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Archie Phoenix

"Tom-Servo's Last Stand"

“I can die, but my foes cannot.”


The absolute worst tactical scenario that could possibly exist for an individual in a combat situation. It is the job of a warrior to kill the enemy while preserving his own life. If the enemy cannot be killed, the battle for sheer survival is already lost.


This was the reality which Tom-Servo faced. His enemies, now, were not in another realm of existence where they could only interact with his invulnerable light-projection. Now they were in the Aether’s Caress mainframe. Here, his only existence was the computer code which comprised his being. To the others, his code appeared much the same way his light-projection appeared in the other reality. This was the way that Samantha-Kent willed it; she‘d explained that representing the computer code this way allowed her partially sentient mind to better understand the Aether data network. But it left him vulnerable. The weapons which the Arcadia team wielded were constructs of their mind, transformed into computer code through their neural links. Code could harm code. If Tom-Servo were shot, he would cease to exist.


Samantha-Kent had learned right away that this process could not be reversed. She’d tried snapping the teams’ neural links by sending bad feedback through the signal to Arcadia. But something blocked the attempt on Arcadia’s end. The same block would ensure that any harm to the team members’ coded counterparts would not extend to the real team members on the ship. They could simply will the damage away! Though they did not yet appear to fully grasp this, they now had the same power that Samantha-Kent had!


But without the vulnerability!


Their coded counterparts were just that -- counterparts … simulacrums … computerized puppets. The real Malik Pilot and Torre Ze’Rea and -- damn it all -- Tom Servo were on a ship out of Tom-Servo’s reach. But Tom-Servo’s code was not just an extension. It was his very being!


All of this had been made clear by Samantha-Kent. And yet she’d made his objective very clear -- stop the team from Arcadia. How? If they did not share his imminent mortality, how could he stop them?


Only by interpreting the objective as loosely as he could and altering his methodology appropriately. His gun could not kill, so he would use it to distract. And that was just what he was doing. Someone was trying to break into the mainframe access terminal (another vulnerability which Samantha-Kent had insisted on!) -- that was the primary threat. Archie-Phoenix would try to deter her efforts from within. Tom-Servo would flood the chamber with gunfire to keep her mind filled with fear and doubt. The attention of the others would remain on his gun, and so they would not be able to provide assistance and reassurance to the primary threat as Archie-Phoenix worked on her conscience directly.


And he would avoid hitting any of them! At all costs! Anyone hit by his phaser fire would know instantly that his weapon was useless. The distracting agent would be rendered inert.


He was thankful that Daena was not on the team. It was bad enough that he had to do this, to fight his good friend Malik and Sam and even his own self. But Daena … his beloved. He’d already abused her enough by treating her as a prisoner in the other reality. To have her here, wondering if a shot from his rifle could intentionally end her life? He inwardly railed against Samantha-Kent’s control, even as he knew that this would please her.


“I can die, but my foes cannot” … but the objective can still be met. Daena had given him the great sense of purpose of a Starfleet security officer. Even if, sickeningly, he needed to apply it to the orders of a perverse entity to whom he owed no willful allegiance, he loved Daena more for gifting him with such an admirable sense of duty. These things he told himself in silent consolation, for he doubted that he would survive this encounter …

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