PS3 Fic - Refugees of the Demon Star - updated 1/19

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Postby Amwhere » Wed Nov 14, 2007 6:33 am

It was dark out and the warehouse didn't have any lights on. I couldn't detect any active sensors at work, and both the black body suit and my chilled body temperature would help me avoid detection on any passive systems.

I hopped over the ten foot high fence. At the apex of my jump, I saw two men in front of the warehouse - the lit end of there smoke sticks bright thermally. I landed silently and made my way through the stacked containers to the warehouse wall. Pressing myself against it, I carefully moved towards the front of the building where I could hear the two men whispering. The acrid smell of Enja smoke wafted past my nose as I reached the corner.

I pulled the stunner out of its holster on my left hip, leaned around the corner, and fired it at the closest man. He collapsed in a heap, his smoke stick rolling across the cold pavement. The other man startled and then he too slumped to the ground.

I holstered the stunner and quickly went up to the two unconscious men. I removed a pair of syringes from my breast pocket and injected one into each of the men's necks, ensuring that they'd be out for far longer than the couple of minutes that the stunner had put them out for. I frisked them and found a keycard.

I swiped the keycard through the lock of the warehouses side door. I heard the door unlock and I opened it slowly, hoping the hinges didn't squeak. The hinges didn't but as soon as I opened it far enough to squeeze through, a loud buzzer sounded through the warehouse.

I forced the door opened and dove behind one of the many stacks of crates that filled the warehouse. I pulled the pistol from the hostler on my right hip.

"Dege? Kire?" A man called from the rear of the warehouse.

I could have mimicked the voices of the men outside if I had heard them at more at a whisper. I made sure the safety on my pistol was off, and I radioed the rest of Eagle Team that I had entered the building. I heard someone move towards the front of the warehouse, and I made sure I was out of sight. I heard the man go outside.

"Kire! Dege!" The man exclaimed, and I heard the metal snick of a gun's safety coming off. "Come out, wherever you are!" He called loudly.

I pulled out one of the empty syringes from my pocket and threw it in a corner. It clacked on the cement floor. The man was obviously startled and let loose with a long burst of his gun. I used the noise to sneak up behind him.

"Ahem," I tapped him on the shoulder.

The light green haired man whipped around and froze as he caught sight of my gun mere inches from his face. "Drop it." I said sternly.

The submachine gun clattered to the floor.

I radioed Eagle Team to come in and clear the rest of the warehouse. After the three men had been carried away, Carl came up to me. "Good work, Miun."

I pulled off my mask and goggles. "Thanks."

"Those three probably owe you there life."

I nodded. "Yeah, they probably do."
April 21st, AW1276, General Pyre's office, King Arramiz II Military Base, Camineet, Palma
Pyre called me to his office early the next day. "Good morning, Miun," Pyre took a sip of his steaming hot coffee. "Good work last night."

"Thank you." I said.

"Unfortunately, the Techna Police Department's information was incorrect. There was no weapons the warehouse save what the guards were carrying."

"Figures," I rolled my eyes. "What was in that warehouse."

"Drugs... a lot of them. The largest bust in Techna for a long time." Pyre took another sip of his coffee. "There's no possible connection between them and the weapon sales."

"At least it wasn't a waste," I said. A little part of me thought except for my time.

"We had another raid in Camineet led by your sister Nia. We found weapons, but..." He sighed deeply and handed me a folder. "Here, read this."

[i]Author's note - Nia is Miuu's new name. Miuu and Mieu very just to darn confusing.</i>

Nia's mission was a lot like mine - raid a warehouse with a special ops team as backup. When she entered the warehouse, she found two dozen people there. Apparently, there was some sort of move going on. According to Nia, what she did was "the only way she could think of to complete the mission."

I turned the page, and a man who had been disemboweled by 4 deep cuts greeted me. Had I been human, there would have been a good chance that I would have vomited Mieu's tasty breakfast. The other pictures in the folder were no less gruesome. The last photograph was on Nia herself, her arms, front, and claws covered in blood, standing with a contented look on her face.

Nia, the report said, had been shot multiple times during the fight. I had learned yesterday that her armor (and the rest of my younger sisters) wasn't as good as mine, but it still turned the small arms fire easily. Her repair systems had sealed the holes in her skin by the time the picture were taken.

I closed the folder and handed it back to Pyre. "How could she do this!" My voice quivered with anger. "Two dozen people?"

Pyre looked down at his desk. "I'm partially to blame, I fear,"

"No, Ewin," I said, "Nia's choices are her own." I knew why he felt that way. Pyre told me yesterday that my younger sisters didn't go through the same virtual reality childhood that Maya, Mieu, and I did, and didn't have the same appreciation for humanity that I did. Because they didn't go through virtual reality, they needed some sort of personality, so when my younger sisters were built, they were given a "Basic Personality Imprint". All of them were different, but they all had things in common: All my younger sisters very confident, determined, and independent.

This didn't excuse Nia's actions. The Basic Personality Imprint was only the starting point of my sister's personality, and over the past four years I had seen them change. Some of my sisters had begun to understand humanity. Nia, though... that confidence quickly turned into "I'm Right" stubbornness, and after she got the idea that since there were eight billion humans in the Algo system, they were expendable... not to mention inferior.

If I were put in Nia's situation, I would first radio for instructions. If I did have to kill them, I would have done it with a single shot to the head.

Pyre took a deep pull off his coffee. "You're right, Miun. The only time Nia will get a mission is when she's working with you." He stuffed the folder back into his desk. "Now, I have a mission for you, if you want it."

"Of course, sir."

"This'll be the last mission for awhile. I promise." Pyre said. "We found out that there will be a black market weapon sale happening today. Our contacts in the black market have confirmed this and given us, as some risk, its location. I'd like you to go and see what's going on."

"Understood." I said. "May I ask - why me?"

"Because you won't miss or forget anything. Even the best trained operative may miss or forget a minor detail that could make all the difference. Also, you can take... decisive action, if need be."

I nodded.

"Wait in the lobby for Eagle Team. They'll have a case of meseta for you. Buy something if you have to. Good luck, Miun."
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Postby Amwhere » Wed Nov 21, 2007 11:40 pm

I went back to Techna with Eagle Team and discussed the mission. After that, I still had a couple hours before I had to leave the base. I reviewed both the weapons that had gone missing over from military stocks over the last five years, and the most likely people I would see at the sale. The last thing I did was change my appearance - I now had short, light brown hair, brown eyes, and a light scar running down one cheek.

It was time. I rode a motorcycle down to the industrial section of Techna and parked next to a run down building. There was a burly man standing at the front doorway. "I'm here for the plant sale." I said.

"Plant sale?" The man replied, sounding confused. "What plant sale."

I clicked open the briefcase I was carrying and flashed him the stacks of meseta notes inside.

"Oh. That plant sale." The man said, "One second." He squawked his radio three times, and a few moments later another man emerged from inside. "Follow him."

The other man led me down a long flight of steps to a steel door. He pressed a button, and a moment later the door opened. We entered a bustling casino. Gambling was illegal across the entire planet, but the police tended not to bother with underground casinos like this one.

I was led to a back room. The man handed me a sheet of paper. "Just take a seat."

The room had three dozen chairs set out in three rows. No one was in the room, save for an older gentleman sitting in the front row. I sat in the back row.

I read the paper that I had been handed. It seemed that the weapon sale would be held as an auction. Most of the lots where civilian weapons modified for better performance. A few lots were of stolen military equipment... and the last lot... made me stifle a gasp.

A working Type-3 Cobalt Bomb. A bomb powerful enough to obliterate ten city blocks. The bomb must have been the one missing from the weapon depot near the city of Ahire a year ago. I knew I had to get that weapon off the streets.

The room filled and a scrawny, frazzled looking man came to the podium at the front of the room. It turned out he was the auctioneer. I sat through the lots. I made some bids, of course, but I wanted to have all the money Pyre had given me for the last lot.

"And now for the last lot," the auctioneer said in his high, nasally voice, "a Type-3 Cobalt Bomb. Starting bid is 10 million meseta."

Three people raised their hands, including myself. One was the elderly gentleman in the front row. The other was a woman, about 30, with light green hair. "11," The auctioneer counted off, "12, 13, 14, 15, 16..."

The elder gentleman lowered his hand. I hoped the other woman would drop out soon. Pyre only gave me twenty million.

"17," The auctioneer continued. "18, 19, 20..." The woman and I looked at each other. "21..." I lowered my hand, a curse echoing in my head.

"Going once... twice... sold for 21 million meseta." The auctioneer said. The woman came up to the podium and set stacks of meseta on the table, and took her prize.

I stood up. I wasn't sure what to do. Was my revealing my true nature worth it? I was in disguise, but if word got to the wrong people that some sort of android existed, it could be disastrous. I knew I had a role to play in the liberation of Algo, and I couldn't do much if I and the rest of my sisters were shipped off to Motavia.

The woman made the choice for me as she pulled out a small tube from her pocket. She pressed the red button on top, and disappeared in a flash of blue light.

It was an "escapipe" - a short range teleporter than would send her and the bomb to a receiver not far away. They were, naturally, only allowed in the hands of the military. The casino was heavily shielded, and I couldn't detect the faint energy signature that the receiver gave off when the woman arrived. The same shielding prevented me from getting a signal out to Eagle Team. Fortunately...

Carl jumped when I appeared next to him in a flash of blue light. I had used my own escapipe. I quickly told him what had happened. He radioed the rest of Eagle Team, who were watching the building from different locations, but none of them had noticed anything. We searched for an hour, but we came of

It was early evening in Techna when I reported to Pyre. I told him what had happened, and finished with, "I'm sorry I failed you, sir."

Pyre looked me in the eye. "Nonsense. You're not perfect, and I know you did your best. Already our top agents are looking for where that bomb went." He pulled the atlas and history book from Tim's box and slid them across the desk. "If you need to take you mind off what happened, take a look at these. We haven't figured out that history book at all."

I took the books. "Thank you... Ewin." I left and took the teleporter back home.

When I walked in, Mieu and Tim were having dinner. I wasn't in the mood for talking, though, so I just nodded at them and went to my room. I put the books on my desk and flopped on my bed. I couldn't stop replaying what had happened today in my mind, and what I could have done differently.

"Sis?" Mieu peeked her head in. "You all right?"

I told her what had happened today. "I just... I think I could have done better."

"What's done is done," Mieu said. "There's no need to be down about it. Now come out and eat." She flashed me a smile.

Dinner was very good that night...
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Postby Amwhere » Thu Nov 29, 2007 4:28 am

Thursday, September 16th, 3086, Mission High School

"Two weeks passed between my failure to stop the sale of the bomb and the Techna's Winter Solstice Ball. " Miun said after Mieu opened the class. "Not a lot happened between during that time. A therapist came from New Camineet to see Tim, and that combined with medicine helped him to come out of his depression."

"I read the history book and atlas that was in Tim's box. The atlas was mundane, but the history book was... amazing, to say the least." Miun wrote 'Nelson' on the board, followed by a seemingly random series of squiggles. "The whole book was written like this - in such small print that it was near the edge of my ability to read it. The beginning of the book was a table translating these squiggles into words. For example," Miun turned back to the board and wrote under the squiggles, 'Nelson hoisted on his flagship before the battle: England expects that every man will do his duty.'

"I can't help thinking that the book was written for me. No human could read it, and a cyborg couldn't understand it. Of my sisters, I was the only one with a history degree." She paused. "The information in the book wasn't any use to me on Palma - and that leads me to think that if someone put it there, they only did it to let me know that someone's watching 'behind the scenes', so to speak." She shook her head. "Here I am, an android, thinking that some greater power is guiding things. I know it sounds funny now, but... as the year goes on, you'll see why I think that way."

Nicole raised her hand. "What was the thing you found most history in Earth's history?"

Miun glanced at her sister, who nodded. "I found the actions between the Earth's nations to be fascinating. On Palma, having more that one country was a rarity. Yet, on Earth, there hundreds at times."

Miun cleared the light board. "It was the evening of the ball..."

May 6th, AW1276, Miun and Mieu's house, Techna, Palma

I reached behind my neck and closed the clasp on my necklace. The large blue jewel that hung on the gold chain was identical to the one that was set in Mieu's chest. Dr. Syre gave it to me that day I was awakened and told me never to lose it.

I looked in the bathroom mirror. I tugged at my black with red trim dress uniform, and my gold crossed swords insignia on my shoulders glinted in the light.

I went out into the living room, where Tim and Mieu were playing cards. "That looks good on you," Tim said.


There was a knock on the door. It was the driver that Pyre had ordered. "Ready, ma'am?"

I nodded.

The Techna Winter Solstice Ball had its roots in the first winter after Techna's founding, where the colonists had a grand party to celebrate the harvest. Over time, it had evolved from a ball to a ball with some awards, to a little ball with awards for art, movies, and so forth.

We passed through a police cordon in front of the Techna Grand Hall. Photographer got as close as they could, ready to snap pictures of stars.

Pyre was waiting for me. "Good evening," he opened the door.

We walked together into the courtyard. Standing in the courtyard was a life sized statue of Queen Alis the Great, her sword lifted in the air. We went through the foyer and into the main hall. Pyre led me down the blue carpet past tables were celebrities were already enjoying hors d'oeuvres, over the small dance floor, and on to the stage.

There was a table set up on stage. "We'll be sitting here," Pyre said.

"With His Grace?"

Pyre nodded. As if on cue, the Duke of Techna walked out from backstage. "General Pyre," the duke said, extending his hand, "it's good to see you."

The Commanding General of the King's Army and a Duke were technically of equal rank, but Pyre bowed nevertheless as he shook the duke's hand. "And you, Your Grace. May I introduce my chief advisor, Colonel Miun Rydori."

"So young," The duke said to me, "yet the General holds you in high regard. It's a pleasure to meet you, Colonel."

I bowed. "It's a honor to meet you, Your Grace."

Pyre pulled out my chair before sitting himself. "Where is Mr. Sa Riik?"

"He had to use the faculties," The duke answered. "Here he comes now."

A tall man with straight black hair and green eyes sat down next to me. "Mr. Sa Riik," General Pyre said, "This is Colonel Miun Rydori. Miun, this is..."

"Akar Sa Riik, CEO of Sa Riik Robotics. It's a pleasure." I said.

Akar leaned over and kissed me on the cheek. "The pleasure is all mine, Miun."

The duke got up and stood at the podium. "Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the 1532nd Techna Winter Solstice Ball. If you feel like dancing, now's the time. Maestro!"

"May I have a dance, Colonel?" Pyre had a slight smirk on his face.

"Of course!"

For all of Pyre's good traits leading men, he was a terrible dancer. After the third time he stepped on my foot, I said with a smile, "I'll have to buy new boots if you keep that up, sir."

He laughed. "I think that's enough dancing."

On the way back to the table, I whispered to Pyre, "Do Akar and the Duke know about me?"

"Just Akar."

Dinner was served and the award show was begun. I kept noticing Akar sneaking glances at me. He had this odd look on his face - I couldn't tell what it was.

Just after the award for the year's best computer game was announced, I needed a flurry of sensor sweeps around the building. The scans were of the same type that the Techna police sensor trucks used. I figured it was just a standard precaution.

The show continued and Mieu's and my favorite singer won song of the year. I mentioned to Pyre that she was my favorite, and, overhearing, the Duke said, "Well, go backstage and get her autograph!" I did, and returning to the table with a smile on my face, I noticed that Pyre was gone.

"Where's the General?" I whispered to Akar.

"He had to take a phone call."

I sat down. Pyre came out two minutes later and whispered in my ear, "Come with me."

I followed him to a secluded area backstage. "What is it?"

"The TPD got a call an half an hour ago stating that there is a bomb under this hall. They sent out sensor trucks, and... it seems we've found our missing cobalt bomb."

I'm ready, sir." I said without hesitation.

"Thank you, Miun. We can't evacuate up here, Miun. It might cause a panic throughout Techna - and it would be bad even if the there was some sort of dummy rigged up instead of a real bomb."

"I understand, sir." I took off my necklace and handed it to him. "Where's the nearest sewer entrance?"

He led me to the women's bathroom. "Just outside the window. Eagle Team is coming - radio them when you're done." Pyre said. "Good luck."

The window is the bathroom was high on the wall and just big enough for me to squeeze through. I jumped up and hung on to the windowsill. I pushed the window open and pulled myself up and through. I tucked into a summersault while in the air and hit the ground rolling. I sprang to my feet and carefully removed the manhole cover and dropped into the sewer.

I landed on the walkway making almost no noise, thanks to the micro-sound cancellation field generators in my feet. The stench of the sewer was incredible. If I were human, I'd have been gagging and throwing up.

The TPD was still scanning up above, so I could use my own sensors without being detected. I found the bomb easily, and started to head that way.

"What sensors do you have, anyway?" Nicole blurted out. Mieu stifled a chuckle.

"Mieu and I have a special mesh inside our armor rib cage that can do basically any type of sensor sweep, including hyperwave."

"No way!" Eric exclaimed from the back. "My dad works at Boeing-Lockheed and he says that a HADAR unit would take up half this room!"

"Yes - Palma's are like that too. Our sensors are just one of the many things that we have that are far too advanced for Palma's technology." Miun said. "Anything else?"

"Wait," Nicole said, "Aren't hyperwave sensors used for detecting spaceships light years distant? Why do you need that?"

Miun nodded. "Most of the time, they are. We can retune our sensors to show us in great detail what is happening within a couple miles. However, there's not many opportunities for us to use it - it causes a great deal of radio interference, makes us light up like a floodlight on thermal scanners, and our makes our entire body hum very loudly. Neither of us got to use it on Palma except for once in testing."

I came to a corner and I stopped. Something didn't feel right. I pressed myself against the slick wall and peeked around the corner.

Two men wearing gasmasks where sitting next to a sound cancellation field generator. One of them saw me and raised his rifle. I pulled my face back, and a bullet tore through the corner of the wall.

I realized instantly that this was an opportunity to take care of the two men without having them warn whomever else was down here. I stumbled back, and making sure the men could see me, fell off the walkway and in to the scummy water.

I swam to next to where the two men were and sprung from the water. I spread my arms and clotheslined both men while in the air, and the rifle fell to the ground. I landed on my feet and dove on the rifle and rolled back on my feet.

I shot the cancellation field generator twice and tossed the rifle in to the water. One man was laying motionless on the ground, and the other was slowly getting to his feet. I rushed over and punched him hard in the jaw, dropping him. I pulled off each man's gas mask and tossed those into the water.

I continued toward the bomb, and my path led to a rusty steel door. I opened it and found a ladder. I quickly climbed in and opened the door at the top of the ladder.

A short, dark blue haired man wearing a black cape looked at me when I opened the door. "So, they managed to sneak some one in?" He said. "My cyborg here," he patted the shoulder of the armored cyborg next to him, "will allow you live your final moments in peace, as long as you don't do anything stupid." He pulled out an escapipe. "I, of course, need to go." He pushed the button on the escapipe and disappeared.

I looked the cyborg over. I didn't know what type it was - it wasn't broadcasting the standard identification signal. It had a light cannon attached to one arm, and it was heavily armored. I wasn't punching through this cyborg's armor.

I charged it as fast as I could, my claws springing out from my wrists. I slashed two surprisingly deep cuts in the cyborg's armor before it grabbed me by the shoulder and tossed my 165 pound body aside, I twisted in the air and sprung off the wall back at the cyborg. The boom of the cyborg's cannon filled the small round, and three rounds exploding on my chest and stomach. My armor took the punishment, but the force of the explosions knocked me aside, and I slammed face first in the wall. I rolled on to my back and go to my feet.

I decided to try another tactic. I dodged side to side while edging closer to the cyborg. The cannon boomed again and again, but the worst that happened is that a shell nipped my arm. When I got close enough, I struck.

In a flurry, I drove my claws into the cyborg's eyes, and then I raked the red gem in the cyborg's chest that acted as it's backup visual sensors. The now blinded cyborg managed to toss me aside again, but this time I had the upper hand.

I detected the cyborg's sensors probing for me, but I knew it wasn't detecting anything. My spoofing system was simply absorbing the signals and not providing a return, so to the sensors, I wasn't there. I clawed the cyborg's chest again and again, eventually exposing its brain box. One good pull and the cyborg crashed to the ground.

I immediately turned to the bomb which was on the ground. I had disarmed bombs like this many times in training, but I couldn't help feeling a little nervous. I found the wire I needed to cut, and using my claws, snipped it. The bomb's timer stopped.

I sagged against the wall and looked down at my body. The skin of my chest and stomach had been blown away, exposing my solid armor ribcage and the armor mesh that protected my lower torso. I took off the remnants of my uniform jacket and let my autorepair system get to work repairing my stressed armor and regrow my skin and faux muscles.

"Carl, you hearing this?" I radioed.

"Loud and clear. We'll be ready in five minutes. How's it going?" He radioed back.

"The bombs disarmed. Make sure you bring a shirt, please."
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Postby Black Waltz 0 » Thu Nov 29, 2007 9:18 am

Ouch, poor Miun. X_x

This might seem like an odd question, but... I wonder what the winning video game was? :D
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Postby Amwhere » Sun Dec 16, 2007 9:23 am

I'm taking a break and putting my muse elsewhere while I plan out this arc. :)
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Postby Black Waltz 0 » Sun Dec 16, 2007 1:15 pm

Amwhere wrote:I'm taking a break and putting my muse elsewhere while I plan out this arc. :)

Awwww... well, I guess it can't be helped. :P
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Postby Amwhere » Wed Feb 27, 2008 7:00 am

I watched as my skin slowly knitted itself back together. Suddenly, I picked up a transmission.

"Tiza, where's the boom!" It was a woman's voice.

"Any second now!" That was the voice of the man I just met, "I left Warren to guard it![i]

I couldn't get a fix of the woman Tiza was talking to, but I did get a fix on him. I relayed that information to Eagle Team.

A minute passed. [i]"I thought you set the bomb for five minutes, Tiza? Where's the explosion?
The woman was irate. "Did someone show up? Could your cyborg have been disabled?"

"N-no! My cyborg was stunner proof! And my lookouts would have warned me about anyone carrying a rocket launcher or something!

The woman growled. "That bloody weapons dealer sold me a dud! Come on back, Tiza. We'll have to think of something else."

A member of Eagle Team radioed me and told me that they couldn't find anything at the location I gave them. I sighed.

Carl entered the small room and tossed me a T-shirt. "Here," his voice was muffled by his gasmask.

"Thanks." I put the shirt on.

"Pyre wants to see you at the base. Somebody's waiting for you up top to drive you there."

Two hours later I was waiting impatiently in front of Pyre's office at Techna's military base. There had been a flurry of activity - representatives of the King, Duke, and the Mayor of Techna came in and out, each of them wrinkling there nose at the stench that had filled the lobby.

At last, Pyre called for me.

"Miun, I can't thank you enough for what you did tonight," he said.

"What do you know about this Tiza, sir. I'll start hunting him tonight."

The general held up a hand. "Miun, you've done more that enough for now. Go home. Let me tell you, you need a shower."

"But, sir..."

"Miun, I thank you for your eagerness, but we're still figuring things out right now. I'll tell you what we know as soon as I know it."

I sighed. "Yes, Ewin."

I went home. Mieu was on the couch. "I heard it on the news," she said. "And by the stench, you took care of it."

"Yeah." I hurried into the shower. I didn't want Tim to be woken up by the smell of sewage.
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Postby Amwhere » Mon Mar 10, 2008 11:36 pm

May 7th, AW1276, Miun and Mieu's house, Techna, Palma

The next morning I got a call from General Pyre.

"Good morning, Miun," He looked very tired.

"Any news, sir?"

Pyre shook his head. "Nothing yet. Tiza must not be his real name. We've searched Mother Brain's records, and we can't find any records on a Tiza that match what you saw."

For an Earthman invention, I thought to myself, Mother Brain can be useful. "What do you want me to do, sir?"

"There's nothing you can do right now, Colonel." Pyre said. "I've got our most experienced people on this."

"But sir, I'm sure I can help."

"Right now, you'd help best by not doing anything." He paused for a second. "Take two weeks leave, Miun. Go on vacation! Enjoy yourself! I'll call you if anything comes up I need you for. Just make sure you tell Commandant Jager where you're going."

I sighed. "Yes, sir."

"Great. Enjoy yourself, Miun. That's an order." Pyre's face disappeared from the screen.

"Why the long face, sis?" Mieu asked. "We haven't had an vacation since we were 13."

"I know - but I can't stop thinking that I failed because I let Tiza escape."

"From what you told me last night, sis," Mieu put her arm around me, "You did everything you could."

"It's a hard feeling to shake."

"Maybe that's the reason Pyre gave you this vacation."

I shrugged. "Maybe."

"Well, then," Mieu said cheerfully, "Where are we going to go?"

Although Pyre didn't say to bring Mieu and Tim along, I wouldn't think of not bringing them. "I don't know."

"How about Camineet? All those museums, the King's Amusement Park... it would be fun."

"Well, that would put me close to General Pyre, wouldn't it?" I mused.

"Forget Camineet." Mieu smiled. "You're supposed to get away from your work, remember?"

"Yeah, yeah," I said, "How about Rabalo Island? I've always wanted to see the ruins there."

"That sounds great," Mieu said. "I'm sure Tim would want to go too."

Mieu started to make breakfast as I sat back on the couch and watched the morning news. There was the story of the attempted bombing of the Winter Solstice Ball, but the story played down the severity of the situation and stated that the perpetrators had been caught.

The phone rang again. I got up and flicked it on. "Rydori residence."

The face that appeared in the monitor surprised me. It was Akar Sa Riik. "Good morning, Miun."

"Hello, Mr. Sa Riik. Why are you calling?"

He held up the autograph from last night. "You forgot this."

"So I did." I couldn't actually forget anything, but things could certainly fail to cross my mind.

"How about we meet for dinner. General Pyre gave me your number and told me that there's something I should discuss with you."

I figured that it was a little odd that Pyre didn't let me know, but I decided to go with it. "Where should we meet?"

"I'll send someone to pick you up. See you tonight." His face disappeared from the screen.

"What was that about?" Mieu said from the kitchen.

"I don't know. I guess I'll find out tonight."

The smell of breakfast woke Tim up and he walked into the living room. "We get to go on vacation!" Mieu said brightly.

"Really? Where?"

"Rabalo Island," I said. "It's got warm water, great beaches, hiking paths through the only jungle on the planet, and more."

"Sounds like fun, " Tim said. "What smells so good?"

Around 7 o'clock that evening, there was a knock at the door. It was the same driver that drove me to the ball the night before.

"Popular, aren't you?" The driver say as he led me to his limo.

I shrugged. "I guess."

I was taken to the foremost restaurant in Techna, which served fiery Camineet cuisine. The restaurant's metallic blue dome looked out of place amongst the blocky buildings of Techna.

The maitre d' led me to a back room, which I noticed was surrounded by a sound cancellation field. "Mr. Sa Riik will be a minute," the primly dress man said, handing me a menu. The maitre d' departed with a small bow.

I glanced through the menu. The prices were astronomically high, and I was glad I wasn't paying. Well, I hoped I wasn't paying.

"Miun!" Akar said as he opened the door and saw me. "Thank you for what you did last night," he kissed me on the cheek.

"You're welcome." What else could I say?

He sat down in his chair. "Here," he handed me the autograph from last night.

"Thanks for saving it," I put it in my handbag.

Pyre pressed a button on the table, and seconds later, a waiter entered the room. "May I take you order?" He said, giving the same little bow that the maitre d' did.

"I'll have the pork with the edicia sauce. Miun?"

I didn't really care, so I said, "I'll have the same."

"Very good." The waiter bowed again, and left.

We made small talk while we waited for dinner - sports, the weather, the latest movies (I hadn't see any in a while), that sort of thing. All the while, though, Akar had the same look in his eyes as last night, and I couldn't figure out what it was. Maybe I was seeing something that wasn't really there?

Dinner arrived and it certainly looked good.

Akar yawned. "Excuse me," he said. "I didn't get much sleep last night."

"I understand."

Akar picked at the pork tenderloin in front of him. "I lied to you this morning. Pyre didn't want me to meet with you." He paused. "Ever since Pyre told me about you. I've wanted to meet you - my company's greatest creation."

Was that the look in his eye? Fascination? I didn't think so. "But you're the CEO of the company. How could you not know about me?"

"You'd be amazed," he chuckled, "how many requests I get for funding for projects I don't have clearance for."

I wasn't sure if I believed him or not. I didn't say anything.

"How's your life been so far?"

Gee, that isn't a big question, is it? I thought. "As well as it could be, I guess."

"You're not mad that you'd be controlled for the first six years of your life?"

"I'm not happy about it, no," I replied, "but I can understand why. You don't want something as powerful as I am uncontrolled until you know it's not crazy."

"Not everyone would feel that way."

"I know." All to well, I thought.

Akar's cell phone rang. "Hello? Yes, Orakio can watch TV. No, he can't have more dessert. And them him I heard that." He hung up and laughed. "That was my babysitter. My son is putting up a fuss."

I smiled. "Kids will be kids."

"Say, do you want to baby sit for me?"

I blinked in surprise. "You're asking an android designed for assassinations to baby sit?"

"Well, we do get threats you know. I'd fell better having you there."

I thought it over. "I'll do it, but only if Pyre agree. I can't start for awhile anyway - I'm going on vacation."

"Thank you. Where are you going?"

"Port Lyrin on Rabalo Island."

"One last question for you, Miun. After you get out of the military completely, what are you going to do?"

I shrugged. "I don't know. I haven't given it much thought. After all, my life is measured in at, the very minimum, millennia. I've got time to figure it out."

"So you do." Akar lips turned upward. "Now, let's eat."
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Postby Amwhere » Wed Mar 12, 2008 6:23 am

So... anyone actually reading this?
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Postby Black Waltz 0 » Thu Mar 13, 2008 1:47 pm

Amwhere wrote:So... anyone actually reading this?

I am! Just haven't been very vocal about it because of a hectic work/hobby/home life schedule. That and I'm a rather unhelpful reviewer... >.>;
Check out my PS fanfics here!
The Phantasy Star fandom's resident yaoi manaic...
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Postby Amwhere » Thu Apr 03, 2008 2:26 am

May 9th, AW1276, Techna Spaceport, Palma

Airports (or the airport's younger, more glamorous sibling, the spaceport), as I would come to learn, were all alike. A maze like series of corridors leading to - when you eventually find it - your gate, with a lounge filled with uncomfortable chairs and a guaranteed annoyance.

Today, that annoyance was a baby screaming directly in my ear. I was tempted to turn that ear off, but Tim was on that side, and, after all, I was still his bodyguard. Despite the infant human's best efforts, I could hear Tim's every breath.

"Can I have your attention please?" The gate steward announced into a microphone. "First class passengers for flight 258 to Rabalo City may now board."

I stood and tugged on Tim's arm. Mieu followed us down the tunnel to the plane.

First class was filled with luxurious leather seats. "Sit by the window, Tim," I said. He sat and I sat next to him, with Mieu taking the aisle seat.

Mieu could have ridden in the plane's cargo hold, but I wouldn't have that. It wasn't all that uncommon with businesspeople to ride with their cyborgs, anyway. The airlines didn't care; after all, a cyborg in a seat brought in the same amount of money as a living customer.

Tim buckled in, and then turned to me and asked, "Why didn't we teleport there?"

"My pass only covers me," I replied, "and to teleport you, Mieu, and our luggage would cost far too much."

"Ok," He sounded nervous.

"This is your captain speaking," a young woman's voice sounded through the plane, "We'll be taking off shortly. Our flight time to Rabalo City will be a little over six hours." Normally, on a flight this long, it would be a suborbital flight that would take a little over an hour. However, Rabalo City's airport wasn't big enough to handle them.

I heard the plane's stand retract with a loud "ka-chunck". The plane was now floating six feet above the tarmac, supported by a repulsor field.

The plane floated to the runway. The jet engines, virtually unchanged for a 1500 years, roared. We were all shoved back into our seats as the plane lifted into the sky.

I looked over at Tim and saw him latched on to the armrest. "You should have told me if you were afraid of flying, Tim." I said.

"I'm OK," Tim said, but his voice and face betrayed the truth.

I took his hand off the arm rest and put it in my hand. "Don't worry. There hasn't be a death on a plane for almost a century."

Just then, the plane hit an air pocket and dipped. Tim squeezed my hand with crushing force. "It's alright," I said. "Hold my hand if you need to."

The plane leveled off. The captain came over the speakers again. "We've reached our cruising altitude of 52,500 feet. If you look out the left side windows - or for the first class passengers, the monitors in front of you - you'll see the Western Rift Mountains on the horizon."

For the next hour, Tim crushed my hand whenever the plane unexpected dipped or climbed. I called over a stewardess. "Excuse me, but my cousin here is scared of flying." I showed her Tim's crushing grip. "Do you have something to help?"

"Of course," The stewardess stepped into the forward cabin and came back with a pill and a glass of water.

"Thank you," I said. The pill was anxouizine and the effects were quick. Tim relaxed and slowly, as some people did when taking it, feel asleep.

Tim was still asleep when we landed four and half hours later. Mieu gently carried him out of the plane and through the airport. He awoke when we stepped out into the balmy night.

"We're here," I said. "You can sleep once we get in the car."

"I'm awake," Tim yawned.

I rented a luxury hovercar. Port Lyria, where we were staying, was on the other side of the island. We left the bright lights of Rabalo City - the largest city on the island - and drove on to the southern highway. We passed through small towns and we eventually arrived on the island's second largest city, Merkre, and I stopped at a fast food place.

"Hungry?" I asked Tim. He hadn't ate since we left our house, eight hours ago.

"I probably should go to the bathroom, too," he said.

I took him inside and ordered while he went. He was already in the car when I came back. I passed the hot food back to him.

"Thanks," he said, unwrapping a burger.

I turned the car on and it settled on it's repulsor field, like the plane did earlier. I drove back on to the Ring Highway, and we left Melkre behind.

On the way north, I admired the scenery around us. It was dark, but my eyes allowed me to see as if it was day. To our left was the turquoise sea, fronted by a strip of white side. The other side was jungle, essentially a wall of lush green leaves rising up the mountains at the center of the island.

An hour later we finally reached our destination, Port Lyria. Port Lyria wasn't a large city, or even a large town with a population of 8400 (I read it a sign at the town limits), but it was known for being the landing point for the first wave of colonists from the northern continent 2200 years ago.

The Lyria Star Hotel was the largest building in the city, towering thirty-five stories above us. I pulledinto the garage and turned the car off. We entered the elevator.

"Welcome to the Lyria Star Hotel," a pleasant voice filled the elevator. "We hope you enjoy your stay."

The doors opened and we were greeted by a yawning desk clerk. "Welcome to the Lyria Star Hotel." He mumbled. "Do you have a reservation?"

"Rydori." I handed him my ID.

The receptionist typed something into his computer, looked at the results, blinked, and looked again. "It seems that one of our penthouse owners has allowed you the use of his room during your stay."

"Really?" I didn't hide my surprise, "Who?"

"Our honored guest has requested to be unnamed. Do you want the room?"

I was naturally suspicious about our unnamed benefactor. General Pyre would have told me, and Jager wouldn't do something like this. Those were the only two people were supposed to knew where I was staying. However, if anyone wanted to harm me (or, more importantly, Tim) they would know where we were even if we didn't take the room. "Sure."

The receptionist handed over three keycards. "Use the far right elevator. Thank you for staying at the Lyria Star."

The interior of the elevator was plated in gold and trimmed in brilliant blue lapis lazuli. I stuck my keycard in the rose gold trimmed slot and a small screen lit up, showing where the elevator would take us. Our penthouse, not surprising, was on the top floor. One level below that was the Star Reach Restaurant, and there was a pool and a an entertainment floor as well. I selected the penthouse.

The elevator opened into a small foyer in front of our room. "Tim, hold up out here," I said. "Mieu and I are going to check it out."

Tim nodded.
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Postby Amwhere » Thu May 01, 2008 10:45 pm

Mieu and I went over the suite with a fine toothed comb. We looked for anything that was out of place. I looked through the luxurious couch, under the soft beds in each of the suite's two bedrooms. I even checked inside the toilet in the gilt trimmed bathroom. I found nothing - no unexplained EM emissions, no large neon sign saying "We will kill you" - everything was as it should have been.

"All right, Tim," I called, "You can come in now."

"Wow," Tim said as he entered. It was my feelings too, now that I was convicted that the room was trying to kill us.

Tim tossed himself on the couch. I opened the living room's large sliding glass door and stepped out on to the balcony.

I put my hands on the railing and looked down the thirty-five stories to the street and beach below. I felt a faint echo of fear; when I was growing up, heights like this paralyzed me. Today, though, I could have leapt off the balcony, landed feet first on the ground, and walked off.

I heard Tim step beside me. "What's that bright star?"

I looked at the bright twinkling point of light low on the northern horizon. "That's Mi'rakre. It's name means 'brilliant watcher'. In ancient times, people thought that the Great Light placed it in the night sky to ensure the Darkness couldn't do anything." I chuckled. "Now, we know it's a rather interesting triple star system. Much less interesting that what the ancients thought, if I say so."

"I wonder where the Sun is," Tim asked softly. If anyone else had asked that question, I would have laughed at them. "I don't know."

Tim sighed. "I doubt I could see it anyway."

I turned to Tim. "I know you slept on the flight here, but you should try to sleep. You want your biological clock reset for this time zone."

Tim nodded and walked back in. I followed him and shut the door behind us.

Can you help Tim get to sleep? I radioed Mieu. Mieu had a technique that would put people to sleep. I didn't.

Sure. Mieu went into the bedroom Tim claimed.

I turned on the living room's computer. The atlas in Tim's box had a list of brightest stars and nearby stars. I wasn't an astronomical expert - or even an amateur - but I had hours until morning, and Tim's question had piqued my interest.

The sky outside was blue when I found something. It was just the star's survey numbers and basic astronomical data, but now that I had that, finding more would be easy.

It's wasn't. No matter how hard I looked, I couldn't find anything more on the star. I gave up and told Mieu both what I had and had not found.

"You not finding anything more - what does that mean?" Mieu asked.

"I don't know. I'll look more on the military network when we get back to Techna." I said.

A half hour later Tim came out into the living room. "How are you feeling?" I asked.

Tim arched his back and stretched his arms. "Pretty good. I'm hungry, though."

I picked up the room service handset.

"Room service."

"Yes, we'd like some breakfast."

"Of course, Ms. Rydori. What would you like? Since you're a esteemed guest of a penthouse owner, any reasonable request to room service will incur no charge to you."

Tim didn't have any clue what he wanted. To the room service receptionist's credit, she didn't sound annoyed at the half a hour of back and forth that it took for him to make up his mind. Once Tim and I finished eating (after all, how often do you get to eat a 1000 meseta breakfast) I asked Tim, "You feeling like going to the beach later? Mieu can grill something up for lunch."

"I don't get a voice in this?" Mieu had a smirk on her face.

"What, you want me to cook?"

Mieu laughed. "Not on your life! I remember that last time you used a grill. Poor steaks were burnt to a crisp."

"I didn't have this body back then," I said.

Mieu's voice suddenly took on a serious edge. "Cooking is more than measuring temperature, sis. It's about much more." Her voice softened. "After all, you don't want to hurt Tim, do you?"

"Miun wouldn't be that bad, would she?" Tim chimed in.

"I wouldn't bet on it, Tim." Mieu said. "I'm choosing what I cook, sis."

"Anyway," I said, "does this sound good to you, Tim?"

"Yeah." He said after a short pause that struck me as odd.

I called room service again and requested the ingredients that Mieu dictated to me, plus items that I thought would be fun on the beach - a ball, a flying disc, stuff like that.

"Of course, ma'am." The receptionist said. "It'll be ready and delivered to the beach at 11:30, as you requested. Which beach do you want? As a penthouse guest, you have access to our exclusive private beach."

"Private beach?" I echoed. "How do I get to that?"

"There's a door in the parking garage labeled 'Private Beach'. I can send a cyborg to show you if you like."

"That's alright. We'll find it."

"The items your requested will be at the private beach at 11:30. Enjoy the rest of your stay."

11:30 came around and we all rode the elevator down to the garage. We found the door easily enough. On the other side was a moving sidewalk which took us a quarter of a mile and stopped at another door. It opened to a pristine beach nestled in a cove.

"Welcome to the beach, Ms. Rydori." One the two gilt trimmed cyborgs that flanked the door nodded to me. "The items you requested are here." It pointed at a tarp covered pile.

"Mieu, take that stuff and follow me." I didn't see anyone within eyeshot - but who saw what the cyborgs saw?

Mieu and Tim followed down the beach. "We'll setup here." I said, stopping a little above the wet sand line.

From here, we had a nice view of Lyris Atoll - a low island which sat in the middle of the bay. I knew that there were quite of few places that would take you out there to dive the reef that surrounded the island. I had read that it was something you shouldn't miss when you come to Port Lyria.

"Tim," I pointed at the island, "you feel like diving tomorrow?"

"I've never been diving before," he replied, "Makes me a bit nervous."

"It's easy -"

This coming from someone that doesn't have to breathe... Mieu interjected via radio.

"- and I'll be there, of course."

Tim smiled. "Sure, why not?" He turned around to face the ocean.

I picked up a ball and tossed at the back of Tim's head. He turned back around to have it catch him in the chin.

"Hey!" He grabbed the ball and threw back at me as hard as he could.

I caught it with one hand and tossed it back to him.

"I come... use to go to the beach with my dad a lot," Tim underhanded the ball back to me, "It wasn't anything like this beach. It was cold and foggy more often than not - and the water was freezing."

"What did you two do there?"

He flashed my an odd look. "We tossed a ball around and talked." He said, his voice trailing off.

I caught the ball and held it. "I'm sorry. I didn't know."

Tim shrugged. "It's all right. I think I'm coming to terms with it."

I sat down in one of the beach chairs Mieu had set up, and motioned for Tim to sit beside me. "You amaze me, Tim. You really do."

"How so?" He sounded surprised.

I lowered my voice so the sizzle of the coals would prevent any unwanted listeners. "You're a month from being kidnapped, learning that your home has been destroyed, transported to an alien world, kidnapped again, and, finally, coming to live with two androids." I paused. "I'm not sure I could handle that without completely breaking... but you are."

Tim rubbed the back of his neck. "I'm sure it's the pills."

I shook my head and I heard Mieu whisper "No."

"No, Tim," I said, "I know what those pills can do. They can't give you the will to go on - you have to have that yourself. The pills just make it easier to realize that you have it."

"I'm sure I have you two to thank." Tim said.

You got me thinking, sis. Mieu radioed. Tim said he knew what we were from the beginning. What if he knew us before coming to Palma? I mean, know us personally.

He was very comfortable with us from the beginning, I said after chewing it over for a microsecond, But... I think he'd have to know us pretty well.

You think it would be a good idea to ask him?

I don't know.

"Want to go swimming, Tim?" I asked. "I don't think it'll much longer before it'll lunch will be ready... and you know what they say about eating and swimming."

"Sure." Tim said and ran off towards the water.

I barged through the waves and treaded water, keeping a passive eye on Tim. The only reason I wouldn't ask Tim about if he knew us is because there was a slim possibility of causing the timeline to screw up. I had researched the possible effects of a paradox - and scientists thought that the effects would be minimal.

"Master, Mistress," Mieu called from the beach fifteen minutes later, "Lunch is ready."

I swam back to the beach and toweled off. "Tim," I called out to Tim, who was still swimming, "Lunch!"

Tim ran up the beach and tripped, falling face first at my feet.

I offered Tim my hand. "You OK?"

"Yeah," He said, pulling himself up, "I'm good at being a klutz."

"You said that, not I." I smiled.

"Your lunch, Mistress." Mieu held a plate of steaming food.

I took it. "Thank you, Mieu." It wasn't uncommon for people to thank a cyborg.

I picked up the red sauced ribs and bit in. It was heavenly. The meat was juicy and feel off the bone. The sauce was tangy, sour, spicy, and sweet all at the same time. This is really good, I radioed Mieu.

Thanks. I glanced at Mieu and she flashed me a momentary smile.

I said my food down. "Tim?"

"Yeah?" He said through a forkful of noodles.

"Before you came here, to Palma - did you know us personally?"

Tim's eyes opened wide and he swallowed hard. He broke out a fit of coughing, and I was about to perform the Heimlich when he took a raspy breath. "Yes... you were friends of mine." He said hoarsely.

"Thank you, Tim." I said, "I won't ask you anything else about the past."

May 11th, AW1276, Grandpa's Pride, Lyris Bay

I looked over at Tim. He had thrown up once already on the trip out here, but he seemed to be used to the boat's movement's now.

"We're here!" The boat's skipper, a portly old fellow with grey hair announced. One odd thing that I did notice was that he carried a rather long knife on his hip.

"Ready, Tim?" I pulled down my swim mask and put the rebreather in my mouth. My flippers slapped the deck as I walked to the side of the boat.

"I think I am."

"Then let's go!" I jumped into the warm azure water. Tim paused for a second, and then jumped right behind me.

The coral bed which filled the lagoon was nothing short of incredible. There were coral of every shape and color, and brightly colored fish darted from coral to coral.

I pointed at a branching pink coral that was tagged with a 'keep away' sign. "See this coral?" I said using the rebreather's onboard communicator. "This is called 'Widow's Fingers'. It's poison was used for assassination before an antidote was discovered."
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Postby Amwhere » Fri May 16, 2008 4:29 am

I noticed a purple and green fish peek it's head out a niche in the coral next to Tim's leg. I lunged towards Tim, but the water slowed me down.

"Urk!" Tim grunted as I smashed into him, but not before the fish nipped him in the leg. "What was that for?"

I grabbed Tim by the arm and swam back towards the boat.

"My leg... it feels like it's on fire!" Tim panicked.

I didn't say a word - I didn't want to scare Tim more and have the viperfish venom pump through his system even faster. As it was, it only took me a couple of minutes to get back to the boat and Tim was already unconscious.

I pulled his limp body out of the water. "Where's the viperfish antivenom?" I screamed at the boat's captain, who was in the wheelhouse sipping a beer.

I saw him jump up, spilling beer on himself. He stumbled through the cabin and shoved open the door to the deck. "Are you sure it was a viperfish?"

"Yes!" I shouted back at him. I couldn't tell him how I was so sure - viperfish venom was still the poison of choice for assassination, as it could only be countered by one specific antidote. I was trained on application, effects, and even how to milk a viperfish of it's venom in a pinch. If Tim got the antivenom right away, he'd only need a short hospital stay.

"Well, uh..." The captain looked down at the deck.

"You have some, right?" It was the law, after all.

"I lost it and the distributor hasn't sent more."

"You what?" I fixed him with a weapon-grade glare, then shoved him aside and rushed into the cabin. I grabbed my bag, and tossing Tim and my clothes aside pulled out a small medkit. I hurried back to the deck. "Get this boat back to the dock, quickly!" I barked at the captain. "Call an ambulance!"

The captain nodded and made his way back to the wheelhouse.

"Hang in there, Tim." I said softly as a snapped open the medkit. I pulled out one of the autoinjectors inside and pressed against Tim's neck, hearing it hissed as it dispensed a broad-based antidote in to his bloodstream. It wouldn't stop the poison, but it would slow it down.

Tim was pale and his breathing was ragged. I checked his pulse and I found it rapid and weak.

I pulled the second autoinjector from the medkit. This contained a triple strength dose of mat serum, a powerful healing medicine. It, like the antidote, would buy Tim time. After I injected it, some color returned to Tim's face and his breathing improved.

That was the extent the medkit could help Tim. The gauze, bandages, painkillers... everything was useless. Mieu and I had prepared the medkit to deal with almost any situation - this was one we hadn't planned on.

I was keenly aware of every passing nanosecond as the boat crawled back to dock. The poison begin to overwhelm the mat and Tim's face lost it's slight color and his breathing became ragged again.

At long last we arrived at the dock. I carried Tim off the boat and put him on a waiting gurney.

"What did you give him?" The paramedic asked as he hooked Tim up to the various equipment in the ambulance.

I told him and finished by saying forcefully, "I'm coming with you."

"Sit here," The paramedic said, slamming the door. The ambulance started to drive.

"Inject viperfish antivenom." The paramedic ordered the onboard medical suite. I saw a dark liquid run down the IV line in Tim's arm.

"Done." A pleasant female voice filled the ambulance.

We sped on and I noticed the paramedic did nothing. "Isn't there anything you can do?" I asked.

"You gave him mat - which too much is a bad thing. I've got nothing else that would help."

An alarm sounded. "Cardiac arrest detected," the annoying calm voice intoned, "Recommend defibrillation."

"Do it!" The paramedic ordered.

"Please clear the patient." The sickening calm voice said.

"Patient clear."

Tim's back arched off the table as electricity flowed through him.

"No effect." The voice said, somehow more calmer than before. "Recommend Recardite injection."

"On it," the paramedic's voice was anything but calm. He placed a injector on Tim's upper chest. "Recard injected. Starting CPR."

"Need help?" I asked. "I'm certified."

"4... 5... I've got it."

After what seemed like an eternity, the voice said. "Pulse detected."

The paramedic and I shared a sigh of relief.

We pulled into Port Lyria's small hospital. Tim was pulled out of the ambulance and quickly wheeled into the hospital. "We can't dawdle now, people," a doctor yelled. "Move it!"

An orderly showed me into a waiting room and gave me a pile of papers to sign. Fortunately, Pyre had made me Tim's legal guardian, so there was no problem - including having my military health insurance cover him, which meant that any medical procedure was open to him.

I sat in the waiting room, thinking I would tell Mieu and Pyre. I had failed to protect Tim, as I had been ordered to do - and, more importantly, I had failed him as a friend. But... that sort of thinking wouldn't help anyone now.

At long last, the doctor came into the room. "Ms. Rydori?"

I nodded.

"We've managed to get, " he checked his clipboard, "Tim in to a life support pod. He's going to make it."

"Oh, thank the Light," I breathed.

"Almost everyone of his organs has sustained serious damage - "

"What about his brain?"

"He wasn't without oxygen long enough for damage to occur, and viperfish venom doesn't attack the brain. His scans are normal."

"What's going to happen now?"

"We've got him drugged up and we'll see what organs are savable in a few days. I've got a full body clone ordered, just in case."

"Why not transplant him now?"

"Unlike the brain of a cyborg," the doctor said, "the human brain isn't made to be uninstalled from one body and reinstalled in another. Even the best hospitals have a 10% fatality rate. If we can avoid that, we should."

I nodded. "Can I see him?"

The doctor shook his head. "We've still got techs in there calibrating the equipment. There wouldn't be much to see anyway - he's in a beige tube with no windows."

I sighed.

"I recommend that you go home and get some rest. No need to jeopardize your health. I'll call you if anything happens."

I wanted to stay, of course... but the doctor was right. There wasn't anything I could do here.

I stepped out of the hospital - and a felt a seed of anger sprout within me. It really wasn't my fault that Tim was as seriously injured as he was. I knew who was...

I jogged down to the docks, the seed of anger within sprouting. I stopped in front of the Grandpa's Pride's quay and pulled out my cellphone. I called the Lyria City police and told them what had happened and my desire to press charges. The cops said someone would be there in a few minutes.

I stomped on to the boat and found the old man watching TV and sipping a beer in the cabin. I slammed my fist on the door.

He opened it. "Huh - urk!"

I yanked him up by the collar and slammed him against the wall. "You nearly killed someone today!" I screamed in his face. "How could you leave without the antivenom! You knew that the reef harbored viperfish!"

"It wasn't my fault..." He said, weakly.

"Don't give me that!" I growled. "You could have closed until it came! You cared more about money than your customer's safety!"

I let him go and he slumped to the deck. "You're very lucky that I only called the cops. If I had wanted to, I could have repainted this boat with your blood." My anger was fading now. I stepped back outside, slamming the door behind me.

I started to walk back down the dock to wait for the police. I heard the door open and the captain running towards me. I spun around, and the knife that was bound for my back instead cut my the back of my upper arm.

I grabbed his knife arm and locked it with my elbow. "What the Dark has gotten into you?" I growled. "There's no need to make the situation worse!" I let him go after I pulled the knife out of his hand and tossed it the water.

The old man feel to his knees. "That boat's been in my family for eight generations... and you... and you are going to take it from my kids!"

"You knew what the law would do if you were caught without the antivenom," I said. I didn't pity him in the slightest. "It's your fault."

I heard running footsteps behind me. It was two police officers. "Ma'am," one said, a little breathlessly, "are you alright?"

I grabbed at my arm, which was now dripping blood from my elbow. "He cut me. The knife's in the water."

"I'll take you to the hospital. Dirk, you can deal with him. I'll be back soon."

The other officer already had the captain handcuffed. "I got this handled."

We walked back to the police car. The officer handed my a towel. "Put pressure on that."

We got to the hospital, and the same doctor that treated Tim lead me to a exam room. "What happened?"

I told him the truth.

"I wouldn't have done that," the doctor said as he cleaned out the cut. "But I understand why you did." He slathered on a local anesthetic around the cut. "I don't get to stitch wounds often, but I think it'll be best for this cut." He quickly closed the cut and bandaged it up. "You should be good as new in a week. Just take it easy. You don't want to reopen it."

"Thank you, doctor." Not that I need to be stitch up... but he didn't need to know that.

I picked up my stuff and exited the hospital for the second time. It was raining, and I trudged back to the hotel. I was sopping wet when I opened the penthouse door.

"Hi, Miun!" Mieu said cheerfully. "Where's Tim?"

I hadn't radioed Mieu about what had happened - I felt that I need to tell her face to face.

She took the news silently. "Oh dear," she said softly when I had finished.

"I failed again." I said. "It was my job to protect him."

"Miun," my sister sat down next to me on the couch, "You can't beat yourself up when something doesn't go perfectly."

"What's the point of chasing perfection when you aren't disappointed when you don't reach it?"

Mieu sighed. "You know you can't be perfect. You've just got to try your best."

"My best almost cost Tim his life! I - "

Mieu put her hand over my mouth. "Sis, listen. You've been this way ever since I can remember. I know you're not going to change, but you need to stop being so hard on yourself!"

"What else can I do?"

"You already did what you could, sis! You saved Tim's life. You know you can't control every variable."

"I should have checked that there was antivenom on board." I said softly. Mieu was right - she always was. Shooting for perfection was something my father - my virtual father - had engrained in my at an early age. It was just the way I was.

"Would Tim want you to be moping around?" Mieu asked.

"I guess not." I begrudged.

"Good. Now stop."

I nodded.

"Now," a crack of a smile appeared on her face. "Go dry off before the hotel charges us for a waterlogged couch.

I spent the rest of the night watch TV - nothing else to do. When it hit about 1 in the morning, I changed in to my uniform. "Mieu, I need to report this to General Pyre. I shouldn't be long."

"Ok, sis."

I drove to the Port Lyria teleport station - one of only two on the island and teleported to Camineet. I crossed a lunch rush packed street, went through a park that had more protesters than the last time I had been there, and walked into the military base.

"Miun?" General Pyre said, surprised. "What are you doing here?"

I told him what I had happened.

He nodded solemnly. "I know you did what you could."

"Yes, sir. I'm sorry it wasn't enough."

"He's still alive thanks to you."

"Yes, sir." I wasn't going to beat myself up over this anymore. "Any news on the bombing?"

"We're working on it. We're tearing the cyborg apart and working on finding the two accomplices you scared off." He paused. "You have a more important duty to attend to."


"You need to take care of Tim. You know how important he is."

"I will, sir." You didn't have to say that twice.

"Keep me updated."

"Yes, sir."
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Postby Amwhere » Thu Oct 02, 2008 2:08 am

May 16th, AW1276: Lyria Star Hotel, Port Lyria, Palma

The next five days past very slowly. The only things I did were go to the hospital and watch TV at the hotel when visiting hours were over.

On the third day I was allowed into Tim's room. As the doctor had told me, there's wasn't much to see - a beige tube surrounded by humming, buzzing, and huffing machines.

I put by hands on the tube and did something I hadn't done since I was born into the real world. I prayed.

I wasn't very religous growing up, and now I put even less belief in the existance of the Light. But... if the Light did exist, and if it listened to a presumably soulless automaton like me... well, it certainly couldn't hurt.

Today, though, as I was getting ready to go the hospital, Mieu stopped me. "You need to take your mind off Tim for awhile."

"What else can I do?" I asked.

"You wanted to go to the colonal reconstruction, right? Go. Tim will be alright without you."

"I know, but..."

"Go, sis. Enjoy yourself."

"I wish Tim could go..." I sighed. "But I suppose I can take him after he's better."

Mieu smiled. "That's the ticket."

I spent all day at Old Lyria. In the morning, I worked at an old fashonened farm with my guide, Salem, and his wife and daughter, Tera and Mi'unlira. (Mi'unlira means 'Brillant Feather' in old Palman. My name, without the gutteral stop, means something akin to 'Radiant Brillance'). I had read a bit on how farms a couple thousand years ago worked - but to work a hoe, milk a cow, and work the mill... it was completely different than I had imagined.

Lunch turned out to be communal event. Everyone gathered at the plaza in the center of the small colony to discuss current events and juicy rumors.

The buildings of the colony were built to be as historically accurate as possible, but - I know this sounds a bit odd coming from me - the rough wooden buildings still felt artifacial. I managed to badger Salem into taking me to the ruins of the real Old Lyria. There, amongst the ancient foundations, I could put Tim's condition as far back in my mind as I could, at least for a little while.

"Did you manage to enjoy yourself?" Mieu asked when I came back.

"Yes," I hugged her. "Thanks."

I still went to the hospital the day after that, and the day after that. I didn't spend as much time there as I did before, and on the way back I spent time and money at the tourist trap shops on the beach. If Tim couldn't enjoy his vacation, I wanted to get enough stuff that he could look forward to when we came back after he was better. The prices of some of the tshirts, postcards, and other tourist stuff were nothing short of highway robbery - but I was far from short on money, and I didn't need to eat anyway.

Three days after I went to Old Lyria I was at the hospital when Dr. Norol, Tim's doctor, came up to me.

"Ms. Rydori - we tried everything we could, but a brain transplant is the only option."

I sighed. "What now, doctor?"

"You're from Techna, right?" I nodded. "Techna Univeristy Hospital has the best transplant team on the planet. Your cousin will be in good hands."

"What should I do for now, then?"

"Go back home. I'll get you a medical pass so you can teleport everything home."

When Mieu and I got back to our house later that day, Mieu remarked, "It feels empty in here."

"Yeah," I argeed, nodding.

May 20th, AW1276, Techna University Hospital, Techna, Palma

Mieu and I were in one the hospital's "loved ones care" rooms - essentially a hotel room in the hospital where a patient's loved ones could stay - supposedly reducing stress for both.

I was flopped back on the rooms bed, my legs swinging over the edge. I knew that Tim was downstairs, getting wheeled into an operating room.

My body doesn't manifest my emotions as physical effects - at least nothing I couldn't explicitly control - but if it did, my stomach would have been in knots. I hadn't felt this worried since I was 15.

Worried? I radioed Mieu, who was standing against the wall.

Not really, she replied.

Not really? I echoed. Why not? Asking if she didn't care if Tim made it was pointless; after all, she spent more time with him than I did.

He's in the best hands, so I know he'll be alright.

You're such an optimist, sis.

And you're such a pessimist. Mieu radioed back.

I'm a realist!

Mieu laughed. Tim will be fine, sis.

I hope so, sis. I hope so.

Meanwhile, in the operating room, Tim was being worked on. First, the doctors removed most of his skull. After pumping his brain full of oxygen carrying nanobots, the doctors clamped off the veins and arteries feeding the brain. The, with one cyborg aided chop, they severed the brain stem from the spinal cord of Tim's damaged body.

A cyborg carefully carried Tim's brain to his new body. Doctors quickly set his brain into position and hooked up the veins and arteries and then started his new heart.

Nanobots - centuries less advanced than the ones that maintained and repaired me, but good enough nonetheless - were spread between Tim's brain stem and his spinal cord. Quickly the nanobots connected the multitude of nerves together.

I hadn't moved during the six hours the surgery required. Dr. Sage, the lead doctor, knocked on the door and let himself in.

I sat upright on the bed, looking expectantly at him.

"Ms. Rydori," Dr. Sage said, brushing an errant strand of greying red hair away from his face, "We'll still need to run some tests, but it looks like everything went well."

I gave a heartfelt sigh of relief, which Mieu echoed electronically. "When can I see him?"

"Well - " The good doctor was cut off by his cellphone. Rolling his eyes, he fished the device out of his pocket. "Excuse me," he said as he went back into the hall.

I could overhear him. "Amy, what did I tell you about calling me at work? .....Uh-huh. What did your mother say? Well, then, the answer is no."

"Sorry," Dr. Sage said somewhat sheepishly as he reentered. "That was my daughter." He paused for a second. "Anyway, we have some more tests to run today. You'll be able to see him tomorrow morning."

"Thank you, doctor."

"It was my pleasure," he said. "I'll let you know if anything happens."

May 21st, AW1276, Techna University Hospital, Techna, Palma

I was laying on my side, pretending to sleep, when there was a knock on the door. Mieu answered it. It was Dr. Sage.

"Can you get your master up please," Dr. Sage asked Mieu quietly.

"I'm awake." I said groggily.

"You can see Tim now," Dr. Sage said. "I thought you might want to know."

"Thank you," I replied. "Let me get dressed."

"I'll wait outside."

I threw on some clothes and ran a hand through my hair. Now that I was somewhat presentable - after all, walking through a hospital in underwear and a undershirt would be a bit weird - I met Dr. Sage in the hall.

Dr. Sage handed me a steaming cup of coffee and a pastry.

"Thanks," I said, accepting them.

The corridors of Techna University Hospital weren't the stale, sterile blankness that infected most hospitals. Instead, the hospital used warm colors, lush carpets, and rich woods attempted to give the hospital an inviting appearance. However, there was no hiding the subtle tang of disinfectants in the air or the constant low level tension that filled the building.

"All the tests we ran last night have come back normal," Dr. Sage said as he led me through the corridors. "I've certain you've been told this, but you're cousin isn't going to be able to walk or talk for a while. Although his new body is almost a perfect match to his old one, it expects slightly different signals from his brain. We've ensured that Tim's brain can control his autonomic functions - breathing, heart rate, and stuff like that - but it's going to take time for him to learn how to walk and talk again."

I nodded. I had heard it before. "When will he be able to go home?"

"Tomorrow?" He replied to my surprise. "Normally, it would take a day or two to arrange a caretaker cyborg for him, but if yours can do it, tomorrow is possible."

"Mieu can defiantly take care of him."

"Excellent. We'll need to make arrangements for the daily visits by our therapist. That can wait until later."

I put a hand of Dr. Sage's shoulder. "Dr. Sage," I said quietly, "There's a very good chance that I'll get called to duty before Tim can take care of himself. If that's the case, I want General Pyre at Camineet to make decisions for him."

"Of course," Dr. Sage replied. "I'll get the paperwork." He pointed at a nearby door. "That's Tim's room. I'll leave you two alone."

Tim's room was a lot like the hotel-style room that Mieu and I shared - the blinking monitors and the bulky biobed being the main differences. Tim himself looked fine, save for a bit of a crosseyed look.

"Hi, Tim." I crouched down beside him. "You look a lot better."

Tim's face jerked a bit, and he made a grunt.

"Don't try to talk," I said. "Do you know what happened?"

Tim managed to thrash his head forward and back.

"I'm sorry I let it happen to you," I said, rubbing his hand.

He shook his head.

"It was my job to protect you."

Tim shook his head again, looking frustrated by the fact that he couldn't say what he wanted to say.

"The doctor said you'll be able to leave the hospital tomorrow." I smiled.

My phone vibrated in my pocket. I pulled it out and saw that it was General Pyre.

"Colonel Rydori speaking."

"Good morning, Miun." Pyre said. "How's your cousin doing?"

"He's got a lot of recovery in front of him, but he'll be just fine."

"Glad to hear it. I'm sorry to have to ask you this, but can you come to see me as soon as possible?"

"Of course," I replied. "I'll be there in a hour or so."

"Thank you, Miun." He hung up.

"Duty calls," I said with a sigh, "I'll get Mieu down here to keep you company."

I patted him on the shoulder and went back out into the hall. Dr. Sage was still waiting.

"That was fast," he remarked.

"General Pyre called. He needs to see me."

"Oh." Dr. Sage said. "I'll prep the paperwork for you."

"I need to bring Mieu down here, then I'll wait for you." I said.

"I won't be long," Dr. Sage said as he disappeared about a corner.

I hurried up to Mieu and told her that Pyre called.

"I'll keep him company," she said.

I led Mieu down to Tim's room, and then filled out a large stack of forms Dr. Sage had for me. I hurried home, changed into my uniform, and teleported to Camineet.

Pyre's secretary paid me hardly a glance as I entered his office. "The General's waiting for you, Colonel."

Pyre greeted me and got down to business. "We're down to two leads on the bombing. The cyborg and the auction where the bomb was sold. I'd prefer not to raid the auction house, so that leaves the cyborg."

"And that tells us what, General?"

"We tore the cyborg apart, and found that it was modified by the Augila Ring. We have an informant in the ring, and he tells us that they're recruiting. With your knowledge of cyborgs, you'd be perfect."

I nodded. At the end of my training, Dr. Syre said that my knowledge rivaled his.

Pyre took a sip of his coffee. "Here's the plan..."
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Postby Heroic_Chaz » Thu Oct 02, 2008 3:25 pm

As soon as I saw this, I decided to check it out... and decided it's better than anything I could write. Great job, looking forward to the next installment!
I wonder what people will see in the final days?
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