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Republic Insa: The Android Sin

Entracte


It was a partial succes, I've heard. Shrike brought a few new friends back home but that was all. I also noticed her car had some new features, but how did she find the time to stop at the upgrade shop? I guess I will never know, as usual. She never tells me where she goes exactly.

All she says is that she's doing some good.




Kod, Fred, Armi, Noella, Breez and Davion had gathered at a local bar to discuss the situation. The veteran had called off the search for now, since he had seen Shurikane's car entering one of the space bays. In the center of the table were several empty bottles of Erawten Ice (lemon-flavored.)

A dead silence had been the only thing happening among them for a few minutes. Kod was busy pondering a strategy. Fred was nervously sipping his Ice in the meantime, refusing to think of anything right now. The others; God knew.

Kod took a break from his thoughts and looked around, scanning for any interesting things in the room. He could see a few eccentric-looking bourgeois sitting at a far table, and next to a window, a pair of Freechip androids seemed to be sharing some love words. He also noticed an old hag gambling her paycheck away in one of the slot machines in the dark corner. As for the barman, he was out of view, until a loud flushing sound gave away his location.

He felt a tap on his shoulder and turned around again to face Breez.

"I don't know about you," the younger hunter said, "But I am not going down on this planet to search for her."

"I wasn't going to ask you anyways..." Kod replied, still halfway lost in his thoughts. "It's just too much to cover. All I can hope for is that she comes back to Pioneer II and gets out of her car. Once that's done, I can just run her over."

Armi shook her head.

"Who says she will get out of her car? And anyways who says she will be in a spot where you can drive your truck? I don't think she'll be that obvious next time around."

"That's a given!"

"I think the best solution is just to sit and wait next to the space bays. She has to come this way. Either that, or through a planetary teleporter. She can't do the latter since planetary 'porters are guarded."

Kod sighed and took a long gulp of Ice.

"She can go wherever she wants. If she brings her buddies along, she can get through anything. She has weapons and shields, and no one can stop her from causing trouble. The only thing she doesn't want to use is her mag unit, since the photon blast it does can be heard from a mile away. Anyways, this isn't my biggest worry. What bothers me is how exactly we are going to take her down. Her hands have integrated shields. She can use these twenty-four-seven, and she can't forget these at home since they are part of her body altogether."

"Hey, come on!" Davion interrupted, half-drunk but still decently lucid. "Why don't we just go back home and abandon the whole thing? I mean, we're not doing this for the cash are we? We're here to give you a hand."

Kod brought his face nose-to-nose and stared a hole in Davion's eyes.

"If I don't kill Shurikane, I can say goodbye to my job, my money, and whatever reputation I have left. If I kill her, I am all clear and then I will have enough power and respect to upgrade you guys as a thank you for the help. I can't chicken out on those stakes, especially since they have been imposed on me by Principal Tyrell."

Davion shook his head and stood up.

"Whatever; you're just too obsessed with this thing. You've never seen me today, alright?"

"Yeah, yeah, see ya in hell."

Kod finished the second half of his Ice in one shot. He then passed both hands into his hair, where strands were starting to fall from their upright position.

"You guys are still in?" He said. This wasn't really meant as a question. Nevertheless, the others nodded.

"Great. I'll go take a rest. If Shurikane comes back today, she's nuts..."




"Mom, are we going to live in the city now?" Sierra asked in her usual soft voice. Shurikane removed her organic spike from a computer port and sat back on her chair.

"Soon enough, I guess..." She said distantly.

The main room was for the most part empty. In a secondary room (formerly used as warehouse) the rest of the Insas were telling the story of their life to each other. She noticed Elenor had not spoken yet. From the corner of her eye, she could see the pink RAcaseal busy working out the broken wires of her arm.

Shuri felt a weight on her leg and saw the kid sitting on her lap and hugging her. She felt uncomfortable for some unexplainable reason, but she didn't show any signs of it. Hugging was gesture she had trouble with. Whenever a hug came, she was sure the person would slice through her back, just like she could.

...Or whenever a kiss came, she was sure the person would bit off her cheek and scream out "Surprize!!" But she had coped with this problem. She accepted hugs and kisses. Her buddies in the black market were very friendly. They often gave her hugs and kisses for all the good work she did for them. It was a bonus to money. She didn't quite get that style of currency, but so what? It's considered an act of love or friendship, something that isn't normally contained in her blood and oil save for her daughter.

Sierra had her head on Shurikane's chest, looking towards some unknown spot on the wall. She wasn't smiling, nor frowning, her face bearing a completely unknown expression. Things could go to better, or to worse. Shurikane realized it all depended on what she said next.

But she didn't. She didn't want to put a smile at stake. In the whole world, Sierra's smile was the only beautiful one. Humans and newmans all had lips that were too small or too big. Sometimes misplaced, sometimes pale or overly red. Sierra wasn't like them. She had been designed with a perfect face in mind, and her teeth were white to the point that they looked human. In fact, Shurikane could have sworn Sierra was but a human within a shell of metal and simu-skin.

It will always remain true for us, she thought. Androids have a soul. They have emotions, feelings and ideas. They are people, after all.

"Mom, I feel wierd." Sierra's little phrase surprized Shurikane, who instantly came back down to earth to look at the kid hugging her.

"What's wrong?"

Sierra released her embrace and stepped away. She looked at the screens and computers around her, and then said, her back turned to her mother:

"Maybe we were meant to live this way..."

"Oh, don't say this! We are people!"

Sierra stood frozen and silent. She stared at her feet for a few seconds, and then rose up in the air, now looking towards the ceiling.

"Look," she said. "Can anyone else do this?... Does anyone else have what we have... Physical strength and agility. If we are stronger, maybe we have been fated to live through harder events, because we can survive them better than humans."

"Stop levitating!" Shurikane ordered.

Sierra rotated backwards a little more, looking at her mother from an upside-down position with a confused expression. Shurikane was certain her daughter was still up in the air by her own will, just to contest her authority. But there had to be a better reason than this... There had to. Sierra wasn't a rebel child...

"Why?..." The kid's voice was unusually quiet, and the syllable trailed on for what seemed like a year. But when Shurikane answered, her voice came as a perfectly human-like stutter.

"I- I... I... Don't... Know..."

Defeated, the mother leaned forward and looked at the ground. It was true. She didn't know where her dislike had come from. It should be beautiful, normally, to see a person fly like a bird, and laugh, and have fun up in the air. Giggles should be nice to the ears, shouldn't they?

Those giggles. Shurikane hated giggles. They drove her insane. People were having fun and she wasn't. She wanted to have fun. Pure, good fun. Not the animal bloodlust of a fight. She wanted to giggle herself, but she was incapable.

A hoarse, sudden sound came from her throat, a mix of speaker and vocal cords. It could have been a sob or a chuckle. Or it could have been both. Some sign that her mind wasn't able to choose which way to go. Sad, or insane.

She knew deep within her she was both, against her will. She really wanted to be happy and normal.

"Are you sad, mom?" She heard. She could have snapped "Duh!!" right back, but she didn't. She couldn't hate her own child. All she could hate was the fact that she would never fly herself. She'd always need the shell of her car. Gravity had won the lawsuit.

She stood up. Sierra watched her, riding a Kama mag like a horse. It wasn't a good enough substitute for the seven-foot Insa.

Shurikane muttered an excuse only she could hear, and closed the door behind her.

Sierra let the sattelite mag go and attach itself back within her body. She loved flying. Just being there, touching nothing was by far more comfortable than the softest bed.

"I wonder who the bad guy really is, in this big story..." She told the ceiling. In the secondary room, a choir of laughs erupted as a reaction to Whatley telling about his most ridiculous moment in his life.

Shurikane would stay locked into the spare parts room until the next morning.

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