Designation: Danica Wilson
Current time: 7:30 AM, March 6, XXXX
System Diagnostics: Start-up
System Update Information: v1.0.10 is up to date.
Battery Status: Fully Charged …
System Diagnostics: Green
Had I been looking in a mirror when I opened my eyes, I would have seen a florescent blue ring around the green irises of my eyes that signified the boot-up sequence I was programmed with to start my day. Then, the auto-programmed first words out of my mouth. “All systems online,” I heard my metallic voice say. I was utterly disgusted at the fact that I was forced to say something like that. If something was wrong, my diagnostics check would catch it. I reached up and pushed a strand of my mid-butt length golden blonde hair out of my face, and sat up. I felt my feet hit the floor, and pushed my six foot tall frame off of my bed. I crossed the room to my closet, and slid the door open, my green eyes scanning for something suitable for the day.
I finally settled for a white sundress I had hanging toward the front of the closet. I pulled it out, and slipped it off the hanger, which I replaced in my closet. Then, I crossed back to my bed, where I sat down, placing the dress next to me. Slowly, I slipped of the silk robe I had slept in, revealing my red lace undergarments, which covered the extremities of my peach-skinned body. I stood up again, my breasts bouncing lightly slightly as I did. I pulled the sundress over my head, standing again and letting the dress ripple down my form. I cinched the leather belt around the dress just under my breasts.
I stepped to the vanity that stood across from my bed in the dull room and quickly brushed my hair. After several run-throughs with my brush, I grabbed my purse and back-pack and headed toward the door, pulling it shut behind me. “You’re awake!!” the squeak came before I found myself wrapped in a rather big, over-enthusiastic embrace. But then again, that was Ashley.
Ashley Jacobs was my next door neighbor in the residence hall, and also one of my closest friends. She could be a spaz at times, but she was the excitement to my groundedness. “Of course. How could I not be with all of your noise?” I smiled. My sense of humor elicited a chuckle from here. “Still punctual as ever, I see.” She remarked. She never bothered to let her system wake her up. She was normally awake before I was, and had made it her mission in life to make me the same morning person she was.
“Did you finish that work from yesterday?” She asked, now turning to meet my eyes. I only paid her a glance as we moved down a crowded hallway. “Of course. Don’t tell me you didn’t…” Her expression gave her away as she rubbed the back of her neck. “Ash…you know you’ve got to pass these class-“
“But why? What’s the point?”
“Because you need to—“
“For what? You know we don’t age. Wherever we go, we’ll always be 21.”
I shook my head. It was hopeless to argue with Ashley when she was like this. She would just ignore what she didn’t want to hear. It was simply best to change the subject. “So, what were you doing last night?” She smiled, but remained silent. “Oh my god. You had a hot date??” “No no no...not exactly…” She hung her head as we rounded a corner, the heels of my leather boots clicking on the tile, her sneakers squeaking lightly as we walked. “I want to hear about it later.” I said.
As she was still not paying attention, I took her arm and pulled her sideways into a room that was lined with desks in rows that faced a whiteboard. The room was clearly to be used as a classroom, and thus the reason Ashley and I were here, if just a few minutes early.
We made our way to our seats, and I knew what followed. We always arrived early in order to compare answers from the previous day’s work. Or, in cases such as today (Ashley was horrible at actually finishing the work), to copy one another’s work. Normally, this would annoy most people—as it well should – but since Ash actually put in the effort to work on the assignments, I had no objections to helping her finish. So, as I carefully set my purse and bag under my desk, I slid the homework out and laid it on top of my desk. In a mere moment, it was gone.
Silently, I pulled a spiral notebook out of my bag, and opened it to the next empty page, ready for the day’s notes. When my work slid back on top of my desk, I looked over at my companion. I opened my mouth to speak with her again, but closed it when the room began to steadily fill.
The professor had droned on and on, making it hard for me to pay attention but in short intervals. So it was no surprise to me when class seemed to end so quickly. I closed my notebook, and shoved it back in my bag before closing it up, and standing. Ashley and I crossed to the door together, where my phone began to vibrate. I pulled it out of my pocket, and checked the new text message I had received.
Unknown Number: D-000, come to the lab.
I closed the phone, and dropped it back in my pocket with a small sigh. “Go on without me. I’ll try to catch up.” I told Ashley. The two of us usually made lunch plans after our class, and it looked like I might just have to take a rain check on it today.
“Ah. Number zero, thank you for coming in.” A deep voice sounded over the intercom. “Please sit on the table.” I did as I was asked, and hopped up onto the table. Suddenly, I was pushed over onto my back by a robotic arm. “Please lie still.” The voice called, now fainter behind the sound of the moving of the robotic arm. Slowly, my dress was pulled over my head, but not completely off. The panel on my chest opened up, and I went blank.
……Recovery in progress….
Designation: Danica Wilson
Current time: 3 PM, March 6, XXXX
System Diagnostics: Start-up
System Update Information: v2.0.0 is up to date.
Battery Status: Fully Charged
System Diagnostics: Green
I opened my eyes, and sat up. I was in a blank room with just a vague recollection of what had happened. I heard that voice again. “System ID?”
“God, come on, Frank. You just updated my sys-“
“Provide your system ID.”
I sighed, before reciting my system ID and operating information for the voice, I now recognize as my handler, Frank. Handlers are the humans appointed to oversee the agents in the Atlas project. They handled the paperwork, while we got our hands dirty. For the most part, it was small, organized crime the local cops wouldn’t touch. But we had our fair share of others.
“I figured this would as good a time as any to get the update out of the way. We just received word of a murder off campus.”
“Shouldn’t the cops handle this one, Frank? It’s not really the type of thing we handle…” I looked toward the two-way mirror behind which Frank stood. “Yes, normally it would. But there seems to be a connection between this one and a couple of murders that happened earlier this year.”
“As always, safety of all is our top priority. If it’s a serial killer we’re dealing with, then they need to be stopped before anyone else gets harmed.”
“I understand. Are there any current leads?” It wouldn’t hurt to have a place to start. Of course, these leads would be had to come by once everyone knew that Atlas was handling the case. “The details are still a bit sketchy to us at this point. All we know is that whoever is committing these murders is effective. The victim is abducted, without so much as a fight as far as we can tell. Then they’re killed, and the body isn’t found for days.” I sighed. Just the type of case for Atlas. I thought. The inefficiencies of the local police were well known throughout this city, and anytime something came up that couldn’t be solved quick and easily, the cops didn’t want any part of it.
“I also gave you all the information you’ll need on all three victims. Hopefully you’ll be able to come up with something.” I nodded. “Thanks” was all I could seem to mutter as I moved to the door and pushed it open. “Danica, be safe.” I heard his voice call.
I began searching the files on the victims while at my late lunch. Even though I was ten minutes late, Ash had waited on me, and was now watching me pick at my food while listening to her go on and on about something. “Dani, are you even listening to me?” I snapped up at her request. “Oh...uh, yeah, I am. You were talking about class, right?” My face flushed. I was never this far gone when talking to someone. “No, I was trying to tell you about the guy I met last night. But it’s clear you’re not listening.”
“I’m sorry. I’ve just got a lot on my mind right now. That’s all. It’s not anything personal.”
“Sure. So, as I was saying….” As she began again telling me about her date, I just nodded and went back to work, keeping my ears open for any questions, rhetorical or not, that she may ask me. My real focus, however, was the job I had been assigned just minutes ago. The first thing to do would be to find the link between all three victims. Something in common….
At first glance, nothing appeared to link all three victims together. One male, two females. Murders happened in different parts of the town. But then I found it. They were all humans. This alone was not the fact that linked them together, but the fact that did was buried deep in their files. What I found was startling, to say the least. I needed to warn Frank.
“Hey, Ash? I’ve got some things I need to take care of. I’ll meet up with you later.” I slowly stood from the table. Ashley just watched me, a look of defeat on her face. I mouthed the words ‘I’m Sorry’, then tossed the paper plate I had been eating off of in the trash before heading for the door. I quickly pulled out my cell phone, and punched in the number to reach Frank, the unsecure line. I put the box to my ear, let it ring. He picked up before it rang the third time. “It’s me. We need to meet. Now.” ____________________________________________________________ “This must be important for you to call me here.”
“It is. At first, I wasn’t sure. But I’ve checked the facts three times since. It’s the only link I’ve found. But it seems to be a dead end. All three murders have a common link though, I’m sure of it. These victims, they all seemed to work on something called the Victoria Project. But that’s where the trail ends. I don’t know anything else about this ‘Victoria Project’.” At this, Frank met my green eyes with his steely blue ones.
“The Victoria Project? And you’re sure about that?”
“Yes. Does it mean something to you?”
Frank sighed, hung his head. “Yeah. Atlas was the Greek god that carried the world on his shoulders. Of course, you know this. And you also know the reason we chose that moniker. But like everything, creating artificial humans (Frank tried his best to appease me, a quality I admired) doesn’t just happen. With things like this…you do have failures.
“The Victoria Project was one of our biggest failures. That’s all I’ll say…” Frank’s expression had changed, and was now one of chagrin. What little I knew about our killer had just been thrown out the window. Sure, Atlas had its enemies. Even before Atlas, all the way to the beginning there have been those who never supported the cause, and would much rather see all the funds funneled into something else. This didn’t help my cause any.
“Any idea who would want to kill Atlas personnel?” I asked, bringing the conversation back around to the reason I had called Frank. He shook his head. “I wish I knew. We’ve never been in the ‘in crowd’, so it could be any number of people, for any number of reasons.” I shook my head from disappointment. This was going to get worse before it got better.
“Then we wait. We watch all people related to this Project. When our killer shows himself, we move in, right?” “It’s not that simple. The last victim…she tried to tell us she was being watched. She disappeared before we could figure anything out. If they even suspect we know, they won’t hesitate to move first.” I remained silent for a moment, before looking back to Frank. “So, I’m to find a killer who will abduct all my leads right under my nose?” “I know you won’t let me down, Dani.” This almost made me chuckle.
March 9, 10 AM.
I still had no earthly idea where to begin on this case, and what was worse, Ashley was absolutely begging for my attention. I had been blowing her off for the past few days, hoping to find a quick breakthrough. Whoever was behind this was sure taking precautions not to be found. “But you said you would, Dani….”
I sighed, and shook my head. “Fine. But just for today. Then I need to get my assignments done.” This was a total lie. I had already finished them, but was hoping that this would be enough to buy me a few days to work on the case. A smile crept across her face. “Okay.” Her tone enthusiastic, she pulled me through the sliding doors of the mall she had insisted on dragging me to for the day.
After browsing several shops (Ashley was filling up her wardrobe, and I did manage to find me a few more sundresses), my phone went off. I ducked away under the excuse of needed to relieve myself, and quickly answered. “Hello?”
“Where are you?”
“I was enjoying some time at the mall. Ashley insisted on dragging me along.”
“I’ll be there in five.” Frank clicked his phone shut, and I slid mine back in my pocket. I had no idea why he would be looking for me so frantically, but I had to find a way to ditch Ashley before he got here.
I returned to my waiting friend, a small frown tugging at the edges of my mouth. “Ashley, I’m sorry. I need to go. I just remembered I have to finish an assignment for tomorrow. Is there any way I can take a rain check on this? I promise, I’ll make a day for us to get together.” She looked mildly defeated, but I had heard enough of this mysterious man over the past few days to know she would try to con him into my place. “Yeah. Go ahead. I’ll see you around.” She turned and started walking toward another store, her phone now in her hand. I turned to head toward the doors behind me.
It wasn’t long before I saw Frank’s silver Camaro pull up. He already had the window down when he called out to me. “We need to hurry.” I climbed in, the window now being rolled up. Frank didn’t take chances with confidential info. “While you’ve been here, another victim has disappeared. We may be able to track them this time, however. Since you found the common link, I’ve been working on ways to keep an eye on our people without them knowing. To this end, Atlas ‘upgraded’ our agent’s cells. The new ones have tracking chips. It looks like an abandoned warehouse on the other side of town.” Frank was already accelerating at a fast pace toward the location, so it didn’t help when he cut a sharp corner and nearly turned the car on its side.
I rode in silence, formulating a plan of action for the impending confrontation when Frank spied my look out of the corner of his eye. “We take this guy down, Danica. At all costs.” “Understood.” While I did understand Frank’s feelings on this mission, ‘at all costs’ usually meant someone other than the suspect would be killed, a feeling I still had not acquainted myself with. I didn’t have much time to dwell on this thought as the car came to an abrupt stop in front of the location in question. Frank already had a pistol in his hands, the standard issue for self-protection of those involved in an organization like Atlas. He nodded at me. “You take point.” He said, sliding out of the car.
Within minutes, we had made our way to the door, and I had picked the padlock keeping it shut. “This entrance hasn’t been used. It may be a trap? Do you still wish to proceed this way, Frank?” He nodded, pressing himself against the right door as I pulled the left open. He peered around the corner, and then ducked inside. I followed, and then stepped in front of him, resuming formation.
We were now standing in a long hallway, obviously meant to be used for offices. The door at the end of this hall stood slightly ajar, and I could just barely make out the first row of shelving. I pointed toward this door, and Frank nodded in response. When we had reached it, he grabbed the edge of the door, and I raised the gun Frank ad handed me earlier. He pulled it open, and I pushed my way in, turning toward every opening I saw, gun raised in anticipation. I lowered it slightly, and motioned him in.
Frank followed closely behind me, watching our flank as we made our way through the empty warehouse. I was beginning to wonder if Frank had lost his mind on a wild goose chase, when I noticed something out of the corner of my eye. I put my finger in front of my mouth to hush my follower as I moved to the anomaly. I had closed half the distance when it moved away from me. Not wanting to lose my target, I pulled the trigger. The sound of the shot echoed, followed by the sound of the ricochet of a bullet off metal as I missed, narrowly hitting a shelf to the right of my target.
Frank and I took off in a run now, our eyes peeled for the suspect. “I swear I saw something move, Frank.” “I don’t doubt ya, kid. Just keep a steady head, and let’s find this guy.” I nodded, ducking around shelves. It didn’t take us long to catch up to our target again. This time we followed, waiting for our chance. Our target led us toward the center of the warehouse, where I could make out a clearing in the shelving. When we came upon the clearing, we found our target. And sitting in the middle of this clearing, hands tied behind his back was…
“Frank, the missing agent!” I pointed, just as he fired a round at the man we had been chasing. It was then that I became aware of the change in the situation. I had unknowingly allowed myself to become the target, the glint of a gun pointed at me now visible. I readied my weapon, and pulled off a shot of my own as the room erupted into a firefight. Frank and I ducked behind a shelf that had been toppled to clear this center circle. We both fired, and it wasn’t long until I became aware of two shooters now. Our target had backup. I ducked behind the shelf again. “Frank, there’s another shoo—“
About the time I began to inform Frank of the back-up, I watched as a bullet tore through his right shoulder, dangerously close to his heart. I heard him yell, watched him fall to the ground. “Frank!!” I called, nearly diving on top of him. “I’m not gonna make it outta this one, apparently. Just leave me. Don’t forget, at all costs, kid.” I helped lean him against the shelf, wishing there was more I could do for him now, but for the safety of all, I needed to get this guy. I shoved a fresh clip into my pistol, peeked around the corner. A shot hit the ground to my left. They were still trained on me. I would have to take my chances. I started with a roll, and ended up back in the jungle of upright shelves. If I could just get around them…
As I ducked through the shelves, I heard the first guy yell. “Don’t just stand there. Get her!” I didn’t hear a response from his friend, but I didn’t need to. Because the next the corner I ducked around…
“Ash, what’re you doing—“
“I am programed to obey master. All intruders must be stopped. You are an intruder.”
“What’s wrong with you Ash? You know me. And why are you here?”
Ashley reached out, gun pointed in front of her. Something was majorly wrong to make her act this way. She wasn’t her normal self. “And who is this master?” I jumped as a shot rang, shattering concrete below my feet. “What’s wrong with you Ash? It’s me—“ I jumped through a self now as she fired again. “Facial recognition unidentified. I do not know you.”
I began to run again. I didn’t know what was wrong, didn’t understand. But I would make them work for this kill. I ducked through several more shelves, before coming face to face with Ashley again. “All intruders must be killed. I must obey master.” As much as I didn’t want to, it looked like I would have to fight my best friend. “Ashley, please, wake up. You know me. We’ve been best friends for two years…” I grabbed her wrist, twisting it around, disarming her. She blinked, then spoke again.
“Threat to system detected. Must neutralize all threats.” She began to throw punches now, holding nothing back, her pure robotic strength slowing her considerably. I easily avoided these punches, and tossed a few of my own. “Ash, please…I don’t want to do this. Come to your senses.” I connected with one of my hits.
“I-I-I-I musttttttttt neu-neu-neutrilize all in-in-in-obey master-must---“ She blinked, before looking at me. When she spoke, a synthetic voice came from her. “Warning: System malfunction….O-obey….I…D-D-Dani, listen *zzzt* I-I-I was hacked…” Her voice was a monotone now, her eyes a sympathetic blue. “Y-Y-You must-must-must *zzzzzzztttt* get aw-w-w-way. I have been programmmmmmmed to-to-to kill you. Just get out-out-out now. I-I-I’ll take c-c-care of *zzzztttttt* this.”
“Ash….I don’t understand…”
“They-they-they----malfunc-tion---knew….System Overheat….y-y-y-you were watching…Warning: Systems critical….Go, Dani *zzzzzzzzzttttttt*.”
“Who? Who knew? Who are they, Ash? Tell me…”
“No…Obey…U-u-unit A-014 online….Critical system failure….Time. I-I-I’ll han-handle this. Just l-l-leave….Self-destruct primed…”
“Ash…no, don’t do this. Please, come back with me. We’ll get you fixed…” She shook her head no, her eyes begging me to leave. With no android tailing me, I could probably nab the missing agent before leaving. I turned to go, but looked over my shoulder. “Thanks, Ash.” “Mu-mu-must stooooooooooooop intru-tru-truders….System overload….Self-destruct engaged…” I turned. This was my queue to run.
I took off at full speed through the cleared circle, grabbing the victim as I went. I noticed this time that there was not a single bullet coming after me. My target must have gotten smart and headed out as well. I made my way out through the front, with all intention of taking the car Frank had left parked at the curb. I opened the passenger door, and through my ‘cargo’ in before crossing to the driver’s side and climbing in.
I buckled my seat belt. “Hold in. This is gonna be a bumpy ride.” I accelerated away from the curb, and pulled off into the street. In the rearview mirror, I watched the explosion light up the plant. All of the wooden shelves quickly caught fire, and the flames engulfed the structure.
When I was sure we weren’t being tailed by any possible suspects, I pulled down an alley. My passenger had ben squirming and moaning the whole ride here. I untied the rope holding his hands behind his back, and quickly found that it wasn’t a HIM at all, but a female as she reached up with her delicate hands and pulled the bag off of her head. I found out while she hadn’t said a word all ride as she pulled the duct tape off of her mouth.
I extended my hand. “Danica Wilson. I saved you.” She smiled lightly, and shook my hand. “Well, thank you Danica. I am Gloria van Dross, and I owe you my life. But how did you know?” “That’s not important. What is, is if you knew the people that kidnapped and tried to kill you.” She rubbed her temple, and it was then I noticed the bruise. “I’m sorry…” She shook her head. “I was blinded from behind, and then knocked out. When I came to, my mouth had been covered, and I was still blindfolded. My hands were tied behind my back, and I didn’t know where I was, who brought me there, or why.”
“I see. I’m sorry you had to go through that ordeal. But I need to warn you that you’re still not safe. The person behind this was not apprehended….” I opened the glove compartment, and found a piece of paper. She handed me a pen. I quickly jotted down my name and number, and passed it to her. “I’ll be glad to take you anywhere and drop you off, but it needs to be somewhere safe. If you hear anything about whoever did this, or remember anything, you need to let me know.” She nodded, apparently lost in thought.
“I stay alone most nights, I don’t usually keep close friends because of the nature of the job I do. I guess I really don’t have anywhere to go. But I can offer a guest room in my house, if you wish to stay to keep me safe…” I thought heavily about this. After the day I had just had, I needed rest. It seemed as good a solution as any. I nodded before speaking. “I’ll take you up on that offer, though I don’t suppose you’ve had any experience with the D units?”
Her eyes lit up as she looked me over. “I…I actually work for a company that manufactures parts for the D units. So, I guess you’d say they’re my specialty.” I nodded, putting my foot on the brake and shifting Frank’s—now my—Camaro into reverse. “Lead the way.” I offered, putting the car into drive. We drove in silence for a few moments, and I was beginning to get worried about my passenger when she spoke.
“Take a right up here.” I did as I was instructed and took the right. I drove in silence with Gloria, allowing her to soak in the events of the day as I myself did. She instructed me to take a few more turns, and after about fifteen minutes of driving, she told me to pull into a driveway. I silenced Gloria the same way I had silenced Frank back in the warehouse, and then drew my gun. I slowly moved up the walk, checking all of the windows, before reaching the door.
And there, on the doorstep, was a card. I picked it up, and slowly opened it. The card itself was blank on the outside, but inside was printed one word: Loveless
Starting system... ... ... Start-up complete...
Please, listen carefully to what I'm about to say. I can't say much here, as it's not safe. But while I have a few moments of peace, I wanted to check in and say that I'm still here. I promise that when I can find something safer, I'll tell you about everything that's happened since we last talked. I--
- Transmission Interrupted*
.... ... ...
- Signal Reacquired*
I can't say more now. They're getting close. I have to move.
It had been just over two weeks since the attack on Dr. van Dross. The attack that claimed my best friend. The 'official' story was that she had died in a car accident one night. But I knew the truth.
The disturbing truth that whoever was killing Atlas personnel was still at large, though an attack hadn't come for some time. Since the loss of Frank left me without an official handler, Dr. van Dross had taken over the duties.
This was due in part to me. I figured that keeping Gloria close would allow me to catch whoever was behind the attacks.
The faceless name. No matter how many times in the past year I turned that card over and over (enough to very near wear it out), I was still without a lead. The card was clean of any identifying marks, and I had even taken to checking around Gloria's home. There was absolutely nothing.
In the meantime, I had resumed my life as normal (well, as normal as you can get missing your best friend). I was back in classes, and always on the watch for something out of the ordinary.
My only lead on the case at this point was the ever mysterious 'Victoria Project', the only link tying my victims together. And no matter how I pressed, Gloria seemed as tight lipped as Frank had been about the information.
"...Isn't that right, Miss Wilson?"
I looked up from my daydreaming to find the professor of my Physics class standing over me.
"What's that?" I was no good at hiding my disinterest, which obviously did nothing to help the matter.
"I was just reminding the class of the test that will be presented to you next period, though if you had bothered to pay attention at all this week, you would have known that."
Dr. Daniel Rose, the Associate Dean of the Physics department on campus. It was bad enough that I detested the class, but his method of teaching and his attitude did little to help me.
"Sorry. I've been studying late all week, getting ready." A lie.
"Oh, is that so? Then maybe you wouldn't mind explaining the relevance of Newton's laws?" I always hated when he put his students on the spot. It made it impossible for anyone to focus on other things. As a result, I just looked at him and stammered.
"I thought so. It would do you well to actually apply yourself, Miss Wilson." I stood from my seat, following my classmates toward the door at the end of the period. My response was a curt "Yes sir" before stepping from the room.
I turned down the hallway, then made my way outside. I was on my way to my car when I felt my phone go off. I stopped in my tracks to check the text message I had received.
'Danica, meet at my office in 20 minuets please. G'
I sighed. The last few meetings with Gloria had been rather uneventful. She had been calling me in to check on my mental state, or to talk about how my classes were going, so to say I was less than excited about this meeting would be an understatement.
"I told you I would call as soon as we found something."
I nodded in affirmation at Gloria's statement. It had been decided that until any further leads were discovered in the case, I would resume my life, and Gloria would handle the investigation.
"What did you find?" I asked, moving to look over her shoulder as she motioned me around the rather large desk in her office. She pointed toward the computer monitor.
"As far as we can tell, that warehouse hadn't been used in several years, so there probably weren't any cameras there. Or, the ones that were were lost in the explosion. Well, I recently pulled this from several buildings down."
I looked where she pointed. A sports car, though the make, model and color were impossible to tell from the quality of the video.
"I feel like I've seen that car somewhere before." I mentioned, leaning in closer.
"I'm not surprised. The same car shows up around the warehouse several times in the previous days. If I had to guess, someone was casing the building. Probably our guy, to know the ins and outs, looking for a suitable hideout."
I backed up. "So, we find this car and we find our guy, right?"
"It's not necessarily that easy. We don't know if they're working for anyone yet. Or what it is they're looking for." I moved back around the desk as I heaved a sigh. It just wasn't fair.
"Danica, look...I know you want to catch this guy. I want to get him as well. But if we rush into this, we could end up causing more harm than good." Gloria just wasn't getting it. I had lost my handler Frank. I had lost Ashley, my best friend. And the person responsible was still on the loose.
"Look, Danica, I can't promise anything. Atlas' resources are stretched thin as it is, and with these murders, everyone is hesitant to do anything. Just keep an eye out for this car. That could be our lead in this case. But please, be careful."
I nodded in agreement, and turned toward the door. I planned on doing more than keeping an eye out for that car...
..... Boot sequence activated... ... Current time: 7:30 A.M. March 24, XXXX .... All systems functioning within normal parameters. .... ... Boot up complete.
I rose from my bed. My feet hit the floor, and I could feel the cold hardwood against my bare skin. I moved to my closet and pulled out a sundress. I pulled it over my head after slipping off my silk pyjamas. From downstairs came the smell of frying pork. Gloria was making breakfast. I pulled on a pair of shoes to match my dress, and moved to the vanity to fix my hair.
Once fully dressed, I headed downstairs. I could hear the sounds of Gloria cleaning up as she finished breakfast. I stepped into the kitchen and took a piece of the overly-fat bacon.
"I was thinking of skipping class today." I said, between bites of the processed product. Two days had passed since Gloria had alerted me to the sports car on the video, and I still could not find any sign of it. "I need to look for our lead, before this case goes cold."
"I think that's a good idea. The faster we make a break, the better the chance of Atlas committing backup to this case. But like I said, please be careful. We have no idea what we're getting ourselves into on this one."
"Yes ma'am." I answered, gathering what things I was going to need for the day. I headed toward the door. One good thing about this case was the IMMEDIATE backup Atlas had sent...well, more like security.
Officially, I didn't live with Gloria. And in case I needed to be away from her, Atlas was doing their part to at least pick up some of the slack.
I picked up my car keys, and exited the house. I made my way down to my car at the curb. That was when I saw it. It wasn't the same car from the security footage Gloria and I had poured over, but it was definitely watching this house.
I started my engine, and slowly backed out of the drive. I played down the fact that I had noticed the car in the first place, but it didn't help much. The driver pulled away from the house when I did, and began to follow me.
I lead the car across town and onto campus, hoping they wouldn't risk a public setting to start a fight. I parked and exited my car, noticing my tracker keeping their distance. I played at checking my phone to send a text to Gloria. It was quick, and I hoped Gloria understood.
When I looked up, an unknown man was standing in front of me. Standing erect, I missed this person's eye level by a few inches, and he was quite muscular. A black tee and a leather jacket covered his torso, with a pair of faded blue jeans and black shoes. His head was shaved, but he wasn't bald, and his steely blue eyes showed no sign of mercy.
In a clipped accent I clearly marked as Russian, the man said, "The boss would like a word with you." I felt a large arm wrap around me as I was led back toward the car. "Oh yeah? And who is this boss of yours?"
The man remained silent as he tried to push me into the back of the car. I resisted. "What if I---"
A warm hand-a human hand-reached to the back of my neck, and pushed on it in the right places to shut me down...
... Boot up sequence activated... ... ... GPS not active... Location unknown... Time...unknown... ... ... All systems green... Boot up complete...
When I came to, I had no idea where I was, or how long I had been out. I looked around, but could barely make anything out.
I did, however, know that I was restrained, and quite well. I was unable to move most of my limbs, and this was probably done on purpose. There was one window in the room that I could notice, but it had been covered to keep the place dark.
A figure stepped from the shadows, and approached me. "You seem to be causing trouble. My superiors don't like trouble." The man's face was still hidden in the shadows, but I could make out a light on what appeared to be a laptop.
"What are you doing? Who are you?"
The voice chuckled. "It doesn't matter. Soon, you won't remember anything." I felt a cool hand touch my body, which I now recognized was undressed. A panel on my chest opened, revealing my inner workings. The hand plugged one end of a cable into my chest.
"Stop it!!!" I yell. Unable to move my body, I'm powerless against the voice. The hand plugs the other end of the cable into the laptop, and I can see all of the data.
The man, who is a shorter, portly man with what appears to be greying hair is now illuminated by the light. I make a mental picture or the man as I become aware of what he is doing.
"System firewalls breached. Beginning download."
My HUD flashed with each passing second, the phrase "invasive download" blinking before my eyes. I'm unable to close my backdoor protocols, as the download continues.
In a desperate attempt to save myself, I issue a virus package back to the laptop, but not before the download takes effect. I become dimly aware of my surroundings as My personality is shoved to the background.
"Oh my god! You were trying to make me into a sexbot! How dare you!"
At this, the mystery man picks up a remote and points it at me. He pushes a button, and I report "D-series pleasurebot online. How may I serve you master?"
"What do you mean 'Off the grid'? How could one of our best agents just fall 'off the grid' with no warning? Don't we have someone watching these things?" A rough hand slammed the receiver back on the hook. He took a deep breath. One of his agents had gone off the grid three hours ago, and there was no sign of where she had gone. This was bad. They were government tools, used for all sorts of tasks. If she had gone off the grid, then someone knew what they were doing.
He stood up and left his office, followed by guard in uniform. A long hallway stretched in front of him, with several different entrances and a few turns laid out before him. He took off with a quick stride that spoke of a man with a purpose. He turned several corners before stopping outside of a room. He flashed a badge to the guards outside this door, who promptly saluted and allowed him into the room.
Once inside, he made his way to a window which showed a room of three plain walls. Next to him stood another man, this one clad in a white lab coat, watching several other men who were in the room working on something laid out on a silver table in the middle of the room. The first man, a rather large, gruff individual, spoke first.
"How far along are we? Do we know what happened yet?" The man in the white coat looked toward the ground, and just shook his head. It took the man a moment to speak. "It's been rather slow so far. Most of the pieces were damaged beyond recognition. It's a miracle these components survived in any condition at all."
The first man spoke again. "One of them has gone missing." The man in the white coat, obviously the project director, turned from the windowed room now. "When did this happen?" "As of now? Nearly three-and-a-half hours ago." The project director paused. "Who-?" "D-Series. I think you know who." The project director moved behind his desk, and sat down in his chair. For the first time since the first man had stepped into the room, the two men were looking each other in the eyes.
"I...I see." The director swallowed hard. "There's been no word from her?" "None at all." The director paused again, gathering his thoughts. "It's clear someone's targeting us. Why?" The first man grunted as he took a chair on the other side of the desk. "Hell if that isn't the million dollar question, Jerrod." Jerrod just looked at his guest. "With that one," Jerrod motioned to the windowed room, "and now this, it's apparent whoever is doing this is no amateur. What are you thinking, Donald?"
Donald sighed. "We need her now, Jerrod. If she's viable, she might be able to tell us what happened." Jerrod shook his head again. "Donald, I wish I knew what to say. But the condition of the remaining pieces is so bad that I'm not sure even our top engineers will be able to repair her. We'll be lucky to get even half of her reassembled." "Can you figure anything out now? Anything at all?"
Jerrod began typing on the computer. "All I know is the virus that started all of this wasn't just made by some kid in his spare time. This is a high-level programming language used in this virus. It wasn't meant to simply corrupt. It wasn't meant for total control." Donald frowned. "I'm sorry, Jerrod. You know I respect you as an individual. But as of now, I'm placing the base on lock-down. No one can go anywhere. I have no choice." Jerrod looked from the computer to meet Donald's eyes. "I understand. What will you do about the situation at hand?"
Donald stood and moved toward the door. "As of now, it's Priority Alpha. We'll be initiating Project Valiant."
Boot-up sequence initiated.....
System status: Error. System compromised.
When my HUD lit up, I was dimly aware of my surroundings. I was in a room, standing at attention, my underwear the only clothing I had on. Since I had been captured several days ago (at least, what I took to be several days, most of my functions were still disabled), I had been unable to retain control of my own body for more than a few moments at a time. I had been connected to a computer, and a virus had rewritten my core programming. Now, it seemed I obeyed anyone with what had become my remote.
As I began to recall the events of my past few activation cycles, I again found myself locked out of my body. I was seeing everything, hearing everything. I was completely and totally aware of what was happening, and I was powerless to stop it. A man had entered the room, and he had pressed a button on my remote. I fought as well as I could, but the mechanisms of my system forced me to obey. I opened my mouth and heard myself speak.
"Pleasure systems engaged. Unit is ready to stimulate your desires in any way you please."
A button was pushed again.
"Affirmative. Unit will obey. Unit is programmed to please." I felt re mechanics of my body whirr to life, but try as I might, I could not will them to stop. I found myself sliding one hand into my panties, two of my fingers rubbing my clit as I did so. My free hand found it's way to my breasts. "I will touch myself for you, master." I reported, against my will.
After a few moments of this, another button was pressed on my remote. "Mmmmm...yes, master. Pleasure sensors increased to maximum. Danibot will maximise her sexual pleasure." I found the experience quite unnerving. I was enjoying myself, but could not stand the fact that it was this man who was making me do this. I felt my clit begin to leak. "Stim-stim-stimulation beyond max-max-max-maximum levels. Pleasure waves re-released over all circuits. Mmmmmm.....Danibot is reaching cli-cli-clitoral climax, massssssster. Error! Mal-mal-mal-malfunction-lube-lube-lube-lubricant leak detected in pl-pl-pl-pussy pussy pussy unit."
I could feel I was about to crash my systems, and still, my body would not head the warnings it was trying to give me. With each stutter, my head snapped side to side, my eyes wide. "Oh!" Issued from my vocal box, as a pop sounded from my system. "War-ning! U-nit ap-proach-ing sys-tem ov-er heat! Dam-age im-men-ant." My head had stopped snapping side to side, but my speech was now monotone, and robotic.
The man pushed a button again on the remote. This time, I did not speak. Instead, I withdrew my fingers from my pussy, and my hand from my pants. My hands now worked to pull the delicate red lace aside from my pleasure unit as my system forced me to experience on of the best orgasms I have ever had in my life. The first ejaculation of fluid hit the floor with a loud gush. The next rounds were less aggressive, and I could feel them dripping down my legs. When I was done cumming for my newfound controller, he pushed another button. This time I shot up, into an erect standing position, and reported "Voice command mode enabled."
"Come on. The boss wants to see you. Follow me." I had no choice but to follow, my body moving under the commands it had received from the mysterious man.
I was led down a hallway, and through a set of swinging doors. I was made to lie on a table, and another man cleaned my body. I was commanded to get clothed in an outfit that had been provided for me. I did not resist this time, finding clothes a welcome sight.
The pants were unimpressive, simple black khakis. The shirt was a silk blouse, magenta in color (I hate magenta), and was a button up. Once the clothes were covering my body, I was led down another hallway, and into an elevator. The man accompanying me pressed the button for the penthouse.
Once we arrived, I was commanded to take an empty chair in the middle of the room. I began to fight, something I was coming to realize as an empty endeavour. I sat, and my body was restrained. The front of my blouse was opened, and my access panels were commanded open. Another man proceeded to connect several wires to my CPU. A woman appeared now, from behind a desk. She sat on the corner of the desk.
A smirk came to her face. "Danica Wilson, we meet at last." As she spoke, one of the several men who had helped on my trip through this building pressed a few more buttons on my remote. Suddenly, I found myself with much more control over my body, but still severely weak and depleted from the experience I had had in the room earlier.
"Who are you?" I asked, keeping a stern eye on the woman as I made a mental image of the room. "Who I am is not important right now. Who you are is. You see, I need a favor, and you're just the person to take care of it for me." I struggled against the bindings. The woman cooed at me. "Don't think about it dear. Even if you did manage to break them, we still retain control over you. You would sit there as long as we wanted, not able to do a thing about it. Now, down to business. I need some information from some files kept by Atlas."
I looked shocked. "Oh, come now dear. I know all about your little organisation." I began to stammer, caught in a state between shock and anger. The woman smiled wryly. "You see, the files I need are classified. But, if you convince your superiors that seeing them is pertinent to to your investigation into the criminal know as 'Loveless'," I winced at the mention of that name, the pieces beginning to fall into place.
"If you convince your superiors that you need to see those files, then come back to me, then you'll be free to go." I chocked down the urge to spit in her face. Instead, I responded in kind. "I'll never do that. You think you're clever? Atlas will never let me near those files."
The lady shrugged. "That's fine. I was offering you the chance to help me out and gain your freedom. But if you want, we can do this the hard way."
One of the men approached from the other side of the room. He was holding something that looked like a helmet. "This body is old anyway. I like yours better." The woman spoke, putting the helemet on her head. She picked up several of the wires connected to my CPU, and plugged them into her helmet.
She moved into a chair next to me, and pushed a button on the helmet. Suddenly, everything seemed to go dark. My files, my memories, my programming. It was all slowly being deleted or rewritten. In it's place were new files. I could feel everything being lost to me, as a new entity began to take control of my body.....