“Richard?” Admiral Carmen Calavicci knocked on the Temporal Agent’s office door while opening it.
“This is Aramjul Sika. He’s got an interesting historical mission in mind.” She gestured at a part-Xindi sloth, part-human guy who shook Rick’s hand.
“Nice to meet you, Agent Daniels,” said Sika.
“Likewise, I’m sure. Your mission?”
“I’ve been wondering why the Borg don’t seem to have ever gotten any sort of traction in the Mirror Universe,” replied the hybrid.
“Interesting question,” said Richard. “Got any specific time frame in mind?”
“Yes,” said Sika, “2012.”
“Oh?” asked Carmen.
“I’ve found some evidence of mirror Borg traveling to their version of the Alpha Quadrant,” replied the historian. “It’s of course earlier than we had it here, in 2063.”
“Indeed,” Carmen replied. “Well, I’ll leave you to it. Mister Sika, I think you can go to 2012 Terra without too much of a need for makeup or alterations. Perhaps trim your beard a bit. Standard period-appropriate garb is required of course. I do wish we had a dedicated Quartermaster. Perhaps my next man hour budget will allow it. Ta.” She departed.
“She’s right,” Rick said, “let’s get suited up. Where and when on Terra do you want to go?”
“I’d like to go to November the third – a few kilometers outside of Caledonia, Illinois. It’s farm country there.”
“Then I guess we’ll wear flannel shirts and jeans,” Richard said after consulting a PADD.
Properly attired, they took off in the Audrey Niffenegger, a time ship. “Why is this ship named what it is? And, er, why aren’t we just using a time portal?” asked Sika.
“Audrey – the real Audrey – she wrote The Time Traveler’s Wife. See, Deidre Katzman names all of the ships, and she likes old time travel fiction. She and Kevin O’Connor are working on a replacement for Audrey – the HG Wells,” Rick explained as he flew the ship. They were cloaked and were in the Delta Quadrant, as temporal flight could take a while and they didn’t want to be spotted and accidentally change history that way.
“And my other question?”
“Oh, yeah, it’s because we’re crossing to another universe. You have to fire what’s called a pulse shot and then you can scoot through. Coming up on 3000.”
“This ship seems slow, seeing as we started from 3104.”
“That’s why she’s being replaced. You might as well get some rest. I’ll call you when we hit the twenty-first century.”
Once he’d woken his guest, Richard began to fly spatially as well as temporally. When they were over Saturn, and the temporal display read 2015, he fired the pulse shot. The area sparkled and then showed red instead of silver, as the pore between the two universes began to open up. The vibe changed, and it felt like everything was suddenly downbeat. “That’s some bad mojo, right there,” he said to Sika.
“You’re tellin’ me. The Xindi people were more or less exterminated under the Empress Hoshi Sato. I’m not a fan of the Mirror Universe, but it’s interesting to study.”
They went through and the passage closed behind them.
Rick got them into a tight orbit above the moon – Luna in that universe – and grabbed the transporter remote control. “Okay,” he said, “we’re going to observe without interference. You know, of course, that any long-term contact is likely to result in what are called pariotric changes to the timeline. And that’s damage that we would have to repair. But a few minutes here and there are purely otric – that is, they have no appreciable effect on the timeline. But keep one thing in mind, Sika. We are likely going to see some bad stuff. Don’t go ape on me, man. This is the Borg we are talking about. They are unpleasant in any universe.”
“Right,” said the hybrid. “I’ll stay out of things.”
They beamed down and the area was the outskirts of a farmer’s pumpkin patch. There was a tree, and they hid behind it. It was very early in the morning, and a little girl was sitting in the dirt and, apparently, playing.
“This is it?” whispered Richard. “I’m not getting any Borg readings, but they might be scrambled.”
“Perhaps there’s been an error?”
They continued watching. The child had a few carrots with her, and was holding one out to a small, brown rabbit. The wild animal was curious and hungry. It cautiously took the carrot from her. “I think I’ll call you Patrick,” she said. The rabbit kept munching on the carrot.
Suddenly, there was a slight whining sound – a sound that, Richard knew, meant someone was beaming. It was two Borg. They stood over the child. “An experiment,” one of them said. “Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated, and your intellectual and cultural gifts will become a part of the collective.”
The little girl was dumbfounded. She didn’t even realize that, maybe, she should scream. Instead, she grabbed the rabbit. “Don’t hurt us.”
Tubules were injected into her neck, and she was assimilated, rabbit still in her arms. The rabbit, too, was injected, and it became limp. One of the Borg then hit a control and all four of them were beamed out.
“What the hell –?” asked Rick.
“I don’t know,” Sika admitted. “Let’s get back,” he said, as the girl’s anxious parents burst out of their home to try to find their missing child, who was never, ever going to come back.
“The next indication of the Borg and humans in the Mirror is from 2278. So it’s after Spock killed Kirk. But we don’t know a lot about this time period,” Sika explained as Rick flew the Audrey. “It’s in the Delta Quadrant, but it’s, well, it was an easy defeat by the Witannen.”
“The Witannen? They’re a bunch of kinda haughty people with flowers in their scalps instead of hair. They’ve got little vestigial wings, too, if I’m remembering them right. They’re hardly major league warriors. How the hell did they defeat the Borg?” Rick asked.
“Only one way to find out, eh?”
Rick flew to the Delta Quadrant and 2278. There was a Borg cube over Dawitan, the Witannen home world. And the cube was in shambles, easily defeated with a single phaser blast from an emplacement on the ground. “What the hell is going on?” asked the hybrid.
“Uh, let’s go to yesterday,” Richard suggested. He flew back one day in time. They beamed onto the Borg cube, small phasers at the ready.
And that’s when they saw the disaster, which could only be described as ecological.
There were rabbits. Hundreds if not thousands of them were all over the Borg cube. They were in vents and turbo lifts, and scampering through the hallways. And the Borg, themselves – they were all mostly rabbit, with twitching whiskers and tall ears amidst the usual trappings of Borg assimilations, such as drills for arms and artificial optics in place of real eyes.
“You’re the historian,” Rick said, “What the hell do you think is going on?” They were walking past a station where there was some sort of an experiment going on. Rick blinked a few times – it looked like the Borg were growing some sort of a huge root vegetable.
“I, uh,” Aramjul thought for a second. “That bunny the little girl was holding. We saw it; it was assimilated along with her. It must have, good lord, it must have given over its, its cultural and intellectual gifts to the collective.”
“Which included eating carrots, being fluffy and submissive and, and, doing what, what comes naturally to, to bunnies.”
“Yes, yes, of course,” said the historian.
“We gotta get outta here,” Rick said, engaging the transporter remote control. Once they were safely back on the Audrey, he looked at the sloth-human hybrid and said, “I guess we now know what happened to the mirror Borg.”
“Yes,” said his passenger, “It was death by fluff.”