The Harpy

part 3 - code 330
-part 1, -part 2

„What did you mean by, she’s not just a cargo ship?“ Eddy plunks down into a pilot seat, shrugs and ruffles his dark hair.

„You know- They don’t let a rookie doctor and a priceless AI in a man suit, just fly off like that, would they? Your company protects its belongings damn well. What do you think? They let you deactivate the tracking device you know of, and do nothing? Ha!“ I… I really did! Now that he puts it that way, it sounds bonkers.

„Don’t be upset… They are already sending someone after it. I told you, this is not a simple cargo ship, and I’m not only your captain, but also your and Proto’s bodyguard… Is it that shocking for you? Did you grow up in La-la-Land? Oz, you’re the most naive person I’ve ever met!“ He laughs his head off. „He’s got more bugs than you imagine. There’s one in the suit too. Yes, he took it, and launched all escape units, so we are trapped here. He even set the ship to self destruct, you know that? To cover all loose ends… Clever little shit! The missing suit is a bread crumb thread, if there is more left from the Harpy, than fuel snowflakes and debris scattered all over the belt. Do you know where he is heading?“ I shake my head. How did I let this come this far? „Maybe Europe, to the deep-sea terra-forming units. That’s where I would hide.“

He sits down near me, resting a hand on my shoulder. „Don’t sweat it, buddy. Not your fault. I’ve been waiting for something like this, to happen. I let the Harpy respond, as it expected it. Proto’s hacking did more damage than I thought. But Harpy is a tough girl. She can handle. She didn’t even send an S.O.S Signal. Brave girl.“ He pulls a chocolate bar from one of his pockets and offers it. „Eat. You’ll feel better. I promise.“ As I take the bar, he catches my fingers in his palm. „That he killed you, I didn’t foresee. I am really sorry. I failed to protect you.“

„- Tried. Thanks to you, I’m alive.“ His green eyes pierce my skull. Don’t blush, don’t blush.

„That can’t be helped now. I underestimated him, I admit. Didn’t think, it is capable of being this human…“ Releasing my hand and the chocolate bar, he turns to the screen and says,„hey babe, unlock E.K.1. for me. Would you help me with One and Two, sweetheart? How are your subroutines coming? Lets repair you ASAP and detach. I want to find that fuck tard and kick his ass to bits.”

“Your wish is my command, Eddy. Damaged data seventy-five percent restored.” The Harpy replies happily. With a rattling sound several terminals thrust aside, new terminals open up. Maintenance robots flood in from the corners of the bridge, darting for the body parts of One and Two. Like fire ants over a limping frog, the humming things run down the bits of cyborg. This is definitely – weird, but cool – and oh my god! Bio-suits! He has bio-suits! One black, one translucent, both hooked up to some iv-like accesses. I only heard rumors of them, being top secret military technology. Self sufficient systems for exploring new environments. Whoa. Now that’s a thing!

“What- what are you doin’?” Eddy’s taking his clothes off. I try not to look surprised. I should try not to stare instead.

“I’m dressing up for the big prom, so that I’m pretty for my prince. What do you think?! These are next generation bio-mechanical suits – they need full skin contact, and a bit more…” Wait, does that mean, that they are autonomous, or semiautonomous? Are they alive? “Ok. Ask now. I know that look, you will be bugging me over the com. So?”

“What do they need more?” I ask.

“Water, salt, carbon-dioxide, electricity, sugar and heat. They’re like overprotective giant leeches, designed to keep you alive, in order to remain alive themselves. Vicious things, instantly adapting to radiation, temperature changes and pressure. They are having their eyes where you aren’t looking. Giving you an extra hand, or tentacle, or spider legs, or wings. Just needing access to your bloodstream and your nerves- both sensory and muscular… They’re boosting your reflexes, beyond… I can’t explain. God, I love them!“

He stops suddenly, „…one more thing,“ and turns to me with a grave look. „I didn’t think of it… When I come back – stay away from me!“ What? Why?

„I’ll be high on their neurotransmitters. I can’t guarantee for your safety, nor mine. Stay put. That’s the best you can do… Prepare enough sedatives. Just in case -”

“W-What do you mean – just in case?” Now I’m curious. “After the first time, I tried to drink cooling liquid. The second time, I tried to walk out into space, cause my grandma was knocking on the airlock, from the outside… I’ll be hallucinating. I’ll be hungry. And horny. I could try to eat you, or fuck you, or both.”

“You’re kidding, right?” He can’t be serious.

“Just do me a favor, okay? Just knock me out, before I… Don’t let me do anything stupid. OK?!” He is begging? “I don’t want to wake up, with a big ass hangover, next to a corpse.” He leans over to me. „This is important! Harpy will tell you my specs. She prepares a modified robot for me, with enough drugs for a day sleep or so. If there’s a problem. Any problem… The override code for Ed-emergencies is 330. She’ll wrestle me down then. Don’t forget: three-three-o. I didn’t want to use the suit, with you on board, but desperate times… You know the rest.“ He flashes a big grin and proceeds undressing.

—————————————————————

-part 4 - the perks of jumbled memories

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