Republic Insa: The Android Sin
The files were true: Elenor had evolved into a new, hybrid kind of android. Combining mechanical strength and precision with the demi-organism's ability to evolve, the new Insa-Elenor had the required abilities to withstand a full all-sides attack and get out of it with bare fists and feet.
Rumors about her soon became facts. Insa-Elenor would often hang out in Pioneer II's black market outfits and meeting places, and of course fully taking advantage of her organic abilities. She could eat small amounts of food, fight with exceptional agility, run at extreme speeds, and evolve her form temporarily to suit the needs of any situation. An all-purpose machine.
However, following her transformation, she had become bitter and... more cunning. She wasn't afraid of anyone anymore, and was reported to constantly pick up fights with the people she found a little too cocky for her tastes. Moreover, she was obsessed with the idea of fighting and exploring alone. Methinks her adventures with Dr. Montague traumatized her emotional chip a bit more than desired.
Speaking of the devil, that wasn't the end of the files you know. Behind her transformation was another layer. The body of Doctor Jean-Carlo Montague had been found in the upper part of the ruins, his torso in several gory pieces.
Diagnosis: A kick into the ribcage.
Murder of a high-placed member of Pioneer II. Use of forbidden and dangerous technology. Suspected use of black market merchandise. Consideration Criminal. The hunt was on.
Hunters had assembled at the guild to share strategies, drinks, and form teams. Of course, old friends quickly grouped together and new hunters found themselves out of luck for the spots. The target was considered dangerous, and the bounty was only open to people of clearance number 75 or over. Even then, they suggested 90, but who cared anyways. And to discourage heroic attempts, no reward if you were under the required clearance. The rules were strict and the goal was to have as few people killed as possible.
Veterans didn't feel like risking their lives for a handful of cash. They had a wife and some kids, and maybe a few shares of some big corporation, or maybe a sports hovercar. They just couldn't lose all this trying to hunt someone down. They wouldn't enjoy their assets when dead, they all knew it. And the ones with clearance around 75 or 80?... They looked at the suggested numbers, and they believed them with all their hearts. Black market operators have a way of spreading some wickedly frightful rumors. The words become even scarier when known to be real.
"They're searching for you, 'Lenor. Why didn't you hide the body?"
"Didn't think about it..."
"Oh well; too late. You'll just have to stay here in the meantime. At best I could have given you some big coat to hide yourself in but now that they have a huge photo of you on the network pages..."
Elenor sat down. The room was circular. It was the inside of an old generator; it had been hollowed out six years ago and used as a conference room. Of course, the project wasn't a success. The lights were minimal, and most seats were uncomfortable. Industrial limitations, unfortunately.
But not to androids.
Quickly, the intruder Shrike "Shurikane" Naïnsev had turned this reactor into a full-scale defense station and base of operations, with the help of the transformed Elenor. The not-so-reactor now sported radars, working high-power computers, spare android parts, cannons, weapons, communication devices, better lighting, and ultra-modern commander-style chairs. Deluxe version. Gotta love the black market. They could find anything. And if the merchandise sucked, it was always repairable. But the key part in renovating the reactor was the fact that this small building was almost completely hidden within the leaves of Planet Ragol's jungle. If anyone enters this place, it isn't by accident.
The pink android turned a computer on, connected her ports to it and began downloading some bits and pieces of information from the news network. Shurikane had just finished hiding a new batch of weapons, and her glowing green eyes admired the work.
"I've put four pairs of Charger Vulcans in the fourteeth panel. Mark it down."
"Noted!" Elenor replied.
The black and neon-green android then turned to a freezing box, from which she took a syringe, and stored it into a side panel of hers. Since the two had a lot of time on their hands, she took the chair next to Elenor and rested her feet on the nearby table. She was the head honcho and proud of it.
"I gotta admit," she said, "My emotional programs are about to get a fatal error from the joy of finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. When this whole thing's over, I will be a fully legal android and I'll finally have the right to live in my own expensive condominium and go eat at fancy branché restaurants. Bonus to that, I get to patent a new technology. I rock!"
Elenor smiled. "I still can't believe it. All that legal stir-up just because you spun into a teleporter while fighting a Delsaber?!"
"Hey, waddya want me to do against this? I think they were partial to the fact that I wanted to keep my new hands."
Both laughed. Elenor the loudest.
"Man, I'm really starting to enjoy Freechip Mode." She exclaimed. "I think I would have killed Jay-Cee sooner had I ever known I could be master of my own emotions."
"Pays off I believe. See, with the factory settings, androids are set to react at specific things in a specific way. This can be changed by the owner. If I wanted you, I could have changed your programming to be happy when hearing sad music and vice-versa. But, when I switch Freechip Mode on, the entire computer the android has becomes independent. It does not take orders immediately; it first ponders the facts and stats before making a decision. Tell a slave android to jump down a cliff, he'll do it without second thought. Tell the same to a Freechip android, and you'll have to convince him why first."
"So you mean I can now do everything I want without authorisation?..."
"In a sense... yes. Freechip Mode assumes you have no owner or master. If you do have one, the person is recognized, but, you will at least be more human, so to say. You won't do anything stupid on command. And best of all, you get to take initiatives instead of waiting for a cry for help. I was born a Freechip, so I know all this. I've explored everything inside me and learned everything I had to know about how to handle myself, my programs and my components."
Elenor nodded. It was logical. She was experiencing a similar kind of thing right now. Files that were hidden before now came to her conscience, bugs were found and fixed (thanks to Shurikane's transferred knowledge of computer program maintenance,) redundant and useless files were deleted, organic program commands responded properly, meaning she could control her living parts just like any other limb. She was her own owner and master now.
As she was just beginning to savour her freedom, she noticed an odd form tucked in one dark end of the room.
"Say, what's that? It's moving."
"Sierra, come here please." Shrike called out.
The thing stood up and came into the light. It was a black and electric blue RAcaseal android, just like Shurikane and Elenor. But she was so small. In fact, she looked just like a child.
"Daughter?" Elenor said while sticking out a black tongue.
"Without really knowing it, you're right."
Elenor retracted her tongue. Her face froze and she pointed at the cute little blue thing in disbelief.
"I don't have the required organs to accomplish such a thing, but I consider her my offspring anyways." Shurikane continued. "I think the... organic side of me needed to have someone to take care of. A kid. A daughter, something. So what I did is hack into a mag computer, and that's how it evolved."
Elenor had all the reasons in the world to be surprised. Mags were fighting companions that floated behind the shoulders. They were a hunter's only friend when all alone exploring the depths of the planets. These half-organic, half-robot creatures were considered the breakthrough of the century. Mags were hard to make, expensive, and had to be fed, in order to grow and evolve into powerful and intelligent teammates. The standard mag knows how to absorb power and use it to develop an energy attack. An evolved mag gained love for its master, and helps him as best as it could, because without the hunter who owned it, a mag was nothing. Usually, mags didn't become any bigger than a man's forearm...
...But to see a mag that's just like an android beat all the records. Elenor didn't ask any questions, but her deductions led her to the fact that this so-called kid could do whatever a mag could do... And also whatever an android could do. A fully independant mag.
"I... I don't know what to say." Elenor finally declared. "She really is a true hybrid?"
"Just like us, only instead of standard Demi-organisms like we have, she has the capabilities of a mag. Hover, photon blasts, strength enhancement, and best of all, sattelite mags."
The little mag-android rose into the air, and from her body, deployed a myriad of little metal-and-flesh creatures. Elenor could count at least thirty-five.
"Those things are just like extra limbs and weapons." Shurikane pointed at one of the sattelite mags. "See here, those Illa-types, they have a sharp edge, so they work great as swords. And if you look behind her back, you've got several pairs of Garuda and Varaha units for deep stabs and slashes. And above her shoulders," she pointed at two rocket-like mags, "You have two suicider Kamas; they've been modified by her to act as rockets. And those Kalkis, those right there with the big orb in the middle, they act as extra eyes. Peek around the corner without showing half of your head doing it."
"You're one hell of a mad scientist, aren't you?"
A pause. Then, Shurikane laughed.
"At least my designs work better than standard hunter suits. Can't believe the guild still has trouble trying to explore the lower ruins where they think some big monster is hidden. (Then, in a pinched voice) 'Oh it's too hard!' 'Oh no, they killed all of us!' 'There's too many monsters!' My ass; they just don't have the wits and the equipment needed to handle a Demi. Sure, cleaning out the old mines and science labs was a piece of cake because they had some knowledge of how the bots worked there. But the Demis are of a totally different kind. They are drones who follow whichever leader they've been given. And the leader is the big monster that's hidden somewhere - I don't know. And this big monster is more intelligent than the average human. It can plan strategies, lay traps and ambushes, do whatever the hell it wants to kill anyone who enters the ruins."
"Yeah, yeah; stop rambling, I know about those guys already."
Shurikane had a disgusted smirk. "Jay-Cee sent you down there?"
"Only once to test out a new type of shotgun."
"Did it work?"
"Somewhat. He was thinking of a system similar to us, only coarser. His idea was to just cut the blades off some monster and give them to hunters to use as swords. The shotgun had some Demi energy within it. Nothing too spectacular though."
"You mean it royally sucked."
Elenor laughed. "Yes, that's the word!"
In the meantime, the child had retreated back to her corner, and now was playing with a small videocamera. She practiced different face expressions and was completely absorbed by the task of recording her own little show. Shurikane looked at her offspring for a few seconds.
"It's amazing that I'm doing all that stuff just for me and her."
"Can't just ask for a law change, huh?" Elenor queried.
"Nope. Think about it. Why am I illegal in the first place?"
"I am dangerous alright," Shurikane continued, "but it isn't my fault! I didn't ask to merge with this thing. And even if I wanted to, I couldn't just remove it. It had taken over some of my circuitry, so parting with the organism meant a complete formatting and a change of components. So now my only option is to force Principal Tyrell to implement a law that'll allow my type - Insa-Series - to have the same rights as any other person on Pioneer II. For one part, I get freedom. For another part, I can grant freedom to other slave androids, like you used to be. Someone having a sentient android as slave has some really immoral ideas. A droid can think of its own, and most often has an emotional program. An android has a soul. Never forget that!"
Several seconds went by. Shurikane stood up.
"I'm off." She simply said.
"Who's our next member?" Elenor asked.
Shurikane was already walking over to the door; she turned her head slightly, for her voice to carry over to her teammate.
"Blue-type RAcaseal Kay."
Elenor opened a new notepad file and jotted down a few lines of codes.
"I need a hollow shaft in her hairpiece, separation techniques, thruster bow, and paw-morph modes. I think she'll love the idea of being a tank. Oh hell, know what? Put this on."
Elenor raised her hand and caught a tiny silvery box.
"Wireless transmitter. This way we can talk computer language at high speed without anyone hearing us. Install it, I'll then tell you how to do a config file."
Elenor opened a small plate on her left arm and found a slot to fit the transmittor in. Within seconds, she now knew exactly what Shurikane wanted. The black and green android extended her organic demi-spike into a port and downloaded the newly saved procedure and configuration files, and then double-checked with her organism to see if everything would work out. Soon as the affirmative was heard, she was out and heading back to Pioneer II in her Kasieri Wildsider (Sports model, no less.)
Elenor disconnected from the computer. She began looking at the security screens in turn, patiently waiting for the return of the third member.
Man, this whole organization's gonna be a lot more fun than I thought! She calculated. Evolution, comin' through!
"'Lenor." Shurikane whispered into the public phone. "BEE network's down, so I can't connect directly to you from Pioneer. I'd like a new procedure and configuration file for a certain Whatley; he's right next to me, he'll tell you the details in Encryption zero-nine. I've coded the call to sport a hidden destination so the cops won't catch it, just you two need to talk quickly nevertheless."
Shurikane stepped away from the booth to leave place to a large, white RAcast model android. He began asking away for a series of upgrades, namely napalm hands, a new look, and some beast DNA that he took care to whisper, not even letting Shurikane hear. She took the set from him when he was done.
"Code four-four?" She asked.
"Poison Lily!" Elenor replied. Shuri could just imagine the broad grin on her teammate from stating that.
"Alright. I'll see you in twenty. Don't forget to bring the containers."
She hung up and turned to the RAcast.
"Welcome to the group Whatley." She stared at him harshly while keeping a somewhat neutral tone. "I want you at teleporter number seven, in fifteen beats. My teammate will be preparing the mixture and installation while I'm gone. Rules of the game are simple: avoid contact with hunters, don't kill civilians, and keep in touch with us as much as possible."
"Say, where do you come from anyways?" Shuri asked.
"Industrial sector. I work in a warehouse with some old guy who has no one to talk to, so he had someone switch me to Freechip Mode so that I could talk and discuss things with him. Between you and me, now that I can think properly, my opinion is that this geezer is boring as hell! I want out of this job, ASAP."
"Soon as my little operation's over, I'm giving you much better than warehouse work. I need to catch a rendez-vous now. See you later." Shurikane raised her fist and lightly hit Whatley's with her own, for lack of a safer handshake.
Without any further ado, Whatley was off, and so was the RAcaseal. She took an elevator to the rooftops, and found another RAcaseal, of blue color, waiting beside the remains of a rusted freighter. Her hairpiece was set into a ponytail fashion, and she was as tall as they came. Yet, just an inch short of Shurikane.
Fortunately, she thought.
Both androids went into the freighter. Shurikane produced the needle and blood mixture.
"You hadn't specified any preferences, so I thought about putting you down as a tank."
The other android found herself quite disgusted by the word.
"A quick tank." Shuri added, following her words was a complex schematic of the configuration file, which made the new member nod and wave her fingers in a "gimme!" manner, anxious to become her new self.
"Great! Turn around, it'll take a minute." Shurikane said with a broad grin as she injected the mixture. One fourth in the hairpiece, one fourth in the back, and one fourth in each hip. Her demi-spike hacked into the motherboard and hard drives, uploading and installing the procedure and configuration files.
The new Kay took a step back, and she felt her hair piece with her hands. It grew somewhat bigger, and then nearly exploded with blue blood. The piece split into several components, to then regroup into its original shape, only lined by obvious black line patterns.
Her arms and legs were the next to take a change. The joints deformed and reformed into a new configuration, not visible from the outside, yet clearly marked by several bright green dots: shields. Those shields extended down her spine, where her back was now adorned with a complex black organic tattoo.
"Tank mode." Shurikane ordered.
Kay nodded, backflipped, and was now on four legs, her hands converted to gripper paws, her feet upgraded with more flexibility to switch between both modes.
The hair piece split into eight flat parts, each with a part missing in the middle. The U formed by this absence of metal was adorned with several pulsating blue energy dots.
And when they regrouped, the hole was now obvious: it was a nicely hidden Chaos Bringer Cannon.
Insa-K flipped back to her normal self. Her skin was now bright white, phosphorescent using a Skinglo function that for some reason had remained unused before.
Both androids quietly left the freighter, and took the elevator down to teleporter number seven, Kay dimming her glow to be less obvious to indiscrete looks. Whatley was already waiting for them.
Shurikane gave a wireless transmitter some instructions to Kay, who disappeared into the teleporter, destination Ragol forest. Whatley was about to follow, but found himself unable to move.
"You stay here." Shurikane ordered before removing her hand from his shoulder, as she went into the porter. No later than a minute, she was back into Pioneer II.
"Alright, Elenor was waiting down on Ragol and she gave me the muxture for you. We're heading for Earl Street."
Earl Street rings a bell for many people. Shurikane had called up no less than a stretch limo (black market edition of course) to journey over to a small roundabout plaza, where several other androids were waiting.
Those spectators were of all kinds and all colors; hunters, rangers, industrial workers, secretaries, independents, from every social class and quality. Some battered, some shining; but all wanting some change, and expecting a big show to begin.
The introduction was spectacular. Out of the limo stepped out Shurikane clad in an expensive-looking black (market) gown. Her hair had been put back into its original clean-cut configuration, her fingers curled up to look at least halfway normal, hidden into a pair of black gloves. Whatley followed her out.
The two androids scanned the crowd for a few seconds, and then all around them. Traffic was very sparse in this area of Pioneer II, and there wasn't a single cop car in sight. Shurikane then began her speech.
"Before I do anything; who among you have never heard of me yet? Raise your hand!"
Unsurprizingly, a lot did. Only the hunters didn't move at all, and maybe a few secretaries. But the industrial workers had all raised it. This came up to a pretty good percentage.
"Alright then! My name is Shrike "Shurikane" Naïnsev. I am a new type of hybrid that has been given both the qualities of androids and organic Demi creatures, without their weaknesses. After a fight with a Delsaber that led me into a teleporter to Pioneer II, I came out with a look and style far more than the common android; and to say frankly..."
In a rehearsed dramatic move, she ripped her gown off, and her gloves simply went into pieces as she unfolded her fingers. Her knife-hair deployed, and in the view of spectators was now a female android, with a sharpened skirt, and a gigantic pair of bladed Delsaber hands.
"...It kicks ass." She finished, bearing her sharp teeth.
The part of the crowd with an emotional chip was in awe, at least those who didn't know her. With the help of Whatley, Shurikane then demonstrated some combat techniques using the claws, and the shields integrated into them. Afterwards, Whatley stepped aside to let her to a speech once again.
"I've found a procedure which will now allow any android to be upgraded to the new Insa type; my race. Whatley, if you'll please step over here, I'll make you famous! Speaking of which, meet my friend here... Whatley, duh."
Some laughs. Whatley had been informed about the whole show beforehand, so he gave away a chuckle as he approached. Three injections: One in the head, one in each arm. Shurikane connected her spike to a port, and installed the files.
Soon enough, Whatley grew a huge grab-claw on one of his hands, similar to the petals of a lily. Once the morph was over, he opened his chest plate, letting Shurikane install some sort of box, replace his other hand, and then install the teeth unit on the newly formed hole in his formerly featureless head.
On cue, the droid demonstrated the capabilities of his new napalm units. The crowd was impressed, very impressed. Not only could Whatley fight with the usual Insa capabilities, he had a digestive system capable of producing napalm reserves, and an outer coating to protect him from his own napalm.
A cellphone rang. From the limo, someone threw it at Shurikane, who answered the call. A silence fell, almost. The constant noise of vehicles was still around them.
As she listened, she tried to retain a smile... But couldn't. One second later, she was laughing her processors off.
"Hey, people! Guess who's calling to stop us!!" She shouted to her audience with a wide grin, brandishing the cellphone high into the air.
NAME: Special K
CLASS: Insa series NewS RAcaseal C-Type 2, Chaos Crossbreed.
LEVEL OF INFECTION:
Limbs: Joints, hands and feet.
Abdomen: 14% circuitry.
Chest: 77% of circuitry, armor.
Head: Hair piece, eyes.
Limbs: Increased leg and arm speed. Joint shields, paw conversions, shock-absorber organic skeleton. Four-legged conversion for faster running and cannon stability. Hand claws.
Abdomen: Resistant-proof main organic circuitry.
Chest: Plate armor, increased reflexes, resistant-proof circuitry, organic heat sinks.
Head: Ponytail-style hair piece with 22.5mm radius Chaos Bringer cannon, separable into eight photonic components and/or Chaos Bringer weakened cannons. Rotative piece for machine gunning. Enhanced eyes with sniper lock-on and target distance reporting, nature, and class.
Ram Bar: Dashes towards opponent on four legs, stunning target.
Spread Sonic: Fires Chaos Cannon at an angle to the ground, creating a shockwave to knock target down.
Terra Machina: Splits hair piece into eight different components, and spins them into a circular motion while firing machine guns.
K Dash: Kicks target four times in the chin, sending it into the air on the fourth one, then stabs her Chaos Cannon into target and firimg immediately.
Grand Spread: Stands in balance atop her Chaos Cannon, and fires repeatedly, sending ring blasts around her as defensive measure.
Wheel of Fortune: Splits hair piece into eight different components, and spins them into a circular motion while firing separated weakened Chaos Cannons. The shots are less numerous, but much more accurate and devastating.
CLASS: Insa series KL RAcast C-Type 5, Mutant Lily crossbreed.
LEVEL OF INFECTION:
MUTANT LILY SPECIFICATIONS:
Abdomen: Internal chips, secondary RAM, secondary hard drive.
Chest: Detection and sensory systems, primary RAM and hard drive, CPU and heat sinks.
Arms: Black medium range napalm-thrower left hand fingers. Short range heavy-damage edition Triple M-petal system with Chewer Teeth, fuel-to-flame napalm system, and close-mouth fighting spike in right hand.
Abdomen: Backup organic RAM and hard drive.
Chest: Corrupted system files resulting in 32% decrease in boot-up time, enhanced semi-organic CPU, heat sinks, and RAM. Organic hard drive reader and writer heads with 19.9% increase in both capabilities. Organic combat radar system. Rudimentary digestive system allows production of required components for napalm fuel.
Head: HUD display, 25mm long-range napalm-thrower cannon implanted as mouth; lined with F-Processor teeth.
Body: Outer anti-napalm coating.
Strike Three: Fires all available napalm units at one target.
Blood's Fountain: Fires heavy napalm hand upwards, creating a defensive fountain around himself.
Devil's Friar: Grabs to opponent with medium napalm hand, and fires until body part is destroyed.
Volcano Carnage: Curls up into a ball while using all available napalm units to turn into a veritable fireball, and roll on top of its targets.
Flame Orage: Fires heavy napalm cannon vertically at maximum power, raining death upon all nearby opponents.
Rich Mixture: Grabs to opponent, encasing as much of the target as possible into lily claw-hand, and fires heavy napalm cannon.