask you if we aren't sell the same number or more into slavery to the Corporation? Zorc, you speak of our honour, but can you say with certainty that none in your won house would sell a part of their honour for power? That none in the Empire would align with the Corporation for a greater seat on the council? We have done so before, with the Romulans, the Federation, and countless others. How will Khaless act knowing we could have prevented this and did not?"

"If you were shown a child, and told they would grow to be Molag the Destroyer, would you let the child live? We do not have the option any longer to just let it pass. We either act to destroy the Corporation at this cost, or we are complicit with the corporation and accept whatever they do."

He stood slowly to his feet once more, feeling every ache in his old body.

"You all swore loyalty to me when you came on board; promised to follow my orders or die trying. To do so brings you all honour, even if the task I choose is not a good one. As such, the decision is mine, and the final responsibility and blame falls to me. I had hoped that my final days would be a glorious battle to be remembered in the songs of the Vetus. I see now that it might be that I am to be remembered, if at all, as the slayer of worlds and murderer of innocents. The cost of saving the Empire may be my very soul."

"ToH," he said quietly dropping his gaze. For the first time any had seen he looked old. The fire left his eyes, and there was nothing left but resignation. "We go."

Hichop had lost all respect for the captain. Who knew what we would find on the planet. Surely there would be some innocent people caught up in this, perhaps children or the infirmed. He would follow the captain and end the Corporation but he would not live another day after. There was no honour left. "I am with you Captain"

Marie was disheartened by what she heard but not surprised. “Captain,” she said. “Once again you’ve presented things in black and white. You’ve presented us with a question that allows only a yes or no answer. That’s not really the situation here though, is it? We’ve all seen the Corporation. We know what they can do. What makes you think inviting the Borg here will see the end of them? The leaders will already have made contingency plans; plans to address any emergency. They will see the Borg coming and they’ll make sure that they survive. They’ll sacrifice anyone and everyone on the planet if they need to but they’ll make sure they survive. And what will happen then? We’ll be pariahs and the Corporation will still fulfill its plans.”

Again it was the computer that responded, "An astute observation, Soghla'. Fortunately, I am aware of the Corporations procedures and strategies. While it is true they have contingencies, they are unprepared for the arrival of a Borg cube. Even the Federation at full strength was unable to halt a single cube. The corporation are far less capable. Nor do we need to kill everyone, only present a single crippling strike to upset consumer confidence. Whether the Entire population escape or none do, the arrival of the Borg will destabilize the Corporation at a critical time. IF you are to proceed this must be done within the next three days."

Ro' breathed heavily, "And we are two days from our target. We best hope there are no delays."

"I have anticipated that contingency," Jeeves continued. "The Device on the table is merely the actuator. The beacon itself was launched automatically two days ago. It should be reaching the planet in thirteen minutes."

"WHAT!" Ro' exploded. "Who authorized that?"

"I was given strict instructions to determine a path to eliminate the Corporation, regardless of the cost. That means I have allowed for disobedience of a direct order from the Captain, and the risk that an angry crew will terminate myself or the mission."

"If you opt to do nothing, the beacon will eventually activate itself, but I cannot determine when, or if the impact will be significant. IF, however, you proceed to the planet and plant the activator I calculate a 96% chance of reducing the Corporation's capacity to 12% of it's current market capability within the next financial period, effectively crippling it."

Ro' fumed, "TOH! The blow is struck, and a new choice is presented to us, an even worse one. Now we have three choices."

"We can do nothing, and let the Borg beacon activate when it will."

"We can go and do the bloody act and end the lives of those on the planet and the Corporation."

"OR, we can go to the planet and rescue it. WE can destroy the Borg beacon and save the lives of everyone on that world."

"So, now tell me. What is the moral high ground? What should we do?"

“If Jeeves is correct,” Marie said, “then we can proceed with minimal collateral damage, as Starfleet so euphemistically puts it. However, I do not see why the Borg would target the Corporation and leave the local population alone. They aren’t usually that accommodating. They won’t care who they assimilate, just so long as they’re assimilated. Unless....”

"I think you misunderstand the nature of the Corporation," Jeeves provided. "There is no delineation of Corporation and non-corporation. Everyone on that world is a core member of the corporation. They don't have passengers or tourists. This planet is where it all started and it is where all the money and all the personnel flow through."

Marie allowed herself a few moments thought. “Jeeves, is there any way to present the locals as being unsuitable for assimilation? I recall reports of the Borg only assimilating peoples if they thought it would add to the collective mind. If the locals were seen as offering nothing but the Corporation had something unique to offer....”

"Records show the Borg are motivated to add 'Technological and Biological distinctiveness'. The Corporation qualify on both fronts. The only way to make them unappealing is for them to all ready have all that could be gained from assimilation. Even then they may do so just in an exercise of material harvesting."

Marie tried again, “Also...there was a boy called Icheb. He was infected with a virus that would sweep through the Borg. Could we infect someone something similar and take down the Borg as well? We could kill two birds with one stone and, in this instance, I don’t mind a bit of genocide.”

"Unfortunately, Any viral agents I could devise to infect an entire planet in the space of a few days could be easily countered by my counterpart within the Corporation. Perhaps someone like Morgan Pass could be more effective, but I doubt we have time to find him, develop the toxin, and deliver it prior to Borg arrival."

"Believe me I have been working on a variety of options to achieve the outcome that was identified. It is no small task to invent a strategy i would not foresee and be able to counter."

Ro' gritted his teeth, "So we are back to three choices; end the Corporation, save it, or go on as if nothing happened."

“I wasn’t thinking of infecting the whole planet,” Marie said peevishly. “I mentioned Icheb for a reason. Just infect one person then let the hive consciousness do the rest. If, as Jeeves says, everyone down there is part of the Corporation then it won’t matter who we choose. Not that I think they’re all part of the Corporation. Most are probably just workers; they have less say in what the Corporation does then I have in what this ship does. Usually there’s just a few up the top who make the decisions and reap the benefits. But let’s not let philosophy get in the way here.”

"We are not discussing alternatives, Marie," Ro' cut in, "as interesting or as involved as they may seem. The question is simple. Do we go to the Corporation Homeworld? If so, do we go there to save it or damn it?"

Ro' looked around at the silent and sullen crew. He nodded in understanding.

"None of us like this, but our hand is forced. We go, at least, to see what the situation there is. Then we can make a better informed decision."

"First I need a volunteer. We are going to need to get word back to Qo'noS and the Federation, and we daren't risk communications. We are going to load someone into a probe casing and send them in person. It will be uncomfortable and dangerous..."

"I volunteer," Zorc stepped forward before Ro' had even finished. Ro' considered for a while then nodded, "Make what preparations you need and report to the Sensor room. JaqwI' will set you up."

"Once he is fired, we set course for the Corporation Homeworld."