View Full Version : The House of God
10-18-2002, 12:03 PM
"Guys, you lookin' at the screens? We're taking off!"
"I can't see a damn thing... What kind of angle is this?"
"That's just the boosters, wait for a few seco-- oh, there!"
"Ahhhh, now that's better."
The three men were looking at a small, portable television. Around them were rusty layers of walls, several plastic and metal chairs, and what appeared to be the early formation of a bar. Outside, sirens were screaming the obvious takeoff warning.
"Is it going to stop shaking yet? I don't want the whole trip to be this way!" The shortest man said. The two others just shrugged.
"Leave the thing a few minutes; besides, I won't stand your complaining for the seven years to come!!"
The shaking stopped. The sirens went quiet. Everything had come to a halt.
"Annnnnd, it's space, folks!"
The three men cheered and hugged each other in joy.
"All right!" The tallest said. "Let's get this place polished up. I want to start doing business by next Thursday!"
To think that The House of God was just a place for thugs and black market people was considered a sacrilege. As one of them said one day: "We may be black market guys, but at least we are refined."
It was true. I had never seen so much Erawten Ice in all my life. But how the heck did mom find herself in such a place?...
"To Pioneer II!"
Anyone who wasn't an android downed a shooter. Four years had passed, and The House of God was among the most popular black market and stowaway hangouts of the ship. It had stayed in business because of one simple rule: Never conduct business in The House of God. Police men found it impossible to even think about trying to catch dealers in the act. The owners were clean of all crimes. The House of God was the biggest frustration of Pioneer II's guards. So close, yet so far.
What had first started as a bar made out of rusty pieces of metal soon improved into a place where colored lights, gold plating, and fancy decorations were the norm. Speakers blurted out disc after disc of hip, techno, and XtraBEAT music. Seats were plated in gold, or had golden velvet on them. Everything spelled Rich Spoiled Kid in there, but no one cared. After all, most of the things The House of God had as furniture was black market stuff. And it was comfortable as well. The owner never got any complaints.
Soon, the crowd began to diversify, and the bar was known under a slogan mostly known to its regulars: Drinks, dollars, amor: The House of God. Maybe House of Goddess too, as one could often see a customer walking into a private cubicle with a sexy and skimpily clad newman girl. Oftentimes, she wore nothing at all, despite being in the middle of a crowd of drinkers and drunks. We all got used to it.
Televisions informed us about sports and news. Hot chases were tuned on by the owner, who was a fan of race cars. If the customers knew the escapee, they cheered for him.
It was just a normal day in The House of God.
"Stowaway bastards and bitches, coming through!"
"Shrike!" The owner shouted to a black and neon-green android. "Glad to see you today. Hey guys! Same old?"
"Same old!" The group said simultaneously.
Everyone sat down at a round table, next to the main bar. There, they had a good view of two television sets displaying a rather hot game of football. Back to the wall was Yndo, a rather fat ranger with black shoulder-length hair and a beard that looked more like peach fuzz than anything else. Going clockwise, there was Tamica, frustrated and jobless, an Alpha-Power addict who soon found out she just didn't have the capabilities to either fight like a normal person, or use any power techniques whatsoever. Next was Shrike, an outgoing and rather crazy android, who took pride in the fact that she was once intended as a Halloween prank, as seen by her set of sharp teeth held by a spinning buzzsaw chain. Next to her sat a shining white android hunter by the name of BWS-1. He was always quiet, and unnervingly stealthy despite his obvious white color. Last but not least was a man approaching his retirement: a hunter known as Wisco "Danger" Robertson.
"So what's new?" The owner said.
"Well, who's first?" Shrike nudged BWS-1.
10-18-2002, 01:52 PM
The android shrugged in "Alright, alright" kind of motion, and turned to the owner, overly articulating each word.
"We. Sold. Five. Top-quality. Energy. Cylinders. To. Some. Idiot. Who. Paid. Twice. The. Normal... Price!"
"Seventy-five thousand!!" Tamica announced in triumph.
"Good!" The owner replied. "You guys are just in time, since the prices have gone up. Twenty-five thousand each shooter; come on! Pay 'em up, pay 'em up!"
Everyone laughed. The owner went behind the bar to fetch the drinks.
Tamica's eyes opened wide.
"Oh yeah, oh yeah!" She screamed. "Herrre comes angel Gabrielle!"
"Hello, hello!" Said angel spoke.
She was most likely one of the most beautiful androids to hang out at the House. Top-quality white simu-skin, a minimum of blue protective plates, a tank top and a pair of shorts. Cherry on the sundae: a tiny pair of removable wings on her back, just for the cuteness factor.
Danger pulled a seat from another table and let her sit down. In the meantime, the owner had served the drinks.
Shrike leaned over the table and motionned Yndo, Tamica and Danger to lean forward as well.
"You guys will love it." She said. "Each one of you give me a piece of gum and I'll spit out the new facts."
Yndo grumbled, but paid the price anyways.
"Thank you!" Shrike smiled and began chewing. "Okay, you two saw the girl who went in the cubicle two minutes ago? The one with fair skin and lavender hair? Short but pointed ears, new to the House, definitely a newman by the looks. And to top it off, lean closer my friends..."
BWS-1 could see Shrike closing a fist, extending the index finger, and slowly pointing it up and up, while mouthing some phrase over to her two male comrades. Wisco turned away in disgust. Yndo and Tamica, however, were grinning.
"So, what's the deal?" The white android asked.
"She's bi." Tamica replied. Everyone except BWS-1 erupted in an uncontrollable fit of laughter. It was needless to say that B was not following.
Gabrielle decided to lean over the table.
"Guys, I'm bringing you some great news. Know the guy you sold the energy cylinders to? He got into a car accident. Dead! Never going to rattle anything out to the police if it ever happens that we screwed the hell out of him."
"Chip Group, coming through!" Gabrielle said back.
"Chip Group!" The others yelled; their black market business name. There may be the Blue Dragons, probably somewhere on the east side of Pioneer II some gang of punks called the Bullet Head, even close to the House a good number of people who were part of the Dog Pound, but the Chip Group was the best in the west, and the ones who were part of it dared anyone to prove otherwise. Of course, the others did. Black market always was a speed fight. Who found find the junk first, repair it, and sell it in the fastest time. To add some spice, who was the best in designing new, innovative, and overly illegal systems for hunters and androids. The head position changed each week. It was the fun of black markets. Competition was tough, and just too fun to give up.
Over the years, the Chip Group would keep on doing its business. Other gangs and groups may get some of their members caught, but no one in the Chip Group ever got taken away by the cops. And that was a good thing.
"By the way," Yndo said. "What will happen when we reach Ragol? We can't just carry the House of God down on the planet can we?"
"Ship's gonna land, city's gonna deploy." Shurikane simply replied.
"Okay, but what if something wrong happens at Ragol?"
"What do you think might go wrong?..."
Shrike could only remember that long enumeration of possibilities that Yndo had told her three years ago. And one of them happened to come true. Everything had blown up.
She was looking at the ceiling of her appartment, lying on a couch, while all over the ship, people ran around in panic, demanding information.
She grabbed her photon chainsaw.
"Gabrielle, let's get moving!"
An interesting style insofar. Considering that this is the first work of yours that I've read (ducks "omg u n00b" arrows), I'm impressed. It's an interesting interpretation of the Pioneer 2, or at least whatever part of it you describe. I'll say it, though I probably don't have to: keep up the good work! ^_^
10-19-2002, 10:03 PM
Another KodiaX story? How sweet it is! http://www.pso-world.com/psoworld/images/phpbb/icons/smiles/icon_smile.gif
10-20-2002, 02:58 PM
I agree with Moo2U. More! http://www.pso-world.com/psoworld/images/phpbb/icons/smiles/icon_smile.gif
10-20-2002, 03:21 PM
I must concur wholeheartedly. Give us more, Kodi.
10-21-2002, 09:22 AM
Both androids secured their weapons and went off walking on the sidewalks.
"I didn't get the news yet." Shrike said. "What's the score?"
"Energy release." Gabrielle replied with a sigh. "Killed all human life as we know it, no structural damage. Tyrell's dispatched a bunch of hunters to go see what's going on."
"We're gonna have new business coming in soon..."
"No; swords. We need to find a lighter chainsaw prototype. The one I have is good for androids, but too heavy for humans."
The two turned to a back alley, entered a dark building through a small metal door, to find themselves into a tiny room.
"Do you have any coordinates for this thing?" Shrike asked. Gabrielle nodded.
"I stole a password and managed to get into the database. Got all the specifications for the teleporter, along with the channel codes. This way, regardless of position, you'll teleport to the exact same spot on the planet. Unfortunately, coming back will be through the main hunter sector. And that means shitloads of pipes to bring with you."
"It's all right. The hunters know me enough and they shut their trap. I'm just too good of a dealer." Shrike grinned, revealing her complete set of pointed teeth.
The teleporter came alive, and the room found itself bathed into a blue glow.
"It works." Gabrielle said. "No need to test out. If the codes are wrong, all of Pioneer II is wrong."
"Great. Let's go back to the House and tell the group about it. If there is any junk we can find on this planet, we need to go get it first. If what you say about structural damage is right, all we'll need to do is go down, break a few boxes, and we'll have enough to supply an army. I want Wisco to make a full report on this within the next hour. We need to get to all the stashes first."
Gabrielle picked up her cell and dialed the number.
"I'll run ahead." Shrike told her. "I don't want to lose a single second of this!!"
10-21-2002, 01:16 PM
All music had stopped at The House of God. People were gesturing, shouting, anything but eating their food.
Shrike went to her group.
"Grab your stuff guys, we're going on an excursion!"
Minutes later, everyone was down on planet Ragol. Each member of the team had brought his favorite trademark weapon. For Shrike, it was her usual chain saw. For Wisco, it was a double-barrel rifle. For Yndo, it was a pair of photon knives. Gabrielle had chosen a huge blade shaped like a pair of angelwing blades. BWS-1 carried an ancient katana. Tamica, being the weapon carrier of the group, had nothing.
The team already had some trouble avoiding the flurry of hunters that was running all over the place. They had quickly decided that Central Dome wasn't a good destination. So instead, they began searching for crates in some main building areas, where they found plenty.
They heard a crash; the sound of a dead dragon falling to the ground, and a piece of Central Dome's floor falling apart from the creature's uncoordinated landing. Right on cue, Tamica was full of weapons and items, and so was the rest of the team.
The transition through the hunter grounds had been rather easy. People were so busy preparing themselves, no one paid attention to the group making its way, their bags and clips full of stuff. In minutes, they were at the Chip Group's headquarters.
Wisco looked at the record number of things on the table.
"Guys, from what I see here, we are in for some really good merchandise. I bet I could mod a few of these things as well."
"Well, you'll start with this!" Shrike slapped her chainsaw right in Wisco's face. "Here! Find a way to override the RPM limit on this thing, and add a cooler. Take the price off my share; I've got enough to get myself a new car anyways."
"The best in the west. A Kasieri Wildsider T-5."
Oooohs among the group.
Yndo clapped his hands together.
"Let's get to work. The faster we mod the stuff, the faster we can make mucho money."
The Chip Group was in for one of the best selling sprees to be known across the black market.
Shrike was pondering all this. All that past history. Outside her home was a shining black and neon-green sports car.
Everyone had made huge profit. Life was good.
The phone rang.
Gabrielle answered. She said nothing, and just hung up a few seconds later.
Turning to Shrike, she simply said:
"The ruins are open."
10-25-2002, 01:56 PM
"What's for today?"
"I'll have a dollar!"
Wisco and BWS-1 sat down, while the owner shouted the order over to the kitchen.
The selling spree had gone far better than usual. In an unexpected twist of fate, the government hunters happened to fall on a lab sector full of mechanical junk and cybernetics just waiting to be converted to android mods.
The Chip Group simply had to sneak in, and retrieve. With the hunters all fighting the security system, the whole operation was a piece of cake. And to top it off, the Blue Dragons had gone out of business: a few of them got caught in the mines, and one of them made the fatal error: panicking and telling everything.
The owner came back with that dish called "dollar". It was meat, mustard and dried spinash (some oriental food...) put into a crispy and leafy shell. All this was wrapped in a spinach tortilla. And for some reason, it tasted good.
BWS-1 looked around.
"Where in the motherfreakin' world is Indo?!"
"You were right without knowing it. He is motherfreakin' right now."
And just on cue came the human, followed by a (naked) newman female. He took a chair and sat down, with the girl on his lap.
"So," Wisco told him. "When's the wedding due?"
"Next Tuesday; everyone's invited to the orgy."
"I have never seen such a sick, sexually-obsessed group of people." BWS-1 declared in a snobbish tone.
"You kidding me?" Indo replied du tac-o-tac.
"I'll take it as an insult!"
Another burst of laughter.
"Why isn't your lover saying anything, by the way?" Wisco asked.
"She's mute." The other replied. "The only sound she can do is a moan."
Chuckle from the weapons modder.
"Oh, come on, I don't believe ya!"
"Oh yeah? Listen carefully. Tomi, say 'I love you' as an example."
The girl tried to speak, but no words would come out. Only air going in and out. However, they could distinctively hear some kind of "uh-uh" from the depths of her throat. It was faint, but hearable.
"I stand corrected!" Wisco said, following this by a good belch.
The next thing he knew, he was looking at a black and green face.
"Ruins are open, you lazy asses!" Shrike shouted at them. "Got your stuff? Good!! Come with me, we don't have a second to waste. You snooze, you lose!"
The three men got up.
"Why aren't you moving?! Come on!"
Shrike grabbed the hand of the newman by the name of "Tomi" and led her out of The House of God, despite the owner's shouts about her being employed there.
The Chip Group would have made it to the teleporter unseen, had Tomi been clothed. Shrike put the event down in her memory as one of the funniest and strangest things to happen in her life: as they ran through the streets, the richer people would throw the newman towels to cover herself.
10-29-2002, 10:11 AM
"Teleporter's online. Eveeryone in! Go!!"
The surface of the planet was empty of people because of a thunderstorm. The group hurried over to Central Dome.
"Gabrielle and me will be the mappers." Shrike said. "Uhh, Wisco, did you get the location of the gate?"
The weapons modder nodded.
"Great. Let's grab our weapons and avoid contact with monsters as much as we can. We need to get as far as possible into the ruins before the rest of the hunters do."
"Dammit, this place is full of people!"
The team had arrived at the gates, only to find out some hunters were already placing boxes of supplies for the others.
Wisco reached for his com unit. A beep was heard, and the hunters suddenly dashed into the ruins.
"What was that?"
"Fake emergency signal. Let's get in there."
The interior of the ship was impressive. The floors were cold and smooth, most of the machinery still worked, and the air didn't smell as recycled as it was on Pioneer II. There were two paths, either east or west.
"I'm getting photon signals from the east." Gabrielle toned. "Methinks there's a good stash of stuff there."
And so it was: the small room contained nine boxes, full of high-tech weaponnry. One of them also had a couple of armor suits...
"Grab this." Shrike ordered Tomi. She handed to the newman a swimsuit-like plate. "Careful, 'cause this was made for androids and has sharp edges." Closer inspection of the boxes also revealed a pair of matching leg armors. As for the sharpness, Yndo gladly contributed a piece of his old suit to put in-between the skin and the plates.
Wisco's eyes suddenly opened wide.
"Guys, that room was a trap!!"
BWS-1 turned around.
"Waddya mea-- oh shit!"
The doors leading to the main corridor were still opened, and in said corridor was a dozen monsters, patiently waiting.
"What are those?" Shrike queried.
"Uhh, looks like the demi-organisms the database was talking about." Wisco said while looking at his info pad. "I'm getting signals everywhere; the damn ship is crawling with these things!!!"
Gabrielle shrugged while reaching for her wing blades.
"So what? No problem. Everyone ready?"
They all nodded.
The following carnage was brief and rather too close according to Wisco's opinion. It was a fact: those monsters were much tougher that what they knew from the surface.
"And the worst thing," Yndo added "Is that we still don't know what kind of thing we might encounter. I mean, if these things do exist, anything can come right up in our faces!"
The team moved to the next room (Tomi was lagging behind, due to the fact that she felt like using the purple monster blood as paint for her new suit) which was fortunately empty, except for a huge crystal at the far right end.
"There's some characters engraved..." BWS-1 declared as he took a look. "Does it look like anything we know?"
Everyone took his turn to look, but no one knew what those characters were. Probably something from whatever ancient civilization. Anyways it wasn't Chip Group business. They were hunting for weapons and armors to sell and mod. Not for fancy writing styles.
The next room featured a bunch of windows that let the team see what they really were into. It seemed like a space version of an ancient boat: the front and the back were raised, while the middle was a large flat platform. It was quite a beautiful thing to look at. That ship had been well conserved through the years.
They turned around to proceed to the next room, but soon found out it was already full of monsters.
"How the hell did they get here?!" Yndo yelled as he parried a Dimenian's strike. No one answered, they were all too busy with fights of their own. Fortunately, those critters were no match for the Chip Group's modded weapons, and eventually everyone killed his share of monsters...
...Except for Shrike.
The black and green android was busy with one of the tougher types of monsters: a blademaster-like entity, with the standard sword as right hand, but its form was slightly taller and slimmer. Whereas the Dimenians looked like futuristic thugs, this one only had skin over bones, and even that wasn't enough... It just seemed like some dark grinning skeleton.
Shrike backed away just in time to avoid a swipe from the creature's huge bladed left hand. She found an opening and swung her cainsaw back, but her attempt was too slow; the monster grabbed the weapon in order to stop the chains, but changed his mind and pushed the weapon away.
Both enemies circled each other, looking for a break in each other's guard, but an android against a killing machine was too perfect a combo. This fight would last forever, and no one dared attempt a shot, because the opponents were moving too fast.
"Hunters coming!" Wisco yelled as he peeked at his radar. "Finish this thing and let's hide somewhere!"
"What do you think I'm trying to do here?!"
Wisco looked at his radar in panic. They couldn't afford to be seen by hunters here. Who knows, they might just end up on some zealous and lawful guy who'd recognize them and send them straight to jail for unauthorized access.
Time was up. Wisco quickly placed a quick-port pipe in a corner of the room and activated it.
"It's taking too long; run back to Pioneer!"
Shrike dashed for the teleporter field, but the monster caught up with her, and used its hand-shield to slam her on the wall. She managed to push the critter away with her right foot, but it charged again. Both were still fighting when Shrike suddenly stepped on the pipe, activating the field.
Both enemies vanished.
10-29-2002, 11:33 AM
*starts reading back
10-29-2002, 02:29 PM
I know what's gong to happen next! Don't ya love it when everything fits togeather? http://www.pso-world.com/psoworld/images/phpbb/icons/smiles/icon_razz.gif
10-29-2002, 02:52 PM
Ahh, so that's how it happened! http://www.pso-world.com/psoworld/images/phpbb/icons/smiles/icon_smile.gif Now...to wait for the aftermath...
10-30-2002, 11:52 AM
Shrike had teleported with the monster next-to-last in order. Only Tomi was left, but the field suddenly vanished. The device had run out of energy.
A muffled boom. Something had fallen on the ground where the teleporter field had stood. The form that was hidden in this dark corner wasn't moving, and the sound had attracted a team of hunters, who looked at the pile of flesh and metal with disgust.
The thing moved... An android hand tried to find some support to get up, but it was too weak. A small growl of frustration echoed through the room.
Someone took his telescopic partisan by the blade end, and lightly poked the creature. Tomi wanted to call out Shrike's name, but all that came from her mouth was an unhearable "Uhhhh..."
Two things extended from the form, and let themselves fall on the floor, in a surprizingly loud clang of metal against metal.
They were hands. The Delsaber was still alive.
The hunters prepared their guns and swords, carefully watching the creature. They hoped it would die there, since those hunters had already lost a comrade to one of these things...
Someone lost his nerve and shot. A hand raised itself, activated its shield, and parried the strike. The hand fell again, this time on the tip of its fingers, and a louder, more menacing growl came from the dark mass.
'It' tried to use its hands to stand up. The mass of flesh broke apart like a soft cocoon, uncovering the android, which was covered by purple blood. A small, defeated gurgle came forth, the sound of a dying Delsaber.
Shrike stood up, weakly. Her Greenglow functions had obviously been affected, because her shape's glow was unequal. Whereas her hair plate was of a dull olive-like green in the darkness, her eyes happened to glow like highbeams.
A few words of unequal pitch escaped her mouth, as she looked in Tomi's direction.
The word died down, and so did she, falling face first on the floor, in a crash so loud it surpried even the hunters four rooms away.
She woke up in a bliding white neon light. Well, not woke up per se, but got reactivated. She could hear voices coming from each side.
"I can't figure this out."
"How's the RAM affected?"
"Looks like it's partly covered. As long as one of the main boards is intact, I think I can salvage some stuff..."
Shrike's weak voice (her amplifier was disconnected) surprised everyone.
"Hey, why is she powered up?"
"It's not me!!"
"Scan the switches."
One of the meccanos took a peek inside Shrike's open chest.
"I don't see any..."
The man looked at his teammates and shrugged. Shrike didn't know where it had come from, but she knew there was a backup battery inside herself.
The man peered at the designated area.
"I only see some kind of tumor."
"Tumor! Got any memory of what happened to you?"
"Well... Was fightin' all right. Then I hopped in a teleporter and something happened."
The man looked to some assiatant Shrike couldn't see.
"Teleporter! There's our problem!!"
"So what's the diagnostic?"
"My amp is dead!"
"Taylor, give me that wire will you?... There. What was your question?"
Shrike ran a quick test to check the amp's capabilities, and then said in a clear voice:
"What's the diagnostic?"
The man took in a deep breath.
"Well, tell you the truth, you got hit pretty bad by some infection. It's eaten most of your RAM, it's covered your CPU, and done some other things I can't even describe myself. But the important part is that it's caught your hard drive. Can you run a cluster test for me please?"
The hard drive did spin all right, but the data Shrike saw was completely messed-up. It was as if someone had backed up his operating system into her while she wasn't looking.
"Can you now spin the primary disc?" The man said.
The primary disc didn't spin, however. It seemed stuck. A spark erupted from the reading head, which had trouble moving too.
"That's what I thought..." He continued. "Your primary disc was corrupted. I'm afraid we'll have to replace it."
Shrike couldn't believe him.
"But I can read the data on it! Every cluster! My tests say so!"
"Your tests must be wrong, because your primary disc is halfway covered by demi-organisms. It doesn't want to spin, and if you try to spin it too hard, it'll eventually break. I can't take these things off without scratching your operating codes. We need to replace the primary disc and the hard drive."
"Can I back-up my files?"
"No; the infection is preventing me from doing so. Your ports are clogged with the stuff."
"But what about my knowledge?! My memories!! There's people I know! There's people I would STILL like to know!!"
"I'm sorry, but I can't do anything else. Listen, I'll clean you up as best as I can, replace what's broken, and when I reboot you, I'll inform you about who you are as best as I can, okay?"
"No, that's not okay! And get this light away from me."
She rose a hand to block the rays.
The whole thing felt too heavy. She thought she was lifting a thousand pounds of meat instead.
It wasn't so wrong after all.
Her hand was that of a Delsaber.
The alley was dark and full of trash and junk. It would be the perfect hiding place.
Shrike had screamed at her transformation so loud, everything made of glass within the room had broken into pieces. She could remember making her way among the panicking men, and she was surprized to find a bit of blood on the shining blades that ran the entire length of her fingers. She'd never be able to give a handshake again.
She sat down. Her eyes were opened wide in panic and amazement. She registered all the new data and proceeded to test out the flex and movement of her new hands. Fortunately, they moved just like her old ones. Four fingers, one thumb. The modifications to her data and movement files were very minimal.
But then, there were the shields.
Her hand wasn't there per se. She could see her palm pierced by a hole about three and a half inches in diameter. Those holes were the central generators to her Delsaber shields, and she came to find out their power was good enough, she could just block machine-gun fire for a continuous five minutes without overworking the energy. That, and the shield radius was huge, much better than a standard barrier, even when modded.
She let her hands fall to her side. It was time to defragment her hard drive and restore her original and optimal speed settings.
<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: KodiaX987 on 2002-10-30 09:53 ]</font>
11-06-2002, 01:54 PM
Wisco had been giving and receiving calls for the last twenty minutes, but to no avail. No one had seen Shrike anywhere.
Yndo, who was sitting with him, sat up.
"Maybe she was taken to the First Floor."
The First Floor he was talking about was actually slang for the upper reaches of Pioneer II. Besides, at the bottom of the ship, it was dark enough to be considered underground, with all the pipes everywhere.
Wisco shook his head in response.
"I don't want to believe this... My little daughter, gone and in the hands of the cops. How shittier can my day get?!"
"Well, whatever. We don't have news now, we won't have them later. I'm going to the House. You comin'?"
"Don't wait for me; I've lost my apetite for today."
Yndo closed the door behind him, and the room fell into darkness, fought by a small lightbulb dangling from the ceiling. The walls were covered by shelves full of tools and junk. One door led to a small washroom. The other, right next to it, led to a dirty bedroom. The whole place seemed to be falling apart. But Wisco liked it this way. Had he not, things in his home would have been different.
He reached for his cigarette, and began examining one of the guns he had stored in a bin. These were all the things available for modding.
He put the gun away though. Nevermind work for today. Instead, he'll drink his ass off from the jumbo bottle he had hidden within one of those shelves.
A fist was asking for permission to enter.
"Come in!" Wisco replied.
The visitor opened the door. In a weak, distorted voice, she said:
"Hi Mr. Robertson."
Only one person was so respectful of him enough to call him by his last name. Although he recognized her by expression, he would have had a harder time going by the looks...
Shurikane's immense angers were almost touching the floor. Her original 7'4" foot frame seemed even taller now. Wisco could see in the dim light the features of her face deeply affected by the merge; her human-like eye lenses, the ones she had paid so much cash for, had blown out, glass, irises, system, everything. Among the broken shards were the wide-open stares of two camera lenses. Her hair plate had been pierced and drilled by the engineers, and her entire chestplate was missing. The inner systems were infected everywhere by the Delsaber organism, and at her feet was the beginning of a pool of dirty oil.
The old weapons modder had no words for what he was seeing. Shrike didn't even seem aware of her own self. She just smiled and casually cat down as best as she could, the merge causing her to have some erratic movements and shakes.
"Sorry," she said, hanging her head in shame. "I almost got caught..."
She stopped, only to cough and spit out an amount of oil and blood.
"Dear God, you're sick." Wisco could only say. "Listen, go to my bed and lie down, I'll try to fix you up as best as I can."
While she was doing so, he picked up his tools and went to fetch a few parts on one of the top shelves. He came into his own bedroom and laid the pieces on the floor.
"What are these?..." Shrike asked. She had not seen the replacements.
"It's... Well, it's your old parts."
"You kept those?"
"I always do. Listen, I found you, Shrike. I fixed your executables as best as I could, I freed you from your Halloween mission and gave you Freechip independence... Those eyes you used to have, the simu-skin on your shoulders, even the chestplate you had, they had been designed by me. Remember?"
A pause. Then, she nodded slowly.
"I always keep the old parts." Wisco continued. "They always come in handy. Besides, you're like a daughter to me. We love and respect each other father-daughter. As you used to do your best to keep me out of trouble, I do the same to you. I still have your old chestplate and your old hair piece and your old eye lenses. They are cheap I agree, but we'll have to do with these for now."
"Now please don't move... I need to reform the simu-skin around your eyes..."
Shrike stood up after Wisco had finished his work.
"Got a mirror?" She asked with a more normal voice.
Wisco pointed it out. She went over and stood in front of it.
"Well, I guess that'll do..." She commented. Her eyes were now behind a pair of featureless bright green lenses, her chestplate was the old one, the one with the aggressive looks and themes to it. Her hairpiece had to be changed too, and although it looked just like the one she used to have, this original one had slightly sharper edges.
"At least you look halfway normal now." Wisco said with a smile.
"Not just yet." Shrike paused, and took a finger over to her hair piece. She carefully used the fingerblade and stuck it between two plates...
...A splinter fell off. The hair deployed into a shoulder-length myriad of knives.
Her grin was one of the widest she had ever seen on herself.
"Man, you know what? That look somehow kicks ass."
She looked at Wisco, who didn't answer. He was busy hiding tears from view. He knew his favorite android would never be the same now.
Suddenly, he sat up.
"Let's go to the House of God. I feel hungry..."
"You're not allowed in here." The bouncer said.
"Say WHAT?! I've always been a regular!!" Shrike screamed at him.
"Sorry Shrike but I just can't let you in with all that machinery on you. This is a packed place in there, you're too likely to hurt someone."
"I'll be careful, is that enough for you?!"
"No; please use common sense, I just want to avoid dangers, that's all! Listen, soon as you get those hands fixed back to normal android hands, you'll be allowed in here all you want, but in the meantime, this place is off-limits for you."
Shrike looked at Wisco, who didn't say a word.
She snarled at the bouncer and went around the building.
"OWNER!! Come outta here, NOW!"
Said man opened the back door to see who was there.
"Yes, what's the problem?"
"I want in but your bouncer is too anal to underdtand me."
The owner took a quick look at her.
"Damn straight he's anal... And a good thing too." He muttered. "Did you even look at yourself?"
"So I'm a crossbreed now; crucify me!!" The android screamed.
The owner sighed. It wasn't going to be an easy one after all.
He stepped out of the kitchen to face Shrike.
"Listen, I know this is unfair but I need to care about safety here... What if you acidentally bump into someone while in there? I'll be the one in deep shit, because I'll be the one who let you in. I'm sorry girl but I can't do anything else until you find a way to show me that you are safe."
"You almost sound racist when you say that..."
The owner shrugged. He had no reply to this.
He felt a set of blades on each of his shoulders.
"It was an accident, all right? And if I try to fix it, I lose all my memories, every single one of them." Shrike was trying to sound calm, but was quite unsuccessful. "I don't want it to happen. I didn't want that thing to happen in the first place. Doesn't that suck? One day I'm the favorite of the band, the next day I can't even go and have a chat at my home bar. That bothers me, you know that?"
Her voice was breaking at times, as if she was on the verge of crying. Her hands tightened their grip on the owner's shoulder, the blades slowly sank into his flesh.
"Please, stop that, you're--"
"Shut up!!" Shrike screamed at him. "I'm gonna tell you something today. I'm gonna tell you that you can't make a concession even for one of your best friends. I've been here since the beginning of the damn Chip Group! And all you do in return is shit on me! I know my hands are not common, but there are ways to keep the whole thing safe! I am the same damn old me! I am the same Shrike for yesterday, from the day before, I've been the same all along!!"
The owner's eyes seemed lost.
"Hey!! Stay awake!!" Shrike shook him a little but he had become a flaccid mass of flesh and bones.
The next thing she knew was that her hands had completely cut apart his shoulders, unaware of the pressure she was pushing with.
The owner fell to the ground on his own blood and severed arms, his guts merrily pouring out from his sides.
Shrike looked at the spectacle and screamed.
The kitchen was empty. She threw the body in one of the friers, took some oil into a pot, and poured it on one of the gas burners.
She repeated the process until the kitchen was nicely ablaze. Her hands hovered over the fire in order to dry out the blood and allow her to quickly remove it. In a matter of seconds, her hands were completely free of any visible suspicion.
In the meantime, the customers were rushing out. Shrike went out by the back door, took a few detour alleys, only to end up back at Wisco's place.
The House of God would never exist again.
11-07-2002, 11:07 AM
Shrike didn't go back to Wisco's house, as she was sure the old man would most likely chew the hell out of her for doing this.
She sat down somewhere close to First Floor, where she had a good view of both above and below; one of the few spots of the lower parts of the ship that weren't full of pipes and wires all over the place.
Gravity makes crap go down... Down to the bottom, she thought. She looked down and her cameras proved her points. Down, way down were piles of junk, old cars, crash sites, biological waste. This part of the ship wasn't supposed to be a slum, but you can't do much once gravity's won the lawsuit.
People would most likely suspect her for the fire at the House of God. The bouncer would still be alive, and it doesn't take a huge IQ to make the connection.
Her linker beeped.
"Shrike, it's me." Wisco's voice said.
"I've got some hopefully good news for you. I was suspecting you were the one who had caused the fire, so during the panic, I found a few seconds to shoot down the bouncer."
Thanks... But what about everyone else?
"No one saw you... And no one saw me either. The only one to know is me and Yndo; he'll leak out some info. You know, the usual situation: two enemies, one of them gets pissed off and he comes over to settle the score. Nothing simpler."
Okay... Why are you doing this?
"You're my daughter in some way. I want to keep you out of trouble, whatever it is. Besides, the Chop Group needs you!"
So I'm a p-- Oh wait...
Almost spoke too fast on this one...
Listen, don't wait for me until next morning... I've got some more defragmenting to do.
"Sure, sure... Come home whenever you're in the mood."
She hung up.
Now that her concentration was off from the call, the noises of cars and machinery became louder to her. She could see her reflexion on the underside of some of those things, and as she looked at the image of her over and over again, she came to the realization that although her new form was undoubtably badass, it wasn't going to be lovely. She didn't really find herself beautiful anymore.
If only I could be a normal human, she thought. Eat, work, sleep, life is simple. No maintenance, no complicated grids and hard drives... Just do your job and have fun. You get to sleep during all those boring nights, while the androids wander around and fucking have nothing to do... Life would be good too. Had I been born a woman instead of an android, I would have been able to taste the joys of sex.
She was adopted... She couldn't technically have a child, but nothing stopped her from getting up and going to get one.
No... Not a human. I want a kid android.
That was a possibility, but it would cost quite a lot of cash to change shells every year to simulate growth.
She looked at her hands...
Well, at least I'm a bit closer to a normal organig thing... Whatever that is.
11-11-2002, 02:27 PM
8 days later
Shrike had found a small, remote power reactor on the surface of Ragol and had ripped out the machinery to transform it into her little workshop. It wasn't much... The outside was covered by branches and leaves, the door was almost invisible, and the insides were completely torn apart.
And inside, there was the android, sitting on a small computer chair, with a snake-light hanging from a bulkhead, its beam cast upon a set of electronic pieces.
"It's me." Wisco's voice said. "Nicoletta has good news for you: she still has a couple of dead mags in her bio box. They'll never work but if it's gonna help you..."
As long as she doesn't think I mean aircraft magnetos. But if it's the good stuff, send 'em all down.
She hung up and went back to her study.
The piece of structure she was using as a desk was covered with circuits, chips, boards and a few organic parts. A few of them had already been stripped of key components and put away, but the majority of the stuff lay disorganized. Next to those things was a small laptop computer, which she had linked to herself via 6-foot cable instead of optical spike, for freedom of movement.
Next to the desk, locked within a portable ice case, were containers with samples of blood from the ruins monsters, kindly brought to her by Wisco. She had been considering making an Insa-type daughter just like her, but the idea was pretty far-fetched. Mags were more known and would be more reliable than monster genes.
8 days of processing data and simulating experiments and still nothing conclusive. She'd just be forced to make a normal adult-looking android. She'd never get the thrill of raising someone (how did this idea get into her anyways!)
Her outside camera took notice of someone at the door, which she opened. It was Wisco, but how did he get here so quickly...
She took a look at the computer clock. It was 9 in the evening. She had been whining about her failed attempts for the past three hours and a half without even being aware of it.
Wisco gave her the bag, which contained a dozen mags, old and dead, but intact. The weapon modder muttered a few words about being tired, and left.
She disconnected from the computer and linked the cable to one of the mag's data plugs. She'd have to do away with movement of her right arm for a few minutes.
She set the mag down on her desk, waited for its circuit lights to brighten to their fullest, then inserted her opti--
That was not an optical spike...
"Oh my God!!" She yelled upon seeing the thing that had actually expended from her arm. She knew her optical spike was situated under the skin of her Delsaber hands but what had come out of the compartment had been a 3-foot long thick black rope, ending in a flexible organic appendice, with a phospho-light at its tip. The appendice and light were encased in a set of three petal-like metal plates, which were now fastened around the port she had connected to. And somehow, that thing worked just like a regular optical spike.
Speaking of which, she finally managed to find the registry entries for her spike input files, and it was still somewhere within her... Actually it had been there all along, but the organic spike had decided to play smart guy and had pasted a priority shortcut right on top of the entry.
Figures, she thought...
She allowed herself a second to fix the entry and test it out again, and found herself satisfied that she now had two spikes instead of one. The feeling was comparable to her as a human with four arms.
She looked at the mag, retracted the organic spike from the port, and gave it a careful look. The appendice seemed stretchy and flexible. She might just as well try it straight into the mag and see what happens.
Oh my god, make that six arms...
The data that flowed into her was something she had never seen before, yet she understood everything of it. Within seconds, she knew all about this mag down to the last atom. She didn't know a thing about practical DNA language, but at the same time she knew everything about it. And it wasn't just like downloading a dictionnary program to speak Spanish. The mag data had an unknown, exotic touch to it, like knowing every damn thing about a person just by looking at him (and she had seen from newmans that such a thing was possible!!)
The shock left her standing there for the next four minutes, before she found the will to spin her hard drive and download the data.
The new things she had learned in the past minutes changed everything. Before, she only knew about programs and procedures. Now, she knew the biology of the mag. Her organic spike somehow had the ability to hack both into computers and living beings!
She took only a few more seconds to arrange the structure. Using her knew bio knowledge, she'd be able to grow a mag-android combinaison and actually make it work.
She took the other mags out of the bag, analyzed them, and put them close together. She'd use the mags' innate psychic powers to merge them into one... That'd give her enough flesh to initiate a growth process, englobe a few key motherboards and other android components, and then design a kid-to-adult program that would last ten years. She'll fast-forward the kid to a mental and physical age of eight years old, and then let her proceed onward to adulthood.
She sent in the codes, carefully watched the mags as they accomplished their jobs, and found it acceptable to disconnect and turn her attention away for the time being.
There was some unexpected work to do with all that monster blood.
Meep, my 3700th post! Huzzah!
<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: KodiaX987 on 2002-11-11 12:32 ]</font>
01-20-2003, 10:41 AM
One (1) new message. Click here to view.
"Attn: Wisco Robertson
Cc: Shrike Nainsev, BWS-1
Sender: Tamica Kofay
Subject: Danger for Shrike
Possible mole in Chip Group. Bill passed banning all androids with organic components. No idea who the mole is. Keep mute."
Wisco turned the computer off. He had no idea on the mole either, and Shrike had been absent for a while now...
A knock at the door, followed by a click. The room burst into light as the door was opened, letting in the flow of the headlights of a car. Shrike then presented herself in the frame.
"Hey pops... Look what I managed to do!"
She raised her right arm. Her blades were clenching an unrecognizable mass of muscles, deformed bones and incomplete organs. Dark red blood stained the floor and ran over to the drain in the middle of the room.
Wisco immediately stood up.
"What are you doing; get this outta here now!!"
Shrike raised one of her shields. Wisco bumped face first into it.
"Chill it..." She said calmly. "This thing I've got here... Well, it was tiny as this just a few minutes ago (she showed how much with the tips of two blades.) I've found out something really great. Really, really great. You know, those animals on Ragol? Well, all of them are mutated out of some demon that lives down there, we know all that. But what we didn't know was that the mutation was spontaneous and only responded to a control input. That means, using a piece of mutated monster, by just giving it the okay code, will form into a new clone. It simply thinks it's being given orders by the demon, and thus takes in some dark energy to grow into a full-scale being."
She threw the body away. Wisco was undecided as to how he should respond to this...
"But the best thing is - check this out, check this - is that it also works on mags." She said before letting him the chance to speak up. "C'mere Sierra!"
What walked into the door frame was a tiny android, no more than four feet in height. She had the same basic features as Shrike, except she didn't seem to sport any monstruous organic components. That, and her plates were electric blue instead of green.
"I'm a mom now. I didn't enjoy the sex part, but I didn't have to suffer through the givin' birth part either!"
She laughed quietly. Wisco backed away, and sat on his mobile chair.
"Good for you... Now look at what your lack of stealth has given us."
01-20-2003, 03:09 PM
There's more to the House of God fic? Sweet http://www.pso-world.com/psoworld/images/phpbb/icons/smiles/icon_smile.gif
*Hides unfinished TFFOMP fic* http://www.pso-world.com/psoworld/images/phpbb/icons/smiles/anime2.gif
Umm...ya. Hehe, keep up the good work! I take it there's going to be at least another post to this story?
01-21-2003, 04:19 PM
She stood still at the announcement.
"Say that again?"
Wisco took a deep breath.
"The cops are after your ass. Hardcore. And there's nothing I can do about it."
"Okay, so, what's it gonna do to me."
"Rephrase it this way: what's it gonna do to us"
An awkward silence.
"You can't stay with us anymore." Wisco toned.
"Why not? I'm just a little different from last time, I mean, they're after me; they won't do anything about you!"
"Yes, they will! Hey, if they catch you, they have full access to your hard drives, that means they will know all that we've done undercover, and that, I don't want it to happen. So you have two choices. One, you format yourself and start back at zero on your own. Two, you find a way to counter this merge."
Gabrielle heard a doorslam. She stepped out of the maintenance room.
"Pops called here." She said. "He says you're disinherited."
"The hell with Pops." Shrike snapped. "I don't care about him firing me from the team. He thinks we'll all die because I'm wanted, and he's so wrong he doesn't believe anything else."
Gabrielle didn't move when Shrike walked towards the maintenance room. The blue android crossed her arms over her chest.
"Listen Shrike. Put yourselves in our shoes. You're like a big white beacon that screams "CAPTURE ME!" to everyone around you. It matters to us, because right now, we are risking our own lives trying to keep you alive! Don't you think we're doing a bit too much here? Sacrifying an entire black market group to keep only ONE person alive? Hey, my life before anyone else's, thank you very much."
"Your tongue's clumsy; my life before anyone else's too, find the error."
Gabrielle growled in frustration. Shrike put her elbows on the door frame, blocking the way out.
"I want to live as much as you all want to. But you are all angry at me because I can now enjoy the abilities of both a human and an android at the same time! True?"
"So whenever you dimwits find that someone is a little too high, you strike him down? That's what you do?! And I thought I was with a good family when I settled here... BULLSHIT! You guys bail out the treasure at the first sign of trouble! We ain't done nothin' wrong we're innocent save us baby Jesus boo-hoo-hoo, for a black market group you sure have a lot of heart!!"
Gabrielle had hit the back of the room. She attempted a last verbal attack.
"Understand us! You're dangerous! You are too dangerous for the police! It's not us you should be angry at, it's them!! THEM!!"
A hand grabbed her and raised her to the ceiling.
"You know what I'm gonna do?" Shrike snarled. "I'm gonna hate both of you. Government because they think I'm a monster, and you guys because you are too scared to fight like real people."
Her organic spike deployed itself as she spoke.
"You guys suck. Hardcore. Seems the only people who have as much guts as me are the animals on Ragol. You want me to remind you of something? It's not even my fault, if you recall! You try to control a fight when it's jumping all over the place. You try to fight a Delsaber yourself, YOU put yourself in my shoes!!!"
Her movement was so swift Gabrielle didn't even move down from the ceiling. The hand stabbed her clean and straight into the key components, but her agressor had carefully avoided the motherboard.
The organic spike found a way in, and connected. The other hand pressed the trigger of a syringe and sprayed alien blood all over the spike's area. Immediately, it grew and expanded, taking on gruesome shapes, forming organs, muscles, eyes, brains. The nerves connected to the motherboard, and for the first time in her life, Gabrielle screamed in pain, the pain of a human when her stomach rips apart in thousands of pieces.
"What are you doing?!" She gasped between two convulsions.
"I'm putting you into my shoes, that's what I am doing!!" Shrike screamed with a hint of a smile. "You have no idea what it is to be me, you have no idea what I have gone through to end up here, and you have even less of a fucking idea what I am about to do to a government that doesn't have an ounce of common sense!!"
Gabrielle's simu-skin was stretching and melting into unrecognizable masses. Organism and computer merged into a purposely incompatible mixture, corrupting systems, rejecting organs. Her mouth was forced open as dozens of tiny versions of her own head grew at alarming speed. Her new organic appendages seemed to be pure gore falling on the floor, attaching itself to anything it found, soon encasing the android's body into a hideous compound of tentacles.
Shrike ordered the grown process to stop, for just enough time to whisper:
"Welcome to my body. I've backed up your data and feelings into my hard drive to guarantee the success of the next android mutation I plan to create. Oh, and as a thank you note, I'll let you enjoy a bit of sex..."
Gabrielle's eyes rolled back, and she was taken by an intense shudder... Until she felt Shrike's middle finger run through her pleasure area and rip the entire organ apart.
Her scream became deafening, so much Shrike retracted her spike, and punched her face in pieces, effectively cutting off all sensory links, except tactical.
The groups of heads had grown to a respectable, if still small size.
"...Not!" Shrike snarled with a grin.
The heads whispered "Damn you..." in chorus, before settling down on the disformed body, and then ripping away from the common neck. The organs became lifeless. Bright red blood was covering most of the floor and walls.
Shrike walked away from the apartment. She didn't feel like setting it on fire, though. She wanted to let the others check out what she could do. She wanted to show everyone she was able to kick ass as much as anybody could.
"Mom, can we go yet?" A quiet voice said. Sierra was standing next to the car, boring herself to death.
"Sure. Let's find a spot where I'll be able to clean myself, and then we're on our way." The black and green android replied as she unlocked the doors and sat down.
Later, as she was driving through the back streets, she heard her daughter say this:
"Say... If we are a robot and an animal put together... What's our name?"
Shrike had to think for a few seconds. She passed into fourth to take the freeway, and simply toned:
"Let us call ourselves the Insa."
Want to know more? Check out the sequel The Android Sin, available at fanfiction.net and phantasy-star.net
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