by E. M. Gale
Two partners rescue a girl who turns out to be not all that she seems...
Silently, the two black-clothed figures creep up the metal stairs. Door after door, they pass, following the holographic map in the taller one’s hand. They were so close. Two more doors.
Max looked once again to the map in his hand to double check that they were in the right place. According to the data they received from their bugs, beyond this door lay the world’s most powerful supercomputer. At the moment, this computer was in the hands of The Man, the most powerful human on earth.
The Man’s inventors had created this supercomputer for one purpose: to control the entire world. Max and his partner would never let this happen. They were part of a group that fought against The Man’s tyrannical rule.
Max’s partner, Jemimah, took out a thin, metal card and slid it into the ID scanner. The young man smiled at the way the Skeleton Card caused the little red light to turn green. With the right coding, Skeleton Cards, like Skeleton Keys, could open any lock. Slowly, the door slid open with a soft hiss.
The room was circular and pure white. Four long cords hung down from the ceiling and connected to…a young girl? The most powerful supercomputer was a human girl? Had they been told wrong, was this all a trap?
Max shifted and accidentally bumped his arm on the door frame, causing him to suck in a sharp, loud breath. The girl twitched from the noise. Cautiously, Max gestured to Jemimah to move in closer. Even if she wasn’t what they had come here for, they could still rescue this little girl from being experimented on by the looks of things.
The two partners crept closer to the girl. Pointing out her strapped wrists and ankles, Jemimah reached to remove the cords from the girl’s bald head. Then they noticed the girl’s ears; they were not even ears at all. Two little silver disks marked the place where her ears should have been and were connected by a metal band that wound around the back of her head.
“She’s a cyborg…” Max whispered in shock. Realizing what he had just done, the young man clasped his hand over his mouth. But the damage had been done; the girl’s eyes flickered open.
Her eyes were big, round, and bright blue. They looked at the two strangers with fear and apprehension. “Who are you? Are you new?”
Max looked at his partner, at a loss for words. Jemimah rolled her hazel eyes and replied, “we are here to rescue you. My name is Jemimah and this is my partner Max.”
“Rescue me? Why would I need rescuing? I am perfectly safe where I am, thank you.”
“No, you are not. There is a Bad Man who lives here and is using you for his evil purposes.”
“Excuse me, but do I look like a little kid to you? I’m almost ten.”
“Ten? That wouldn’t be right…” Max murmured.
“Are you saying that you know me better than I know myself?” the girl asked irritably, her voice rising.
Nervously, Max shushed her, “no, no. I’m sorry for questioning you. Now look, would you rather stay here and have your life drained out of you by these cords connected to your head or would you like to come with us where you can be far from this place and never have to be strapped to a chair ever again?”
“Cords? What cords?” she asked in confusion. The girl immediately tilted back her head to look at the cords coming down from the ceiling high above. “Oh, those cords…are they really draining my life?”
The girl’s face drains of all color. “Get them off. Please! I don’t want to be here anymore! I want to no longer be strapped to this chair. I want to run and jump and play like everyone else. I want to learn in a school, and I want to be around other people, not just Phil and Seth!”
“Phil and-you know what, never mind. Jemimah, help me with these cords please,” Max said, reaching up to the girl’s head. Carefully removing the sticky nodes attached to the girl’s bald head, the two partners slowly free the small girl from her bondage.
Far up in the building, an alarm goes off, calling the attention of the lead scientist and computer specialist, Phil Houst. He pulls open the data stream that is setting off the alarm. Reading the alarming information, he pressed the button that calls the Top.
“What is it Phil?” a voice answers the call.
“Sir, I think we’ve had a break-in!”
“What do you mean?”
“The Supercomputer has been disconnected! Someone is stealing it!”
“What!? Alert the station guards immediately!”
“I’ve already done that, sir, but nothing’s going through. We’ve lost contact with all our guards in the Lower Precinct. The Upper Precinct guards are already alerted and heading down as we speak. We’ll catch them, sir!”
“You better or it won’t only be the supercomputer that we are losing. I’d hate to have to fire my best scientist,” the voice threatens.
Phil gulps and ends the call, turning all his focus towards stopping the trespassers from getting away with the supercomputer. They couldn’t be too far from the cell while carrying a burden like the supercomputer, right? Unless…no, not even he could wake it up without it choosing to do so. Why would it wake up for them?
Several floors down from the panicking Phil, Max leads Jemimah and the shaking girl through the hallways and corridors. They were on the ground level; the exit was close. “Down this way!”
The small group turned into the hallway to the right just as the sounds of heavy footsteps began to sound behind them. They were almost there, almost there-
Bullets ricochet down the hall behind them. Max ducks his head and puts his arms out to protect the girl. Without warning, the girl collapses to the floor. Jemimah bends down to pick her up. “Max, if you are going to use that weapon of yours, it’s now or never!”
Five armed guards came running around the corner from the corridor they had just left. The one in the lead calls out, “you there! Freeze and put your hands in the air or we’ll shoot!”
“I think it is the other way around,” Max said with a smile.
“You’ve got three seconds to obey, trespasser!”
“Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Though I had hoped for a better homecoming reception.”
Max pressed a button on his watch and watched as chaos ensued. Each and every one of the guards’ guns simultaneously exploded. It was time to go. Max grabbed his partner’s hand, who was carrying the girl over one shoulder, and together they left the premises.
“Sir…they got away…” Phil said into the mic, gulping back his fear.
“Oh? And how did they manage to do that, might I ask?” the voice answered ominously.
“One of them, a tall male, had a-a strange device that exploded our guns. I’ve never seen anything like it before, sir,” the man replied, sweat trickling down his neck.
The voice chuckled darkly. “I should’ve known.”
The voice ended the call from up in his office. A smile crept across his face. “Well, my friend, I should have known you’d try to stop me. Just know that I will find you, and I will take back what is mine.
“How long do you think you can hide from me, Max Archer?”