OK, I hope you're enjoying this sneak peek into my next book.
Just an update as to where I am with this.
I'm nearly done with the editing, as in, early next week I will be done, but I'm currently without a cover. I have a model ready but she can't shoot until the end of the month.
As soon as I have shot with her, I will be getting that cover done and getting the book out ASAP.
In the meantime, here's Snippet 4 for you.
Frankie looked around the dark room as the lights in the bank of computers faded to nothing, leaving only the weak light from outside filtering in through one small window up high on the wall behind her. She found it difficult to see, when suddenly her vision shifted to a green night vision hue, and then to a black and white night vision, which she felt gave her a better view. Keeping her vision within that spectrum for the moment she watched as the Doctor looked about him, as confused as she was no doubt, while messages flashed up in her field of vision.
- Main power feed cut: Switching to internal Power. Power Cell at 100%. -
-Remote Systems override failed: all systems online. Operating within normal parameters-
- Main Frame link interrupted: Searching for alternate links-
She didn’t pay them much mind for the moment. Instead, she watched the Doctor as he stood still, probably using his Neural Net to see what had just happened.
‘Shit,’ he exclaimed and shoved his Data Pad in his coat pocket as he moved around the mainframe towards the one door that led out of here. As he walked, he reached under his lab coat to the small of his back and pulled a pistol out of his belt, checking it to make sure it was loaded and ready to use as he disappeared through the door.
Feeling a touch confused and worried, she closed her eyes and put her fingers to her temples, only to pause suddenly and then look at her hands.
She could move.
She looked down, wiggled her legs and twisted her body. It was true, she was free, but still held up by these Kevlar flat weave belts under her armpits and the countless cables that were attached to sockets down her back, and on her arms and legs. She reached up and braced herself against the sides of the vertical cradle she was suspended in and pulled with all her strength on the strap. She felt something start to bend and within moments, she’d pulled the strap free from its housing.
She quickly went to work on the next one, pulling it from her body with surprising ease before dropping to the floor and landing on her feet.
She looked at the strap she still held in one of her hands and noted that she had bent the metal that had held the strap in place on the cradle.
She smiled to herself. She was strong, really strong.
As she dropped the strap to the floor, she noticed the cables that were still plugged into her arms and realised that there seemed to be an awful lot more connected to the back of her head and her spine.
She reached back and could feel the metal and rubberised cable housings still attached to her and shuddered.
Okay, she was a cyborg and had a cyber brain, so maybe she could eject the cables herself. The thought had barely passed through her mind when a series of hisses and the sound of clamps and locks disengaging emanated from behind her and she had the really strange feeling of things that had been plugged into her, dropping out of their sockets as a messaged popped up.
- All connections disengaged. -
It took a couple of seconds, but once they were all unplugged, she felt much lighter all of the sudden. Not quite so weighed down anymore.
She stretched, even though she didn’t need to but felt good all the same and she enjoyed this feeling of freedom.
Frankie noticed another message flashing in her vision and focused on it.
- Connect to local Net?-
Aaah, now that would be useful, she thought, and with a quick affirmative thought, the message flashed brighter for a second, and some subroutines started to run with code scrolling up along the side of her vision as her system began to hack into the Net.
Typically you needed to buy a subscription from one of the Media Corps to gain access to the Net, but within a couple of seconds, she had bypassed that and registered a secure connection to the Net.
Cool, she thought.
The loud staccato bangs of gunfire from the next room caught her totally unaware and made her flinch back away from the noise and towards the cradle once more. Shouts rang out, and the sound of fighting and more gunfire echoed through to her, so she crouched down and hid from casual view in case anyone were to look in here.
A frantic mess of flailing white arms and legs flew into the room and clattered to the floor at the far end of the room, followed by gunfire that sparked off the body of the armoured Doll and kicked up dust from the floor.
The Doll moved quickly, its limbs splitting apart and twisting allowing it to skitter across the ground like a spider in an attempt to flee the gunfire.
Two men followed it into the room, their guns raised and hustling after it, as they continued to fire a constant barrage of armour piercing shells at the Android.
Text popped into view in her vision, pointing at and naming the weapons the men were carrying while counting the number of rounds they were firing.
The Doll let out a strange digitised scream as the two Corporation Special Forces men emptied a few more rounds into the Doll, silencing it forever as it fell still.
They had their backs to her at the moment, but she knew she would be next. They would turn, see her, and shoot at her as well. She had no desire to die again. She needed to act while they were reloading and she had the element of surprise.
For a brief moment, Frankie wondered what she could do, having never been trained in martial arts, but that thought lasted barely a fraction of a second as she found that actually, she did know how to fight. She knew fighting styles and methods from around the world and knew them well.
Not only had she gained a new body, but she'd also been gifted new skills as well that must have been programmed into this body. Smiling to herself, she suddenly felt a lot more confident. She rose from her crouch and moved quickly towards the two men dressed in tactical gear with Psytech Corp logos on their shoulders.
She kneed the one on her right in the small of his back and backhanded the other man on her left across the face, breaking his respirator in the process. She then elbowed the first man in the face, also breaking his mask while pulling the sidearm from the second man’s holster.
She found that she could move so quickly, it was almost like these two were moving in slow motion. She reacted so fast, seeing their movements and anticipating their next move, allowing her to counter it before they ever got there.
She brought the gun up into the face of the man she’d taken it from and fired two rounds at him before turning around and doing the same to the man she had kneed in the back, putting him down for good as well.
She stood there, holding the gun, blood on her naked body, looking down at the two dead bodies at her feet, their faces a mess of blood, gore and bone. She thought she should feel something, some regret maybe, or remorse. She’d just killed two men. She’d never killed anyone before. Today was a day for change and new experiences she thought.
Was she joking to herself? Wow, that was now how she thought that would go.
She checked the logo on the shoulders of the two men, her Cyberbrain tagging it and confirming it to be a Psytech logo. These were corporate men, employed by the Corporation to be killers. Mercenaries. Assassins. She’d always hated the Corps, what they did to people and to society. The way they clearly didn’t care for anyone or anything unless it benefitted them and their bottom line.
In a weird kind of way, it actually felt good to kill these two men, to take out years of hatred and anger against the Corporations that had built up inside of her and to let it out in a pure and unadulterated form. She’d killed them, but given the crimes the men in the employ of a Corporation committed every day for a pay package, she felt they got off lightly really.
Gunfire continued to sound in the next room, broken up with shouts and the sounds of movement and fighting.
Frankie’s enhanced hearing caught the sound of a tiny voice nearby which appeared in her vision as a pulsating waveform logo. It was the comms these men were using to communicate. Her sub-routines quickly scanned and found the wireless signal going to the headsets these guys were wearing and hacked into it. A voice suddenly burst into life in her mind.
‘…ort in guys, have you put that Doll down? Guys, answer me?’
Using another sub-routine Frankie placed a filter over her voice and changed it to a fairly generic male voice.
‘Just about Sir, give us a moment please,’ she answered.
‘Will do, good wor…’ She cut the feed, not wanting to listen to the answer.
Looking around the room, her eyes came to rest on the remains of her body. She walked over to the gurney and looked down at herself. Her abdomen was a real mess of blood and torn tissue while her internal organs bulged through her wounds. She looked at her head, the face hidden by the green surgical cloth. She reached up and gently pulled the blood strained fabric off and looked at herself. She sighed and felt a little happier. Her eyes were closed and she seemed to be at peace judging from the serene expression she wore.
It almost didn’t feel like that body had been her. Looking down at herself like this, seeing herself as others did for the first time, it was a very odd feeling, not least because the top of her head was missing. It had been shaved and was sat on a small side table along with other bloody surgical instruments.
She looked back at the remains of her body. She couldn’t use the clothes she had been wearing. They were ripped and covered in blood. They were also still on her body, and she didn’t have time to start undressing a corpse.
She did spot the familiar rectangle shape of her Data Pad though and pulled it from her pocket. She tapped it to check the battery was still ok. All seemed well with it.
A message popped up in her vision.
-Local device detected: Connect?-
She authorised it, and within moments her Data Pad was linked to her mind.
She was about to move on when she caught sight of her reflection in the black screen of her Pad and paused a moment to look at it. Amazingly, she actually did look like herself. The resemblance was uncanny. Not one hundred percent perfect, but pretty darn close. So at least the Doctor did that for her. It would be harder to accept this body if she didn’t at least look like her old self.
Almost instinctually she knew she could place her Pad against her thigh and with a bit of internally generated magnetism, her pad would stick to her leg. She did so and wondered if the Doctor was okay as another burst of gunfire echoed through the apartment.
Quickly and quietly she picked up a couple of incendiary grenades from the bodies of the two men and moved across the room to the doorway. The gunfire stopped as she approached the door.
‘Cease fire, we have him,’ shouted a female voice from the next room.
Frankie edged out to look through the doorway in time to see two men holding the Doctor and cuffing him while two more Dolls sparked on the floor close by.
Dammit, she thought, they got him.
She might hate the guy for what he did to her, but she also needed him. This body was his creation, and she would need him free to give her repairs and such in the future as well as to answer all the questions she had buzzing about her head. In short, she needed him, but with the number of people in that room, and the risk to his life that running in there would create, she knew this was not the right time.
Plus, she noticed at least one Corporate Agent in there, a cyborg operative loyal to the Corp it worked for who could be more than a match for her. The Agent, a woman, dressed in black with the sides of her head shaved and carrying an enormous gun, must have been the one to call cease fire.
The Agent glanced up just at that moment, looked right at her, and smiled.
Shit thought Frankie and ducked back into the room. She ran from the doorway, pulling the pins from the grenades as she heard the Agent shout orders once again.
As she passed the mainframe workstation, she dropped the first grenade onto it and kept running. Behind her, armed men entered the room and started to fire as she moved behind the computers, putting as many obstacles between them as she could.
Passing her body, she dropped the second grenade next to its head and ran for the window in the corner of the room.
The window was small but big enough for her to fit through, and high up. But somehow, she knew she could reach it. Planting her foot on this concrete floor for the last time, she launched herself into the air and tucked in her legs and arms making herself as small as she could as she hit the window, shattering it.
Falling through the window, she caught the bottom edge of the frame with her hand as bullets sprayed the area where she had been just a moment before, and held herself against the wall, just below the window as two loud explosions sounded from inside. Her grenades. She felt the building shudder from the blasts as the Corporation soldiers screamed and yelled inside.
She could also hear renewed shouting down the end of the side alley she hung above coming from the main street and knew the Corporations men would be running down here in a matter of seconds.
It had started to rain, and although she registered the water as cold against her naked body, she didn’t feel cold, or in any way inconvenienced by the temperature out here, despite her lack of clothing.
Opposite her, the next building rose several stories higher than the Doctors, but she felt sure she could reach the top of it quite easily. She adjusted her position and leapt. She landed a couple of stories further up, atop a sign on the side of the building before jumping again, landing on an air conditioning unit and with a final leap, she reached the roof and pulled herself up. She stepped away from the edge of the building, the rain drenching her and pooling at her feet when a huge Psytech Corp tilt-rotor VTOL aircraft rose into view from the street below, turned to face her shining its powerful spotlight, illuminating Frankie in the dusky evening light.
‘Halt, you are under arrest, failure to comply will result in lethal force.’