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[personal profile] furorscribiendi


Electric Sheep - V

They’d only been in Arile for a day. Monster had taken them to their secure location, an abandoned barracks with painted over windows, and they’d bunked down for some needed rest. It was a bit dusty from infrequent use, but there were beds and a cooling unit for their remaining food.

Adam had been complaining of a headache for most of the day and went to lie down. Kris, Tommy and Monster were busy discussing their cover stories, making sure everything was airtight. There could be no mistakes when they hit the border. Mistakes, Monster repeatedly pointed out, were what fucked everyone over at the border. He’d never been caught because he’d never screwed up.

Their discussion had been only going for an hour when a loud shout broke it. Adam tumbled out of the sleeping area, looking pale and shaken. He also looked like he was somewhere else entirely, eyes dilated and focused on something none of them could see. Monster stopped both Kris and Tommy from going to see what was wrong.

Adam stumbled over to a pile of debris some previous renegade group had shuffled over into a corner. Adam picked up a sharp looking chunk of concrete, and as he started scrawling numbers out rapidly, a chill went up Kris’ spine.

Something was wrong. Very wrong.

The distant look on Adam’s face was vanishing and as soon as he stopped writing Tommy ran over to him. Kris noted that Tommy was careful to avoid the scrawl on the floor. But he took Adam’s face in his hands, studying him, asking him in a soft voice if he was okay. Adam looked freaked out, but nodded his head silently. Kris’s heart squeezed a little bit and he thought of Katy, hoped to God that she was okay.

Monster walked over and looked at the numbers on the floor. He pointed to something on the end. “What’s this number here?”

Kris could have sworn that Adam went paler when he said, “That’s Neil’s barcode.”

“What’s it doing after the co-ordinates for Lanta?” Monster’s gaze fixed on Adam. There was a look on his face that said he knew, but needed confirmation.

“I don’t…” Adam was rubbing at his head as he trailed off. Then he continued with, “They left Los Angeles. Something happened. That’s where they’re heading. I think… Neil’s sending an SOS.”

“Tommy.”

That was all Monster said. Tommy looked over Adam a second longer before he got up, grabbing his holopad from the table where he left it. Kris watched as he and Monster did something, fingers moving rapid-fire fast across the keypad. Kris came over to where Adam was sitting, still looking pale and stricken.

“Do you need a hydra-pack or something?”

“No,” Adam shook his head. “Something bad happened. Someone…”

“Don’t try to force it,” Kris rubbed his back soothingly. The muscles were tense, bunched up in knots. “Monster and Tommy are on it. They’ll find out –”

“Shit.”

That was the only word Tommy said. It was emphatic and strained. Then he and Monster were talking in low whispers again. Kris swallowed hard and kept rubbing at Adam’s back absently. It was easier to focus on Adam than on that growing ball of worry in his gut. He didn’t look up when steps came over in their direction. Tommy crouched down, helping Adam to his feet.

“C’mon, babyboy, let’s get something for your headache.”

Kris watched as they got up and walked back over to the beds. For the first time since they met, Tommy didn’t meet his gaze. He wondered if Tommy even could and is mouth went dry, the fear in his gut solidifying into a hard ball. Heavier steps came his way now before Monster crouched down beside him. He didn’t want to look at Monster because if he looked and saw anything in his eyes, be it pity, determination, anything at all, he would have to admit the horrible realization edging into his consciousness.

“She was –” Monster began.

“Was.” Kris said quickly, stomach plummeting and mind rejecting the idea immediately. No, it just couldn’t happen that way.

There was a heavy pause before Monster spoke. “Was. Kris, she was –”

“Don’t.”

Kris choked the word out and felt it burn. Monster remained silent for another moment before he said,

“There’s a holocast in an hour. We need to watch it, to know the precise situation.”

That was all Monster said before he got back to his feet and walked away. Kris was glad he left it at that. He didn’t know what he would have done if Monster had tried saying anything else. It was odd to feel so hollow and detached, only anchored down by the feeling of dread in his stomach. He made his way over to a table and simply sat down, not moving or doing much of anything. He didn’t want to believe it. His mind kept trying to wrap around the idea, but it slid away like a slippery fish. If he ignored it for as long as possible, maybe he’d wake up from this bad dream, this godawful VR simulation. Katy would be there with a painkiller and chide him for taking another unecessary risk. That smile would come to her face and everything would be right in Kris’s world again. She would be there with another insane scheme. Another idea that would make Kris want to drag her off to the depths of the Catacombs and not surface again.

She would be there.

It seemed like only a few minutes had passed before Monster and Tommy really moved again, setting up their holopads to work as dual projectors. The eerily crisp logo of the United Southern States News Network gave off blue light and sat floating in the air. It rotated a few times before it vanished away and was replaced by a scene of a table and a sleek metallic podium.

An officer with short black hair came out and started talking, but her words didn’t connect and register in Kris’s mind. And then for some reason the last few words sunk right in.

“…Anarchist prisoner number C4662.”

A door snicked open and Katy walked out.

There was no denying it anymore. She had on the slate grey prison suit with the number stenciled right across the front. The feeling in his stomach intensified and he swallowed hard, not sure how he kept from throwing up right then and there.

“She’s not… Her name is Katy,” Kris whispered. “Katy O’Connell.”

None of this was supposed to be happening. Katy was supposed to come and find him once they got to the north and they’d… they’d…

My name,’ Katy said easily as she sat down and faced the camera fully. ‘Is Katy O’Connell and I freely admit to being an anarchist. Nearly a month ago, I broke into a Fuller compound and destroyed data as well as two blank android bodies,

“No no no,” Kris finally turned, body protesting the sudden movement. “What is she doing?”

Monster, Tommy and Adam were standing behind him, watching intently. There was a devastated look on Adam’s face, but Tommy and Monster looked grim, like this hadn’t been the first time they had seen something like this. Kris looked back at the holocast as Katy started talking again.

I do freely admit that I worked alone in these acts of terrorism. I destroyed data with magnets and melted down the android bodies using acid injected into the ambiotic tubes. There was nothing else that could be done beyond that. And so do I refuse to say anything else aside from this: people, you are not sheep. You are not sheep.

The words were a bit startling as was Katy’s sudden burst of movement.

She stuck her tongue out before she slammed her lower jaw against the table in front of her. There were shouts and panic as people moved back and the officers moved in to subdue her. Kris couldn’t look away as her severed tongue went flying through the air, blood gushing out from between her clenched teeth. She was grabbed up by the officers, but she twisted free and started banging the back of her head against the table.

The officers tried to stop her, but she continued to thrash. Her head hit the table a few more times before something obviously worked.

A pained, dazed look came to her face before her eyes widened and she gasped, pooled blood pouring out from her mouth. But before she could even said anything, her body jerked in a ghastly shudder and her eyes rolled back. She collapsed against the table, unmoving as blood sluggishly pumped out from her slack mouth.

Her eyes were vacant staring into the camera and Kris felt like she was looking right at him until the holocast feed abruptly cut out.

Silence fell until the sound of a foot scuffing against the ground came. A hand came down gently on his shoulder and Kris looked up to see Adam bending down. When Adam simply hugged him, Kris pushed at him, tried to get him away. Adam responded by tightening his hug.

All of a sudden, Kris’s eyes felt like they were burning and his vision blurred. He suddenly couldn’t catch his breath, hiccupy-sounding wheezes loud in the silence. He twisted in Adam’s hold and pushed at the firm grip weakly, wheezes quickly turning into loud, huffing gasps as Katy’s blank stare hovered in his mind’s eye.

When he realised Adam wasn’t letting him go, Kris crumbled. He always figured grief would be something that crashed into him, tore him apart. This was so much more different, like a sticky tar pulling him in and not letting him go. He wasn’t sure he wanted it to.

Because Katy was gone. She’d beencaptured and died on holocast, bleeding and defiant to the very end.

The sob that worked its way up wasn’t loud, but something soft and broken. His chest heaved from the pain of it, as though his heart and lungs and vocal chords could physically express what his mind was still taking in. He held on to Adam as another quiet, breathy sob slipped out, followed by more. Katy was gone, she was gone and there was nothing that he could have done while being over five hundred miles away. That hollow, detached feeling was gone and he just felt empty inside, in his mind, as if any part of him that could feel had been removed even as his body continued to revolt. It was the only thing that made sense, because just the idea that Katy was gone and never coming back… it was something that left too big a hole in his world.

Adam was stroking his hair now, murmuring something and the grief welled up from that empty feeling. It felt too fresh and razor-sharp, like he would start bleeding out any second now.

“Kris.”

Tommy’s voice was quiet and Kris drew back a bit to look at him. Well, at the blurry image of him. He blinked rapidly a few times, feeling cold and wetness on his face. There was a hydra-pack in Tommy’s hand, but he bent down.

“You’re gonna have a nasty headache the way you’re going. Here.”

There was a small white pill in Tommy’s hand and Kris just opened his mouth mindlessly. All Tommy did was place it on his tongue before he quickly stabbed the straw into the hydra-pack and placed it against Kris’s mouth.

Fresh tears came to his eyes and slipped down while he sniffled and he drank. Katy used to do the exact same thing to him, only with a smart comment. Usually after he came out of VR. His eyes felt raw and gritty, his chest pounded with his stifled, hard breathing, and he wished this entire situation had never happened. This was hard, it was too damned hard.

He finished off the hydra-pack and then sat there, staring at it for a few minutes before, “I’m gonna…”

The sentence was left unfinished, his voice rough, as he pushed Adam back and stood up, moving over to where his bed was. He walked over slowly, feeling everyone’s eyes on him. Not that he cared. He couldn’t. Katy had so many eyes on her, so many watching and still, she had courage and determination enough to not let herself wind up in prison.

Kris sat down on the edge of the bed, facing away from everyone. After sitting there for a few moments, he lay down, sliding beneath the standard blanket, hands tucked beneath the standard pillow underneath his head.

And even as he lay there, just thinking the words didn’t help or make it better.

Katy was gone. Katy was gone and she would never come back.

It was the only thing running through his mind. It repeated on a loop as he silently cried himself to sleep.

_________________________________________________________



Puking on the job wasn’t something Cam had done since her rookie days. Blood and gore, while few and far between was a part of her job. She dealt with it. But after that press conference turned disaster… Cam felt her bile rise again and she leaned over the toilet, stomach convulsing and heaving uncontrollably even though her stomach was long empty of any remains of her earlier meal pack.

Once it passed, she sat back down heavily. The cool metal of the shower unit was refreshing against her burning skin. She closed her eyes and rubbed slowly at her temples. Since she had stepped foot into her home, she pretty much hadn’t left the bathroom.

Capturing Katy O’Connell hadn’t been easy by a long shot, and Cam tried to submerge the thought that she really wish she hadn’t.

Finding the depot had been easy. And when the evidence had been looked over and analysed, Cam figured Katy had met up with some other anarchists. Why else would a single pair of people come all the way out to a heavily mechanised, automated shipping depot? And she knew there had been two other people there.

She got up slowly, feeling her stomach protest as she moved from a sitting to standing position. But she made her way to the sink anyway and ran the water, icy cold. She plugged the sink and let it fill a bit before she splashed her face a few times. She rinsed her mouth and spit it out before letting it drain.

The last few days’ events filtered across her mind like a holocast. When she had checked the shipping manifestos she’d seen that only one other shipment was coming in from Pastche. It was a day earlier than originally scheduled. Something in Cam had felt electrified at that and, with four other officers comprising her team, she’d laid a trap.

A trap that Katy had sniffed out and sacrified herself to. Cam raised her head and wiped the excess water from her face, trying not to catch her image in the mirror.

How Katy figured it out, she would never know, but something alerted Katy and next thing Cam knew, the trap was shot to hell and they were in the middle of a firefight. Two other people had been with Katy, not that Cam got a glimpse of them. Katy had edged them closer to a transport and then thrown them in, locking the door behind them.

The automated machine had performed its standard motions and Cam could have screamed as the transport pulled out easily. It was gone off to the hyperway and before she could even bark an order to the other officers with her, Katy had made it to an input console.

Any trace of where the transport was heading was nearly completely wiped. Then one of the officer’s ion shots caught Katy in the leg. She went down in a haze of smoke and the acrid stink of burnt flesh. Cam had run over to the console and seen the list of the truck’s destinations before Katy raised a hand and fired her plasma weapon.

The console flickered and died before Cam could try to salvage anything from the remaining pieces of data.

Even interrogation had been a frustrating failure. Katy, after being healed from her leg wound, simply refused to reveal anything. A Mnemonic Trace was out of the question once her link had been inspected. Something was patched onto it, blocking all monitoring. It was some nasty piece of programming with teeth.

Her superiors had demanded answers. Cam figured pressure was being applied from somewhere else. Heavy pressure, given how stringently they had tried. And then Katy had levelled her with a look. Nothing had been said, but Cam had felt uneasy under such a piercing, direct gaze.

Then Katy had spoken, simply claiming full responsibility for the acts of anarchy against Cowell Industries.

She shook her head as she stood up fully and left the bathroom, flicking the light off. Cam should have known better. A suspect didn’t just do a full turn-about unless they had something planned. Not that she could really see what Katy had in mind, that damned patch on her cybernetic saw to that.

But Cam’s superiors had jumped at that the confession. All Cam knew was that it was soon blown way out of proportion and there was a press conference being organised. That chafed, having her prisoner being made a public example of. They were simply supposed to catch anarchists and send them to prison, not parade them about like exhibits.

Through it all Katy had remained grimly poker-faced. Cam shook her head as she made her way down the hall to her bedroom, wanting nothing more than to pass out for a few hours and let her mind rest. Katy had some grit and balls, Cam would give her that. Anger had snapped in those eyes when she was given something to read. When Cam had tried to circumvent that, she was denied so fast, she was sure a formal reprimand was forthrcoming.

But Katy had simply looked at the sheet and nodded. And then when she had stepped into that room, Cam could see it in her eyes… she wasn’t addressing that room. She was addressing someone else. Somewhere, who only knew where.

And when she had moved, throwing herself forward… the bright gush of fresh blood had been shocking to say the least. Cam had run forward first, trying to stop Katy, but she got an elbow to the face for her trouble and was knocked back. By the time she pulled herself together again a few seconds later, it was all over.

Katy O’Connell lay dead on the table.

Cam hadn’t left the station until the medical examiner had delivered a final result. Katy O’Connell had killed herself using a small, virtually undetectable capsule of botulimix, injected under the skin close to where her port was.

It was ingenious for any anarchist, in Cam’s opinion. A failsafe, tucked away in the last place anyone would think to look. No one ever really thought someone would cannibalise their cybernetic. Anarchists used a bit of code to turn them off, to their official knowledge, but boobytrap them? That was a new experience.

Katy had sacrified herself for something she felt to be worthwhile. It was the what that was driving Cam nuts.

And she knew it had to do with the two people Katy had sent off in the transport.

With Katy dead and having claimed all responsibility, the case was officially closed. But this would stick with Cam until she had her answers.

She had a small pack with her standard issue weapons, tools and identification ready at the foot of the stairs. Her uniform was looking a little on the scruffy side, but at the moment she couldn’t bring herself to care. In order to fully resolve this case, she was about to do something highly inadvisable.

Finding out how to turn off her cybernetic was surprisingly easy. There was a code for it on file, as taken from anarchists and hackers who were locked up in Calista Prison. It hadn’t even been password protected in the database. It was sitting on the small portable info key she had with her.

Some trepidation filled her as she stepped into her room and made her way to the computer console. She started it up and plugged in the key. Once the information copied over, she dug out the jack and plugged one end into the computer. She leaned forward and took a deep breath as she plugged the other end of the jack in and twisted it to lock it in place. She used VR for half her duties, but she would never get completely used to the disorienting sensation of the world disappearing in the blink of an eye.

The bedroom vanished away under a blue grid that was overlaid with plain white. For a moment, Cam thought she did something wrong, but then a single dialogue box popped up on the screen.

Auto-run cybernetic crack program?

Her mouth went a bit dry as she croaked out, “Yes.”

The dialogue box vanished away and a progress bar came up. It went surprisingly fast. Cam only sat there for a few minutes before it gave a soft chime and declared the process done. She blinked, unsure of whether or not it actually worked and disconnected herself from the computer. It wasn’t until she passed by the mirror in the hallway that she saw the first indicator of the procedure being successful.

The lights on her cybernetic were off. The perpetual soft red glow that came from the device was gone. She stood there, staring for a moment, before something else dawned on her. It was too quiet inside her head. As if it was just her and her alone, for the first time since she had the thing beside her ear installed. She tried to remember how long that was. She’d been a kid when it had been installed, a birthday gift. Her parents had been so proud.

She couldn’t really complain about the new silence, because for once something in her shitty job led to something good.

For a long moment she waited to receive some notification that her thoughts had gotten back to her superiors. Nothing came.

A smile came to her face. She really hated her fucking job and thought that pretty much all her superiors, with the exception of Commander Jackson, were a bunch of snivelling asswipes who couldn’t man up if they had an extra set of balls.

Still nothing.

“Wow,” Cam murmured to herself. “Now I can really get some fucking work done without someone looking over my shoulder all the damned time.”

A growing sense of elation filled her as she hurried down the stairs and grabbed her pack. She left the house, locked the door and got into her HSV. Her pack was thrown in the back and she started down the street for the hyperway.

If this was freedom, she’d happily take it.

_________________________________________________________



Exhaustion was a state of being Adam was semi-accustomed to now. Since the holocast from two days ago, they had been on the go. None of them wanted to stop moving. Between three different transports and, by his calculations, a rather roundabout journey, they finally arrived in Lanta.

It was another major urban center and once they were safely off the transport, they headed below ground. Lanta’s Catacomb system wasn’t as intricate as Los Angeles, but it still had some complex systems and it gave them enough shelter. They didn’t descend too deeply down, only two levels. It was down to the co-ordinates as transmitted by Neil. It made Adam feel a bit antsy, being so close to the surface where anyone could stumble across them. It couldn’t be helped, but it was making them all twitchy, which put Adam even more on edge.

But what really worried Adam, more than anything else at the moment, was Kris’s silence.

Ever since the holocast where Katy had terminated herself, Kris had lapsed into silence. The entire journey over here, it had been the four of them in a container with air recyclers. At first, no one really disturbed Kris. Adam wasn’t too sure what he would have said to the other man anyhow. Tommy… Tommy seemed to know somehow when Adam was about to say something to Kris. Then a hand would rest on his arm. Adam would look over and Tommy would give a slight shake of his head.

Adam didn’t know what to do about such a state of being. It was misery, grief and despair made absolute. It didn’t help that now they were waiting for Monte and Neil to show up. That had Adam’s gut twisting in nerves. He wanted to see Neil, to make sure he was alright, but he wasn’t too sure if –

“You’re doing it again,” Tommy came and sat down beside him on the collapsed couch. He held out the blue-covered rectangle. “Want your book?”

“It’s Monster’s book,” Adam took it, placed it beside him as he looked back to the bed. Kris was still lying down. He hadn’t really moved all day. “I gave up trying to read it. Couldn’t focus.”

“Yeah, I know.” Tommy’s eyes flicked over to the bed before he looked at Adam again. “Nervous?”

“No,” he rubbed the palms of his hands against his thigh. “Yes. I just… you know, hope they’re okay.”

“Monte will get them here fast as possible,” Tommy watched him for a moment. “You should try to get some sleep.”

Adam shook his head. “I’ll be sleeping enough soon.” That… Adam kept trying not to think about that.

With those words Tommy just nodded his head in response, a distracted look in his eyes. Adam settled for picking at the fabric of his pants. Truth be told, the thought of redownloading back onto something terrified him. It left him feeling abnormally cold and completely irrational thoughts kept coming to mind. Things such as, he wouldn’t get his body back. He’d be trapped on some sort of harddrive forever, a digital being once more. Locked away in some VR forever.

In the time he’d been in this body, he’d become quite attached to it. Even if lower parts of his anatomy seemed to possess a life all its own. He wanted to continue breathing, seeing, tasting and simply existing on the physical plane. And as contradictory as it sounded, he was willing to take the risk of redownloading if the end result was being back in his body once more. He looked over at Tommy, a question poised on his tongue, only to find that distracted look still on Tommy’s face.

Adam couldn’t really say what prompted him to reach over and take Tommy’s hand in his. Maybe it was a completely irrational impulse that guided him. But a surprised look came to Tommy’s face now. And when Adam squeezed his hand, it was easy to see anxiety in Tommy’s brown eyes.

“Monster’s off getting the cryo-pods. Monte and Neil are on the way. As soon as they get here, Neil and I will download and we’ll try to get into the North.”

Tommy’s jaw clenched for a moment. “If we don’t get in, then –”

“We will,” Adam didn’t really want to think of the consequences if they didn’t. He tried to view it as something that simply wasn’t a variable. “We will.”

Tommy didn’t say anything before he squeezed Adam’s hand with a heavy sigh. Adam gave him a smile and all Tommy did was shake his head. But there was a smile on his face now too. The smile morphed into a yawn but Adam didn’t say anything. He silently got up and retrieved a blanket before he came back to the couch. He unfolded it and Tommy took it without preamble. Adam settled back down on the couch, picking up the book.

“Are you allowed to nag me about sleep when you’re –” Adam started.

“Yes.” Tommy said flatly as he stretched out, sliding down along the broken couch and resting his head on Adam’s leg. “Wake me up when Monster gets back?”

“I will.”

That was all Adam replied with as he smoothed Tommy’s hair back from his head. Tommy gave him a momentary grin before he closed his eyes. It took Tommy less than five minutes to fall completely asleep, breathing evening out into a deep, steady rhythm. Adam started reading, taking his time and trying to puzzle out the characters in the novel. Though he was still trying to wrap his mind around the fact that he was reading a book written in the mid nineteenth century. Something from almost a thousand years ago.

For a long while the only sound in the room was the scrape of pages being turned. But then a rustling from the bed caught Adam’s attention. He twisted to look over. Kris was sitting up, looking bleary-eyed and still exhausted.

No one was sleeping well, given the situation. The constant travelling, the irregular sleeping hours… Adam would not be surprised if the first thing everyone did was simply sleep when it was safe to do so. Just sleep for an entire day and night, however long they wanted. He considered getting up, but Tommy’s head was still warm and heavy on his leg and –

“Just want a hydra-pack.” Kris mumbled.

Adam simply nodded his head and watched as Kris shuffled to where the packs were sitting by the escape door. As Kris retrieved the silver package, Adam one more felt as if his heart was literally being squeezed by something

“Kris?” Adam spoke quietly.

All Kris did was stare at Adam, waiting for the words to come. Adam could see the bloodshot sclera of his eyes and knew that Kris hadn’t been sleeping soundly at all.

“Could you bring me a blanket, please?”

There was terse nod from Kris and a minute later, the folded blanket was handed to him. Adam put the book down and fumbled with it quickly. He gently lifted Tommy’s head and pulled the blanket over his legs. Kris was heading back towards the bed when Adam spoke quickly.

“Do you want to sit?” Adam wondered if he was crazy when Kris stopped but didn’t turn around. “It should help with blood circulation.”

For a few moments, Adam was pondering if the truth had been the best argument to get Kris out of bed, at least for a bit. Because blood circulation seemed like a poor excuse in the face of what Kris was coping with. But then Kris just nodded his head and came back over. Adam quickly picked up his book and Kris settled down beside him. The silence wasn’t exactly comfortable, like it was with Tommy, but Adam figured it was safest to not say anything else really. He started reading again and then not even five minutues later,

“Tommy’s right to worry, you know. If we don’t get in, we’ll end up in Calista Prison.”

Adam went still for a moment before he closed the book. Then he looked at Kris and said, “I would like to believe that we will.”

“Would like?” Kris latched on to that fast.

“Nothing is foolproof. But I think of the random chances that led to me and… well, my brother, gaining consciousness. Of the astronomical odds that dictated we should not have been able to upload into these bodies and we did…” Adam shrugged. “You might call it God.”

“…God. Living in this country, it’s hard to believe in God. But I saw things here and there that helped me keep my faith. I mean, how else could God exist but in those little things? But it was chipped, worn down. Now,” Kris gave a bitter laugh. “It’s shattered into a million tiny pieces. Now… now I just… I don’t know, and…”

The words faltered and Kris made a choked sound. That squeezing sensation was back at Adam’s heart again and he reached over with an arm and hugged Kris as best he could. This time, Kris didn’t try to push him away, just leaned into him, fitting in under his arm, up against Adam’s side.

“I just want her back.”

That was all Kris whispered and Adam felt panic creep through him now. Just what precisely was he supposed to say to something like that? He just sat there, hugging Kris as best he could. After a few moments, Kris drew back and got up. Adam watched helplessly as he walked back to the bed, wiping at his eyes and sniffling. The click of the door lock disengaging was the only thing that made him look away.

Monster slipped back inside, making sure the door was secure behind him. Anticipation coursed through him as Monster caught his gaze, head tilting to the side slowly. Carefully, Adam slipped his blanket free and folded it up before pillowing Tommy’s head on it. When Adam came over, Monster didn’t speak for a few moments.

“Everything’s been arranged. The cryo-pods are on the ground level with the transport. Parked inside. As soon as Monte and Neil arrive, you two will download into these,”

Adam simply watched as Monster reached into his jacket. Two slim rectangles came out in his hand along with two neatly coiled, packaged cords. His mouth went dry and he rubbed his palms against his legs.

“That’s the harddrive?”

“Special ones, with dense information capacity. Fast too,” Monster’s gaze turned intent. “As soon as you and Neil are safely inside the cryo-pods, I’ll activate the forged transport order. They’re only good for twenty four hours, enough to deliver the goods to the North and then come back.”

“You, Tommy and Kris will have everything under control?” Adam wished he could have sounded more confident. Now, faced with the zero hour looming, it was a lot harder to feel that confidence he’d showed Tommy.

“As much as we can. This transport is special. There’s a hidden compartment for weapons or, in a pinch, a person,” Monster paused, peering at Adam. “Are you sure you want to do this? The downloading? I can stash you in the compartment with an air recycler.”

“No. We need to maximize the chances of success for this. I’ll redownload and –”

A soft beep came from something on Monster. A holopad was pulled out and a few seconds later Monster was reaching for his plasma weapon. Adam went over to Tommy and eased the plasma gun out from its holster on his side. Thankfully, it was the side not against the couch. Kris was lying back down on the bed, probably asleep. Adam moved as quietly as he could, following Monster.

Fear was coursing through him, making his body’s endocrine system pump out adrenaline. He knew what it was, but that didn’t stop the pound of his heart or his abruptly abnormal breathing patterns. A vague notion occurred to him that he should have woken Tommy up. But for once Adam would take care of Tommy so that he could sleep.

They moved up crumbling stone steps and Adam realised Monster had set up a perimeter field of some kind. He looked down at the gun, Tommy coming to mind as he released the safety switch. Shoot anything in black first, wait for anything else. Monster came to a stop and Adam did the same. Frankly, Adam was sure he mightn’t hear anything over the pound of his heart.

But then Monster was sheathing his weapon again. Adam flicked the safety on and stepped forward with him. There, coming down the hall, looking haggard and worse for wear, were Monte and Neil. Adam knew what disaster they had been through, but it didn’t stop the sense of elation and relief from coursing through him. There was the sound of something briefly powering down as they appproached. Adam barely heard the hum die down before he was walking forward.

There was a grim look on Monte’s face and Neil looked like he was barely standing up on his own two feet. Adam hurried over, picking up one of Neil’s arms and slinging it over his shoulder. Monster gestured for them to head down before he slipped past them and continued on upwards. Getting Neil down the stairs wasn’t easy and when they stepped into the room, they made a direct beeline for Adam’s bed.

“He’s exhausted,” Monte said as they stretched him out. “He needs to rest and soon.”

“ ‘m fine.” There was a stubborn tone to Neil’s worn voice. He started to sit up but Monte brusquely shoved him back down.

“When we were on the truck he damned near managed to turn it around a few times,” Monte shook his head and ran his hand over his cropped hair. “When are you planning on redownloading? He probably should do that at the same time as you.”

“We’ve been waiting for you to arrive first,” Adam glanced over to where Tommy was still fast asleep. “I don’t think it’ll be soon though.”

That got a nod from Monte. “Too late now. It’ll probably be in the morning then. Morning rush at the border is –”

“Insane. Crazy,” Neil sat up. “Perfect time to make a run for it.”

Neil was trying to stand up, though a bit unsteadily. Adam frowned as he noticed the red capillaries in Neil’s eyes. He reached for the link up he had with Neil, ignoring the dull throb that settled at the base of his neck. It felt like he was trying to interconnect with something murky, tangled and sticky. Adam was sure Monte hadn’t realised how out of it Neil was. Otherwise, a sedative might have been forced down Neil’s throat.

Adam managed to force through a sense of calm, and Neil responded, sagging back against the bed. After making sure he was comfortable, Adam stood up and turned to Monte.

“Kris,” he turned to look and found him, “Is sleeping. So’s Tommy.”

“I gathered. He’s not up. I didn’t have a gun pointed at me,” Monte studied Adam for a moment. “Crazy as these past few weeks have been, he’s been sleeping better. Let him sleep. Don’t wake him up.”

“I wasn’t planning to. If we’re going to take a run at the border, everyone needs to be well-rested.”

Something flickered in Monte’s eyes. “Especially for afterwards.”

That made Adam pause. But he didn’t get a chance to pursue it since a distinct click caught his attention. Monster stood in the doorway, a set expression on his face.

“The upper level is secure again. If we’re going to do this run, we need to prep now. You and Neil should redownload now.”

“Now?” Even as Adam said it, he knew it made the most sense.

“Any potential problems, I want to deal with them now. Not at the last moment. That alright with you?”

“Yes. Just… let me give Tommy back his gun.”

Both of Monte’s eyebrows shot up. “You got that off Tommy without waking him?”

“Yes?” Adam felt that there was something crucial he was missing here.

Monte didn’t say anything to that, simply helped Neil up off the bed. Adam watched as they made their way to the door and then up the stairs. There always seemed to be something he was missing, and his list of questions to ask was getting alarmingly long. He slowly made his way over to where Tommy was now stretched out on the couch. The book was wedged between Tommy’s arm and the flat, worn cushion. He pulled it out gently and rested it on the floor within reach. The gun was placed down on top of it and, after a moment, Adam crouched down. He simply looked at Tommy fast asleep.

This had to be one of the few times he saw Tommy’s face completely unguarded and in the light. That one night in Querque, by the eerie green of the plasma gun’s charge indicator didn’t count.

He simply crouched there and debated waking Tommy up. But still, Adam couldn’t bring himself to. Tommy needed this, needed this little bit of something just for himself. That left a heavy feeling in Adam’s chest and throat. It felt as if it was suddenly too hard to breathe. This was definitely another emotional response. But it was so mixed, with sadness, fear and hope that Adam wasn’t too sure he could say where one started and another ended.

He stared at Tommy for a bit longer before he suddenly moved forward. He pressed his lips against Tommy’s brow gently. For a moment, Tommy stirred before he settled back down. Adam smoothed away the hair that flopped into his face before getting up and walking towards and up the stairs.

It was hard to not think that this was possibly the last time he would see anyone else. Would see Kris or Monster, Monte or Neil.

Or Tommy.

That last one left his throat dry and wondering if he really should go back and wake up Tommy. But his steps carried him up to the ground level.

There was a maze of crates to go through before Adam spotted the transport. The back was open and and a dull blue glow was emanating from it. Silhouettes were moving around inside and when he got to the back he could see more clearly. Neil, stark naked, was clambering into the cryo-pod. His grip fumbled at the sides and he fell a bit before Monte and Monster caught him.

There had been a wet slapping sound, oddly unidentifiable. But Adam watched as Neil sat down and leaned forward. Monte’s hand disappeared into the cryo-pod. When it emerged seconds later, it was glistening with something and in his hand was a sealed, capped jack. It looked thick and had dull lines running through it. Monster had a holopad in hand, probably connected to the cryo-pods wirelessly, since he was typing away furiously.

Adam used their link to check on Neil, who glanced up and smiled tiredly at him.

On the other side.’ Adam sent the idea as confidently as he could. Neil’s head bobbed briefly in agreement. That brief moment calmed Adam’s nerves a bit. He focused back in on the transport.

The cryo-pod itself was long and sleek, with a small dropdown door sticking out by what had to have been the head. And sitting there on the dropdown door was the small form of the high density drive. Monster was still typing as Monte eased Neil back. Adam watched as Neil lay down and it looked a bit like the cryo-pod was slowlly swallowing him.

He swallowed hard and watched. The thrum of something running started up and a few seconds later, Monster gave a heavy sigh, tinged with relief. Adam made himself take the short stepladder up onto the transport and approached Monster.

“It’s working?” Adam didn’t know if he could handle looking into the pod yet.

Monster nodded his head. “And the write time is surprisingly fast. Neil’s chip is directing most of the download. I simply had to tweak it.”

“Tweak it?” Adam echoed.

“It was coded to send an automatic location update to the home servers. That would have tipped off Fuller.”

“Ah.”

That was all Adam found himself saying. He’d looked down into the open pod and almost wished he hadn’t. Neil’s eyes were closed now and he was completely relaxed. Whatever he was sitting in, it looked thick and yellow, like some kind of gel. There was a basic, almost frail-looking, metal structure embedded in the gel and it supported Neil’s body well. His hands were elevated as was everything from the collarbone up. The rest of his body was slowly submerging into the gel.

He just stared as Neil was downloaded out of his body, leaving a shell behind. That would be him in –

A hand settling on his shoulder made him jump. Monte held up a placating hand as he quietly asked, “Did you need more time?”

“No, now,” Adam shook his head. He wasn’t about to let more hesitancy settle in. “What do I do?”

“Strip and get into the pod. I’ll set up the program.” Monte dug out his holopad and started it up.

For a moment, Adam tried to puzzle out Monte’s instructions. Then he simply asked, “Strip?”

Monte looked up and nodded. When Adam stared blankly at him, it took a moment before he gave a little ‘Oh’ and then clarified with, “Take off your clothes. I’ll just make sure that I have the right parameters set with Monster.”

Adam was very glad that Monte turned and hunched over his holopad with Monster. It was the illusion of privacy but it was enough and worked to muffle the sudden sense of modesty welling up in him. He took off his shirt, shivering a bit as the cool air made his skin gooseflesh. The pants and socks were next and Adam neatly folded them all up before walking up to the cryo-pod. At least the yellowish gellooked warm.

He held onto the side as he lifted a leg over. The sensation of entering the gel was weird. It was definitely liquid, but it parted almost like a solid. On the upside, it was fairly warm. He got in and eased down onto the body rest inside. The metal pieces took his weight easily.

His throat felt dry even as he called out, “Okay.”

Monte waited a few seconds before he turned and came over, holopad and drive in hand. Adam silently watched as he finished setting up. The drive was connected to the pod and the holopad connected to the drive.

“This is going to be very different from going into VR or, for you I’d imagine, uploading. The drive will run only until you’ve completely uploaded. Once that’s done, the drive will lock and shut down. It can only be run once the proper password is entered. I’ll make sure Tommy knows it when he wakes up.”

Adam nodded, eyes drawn to Monster. He had a face unit of some kind in hand that he fitted over Neil’s nose and mouth.

“Respiratory mask,” Monte supplied, following Adam’s gaze. “Helps keep you well oxygenated. Plus all androids have one to prevent contamination during shipping.”

“Lucky for us,” That was all Adam murmured. A hesitant look came to Monte’s eyes, prompting Adam to say, “Okay. I’m ready.”

There was that wet slapping sound and Adam knew, Monte was reaching down to get the jack. Monte took a deep breath before he touched Adam’s shoulder, gently pushing him forward. Adam did and felt the jack slide into place and lock a few seconds later. The blue grid came down over his field of vision before it melted away a few minutes later. His vision was starting to go fuzzy around the edges. Monte’s face blurred out. Adam vaguely wished it was Tommy’s face that was there. Then he closed his eyes and let everything be translated back into zeroes and ones.

_________________________________________________________



Waking up to quiet wasn’t something Tommy was used to. Almost always, there was something noisy going on in the background. Even when it was just him and Monte, they took shifts more often than not and he would hear Monte’s movements upon waking. Hell, when it was just Tommy he almost always had a program running in the background, the soft hum of the elctronics offering up comfortable background noise.

But now… it was just the sounds of soft breathing. The quiet was more than a bit disconcerting. Tommy lay on the couch, blinking and trying to figure out what exactly was wrong. It only took a few seconds for it to dawn on him. The familiar weight of his plasma gun was gone and his head wasn’t as elevated as it was before. He lifted his head slowly, surveyed the room. His palm itched to grab his gun, but he already knew it wasn’t there.

Two figures were asleep on the cots. For a moment Tommy stared at the one closest to him in confusion; that wasn’t Kris asleep there. Then it clicked. That was Monte. He pushed himself up, seeing Monster in the other bed. Kris was nowhere to be seen.

Tommy gritted his teeth and sat up, still looking around. There on the floor was Adam’s book. The plasma gun was sitting right on top of it. He picked it up, noticing the safety was half flicked back into place. He stared at it for a moment before he shook his head.

“Adam, goddamnit.”

He holstered his weapon now and stood up. He looked over at the bed and sure enough, there was Monte’s head poking out from the blanket. That meant Adam and Neil had…

“Shit.”

He moved quietly to the door, noticing the lock was already disengaged. In the pitch black the stairs were a bit tricky, but he managed to climb them. The ground level was cool and Tommy figured it was at least night. There was just black outside the high windows, not that he knew what the precise time was. There was a transport here now, facing towards the big warehouse door. A seam of yellow light ran along the floor of the transport, nearly at eye level. Moving towards it, he knocked lightly on the door.

Along the seam there were the black shadows of feet moving. Then the back door raised up a bit, just enough for a person to get on. Kris was peering down at him before he silently held a hand out. Tommy took it, hauled himself up.

There was the rattle of the door being pulled closed again. Tommy barely heard it, he was too busy looking at the cargo area. There was a flicker to the yellow light that couldn’t be seen from the outside. In here, it was more pronounced and a bit surreal. The two cryo-pods’ surfaces were black and slick looking, and the light they cast on the ceiling from the open tops shimmered as if it were water.

Neil was in the first pod he looked in. The face mask covered his nose and mouth, drawing attention away from the circles under his eyes. Tommy could only imagine what getting here must have been like. He guessed from the lack of bruises or cuts on his face, Kris hadn’t been awake when they had shown up. Maybe that was a good thing, because Tommy had no idea how Kris would have reacted. He knew everything was building up in him, Kris just didn’t know it yet.

“Adam’s in the other one.”

Kris’s voice sounded a bit rough, but Tommy didn’t push his luck and ask how he was feeling. He knew to leave well enough alone. All he did was nod his head and walk the few steps over to the other one. He almost wished he hadn’t looked in.

The same face unit was on Adam and there was a small inlay on the side, keeping track of oxygen flow and other vitals. It was Adam’s body in there, but that was it. What made Adam, the individual, was gone. Tommy gripped the sides and stared down at Adam’s empty, inert body. Why the fuck hadn’t Adam woken him up like he promised? If this all went to hell later on… He wouldn’t…

“Fuck.” Tommy ran a hand through his hair. He leaned forward, resting his arms on the lip of the pod.

“They’ve been like this for the past three hours,” Kris came and stood beside Tommy. “We’re making the run on the border in another three hours. And –”

A muffled thump made Kris pause and look back. So did Tommy. They hadn’t hit anything and if the others were sleeping in the lower levels, it meant there was an intruder. He pulled his plasma gun, flicking the safety off and edging towards the door. Kris did the same, going along the other side. The door was pulled up just enough for them to quickly slip underneath. Tommy glanced over at Kris, noticing that he had a gun drawn as well and an intent look on his face. The thought filtered though his mind that Kris had changed since the time they had been cornered in the warehouse.

This was the last thing Tommy would have wanted Kris to deal with. The look on his face said he had every intent of meting out punishment… no, retribution. Not that he had much choice. He motioned to Kris to go the other way. Splitting up and searching was the only way to quickly cover the warehouse floor. They couldn’t risk whoever it was leaving and possibly calling the police.

Kris moved off quietly, vanishing into the paths between the crates. Tommy did the same, hoping it was simply a rat or something had been knocked over. He wasn’t that optimistic, but there was a chance. He was moving along the paths, checking for anything suspicious when an exclamation came from the other side of the warehouse. And when he paused, turning his head to listen, the clear sounds of fighting came.

Biting back a curse, Tommy started towards the sound. Thankfully no weapons had been discharged yet; there wasn’t the odd smell of oxygen burn that plasma weapons left behind. But it was probably only a matter of time. He hurried through the crates and found the initial spot where the fight had started. There was Kris’s plasma weapon… along with a standard police issue ion blaster.

“Shit, a cop?” Tommy was liking this less and less. They needed to –

“Why?” Kris’s voice was faint, but it was angry.

“Why what?” a female voice, a bit breathless, demanded.

“Do that to her!” Kris yelled now. “Put her on display like that!”

It all clicked then and Tommy ran as fast as he could towards the sound of their voices. It was the damned cop who had arrested Katy. Camilla Grey. This entire situation couldn’t get any more fucked up.

“Look, it wasn’t my idea,” there was a bitter tone to Cam’s voice. “If I –”

There was a derisive sound from Kris and then the sound of fighting came once more. Snarling, grunting and the sound of flesh hitting flesh. Tommy figured Kris had only made it this far since he was fighting a cop who was probably taking pity on him. Big fucking mistake.

He nearly ran smack into the cop. She was backing up towards him, ducking and swerving to try and avoid Kris’ punches. He did land and few and she viciously retaliated with jabs and sharp chops. Either pure rage was on Kris’s side or he simply didn’t care. Her blows landed and he took them, and then kept coming. Tommy paused for a moment, flicking the safety on before he stepped out from behind the crate. Camilla’s back was still facing towards him so he grabbed the muzzle of the gun and rapped her hard on her port. She jerked, almost stumbled forward, obviously surprised. When she turned he clipped her right on the temple.

She dropped to the ground like a stone.

Tommy had already flipped his gun around, had the safety off and aimed the muzzle right at her. But Camilla wasn’t moving at all. When he looked up, Kris was looking like he was on the losing side of a fist fight. He had some forming bruises on his face and Tommy had no doubt there were a good many under his shirt. Kris was breathing heavily and staring at the unconscious woman. Damn it, this was beyond fucked up…

“Go get Monster and Monte.”

“I’m not –” Kris started.

Tommy wasn’t playing this game. “What kind of idiot do you take me for? I know what you’re going through, that’s why I haven’t pushed. But you are on the verge of doing something you will regret for the rest of your life. Probably as much as letting Katy go,”

That seemed to reach Kris and he looked up at Tommy. Then again, that was probably the first time anyone said her name to him since she killed herself.

“So trust me when I say I am trying to do you a big favour here. Tried it with tact and you blew that away with an ion cannon. And I, for one, don’t want to see you with blood on your hands. So, I’ll ask you again: go get Monte and Monster. Tell them precisely who we have here.”

Kris looked indecisve now and for a moment, Tommy thought he might have to actually do something drastic. But then Kris moved, heading towards the other side of the warehouse. Once he was safely gone, Tommy breathed a sigh of relief and holstered his gun. He picked up Camilla under the arms and dragged her to the transport.

His jacket was quickly stripped off and he securely tied her arms behind her back. As he was drawing back up, he noticed there was no soft red glow coming from her cybernetic. That made him take pause. All cops were required to have the damned things active at all times. So why had this cop gone off-grid and followed Monte and Neil here? Truth be told, Tommy was wondering how she managed to follow Monte and Neil in the first place. And since she’d clearly been able to track them, why didn’t she bring back-up?

Hurried steps reach his ears and when he turned around, Monster and Monte were walking over quickly. Kris was following close behind with a blank expression on his face. Tommy was no fool, Kris was probably still pissed at him. Not that Tommy gave a flying fuck about that right now, but he knew Kris would want to have it out sooner or later.

“Shit,” Monte swore when he laid eyes Camilla. “It’s her. How the fuck did she even find us?”

“Let’s find out.”

That was all Monster said as he crouched down, patting Camilla’s cheeks with some force. It took a few seconds for her to come to. There was a groggy look on her face and she blinked a few times, wincing a bit before her gaze settled on Monster. She blinked a few times more before shock settled on her face and she croaked out,

“Longineu?”

A few expressions flickered over that face before he settled for a small smile and, “Yeah. It’s me Cam.”

Tommy was liking this less and less. He instinctively rested a hand on his gun. It seemed that Camilla and Monster had history. So much that she knew his actual name. But Cam was blinking rapidly now and it seemed like she completely forgot that there were other people present.

“Fuck, Longineu, you’re alive! Those fuckers told us you died. Bad reaction to the sim training and there was a synapse overload. Said that you went brain dead and your body systems shut down and failed not long afterwards. I had to accept it at face value and fuck if I didn’t try to not think it was a load of bullshit because that’s all they ever fucking spew into our heads. Doesn’t help that they’re in our fucking heads and, shit, just… shit,” then anger twisted Cam’s face. “I told you, I fucking told you to not bother with the SOF training, you were good enough on your own.”

Tommy frowned at that. Special Op Forces training… and the familiarity with which Camilla was speaking to him, “You were a fucking cop?”

“Was. That was before they went and turned me into some experimental cyborg,” Monster shot Tommy a look, as if he knew precisely what he was thinking. His eyes dropped to where Tommy’s hand was still resting on his holster. “And I’m still the man who will get you all over the border in one piece.”

There was a wary look on Monte’s face and Tommy felt like this was a really bad idea. He snorted and that seemed to catch Camilla’s attention. She looked around, inhaling sharply when her eyes settled on Tommy’s plasma gun. He had no qualms about flicking the safety off as she watched.

“Nobody knows I’m here,” she began. “I went –”

“Why are you here?” Monte interrupted. “Because I have to say, I’m all for ensuring you’re not a mole.”

“She’s not,” Monster said, glancing back at Monte with a sharp look. “I trusted this woman with my life for nearly my entire life.”

“You’re a Runner and she’s a cop. How is this going to end well?” Monte pointed out.

“I cracked my link,” Camilla looked between them all as she started to speak. “What I want, more than anything right now, are answers. Because too much isn’t making sense. There is a ridiculous amount of interest for the destruction of two simple androids,”

Camilla moved, sitting up straighter on her legs. Tommy took a half step back and pulled his gun, raising it slightly. All Camilla did was glance at him as she kept talking.

“Androids are easily replaceable. And why did Katy say ambiotic fluid? The security vids corroborate her words. Androids come packaged up in boxes. Androids don’t need that ambiotic shit. So whatever Cowell was doing for Fuller, it wasn’t legal by any means. Not that that fucking matters to that man. Fuller wants it done, it gets done, irregardless of who gets trampled on the way. People are expendable to him.”

There was a furious expression on Camilla’s face and her next words totally surprised Tommy.

“She was protecting someone, or something. I just want to know what because none of this is making any fucking sense to me. Androids in ambiotic tubes don’t just up and vanish like that. And people don’t flip out and demand the world from one cop. They made such a big stink but then assigned just me to it? They flat out refused when I requested a team for the case. They wanted to keep this as quiet as possible. Otherwise, there would have been a goddamn full-on manhunt. And even still, that’s an overreaction for two androids. At this point, I don’t want Katy O’Connell’s death to have been for fucking nothing. I just want some damned answers.”

Silence fell on the heels of her words. It explained a few things for Tommy. Like why she had no back-up now. Why her cybernetic was off. Tommy glanced over to find a thoughtful look on Monte’s face. Kris, on the other hand, looked pale. His jaw was clenched and his hands were balled into fists at his side. Monster looked between them for a few seconds before he turned his attention back to her.

“How did you find us, Cam?”

“At the depot in Pastche,” Cam swallowed hard. “Katy almost erased evidence of where the transport was heading before I could see it. All I saw were names of some major cities. When it was copied to my link, I filed it under follow-up evidence.”

“What?” Kris sounded worried now. “But that means –”

Monster interrupted with, “That means no one will come looking for Cam yet. Follow-up evidence has to be seen through within a seven day period. Only three days of that time have elapsed. Cam bought us some time.”

“But her cybernetic is off.” Tommy pointed out.

“They’ll assume she’s in the Catacombs,” Monster began. “That’s why so many cops don’t like going down there. They lose the signal, lose the connection with central. To central, it looks like they’ve gone off-grid. But Cam’s known for doing what she needs to in the line of duty. Wouldn’t be the first time she’s gone down into the Catacombs for a prolonged period of time. Wouldn’t even be the first time she’s done so without reporting it beforehand, not by a long shot.”

Silence fell once more. Camilla cleared her throat, drawing attention to herself once more.

“I know you all have every reason in the world to not trust me. Hell, I’m honestly starting to wonder when Mr.Trigger here is going to blast me,” she tilted her head in Tommy’s direction and Tommy arched an eyebrow remorselessly. “But I’ve been off-grid for three days now. I haven’t been tailed, and like Longineu said, everyone probably assumes that I’m in the Catacombs. If I was tailed, you know that this place woud be swarming with cops right now,”

Tommy couldn’t deny that. But still…

“Having this thing off for so long… I don’t think I can go back and continue to fool myself. To turn a blind eye and not do something. I won’t be able to keep the status quo. And I’ve seen your faces. What do you think will happen when I go back and they turn my device back on?”

A scowl came to Tommy’s face. He knew it wasn’t a threat, but damned if it didn’t pretty much amount to blackmail. Facts were facts and once Camilla went back and she was online again, it was game over.

“Shit,” He dropped the gun muzzle. “So what the hell do you want?”

Monster answered before she could. “She wants to come with us.”

“That’s right. To the North.” Camilla raised her chin, a stubborn set to her face. “Either you can help me or I’ll figure something out myself. But at this point, there’s really no going back for me.”

Monster was unusually still and when he inhaled slowly, Tommy had a sinking feeling about what the next words would be.

“I’m bringing her with us.”

To Kris’s credit he didn’t say anything. Just directed a stony gaze at Camilla and walked away. Tommy lingered for a moment, listening as Monster and Monte dicussed just how to best verify Camilla’s story in a short period of time. Holstering his gun once more, he went after Kris. He didn’t have to go far to find him. A few stacks over and sitting on a single crate, there was Kris. He glanced over as Tommy came over and hopped up on the crate, sitting beside him.

It took him a few seconds to go over what he wanted to say. Tommy finally settled for, “How much of a problem is this going to be for you?”

“I’ll behave. We’re almost there, I’m not going to be the one to mess this up. Adam and Neil are depending on us. I… I can’t… They need us, and Katy needs us to finish this. When I saw her, realised who she was,” Kris dragged a hand through his hair. “Thank you. You were entirely right.”

Tommy was silent for a moment. “How are you feeling?”

“Honestly? Raw. Exposed. I almost wish none of this had happened.” He stopped, laughed softly. “Not almost. I want her back so badly, it’s pretty much all I can think about. I keep going over the what ifs and if I had pushed harder or just totally ignored her, dragged her along, would she still be alive?”

Kris fell quiet and Tommy settled for patting him on the shoulder.

“It eventually gets better. Not much easier, but it gets better.”

At that, Kris turned to look at him. Just stared at him, not breaking his gaze. Tommy didn’t either, though he wasn’t sure what precisely Kris thought he would find. After a minute or two, Kris gave a soft huff.

“Who was it?” when Tommy remained silent, Kris slid him a look. “You talk too much like you know. Like when you talk about prison.”

Busted. Tommy shifted on the crate uneasily. His hand was halfway up to rubbing at his port before he noticed and dropped it back down. “My best friends. All three of them vanished. I went looking for answers. It’s how I ended up hacking.”

“Did you get your answers?”

“No. Still haven’t. I don’t think I ever will,” Tommy shook his head. He really didn’t want to talk about this now. Or ever. “Are you sure you’re –”

“Yes,” Kris sounded annoyed now. “It’s not like I’m running the show anyways. Monster’s got everything arranged. Though how he’s going to squeeze in one more person, I don’t know.”

“He’ll figure something out,” Tommy turned as he heard footsteps coming towards them. When Monte appeared, Tommy couldn’t help but raise his eyebrows in surprise. “That was fast.”

“She went for the rapid scan. Everything she said is legit. I’m personally still on the fence, but it’s not my decision so,” Monte shrugged. “But Monster doesn’t want to take any chances. We’re packing out in an hour.”

“An hour? That’s not nearly enough time.”

“It’ll have to be. It’s just after four in the morning. According to Monster we’re still following the plan, posing as delivery drivers and security. We’ve gotta get from here to Ashvile, on the other side of the border, in under six hours. It’s doable if we leave soon.”

“And Camilla –” Tommy started.

“Additional security added at the last minute,” Monte cut him off. “Kris, you’re now riding shotgun with Monster. Me, Tommy and Camilla are posing as security. The worst part of this is going to be waiting at the border. Remember we need to get caught in the massive morning crush. They’ll be more focused on processing things through quickly than anything else.”

“The border crush is that bad?” Kris asked.

“Everyone I met in Calista who tried to hop the border and got caught did it outside the crunch times. It’s sensible, it’s solid.” Tommy slid down from the crate. “Okay then, let’s get to it.”

Monte and Kris nodded, heading towards the door to the lower level. Tommy lingered for a moment, debating if he should check on Camilla and Monster. But he opted not to and went downstairs with the others. If Monster trusted her, there was nothing much that could be done. They swept through the lower level quickly, gathering up their things and stashing them away in packs. Tommy made sure he grabbed Adam’s book and tucked it away safely.

The two police uniforms from the raid were dug out and Tommy tried not to laugh as Monte pulled a face as Kris handed his over. Whatever material they were made out of, it had plenty of elastafiber in it and it fit snugly over Monte’s body. They finished suiting up before grabbing their packs and heading back upstairs.

The transport’s engine was already rumbling softly as they came up. The back door was open and Tommy could see Camilla already in the cargo area. He and Monte tossed their bags up before hauling themselves on. Camilla was fiddling with an air recycler unit mounted on the wall. Tommy simply picked up his pack and placed it in a corner by the wall seat before he walked back over to Adam’s cryo-pod. Monte was stashing his bag away when Monster rapped on the door and looked at them before focusing on Tommy and Monte.

“You two have radios on those helmets?” when Tommy nodded, Monster simply said. “Maintain radio silence on it then. Hell, turn it completely off.”

Tommy nodded and Monster’s gaze flicked between the two of them before the door was closed. A plasma light flickered on and after a moment, he saw Camilla rest it on the floor. Anxiety and trepidation sat low in his stomach, like lead weights. He pulled off the helmet and searched for the switch. Damned thing was hidden somewhere and –

“Under the foam, by one of the earpieces about three inches up,” Camilla said simply as she sat down. “It’s a bitch to find, I know.”

Tommy checked and sure enough, there was a little switch with the power symbol and then a flat line on the opposite side. He pulled it down towards the flat line. “Thanks.”

Camilla simply inclined her head, eyes looking over at Monte to make sure he was doing the same thing. The transport started with a bit of a lurch and Tommy was sure that it was entirely for their benefit. There was a slight rocking motion and the familiar surge of acceleration didn’t come until almost twenty minutes later. They were on the hyperway, up to the border.

Not a single word was said for the entire ride. Maybe it was nerves or their unfamiliarity with one another, but there was plenty of glancing about and nothing said. What Tommy would have loved to hear more than anything right now was Adam talking about something. Hell, he’d happily put up with Adam thinking he was defective because of some random reaction. Like that one night…

“You okay, Tommy?”

Monte’s words were almost strange to hear after the protracted quiet. “Hm? Yeah, I’m fine. Why?”

“You just went red and… are you trying not to smirk?” Monte’s eyes narrowed.

“No.”

That was all Tommy said before he took out his plasma gun. He powered it down, started checking over it and he really hoped that Monte didn’t press it because he really didn’t want to have to explain that one. His expression was already evening out into a blank stare, and he pushed thoughts of Adam out of his mind. When he glanced up, Monte was fiddling with the helmet, but Camilla was watching him. There was an amused expression on her face, but a curious one as well.

He mentally bridled a bit. No way in hell was he elaborating on anything in front of some smug cop.

Another forty minutes passed before the transport’s deceleration was felt. When it came to a complete stop everyone glanced up and looked around at one another. Weapons were drawn and primed. The seconds and minutes felt like they ticked on by slowly. The transport moved and stopped, sporadic bursts that told Tommy they were creeping closer.

He lost track of time at that point. But then the truck’s engine was shut off. This was it. Suddenly Monte moved, lobbing his helmet at Camilla. She caught it, looking surprised. Monte had his gun out and primed, glancing between them.

“You’re an off-grid cop,” Monte said to Cam before tilting his head toward Tommy, “and you’re paranoid about being recognised. I’ve been declared officially dead. You think they’ll be looking for a supposedly dead man?”

“Point.” Cam said after a moment and slipped the helmet on.

Tommy gave in with a, “Yeah, okay.”

“Just let me do the talking then.”

That was the last thing Monte said. Tommy couldn’t argue that. He slipped his helmet on, snapping the visor down in place. Monte tugged at the uniform a bit before they waited. And waited. Tommy was on the verge of thinking that nothing was going to happen when the heavy thunk of the lock disengaging on the other side came. Then there was the rattle of the door opening. Tommy blinked at the bright flood of light and was glad for his visor. There were two very harried looking border guards peering into the transport. Kris and Monster stood off to one side, looking aggrieved.

“Alright. Three guards. Two android transport containers. Looks good.” One guard consulted something on their holopad. “Long night guys?”

“Last run before we have some time off. You know how it is,” Monte shrugged and walked forward. “They say be there and what choice do we have?”

The other guard laughed. “At least you got an interesting work designation. Would you rather deal with crabby transport drivers and idiots trying to smuggle things in and out of the country?”

Tommy was sure that had to be a slight against either Kris or Monster. But neither made a visible reaction. Monte just gave a wide grin.

“I’d rather be in a nice little house in the Pedrour district out in LA, enjoying the beach.”

“See, this guy, he knows what it’s about,” the first security guard hauled himself up onto the transport. “Alright. Just need to inspect the goods. Says here they’re being transported in ambiotic fluid?”

“Yeah, go figure,” Monte rolled his eyes. “Some idiot punches in the wrong number and androids get transported in a couple thousand credits worth of that stuff.”

“Hey, no skin off my back,” the guard said dryly. “I didn’t make the mistake. Can you unlock them?”

“No problem. You guys.”

Tommy didn’t need to be told twice. He holstered his gun and started undoing the security latches around the edge of Adam’s cryo-pod. He focused on just getting through this, because he was half convinced that at any second now, one, or even both, of the guards would notice that something was off.

There was the hiss of the seal releasing and Tommy lifted the lid up. The guard peered into Neil’s first, made some comment to Monte before he came over to Adam. The guard looked in, eyes skimming over Adam’s submerged body and then,

“Damn, this one a pleasure droid or something?” the guard eyed Adam’s crotch warily. “Shit, someone is getting their credit’s worth. Can’t argue with the quality of droid that Renace Droid Corp makes, huh?”

Tommy thought it was very commendable that he hadn’t punched the guard right in the face like he was envisioning in his head at the moment. He just nodded and murmured, “Nope” as he settled the lid back into place and started snapping it shut. He watched as the guard’s fingers moved over the holopad, probably checking off boxes. Monte was placing the cover back on Neil’s pod when the guard spoke again.

“Alright, you guys are good. Take it easy.”

The guards hopped off the cargo area and started back to wherever they came from. Monte and Kris just gave them a quick salute before the door was closed again. The transport’s engine started up and the gentle pull of acceleration made them all sit back down. Only Camilla and Monte had taken their weapons out of their holsters again. Tommy took his gun out as well, unsure what they were on guard for.

Monte must have seen the confusion on his face because he was suddenly saying, “Snatchers. They let you get over the border and then drag your back.”

“What? Why…” Tommy trailed off even as he started. Of course they would do that. Anything before the the border was just intent. But intent with followthrough meant a solid conviction.

He rested his gun easily on his leg, a switch away from being active. During the rest of the ride absolutely nothing happened. It wasn’t until the transport stopped again that the knot of anxiety loosened and Tommy finally reholstered his gun. The sound of hurried feet came and then the cargo door opened again.

“Let’s hustle,” Monster pulled himself up into the cargo. “We’ve got a window of five hours here. Considering how fast they downloaded, we could be out of here in four.”

“Where are we?” Tommy squinted at the bright light coming in from somewhere.

“Ashvile. Just on the other side of the border. I’ve got us a personal transport arriving at thirteen hundred. It’s just after eight in the morning.” Monster opened the compartment in the floor and pulled out the foam-wrapped hard drives. “We have a good amount of time.”

Tommy walked to the edge of the cargo hold, his eyesight adjusting. It was yet another warehouse, with windows up high, but the light coming in wasn’t a dirty looking colour. It seemed too pure, something that was entirely the wrong colour, too bright. He took the helmet off his head and thunked it down on the seat. When he glanced back, Monster was at Neil’s pod and Monte was at Adam’s. Tommy walked over, digging out his holopad.

“I’ll wake Adam up.” Tommy slipped the drive from Monte’s hand.

It looked like Monte was going to protest for a moment, but he just nodded his head. “I set it up to auto-run when the drive is plugged in and everything is activated. I’ll go see if, you know, Monster or Camilla need a hand.”

While he couldn’t be sure, Tommy felt almost positive that Monte was trying his hardest to not to laugh at him. The drive was jacked in, and the holopad as well and before long the downloading process had started. Monster and Monte alternated between checking on Neil’s download, while going over some kinda of data. Camilla seemed to keep herself busy with doling out ration packs and sorting through the pile of clothes Monster brought out from somewhere. Kris… well the most Tommy saw of him was his head going back and forth, doing some task Tommy wasn’t particularly focused on.

The time slowly passed and everyone ate something and changed into fresh clothes. Tommy wasn’t moving from this damned spot until he was sure Adam uploaded properly. An hour later, everyone else was off the transport, stretching and walking around the warehouse. Footsteps came towards the transport and a few seconds later, Kris pulled himself up. He had a bundle of clothes and a ration pack tucked under an arm.

“Brought you some clothes. Food too.” Kris held them out.

“Thanks,” Tommy took them. “I’ll change and eat later.”

Kris watched him for a moment. “I’ve already found clothes for Adam and Neil. There’s food waiting for them. I even took out Adam’s book. There’s nothing more we can do right now.”

Tommy just responded with “Mm-hm” and nodded his head as he checked the progress bar. Fifty nine percent.

“Monte was right when he said you were a stubborn sonofabitch. I’m quoting him verbatim here.” Kris came over and sat down on the ledge seat. “You know how you threatened to shoot me?”

“Yeah.” Tommy said slowly. He didn’t quite see where this was going. “I wouldn’t of.”

“I know,” Kris smiled. “I have Camilla’s ion blaster.”

For a moment, Tommy just stared at Kris before he laughed. Who would have thought that meek Kris would have ever dished out such attitude towards him? And hell, if he was willing to get Camilla’s ion blaster…

“Fine,” Tommy stood up, stiff joints protesting. “I didn’t come all this way just to get blasted in the ass.”

Kris chuckled and stood up. When he just turned around Tommy rolled his eyes but quickly changed. He tossed the police uniform on the ledge. Kris silently turned around and handed him the ration pack. Fuck, Kris wasn’t really going to let up on this. It reminded him a lot of Adam. He took the pack, ripped open the top, picked up the spork and started eating.

“You know,” Tommy made a face as he started on the reconstituted thing pretending to be potatoes. “I don’t think I’ll ever eat another one of these disgusting things if I don’t have to.”

“Tell me about it. Monster was saying how there’s actual farms. Real farms. With people and animals. Crazy man. Hey,” Kris glanced back to the warehouse. “Do you think we can call Monster by his name now? Or should we stick with, you know…”

Tommy shrugged as he poked at what was supposed to be meat. “Ask him? Shit, I’ll go hungry until I can find something better. Wouldn’t be the first time.”

He placed the half-finished ration pack on the seat. But Kris just stared at him and so, swearing, Tommy picked it up and gulped down the rest.

“Good. Monster says that even after we leave here, it’s still another four hours to our destination.” Kris stood up, picking up the discarded uniform.

“You nag at me like Adam does.” Tommy muttered, half sullen, half amused by the idea.

“Someone has to for him. You and Monte have more than earned it, don’t you think?”

“Being nagged?” Tommy frowned. When had this conversation suddenly become about him?

“To look after you. Care about you. It’s not just the two of you anymore,” Kris picked at a buckle on the bundled uniform. “Can I ask you something?”

Tommy would take the chance. It was fifty-fifty that the question would be about him. “Shoot.”

“Monte’s been really quiet since we got here and unloaded. I mean…” Kris trailed off. “Never mind, I’ll ask him –”

“Don’t,” Tommy stood up quickly. He saw where this was going. It was worse than Kris focusing in Tommy some more. “Just give him some time. He never wanted to leave, remember?”

Kris nodded, a thoughtful look on his face. “Yeah. Okay.”

But there was that look on Kris’s face that said he still wanted an answer. Tommy sighed and rubbed at his face. “Look, if Katy had been unable to leave, would you have left as well?”

“No.” Kris said slowly as realization dawned on his face.

“Just drop it. Don’t ask him about it. You’ll just make it worse. I’m serious.” Tommy glanced outside. “The last thing you want is to make Monte really mad. Trust me. He’s scarier than me, doesn’t even need a gun.”

Kris nodded but then asked. “Can you talk to him or something?”

“Yeah, I will.” There was something Tommy wasn’t really looking forward to, but he’d known he would long before Kris brought it up. “Not now though. After all of this.”

“Thanks.”

Kris gave a nod of his head before he was down and off the transport. Tommy settled back down on the seat to wait. He really didn’t feel like mingling with the others yet. The feeling that this was too good too be true was lingering and hell, someone had to be on guard.

“Hey,”

He looked over to see Kris coming back.

“If you’re going to lurk in here, might as well have this.”

Tommy stared as he held out Adam’s blue book. He took it after a moment. “Thanks.”

This time, Tommy got a brief smile before Kris was off the transport again. He held the book in his hands before he placed it beside him. The thought of reading Adam’s book… he just couldn’t bring himself to do it. It felt like another hour passed before a soft chime caught his attention. The latches auto-released and Tommy was on his feet so quick, he almost gave himself a head rush.

“Yo!” he banged on the transport wall. “They’re done!”

Monte and Monster were just clambering up into the cargo when Tommy finally got both the lids off. He leaned on the side of Adam’s pod, watching as a frown came to that face. Relief surged through him when Adam blinked a few times before squinting up at him.

“Tommy?” Adam’s voice sounded a bit rough, like he’d just rolled out of bed. “You should be asleep still.”

“I’ll bitch at you about that later,” a huge smile came to Tommy’s face. He didn’t think he could stop it if he tried. “We’re safe.”

“What?” Adam was still squinting. He raised a gel-covered hand, trying to shield his eyes from the light. “Why are you all… sparkly? Like you’re covered in glitter.”

“Huh? Oh,” Tommy shifted, blocking the sunlight with his body. “Better?”

“Much,” Adam blinked rapidly, eyes focusing and settling on Tommy. “Huh.”

“Something wrong?”

“No. Just,” A smile came to Adam’s face. “I think I liked you more when you looked glittery and sparkly.”

“Whatever you like babyboy,” Tommy took his gel-covered hand. “We made it.”

Adam watched him for a moment before he gripped Tommy’s hand as tight as he could, though the gel made their grip slip more than hold firm. “We made it over?”

“Yeah, we all did.”

Tommy wished his voice didn’t sound shaky. But he felt like he was about to burst with excitement, elation and who knew what the fuck else. Because he was, Adam was, they all were finally somewhere good. Some place they didn’t have to hide in shadows and live some sort of fucked-up half life while trying to make a difference.

Adam inhaled sharply. “I want to get out, I need to –”

“I know, hang on. Gotta take the jack out.”

Tommy glanced up to find everyone in the cargo hold. Monte was helping Neil, disconnecting him while Monster was removing the harddrive. Kris was coming their way with a blanket now. Camilla was staring between Adam and Neil, looking shocked. Tommy took the blanket from him and though he didn’t want to, he inclined his head towards Camilla. Kris didn’t look too thrilled but he nodded his head before he ushered her off the transport. Any bet there was a long explanation there.

Getting Adam out of the pod proved to be really tricky. The gel was slippery and more than once, Tommy wondered how Kris and Katy had gotten Adam and Neil out, probably with minimal fuss. But once Adam was out, he quickly wrapped the blanket around him. He left Adam sitting on the ledge seat while he hopped off the truck and grabbed the two sets of awaiting clothes.

When he got back on the transport, Neil was out and gave him a quick smile. Tommy settled on giving him a grin, handing off the clothes and ruffling his hair quickly. Adam’s laugh reached his ears before he even turned around.

“You know,” Adam said as he started wiping the ambiotic gel off with the blanket. “Neil is now wondering what happened to the original Tommy. Maybe you’re a droid?”

“Would he feel better if I pulled my gun out?”

“…Maybe a little bit.”

There was a small grin on Adam’s face now and Tommy felt a little bit like he was drunk. He was tempted to draw his gun just to watch that grin spread into a fullblown smile. He knew they weren’t out of the woods yet, but still. Considering how long they’d been at this old warehouse and no one had come bursting in on them yet… It was a high.

Adam got dressed easily, though Tommy had to stand there and hold the blanket up while he pulled on the pair of pants. When they got off the truck, Adam made a face at the ration pack he was given. Tommy told him to eat it, lest Kris give him the same stare. It quickly disappeared and the transport was tidied up before the door was shut and locked.

Tommy was personally glad to know it was the last time he’d see it.

As thirteen hundred approached everyone started to get antsy. Tommy could see it in how they glanced about, fingers tapping, and how it was a general struggle to not move about too much. Even Monte seemed a little more cheerful. And Adam was restless, though he only showed it with the tapping of his fingers, a rapid staccato against the cover of his book.

Tommy was going to ask him what the beat was, when Monster suddenly rose from his spot. Everyone watched as he walked to a door and opened it. Blindingly bright light streamed in as Monster peered out. When he ducked back in, there was a grin on his face.

“Okay, let’s go. Everyone, grab your stuff. Grab it all. We’re not coming back.”

It was like setting off a plasma grenade. The motion was fast and frenetic. Packs were grabbed and everyone ran to the door. Elation filled Tommy as Adam jumped to his feet. He barely had time to grab the packs before Adam’s hand grasped his and they were running to the door. Monster had stepped out to hold the door open and when they crashed outside, Tommy had to stop and look around.

The sun was bright, almost blinding, without the haze of yellowish smog overhead. There were clouds instead, puffy and white. There wasn’t a hint of the dirty grey colour of the ones back in the United Southern States. And when he lowered his gaze, there were –

“Tommy, look,” Adam’s voice was a whisper, filled with excitement. “Trees. Trees! …those are trees, right? They fit the description –”

Tommy laughed, just happy. “Yeah, they’re trees.” He had seen them in photos from his illegal history book. Tommy tightened his grip on Adam’s hand and nudged his shoulder. “Look up, babyboy.”

When Adam tilted his head back and looked up, sheer wonder passed over his face. Tommy couldn’t look away from Adam’s face, even with the view surrounding them, because it that expression… It almost felt like he could feel Adam’s emotions, couldn’t breathe, couldn’t take in all that he was seeing. Like this was some VR simulation that was too good to be –

“Hey, you two!”

The words were followed by a brisk rap on a metallic surface. Tommy looked over to see a woman smiling at them. She was standing beside an open-back personal transport vehicle. Somehow, everyone else had gotten inside already. Monster was standing beside her, an arm around her waist.

“Give them a minute, Joan.” Monster’s voice was clear as day.

“Hon, they’ve had their minute for nearly four already. And that paperwork isn’t going to finish itself,” Joan glanced at them. “You can either sit inside the cab or you can elect for the back. I’m taking the slow way home, so –”

“Back.” Tommy said easily. No way was he sitting inside something again.

“All right then,” Joan moved. “This PTV isn’t going anywhere until you both hop on.”

Tommy ran forward, tugging Adam after him. Joan had snapped down the back gate to the PTV and Tommy slung on the packs before clambering on. Adam was climbing on right after him. Joan watched them for a moment as she lifted the gate back up.

“Just fit yourself into the corner and you’ll be fine. Knock on the window if you want anything. Got some drinks and food in there, okay?”

“Thank you.” Adam was grinning like a loon.

Joan shook her head and mumbled something as she started for the driver’s side.

Then Adam added as an afterthought, “Real food?”

Joan paused, glancing back at them. A grin to match Adam’s tugged at her mouth. “Nothing but.”

Monster hung back for a moment. “You two sure –”

‘Yes.” Tommy interrupted. “Let’s get going.”

The snort Monster gave sounded very amused. He walked around to the other side of the PTV. Tommy moved back into the corner and Adam stretched out against Tommy, an arm resting on Tommy’s knee and his head pillowed on Tommy’s thigh.

“The sky…” that was all Adam murmured, his gaze fixed upwards.

The PTV started up with a gentle hum before it slowly pulled away from the warehouse. Tommy watched the building for a moment, before he looked upwards as well sliding an arm over Adam’s shoulders.

“Yeah, I know. The sky.”

_________________________________________________________



Electric Sheep - IV || Electric Sheep - Outtakes







(no subject)

Date: 2011-02-24 03:35 am (UTC)
pomegranate02: hand-drawn pomegranate (Le pomegranate)
From: [personal profile] pomegranate02
I am amazed & spellbound & smiling & in awe!!!!!!

This is an amazing universe you've created & I just couldn't put it down once I started reading it.

Wow.

Thank you for such a wonderful story, I'll be rereading this again soon. I was so enthralled I raced through it & I want to go back and savour it :D

(no subject)

Date: 2011-02-24 07:56 am (UTC)
wynkat: bles whoever created this cat (adam blue eyes)
From: [personal profile] wynkat
This was so compelling, I swear if it had not been novel length I would have read the whole damn thing in one night! I almost tried too as it was. I loved the universe you created and the lives for each of the characters. I could see this existing as a story beyond the world of fanfic, there's just so much here to play with. Delicious work!

(no subject)

Date: 2011-02-25 01:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zoodlemouse13.livejournal.com
Of course I posted my comment in the wrong place. *eyeball roll at self* Anyway...here it is again....

read this in one sitting. It is now 11:48pm and getting up for work tomorrow is gonna be a bitch but it was so worth it. I just couldn't stop reading this. The suspense and the world you created. I really enjoyed this so much. I'd love to know what happened with Leila & Eber and whether they do eventually find their boys. I was a little confused about monte's wife & daughter. where were they? why could he see them but not really? please excuse me if you explained this and I just didn't get it. I'm not normally a science fiction kind of gal but the way you wrote this really brought me into this world.

I woke up this morning thinking about your story! And being the shallow person I am I'd also like to add that if you do decide to add more .... tommy teaching adam all about the joys of having a body and the sense of touch would be pretty awesome. just sayin. :)

(no subject)

Date: 2011-03-01 03:26 am (UTC)
fairfax_verde: (Default)
From: [personal profile] fairfax_verde
This story is such an amazing achievement. I read it over the weekend and it kept me spellbound. Your world-building is truly second to none. These characters came alive for me and I find myself thinking about them and wondering what comes next for them. Thank you for a fantastic read!

(no subject)

Date: 2011-03-04 12:05 am (UTC)
fairfax_verde: (Default)
From: [personal profile] fairfax_verde
I definitely will! I'm happy to hear there will be more in this 'verse.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-03-04 01:35 am (UTC)
arianne_maya: (Default)
From: [personal profile] arianne_maya
Oh, wow. This read like a real novel, I just couldn't stop once I started reading. I'll definitely be reading the outtakes once you start posting these. You guys did an amazing job!

(no subject)

Date: 2011-03-04 02:31 am (UTC)
eaivalefay: (Adam Lambert)
From: [personal profile] eaivalefay
Yay! Thank you! We're glad you liked it. :D We can't wait to get the outtakes going and posted.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-04-03 04:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ratbert71.livejournal.com
I loved this fic sooo much!!! I read it while I was on vacation at the end of march, and had a really hard time putting it down. I read this on a crusiehship! Are you still taking requests for outtakes? I'm sure some have already posted, but I would love to see what their first kiss was like, what any lovemaking was like. Would love to see what their life is like
in this new place they are living. Private and ~professional. What is Adam doing, what is Tommy doing, all of them. Heh! I would love another 35k word
sequel. :D

Great writing and story telling. This is one of my favs, I have it saved, and I really love the futuristicnes of the novel. Great job.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-04-10 01:26 am (UTC)
casey270: tommy wineglass (Default)
From: [personal profile] casey270
oh, my. i put off reading this until i had time to go through it in one sitting. this is the most amazing, wonderful verse! it has become almost its own world in my mind. i would not be opposed to reading more of this


for now, i'm off to read the outtakes

(no subject)

Date: 2011-04-19 04:05 pm (UTC)
ext_365877: (Default)
From: [identity profile] pyrosgf.livejournal.com
This was really an amazing trip.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-05-13 08:33 am (UTC)
tommyglitter: (Default)
From: [personal profile] tommyglitter
I must confess that I've put off reading this because of it being science fiction. I will never let that happen again! This was fabulous!

The two of you did such fine work of building a universe of the future, and its flaws, and making it believeable. Well done!

This is novel quality! In a novel, though, I would expect more about Adam and Neil's programmers, and life from Monte's loved one's POV. Will that be in the published version?? ;D. If you ever post more to this, I won't wait so long to read it!

Excellant story!

(no subject)

Date: 2011-05-14 06:17 am (UTC)
eaivalefay: (Adam - Purple Eye Shadow)
From: [personal profile] eaivalefay
We're so glad you enjoyed it! ♥ I've been urging Furor to transform it into an publishing piece myself. ;) But it is also so much fun to play with Adam and Tommy and the others in this 'verse. We've just begun writing some outtakes, and there will be more on Monte's family, Leila and Eber, as well as Tommy and Adam and the others. I am very excited to be working on them again. :D

Thanks so much!

(no subject)

Date: 2011-05-14 10:32 am (UTC)
tommyglitter: (Default)
From: [personal profile] tommyglitter
I can't wait! You make an excellent writing team!

(no subject)

Date: 2011-05-15 02:53 am (UTC)
eaivalefay: (Adam - Smiles GMA)
From: [personal profile] eaivalefay
Thank you! ♥

(no subject)

Date: 2011-05-27 07:57 am (UTC)
yukisherry: (Default)
From: [personal profile] yukisherry
I need more! moreeeeeeeeeeee! *keeps checking outtakes link*

(no subject)

Date: 2011-10-15 02:05 am (UTC)
dragon_moon: (Default)
From: [personal profile] dragon_moon
I've had this in my memories to read for ages, and kept putting it off because I'm not really into cyborgs and the like. However, having said that, I'm very happy that I finally read Electric Sheep! Absolutely fascinating and captivating - love your characterizations and how intense the action was in the whole story. Love, love, love it. Wish you were continuing on with it because I want a happy ending for everyone who is left! ^__^

(no subject)

Date: 2011-10-27 03:30 am (UTC)
eaivalefay: (Lambliff - Hugs)
From: [personal profile] eaivalefay
Yay! We're both thrilled you decided to give sci-fi a try - I for one know how hard it is to test out new genres, especially after experiencing some that didn't thrill me! - and that you enjoyed Electric Sheep so much! ♥

We are continuing on with it, I promise. We have all these Things Yet To Happen for everyone. ^_^ It's only been a bit more difficult getting everything sorted than we first thought, but we are getting there! Thank you so much for your comment!

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