Republic Insa: The Android Sin
"Any cops out there?"
Whatley took a general scan and reported the negative.
Outside of the car, Kestra was causing a flurry of incidents. The anti-gravity field neatly deployed around the vehicle wasn't discovered by other until reaching point of contact, sending freighters and transports bumping into each other from the unexpected force.
And it all came from the three-eyed RAcaseal unit standing in the center of that field.
Shurikane took a left into a sparser street. She didn't look that much happy now.
"Eight androids to convert in one run, and I only come back with three. Some people are going to be pissed off at me tonight..."
"Well, we're five Insas so far." Whatley said. "I think we're good enough already."
"You're too optimistic. I want to show Principal Tyrell there's a load of people down there who agree to a bit of a change. What am I gonna look like, coming into his office with a handful of metal guys that won't even fill up my car?"
Kestra bent down, resting her elbows on the two front seats.
"As long as we get the formalities done and over with, there's no problem! I mean, we aim, we ask, and if he doesn't do what we want him to do, we fire. Is there anything simpler than this?"
"No, and that's the problem." Shurikane snapped back. "I'm not out here to kill the government and rule with an iron fist! What you're forgetting here is that I want to pop right in front of him, with a big bunch of buddies behind me, I'll point over to them and tell him that the Insas are more useful and more powerful than the standard android. Insas go beyond the metal plates and the simu-skin." She poked her left hand with a knuckle. "This is the real thing. At last I get to know and understand how a standard organic being works. Tyrell - the government actually - forgets that androids have a soul. They have feelings. You can make a 'bot your slave all you want, there will be at least one byte of a file in there screaming over the rooftops that what's going on isn't rationally right. The best androids are the ones that act human and live like humans. That's the only right thing to do. What happens if you are kidnapped? Your slave will wait for you until doomsday? Not if you let an android free. Let an android live as a friend or a coworker and at one point, he'll start wondering where the hell you are, and hopefully start to look for you. A human would do that--"
"You're disgressing." Whatley interrupted in a bored tone.
"Uh, anyways. All this to say that Tyrell only hates my guts because I can't live without my hands. He could have just asked me to wear a pair of gloves or watch out when I walk, but no. Instead he treats me like an object. Be mutant, be killed. I want to change that. For the sake of God, I am not dangerous."
Shurikane arrived just in time at the Kasieri dealership garages. The timer she had set was almost up, and she expected to have the new car out of the customization machines in about one minute and forty-five seconds. She converted the amount to Beat Time to compare better and then parked the car into the spot nearest from the entry.
Inside, a human was already waiting, an instrument in hand.
"Car's done!" He announced to Shurikane.
The android snatched the data spine away from him and inserted it into a slot on her right forearm, breaking away the old one. Kestra had already gone forward and opened the door to the garage.
"Oh my God, it's beautiful!!"
The new Kasieri Wildsider TX-5 sat on four oversized wheels. Its custom 5V rims shone brightly in the dim light, and the chassis had been gifted with a high-quality black and neon-green paint job. At the front, an air intake shaped into a sharp-toothed mouth led to an impressively powerful Chorus 9500 engine, also cooled down by five more intakes from the hood. The six Porshe-style headlights gave the vehicle a somewhat alien charm, all of them able to convert from low beams to high beams to fog lights, the outer two lights bearing an orange part for signaling. The side was flawless. Mirrors were nonexistant, replaced instead by carefully aligned cameras and video screens. The doors had no handles. Instead, it had a password-protected spike port for androids. The car was born a coupé (although it didn't seem like it,) sporting only two very large doors. The inside was of a comfortable pure black leather, with the best available surround sound system, 12-minidisc changer, radio, CB, cellphone link, heat and AC, color custom HUD, and a special android-only drive-by-wire system which didn't need any steering wheel. That meant only Shurikane could control the car, using her personal login, DNA identification, and encrypted 75-gigabyte long password. The inside was obviously roomy, allowing for five people of average build to easily sit get in and sit down. Any free space on the control panel was replaced by a music analyser or oscillator of different color pattern, while the center of the empty spot supposed to house the steering wheel was adorned with a superb high-tech AVS display program. Below the sound system's basic controls lay an impressive array of instruments, namely street and building locator, vehicle radar, police radar, BEE link, CB link, speed-dialer, caller ID with decryptation, anti-virus, firewall, extensive car status display, antigrav pack settings, display options, music options, engine sound preferences, 500-lever fine-tuning digital equalizer, time per zone and per beats, watch display designs (300 analog, 780 digital), screen saver, video player, data anaylzer, and best of all: a weapons command system. Any of these could be displayed on two independent screens, or in split-screen mode if needs be. At the back, she could find the new type of mag-spoiler, which consisted of two transparent quarter-circle fins linked to a part-mag V-shape of a spoiler open at the back like a thruster, where flames could be thrown from using a fuel tube. The back lights were encased into each other, white at the center, orange around, and then red around, each animating its own pattern when used. And below, a set of three side-link exhaust pipes at the center, and one set of double pipes on each side, all seven of them able to use highly flammable nitrousoxide.
"How do you ever earn the cash for this..." Whatley muttered.
Shurikane had heard. "Black market work, plus mercenary work equals one really rich android."
Shurikane entered her code, let Whatley get in at the back, and then unfolded the seat and sat down, while Kestra went around to take the passenger position.
The driver logged in, and the car came alive in the furious sound of an entire choir signing as if it thought it was an engine... After all, it was the engine.
Shurikane immediately set her preferences in less than a second using her normal data spike, which she used to communicate with the car. Using this link, she was able to use it almost as an extension of her own body, the car doing her every bidding. To put the cherry on the sundae, she also uploaded to the car's memory a handful of hardcore techno songs.
And as she turned the headlights on, she caught the sight of a white RAcaseal android blocking the way out.
"Hello." She declared in a soft but unusually loud voice to cover the engine's sound. "My name is Asiel, and I'd like to be an Insa..."
"Get in!" Shurikane replied, and then in a whisper to Kestra: "Get in the back seat."
Stealthily, she deployed her organic spike, and pointed it towards where Asiel would sit, but made sure it would not look obvious. This way, if the white RAcaseal was a spy or an assassin, the Insa would get the upper hand very quickly. While Asiel got in, Shurikane lowered the window and offered a small card to Ekken.
"Great job!" She screamed happily. "Money's all in there, and you get all the bonuses!"
Ekken took it into a pocket analyser to make sure it was good, and then gave a nod and smile to his best customer.
The car raged away into the city.
"I wonder if I have the time and space to squeeze in another meeting... I have one scheduled in just two minutes actually." Shurikane thought aloud.
"Right!" Whatley snapped. "I'd rather have us to go back down to Ragol, group up, repair, refill, and then come back. I thought you had told me that you guys were full of weapons down there."
"...Girls." Shurikane corrected. "So far you are the only "male" member of the group."
Whatley turned towards the other RAcaseal in the car.
"Right!!" Shurikane exclaimed with a wierd chuckle.
Asiel shook her head.
"I used to be a RAcast type... But after I got badly injured they took me to the shop to tranfer into a shining new body. Unfortunately the paperwork wasn't done the right way, and this is how I ended up."
"What about the new RAcast body?"
"It went to a very rich man whose wife had recently died. He wanted a social android to fill the void."
"For a rich man, he sure was a rich man..." Whatley commented as he touched Asiel's cheek. "This simu-skin is of top quality, and the plates are removable. I'd almost say you're anatomically correct under that."
"This is only my basic out-of-factory plating. The original android was intended to look quasi-human, and thus wear clothes made for humans. Absolutely no metal parts. What I have on right now is like the pieces of plastic they cover new cars with."
"So the whole transfer thing just happened not too long ago?"
"Two days ago. I am an independent Freechip, so it didn't scandalize any owner at all. It's my problem, and only my own."
"What what in the what what?" Shurikane said from her position. "I wasn't listening."
"Some guy wanted a social hot chick droid and ended up with a sissy RAcast." Whatley replied.
Ten whole seconds of laughter nearly killed the surround sound system of the car (which was already pumping techno music at a high volume.)
"Anyways!!..." Asiel shouted over the noise. "I can't be happy in this body, and I have no money left to request a new RAcast shell. I have been programmed to act like a male, not a female android!"
"We'll find some fix for you." Shurikane replied. "And Whatley, you're right. We're pretty loaded with stuff down there. Let's shove this car over to Ragol and get ourselves locked and loaded."
"Indeed. Especially since Elenor and Kay are, I suppose, splitting themselves in quarters to get all the cop attention away from you."
The armored car had gone all around the building, and it was busy sniping the pair of androids from a fair distance. Kay wasn't able to even come close to it with her gun.
Both her and Elenor had to run and jump over to another building, and then another as the armored car kept spotting them despite its reduced number of radars.
"Recall!!" Elenor shouted. "Back to the teleporter, Shrike's calling the team home."
Both androids quickly changed directions to head to the nearest teleporter. Below, among the airways, the scream of a sports car's engine was almost omnipresent.
"Think the cops will block the teleporters?" Kay asked.
"No. For one, they know we're here. For two, there aren't enough morons on this ship to cover even one teleporter. Here, look!"
A local teleporter was on a small plateau-park at rooftop level. The next thing the androids knew, they were in a new section of the city.
"All right. T6 should be first street on the left." Elenor said, judging by her knowledge of the city.
Only two guards were standing next to the planetary teleporter... Unfortunately, both of them held an upgraded shotgun due to the state of emergency.
"Dammit... They must think we're planning a coup d'état or something..." Kay thought out loud.
"Duh..." Elenor facepalmed. "Anyways. Split your cannon and--"
They passed over the remains of the guards and teleported for the safety of Ragol.
At rooftop level, one SUV owner was cursing at the sight of a black Wildsider easily getting away from him.
"Did you expect the space bay to be full of cannons?"
"Yes, what's your point?!"
"We could have gotten shot down and chased after."
"Yo; this car alone is faster than any police dragster they can pull outta the garage, so give me a break. Hey, we're safe after all!"
Whatley decided it was a lose cause and shut up. A few minutes later, the Wildsider was pressurized and descending back towards safe Ragolian ground.
NAME: Kod Gregoire Naïnsev
CLASS: Human hunter, clearance level 100, 15 year seniority.
Vjaya Partisan: Nicknamed "The Taxing Spear," this telescopic blade is connected to a money card, and withdraws a fixed amount whenever a swing hits. This was introduced in order to limit the overuse of this powerful weapon.
Varista Handgun: A high-performance gun, made of top quality material and able to accept twice the photons in capacity. Kod carries four whenever he expects a fight, since he loves to overuse his bullets.
Delta-Brand Saber: A short photon blade that uses the suit's photon reserves to generate an unusually powerful strike.
Billykane: Stabs target with Vjaya Partisan, and lifts target up in half-circle motion, to let it crash on opposite side.
Simulated Ki Push: Uses suit photon power to increase shield strength in a burst, effectively pushing a nearby enemy away.
Animal Boomerang: Throws pair of Varaha mag blades towards target. Mag comes back to Kod after the move.
Electric Slicer: Does throwing motion while holding Vjaya Partisan and letting it slip in his fingers, extending his reach towards target and allowing for a faster and more powerful strike.
Russian Paralysis: Target is grabbed and back is smashed on Kod's knee.
Photon Blood: Stabs Delta-brand Saber into target, and leaves the saber in until target's photon armor reaches critically low point.
Pain Cylinder: Sandwiches Vjaya Partisan betweem his two Varaha mags and sends the attack over like an arrow. The mags then rotate the blade at high speed upon hitting target.