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Thread: The Shell

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    The Shell

    Part 1.

    Rocco glanced at his datapad. He was going to get there on time. He nodded to himself. He made it a point to be exactly on time on all his appointments. Not earlier, not little late... no, exactly on time. He stopped himself from checking if he had his engineering tools for the fifth time. Everything was in order, he told himself. He had the tool his employer gave him and told him to recalibrate properly. He had never seen anything like it before, apparently it was a prototype of some sort. He could only suspect it was made for some other purpose than the one he was about to use it for.

    The employer didn't say what he was to do, exactly, except that he would need to be able to stabilize a malfunctioning droid and do that quickly. He could do that. It wasn't anything he couldn't handle.

    He entered the earlier specified warehouse and looked around.

    "You're right on time." He almost jumped when he heard the voice he recognised as belonging to his employer. He spun around to see the woman standing behind him. She smiled.

    "Yes, Ms Ervasse" he said.

    "Good" she answered. "We can begin then. Please be nice and stand behind that stack of crates now" she pointed in the direction of a large pile near the entrance.

    He looked at her puzzled. "Ma'am?"

    "Please be a good boy and do as I say" her smirk made him realise this would not be a simple assignment. He went behind the crates as the woman requested.

    She winked at him. "Now, be quiet and wait. It won't take long" she said.

    And it didn't. Soon he heard footsteps behind the door. From his hiding place he couldn't see the person who entered but by the sound of his voice he knew it must have been a man. And an arrogant one at that.

    "Well, hello there" said the male voice.

    "Do you have it?" his [employer] asked.

    "Down to business, eh?" Rocco could almost hear the smirk on the man's face. "Yes, I have it. State of the art CEO Guardian model. Best AI on the planet. Have you handled the payment as we agreed?"

    "Yeah, it's on your Jobe bank account." There was a pause, Rocco figured the man was checking the account balance.

    "Very good. Here's your prize then. No idea what you want to do with this, it's totally useless without me around... You sure you want me to leave and not... hang around?"

    Rocco heard a metallic sound in the warehouse. It must have been the droid. How was she going to make it work, he wondered. The tool he got wasn't strong enough to take a droid from anyone's control. The droids were made for one person and one only. Nobody else could control them once they were registered to someone... Though he had heard rumours that certain profession's training enabled them to temporarily steal someone else's droid with the use of nanoprogram under certain circumstances. He wasn't one of them, however.

    "That won't be necessary" he heard Ms Ervasse say.

    Then, before he could react or even scream the woman took out a gun and fired a shot. He heard a soft thud of a body falling to the ground. "Host system lost. Attempting to reconnect."

    He jumped out of his hiding place.

    "(&%^$$^&&%%&??! *^&%$%%^! *^&$&**^%, &*&%&**^%% *&^%&*!!!"

    When he stopped to take breath he saw the woman looking at him with an amused smirk.

    "That was impressive" she said. "I'd suggest you take care of the droid now though" she added. "It can't move right now, I made sure of that."

    "You killed him!!!" he could only shout at her.

    "Yeah. That's the easiest way to severe the master-droid link, you see" she explained. "I thought you'd know stuff like this" she added. He could only stare at her speechless.

    "Don't worry, I made sure he's got an up to date insurance. He'll be fine... and besides, maybe this little adventure will finally wipe that stupid smirk of his face" she grinned. "No more talking, chop chop."

    "Host system lost. Attempting to reconnect." Droid's voice reminded him of the job. He thought he'd better not annoy this insane woman. He walked up to the droid trying not to look at the direction of the dead body lying on the floor. He took the modified tool out of his bag and aimed it at the droid.

    Usually, when a droid's master dies the machine stays functional only for a short amount of time during which it tries to reconnect to its master's frequency. If it fails, the machine's AI malfunctions, all systems start to break down and it becomes practically useless, ending up as a pile of scrap metal. The tool he had though forged a temporary connection to his own NCU frequency. The link lasted only a short while but it could give him time to deactivate the droid, which would save it from becoming said scrap metal.

    "Where did you get this tool?" he looked up at the woman.

    "Don't ask" she said. He didn't.

    He had to previously modify it because it seemed it was built for living beings, judging by its power and functionality, most probably small animals. It wasn't easy to recalibrate the device to affect droids instead of animals, but Rocco was a good engineer and he did well.

    "I will obey you, Master" the metallic voice of the droid confirmed the first step of the process was successful. The droid was now obeying his command. Then it was time to deactivate it taking care that its basic functions are preserved. It was easy now and soon the droid shut down.

    "All done!" he smiled triumphantly at the woman.

    "You're a real miracle maker, Mr Rocco" she said smiling back. "The rest of the payment will be on your account in five minutes" she added. "Now, I need that tool back."

    "But... it's... I've put a lot of work into it..." he didn't really want to give it back.

    "That was part of the deal, you need to give the tool back" she didn't give up. He sighed and passed the tool to her. She smiled "Thank you, Mr Rocco. Was a pleasure to do business with you."

    He nodded to her and left the warehouse. Outside stopped for a moment, closed his eyes and breathed deeply. It was so close... he really should get his insurance renewed. But... with the payment for this assignment he should be able to.

    He slowly walked down the main street of Borealis, too preoccupied with his own thoughts to see the headline on one of the monitors he was passing by: "Theft at Galway Enigma Research Facility".


    The next morning a package arrived at the door of Last Ditch Academy. It had a little card attached to it: "One droid in perfect condition, as commissioned. Don't ask how. Awaiting payment as usual. Vektria."
    Last edited by Vektria; Aug 20th, 2010 at 19:27:51.

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