QBS Polarus – Mid-Atlantic Ocean
Bethany Anne turned toward her suite, “Come on, let’s go to my room.” She grabbed her Coke off of the table as Ashur stood up and followed the two woman into the next suite. Bethany Anne grabbed a coaster from the writing desk to the left of the main door and walked over to her nightstand, dropped the coaster on it, and set her Coke down before getting on her bed.
She looked down at Ashur, who was looking up at her, “Yes, come on up. You better keep your shedding down you four-footed white rug.” Ashur chuffed as he jumped up on her bed and laid down with his head next to her hand and looked up at Bethany Anne, “Yeah.” She lifted her hand so Ashur could move his head underneath it and she dropped it back down to started rubbing Ashur’s ears.
Bethany Anne turned to Tabitha who was staring at the two of them, surprise showing on her face, “What?”
“Do you and Ashur communicate?” Tabitha asked, “I mean. I know he is intelligent, so maybe he just knows a little more than most dogs, but it seems like you two really communicate.”
“What?” Bethany Anne looked down at Ashur, “What kind of female bitches do you like?” Ashur chuffed again, “Seriously?”
“What did he say?” Tabitha asked.
“Well, if I believe this, he said promiscuous ones.” Bethany Anne regarded Ashur further, “You know four-foot, we are going to have to do more testing to see if this is real, or if my mind is playing jokes.” Ashur made a whining sound, “You and me both, needles scare the shit out of me, well they did anyway.” She amended, “I imagine it’s going to be the Pod for you soon.” She rubbed his head hard then reached over and patted him on his side. “Damn, have we been communicating?” She wondered aloud.
Bethany Anne turned to face Tabitha, “Ok, sage of the databases, spill it.”
“Well, you know about the first two attacks on Michael’s house,” she began before Bethany Anne put up a hand.
“Your house now. I get that you don’t want to believe he is gone, but for now, let’s call it your home. I went through this same thing already when he disappeared before. If he should ever make it back, you can give it back to him, ok?” Tabitha nodded her understanding.
“Ok, I told you about the first two attacks. Hirotoshi and Ryu took care of them, and it wasn’t a big deal since they were in charge. This time, I answered the front door, and three guys I encountered were pushy. Something snapped in me, and I left the front door open and told them I didn’t want company, but if they wanted to push it and come in, it would go bad.”
“So, they took you up on your offer. Did they say who they worked for?” Bethany Anne asked.
“No, just that their masters would be there tonight.” Tabitha shrugged, “That was enough to say ‘vampire’ to me. Hirotoshi and Ryu have been kind and only drank from mugs for me. This time, I offered the three men’s necks to the two of them.”
“Did you watch?” Bethany Anne asked.
She made a face, “Yes, I did. I figured if I was in charge of the execution, then I should be willing to witness the deaths.” Tabitha said, “I can’t say I didn’t have a moment in the bathroom re-acquainting myself with lunch, but I felt it needed to be done.” She looked a little green remembering the episode.
“Good, that gives me hope that you have the stomach to do what your anger is driving, Tabitha.” Bethany Anne responded, “As a leader, especially a leader of mine, I expect your best and then I expect you to figure out how to surpass your best. You can’t expect others to do what you can’t do. That means if you decide people need to be killed, you need to be able to kill.”
Tabitha sat quietly, thinking about Bethany Anne’s comments as the woman went on.
“Further, you know all about the intelligence and computers and hacking, and your body is in decent shape, but you are going to have to get into superb condition.”
This time, Tabitha made a small face of disgust. Bethany Anne concealed her humor and continued, “Finally, you will need to learn how to fight and protect yourself. If you don’t, there could be a time when one of those underneath you could use just a little more help. If you can’t do it, they could die, and that is not the kind of leader I allow.”
Bethany Anne watched as the realization of her not wanting to put in the physical effort, and the possible death of one of her guards switched something in her brain, and her lips compressed in determination.
Good girl, you might just make a good leader, she thought.
“Finally, Hirotoshi and Ryu are protecting you under my orders. For you to start taking the fight to others, you will need at least six, perhaps seven. The answer to that I will leave with Akio, and I’ll ask Gabrielle as well.”
“Gabrielle joining me?” Tabitha asked.
“Do you want her to?” Bethany Anne responded.
Tabitha was quiet a moment, “No. I mean, yes I do because it would make me feel more secure. But I would just start relying on her to make everything happen, and I would become the Tabitha I don’t want to be anymore.”
“Which Tabitha is that?” Bethany Anne pushed.
“The weak one.” She replied in a small voice, “The one that wasn’t there to help Michael when he needed it.”
Manufacturing Facility 01 – Asteroid Fields
Jeo came walking towards Bobcat and William, who were both looking at the high ceiling above them, “Pretty impressive, isn’t it!” The two men dropped their gazes and reached out to shake Jeo’s hand, “We used the ideas from the BEAM module for ISS.” He said as he shook both of their hands. “For the Inflatable habitat, the transported compressed air allowed us to fill it up, and the new interlocking modules allow us to lose very little air as people come in and out.”
“I noticed,” Bobcat agreed, “Flying a pod into a double-wide and then spacewalking into the little booth was disconcerting. Hearing the air injected into the tight airlock was a great feeling, let me tell you.”
“Speak for yourself,” William grumped, “You guys need to build a ‘big and tall’ booth,” he growled.
“Shit, lose a few pounds,” Bobcat snickered and popped William in the stomach.
“You think that shit’s funny, just wait until John Grimes has to use it.” William retorted and laughed as he saw Bobcat’s realization, “See! That shit’s not so funny when you wonder what would happen if John got stuck.”
Bobcat looked over to Jeo, “My rotund friend here is right.” Bobcat dodged a playful punch from William, “You are going to have to worry about bigger people. Shit, Scott alone would get stuck because of his shoulders.”
“How many bigger people are there?” Jeo asked. “I mean, I guess I’ve seen the Guards, but …”
“Well, there’s a few of the Guardians that eat a cow for lunch.” William started then shrugged, “A bunch.”
Jeo made a face, “I didn’t want bigger because of the air loss, and another entrance is another potential leak area.”
“I’m sure you will come up with a good solution, I’d recommend roping Adarsh into the mix,” Bobcat allowed. “There is more to him than meets the eye,” He turned towards the main office area and started walking. “I see the gravity measures keep us feeling like we are on earth right now, that’s convenient.” William began to follow.
“And healthy, and a whole lot of other things,” Jeo agreed as he turned to walk with the two men, “We modify the gravity depending on what we want to do, as you would suspect.”
“How is it going on the Angel project?” Bobcat commented, “I’m getting reports via ADAM, but that is a shitload of manufactured parts we are lifting out here for that baby.”
“Hey, we are net positive cash flow.” Jeo responded, “I’ve talked with ADAM as well. The mining processes are netting us a ton of potential income, but getting it into the Earth’s markets without killing the profit options is a little challenging.”
“For whom?” William asked as the men stepped into Jeo’s office and they sat down while Jeo went behind his desk, “ADAM is dealing with that, isn’t he?”
“No,” came a female’s voice from Jeo’s wall. A visual came up of an attractive blond from the waist up, “I am helping Jeo deal with the financial markets.”
“Hello Samantha,” Bobcat answered, “I see you have changed your outfit?”
“I was told to turn into this business avatar for your meeting, yes,” Samantha answered.
Bobcat heard Jeo mutter, “Oh God, no!”
“Well, it’s just the four of us,” Bobcat started before Jeo interrupted him.
“Samantha, please lock all avatar requests down for twelve hours,” Jeo hurriedly instructed.
Samantha turned to Jeo’s location, “I understand the avatar request change, Jeo.”
Bobcat turned towards Jeo, “Why are you so red?” he asked. “You know this isn’t going to work, right?”
Jeo looked back at Bobcat, shocked, “What do you mean this isn’t going to work?” He replied, suddenly more nervous.
William chuckled, “Jeo, Bethany Anne has a handful of people in the group she trusts with her life. There are also people in her group who she trusts to make sure other lives are protected, and Bobcat is at the top. Do you think she would let anyone block Bobcat out of a system?”
“But…but…,” Jeo looked between the two of them, “I’ve made changes to Samantha’s programming.”
“I’m sure you have,” Bobcat agreed, “And every one of them, all changes, in fact, that are made to anything even remotely intelligent go through one of ADAM’s systems.” He shrugged, “So, change her back.”
Jeo looked embarrassed but spoke to the avatar, “Samantha, please change back to your avatar from this morning.”
“I’m sorry Jeo, but I am blocked from accepting avatar changes for another eleven hours and fifty-eight minutes.” The avatar replied.
Jeo looked over to Bobcat and shrugged, “I tried?” He asked.
“I’ll bet,” Bobcat snorted before turning to Samantha. “Samantha, implement this mornings avatar representation per Bobcat vocal approval and Level Five security code Delta Delta Kilo Gamma Three Two.”
Samantha looked towards Bobcat, “I have an approval on Level Five approval Delta Delta Kilo Gamma Three Two. Implementing pre-existing G4 Avatar.”
Samantha switched to an incredibly life-like representation of Gabrielle in black leather with a sword on her back. Her voice even switched over to having a European accent, “Is there anything else you would like me to do, Bobcat?”
“God, now I know why he did it,” William whispered to Bobcat, who nodded his agreement.
Bobcat viewed the avatar for another few seconds before turning back, “Jeo, do you know why I made Samantha switch back?”
“So I could be horribly embarrassed?” He replied, his hand covering his eyes with his fingers split so he could see between them.
“No, so you don’t get an ass kicking from Gabrielle and then from Bethany Anne among others.” He pointed to the avatar, “I’m guessing you are infatuated with Gabrielle, and you think this harmless, however, what you should be thinking is ‘this is creepy’.”
“Creepy? No, I don’t think it’s creepy. So, I’m going to have to go with harmless.” Jeo started before William interrupted his conversation.
“Samantha,” William spoke, “What can you do for me?”
“What would you like me to do for you, William?” Samantha spoke back.
Bobcat pointed to the avatar, “Seriously?”
Jeo was studying the avatar, “Well, to be fair I don’t ’think’ it’s Gabrielle, and I need something.”
“Yeah, you aren’t getting it yet.” Bobcat replied and turned to the wall, “Samantha, Implement Dobby G1.” The avatar on the wall changed to represent a submissive elf slave, in old clothes with a large nose and brown, mottled skin.
“Harry Potter?” Jeo asked, shocked, “You changed my avatar to Harry Potter’s elf?”
“Well,” Bobcat asked, sweeping an arm up to the wall, “Isn’t this what it does for you?”
“Well, of course not!” Jeo exclaimed, “Samantha is not a slave who does … does…,” Jeo stopped for a moment then asked the Avatar, “Samantha, what can you do for me?”
The voice came back as the elf in the movie had, very respectful and full of self-loathing and yet helpful at the same time, “Whatever my master would have me do, Jeo! Please, tell Samantha what you would have me do so I can please you.”
William said into the silence, “If Gabrielle ever learned that there was a virtual Gabrielle, who spoke even remotely like that, she would have your testicles pinned on a wall. That’s if someone who respected Gabrielle didn’t come here first and just cut everything off. Those guys don’t fuck around.”
Jeo nodded his understanding, “Samantha, delete all avatars G1 through G7,” He looked over to Bobcat and flushed again, “In fact, delete all avatars except S1 through S17.”
“I have deleted all avatars in the system, my master.” Samantha/Dobby said.
“Yes,” William agreed, “That other would have gotten you killed,” William assured Jeo.
“You’re intelligent and smart,” Bobcat said, “But you’re also young, dumb and way too far away from most women. Of the avatars you created, Gabrielle and Bethany Anne will be here in the future. Bethany Anne might, just might, have found it foolish but a little funny. I guaran-damn-tee you that the Bitches would not. So, be a little smarter about what you need to do to make your job happen and be very respectful because ADAM is always watching.”
Bobcat exhaled loudly, “Now that we have that bit out of the way, tell me more about Bethany Anne’s ship and how soon we can get it ready with all of the components we are shipping over here.”
QBS Polarus – Mid-Atlantic Ocean
“So,” Bethany Anne asked, “You feel that somehow you are to blame for Michael’s death?”
“He’s not dead,” Tabitha replied a little more strength in her voice.
“Perhaps not,” Bethany Anne agreed, “But perhaps he is. Either way, he isn’t with us, is he?”
“No,” Tabitha agreed.
“So, you are blaming yourself for his absence?” She asked, a second time. Tabitha nodded her head, “And are you blaming me for asking him to go to Colorado to protect the children?”
“No!” Tabitha looked over to Bethany Anne in alarm, “You can’t possibly be in two places at one time and he wanted to help you. It’s just,” Tabitha slumped in her chair, “It’s just that I should have known what was going on. I’ve tracked down some of the players, and they met in South America! Fucking Costa Rica. If I could have found that out, then we would have stopped them cold.”
“We can’t look into everything,” Bethany Anne told Tabitha, in a calm voice, “Even ADAM can’t be in every computer casting about for clues to all the evil in the world.”
Don’t give me any lip, ADAM.
>>I wasn’t going to reply to that comment, Bethany Anne. To accomplish what you ask would give me a headache.<<
“Ok, I understand the logic, but when does the hurting stop?” Tabitha asked.
“When you begin to live life again. For you, I imagine it started when you invited the three thugs into your home to accept their fates.” Bethany Anne replied.
Tabitha thought about it, “Maybe. I’ve been doing something instead of just existing since I made that decision.”
“Do you still want to take the fight to the Forsaken?” Bethany Anne asked.
“Not only the Forsaken, but there are a few other people that need some cleaning up.” Tabitha said, “Some politicians who are not happy with what Michael was doing with Anton’s money.”
“So, we have politicians doing what?” Bethany Anne asked.
“You name it, and we have it in South America,” Tabitha said, dryly. “South America, Central America, and North America.”
“You know, I need to house some reporters and their protection detail, do you have enough room?” Bethany Anne asked.
“Who and how many?” Tabitha asked, “I’m sure I can do it for you. Hell, I meant what I said. You are my Queen, and I will get it done. If we need to build an additional house or buy something. Just tell me what you need accomplished.” Tabitha commented, squaring her shoulders to try and mimic how Gabrielle acted.
“Well, it will be two reporters, a videographer, and two Australian Vampires that proved themselves in the base attack. I’ve changed their nanites to allow them to be out in the sun, but I’m keeping them away from Australia and the reporters need protecting.”
“So, say eight in my group and five in theirs? The house can easily hold that many. Probably more like twenty to twenty-five if they are a little friendly. All of the Elites are sun-safe, right? They don’t need SPF1000 sunscreen?”
Bethany Anne snorted, “SPF1000? No. They are all ‘sun-safe’.
“Hey!” Tabitha jerked upright, “Did you know that all of the Elite aren’t gay?”
Bethany Anne turned her head a little in question, “Yes. Why is that a shock to you?”
“Well, um… I didn’t.” Tabitha admitted, “And so when I got off the phone with you I started undressing and since I thought they were all gay,” Her face flamed red.
“You undressed how much in front of Hirotoshi and Ryu?” Bethany Anne asked.
“Well, not so much when I left as I walked out with nothing but these leather pants on. Then I put my bra and shirt on right in front of them. They didn’t move.” Tabitha stopped and shook her head back and forth a little.
“Well, they moved even less than their usual statue-selves, as if that were a thing.” She continued, “But I noticed just a little bit of facial expression and asked them and they said they weren’t gay.”
“They spoke to you?” Bethany Anne asked.
“Well, they have before, but no. They just shook their head a little when I asked if the Elite were all gay.”
“So, you asked two men to whom you had just flashed your tits if all of the Elite were gay, and they said ‘no.’ Do I have this right?” Bethany Anne asked, smiling.
“Well, yeah,” Tabitha replied, confused.
“But you didn’t think to ask the two in front of you, who had just had an eyeful of Tabitha’s chest if they happened to be gay?” Bethany Anne continued.
“Well, no.” Tabitha made a face, “So I don’t know if they are gay or not.”
“Why does this matter?” Bethany Anne asked.
“I don’t want to be flashing straight guys!” Tabitha roared with alarm to Bethany Anne.
“Tabitha, these men have been around for a long, long time. Assuming they are straight, I imagine they have had their fill of nice racks. Plus, they are the Elite. You could go walking around naked, and you wouldn’t get a rise out of them. NOT,” Bethany Anne put up a finger, “that I want you to test that!”
“I wouldn’t do that!” Tabitha exclaimed, “Oh my God. Walking around naked in front of all the men?”
“If you are on an Op, you might have to change clothes all of the time in front of them, but what’s on the Op, stays on the Op. It’s just another thing you are going to have to learn to get over. But just walking around the house nude is disrespectful whether they are gay or straight.” Bethany Anne finished.
“I’m still trying to get over you telling me not to test getting a rise out of them,” Tabitha responded.
“After my talk with the women a few minutes ago?” Bethany Anne replied, “I’m not sure what I should expect.”
Bethany Anne shook her head as if to shake out a thought that had lodged disobediently between her ears. She got up off of the bed, grabbed her Coke and started walking for the door, “Ok, this is what we are going to need to do before you are allowed to move forward.”
The two ladies left her suite, with Ashur following behind.
Two hours later, Tabitha had sworn allegiance to Bethany Anne with Stephen vouching for her determination and Barnabas confirming she understood the details. Bethany Anne grabbed Ashur, and the three of them walked Etherically to the spaceship still stationed above the earth.
Ashur dropped on the floor in the main hallway as the two women stepped through the door into the medical room.
“Wow,” Tabitha said as she took in the medical pod, “This is it, then?” She walked over to stroke the coffin-like device. “This is what changed Michael so many centuries ago?” She looked up to Bethany Anne, who was studying her, “And you?”
“Yes,” Bethany Anne answered, “And it is going to modify your body a little. Not too much, in the beginning, just getting you prepared with a nanite mix that is going to see what it might need to fix in the future, and perhaps correct a few issues.”
“Um, like what?” Tabitha’s eyes grew a little larger.
“I have no idea,” Bethany Anne replied, “you will have to go into the pod for us to figure that out.”
Tabitha looked back at the pod, “What do I do?”
Bethany Anne clicked a button that lowered a seat from the wall, “Well, you start by placing your clothes here, and I’ll prep the pod. Then, you will lay down, and the pod will close over you. You will go to sleep and wake up when finished.”
“How long were you in it?” Tabitha asked as she slowly pulled off her shoes.
“Somewhere between six and seven months.” Bethany Anne answered while she focused on the Pod controls and what TOM was telling her to do.
“Six or seven…” Tabitha murmured before squaring her shoulders and started working more aggressively on her shoes. She removed her socks and dropped them into the shoes and then took off and folded her shirt and pants, and finally her panties and bra before standing up behind Bethany Anne.
“Kinda cold here,” she admitted.
“What?” Bethany Anne said and turned around to notice the naked Tabitha behind her, “Oh. Here,” she hit a button to open the pod, “jump on in and your cold issue will go away.”
Tabitha noticed a small step, so she placed a foot there and used it to step up and sit on the bed and swing her legs in and then laid down. “Why is my cold issue going to go away?” She asked as the pod closed on her.
“Because,” Bethany Anne said, “I’m about to hit this last button,” she said as she hit the button to start the medical review and Tabitha’s eyes closed. “And you are going to go to sleep like that,” she finished.
Do we have everything going correctly?
Yes, we do.
Great, we will let her cook in here for a couple of hours and come back.
“Ashur?” Bethany Anne spoke as she walked out of the room.
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