Machine Girl: Hard Times Call For Hardware – Chapter 8


Despite the fairly amazing regenerative power Victoria’s body had, Adam was having difficulty maintaining continuity where flesh met metal.  Even though the Neurosynth fluid helped, the irritation that resulted from the sockets connected to their former legs being under constant pressure was presenting a problem.  He decided that when Victoria rested this evening he was going to attempt to influence the mending protocols to try and toughen the skin.

In spite of being technologically advanced, the artificial legs they were currently using were a far cry from Victoria’s real ones.  The balance and skill which her biological limbs had exhibited were far beyond the capabilities of these mechanical ones.  They did have their uses though; for one thing they were interchangeable.  Adam was excited to see what variations David would come up with.

They were almost home, the familiar barrage of sights coming in through Victoria’s optic nerves told him that even if his triangulation through cell phone towers or WIFI networks didn’t.  Out of habit, Adam scanned for any unusual activity or unknown vehicles in the area as the vehicle pulled into the driveway.  All appeared to be normal civilian activity, no military or mafia presence other than the female who was kind enough to give them a ride home, saving Victoria from sustaining further damage.

Adam did a quick background check on Ms. Chelsea Terese Daceiron and found nothing out of the ordinary.  Born 1969, dropped out of high school in 1987 to join the Marine Corps.  No civilian history of misconduct, she didn’t even have a speeding ticket.  Without going through anything that was classified and risking being caught, Adam also scanned her military record.  It was a litany of decoration; Chelsea had been a rising star almost from the moment she signed her contract.

In Basic Training she had performed CPR on a superior officer who suffered a heart attack, saving his life.  Her good looks and charisma had also landed her a spot on a promotions team where she had modeled for posters and spoken about her experiences as a woman in uniform.  In spite of not having a high school diploma, her test scores were good enough to get noticed and after Basic she was sent to officer training.

When it became clear Chelsea had a natural aptitude for leadership and tactics, she quickly rose through the ranks and graduated at the top of her class.  There was some incident that was classified, that Adam skipped but after that she lodged multiple complaints about not being able to be part of a combat unit.  She and a group of other female Marines eventually gathered together as a team and although it was suppressed initially, they dominated every other team in practice battles.

There was another classified section after which Chelsea was on her own again.  She volunteered for an initiative known as ‘Project Chimera’ which didn’t even appear to have an electronic record.  There was a five-year gap after which she and her six companions had become the first all-female strike team, Special Forces ‘Squad Seventeen’ the members of which Adam was well acquainted with.

Filing that information away just in case he wanted to review it later, Adam opened the logs from the software he had written to monitor and adjust the operation of their new mechanical legs.  From what he could see, there were only a couple of adjustments that needed to be made to improve efficiency.  Those changes coupled with a tougher layer of skin just might be enough to keep Victoria from injuring herself.


“Who gave you the ride home?”  Victoria’s father was waiting for her at the door.  “And what’s this about you having detention?”

“Oh god daddy, don’t get me started on the stupid detention.”  Victoria groaned, “Donna Kneepkens has it out for me.  She says I must have cheated on my midterms and gave me the detention supposedly to punish me for not coming clean about it.”

“Why would she think you cheated?”  Her father’s brow furrowed, “Does she have any evidence to support such an accusation?  That’s a serious charge to make without being able to back it up.”

“Yeah, that’s what I said dad.”  Victoria rolled her eyes, “Her supposed evidence is I scored too well.”

“Wait, since when is ruining the curve grounds for being punished?”  He raised an eyebrow, “How well did you do anyway?”

“Ummm… I probably set records.  I didn’t get one single answer wrong in any subject.  Apparently I even corrected improper questions and figured out graduate level problems too.”  She shook her head, “None of it seemed too hard to me, I guess I’m just gifted.”

“Wow, honestly that is a little suspect.  Even as your father it’s crazy to think about you acing every single subject.  Not that I think you cheated mind you, I’m just saying it’s pretty unbelievable.”  He gave her a significant look, “You don’t think there’s a chance one of your computer friends fudged some numbers in your favor do you?”

“Well I suppose it’s possible, but I don’t think they’d do that to me.  I mean something like that would leave a trail a mile wide in the school’s database ya know?”

“Not really honey, I don’t know all that much about computers.” He said with a self-deprecating smile.

“Hey you two, get in here!”  Victoria’s mom said, her voice carrying from the dining room.  “Dinner’s almost ready and I need some help setting the table.”

They walked in and found Yuen-Ja laying out plates.  Victoria grabbed silverware and her dad started setting out the glasses.  By the time they were done, her mother was bringing out steaming plates of food.  Stir fried vegetables, meats and tofu were piled on individual dishes, each cooked with different seasonings set out around a large bowl of sticky white rice.

“Dang mom, super looking spread!”  Said Victoria.

“I helped her with the spices.  Any of them that have red pepper will be pretty hot just to warn you.”  Yuen-Ja said with a smile.

The family sat down for a quiet meal, the sound of their chopsticks and murmurs of appreciation the only things breaking the silence.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s