tagSci-Fi & FantasyKilling with Kindness

Killing with Kindness

byKaereni©

This story is copyrighted 2006 by Kaereni, may not be excerpted, reprinted, reproduced, or reposted in any form without the express written consent of the author. Visitors to this web site may read or temporarily download pages but are not permitted to modify or re-distribute them.

The story contains sexual activities and situations that are to be read only by readers above the legal age of consent. The story is not to be read in locations where such stories are illegal. If you are not of legal age, or live in the wrong place, please do not read.


*

It had been 20 years since the story broke about two brothers making an artificial personality that once activated and assimilated into society was indistinguishable from normal humans. Once it was found out that an AP could be made to pass through the world without anyone realizing, they soon flooded the market. It reached the point where you would never know if you were talking to an artificial or flesh and blood human. It is in this world that our story starts.

Karen woke later than usual, the sun shining through the window caressing her in its golden embrace. Rolling over she said "Good morning baby," to Roy, her husband for the last 2 years. But, unlike other mornings, his pillow was cold, he was not beside her to greet and kiss. "Roy? Baby?" Karen got out of bed calling and looked for him; in the two years that they had been together he had never missed greeting her in bed.

Entering the kitchenette she found Roy laying face down on the floor. Hurrying to him she called, "Roy... What's wrong?" But when she tried to roll him over she found he was too heavy to move. It was then that she caught the faint smell of burning wires. She stared at her husband and lover with the sick realization that all this time he had been a robot.

She stood looking at the thing, her stomach rolling, and made it to the sink just in time. She ran to the shower and scrubbed herself till her skin became raw, feeling unclean. Even though her stomach was empty she had to stop scrubbing and fight with the dry heaves that still wracked her body. Karen finally got herself under control enough to throw on clothes. She grabbed her purse and ran from the apartment, the thought 'Home! Mum and daddy will know what to do' filling her mind.

The drive to her parents' house seemed to take forever even though it was just across town. She rushed in calling out franticly, "Mum? Daddy?"

"In here, dear," Karen's mother called from the kitchen. The dumpy woman, wiping her hand on a dish towel, took one look at her daughter's face. "What's wrong, pumpkin?" she said, going over to Karen and holding her tightly.

Karen flowed into her mother's comforting embrace. "It's Roy... he..." The damn breaks and she starts crying. Through the sobs she recounted the story of how she found him and what he is. "I feel so unclean," she concluded.

"There, there, pumpkin, mum will make it all better," her mother said, stroking Karen's hair. "I just made cinnamon rolls. You know how much you love my cinnamon rolls dear," her mother said as she guided her into the kitchen. "I'll be just a moment, pumpkin."

Karen went into the kitchen; the smell of the freshly baked cinnamon rolls tantalizing her nose. But the thought of food caused her stomach to roll again. Going back into the living room to get away from the scent of food she found, to her surprise, her mum on the phone.

"This is unit Zulu 9 2 7 Alpha 1 7 6 9 Golf Mark 2... there is a malfunction with a unit at 124 Salisbury Street, New Heaven... Yes, pick up needed... I do not know... thank you," her mother said into the phone, her back turned to Karen. She set down the phone and turned to see Karen standing there, her face white as a sheet. "Pumpkin, I taught you better than to listen to phone calls," she said as she walked towards her.

"You're one of them too," Karen said backing away from the advancing figure. Her mum was a robot! She turned and fled the house, with her mother's voice calling out to her to stay. She reached her car at a run and sped away. She did not have any friends to turn to in times of need. Roy was always there to take care and pamper her. Now that it turned out that Roy and her mum were androids she felt lost. The thought struck her, 'Gramps! He would know what to do.' Even though he lived far out in the country at a retirement community and off the grid, Karen had to make the trip.

The retirement community was set far off the road, and unlike most old folks homes that smelled of death, this one smelled of fresh flowers. Gramps had been Karen's best and only friend for most her life in addition to being her grandfather. Reaching his room she rushed in breathless and frantic. But to her dismay the room was empty. Turning, she saw him coming down the hall in his wheelchair, a nurse talking to him as he rolled. With a wave of his arm the nurse shut up and after looking at Karen a moment, walked away. "Gramps," she said, forcing a smile and leaned over to hug him.

"How's my one and only granddaughter?" the old man said, his voice virulent and strong though his body showed years of hard living.

Once in his room, Karen told him of Roy and of mum. It was not till she finished that she realized he had not said a word or moved in the whole time she had talked. "Gramps?" she asked, going to kneel beside his chair and looking up at him in worry. "Are you OK?"

Not looking at her, his voice matching his age, the old man whispered, "It's happened..." He looked down at Karen's hand on his knee and rested his wrinkled and liver spotted hand over hers. Rolling the chair to the bedside table he took a piece of paper and wrote something on it as he came back. Thrusting it into her hands he said in a low urgent voice, "Go. The walls have ears. It's not safe here and they'll be coming."

Karen looked the paper and Gramps in confusion; "I don't understand..." she started, when suddenly the room door opened.

There stood the nurse! "I am sorry Miss. You'll have to come with me," she said, moving towards Karen, her arm reaching to out to grab her.

Gramps rolled between the two, blocking the nurse, and said, "Go now!" With each movement of the nurse he would counter till she turned and grabbing his chair, thrust it away, knocking him out of the chair. From the floor he said weakly, "Run Pumpkin!"

Karen took in the scene in an instant, turned and fled, ducking and dodging nurses who were reaching out to stop her as if she were running a touchdown pass. Reaching her car she drove away quickly as the white uniformed people poured from the building behind her. As she drove she sobbed his name once and wondered what he meant by 'it's happened.'

Once she reached the grid, Karen set the car on cruise and looked at the paper Gramps had thrust into her hand. In his chicken scratch handwriting he had written, The Cheaters Club, see Tommy, say Fred Flintstone sent you. She programmed the car and as it made its way to the bar she broke down and cried. Her life was in a shambles, everyone she cared about except Gramps was one of them.

When the car stopped and beeped at her, Karen looked up. It had to be the most run-down, sleazy looking bar she had ever seen. The outside reminded her of bathrooms she had seen as a child while on family trips. You know the ones where you say, "I'll hold it instead," even when your bladder is about to burst. Looking closer she noticed only a couple of old beat up cars, one of which had a cinderblock under a wheel, parked in front. When she got out, the stench from a nearby paper mill assaulted her nose, causing her stomach to heave once more.

More than Gramp's note, the smell drove her into the club, that seemed even worse inside than the outside. The thick haze of smoke hung in the still air like low lying clouds. As she looked around she muttered, "They should have named this dump Condemned." Karen's eyes became accustomed to the gloom and saw with surprise, a couple of people playing pool in the back, a waitress looking bored, and the bar keep who looked as if he walked out of a bad biker movie. As she walked over to the bar, Karen became aware of other people sitting in the shadows watching her, as a hungry pack of dogs would a wounded animal.

"Wha'd it be?" the man asked, looking her up and down judging her.

"Bottled water," Karen replied not thinking. The phrase 'you could hear a pin drop' rolled through her head as she looked at the sea of silent faces staring back at her. She turned back in time to see the bartender finish pouring out a bottle of coke and fill it unwashed from the tap.

Screwing the top back on he sets it down on the bar in front of her and says, "Dat'll be five bucks!"

Karen looked at the rusty-colored water in the bottle and then back at his smiling face. "I wouldn't drink that if you paid me fifty dollars for it." She thought about asking for an ice tea but then thought better. "Just give me a draft beer." As he pulled the beer she paused and said, "Seen Tommy today?"

"Tommy who?" the bartender says, putting the beer in front of her. "Dat be buck fifty," he says holding out a meaty hand. Karen pulled out her com card but he only shook his head, "Cash!"

After digging through her purse she managed to come up with a dollar and fifty-seven cents. Putting it on the bar Karen said, "Keep the change; oh and if you see Tommy tell him Fred Flintstone's looking for him." Taking her beer she goes and sits in a booth, the sounds of laughter from her reply echoing. She got the feeling that this was the place where it was good to have your back against the wall.

Karen had never drunk this early in the day but she felt she needed something to calm her shattered nerves. Sipping it, she expected the beer to be as vile and nasty as the bar was. But instead it went down smooth like honey nectar from the gods. She looked up at the bartender in surprise but he was busy wiping down the counter.

Chapter 2

Closing her eyes, Karen took another sip and let the tension slide from her, fully relaxing for the first time since the morning. She saw a shadow cross the light under her eyelids and opened them to see a woman move to sit across from her.

The woman, dressed in jeans, a leather vest and with her long hair pulled back into a pony tail, looked at Karen for a long time not speaking as if reading her like an open book. "I didn't expect to ever hear that, not here of all places and not by..." She stopped, looked at the bartender, and then back at Karen.

Karen looked at the woman closer. What she thought at first was dirty blond hair in this gloom turned out to be light brown streaked with gray. "Tommy?" she asked, and at the woman's nod continued, "Gramps... um Robert Brown told me to come see you."

Tommy smiled, "Bobby? How is he?"

Karen looked down not making eye contact, "They got him. He's in happy village."

"They?"

She looked up, a tear rolling down one cheek, "The robots have him... he told me. . . gave me. . ." She stopped, words failing her, and thrust the paper at Tommy. Without warning the door was thrust open with a loud bang, slamming against the wall. In walked a figure, Karen looked at him and said with surprise, "Clint Eastwood?"

Tommy looked at the woman across from her, and then at the figure standing in the door way, "No... Cop AP!" The figure turned and headed towards the booth, "Damn, you're hotter then a burnt bearing!" She glanced at the bartender and nodded once mouthing, "Cover us." Grabbing Karen's arm she said, "We need to get out of here now!"

Karen felt herself being dragged from the booth and as she looked on, the bartender reached under the bar, came up with a shotgun and shot the AP. With the sight and sound of the shotgun's blast, people screamed and scattered. In shock she saw the man take a step back from the force of the blow and then start forward again; shiny metal showing through where the blast had shredded his clothes. Behind him his twin brother stepped into the bar.

Tommy yelled, "Run," as she pulled Karen through the storeroom and out the back door. The shotgun fired again as the door closed behind them. While the front looked shabby the back looked completely different including several modern cars. She pulled the woman to a red classic 'Vette sitting by itself to one side. Almost pushing her to the passenger side, Tommy yelled, "Get in!" and hurried to the driver's side.

Karen had not closed the door when Tommy put the 'Vette in gear. With tires screaming the car rocketed out of the parking lot, passing the two men as they came out. "Shit, Shit, Shit...," she heard the woman say as the vett slid around the corner, ignoring other vehicles and lanes. By the time she buckled up the car was flying down a back road, telephone poles passing like fence posts.

Without taking her eyes off the road Tommy asked, "What did you do? What do you know? Who are you?" the questions flying faster then the car. "Hold on!" she said as she slammed on the brakes and turning the wheel hard, the car slid around another corner just missing a road train.

Over and over Tommy pushed the antique Corvette to its limits using every driving skill she had as she dodged and weaved to shake their pursuers. After a good thirty minutes she slowed down, "I think we..." Tommy started to say as a blue and white silver ball floated down beside the 'Vette.

Keeping pace with the car, the ball said in a loud voice, "Occupants... stop the vehicle at once. You are wanted for questioning..."

Karen stared at the police orb in shock even knowing it was recording her face. She started to say, "Perhaps we ....," when from the corner of her eye she caught a movement. The roar of the pistol and the crash of the glass by her head caused her to scream, as the orb vanished from view. Looking back she saw the remains flying into a million pieces as it bounced on the ground. She looked at Tommy, her eyes wild and saw the grin covering the woman's face. "Wha... why?" she finally stammered out.

Tommy glanced at the window as she slipped the pistol down next to her seat, "Just five minutes more." She glanced at Karen and said, "To buy us time." As the next cross road came up she slowed and took it without leaving rubber before speeding up again. Again a turn taken slowly, Tommy looking left and right muttering "Where is it. . . where is it?" Slowing more she turned the car up an abandoned farm drive. Stopping at an old faded red barn she jumped out, calling to Karen, "Help me get the doors open."

Karen got out and with trouble pulled her door open. She waited confused as Tommy drove the 'Vette inside and then helped her close the doors once more. She looked at the woman who either saved her or buried her into more trouble, and said, "What is going on? I don't understand any of this."

Tommy looked at Karen while she tucked the pistol into her pants and shook her head, "Not yet. . . Help me cover my baby." She pulled a musty smelling tarp from one side of the barn and with Karen's clumsy help covered the car. Hurrying to the other side she let her hair out of its pony tail, slipped on a pair of greasy coveralls that had the nametag Tommy on them, and put on a Mack truck baseball hat before looking at Karen. Looking around she grabbed an old grubby shirt that someone had been using as a rag and tossed at Karen. "Wear this and wipe some grease on your face."

Karen looked at the shirt in her hands. Not only was it filthy but is smelled like the person who wore it before her had not bathed ever. She was about to protest when the sounds of sirens went screaming by. Looking towards the door she started to put it on over her blouse and then at Tommy's shaking head removed her blouse and put the shirt on, moaning, "Ewww gross." She helped Tommy uncover the other vehicle that turned out to be an old beat up wrecker with the name "Bubba's Wrecking Service," on the side.

Tommy looked at Karen and shook her head. Opening the door to the truck she got out an old cap that said "Peterbilt sucks!" and wiped some grease on her face. "Think redneck and don't say a word," she instructed Karen as they were driving away.

They drove without speaking, the tinny sounds of country coming from the truck's speaker. After a time Tommy turned into a service station that looked as if it were in business back during the Great War. She pulled into one of the service bays and without a glance left or right walked through the service station and out the back. There she got into a pickup truck, reached under the floor mat for the key, and with Karen following confused drove away. As Karen opened her mouth to speak Tommy said, "Shh... not yet."

Finally, after several hours of driving, Tommy pulled up before an old country house. "This way," she said, and led Karen up the porch and the old man sitting there. As she passed him they nodded at each other and she tossed him the keys, "Thanks Jake." Going inside Karen could smell fresh baked apple pie and hear the sounds of someone moving around in the back of the house.

Tommy led the way to a closet and said, "Get in." Pushing Karen in, she got in behind her and pushed a hidden switch after the door was closed. The back wall opened up revealing a modern drop tube. With a relieved smile Tommy stepped in and descended out of view.

Karen followed her and once she got to the bottom she was struck dumb. There, to her amazement, was a fully modern house underground. Her delight and amazement turned to fear when she noticed that the other woman was holding the pistol leveled at her.

"Strip," Tommy said, and when Karen made no move to comply added, "I need to make sure you are clean."

Karen, in shock, moved to comply. When she was down to her bra and panties she heard Tommy tell her to take it all off. Blushing furiously she removed them and stood there not sure what to do next. She watched as the woman picked up a scanner and ran it over her body without a sound. She was about to ask for her clothes back when Tommy ran it over her clothing and purse with opposite results. "Oh my," is all she could say looking at the bugged clothing and purse. She watched as Tommy grabbed everything and hurried to the kitchen and stuffed each piece into the trash.

Pushing a button Tommy smiled at the bright flash. "There. . . now they can not track us... this way," she said, leading Karen into the house deeper. "Welcome to my humble abode," she said, as Karen, still trying to cover herself, followed meekly. The woman glanced at Karen and said, "One more thing and then we will both get answers." Leading the way over to what looked like a tanning bed with closed sides Tommy gestured with the pistol and said, "Lay down, I need to change your looks."

Karen looked at the bed. "Is that?" she started to ask but Tommy's nod stopped her. "I thought body transformers were outlawed." She said looking closer at the bed and attached computer.

Tommy smiled, "This is the prototype, the first one we built and tested." She powered up the computer before continuing, "Now, lie down and relax." She forced Karen in and closed the top. As she listened to the soft thumping coming from the panicked woman, Tommy filled the chamber with gas putting Karen to sleep.

Chapter 3

She leaned back in her chair and called up the scan of Karen's current image. Looking at it she frowned, and first changed the mousy brown tresses to blonde lengthening it to fall to the small of Karen's back instead of to her shoulders. Looking at the round face she shook her head and changed it so it was more oval. To make the face complete she puffed out Karen's lips and changed her brown eyes to blue. Tommy looked at what she had done so far but the head did not fit the body. Adding 10 cm to it helped and then shortening the calves so the woman would have to be in heels helped much more. She watched the screen as the projected changes spun 360 degrees slowly and nodded to her self as she made a few more changes. Tommy smiled at her creation and started the programmed nanobots.

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