Human implant AI, model 201: Julliet
Tactician: superior (rank 2)
The masked men in the hallway are heavily built even for assassins. They stalk forward, handguns tucked at their sides. The smell of cinders assaults their nostrils.
The door has been blasted away. The lead man doesn’t even look back towards the others. They all see it as one, they all approach it as one, guns now drawn.
The men peel in, barrels pointing every direction, slowly spreading out like an unfurling palm and clearing the apartment room by room. The bathroom door gets kicked open. Then the bedroom door as well. The apartment is empty, not a speck of blood, not a single sign of struggle. The assassins remain inhumanly silent. When you see everything as one and there is no need to communicate.
The lights dim. The television pops on spontaneously. Four gun barrels are all instantly pointed at the late night news. The volume increases itself till every inch of the penthouse resonates with the bass.
A grey-streaked news anchor greets the would-be killers. They draw near the screen like rats to cheese.
The channel changes to a cop show where a grizzled detective stares at a man in a suit.
“Looks like your little game’s been found out—”
It switches, now two lovers are embracing on a boat,
“And there’s no going back now,” the man says.
Another switch and there’s a goth musician on MTV,
“Don’t trrrrrrrrry to hiiiiide—”
Then its to AMC and Clint Eastwood is pointing his Magnum right at the would be killers.
“So you gotta ask yourself, do you feel lucky? Well do you, punk?
The television makes two light clicks.
Tomorrow's Weapons, Today!
Creation: supreme (rank 3)
- Ranged Attack
- Long Ranged Attack
- Area Affect
Glass slag rains down onto the pavement.
The explosion was more of a solid boom then a fiery roar. No smoke rises from the apartment, but every car on the block goes nuts.
The glass hits the almost empty street. It’s only ‘almost empty’ because of the pair watching from a far stoop. They try their best to talk over the screeching car alarms.
“What was that?” Junior asks, “A number three shell?”
“A number five,” JH replies, “placed right in the back plate of the old-school plasma screen.”
“A five might not have gotten all of them.”
A corpse tumbles out of the gaping wound in the side of the building; it falls twelve stories like a sack of potatoes and flailing limbs, then slaps the pavement in front of them in a wet thunk.
“Why do you always do this?” JH asks, “Do I tell you how to do your job?”
“Yes. All the time. You and Julie are constantly looking over my shoulder, needling me with stupid questions like the whiny chicks—”
“: I can’t take much more of this,” Julie says.
“Well it’s true.”
“: Not you. Those.”
All the cars simultaneously click and their alarms go to rest.
“: But since we’re on the subject, your sister and I aren’t trying to make you nervous, we’re just trying to give you constructive criticism.”
“Exactly, by being whiny.”
JH elbows her brother in his abdomen then begins to walk off the stoop.
“You’re the one who’s whining all the time. Come on. You’re going to make us late for our, ughhh, flight. God, I can’t believe I just said that. Flight. On a twenty-teens flying sweat box. For five hours. With you. It’s like my nightmares have finally found me and have decided to start a Battle Royale to declare a champion.”
They begin to swagger away as the approaching call of a fire engine comes from uptown.
Its in Their Blood
Reaction Speed: standard (rank 1)
San Francisco is especially cold this time of year. Anytime of year actually, but tonight was no exception. JH was beginning to reconsider her attire choice. But she couldn’t focus on that now. She couldn’t focus on anything but the moment. No more thinking, just acting, and,
Her left hand flips over and slaps down like lightning. Her brother pulls his away just in time; she slaps open air.
Junior smirks. They reset, this time with Junior’s hands beneath hers, his palms facing up. She is glaring hate and murder right at his smugly smug little face.
He jerks his hands; JH immediately freaks out and whips her hands back to her chest. Junior chuckles a bit as she lays her palms back to rest over his. He fake glares back at her. She pokes her tongue back at him.
Junior’s right hand blurs around her wrist and smashes down towards her palm.
“Aw, fuck…mutie-son of bitch…”
She shakes her hand as if it had just been pressed against a stove. He can’t stop smirking.
“What the hell,” she says, “You’re not supposed to break my wrist.”
“Who’s being a whiner now?”
“You hit a girl. That’s different. You’re not supposed to hit girls.”
“You’re the one who wanted to play.”
“Yeah, so I could get better. I’m not going to learn anything if you cripple me.”
“That’s called incentivizing. You should have played against Dad.”
“: Hey, children,” the voice in their heads says oh so patiently, “Maybe you can stop playing and get back to work. She’s coming out now."
Its Still in Their Blood
Marksman: standard (rank 1)
Helenas exits the diner in what for her counts as street clothes. The dress goes down to her ankles and is as black as motor oil. She wasn’t exactly a nun, but looking at her you wouldn’t be blamed for making the assumption.
The barrel of a long-range mag-powerd concussion-gun, aka ‘Thumper’, sticks out of the corner window of the hotel building behind her. The cross hairs on its scope hovers two ticks above her head.
Junior breathes deep, exhales slowly. He tries to concentrate. Keyword, is ‘tries’. JH is perched over his shoulder like a gargoyle.
“: Just relax,” Julie soothes, “don’t rush the shot. Hold your breath as you squeeze. Never focus only on the target, be aware of all your surroundings. And just relax, you’ll do just—”
“Ok, know what? This, this right here. Exactly what I was talking about.”
“: I’m just trying to help.”
“Well, help later,” he barks, “and JH, could you please back up.”
“What?” she whispers, “I just want a good view if he fucks up.”
“Thanks? Is that supposed to be constructive criticism? Telling me I’m going to fuck up?”
“I didn’t say you were going to fuck-up. I said ‘if’.”
Helenas reaches an intersection and presses the crosswalk button on the nearby light pole. A black van with an illegal tint job begins to creep up behind her.
“And it’s not as if I was bothering you,” JH continues.
“Not bothering me,” Junior says, “Your chin was right on my shoulder blade.”
“If your chin was on my shoulder it would leave a stab wound.”
“: Uh, children?”
The siblings don’t listen. The van door slides open. Junior isn’t even looking at the street any more.
“When your breath is fogging up the scope, that’s a sign that you’re too close…”
“: VAN, VAN, VAN, VAN!”
Helenas is being mobbed by three figures in black. Junior swivels the rifle back on target. Two crushing booms echo from the barrel. The hotel room goes quiet for a brief moment. Very brief.
“See, I told you you would do it,” JH says, “You always worry so much.”
“Oh, what the fuck ever…”
And Julie's in their brains,
Communication: standard (rank 1)
“Those bastards; I’ll make them pay if its that last thing I do.”
“For Christ’s sake John, it was a television, you can buy another one.”
Wind whips through the shattered windows overlooking the city. The living room has been nearly annihilated, bits of exploded plasma screen are scattered over the tape-outline bodies on the floor.
Jill watches as her beau mourns on his hands and knees next to the crime scene. She drops her bag onto the floor and stands near the section of the wall where the door has been replaced with a charred hole and a spiderweb of police tape. The police had already left of course. But the pain had not healed.
“No I can’t just buy another one, it was the largest plasma screen I could find and I had to haggle with the guy for half an hour just to afford it the first time.”
“Well at least it didn’t burn your apartment down. Though I’m still having trouble understanding what exactly happened. Who breaks into, then blows up an apartment, while they’re still in it?”
“I don’t know, Jill. Maybe they were coming here to kill me again.”
“Again? How often does this happen?”
“Often. I swear those bastards are going to have a kinipshit over this”
Jill wanders into the bedroom.
“The assassins? It’s a little late for them to be doing much.”
“Not those bastards. The other bastards.”
“The Co-op board.”
He stands and manages to stagger into the kitchen. He opens the refrigerator door looking for some liquid consolement. He scans the refrigerator then stops. He looks to the floor and sees a small pool of amber liquid.
“…Ok, now I am furious.”
“Relax Johnny boy,” Jill calls from the other room, “You’ve got me on the case. Or at least you’ve got the talking computer in my brain.”
Jill taps her skull.
“Hey Jack, can you pull up the security feed for this building?”
“: Babe, there’s nothing I can’t do…… Oh, wait, and… no…scratch that. There’s apparently one thing I can’t do. That thing you just asked me.”
Jill kneels down next to the bed and looks underneath it. She begins clawing away stray socks and a pair of misplaced sweatpants.
“What do you mean ‘can’t’? ”
“: As in like, I can’t. I can get most of it. I can see the dead guys entering the building and going up to this floor.”
“Dead guys? Like, zombies?”
“: What? No, the guys who were alive as they entered the building and walked up the stairs, then broke into this apartment, got blown up, and are now dead. Those dead guys. They entered through the back door at around midnight, then made a b-line for this floor.”
Jill grunts as she reaches deeper. Her hand grasps a handle.
“So then what’s the problem?”
“: There’s a big blank in the footage for about an hour before they showed up. I can’t get video, or even access the key card sign in database. Everything got wiped.”
Jill pulls back and drags a massive brown suitcase with her.
“Well then access city files. See who passed by on nearby traffic cams, look into what the police managed to collect.”
“: Sure, just give me a minute….. oh you have got to be kidding me.”
Jill pops back up from under the bed and rolls the suitcase onto its side.
“They try and lock you out again?”
“: Oh please, those chumps couldn’t lock me out. Bloomberg’s security is a joke. And apparently I’m not the only one smart enough to get the joke. Every traffic cam within a block has the same one hour blackout for no explained reason, and the police file has had all the useful info blanked about the explosive residue, bomb trajectory, etc.”
“They blanked a police file.”
“: Not all of it. Just bits and parts. Who the hell only tries to cover up part of a break-in?”
Jill walks back into the living room, dragging the suitcase behind her.
“Who would be capable of that kind of thing?”
“: Well I could do it… and that’s about it. But I didn’t do it. So, no one? I can’t tell you what it means, I’ll get back to you when I can, babe.”
Jill returns to find John leaning against a wall with a bottle between his fingers.
“Hey John, did you notice if they took anything?”
“I know they drank three of my beers,” he says, “spilt some on the floor too. Didn’t see anything else missing… except the immensely expensive plasma screen tv that used to sit in the middle of the room. Why?”
“Cause you’re going to be packing up everything into this.”
She tosses the suitcase at his feet.
“We can stay at my place.”
“Oh,” John says, “Yeah, right. I guess I could live in DC until this all gets fixed up.”
“Oh no Johnny-Boy, we’re selling your bachelor pad.”
“Lots of reasons, which I shall list now: you’re not a bachelor anymore, we can’t have two homes in two cities, I hate New York, I hate your furniture, I hate the color of your walls, there is massive structural damage to the living room, people are obviously trying to kill you and know you live here, plus there’s only one bedroom.”
John winks back at her.
“I only see us needing one bedroom.”
“We only need one bedroom,” she says. Then she lays her hand on her stomach, “they need one too.”
“Oh do they now…wait. They? As in ‘Them’? As in,”
John rubs his temple. The beer bottle raises to his lips and he glugs away. Jill waits for a response that doesn’t come, then rolls her eyes and walks back to the bedroom.
The bottle taps out. John falls back and leans against the wall.
“Them… my day just keeps getting better.”
Jill pops her head out the bedroom door.
“Hey, John-boy, what happened to your leather duster?”
To Alter History
Detective: standard (rank 1)
“So, forgive my ignorance, I do not mean to seem ungrateful in any respect, but I do not understand anything that is going on.”
This was an understatement. The botched kidnapping Helenas had barely escaped from seemed to come out of nowhere. Three women jumped from a moving van and tackled her to the ground. She attempted to fight, but only received an elbow to the gut which knocked the wind out of her right quick. They were strong, skilled, and absolutely silent. At least until their heads exploded like pumpkins stuffed with M-80’s. That made some noise.
The explosions themselves weren’t that noisy, they were just sort of juicy pops. But they were preceded by echoing booms that Helenas could feel in her chest. Boom-Pop, Boom-Pop-Pop. The second boom seemed to get the last two skulls in one.
Things from then on out didn’t get much clearer, despite the attempts of her pair of rescuers to clarify.
“O.k. let me explain from the beginning,” Junior says. He plops onto the tiny bed in Helenas’s tiny dwelling while his sister remains seated in the room’s only chair. It was more of a stool then a chair, because back support is for the decadent and unholy. But that’s beside the point.
“My name is John Harper-Reynolds, Jr,” he says, “and that’s my sister, Jesse-Helenas Harper-Reynolds. We just call her JH. I call her a lot of other things too, but she’s my sister, so I’m allowed. Anyway, we’re both from the future.”
“That is somewhat hard to conceive.”
“Helen, you’re from another dimension,” JH adds, “you want to give us some slack here?”
“Ok, fine. You two are both from the future. And you are Jill’s children?”
“Well, I am,” Junior says, “J.H. is adopted.”
His sister slugs him hard in the shoulder.
“It’s true,” he says, “Mom told me.”
“You are so full of shit your eyes your eyes are brown.”
“No, they’re blue. Just like mom’s. Unlike someone I know...”
Julie lets out another world-weary sigh inside their minds.
“: Junior, is now the time?”
“No, but for the truth I can make time,”
He looks back to Helenas, “Anyway, we came back in time to change the past.”
“Change the past how?”
“It’s a long story, and I can’t tell you all of it without letting you in on things you shouldn’t know. The executive summary is that there’s this guy named Risk. A long time ago my Dad killed him, but then he came back and now he’s pissed. He tries to kill mom and dad, and eventually he succeeds. This interplays with a bunch of other interlocking events which all add up to the end of the world as we know it. We came back in time to stop these things from happening and save the world, and also because we don’t want our parents to die. So we need you to let us into Missing Hour so we can be close to the action.”
Helenas nods slowly.
“So what would you be doing for the Angels?”
“Usual stuff,” JH replies, “shooting things, blowing things up, making slight adjustments to the timeline so Mom and Dad end up getting a place with better tactical defendibility and an easy escape route.”
“Not to mention that color scheme,” Junior says.
“I don’t know, I kind of liked it.”
Helenas rose from the bed. Junior used the opportunity to kick his feet up on her comforter. JH seemed to be eyeing a blurry spot on the glasses the dangled treacherously close to the edge of her nose. Helenas looks over the two.
“I suppose I could give you both trial memberships. But I refuse to lie for you; you’ll have to do that on your own.”
“Done and done,” Junior says. Helenas nods.
“Agreed. But to move on to more crucial matters, this ‘Risk’ villain, he is the one you need to stop?”
“And why did he try to kidnap me?”
“Oh, he didn’t,” JH says. She plucks the glasses from her nose and cleans them with a cloth, “that was something completely different. You were going to be captured by this Syndicate bitch and forced to fight other gladiatorettes in a big underground arena. It was this whole big thing, with a huge over-arching story, and we thought we’d just save you the headache.”