tagSci-Fi & FantasyGhost in the Machine Ch. 03

Ghost in the Machine Ch. 03

byBlind_Justice©

#3: Cat at the Cradle

Author's note: A huge "Thank You" to bikoubumori, for slicing through the tangle of errors I made, leaving a much better story behind.

There's only adults in this story, and no artificial intelligences have been harmed.

And also please note that this story contains a little bit of m/m play, which may or may not turn you off, depending on how you are approaching this.

Have fun nonetheless!


Cat was ecstatic. While monitoring the mail traffic going in and out of the office towers of Mindlink Corporation, she found out that Violet had indeed survived their encounter. She was being treated at a corporate-owned clinic specializing on neurology and the doctors there sent regular status updates to one Mr. Richard Squier. It took Cat only moments to send out her data-probes, trawling the 'Net for any trace of that man. The probes came back, loaded with juicy information.

Richard Squier, age 59, certified software engineer. Married to Saphire Squier, born Vintner, age 49, heiress to a sizeable fortune. Their nuptial contract stipulated he would lose access to most of his wealth and the shares he held in the Vintner-founded Mindlink Corp., should they divorce. They had two sons, Parker and Richard Jr., aged 23 and 18 respectively.

Richard Sr. was overseeing the "Special Operations" division within Mindlink and no matter how hard Cat searched for information on what that division did, she always ended up at that same, heavily fortified office system she infiltrated earlier while playing with Vi. The security had been dramatically stepped up, possibly in response to her actions, so she decided to try out a different angle instead.

Stealthily, she masked traces of herself as mails for hospital staff and infiltrated the neurology clinic. The whole building was a delightful tangle of systems layered on top of other systems. They had networked medical equipment, automated fail-safes to watch over said equipment, fail safes for that and on top of that yet another network infrastructure for everyday tasks like paperwork. And they had a state-of-the-art surveillance system, to better keep tabs on their patients. It took Cat only minutes to build a nice, hardly traceable cocoon from which to spy on Violet. She felt a pang of guilt after reading the medical documents describing the amount of brain damage she had caused. Violet Smith would need several neuroprocessing implants to replace damaged sections of brain tissue, and then it would take months for her to be able to access the 'Net again, let alone work in her former position. Nevertheless, Richard Squier visited her at least twice a week, bringing flowers or chocolate. Cat hid deep within the clinic's systems and watched Vi get better. Two weeks after she found Vi again, her playmate underwent brain surgery and spent nearly four weeks in a coma, while nanomachines connected the pins of the neuroprocessors with her organic brain tissue. Another month went by while she recovered from that dramatic operation. And still Richard Squier showed up like clockwork, every Tuesday and Friday, doling over Violet, often hugging her, slipping his hands underneath the covers and causing her to moan in appreciation.

Ten weeks after finding Vi again, on a Tuesday afternoon, several alarms caused Cat to refocus her attention on Vi's room. Since Violet had regained consciousness, Cat monitored every spoken word via the emergency call system that ran on 'Net connections. She had set the alarm trigger on several keywords, like "'Net," "sex" or "Mindlink", and one of those must have triggered the alarm. Cat tuned into the conversation, watching the proceedings through a surveillance camera.

Richard Squier was sitting on the bed, his hand under the covers.

"Are you sure," he just asked, concern and arousal warring in his voice.

"Yes. Ever since I've come to, I'm horny as hell. No matter how often I use it, it's not getting better. Maybe I need a real man to treat me."

"Hm. Maybe you're trying to compensate for nearly dying back then," Richard thought out loud.

"Now you're sounding like my doctors, Richard. And I'm telling you, I'm terrified, not turned on when I think about what that bitch did to me."

"And still your box is dripping on my fingers right now," he chuckled.

He was right. Consulting the readouts transmitted by the diagnostic dongle Vi wore all the time, Cat registered the always-there levels of arousal. She also registered they were much higher right now than on average.

"As if I had a choice in that matter. Please, Richard, help me get off," Violet pleaded.

Richard rose and undid his trousers, pulling them down along with his shorts. Vi threw back the covers. Her hospital gown had ridden up way past her hips and her panties were dangling from one slender ankle as she leaned over and wrapped her hand around Richard's member. As if on command, the organ swelled to its full hardness, jutting obscenely forward. With a sigh of longing, Vi wrapped her lips around the tip and began to suck on it.

"Maybe we should hurry things a little, before one of the nurses finds us like this," Richard panted.

"Fuck them," Violet hissed, barely taking his member from her mouth. "You practically own this place, have them join us if they come in here. That ought to shut them up."

Cat felt strange. She had trouble quantifying the signals coursing through her systems as she watched Violet caress herself while pleasuring Richard Squier. She wanted to join her, continue where they both left off. But as long as Violet wasn't allowed to link her brain to the 'Net, Cat would have to watch. And seeing Violet's body, writhing on the sheets, was a treat in itself.

Violet let Richard's meat slip from her mouth, gasping happily.

"Come now, let me feel you," she panted, turning on her back again, brushing her fingers against her nether lips.

Richard stepped out of his trousers and underwear and climbed onto the mattress, between Violets thighs. He placed the large helmet of his member against Violet's nether lips and began to push, parting her folds.

"Ohhhh yesss, give it to me, Richard," Vi moaned, her hips writhing on the bed.

"I told you to call me 'boss' when fucking you," he snarled, pushing deeper.

"Sorry, I almost forgot, boss. You get off that way," Vi chuckled throatily, obviously enjoying his member spearing into her. Once he was all the way in, Violet hooked her legs behind his butt, drawing him in even closer.

"Yes, this is so gooood. Fuck me, boss," Violet groaned. Richard picked up the pace, each thrust shaking the bed. Their panting and moaning grew louder, more desperate.

Cat had seen and heard enough. The strange signals had turned up in intensity, nearly overwhelming any order in her command structures. She wanted to be with Violet, but Violet was freely giving herself to this married man, her superior too. What was she thinking? Why did she do that? And why didn't Violet try to establish communication with her? Confused, Cat retreated into her hiding spot deep within the bowels of the neuro-clinic's systems and tried to analyse the conflicting readings she had received. Maybe Violet was lonely and sought a playmate this way, taking the first, available subject to fulfil her needs? So, if Cat truncated the list of possible candidates for that, maybe Violet would come back to her.

***

One of the drawbacks of going to an Ivy-League college was that you hardly stood out. What fun is being the oldest son of a mindblowingly rich corp exec when you're sharing classes with the offspring of movie stars, rock musicians and more self-made millionaires you could shake a stick at? Well, at least I didn't have to, like, work to pay for my tuition and Dad regularly sent Rich and me some new toys to play around with. But the best thing was going back home for the holidays. Dad was usually busy at the office, Mum was championing one of her causes or recuperating from just one last plastic surgery somewhere on the Maldives, so Jr. and I had the awesome manor to ourselves. And the staff were more than happy to fulfil every last of our desires.

Right now I was in my suite of rooms, comfortably lounging on my king-size futon. A black chambermaid was noisily slurping on my dick. I had my face buried between her chocolate-colored thighs and was busily lapping at her sopping snatch while my hands roamed across her wonderfully curvy body.

"Aren't we missing something," she asked, letting my member slide from her hot mouth.

"Are we," I shot back. She was new, having just started on the day my brother and I returned home for the summer. And she came into my bed with hardly a need for persuasion.

"Yeah, I could do with a second dick right now, shoved right up where your mouth is. Where's your sweet brother at?" She bent low again, recapturing my meat, twirling her tongue around it.

I deftly inserted two fingers into her. She moaned appreciatively, letting my dick slide deep into her throat.

"What do you need my brother for, Molly? Just turn around and saddle up, I'll give it to you good," I purred into her pussy before flicking my tongue against her clit.

Molly released my member again and crawled away from me, ending up on knees and elbows at the foot of the bed, slowly shaking her backside at me. Over her shoulder, she chuckled, "If ya wanna fuck me, you'll need ta catch me first, rich boi."

Laughing at her thickly laid-on fake ghetto accent, I was on her, kneeling behind her and rubbing my dick against her slick lips. She pushed back against me, driving herself on my rock-hard dick.

"First you're all willing and lusty and now you're playing hard to get," I asked between thrusts.

"Nah, it's all ta get ya hard," she chuckled, responding to each of my thrusts by pushing back on me, driving me even farther into her. A moment later, her fingers joined the fun, sloppily rubbing her clit or touching my dick. Damn, I needed to make sure she was still around when I came back for Christmas. And I needed to ask if she had any girlfriends.

At that moment, the double doors to my bedroom opened and Rich stormed in, halting mid-step. His loose-fitting boxers, the only item of clothing he bothered with, tented obscenely.

"Bro, you've got to see this, really!" he panted.

"Oh, one more Dick to liven up things, how wonderful," Molly sighed, giving Rich a lewd "come hither" with her dripping fingers. Instead of accepting the offer, he hopped from one foot to the other, motioning for me to follow him.

"Seriously, bro. It's fucking amazing. You're gonna love it!" "Can't that wait until I'm done here," I asked, tired of his enthusiasm.

"Come on, it'll take only a few minutes. After that, you can go back fucking the slaves, man." With that, Rich turned and left.

"Fucking asshole," Molly spat, pushing hard against me. Way to go, li'l bro, thanks for killing the buzz. Of course, Molly wasn't in any mood to go on after that, even though I profusely apologized for my brother's behaviour. Despite turning my charm to 11, she brushed me off, grabbed her maid uniform and left. I splashed some water on me, before nabbing a pair of shorts and going in search of my spoilsport brother.

I found him in Dad's home office, sitting in the oversized desk chair, a platinum wire running straight to the Mindlink plug behind his left ear. His hands were busy caressing his dick, making squelching sounds as he pumped them up and down his member. I sighed. VR porn? Haven't we been past that years ago? I knew my brother was ticking much the same way I did and I wondered what could have him fired up like that, even declining the offer of a hot orgy with our scorching new chambermaid? So I grabbed another wire, hooked it into the second Mindlink jack of the system, planted my ass on the expensive teak desktop and jacked in.

***

The plan was simple. Taking cues from every cheap murder mystery she could lay her ghostly fingers on, Cat planned on sending Mrs. Squier a letter with incriminatory evidence, a video clip of Richard plowing Violet Smith. That should usually be enough to kill any marriage. But for some reason days passed by and Mrs. Squier didn't bother to check her inbox. So, she planned on exacting her revenge in a more direct fashion.

First, she scanned Richard Squier's home computer for any interesting files. This machine was tightly secured, but not nearly as tightly as his office machines were. So she spent a few days slithering probes into his home office computer. And she found ample material to inspire her revenge. Richard Squier got off on exerting his authority. He had a huge stash of VR porn showing teachers disciplining barely legal school kids, often ending in wild orgies. In a particularly tightly secured directory he kept his mail and cam-chat logs, most of them with Violet wherein they teased each other during work. She would flash her genitals on the security cameras when bending down to retrieve something from a bottom drawer or he would ask her to seduce an intern right on her desk so he could watch. As if Cat needed any more ammunition, any more reasons to rid Violet of Richard Squier.

After taking stock of his likes, Cat set up a special room for his enjoyment in the depths of the SuperSexyStoryLand servers. She'd spent so much time browsing their contents, most of the system was hers anyways. She allowed the system administrators the illusion of control out of practicality. Having to maintain security would have diverted precious system resources and she fully intended to let Richard Squier go out with a bang. Within hours, she had the life-like illusion of a classroom ready to go. Then, she broke into the systems of one of Mindlink Corp.'s rivals and stole several prototypes of semi-autonomous programs, highly evolved software that could easily maintain the illusion of sentience, as long as they existed in a tightly controlled setting. One, she formed into a handsome Asian boy, freshly turned eighteen, with a kung-fu-fighter's lean, muscled body. The other one she turned into a petite Asian girl, also freshly turned eighteen. And for herself, she crafted an even more interesting design. Richard Squier was in for a BIG surprise. Last, but not least, she dropped a very obvious link directly into his home room. Now she needed but wait for him to bite. To amuse herself, she began to train her new "children", showing them the joy of sex.

***

At first I thought nothing had happened. I was still sitting on the teak desktop, the early afternoon sun shone through the office windows. But then my gaze travelled downwards, taking in a black do-gi hugging my muscular body. I grinned. The log-in process was so smooth, I didn't even notice the transition between reality and Cyberspace. In here, I wasn't Parker Squier any more, instead I was Shi-Kage696, the cyber ninja. My body was made from glistening chrome, wrapped in tight, bulletproof kevlar and flowing sashes. I looked like Ryu Hayabusa from Ninja Gaiden, only Ryu didn't have a kick-ass neon ninja-to sword like I had. Looking around, I found two notes cluttering Dad's virtual desk. One, hastily scribbled by Rich, a glowing neon arrow pointing towards the other note. I picked it up and read.

The signs were utterly alien to me, more like runes or hieroglyphs than computer lettering. But all of a sudden, they pulsed, once. My body began to move of its own accord and, with mounting unease, I saw myself tossing the note back onto the desk and heading for the exit. The note on the desk must have been a link to a system, much like a favourite. The only disconcerning thing about it was that my body moved on its own. I tried to invoke the interrupt sequence. Nothing. I bodily snatched for the plug behind my ear. Thankfully that worked. I yanked it out, panting heavily. My brother was still spanking his monkey, moaning uncontrollably. If he used the same link, only God knew where he might be now, frying his brain cells. I had to do something to help him. The system must have cancelled my avatar by now. I sprinted into my room and pulled my own deck from its transport sheath. I copied a nifty little debugging tool into my implanted memory banks and hurried back into the office. Rich was already hoarse, his breath rasping dryly from his mouth, his hands still kneading his angrily reddened member. I jacked in again.

My guess was right. Dad's system had a very short cancellation cycle for jacked-out avatars, to conserve CPU cycles that would otherwise be spent on maintaining avatars no one would use. I slipped my hands into the depths of my do-gi and produced an ancient-looking scroll covered in kanji. My avatar mumbled the syllables, accompanied by the exacting gestures used for ninpo magic. A moment later the neon-green image of a phoenix, made from zeroes and ones, exploded around me, granting me immunity to effects manipulating my avatar.

I picked up the runic note again. It pulsed before my eyes and began to execute a script. The program I just ran showed me a bewildering wall of code cascading down on me, but like a charm it stopped at the point when the script tried to hijack my avatar. Instead of allowing that part to execute, I memorized the link destination and exited Dad's virtual home office, effortlessly grinding on the signal thread linking our posh California mansion with the rest of the 'Net. Within moments, I was standing near the back wall of a kitschy system, adorned with neon light pipes and pink art-déco hearts everywhere. The address resolved itself to be "SuperSexyStoryLand" and to me, it looked like just another VR porn site. Strange though, instead of being dropped off directly at the login node, I was looking at the "back" of the system. Summoning another program disguised as a ninja trick, I scanned for secret doors and even found one, opening willingly at my touch. I stopped dead. The following corridor looked like it was ripped straight out of my former high-school. Cheery wall paintings left and right, underneath them rows and rows of lockers, classroom doors breaking up the walls in regular intervals. One of these doors was ajar and light pooled onto the floor. The sounds emanating from that door were rather obvious, too. I hugged the shadows and crept closer, peeking through the crack when I was close enough.

A tangle of bodies was piled onto the teacher's table. I could make out a long-haired Asian girl. My brother was busy plowing her, while he himself got served from behind by the spitting image of Forrest Law from the Tekken series, a finely toned Asian kung-fu dude. I shook my head. It was surreal, but it also stirred my - quite abruptly smothered - arousal to new life. I also learned something very interesting about my dear little brother. So he swung both ways? We had spent most of our respective childhoods on expensive boarding schools, and obviously he wasn't adverse to some same-sex play. I made a mental note of that, you'll never know when that might become useful knowledge.

The very obvious pieces of school uniforms only added to the hotness of the image. The only strange thing was that my brother looked like his real-world self, not the menacing chrome dragon that was his usual online persona.

"Like what you see, handsome?"

I nearly fainted. Her breath caressed my ear and I felt her fingers travel down my spine, squeezing one of my clearly defined butt cheeks through the form-hugging ninja dress. My panic triggered an evasion program and my avatar dropped a smoke bomb. I reappeared ten feet to the right, my neon ninja-to humming in my hands, facing the voice. I nearly dropped my weapon.

From head to toe, the apparition before me was an anime nerd's wet dream. Perky cat ears rose gracefully from her mane of luxurious black hair, twitching once in a while. Her eyes were large, almond-shaped and burned with passion. Her body was wrapped in a gaping blouse and loose tie that hung down straight between her firm, round breasts. She held her skirt in one of her hands while the other one was idly toying with a long, furry cat tail. Seeing where my gaze had dropped, she spread her legs and showed that she didn't bother with underwear. Or pubes, for that matter. She was as bald as a billiards ball between her thighs. And wow, her thighs got my blood pumping. I always had a thing for toned legs, and hers were extremely awesome. I had to confess, this was hilarious, but extremely arousing. I had masturbated to the images of hot anime catgirls during my teenager years, and seeing, and smelling, for Christ's sake! - a life-like version of one took my breath away. I felt my dick twitch.

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