Machine Girl: A Wolf in Wolf’s Clothing – Chapter 18

Eugene leaped for the door as the thing that had once been Lawrence McKenna tore the room apart.  Its jerky movements were wickedly fast but totally out of control, he could tell it was only standing because of the gyros that it was equipped with.  Something had gone wrong with the data routing or else their audio and visual inputs weren’t coded properly.  Either that or he was simply insane or brain damaged from his time in the coma.

“Shut him down, SHUT HIM DOWN!”  Seraphim was yelling.  “Take the whole room down!”  The lights all cut out and Eugene felt as well as heard the titanium chassis hit the floor.  For a moment all was dark and the silence after the mayhem was deafening.

Emergency lighting flickered on and Eugene could see the chaos again.  Pieces of equipment had been smashed, half of the halogen lights were broken, the reinforced stainless steel table was bent into a pretzel and the black metal body of the monster that had wrought such destruction lay face down on the floor, its hand mere inches from Seraphim’s foot.

“What happened to him?  Why couldn’t he hear me?”  Seraphim was looking at one of her technicians who was cowering in a corner.  She moved to an intercom on the wall and jumped back as it emitted a crackle of electricity that arced to her hand.  Shaking her hand she pulled a radio from her belt, “Give me a damage report and someone tell me what the FUCK happened in here!”

Eugene saw his laptop sitting on the floor where it had fallen when the monster tore free.  He cautiously approached, keeping a wary eye on the machine.  “If I can pull data from the prosthetic’s AI maybe I can figure out why he went berserk.  I hope my laptop isn’t thrashed.”  He picked it up and saw the screen was fractured in the upper right corner, bleeding liquid crystals into the surrounding area but otherwise whole.

“You do that Eugene.  You do that while I watch.  My poor baby is sitting down there blind, deaf and dumb he must be panicking!”  Seraphim said as that nasty looking knife appeared in her hand again.  Eugene was pretty sure she had it up her sleeve.

He plugged into the diagnostics port and looked at the output.  “Look here, this is very strange.”  He was pointing to a portion of the log file, “I’m not seeing any input on the audio or visual devices.  Here you can see the audio output but something’s not right with the inputs.  It makes sense that he wouldn’t have any control over the body, most of that control is based on your senses right?”

Seraphim nodded slowly and he continued, “I’m not sure what kind of sensory devices are hooked up for a sense of touch but I don’t see those as having any data to transfer either.  It’s possible something’s not hooked up properly or else the designers didn’t isolate the frequencies.  A.D.A.M. performs data routing based on the specific nerve frequency each nerve emits.  It can easily find the endings in the brain stem and trace those signals back to their destination because every nerve pulse is a two way street.  If the designers of this device didn’t ensure they had the frequencies the brain was already using for data routing there’s no way my AI can properly route the data.”

“We can’t risk turning him on again to troubleshoot.  He almost destroyed the Misery with his growing pains.”  In spite of the distress Eugene could hear pride in her voice.  She was fucking nuts.

“I can activate the immobilizer on the prosthetic.  It’s intended to lock down a person’s movements so they don’t injure themselves when the grafts are still young.  I didn’t think it would be necessary because his body isn’t flesh but I didn’t take into account him going berserk.”  Eugene carefully approached the machine and removed two rubber plugs, one on either side of the base of the skull.  He pushed the two buttons underneath and held them for fifteen seconds.  The immobilizer moved into place with a satisfying pair of clicks.

“OK you can turn him back on.  He will be able to do everything except for move.”  He stepped back from the machine and noticed for the first time the backs of the legs were hollow as were two very large sections on the back.  “What are these for?”

“Those are for his autonomous power packs.  It’s a relief we didn’t have time to fully charge him, right now he’s on cabled power.  If he hadn’t been plugged in still we wouldn’t have been able to stop his rampage.”  One of the technicians indicated a thick umbilicus that was running from the right leg back to one of the few pieces of equipment that had avoided being crushed.

“Can you get me the frequencies his brain is using for the sensory devices?”  The tech was now moving back to the machine the cable was attached to.  “If this thing hasn’t been damaged too badly I should be able to modify the output and we can get him up and running.”

“Yeah, sure.”  Eugene saved the log file locally and brought his laptop over the tech.

“Well Dr. Arlington, if you’re correct this should do it.”  The tech clicked a couple of keys and the metal monster on the floor hummed to life.

“Shit, are you sure that’s a good idea?”  One of the other techs took a couple of steps back from it.

“Don’t worry, he can’t move right now.  The prosthetic’s safety override has been engaged.”  Eugene said, the scientist in him was now curious as to what would happen.

“Darling, can you hear me?”  Seraphim approached the monstrosity that had been her husband.

“Angel?  Is that really you?  This isn’t another delusion?  I can’t move my love, I’m paralyzed.”  His voice sounded different from before, more calm.

“Let me fix that for you my sweet.  You have been immobilized for your and ours but I can see that you are no threat.”  She leaned down and pressed on the switches she had seen Eugene touch.  The construct twitched, then rolled over to a sitting position.

“What have you done to me Seraphim?  Why am I like this?”  He held up a metal hand.

“For revenge my love.” She purred, “There isn’t a force on the Earth who can stand against us now.”

“Revenge?  As I seem to recall, a dish best served cold.”  His hand reached out towards her and she leaned in for his caress.  He cupped her face in his hand gently.  “That’s not like you at all; you were always so full of fire and temper.”

“Oh, there’s plenty of time for that.”  Her voice dropped low and husky, “More than enough time for death and destruction, the plans have been made and the groundwork is all finished.  All we are waiting for is your command and we shall rain fire down upon our enemies.”  Seraphim ran her hand down his mechanical arm and closed her eyes.

“My Angel, how could I survive without you?”  Her head still rested in his massive titanium palm, “We will CRUSH them.”  His hands tightened into fists reflexively, smashing Seraphim’s head like a grape.

“Angel?” Farlan’s voice trembled, “My darling?”  He looked down at the broken form at his feet.  “What is this?  No no no no no it’s happening again, it’s the dream again the dream it must be the dream.”  His head turned, seeming to take in the room for the first time.  His gaze fell upon Eugene, “Is this a dream?”

One of the technicians in the room managed to recover from the shock of the situation and carefully reached towards the thick umbilicus that connected the machine to its power source.  Just before his hand touched the plug the machine’s head cocked to one side as though listening, and then sprang on the unfortunate man, crushing him underfoot.

“He says you are the enemy.  He says you are trying to turn us off.  I don’t understand this dream; I am letting CAS handle it.”  A flash on the screen in front of him caused Eugene to look down.  The readout on the monitor next to his laptop had a warning in red.

‘Warning, emergency self-defense protocol engaged.  Manual override failed.’

The man next to him looked into Eugene’s eyes, fear plain on his face.  “We built a copy of your AI into the chassis to help control it, a Chassis Automation System.  It has changed the access codes on its own.  I’m locked out.”

A blur of motion passed between the two men and the tech exploded.  Farlan raised his gore-covered hand, looking at it curiously.

Eugene’s legs failed him and he crumpled to the floor, accidentally saving his life as the thing’s hand seemed to materialize in the space he had just vacated.  All he could do was gape in horror until a flickering motion caught his eye.  When he glanced at it his heart almost stopped.  He was certain he had just caught a glimpse of Victoria through the thick glass that looked out into the hallway.

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