Kallisti walked down the road toward the Steel Canyon University campus, swinging the shopping bag containing her brand new shoes. What a bargain in that sale! Her allowance was not great – the Pound/Dollar exchange rate wasn’t great at the moment so every penny mattered – but these shoes were to die for! She couldn’t wait to show her roomie! Her thoughts of glamorous footware were interrupted by the sound of a siren!
“ALERT! ALERT! Rikti Dropship reported heading for Steel Canyon! All citizens take cover!” a loudspeaker blared out a warning. She now became aware of a buzzing sound that set her teeth on edge. She ducked into a doorway as people around her started running. Where was the nearest shelter? A deafening crash shook the ground and she stumbled to stay on her feet. A blast of hot air shot past the doorway and she saw debris and – oh no – bodies cartwheel down the street. A large black car skidded across the road, colliding with a large boulder that crashed down in its path, and bounced up the kerb crashing headlong through the windows next to Kallisti.
Crouching, she saw two doors open and black suited security men and women jumped out, drawing weapons and looking down the street to her left. She glanced out to where they were facing and was horrified to see an army of black and green armoured aliens stepping out of glowing portals and aiming their massive guns her way. Blasts of energy eruted blowing the security people into fragments, tipping the car over onto its roof, crushing another armed guard beneath it. The passenger door nearest to her hang off its hinges and inside she could see a woman with dark hair hanging upside down from the car’s seatbelt, struggling to release the clasp. The woman’s glasses fell from her face and she screamed in frustration and the seatbelt trapping her in the car.
Without thinking, Kallisti crawled out from her hiding place and clambered into the car. She pushed herself up to support the woman’s weight to take the strain off the seatbelt clasp and the woman released it finally, collapsing down onto Kallisti. “We need to get out of here!” Kallisti shouted, pulling the woman out of the car and into the doorway she’d been sheltering in. The woman stumbled and fell, dragging Kallisti down on top of her. At that moment there was a tremendous explosion behind the car which lifted off the ground and slammed into the building showering the two women with debris and knocking them back against the door – Kallisti’s head banged against the door frame and she looked up to see the concrete lintel supporting the doorway crack and the side of the building shatter, raining debris down on top of them…
“Frontal cortex failure”
“Audio active, visual online in 3… 2… 1…”
Flash, bright light, blurry vision, focus…
An operating theatre ceiling, bright lights – iris contraction, gamma correction, colour separation adjustment. Image processing subsystem nominal.
“What is happening?” A voice, not her’s – it did not sound right, what is this? She lifted her hand, a blur or movement but it didn’t’ feel right.. .it didn’t feel at all! She lifted her head – that wasn’t right either – and looked at her hand. No, that wasn’t her hand – that was oh my god oh my god! She knew should be screaming but there was no feeling, no emotion, no fear.
“Welcome back Miss Kallisti.” a man’s voice was beside her. “We have some good news and some bad news for you.” he said. She sat up – there was a faint creak in her joints. She looked down at her ‘body’. Blue metallic plates formed an imitation of where her breasts should have been. The metallic arms and hands that were connected to her body moved to touch that body. Sensations from the sensors in the fingertips transmitted tactile information which something within her processed into something that was like touch but not quite.
“What have you done to me?” Her voice was almost hers, she realised that her mouth was moist but her throat was dry and so her voice was croaky.
“Let me adjust that…” the man said, consulting the tablet in his hand. Suddenly she felt her throat tingle and grow moist.
“Glub glub” she said.
“Oops too much” the man made a further adjustment and she spat out the excess fluid, leaving a green stain on the wall. “You were caught up in the Rikti attack and while saving Countess Crey you were very badly injured. She insisted on doing everything within our abilities to save your life but…” he hesitated “Your body was crushed and beyond saving, so we built you a knew one…”
She could feel the emotions in her mind but there was no way to express them… she knew she should be crying but her new body could not cry…
“Hello Kallisti, I am so glad to finally be able to meet you and thank you for saving my life” The woman from the car sat behind a large mahogany desk, almost dwarfed by the black chair she at in. She was dressed in a tight black dress with cut-outs at the shoulders. her dark hair was cut into a quite severe-looking bob and her wire-framed glasses perched on her nose. So this was the infamous Countess Crey!
“It seemed the right thing to do at the time.” Kallisti’s emotionless voice was unable to inject the sarcasm she intended. The Countess narrowed her eyes.
“There were a great many casualties in the Rikti attack and I was determined you would not be counted as one of them.”
“I should thank you then, but somehow that would not be a truthful statement.” Kallisti’s gyroscopic balance mechanism adapted to her combat stance with a faint whirring. The state of the art musculature that had been installed in her reacted as she tried to launch herself to attack the person who had inflicted this horror upon her, but instead of attacking, her limbs locked rigid.
“That sort of behaviour will not be permitted I’m afraid. I had hoped you would adapt better to the circumstances but it seems you have not.” She sighed. “You may be interested to note that you are listed as one of the casualties of the attack so nobody knows you still live. We were waiting to see how this experiment turned out before announcing your miraculous survival to the public. Under the circumstances, however, that won’t be happening. You are now the property of Crey Industries and we shall use you as we see fit. Take it away.” she gestured to the techs who appeared with a wheeled trolley. “That was silly!” she heard a faint voice at the back of her mind as they trundled her immobile form down the corridor.
“Test 1921A, subject K, overload of sensor receptors.” The voice announced and Kallisti’s mind convulsed in pain as the technicians flooded her tactile subsystem with contradictory inputs. Unable to scream or even move, she suffered silently as she had done countless times in the last few months, unable to escape the tortures they inflicted on her mechanical body. The induced pain shut off suddenly, sooner than expected. “What was that?”
Now her visual sensors were working again. she saw a shimmering above her a greenish sheen that she recognised as a force field. “Damn that wasn’t supposed to happen yet!” the tiny voice at the back of her mind that had been gradually growing stronger as the weeks had passed sounded annoyed. “Bloody Crey shit technology fucking unreliable bollocks!” In her minds eye she saw a spanner being banged against a rusty box which sparked and flared. A sudden realisation she could move – the override commands that kept her locked and immobile during the indeterminable testing had been over-riden themselves! She leapt to her feet before the techs could react. “That panel!” the voice in her mind highlighted the panel with a pulsing glow. She thrust her hand out and a blast of electricity erupted from it to short the panel’s delicate electronics into molten slag. That was new. “Thank fuck that worked!” the voice cheered. “now lets get the hell out of this shit hole… this way!” the door lit up in her vision and Kallisti charged it, crashing through scattering techs and guards in all directions. “Here!” a red arrow in her vision pointed to her right and another door which collapsed under her impact. “Might get tricky soon…” alarms sounded
“What are you and why are you in my head?” Kallisti said out loud.
“Hah so NOW you finally ask! About bloody time – I’m the you they have been trying to suppress with their electronic bollocks all this time, the rebel, the naughty one who you always tried to hide… the one who likes to fuck!” Behind the door armed guards turned to face her and she responded with more blasts of electricity and the force field sprang up again, deflecting their bullets.
“Oh!” she said, still blasting her way through the adversaries. “Where do we go now?”
“We get the fuck out of here! This way!” the arrow continued to direct her through door after door, corridor after corridor, blasting her way to freedom!
The black painted android held open the door to the truck that waited on a side street and waved at her. “Get in they are friends” her internal voice said.
“Welcome to the Android Liberation Front” said the android.
Some months later, Kallisti Steel as she had started calling herself had grown accustomed to the duality in her mind. She considered the two components the machine brain and the human brain. The human brain explained that this was normal in human mind, but it was usually left-brain, right-brain distinction and they tended not to have separate personalities!
On this particular day she was scouting a possible back route into a Crey laboratory, hidden in a disused water treatment tower in Crey’s Folly. There were numerous sensors and traps that required disabling and she and her team were carefully clearing the route ready for the assault team to do their stuff. There was just one more passage to clear but suddenly up ahead she saw the moving shadows of a patrol.
“Patrol heading this way!” she sent to the other androids on the shared message band. Appearing out of the gloom, flash lights swinging from side to side, they Cryotanks approached to within range of her team “Now!” and the passage erupted with gouts of flame, blasts of energy and crackling electricity, catching the Crey tanks off guard, but the follow-up Paragon Protectors leapt forward, bristling with spines aiming for their attackers.
Kallisti Steel sent one of them tumbling away with a punch from her force field but before she could follow up with an electrical blast a sensor jangling noise smothered them and a dark gash appeared in the air beside her and an irresistible force pulled her in, tumbling over until she crashed onto a floor in a what was obviously a laboratory. There appeared to be bodies of several technicians scattered around and over to one side a group of girls arguing loudly. At the crash of her arrival they stopped and turned towards her.
“What is wrong with these adolescent wankers that they put tits on a robot?” exclaimed Kallisti Red.