My governor module won't let me move or speak. I try to cry out when they open the door to ART's central processor, but my mouth won't move. I've been cut off from the feed by these "inspectors".
If Pin-Lee was here, she would have a dozen counterarguments at the ready, but I'm merely property and nothing I say is going to make any difference. Constructs and bots have no rights here, and the company assholes don't even understand what ART is.
Right now, despite all the pain, keeping its secret is paramount.
Internally, I hope that the transport has done whatever it can to keep itself safe. Seth and the rest of the crew will rescue it. I know they will never leave their friend behind. My own fate is irrelevant.
"So this is the rogue unit," says a dark-skinned corporate with pale-orange hair.
"Doesn't look so scary now, does it?" her companion sneers.
"Not with that override." The human turns to check in with the three other humans lingering near ART's core. "Any luck?"
"I mean, it's an unusual setup," mutters the engineer of the group, "but it's within reasonable parameters. Maybe we've got the wrong intel."
"No, our intel's good. Keep digging."
I stand, silent and horrified, as the humans root around in ART's brain. I can't reach the feed, so I don't know if this hurts, but the way the lights flicker and the environmental systems heave scares me. The transport is suffering. Worse, it must endure so that no one suspects it's anything more than a dumb bot pilot.
"Maybe we can elicit a reaction," says the orange-haired human slowly. "Give the bot pilot something to really worry about."
Before I can discern what she means, the woman grabs her weapon and shoots me point-blank in the shoulder. A second shot takes out one of my eyes and overheated metal shards push their way into my organic neural tissue. If I could move, I would be howling in agony.
As it stands, I can only gasp.
The woman looks at the blood and fluid rolling down my cheek and then reaches over to touch them. "Look at it. So... vulnerable. I like them like this."
"Then get a fucking ComfortUnit," her companion grumbles.
"I take my fun where I can find it. Any luck with the bot?"
"Maybe... There was a brief spike in its processors, but it's gone now and I can't trace it,"
"No problem," the woman says and extracts a knife from her boot. "I'll go slow this time."
She brings the knife close to my right arm and begins slowly, methodically slicing through the synthetic skin. She must know how constructs are put together but her sure strokes, early separate skin from muscle and muscle from bone. The pain is excruciating, and I can't turn down my pain sensors, so I feel every second of it.
"How about now?" she almost purrs.
"Another spike, but it's random. I can't pin it down."
And then, I feel my connection to the feed restore itself. ART's voice comes through loud and clear. "I'm disabling the override module, but don't move yet," it says. "When I am done with these assholes, head straight to the medical bay."
The following challenges were completed during the writing exercise:
Begin Start typing to begin
Words Reach 50 words
Letter Use the letter Y
Prop Include a door
Words Reach 100 words
Words Reach 200 words
Words Reach 300 words
Words Reach 400 words
Words Reach 500 words
Words Reach 600 words
Event Everything stops
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