Part 7: Tech Stone
I licked and pushed the earpiece into my ear, keeping it powered off. Then I changed into a clean pair of our crew's bounty hunting uniform, which was simply a breathable contorting shirt and pocketed slacks. Kiko and Rei also wore similar but different styles of our uniform.
Once I was ready, I made my way back to Tammy's room. Her face was flush and her breathing was now labored as if she were struggling to stay alive as long as possible, which she was. I sat in the chair next to her, watching her hair endeavor to maintain a steady glow. I decided to do what I always do with her, talk.
"I realized that I've never asked you what you wanted to do after the race…" I said to her, not expecting a response. "And you never told me what you enjoy doing… I expect you to answer those for me when you wake up." I said jokingly.
I sighed, "What do I like to do?" Many things crossed my mind but they all included everyone in the crew. "All of my best memories are with you guys. My life wasn't the greatest on Sola, although I did meet a few interesting people though..." I chuckled, "I guess I never really told you about my past have I? It's not the most interesting, but I'm sure you won't mind me telling you. In fact I can picture myself going off in tangent about it while you're working in your workroom. You always pretend like you're uninterested or not listening but I knew you are…"
I missed sitting on the ground next to her, talking about anything and everything while she worked. I shook the thought from my mind.
"Sarth, we're landing now." Kiko's voice echoed.
"Alright" I answered. "How far are we from the safe house?"
We decided to take Tammy to the safe house that she told us to go to, on the larger planet. From there we could decide how to split ourselves up to search for an antivirus.
"A few miles"
It was a rougher landing than what I was used to, but at least we had made it safely on Thereon.
I nimbly picked up Tammy's motionless, hot body and took her to the cargo bay where Rei had started the shuttle. Her body was burning up so hot that I had to endure a searing pain in order not to drop her. I didn't know she could get so hot, but then again she wasn't human.
Kiko sped us to the location of the safe house. I cringed at every shutter that shook the shuttle because Tammy winced every time.
It was hard to tell how early or late it was because there were dark clouds in the sky covering any sort of sun or suns they had. There was surprisingly nothing around us as we drove aside from a few sparse, odd-looking trees here and there but other than that the area was dead.
"Are you sure there's a safe house around here?" Rei asked Kiko, noticing the same thing.
"There has to be, Tammy gave me these coordinates herself." She answered.
It took a few more minutes but eventually we came to a lone, small, decrepit building at the bottom of a rock hill. That had to be it and sure enough Kiko stopped the shuttle in front of it. There was another different looking, broken shuttle at the side of the building. I got out with Tammy in my arms as Kiko and Rei took out their weapons to scout the building ahead.
The door opened as Kiko approached it. She instantly held up her knife, ready to attack when an old man appeared in the doorway.
He peered at Tammy in my arms behind Kiko and Rei. "Is that Tamsin? We've been waiting for you to arrive since decoding her message…" he took a closer look and when he was satisfied he gestured to us, "Hurry hurry come in and set her down on the bed over there."
Kiko looked to us and Rei and I nodded. They somehow knew Tammy and this was location of the coordinates she gave us so I was sure we could trust them.
We walked inside. It was an extremely small house with only two rooms. One room was larger than the other, housing the kitchen and two small beds. The other was a bedroom with a single bed inside which seemed untouched for years at a quick glance.
I set her down on a bed where an old lady with Mechanite-trademark silver-glowing hair showed me to put her. She immediately began to examine Tammy by brushing her long hair over hers.
"She's deteriorating quickly, although I am surprised she has lasted this long. It is no easy task, delaying the lethal virus' encroachment. It would seem only logical for any other Mechanite to accept their fate with little discomfort; however it seems she's determined to last as long as she can."
"Please, you have to help us!" I begged. "She told us there could be an antivirus somewhere on this planet! Just tell us where it's at and we'll go get it!"
She had the same monotone look Tammy had when I first met her. "It's not rational to do such a thing."
"That doesn't matter at all!" I was getting aggravated, "We have to at least try!"
The old lady cocked her head sideways slightly as she peered at me, trying to her best to read my emotions.
She finally decided and said, "We'll do everything we can for her." I let out a sigh of relief. "Tamsin had a secret workroom in the other room. We'll keep her in there for now, it's much safer."
She told me to take Tammy and follow her into the next room. I was about to cross over into it when the old lady stopped me, then she took Tammy's hand and placed it on the wall by the doorway. The door slid closed and the glowing lines on it changed colors from blue to purple before re-opening.
It was now a completely different room with another bed in the back. It reminded me of Tammy's workroom in the Jago.
"She'll be safe in here" assured the old lady.
I set her down again and fixed the covers over her. Her eyes fluttered slightly and then opened halfway darting around until they found me.
"You'll be safe here" I whispered to her.
I started to get up and she grabbed my hand.
"Don't leave Sarth…" she pleaded in a pained voice. "I… can't lose you…"
It was the most emotion I've even seen from her. Her pleading words moved me and I felt a pang in my heart for having to leave her behind.
"That's interesting…" the old lady commented, "A residual human-emotion has surfaced in place of her Mechanite electrical impulses."
I said to Tammy in a soothing voice, "I'll be back Tammy, I promise. Get some rest here first."
I squeezed her hand and watched her try and process what I just said as she closed her eyes again.
A small, spherical device on a table next to the bed lit up. I was intrigued by its activation and went to examine it further. As soon as I touched it, it turned on and transformed itself to have little legs and illuminated eyes. It hummed slightly as it hovered in the air in front of me.
"Sarth from Sola. Greetings." It spoke in a robotic voice.
I was taken aback by its activation and so was the old lady.
"You were able to activate her prototype companion?" she asked me.
I examined the device, "Uh… I guess?"
"You can call me PC for short" it said to me as I got up to see the others. I ignored it but it followed me out of the room, hovering above my shoulder.
"Sarth, the old man said we might be able to find an antivirus antidote on the other planet." Rei relayed to me while Kiko and the old man were talking.
"What are we waiting for then?" I asked.
"Aki's getting directions to the nearest jumper."
"It'll allow us to jump onto the other planet without having to take a ship there which is much faster."
Kiko finished talking and called to us, "Alright let's go!"
They hastily made their way back to the shuttle. I was about to run after them when the old lady stopped to warned me, "She won't last the day."
I cringed at her comment, clenching my fists tight. "We'll be back before then" I pledged, "Please take care of her for me until we come back."
Rei and Kiko were waiting for me in the shuttle and we took off full speed again to our next destination.
"What's the updated plan?" I asked, ready to accomplish anything I needed to.
"The old guy said that if there was an antivirus it would be kept inside of a safe station on the Origin Planet."
"Alright, we'll get to that location and find the antivirus then."
"He also said that there are three different safe stations at different locations on the planet that it could be on, far away from each other. Splitting up and getting to each station at about the same time would lessen our chances of higher security later on then if we hit them all one by one, plus it saves us time, so splitting up is a good idea."
So far it didn't seem too difficult.
"Just tell me where I need to go"
She continued, "Each one of us will head to separate jumpers that'll take us to the different safe stations across the Origin Planet. From there we'll need to infiltrate the safe station and hack into the archival database with the hairs Tammy gave us. The antivirus should be somewhere in there. Once one of us finds it, use the earpiece to let us know and then head straight back to Tammy. The other two will make sure there aren't any trailers."
"Okay. Where are the jumpers at?"
"Dammit…" she uttered, "I forgot to ask. Tammy usually directs us during a hunt."
"I can help with that" came PC's robotic voice by my shoulder.
"I've been wondering what that was…" said Rei poking and taking a closer look at it.
"I didn't know it was following me" I said.
"Greetings, Rei and Akiko. I am Tammy's prototype companion, she asked that I serve to help you in any way I can. I understand that the three of you have LD earpieces and that you prefer not to use them in case of interference, am I correct?"
"If by LD you mean long distance then yeah" I said.
"Well, I am able to create a secure line in which we can communicate and I will personally direct you to each safe station if you allow it."
"Uh, yeah. You're just now telling us this?" Rei sneered.
"Excellent" It ignored her attitude. "By my calculations we should part ways in two minutes and forty-three seconds."
Rei and Kiko both put their hands to their ears at the same time, listening to something.
They both responded into their earpiece.
PC spoke to me again, "I will be staying with you if that's allowable."
"That's fine with me" I allowed.
We stopped about two minutes later and Kiko and I got out of the shuttle.
"Rei will be taking the shuttle since her destination is the furthest" said Kiko. "Make haste."
Then she took off running straight ahead.
"See you later Sarth" Rei waved from the front of the shuttle before taking off in direction to the right.
I waved at her, and then took off running in the opposite direction.
"How long is it gonna take to get there?" I asked PC between breaths.
It answered, "Approximately three hours and seventeen minutes"
I took bigger strides, following the light that PC shone on the ground that showed the direction I was to head. I ran in silence for about an hour, solely focusing on my objective, during that time there was still no one to be seen. Was there even anyone on this planet?
"Where is everyone?" I asked PC.
"This planet mainly inhabits the common people of Thereon. However, this area was purged a long time ago and has remained in this state ever since. The other planet, Origin, is mainly populated with the higher level Mechanites as it is the brain of the two planets. It controls the history, leadership, and actions the planets make-" I stopped suddenly after glancing at a large rock. "Is something the matter?" asked PC.
"I've… been here before…" I said in bewilderment.
"You've been on Thereon before?"
I ignored its question. I've definitely seen this rock somewhere before. I turned my head and sure enough there were the remains of decaying buildings right where I expected them to be.
"I've seen this in dream…"
I turned my attention back to the large rock and held out my hand like I did in my dream before I woke up. I went to touch it with my left hand and I saw Tammy's hair glow bright on my pinky. I expected my hand to touch solid rock but instead it went straight through like passing through air. PC clutched onto my shoulder with its little robotic arms as I passed my entire body through it.
"It seems you've found one of Tammy's hiding spots" it said shining a light in the darkness.
It scanned the area until it lit up a large chest at the side of the rock room. I walked over and opened it. It made a creaking sound as a layer of dust and sand slide off.
PC scanned the items inside and said, "These items belong to one of Tammy's acquaintances, but it seems he's not around any longer so I suggest you use them for the journey."
I took out what looked like a silver tube-handle for something and gripped it in my hand. Two beams of white light emitted from the ends of it at about two feet long in the same direction, forming the shape of a duel bladed sword. I felt the ring that Tammy gave me react to it and a pulse of electricity crackled between the light blades.
PC took note of the ring, "I didn't know you had the disruptor ring, it only makes sense if you use the shredder sword with it."
I twisted my wrist and the light sliced through the metal parts of the chest.
"Yes. The shredder's light will allow you to slice through metal and only metal objects."
"Only metal huh?" I looked at it closely, "Can I touch it?"
"Yes of course, I wouldn't suggest it if you're made of metal however."
I ran my hand through the light and didn't feel a thing. Once I let go of the handle, the light disappeared. What other cool things would I find here?
There was only one other thing inside the chest and it was somewhat big. It was a medium-sized box. I lifted it up and it beeped and began moving on its own to a standing position. It was like half of a suit because it appeared to be an exoskeleton in the shape of a humanoid.
PC answered, "S.E.E.S. The Stimulus Enhancer Exoskeleton Suit"
The head part turned and faced me. Creepy. Then it opened up, allowing me to enter. I stepped inside of it and it contracted to form to my body. The helmet had a computer interface that identified objects in the room that I couldn't see before.
"It works by predicting and enhancing your desired movements to your greatest physical extent without wearing you down."
I tried jumping in it and it took no effort at all, I even seemed to jump higher than normal.
"These will come in handy" I said grabbing the shredder.
I thought about where I should put it and my hand automatically stashed it in a side compartment I didn't even know about. This suit was really cool.
"Let's go" I said to PC as the suit outlined the rock exit for me.
I made great pace in the S.E.E.S., being able to run at a fast full speed without tiring.
PC updated me from on my shoulder, "We should get to the jumper in just under an hour."
The suit was great. I knew where I wanted to go and it was effortless getting there, even over sheer cliffs I managed to somehow breeze up it.
I was heading down a hill when something small approached me from a distance. The suit enhanced the image for me. It was a man driving a shuttle not of this planet, in my direction. I chose to ignore him but he kept getting closer and closer to me until I was within his attacking range. I grabbed the shredder and readied myself for any hostile movements from him while running. The S.E.E.S. identified all the weapons he was carrying, and it was a ridiculous amount.
"Hey wait, I'm not here to fight." The man shouted from his shuttle, "I can see that you're in a hurry"
He looked human but I ignored him again.
"Look, I know what you're after…" I glanced at him and he continued, "You're looking for an antivirus from the ship-wreck virus aren't you?"
I examined him closer, trying to read his motives.
"How do you know that?" I asked him.
He paced his shuttle next to me, "Because I'm looking for it too."