While engineers pore over the wreckage of the salvaged alien shuttle, the computer records are downloaded for Commander Adams to review. Having heard of a psychic impression of the Borg associated with the shuttle, Adams takes personal interest in what the shuttle saw, and discovers that the shuttle had been chased by Borg ships – smaller ones than the cube that attacked the Federation at Wolf 359, only a little larger than a runabout – and tried to escape via the subspace distortions near the planet it crashed on. Adams, confident they are now either on the edge of or within Borg space, immediately meets with Tchang and Sebastian, who are preparing Sikarian officer candidates for their assignments throughout the fleet.
The meeting sets a plan in motion – a meeting with the council of captains is arranged, though the trio meet privately with Goull ahead of time. The captain of the Miton is often a contrarian, and in this situation the Starfleet commanders believe it best to head off dissension. Commander Adams reveals to the Sikarian captain that his scars come from significant personal experience with the Borg, and that he knows what he is talking about when they bring their plan of action to the council. Reluctantly, Goull agrees to cooperate.
With the morale-building ceremony of Class 100’s graduation looming, the council opts to share information, but use the new threat as a means of preparing emergency fleet procedures with the new officers – something that had been ad-hoc until now. Additionally, the Odyssey’s scientists come up with two potential options for increasing the fleet’s sensor range to keep one step ahead of Borg scouts. Using the warp capable probes in the ventral pod as sensor platforms that move with the fleet, and using some of the alien technology collected during their trip to attempt to adapt it to the ship’s already-impressive sensors. Regardless, with the fleet’s stealth its only true protection, the Commodore orders both plans investigated.
The ceremony arrives aboard the Posel, and Commander Sebastian provides a speech to the new Sikarian fleet officers. As the event turns into a party, Commodore Tchang takes aside the senior staff and passes out official promotions for Sebastian, Annira, Petra, and Dash, recognizing their efforts keeping the fleet afloat for the last two years. During this, Commander Adams watches a mote of light cross through the bulkhead and pass into Eudana. The former Sikarian leader was there supporting a protege who was joining the Marce’s crew. After confirming what he saw via sensor scan from the Odyssey, Adams informs the Commodore, who confronts Eudana. The mote, seemingly controlling Eudana and recognizing they had been spotted, departs the Sikarian and races away. Tchang takes Eudana to the Odyssey’s sickbay, while Sebastian continues to occupy the party-goers. That leaves Adams to track the seemingly intelligent mote of light. Finally cornering it within a Sikarian, they’re able to talk briefly and Adams convinces the being to leave his current host. Separate from a host, the being (made of verteron particles) is slowly dissipating. After working out a means of communication via the being’s telepathy and with the Commodore’s permission, Adams escorts the being aboard the Odyssey, and learns more about it. It was part of a community of its kind that had been attacked and absorbed by the Borg, not far away. This one, possibly the last of its kind, is running from them and came here to hide.
Adams and Selveth determine there isn’t a good method available at the moment to preserve the being outside a host, but there is time before the mote is in mortal peril. Selveth vows to find a method to preserve it, Petra is suggested as an interpreter for the being as a fellow telepath, and Adams returns to the bridge as the ves’Targ, the fleet’s forward scout, returns with news – the Borg are ahead, and heading this way.
To be continued…