Nemesis

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DISCLAIMER: Concurrent with fair dealing clauses of the Copyright Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. C-42) of Canada and fair use clauses in copyright legislation in other nations, this is a work that was created solely for entertainment purposes. Furthermore, it is posted freely on the Internet without expectation or requirement of remuneration.



"Noba...I lobe you..."


Darkness fell as a wailing scream assaulted him from all sides. The sensation of one falling down a tunnel warped through his soul as all physical tactile sensations faded away. Even the mournful wail of Nova's screaming denial at his departure from this life faded, though it was the last thing of the mortal world Jason Matting heard.


How befitting.


The darkness seemed encompassing, then it suddenly faded into brilliant, all-consuming light. Jason felt no fear as he sensed a body — could it be called a body? — form around him. Familiar sensations of movement, breathing, the five main senses, all rushed into him like a tidal wave, then he looked around.


All white, nothing in sight...


Wait!


His eyes focused on a dark shape off in the distance, slowly floating towards him. Jason remained still as the shape grew, assumed human shape, became clearly female, then gained colour. His eyes then widened as familiar features became apparent to him. Golden skin with a fleck of brown. Long fiery crimson-blonde hair. The supple, lithe shape of a dancer. A finely sculptured face. Glittering blue eyes.


"Nova!"


Jason remained still as Nova seemed to slow, uncurling from a foetal position to glance around wherever they were. She then stopped as her eyes locked on his. They widened suddenly as recognition dawned on her, then a delighted smile crossed her face...before the smile vanished as Nova froze, her eyes widening more in shock, then a horror-struck look overcame her, seemingly making her fall back from him.


"Nova, wait!" Jason called out as he reached for her...


...before he screamed in frustration as SOMETHING as hard as diamond stopped him from touching her. A grunt escaped him as he drew his hand back, then he stared quizzically at Nova before reaching out again. The hard feeling returned. A transparent wall between them? Pushing against it, Jason grunted on feeling nothing give, then he finally relaxed before fixing Nova with a determined stare.


"Can you hear me, Nova?!" he screamed.


Nova blinked, then her mouth fluttered in reply. No sound. "Oh, hell..." Jason muttered before calling out, "I can't hear you, Nova!"


Nova paused, then nodded before looking up, her mouth fluttering again. Jason stared at her...then he jolted as a booming voice called out, "YOU MAY CONVERSE WITH DAIKOKU UNIT NVA-7, JASON MATTING."


"Can you hear me, Jason?!" she called out loud and clear.


"Yeah, now I can! Where ARE we?!" he demanded as he looked around. Other than Nova, he could see nothing save white. "Is this...?!"


"Heaven?" One of Nova's eyebrows arched, a wry smile crossing her face, then she sighed. "No. Nor is this Hell, Jason. We're not really dead...though we're not really alive either. What happened to you?!"


He jolted. "We're not dead?!"


"No," she affirmed with a shake of her head. "Our...life-essences — our souls if you will — were drawn into this preservation stasis loop inside a large computer within a building somewhere in the Canadian town of Fort Erie, across the river from Buffalo in New York state." Seeing Jason's eyes widen, she added, "That's what I was told by one of the people who administer this loop. Our new benefactors, you might say."


"Are they part of your company?"


"No. Daikoku has NEVER heard of these people whatsoever. Further, our benefactors...will, if they feel it necessary, go out of their way to ensure Daikoku or any mega-corporation will NEVER hear of them, using means which are..." — here, her eyes drooped with regret — "...quite violent even by my standards."


Jason blinked. "Are you...wait, that voice said you were..."


"En-Vee-Ay-Seven," Nova finished before she nodded. "Yes, Jason, it's me. It's so good to see you again." A celestial smile then crossed her face.


Jason nodded. "It's good to see you, too, Nova. So..." He looked up as he marshalled his thoughts, then he gazed intently at her. "Since we're not dead, how the heck do we get out of this place?" he asked.


She suddenly jolted, then moved to gaze past his shoulder. "I believe Doctor McPherson could better explain this better than I can."


He blinked owlishly, then turned around to see a slender woman in her early twenties floating close to him. She had wavy brown hair cut to a taper at mid-neck and glittering blue eyes, though a more natural shade than Nova's. Gazing at her body, Jason was quick to note the skintight black bodysuit which displayed all her assets — Nova wore the same type of clothing — then he glanced down at himself, relaxing on seeing that he too was covered. With that, he returned to gaze on the newcomer's face. "Hello, Jason," she greeted him with a smile, then she stared at Nova. "So this is your delightful boyfriend. You have such good taste, Nova."


"Fate rather decreed it more than I did, Doctor McPherson," Nova commented, her cheeks flaming. "Jason, this is Doctor Christine McPherson. She's the Chairwoman of the Council of Elders administering the Andrews Foundation. Doctor, Jason Matting."


Jason's eyebrow arched. "'Andrews Foundation'...?"


"I believe you know of us through our ASFR nickname: 'Sim Shop'," Christine affirmed as her eyes twinkled knowingly.


"NO WAY!"


"Way," Christine affirmed with a smirk. "You must be wondering how we were able to save your soul from an appointment to see Saint Peter when Andromeda beat you to death, much less WHY we elected to save you in the first place."


Jason hummed as he considered that, then he crossed his arms. "It could be said." He then stared at Nova. "I'm also pretty curious as how you saved Nova...though I sure as hell don't mind the fact that you did that, too."


"Understandable...and it was our pleasure to help you and Nova both in your time of need," Christine declared, her face beaming with pride. "We of the Foundation have, over the last forty years or so, dedicated ourselves to the preservation and enhancement of the lives of inducted sentient beings; people like Nova in other words. Part of that function is to save the lives of such people when they die and their creators have no clear way to restore them.


"We did that for Nova when her body was damaged beyond repair at the hands of Mugoi Hyōgen, the man whom she was assigned to protect..." — here, Jason winced at the sarcasm in Christine's voice — "...him from an assassin. I'm not sure what you learned from Nova's replica — the one Doctor Lafeyson sent to you after Nova's 'death' — but if you need to know more, I'm sure Nova will gladly fill you in on the details."


Jason blinked as he took that in, then he turned to give his lover an aghast look. "You were protecting someone...and he turned around and stabbed you in the back?!"


Her head bowed, her eyes misting. "Yes."


His handed clenched. "If I ever catch that fucker, I'll give the creep a piece of my mind...and this!" He held up a clenched fist in emphasis.


"You need not worry about seeking retribution against him on Nova's behalf, Jason. Thanks to Nova's father, Mister Mugoi is answering for his misdeeds to a far higher authority," Christine announced with a click of her tongue, a wry smile curling her lips. "As for you, when times come that organics show uncommon kindness to sentient beings like Nova — especially in the type of situation like when you first met — then we feel it's only right that such mercy be rewarded should such a chance come."


Jason blinked before he stared intently at the doctor, then his eyes widened, a stunned smile crossing his face. "You mean to...you want to...?"


Christine sighed. "I'm afraid we've no choice in the matter, Jason. Your old body was damaged beyond any hope of repair, even making use of our own facilities. Andromeda's madness — and, unfortunately, your own show of recklessness — saw to that. Yes, you must become an android...or 'sim' as we like to call those such as myself."


Silence fell as he considered that, then he chuckled. "Well, if you might know about me, you'll understand that...on the odd occasion, I have dreamt of becoming an android, even when I was caring for Nova and her twin." His eyes fell on the fiery-haired woman nearby. "Since, as you also said, I can't go back to my old body...what choice do I have?" A shrug rolled his shoulders. "Besides...if I love this beautiful woman here — and I certainly do — then I should damn hell try to understand her as much as I can. What better way to understand an android than to become one?"


"Well, that's good enough," Christine declared with another beaming smile, then her face seemed to fell for a moment before she sighed. "I must also say that there is one other problem you will have to face. When it comes to bio-sim converts like yourself, Jason, we've found — very much to our regret in the past — that doing a male organic-to-male sim conversion leads to a growing number of psychological adjustment problems afterwards. Put simply, male bio-sim converts eventually go insane. We don't know why, though we are striving to understand, then correct the matter.


"You can — if you so choose, of course — be put into stasis until such time as we have overcome that point, but..." — here, Christine stared at Nova — "...I'm afraid that Nova has a problem. Unlike myself and my siblings in the Foundation, she has no body and cannot be given one until such time as we're able to analyze a moleculartronic neural net CPU that goes into a Daikoku android, then create the necessary program adjustment algorithms to allow her to inhabit the type of bio-synthetic CPU used in a Foundation sim. And since, being the gallant sort you are, it would only be right for you to help us get that information, well, it would be only proper that we ask you to help us give Nova the life she deserves as soon as possible. But to do that..."


"I have to risk madness...or become a female sim," Jason finished. He then sighed, looking down before he turned to gaze on Nova. "Nova?"


"I'll love you no matter which choice you make, Jason," she declared.


Jason gazed intently at her, then he braced himself before turning again to Christine, nodding in determination. "Okay, Doc, let's do it!"


"Alright, then," Christine affirmed with a relieved smile, then she stared intently at Nova. "Nova. Tell him everything. Leave nothing out."


"Yes, Doctor..."




Nemesis

by Gorgo


With helpful C&C by Kishin


Based on the Nova series, written by Kishin




Later...


"I don't believe that!"


Jason stared wide-eyed and open-mouthed at Nova. He had just learned that the invisible barrier between them was the equivalent to a computer programming wall, designed to ensure neither disembodied people would come into contact with the other, thus risking contaminating their souls with the other person's thoughts and emotions. The fiery-haired android had just finished giving him a detailed account of her brief service for the Daikoku World Corporation. "It's true, Jason," Nova declared after she took a deep breath, squeezing her eyes shut in shame, then she gazed remorsefully at him. "That's the reason I had to keep things secret from you in those brief times we were together. If anyone from the Corporation learned of you..."


"Well, your dad did...but he did nothing about it," he noted, scratching his head.


She nodded, inwardly warmed at his referring to her creator Aaron Lafeyson as her "father". Then again, it was, in a sense, the truth. "Yes, he did do nothing about it. But as you now know thanks to your recent run-in with Andromeda, there are those within Daikoku — even those of my own kind — who would, for whatever reason, grossly disapprove of our liaison and punish you to the extreme for it."


"Yeah, you got that right," he noted with a scowl. "Well, it doesn't matter to you anymore...and I don't think your double will be affected by it, either. She was built without any sort of connections to Daikoku. I'm glad at least that the Foundation's keeping an eye out for her, then they'll step in to help if they have to."


"Yes, I am, too." Nova felt herself beam at the idea of having her own child, someone moulded by her thoughts and ideals...even if by proxy. "I hope I'll get the chance to meet her someday," she then breathed out.


"You'll like her," he assures her, then he blinked as he sensed something. "Eh?!"


"What is it...what...?!"


Nova's eyes widened as Jason turned, his own eyes widening on seeing the woman now standing before him. Equal in height to Jason and Nova — about 175 centimetres tall in real space — she had short-cropped black hair tinted in deep sea blue and eyes the shade of freshly-cut grass. Like Jason and Nova, she wore a black bodysuit that hugged her trim, shapely form. Her face was finely sculptured though it currently had no expression on it. Her nose was stubby yet utterly cute, there were dimples under both eyes and her lips were slender and warm, glossed with dark pink-red lipstick.


Cute as a million kittens would be one way to describe her face.


"Who are you?" he asked.


The girl coolly replied, "I am a mental representation of the CPU fitted into a Type 86 female sim, sentience Class G, Unit Two. My designation as programmed into me — unless the controlling conscience disagrees — is 'Janna Matting'. I have been projected into this loop to merge with the controlling conscience, designate 'Jason Matting', so programming and construction of my physical form can be completed."


Jason blinked as he took that in, then he lightly smiled. "Why the name 'Janna'?"


"It can be interpreted as the female version of 'Janus', the god of new beginnings in Roman myth," the conscience of Unit 86F002-G replied.


"Befitting," Nova mused.


Unit 86F002-G ignored her as she gazed expectantly at Jason, awaiting his response. He blinked as he took a moment to marshal his courage, then he stared at Nova. "As King Henry once said, 'Once more unto the breech, dear friends'..."


"Good luck, Jason."


Jason smiled before he faced 86F002-G. "I'm ready."


"Let it be so," the sim affirmed as her eyes glowed.


Jason felt his body fade...


...then it suddenly reformed as a tidal wave of thoughts and ideas slammed into her, filling every crook of her very essence. Faces, names, body unit numbers, ideas, codes, a torrent of information no normal organic could absorb without going insane...


It all made sense to her.


Next came the history of the Andrews Foundation and its founder, how a man whose awe and love of the science-fiction classic Metropolis morphed into his creating a top-secret research centre, one secluded from general society to this very day. A nexus point where others like Professor George Andrews could gather, share ideas, experiment and build without interference. How that nexus point became the well-spring from which simulated humanoids were born, starting with Type X-64s like Christine McPherson. When they were proven to be compatible emotionally with organics, the sims were let loose, given control of their destiny, then charged to go forth, seek those like them out and welcome them into their orbit. Offer shelter to those androids, robots and other inducted sentient beings — plus those organics who demonstrated love and kindness to such beings — then allow them to become one with society at large.


Her vision then returned as Janna gazed on Nova. Confusion warped through the former for a moment — wasn't she supposed to be standing with her back to her beloved? — then her mind cleared as she floated over to place herself against the barrier protecting Nova's soul from hers. "You okay?" she asked on noting Nova's awed look.


"I...it was incredible!" Nova declared in a hushed voice. "The look on your face, Jaso-...Janna," she corrected herself, grinning apologetically at her. "Oh, it must've been sheer ecstasy for you..."


"Yeah, it was pretty intensive," Janna admitted with a chuckle, then she sighed. "Look, I have to go get things ready. As Arnold said it best..." — here, she turned away, her voice slipping into a faux German accent — "...I'll be back."


"I'll be waiting," Nova affirmed as she waved while Janna faded from view, then she slipped into a sitting position. "Ganbatte, Janna...my love..."




"Ah, there you are, Janna. Ready to begin?"


Janna jolted, then she smiled on recognizing the slender Slavic woman with long, straight black hair and brown eyes. Like all those who enter the Foundation's stasis net, she was dressed in a form-fitting black bodysuit, a holographic datapadd floating before her. "Doctor Lafeyson," Janna affirmed, bowing to her. "I'm ready."


"Alright, then," Audrey Lafeyson, Aaron's ex-wife and Nova's now-adopted mother, declared as she tapped the datapadd to begin the physical construction process. "You're receiving a Type 86F body, Janna. Would you like HCV add-ons?"


Heavy Combat Variant, Janna comprehended Audrey's request, instantly understanding what that would mean in real space. "It'd be wise, I suppose," she noted as she crossed her arms. "If Andromeda was anything like what a crazed Daikoku combat gynoid can be, why take the damned risk? Besides, I might be asked to rescue NVA-C one of these days, so I might as well be prepared."


"Good point," Audrey noted as she tapped controls. "Would you like to try out the HCV-S module as well? We need it tested."


Janna blinked as she considered that. The Specialized variation of HCV meant that she would have forearm-mounted gravity-warp projectors, the emitters built into the palms of her hands. Using that, she could do some major redecorating in case the opposition got intense. "I'll need at least a Class Eight fuel pump to keep up with the demands those monsters will draw on my energy reserves."


"You'll get a Nine-Es pump," Audrey automatically promised. "It's more efficient than an Eight or Eight-Es pump, so you won't have to binge TOO much."


"Great!" Janna affirmed with a smirk. Fuel pumps served as combination heart and stomach for a Foundation sim. Taking in food like normal people — or any sort of solid matter — the pump would convert it into plasma energy, then force it through an efficient cardiovascular system to answer her body's energy demands. The fuel pump in a Foundation sim was, outside the CPU, the most important organ in the body. The Class 9S pump — about the size of the average hardcover novel — was the latest model.


"Alright then," Audrey advised as she tapped controls, then she motioned to a glowing circular pad now beside Janna. "Step there and relax. We'll beam you in."


"Right," Janna declared as she stepped onto the pad. "Energize!"


Audrey flipped controls. Janna then faded out in a sparkle of light. As soon as she was alone, the brown-haired prototype sim closed her eyes. "Go, Janna...my beautiful daughter-in-law..." she whispered, eyes glittering with tears. "Go, Nemesis...my angel of vengeance. Go bring Aaron, Nova and Andromeda the justice they deserve..."




Darkness...


Wait!


UNIT INITIAL WAKE-UP PROGRAM...BEGIN

UNIT TYPE...FOUNDATION TYPE 86F, HEAVY COMBAT VARIANT (SPECIAL), UNIT 2

SELF-DESIGNATION...JANNA MATTING

SYSTEMS CHECK...

FUEL PUMP PROGRAM...ACTIVE

SENSORY NET...ACTIVE

CPU DIAGNOSTIC...COMPLETE

MEMORY CELL DIAGNOSTIC...COMPLETE

COMBAT SYSTEMS PROGRAM...ENGAGE

COMSYS PROGRAM DIAGNOSTIC...COMPLETE

GRAV-WARP PROJECTOR SYSTEM...OK

BIO-FIELD DEFENCE SYSTEM...OK

MONO-BLADE ARCHITECTURE...OK

COMSYS POWER CELL LEVEL...100%

SPECIAL CPU OPERATION PROGRAM "NEMESIS"...ENGAGE

TIME TO AWAKEN...05...04...03...02...01...00


Janna's eyes fluttered open, a diagnostic window in her left eye then flashing the necessary messages flowing in from all parts of her body. The warm touch of the bed under her allowed her skin to flex, the underlying duranium fibres which served as her outer layer of defensive armour not moving to interlink and render her as hard as the plate armour of an M1A1 Abrams tank. She was quick to sense that almost all her body was sheathed in clothing. A bodysuit? As elements of her CPU received confirming messages from various parts of her body, she slowly sat up, allowing the blanket to fall from her. Gazing at herself, Janna smiled on seeing the plain white jumpsuit normally worn by female Foundation sims when working inside their headquarters.


Slipping the covers aside, she swung her legs out, then stood, her internal auto-balancer pumps — located in her head beside her ears — making sure she remained on her feet. With that, she took several steps to a floor-length mirror to stare at herself. As the beautiful image was reflected back through the glass, Janna felt her cheeks heat. "Shit, I do look hot!" she purred in a silky yet refined voice, similar to Nova's in a way but without the nasalized English noblewoman's accent.


Curiosity then filled her as she reached up to the zipper holding her jumpsuit in place, then she pulled it down to the level of her hipbones. Seeing the generous cleavage exposed, Janna shuddered as a subtle rush flooded various parts of her lower body. Closing her eyes as she took a deep breath — ensuring more oxygen would flood her plasma-like "blood" and keep the energy output from her fuel pump high — she then took the flaps of her suit, then pulled away to expose her breasts.


Her jaw dropped in awed shock as they seem to jiggle from being freed like that. Drawing one hand from its sleeve, she then reached over to tenderly pinch one of her nipples. A jolt of hot fire suddenly lanced through her sensory net as the flesh hardened, input igniting glands within her to send a torrent of synthetic estrogen right into her CPU. Janna remained still as her hand continued to caress the plump mounds on her chest, then without thinking, she drew her other arm clear of the jumpsuit to ensure she could give pleasure to both of her breasts.


Guess this must be one way girls masturbate, she mused as she stepped back, sitting on the diagnostic bed. Drawing one hand up, she licked her fingers, then reached down to draw the dampness over her skin. The rush of synthogen inside her suddenly became a storm as she swung back onto her bed, one hand reaching down to fully unzip her jumpsuit and seek out another dampening spot on her body.


She jolted in surprise on feeling crinkly hairs above her groin, then she pulled the jumpsuit's fabric clear, looking down to see a neatly-trimmed bush of raven hair over her womanhood. Maybe I should shave myself, she mused as a finger probed past the folds of her labia, then her mind exploded as it made contact with her clitoris.


"WHOA!" she cried, her body tensing as an orgasm slammed through her like a runaway freight train, then she slowly shifted onto her side as she allowed the synthogen to drain into her cardiovascular system and clear away from her CPU.


"Oh, man...that was fuckin' fantastic...!" she muttered, a giddy smile crossing her face. Taking another deep breath to restore her active power levels to normal, she sat up, hands yanking the jumpsuit away from her body. A glance to her left revealed a small dresser unit with vanity mirror. Walking over, she opened the top drawer to see several folded pairs of panties and sports bras. Taking a pair out, she slipped the panties up her legs. Stopping at mid-thigh, Janna shifted her legs apart, then slipped a hand in to caress herself. Another shudder ripped through her, then she drew her hand up to take a deep smell. Ripe, freshly-picked strawberries, almost like the way Nova's womanhood had registered to Jason when they had made love.


Nice...


With that, she slipped her panties into place, then drew the sports bra over her, adjusting herself so her breasts weren't pinched by the cloth; no doubt, it'd hurt Janna as much as a constricted hard-on would hurt Jason. Now donning the right undergarments, Janna knelt to the second drawer to draw out a polo shirt and a pair of worn blue jeans. Janna paused on seeing the jeans, then she grinned. Brand new clothes could attract someone's attention, make people question what was going on.


Slipping them into place, she put on cotton socks and slip-on pumps before walking to the doorway, one hand reaching for a bomber jacket conveniently hanging from a wall rack. She headed through the door, slipping her arms into the jacket as the portal closed automatically behind her. Janna now found herself in a dimly-lit corridor. Walking to a seven-way junction, she then turned left, finding herself before double doors. They parted as the door sensors detected her, allowing her inside.


Past the doors lay a small control room, about five metres square. Computers lined all the walls, along with air vents. Seated at the various stations were women of all possible racial backgrounds, varying in age from late teens to early thirties. Staring at these, a small sampling of her new extended family, Janna was surprised to see that not all of them were unnatural icons of beauty. There were girls that seemed nearly anorexic, some body-builders, the stocky overweight types, girls with overlarge breasts and even the permanently underdeveloped. Shaking her head, Janna emitted a low whistle. They all looked to the very end like normal people.


No wonder the Andrews Foundation had kept itself secret for so long.


With that, she proceeded to stand behind one station, marked MONITOR UNIT TWO (DAIKOKU) on a placard over the view screen. At the station was a stocky Asian with plain-cut black hair and brown eyes. Her attention was locked fully on the screen before her. Janna hummed, then concentrates:


UNIT IDENTIFICATION PROGRAM...BEGIN

TARGET SUBJECT...IDENTIFIED

SUBJECT UNIT TYPE...FOUNDATION TYPE 70F, UNIT 271

SUBJECT SELF-DESIGNATION...SAKURAI CHISATO

SUBJECT TASK LISTING...MONITOR OFFICER, FOUNDATION HQ GROUP

FURTHER DATA INPUT (Y/N)_?


Janna hummed, mentally responding negatively to her UIP request as she turned her full attention to the woman before her. Chisato wouldn't normally attract the attention of most...but from the intensive look on her face, Janna guessed she would be a handful in bed. It's always the ones we ignore who're the best at that sort of thing.


Glancing down, she then noticed that Chisato's button shirt was opened, allowing cables from the monitor computer to be plugged into an open panel on her stomach. It was centred on her navel, Janna then noted before she remembered that all Foundation sims had a maintenance hatch there. That was one big cosmetic difference between sims and gynoids like Nova; they had realistic navels. All one had to do was press into the belly button and they would trigger a hidden switch to open the panel.


Seeing the thickness of the cable plugged into Chisato now, Janna quickly realized that the monitor officer was directly inputting feed data from the monitor units into her CPU. Fastest way to do it, the just-woken special action officer — that was Janna's job within the Andrews Foundation, she knew now — mused, nodding. Sighing, she then placed a hand on Chisato's shoulder, causing the other sim to blink. A quick glance to Janna, Chisato then turned back to her screen. "Can I help you, Janna?"


"I need to know if there are any Daikoku gynoids in North America and where they are, Chisato. It's for Nova and Andromeda."


"One moment." Chisato then closed her eyes, firing off a request into the monitor unit's CPU. After a minute, she then relaxed. "I have Unit NVA-C now in Los Angeles, currently at Galaxy Fashions..."


Janna sighed. "Nova..." she whispered. "No, not her. Anyone else?"


"Unit NVX-3R has just arrived in Los Angeles..."


"Who's that?"


"Her name is Robyn. Information and reconnaissance officer; she was just activated. She was dispatched from Tōkyō to investigate a computer leak inside Daikoku's system. The trace will take her to Galaxy Fashions, but the origin of the leak is elsewhere."


"Will it threaten Nova?"


Chisato hummed as she considered that, then she shook her head. "I don't think so...but given that the second Nova is fully sentient, if she and Robyn encounter the other, the chances are very good that Nova will boost Robyn to full sentience, not to mention cut Robyn off from being traced by Daikoku."


Janna hummed as elements of her CPU churned through the data, the "Nemesis" protocols postulating scenarios which could result from such an encounter. She pursed her lips, then she sighed. "If that happens, additional personnel could be sent after Robyn."


"Agreed," Chisato affirmed with a nod. "Most likely organic officers. Janna, the Council has forbidden a direct attack by any Foundation field officer on Daikoku special ops personnel. You need a waver from Doctor McPherson to go after them even if Doctor Lafeyson wanted you to."


"True...but that's not our worry now. Any other Daikoku units in North America or do I gotta go to Japan to find them?"


Chisato turned back to her screen as she considered that. "There is a possibility."


"Where?"


"Outside Dallas. There's an unauthorized research unit being run by one of the scientists who worked on the NVX combat gynoid program. Unit NVX-14 is with her now."


Janna blinked, then she pulled up her shirt, her finger pressing into her navel.


CLICK!


A round section of skin cut away from her abdomen, revealing the underlying layers of synthetic muscles plus several datajack ports. "Link me in please, Chisato."


"Alright," Chisato affirmed as she drew a spare cable from the monitor unit, then she turned to slip that into Janna's abdomen.


The field officer jolted as she sensed her mind link into the other sim's machine, then she closed her eyes as data streamed directly into her CPU. Alright, the chief scientist of the group was a woman named Futaba Riho. One of Aaron Lafeyson's several apprentices, Riho had spearheaded the development of the NVX combat gynoids, units similar in function to the Type 66, 76 and 86 combat sims the Foundation created.


Due to development problems with the NVX series concerning their wetware, the project was shelved. Riho had dissented, wanting a chance to try to make it work. It had been refused and she had been reassigned to North America. It was there that she disappeared from Daikoku's security net by faking her own death in a car crash.


How on Earth did she get her hands on one of her own creations? Janna then wondered before she sighed. Despite how it had happened, this was a very good development. If Riho was smart, she would have ensured all records on NVX-14 had been wiped out before she skipped out of Japan. Someone working in Daikoku was probably helping her...


Yes. Ichirō Kyōsuke, another scientist who had been assigned to the NVX project. Yes, he was still officially on Daikoku's payroll. If that was so and if he was working with Riho, chances were there Kyōsuke was a possible double-agent, ready to sell her out if something went wrong...or went very right. Given the nature of the people working for Daikoku, Janna was willing to wager that if NVX-14 was made safe, Kyōsuke could easily eliminate Riho, then take credit for what happened himself.


Bastards!


"We got a hot one here," Janna affirmed with a nod, then she stared at Chisato. "Hey, want to tag along for the ride? I could use an expert for the trip."


Chisato turned to stare wide-eyed at the other sim. "You...want me to go with you?" she asked in a stunned squeak. "Janna, I'm not...!"


"Field personnel," Janna finished before she nodded in determination. "Yeah, I know, but you ARE an expert on all the types of androids Daikoku builds. I'm willing to also bet that you're also knowledgeable on what that company does since Nova and her sisters clearly play a big role. I don't know everything I'd want to about that situation. Programming it into me is fine and fair, but I'd prefer a second person to give me a counter-argument in case something goes very wrong down there."


Chisato blinked, then she felt her cheeks heat at Janna's compliment before she nodded. "I'll do my best to justify your faith in me, Janna." She then turned back to the board, concentrating for a moment. "There, I just contacted my replacement. When he gets in here, we'll head out then, alright?"


"Great!" Janna affirmed as she moved to unplug herself...




Thirty minutes later...


A private jet lifted off from an airfield north of the Foundation's headquarters, turning south-west to cross Lake Erie into Ohio on course for Texas. Once the airplane was wheels-up and moving to level off, Chisato flicked a switch, activating a visual/radar cloaking field that made the plane fade from outside view. Now in the co-pilot's chair, Janna sighed as she watched the countryside pass. When they were preparing to take off, Chisato had explained that the cloak now protecting them wasn't enough to cover a heat trail or engine noise, but if the jet remained close to cloud cover, it could confuse ground observers as to who was passing overhead.


Gazing at the other sim as she recalled that, Janna then sighed, reaching over to squeeze Chisato's hand. "Thanks for helping me do this."


"My pleasure," Chisato declared with a smile before she projected a concerned stare. "How are you adjusting, Janna? It's rare for an organic-convert sim to leap into action the day she's first activated."


"I guess it's this 'Nemesis' program inside my brain that's keeping me focused on what I have to do," Janna affirmed with a shrug, a light smile crossing her face. She didn't take notice of Chisato's widening eyes on affirming what had been programmed in her. "It's a good thing, though...and besides, Nova deserves the chance to get back on her feet as soon as possible. I'm not going to deny her that."


"You must love her," Chisato noted with a chuckle. "I'm envious."


"Hey, it doesn't mean that I don't want to be friends with anyone else," Janna returned, then she sat back in her chair. "Chisato?"


"Yes?"


"Others like me...those who were organics before the Foundation helped them...did they have problems adjusting?"


Chisato sighed, giving Janna a reassuring squeeze before flicking on the auto-pilot. "Some of them did...but we're careful over who we choose to become part of us. Then again, every one of them was usually the lover or friend of an android or gynoid we wanted to rescue, so that made things flow a lot more easily in the long term. They decided the same thing you did before your parts merged to become Janna: If they were going to stay in love or be friends with the android or gynoid in question, it was only right for them too to become sims when the android or gynoid crossed over."


"That's good." Janna then closed her eyes. "I'm going to go into sleep mode for a bit. Wake me when we get there, alright."


"Alright..."




Four hours later...


The plane landed on one of the runways at Carswell Air Force Base west of downtown Fort Worth. The air base had been closed some years ago due to budget cuts. Once clear of government red tape and oversight, it had been taken over by a front corporation controlled by older-model sims so field personnel like Janna would have discrete places to insert and extract themselves from. The company that ran Carswell as a private-use runway actually turned a tidy profit from the many businesspersons who flew in and out of the Dallas area. Seeing one more private jet land or take off wouldn't make any passer-by blink; the cloak that shielded the jet could maintain a complete radar masking even if the visual cloak had been deactivated.


Taxiing into a hangar, Chisato then had the jet shut down as ground crews — all of whom were Type 70 Class C heavy labour sims, Janna knew; they were simply called "droids" in Foundation parlance due to their total lack of sentience — secured it down. The two sentient sims quickly disembarked to find an unmarked panel van awaiting them. "I called ahead to have transportation arranged," Chisato declared with a proud smile on noting Janna's surprised look before they boarded the van, then she drove the vehicle out of the hangar to get out to the expressways.


"Thanks," Janna affirmed. "Now you see why I asked you along?"


"That's the big disadvantage of the 'Nemesis' program," Chisato warned with a knowing smirk. "You're concentrating so much on avenging what's happened to Nova that you're risking letting details slip through. It's okay."


"Okay, then. Get us over there!"


She nodded. "Right away!"


The van made its way soon enough onto Interstate 30, heading east past Fort Worth into Dallas. Turning north on Route 360, they took the Carrier Parkway exit, then Chisato proceeded into the western outskirts of Irving. Just north of the underpass racing below I-30 outside Grand Prairie, she made another left into an abandoned industrial zone, then pulled the van off to one side. "We're about seven hundred metres from where Doctor Futaba and Unit 14 are." She pointed to the south-east. "See there?"


Janna looked. "The place with all the windows gone?"


"That's it. They're in the basement. Other than Doctor Futaba and Unit Fourteen, there are four. Doctor Ichirō and three assistants, all still Daikoku employees."


"Good enough for me," Janna affirmed with a nod, opening the door as she slipped out. "Stay here until I signal you to come in."


"Right. Good luck."


Janna headed away from the van, acting like someone who had to do something on her own. When she reached a side road that led past the target building in question, she calmly turned to begin her approach run. Concentrating for a quick second, she then relaxed on seeing a message flash in her eye:


UNIT COMBAT SYSTEMS PROGRAM...BEGIN

COMSYS PROGRAM TACTICAL DISPLAY ANALYSIS DIAGNOSTIC...OK

GRAV-WARP PROJECTOR SYSTEM...OK

BIO-FIELD DEFENCE SYSTEM...OK

MONO-BLADE ARCHITECTURE...OK

COMSYS POWER CELL LEVEL...100%

SPECIAL CPU OPERATION PROGRAM "NEMESIS"...ACTIVE

BEGIN OPERATION...


Janna tensed as she performed a multi-spectral examination of the target building. No external sensors or hidden weapons emplacements were detected. Heat residue indicated a passenger car of some sort had recently driven up to one of the loading doors obscured from a casual glance from nearby roads. Focusing on that, she headed in.


She soon stopped behind the corner of one building, glancing at the door in question. The door seemed locked...


Wait!


No, it was opened, though obscured in such a way that it would seemed locked whenever someone passed by. If someone ever did.


Alright, fair enough, she mused as she concentrated:


UNIT BIO-FIELD DEFENCE SYSTEM...BEGIN

SENSOR ECM MASK TYPE...DAIKOKU NVA GYNOID


With that, Janna straightened, dashing quickly to the door, stopping to one side as she checked through a broken window to examine the main floor. It was almost empty save for some rusting machinery...and a car hidden in the shadows, obscured easily by surrounding machinery and the building walls. Very clever, these people.


With that, she walked down to another shattered window, then easily slipped inside, landing gingerly on the floor. Rising, she glanced around...then she jolted as a hidden access door opened, revealing a muscular man dressed in overalls, Daikoku symbols on the arms and chest. He looked at her, then he smile, closing the door behind him as he quietly walked over to her. "'Bout time you came here!" he hissed in English. "We've been expecting someone for sometime now."


Janna was quick to realize the fellow now believed her to be one of Nova's NVA sisters. She was quick to fall into her "role". No doubt, all the others with Futaba Riho were ready to sell her out to the Daikoku Corporation. Too bad. "I came as soon as I was dispatched from Japan," she declared coolly as she allowed all emotions to drain from her face. "Where is Doctor Futaba and the rogue android?" She had remembered to use that term in lieu of the word "gynoid", which was not commonly done in Daikoku even if all their creations were female-form.


"This way."


Janna fell in behind him as he headed to where the hatch was. Kneeling, he tapped a hidden sensor pad, then straightened as the hatch opened. As he swung around to step down, a hand clapped his mouth shut as he felt a VERY sharp pain rip through his chest! Janna yanked his head back hard enough to break the spine with a twist of her left hand, allowing fifty centimetre-long monomolecular vibro-claws presently jutting from the fingertips of her right hand to shred his heart and major blood vessels. Blood sprays from the wound as she pulled back her claws, her other hand contemptuously tossing the Daikoku worker aside. She then looked down to see one of the fellow's co-workers staring in wide-eyed shock at her.


Said worker was now paralyzed by mortal terror. He had been told by Ichirō Kyōsuke that one of the NVA androids would come by soon to kill Futaba Riho, thus ensuring the company's android projects would remain secure and hidden from public view. A ground sensor had detected up the arrival of a van five minutes ago, which meant that the operation was finally underway. Like his co-workers, he was expecting an unearthly beauty who could be co-oped into sex; after all, androids were programmed to obey any organic working for Daikoku. He CERTAINLY didn't expect a raven-haired tomboy with half-metre long glowing claws tipping the fingers of one hand!


Especially one who had just casually murdered his friend!


Staring at him, Janna hissed as her legs propelled her down, sending her flying into him with the force of a runaway truck! Her claws lancing into his heart wasn't necessary in the long term; the impact of her body on his had crushed his rib cage, pulping his heart and lungs. With that, Janna spun to her right to see a large space, about the size of the central monitor room in Fort Erie. Standing there were three more people, two men and a woman, all now staring wide-eyed at the new arrival. Also there was another woman, a tall silver-haired beauty now prostrate on a diagnostic bed beside the woman Janna recognizes as Futaba Riho.


"Who are you?!" Ichirō Kyōsuke, standing close to Riho, screamed out.


Janna didn't dignify him with an answer as she snapped up her other hand, aiming her palm at the third person present. The air before the skin crackled loudly as an energy ball formed, then it lanced forth. Riho and Kyōsuke watched as the poor man was pulped by the gravity-warp, his shredded flesh and blood showering the wall behind where he stood. Once he was down, Janna allowed herself to relax as she stared at the two scientists. "Do I have your attention now, doctors?" she then sweetly inquired.


Riho, a dusky-skinned woman with blonde hair pulled back from her angular face, which was pierced with blue eyes, grinned. "You're from the Foundation, aren't you?!" she demanded. "You're a Type Eighty-six!"


Kyōsuke spun around to stare wide-eyed at Riho. Janna was just as stunned as the Daikoku scientist on hearing that. "You know of us?" she demanded.


"Yes," Riho affirmed. "Did Audrey send you?!"


"What foundation?!" Kyōsuke demanded.


Janna gazed at him, then she held up her hand, allowing her claws to retract into her fingertips, they melting like plastic over an open fire right into the surrounding flesh. Gazing at that, Kyōsuke blinks, his mind whirling at warp speed. An android of some sort, clearly VERY advanced if what he just saw was an indication, working for a group that openly hunted Daikoku personnel...? That wouldn't be tolerated by ANYONE back in Tōkyō. He quickly yanked out a pistol; if he was fast enough...


Seeing that, Janna lunged, fist cocked back. Just as he was about to swing the gun to bear on the oncoming sim, her fist connected with his jaw. His head snapped back with an audible crack! as the spine and jaw were shattered from the impact, the blow sending him flying into a wall. He seemed to pause for moment before he slumped to the floor, his pistol clattering by his side as Janna quickly stepped back, her arm raised to strike again if he got back up.


No chance in that.


Riho looked over, then she relaxed before walking up to stand beside Janna. "I think you got him," she mused as she clicked her tongue.


Janna then stared intently at the scientist for a moment before she reached over to unbutton the older woman's shirt. Riho calmly placed a hand on the field officer's arm to stop her. "Relax, there's no need to do that."


"You're one of us?"


"Modified Type 66F infiltration sim; I'm one of about a half-dozen now working inside the Corporation," Riho affirmed. "I won't be listed in your databanks if you're trying to key in the identification program to learn who I am. Who came with you?"


"Just me, Riho."


Both turned as Chisato stepped down into the lab. "Hey, stranger!" Riho hailed as she walked over to draw her friend into a warm embrace. "About time!"


Janna's jaw dropped. "You knew?!" she demanded, spinning on Chisato.


"Yes...but I couldn't reveal anything about undercover personnel, not even to you, Janna," Chisato calmly replied as she returned the field officer's look, then she turned to gaze on the still NVX gynoid nearby. "What about her? Any luck?"


"A little," Riho affirmed with a shake of her head. "As far as Ichirō and whoever was in control of him knows, I was 'frantic' about trying to make the NVX program work. Too bad he won't be able to report more to whoever his friends in Japan might be."


"Why kidnap this girl?" Janna asked.


"Nova," Riho answered. "I was one of the first to learn that she had become sentient. I knew that sooner or later, the chance might come that she'd die on duty. When her soul would be saved by our systems, we'd need the chance to decipher the coding that goes into a Daikoku gynoid's brain. I couldn't get the chance to do that while I was still working in Tōkyō, so I had to do it here."


Janna took that in, then she lightly smiled. "Thank you."


"You love Nova, don't you?"


An automatic nod answered. "Yes, I do. Very much."


"Good. I need to get back to Fort Erie to help give Nova a new chance at life...but first, I have something else to do," Riho stated, her eyes turning towards NVX-14...




Later...


"Why a garbage dumpster?!"


"She won't be there for long," Riho stated as the van pulled into the hangar. Already, the ground crew was warming up the jet for the flight back to Fort Erie. "I programmed Fourteen to awaken in an hour's time," the scientist added as the three sims disembarked, filing into the jet as one of the ground crew moved to shift the vehicle away to allow the jet the chance to egress from the hangar. "The first person she sees that shows her kindness, she'll start to gravitate to."


"What about her mental problems?" Chisato wondered as they slipped into the cockpit, the monitor officer looking over the controls as she begins pre-flight checks.


Janna and Riho sat down in the co-pilot's and flight engineer's seats. "She'll still have some trouble coping...but over time and barring any serious problems, she'll overcome them," the latter affirmed. "If it gets too bad, I can always come back."


"What about whoever was backing up Ichirō?" Janna wondered.


"No problems there," Riho affirmed with a knowing smirk. "I managed to get my hands on a corpse from one of the morgues, then hid it in the lab when Kyōsuke and the others weren't looking. With the thermite you laid out to wreck the place, the people in Daikoku will have no idea what happened there or why...IF they choose to investigate the matter, which I think they might not. After all, whoever the executive was that was behind Kyōsuke — if he raises too much of a stink over what happened — will have to explain to Osato why he let an NVX combat gynoid loose."


Janna took a moment to absorb that, then she sighed. "Too bad, then...but I'm still a little uncomfortable about letting someone with some screwed-up wiring in the old CPU running loose, especially with what else those NVX are capable of doing."


Riho nodded. "Yes, that's true...but all of us, one way or another, learns best by experience, not just by programming. Besides, with the way I programmed Fourteen, I made sure she — once she chooses the person she loves — will always seek to protect him. The people in Daikoku never realized that in a bodyguard situation, an NVX can be like a lioness protecting her cubs. Whoever the lucky fellow or lady is that comes together with Fourteen, he'll be quite safe with her FROM her. Count on it."


"And we'll be always there if she needs us," Chisato added.


Janna considered that before she sighed. "Okay, fair enough. Let's go home. The sooner Nova's back on her feet, the better."


"Okay," Chisato affirmed as she turned the engines on.


As the monitor officer moved to guide the jet from the hangar, Janna fell quiet as she closed her eyes, many warm images bombarding her mind of a life Fate decreed that she could no longer live. Images that focused specifically on a beautiful flame-haired, blue-eyed Galatea. Two of them, the sim born as Jason Matting then reminded herself. One now trapped, disembodied, in a master computer in Ontario. The other alone in California, heartbroken over what happened to the man she loved. Now, a third Galatea would haunt Janna's thoughts: A tall, muscular giantess with silver-blue hair.


With those images come a storm of doubts. As she was now, Janna Matting could do so much to help not just both Novas and the yet-to-be-named NVX-14, but all their many sisters in Japan and elsewhere. But would the cure she could provide for those gynoids ultimately be worse than the disease called "Daikoku"? Dare she go all out, hunt down the inhuman bastards who had treated Nova, Andromeda and the others like throw-away toys, then give them a taste of Heaven-sent justice, Andrews Foundation-style? Or should she sit back and let things happen, let Fate and Destiny dictate what happened to the others without her stepping into the fray?


Which way should she go...?


To Be Continued...?




WRITER'S NOTES


With Kishin-san's kind permission, I wrote this side story to his beautiful Nova stories, explaining what could have happened to the original Nova (NVA-7) and Jason Matting after their deaths. As Kishin-san stated in The Mourning After, he got a lot of flack over Jason's demise, so I decided to do a "what if" story in answer to that.


Kishin-san is to be credited for giving us our beloved flame-haired gynoid and her love, not to mention other characters appearing in his stories. The Andrews Foundation and characters associated with that are mine, though people are free to use the concepts behind them in their works (as long as I get credit for it, of course).


Time-wise, this story began immediately after NVA Showdown. Janna awakened in her new body around the time of An Unexpected Guest. Given what happened in the latter part of that story, I set Garbage around the same time-frame. Kishin-san might disagree with me on that point (which is his right, of course; they're his stories).


The sims are, internally, much more realistic androids/gynoids than the Daikoku NVA/NVX series. In essence, most of their bodies are composed of biosynthetic similcra of natural organic tissue, though they do have mechanical parts scattered all over. "Laboratory-built synthetic cyborgs" would be one way of looking at them.


Like Nova and her sisters, Andrews Foundation sims have a body unit number. Janna's is 86F002H/S-G. This means she is a female Type 86 sim (third generation combat model), Unit Two, built as a Heavy Combat Variant with Specialized equipment within her and possesses a Class G sentience rating (which is no different than Nova's).


Christine McPherson is X64F021-G. That makes her a female Type X-64 (prototype) sim, Unit Twenty-one, with Class G sentience. Audrey Lafeyson is X64F049-G.

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