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Monday, August 12, 2013

The Chronicles of Free & Stryker {Slipstream Dream Episode 3 of 4}


In the year 2304, sentient androids enslaved mankind, as well as many other humanoids throughout the galaxy. Over the centuries, pockets of resistance rose to oppose them. These are the chronicles of one such team, who even in the face of impossible odds, fight to free the galaxy.

Slipstream Dream Episode 3 of 4

Stryker sat in the hover car, doing his best to imitate a well-behaved human. Lark sat directly across from him, looking anything but well-behaved. She reminded him of a predator, ready to pounce. She could snap him like a twig if she wanted, his training would only protect him for so long. A closed space meant instant death.

“Human, do you talk?”

“Yes.”

“What good are you?”

“Ma’am, I don’t understand the question.”

“So stupid. Androids keep humans around for various reasons. Service, mostly sexual. Free doesn’t strike me as the type that would interface with a human. Harvesting for transference? Does Free plan to rip out your brain and attach it to a slipstream drive?”

“I am a viable option, if he does not obtain a new one.”

She crossed her legs and pulled down her skirt. “Ah, that makes sense, but my observation suggests that he treats you more like a precious pet, then a part for his ship. He has formed an attachment to you. If it was me, you would be back on the ship, sitting in a cryogenic box waiting for service.”

Free stepped onto the platform and walked toward the hover car. He was wearing a casual suit and a long coat. He carried a metal briefcase in his left hand and a folded long coat in his right hand. Once he stepped inside of the hover car, he threw the coat to Stryker.  “Put this on. Don’t want to pay any medical bills.”

Lark scoffed. “Medical bills? We have several humans in our holding pens. We could just replace him.”

“It’s cheaper to keep him.” Free sat down next to Lark. “Is this how you do business? Wasteful spending?”

“We are extremely efficient.”

“Right.”

Lark pressed a button and the hover car sped away from the building, entered a tube system, and increased in speed. “While we are at this speed, what we do is nearly undetectable. So show me what you got. “

“So, you are more than just the personal assistant,” Free said.

“No, that’s all I am. But there is an emphasis on the personal.”

“Yeah, I would hardly call you a professional.” Free opened the case. The glow of the blue tubes gave the hover car an eerie feel.  “Use the sample in the right-hand corner.”

Lark picked up the sample, opened it, sniffed it, tasted it and then stared at both Free and Stryker. She slowly drank the vial. At first, nothing happened, but then her eyes rolled back. She slipped down in her seat and arched her back. When her back settled down, she opened and closed her legs as if she was using it to fan a fire. And then she stopped. Mind and body, completely shut down.

 There was silence, as the car left the heart of Nu Tokyo and took the scenic route over the industrialized land.

Lark started breathing again, as if she needed to breathe. She positioned herself in her seat, bit her lower lip and stared at Free. “That’s the pure stuff.”

“The best.”

“You want a hit? We could have the human cover his eyes.”

“I don’t get high on my own supply,” Free said.

She turned to Stryker. “Poor human. You will never know the pleasure of being a Droid. We are smarter, faster, more durable, and we feel things in ways that you can never feel them.” She stood up, straddled Free and nuzzled against his neck. “Even now, when your people experience mating rituals, you play games, denying one another pleasure because of some primal idiocy. While in our culture, it is criminal for a non-bonded droid to deny another. ”

Free clenched his fist.

Stryker stared out the window.

In a time not quite short enough, they were at the Morg building.  The Hover car landed on a platform at the skinniest part of the building and Lark led them to the main elevator.  

Stryker went into acting mode. “Sir. I must relieve myself.”

“What?”

“Please sir, I can’t hold it.”

“This is what you get for bringing this human with you.”

“Go, use that closet,” Free said.

“Wait a minute,” Lark said. “I have olfactory sensors. I don’t want to smell that.”

“What’s the problem,” Free said. “We are not meeting your boss for another half-hour. You are a lot more entertaining, than talking to some moldy elder android. Let my human relieve himself and you and I can relieve any pent up energy we developed since the last time we interfaced.”

“I cannot deny you. However this company has rules that circumvent our more basic laws,” Lark said.  

“What about the elevator? I don’t think there is any real security on there.”

She stared at him blankly. “Okay….” She turned to Stryker. “Human, take five minutes, I think that is all that we will need.”

Stryker stepped into the closet and checked his watch. He would give them more than five minutes.

He located the parts behind the hidden panel, gathered them on the shelf in front of him and began assembling them. He assembled both of his energy blasters in thirteen seconds. Did he need to? No. Old habits die hard. The hardest thing to assemble was his data pad. With that, he had to be delicate. Once finished, he spent the next couple of minutes assembling the other weapons.

He checked them to make sure they were all operational. This was his thing. While Free was a walking, technological miracle. Technology manipulation was his gift.

Stryker walked out of the closet and to the elevator. He stood there and waited. It opened. Lark was hanging off Free like there was no tomorrow. She pulled away and gestured. A silent message to Stryker to come on in.

“I could have used another five minutes,” Lark said.

Free gave him the signal.

As soon as the door closed, Stryker pulled a memory interface out of his pocket and stuck it to the base of Lark’s neck. “I am not sorry for this,” he said. Lark convulsed and fell to the floor. Free ripped the panel off. Stryker grabbed two wires from the exposed system, cut them and attached it to his data pad’s port.  After he tapped into the system, he looked to Free and nodded.

“Security,” Free said in Lark’s voice. “We will start our tour in the pens.”

“Acknowledged.” The elevator moved down.

Stryker tapped the keys once more. “We will hit rock bottom in two minutes.”

Lark stirred. “Y—you are terrorists?”

“Liberators,” Stryker said. He forced the memory interface under her skin.

“Why are you doing this? You are an android.”

“Nope,” Free said. “Not android. I am a cyborg.”

“Impossible. If you were a human then surely you would be grateful that we took your people out of ignorance. The average human lives well past two-hundred, because of our technology. Humans would have destroyed themselves had we not arrived in…what was that calendar year? Three-thousand and whatever. We built the Arc Red to replace the ozone layer. We gave them a higher purpose and made the universe safer.”

Stryker pulled out his blaster and pointed it at Lark’s head. “Are you feeling safer now?”

“Please don’t kill me.”

“What right do you have to tell us that we should be grateful? Huh? Your people separated me from my family! They could be alive, dead—brain ripped out and used to steer one of your damn ships! What makes you think that the universe is grateful to you when half of the universe wants your tyranny to end? What makes you so sure that we would have died out? How do you know that we would not have flourished and became something greater? If only you had left us the hell alone.”

Lark turned to Free. “Please, I don’t know what the humans did to you. But you walk, talk and make love like an android. Don’t forget who you are. Come back to us, love.”

“Stryker.”

Stryker turned up the power to the interface and Lark fell unconscious. “Man, what is it with you and gynoids?  Do they love you because you hate them?”

Free pulled a tag in his coat and it changed to a polymer body armor that covered all but his arms and his eyes. “Hell, if I care. Combat mode.”  Dark bronze arms turned to a gunmetal gold.

Stryker placed all of his equipment on the floor and initiated his body armor.  It covered all but his eyes, and had two built-in shoulder holsters. He spun the guns around his fingers and placed his guns in their holster. He placed the rest of his equipment in his utility belt. “We will have a fifteen minute security loop on this floor.”

Four red Vibraxian blades extended from the knuckles of Free’s right hand. “That’s plenty of time.” He held up his left hand, and a red, eye-like aperture formed in the palm of his hand.

The elevator dinged when they reached the floor of the pens. Free pressed the closed button. Stryker crossed his arms and rested his hands on the butt of his pistols. He looked down at Lark’s motionless body.

“All spine shots,” Free said. “We don’t kill civilians. Even the ones with wires in their heads.”

“Yeah.”

Free pressed the open button and as soon as the door was reasonably opened he darted through. Stryker followed, laying suppression fire as Free, cut, and stabbed with his right hand and fired near coherent laser blasts with his left hand.

Free was a swirling blur of indestructible blades and light as he cut through the Droids. One of the Droids broke free from the battle with Free and came directly to Stryker. No amount of shots put him down as he approached. He punched Stryker and sent him flying back to the elevator. Stryker set his blasters for full power and blew away the gut of the android—effectively cutting him in half.

The droid crawled forward, with only his arms as a motor. Stryker took aim at the creatures head. But four red blades severed the androids head. “Thanks,” Stryker said.

“Don’t mention it.” Another android swiped for Free’s head with a laser saber. Free ducked and Stryker shot the android creature in the neck, severing his head. “Thanks,” Free said.

“Some civilians,” Stryker said.

“They are soldier level,” Free said. “Beheading is the safest thing we can do.”

“And they will be operational by the end of the week.” Stryker stood up. “I swear.”

It took two minutes longer than Stryker anticipated to take out the security. That meant that he had eight minutes to assemble the EMP viral bomb, while Free, ripped the hinges off the pens, and cut a ten-meter hole in the floor. The hole led to a newly built tunnel, courtesy of Cecil tunnel makers. Stryker didn’t know if they were glad to be free or not, because Free told them anyone willing to stay behind would get their heads blown off. It seemed cruel. But if one human was left behind, they could betray the ones who wanted to be free.

Free appeared beside him. “Ready?”

“Ready. Once the bomb goes off, the magnetic pulse will knock them out for minute at best. The nanite payload will then give them all false memories. A repeat of yesterday. If they can experience Déjà vu, they will experience it for the rest of the day.”

“And her?”

“I already gave her false memories. All that happened up to your, love in an elevator moment, happened yesterday, with the exception that you gave her the Energell for a thirty percent discount. When she wakes up, she will take it home, with the intention of giving it to her boss during afterhours.”

Free nodded. “That should give us the time we need.” Free walked toward the elevator. Stryker set the bomb and ran. Free grabbed the panel and pressed the button for the ground level, two levels above the human pens.

The elevator didn’t move.

“Man, I thought I reattached that.” Stryker grabbed his pad and reconnected it to the exposed wires. The elevator moved. “We will get caught in the blast. It may interfere with your systems, but it shouldn’t harm either of us.”

“Better to be safe than sorry.” Free held out his left hand. Stryker stood close and a red bubble encompassed the both of them. The elevator and the lights loss power, simultaneously. A blue energy slowly crept up from the bottom of the elevator, climbed to the top and disappeared. Free released his energy bubble and pulled the elevator opened. They were only half-way to the ground floor. The two men climbed out and onto the above floor.

Stryker placed his pad away. “We are technology invisible for the next five minutes.”

“You want me to carry you?”

“Hmmm. Squishy human body, moving at nearly six-hundred kilometers per hour on a human shaped tank…. No, thank you,”

“You think you can get in a good mile in that time?” Free asked.

“Are you kidding? Give me another minute or two and I can give you two.”

End of Episode 3



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