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ACT FOUR

 

FADE IN

 

24 EXT. SPACE

 

A star system with what appears to be a massive asteroid belt - except that the belt is made up of dark and angular fragments of metal and artificial materials. 

 

25 INT. AVENTINE - BRIDGE

 

Cmdr Bowers observes this image on the Aventine’s giant viewscreen. The debris belt is growing larger the closer Aventine gets to it, Bowers’ anxiety rising with it. OPS manager MIRREN (human female) speaks up. 

 

MIRREN
Two minutes until the alien craft
enters optimal sensor range. 

 

BOWERS
I want a detailed threat assess-
ment as soon as possible. 

 

KEDAIR
Aye sir. 

 

Captain Dax stands over Mavroidis’ shoulder at the helm, likewise spellbound by the view on the screen. Bowers gets up from his chair and stands with her.

 

DAX
Sam... do you notice anything
unusual about that debris field? 

 

BOWERS
It all looks the same to me. 

 

DAX
That’s what I mean. The colour,
the composition - it’s obviously a
starship graveyard, but I’ve never
seen one this uniform. Have you? 

 

BOWERS
Could they all be from the same ship? 

 

DAX
My guess is it’s from thousands
of identical ships. 

 

BOWERS
Mirren - run a scan on the debris.
See if you can identify it. 

 

Mirren works her panels, and almost immediately looks up in mixed horror and amazement. 

 

MIRREN
It’s Borg. All of it. The entire ring.

 

KEDAIR
Thirty seconds to contact with
alien craft.

 

BOWERS
(quiet)
Captain, please - we’re clearly in
Borg territory. Not to mention
thirty seconds away from whatever
managed to overpower and destroy
several thousands of Borg ships.
I strongly recommend we withdraw. 

 

DAX
Sam, this could be just what we
need. These people, whoever they
are, they’re clearly no fan of the
Borg. They might help us. 

 

BOWERS
And they might not.

 

KEDAIR
Visual contact. 

 

DAX
On screen. 

 

The main viewscreen refocuses, concentrating on the alien craft approaching them. Dax watches with fascination... This object is not a starship, and not a normal space-going life-form. It appears to be a simple BALL OF ENERGY, a coruscation of colours with no obvious means of propulsion. 

 

Mavroidis suddenly stands from her chair, catching Dax off guard so that she and Bowers back away. Mavroidis turns awkwardly to look at Dax and Bowers, acting like someone who is not familiar with operating a humanoid body. The Ullian woman regards Dax with a blank stare, and her VOICE sounds doubled with an ethereal quality. 

 

MAVROIDIS
You are not Borg. 

 

Dax realises this is a first contact situation - and a very delicate one. Meanwhile Kedair subtly beckons Bowers over to her console. He goes, leaving Dax to handle this.

 

DAX
To whom am I speaking? 

 

MAVROIDIS
We are the children of the storm.

 

DAX
I’m Captain Ezri Dax of the - 

 

MAVROIDIS
You are trespassers. But you
are not Borg, so you may live
- if you depart now. 

 

At the tactical console, Helkara and Bowers have joined Kedair, all looking over the computer’s scan of the entity. They speak low so as not to interrupt Dax’s talk with it. 

 

KEDAIR
An energy shell, a spherical
force-field with no apparent
source of power or projection. 

 

HELKARA
Surrounding an atmosphere of
incredibly dense, super-hot liquid
hydrogen laced with trace metals. 

 

KEDAIR
And hundreds of individual energy
signatures that I would have to
characterise as life signs. 

 

Dax is still talking with the entity inhabiting Mavroidis.

 

DAX
We only wish to establish peaceful
contact and communication, on
behalf of - 

 

MAVROIDIS
Contact is not desired. It has
taken many centuries to purge
this space of Borg. We will not
allow it to be defiled again. 

 

DAX
I understand. We are engaged in
a conflict with the Borg ourselves.
Perhaps if you could help us
understand - 

 

MAVROIDIS
No. Reverse your course and make
no attempt to violate our space.

 

Helkara and Kedair continue to wrestle information out of the computer, growing more amazed with every bit of data.

 

HELKARA
I’d posit this species evolved in a
gas giant. Their energy patterns
are also consistent with lifeforms
with a high level of telekinesis
and other psionic talents. 

 

BOWERS
That’s how they’re talking through
Mavroidis - because she’s Ullian. 

 

HELKARA
Exactly. I think this species might
have mastered space travel - even
warp flight - through the power
of thought alone. 

 

Dax is still trying to convince the entity. This could be a life line to defeating the Borg...

 

DAX
Perhaps we could return at some
future time - 

 

MAVROIDIS
We do not wish you to return.
Ever.

 

DAX
(sags, resigned)
Very well. We’ll leave - as soon
as you release your hold on
our conn officer. 

 

MAVROIDIS
It is done. 

 

Mavroidis’s eyes flutter and she staggers on the spot, losing her balance. Dax rushes to support her. Clearing her head, Mavroidis gets her body back under control. 

 

MAVROIDIS
I’m alright, Captain. 

 

DAX
Resume your post, Lieutenant. Then
reverse course to the subspace
aperture, maximum warp. 

 

MAVROIDIS
Aye, sir. 

 

As the Ullian woman follows her orders, and the view on the screen swerves away from the debris field, Dax returns to her command chair. Bowers takes his own seat next to her.

 

BOWERS
I’m sorry, Captain.
(she grunts 
noncommittally)
Based on Kedair and Helkara’s
readings, I didn’t see anything
that looked like a conventional
weapon. And one good shot
from a phaser should have been
enough to burst their bubble. 

 

DAX
Then how did they manage to
fight off that many Borg ships? 

 

BOWERS
Captain... I think this is one of
those times we should just be glad
we didn’t find out the hard way. 

 

Dax is forced to agree, but still - she is disappointed.

 

26 EXT. SPACE

 

Aventine heads back the way it came, away from the debris ringed system and its offer of hope... 

 

27 INT. DS9 - QUARK’S BAR

 

The evening has now moved on a bit. Etana and Richter are still dancing, but to slower, more romantic music. The disco ball spins more calmly, casting a pleasant twinkle. 

 

Other couples slow-dance as well, Hetik and John included. Those who are not couples - like Kira, Bashir, Nog, Tenmei and Cenn - sit at tables around the edges of the floor. 

 

Quark works urgently behind the bar, mixing and handing out drinks to his various Ferengi waiters before shooing them on their way. Ro stands out of the flow of traffic. 

 

RO
Where’s Treir?

 

QUARK
Damned if I know.

 

RO
Want me to track her down? 

 

QUARK
She knows the penalty for not
showing up to work. If she
doesn’t want to be here, she
doesn’t ever have to come back. 

 

On the dance floor, Candlewood and Hetik are slow-dancing, both smiling comfortably, immersed in the romance. 

 

HETIK
I wish I could have been at the
ceremony with you. 

 

CANDLEWOOD
It was nice. I’ve never been to a
Bajoran wedding ceremony before.
But why don’t the couple actually
say anything, though? It was all
Kira - Richter and Etana didn’t
say a word.

 

HETIK
Why do they need to? The Prophets
already know what’s in their hearts.
That’s all that matters. 
(beat)
John... about us living together.

 

CANDLEWOOD
Hetik, today’s been such a rush,
for both of us. I haven’t had a
second to think. It’s not a no - 

 

HETIK
No, wait. I was just thinking...
why not skip that part altogether?
Why don’t we get married too?

 

CANDLEWOOD
(bark of laughter)
Ha! Yeah, right. 

 

HETIK
I’m serious. I know what’s in my
heart. I’m pretty sure I know
what’s in yours. And look at
how happy Kristen and Kol are.
I want that for us.  

 

Candlewood stops dancing, looks at Hetik in shock. 

 

CANDLEWOOD
Wait... you actually are serious.

 

HETIK
Yes, I’m serious. I’m asking you
to marry me, John. Will you? 

 

Candlewood stutters and splutters, totally caught off guard, flustered and overwhelmed, no idea what to say.

 

CANDLEWOOD
But y-... wh... No! 

 

HETIK
(jaw drops)
I’m sorry? 

 

CANDLEWOOD
I... look, I s-... j-... No! Hetik,
are you insane? We are not get-
ting married. We’ve been dating
for less than a year, and -  

 

HETIK
(steps back)
And that’s enough for you to know
you don’t want to marry me?

 

CANDLEWOOD
(reaches for him)
What? No, that’s not - 

 

HETIK
(throws him off)
Then what? I’m just a bit of fun
for you, is that it? A good time
until you get bored?

 

Candlewood is very aware they’re in public, and doesn’t want to make a scene. But he’s completely flustered... 

 

CANDLEWOOD
Look, we’re both tired and a bit
drunk, let’s just take a moment - 

 

HETIK
I don’t think I need a moment. 

 

Hetik steps away from Candlewood and begins to walk off the dance floor. John reaches for him, tries to grab his arm... 

 

CANDLEWOOD
Hetik, wait! Let me explain...

 

HETIK
Oh, I think you’ve said plenty.
I’m just glad you said it before
I wasted any more time on...
this. See you around, John. 

 

Hetik tears his arm free of John’s grip and heads off the dance floor, and out of the bar altogether. John is left standing alone and abandoned on the dance floor, surrounded by happy romantic couples, watching the love of his life walk away in a fury... 

 

 

FADE OUT

 

 

END OF ACT FOUR



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