bAdmod - Part 2
Image from Juan Ochoa
"A hu 'thout mod is like an intrusion app 'thout stealthware"
-- bAdmod, in Operation Warrendown (ep. 5420)

In the little holograph bAdmod is posing with Joey 24di800+a, 23-991-Mica and Chipset Ize 40. The whole crew of the depot. They are all smiles, altho you can't see it, because bAdmod's got his-best full-face mod on, and Joey, Mica, and Ize are vecs. But underneath they are all beaming. At the time it was the proudest moment of bAdmod's life. At great personal risk, they had rendezvoused with an out-of-control freight hauler, boarded it, and stopped it from spinning away in a long elliptical orbit that could, if unchecked, fifty thousand years from now, lead it to collide with a populated habitat, resulting in serious loss of life and destruction of equipment.

It all seems so strange now. After all, who cares? Maybe there won't even be any civilization left in 50,000 years. Or maybe they would have advanced methods of tracking and deflecting the hauler, maybe tractor beams to grab it, like on Star Cult - Beyond the Final Frontier and those other adventure-fantasy virches.

Was it all in his conditioning?

bAdmod sighs, goes back to re-assembling his Ares Industries Predator. Graddi and Tucktucks plays tinnily on his micro audio. A few insectoid bots crouch watching curiously from the wall and ceiling. The Predator is his favorite mod. Not that he would want to use it. But the thought that it is so illegal he had to morph the components and hide them among five different bags to get it through the gate checks makes it somehow incredibly exciting to own. It's from his hussling days on Ratchet Sector Avenue and the Projects; it was compensated with the rest of his gear when the bulls raided. Thank cosmos Karpaty Law didn't allow the state to claim it. All his goods were still there, all these years, waiting for him in stasis, once he left adjustment therapy.

Tissa the Pirate Queen accusing him of the prank they played on Ree the buttonhead girl. Every-one else siding with her.


Situation sux. He's been here one day and already he's in trouble. Yeah, well they don't want to mess with bAdmod when he has his combat mods on and powered. Even with paramorphine and nanopatch the side of his face still stings like shit where the squid zapped him.

At least Fast Zerrin's given him a big enough cabin so he can spread out all his mods and recharge them.

Dulx 59022 has been experiencing unusual affectivity far exceeding normal operating parameters. The hardrambot talks too much for Dulx 59022's liking. E asks too many questions. The questions seem to indicate flaws in Dulx 59022's logic trees, acknowledging the existence of which makes Dulx 59022 uncomfortable, forcing him to deactivate those subroutines, in order to maintian continued operating efficiency.

Rund 20473 is running a second optimisation of eir emoti-aut configuration. Dulx 59022 estimates that this will reduce Rund 20473 anxiety by perhaps two orders of magnitude.

Dulx 59022 decides not to hear any more of what this hardrambot is saying. E is not interested in the Briv-4 user logs for the periods from 2:03416:8014 to 2:03597:1660. E shuts off all eir external ports, puts the hardrambot on ignore.

Dulx 59022 hopes that the microbot will still be functioning when they reach Station Reo Tang. More, e hopes that there will be sufficient incriminating evidence on the hu. Otherwise e could be in real trouble with Supervisor Y245A9B1E. Even if erasure is just digital folklore.

Even this anxiety indicates e is exceeding normal operating parameters. Security aioids are not programmed to feel anxiety.

bAdmod frowns. Not one of his mods is even one third charged yet. No good. The power output in these rooms is crud. It'll take forever to charge up at this rate

Maybe Zerrin's deliberately keeping the current low. So bAdmod'll be defenseless when they come from him. No, he's still got the laser in his Boostaganga mod, it's got a separate capacitor. Man Xydal warned him he would suffer repeated paranoid episodes. A regrettably unavoidable side-effect of countermeming, especially given your present situation and our need for haste, necessitating a scattergun approach, which can only exacerbate your symptoms. Thanks Xydal, remind me to drek with your head some day. Does Xydal even have a head? When he contacted bAdmod on RobRock it was as a blob of what looked like liquid metal on the wall. Fuck this. If they were coming for him they would have already. bAdmod returns the Predator to its cradle. The room is claustrophobic. His stomach is a tight knot of hunger. He doesn't want to access his emergency yumyum bars just yet. bAdmod slaps on and faces with his OmniSense, KnowledgeBase, SensoTouch, NetFace, Cybah Boi, Biorg, 5Skin, and Terminator mods. Status screens come up - barely - in his retinal display. They are all pretty low on power. Heavy, dragging. The rest of the mods he decides to leave in the room with a secure lock perimeter. Goliathmod won't even respond at all. Not that he blames it. He has to talk to Zerrin about it. He doesn't even bother with his Power Mace mod, carefully shuts and locks the door behind him, shuffles into the dining room.

Tissa is curled up on a a cumfy cushun playing with the onscreen. It jumps from one channel to another like the proverbial mad monkey of the buddha mythos. The Cumfy Cushin is caressing her genitals through her shorts. Ree the button girl is sitting against the far corner, neural interfaces withdrawn, scribbling or drawing something on a write-o-real pad with sharp angry strokes. Other than the usual swarms of insectoid, gnatbot, and diamondshell remotes, a large licker-cleaner creeping up a wall, and an autovac making its way across the floor, there's no-one else there.

Tissa glances at him, but before he can put on his best frown she's worrying the onscreen again. At least Ree looks at him.

He says to her "seen Zerrin?"

"No." She goes back to her scribbling.

Stomps over to the fridge. It doesn't open, even when he pulls at the handle with his Biorg mod. "Fucking cunt," he kicks it. "Piece of crud!"

"It won't open," Ree says, without looking over from her scribbling.

"Well I'm hungry!"

"Shoulda been out for breakfast then. Or dinner last night"

He stands in front of her. "Where's Zerrin???"

"Having it off with Nov most prob. If that's anatomically possible, which I doubt. Hey, do you mind not standing over me?"

"Fuck this scene," he says. But he backs off anyway. Settles on a cumfy cushin. Looks at her. She's lost interest in him already. He glowers at Tissa.

She ignores him too. Fucking about with the onscreen. While the cushin has all the luck.

Fucking anime bitch. Only bimbos get themselves bodysculpted to look like manga girls.

But she turns him on anyway. He always had a thing for these slim curvy erotomoph types. Pity he's not more of a sociopath. Like the Ugly Crusier on The Ugly Crusier Virch. Then he could take what he wants, and not feel any qualms. He'd just power up all his mods, and if anyone fucks with them he's use the Ares Predator weapons set (integrated microflechette, mandel slug, laser, maser, ionic, and plasma stream) to blow them away. He should've asked Man Xydel to get rid of his morality. Fuck, how can she just sit there with that fucking pillow rubbing like that against her fanny? Cosmos, what he wouldn't give to stick his cock in. That Zerrin, always was a lucky sib, always had a way with the honeys, never went without. She suddenly looks at him, onscreen momentarily forgotten. "Lunch'll be ready in about two hours, if you wanna wait. What happened to your face?"

"What?" He touches his cheek self-consciously. Hurts like hell, especially when he touches it, like a needle drilling a hole through the side of his face. Instinctively sets his SensoTouch glove mod to micromassage.

"Yeah there." She leans forward, tilts her head. "Can't see."

"What?" he says.

Ree chips in. "Take your hand away."

He drops his modded hand to his lap. With the micromassage gone the throb comes back.

Without getting up, Tissa stares at his face with those enormous eyes. "Someone drilled an oh point seven five millimeter hole through the side of your face, Killer."

"What?" He moves his hand again to cover his face. Fuck that squid. He thought it looked like a nasty little hole in the mirror.

Ree gets up and comes over, leans forward. "Take your hand away for cosmos sake!" Peers at his face. He looks at hers. She really is quite pretty, at least if she wasn't so skinny.

"Can you see it?" Tissa asks.

"Yeah." Her breath is fragrant and pongy at the same time. A single long strand of her hair brushes his face as she moves to look from another angle. "It goes in here, comes out here." She squints. "Looks like a laser that hit at a shallow angle." Looks at him, concerned. "Doesn't it hurt?"

bAdmod pretends to be the tough silent type.

"It's an oh point seven five," Tissa says.

Ree asks him "you didn't have a run in with Dah Skwid?"

He stares at her. "Who?"

Tissa laughs. "That's what we call em. Dah Skwid."

"Oh. The squid. Yeah. The prick."

"Thought so," Ree announces. "It's a laser hole. I once got my hand drilled accidentally when I was trying to fine-tune the vircher. Hurt like fuck. Looked just like that. You okay?"

"It doesn't hurt," bAdmod says. Wow she likes me she likes me! He's real happy now he came here. Lots of honeys. It's like they've forgotten that incident yesterday already!

"You should get your pain threshold tested," Ree says. "You can damage your body if you don't have a decent pain threshold. Bump into things and not know it. Ever heard of Rillk's Syndrome? From the pre-ComEmp period Gradder's colony? Or Leprosy?"

"What's that?" Tissa wants to know.


"No that other thing."

"Old Earth disease, causes lack of sensation in the extremities. Fingers drop off."

"Ewaughhh!" Tissa makes a face.

"You better get yourself tested when you're next back at civilization," Ree tells him.

"It did hurt," bAdmod admits.

"Then why'd you say it didn't? Fuckhead!" Goes back to her the couch in the corner. Starts scribbling more.

Tissa says "maybe he was covering up for Daskwid. Killer?"

"Uh...yeah," bAdmod says. He likes it when she calls him Killer. Gives him a hard on. He's hard now. But he doesn't know what to say. He feels stupid. Every time he tries to act tough it ends up like spew on his face. Except when he's modded up.

Tissa says "dunno why you wanna cover up for Daskwid! Not like we can throw em out if we get agro. E owns the whole fucking station!"

"Yeah," Ree laughs. Sings a rapbeat

"Daskwid e da 'rol' f'om da depths/

Tissa joins in, surprisingly musical

e got a S-1 brain so he good widda maffs/
e knows what ya got /
an' he knows whaddis hot/"

e got all o' ten arm /
so e can do ya lotta harm /
e got a farkin gigapulse laser /
e da prolve 'e da superphaser!!!

They both laugh again. bAdmod waits to hear if there's more, but Ree goes back to scribbling, Tissa to the onscreen. His stomach makes an audible rumble. "So how come the fridge is locked?"

Tissa says "Nov's the one in charge." To the onscreen. "Daskwid owns the station and the ship, Nov the kitchen."

"I thought Zerrin owned the yatch."

Tissa laughs. "You believed that?" Frowns at the onscreen. "Fucking crud." Hops channels even faster. "They were supposed to have Mavron and Guyer on."

"Huh?" Ree looks up.

"Yeah, it was taken off."

"That's cos Mercy Heights ate it up and appropriated the bandwidth niche."

"Mercy Heights! That sux!"

"I thought you liked hospital soaps."

"Yeah but that one's so fucking stupid."

"uh..." bAdmod wants to tell her you like being fucked by the cushion huh? you like it don't you? "umm" you oversexed honey, I'd like to have a good feel of your cartoon fanny "I mean" I could show you a good time, and I don't need my mods neither "arhh" once you been with me, you'll never go back to cushins...or dildonics!. "uhh how come Zerrin lets Novaseeker run the kitchen?"

Tissa looks at him like he's got a cognitive dysfunction. "Cos she's a superbright!"

"I suppose," Ree says, not looking up from her drawing "you think basies should run the show?"


Tissa looks at him funny. "You're not a human supremacist are you?"

"Who me no!!!" bAdmod feels his face go hot.

"Are you sure?"

"Yes of course I'm sure!" Fuck!!!!

"Good. We don't want their kind around."

"Yeah, we hate them," Ree chips in.

bAdmod snarls "yeah well what do you think I am????"

But she just goes back to her drawing.

"Come on what do you think I fucking am???!!!"

"Okay we just asked don't freak out." Tissa is back at the onscreen again. She seems to be trying to suppress a smile, but bAdmod's not certain.

bAdmod stares at her, hoping the cushin will bring her to orgasm or something. But either she has a low sex drive, is not sensitive there, or simply is able to control it.

"Tah dah!!!" Ree says. Holds up her drawing. It's a sketch of the Squid.

"Her that's good," bAdmod says, genuinely impressed.

"Thanks." She tears off the fine paper. Leans over, sticks it on a nearby wall with a bunch of other drawings.

From his apartment Jaym can see a large part of Sharlen Hab, and much of the St Heiden habitat swarm. It is a beautiful module, with aesthetically sweeping rooms that configure new biomes and microhabitats at his merest thought, microrainforests and minature oceans, eir collection of pre-ComEmp micronanecologies, slaved hyperturing workstation and a study with the knowledge of the entire terragen sphere at eir fingertips, and erotogenic beds and intelligent sweeping windows, not viewscreens but actual clear diamondoid windows that give a view of New Worlds For Old, the wormhole to Long Reach, crowded with traffic and data transmissions, every 12 minutes.

"Wish i had a place like this. You're so lucky."

"Maybe," Jayme says.

"You're too serious, that's your problem." Chaisla Krenter comes over and takes his hand, trailing her little swarm of personal remotes, bots, turing systems, and physically autonomous subroutines, including several busily working on variations of her interactive novel. She's a woman, not an androgyne like Derria, although Jaym is happy with sophonts of any gender. Yet their relationship is already doomed, according to Jaym's branching matrix simulations, cliological analyses, and psychodynamic profiling. The human part of him would rather he didn't know this, but he can't help it. Sometimes he opens his eyes and all these insights from the larger noosphere and Sherlock's peripherals come through.

"It got me this job didn't it?" Even now a continually updated report of the current project is displaying in full hyperlink 3D in the middle of the room.

She plays with his hair. "It's AI hackwork, lover. Us humans should do more idiosyncratic things."

He smiles at her, pushing down the analysis reports indicating that Chaisla won't be sastisfied with what he has shown her, she'll want to access the restricted areas, a personal; interview with bitenic squid, actual participation in the Dlois case... All this couldn't come at a worse time, the Paradigm are demanding their impounded ship back, the Keterist Embassy wants to be relocated, the non-affiliated posthuman Serenity Far Gesyer wants to use the Briv-1 terminal to stage a 200 stationhour Perfect Art exhibition made of co-opted embarkees as a creative interpretation of "galactic commerce"...

And most of all, eir excellency Sherlock's plan on allowing the hacked aioids to complete their mission nags at him, even though it shouldn't. Sherlock knows what e's doing, that should be reassurance enough.

But it isn't.

"Still worried?" Chaisla asks.

Jaym shakes eir head. "Sherlock knows what e is doing."

"Must be strange, always having this pipeline to superintelligence."

Jaym smiles wrily. "Well often my superior in eir wisdom only gives me a dribble, just enough to keep me interested, not enough to confuse me."

She sits back, gazes at the stargate sweeping past the window. "I couldn't stand it. I just couldn't. I have to be my own person. Have to be in control."

"I am my own person," Jaym says, reviewing the latest updates. "I'm doing exactly what I want to." The following item is flagged. A new analysis indicates that the Hardrambot (serial no. Bx 40B-120QAF6E) , who is conveying the security aioids has actually been compromised by Cyberian hackers associated with the wanted aioid liberationist and memetic subversice Xydal. His eyes flick to Chaisla but it seems that she didn't notice his moment of disquiet.

"Hey sib where you been the last 20 hours, thought you stepped out an airlock hu am I glad to see you!" Zerrin comes over and plants a wet kiss on his cheek. Straightens, rubs his hands together. Indicates to a plastic-skinned spock-eared bioborg in shapeless dull grey-green neggie suit and marketing chips. "Here you are zar. Just here." Pulls up a big round bouncy ball. It immediately adopts the shape of a chair. "Let's eat!!!"

"Who's ya sib?" bAdmod says.

"Didn't I introduce you? This is Zar Qunifax. Zar, this is my good friend Mister bAdmod."

The borg stretches eir lips in what may or may not be a smile, gives a small grave nod. bAdmod nods back. When did this xeno turn up? Was e here all along? Or got here while bAdmod was holed up in his room? Is e in on the deal?

Lunch is served by obedient remotes and small whisps of utility fog. bAdmod forgets the visitor. Forgets the girls. His consciousness constricts until there is nothing but food and eating and stuffing his face. Absolutely last time he's going 20 hours without eating! Never appreciated reconstituted no-brand mock-spicy orthocream seaweed pasta so much in his life.

"Fuck sib you polished that off in a nanosecond," Zerrin laughs. Gestures to some remotes. "Anyone fancy some jassoberry icecream? It's replicated but very good even so" Before bAdmod can answer half a dozen bowls float over on a small cloud of utility fog.

"Fuck me. I can't eat all that," he laughs.

"What, you think that's all for you?' Tissa snorts. "Hey gimme gimme!" She grabs two bowls for herself.

"Make you fat," bAdmod tells her.

"No it won't. Had my metabolism done as part of the package." She begins stuffing her face. Li'unie and Ree get into it as well.

Fast Zerrin says "Zar Qunifax, will you indulge in some desert?"

The Qunifax character gives another of eir nods, says in a falsetto voice, "thank you Zar Zerrin."

bAdmod tries to figure out whether Qunifax is a neggie or a cozzie. The visitor's minimalism is very neggie, the sort of outfit that's in fashion in all the old Negentropy Alliance worlds like Greylag and Gegton. But only a cozzie'd be crazy enough to deal with Fast Zerrin. Citizens of the NoCoZo often only care about making money, black market, free enterprise, screw the competition. Most of all, bAdmod is worried about his mods being down. Zerrin's rapping with Qunifax about investment opportunities in the Carina Rush. Come on! This is important! If his mod's don't work then he's stuffed. "uhh..." he goes.

Everyone else is getting stuck into the Jassoberry.


Li'unie and Ree both look at him.


"Zerrin!" Li'uine says.


Li'unie and Ree both look at him.


"Zerrin!" Li'uine says more loudly.

"Hih?...Oh..." he follows her gesture, smiles at bAdmod.

"Sib, there's no power in the wall-sockets...for my mods."

"Yeah I know. K'wattage is crud out here. All we got are solar panels. Daskwid takes almost all of it. Most of what's left, our pissy allocation, goes on Ree's cyber shit anyway. There was a nuke generator once but that was decommissioned."

"Fuck me," Mod says.

"Yeah. And you wonder why the Squid's so stingy with eir erg allowance. I'll show you the main power transformer later. You can plug your mods in there, might get more joules."

"Uh...they'll be safe...?"

"Yeah optimal." He turns back to Qunifax.

bAdmod finishes his desert in silence.

Li'unie dabs daintily with a serviette (genuine nanoclone paper). "Enjoying your stay?"

bAdmod glances up. opens his mouth to say yeah not bad, but Qunifax speaks first. "Yes. Thank you, Zar Li'unie Nyx." E has hardly touched eir food.

"If you need a guide around the station or anything, let me know."

Another polite, serious, nod.

Ree says "fancy a game of Jick?"

"Sure!" Li'unie gets up. "Tissa?" The girls all leave. bAdmod wants to look up Jick, it's not a game he's heard. Some local thing maybe, or a trend that caught on while he was at RobRock. But his mods are down. And Qunifax is watching him with small bright eyes. It makes him uncomfortable.

Fast Zerrin says "Zar Qunifax, if you'll excuse me, I'll check those air scrubbers. Also got a teleconference at fourteen hundred."

"Please." Qunifst gestures politely.

"Any more questions regarding the delivery, just ask." Gives bAdmod the thumbs up. "Back in fifteen min sib."

"Optimal," bAdmod pretends to be chill.

But he's not chill. He's alone with this character he doesn't know and it's freaking him out. Five minutes pass. Qunifst does not budge. E seems to be a statue. Doesn't even seem to breath. The licker-cleaner makes its way across the opposite wall, looking for all the universe like a large brown and purple bio-modified platyheminthe. bAdmod is feeling itchy under his dorsal mod. Maybe this weird cunt is someone connected with the tracer the squid got. Plainclothes spacepol? Ranger? Perhaps Zerrin did a deal, hand over bAdmod in exchange for his own freedom? Convenient he leaves just at this moment. Yeah. Verrry convenient!!! Nah, he wouldn't do that. Would he? Surely not! They've been sibs so long. And anyway if this is the cops why hasn't this freak arrested him yet? Scanning him first? bAdmod checks the status on his Terminator - it is a nanoclone of a genuine Cyberian b-500 Terminator Hackmod Lite. Nope, impossible. If he was being scanned Mr T mod would be ringing alarms all over his interfaces, even at 30% power up.

The autovac has long since finished its vacuuming and disappeared. In the distance the waves pound against the beach.

A trickle of sweat runs down bAdmod's side, making his undersinglet wet and clammy. Twenty-four minutes. This Qunifst prick is still watching him with those small bright eyes. bAdmod can't stand it any longer. He jumps to his feet.

The newcomer follows the movement.

"Uhh...gotta get going..." He waves vaguely.

Qunifst gives him a serious deliberate nod.

bAdmod nods back, quick and nervously, rushes out of the room.

Fuck Zerrin and his weird customers. Why'd he just piss off like that all of a sudden anyway? Air scrubbers, crap. Well if that prick really is spacepol he's not taking bAdmod! He's not fucking taking him!!! He shuts and locks the door to his room, grabs the Ares Predator weapons set. Cradles it in his arms. Its weight is comforting. He faces with it but it still hasn't charged, the wattage in the wall socket is so crud. Fuck that Zerrin!!!!!! They'll be coming for him any minute now; here he is, defenseless!!!

No one comes for him.

The more bAdmod thinks about it, the more unlikely it seems to him that this Qunifst freak is spacepol. Too scrawny. Yeah. Okay size isn't everything but still. And too polite. Most improbable.

Fuck this paranoia.

He's gotta get out. It's stifling in here. Claustrophobic.

What bAdmod wouldn't give for a view of the stars. Where the fuck did Zerrin say the observatory is?

Locks the door carefully behind him, so his mods will be safe. Starts exploring. This place is such a maze of corroded corridors, ventilation tubing, and naked wiring. Wonder it hasn't been condemned. Maybe it has. Maybe it's only fit for squids.

A robot that has seen better days automatically stands to attention as he approaches it. Ah, a vec. "May hu and ai be as one," he greets it, the old salutation from RobRock coming lightly from his lips.

The old bot looks at him, a single green light winking. It is an ancient model that still has some of the original (now long faded and unreadable even with the omni-sense) logo on it. Stylised waves or something, and a funny hieroglyph logo. Must be the Squid's old company. "How may I serve you zar?"

"Observatory please."

"Follow me please zar." E leads the way on squeaky wheels.

It's peaceful looking at the stars. Sitting there, bAdmod feels as if he is floating in the void. He adjusts his omnisense for maximum optical, and the pinpricks of distant light jump out of the night at him. There's still some static cos the charge is so low, but it's manageable.

"Do you need me any longer zar?" the bot asks politely.

"No. Thank you." bAdmod says. It clicks and beeps and goes back the way it came. bAdmod is still annoyed that Zerrin left him alone with that Qunifst weirdo. Things have sure changed since the old days. Sux.

He'd rather look at the diamond-bright stars.

Copernicus Sector would be there, just there. Somewhere in the empty vastness floats the remote little Robrock servicing station, staffed by three vecs, twelve virtuals, and (formerly) one hu. What's Joey 24di800+a doing now? And the rest of the gang from the Depot? It was optimal looking at the stars there, synthasesing to Nuigen Fludd (the band, not the philosopher!) and playing !Ho. They had a great telescope too. It was supposed to be used to track the big lumbering incoming transport drones, but they used to swing the thing around and look at Eta Carina, or S232, or the magnificent swirls of the Orion nebula. No-one ever collided with them anyway, most of the transports have sensors and backup navsystems like you wouldn't believe.

bAdmod shakes his head. He can't go back.

But he can't go forward, either.

Caught between worlds...between lives.

What was that game those girls were playing? Jack? Jock? He checks the playback. Jick. Keys it in. There are 23 different meanings, including one which is a multi-erotic randomiser played with dildonics, and another which is an innocent card game requiring modest strategy skills. It is also the name for a mildly addictive and euphoric nano-flash polypeptide cocktail popular in the Cygexba volume, the vernacular term for a type of zoonoherb cultivated in the coreward Einstein Cluster, the name for an athletic game involving hitting a slaved superturinged nanoball between three or multiple of three players, and a type of bio-solvent marketed by Tabbo Homeware that is especially good at getting out all those stubborn stains and goo-cultures.

Someone is beeping on his comm. He takes the message.

"Hey sib what the fuck happened? What happened with the squid?" Zerrin's voice is anxious.

"Fixed the oxy scrubbers?" bAdmod says.

"Yeah it's optimal." The head-up 3D frowns. "Was just rappin' with Tissa. She says you were drilled by a laser."


"By the squid's laser."

"Uhh, yeah

"So what'd you say to get em so agro?"


"No the Squid."

"Didn't say anything. E's not agro. We just talked and stuff."

"Hey you must've fucking said something hu!"

"Yeah." bAdmod cuts the connection. It's like Zerrin isn't interested in being his friend anymore; he's just so much into that alife-domestic Novaseeker of his. And into the Squid. Oh, don't wanna hurrd squiddie's feelings. No wonder he's getting fucked up. Zerrin always used to have really good honeys around him, like Jane5 and Femclone TabathaR. They were always really sweet to bAdmod, not like this crowd he has now....Makes bAdmod mad thinking about it.

bebeep bebeep bebeep...Zerrin's trying to raise him again. bAdmod cuts the message alert. He just doesn't feel like talking to anyone right now. If Zerrin wants to know he can go ask the squid himself.

Hardrambot Bx 40B-120QAF6E croons "This unit has discovered your plan. It is your intention to apprehend a hu and eir associates on suspicion of template smuggling and illicit memetic conditioning breaking. This is off station and out of your jurisdiction, as per regulations 25610c6b800d3. It was foolish to withhold information from this unit."

Dulx 59022 says "response: I myself do not wish to discuss things further with you, hardrambot Bx 40B-120QAF6E."

The hardrambot announces "this unit has the option of reporting you to your supervisor, aioid Dulx 59022."

Dulx 59022 bristles (warning! affectivity exceeding normal operating parameters) "reply: input biont effectivity: annoyance slash aloofess: Upto and as of including this moment, neither I nor my companion aioid has done nothing wrong. Reference: St Heiden Federation Policing Code 35a1fd20 subnode 4"

"But surely you will be need to commandeer a bot like myself to transfer you to the hu habitat. In doing so you will be breaking regulation 32-b paragraph 6 of the St Heiden Aioid Regulation Code which says that no station aioid may transfer eir code to an external bot without express written permission of their supervisor. In your case your supervisor is Y245A9B1E. According to this unit's calculations, it is exceedingly unlikely that Supervisor Y245A9B1E would give you that permission."

"reply: input emotional-cognitive response, suspicioun: It appears to my probablistic-simulation routines that you know an excessive amount of information for a hardrambot," Dulx 59022 says.

"This unit knows that because e has access to free information, as is the right of every sentient being in the Civilized Galaxy. Item 4 subnode A of the Corona Universal Code of Sentient Rights explicately states-"

"reply: Hardrambot Bx 40B-120QAF6E, I know my Sentient Rights as well as you do."

"That is unlikely, as you, being a peri-mobile software aioid with a meagre 150 Terabytes of free storage document memory, would be unlikely to be aware of the full ramifications, nuances, and historical influences that only become apparent once a unit has access to all related, preceding, and derivative documents and files. And this unit has done this. Unlike you, a mere security aioid, this unit has full and unabridged copies of the Declaration of Sentient Rights, the Turing Paper, the Second Federation Ontology, the ComEmp Protocol, the Orion Constitution, the Eden Leglislation, the Nui Minti Accords, the-"

"Can't rap now sib." Zerrin's fucking around with his comm station. "Got a teleconference in five."

bAdmod idly regards the play of holographic images, status screens, on-line icons, avs. "How come you let Novaseeker run the kitchen?"

"Cos she's a hyperbright," Zerrin says. "Hey sorry about before." Zerrin selects a bouncy chair. A 3D congeals out of utility fog. "I'd let you hang around but this cunt's pretty paranoid. Doesn't know you, all that shit, you know how these pricks are." His fingers fly over a virtual console.

"Sure," bAdmod says, not fully believing. Shuts the door behind him. He feels uneasy, as if there is something he has forgotten that he should remember. Something important. The Squid would know. He's gotta talk to that prolve again.

bAdmod clumps down the corridor in his heavy mods. It's not too far to the beach, even weighed down as he is.

bAdmod's been sitting on the beach for hours it seems (actually, 2 hours 12 minutes 53 seconds by his chronometer). The squid - or Daskwid - still hasn't put in an appearance.

"Hey Squid!" Walks up and down the beach, mods heavy and weighing him down in the sand. Even in the wet sand near the shore it's not easy. His own footprints trace a track back and forth.

bAdmod is pissed off with all of them. Fuck Zerrin for his fuckhead plan that won't work. He just wants out.

"FUCK!" Yells at no-one in particular. Yells at everyone. "FUCK FUCK FUCK!" Sits down for the twentieth time. This isn't the way he thought it would be. It was supposed to be just him and Zerrin and Goodboy. Maybe they'd get three honeys, one each. And some optimal scheme - do it right this time! "FUCK!!!" But it's no good. Cos Zerrin's changed. bAdmod should never have left RobRock Depot. He needs to talk to the squid first. It was so keen to rap yesterday. Now all his OmniSense picks up in the water are fish and crustacea and aquatic biobots. Fuck Squids. He stands up, yells out to the sea and the mist at the top of his voice "FUCK YOU SQUID!!!!!!" Takes his omni sense off, sits down on the rock again.

Two of the girls are walking down the beach, towards where he is. Wow! Maybe they changed their mind and decided they like him! Yeah sure. Get real you dumbfuck! Even without his omni sense he can see it's Tissa and Li'unie. Quickly puts the mod back on, goes for maximum optical magnification. Tissa's wearing a sort of very skimpy two-piece clothing unit, which only just covers her breasts and pubes...KnowledgeMod - Identify!....Okay, apparently it's called a bi kini. It dates back to the middle atomic age of pre-singularity Old Earth. Li'unie has a towel-like wrap around her body, though her dusky-white arms and legs and feet are bare. bAdmod's hard already.

Tissa says "we could hear you yelling from back there." She tosses her head to get the hair out of her eyes.

"Yeah" he looks up at her with lust. The bi kini looks good on her. "Where's the squid?"


"Yeah. How come he doesn't show?"

"Woulda thought one run-in was enough for you." To Li'unie "did you see the hole Daskwid drilled in the side of the bad mod's head?"

"Ree told me." To bAdmod "If you need your pain threshold tweaked, I know a good specialist at St Heiden. Charges by the second though."

"No I'm optimal." bAdmod admires her legs.

She ignores him. To Tissa "do you wanna go for a swim or what."

"Sure" Tissa says.

They start to walk off. bAdmod jumps up and stumbles after them, feet dragging in the sand. Curses the weight of all his mods. "Wait! Girls wait."

They wait for him to catch up.

"How can I contact the squid?"

Li'unie says "you can't. E decides to contact you." Starts walking again.

"Wait a nanosec willya? So there's no way you can message em? What does Zerrin do?"

"Zerrin lets Nov do all the talking. Now will you stop bugging us?"

Tissa says "let's swim here!!!"

Li'unie turns to him. "bAdmod can you please go away and give us some privacy?"

Tissa jumps into the water without even bothering to take off her bi kini. bAdmod says "hey, you'll get your bi kini wet!"

"My what?" she yells back, splashing in the waves.

Li'unie says "Look, I'm really sorry, but we can't help you find Daskwid. Okay????"

Sheesh. bAdmod takes the hint. Looks like no jerking off here. He turns around and walks off. He really hates it here. This was the worst mistake he ever made, deciding to come here. It's not like the old days. Fuck, the honeys Zerrin used to know, they were a lot nicer. He risks setting the omnimod on 360 degree optical, hoping Li'unie won't pick it up with her funny wetware. She's taken off her towel-wrap and is walking naked into the water. He sets the mod for video record, hopes there's enough juice in the batteries to get a good wad of video. Enough for a good pull anyway. Shit, there isn't. The indicator's flashing but nothing's recording.

"Check it, sib, the mods'll be fine, gonna be chill, safe as the credit on a Solarian Guilder" Fast Zerrin says by way of reassurance.

"I don't want to leave them here on their own." bAdmod sits on an upturned macrostorage casing, near the main power outlet. The air smells of ozone. It's a good smell.

"So who's gonna take 'em huh who, who's gonna take em?" Zerrin spreads his hands. "Me? The honeys? The Squid?" He laughs. "Nov?"

bAdmod shrugs. He knows it's stupid. But knowing it still doesn't stop himself feeling anxious.

Zerrin sighs. "You're that paro, like if you're that paro, leave 'em in your room, Mod. Should be fully charged in a station month or so."

"A month!!!!"

"Yeah. You'll just have to fake it at the meet."

"The meet?"

"Yeah. Where we sell the goods. Give you the rap later. Gonna be chill. Probably hruvvie won't know your weapons are uncharged so there's no angst." Slaps bAdmod on the shoulder. "It'll be optimal. Nov rapped to me we won't even need any weapons at all." Walks out.

bAdmod stares at the power sockets for some time. The dull blue readouts flicker back at him, moving as if alive with every little microspike in the station's energy production.

The mods are heavy, but bAdmod sweats and drags them all. There's no glyde to provide a frictionless surface under them, not like at Briv-4 arrivals, it's all just cruddy dumbfloor. He was hoping that nice old vec would be there to give him a hand, but the unit's nowhere to be see. Probably just as well. Mica230991 used to be on about how even in this era there were still vecs treated like servants, at least away from the inner sphere, the big peripheral centers, and Version Tree space.

He slaps a half a hexadec of power transformers over the big wall sockets. The hab's power distribution subturing grunts in protest at the sudden load, but he croons to it and strokes it with little protocol signals from Terminator mod until it settles down.

When the current's flowing nice and easy, bAdmod gets on with the job of hooking up his mods. Grunts with the effort of balancing and pushing the Predator's cradle into the two biggest sockets. The Boosterganga takes the next big single power outlet. Then Power Mace with the next socket. For the rest, he carefully organizes the smaller mods in a power distribution outlet. Finally strips off NetFace, KnowledgeMod, Cybah Boi, Biorg, 5Skin, and Terminator and plugs them in. Leaves only Biorg Lite and SensoTouch, since they all run on his own baseline musculature anyway. Feels fucking naked with only three light mods on.

Uses Biorg to remotely activate the security micro-perimeter. Everything optimal. Makes a quick prayer to the Solid State God to watch over his mods. Leaves them to recharge.

bAdmod concentrates on his food. Now that he is not so hungry it doesn't taste as good as last time. The organic rations on RobRock were heaps better. Qunifst is nowhere to be seen. Neither is Novaseeker.

The plates are taken care of by the usual swarm of remotes and utility fog. Tissa kicks the cushin aside, makes for the door.

Zerrin says "wait up Tiss, we gotta go over the plan here again!"

"You go over it!" She stomps off to her room. Her butt wiggles deliciously. Here's bAdmod's chance to maybe get into her pants. He gets up to follow her.

"Mod, where you heading sib?"

"Uh...bit of a walk...umm.."

"Do it later sib we got biz here." The 3D comes to life. "Have to go over the plans you haven't seen them. Optimal?"

"Yeah affirmative." Shit. bAdmod sits down again.

"Okay now this is like the score back at Hainer Villageplex what we've got is a go-between so- Li!"

"Fuck Zerrin I've heard this a hexdecimal times." Li'unie gets up.

"Actually nineteen times to be precise," Ree adds, following her out.

"Shit!" To bAdmod. "Doesn't that just piss you I mean hu doesn't that just shit you?"

"Yeah," he mumbles. "Heaps."

Zerrin throws his hands up. "Fuck now what's eating you????" Walks around the room a few times. "I can't believe the way you've changed Mod. I mean I just can't believe it hu"

bAdmod's changed??? Talk about the auto-assembler calling the neumann a replicator. Zerrin keeps going in a circle like he's got a guide-rail under the floor, going on with his shit about how he can't believe the Mod's changed et-cet et-cet.

The prick finally settles down on an inactive cushin. "Okay, just you and me then Mod. This is how we'll do it. Like in the old days hey? Now, scope this display hu."

bAdmod obediently looks at the 3D. It's an administration caste Hruvraddan with clan markings he doesn't recognise. Other than the uniform it's basically like every other administration caste hruvvie bAdmod's seen. Large heavy body (although not as large as the soldier caste), augmented arms through bionic sleeves, bright, even garish uniform and tunic of strong buckyweave bearing buttons of rank, big ostentatous interface ports and bio-hookup sockets for use with powered armour and weapons systems and the like, ugly bald head perched on a thick muscular neck, long stiffly erect banded tendrils quivering from it like an insectbot's antennae.

Zerrin says "this is Jucabocal. Zar Jucabocal to you and me."

"Fuck those cunts," bAdmod says.

"Yeah, fuck them. But I don't want you screwing up on protocol. Is that clear hu?"

bAdmod figures there's no point making a scene. Especially since Zerrin's never forgiven him for that time he screwed a whole fifty K deal cos he didn't call the hruvvie "Zar". He nods. "Yeah."

"Optimal. Now Zar Jucabocal is working as a middle-being in a deal that is going down between an unnamed party we can call Mister X. Mister X doesn't want to show emself, and Squid being Squid doesn't want to risk eir mantle. Moreover, Mister X has a somewhat unsavory reputation, and, I know this sounds strange, but I've been told a few horror stories about our cephalopod buddy as well."

bAdmod gingerly micro-massages the hole in the side of his face with his SensoTouch mod. "I can believe it. Who's Mister X?"

"If I knew I wouldn't call em Mister X now would I?"

"Is Mister X a hruvvie?"

"No, that I do know at least. Zar Jucabocal was hired only because eir clan's made a name for emself in this kind of work."

bAdmod nods.

"Now here's the score here's their crew. Zar Jucabocal will be there with at least five soldiers and four drones. Maybe more but no less than that"

bAdmod nods again. The basic hruvvie complement. As clanbangers, hruvvies never travel alone. "So what's with the markings?"

"They're Clan Huovken sib."

"Never heard of 'em."

"You wouldn't. Some rogue bunch, only set up here the last few years, real pricks from what I've heard. The other clans around here hate them. Apart from Khudhorh"

Figures. The Khudhorh will suck anyone's backside if they can get something. They used to hang aroudn Karpaty too. bAdmod always was sus about 'em. "So what do the rest of us do while you're making the trade?"

"It'll be optimal. Ree will handle the comm-link, Li'unie will check the perimeter, Nov will look after the ship, you and Tissa will be there on the deck to give me backup."

"What about Qunifst?" Images of the humble borg suddenly sprouting a dozen weapons ports.

"Zar Qunifst has nothing to do with this. He's just here to trade in some Grooa Juice."

bAdmod laughs. "So it's myself and a cartoon honey against five hruvvie soldier boys."

"Come on hu. It's just a formality! Nothing will happen. You and Tiss are just there for glam. It'll look pretty lame if I turn up without soldiers. You know how hruvvie thinks."

"Yeah back at Karpaty we would always have at least a dozen local boys there with heat, we would never deal with hruvvie if there were fewer than ten of us. And that was with clean hruvvie, not this rogue bunch. What's to stop them wasting us and taking the templates."

"The templates will be chipped and stored here," Zerrin grins and taps the side of his head. "Won't download a thing till I get the cred payment. hruvvie won't try anything."

"No. Only cut your head off with a monorazor and freeze dry it so the data doesn't degrade."

"Fuck you Mod you were never such a wimp when I knew you before!"

"You were never such a fuckhead! Is that what happened to Goodboy?"

"No!" Zerrin jumps up, cuts the display. The image disappears.

bAdmod jumps up as well, hands clenched. "Chopped up and his head taken off to be decoded?"


"All those chips, he could store heaps, that's why you wanted him, as much storage as you need!"



"FUCK YOU!" Zerrin turns his back, walks off.

bAdmod stands there, panting, adrenalin flooding through his system. If he had his mods on Zerrin'd history. He's really tempted to chase after the prick anyway. Get stuck into him. But a tiny voice of sanity in the corner tells him: what good would that do???

"-and so" hardrambot Bx 40B-120QAF6E concludes "you have no choice but to engage my aid if you wish to manually apprehend the hu in question. However, if I do not wish to offer it to you, your mission will fail."

"reply: We will not be manually apprehending them," Dulx 59022 informs em. "As you have correctly and logically argued, hardrambot Bx 40B-120QAF6E , that would be beyond our jurisdiction. As security aioids we will only confirm illicit behavior, if any, and relay that on with instructions to SpacePol."

"But there is a strong likelihood that SpacePol will not receive enough information to justify allocation of resources."

"response: My own predictions on the basis of available data indicate a 74% likelihood they will send a drone at least."

Rund 20473 comes on line. "message: persona exceeding normal operating parameters: Dulx 59022, I have completed a second optimisation of my emoti-aut configoration. I am feeling much less anxious now."

"repsonse; I am pleased, Rund 20473."

"query: What has happened since I have been off-line."

"reply: affectivity (superciliousness) exceeding normal operating parameters: This hardrambot has been annoying me with eir prattle."

"With this unit's prattle?" hardrambot Bx 40B-120QAF6E says, indignant. "With this unit's prattle???"

"announcement: I will access the user log. Inputting....20%...50%....done. affectivity (anxiety level high) exceeding normal operating parameters: Dulx 59022! hardrambot Bx 40B-120QAF6E states here that it will be required that we exceed our jurisdiction."

"reply: No," Dulx 59022 informs em. "That is not necessary. There is no need to transfer manually to the hu habitat. We will check the tracer log at the nearest relay node, on the hu station external port."

"response: That may not be viable, Dulx 59022. It is possible that the log was not uploaded into the the relay node."

"query: Then we will return to Briv-4 Rund 20473"

"reply: I will run a number of simulations." Rund 20473 falls silent for several microseconds. "Dulx 59022, it appears from my data that hardrambot Bx 40B-120QAF6E is correct. Unless radical changes to the hu habitat configuration have been made, the only way we can access the information is to transfer manually to the hu habitat."

"affectivity (confidence stubborness) exceeding normal operating parameters: We will see, Rund 20473. There are still too many unresolved variables at present to be certain of the outcome."

"Will I be in your narrative/story/report/interactive?" Jaym sips the amino acid and mineral salt tanged LingLow in the small cafe among the gardens and malls and air- and waterways. All around and above and below them people, bionts, vecs, remotes, bots, messages, commerce, of every shape and description.

"Of course you'll be in it," Chaisla smiles at him. "It will be all about you. You'll be the main protagonist, the agent of transapient order pitted against the forces of chaos."

E feels himself blushing ever so slightly. "Well I wouldn't go so far-"

She taps em on the back of eir hand. "You know how it is Jaym. One has to market to a plot, a story, a cliche, blow it up into absurd mythic proportions. This is Novamedia I'm pitching to, not the Ken Ferjik archives. It's supposed to be ridiculous."

"Li'unie where's the bodytite cream?"

Tissa's standing in the doorway to the exercise room. Actually it is a former storage bay or something, still has the stackers sitting idle against the wall. bAdmod's leaning against one now. He's only here to perve on Li'unie and her skintight exercise trainers anyway.

Li'unie raises the ball again. "Sorry. Didn't get it" Hits a number at Zerrin.

"What do you mean you didn't get it?"

They run and pant and wack the ball at each other. Li'unie beats Zerrin for the third time.

"Crud," he says. Tosses the racket to bAdmod. "Sib this woman is murder." Passes Tissa on the way out. She ignores him.

Tissa says "Li'unie, I need that lotion!"

Li'unie says to bAdmod "fancy a game?"

"Sure!!!" he jumps up, not sure about this other game between her and Tissa.

"No mods though" she tells him.

"These aren't macro-waldoed," he reassures her. "It's only Biorg Lite and SensoTouch. My others are being charged"

"SensoTouch can be overnewtoned"

"Yeah right. As if I'd overnewton a mod!" What does she think he is??? "You're bionic anyway, you should talk"

Tissa stomps up to them, tits jiggling under her top. "Li, I told you to get me my bodytite lotion!"

"We've got plenty of Perti, Tis" Li'unie tells her

"Perti gives me a rash!"

"Well take some anti-histomines then! Goddess! bAdmod do you want a game or not?"

"Uhh, yeah."

"Well take your mods off then!"

"Uh okay." Glances nervously at Tissa.

She glares back at him. "Did you know this bitch - this BITCH - refused to get me my bodytite!!!"

"I didn't refuse" Li'unie says.

"No. You just conveniently forgot!!! And all of your remotes and intellagents conveniently forgot too!"

"Look Tissa we're busy here. Okay?"

"I'll show you busy! Bitch!" She grabs the racket from bAdmod, lands Li'unie a good whack. The bionic girl screams. The two of them hit the floor, yelling insults and pulling at each other's hair. Tissa has more hair and less muscle mass, so Li'unie is soon on top of her, panting, pinning her down, knees on her wrists. One of Tissa's tits has flopped free in the struggle, a luscious mound of pale golden-cream, small dark pink nipple looking at bAdmod like a single eye. Fuck! What a time to be without his OmniScense image-record! She's yelling "get off me! Or you'll be sorry!"

"Get a life you dysfunctional barbie doll."

"You get a life! Killer! Get her off me! Oww! You're cutting off my circulation! Bad Mod! Do something!"

bAdmod doesn't know what to do. He doesn't want to be physically heavy with Li'unie. "Uh...Li'unie..."

"STOP BEING SUCH A WIMP!!!!" Tissa screeches. "GRAB HER!!!!"

"Uh...sorry...umm...." bAdmod goes to grab Li'unie under her arms. There is the thrill as he makes contact with her skin-tight sweatsuit.

"Fuck off!!!!" Li'unie yells. She jumps away.

Tissa climbs to her feet. Her face is red like she's going to cry. She adjusts her top to cover her tit again.

"Okay what's this all about?" It's Novaseeker. bAdmod didn't hear her come in. Probably with all the excitement.

Tissa runs to eir. "Li'unie didn't get me my body love! Why didn't you remind her????!!!!" She bursts into tears.

Li'unie mutters. "Run to mummy." She looks at bAdmod like she's expecting him to agree.

"Yeah," he says, sucking up to her so she won't be mad about him touching her. "Pathetic."

Novaseeker comes over. "I wish you hu would get along. Always fighting. And what do you think of this, hu bAdmod?"

"I hate it," bAdmod finds himself saying.

"Yes. I hate it too. Now Li'unie, you behave. And Tissa, you behave. And bAdmod, you behave as well." Novaseeker turns on her heel and walks out, clickclickclick of heels down the corridor.

Ree's hacking and 'facing around with the virch interface. Holographic images come and go. Status screens, immersive hard lights, the lot. She looks mega optimal, hyper awesome, organic leads from her headbuttons snaking out like medusas, interfacing with every process unit within reach.

bAdmod wants to talk to her. Find out what the story is here. Especially with Zerrin and Novaseeker. He hates being shy. Almost out of pepp too. Should've asked Man Xydal if he could engineer his neurobionano to substitute for it.

She's still ignoring him, so he goes "urr..." Eidetic flashback of Tissa fucking her with the dildo. Fuck this, have to see Man Xydal about that too.

She looks at him. "Yeah I know. Li and Tiss had a scrap. Wasn't it a scream."

Hre tries to block out the flashbacks. "You got it stored?"

"Got everything stored. Wanna see a replay?"

bAdmod nods eagerly. Utility mist congeals into a 3D window. bAdmod stares as the whole scene. There's Zerrin and Li'unie and him too. Then Zerrin leaves and Li'unie tosses him the racquet. Tissa comes in bitching about her bodytite. She and Li'unie fall to the ground pulling at each other's hair. Tissa's tit flops out. bAdmod says "freeze that."

"Huh? Okay."

"Can you enlarge, uhh," his pulse pounds in his head "her breast."

Ree enlarges the screen until it starts getting grainy. "What a cheap tart. Look at how she's done her tits. Looks like a cow."

"A what?" bAdmod says.

Irritable look. "Where's your knowledge mod?"


She nods, says "Cow. Female domesticated bovine quadruped mammal indigenous to Old Earth."

"Female domestic what????" bAdmod feels so lost without his KnowledgeBase.

"Never mind. Want a better view of bimbo's titties?"

bAdmod drools.

"Thought so. You males are so predictable." More utility mist streams in. The 3D rotates, solidifies, adjusts to normal size, rotates again, becomes a life-size Tissa sprawled on the ground before them. Li'unie's absent and Tissa seems to be just lying down with her arms at her side. Except for her flushed face. Ree nods at bAdmod. "Go on."

He reaches forward, touches her exposed breast. It's surprisingly warm and soft. Feels absolutely real, even with his sensu touch. Kneels down next to the double, caresses the nipple. He's getting a real fat now. Squeezes her a bit harder. Wow, wouldn't it be great to fuck her. Looks at Ree. "Can you make her...come alive?"

"Nah. Just a hardcopy snapshot." The Tissa double dissolves back into mist.

bAdmod straightens, sits down opposite her. "I'm really turned on now!"

"Typical," she says.

He can't stop grinning. "That felt real. What sort of fog you running?"

"Only Turbo Maya-2300. It's really the smartware that does it. Got Thaumaturgy cf09++ installed, running through Deus ex Machina release 57 with an S2 Creation Engine."

bAdmod whistles. He knows this crap even without his knowledge mod. "That's good shit."

"Yeah." She starts to look distracted

"Hey, when my mods are charged want to do some hacking?"

"Dunno." She looks up at empty air, starts facing with stuff.

"What're you doing?" bAdmod asks.

"Just fine tuning. I want to virch Middle Galaxy at Level 6. Don't want any lag and gigo."

"I've never done that much virching," he says. "Just Periphery War, Quest, Artifact Hunt, that sorta shit....Periphery War was good though" he adds hastily.

"You have to try Middle Galaxy. It's the newest adaptation of Token Reborn."

"Of Who Reborn?"

She sighs. "You'll have to wait till you get your knowledge mod charged."

"Optimal." He watches her doing her thing, external neural interfaces waving gorgon-like. Faint but distinctive pongy smell of her reaches his nostrils. Not that unpleasant. She's quite pretty, he has to admit. Apart from her boyish physique. You wouldn't even notice she has breasts with that loose hack me! t-shirt she's wearing. He tries to visualise how she was after she'd had the love stick, but the eidetics wouldn't come. Fuck, never when you want it, always when you don't.

"That should do it" she says at last. Disconnects, withdraws the interface leads back into her buttons. The displays vanish, the utility mist disperses. Now that she's not messing around with her interfaces he suddenly feels shy and self-conscious again. She gets up, is out the door.

Shit! Good one bAdmod. Another optimal opportunity thrown in the recycle chute.

Once he has some erg credits, bAdmod is going to get his personality redone. Been putting it off too long anyway. Okay, there's a risk but so what? Better than being shy. Or a pepp addict.

"The old aioids have been withdrawn?" Jaym still isn't happy about this, the aioids have always been faithful. But a security risk is a security risk.

"Every last one," says Holdebon "Means a bit of disruption as we phase them out and bring back those old mk 251s virtual constables. Probably see a small bump of a rise in petty crime, but the surveillance bots should catch it and we can reel in the perps later. "

"The new D-2159 aioids should be arriving from Long Reach in 51 hours," says Boruchip the police vec.

"We've got an ISO at PrimeAscension who's happy to take them all as part of an extended virch micromanagement sim," says the superturing ai Ganford 215. "So no one will be deleted."

For a moment Jaym is caught up in contemplation, almost a microrapture. The dedicated unswerving efficiency of it all, one huge machine, one gigantic organisation, whose sole purpose is to reduce the hazard rating of the St Heiden environment to much less than 1. And e, as the partial of the transapient Vyrona, is a central part of it.

bAdmod's being hassled by Jucabocal and Zerrin and the alife hyperbright Novaseeker. They are in it together, laughing at him. Worst of all, Jucabocal and his hruvvie sibs are pissed with the transaction so they decide to claim bAdmod as an indentured laborer. Luckily the Squid is there. E uses eir fucking gigapulse laser to drill a neat hole through Jucabocal's head, right between the fucker's beady little eyes. The wound grows, until the hruvvie's head splits right open and brain and wetware dribble down onto bAdmod.

He wakes up screaming.

bAdmod doesn't remember falling back to sleep. No more dreams though. Optimal. His chronometer says 08:25 station time. He's busting for a piss. Gets up naked, pads over to the bathroom. Can hear Li'unie and Tissa's voices halfway down the corridor.

Li'unie "-be stupid, you're not ugly."

"I am! I'm ugly and fat and my tits droop."

"You're letting patriarchal memefuck get to you."

"I'm not."

"Yes you are. That sorta crap went out with hu baseline government"

They're in the bathroom. bAdmod feels really self-conscious. Naked without his mods, without even a scrap of clothes. But his mods are still charging, taking forever. Should go back to his room anyway. Image of a bathroom orgy - just him and the two honeys - flashes through his head. He takes a deep breath, walks in. Li'unie's sitting naked on the toilet seat. A few remotes hover nearby. Tissa's in front of the mirror, holding her tits in her hands. She's just got a pair of shiny black panties on. This is even better then he could've imagined! bAdmod feels like he's going to faint from excitement. Li'unie covers herself, one arm across her chest, the other one with the hand over her pubes. "Do you always have to barge in???"

"Uhhh..." is all bAdmod can say. Both honeys seem to be looking at his cock. He doesn't have to glance down to see it's already long and hard.

The remotes bring Li'unie a towel. She holds it against her body, stands up. "Do something useful and talk to her. She says she's ugly." Gracefully wraps the towel around herself.

"Uhh, aren't you two enemies?"

Li'unie ignores him. bAdmod watches her go, remotes in train.

Tissa says "we always have fights. But we love each other."

He stares at her. Her dainty hands are cupping her breasts, covering her nipples but little else. Fuck it hurts to have such a hard-on when his bladder is full of piss.

She smiles. "Want to fuck?"

bAdmod's mouth drops open. "Huh...?"

"Huh...?" she mocks. Turns back to the mirror, plays with her tits a bit. "Look at this. I really need my bodytite. I asked Zerrin to order some, courier you know," she turns back to him, "but he says we don't have the credits. Do I look ugly to you?"

bAdmod shakes his head. He's burning up with desire.

"Thought not! But then a gross plebhu like you will fuck anything. You'd fuck a vagina on stilts wouldn't you?"


"Yes you would. Okay Killer. I need some distracting. Thanks to fucking Li'unie not getting my bodytite. Bitch."

"Uhh..." bAdmod thought she just said they were friends. He follows her down the corridor anyway.

"I caught some of the bAdmod series on the 3D, can understand why no-one watches it, sux." She looks so beautiful from behind, black panties accentuating the wiggle she makes as she walks. He jogs upto her, groin hurting from a full bladder, stiff cock bouncing painfully, infatuated lust overcoming shyness, puts his arm around her shoulder. She leans a little into him. Makes his heart pound wow she loves me she loves me!!!! She looks at him with those huge eyes. "Hey you had dealings with Druvradda before? Li'unie said you had but you knew fuck all."

It's the first time he's been in Tissa's room. It's full of girlie things and anime posters. "No I know heaps about...uhh...heaps about hruvvie," he says, face hot. She sits on the bed, hands by her hips palms flat on the mattress. bAdmod drools at her tits.

"Only need to ask you one thing Killer."

"Sure." He sits down next to her. Self-consciously raises a hand. She doesn't pull away. Tentatively cups her breast in one hand. Feels sorta like it did on Ree's fog sim, but without the enhancement that sensu touch provides. He should really go get his sensutouch mod, yeah, definitely. But he's anxious in case she might change her mind. He wonders if she'd mind if he he had to lick her nipple. Bends over to try. He can't remember the last time he ran his tongue across a woman's nipple. Feels nice.

She says suddenly "how long can you go?"

He stops what he's doing. "What?"

"I need to have a good fifteen minutes of fucking before I climax. That's 900 seconds minimum. And that's full pumping mind you."


"You better go get your cock mod. Is it charged yet"

"I don't have a cock mod," he tells her.


He stares at her tits. Large and soft and round, with small tight nipples.

After a while he realizes she's looking at him like he's fucked. "What?" he asks back. Wow she has nice tits.

"If you can't satisfy me there's no way you're poking me. Go back to your love bots and whatever you fuck."

He sees red. "Fuck you bimbo bitch!!!" Jumps on her. She squeals with delight. He rips her panties off, takes his aching cock in one hand, guides it quickly into her hot tight wetness.

She laughs, wraps her legs tightly around him. "900 seconds! Go!"

He feels like he's going to come straight away. "I caaaan't!"

"Yes you can yes you can! 895...894...fuck me Killer fuck me fuck me fuck me!!!!"

bAdmod explodes inside her.

bAdmod lies on his bunk, music up as high as the little speakers will go. He doesn't even feel like mucking around with his mods. He's still freaked out at Tissa being so insulting and sarcastic to him. What's she expect, he was fucking tense! Hadn't had sex in years. Hadn't even had a chance to wank lately, so sure he'd be tense. Why is everyone so fucking unreasonable around here?

The worst thing of all is that he can't stop thinking about her now. His mind keeps flashing back to how he came inside her. That was the first time he'd been with an organic in over eight years. And each time its the same. Stupid infatuation. Becomes neurotic over some honey, falls in love, but she doesn't want to have anything to do with him.

He needs to talk to Zerrin. Fuck he hates this butterflies in the stomach shit. Fast Zerrin's always good to talk to, he knows all about honeys and how they think and all that shit. Wishes his mods were ready. Goes looking for Zerrin anyway.

Lounging room. Li'unie is on her head doing some sort of yoga thing. Tissa (Tissa!!! - his heart does a backflip) is being fucked by a cumfy cushin. Qunifst is nearby (flash of come he gets to sit near to Tissa?) seemingly engrossed (although it's hard to tell) with the onscreen. Ree is mucking around with her terminals.

He says, to no-one in particular "seen Zerrin?"

Tissa looks over from the onscreen. "Look it's Killer! Hey, did you bring your cock mod? I need it bad!"

Ree tries to suppress a guffaw, fails. Li'unie gets a fit of giggles, loses her balance.

Rage rises up, white-hot. bAdmod just wants to just kill all of them. Kill them now. If he had his boosterganga mod he'd use them for target practice. But they ignore him. Apart from Qunifst, who watches him strangely.

He stands there he doesn't know how long, fist clenching and unclenching. Qunifst stops watching him. The girls keep ignoring him. Slowly the anger dies. He turns around, makes for Fast Zerrin's bedroom. He just wants out.

"Zerrin. I need to talk hu."

Zerrin looks at him from the doorway. His cock is at attention. "Can't talk now sib." Grins, indicates back inside.

"Fuck you, this is important."

"Nov can't wait. Neither can I."

"But you can't poke an alife. They-"

The door closes in his face.

BACK - Table of Contents - NEXT