Machine Girl: A Wolf in Wolf’s Clothing – Chapter 14


“Wake up!  I said wake the FUCK UP!”  Eugene opened his eyes slowly, attempting to make them focus.  It felt like he had been asleep for mere moments but a glance at the wall clock revealed he had been out for almost six hours.

“What the hell is all the noise?  Christ I’ve been working for three days with almost no sleep what do you want?”

Seraphim was on the big monitor again and she looked pissed.  “The Coast Guard accessed our GPS in order to triangulate our location but instead of following normal protocol they initiated an active trace.”

Eugene still wasn’t awake enough to interpret what she was saying, “Why did you have to wake me up to tell me this shit?  Either quit with the word games and tell me what you want or fuck off and let me sleep.”

“It means they are trying to track my ship.”  She hissed, “They don’t do that unless they have a damn good reason.  What did you do?  Send an SOS?  I want to know how you got a message out of that room, it’s hardened with only audio and video allowed out.”

“You have got to be kidding me.  If you don’t know exactly what I’ve been doing this entire time then you haven’t been paying attention.  I built you a machine in three days that took me three years last time I did it.  I’ve been working with almost no sleep and astonishing amounts of caffeine to get this thing done and now I just want to sleep before the final checks.  Unless you want me to miss something important causing the device to nuke your hubby’s brain stem when we turn it on I suggest you shut the FUCK up and let me get some sleep.  I haven’t bothered trying to send any kind of message to anyone.”  He closed his eyes again.

There was a momentary pause before she asked in a fevered voice, “It’s done?  You’ve finished it?”

“Yeah, I made some improvements too, put some better integration protocols in there based on what I’ve seen from Victoria and a few power limiting shunts too.  I want to go over things better before I turn it loose though.  Still haven’t powered on the AI for the internal checks.  Gotta make sure the code is debugged.”  Eugene’s voice trailed off as he drifted into sleep again.

Seraphim watched him for a few moments from the monitor, a variety of emotions flickered across her face finally settling on a grim kind of hope.  “He will be returned to me and then it shall be time for vengeance.”

Eugene woke, finally feeling like a human being again.  Although he knew that technically his nearly four days of imprisonment had freed him from the physical addiction of nicotine he still missed smoking, especially in the morning.  Sighing, he stumbled out of bed and made his way to the tiny shower set into the wall across from the food dispensers.  It likely was supposed to be a chemical rinse station but had been hastily converted to have hot water instead of whatever cleaning agent it was supposed to sluice parts in.

After a quick shower, he retrieved a banana and a cup of coffee from the machines and walked back into the lab.  He powered on his diagnostic tools and ran yet another bug check.  This one too came up clean which was strange.  He knew he was fallible and had been working under the absolute worst conditions and yet somehow his code was perfect.  Running his fingers through his still damp hair, he checked to make sure the power cells of the new unit were fully charged and then ran the power up sequence through the access cable.

Again, everything went nearly perfectly.  The operating system booted without a hitch and after a moment’s hesitation the AI began sending recognition signals.  Eugene had simulated a brain stem connection and the AI responded as it should, passing information and behaving itself otherwise.  When he sent the power down sequence, the AI closed its threads and shut off.  All those extra protocols he had added must be working as designed.

Shaking his head he sat back and sipped his coffee, wishing again for a cigarette.  Looking at his laptop, Eugene opened the simulator, running a program that imitated a human brain in a coma.  At least it was supposed to, who knew exactly how a brain in a coma would really react.

He ran a variety of different simulations and every time the AI failed completely to do anything about the state of the brain.  Shit, the fact of the matter was it wasn’t a tool to heal; it was a tool to maintain.  If he was going to make it do anything other than that major modifications were going to have to happen.  Making Seraphim believe him was going to be the hard part.

On a whim, Eugene introduced one of the advanced problem solving algorithms ADAM had reported using to organize Victoria’s memories.  The effects were immediate and absolute.  The simulated brain awoke and began rudimentary functions.

“I’ll be damned.  That digital bastard is bailing me out again.  I wonder if I’m going to be able to pay him back.”  Eugene muttered to himself.  He set down his coffee cup and raised his voice, “Seraphim, this thing checks out.  I’m ready to hand it over to you for implementation.”

“What?”  The screen filckered to life on the wall, “Already?  You really are a prodigy Dr. Arlington.”

“I only did what I had to in order to survive.”  He said, “It seemed in my best interests to get this shit done as quickly as possible.  Can you let me go now?”

Seraphim laughed, “Oh Eugene, you really are a silly bastard.  You can go once the surgery is complete and my dear sweet darling is returned to me.  Until then, I will at least let you retire to more comfortable quarters.”

“Wait, aren’t you going to have me be involved in the surgical procedures?  I might be able to be of assistance.  After all, I’m the only one on this boat who has done this before.”

“So naïve, did you really thing I would try to do this with unskilled amateurs?  It was hard to get you but it was child’s play to get the rest of your team.”  The truth that rang in her voice cut deeper than any sarcasm or derision she added on top.  “Now run along Eugene.  The work is done, now you can relax and wait for your work to bear fruit.  If it doesn’t you will be the first to know.”

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