Lucia was utterly shocked by the thought she’d had. So much so she only realized she’d been moving when she ran into the shelving unit next to the door, nearly toppling it. The sound caused both Lolanene and Niarith to look over, though Niarith couldn’t see. “Lucia? Ya good there?” Lolanene asked, concern in her voice.
Lucia nodded “Y-yeah I’m fine. Just… lost my balance.” The voice was still there. Kill. You love to kill. You know you love to kill why not do it why not- Lucia abruptly smacked herself in the side of the head, which to her surprise, quieted the voice. She was concerned, greatly, by what was happening to her. Was it really her, thinking that? Or was it Mirideth in disguise? What had Mirideth done to her? As time went on, she was remembering more and more about the recent past, which Mirideth had erased. But it felt disconnected, it didn’t feel like something that happened to her. It was like she was remembering a scene in a book or movie.
Niarith had removed the VRNet apparatus and was now next to her. “Luci? What’s wrong?”
Lucia said nothing, gave in to her emotions, and hugged Niarith as hard as she could, tears streamed from her eyes. “I’m so scared…” she managed to squeak out. “So fucking scared..”
Niarith and Lucia sat on the edge of their bed, Niarith holding Lucia tightly around the waist.
“I keep hearing it. Even now I’m hearing it” Lucia explained. Kill her. Hold her down and crush her throat. You know how. It happened to you. “I think it’s Mirideth, somehow. I think she did something while she was fully in the ship. Something with my nanites maybe, I don’t know.” She sniffled.
Niarith hugged tighter and rested her head on Lucia’s shoulder. “I got a message from some black market techie calling herself ‘DrkAngl39’, she says she can help with our Mirideth problem, if we do a job for her. Hopefully she’ll be willing to take a look at you as well. I’m sorry there’s not much else I can say, honey. I wish there were.”
Do it do it do it kill kill kill kill “I just want it to stop.” Lucia shivered.
“I know, Luci. I know.” Niarith kissed her on the cheek. “We’re not due to head down to the surface till morning. Try to get some sleep okay? Thoughts are just that, thoughts. You know you don’t want to kill anyone. And you won’t. Okay?”
Lucia leaned down and kissed Niarith “Okay.”
With that, Lucia laid down, and tried to sleep. The constant uncontrollable murderous thoughts made it extremely difficult, but she managed it, after a couple hours of frustrated fidgeting.
Lucia opened her eyes, to find herself in an empty black void. She couldn’t move. There was… mist… She’d… She’d been here before. “Catching on quickly tonight, I see, Plaything.”
Lucia scanned around with her eyes, seeing nothing but the mist. Somehow, she could speak. “This is just a dream. You’re not really talking to me.”
Mirideth laughed from somewhere behind Lucia. “Oh Plaything, I assure you, this is just a dream. But, my darling, I am really talking to you.” She heard the clicking of heels. She braced herself, as Mirideth walked around from behind her. She looked as she had when she’d had a body. Tall, inhumanly pale, long dark hair. She wore a black corset made out of some kind of bizarre chitinous material. As well as thin undergarments made of the same. Her butterfly mask was in place over her eyes, the opaque lenses unnerving. Lucia idly thought about how she’d never actually seen Mirideth’s eyes. At least, not when they weren’t part of a puddle of liquefied viscera.
To Lucia’s shock, Mirideth said “Oh, you wonder about my eyes, Plaything? How utterly adorable of you.” She reached up, and removed the mask. Mirideth didn’t have eyes. Not human eyes, anyway. They were simply the raw visual receptors of her synthetic nervous system, placed where organic eyes had once been. They were opaque teal globes, dimly glowing. Smaller, bright points of light indicted where exactly Mirideth was looking. Which right then, was directly back at Lucia’s eyes. “Well, don’t be shy, Plaything. What do you think?” She smiled, a real smile, not a homicidal one.
“I think they’re a disgusting imitation. You haven’t been human for a long time, Witch. Not even when you had your body.” Lucia spat.
A look of false shock appeared on Mirideth’s face as she put a hand over her mouth. “Oh how your insults wound me, Plaything. And here I thought we were bonding. What with my little gift and all.”
Lucia’s heart sank. She realized how much she’d been hoping it was somehow a coincidence. Somehow she knew. Mirideth hadn’t been lying. This was real. And now she’d heard, straight from the witch’s mouth, proof that Mirideth was again able to manipulate her mind. “You Void taken monster… get out of my mind.” Lucia growled.
Mirideth simply smiled again stepped closer to Lucia, leaning over her, uncomfortably close, and said. “No.” She then leaned down further, her body pressed against Lucia’s, and began licking and kissing her neck. It felt… so good. Unbearably good. Lucia could hardly think. “That’s alright, darling” Mirideth whispered. “You don’t need to think right now. You’re mine, right now.”
Lucia felt herself begin to speak, unsure what she was doing “I-I’m… yours…”
Mirideth quietly giggled “Very good, Plaything. Now, when you meet this ‘DrkAngl39’, you’re going to volunteer to be my body template. Because you see, I know this woman. I know what she’ll do. After all… she made me.”
Lucia awoke with a gasp. Sweat covered her body as she lay next to Niarith in bed. Mirideth was able to remotely manipulate her again. She couldn’t even remember what she’d been told. Other than that it had indeed been Mirideth who’d made the thoughts of killing happen. She wanted to wake Niarith, to tell her. But her body wouldn’t move. Not for that action in particular. She knew this feeling. The nanites in her brain had indeed been reactivated. She couldn’t tell Niarith unless Mirideth wanted her to. At the very least, she hadn’t taken full control of her body like last time. That was, she supposed, something. She laid back down, but couldn’t sleep. She laid awake for several hours, until the alarm went off.
Later that morning, the trio had gathered around the mostly intact table, which had been dislodged from the window display. Niarith placed a tablet on the table, and pressed on it. The now familiar red holographic display appeared above the tablet. Where there had once been a long list of names of potential clients back on Xia IV, was only one name, ‘DrkAngl39’. Niarith tapped the name, and a schematic appeared. As in, it was a holographic image of a paper schematic. “This” Niarith began “is a schematic.”
Lolanene barked out a laugh. “Never would’a guessed that. Thanks, ‘Rith.”
Niarith smiled and playfully shoved her. “Shut up.” Her expression became serious again. “Anyway, this is a schematic of some kind of cybernetic tech. It’s on this moon, in a lightly guarded facility. Shouldn’t be too hard to get it. Just a simple in and out.”
Lucia sighed. “It’s never simple and easy, Nia.”
“Oh come on, this is nothing like those other times! Ninia’s compound was heavily guarded. Hell, we weren’t even supposed to be at the Intigrelt Facility. It’ll be fine, Luci.” Niarith’s reassurances didn’t do much to diminish Lucia’s anxiety.
“You say it’ll be fine, and then everything goes to the void. That’s how this works, you should know that by now, babe.”
Niarith simply smiled “What can I say? I’m an optimist! Besides, you like the danger.”
At that, Lucia looked down at the carpeted floor, there were still small bits of glass stuck in it. “I like the killing, Niarith. It’s the killing I like. Always has been.” Show her, do it, take her now, she’s not expecting it. Lucia did her best to ignore the urges passing through her mind. The voice was now a disturbing mix of her own and Mirideth’s.
“Lucia, y’know that’s not you. It’s fuckin’ Robo-Bitch messin’ with ya.”
Lucia sighed. “It feels real.”
Lucia was startled by a sudden hug from Niarith. “Well it isn’t. You’re not some mindless killing machine. You’re my girlfriend, and you’re better than that. No fucked up cyber-lich can change that.”
The hug slackened, as Niarith’s eyes began to glow. “What, did you just call me?”
Lolanene began to repeat “A cybe-”
“No, I know what she said. What is it?” Mirideth sounded both confused and exasperated. Both things Lucia had not heard from Mirideth before. Mirideth had always been either maniacal, sensual, or gleeful. She wondered why this was so confusing for her. Yet, it wasn’t like Lucia had any idea what it meant either.
The glow faded and Niarith sighed, took a breath, and said “Liches are the remains of great wizards who embrace undeath as a means of preserving themselves. They further their own power at any cost, having no interest in the affairs of the living except where those affairs interfere with their own. Traditionally, they exist in fantasy settings, but you, are both real, and cybernetic. Thus, Cyber-Lich!” She grinned in satisfaction.
No one said anything. Mirideth’s glow returned and she simply looked from Lolanene to Lucia. No one had any idea what Niarith was talking about. Eventually, Mirideth simply said “I don’t know why I asked.” and the glow faded again.
Niarith returned and sat there in the silence for a bit. Then she said “Remind me to get you two into a game of D&D sometime.”
“A fuckin’ what?” Lolanene asked.
Niarith grinned again “D&D! It’s an ancient game, been remade, and unmade and remade over and over again for centuries! Nobody’s sure what the name means, but it’s a fantasy role-playing game!”
Silence again. “A-anyway…” Niarith began again “The facility we’re looking for is…” She manipulated the holographic schematic, which turned into a holographic map of the moon. She scrolled the map, and pressed on a specific point. A small dot began to pulse where she’d pressed “Here! Cyntron Cybernetics. A tiny lil company, whose sole facility is here, on Zoridian VIc. We just need to get in there, get the schematic, and get back out. Then get it to this DrkAngl39, right over…” she scrolled the map again, landing on a spot halfway across the moon. “Here! I know it looks like a long way, but it’s a small moon. It’s not that far.”
Lolanene examined the map intently. “Sure don’t look too difficult, given what we’ve been dealin’ with.”
Lucia sighed. “I suppose it doesn’t. Let’s get it done.”