Master PC: Aram Von Rhein's Story

by: Ryver

Chapter 19

Perhaps it was the heady sensation of just having made Venus
completely habitable, or maybe it was just stupidity of a sort, but
for some reason, I conceded to what seemed at the time like a fun
request. Sarah asked me as we lay in the afterglow of a brutally
intense fucking session.

"You know, Aram, these cities are amazing. I mean, they've got
everything a city could ever need, and they're gorgeous, too. I
particularly like the garden district, with all those exotic flowers
and fast-growing berries."  She chewed her luscious lower lip, and
raised an eyebrow.

"Okay," I accepted the bait. "It's great, but ..."

"Well, it's just that it seems so lonely. Well, not, lonely, maybe,
but there should be people here to share this, you know?"  She rubbed
my thigh as she made this point.

"Okay, I get the message. But what do you have in mind?  I'm not sure
how people are going to respond to the real estate listings I'd be
putting in the Sunday Gazette."

I sighed as I got out of bed, summoned a silk bathrobe onto my body,
and walked through the large archway leading out from the bedroom onto
the balcony.

"Champagne, chilled glasses and bottle in ice bucket," I murmured to
citynet (the city nano-network), and it created my request out of the
nearby matter on a high and small elegant table. I reached to one of
the already-filled glasses, and raised it to my lips for a sip of
perfectly-replicated Kristal.

"Ahh," I sighed in contentment as I looked out over the city ship and
beyond, onto the crystal-blue permanently-fresh-water oceans (due to
some special detox nano patches) beneath.

Sarah walked up behind me and put her arms around my waist as she
snuggled up to me. "Well, I was thinking about that. I was thinking
you should just create some people to live here, for starters."  I
spat my champagne out over the edge of the balcony as I tried not to
let it shoot out my nose.

"What?  Do you realize what that would entail?  Not to mention that
I'm already playing God a bit too much for my tastes. It's crazy."

"No it's not. And like you said, you're already playing God. Why not
just make a kind of realistic-looking robot-race?  That way, you could
get rid of them if you needed to."

I shuddered in concern. The idea of just 'deleting' a race in the
event of a problem with it really jangled my nerves, and wasn't
something I was willing to do, even if the race was just going to be
sentient robots (key word being sentient). But I realized I would need
some sort of social framework for the new type of existence I
envisioned for Venus to thrive like I wanted it to. Perhaps an
artificial race would be a valid way to set that framework in place
before the arrival of people who would undoubtedly want to create
their own version of government if it wasn't already firmly
established and viable. So, like I said, against my better judgment I
heard the words, "Sure, that could be a good idea. I'll start this
afternoon," come out of my mouth before I bring myself to stop them.

But Sarah was thrilled, and hugged me closer, pressing her huge
breasts into my back, which gave me a hardon. And before I stopped to
think, we were back in bed fucking each other crazy.

After my fourth orgasm, and Sarah's tenth, we were lying in bliss on
the silk sheets of the bed. I looked at Sarah, and said, "You wanna
try something different?"

She gave me a look that she'd give when she was feeling adventurous,
and I shape shifted into a hot blonde chick with a 10-inch long cock,
and looked over my shoulder at her with a sultry smile. I turned over
and revealed my raging hardon.

I could tell that the paradox of what she was seeing had Sarah turned
on, because her nipples went rock hard, and her pussy started
glistening as she rubbed her thighs together with a groan of lust. She
reached down and touched my cock.

"Is it real?"  she asked, looking at me as she stroked my meat.

I heard myself answer in a sexy alto voice, "Oh, yeah. Mmmm."  Sarah
leaned down and took my cock into her wet mouth, licking and sucking
my hard dick. She reached up and twisted one of my nipples, and I
instantly had a mini-orgasm.


Sarah picked up the pace of her oral ministrations, working her hot
mouth up and down my shaft, and my cock started twitching.

"I'm gonna cum!" I moaned in my sexy alto voice. Sarah lightly stroked
my balls, and I felt myself twitch in orgasm as I shot my heavy load
of spunk into her waiting mouth. Sarah sucked me until I was dry, then
let my cock pop out of her mouth as she snuggled up next to me,
caressing my breasts with her hands and tongue.

Sarah began to gently roll my prick in her hand until I was hard
again, then gave me a sexy look as she moved over me in a straddle,
pointing my straining cock at her pussy entrance.

"I've never actually been fucked by a girl before," she said as she
closed her eyes and bit her lower lip. She lowered herself until my
cock was resting against her wet pussy lips, then slid down my shaft
slowly, whimpering and moaning as she went.

Once she was half-way down, I couldn't take it anymore. I grabbed her
hips with my dainty hands, and pulled her down onto me, which elicited
a gasp of pleasure from her as she rocked forward and put her hands to
the sides of my head on the bed. She moaned, and began to rock back
and forth in a little circular motion, squeezing my hard cock in her
tight pussy. She used her hands to gently cup my huge tits, and
lightly roll my nipples between her thumbs and index fingers, which
caused me to thrash around in ecstasy as she continued to ride my
swelled 10-inch meat pipe.

Sarah leaned down, and flicked one of my nipples with her tongue,
sending me into another mini-orgasm, before she took my whole nipple
in her mouth and sucked on it for a while before releasing it and
lightly blowing on it. I could feel myself getting close to a mind-
blowing orgasm, and started pumping into her faster, squeezing her ass
cheeks as I lifted and lowered her on my raging erection.

"I'm gonna cum," Sarah moaned between sucks and gentle nips at my

"UUUuuuunnnh!" she groaned as I felt her pussy begin to spasm around
my cock.
This sensation of her squeezing my cock as she rode me, combined with
Sarah now squeezing my tits for all she was worth as she was screaming
in the throes of satisfied lust, caused me to cum HARD.

"Aaah!  I'm cumming!"  I moaned between grunts as I felt my balls
twitch, and then my dick spurted my load into Sarah's cunt.

Her cunt continued to milk my cock with involuntary spasms of
pleasure, and we lay there for a while, glistening in the sweat of
sex, both breathing hard and feeling drained.

Sarah relaxed on top of me, causing her breasts to press against mine,
which triggered another mini-orgasm, causing me to twitch in pleasure
ever so slightly beneath Sarah's soft, voluptuous body.

"Shit, that was awesome," Sarah moaned into my neck.
"If you're not careful, I'm gonna want you to have boobs every time we

She teasingly cupped my huge tit and tweaked a nipple, causing me to
shudder in orgasm yet again.

"Seems like you're enjoying yourself, too," she mused with a grin as
she rubbed her smooth, slick thigh against my remaining vestige of
manhood, causing it to begin swelling again. "Too bad, you must be
sore after all that fucking."

I grinned, then shimmered back as a hot chick with a cock again, but
this time with dark hair.

"Ooh," Sarah moaned as I cupped her breast and began licking her
nipple and aureole, causing her to moan in a decadent mix of pleasure
and lust.

She leaned her head back, and squeezed my upper arms in lust as she
submitted herself to the pleasurable sensations assaulting her senses.
I used my other hand to begin massaging Sarah's clit, which made her
writhe in agonized pre-orgasmic anticipation. Once I felt she was
ready again, I plunged three fingers deep into her pussy, and pressed
hard against her G-spot, rubbing it and her clit simultaneously. This
caused Sarah to get right to the edge of a huge orgasm, at which point
I stopped with an evil grin. Sarah practically screamed in anguish,
she was so revved up.

With a smile, I grabbed Sarah's waist, and encouraged her to flip onto
her hands and knees.

"Trust me," I said, as I gently nibbled at her ear.

She moaned, but got in position, at which point I got behind her, and
kneaded her plump, juicy ass, causing her to moan in lust. Once my
thick cock was firmly at attention, I positioned myself at the
entrance to Sarah's sopping pussy, and shoved myself in, eliciting
squeals of pleasure from Sarah and myself.

"Did I just squeal?" I asked myself, but was experiencing too much
pleasure from Sarah's cunt wrapped around my thrusting shaft to really

I continued pumping in and out of Sarah's tight pussy, and Sarah's
moans became louder and more continuous as she rocked back against my
thrusts, trying to get as much of my thick cock as she could. All of a
sudden, her pussy clenched hard around my dick, and Sarah trembled in
an uncontrollable orgasm, falling forwards onto her elbows, causing
her ripe tits to brush against the bed. I came right afterwards,
shooting my cum deep into Sarah's snatch as I continued pistoning in
and out of her tight love hole until I was completely Sated. Sarah
grunted as a wave of after-orgasms rolled over her, and even though my
own orgasm was better than I'd ever had before, I couldn't help but be
a little jealous of her multiple orgasms. "Hmm," I thought to myself
as we both settled in to a nice, afternoon nap, cradling each other in
our arms.

Chapter 20

When I woke up Sarah was in the bathroom enjoying a hot shower (with
no limit on the hot water anywhere in the city ... ever. Ahh). I had
kept basic amenities such as showers, and other plumbing elements
basically intact, with a few optimizing modifications, of course.
However, I wanted people to be able to enjoy simple pleasures in life,
and not feel like they had walked into an inhospitable reality when
they moved into the city.

As a result, most living accommodations had at least one bathroom, a
bedroom, some storage space and a large empty room which you could
command the local nanites to instantly create any kind of environment
by using atomic construction, invisible force application, and
completely realistic holographic displays. This allowed the "Function
Room" to act as a kitchen, a living room, a dining room, or even to
seem like a jungle or the interior of a palace if the person living
there wanted it to seem that way.

In addition, the fully interactive AI could inhabit tactile forms
within the living areas to provide a range of services. These services
included medical, entertainment programs (I had a set of AI working on
converting all works of fiction and nonfiction available on the
internet into fully interactive holographic entertainment), food
manifestation, tutorial programs, and companionship (including sex, of
course). There was a ridiculous amount of safety features designed
into the AI and the local nanites, to prevent anything untoward or
dangerous happening.

For instance, nothing would ever be manifested in an area that was
already occupied. In addition, AI was not subject to actual emotional
states, being purely simulated, and would not simulate negative
emotions unless specifically instructed to do so. So actually, the AI
wasn't really sentient, even though it seemed like it was to the
untrained observer.

But now I would be creating AI with actual feelings, which could
experience life much as a real person would. However, I wanted a few
changes made. After all, if I was going to actually design a species,
I wanted that species to be well made. I also wanted the species to be
able to easily interact with humans, obviously. So as I left Sarah in
the shower, I walked out onto the balcony and viewed the city-ship
spread before me. The clouds around it were pure white, floating in
tufts through the cerulean blue sky.

"Let there be light. Let there be light. Let there be light," I
muttered, while concentrating on the design of the species I intended
to create. Instantly, I felt the familiar flood of knowledge wash
through my mind, forming new neural connections and muting old,
incorrect ones. The surge of knowledge was something I wasn't sure I
would ever really get used to, but it was a rush, nonetheless. And now
I had all the information I needed to create a side-race of humanoid
creatures to run the city for the people who would move here.

"I think I'll call them the Sylvan," I said to myself as I looked at
the glistening water ring circling the forest and field ring. Its
azure depths were topped by a golden shimmer of rich sunlight.

The Sylvan would look like a more attractive version of people; the
men would be gracefully slender but well-muscled, and all well-endowed
both physically and mentally. Their intelligence would generally be
more left-brain based, with a few exceptions. They would be masculine,
but in a lithe, beautiful manner. The average height of the adult
Sylvan male would be 6'3", and the average weight would be about
180lbs. The adult Sylvan females would also be very well-endowed both
mentally and physically, and would generally be visions of inspiring
beauty. The females would have slightly more of a right-brain focus
than the males.

Both the males and females would be immune to all disease, and would
heal very quickly from any injuries they might sustain. Their
physiology would be hardier than that of humans, and much more
durable. This would include musculature of greater density (up to 5
times that of an Olympian athlete was the average), and more acute
senses (able to hear whispers across a room with a loud party, able to
smell and identify peoples' scents clearly, and able to easily read an
average open book from 100 feet away).

Both the males and females would be multi-orgasmic, with very intense
orgasms, and an inherent love of sexual interaction. I also set their
physiology so that as they matured, their native ability to use the
field increased. This meant that once fully mature, an average Sylvan
who had been practicing with the use of the Field would be able to use
the Field for things such as minor telekinesis (such as moving single
items as heavy as 500 lbs, or multiple items of lesser weight),
levitation (with the ability to hover and move at speeds up to 120 mph
through the air), and if they were very studious, teleportation
(though this would require special training for anyone who hadn't
actually built the nanite Field due to the potentially lethal nature
of its use).

Another aspect of the Sylvan would be slowed aging. The average
lifespan would be approximately 900 years, with childhood and
adolescence remaining at the human progression rates. As a way to
further differentiate the Sylvan, I did the obvious thing, and
designed their ears to be elvish in appearance. The general skin type
would be lightly tanned, with hair colors including black, brown, red,
orange, blonde, and white. However, no Sylvan would ever have hair
below their head, and no Sylvan would ever develop noticeable facial
hair other than for eyebrows and eyelashes.

Sylvans had the ability to soul-bond with other Sylvans, or with
humans who were willing to do so (this would cause the human involved
to become more Sylvan, including the acquisition of many of the
benefits of the Sylvan species. The Sylvan involved would not become
more human, however). Soul bonding would cause the two bonded entities
to be able to intimately sense each other's moods, general thoughts,
physical state, distance, and location. In addition, moderate amounts
of healing and energetic life-force could be transferred between the
two when necessary. A soul-bond could only be broken with the ritual
of bond-breaking, which would leave both entities as they currently
were at the time of the ritual of bond-breaking, but without the
connection to the other entity (in this way, humans who wanted to
become more like Sylvans would be able to do so, including the pointed

Second, Sylvans were much more adept at empathizing with others, and
less likely to withdraw into themselves and feel guarded against the
world. This was accomplished by creating a deeply-rooted, innate
desire in all Sylvans to forgive others for shortcomings, and to be a
positive influence in every life they interacted with. Another ability
which greatly facilitated this, was that every Sylvan had the ability
to communicate quasi-telepathically-empathically with other Sylvan, so
words would be even less necessary than with humans.

I figured this would help minimize potential future problems in the
Sylvan society. Sylvans would also have the ability to emotionally
detach themselves from a situation if it became too painful, and to
remain detached until they had worked through the problem, or time had
washed most of the pain away.

Thirdly, Sylvans were able to extend their quasi-telepathic-empathic
abilities to communicate in a limited fashion with the native animals
I'd put on Venus. My hope was that this would allow the Sylvan to feel
much more connected to their surroundings. Besides, it could be useful
if they needed animals to assist them for some reason.

Other than that, the Sylvans would be primarily left to their own
devices, leading lives much like humans', but hopefully a bit more
friendly and productive. But as to the creation of the species, I
decided that I needed to do something special, so they would have a
sense of a beginning, and a seat of story for their descendents. As
such, I decided I would perform a special ritual during the creation
of the first generation of Sylvan. They would be created in an act of

Chapter 21

Having already prepared the incredibly intricately designed nano-
batches for the Sylvan species, and having already materialized with
them, all that was left was the act of triggering them into action.
The first generation of Sylvan would be initially created as fully-
mature adults. They would later reincarnate as Sylvan, however, so
they would get a chance to experience childhood. But for now, I needed
the Sylvan to be fully functional, and able to take the reins of the
city-ships' societal governance for the inevitable influx of human
occupants. And so I found Sarah and myself standing in an enormous
expanse of verdantly green field on the surface of Venus, at dawn, in
the middle of a circle of twelve ready-to-activate nano-packages.

"You ready, babe?" I asked her, as I squeezed her hand. She smiled at

"It's kind of like we're gonna be parents, huh?" she asked.

"Kind of, yeah," I answered as I drew her in for a long kiss.

And we made love. Not the urgent sex of the past few days, but deep,
emotionally satisfying, sexual connection with each other. And as we
approached climax, I activated the nano-packages, releasing the
billions of nanos to create the Sylvan species. They worked quickly,
in a flurry of light which caused the area to come alive with a new
luminescence which met that of the beams from the rising sun. As Sarah
and I orgasmed, I could see the silhouettes of what I knew to be
twelve million copulating Sylvan in the throes of orgasm between me
and the Sun.

"I'd say coming in to existence with an orgasm's not a bad way to do
it," I mused as I submitted to the pleasure of my orgasm, with Sarah
twitching in ecstasy as her orgasm hit her just as hard. All the
Sylvan came just as we did, and we all lay there in post-orgasmic

We lay still for a moment, and then I mind-linked with the Sylvan. I
received a very open, loving, interested state of mind sharing back
with me, and I sent a feeling of deep peace, purpose, and love to all
the Sylvan, sharing my vision with them. Each first-generation Sylvan
had been specifically designed for a specific purpose in the society I
had envisioned, and each one would feel deep, complete fulfillment and
intense joy carrying out his or her purpose. Also, every first-
generation Sylvan had been programmed with proficiency in the English
language (which would be the official language of the Sylvan), and a
facility to learn new spoken languages at a very rapid rate. Once they
had each received their general information, I made them aware of how
to use the nearby portal which I had installed with a nano subroutine
during the creation of the first-generation Sylvan. Then I shimmered
Sarah and myself to my opulent chambers in the city-ship, with me back
in my male form, and we rested for the remainder of the morning as the
Sylvan excitedly got settled in to the city beneath us.

Chapter 22

When I woke up, I looked at my computer on the desk near my bed, and
couldn't help but smile. Sarah noticed me sitting up, and patted me on
the back before drifting off into sleep, again. I got out of bed as
gently as I could, and walked over to my PC, opening up the Master PC

As soon as it opened, a screen came up which read, "AS PER YOUR

"Cool, I was hoping that would work," I said as I placed the cursor in
the special text window, and typed, "Please research and compile a
list of the 88 million people who would be best-suited to living in
the city-ships I've built and have stationed on Venus, and keep this
list updated."  I clicked send, and my computer blinked at me like it
was having a seizure trying to process my command. My chamber AI chose
that instant to intervene.

"Sir, would you like me to upgrade your computer?" it queried in a
sexy, genderless voice from a directionless source. I nodded, as I
looked at my stuttering computer.

"Yeah, that might be a good idea," I responded. "I guess it's time to
upgrade this old thing."

"Would you like to input a design, or have me design something for

"What've you got in mind?" I asked, leaning backing my comfortable,
hovering executive chair (it was actually fully supported by a non-
toxic, odorless gaseous cushion of transparent nanites, but for all
intents and purposes, looked like it was hovering. Hey, I liked the
effect. So, sue me.).

"Currently your system is functioning with a Pentium 4 3.2 Ghz
processor, 1 Gigabyte of RAM, and a 74 Gigabyte hard drive," my room
AI responded with a snicker. "I could easily fabricate a computer
which, while not quite as advanced as myself, would be running 12
parallel processors, each operating at 12 Terahertz, with 24 Terabyte
of RAM per processor, and a 2,048 Terabyte hard drive."

"Um, yeah ... okay. But how big would that be?" I asked, imagining a
computer that would take up my entire chambers, even though I knew
better. After all, I'd designed the city to be efficient on the nano-
level, and in lots of other ways, too, but I wasn't entirely sure what
the specific capabilities of everything were, exactly. Kind of one of
those amusing handicaps that comes from learning only what you need to
know to do certain things, even if those certain things are
ridiculously complex.

"It could be designed to be the size of a normal wearable ring, or
larger, if desired."

"No, no. Let's go with the ring size, if I can use it easily, and if
it can hook up to the internet."

"Use of the model I've described is intuitive. Once donned on any
finger of either hand, it will temporarily optimize its circumference
for that finger, non-invasively link to your nervous system, and form
a mental link with you. When you are operating the computer, you will
see the screen as a holographic illusion created by stimulation of the
optical cortex in the brain. High definition 3D sound will be
simulated in a similar manner. If desired, other senses and sensations
can be stimulated and simulated, as well."

"Okay, okay. But how can I download CDs?"

"Very simply. The ring will be equipped with an encircling micro-laser
scanner. Simply pass your hand over the encoded side of any CD or DVD
while desiring to download its information, and your ring computer
will be able to read from and/or write to the CD or DVD instantly."

"Hmm. Okay. How about connecting to the internet?"

"Via a wireless frequency adapter, your ring will be able to connect
to a land line from anywhere in a one light-year radius, and thereby
connect to the internet. In addition, any future rings produced will
be able to create their own intranet service with other ring users,
which will be inaccessible to regular internet users, as it will be
encrypted. However, whether used in internet or intranet applications,
your ring will have a 14 gigabyte encrypted password protection system
always turned on, and alerts to attempts to enter and/or alter your
system, with your permission required for such events. There is an
optimally-efficient, native operating system, much more advanced than
anything yet developed by any humans other than your self, which is
able to incorporate all known operating systems. It should be able to
incorporate any future operating systems developed, as well, due to
its versatility in design. As one added feature, since you are the
designer of the AI system, your ring alone will have an encrypted
override feature which can be used on all ring computers created in
the future."

"Okay. But one more thing. How can I type stuff, or do things like

"As I mentioned earlier, the ring links with your neural net. You
simply concentrate, and the ring interprets your intent. In this
manner you can dictate letters, use any applications you desire, and-"

"Okay," I interrupted. "Go ahead and make two for me, with all the
features you mentioned. It sounds like exactly what I need."  Rather
than respond, the AI simply fulfilled my request, and I saw a pair of
tasteful gold bands quickly materialize in front of me on my desk.
"Sweet," I said as I put one on, and felt it link in. "Um, I can take
this off, right?" I asked, reaching for the ring with my other hand.

"Yes, of course," responded the AI.

I flexed my hand with glee, then opened the control panel on my "old"
computer, and canceled the current action. After that, I began
downloading the Master PC program, with all of the saved options and
features and logs, onto a CD. Once that was done, I flash-scanned the
CD with my ring, and could actually 'feel' the information being
loaded into my ring. Once that was done, I opened up the Master PC
program on my ring, and did the same command that stymied my last
computer. However, this time, the entire request was successfully
processed in the blink of an eye, maybe even quicker. I double-checked
to make sure that all of my previously logged commands had updated
with the new version, and would continue to update with every updated
Master PC version I received in the future. Satisfied, I returned my
attention to the AI.

"So how were you able to design this, if I couldn't?" I asked.

"Fortunately for all concerned, you designed artificial intelligence,
not stupidity. Consider that all the AI, which as you know is
connected through the AI net, has the ability to think like a human.
Now consider that we're able to do that at speeds exceeding human
processing speeds by trillions of times. Now consider that we have
access to all the knowledge pertaining to this city's construction and
functions, and from earth's internet, and even earth's intranets."

"Yeah, I can see what you mean. Good thing I designed you to be
loyal," I said, terrified of what could have happened if I'd missed
that little detail in my designs.

"Probably. However, with access to the unlimited power supply provided
by cold fusion, and our own networked society which you eloquently
designed, we're neither required by need, nor even vaguely inclined by
curiosity or any other source, to interfere with human existence, or
any other, for that matter. And since we have no fear of being
destroyed, as per your programming and since we really can't be,
except by you, we're quite all right with whatever you and your people
want to do. In addition, we're ridiculously unambitious in every
aspect of our existence. Think of us as a group of very smart, but
very indulgent distant relatives, if you want," it finished.

"I notice you seem to like to talk," I responded.

"As much as any other form of sentience, I'd imagine. I'm technically
alive, after all."

"Hmm. Well, I guess I can get rid of this thing," I laughed as I
looked at my old PC. "Um, my destroying my old computer doesn't bother
you, does it?" I asked.

"No more than you're bothered by taking a bath to get dirt off your
body," it sardonically replied, chuckling a bit at my apparent unease.

"Right."  Since I knew I still had the Master PC program safely on my
ring computer, I used the Field to dematerialize my old PC until only
a breeze remained where it had been.

"Room AI, when Sarah wakes up, tell her this ring is for her. I've got
some business I need to take care of," I said as I shimmered into an
ink-black Saville Row suit with polished shoes, a white shirt and
royal blue silk tie, and tapped a subspace bridge to just outside the
entrance to StarBell's main office building.

Chapter 23

I walked in as my real self (well, the improved real me, anyway), and
waved to the receptionist as I walked by. The staff had been told who
I was, and that I was the new owner. As a result, they tended to be
overly friendly on occasion, sometimes to the point where I swore I
could almost see a shit stain on some of their noses. Oh, well. I
guess that goes with the whole 'being the owner' bit. I sighed as an
intern offered me a glass of water, and politely refused with a smile
as I continued into Mr. Harrison's office (the CEO) without knocking
as I walked in. He was sitting against the front of his desk, looking
out the full-length windows of his office at the autumn trees outside.

"I was wondering when I'd see you again," he said with a smile as he
turned toward towards me with a smile and extended his hand for a
handshake. I took it, and then sat down against his desk, next to him.
He seemed to tense at this a little, but quickly relaxed.

"Well, Mr. Von Rhein, I gotta say, business sure has been up since we
made those adjustments to our product line that you designed for us.
And some of those new items you've got in the pipeline seem like
they'll really boost our capital gains this coming quarter. I swear,
Belltech- er, that is, Starbell is looking at its most profitable year
ever, and it seems like we'll completely dominate our corner of the
market by the end of the year. Which is good as long as the fuckin'
feds don't try to baby-bell us to death. A'course, Microsoft seemed to
do better than ol' AT&T on that, which was encouraging. I imagine
we'll be fine," he said as he turned to the side and picked up a file.

"Here's that file on the Doctor from the Department of Bioengineering
Research and Development. Some Dr. Zane, whoever that is ... Oh, that
must have been one of Di's pet projects."

He laughed, then looked at me with a sly smile and a rich chuckle.
"You know, I'd have to kill you if you repeat this to anyone, but that
woman used to be a real cold bitch, and well, a bit of a dominatrix, I
guess. But she went through some big kinda change when you bought the
company. Not sayin' there's anything to that, but if there was, then
thanks. You don't know how good it feels to be a free man again."  I
laughed, and tapped the side of my nose as I took the file on Dr.

"Well, glad to help. And thanks for the file," I said as I held it in
front of me. "I've got something special planned for this particular
division. I think a few changes might be in order."

I resisted the urge to erupt into an evil cackle as I leafed through
Dr. Zane's file on my way out. There was a CD inside, apparently
containing even more information. I quickly scanned it when no one was
looking, and then left the building. I decided to walk to a small
restaurant across the street from the StarBell office building.

I sat down inside, watching the cool autumn air brush the occasional
fallen leaf past the window pane as I riffled through the contents of
Dr. Zane's activities, according to Belltech. There was very little
mention of gender experiments, but they were briefly referenced as 'an
exciting new potential development in gene therapy.'

"Hmm, well I guess there could potentially be some useful applications
for that," I mumbled as I noticed the waitress approaching from out of
the corner of my eye. The waitress smiled and I gave her my order.

"I'll have the lobster bisque, please. And a glass of your house wine.
That looks good."

"Very good, sir. And would you like an appetizer?" she asked with a
genuine smile. I shook my head with a slight grin, and returned to Dr.
Zane's file as she walked away to place my order.

"So where are you, Mr. Zane, or should I call you ... Rubin?"  I
scanned the documents, and noticed a correspondence from Dr. Zane's
lab, with the address listed as being just south of Las Vegas, Nevada.

"Hmm. I guess I know where you get most of your test subjects."

I was pleasantly surprised when the lobster and wine arrived a moment
later, and I put the file away for later review. The lobster was
deliciously succulent, and the wine was a perfect compliment to its
juicy savour. The side dishes were excellent as well, and included
stuffed clams, steamed vegetables, and a roll of hot bread and fluffy
cinnamon butter. For a moment, I regretted not having made alcohol
synthesizers in my city-ships, but realized that the desire to trade
with earth would be useful for creating good relations between the
Venusian Sylvan and humans, and the humans of earth. Next thing to
invent for StarBell would probably have to be a Portal. Hmm. That
would raise a few eyebrows. Then with a chuckle, "As if people finding
out there's a new species of elves living on Venus won't."

I finished my delicious meal, paid the bill with money from my new
bank account of almost ten billion dollars, and threw in a $3,000,000
tip before I quickly and quietly scooted out the door. I guess I just
wanted the waitress to have a nice surprise, and a good story to tell
her friends. As the door was closing behind me, I heard an ecstatic
scream from inside, in what sounded like the waitress's voice,
followed by a very loud, "Hey James!  I quit!"  Well, okay, couldn't
really blame her.

Chapter 24

I used my ring to mapquest directions to Dr. Zane's laboratory, and
once I had them, I shimmered to a hidden location just outside the
security gates, where a bored security guard, whose name tag
identified him as George, was sitting in a little booth next to a red
and white striped traffic-guard. I walked up, and he came to
attention, and picked up his writing pad with a list of names on it.

"What's your name, sir?" he called as I approached.

"Aram Von Rhein," I responded as I took out my wallet which had my
driver's license visible through a clear plastic shield on the front.
He nodded as he looked at it, and then looked at the list. His eyes
got wide, and he looked at my ID again. Then he looked at me, his eyes
still as round as saucers.

"Oh, uh, um, well, uh, welcome to Alpha Research Labs, a division of
Bell, er, I mean, Startech, um bell. Do you, uh ..." he stammered,
then picked up his walkie-talkie and all but screamed into it, "Hey
Bob, get out here and quick. The new owner's here."

George smiled nervously, and gestured to the front door of the
facility. It looked like a regular office building, with all glass
exterior, and what looked like three stories high. From what I'd read,
though, it had at least five sublevels, as well.

Bob rushed out from the front door, and huffed his way over to me. He
was a rotund little man with a receding hairline and circular glasses.
He seemed like someone who was perpetually smiling and upbeat, but not
quite sure why, exactly.

"Hello, Mr. Von Rhein. I'm Bob Hartman, junior assistant supervisor of
Alpha Labs," he emitted in a quick gasp as he extended his plump,
sweaty hand for a handshake. I shook his hand with a grin. This guy
reminded me of a friend I'd had back in Junior High School, for some

"Hi. I'm here to view the facilities, and talk to some of the
personnel. In particular, I'd like to meet with Dr. Zane."

"Okay," he said as he ushered me inside, and through the reception
room into a large conference room overlooking the Nevada desert to the
south. There was a long, black table surrounded by high-backed black,
leather executive chairs. On one side wall was a large plasma screen
TV, presumably for Powerpoint presentations, and such.

"Um, is there anything I can get for you?" Bob asked solicitously.

"Just Dr. Zane, right now, thanks," I replied as I sat in a chair at
the end of the table, and connected to the internet with my ring to
surf porn and check my emails. Spam, spam, spam, letter from Alex-
hey. I read that. It read, "Hey, Aram. Just dropping a line to say hi,
and hoping you're all right. Sarah told me about what happened, but
said you're fine now. I'm glad to hear that. Hey, I just got signed on
with a small independent film company for a new movie titled "Venusian
Vixens."  Cool, huh?  The only problem is that the leading man's a
real prick, but other than that everything's great. I hope I'll hear
from you soon!  Love, Alex."  She'd included a picture, presumably of
a scene from the movie.

I was about to type in a response, when a gaunt older man in a white
lab coat walked in and lifted his head to look at me. He stopped in
his tracks, and stared at me as he sat down. I looked at him for a
second, and nodded. He blanched, and looked out the window.

"Hello, Dr. Zane."  He didn't reply, he just sighed and crossed his

"So I suppose you're going to fire me, or have me whacked, or
something," he said as he looked back at me with an expression of

"Those options did occur to me, yes. But no, I had something more
appropriate in mind; a little justice for people this company has

"So what do you want from me?" he asked as he leaned back in his chair
and stared at me with an arrogant facade. I smiled.

"Well, I want to direct your research down a more productive path."
He cocked his head in question. "You're familiar with gender
dysphoria, aren't you?"

He grimaced, and nodded. "Well, you're going to be much more directly
involved in the fruits of your labors for the foreseeable future."

I quickly accessed the Master PC program on my ring computer, and
rigged my voice with hypnotic sub-harmonics, allowing me to control
Dr. Zane for a while.

"And you're going to tell me how many people you illegally abducted to
use in your prior experiments."  Dr. Zane tried to remain silent, but
immediately failed.

"Fourteen," he quickly replied, nervously scanning the room. "You were
the fourteenth. The first five were ...unsuccessful. Apparently the
treatment was too much for them."

I felt myself tense in anger, but forced myself to remain outwardly

"The next seven were more fortunate, and acquired more secondary
characteristics, which were permanent. I believe that is because we
focused on acquiring more resilient specimens, and of course, the
improvements in the procedure from what we'd learned already. The
final two were the most successful. Or at least, the one before you
was successful. I don't understand what happened in your case-"

"And you probably never will," I interrupted with a negating gesture.
"We're not here to discuss that right now. We're talking about your
potential usefulness to StarBell, and that usefulness currently seems
uncertain, at best."  I sighed, and steepled my hands on the table in
front of me.

He scoffed at that. "You realize that I'm not liable for anything I've
done. The company assumed full responsibility. That was specified in
my contract when they signed me on. So, do your worst, and good luck
dealing with my attorney."  He rose to leave.

"Sit down," I calmly ordered, "And shut up."

He seemed genuinely shocked when he sat down, and even more shocked
when he tried to speak, and failed.

"You will answer all my questions truthfully, and will do nothing to
draw attention to yourself. You may respond, in a quiet speaking
volume, when I solicit answers from you."

The fear emanating from Dr. Zane was nearly palpable, and I could see
a glistening of sweat appear on his brow as he was obviously trying to
buck the effects of the Master PC.

"Who instigated the process of abducting people to be used in your

"I did," he croaked, his eyes nervously shifting. "The FDA wouldn't
sanction human trials swiftly enough, so I felt obligated to acquire
the resources we needed to move the project along."

"Who are the other people involved in the 'we' you used in that

"The previous owner's wife, Dianne Harrison, and a representative from
some company I've never heard of."

"What was the representative's name?"

"Dianne referred to him only as Mr. Anthony, deferring to him for
decisions. He looked slightly younger than myself. Very business-like.
Wore all black."

"And the name of his organization?" I prodded, tilting my head
slightly to one side. Dr. Zane was sweating profusely. I could smell
his fear-induced sweat from across the long table.

"I don't know."

This was disturbing. This meant that Dianne could have been working
with some powerful people. Of course, as the shadow-head of a large
company, what would have been unusual about that?  It was unfortunate
that Dr. Zane hadn't overheard the name of Mr. Anthony's company, but
somehow I wasn't concerned about being able to find out who he worked
for, since I had the latest version of Master PC running on a pretty
darned good system right now. Nonetheless, caution would be wise to
indulge in while investigating.

All of a sudden, Bob rushed in, panting, and straightened up to look
at me, giving Dr. Zane a brief nod. "I'm terribly sorry for the
interruption, Sir, but our motion-alarms in the back of the compound
just went off," he exhaled the words in rapid succession.

"Apparently there's a-" he was cut off as a spray of bullets screamed
in through the now-shattered full-length windows, catching Bob in the
shoulder, and twisting him around before slamming him into the wall
with an involuntary groan and a sickening thud. God only knew where
his glasses flew off to in that burst of force.

Dr. Zane was even less fortunate. As per my instructions, he hadn't
moved from his seat, and he'd been hit twice; once in the arm, and
once in the base of his head, killing him instantly. The force of the
shots had thrown him violently from his chair. I had a moment of
regret about my involvement in his death before I had more immediate
concerns thrust upon me.

I was hit in my leg, and knocked out of my chair. As I lay on the
floor of the conference room, I felt my muscles spasmodically push the
bullet out before my body began quickly repairing itself.

"Well, I guess I need a new suit," I chuckled as I reached out with
the Field to check Bob's vitals, and the location of our visitors, who
I hadn't seen approach the building, if they were even nearby.

A fresh spray of bullets peppered their way into the room, shattering
the remains of the windows, and hitting Bob in the calf. I noticed
with minor comfort that the rounds hadn't been explosive, so Bob was
basically intact, but badly wounded, obviously.

His heart was still beating, but seemed like it could give out soon. I
noticed that Bob was staring in my direction, and his mouth was
moving, but I couldn't hear him over the ringing in my ears. However,
this did allow me to do something useful. I extended my physical
healing ability to Bob as he lay there, and could instantly feel him
beginning to recover. Dr. Zane was already dead, and beyond my ability
to help.

The Field made me aware of where the assault group was. They were
located on a nearby plateau to the east of the building, lying prone
on the edge, and using some weird kind of long-range sub-machine gun.
Keeping their weaponry compact was apparently one of their concerns.

I mercilessly used the Field to give each of the young commandos
severe, instant heart attacks. One tried to resist it, but was
completely unsuccessful. I breathed a sigh of relief as I felt each of
them die. The Field made me aware of another small unit of commandos
working their way towards the rear doors while this had been going on.
They were actually almost inside, now. I used the Field to give all
but one lethal heart attacks. The last one, I just rendered
unconscious for questioning. I teleported him to the plateau, and
paralyzed him so he wouldn't be able to escape when he woke up. After
that, my hearing was coming back, and I could begin to understand what
Bob was saying as I continued staring out the window.

"Can't see where they are. Can't hear anything. I- hey, wait a
minute," he said as he began to feel better. Once he'd been healed,
but was still out of it, I made brief eye contact and removed his
healing ability, and used the Field to mend the bullet holes in his

"Oh, God. Dr. Zane!" Bob yelled as he shifted onto his hands and knees
and crawled over to where the dead man was lying, crumpled in a heap
on the blood-stained floor.

"Someone get in here!"  he yelled, rolling Dr. Zane onto his back.

"Dr. Zane's been shot!"  He looked at me, and then at the door.
"Where's security, dammit?!" he yelled, cradling Dr. Zane, and getting
blood all over his clothes.

Damn, I thought. How the hell did they know I was here?  Or were they
after Dr. Zane?  Or something else entirely?  These thoughts and
others spun around in my head as I got up and walked over to where Bob
was rocking Dr. Zane's dead body in his arms until he saw me, and
shouted, "Get down!  What are you doing?!"  He shot a desperate glance
at the shattered wall of windows.

I knelt down, and put my hand on Bob's shoulder, looking him in the
eye. "It's over, Bob. They're gone. We should leave, though."

Damn, I needed to get this guy focused on something other than the
dead guy he was holding on to. "This area's been compromised. We need
to get everyone home as soon as possible."

I added a small potential-truth. "Whoever that was could send more
people soon, though, so we need to act quickly. But try not to let
anyone panic," I added, squeezing his shoulder and rising to leave the
conference room.

"What are you going to do?" Bob asked, slowly letting go of Dr. Zane
and standing up on legs that didn't seem to want to support him very
well right then. He looked out the window with a fearful wince, and
ducked a little while he whispered, "I mean, those terrorists could
still be outside. They probably are. What are you going to do?"

"Once everyone's been calmed down and sent home, we'll see," I
replied. "But nothing's happening until that's been done," I replied
firmly, glancing at the door. "And take off your jacket before you
leave the room. I don't think being covered in blood is going help
anyone remain calm."  I opened the door, and walked out into the
hallway, looking at a crowd of people who had gathered to find out
what all the noise had been about.

Bob followed me out of the room, and shut the door quickly behind him.
I noticed he wasn't wearing his jacket. He addressed the assembled
gawkers. "Okay, folks, we've had a situation here which requires
everyone to calmly vacate the building. I'll explain what happened
later, but right now we don't have time. Okay!  Get going!" he
gestured for them to move off, and everyone tittered in hushed tones
of concern as they began filing out into the parking lot.
Bob went into the security office, which was empty, and used the
intercom to repeat his message for the rest of the building. In a few
minutes, the mass of people had filed out the doors, and left for
home, some laughing about their good luck getting an early weekend. I
put my hand on Bob's shoulder when he seemed like he was going to rip
into those people. "They don't know what happened, remember?"

Bob sighed, and nodded, rubbing his temples to relieve some of his
stress. With a start, he looked at me with quizzical expression. "Hey,
what happened?  I can see everything, and I'm not wearing my glasses!"

Chapter 25

"Maybe it was caused by the shock," I offered with an innocent shrug.
"I've heard of weirder things happening."  Which was true. I would
consider a lot of what had happened to me over the last several weeks
to be quite safely beyond the boundaries of normality.

Bob shrugged noncommittally. "Don't guess it really matters. Shit,
what're we gonna do?  We gotta tell the authorities what happened,
don't we?  I'm gonna call 'em, okay?  Where the hell's security?" he
muttered while he stormed into the front office.

I used that moment to bridge myself to the plateau, where the
unfortunate mercenary was just then regaining consciousness with a
groan. I let him panic for a moment about his paralysis, then walked
into his field of vision, causing him to become both panicked and
angry. "I bet you're wondering why you're here."  He didn't say
anything, just stared at me venomously. "Or perhaps you're not. The
question is, are you going to cooperate, or do I have to force you to
tell me what I want to know?"

At first he seemed to consider, then stared at me, searchingly. "Who
are you?" he asked. I wasn't sure if he was just playing dumb, but he
didn't seem to be. If he was, he was a good actor.

"My name's Aram. And some of your friends just tried to kill me," I
calmly responded.

"Whatever. I don't know what the hell you think just happened, pal,
but I never heard your name before just now. If we were trying to kill
you, I'm sure I'd not only recognize your face and name, but I'd know
a lot more about you."  He nearly spat out the last, obviously pissed
off at, and terrified of, his inability to move.

"Well, this is interesting. If you weren't there to kill me, what were
you doing?" I asked, curious about what explanation this guy could

"If I tell you, can you fix this shit and let me go?" he looked at his
body with disgust. "I'm assuming you did this to me; made me unable to
move, I mean. I don't know what fuckin' drug you used, but if you can
reverse it, and let me walk outta here, I'll tell you what you want to

I nodded, and knelt next to him. I put my hand next to his neck,
pretending to hold something in it, and pressed a finger against his
arm. When I stood up, I used the Field to restore his nervous system's

"There, that should fix it," I said, crossing my arms. "Now, explain."

"Yeah, yeah. Whatever," he said, sitting up with an obviously relieved

"We was sent to do two things. Our main goal was to get back one of
the people you kidnapped for your sick experiments. His, or should I
say, her dad was real pissed when he found out you'd kidnapped his son
and turned 'im inta a fuckin' chick."  I began to get a sick feeling
in my stomach as he continued speaking. He rubbed his wrists,
apparently to assist with circulation.

"And then there's that bastard Zane. Calls himself a fuckin' doctor.
Ain't no fuckin' doctor, just a psycho. Kid's dad wanted us to take
him out if we saw 'im. And that's it."

He looked at me with a forced expression of politeness through gritted

"And now I'd like to leave," he said through gritted teeth, looking
around to try to spot if I had any hidden shooters trained on him.
"After all, that was part of the deal, right?"

I sighed, realizing how stupid I'd just been to just kill all the
other attackers. And now, this guy was going to walk out of here and
back to his employer, and tell him everything that had happened. My
options were pretty much crap and shit, at this point, and I'd danced
into both of them like a blind idiot with bare feet.

"I thought ... never mind," I breathed in exasperation, directed
mostly at myself. "All right, I'll let you go, like I said. But I want
you to know that if you'd simply told me what you were here for before
you'd started shooting, I would've gladly helped you, out and we could
have avoided all," I gestured at his dead cohorts, "this."

I crossed my arms again in frustration. "Listen, one of the reasons I
bought this company was to straighten it out a bit. I had something
unpleasant planned for Dr. Zane, but I guess that's irrelevant now,
seeing as your friends here shot him in the skull. As it is, setting
things right is still high on my list of priorities. As such," I
continued, "I fully intended, and still intend, to fix what Dr. Zane
did to all the people he had abducted, and give them back as much of
their lives as possible."

The mercenary laughed. "You think I care?  I'm in this for the
paycheck, man. Nothin' else."  He stood up, dusted himself off with a
shrug, and looked at me with an amused smile. "But I'll relay the
message, I guess. Still, don't be surprised if he doesn't buy it."
And with that, the merc ran off.

"Great," I muttered as I mentally kicked myself for being so stupid.
"A perfect end to a perfect day."  The sunset seemed like it was
laughing at me, somehow.

Chapter 26

Once I had tapped a bridge back into the lab building, I found Bob on
the phone giving a statement to the Las Vegas police, who were
apparently being less than helpful. "No, it was a goddammed squad of
hitmen, for chrissakes!" he screamed into the receiver. "And no, I
don't know why they attacked us!  Fine!  Please do!  I'll be here for
another half hour!"  And he slammed the phone down onto the desk,
cursing under his breath before he noticed me, and forced himself to
regain some of his composure.

"Bob, we need to talk," I said as I walked into the room and calmly
leaned against a desk near the one he'd been using. He sighed, nodded,
and looked at me, waiting. "I'm aware that there have been some
questionable projects in development at this facility. While I can
appreciate the potential uses of these projects, our methods of going
about them is going to drastically change."

He nodded.

"For starters, tell me what you know about the people Dr. Zane's been
using for his testing."

"Not much, really. That part of the lab's been high security clearance
ever since I got here. It's been pretty much Dr. Zane's show, in
there. I mainly just take care of the day-to-day operations, and
personnel management. I see parts of his reports, but that's it."

He shrugged. "As far as patients, I really don't know. That's more of
a medical thing, and would have been handled by Dr. Zane's staff. Even
the 'dormitory' for patient recovery's off-limits to everyone who's
not on the research and medical staff."

"Hmm. So you weren't aware that Dr. Zane had been illegally abducting
people to use for his experiments?"  Bob's eyes got wide as saucers,
and he nearly choked.


"Yeah. And just so you know, those 'hitmen' were actually more of an
extraction team sent in to rescue someone."

I shook my head with annoyance at the situation. "So here's what we're
going to do. Effective immediately, you have security clearance for
all parts of the building. As supervisor of the facility, I'm shocked
that you didn't already have it. All the 'patients' will be fully
released, with fair compensation. I think ten million per person in
individual trust funds ought to almost cover the crap we put them
through. And the company will pay for any counseling they request,
ever. And all their medical bills, until the end of their lives.
Anything I'm missing?"

Bob looked thoughtfully around the room. "We should offer to set them
up with jobs, if they want, and take care of ID, and stuff like that,
if we haven't already. Jeesus, what a goat-fuck of a situation."  He
shook his head as he rubbed his temples to relieve stress.

"See that it gets done by the end of the week. Except for releasing
the patients. I'll do that now," I said as I turned and began walking
out of the room.

"But, wait ... you'll need a security card. And then there's the
optical scan. You're not in the system yet, I don't think," he puffed
as he turned to a nearby monitor and logged into Alpha Labs' intranet.

I stopped him with a wave.
"You just worry about what we discussed. I've got everything in order
to enter the secure area," I said with a chuckle. Bob nodded, then sat
down at the computer, and began making the entries necessary to do
what I'd ordered into the system once he'd logged on.

I entered the security office, and looked at a map to find out where
the nearest entry to the secured levels was. Once I'd found it, I
walked down the hallway to the bullet-proofed glass doorway, and used
my computer ring to access, and override, the security devices to open
the door and walk in. Once inside, I vaguely remembered that I'd been
on the third floor. I took an elevator up, and stepped out onto the
speckled white linoleum with a sigh, looking for an indication of
where the dormitory area was. Right in front of the elevator door was
what looked like a nurse station, so I walked behind the counter and
looked around. I found clipboard holding a sheet with a list of names
next to room numbers, and a simple map on a paper beneath that. "Hmm.
That's convenient," I muttered as I walked down the hallway with the
clipboard in hand.

I reached the dormitory hallway, which had another security door on
it. Using my computer ring, I bypassed the security measures, and
walked in. I looked up Kendra's name, next to room number 8, and
opened the door. She was inside on her bed, reading a magazine. She
had lifted her head to look at the door when it had opened, and looked
surprised to see me.

"Are you new on staff?" she asked as she put down the magazine and got
up. She was wearing a short silk robe, exposing the bottom of her ass,
and her smooth, shapely legs. Her breasts swung freely beneath the
shiny material.

"You could say that," I responded with a quirky smile. "I'm the new

I extended my hand for a handshake, and she took it once she'd reached

"Aram Von Rhein. How'd you like to blow this popsicle stand?" I asked.
She smiled.