“I sssay we just ssshoot it, Captain,” Boots hissed.
“I am inclined to agree,” Helvetica said to him. As the conversation continued, she poked through the reply options, grinding her teeth. “Does this dialogue ever end? It’s like I’m playing a Foundry mission. Which one of these conversation trees leads to ‘a gunfight ensues.’” A few more clicks through blocks of text (that she’d already read) and she finally found something that she liked.
“I was sent by upper management, they are not happy with your numbers. Stand down and I promise to be gentle with the audit.”
“Good one,” Rocky-Road said.
“Resistance detected,” the Borg creature said. “Hard sell mode engaged.”
Rocky-Road blinked and hissed with a sharp intake of breath. “I…don’t think it believed you.”
The supervisor gestured towards the window and the USS Oxford. Outside the Borg sphere, the tractor beam glow increased in intensity and the starship shuddered as bulkheads began to buckle, atmosphere erupted in geysers from burst seams and metal contorted. The Miranda-class starship began to accelerate away from the sphere. Helvetica narrowed her eyes and opened her mouth.
“Wait,” she said raising a hand—she had to restrain herself from moving closer to the hulking monster but moved between it and the window (and the USS Oxford.) Both of her rifles came up in that instant, focused on the Borg supervisor’s head.
Helvetica felt the deck rattle beneath her and heard the sound of torpedo launches. The resulting explosion she sensed more than saw, with her back to the window and guns levelled, she could only catch the expression on the faces of her away team. The Borg had just destroyed the Oxford. Rocky-Road looked thunderstruck, her jaw hanging open; Boots’s reptilian face did not leave much room for expression or facial muscles, but she could hear the metal of his pistol creak in his grip.
“New employees will be provided personal vehicles at company expense,” the Borg supervisor said. “Potential employees present now have need for vehicular benefit from joining the Collective. Your subscriptions have now started, please report to New Employee Experience chamber for indoctrination and assimilation.”
“I am cancelling my subscription!” Helvetica shouted.
One finger depressed the trigger on her polaron rifle—unleashing a stream of purple fury into the face of the Borg supervisor—and she rapidly rotated her disruptor rifle forty-five degrees to blast the empty suit sitting behind the desk. Boots took this as his queue, he hissed and disruptor bolts splashed across the chest of the supervisor. Rocky-Road hit a button on her tricorder sending a scanning beam darting across the room.
The result of the assault was immediate and dramatic. Helveticas polaron beam and Boots’ disruptor blasts seemed to splash off the “face” and “chest” of the Borg supervisor to no effect, striking the flat blurry planes of a personal shield; but when the disruptor beam hit the hollow suit an ear-shattering multi-voiced chorus of screams erupted.
The Borg supervisor reared back with a roar. Helvetica and Boots exchanged a look, separated and headed for opposite sides of the room around the supervisor, and turned all their guns on the suit.
The author Helvetica writes the Helvetica Voyage, Helvetica Venture, and Hellvetica Chronicles for Vox Ex Machina and proudly supports the works of Kyt Dotson, whose writing includes Mill Avenue Vexations (a gothic webserial featuring cab driver Vex Harrow), Black Hat Magick, and Helljammer and invites you to check out the novel, The Specter in the Spectacles by Kyt Dotson.