The Ferengi ship contained a grand total of eight forcefield-shielded cells, in a short corridor that ended in a dead end on one side and a turbolift on the other. The original inhabitants of each cell, as was the case on leaving Equestria, were as follows:
On the left, as one steps out of the turbolift, the first cell contained a manticore.
On the right, the first cell contained a changeling.
On the left, the second cell contained a very stubborn timberwolf.
On the right, the second cell contained four ponies (three fillies and Flam) and a baby dragon.
On the left, the third cell contained a snow leopard(1).
On the right, the third cell contained a pheonix.
On the left, the fourth cell held a cragodile.
And finally, on the right, the fourth cell held a very nervous cockatrice(2).
By the time the Borg drone arrived in the corridor, the ponies, the dragon and the changeling had already made good their escape, and the timberwolf was on its way out.
Naturally, the Borg did not know which cell the ponies had been kept in. The drone thus ignored the various creatures in its vicinity, and proceeded to check the cells, one by one.
The Collective briefly considered the question of order, and concluded that it would be best to look in the cells closest to the turbolift first; in this way, should the ponies be hiding in any of the other cells, they would have to pass the drone in order to exit the corridor.
This involved walking between the timberwolf and the manticore. The Collective didn't think it would be a problem.
And even if it was... well, drones are expendable.
* * *
The upright, bipedal creature approached the timberwolf. It was only slightly larger than a diamond dog, and smelt of flesh and metal. The timberwolf mentally classed it as 'prey', and, for the moment at least, ignored it in favour of keeping an eye on the manticore. The prey smelt delicious; but if the timberwolf turned to eat it, then the manticore could leap upon it from behind, and steal the prey!
That would not do.
And then the prey creature stepped between the timberwolf and the manticore!
What joy! Now it could attack the prey without taking its eyes off the manticore! Perhaps it could even drag the prey off to a safe place before the manticore took it away!
* * *
As the timberwolf leapt, the drone raised a hand, perfectly positioning it in the path of the timberwolf's nose.
Borg drones are slowed when walking, due to the extra mass of their implants; but those implants come with certain other advantages, as well. For one, the Borg are surprisingly, even incredibly, strong.
The drone's hand didn't even move as the timberwolf's nose struck it, and the wooden beast was once more scattered into kindling. Some of the pieces clattered through where the manticore's forcefield had been, much to the manticore's surprise.
The drone didn't even interrupt his stride, as it stepped into what had once been the changeling's room.
The drone turned around, at the same time as the manticore realised that the forcefield was gone. The manticore roared, spreading its wings and flourishing its sting.
***Manticore. Carnivorous beast. Unintelligent, therefore unworthy of assimilation. May pose a threat to beings of Species 2187-B-UNICORN, Species 2187-C-PEGASUS, and Species 2187-E-EARTH-PONY. Prepare personal shielding for kinetic impact. Destroy.***
It took the drone four point eight seconds, and one punch, to kill the manticore.
***Cell contains body of manticore, some parts of reanimating timberwolf. No sign of Species 2187-PONIES. Timberwolf may pose a threat to potential Species 2187-PONY drones. How can it be permanently disabled?***
A half-dozen more drones beamed into the brig. Each picked up the largest unclaimed piece of timberwolf they could find, and held it still, far away from each other. Magic crackled between the pieces of timber as they tried, unsuccessfully, to combine.
The original drone calmly walked to the cell that had originally contained the timberwolf.
And on to the cell that had originally contained the ponies.
And then to a new cell.
***Cell contains pheonix. Source of heat and light. Feral, may pose a threat to potential Species 2187-PONY drones. It can be easily killed if it can be caught.***
* * *
Fortunately for the phoenix, she was not easily caught. She ducked below the drone's first strike, then flew up and flashed into bright light, enough to blind a dragon; though the drone's ocular implants recovered within a fraction of a second. It made another grab for the phoenix, which dived down, dodged around the drone's legs, and swooped out of the cell, into the cell opposite.
The snow leopard in there did not appreciate a visit from a creature of flame. He roared, sending out a blast of freezing winter air. The phoenix did an abrupt u-turn back out into the corridor; the Borg drone inside its former cell had just turned around, and there were six more by the lifts. So the phoenix dived to her left, away from the turbolift, and then turned left again, disturbing the cragodile and finding yet another room with no exits. She spun about again, leaving the cragodile's cell (noting in passing that the last cell didn't appear to have any exits either, but failing to notice the cockatrice trying to hide in the corner).
There was clearly only one exit(3), and it was on the other side of seven Borg drones and a snow leopard. Fortunately, neither borg drones nor snow leopard could fly; and though strong, the drones were slow enough to evade. Even more fortunately, the snow leopard and the nearest drone were fighting between themselves; it was clear that the phoenix's only chance to flee was to try to dodge past the others in the narrow corridor, and head for the exit.
* * *
***Snow leopard has attacked. Creature is belligerent and likely to pose a threat to potential Species 2187-PONY drones. Creature deforms easily under kinetic impact, but quickly reforms once again after impact.
Memories gained during Species 2187-PONY assimilation attempt III suggest that a snow leopard can be best destroyed by exposing it to a significant source of heat, melting it. Seeking suitable heat sources... suitable heat source located. Calculating trajectory...***
* * *
The phoenix zipped over the drone fighting the snow leopard. The six ahead of it could pose a problem if they dropped those bits of timberwolf and all grabbed for her at once, so she fired off a burst of light to try to blind them before zipping past...
And then half a snow leopard quite suddenly hit her from behind. The sudden weight, not to mention the shock of the cold, hit her and knocked her to the ground. She thumped into it and slid, the melted snow making the floor slippery; she only stopped moving at the addition of a sudden weight on her neck. She glanced up, to see that the weight was the foot of a drone; enough to firmly hold her there, but not enough to break her neck and kill her.
After the shock of the snow leopard, it took her a few moments to restart her natural flames. For some reason, the drone let her do it; and did not remove its foot even when the flames licked its ankle.
Then the drone bent down, holding out the piece of timber it held, and let it catch fire...
(1) An Equestrian snow leopard is, of course, a leopard made entirely out of snow.
(2) A cragodile, consisting as it does entirely of rock, is immune to a cockatrice's stare; in fact, it is the major predator of cockatrices in the Everfree Forest. The cockatrice, having seen the cragodile in the opposite cell, had immediately taken every effort to hide from the fearsome predator; of all the creatures in the cells, it was the only one that had not yet discovered the forcefield in front of its cell.
(3) The grating by the turbolift, having been removed by escaping ponies.