Original Content Bought and Sold. Chapter 54, Arc 3


Well-known member
Well... how much trouble could an 'accidental' connection really cause?

Previous | Beginning | Technology | Wiki | Next
Chapter 54

If there was anything that was consistent about Veprutasians, it was their greedy nature. To support that nature was a dominant opportunistic streak. When pushed, Veprutasians could learn extraordinary patience if they needed to. They often did.

Wastad provided an excellent example. He had developed his patience over a lifetime thanks to his 'employment'.

He had needed to develop that patience for a very long time.

When he was barely an adult, his family had taken one bribe too many and been caught pushing the limits of too many rules. That only turned out one way. Pay the fees, or don't and become assets. His family had decided to pay some of those fees and let him become an asset to sell.

So he had been sold. Picked up by another Veprutasian seemingly on a whim, he was made into an operator.

Then, he found out what Hatherkey or Hather Key Nerom was.

Fully bound with the slave implant, he suffered the arrogant moods of the Superior for a very long time. He only needed the barest fraction of that time to realize this Superior was just superior in the things that he had inherited.

Hather started as a mere Newt with only some minor physical enhancement. Working for an elder Superior, Hather acted like a thug with connections to flatten annoying opposing elements for his patron. He earned further genetic development and gained support throughout years of service until finally, the Silianiscan wanted to make a place of his own.

To Karkantantar they came.

To Karkantantar where Hather threw his weight around. But it wasn't him, it wasn't Hather that did all the mental work before. He was just a weapon to point in a direction and let loose. But as he had become more accomplished, he had also become harder to properly manipulate and direct without unnecessary damage.

Wastad knew the Elder had given Hather his blessing to make a place in Karkantantar for peace and quiet, not for an expansion of control. True to form, Hather never realized, and Wastad never told him.

Watching his overbearing ways bring Hather to the inevitable conclusion was quite enjoyable. That it happened to be a random mess of Humans that brought the end about only made the event shine all the brighter. It was unfortunate that he was along for the ride, but such was life.

Wastad had no idea that was about to change.


Tanktantun's better deviation field was able to fend off the initial bursts of plasma from Nualula's own rifle while he approached. Now they were in melee range with each other. Red Tail faced him with a grim set to her mouth and eye. She wanted this fight as much as he did, but they didn't have a choice now.

They circled each other, but then she said something that surprised Tanktantun. "Your little mate, Minmint. She is well?"

"Safe and unhurt," He replied, moving to the side, not wanting to get tangled up against some of the many stacked up crates.

"Good, her destroying one of Hatherkey's puppets has provided me with some solace," she said with a note of amusement. He could see the tip of her tail twitch, a sign of honest mirth. Nualula made sure to keep herself between him and the Operator.

Lopulm hid behind her, standing between them and the white Leralin. Tank didn't even spare them a glance, if Lopulm hadn't shot at him yet, then until something changed, the bird likely wouldn't shoot at him at all. Slave packages demanded obedience, not loyalty.

That was Tanktantun's bet at least, and it was coming out in his favour at the moment.

"Come young Green Tail!" Nualula called him with a dark chuckle. "Show me how you serve the people even here!"

She fired more shots of plasma into his field. Tanktantun judged his time carefully, then lunged forward between shots. He was able to dig in talons into the gun and rip it from her grip with his own Mote enhanced strength.

The action removed her ranged advantage but gave her the opening to run her own claws across his snout. Tanktantun flinched backwards to avoid any more retaliation, but still had her rifle when he did so. He tossed it behind him, taking it out of the fight.

His attention had shifted just enough when he did so for her to crouch. He brought his eye back just in time to realize she'd leapt at him. Tanktantun bounced sideways to avoid her feet putting some long ruts into his torso like he'd done so often to others.

A tail whipping sideways smacked into his chest with enough impact to stagger him further backwards. With anger borne of pain, he commanded himself to hold steady, and the Mote supported him.

He turned without hesitation to see the surprise on Nualula's face. Tanktantun lunged forwards, arms outstretched. She caught his hands, and they grappled. They were suddenly fighting for purchase. Tanktantun outmatched her strength, but Nualula had better balance and more experience. A foot came up to rake at him, and he could only fend it off. Tanktantun had no desire to rake his own claws through her flesh.

"Don't hold back too much little Green Tail," Nualula grunted, "I'm a better fighter than you are."

"I don't want to hurt you!" he grunted.

"And I you, but here we are!"


"Don't touch her," he complained weakly.

"I'll touch who I want shithead!" came the harsh response.

Otto wanted to argue more. He wanted to tell the bastard off, make him shut up and go away. Otto was too afraid. Those eyes looked into his, daring him to screw up an ounce of courage.

But there was barely any to be had.

"Ju-just, leave her alone."

"Fine you pussy."

The mental switch brought a sharpness with it that Otto had pressed for, but it was triggering things. Otto was sorta used to a certain feeling arriving when he was thinking of a goal or a problem, it was a natural extension of his experiences really. It's not that unusual to remember events related to a task at hand.

But now this switch was digging up whole damn memories.

Otto had charged into the fight, ducking a gout of flame as Hatherkey switched his target and swept his breath across the field. The Ytheon had ducked as well, of course, but now he was up and moving for the ship again. Mike and Daniel were taking shots at Hatherkey to try and keep the dragon off balance, although Daniel had gotten distracted with the bird that attacked Crawk.

Tank was fighting Red Tail, both of them wrestling about in front of Lopulm and his sister. Lopulm didn't act, although he was careful to keep himself in between his sister and Tank, or whoever else might be threatening trouble. It seemed Lopulm had his orders and he wasn't seeking to get ambitious.

More attacks struck Otto's mental space, the Leralin couldn't afford to let up after all.

Matchka had scuttled her way to one of the vans, a unit larger than the usual vehicle they saw. Hatherkey's hover vans each had a couple of guns hanging off the front of it.

All this registered on his mind, but it wasn't as important as reaching the stasis pod. The Ytheon was passing Hatherkey when Daniel's rifle hit the big oxman in the back. The beastman went down in a bellow of pain. Where he dropped the stasis pod right in front of Hatherkey, who then looked at the shouting Otto.

The Silianiscan's mouth moved again, then he took an extra deep breath.

Otto hid behind cover as another breath of flame forced him down. He could still see the Silianiscan move through the shared senses, the bastard was taking the stasis pod to the shuttle.


He was in two places at the same time. The pursuit up the lift tunnel had put him into a weird disconnected mental state. One of the strange idiosyncrasies of multiple bodies is that they tended to have their own moods. One could be annoyed with what was happening 'to' another body, but that wasn't the same as reacting viscerally to the same events. Only the most extreme situations caused that mood to bleed over.

His main body was pleased to be in the loading bay and seeing everything get loaded up. His Leralin body was furious about that damn Strider staying ahead of him at every turn. Being physically struck by a thrown rifle was genuinely insulting. Strider had given up on trying to shoot and instead hit him with it?!

That bit of annoyance had bled through to his own self, just as they were stymied by the very last door. But that was then. Now his second body was through the upper entrance of the lift tube, he'd seen the discarded parts of Strider's armour, and he already knew that creature's deviation field was down. It was only a matter of time.

The pings of bullets off his backplate was not an introduction he appreciated.

He turned around in time to see a Ytheon with a concusser down a couple of the workers as they were picking up weapons. They were out before the fight even started. He was slower to react that he liked, an inevitable complication when running two bodies.

"Oriashka, assault their dataspace, bring down the operator."

"Yes, Superior."

He observed the group as they entered the bay. Their faces were set, but they weren't speaking, and all of them were still wearing the same headbands.

The Ytheon flattened a Kashto, and the remaining workers dived into cover. Hather couldn't help but sneer at the useless creatures. Then the Humans started testing his body further. He felt the lines of power build up with potential, and he let his body cycle the power and heat from the deviation field. His own natural electrical production fed the defence and he exhaled to dissipate some extra heat.

Then they tested their concusser on him. He flinched as he felt the counter emitters in his shoulders shudder as they produced a general cancelling wave. He winced again when the concusser hit him and rattled his bones. The counter emitters were good enough to reduce the concusser wave from damaging to annoying, but he was never going to enjoy the experience.

The extra heat from plasma fire made the next part easier. "You will have to do better than that you primitives!" Hather yelled as his fluid channel primed.

A strong pulse in his throat announced the readiness of this natural weapon. His mouth snapped open and he spat a stream of fluid while allowing electricity to arc between the spikes on his snout and across his teeth. The resulting flamethrower forced the closest Human with the kinetic rifle to duck behind cover. It was a near miss, but he only managed to catch the edge of the Human's leg.

He flinched as the fight against Strider ramped up. Then he grinned. He had not expected to get tossed around like that by the lone Human, nor did he expect the low blow. But unlike the Human, he didn't have to suffer the pain.

"Eliminate the concusser!" Hather shouted at the Veps that had jumped from the upper walkways around the periphery of the loading bay.

He was reminded of the shared vision when the Ytheon stepped back away from the osclaws he could never have seen with his own deep-set eyes. The bird hit the concusser at least. Hatherkey shifted his attention when a giant set of knuckles struck the Vep's center mass.

He was busy suppressing the closest Human before he was able to do some actual damage with his kinetic rifle. Another stream of fire kept the primitive down. He then realized that progress had stopped, he didn't want to stay here, but he wasn't abandoning the significant treasure.

"Load the Hyowean!" He shouted at the ducking unarmed Ytheon. "Get her onto the Shuttle!"

The Ytheon twitched, but he didn't have a choice. He lifted the pod and began carrying it to the shuttle.

"NO!" Shouted the larger Human towards the back. The operator if he wasn't mistaken. His goal was apparent, he wanted the Hyowean freed.

Too bad, Hather was already leaving a couple stasis pods behind, the bird for instance, They would just have to be happy with that. He was going to see the dryad loaded up and he would be gone from this place the moment that happened. With her abilities, Hatherkey could skip all those obtuse and obnoxious modification rules and limitations. He could make himself a true living juggernaut!

This was the only thing that actually mattered right now!

The Ytheon, struck in the back by the kinetic rifle, dropped to the ground, the stasis pod landing on his back. Hatherkey picked up the capsule and continued to the shuttle.

And he had the lone Human now, Strider was as good as done. At his regular body, he was doing well too. The big Human had stumbled while clutching his head, The white Leralin was probably doing her job.

Hather reached the shuttle and looked through the side door to see Wastad standing limply in the middle of the large cockpit. The Veprutasian was twitching oddly. Not something unusual really, he had plenty of odd physical tics when engaged in dataspace combat.

At the AI Core his Leralin body finally got a hand on the Human. And here in the loading bay, he put a foot on the loading ramp to enter the shuttle.

Then the AI core overloaded.

"Gsshhkk-Uaagh!" Hather shouted as an enormous weight of information overload struck his mind. The flood of raw data corrupted the communication line between him and his Leralin body. The line severed and he didn't know how the body was faring. He realized he had fallen to a knee. Looking up he saw Wastad in a half crouch and looking at him.

The door of the shuttle closed.

"Wastad?" Hather called with irritation and pain, his head still throbbing with the waves of junk data. There was no answer. He stumbled as he tried to stand, still rattled and in pain.

Everyone was twitching as if a weight had settled on them. The Leralin, the Humans, everyone with a dataspace access open. The large Human had hit the ground, now splayed out and seemingly unconscious.

Hather vaguely registered the loss of the puppet body. The last fragment of his awareness informing him that Strider had won that fight.

Then the shuttle started up.

"Wastad!" Hather shouted, with every method he had. No answer, he stumbled backwards as the ramp he was standing on drew back into the shuttle. "Wastad! Open that door!" He shouted again, nearly shaking in anger as he fell onto his back.

Wastad flipped himself over, using the stasis pod to push himself up as he turned to look.

The shuttle lifted, a bay door slid open, and Wastad flew out.



Getting the ship ready and making sure it was safe to use was easy enough. But Wastad was still heavily occupied in marshalling what resources the tower and AI core could still supply him to prevent full lockdown from Kruent's dataspace invasion.

Everyone else was happily engaged in their own little fights, but if this didn't go well, no one was getting out of here anyway! Then something new intruded on his mind. Being mentally called to open another door for Hather didn't help.

His head had gone sideways since Hather ordered him to open the door to the AI Core chamber. Not to mention confusion over how Strider had made it into the room in the first place. Then he realized this wasn't just corrosion from the faulty AI core. It had been difficult to sort out in the time frame they had, so he'd marked off the problems in dataspace to faulty settings in the core.

For the first time, he recognized an active hand. And it was reaching into his head.

"WHO?!" Wastad shouted into his own mental space, reflexively triggering active defences built into his dataspace suite. It was far too late of course, he could recognize the manipulation of his own mental packages even as he did so. Then Wastad realized just where the activity was happening.

"Hello Wastad, I have good news, you don't have to work for Hather Key Nerom anymore."

He felt the linkage release. For one long blissful moment, he realized that Hather Key Nerom wasn't his master anymore. Then he realized this meant it was another Silianiscan rooting around in his head! He was just trading one master for another! There was nothing he could do!

This was a chance, he had to- he couldn't move as he wanted and fell to the ground. The Silianiscan had frozen his processes at the same time, and every action caused him to twitch and spasm. He fell to the ground in an awkward mess.

If only! He was so close-

The AI Core overloaded. Wastad reeled. He attempted to stand and only made it a single step before stumbling into a crouch. The information crunch was intense as the AI core outputted junk data to the utmost of its capability. Strider had done something! How? The Human, any Human, shouldn't know how to cross connections like that!

Wastad could barely manage the torrent and completely lost track of the dataspace battle against enforcement.

He looked at the door to the shuttle and saw Hather also crouching, and holding a stasis pod. It was almost certainly his grand prize, the Hyowean.

He could keep it. Wastad was still connected to the shuttle, he commanded the door shut.

It worked. His next action was to open the bay door to the loading docks. That done he force disconnected the shuttle, and himself, from the local dataspace.

He didn't look back as he directed the shuttle to take off.

He was free.


For a moment, he endured the torrent of information overload, stumbling and falling to his knees. Then the fuse popped. He dropped from the shared space, losing the neural connection to Otto and the rest. Once again the emergency fuse served to protect his head.

Didn't do much for the throbbing headache though.

Mike looked around. Tank and Red had fallen to a crouch, and the two white birds clutched at their own heads. Crawk was laid out right on his back and still spasming under the assault. They were never able to make those dataspace fuses for the big dude.

Hather and his last Veprutasian guards were downed.

Daniel was coming back to his feet. Otto was on his back though, it looked like he'd been knocked the fuck out.

"Wastad!" a voice called out. Mike put a hand on his ear and realized he'd lost the band. He also wasn't connected to the Mote. He reached up and disconnected the mote from his harness and plugged it directly into the connection under his ear.

The Mote was scrambled too, with its own version of an ear-splitting headache. Mike reconnecting though earned him a surprisingly warm chirp, the thing was thrilled that Mike was okay. For the first time, Mike started to actually like it.

Daniel acted on the opening provided by the dataspace… earthquake… thing, putting shots into the downed Veprutasians while they were messed up. Mike turned his head back to the boss just in time to see how bad things were getting.

"WaaaasstAAAAAAAAD!" The dragon shouted at the flying shuttle.

Mike's gut sunk to his feet. He'd seen the one stasis pod heading for the thing. Who else was on board? He didn't miss the Dragon's head turning to look at one of the other vehicles. The closest of which Matchka stuck her head out of. Her ears vibrated and twitched as she experienced the same thing everyone else in the tower had probably experienced.

"Chase it!" Daniel shouted. Mike glanced over to see Daniel yelling at him. "We don't know who was on it! Chase them!" Mike booted it for the transport van.

The armoured dragon turned to glare at Daniel, then clued into what Mike's brother had said, taking a step for the vehicle. Mike flicked the switch on his rifle to switch to full auto. He pointed it at Hatherkey and unloaded while walking for the shuttle. Daniel had the same idea and both of them pelted the Superior with bullets and plasma from their harness limb rifles as well.

The plasma arcing across his d-field blinded him, but the bullets bouncing off his head and body caused Hather to stumble and raise his arm to fend off the shots.

Mike ran for the shuttle, "Matchka! We're gonna chase them!"

The Bellani shook her head, causing her ears to wiggle. She looked at Mike, nodded and pulled her head back inside the vehicle. Mike jumped in a moment later and turned to shoot at the Silianiscan, Matchka's Mote peeking out next to him and also shooting. Hather was coming for them.


It was a quiet affair, with friends and family gathered in the house. A large building with a full basement level. They had been there for some time talking and reminiscing, and now there was food for everyone who was hungry.

They weren't a wealthy family by any means, there wasn't the money to hold something like a big funeral, and there were no remains to have a proper viewing. The only thing remaining was an urn sitting in the central front room table. An ivory coloured round thing in the embrace of an angel statuette.

She had always loved angels. She had doodled often, drawing wings on whatever her mood dictated. But most of those doodles were angels surrounded by light.

The man arrived late, as usual. And drunk, as usual.

Otto could hear the bastard making noise at the front door, then there was a shout and the sound of stumbling.

He looked at his mother, a weary woman with dark brown hair and nervous hazel eyes.

"You told him didn't you."

"Otto Pierce Matzek," she told him, marshalling some dignity, "he is still your fath-," she faltered and flinched, unable to look him in the eyes.

Otto realized he was on the edge of snarling. His teeth were bared, and he could feel the cords of his neck pulled taut. He looked past his mother to see his face reflected in the mirror and saw a young version of his father.

He couldn't remember being so angry.

Good, that put him on equal ground for once.

He pushed past his mom and headed for the front door. She put a hand on his arm on the way by. He yanked his arm away from her touch. Her eternal forgiveness was just another part of the problems that plagued his family.

Marshalling what little control he had, Otto opened the front door to see his father climbing back to his feet.

"Erik," Otto said to him.

"Fuckin- call, call me fuckin- Dad, dammit," the man spat out as he regained his feet. He wavered where he stood, a beer can in his hand. "Whath the fu- fuck do you want shithead?"

Otto felt his stomach clench. "You weren't invited."

"Fack you I wasn't!" He climbed the stairs, his empty hand on the railing, but stopped when he realized Otto wasn't moving. "Fuck outta my way!"

"If you knew we were doing this, why not try to show up on time…" Otto leaned forward, "And fucking sober?!"

"Fuck you! Dew what I want!" he swore, spittle flying into Otto's face, "The fuck it matters to you any-"

Otto's fist struck Erik right in the jaw. The old man fell back down the stairwell.

The beer hit the ground and rolled away, dribbling alcohol as it went.

"Fuck ya ash-hole, if yer' gonna beso… so pissed, ya shouldn't have let me have her!"

The shock zipped right up Otto's spine. "How- how DARE you!" He dropped the last couple steps and kicked his father, or at least tried. Erik caught the foot and wrenched Otto down. He didn't remember the next few moments as he and his father rolled about, flailing, punching and fighting for superiority.

Finally, Otto smashed Erik in the face as hard as he could with his forehead. With Erik on the bottom, his head smacked into the cement underneath him. Dazed, Erik lost his grip and Otto was able to extricate himself.

He looked at the sloppy mess of a man laying on the ground, groaning and holding his head. Otto looked back at the house to see his mother standing there with her hands over her mouth. Through the big front window of the house, he could see everyone else watching. Otto marched up the stairs, pushing past his mom. Just inside he grabbed his jacket from the entryway closet and turned around to leave.

On his way past Erik, the man reached for his leg and Otto stepped away.

"Geh… geth back ere you, you shit…"

Otto climbed into his truck, started it up and drove away. That was the last time he saw his father. But he would never forget what the man had said.

It was as much Otto's fault for letting her go.


Someone called him while he drove, his head was pounding, when did that come on? Too many shots to the head?

"Otto, fuckin' wake up and help!"

His eyes snapped open, then immediately squeezed shut. He couldn't access the general dataspace. He'd been overloaded, even with the mental boost it had been too much.


He tried to sit up, but the Mote dragged at him, disconnected and naturally out of touch with his movement. Otto forced himself upright despite protesting and mismatched servos and artificial muscles. He reached up and swapped the connectors on his neck to get himself properly connected to the Mote. As he did so he scanned the area while taking a step forward. Matchka's spider mote and Mike were both hanging out of a hover van and shooting at a stumbling Hather.

Otto took another awkward step forward and started running at the big bastard. After the second step, the Mote was once again aligned with Otto, even with the sympathetic headache. He hopped onto a crate on the way and jumped off to land on the back of the armoured superior.

Hather was at least twice the size of Otto, but he still stumbled and fell when Otto's weight landed on his back. Hather lifted his head only to fall the rest of the way to the ground when Otto put his hands together and hit Hather's head with a double handed overhand smash.

He hit the ground just before the door of the shuttle.

Otto heard Matchka's voice. "Mike! Inside!"

Mike's eyes met Otto's then he pulled his head back inside. The hovervan lifted and exited the loading bay through the open door.

"YOU WILL BOTHER ME NO LONGER!" Hather shouted as he reached up and grabbed Otto's shoulder. In the next moment, Otto found himself thrown forward, smacking into a stack of crates upside down. He slid to the ground in an ugly tangle.


Otto coughed with pain and opened his eyes to see Hatherkey standing tall and breathing in. He rolled sideways and scrambled on all fours to get behind the crates he'd hit. The exhalation of fire licked at his heels as he did his best to get into cover.

Then Crawk slammed into Hather and the deviation fields warped in between them. Both of them shouted as they grappled for a better position. Crawk's Mote provided him with the edge he needed to match the larger Silianiscan for strength. Daniel was also in close pelting Hather with bullets, but his armoured shell and d-field continued to protect him.

Hather took a breath, Daniel joined the melee. He slammed a clip into his rifle and aimed up, sneaking between the pair. As Hather attempted to breathe, Daniel unloaded a full round of bullets into Hather's jaw and slammed it shut as the Silianisca tried to expel the flame. Fire spat from the sides of his mouth as the attack backfired and Otto could see sparks of electricity jump from the spikes on the side of his snout.

This was a good chance.

Otto left his cover and ran for Tsury's stasis pod. There was a crash behind him as he went and Otto glanced to see Hatherkey fall onto his back while wrestling.

Crawk had pushed Hather aside as the Superior flailed backwards shaking his head. The misfire of flame wasn't treating him well.

Otto found the capsule laying on the ground face down. It thrummed ever so slightly with power as he put his hands underneath and flipped it upright. Otto slapped the control pad and the sound ceased. He dragged the lid open.

Tsury stared up at him, "Otto? Wha-"

She was cut off as Otto reached in and hugged Tsury to his chest, using the moment to pull her out of the pod. To her, not a moment had passed.

"What's happening?" she asked with a strained voice as he crushed her to his chest. The bulbs hanging at her chest digging at him. Otto set her down.

"Get into cover, don't let him see you."

She looked around, her blue eyes casting about the loading bay and pausing on the fight between Crawk, Daniel and Hatherkey.

"A Superior?" she squeaked.

"Hide!" Otto whispered. She jumped, looked at Otto with a nod and ran behind a bunch of crates. Otto was elated, he'd freed her!

Otto pulsed a question to the Mote, ‘has the dataspace noise subsided?'. The Mote reconnected its wireless sensor and put Otto back in touch. The noise had subsided. The chaos was still there, but slowing down as if the source was burning out.

A weak flailing attack pelted into the defences Otto had raised upon rejoining dataspace. He looked over to see Tank and Red Tail smack into each other in the air and go rolling across the ground. Past them were the two Leralin. Lopulm was laid out on his back, Oriashka was kneeling and clearly in pain. Then she launched another attack on Otto. He'd freed Tsury...

It was clear, she was fully committed. Otto glanced at Tsury as she finally disappeared entirely from sight in her makeshift hiding spot.

Otto ran his way to the Leralin, around piles of crates and past the now empty landing the shuttle had been on. ‘Give me a data cable,' Otto requested of the Mote. A cable popped from the back of the gauntlet on Otto's right arm. It flopped as he ran until he reached Oriashka.

He was afraid of the sladier package, the thing had more layers and more dangerous connections than the regular slave packages. It was more involved on multiple levels. But right now Oriashka was fighting with the dataspace feedback and clearly overburdened by cleaning up the noise. She looked up at him weakly as he arrived, raising her hands to swipe at him. The gauntlets, more like armour that covered the back of his hands rather than fully enclosed armour lifted up and grabbed her wrists.

New attacks started arriving over dataspace, but her dataspace suite was severely compromised. Unlike him, she didn't have a fuse to protect from the heaviest of the dataspace damage. It was easy enough to raise barriers that shed the fragile, corrupted programs.

Otto pulled her forward and put a hand on the back of her head. She was quicker, and she tried to squirm, but she wasn't stronger. He reached with his other hand and grabbed the cable dangling from the back of the gauntlet and brought it around to the back of her head, searching for the connection. He found it with the plug to her harness still connected and yanked that cable to make a direct connection of his own.

He dived into her slave package, driving the initial disrupting spike into the program. Oriashka spasmed in pain as the package reacted instantly. Otto cleared away as much noise as he could, pulling linkages apart as rapidly as he could.

Oriashka's breathing turned ragged, she continued to spasm and warble in pain.

He was forced to weather pain of his own as embedded traps triggered, lancing out at him with overloads to take up any spare capacity he had to work with.

Her spasming turned violent and he almost lost his hold on her head. Otto bore down harder to try to hold her still. "Please…" she begged between spasms. This was going badly!

The mental space was coming apart! Otto started to panic as he realized it was just getting worse. The same trap that had hit him with the overload spikes had also reformed a set of linkages, the punishment routines of the sladier package had been restored!

Finding himself back at zero, Otto drove the initial spike in once again and her body went completely rigid. He pulled connections apart one by one, trying to close and disable the individual parts of the package as he found them.

And then parts started shutting down. It started going dark.

"No," Otto breathed. Oriashka's body relaxed. "Nononono! No!"

The package wasn't dying, she was!

"NO!" Otto shouted. She had spasmed and flexed so hard, her body driven to its absolute limits! He tried to pull another linkage apart, but it disintegrated in his hands. The processes stopped, everything dragged to a halt. She exhaled one last time, the breath draining from her body slowly.

He found himself staring into nothing but dark, now occupying a dead mind. Only his own connection provided power for her implants to run.

His hands stiff, he pulled the cable from the back of her head. The Mote let go of her arms. Otto stood and took a step back from her limp body.

"WHAT DID YOU DO!?" Otto turned just in time to see Lopulm lunging for him.

End Chapter
Previous | Beginning | Technology | Wiki | Next

Want to go back to Reddit?

Visit me on the Discord. Talk about what you like, don't like, and what you want to see happen.

What? No Patreon? Well... no. I'm seeing about a website right now, when that happens I may have something available until then. As for now? Read and comment, your time and comments mean a great deal to me.
Last edited: