The House of the Dead
People teach in the world, what I know to be true: if you live violently, that is how you will die. - The Tao Te Ching
Lab 42 Exploded in a great fireball of volatile chemicals and high explosives. 200 people, including forces sent in by Daikoku were reduced to cinders in a matter of seconds. Of the horrifying experiments that occurred there, nothing remained. Or so they hoped...
A dark skinned man hurried away from the scene, his naked form feeling the chill of the frozen arctic air. Nearby were humans, and their machines. Machines that would take him to America, to her...
Author's Note: After a somewhat lengthy silence, Nova returns to the written form. New adventures and arousing encounters await the beautiful android. Please enjoy this latest humble offering.
Beauty and mercy are only recognized by the people, because they know the opposite, which is ugly and mean. - The Tao Te Ching.
Nova stood completely still. Her pose was somewhat teasing and erotic, especially in the context of what she wore. A thin, filmy garment of silk that covered only her abdomen. Beautiful, patterns in lace surrounded and pronounced her perfectly round and firm breasts, accentuated her high and tight buttocks and her smooth and hard belly and hips. Her Sapphire Blue eyes never blinked, nor did a muscle ever twitch. Only her Knee-length, Fiery red-blonde hair stirred lightly in the breeze of the cool air-conditioning units.
She was modeling the beautiful lingerie at Galaxy fashions for the first time. It was one of the more difficult jobs for living mannequins, because the models had to not only keep still, and wear very revealing clothing, but also had to contend with the cool air.
Nova had stood in her spot for nearly 6 hours now, well beyond the endurance of any mortal woman. But Nova was not mortal. She was mechanical.
Cathy, her senior supervisor and the new store owner, watched with interest. She'd never seen anyone be so still, she could not even detect the movement of Nova's breathing, nor could she see goosebumps forming on her skin, as did many other girls who did the lingerie modeling job. How can she do that?, thought Cathy, So still, so perfect. Is she a machine?
Cathy's eyes drew over the sight of Nova's beautiful body and briefly entranced her. Then abruptly she walked up to Nova and tapped her on the shoulder, "Nova, it's break-time. Why don't you get a biite to eat or something, while we get the next outfit ready for you?"
Nova's composure broke and she turned and smiled at Cathy, "Yes ma'am". Nova walked to the dressing area while Cathy looked on. She must be a machine...but how? I thought I was the only one...
Cathy headed to her office and securely locked the door. She tapped a few hidden buttons on her large Oak desktop and a computer monitor and a small panel with a few connection points rose from the surface.
Cathy attatched a small cable lead to one of the connection points and then moved the straps holding her liquid-silky dress on, off of her shoulders, letting it slide to the floor. She was now clad only in sheer, support hose with a garter belt and silken panties.
Removing a small tool from her desk, she began to work it beneath a concealed flap of skin in her belly, until it clicked. A slight exhalation of steam, and the panel on her abdomen lifted away to reveal a complex housing of circuitry, metal framing and a jack for the cable, which she now inserted into her body.
Cathy hated keyboards. They were so slow compared to the speed of her thoughts, and since her processors were billions of times faster and more powerful than most high-end machines it seemed only logical to use the fastest and most direct methods of communication. She connected to a hidden on-line chat area, which was accessed by a few specialized code-words.
Connected... Login as: Ice Queen. User paging... You paged User #7900 Kabalah Chat initiated... Kabalah: Greetings Ice Queen. How is everything? Ice Queen: Bill, I need to ask you something. Kabalah: I'm listening. Ice Queen: Did you build another? Kabalah: What a question. You know that you are the first, and only one built by me. You're my prototype, and if you succeed, then perhaps I can offer this technology to others. Why? Ice Queen: I have a woman working for me. Her name is listed as Nova Phoenix, but I can't find any trace of her on file anywhere. She's a complete mystery. Kabalah: And? Ice Queen: Bill, I think she may be an android. Kabalah: ! Kabalah: Well...that does sound interesting. What leads you to believe that? Ice Queen: Lots of little things. She never seems to be tired or hungry, she never uses the restroom, and she seems unaffected by temperature changes. I wouldn't think such a thing were possible...if it weren't for the fact that I'm one also. User Interrupt... User logged in as: House Of The Dead Chat continues... Kabalah: Who the Hell? Ice Queen: How did you get in here? House Of The Dead: Both of these Questions are unimportant. I have been listening. You speak of my mate to be. Leave matters well enough alone, or be consumed by the Void. This is your first and only warning. User: House Of The Dead has logged off. Chat continues... Kabalah: How the Hell was he listening? Who was that? Ice Queen: I don't know. But now more than ever I want to know about Nova. Find out what you can. I'll keep you appraised of things here. Kabalah: All right. I don't know who this Mr. Dead character is, but I'm not backing down because of one hacker. Ice Queen: Goodbye Kabalah. Kabalah: Take care Caterina. User Kabalah has logged off. User Ice Queen has logged off.
Nec vitia nostra nec remedia pati possumus. We can endure neither our vices nor the remedies for them. - Titus Livius 59 B.C. - A.D. 17
Galaxy Fashions was closed for the night and everyone was leaving. Nova had dressed in a simple pair of jeans, with a shirt and vest and was walking home. Her new apartment was much smaller than the one she had shared with Jason, but it was within walking distance of GF, and her landlord had asked no questions.
Unlocking the front door, she walked in and headed straight for the small bathroom, and it's relaxing shower. Soon she was naked to the skin and standing in the pouring water.
As it steamed and cleansed her synthetic skin, she rubbed a small bar of sweet-smelling soap over her body carefully, while thinking over her days events. The woman Cathy spent a good portion of the day just watching me. Why? Does she suspect something? Nova began to feel more and more like Cathy knew her secret. But also that Cathy herself may be an android. Certain pauses she made while moving or speaking. A certain mechanical way she moved, like she might not have been a perfected unit. Nova felt sure that her supervisor was indeed a machine, like her.
Nova finished washing her long hair and exited the bathroom after toweling her body and hair off. Her apartment was the epitome of Spartan. No TV, radio, and very little furnishings. Only Nova's clothing and personal items were in the apartment. Androids didn't need to acquire a lot of material junk, or so Nova thought. Besides, she may end up having to run if someone found out about her, or came looking for her. As far as Nova knew, Daikoku still wasn't aware of her existence, but she did know that Andromeda had probably escaped from there again, and they'd be looking for her.
Nova opened the box that held the shattered remains of her "sister". Andromeda's once proud, and beautiful body was torn and broken. Circuitry and steel cabling poked through the ends of her limbs and in some portions of her torso. Her face had been smashed and ruined to irrepairability, and her long blonde hair had blackened a bit where her fluids had leaked on it.
Nova touched and felt the ruined form, as if somehow she could draw strength from it. A wave of misery washed over her and she began to cry,
The dark-haired man rose from the computer terminal. A long pair of snake-like tenticle connectors, released from the computer and retracted inside his body, merging with his flesh. There was no trace of them afterwards.
His clothes were not a good fit, and he felt as though he needed to acquire nicer looking ones, for his meeting. Silently he strode out of the computer store, leaving the corpse of the salesman looking as though he had been mummified.
Cathy never left Galaxy Fashions these days. After her old body had died, she had built a new housing area onto the existing structure of the store, and now lived, more or less at the store.
She lay on an operating table, totally exposed. Her silky-white body gleamed in the harsh glare of the theatre's fluorescent lighting system. Several automated arms and tools emerged from beneath the bed and began to position themselves over her body.
Then, suddenly they all sprang to life, pulling sections of her skin away in large, rectangular panels, revealing wires, circuitry, and metal beneath the perfect form. The tools began inserting themselves and scanning the open areas, as Cathy sighed with practiced ease.
Surely this was the most boring part of being an android. Since she was a new prototype, her body did not always function at peak efficiency, and required high amounts of maintenance. She watched impassively as the little arms removed parts from some sections, while the displays inside her mind told her what was happening in more detail than she could ever recount for had she still been human.
Cathy thought back to those events that had led up to this. Before she had been Jalynda, the owner and operator of Galaxy Fashions to most. But she had not been well. Jalynda had a rare form of aggressively persistent cancer that had slowly eaten through her body's functions. Only Dr. Klein had offered a solution: cyborgization.
Initially the smaller implants and replacements had gone very well, and Jalynda's body had accepted them. However, the more mechanical she became, the more she discovered she enjoyed it, until at last she had pushed Dr. Klein to build the memory transferal device.
Looking like something out of a 50's sci/horror show, the device had taken up a massive amount of space, and had cost in the billions to create, but it had been worth it. Only a week ago, Dr.Klein had built Jalynda's new body. It had taken him months to construct one so life-like and able to function so well. Jalynda wondered how he'd gotten the technology so quickly.
Daikoku's new chief of operations was a fairly tall, powerfully built, man with some signs of age, and a demeanor of an old samurai general. His office was a testament to his abilities as a warrior. A large case full of kendo and martial arts trophies, gleamed impressively from the corner of one room. Behind him was his family's sacred heirlooms: A suit of Yoroi that his ancestor had worn in the battle of Sekigahara, a ceremonial tea-set that had been awarded to another ancestor for great skill in prose and poetry, and finally, the centerpiece of his collection.
On a heart-shaped base stand, standing upright, was a beautiful tachi. The longsword had belonged to his great, great, great grandfather. The tachi, though sheathed, was a masterpiece of work. Built by a great swordsmith named Onimitsu, it's lacquered scabbard was a beautiful red/black with a depth that seemed to supplace time.
Takuma sat at his great mahogany desk, and watched the day's reports scroll by. His heavily callused, meaty hands had difficulty tapping the keys, and he grew irritated. Mercifully, he was given reprieve when a younger lieutenant opened the door and bowed respectfully.
"Takuma-san?", one of his lieutenants asked.
"Hai", answered Takuma, with his low, edged voice.
"We have located the source of the leak. Shall we dispatch an operative to plug it?", the young man asked.
Takuma stroked his chin thoughtfully and narrowed his eyes, "Hai. But, our operative is only to reconnoiter at this time. If the data can be easily recovered, then let it be done. Otherwise, we need total secrecy in this matter".
"Hai Takuma-san!", responded the lieutenant with a sharp salute and he headed out.
Takuma thought about his job. He had succeeded several younger men, because of his bulldog-like tenacity and his martial skills. Yet why were positions in the corporation changing so rapidly, after years of stagnation? It all seemed to start when Research group 4 had perfected the androids. After that, the damn things were everywhere within the corporation. Even Osato-sama had two that he kept near him at all times to give him pleasure and provide for his defense.
Takuma did not trust them. They could be programmed to do one thing, they could be programmed to do another. Then there had been that security file about the unit that had nearly killed his former supervisor Mugoi.
Mugoi had taken great delight in watching that unit's blackened and torn body being ripped asunder and compacted by the metal shredder in the rear of the manufacturing center. Takuma had stood by his supervisor then, and watched the face of the android's creator.
Dr. Lafeyson had not watched the gruesome scene. Instead he had hurried off to work on other things. Only a few days later did the seemingly weak scientist put seven 9 milimeter slugs through Mugoi's head and chest, before turning the gun on himself.
Takuma often wondered what would cause the normally calm and gentle scientist to react this way. It was a question he was still pondering when Daikoku's retrieval operative left the corporate headquarters on a mission of silence.
Iron is full of impurities that weaken it; through forging, it becomes steel and is transformed into a razor-sharp sword. Human beings develop in the same fashion. - Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969) Founder of Aikido. From the Art Of Peace.
Work went on for several weeks, and Nova was really beginning to enjoy the displays. She soon pushed Cathy's long looks and sideward glances out of her mind. If Cathy suspected or knew something, then she wasn't confronting Nova with it.
They moved her around from time to time, so she wasn't always in the window. Sometimes she would leave her video and audio on to observe people's reactions to her stillness. Most people were surprised when they brushed against her and discovered her skin was soft and smooth. She'd give them a knowing wink, then continue to hold her still pose.
One man who constantly came by was James. He was always taking pictures of her and the other mannequins. Cathy had at first been worried that the photography would bother the living mannequins, but most of the girls wanted to pursue other careers such as runway modeling and figured that the extra exposure would further their careers. Besides, if they couldn't handle one nice guy with a camera now, how would they handle hundreds of rude and pushy photographers later?
Nova always paid extra-special attention for James's photos. She always posed accordingly in things she thought he liked. He seemed nice enough, and who knows? Maybe somewhere down the road this could develop into something.
One day she was helping a girl dress up a regular store mannequin, when she noticed a few unusual seams on this one. Curious, Nova touched at the seam and moved a fingernail under it's edge. She gently pried at it and a section of the mannequin's chest came loose. Nova pulled off the panel to reveal complex wiring and circuitry, along with a strong fiberglass skeletal structure.
Nova gasped when she saw it and recognized it for what it was. Another android! she thought, But not like me. This one is more primitive. It doesn't work under the same technology.. Nova looked inside the machine more closely and noticed that much of the internal circuitry had burned out or been shorted by sudden powerloss. Nova glanced around and noticed no one was looking and quickly replaced the cover panel. It snapped into place with a loud click. Nova felt the skin of the mannequin and found that while it was somewhat soft, it was not really like skin. It feels more like a latex and rubber base. she thought, Whoever built this did advanced work, but not at the levels that my creator did. Nova felt a small flush of pride in knowing that her creator was still the top man in the field as far as androids were concerned.
Nova wondered who would be building androids into mannequins, and why they would be doing it at a boutique. She hefted the mannequindroid, to it's setting and left it there for the Visual Merchandiser to come dress and prepare it for the day. She also wondered if Cathy had any notion about it, and decided to find out.
Nova headed over to Cathy's office after seeing the Raven-haired woman enter. She went to Cathy's door and knocked lightly. After a few moments with no answer she opened the door and stepped inside.
Cathy sat at her desk with a blank stare on her pretty face. Her blue eyes illuminated with a flickering light, like a hard-drive being accessed. As Nova approached her in awe, she saw Cathy's belly exposed, and a complex series of logic boards and control circuits inside attatched to a cable lead plugged into her mainframe's computer. Unable to look away, Nova gingerly touched Cathy's delicate circuitry, feeling the soft wiring and nested synthetic organs.
Cathy's trance ended as her files restructured and her memory was cleared of deleted data. She looked down to see Nova staring at the machinery in her abdomen and a hateful look crossed her beautiful countenance.
"What are you doing here? This area is off limits to you! I'm afraid you're going to have to be let go for this!", she snarled angrily, but more in worry.
Nova looked up at Cathy and smiled, "So. I was right about you. Who built you?"
Cathy looked ready to tear Nova's luminescent eyes from her delicately featured face, "What business is it of yours? Who the Hell are you?"
Nova understood Cathy's reaction and decided to put her fears to rest. She put both hands on either side of her face and released her face-plate, revealing two large blue optical units, complex audio units and the tubing that led down her throat and up from her fluid reservoirs. Nova's bright blue optical lenses focused and swiveled on their bases, while the flashing lights of her sensory systems reflected off of the metal of the inside of her skull.
Cathy stared in disbelief for a moment then smiled, "So we both have a secret. Well Nova...I guess I owe you an apology for being so rude."
Nova pushed her face back on with a loud click and smiled at Cathy, "No need to apologize. I understand how you feel. Can we talk?"
After a few hours, Cathy had revealed that she had been Jalynda and was dying of an incurable form of leukemia. It was a slow and painful death, but being a wealthy person, she decided to fight the disease with every bit of her fortune. She had located Doctor Klein through various contacts and discovered his experiments in mind transferral. Doctor Klein had revealed that he was a researcher whose methods had been originally pioneered to build cybernetic devices for a military regime. He had been dissatisfied and escaped to the United States where he found himself poor and penniless.
The two found in each other the person they needed. Jalynda was banking her entire fortune upon Klein's success and Klein in return promised that when his technique was perfected, that Jalynda would be transferred to a new, unaging and healthy android body.
"Excuse me Cathy, but why set up this boutique? It seems almost unecessary", asked Nova.
Cathy smiled,"Well, My fortunes were great, but when I was transferred, I didn't have them anymore. It would have looked suspicious if I donated all of my money and worldly goods to some unknown pretty woman and went on through life. Besides, in all the time I've had my money, I've discovered that the work was more enjoyable than the expenditures. So when I transferred I donated my money and possessions to a needy charity and passed ownership of this place to my new self."
Nova smiled,"You are a true humanitarian I think".
Cathy laughed,"Oh hardly. I enjoy the challenge of starting with little or nothing. I built my fortune through wise investments and good tips. I will build my next fortune through commerce. After all, I have forever in which to do it."
"But why not release this technology to the world so that other people who are dying can benefit from it?", asked Nova.
Cathy sighed,"I wish it were so easy. But you see this technology has been expensive and costly in terms of time. Only the very wealthy could afford to spend the kind of money I have to make this project work, and I'm not so certain that a government wouldn't snatch Doctor Klein and manipulate it to their own ends. That is why I wish for my transformation to remain secret."
Nova looked at the floor sadly,"You are too late Cathy. Someone has already gone much further than you, and has used the technology to commit acts of violence and destruction."
"What do you mean?", asked Cathy.
"My name is NVAC. I am an android who has been programmed to learn and feel. I have in my memory banks the partial memories of a predecessor unit called NVA-7. NVA-7 's function was an assassin. Though I remember none of the details of the killings, I bear the knowledge that my kind can and has been used for evil purposes", said Nova.
Cathy nodded, "Well...you're not an assassin though. You've been a big asset to the store and you seem very nice to everyone. So I don't see why you should have to worry about becoming a murderer or killing machine again."
Nova smiled and hugged Cathy, "Thank you. I feel as if I've finally met someone who really understands me."
Cathy hugged back and felt a strange arousal growing in her for this girl. Ordinarily she would never have even considered thinking of another woman sexually, but this new body had changed her opinions on a lot of things. She now felt less restricted and more uninhibited. She wanted to try all the things that she had been morally and physically unable to do before. Maybe even...
The dark-haired man had emerged from the clothiers. He wore a rich, black Armani suit with impeccably cut lines and a silk tie. It had taken them two days to get his order and he had paid them for it, by draining their life essences. As an afterthought he had taken their wallets, credit cards and transferred their money to a special account that he had set up.
Strolling through the parking lot, he spied the head tailor's car. It was a beautiful solid black, E-Type Jaguar with golden rimmed wheels. He smiled at such a perfect machine and slid into the leather interior.
The car purred and roared out of the parking lot to his intended destination: Los Angeles. There he would find NVA-7. There he would make her his bride...
You Shall All Die! - Doctor Curien, The House Of The Dead