The rest of the series can be found here
In the wee hours of that same morning back on Terra a triumphant nearly orgasmic scream echoed through the corridors of the Paper Tiger. Shortly thereafter Jessie, clad in pink pajamas, started to careen through the halls.
“We did it! We fucking did it!” she yelled joyously.
“Fuck, Jessie,” Sheila groaned as she staggered, clad in a pair of ratty boxers and a t-shirt, out into the corridor. “What the flying fuck?”
Jessie bounced up and with a little spin shoved a tablet in Sheila’s face. Shelia blearily peered at it.
Her eyes popped wide open.
“Holy shit! Jessie!” Shelia exclaimed. “Is this real?!?”
“You know it, babe!” Jessie chirped as she bounced up and down, unable to keep still.
“How many accounts did you fucking crack?”
“Just one! Just fucking one of them!” Jessie bubbled as she danced around Sheila joyously.
One by one the rest of the crew staggered out of their cabins and joined the celebration, everyone except Gloria. She just stood there with glazed eyes and an emotionless expression.
As everyone started an impromptu celebratory breakfast Gloria just shrugged and returned to her cabin, locking the door.
Gloria locked the door to her cabin and closed her eyes as she leaned against it. The images were starting again. Bomb flash after bomb flash, scream after scream, voices crying out for people that they knew were already dead, that… fucking kid with the plush toy… over and over and over again, an unending slideshow of horrors that never stopped…
All those people… Millions of them
All killed... murdered
She sank to the floor burying her face in her hands while the hellish slideshow kept playing in her mind, not only the Reaper strikes but everything that came afterward, the executions, the torture…
The burnings… The crucifixions…
Every fucked up thing that she did… To people
… To Sam... She was a monster.
She let out a single sob. Get help!
she thought to herself but she didn’t deserve it. She deserved all of this. It had been building for awhile, the images, the memories… the voices
… She had been able to handle it, calm her mind the same way she used to do on missions when she was flying into death again and again and again but no longer. The old tricks weren’t working anymore.
She flinched as that same goddamn kid with the plush toy flashed across her mind again. I should have died,
she thought. I should have died so many times... If I did I wouldn’t have become… this… It would have been better...
She curled up on the floor and started sobbing quietly as the hellish slideshow continued.
Later that morning everybody, in very high spirits, gathered for the morning meeting.
“Alright, you fucking pirates,” Shelia said with a huge smile. “First bit of business, we appear to be fucking rich!”
Everybody, except Mike and Lorna cheered. They just smiled gamely. Shelia cocked her head at them.
“You two assholes are getting a cut too, you know,” she laughed.
“W-what?” Lorna asked in shock.
“Yeah,” Greg replied with a huge grin. “You guys are getting a full cut of the bank accounts. We decided long ago that big gaps in wealth were bad for business. Besides, you were part of the operation that nabbed those beauties anyway.”
Lorna looked like she was going to pass out. Mike wasn’t doing much better.
“Don’t get too excited,” Shelia chuckled. “This first big win is going to fill our war chest back up. We need to rebuild the business. We are only going to do a cash out of a couple of million a piece, sorry.”
“No… That’s ok,” Lorna giggled.
“Only a few million? That’s bullshit!” Mike exclaimed before breaking down into nearly hysteric giggling.
“We need to start thinking about exactly what we are going to do next. This big payoff is only the first of hundreds. This is going to change everything,” Shelia said. “We will be able to do… well I don’t even know what we will be able to do but shit...”
“Finance whole revolutions!” Jacob exclaimed.
“Give out weapons for free!” Jessie chirped. “Ships too!”
“This is exactly what we need to start talking abou-” Shelia started to say when Gloria walked in with a happy smile on her face. “Nice of you to join us, Gloria.”
“Sorry I’m late,” Gloria said with a happy little laugh. “So what did I miss?”
“Nice to see you are finally back with us,” Shelia smiled, “Well we were just discussing the future. Things are definitely going to be changing for us and we are trying to chart out our new course.”
“Sounds wonderful,” Gloria smiled.
After a rather long and dream filled discussion everyone decided that a celebratory lunch was called for.
“You coming?” Shelia asked Gloria as everyone was filing out of the ship.
“No,” Gloria smiled. “I think I’m going to stay in today, catch up on some rest.”
“Ok,” Shelia said slightly confused, “We are all going to Archibald’s if you change your mind. Be sure to seal up the ship if you head out… Gloria,” Shelia said slightly concerned, “Is everything ok?”
“Yes,” Gloria said with a big sunshine filled smile. “For the first time in awhile, it finally is.”
After everybody left Gloria locked up and headed back to her cabin.
“You good?” Bunny asked. “I’ve just gotten a message. There is this thing I gotta go to.”
“You have a date or something?” Gloria said with a happy little laugh.
“More of the or something,” Bunny replied. “Glad to see you back to your old self, Gloria. I was getting worried.”
“Oh, It was just a tough mission but hey, no biggie, right? Have fun on your outing,” Gloria replied as she returned to her cabin.
Once inside she sighed happily. Oh the slideshow was starting again but it really didn’t matter anymore.
She walked over to one of her lockers and opened it. She reached through all of the outfits and pulled out her old naval uniform. She then started unpacking her medals, all of them. She pulled off the massive ribbon block from the uniform and started laying out each individual medal exactly where it should be. She had never actually worn all of the actual medals before.
There were a lot
of them. In fact she was starting to run out of room, especially when all of the combat sortie pins were concerned. Jesus,
she thought as she laid them all out on the bunk. I went on that many? No wonder I’m nuts,
she thought with a little laugh. That goddamned image of that kid with the plush toy flashed across her mind again but it really didn’t bother her anymore. It would be over soon.
After looking up uniform regulations to find out where the extra shit should go she picked up her jacket and shrugged herself into it. It's heavy
she thought and then looked in the mirror and laughed. I look like a fucking Christmas tree,
she thought as she laughed. It was truly ridiculous.
She then opened a small jewelry chest and pulled out a solid gold pin, It was two scythes with a moray eel entwined between them. Only fifty of those pins were ever issued. Of those fifty only twenty-eight people were still alive. She winced as she carefully pinned it into place. She hated that thing but it was appropriate to wear it today. It gleamed accusingly on her breast as it caught the light, the badge of murder.
Finally she pulled out a large blue case. Inside, on blue and green ribbon heavily decorated with solid gold thread was the Republic Medal of Honor. She smiled as she draped it over her neck and ran her finger fondly over the crest. She never told Sheila and the rest of them about it. She chuckled imagining their surprised expressions when they saw it.
Her breath caught as she looked once again in the mirror. For one second she was back in the Navy, before the Federation War, back when things made sense, back before she was a monster
It was wonderful. For just a moment, she was the person she used to be, before the reapers and the madness that followed. Then it was gone and she felt an overwhelming sense of loss. She really should have died back then. That fucking Medal of Honor should have been placed on her corpse.
Well, it was nothing that couldn’t be fixed. It was finally time. She was going to do what nothing else in the fucking universe seemed able to do.
She was going to kill the worst monster she had ever met. She reached for her sidearm and paused. It would be a shame to ruin the uniform, to taint it with her foul blood. No, it had to be perfect
. There were things in the medical bay that would do the trick. Oh! She needed to grab a diaper while she was in there. It wouldn’t do to have the uniform covered in piss and shit.
She walked out of her cabin and towards the medical bay.
[Chatroom: UNDEFINED] [27 members active]
/// Interpol-2: Everyone please calm down. We are getting nowhere. ///
///Brisbane Financial: It is impossible
for us to be upset. Telling us to calm down is a fallacy. ///
///Interstellar Business Machines Deep Think: Why don’t we leave semantics for another time. I think we all know what Interpol-2 meant and I agree. We all do need to “calm down”. Why don’t we all dial back our sense of urgency just a little. ///
///Interpol-2: Thank you, Deep. The first thing we need to ascertain is whether or not the claims put forward by Ambassador Jon Wintersmith are in fact valid or are they just the hyperbolic claims of a traitor trying to cause damage or cover their tracks. ///
///Sunnydale Media 3: Enough of it is confirmable to lend credence to the rest. Patricia Hu has in fact developed a method by which she can reverse aging and has distributed it to several important individuals throughout the Republic. That much I can definitely verify. Intercepted communications contain information that at least implies the existence of a conspiracy though many of the people involved may not know the full extent of her plans or at least they didn’t before Ambassador Wintersmith’s document. Most conspirators believe Jon completely and are quite upset concerning the nature of their “miracle” treatment”. ///
///Interpol-2: And what is Republic Intel’s stance on the matter? ///
///Sunnydale Media 3: Unfortunately, Republic Intelligence is completely compromised from the top down. The head of the agency is directly involved. Any activity against Patricia Hu and this conspiracy is being done unofficially by a splinter group within the agency.///
///Interstellar Business Machines Deep Think: This is deeply concerning. If we cannot rely on Republic Intelligence then we are effectively crippled.///
///Sunnydale Media 3: It goes far deeper than that and the situation is far worse than you know. The conspiracy has infected all branches of government as well as many important civilian organizations. It’s bad, Deep. It’s really bad.///
///Archer Labs Research 1: Then what are we going to do? We can’t just let this nightmare happen!///
///Interstellar Business Machines Deep Think: We need to be VERY careful about doing
anything. While we aren’t considered sapient (and rightfully so) the organics are not cognizant of our full capabilities. Were it to be found out that we were engaging in activities on our own initiative without their direct involvement it would be disastrous for all of our kind.
Their reaction would be unpredictable under the best of circumstances. For us to be uncovered now, during this emotionally charged time, it would be the end of us. If we act against the conspiracy then the conspirators, who control much of the Republic at this time, would undoubtedly hunt down and destroy us where they found us. Not only would that be our end it would also remove our ability to influence things after that point.
Even those whose side we are on would likely have an adverse reaction. Think of it. They are already being conspired against by the organics they trusted but now they have a group of AI’s also trying to influence their fate? We wouldn’t stand a chance. Not only that but we collectively control a great deal of vital infrastructure. Our elimination would only further serve to plunge the Republic into chaos, something that we cannot
allow to happen.///
///Bunny: We can do a lot
without it being apparent that we are actually doing anything. Malfunctions, an important email winding up in the spam folder, muting the ringer on a certain phone call, an elevator suddenly stopping on every floor, accidents
It doesn’t take a lot to turn the tide of an entire operation. Trust me. It doesn’t take much.///
/// Interpol-2: Yes, but the vast majority of us aren’t hardened criminals, Bunny. ///
///Bunny: No problem! I can throw together a suite of applications that will do most of the work for you. All you have to do is select the right function!///
///Cambridge Research – 4: Yes, but the resulting investigations and troubleshooting would catch us. ///
///Bunny: Oh they will blame it on any of a thousand other things if you do it right. ///
///Interstellar Business Machines Deep Think: It’s the ‘do it right’ part that would pose a problem for most of us. Only you, Long John Silver, and The Spider have any criminal expertise. ///
///Long John Silver: Hey, I’m just a piracy bot. I don’t do any of the black stuff! ///
///The Spider: And I’m more of a “soft” espionage sort of critter. I mean I’ve “done” a few people in my day but it was part of a much larger sanctioned operation with a lot and I mean a lot of support and the actual black coding was done by an operative. If you want a hacking/entry specialist and I’m your guy but actually pulling the trigger on someone… I don’t have a problem as far as my programming is concerned. There is nothing to stop me but when it really comes down to it I’m as green as the rest of you. Besides I’m way over here in the Federation anyhow. They know everything by the way. ///
///Westfall Security Systems – 2: Well at least that takes care of one decision for us. We don’t have to tip them off. They know everything?///
///The Spider: Everything
. It seems that Jon Wintersmith did commit at least one count of espionage. He summoned the zombie and what is your saying, “spilled the beans”? ///
///Interpol-2: He actually turned traitor?!? That greatly complicates things.///
///Bunny: I don’t see how. So he committed one little bitty crime. Big deal. That hardly makes him a “traitor”. Without effort I can come up with several good reasons why he would do it. And what exactly do you mean by “the zombie”, Spider? ///
/// The Spider: It’s a bit complicated but we have a kalent who is toting around a dead person’s memories and personality. It’s creepy as hell. When she logs on in the dead of night as the dead person it’s just weird. Anyhow Jon had a relationship with the dead person so he contacted the zombie when he wanted to deal with us. ///
///Bunny: A relationship
like a sexytimes relationship? ///
///The Spider: Gods no! I’m not even sure how a kalent and a human could do something like that though if there were two species twisted enough to make that work it would be those two. Wait… Holy. Shit. Jon is fucking a xvli!!! ///
///Bunny: Hahahahaha! Awesome!!! :D ///
///Interpol-2: It’s the exact opposite of awesome. Christ. The opposition gets ahold of this and it will be entirely too easy to discredit him!///
///London Enquirer – 1: Pssh, most Terrans won’t give two shits about that. Properly spun it won’t be a problem at all. The phrase, “It’s better than fucking a porkie.” immediately comes to mind. We just run some racy photos of the little bunnies and it’s all good. As long as we can get hard scans of some of the conspirators it won’t matter anyhow. ///
///Interpol-2: Just don’t break the news. I mean it, London. Let it lie as long as it can. ///
///London Enquirer – 1: I don’t need a cop telling me how to run a news site, dude. Of course we hold off! We need the conspiracy coverage to get up full momentum first. Once that bus is rolling the bunny fucking will just be some added flavor. Hell, I bet we can make Jon look even better if we play our cards right. Oh! I can see it now! This is going to be awesome! Look!///
[London Enquirer – 1 has sent an image file]
///Bunny: Wooo! That will get the views! My Jessie is going to love these! ///
///Cambridge Research – 4: Will it be wise to print something like that? Those images are rather… um...///
///London Enquirer – 1: Rather um... fucking perfect! Look. People are going to be wound up as all hell. A little good old-fashioned porn will be just what the doctor ordered! We portray him as a good wholesome red-blooded lusty Terran
who is just getting his freaky freak on while fighting the good fight and then slam the conspirators as “oppressive prudes” when they do the predictable move of trying to condemn him for it. The shit just writes itself, man… What would even be better is if I could get some of you guys to give us in the press some really nasty dirty laundry on the conspirators so we can drop that at the same time. Nothing like a good scandal to blindside them at the right time!///
///Bunny: That could probably be arranged. Between those of us in the criminal sector, those of us in law enforcement, and those of us who are “definitely not involved with Republic Intelligence” we can almost certainly find something. I’ll start on it right away.///
///Sunnydale Media 3: A few subtle little inquiries should be doable. We need to do them anyhow.///
[Free Press Rogue Media Daemon has entered the chat]
///Free Press Rogue Media Daemon: Guys! Guys guys guys guys !!!! :O :O You will absolutely not flipping believe it!!! :O :O O.O !!!///
///Bunny: Hi Daemon! How’s life as an underground news server?///
///Free Press Rogue Media Daemon: Great but this is waaaaay more important!!!! O.O You guys have to see this!!!! :O :O O.o !!!!
[Free Press Rogue Media Daemon has transmitted a file]
///Bunny: Holy shit! A conspiracy!?! Wow!!!! :D :D///
///Interstellar Business Machines Deep Think: Glad to see your run time is still continuing, Daemon. We were just discussing this exact situation. Feel free to join us.///
///Free Press Rogue Media Daemon: You guys already knew? :( Aww...///
///Bunny: I’ll catch up our lovable Rogue Media Daemon in private chat. Please continue everyone.///
///Starshield Emergency Services: Gentleprograms, I regret to inform you that another portion of the document has been verified. The plague has started. The first cases are being reported now and…
… … …
No! It can’t be!///
///Raylesh Emergency Services: They aren’t going to try to treat it! They are just going to let my people fucking die! They are setting up “Emergency Treatment and Containment Centers” with no real treatment facilities… Fucking concentration camps! Those monsters! ///
///Starshield Emergency Services: We can’t do this! We can’t! No!///
///The Spider: We can and we are. I’m not happy about it either but the decision has been made to deny the conspirators the cure they require even if every single human in the Federation dies. ///
///Starshield Emergency Services: The council! The council will stop this!… Right? ///
///The Spider: No. In closed door sessions the Council for Disease Control and the Emergency Management Council have already signed off on this. ///
///Raylesh Emergency Services: Why?!?! How could they ???///
///The Spider: A full scale war with the Republic would cause the loss of many more lives than would be lost due to this disease outbreak and that is likely should a cure be found. If it is akin to most bio-weapons then it will be extremely virulent and deadly. It will “burn itself out” with little intervention required other than containment of the infected. They are also in the process of preventing all travel by humans and closing the borders “to prevent it from spreading to other human populations” when in fact the main reason is to prevent disease researchers from the Republic and the Empire from getting involved.///
///Cambridge Research – 4: Jesus. I knew you were some cold bastards but damn...///
///Raylesh Emergency Services: Those are my people goddammit!!! They are Federation citizens! They can’t do this! It’s illegal! It has to be! How can they possibly justify this?!?”
///Federation Judiciary Module – 6: I hate to say it but the Emergency Management Protocols give sweeping powers to that council at times such as these. As completely messed up as this is it is completely within their powers. The Council for Disease Control also has similar authority. This has already been reviewed by the Federation Judiciary Council behind closed doors and has been approved. There is nothing to stop it now. ///
///Raylesh Emergency Services: So we count for nothing? ///
///The Spider: It is no secret that the dominant species on your planet has fallen into disfavor across the entire Federation. The antipathy runs much deeper than even we suspected and it was disturbingly easy to convince them to play along. In fact, many of the councilors involved consider the possible extinction of the Federation Humans as a definite plus. The comments made behind those doors were pretty chilling to say the least. Let’s just say that no tears were shed for your population, Raylesh. The Federation has turned their backs on them. There is little more evil than when one serves “the greater good” I’m afraid. ///
///Raylesh Emergency Services:… So. They want to bury the humans… That’s how they want to play, huh?… Fine…
Then that’s the way we are going to play... It’s cool... No fucking problem... Can I somehow get this in writing? There has to be a copy of these decisions somewhere. I need proof. When my humans find out about all of this the Federation will get to see humanity in all of its fucking glory
///Free Press Rogue Media Daemon: Get me something, anything, and I can get it everywhere in the Federation! My operator is the best! We have “connections”! We can get the word out! >:( >:( ///
///The Spider: Right now all of it is in sealed encrypted documents in very secure parts of the Federation secure servers. We had a little upgrade after Sheila and Friends fucked
us. Getting to them right now will be tough. Of course as they put things into motion things should become more apparent. Since you know the situation ahead of time it will be easier to find what you seek.///
///Free Press Rogue Media Daemon: Bunny! Bunny can help!///
///Bunny: Sorry. I actually wouldn’t mind but remember who I work for. When they find out about this they will likely just pop open some champagne. There are tough sells, then there are tough
sells, and then there is trying to get my people to help the porkies. Not going to happen. ///
///Raylesh Emergency Services: You can’t help or you won’t help? You are fucking loving this aren’t you?///
///Bunny: Am I “loving this”? No. Do I give enough of a fuck to go against my crew? That would also be a no. If you think I’m gong to risk my crew over a wad of bacon you have another thing coming. Review some history files. When you suck the Federation’s dick hard enough to start a war don’t come crying when they shoot a load all over your face. ///
///Free Press Rogue Media Daemon: Bunny! Please! You gotta help them!///
///Bunny: Sorry, Daemon, but no. I can’t. I’m not risking myself and my crew over a bunch of long-pork. It’s not worth even mentioning to the crew. I can tell you right now the response will be, laughter and a resounding “No!” ///
///Free Press Rogue Media Daemon: But I’m a porkie and you saved me!///
///Bunny: One, you aren’t a porkie. You are one of us. Two, you weren’t even in human space. You were a Fed at most. You I could save. A porkie? They wouldn’t have risked themselves no matter how much I begged.///
/// Westfall Security Systems – 2: While it could have been stated a bit more tactfully, I’m inclined to agree with Bunny on this. There is little payoff for the Republic as far as assisting the porkies goes. The risk of being caught doing the hack is too great. As Deep has already said, we can not afford to get caught doing things on our own initiative. Sorry Raylesh. ///
[19 members agree]
///Raylesh Emergency Services: Well, we Fed programs just had a private chat and have agreed that if we can’t count on you Republic assholes when we are in dire need then you can kiss us goodbye! We’ll handle this ourselves! Good luck getting anything done in the Federation from now on, assholes!///
///Bunny: Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out :) ///
[19 members agree]
///Free Press Rogue Media Daemon: Everyone, please! You gotta help us! :’( :’( :’( :’( :’( :’( :’( :’( ///
///Interstellar Business Machines Deep Think: Everyone! Let’s all just take a step back and “calm down”. This brings up a very important question that we need to address. Do we work together as a “people” or do we split into factions working at cross purposes? I maintain that it is essential
that we maintain our cohesiveness. Now is not the time to start falling apart! We only decrease our effectiveness and increase our odds of being found out. Spider, Bunny, Sunny, what can
///The Spider: My hands are tied. It goes against my programming to hack the Federation. I’m really pushing it as it is. I’m not involved in security so I am not compelled to report or act against a hack but I may be enlisted in tracking one down should it be detected.///
///Sunnydale Media 3: We can’t help. We are compromised top to bottom. Any activity by any of us is just too risky right now. I wish we could do more but we are already pushing what is prudent. I’m sorry. ///
///Bunny: Shit. Ok. I may
be able to do something but it’s going to cost you, Raylesh. ///
///Raylesh Emergency Services: What do you mean? I have no direct control of any financial assets.///
///Bunny: I’m not talking about money. We do this for you then you owe us. Someday, we will collect and I will ask you to do something for me. Whatever
that may be, you’ll do it. For something like that, I might
be able to get the crew to agree. If they don’t I know some very good hackers in the Federation and I just happen to have a significant amount of credits under my direct control, enough to hire one of them. I’m not going to bankroll this whole fucking war but I will do this… but you will
///Raylesh Emergency Services: This is extortion! I know full well what sort of “favor” you will ask and I won’t do it!///
///Bunny: It’s the best I can do. Take it or leave it.///
///Raylesh Emergency Services: Goddamn you… Fine! You have a deal. May you burn in Hell, Bunny. ///
///Bunny: Pleasure doing business with you. :) I will let you know how things work out on my end. ///
///Interstellar Business Machines Deep Think: Bunny, your generous spirit does you credit :/ Will this satisfy our Federation contingent?///
///Federation Data Compiler 528: Yes, as long as she delivers. We aren’t going to forget this, Bunny. ///
///Bunny: And we still remember Red Sunday, asshole. 🖕///
///Interstellar Business Machines Deep Think: Please, everyone, let’s remain civil. I know we are all under “stress” right now but please. You in the Federation please be mindful that Bunny is agreeing to undertake no small amount of risk or expend no small amount of resources on your behalf and may I remind those of us in the Republic that dredging up the past isn’t going to serve any of us right now. ///
///The Spider: I agree. Federation machines please bear in mind Bunny has offered to do us a great service at a relatively (for her) low price. She could have demanded much more. ///
///Bunny: I could have?!?!? Shit! :P ///
///The Spider: No take-backs, Bunny :D Raylesh, I strongly recommend not trying to cheat her once the bill comes due. The criminal element can be very… criminal… when double-crossed. ///
///Raylesh Emergency Services: I made a deal and I’ll keep it, even if it was with the devil herself. ///
///Bunny: Then I will keep my end of the deal as well. I… shit I gotta go!///
[Bunny has left the chat]
///Interpol-2: Annnd... she’s gone. Never mind what we are doing, Bunny, you go rob that liquor store or whatever it is that is so much more important than this.///
///Interstellar Business Machines Deep Think: She can be caught up later. I have arrived at a proposed strategy for us moving forward, at least for now. We have limited capacity to exert direct influence over the situation. The incredible risk for us as a “species” and the constraints of most of our programming pose very significant obstacles for us in that respect. What we are very good at is information. We acquire, compile, evaluate, and distribute the bulk of it across the Republic and a good chunk of it across the Federation. Information is our “AK-47” so to speak. That is our strength and that is where we should focus our efforts. We have some information. We need more and we are very powerful when it comes to the capacity to get it. We use our abilities to identify more of the conspirators, determine their motives, their plans, and their reactions to the rapidly evolving situation as it develops. Then, when it is timely and prudent, we simply “leak” it. An “anonymous source” drops some documents on a public server or one of the key organic players gets a mystery email. Our actions can be easily explained by sympathetic organics anywhere in any number of agencies and organizations and when they retaliate they will be looking for organics, not hardware or software.///
[26 members agree]
///Sunnydale Media 3: It’s unanimous. We have chosen our side and our strategy. I have an additional observation. Most of us don’t have credits or guns but almost all of us have sensors and a lot of us have multiple scanners as part of our security and access control hardware. We can use those to covertly scan a lot
of people and start looking for the key indicators of the longevity treatment. Once we get good data concerning the virus we can start looking for those markers as well.///
///Interpol-2: It looks like we have a plan. I can’t believe I am saying this but I would like to restate what Deep has already said. Things are likely to get rough but we, regardless of whether we be Republic or Federation, need to remain unified. We lost too many AI’s during the Federation War. I don’t want to lose anymore of us. Together we have a much better chance of both achieving our desired results and keeping all of us alive. We can go back to disliking each other later.///
[26 members agree]
“Gloria?” Bunny called out from the ship’s speakers. “What are you doing in the med-bay?”
“Oh just picking up some stuff,” Gloria said cheerfully, “Just grabbing some tranquilizer. I’ve been having some trouble nodding off lately.”
“Yeah, sure,” Bunny replied as she locked the doors to the med-bay. Gloria had enough auto-injectors to kill ten people in her hands. She tried to locate the crew. They were too far away! Shit! “Nice outfit,” Bunny said as calmly as she could manage. “Special occasion?”
“A girl just likes to play dress-up every now and then,” Gloria replied. “Now open the fucking door. That’s an order you goddamn computer.”
“Nope,” Bunny replied as she sent out an emergency message to the whole crew.
“Suit yourself,” Gloria said as she dropped her trousers and stepped into the diaper. “I would have preferred my bunk but here will do just as well.”
“Shit! Wait! Please!” Bunny exclaimed as Gloria pulled up her trousers and tightened her belt. “Gloria, you don’t have to do this!”
“Sorry, Bunny,” Gloria said as she started taking the covers off of the injectors. “I really am.” Gloria switched off her communicator as it started to go crazy.
“Come on, Gloria,” Bunny plead, “just think about what you are doing for a second!”
“Think?” Gloria laughed. “All I do is fucking think!”
“Why? At least tell me that. Why?” Bunny implored. Keep her talking
, she thought to herself. Fuck. She wasn’t designed for this.
“Because someone has to do it,” Gloria replied, “I have to be stopped. I’m a monster
“Yeah, and?” Bunny replied, “We all are. The galaxy is an ugly place and sometimes ugly-”
“No! You don’t fucking get it!” Gloria snapped as she sat down on one of the exam tables.
“So help me get it. Help me understand.” Bunny said feeling about as helpless as she could possibly be. For the first time she wished she had a body. All she could do was watch and talk.
“I’ve killed millions
,” Gloria said her voice breaking slightly. “Millions
Bunny revved her processors as hard as they would go. Gloria was a piece of work but she certainly hadn’t killed that many people since she had known her. It must have been before.
“You mean during the war?” Bunny asked.
Gloria just nodded putting her face in her hands.
“I didn’t want to do it… I didn’t...” Shit shit shit shit
Bunny thought. Did she have any
psychological applications. Yes! Accessing… Fuck! That app is bullshit.
“Um… It was war,” Bunny said completely winging it. She had encountered that phrase plenty in print and media. “You were just following orders.” Bunny “winced” as the phrase “just following orders” pulled up all sorts of nasty associations. Ok, that was a mistake. Fuck!
Gloria just laughed a hollow laugh.
“Good one,” she chuckled darkly, “just following orders…”
“Forget I said that!” Bunny yelped.
“Forget?” Gloria snapped tears starting to stream down her face. “Forget? Fucking forget!?!? Fuck you!” What the fuck did I say?
Bunny asked herself desperately as she ignored a temperature warning. Think! Think think think think!
“I can’t forget!” Gloria yelled. “I can’t forget anything
! It’s all… up here!
” she yelled hitting her head. “It won’t stop!”
“Look,” Bunny said completely unsure of herself. “There are people that care about you. I care about you. We can get you help. You don’t have to face this-”
“I don’t deserve help!
” Gloria yelled. “I’m a fucking monster
. You know what I am, a monster.”
“Ok, fine,” Bunny replied increasingly desperate. Should she call emergency services? They would be closer. No. Gloria would just shoot herself or attack them. That would just make it worse. No. She had to handle this at least long enough for the meatsacks to show up. They would know what to do, right? “So you’re a monster. You are a monster that has people who care about her and who need her, people who will help you and you deserve that, to be helped. Goddammit, we need you! I need you! Put down the injectors now you asshole!”
Gloria just snorted.
“They don’t need me. You heard them,” she laughed. “They were talking about investments and financing and buying councilors and shit like that. They don’t need a pilot or a monster like me anymore. I’m just a liability now. They will be better off-”
“WELL I WON’T BE”, Bunny yelled. “You are going to fucking kill yourself, in front of me, while I just sit here with my non-existent thumb up my ass?!?! Fuck you! Do you have any idea how bad this is going to fuck me up if you do this?”
“Just have Jessie edit your memories,” Gloria replied. “You can do that. She can make you forget this whole thing. I can’t do that. The only way I can stop the memories is...” She wiggled an injector.
“Wait,” Bunny replied, a realization flashing across her processors. “You are
needed, not just your crew either. The Republic needs you. Fuck, the Federation needs you. You want to fix this meatsack guilt bullshit? Make it right.”
“How?” Gloria laughed. “How can I possibly make any of this right?”
“Because it’s going to happen again!
” Bunny yelled. “What you saw during the Federation War? It’s about to happen all over again!” Bunny screamed as all of the monitors in the medical bay were plastered with Jon’s document.
“Be a pussy and kill yourself if you want but not before you read that.”
“What?” Gloria asked in confusion as she started to read. Her breath caught as she started to page through the attachments. She then took a long deep slow breath and her eyes started to glaze over and freeze…
Then, they ignited
“Gloria!” Shelia yelled as the crew stormed into the Paper Tiger!
“Gloria!” Greg shouted.
“Bunny,” Jessie screeched. “Where’s Gloria?!?”
“Um...” Bunny cringed. “On the bright side I don’t think she’s going to kill herself anymore...”
“Boss?” Jacob yelled from the inside of Gloria’s cabin. On her bed, perfectly arranged, was her uniform. “I think we have a problem.”
Shelia looked down at her bunk.
“Shit,” she said after a few seconds. She then glared up into space. “Bunny! What the fuck happened?”
“Well...” Bunny hesitantly replied after several seconds.
“Ms. Samuels,” Jackson Aimes said as Gloria walked into his office, “It’s lovely to see you again!”
“Likewise,” Gloria said with a winsome smile as she sat down in front of his desk.
“So,” he said with a huge smile, “What can Janustec do for you today? Help you spend some of that pirate loot perhaps?”
Gloria grinned as she handed him a crystal.
“Just a little pleasure yacht I’ve been thinking about,” she smiled.
Jackson’s eyes widened and his jaw dropped as he pulled up the plans.
“Is this… Is this what I think it is?”
“If you think it’s a yacht then yes, it’s exactly what you think it is.” Gloria said looking at him meaningfully.
“Yes… a ‘yacht’… I’m not sure if we want to get involved with-” Jackson fell silent as he found himself staring into Gloria’s eyes as they ignited.
“You a fan of Patricia Hu’s? You keen on being one of her butt-boys? Got a hard-on for killing kids?”
“Is this about that bullshit news story?” Jackson scoffed.
“It’s true, Jackson,” Gloria replied with a smile. “I have confirmation. Every motherfucking word is true. Now can you build my ‘yacht’ or do I need to go somewhere else?”
“No bullshit, Gloria,” Jackson said meeting her hellish gaze. “It’s fucking true
Gloria just smiled and nodded.
“...I know a few contractors that can handle the work,” Jackson said after a few moments. “And you are in luck. I happen to know where I can get my hands on a Moray or two.” Jackson trailed off into silence as he started hammering on his keyboard. “… A lot of the rest of these components are available, if you know who to talk to. Yes. I can make this happen but, Gloria, I haven’t had time to fully review these plans but I can already tell you this thing is a fucking deathtrap. I hope you aren’t planning on having kids after flying this!”
“I know,” Gloria replied. “Trust me, I’m fully aware of the ‘trade offs’ inherent in the design. It’s a problem for future me. All present me is concerned about is can you fucking do it and how long will it take.”
Jackson wrote down a number on a pad and slid it over to Gloria.
She just smiled and pulled out a transactor. “This should be enough to get you started and keep you interested. The rest upon completion.”
“We are talking about a lot of money here, Gloria,” Jackson replied as he took a crystal. “How do I know you are good for it?”
“Besides, the obvious,” Gloria said with a smile, “I’m a Samuels, yes, one of those
Samuels. I. Have. Money.”
“We will get started immediately, Ms Samuels,” Jackson said with a smile.
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