Joy Class Androids

How It Should Be

They were going to fight. Of course they were going to fight. When the Progenitors distributed DNA on Qo'noS, they had neglected to encode the First Law of Robotics.

Kevla and Lorca had taken Joy's place at the mouth of the cave. Joy went head down in the second rank, waiting for either to fall, to move up and take their place. The Hawking was coming in? Fifteen minutes? Joy started scanning the structure of the stone above the cave mouth, found more or less what she wanted.

"Lt. Kevla? If we retreat down the cave, and seal the mouth, they haven't got the equipment to clear the entrance before the Hawk gets here. We don't have to fight them!"

Kevla quickly glanced back at Joy. The expression on her face read as though the thought of not fighting had never really occurred to her. She turned back to the front of the cave and resumed firing. "Lt, I misspoke earlier. The Hawking is not on its way here. It is holding position just within the quarantine zone, approximately ten minutes ETA. They will come if we require their assistance. However, I do not wish to expose any more crew to that parasite if at all possible, and we were unable to pick up these attackers when we landed. Who's to say they don't have equipment available?"

Joy sat down, and thought some more. We hadn't picked up power sources. The enemy had shown up as life forms, but not as energy sources. Shielded. Their equipment must be designed not to be detected, which is why they were short on power, and why they were having trouble penetrating the AXE suits. Also, the enemy was very close when the shuttle came down. They showed up quickly, without transport signature, in armor. That implied we landed right on top of their base, or at least a camp. Joy made a mental note note in the future to choose not the best place to secretly land a shuttle on a given planet, but the fifth or sixth best.

If it was a full scale base, escalating the conflict might not be wise, but given the tactical situation and Kevla's determination to fight... Joy's necklace started to blink as her network port accessed the shuttle's computers and asked for diagnostic summary. Main Impulse drive crippled. Shields projectors on the starboard side needed replacement. Thrusters operational, but not powerful enough to lift the ship in the current gravity. Phasers operational, but the main array was underneath the bow of the shuttle, not in a position to aid this fight. Transporters operational! Sensors were damaged but still fairly good shape, especially if external scanning sources could be tied in.

Joy quickly pulled a cable out of her purse, slipped one end into her suit's data jack, the other into the tricorder. Her necklace continued to blink. She sent a command to the shuttle, whose sensor array became supplemented by Joy's suit sensors and her external tricorder. Joy quickly used the shuttle's sensors to survey the shuttle's weapons locker, found what she wanted, and sent another command to the shuttle.

A crate of grenades shimmered into existence next to her.

Joy opened it. "Kevla? Please confirm this unit has authority to use lethal force against those attacking this cave?"

Turning at the sound of the transport and Joys question, Kevla's eye locked on the crate. Kevla started to say something, then stopped, looking at Joy. "Confirmed. You may use lethal force against those attacking this cave." Kevla continued, softly speaking in the Klingon tongue, but Joy couldn't quite make out what she said. Something unfavorable about software engineers?

Joy read the serial number on the grenade, accessed the shuttle's computer again, and received the information that this batch's fuses tend to run 4.183 milliseconds on the slow side. Joy adjusted the materialization altitude accordingly, pulled the pin, and placed the grenade on the floor in front of her.

There was a chorus of "Joy!", but it fell silent as the grenade shimmered and vanished. There was an explosion outside the cave mouth. On the tricorder beside her, there were two less life form readings.

Another grenade. Another pin. More death.

This was not how Black Seven would have done it. Black Seven liked to transport her enemies a few thousand feet in the air. She had enjoyed hearing them scream until they hit the ground. Joy Eleven was not Black Seven anymore. The programmers Kevla had just cursed had seen to that. No, Joy's victims did not scream. It was the killer who wanted to scream, she who was forced to cause the death of a sentient being.

Perversely, in misery, Joy thought that was how it should be.