Captain Jean-Luc Picard, his ship repaired, must now reassemble his crew. With the departure of both William Riker and ship's counsellor Deannna Troi, the captain must replace his two most trusted advisors. He chooses a Vulcan, a logical choice, and for his new first officer, Worf. But the Klingon refuses the promotion and the new ship's counsellor appears to actively dislike Worf. A simple shake-down mission should settle everything. Except that once again, the captain hears the song of the Borg collective. Admiral Janeway is convinced that the Borg have been crushed and are no longer a threat. Picard believes she is wrong, and that if the Enterprise doesn't act the entire Federation will be under the domination of its most oppressive enemy.
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Pocket Books/Star Trek
August 27, 2007
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Excerpt from Star Trek: The Next Generation: Resistance by J.M. Dillard
By ship's morning, Picard woke to find Beverly gone and his mind clear, free of its nocturnal terror. He dressed, and by the time he mentally reviewed the tasks of the day, he had convinced himself that the Borg chatter had been no more than a vestige of the dream.
The first stop was engineering. Picard entered to find the android B-4 sitting, legs sprawled with unselfconscious gracelessness, clad in the mustard jumpsuit he routinely wore. His expression bland and benign, B-4 let his ingenuous gaze wander, without curiosity, over his surroundings. Picard could not determine whether the android had actually registered the captain's entry, or the presence of Geordi La Forge or Beverly Crusher.
"Captain Jean-Luc Picard," B-4 said at last, without inflection. From experience, Picard knew this was not a greeting; B-4 was merely parroting the name of an object he recognized. But for the sake of the others, the captain took it as such.
"Good morning, B-4," he said briskly, with false cheerfulness. Silently, he nodded a greeting to La Forge and Beverly.
Geordi stood next to the android. Beverly stood across from the two of them, her arms folded, her expression carefully professional, that of chief medical officer and nothing more. Technically, since B-4 was not human, what was about to occur could not be called a medical procedure. Nonetheless, Beverly had insisted on coming.
Geordi's features were composed as well, but there was a poignant undercurrent in his prosthetic crystalline eyes. Data had been his closest friend, and spending time with B-4 -- Data's double in physical form only, certainly not in personality, intelligence, or attitude -- had only served to underscore the loss of that friend. Geordi had worked the past few months with B-4 in hopes of summoning Data's memories -- to re-create, if possible, all that Data had been.
The effort had proved cruelly futile. B-4 had regurgitated names, snippets of events from Data's past, but had never put them into context, had never shown the slightest interest in their meaning.
But as he had wandered the Enterprise's corridors, Geordi so often in tow, B-4 had kept Data's ghost alive for them all. Picard still struggled with a sense of guilt: in the most human and loving of gestures, Data had sacrificed himself so that his captain and crewmates might live. Even months later, Picard was visited too often by the horrible instant of materializing on the bridge, of seeing the dazzling flash of the Scimitar's destruction, of knowing that Data was dead, incinerated into nonexistence...
There had not even been time enough to say good-bye. He missed Deanna Troi dreadfully; she was serving with her husband Will Riker aboard the Titan now, and only in her absence had Picard come to realize how much he had relied on her as a counselor not only in professional matters but in personal ones as well. He was limited now to remembering what she had told him shortly before she left the Enterprise with Will:
Data's final act was one that brought him the most happiness; it gave his entire existence the greatest meaning. Yes, he could have lived centuries longer...but what's the use of immortality if there's no meaning to it?
Case in point, Picard thought, looking at the android in front of him. As the captain took his place beside Beverly, B-4 sat staring vacuously, oblivious to the feelings of the humans surrounding him. Data, of course, would have been keenly aware. Picard tried, and was entirely unsuccessful, to suppress a memory: Data, standing in the scalded dust of the desert world Kolarus, lifting B-4's head from the sand and holding it before his eyes in unwitting imitation of Hamlet contemplating Yorick's skull. Brother, Data had called him. So like Data, to have yearned for the closest of human relationships.
"B-4," Geordi said, with the same gentle tone he had used so often with his old friend, "do you realize what we're about to do?" La Forge unconsciously fingered the laser wrench in his hand. Nearby sat open storage compartments: one the size of a torso, another that of a human cranium. A third was designed to house limbs. B-4 would soon return to the state in which they had first discovered him: disassembled.
The android looked in turn at each of them: Beverly, Picard, then back at Geordi.
"You are sending me away," B-4 said.
"Yes," Geordi answered, his tone infinitely patient. "You're going to the Daystrom Institute. They're going to study you and learn about your design, how you were made."
"How I was made," B-4 echoed tonelessly. He glanced at the storage compartments, then at the deck.
"We're going to deactivate you now," Geordi persisted. "Most likely permanently. We talked about all this, remember?"