A metal scrape shrills from the fog.
A shadow falls.
Another metallic shriek; another shadow falls: a Borg drone.
She peers through the murk: A wave of reaction passes through the Borg, like a herd of prey to a predator.
All Vexa can see is a glimmering, and sprays of dark droplets against interface panels. The metal scrapes in her ears, taut and quivering.
The dark figure courses through their number like water through rocks. The shadow whirls. Something emerges from the back of a Borg drone.
A long, thin blade.
The Borg falls, and the wakizashi hisses through the fog with its aria of death.
The mercenary Grifahni.
He whips around and penetrates their number again. One falls. Another. A drone clutches for him, and dies. Blade levers appendage, sash cut, impalement. Assimilation tubules cut down in mid flight. They were already falling when Vexa first saw them. Two more drones fall.
His entire body, an unceasing instrument of death. The wakizashi, death's radius in spiral.
He moves in silent, explosive grace, in unceasing counterbalance to the live blade. The wakizashi slices unhindered through energy shields and molecular matter, cleaves mathematically-precise vectors through flesh and blood and bone. It arcs through the hivemind a drone at a time.
His kill efficiency, pure logic. The wakizashi hums like a live wire, finishes a sweep through limb and strikes anew. Grif attacks the Borg as one – like an impenetrable vortex whirling through their number. Everything that violates the wakizashi radius falls. The many, outnumbered by the one.
He cuts a swath through them like a reaper scything through the thin Vulcan grasses in the high valley of her home.
The remaining Borg retract.
And fall like cut rustweed.
The wakizashi sings through the last standing Borg like it wasn't there, as he rotates down into a lunge, sword extending like a stinger, listening as the last body falls behind him. Breathing hard in shadow, deadly appendage runneling from its razor tip.
“No surrender,” he says, rising.
Vexa stands, phase rifle hanging. He was right, and her logic would always be subservient to this moment, her life, held in the wakizashi scabbard. Forever subjugated to this emotional, illogical being. She thought death by the wakizashi might feel like drowning. Peaceful.
He flicks and scabbards his sword in one fluid motion.
He sees her, and locks the wakizashi – and her katra - into place with the finality of a winning argument.
Suddenly more transport patterns helixed into cohesion with a greenish glow. Light transmuting to matter, matter coalescing into cyborganic Borg drones. Laser rangefinders centered on Grif in the fog. The master systems display indicated that the remainder of the invasion party were redoubling in engineering, to entrench and finish the job. The wakizashi
came alive, drawn and cut in one lightning-fast motion – into a hammering barrage against the Borg's body shield – but it had adapted to the ancient weapon's atomically-thin edge. All Grif received was impact shock of blade against energy shields reconfiguring into some kind of translucent cohesing shell.
Vexa saw the scene, and decided that if Jace were to die, the Borg would first have to go through her. She fired her phase rifle.
No physical effect. But in capturing their attention, she succeeded.
She jumped a rail into the bay and ran across to the opposite wall. The Borg followed her and moved toward her, while Grif battled his way through their reach.
Vexa slammed open a wall panel to expose a plasma relay, and set to manually disengage it.
It would not respond to her input. The Borg had overridden commands.
“Remember, Grif!” Vexa shouted. “Where the last intruder put you!” She ran to the master systems display and engaged the impulse engines. “You may wish to save yourself some trouble and assume your position now! Or this will be your last broken order!”
The Perseus Tertiary warp core powered up, thrumming through the deck and through her bones, and Vexa engaged engines at half-impulse. As the Borg centered on her, she backed up to a wall and leaned hard.
A drone raised his arm appendage as he neared her.
“Adaptation is futile,” Vexa said.
She lowered her phase rifle and fired a beam at the exposed plasma relay. It exploded.
The ship launched into impulse.
The Borg blurred like inky watercolors - and vanished
They were caught in a dead zone formed in the engineering inertial dampening field. As one, they hit the back wall at half the speed of light.
Vexa skirted the wall and made her way to the station. She powered down the engines. As the ship stopped, the Borg shield cocoons rolled through the fog, into the center of the bay, each a capsule of crystallized Borg sand. Not even the polyalloys of their mechanical components had retained molecular cohesion.
Grif emerged from the shadows and looked over her handiwork.
“That was new,” he said.
Death. Someone speaking. So much death.
“They were already dead,”
“Walking neuroelectric impulses led by machine. Not alive like you and me.”
“You and me. Illogical.”
“That may be. But we just saved every life on this ship, and millions and billions more.”
“The galaxy, Jace.”
“Lieutenant Grifahni, I am in your debt,”
she heard herself say.
He faces her. “Not debt. An unbreakable chain. Each to the other. Our lives forged in honor.”
Grif engaged the workstation and activated the decon environmental controls. “I'll go turn myself in. I, uh, don't want to cross you. Ever.” He paused at the blast door. “Sochya eh dif, Ve Xa
Peace and long life
. She noticed him.
“You wanted to know when Commander Munich got out of surgery. She is recovering well, Lieutenant.”
He thought better than to speak, and retreated.
“Mene sakkhet ur-seveh, T'hai'la
,” she said when he was gone. Live long and prosper, my lifelong friend
Grif left her there, lost in her fog of illogic. She leaned against the console, thoughts conflicted, body producing a storm of overwhelming neurosensory impulses. She felt like the Borg Heavy Cruiser - an abandoned vessel in coldest, uncharted space, whose core was overloading.
Suddenly, a transporter field penetrated the space and formed its reconstituting array. Vexa, twitching with uncertainty, breathing heavily, defied her body's overwhelming impulse to run. She lifted her phase rifle at it, the emitter nozzle steady as hot desert bedrock. Her finger slid on the trigger. She inhaled deeply, and did not blink.
“Drop those weapons or die,” she warned the five clad in commando black.
The weapons were lowered. The leader dropped the nose of his compression rifle, turned and removed his face shield. “Stand down, crewman,” said Captain Tuvok. He waved off the security commando team behind him.
She lowered her weapon and straightened, attempting to restore her logical composure. “Captain, you have well exceeded...expected probabilities.”
“As have you, distinctly, Sublieuten – Lieutenant
He bent down to inspect a halved Borg, forensic logic sorting itself in his mind.
“And where is Chief Grifahni now?” He eyed the bay.
“Lieutenant Grifahni has been confined to quarters, sir.”
Tuvok processed the information with no indication of judgment Vexa could discern.
“The Borg Collective?”
“Do you require assistance Lieutenant Vexa?”
She slung her phase rifle.
“Everything is under control, sir.”