Adam, Artemis, Atlas, & Icarus Part 1

0 days


“You’re insane.”

“Your point is what?”

She rolled her eyes and tightened the straps holding me to the chair.

“The point is that someone who can’t move shouldn’t really be this snippy.” She gestured at the plethora of medical equipment around us. “I’m sure I can do some interesting things with all of this.”

“Well, can you wait until after we do the duplication, then?”

Eva sighed and nodded.

“Fine. You fry your brain on this, though, then I was right.”

I smiled. “When I don’t fry my brain, you’ll owe me that drink.”

Eva rolled her eyes and strode over to the control console for our decidedly illegal experiment.

“Ready?” she asked.

I looked up at the equipment hovering over me, suspended by straps ties and inexperienced welds.

“Not really.”

I tried to turn my head back to her to smile, and was suddenly overwhelmed, my entire body tensing up and jerking repeatedly as a seizure took hold of my body. I coughed once, and Eva’s eyes widened. Darting towards the work bench, she grabbed a towel as blood began to dribble from my lips.

She held it to my face as the fit continued and more blood fell from my lips. After several minutes it abated, and I leaned back in the seat gasping for breath.

“You alright?” asked Eva as she leaned forwards and wiped at my mouth cleaning the blood away.

It took me a moment to collect myself.

“I will be,” I said, exhausted.

“That mean you want to continue?”

“More so than ever, yeah.”

Eva threw the towel aside and returned to the control console.

She glanced at the bed next to her and then back to me.

“Everything’s green.”

“Go!” I growled.

Eva took another breath and started the process.

At first there was nothing; a low hum from the machines, but that was about it. Electricity crackled and the salvaged scanning module whirred.

“Anything?” asked Eva.

I raised one finger, my signal for now while the process took place and I had to remain still. Moving during an intense brain scan wasn’t usually advisable.

Eva glanced back down at the screens in front of her. “I’m seeing a good resolution here. The transfer rate is increasing exponentially!”

I was seeing something now, an odd flicker in front of my eyes. Lights were dancing and forming, bouncing all around me in odd and unnatural patterns. It was most likely the result of the intense focused electromagnetic field focused on the neurons of my visual cortex. Or another likely scenario, God wasn’t happy with what I was doing and I was going to see the pearly gates.

My vision whited out and I resisted the urge to move.

“Adam! Are you alright!?”

I couldn’t see her, but I raised two fingers. It was now or never.

The lights flashed again, I felt disoriented, like someone had just spun my chair around. I remained sitting not wanting to move.

Another flash and a loud electrical crack.

I was on my back. The light was gone.

“What the!” I sat up, pulling the blanket away from myself.

Eva looked over at me startled, as did the man next to her. Me.

I glanced down looking at my body. My new one.

“Did it work?” I asked, or rather, the other me asked.

I looked over at him. “Yeah, it worked.”

He smiled. “Well that’s good. What’s it feel like?”

I raised a hand and slowly turned it around. Carefully, I pinched the skin and felt the appropriate response. Looking down at my chest, I hit it, and felt the unforgiving metal beneath the skin.

“Really good.”

Crouching down, I leapt up into the air and grabbed at the scaffolding of the decrepit warehouse. Dust and rusty grit was shaken loose, but I ignored it in favor of flipping my body over, and moving my feet up to touch the ceiling, leaving my head pointed directly at the floor below.

Letting go, I felt time slow, and not in the way it usually did in a stressful scenario.

I felt something in the back of my head click on and time literally slowed. I knew how far off the ground I was, where I was going to land and how hard, and how I would have to shift my weight before landing to avoid injury.

I knew all of this.

Glancing over, I looked at myself and Eva. Their eyes were tracking me as I fell, if somewhat behind, still looking at the spot where I had been on the ceiling.

Flipping, I landed in another cloud of dust and grime. Eva and my other self looked at me.

“Really, really good.” I repeated smiling at the two.

Eva glanced back at the more frail incarnation of my consciousness. He waved his hands and sat back down in the chair where I, he, had just been.

“How long was the gap?” I asked. “To me if felt like a moment.”

“It’s been about six hours,” said the older me.

I nodded. “Alright, that was expected.”

“Still stressful.”

Eva bustled over to me, pulling a tablet off of her desk. She unwound a cable, which she unceremoniously snapped into the back of my neck, standing up on her tiptoes to do so.

“Ow!” I said.

She rolled her eyes. “You were going to complain that everything is fine, that I don’t need to run tests?” she asked.

The two versions of me looked at one another. “Yeah.”

Eva grunted and then looked down at the tablet.

It took several moments for the diagnostics to return. “99.8% conversion. That’s higher than we expected!” she said.

I smiled, and the older version of me stood and slowly ambled over.

“So he’s not me?” he asked.

Eva shrugged, still reading the results. “The neural conversion from a natural synaptic net to a synthetic equivalent was bound to have some translation issues. Both systems are analog at heart, but the transfer equipment was digital; some parsing had to be done.”

“The difference is about as much as I am now to who I was two weeks ago, right?” I asked.

The older version of me, the sicker version of me, nodded.

“Yep.” He sighed and looked more meaningfully at me this time.

“You sure?” I asked knowing what he intended.

Eva looked up. “Am I sure about what?” she asked.

I shook my head and looked over at the older me.

“You know the answer,” he said.

“I do.”

Reaching out, I grabbed Eva’s hand and pulled her to me. She struggled against me for a moment. “Adam!”

“Sorry.” I mumbled.

The first version of me walked over to the desk, opened a drawer, and slowly extracted a small black handgun. He weighed it in his hands for a moment.

“Adam?” repeated Eva.

“You want to give the speech, or should I?” I asked.

The other Adam opened his mouth to answer, but instead he coughed and began to wretch. It took him another minute to recover.

“Eva, you know what the point of all of this was,” said Adam.

“No!” shouted Eva.

She struggled against me. Minutes ago, from my perspective, I wouldn’t have been strong enough to hold even her petite form back. Now I could technically lift a car over my head. I was in a body that the two of us had designed for use by the military as a remote drone.

The only illicit modifications we had to perform was the artificial neural net substrate, something the military hadn’t invested in much since the 2038 incident.

I was now almost completely artificial. The skin was real, but more akin to the artificial meat grown in farms instead of real skin. We had, or rather, I had also made sure that it had the appropriate external structures as well. If I was getting a robotic body, there was no way I was going to emasculate myself.

“Eva, he’s in near constant pain. I, he.” I paused, still trying to sort the words out in my own head. My very new and much faster head. “The pain is bad. He’s been covering it up to finish the project. At this point, it’s either go out with some grace, or become addicted to some pain killer and rot away. We don’t want that,” I said trying to get her to understand.

Adam finished coughing and straightened back up to look me in the eye. “You make sure to take care of her.”

“You know I will.”

The two of us smiled weakly at one another. Eva was sobbing now, and shaking her head back and forth.

“Please don’t!” she said, the tears streaming down her face.

Adam raised the gun and looked at it. “You know, it’s odd. I half expected to wake up as you,” he said, looking over at me.

“You did, though.”

Adam nodded and sighed.

He tensed and closed his eyes, taking several deep shuddering breaths.

“Well, here’s to immortality then.”

There was a bang, Eva let out a pained cry and I let go of her. She stumbled forwards to where I…he had collapsed. The body that nature had given me, and my own genetics had destroyed, lay prone on the ground. Slowly I walked over to look at him; the same face – backwards, but the very same one I had seen in the mirror every day – looked back up at me blankly.

“You know, I wasn’t completely sure we had the guts to do it.”

Eva turned to look at me. “You could have stopped him!”

“I could have, yes. But five minutes ago, from my perspective, I was in that body! I know exactly what he was feeling!”

I held up a hand and leaned forward to close Adam’s eyes.

“My body was falling apart, things weren’t working. I was on so many meds that I wasn’t going to be able to get off of them. This was the cure!” I waved my hand at my body, the new one.

Eva glared at me for a half moment and then turned back to look at what had once been me.

“So what, when I switch into mine should I put a bullet through my own head?” she asked.


I put a hand on her shoulder but she shrugged it away.


I took the hand away. She looked back at Adam.

“Do you see me any differently?” I asked.

“How can I not!?”

She stood up and stormed over to the work bench, next to the bed where we had constructed the body I was in. Lying next to it was another half-finished body, the one that she would be copying herself into.

Silently walking over to it, marveling at the fact that none of my bones creaked or my joints ached from the simple movement, I joined her and looked down at it. The basic form was human, but purely mechanical. The chest cavity was, open exposing the mass of delicate machinery inside as well as the small fusion plant that powered it. By all technicality, the body on the table and the one I was in would be able to operate for fifty-five years without fuel.

In a vat on the other side of the room, the skin that would be grafted to the metallic skeleton was growing.

“Really? We do all of this research, all of this experimentation… you said yourself it was a 99.8% transferal!”

Eva looked at me, really looked at me, for the first time.

I stared back at her.

She sighed. “Did you really have to do that immediately after?” she asked, pointing at my first iteration.

“Seriously I was in pain, a lot of it. The diagnosis was terminal you know that!”

She shook her head, sitting down and looking at her own duplicate. “Do you always have to make everything so dramatic?”

I sat down on the other side of her new body.

For several minutes the two of us were silent.

“Am I going to have to ask?”

Eva looked up at me. “What?”

I leaned forward across the bed, towards her.

She hesitated for a moment, and her eyes flicked back to my old body. “It’s a little morbid.”

I scoffed. “I’m not dead, and we diverged for what, five minutes and .2%?”

“I mean kissing in front of a dead body.”

I nodded in agreement. “Yes. Although technically, …”

She reached across and slapped me. I smiled hardly feeling the impact.

“I’ll take care of it.”

“You have something in mind?” she asked.

“Yeah. I might not be dead, but still I grew up in that body. It’s personal.”

She began to tinker with her own body. “Alright.”

1056 days


Looking down at the crowd, I let my mind expand, my eyes moving independently as I scanned for my prey. He was supposedly a Luddy, but given how well he had been able to evade me thus far I was somewhat skeptical of that fact. No one could avoid modern surveillance without using some of it themselves.

The crowds below were something I would normally avoid, but if we were going to complete our objective, then I would have to brave it. Jonas Mayweather was the prey; he was the rallying voice for the Luddies. That wasn’t the reason he deserved death, though.

He has killed my sister in cold blood, while the masses had watched and cheered – and he revelled in the attention they gave him.

That was the reason I was going to watch as the life drained from his face. Revenge, pure and simple, not some stupid ideological reason.

Apollo had been bedridden nearly her entire life, and then she had been offered an escape. The chance to leave her body and live within the first digital soul server, something that the hypocrites below apparently detested.

They were not content with simply calling those who escaped death to live inside of the digital realm cowards; they had deemed them abominations that needed to be destroyed, and destroyed the server farm complex.

The attacks had been the will of the mob, and in any case the governments were not sure what to classify the attack as; if they called murder, they would be conceding that those who were alive inside the computers were still people, and that their rights were guaranteed. The Luddies in the government loathed to do that, so instead they stalled.

All anyone had been charged with was destruction of property and proprietary data, if they had even been charged at all.

That was what my sister had been reduced to: proprietary data.

Jonas Mayweather had led that raid, now he would die.

From high above, I watched. The crowd below was the worst of humanity: the hateful dregs of society who feared everything alien and new, who feared to look forward at what they could be, content to wallow in what they were. Not long ago, these same people had been the ones fighting to keep people in love apart, and before that they had marched with the same fevered rage to separate people for something as simple as melanin concentrations in the skin.

Now they marched to deny others life, and condemn my kin to worthlessness.

“You see him?” asked Eva, looking back from the co-pilots seat.

I looked over at the woman, and her duplicate in the pilot’s seat next to her.

“No. But then, he won’t show himself until it’s time for the speech to begin.”

Eva – the older, biological-smelling one – nodded, apparently lost in thought. Her counterpart simply grunted in confirmation.

“You know, it’s funny,” said the fully biological Eva.

“What is?” I asked, annoyed with the woman. Both versions of her wouldn’t shut up if they started talking, and once they were talking with one another they switched to a shorthand that was incomprehensible to anyone else.

“He used to be respected. Mayweather that is.”

“So?” I asked as I continued to scan the crowd.

“I’m just saying that he was once a moderate. That maybe murdering him in front of a crowd of thousands will only turn him into a martyr. He’s only been off the wall crazy since he attacked the facility.”

“I’m not arguing with you about this again, Doctor,” I growled. She had been bringing this up at every opportunity. If such a vile man became a martyr, then the solution was simple. Kill anyone who held him up as such. Waiting for the crowd to realize their error would take far too long and cost far too many lives.

“I’m just saying, the fallout from this won’t just be contained to you. What do you think the Luddies will do when they can’t get their hands on you? Turn around and go home? They’ll assault anyone with any cybernetics or obvious genetics in the street!”

I turned an eye to look at the purely human woman. “Then you’ll be fine.”

Eva rolled her eyes. “Yes, the woman that helped invent the very thing they fear, I’ll be perfectly fine. I don’t even have the ballistic armor embedded in my skin!” she said, looking pointedly at her double.

The cyborg shrugged. “I was the lucky one? Besides, I’m amazed you aren’t dead yet, or at least that you’ve not gone in for cybernetics add-ons yourself.”

Eva shrugged. “Call me paranoid, but I’d rather not be fried when the idiots detonate a nuke.”

“So you’d rather die in the radioactive fallout?” asked the cybernetic Eva.


I ignored them as they continued to argue and turned both of my eyes back down towards the masses. The crowd was parting down the center, and a man in a pure white suit was moving forwards.

“I think I see him.”

The two Evas shut up, the cybernetic one leaning over to look out of the helicopter.

“I see him. I’ve got a 98% match on facial recognition.”

The man took off his hat and moved up onto the monument steps.

“That’s him. Artemis, are you sure?”

I jumped before either one of them could say anything else.

For a brief moment I closed my eyes, relaxing.

Angling myself down, I cut through the cold winter air. It ripped and tore at my bare skin. My scales vibrated. My feathers flexed. Opening my outer eyelid, I looked down at the fast approaching ground and smiled. I was a predator, and my prey was in sight. My genetic instincts, so much stronger than normal humans, were practically purring at the prospect of what was to come.

Angling my descent even further, I shot towards the shallow pool in front of the dead president’s monument. This was going to hurt in any case; I might as well make my entrance dramatic.

I hit the pool, and then the stone beneath the water. It hurt like hell, and for the first time since my inception I felt the limits of my physical endurance being tested, or at least in regards to the carbon composite nano-filament reinforced bones. My skin’s bulletproof properties had been tested often enough, and I had been thrown off of a few buildings.

Still, I usually had a parachute.

Keeping my inner eyelids closed, I quickly swam up to the surface and broke out of the water, kicking one last time to leap up out of it.

The crowd around me drew back away from the pool as I arced high through the air.

I lightly landed at the front of the pool and looked up at Mayweather and the president’s statue behind him.

The crowd was silent for a moment, stunned. I couldn’t really blame them. My sisters and I had never revealed ourselves to the world; our father had never hidden us, but he had also never lied about the fact that the world would fear us. Besides, the element of surprise was not one to be given up on a whim.

We were supposed to be the pinnacle of biology, more intelligent than any human, more lethal than any predator. We had all begun in our Father’s eye when his own child, one produced through the same means humanity had employed for millennia, had died because of genetic frailty. From her he had taken the base genetic code, and onto it grafted everything else that made us. At first he had done it to try and bring his daughter back, but instead he got us – me and my sisters. Still, he loved each of us.

When Apollo had fallen ill, struck by the same disease that had killed his original daughter, our Father had nearly been driven mad. He stripped out any genetic code he thought had caused it, and put inside us so many improvements, so many blessings, so much power, that we were the closest things to Gods on Earth. Or at least, he had thought so.

Near the end of Apollo’s life, when he was desperately looking for any answer, he had discovered the work of Doctors Eva and Adam. In desperation he reached out to them, and they helped him.

Apollo had abandoned her failing body and transferred her soul into the computer, the first of many desperate souls to do so. For three years afterwards, she had lived with all of us, turning her predatory instincts on a world of silicon and computers. She was just as lethal, and just as beautiful as the rest of us.

She hunted inside the digital systems while we hunted in the real world, making sure that the genetic experiments being performed by every government around the world didn’t go too far, that the people they might be creating were treated properly, like people.

When she had died, the facility that she and hundreds of others like her called home destroyed, our Father sunk into a depression until he passed away just a week ago.

Now the man responsible for that misery would pay.

Stepping forward, I smiled, my teeth exposed. My feathers were up and my scales flat.

My sisters and I didn’t usually wear clothing. There was no need. Even the most advanced armors would fail before our skin did.

“Jonas Mayweather!” I shouted.

The crowd stepped further away from me, and the man on the podium looked down at me stunned.

“You killed my sister! For that I am going to kill you!” I shouted. I pointed a hand at him, letting a retracted claw slowly slide out.

Mayweather swallowed, glancing around at his guards. The crowd seemed to regain some of his confidence.

A man broke from the crowd and rushed towards me.

Lazily, I let him approach. He out-massed me several times; he was heavily muscled and was no doubt someone who usually fought before he talked. He swung a fist at me. I casually moved out of the way, grabbed his arm and broke it in four different places, and kicked him back into the crowd.

Mayweather watched this and a vicious smiled spread across his face.

“See how casually it reverts to violence! Does anyone here think that thing hasn’t killed?!”

I stepped away from the man who had attacked me and stalked forwards towards Jonas. The crowd fell silent and parted away from me.

“My sister was one of the minds inside the servers you and your faithful followers killed!” I shouted.

Mayweather looked positively smug now.

“Those shadows who were once people? They were nothing but computer code that had you fooled into thinking it was alive!” he shouted.

He spread his arms, gesturing at the crowd around him. “This is what humanity is! These are real people – even you are nothing but a shadow! I don’t know why you have that cybernetic body, maybe like those who retreated into the half-life of those servers you feared death, or maybe you were conceited enough to ask for the body thinking it would make you a god!”

Mayweather raised his arms up. “But you are not a god – in fact you are less than a man now!”

From his pocket he produced something and clicked it. I heard the capacitors, the charging circuits and the power building. Within half a second the EMP wave pulsed out invisible and devastating.

Every piece of technology in sight spluttered and died. The drones above recording the rally fell from the sky. The lights around the monument spluttered out and died. In the pockets of many of the people in the crowd, personal devices fizzled and died. The microphone in front of Mayweather let out one final spluttering crackle before going silent.

The only light now came from the setting sun, tinging everything red.

“Without your technology, you are nothing!” shouted Mayweather his arms up to the sky as if preaching.

Calmly, I took several steps towards him. Mayweather and others in the crowd stepped back in apparent shock.

“I am not a cyborg, Mayweather. I was born with my gifts.”

The guards all moved in front of Mayweather as he tried to regain the crowd.

“Then you are worse of an abomination than even the cyborgs! At least they were once human; you though have no idea what it means to be human!” shouted Mayweather.

I looked at the man and shook my head. “It’s sad, you truly believe your own rhetoric don’t you?”

He didn’t say anything, instead choosing to continue glaring at me.

“I am a predator, Mayweather! I have killed without remorse or compassion.” I raised a hand, flashing my claws in the dying light.

“I do not have the blood of children, of the innocent, on my hands. You and the masses you stirred up murdered thousands who did not deserve death. Every life that I have taken, though, deserved far worse than the quick death I provided.”

I turned to look at the people in the crowd. “You killed those you thought were abominations when they were composed of nothing more than electrons in a computer. Will you stand by your principles now as I stand before you, and murder me in cold blood?”

I spread my arms, offering myself to the crowd. “Be warned, though. If you are prepared to kill me, I will offer the same courtesy.”

With that I smiled, exposing my canines.

For half a beat, the crowd was frozen. Mayweather broke the silence.

“Somebody kill the abomination!” he shouted, and turned to his guards.

One of them, a man barely past youth, pulled the gun from his belt. Hands shaking, he pointed it at me.

The crowd once again froze, watching. Waiting.

“Make sure you don’t shoot anyone else!” I shouted, and stepped forwards towards him.

The man’s eyes widened, and his grip on the gun tightened.

“If you miss, I can assure you that you will be dead before you can pull the trigger again,” I said, my voice calm.

The man glanced back at Mayweather, who was waving his hands for him to continue.

The man glanced out at the crowd. The people in the back were trying to get closer, while those at the front were trying to back away, sensing legitimate danger. Still, they were absolutely quiet.

“You’re not human!” shouted the man.

I paused. “For that, even if it is true, I deserve death?” I let the feathers and scales that covered my body ripple.

“I am not like you. I do not think like you. I do not act like you. I would hazard that I am perhaps even more intelligent than you. You cannot deny that the only reason to kill me would be to destroy something you say is not human. I believe I am Human in sprit; I endeavour to expand my horizons, to work towards a better future. Does that not make me human?”

I turned to look at Mayweather. “Regretfully, sometimes that means reverting to the more primitive methods of correcting a problem.”

“Shoot her!” shouted Mayweather.

He put his hand on the man’s shoulder, startling him.

The gun went off, and I felt the impact of the bullet on my shoulder near one of the weak points of my armor. The lucky shot dug into my flesh and hit the bone.

The man yelped and dropped the weapon, quickly turning tail and running when I remained standing in front of him. The crowd recoiled. People scrambled away from me. Walking forward, I carefully picked up the crude weapon, weighing it in my hand.

“These are hardly even dangerous in the new world. A cyborg will repair any wound, and you need an anti-material rifle to pierce the brain cases of most. Due to your interference, the newest servers for those who live exclusively as digital souls are now mirrored across a dozen locations, a thousand different server clusters. You could as much kill one of them as you can expunge a bacterial species from the surface of the planet.”

I tossed the gun back and I heard it splash in the pool. With a single clawed finger, I dug underneath the scales of my shoulder and slowly extracted the bullet, betraying nothing of the pain on my face.

“I’m the most vulnerable of the new types of human. We have nothing but the combined accomplishments of Mother Nature, yet still these weapons are nothing more than annoyances.”

I dropped the bloody bullet onto the white stones. It clinked and rolled, leaving a trail of dark red on the marble.

Mayweather’s eyes were bugging out now, and the remaining guards had moved to encircle him. All of them had their guns out now, and all were pointed at me.

“You are a monster! An abomination! A sin against God!” shouted the mad prophet. “You cannot kill me, for my message is righteous!”

He fought against the guards for a moment, even as they tried to carry him away to safety.

“You’re right Mayweather! I can’t kill you!”

The security detail paused, and Mayweather broke free, smiling triumphantly.

Before he could interrupt, I continued. “Aphrodite has claimed that privilege. So I’m content simply to watch as the life drains from your eyes.”

Mayweather and the crowd barely had time to blink after I finished speaking. My sister let go and dropped from the high alcove of the monument where she had been lying in wait for nearly three days. I and my other sisters in the crowd all watched with vicious glee as she pounced.

Her claws rent into his skin, and in a death that was far too quick and merciful, Mayweather collapsed.

The guards turned in unison, but Aphrodite had already leapt off of the steps of the monument and landed next to me.

The rest of my sisters did the same, throwing aside their cloaks and disguises and leaping up from out of the crowd. The six of us stood looking out at the crowd in a small defensive circle.

“If you want to kill us ‘abominations’, then do not complain when the abominations fight back!” I shouted.

Most of the crowd turned and ran.

The foolish ones rushed towards us.

As a pack, we first six genetic abominations, amalgamations of every species mother Earth had to offer, struck. We struck out against the ignorance, the pain, the downright hatred that had killed our sister. We were not heroes. We were not righteous on that day.

We were simply human enough to want revenge.

3289 days


“You say it like destroying a rouge AI is simple,” I growled.

Artemis just huffed in annoyance. “It’s not that complicated.”

I slowly turned around in my chair and held the connection cable out to the rather violent woman. Her reputation was something that most didn’t mess with. I was at least fairly confident that she wouldn’t kill me for insulting her; all reports had her and her sisters killing only for good reasons. Still, not a good idea to piss her off, if only for the number of political connections she had.

“You want to do it?”

She looked at it for a moment, and I half expected her impulsiveness to win out. She was really on edge – not surprising given the genetics she had. They made her predictable.

“No, we didn’t spend three days hunting you down to do something we could have done ourselves. We are confident we would be able to do it, but not without the requisite amount of finesse to make it a lasting victory,” Artemis answered.

I looked around at the five remaining sisters. At one point, they had looked identical, being clones, but years of war and hardship had given them all scars. They looked more like sisters now rather than carbon copies. Not unlike the ones I survived, although none of mine were external. The scars from my encounters were internal. On the outside, I was less impressive then even a Luddite human; my muscles were weak, and not at all toned.

In the ages before, I would have been powerless. I was no genius, no savant of any particular field. My strength came from an abnormality in my brain, some small flaw I had honed into a blade. My mind could escape the sensorium of the digital world constructed to host digital souls. I could interface, and run directly on any system, divide my mind, divide my thoughts, and still remain whole.

It was a disconcerting experience, being torn apart and reconstituted in an instant and an eternity. To this day I was sure that fragments of my mind were still drifting through the networks, aimlessly searching for a mind to return to, too far mutated for me to even recognize as my own conscious fragment.

“We need you to do this!” hissed Artemis. She slammed her hand onto the desk, her claws breaking the cheap wood veneer. I glanced down at her wanton destruction.

“Threatening me won’t make me any more willing. You need me, remember?”

The women didn’t look amused at all.

These women were the most lethal creatures on the planet, they had all individually toppled governments, killed luddites who were threatening the world. Their modus operandi was direct, brutal, and effective.

“We have the resources of Imperial America and the European Confederation. As well as unofficial support from the Chinese Empire. What do you want?” growled Artemis.

I leaned back in my chair. “Artemis, when you describe your enhancements, your talents, to luddites and basic cyborgs what’s the response?”

She frowned, thinking for a half moment. “Misunderstanding. An inability to comprehend how I see the world, through no fault of their own in the more innocent ones. Belligerent unacceptance in the more aggressive.”

“Then try to describe your talents to me,” I said.

She cocked her head to the side but acquiesced.

“I cannot fathom how humans survived without the sense of smell I have, the visual acuity I have, the physical defenses, the power, the absolute control I have over my body.”

She raised a hand up and twirled it around, examining her short claws.

I raised the cable in my hand up.

“When I interface, I am drowned. Who I am is nearly swept away in the torrent of information and conscious thought. I am not some sailor or entity that can at my leisure examine the network. I am a man who is tossed overboard into a maelstrom.”

I shook the cable. “I’m one of the few people who doesn’t see this as a way to reach immortality. Unlike the luddites, though, it’s not for lack of want.” I chuckled. “I’m as afraid of dying as anyone, but I can see the underlying structure of that immortality, and like staring into the sun I can only look for so long before I am damaged. If I were to abandon this mortal coil,” I raised my arms and stood, “I would go mad and be lost.”

Artemis and her sisters looked at me. “Now do you understand what you are asking of me?”

She slowly tilted her head. “As much as I can, although as you pointed out there is a disconnect between our understanding of one another.”

“Then what the hell would you be able to offer me? What the hell would any of the governments of the world be able to offer me, when… when diving in again will surely drive me insane?”

Artemis glanced back at her sisters.

“We have nothing to offer, then, it would seem,” she said, her head dropping slightly.

“Good.” I spun around to look at the old style monitors. “Now, tell me more about it.”

Her head snapped back up. “What?”

“I’m going to die someday. I’ve got nothing to live for, and I can’t reach immortality. So what the hell, I might as well die for something good. Besides, if this AI is as powerful as you are making it out to be, it should be one hell of a fight.”

“You would so willingly accept it? Then why debate?” growled the biological amalgamation.

I shrugged. “So you understand what you’re asking. Then again, I’m sure you’ve accepted missions where you expected to die. Plus… it’s kinda fun to mess with you.”

“You realize I could kill you in under a second, right?” she hissed, a small smile on her face.

“I get the feeling not many people mess with you. Taking people down a peg has been a hobby of mine for a while.”

“I do have a request, though. What returns to this,” I tapped my head, “likely won’t be particularly sane if this is the strongest AI ever reported.”

I picked up a small, old style thumb drive lying on my desk.

“I want you to kill me. I’d rather not spend the rest of my life drooling in a bed.” I offered the drive to Artemis; she hesitantly took it.

“And as for payment, I want you to remember her. She never made it, never had the chance to live for eternity.”

Artemis glanced down at the drive and then back at me. “Who was she?”

“The one in ten billion. I might not believe in the soul, but I’d like to think we were soul mates.”

“Then we will remember her,” Artemis said as she tucked the drive away into a pouch.

I nodded and turned back to my computer. It was my curse. Any direct neural interface, even for something as simple as visuals, would expose me to the torrent and suck me in.

“I’m going with you,” said Artemis.

“No. You’ll slow me down.”

Artemis smiled and tapped her skull.

“I’ve got half of the most senior government computer codes on Earth. You want that access, or do you want to waste time hacking through?

I glared at her for a moment, but it was quite the advantage, and I could use her access to get a few of the things I was looking for without being detected.

“You listen to me, and do what I say. No complaining. We’re entering my domain. You questioning something will just slow me down.” I unspooled a second cable and held it out to her.

She nodded and glanced back at her sisters, who all quietly spread themselves around the room. After some quick, unspoken affirmations, she plugged the cable in.

“If we’re not back in a day, then something has gone wrong. I won’t wake up, and,” I turned to Artemis, “you might not wake up either.”

She nodded.

“Let’s get going then.” A smile spread across her features.

Reaching around, I plugged the cable into my neck and fell into the sea.

Adam, Artemis, Atlas, & Icarus
Next Chapter

Sweetness – Love and Kiing (NSFW)

CopRit Empire, Halfil Sol 14 Of Race 4 Year 4958 Frostal Secondary, New Baltimore Sitting down in the chair across from the Principal’s desk I nervously swallowed and tried to calm my heart. The Principal could probably hear it, and smell my perspiration. Which was only making me more nervous. “Thoomaas,” squeaked the principal from

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Sweetness – Chapter 3 (NSFW)

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Sweetness – Chapter 2 (NSFW)

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Sweetness – Chapter 1 (NSFW)

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Shades of White and Orange

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Mother Earth

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Painful Mercy

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 51: Anticlimax Part 5

Date Point: 16y2m AV Folctha, Cimbrean, the Far Reaches Allison Buehler After a lifetime of helicopter parenting, Tristan and Ramsey seemed addicted to every opportunity they could find to do something their mother would have scooted them away from. And who could blame them? Amanda had never managed to get her head around the idea

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Rising Titans – Chapter 44

9 Years, 6 Months, 28 Days After Eridani Landing Deep Space The Russia shuddered again as the engines slowly powered down and the ship slid out of the red blue haze that was the tachyon FTL corridor. James blinked several times trying to clear the haze from his eyes as the regular black background of

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 51: Anticlimax Part 4

Date Point: 16y1m AV Dataspace adjacent to Mrwrki Station Entity The Entity understood the concept of boredom in an academic, abstract way. It could even vaguely summon up Ava’s memories of being bored. But understanding the idea and actually feeling the emotion were two different things. The closest it could get was the sensation of

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 51: Anticlimax Part 3

Date Point: 16y2w AV Air Force One, somewhere over Asia, Earth President Arthur Sartori “…You want to give us a Farthrow generator.” Daar’s image was janky and low-resolution thanks to the vagaries of current wormhole comms, but the audio was a lot clearer now. Technology marched onwards. “It’s loaded up on a train and ready

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Good Training – Pecking Order

13y, 8m AV Operator’s Barracks, HMS Sharman, Folctha, Cimbrean Officer Regaari (Dexter) of Clan Whitecrest “I got an idea, Regaari.” Regaari flicked his ears forward in annoyance. “This again?” “Well, yeah. I gotta win that bet, Cousin!” Regaari duck-nodded wearily. Not long after Daar had received the SACRED STRANGER briefing, he’d sulked off to think

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Good Training – The Champions – Tidying Up

Messier 24 Mission day: 3 Sergeant Daar (Tigger) The third day was always when things settled into routine. Daar didn’t really know why, ‘cuz that was prol’ly some complicated psychology stuff (maybe he should read up?) but he did know how it worked, practically speaking. Daar always pondered morning thoughts like that when he was

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 51: Anticlimax Part 2

Date Point: 16y2w AV Weaver dropship, Gaoian space Sergeant Ian “Hillfoot” Wilde “So in all the excitement, we clean forgot about these things. That’s what you’re telling me.” Champion Meereo made a sound that was half a sigh and half a chitter. “…That’s more-or-less exactly right, yes. We had… well, bigger priorities.” Wilde had to

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Rising Titans – Chapter 43

9 Years, 6 Months, 28 Days After Eridani Landing Bellona “Ready?” asked Alpha from where he sat on top of the Captain’s chair. “I’m good!” said Red from where he sat at the controls for the ship. It hadn’t taken much to convince him to pilot the vessel. James glanced down at his own console

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 51: Anticlimax Part 1

Date Point: 16y AV Yukon–Koyukuk, Alaska, USA, Earth Zane Reid The cold didn’t hurt anymore. At first, it had been like forcing his way through a wall made of knives that cut through his clothes. Zane’s every breath had blinded him as it billowed and steamed in the air, and when he’d experimentally licked his

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 50: Counterattack – Trigger Part 5

Date Point: 16y AV Camp Tebbutt Biodrone Internment Facility, Yukon–Koyukuk, Alaska, USA, Earth Hugh Johnson Snow. Of course, snow in January in Alaska was hardly surprising, and this one threatened to be heavy. At first, Hugh had thought it was probably just an seasonable dusting that’d add a couple of inches to the foot or

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I had made my way through the tournament, but most of my matches had been won by the skin of my teeth, and I had only the advantage of being evolved from a pursuit predator to thank for it. Our great endurance had been the one boon that had kept me going, and I was

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 50: Counterattack – Trigger Part 4

Date Point: 15y 10m 1w AV HMS Violent, Rvzrk System, Domain Space The ground battle churned on for days. That was the problem with Hunters. There was no surrender involved, it was a kill-or-be-killed fight where smashing their will to engage in war simply didn’t achieve enough. Any Hunter left alive would just keep murdering

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Good Training – The Champions – Doom and Gloom Part 4

He awoke to a pleasant smell. “…Eggs?” Hoeff detangled himself from Natalie and the sheets and stumbled towards the kitchen. Daar was busy in front of the comparatively little stove and fridge, humming some terrible Gaoian tune to himself. Seriously, their music was like Chinese opera with extra pain. Some Humans liked it, though…but “atonal”

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Rising Titans – Chapter 42

9 Years, 6 Months, 15 Days After Eridani Landing The [Singer] The explosion hit and [Vann] watched at the lights on the main hologram and different panels flashed a blinding white light, before dying and plunging the entire bridge of the [Singer] into darkness. “What were we supposed to do?” asked someone near the weapons

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Day 1. I’ve made it on board the human trading vessel! They didn’t detect my presence, and I’ve managed to smuggle myself into their engineering bay, and disguised myself within a cluster of cables! My small, serpentine body makes me indistinguishable from a thin, grayish cable, and the Humans won’t notice my existence until it

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 50: Counterattack – Trigger Part 1

Date Point: 15y 10m AV Camp Tebbutt Biodrone Internment Facility, Yukon–Koyukuk, Alaska, USA, Earth Hugh Johnson Camp Tebbutt wasn’t actually a bad place to live, if you didn’t count the fact that it was essentially a prison for innocent victims. Hugh understood why he was there, and why he couldn’t leave… but after eleven years,

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Good Training – The Champions – Doom and Gloom Part 3

Firth Regaari chittered, “It is difficult to imagine you ‘humbled,’ Righteous.” “Heh,” Firth chuckled. “You do know most of my attitude is straight fuckin’ bullshit, right? Adam and John know why.” Regaari looked over at John, who shrugged massively. “He’s a scary dude. Being ridiculous kinda takes the edge off, y’know?” Regaari duck-nodded. He was

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Rising Titans – Chapter 41

9 Years, 6 Months, 13 Days After Eridani Landing Jikse Moving down the hallway Diana paused at the double doors, carefully she moved forwards into it’s threshold and they slid open. A woman in an orange smock looked up from her Comm for a moment, and then going back to look at it did a

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The Good Samaritan

I felt a white-hot pain in my back as I was stabbed. Once, twice and then three times. I fell to the ground clutching my new openings, and for a moment I couldn’t grasp what had just happened. I had walked through an alley as a shortcut back home, and then suddenly someone had grabbed

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 50: Counterattack – Homefront Part 6

Date Point: 15y9m3w AV Mrwrki Station, Erebor System, Unexplored Space Darcy “Does it seem… different to you lately?” “What?” “The Entity. It’s actin’ different, dude, I swear it is.” Darcy sighed and set aside her work as Lewis sat down. She was sitting drinking a Moroccan Mint tea in the station’s rec lounge, with its

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Rising Titans – Chapter 40

9 Years, 6 Months, 13 Days After Eridani Landing Jikse Popping the restraints off of her legs Diana swung herself off of the table, the two class A’s still in their isolation suits were pounding at the door of the room the three of them were in. “It’s out! Open the door!” shouted the man

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Good Training – The Champions – Doom and Gloom Part 2

Master Sergeant Christian (Righteous) Firth The end of the movie came and the ladies were fast asleep and prolly too tired to head home with any comfort. The other bros were asleep, too, and Firth was tangled up with them pretty good. Oh well, both ‘Base and ‘Horse were heavy-ass sleepers and only danger or

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Hell. It’s a completely Human concept. The concept of a realm of eternal torture, to which you are sent depending on the whims of one deity or another, is something only found in Human fiction. And it’s not an isolated occurrence. Almost every human culture since the dawn of humanity itself has had it in

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 50: Counterattack – Homefront Part 4

Date Point: 15y9m2w AV HMS Sharman (HMNB Folctha), Cimbrean, The Far Reaches Senior Master Sergeant Christian (“Righteous”) Firth “Hey, fuckers! Guess what hit the newsstand today!” Adam looked up from his needlework for a second and raised an eyebrow. “Imma guess Coombes’ centerfold spread with Ava?” Firth deflated, somewhat flummoxed that ‘Horse had stolen his

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