I rebooted to the sound of gunfire, the screen that the visual part of my brain projected as my actual sight flickered to life, starting as a static-filled blur but quickly registering with perfect clarity. My artificial eyes quickly scanned the room as my motor function became accessible. Call it instinct or programming, but I was on my feet in a millisecond, my prosthetic limbs easily catapulting me forward as I searched for the origin of the gun shots. I was in a very familiar hallway, one I walked through every day. It led straight into the firing range that while rebooting had managed to be low on my apparent remembrance priority list.
I skidded to a halt, blinking only out of habit, in my confusion. "Oh, you are awake?" Details were still loading into my subconscious, and I could almost see my mind facilitating my need to know how close I was to being complete by showing a loading bar in the corner of my vision screen. Other than the computerized components, I would most closely compare it to waking up after fainting, where you have a moment of amnesia before everything comes flooding back. I had registered the question, which left me wondering what had happened before my shutdown.
My eyes darted towards the speaker and my brain filled in the information. Rayne Westing. Weapon specialist. Age 23. Height 178 cm. Right arm, both legs and eyes: prosthetic. Threat level… high. Speech functions operational, I finally spoke. "Where is the Chief?" I had ignored the question, feeling it unnecessary to answer, since there was no way I was not awake.
Rayne placed the Glock 33AV she had been practicing with on the booth before which she stood and crossed her arms. "Sheesh, Major, always cranky when you wake up. She is in her office." I nodded and that was the only thanks she was going to get. I turned, the structure of the building pulling up in the side of my vision, marking the room that was the Chief's office. At a run, I maneuvered through the halls, coming to a stop before her door. My knock was harsh, unrefined, but she called her permission for me to enter.
The sensors in my hand registered that the temperature of the door handle was 25.3 C, above the average room temperature. Someone was already inside. I stepped into the room; Chief Victoria Frankenstein was seated at her desk with Daisuke standing before her. I could not ascertain their topic of discussion, but it did not concern me. "Chief, what happened?"
The young woman, clearly of English descent, cocked her head to one side, but her expression remained serene. "Evangeline, do be more specific. I have no idea of what you speak." I just stared for a moment, allowing my brain to further piece everything together. "Why was I shut down and how did you do it?" The Chief sighed, as if she could not be bothered to explain, but then her expression flipped, becoming the more mischievous, playful one that I was accustomed to. "Dear, you managed to get your body all shot up, so it needed to be replaced. But, I took the opportunity to put you into my latest model. I do so hope you like it." Memories flooded back of the moment. My damage sensors had all be screaming and then everything had gone black. I had falling into a dream as my body shut down.
In the time it took me to ask "was the mission a success?" I had brought up my system overview, checking for all the updates that had been installed. It did explain why I had taken so long to reboot. With updates and a new system, everything needs to be reordered, rather than having a transplant of my mind into an already ordered body. The updates I found included better sensory functions, higher precision in my limb control, infrared vision mode, structural upgrades incorporating titanium into my reinforcement, and by the looks of it, my "skin" would be far more realistic, almost mistakable for real human flesh to even a trained eye.
"Yes, but extraction was a little more difficult than normal," I heard the Chief drone. I nodded, the scan of my upgrades completed. I checked the date, my internal clock becoming another visual component. February 4th, 2015. That was three days after the mission. Why had it taken so long for them to work on me? "What is next?" I asked aloud.
The Chief shrugged. "I am attending a social outing tonight and since you are back with us, you and Cor can escort me. Also, go check in with Diana. She would love to get your input on the latest upgrades." I nodded, leaving without another word. As I shut the door, I heard "Daisuke, really, I don't see how –" and then the door was shut and I had no intention of hacking in to hear what else they had to say.
I passed Cor, on my way to the medical bay, and passed on the notice of that night's duty to him. He responded in an almost human sounding voice that had only hints of a metallic ring. "Of course, Ma'am." His bulky body bowed smoothly, a characteristic that only he possessed for an android of his size. That was the work of The Chief and Diana for you, way ahead of the game.
I reached up and patted him on the shoulder as I passed. I noted the position where my hand fell and how it was different from where I would normally pat, even though I had moved my arm at the usual angle and he always bowed the same way. My hand was 7.4 cm higher than normal. I determined that I would definitely have something to discuss with Diana.
I did not bother to ask permission for entry into the medical bay, having a higher authority than Diana to start. I was greeted by the woman in an atypical fashion. "Awww, Eva dear, you look absolutely gorgeous in your new body!" I watched her move in for a more typical hug, but did not move. It was far simpler to endure her theatrics. "What do you mean?" She tilted away from me, loosening her embrace. "Wait, you don't know. Oh dear, you better come look in the mirror." She tugged towards a mirror, although it was more that she seemed to be tugging me, since there was no way she could manage to get me to move, even with her prosthetic arms. I moved of my own free will, knowing that should I not, I would, never hear her stop complaining and I was a fair bit curious.
I recognized only one of the women in the mirror and that was Diana. The other had a Scandinavian look to her. She was tall, blond and blue eyed, but she wore an English style uniform, one of wealth or position, but I could not establish which. But in the moment of confusion, there was also realization. This woman in the mirror was me. "What did you do? " Diana, who had herself wrapped around this woman, wrapped around me, shrugged. "I did as I was commanded. I was told to put you into the latest model, but the model, with all its new features has to be bigger, where an Asian look would not fit as well or would at least stand out more. So, I modified the appearance, and may I just say you look absolutely stunning. The getup was Tory's idea."
After the initial shock passed, I found myself liking the new look, but I would net freely admit it. I would remain impartial, uncaring. If it worked better as a body, I could care less what I looking like. "All of my system outputs look normal and I have already adapted to the differences. My memories are fully restored and I am combat ready," I informed Diana, hoping beyond all hope that she would just let me go. No such luck.
She had me run test after test, searching for any malfunction, until it was almost time for me to escort The Chief. Finally she let me go, but not without a big pout on her face. Always overdramatic, that one. It was a good thing she knew what she was doing and was vital for me to keep functioning or I would have thrown her through a wall by now.
I did not bother leaving the premise of The Section X building. I returned to the Chief's office, knocking softly. She called me in. "Chief, I was just wondering, what kind of social gathering is this?" She looked up from her computer, giving me a curious look. "I few old friends are in town and I have been invited to join them at a party that is being held at the Feishing Country Club. Don't worry, you look fine." It bugged me a little that she always seemed to know what I was trying to ask, but I did not comment.
"Fine, I will grab Cor and meet you at the car." Since Cor was fully artificial, I pulled up a Com-link with him. "You hear that?" I heard his confirmation and nodded to myself. Leaving The Chief, I ventured to the artillery room, holstering two Seburo M5s on my lower back, above my shirt but below my jacket. Satisfied, and really expecting much out of this party, I grabbed the one other item I always carried – The cord that could connect my brain with any computer.
I let my feet take me to the garage, where I saw Cor waiting. "You will play driver today, big guy." He nodded and got into the driver's seat, while I got into the seat behind the passenger's seat. A few minutes of waiting and The Chief joined us, taking the seat next to mine. "So, what kind of android am I playing today?" I questioned her. She gave me an impish grin that I did not like at all. "Well, my friends won't expect me to need a bodyguard type, so you will have to play the servant-that-I-always-tote-around type. I glanced out the window as Cor pulled the car out of the garage. "Great." There were hints of sarcasm in my voice and I had to smile. Guess that was a new feature, too.