Machine Girl: A Wolf in Wolf’s Clothing – Chapter 16

Victoria

Victoria woke up to her cellphone ringing at 1:30AM on Monday morning.  She fumbled for it without opening her eyes, finally getting it to her ear.  “What?”

“Miss Scott?”  The voice on the other end was female and somewhat familiar.

“Who the hell is this?”  She grumbled irritably, “It’s one thirty in the morning.”

“It’s actually one thirty five.  This is Lieutenant Caarlgard Miss Scott.  We have a problem.”

“What couldn’t wait until a reasonable hour?”  Victoria mumbled, trying to decide whether or not to hang up on the bitch.

“It’s about Dr. Arlington.”  The Lieutenant said, “He’s been kidnapped.”

“Yeah, by some nutjob who calls herself Seraphim.”  Victoria muttered, “Owns a boat called the Misery.  Bought a bunch of robotics lab equipment.  I’m trying to find her right now, anything else or can I get a couple more hours of sleep before I have to get up for school.”

There was a momentary pause on the other end of the line.  “Why didn’t you report this to us?”

“I don’t recall being in the US military.”  Victoria said, “What reason would I have to report the happenings of the world to you?  Don’t you have intelligence agencies for that purpose?

“I seem to remember as part of the agreement you made with us to secure the safety and citizenship of your friend Kai Yuen-Ja you agreed to furnish us with information that could be of importance to national security.”

“How the fuck was I supposed to know this would be a national security matter?”  It was too early in the morning for Victoria to be awake and she couldn’t stand the Lieutenant.

Evidently the feeling was mutual because Caarlgard lost it and started shouting into the phone, “Damn it you may have killed him you stupid little girl!  Angel McKenna, Seraphim’s real name, is the wife of a known terrorist.  Farlan McKenna is, or was a very powerful leader of a splinter group of the Irish Republican Army.  They were in negotiations with some other organization we have as of yet not been able to track down.

“Just over nine months ago he had a meeting with this shadow organization to purchase some sort of chemical weapon they called Dirge.  We don’t know exactly what it is but we do know something went wrong with the deal and it ended up in a high speed chase that ended in a crash that left him paralyzed and in a coma.

“Only a couple of months later Angel began buying and bribing when she could, stealing and abducting when she couldn’t until she had amassed a team of doctors, scientists and specialized laboratory equipment for some unknown purpose.  Only when we received word she had taken Dr. Arlington did we finally realize what she was doing.  She’s trying to bring him back, but as what we still do not know.  To save your friend and to bring this terrorist to justice we require whatever services you can bring to bear.”

Victoria was humbled by this tirade.  “I don’t know what use I’ll be but I will do what I can.  You have my word on that.”

“Just like that?”  The Lieutenant didn’t sound convinced.

“When I’m presented with a logical choice based on facts the decision is always easy.”  Victoria said, “What do you need from me?  I assume you have a task for me or else you wouldn’t be calling.”

“Eugene trusts you but I can’t say the same about any of us, for whatever reason he has a chip on his shoulder about the military.  We believe we know where the Misery is anchored right now and we think Eugene is still on board.  When our team gets there you need to be with them to convince Dr. Arlington to come with them.  We leave at 0300 hours.  Someone will be there to pick you up in thirty five minutes.”

“Wait a minute; you want me to infiltrate a boat owned by a terrorist with a Special Forces team?”  Victoria couldn’t believe her ears. “Are you NUTS?  I don’t have that kind of training!  I’d at least compromise the mission if not get us all killed!”

“Actually Miss Scott, your prosthetic has a built in set of military protocols.” She said, “You already have exactly the training you need.  I’m sure the mercenary strike force from Blackwater that you dispatched when you were in Vegas would attest to that.”

“You know about that?”  Victoria asked, not bothering to hide her surprise.

“Of course we do.” The Lieutenant said smoothly, “We know a lot about you Miss Scott, you are a very valuable investment.”

Victoria immediately thought of Dmitri.  Oh shit, he was going to be pissed if she did this without getting ahold of him first.  “Can you make it forty minutes?  I have some things to take care of.”

“All of your needs will be provided for.  Don’t worry about that.”

“What about my parents?”  Victoria asked, “What am I going to tell them?  I can’t exactly leave a note, ‘Hi guys, I’m participating in a Special Forces raid on a terrorist’s yacht!  I’ll try to be home by dinner!’ now can I Lieutenant?”

“You should tell them nothing.  You shouldn’t tell anyone anything about this at all, doing so will put the mission and all of our lives in jeopardy.”  Lieutenant Caarlgard said, “Someone will stop by later to tell your parents that you haven’t been taken against your will.”

“Lieutenant, wait, what’s your first name?  I feel silly calling you Lieutenant all the time.” Victoria said.

“It’s Kate.”

“Kate, I will be the worst daughter in the history of the universe if I don’t do something more than that.”  Victoria took a deep breath and sat up, “My mom worries when I am ten minutes late getting home from school, this will give her a heart attack.”

“You have to understand, telling her the truth will probably be much worse than anything she could think up and a secret is only safe with two people when one of them is dead.” Said Kate, “I can’t be more clear on this, you will endanger us all if you tell anyone, even your parents or your adopted sister.”

“Fine.  I’m going to get dressed here, I’ll see you in thirty one and a half minutes.”  Hanging up she immediately took Dmitri’s business card from her dresser and dialed the number.  He picked up on the first ring.

“Victoria.  What can I do for you?”  Dmitri’s voice was calm and collected on the other end, almost as though he had expected her to call at this exact moment.

“Hi Dmitri, sorry to call so early in the morning but I need your help.”  She said, not bothering with any pleasantries.

“Do not be ridiculous Victoria, I told you to call me if you needed anything and I do not give my card to just anyone.”  He said, and she could hear the click of a zippo lighter in the background. “I am at your disposal, what do you require?”

“Eugene has been taken by some terrorist organization, he is being held on a ship and the military has recruited me to help.  I don’t trust them, the last time I did they infected Adam with a virus that almost killed us.”  She took a deep breath, “Can you track me somehow so that in the event they fuck it all up I have someone who can bail me out?  I don’t know where the hell the boat is or I’d just tell you.”

“Victoria, you may absolutely count on my assistance and tracking you will be a simple matter.  Take the microchip pendant I gave you and twist it until you hear it click.  I have implanted it with an ultra-low frequency transmitter for exactly this sort of emergency situation.”  Dmitri said, “I will be ready to extract you at a moment’s notice.  To signal distress, simply twist, hit or otherwise subject it directly to shock twice in rapid succession.”

“Thank you Dmitri, I’ll feel better knowing you are there to help if shit goes south.” She said, “Sorry to cut this short, but I gotta go and get ready they’ll be here in twenty nine minutes.”

“Think nothing of it Victoria.”  He hung up and she got out of bed.  She chose her most comfortable pair of shoes, a pair of dark blue canvas pants that would give her room to move easily, a sports bra and Underarmor workout shirt.  After a quick shower she felt almost ready, although for what she really had no idea.

“Adam, if you can hear me listen up.  We are going to do something stupid and dangerous to help Eugene out and if we’re going to survive I will need your help in a serious way.  I know these military idiots think they have you pegged but they don’t know anything about who you really are.  If they try to inject you with any more software I’m getting the hell out but Kate seems to think you have it built in.  I hope you’re getting this and I hope you can still do whatever it is you do to help us survive when we shouldn’t be able to get out alive.”

There was no way to know if he heard her or not, but she decided he had.  Even if he hadn’t she was confident in his ability to respond instantaneously to a stressful situation.  He hadn’t hesitated to in the past and this was sure to be the craziest they’d been through to date.  Her vision flickered for a moment and bright orange text ran across her vision.

“I am here and ready.  We will get the Creator back.”

So Adam really was there.  He really could hear her.  He could understand what she wanted.  Victoria shivered, unsure if she was pleased to know he was there and aware of her or not.

She was thankful for Dmitri’s help too, regardless of what help he had to offer, he seemed to think he was fucking James Bond or something.  Well, as to that he did provide her with a strange tracking device so maybe he was a spy or something.

She picked up the pendant he had given her and twisted it between her fingers.  There was a sharp click and nothing else.  It only took a moment to activate her data tracking software and she could see a steady heartbeat signal just on the edge of vision.  She isolated the frequency, encapsulated it for transport and sent it to Yuen-Ja with a short message.

“Hey sis, I don’t want to wake you but you need to follow this signal on your GPS tracking program.  I’m heading out with a strike unit to rescue Eugene and I’m pretty sure shit’s going to go down hard.  Dmitri is going to be watching this signal too, and somehow thinks he is going to be ready to extract me if need be, he’s rich maybe he has a helicopter or something.  As soon as I know where the Misery is I will send you a text.  Let me know when you’re online and if you have any trouble with this signal.  Don’t tell anyone I’ve contacted you, even David is off limits.  Love you! –V”

Feeling as prepared as she could be now so Victoria grabbed her phone and stealthily made her way down to the front steps to wait for Kate to pick her up.  She didn’t have to wait long.

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