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BETA TESTING
Prologue - Cursed Treasure
Posted October 6th 2013 by Raemet

"It would appear that the debris is intact," Raemet explained, analyzing the sensor readings which scrolled quickly before him. "And I am detecting no other vessels within sensor range - Borg or otherwise."

Mordred heaved a sigh of relief, as did all of the senior officers around her.

"That is very good to hear, but even an undefended Borg Sphere can pose any number of risks. We need to be prepared for anything," Mordred cautioned.

Jennifer Morgan hesitated, then asked, "Are we sure we are doing the right thing here, Ambassador? I mean... our assignment was to determine the extent of Borg activity in this quadrant. We now know exactly how far they've gotten."

Nobody spoke for a few deafening moments. The looks on the faces of all those gathered said plenty.

"All we know is that there is a disabled Borg Sphere less than two lightyears from our present location. We do not know how it got there, or why it is no longer operational, but we do know that if we go back to Starfleet now and tell them we found signs of Borg activity just a few weeks' travel from the outer reaches of the old Romulan Empire, then they will most certainly react with alarm and undue haste," Ocal explained.

"We need to know more," Raemet agreed. "It is entirely possible this Sphere was damaged when the transwarp corridors were destroyed, and happened to land hundreds of lightyears closer to Romulan space than the nearest Borg world."

Raemet then brought up a galactic chart showing the Milky Way galaxy on the large holographic display in front of them.

"This is the last known configuration of the Transwarp Network the Borg utilized over a decade ago. There was an endpoint in close proximity to this sector, but the main hub in the Beta Quadrant is still thousands of lightyears away. The last report of Borg activity in this sector anywhere near the Romulan Empire's former borders was here," Raemet pointed and paused.

Everyone knew what system that was, but no one would say it aloud.

"None of the species we've encountered in this region have been particular helpful," Jennifer reminded. "Most have never heard of the Borg, and those who have were second- or third- hand accounts. That's certainly a good sign."

"But the fact remains... El-Auria is still a long way away from here, and this Sphere is the only evidence we have that the Borg have gotten anywhere near the Romulans."

"Well, that, and..." Raemet started.

Again, nobody spoke. For a moment, they all seemed to think back fondly of their lost crew member, Mor'tah. His had been among the ships lost in the battle against the Romulan renegade, Nero, and his dreadnaught vessel, but no remains of the Frontier's former "diplomatic" officer were ever found.

"That ship out there holds answers," Ocal began. "And we need them. Prepare four boarding parties and have Master Jackson place his Marine unit on standby."

"His men are always on standby," Raemet quipped. "I find their incessant preparedness drills unnerving."

"You're only saying that because half of them are to prepare his men for the possibility you might snap and try to assimilate the crew again," Jennifer joked.

Raemet was not amused and quickly changed the subject. "There is one other matter I was hoping to discuss before the senior staff is dismissed, Ambassador."

Mordred nodded and offered Raemet the floor.

"I am concerned that this may be a trap."

There we many exchanged glances at this notion.

"The Borg are not known for their deceptive prowess," Ocal observed.

"A few assimilated Romulans would have changed that," the commander said wryly.

"But they are known for adapting to any scenario. If they have learned that the easiest way to lure us in is to play dead, then we should be prepared for that possibility," Raemet suggested.

Mordred agreed. "Then let us prepare. We are running out of time..."

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