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We made it to the highlands where we walked on the rocky pan for hours. It was beyond saddening leaving Beth, even Heaven but I had to do this. So much was riding on that tiny little android nestled in the torso of the Big Daddy. In fact, I wasn’t quite done working on the Big Daddy. As we walked, I was swiftly programing the final touches of his speech cog. It was arguably the hardest thing to do on any robot, let alone one that is technically a cybernetic human. It involved, rooting the robots cognitive skill presets, auditory and visual senses to the brain inside the Big Daddy and writing hundreds of thousands functions, some the Big Daddy would write himself, forming memories…It wouldn’t be perfected until I got the chance to test it for the first few times.
Nervously, I activated it. I paused at the top of the foot hill.
“Can you speak?” I asked. There was a long pause.
“…Yeah.” I heard. It was rather tinny sounding but very functional. I was overjoyed, almost drawn to tears.
“It got so old having to communicate using text to neuron wave pattern. God…” I sighed, glad to be able to finally speak with my father after several long years.
“So much I wanna say.” He responded, “Can I just say I’m proud?”
I couldn’t even come to words, it was damn near surreal.
“I…” I stammered.
“I know you’ve been stuck for a long time, and I am just as wrong as the Logatti family for asking this of you, it’s why I only can say thank you…” He said.
“This is different! I’m furthering your work, making it so this world can one day be better…” I said.
“It’s not so different. I still planted the neuro-computer in your head as a newborn, I still attached thousands of neural wires to your nervous system. I still forced this upon you…” He said.
“It’s not like that! Again, this is a much bigger picture! You did what you had to do, and I respect that!” I said.
The Big Daddy, continued to walk over the foothill.
“It’s so crazy how we’re just too different people.” The machine chucked.
“What do you mean?” I asked, lapping all of this up.
“You’re this nice little soul. I was never nice… I didn’t care much for the people around me, only for the sake of the world. Some may have deemed me a mad scientist… Maybe I was. I was done in at the New Patagonia research labs in Argentina about a decade and a half ago. You were only a toddler then and…God.” Dad said, barely able to talk about it.
” It’s ok, ya know. I had to learn quick fast and in a hurry that not all people are nice. At least you showed me that, much. You know I’m just glad to have some form of real family left…even if it’s behind layers of carbon fiber, titanium alloy and red armor.” I said.
“That’s touching. Sorry I wasn’t much of a father to you…sorry I brought years of hell upon you. No child should have…”
“I get it.” I responded, “I just got a question..” I said, looking down at the floating dagger.
“What is it?” He asked.
“How do these things work? I mean, they just read my mind…” I asked.
“They are very advanced, ceramic coated rare earth blades that use a powerful electromagnet and torque to create fields of anti-gravity. Plus they have…” He froze in place.
I looked, unsure what had happened. My watch gave me biometric warnings of severe damage to his core. As soon as I realized it, he fell, a hole burned into his back. Suddenly, an Orb fell too with a similar hole burned into it. I then realized we were being attacked. The Second orb too fell out of the sky, a hole burned clean through it’s chassis.
I could not tell what was going on, looking to find any signs of my attacker. My blades were on alert, surrounding me, looking for any signs of what was going on. Suddenly, buggies began to speed down the valley, surrounding me. It was the Merchant Clan. I knew this was about to get very dire. I sent Beth a message as fast as I could before the buggies could close in on me. It was now time to make them taste my vengence.
I began flinging the blades wildly, the blades speeding through the air slicing through the engines of several buggies. Many blew up while others retreated to a safer distance. The blare of a machine gun to my left made me curl and cringe. I thought I was hit but upon opening my eyes, the blades had expanded into circular disks, blocking all of the canon fire.
“I told you not to shoot!” I heard someone say.
I noticed that the palms of my hands were opened wide, the blades obviously programed to turn into protective disks when this happened. All I could do was think about my father, a hole burned through his back. I truly hope it did not reach his organic core. I ran over to him, it taking all my cybernetic strength to flip him over. He still was powered on but his energy reserves were hit. It was dangerous considering he was powered by a fission reactor. I opened his chest cavity and unplugged the wires.
He wasn’t dead, at least that but still… This was Cihangir travesti close…too close for comfort. They shot him clean through most of the electronics that took me years to design and months to build. I stood, trembling with rage. Turning to face the Merchant Clan, I aimed my blades at every single soul, particularly looking for anyone with a very high powered and long range rifle. My eyes fell upon someone sitting atop a buggy with a rifle that’s barrel was four feet long. The gun was bolted to the top of the buggy, the gunner still mounted there.
He looked at me through binoculars, being a considerable distance away. I began walking towards him, my blades rotating as they could feel my wrath.
“HALT!” A gunner a top a buggy said to me. I ignored him, continuing to head towards the rifle gunman. The distinctive sound of a Desert Eagle rang in my ears just as the blade deflected three oncoming bullets to my right.
The blade then flew towards the shooter, slicing through his gun…and hand. The man screamed out falling back inside the buggy.
“I said not to shoot!” The rifleman shouted, all the way up the valley. The two swords locked onto my wrists, propelling me towards the rifleman. As I did, three bullets connected with me. I screamed out, falling to the desert floor. Still though, I crawled towards him, wanting the rifleman dead.
I was again, surrounded.
“I told you all NOT TO SHOOT!” The Rifleman screamed.
“But…” A goon said. I roared out, sending all my blades at screeching speed towards the rifleman’s buggy. He leapt out of the buggy just in time. All thirty six blades passed through the buggy, killing the driver and second gunman inside.
My blood loss was great. I lost consciousness… I woke up God knows how much time later, strapped to a bed. Sitting in the room was the same man who lied to me about my Cyberlope Android. He was looked as confused as I was.
“What the hell are you?” He asked.
“Why do you have me! Let me go! Who shot my father! I’m gonna kill him… Was it you?” I growled, struggling against the restraints.
“Father? What the fuck are you talking about?” The man asked.
“LET ME GO!” I demanded.
Hearing my shouting, the same Merchant that sat behind the counter came into the room. He looked on in shock.
“He woke up?” He asked.
“Yeah… June shot the hell out of him…once in the stomach, the back of liver and the thigh. They say after the blood transfusion he’s fifty percent healed…” The man said.
I looked down at my medical gown, remembering I did in fact get shot. The young man from the counter of the repair sho came over to me, sitting.
“My boys won’t listen sometimes. They get a little trigger happy…” He sighed.
“They had every right to be,” I said, realizing he was the rifleman, “I was trying to kill you…”
“I figured that much,” The man said, “I’m Galveston…”
“What do you want?” I asked, cutting to the chase.
“You say you built that little android right?” He asked.
“Yeah, and the thirteen foot mech you shot, and the two orbs you SHOT!!” I said.
“Why, so you can weaponize them and turn them on good people?” I asked.
“No,” Galveston said, “Because they are amazing and I want to learn to build this way.”
“I’m sorry but, I have a lot to do. I can’t set time aside so you can level up as a mechanic.”
“Why was that little android so important to you?” He prodded.
“It’s a prototype…it holds very, very…” I said thinking about it, “I need to get the giant mech out of the desert!”
“Don’t worry it’s already done. We got the two Orbs and the blades too. Might I say those blades are rather badass?” He smiled.
“You can’t be serious.” The man sitting in the chair across from the bed asked.
“I am. Those things are ferocious! Did you see how they slice through solid engine blocks?” Galveston asked.
“Oh gawd…” I sighed, looking up at the ceiling.
“Where were you headed?” Galveston asked.
“I was on my way to the Great Spine. I’m trying to get to Vancouver…” I responded.
“Well you’re gonna be here awhile…at least until you heal. But what you said about a prototype… a prototype for what?” He asked.
“The Cyberlope Android is meant to hold information and be extremely evasive in case that information is attempted to be cracked. However, I built a one ninth scale model to test the housing capacity for it’s computational equipment. I actually went through about twelve or so prototypes before finding a design that simply functioned. That thing is…it’s very very important.” I said.
“What does it do?” Galveston asked.
“I already told you it holds information.” I responded.
“You said it was stolen…” The man across the bed asked.
“Yeah…by someone I trusted. He ruined all my plans… I wasn’t supposed to leave for another year but he gave me no choice.” I said.
“Ezekiel?” Galveston Fındıkzade travesti asked, “How do you know Ezekiel?”
“I worked for his family…correction, slaved for his family. I was their sole, mechanic, engineer and designer for everything the sold for a long time. It’s a complicated story, just…I need to fix the giant red mech.” I sighed. Galveston looked at me for a long time, his eyes profiling me from head to toe.
“You’re a cybernetic aren’t you?” He asked.
“…Yeah.” I responded, hesitant to admit it. I did not know these people, nor did I have a valid reason to trust them. After all, we did try to kill each other.
Galveston leaned in, looking at me eye to eye.
“Where are you from?” He asked.
“Here.” I sighed.
“Really? I’ve never seen any type of…well what are you if you don’t mind me asking?”
“I’m Illisian. Can you bring me my laptop… I need it…gotta figure out how long it’s gonna take me to fix the mech.” I sighed.
“Sure.” Galveston, said. He quickly got up, leaving the room.
That left me with the strange man across the room. He got up walking slowly towards the sink..
“You know…” He began, “Someone like you is dangerous. You know computers, you know science, you know pretty much all there is, right?”
“No… I only know about computers, engineering and survival.” I quickly shot down.
“You’re just someone I can’t trust and if you…”
“Look, I don’t give a fuck if you trust me or not! I’m not here for your benefit. I’m here because you motherfuckers stalked me shot me, shot my robots and now I’m fucking back at square one! I just want to fix my shit…and GO!! That’s it!” I said.
“Really?” The man asked, surprised by my response. I really had nothing to say to him. He stood at the counter, pouring himself some fruit juice.
It didn’t take long for Galveston to return with my bag. He undid the zip ties that bounded me to the bed. I leaned up, feeling very uncomfortable but not in any serious pain.
“How are you able to move right now?” Galveston asked.
“I don’t know…” I sighed, opening the laptop. I booted it up, seeing it had only been a day since I was shot. Checking my messages, Beth had written me back asking, ‘Where are you?’ I wrote her back stating, ‘I don’t know… Will triangulate later.’
I then used the laptop to connect with the the Orbs and the Big Daddy, checking their vitals. It did not look good.
“One of my Orbs is completely destroyed… I’d have to build another which will take months. The other Orb and the giant mech can be repaired but it’ll be timely… Quite frankly I don’t got time. I need to be out this city before anything happens.” I sighed.
“What happens?” The man standing at the counter asked.
I ignored him, checking my vitals on the computer. Surprisingly, I suffered the least amount of damage between me and my mechs. One thing about being a cybernetic, you were detached from pain and could heal very fast. Still though, I had a lot to do. First off, I had to prompt the Big Daddy not to go into combat mode upon first boot-up, post meltdown. Secondly, I had to painstakingly spend hours analyzing the the three mechs to figure out what can be salvaged and what can be replaced. Thirdly, I had to read over my schematics for each and begin building out the components that need replacing. And lastly, I needed to dismantle each one down to the tiniest screw and bolt, clean them and put them back together.
This was all beyond overwhelming.
“I have the worst luck…” I said to myself.
“Why do you say that?” Galveston asked.
“Look at me!” I snarled, holding up my hands. It was then I realized my gauntlets and my watch were gone. I began to panic, those being my most prized possessions. I looked at Galveston, completely and utterly devastated.
“What?” He asked.
“Where are my gauntlets and my watch?” I asked. Galveston pointed to the counter where the strange man continued to stand. There they were, my gauntlets and my watch, sitting there unscathed. I sighed, collapsing on the pillows in relief.
“I’m guessing they are important as well?” Galveston laughed.
“Yeah, you have no idea.” I chuckled, staring at the roof.
“I haven’t caught your name.” He said.
“I’m Tanzanir Aheed… People either call me Zanir, or Bun-Bun. You pick.” I sighed.
“Why Bun-Bun?” He asked.
“Because when I was a little boy, I had really long hair and shit. So I’d roll it into a bun that sat on my head, and since my hair is really coarse and curly, the bun was often the size of my head.” I laughed.
“So,” Galveston began, “About this prototype thingy? You can stay as long as you like to build a functioning full sized model.”
“I don’t approve…” The man leaning on the counter said.
“Dad!” Galveston pled, turned to him.
“I don’t want to stay too long. I seem to bring unwanted attention everywhere I go. I’m just bad luck…” I said.
“You Fulya travesti can’t be serious.” Galveston responded.
“Try having darker skin, kinky hair and a fat nose for one day and you’ll see precisely what I’m talking about. Every since I was a kid, people viewed me as an oddity. Now that I’m grown, they view me as something menacing, like a threat… I’m not at all menacing!” I sighed.
“I disagree wholeheartedly.” Galveston’s dad chuckled.
“Ay man, I tried to keep from killing ya folks as long as I could but when ya’ll shot my mechs… I lost all restraint.” I said in my defense.
“Well, it’s a dog eat dog world. Sometimes you gotta fuck a few to move a few.” Galveston shrugged.
“Well at least ya understand.” I sighed, leaning back up to use my laptop.
“Oh and can you reactivate my network? I can’t get past your security protocol.” Galveston asked.
“Sure.” I said.
It didn’t take me long to remap his servers the way he had them originally. The entire time, he stared at me as though I were a big conundrum.
“How old are you, man…” He asked.
“Twenty…” I said.
“You don’t look a day past five…” He teased.
“Shut up…” I said.
“It’s always the unassuming ones…” His father added.
“I know! That girl and that dude were total bad assess too!” Galveston responded.
“Wait, how are they?” I asked.
“They fucking got away!” He responded.
“Oh,” I said, remembering Beth did write me back.
“Who were they?” Galveston asked.
“I don’t know if I should say…” I said.
“Come on…!” Galveston prodded.
“They are the two Logatti youngsters, one seventeen, the other twenty. The girl was my best friend. Her brother, not so much… he had came after her when she left to help me and nearly fucked up everything. But I worked out in the end… glad they got away.” I responded.
“I figured they were Logatti. No one ever heads East…” Galveston’s father said.
“Well, I hope they’re alright. They really went an extra mile to make sure I got away… I kinda can’t believe it.” I said, thinking back on it.
“You seldom find people that dedicated to you these days… Loyalty is so rare. I say you struck gold, Mr. Aheed.” Galveston’s father responded. He left the room, leaving me alone with Galveston.
It was so surreal, being in here with this boy. I never in my life had seen someone so gorgeous…EVER! He was well built, I mean a walking tank, six foot plus, two plus pounds, off-set by his boyish face. It worked so well, God it worked so well!!
He had a strong brow with dense honey colored eyebrows. His eyes were striking, not for their color which was ember, but for their shape. They were not almond shaped like mine but far deeper set. The upper eyelids gently arched over into the straight line of the lower eyelids. They weren’t creased like most people, hidden behind layers of epidermal tissues.
His nose was the perfect match for those eyes. It was small and slender fanning into one that was rather bulbous. His cheeks were high and full, having the same plumpness of his brows. Then came those full, pink lips which were also was just as plump as everything else on his face. How dare he say I look like a toddler! He looked just as young as I did if not more.
It truly made me wonder just how old he was. With a body like that he, at the minimum, had to be at least twenty three years old. He was just all around beautiful, hell I’d say even more ‘better looking’ than Ezekiel and quite frankly, it was hard to look better than Ezekiel… even on his worst of days. I think it was Galveston’s freckles. I was a sucker for any type of odd pigmentation and his just worked so well for him.
His interesting looks aside, I began the long process of figuring out what was damaged on my mechs. I stayed up all night doing so, not resting. Galveston had gone but came back the next morning seeing me still typing away.
“Wow… Did you sleep any?” He asked.
“Nope…” I said back.
“Come on, get out the bed.” He said.
“No, I’m doing work and shit.” I said back.
“Well do work and shit outside of a hospital…” He teased. I sighed putting my laptop to the side. I got up, catching a whiff of the odor howling under my armpits.
“God I smell.” I said shaking my head.
“So…” Galveston said, walking over to help me out of the bed.
“Back back, I got this!” I said, managing to get to my feet.
“Dude you got shot in the stomach twice and once in the thigh…let me help…” He insisted, grabbing my arm, unplugging the catheter needle from my arm as well as closing the backside of my gown.
“Let me atleast take a shower first…” I said.
“Don’t be long…I got work to do.” He said.
“Alright,” I responded, heading into the bathroom. Talking to him, even in this way, felt like talking to a friend I’ve known for years. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it but it was just a strange way he carried himself that was easy to connect to.
I didn’t stay in the shower long, scrubbing down all my extremities and drying off with a towel. I then realized I had nothing to change into.
“AY!” I shouted.
“Yeah…” Galveston responded.
“Where are my clothes?” I asked.
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