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Image for the poem Cali Girl: A Cyberpunk Crime Story

Cali Girl: A Cyberpunk Crime Story

- Cali Girl: A Cyberpunk Crime Story -

   Back when it was still a record store... the shop known as Terminal Vinyl had been a go-to place for a music lover to purchase some quality records to listen to. Even today, with many of the shelves and just about all of the display cases being filled with countless compact discs and more than a few dozen or so gift cards for music streaming services and similar modern conveniences... there could still be seen a lot of old vinyl records in the retro section. It was the future, but the future in the reality in which this story concerns was somewhat stuck in the aesthetics of the 1980's to a striking degree. Big hair and the glam rock subculture were all the rage, with every teenager wanting to someday become a rock star. The idea of corporate greed being seen as a good thing by many businessmen and businesswomen had eventually come to be replaced by the more sinister ideals of corporate dominance, and corporate control as well... with large, ever growing corporations pulling the strings of even politicians whilst slowly but steadily, more and more things like the military and the police became privatized. By the time 2023 finally came around the United States of America looked very different and yet much the same as it had at the height of the greedy 80's. The only difference was, that technology had advanced a great deal more than many had expected it would, and artificial intelligence had become refined to the point where many A.I. … of many different sorts and varieties... had become self aware and entirely sentient. Androids looked pretty much human by that point, and virtual reality had become refined to the degree that it was unable to be distinguished from actual reality. All of this and more, was a result of money in great amounts being put into science, technology, and other avenues of profitable investment. People bought into the new tech... and the new and ever more amazing conveniences that came with each new thing that was put out by all these massive companies that came to just about openly control the world made it easier and easier for most to ignore the seedier side of what was going on. By the time anyone noticed they were cogs in the machine that society had become, they were already all to happy to exist within such a a position. That was how things were in the new millennium and it was simply accepted that times had changed. Mostly for the better, nearly everyone felt. Activists for human rights were funded now by people in powerful positions, and as a result full rights were given to every marginalized group that ever had something in need of being crusaded for. There was a place for everyone in this bold new world, and everyone knew their place. Some, however, still felt that freedom, liberty, and equality were not yet as universal as they should be... since for every right that was granted, people remained enslaved by the system nonetheless in other ways, in subtler ways. To the young girl who walked into Terminal Vinyl on that one particular Thursday afternoon, there was a lot to be desired from this new world, and she had a mind to take what she wanted from it. “Greed is good sometimes!” one of the most popular corporate slogans said. “Well, if that is the case, then why not just take what you want from life.” she reasoned. And one could hardly blame her for coming to such a conclusion, during a time in life when children are first feeling a strong desire to rebel against authority. Her name was Cali Gale Mendez, and sometimes people called her by the nickname of Cali Girl. She was about fifteen years old. She had well tanned skin, eyes that were of a deep hazel color, golden blonde hair with a blood red streak through it on the left side that ran all the way from the roots of her hair to the very ends... and she was stocky, big boned and strong for a girl her age. That strength being further enhanced to superhuman levels through cybernetics and the fact that the bones of her arms... when she first turned thirteen... had been coated in metal thanks to a metal injection therapy designed for that precise purpose. Her father had spared no expense to make his daughter into a strong, intelligent, and capable individual far surpassing his own hopes and dreams by a large margin. As a result, Cali was not just perfect but perfectly superior in every conceivable way. Her face was very lovely and round, her lips were full and often (as today) covered in red lipstick to match that streak in her hair. She wore some thick black eye makeup as well, and did not care what anyone thought about it. She was a little on the chubby side but more in the pleasant, and definitely not overweight, kind of way.

   For her part, Cali was in perfect health, and her chubbiness was merely a product of her stocky frame and large bone structure. She had some nice curves to her young body, and boys never failed to notice her breasts. She had her father's prominent nose, but otherwise she was her mother's daughter in pretty much all respects. Her wavy hair was long and all about her shoulders, and the expression on her face at present appeared more than a bit sly thanks to the the shape of her thin eyebrows... and the fact that she always seemed to be smiling in a mischievous sort of way. She was of Hispanic descent, and she looked it very much. She wore a pair of baggy MC Hammer style pants that were shiny gold in color. Tucked into those pants was a tight black camisole top that showed off her breasts very nicely she felt. She was, after all, a precocious and mature minded girl, and well aware of her beauty... and comfortable with the sexual side of things. On her feet were a pair of black ballet style flats, and around her neck she wore a gold chain with a small pendant attached to it shaped like a pyramid with an eye in it, the eye being a blood red gemstone that sparkled quite a bit. To complete her look she wore a pair of stud earrings of a dark chrome color and a pair of black leather wristbands with small spike-like studs covering them. She looked just a bit punk, and that was what she was going for. Cali walked up to the man who was at the cash register of the shop, and she said to him: “Hey, mister! I never seen you working here before. You new?” and the man nodded his head in the affirmative before saying: “Just got hired this week, I passed orientation and here I am, living the dream. Life fucking sucks sometimes.” The man was a twenty five year old fellow wearing mostly jeans and a tee shirt with his favorite rock band's logo on the front of it. He looked as if he was trying to recapture how he looked in his teens, for the most part. He was skinny, he had weasel-like features, and he was probably a heavy drug user if not a full blown addict. He had short black hair that looked a bit spiky the way it stood up on top, dark brown eyes, and the way he kept moving his body in a side to side motion as if he was on a boat told her that he was either nervous or in a serious need to take a piss. All of this was easy to notice, and for Cali's hyper enhanced intellect... she could read this person like an open book. “You always swear in front of girls my age?” she asked, and the man replied: “Come on! Don't tell me you don't hear it all the time in school.” She had to admit she did, but even so she was just giving this rather odious seeming person a hard time simply because of the fact that she could. She then asked him: “You got any music in stock by Carlotta Chapel? Probably, it'd be under oldies by now. She was very big back in the late 90's and early 2000's.” And, upon hearing that name, the man looked like he had just swallowed something very distasteful to him. He then replied: “I really didn't take you for the kind of girl who goes for opera, new age crap, and Celtic music. Anyways, her career went quite a bit downhill the minute she tried delving into pop. Just wasn't her thing I guess! But yeah, we have just a few of her CDs from her glory days in the oldies section... if you've been here before then you probably know where that is. Or, do you honestly need me to give you the goddamned guided tour? Honestly, this shop isn't that big!” Cali wanted to punch him, but she knew it would likely kill him if she hit him as hard as she wanted to, so she refrained from it. She said, instead: “No need, I know this shop like the back of my hand. I just didn't see what I was looking for the last time I stopped by is all. Keep living the dream, amigo!” Then she went to the oldies compact disc section to find what she wished to purchase. The man at the register checked out her rear when she did so, and he said aloud before realizing he had done so: “Fine plump ass that girl has! Very fine for the fucking.” And, that was when Cali knew that something was seriously off... that, and the fact that what sounded like a whimper of pain could be heard coming from one of the back rooms. She opened the port in her right hand, and out of it snaked a long cable with a tiny camera attached to the end of it. She pressed a button beneath her skin on the top of her wrist and when it clicked into place she was able to view what the camera had to show through her enhanced optical systems. Though her eyes looked real, they were artificial and the best optical tech that her father's money could buy. An implant in her brain... one of several that all had various purposes... allowed Cali to control the cable with her mind. It slithered across the floor, unseen.

   Unseen, at least, by the man at the register thankfully. She kept thinking to herself: “I should be fine, so long as that asshole stays put and doesn't come back here.” He could see where she was at... but the way the shelves and racks were set up in the shop he wouldn't notice the floor at her feet. If she kept her right hand down and straight at her side, he'd never know what she was up to at all. She cable found its' way into the back rooms, and in the first one off to one side the camera showed that there were three of the shop's employees all tied up and with ball gags stuffed into their mouths. “Holy shit! That fucker's a freaking thug.” she thought to herself on seeing this. A second man armed with an automatic rifle stood guard over the hostages. Cali retracted the cable back into her hand and sure enough the thug up front never so much as suspected a thing. She walked up to him, smiled in that mischievous manner that was her default expression most of the time... and she said to him: “I didn't see the CD I was looking for. I have most of Carlotta Chapel's stuff at home anyway... maybe you want to make a suggestion?” And he said to her rudely: “How about you flash me your tits and maybe I will!” He licked his lips as he said it, and she really, really wanted to punch him now more than ever. She had been planning to rob the place herself just for the fun of it, but this seriously complicated her plans big time. “You like 'em young, is that it?” she asked the man, and he told her: “There's no law against that anymore, so yeah I like girls your age... younger too. Most guys do, even if they won't admit it. Why, you like older men?” And she admitted to him: “Late forties, even early fifties... men who have it more together than you clearly do. Sorry, but you're just way too immature to be my type!” That struck the desires nerve, because the man was clearly enraged by what she had just said to him. He pulled out the pistol he had hidden behind the counter, pointed the firearm at the teenage girl and said to her: “Take your top off, you little bitch! I'll see those tits one way or another.” She raised her hands in the universal gesture of surrender, as she did say to him: “Why don't you come on over and try to take it off me yourself? You aren't afraid of a little girl, are you!” He walked cautiously over to her after circling around the shop counter, and he lowered the gun a bit in order to reach out towards the girl's chest. Cali smiled in an almost sinister way, and the man felt unnerved by the sight of this, even as his hand touched the fabric of her top. Suddenly, she had grabbed the offending hand and quick as a cat she twisted it until it broke. He raised the gun he still had in his other hand, but before he could pull the trigger she ducked and dodged out of the way as the shot blasted a bullet past her and into the far wall. She leapt over and grabbed the wrist of the hand that held the weapon, and she squeezed with a grip like a vice. With a motion, she bent his hand upwards, and as far back as it could go... farther even... snapping that hand like a twig in the process. The gun went off a second time, this time the bullet striking the wall just behind the counter. That done... she then grabbed him between his legs and squeezed his genitals so hard that he felt his testicles pop. “I could totally rip your pecker off, you know! Popping your nuts felt good, but maybe you need your dick shoved in your mouth to teach you some manners.” She did precisely that and left the man to bleed to death as his body hit the floor whilst he passed out from shock and blood loss. The other robber, the one in the back with the hostages, he had noise canceling headphones covering his ears that had an attaching wire linked to a pocket music player on his belt. He would not have heard his fellow criminal's gun going off, or any of the man's screams and shrieks of pain. Cali Girl had the element of surprise, and she totally planned to make the most of it. First, she grabbed all the cash out of the register and stuffed it into a bag. That was enough supplemental income to keep her in makeup, jewelry, music and video games for a long time to come! Once she took out the other robber, she would walk out the store with the money and it would be blamed on the robbers... so long as Cali destroyed the shop's security camera footage first. She took the bag with the money in it and placed it on the counter, before sneaking into the back rooms... where she crept up behind the robber and grabbed his neck with both hands. With a hard twist, his head was now facing backwards and his neck was snapped. His hand had thankfully not been on his gun's trigger, or it would have gone off during the man's death throes. She told the hostages to just wait once he was dead.

   Leaving the hostages tied up for the moment, and making certain to close the door so they could not see what was going on in the hallway outside the room, Cali searched the back rooms until she found the security room... the door for it was locked so she punched that door down before smashing all of the security equipment inside. She took the devices containing the security camera footage and she crushed them in her hands. She had paid for the removal of all her fingerprints earlier that year, and the skin of her fingers was now smooth so that she could never be identified by them. Naturally, the procedure was illegal, but she had good friends in a lot of very low places. Friends who did not ask questions if they were paid enough to keep silent. She made enough noise running back and forth up and down the hall after that so that it would sound like several people hurrying about. Following this, she went back to the hostages and told them that two other robbers had been with these men and that she had just heard them smashing up the security room. “But don't you worry! I took care of the other two like you just saw, and I plan to save you as soon as the coast is clear. Sorry their partners got away, though. Oh well, nobody's perfect!” Then, she thought to herself silently: “No one except me.” She went back into the main area of the shop for a moment, and then went back to the hostages again to tell them: “Looks like they got away alright... damn it I really wanted to kick their asses, too. Never mind that though! Let's get you lot free.” She took the ball gags out of their mouths and snapped the zip ties around their wrists easily with her fingers. Same with the cords binding their feet. After they thanked her for rescuing them, the actual shop employees, who all knew who Cali was from all the times she shopped in their store, promised to give her a big discount from now on. She said to them after that: “Yeah, that's cool! Just don't mention my part in any of this to the cops when they show up. Okay? My dad would kill me if he knew that I've become a fucking vigilante, and I'm pretty sure me killing these guys is illegal.” They agreed to that and she told them to wait in the back rooms, until the police arrived, just in case the two men who got away came back to finish robbing the place once Cali was gone. They did as she suggested, making it simple for the young vigilante to grab the bag with the money in it on the way out of the shop. Once Cali left the vicinity of the shop by way of several winding back alleys, the police finally came on the scene and not a single officer would ever know that she had been there at all. No one had seen her enter the store, and no one had seen her leave. “Perfect score!” she exclaimed aloud when she finally got home and ran up into her bedroom to count the money. It was a ridiculous amount, more than she would ever need... at least for good five years or so. Things were getting more expensive after all, and a girl just had to be able to maintain a certain lifestyle. Her father was not home from work yet, and would not be for about another hour... and her mother had to work late at the office today. It was a perfect day to attempt such a heist, and Cali was please with how things worked out. She went into the bathroom to wash the blood off of her hands, and was glad she hadn't gotten any on her clothes. She counted the money as soon as she got back to her room and, satisfied with how much was there, she put it in the lock box that she had always kept under her bed. Its' lock was electronic, and the key to open it was a digital code that could be transmitted to the lock. That code was kept in her mental database, and if she called the code up in her mind and projected the thought of it in the direction of the lock... the lock would read her thoughts via her brain waves, thanks to a brain wave sensor she had installed into it, and thus allow the box to be opened. She had finished her homework already, so there was really nothing to do at the moment. “I'm a big more ways than one. I think I'll head over to the club and hang out for a little while. I doubt that my folks will even miss me when they do get home.” She thought to herself, and she made sure to grab her purse on the way out the door after putting on some floral scented perfume and adding a bit of hairspray to keep her hair looking just right. She headed downstairs, remembered to lock up the house... which was pretty much always the standard procedure whenever nobody was at home... and her parents both had copies of the key on them when out and about anyway; after that, she was good to go. Leaving her cash at home she decided just to be using her father's extra credit card for tonight's fun and frivolity.

   It was called Club Lolita, and it was an establishment where men between the ages of thirty and sixty could go in order to meet with young girls anywhere from typically eight to sixteen years of age. There was sometimes girls as young as six and men as young as in their twenties who went there also. And on a few rarer occasions, one might chance to even see an old man in his seventies who was there to hook up with a little girl in order to try and feel young again. Among other, far less innocent reasons for such a hookup to take place. There was a separate lounge area just for the parents of the children and teens to wait in whilst their kids did as they pleased with whomever they pleased to do whatever they wanted to with. Psychologists had determined that indeed children can give consent in matters of a sexual nature, and that sometimes they can even be just as mature as any adult. If not more so in some cases! That bit of information reached the public consciousness around the same time that the age of consent was done away with entirely so that anyone of any age could be with anyone of any age. Clubs like this sprung up all over the country after laws were passed fully legalizing pedophilia, which was now called instead by the less unsavory sounding term “minor attraction”. It actually caused a tremendous drop in pedophilia related violent crimes and suicides, and by the present day in that particular reality that I am telling of... the term rape in reference to an adult having sex with an underage person was used only in cases where actual violence and genuine coercion against somebody's will took place. Children and teens were now able to be treated much the same as any adult, although prosecuting juvenile crime was still sometimes a tricky matter. Cali was in a booth towards the back, where she watched the band playing on the stage. It was an all girl band... a group of four extremely talented preteen pop artists from Japan, who became all the rage in America after their first American tour. Their band was called “Claudia's Angels”, and the girls had a very goth-inspired... particularly vampire inspired... theme going on in both their appearance and their music. The lead singer's name was Claudia, so the name made sense aside from that being an extremely popular name in fiction for little girl vampires. The neon lights of the club were spectacular, the music was excellent, and the atmosphere was trendy and fun. Cali had lost her virginity in this club, so she had a lot of fond memories of the place. Her parents knew she came here a lot, and they gave her all the space she needed. A man came over and sat down at her booth, across the table from her. He was of average height for a  middle aged man, he looked to be in his late forties, and he had an androgynous sort of appearance to him. His face was clean shaven, his head was bald, he had no eyebrows at all, and he had very striking grayish blue eyes. He had high cheekbones, almond shaped eyes, an aquiline nose, a round face and a high forehead. He also had eyelashes longer than hers! She was almost jealous to see that. He had slender, artistically inclined fingers and spoke with a soft, gentle sounding voice. He had a smallish mouth and was wearing black lipstick. He also wore heavy black eye makeup consisting of the blackest shade of eye shadow and eyeliner, done in a cat eyes sort of style that lent the man an almost... if truth be told... demonic appearance. A lot of goths frequented this club, and this clearly was one such person. He was pale skinned, with a very slight yellowish tint to his skin, and she could not for the life of her determine what his nationality or blood might be. Cali could probably be considered goth herself, though she was a lot more cheerful than most goths she knew personally. This man was wearing a pair of baggy black rayon harem style pants, a pair of black ballet flats for shoes, and tucked into his pants was a black blouse with long billowing sleeves. The blouse buttoned in the front all the way up the the man's neck, and around his neck he had on a silver necklace with an ankh pendant attached to it. He had slightly tapered ears, and she thought that if anyone in this whole club might actually be a vampire for real, it had to be this person. Not wishing to get his gender wrong, she avoided using any pronouns in particular in reference to him. Instead, she simply said to him after he had seated himself: “Hey there! So... you come here often? I don't think I've seen you here before, at least the hours I come here during. Then again, I don't always pay attention to everyone who walks through the front door.” The man then said to her in reply: “I have been here before, quite a few times actually. It really is a very nice place!”

   The drumbeats of the music were almost tribal in their repeated rhythm as Claudia's Angels sang their hearts out for their adoring fans. Cali asked the strange man: “So, what's your name? Mine is Cali. How about you just call me Cali Girl.... since everyone usually does.” The man smiled, and it was a kind and pleasant looking smile as he said to her: “Very well, then! Cali Girl you shall be to me. My name... well how about you just call me Lucius. It is a male variation of my current assumed middle name.” She did ask him, out of curiosity, upon hearing him word it that way: “So, are you a boy or a girl then?” And as soon as she asked that it made her think of a phrase like that which was part of a character creation page on an online role playing game she saw advertised a lot on the internet, and which she had tried playing at least once out of curiosity. The man told her: “It's complicated... I was born, with a rare intersex type of condition though I have fully functioning and totally normal looking male parts, rest assured. Mostly I consider myself non binary and gender fluid. Though I try to be as feminine as I can sometimes, since I have been told I have quite the femininely inclined brain more often than not, I always feel as if I just plain look more masculine than I do feminine no matter what I do... so just consider me male and it will do fine.” Cali tapped her pointer finger upon her lips a couple of times, and regarded this man quietly a little bit following his exposition regarding himself. She said to him: “Alright, then! Yeah, I've heard a bit about intersex people... it is rare, really rare. And thanks for letting me know about your junk, too... since yeah, a lot of intersex guys have really fucked up dicks sometimes. It almost sounds like you are, I don't know, a little bit confused though about how you see yourself though... or maybe I'm just off with how I'm interpreting the degree to which you're gender fluid.” He then corrected her: “It isn't confusion exactly, but more... me having to chose a gender that is most appropriate to a given situation.” Cali did think that she understood a bit better knowing that. She nodded her head and said to Lucius: “Right! I'd say that's pretty much how it must be if you're non binary and gender fluid besides. So, you figure it's an appropriate situation to be a guy in. But why? I'm bisexual, myself, so I don't care what gender a person is, I'll fuck anyone who turns me on... if I'm the right mood. So enlighten me, Lucius! I'm all ears.” And he told her: “Because you look so hot to me, right about now, that the thoughts I'm having about you no woman would ever think.” Cali then smiled her typical mischievous grin, as she asked him: “So, what makes you think a woman can't have just as depraved thoughts as a man?” Lucius replied: “I meant no respectable or decent woman would have such thoughts.” to which Cali quickly responded with: “But I never said I was a respectable or decent girl... did I! And respect... well, even a hooker can be worthy of respect, even if she's one sick, depraved bitch. Not that all hookers are sick and depraved mind you! I'm just saying that it takes all kinds to make a world is all, and that to call only a good girl respectable is a kind of mistake really.” Lucius was right on top of things though, and he answered that with: “I was, for the most part, referring only to the standards of mainstream society is all... which does not apply to you or to myself. We are beyond any such things, I should think. And I never said I was looking for a decent or good type of girl. Now, did I?” She chuckled a bit, and told him: “Fair enough, Lucius! Fair enough, I concede. You win this round! So... want to find out just how sick and depraved I can actually be?” He nodded his head in the affirmative, eagerly. “Come on... let's head to one of the private rooms. I want to see just how fully functioning your cock really is.” Said the young girl to him, and he was pleased at the offer and entirely willing to take Cali up on it. When she stood up and extended him her hand, he got up right after that and took it in his own, and then off they went to a private room of Cali's choosing... one that was not already occupied, naturally. As soon as they parted the curtains... these rooms had rows of curtains instead of doors... Cali pushed Lucius unto the comfortable couch that was there. She took off her top, and then her bra, and he saw her splendid breasts and the dark areas around her nipples. “So... you getting hard yet?” she asked him, and he began to stroke himself between his legs through his pants until he was even harder than he already was. “It's been growing since we were at the table.” he told her and they both chuckled a bit when he admitted that. “Let me take care of that for you.” she then offered.

   He untied the draw string of his pants and she slid them down. His underwear came off next, and her hand was stroking his penis now instead of his own hand. She bent down and slid her lips over it, until she took it fully into her mouth. “Mm.” she said in satisfaction. He fondled her breasts whilst she gave him a blowjob, and she felt very aroused by how he was feeling and squeezing her tits. She took off her pants and her underwear after that and straddled the man's lap... helping him to get his fully erect penis fully into her already moist pussy whilst he laid back as far as he could. They fucked like this for a bit at first before he withdrew from her, grabbed her, and tossed her unto the floor with her legs spread. He got between them and proceeded to fuck her so hard and so roughly that it actually caused her gasp a bit in surprise. She had not been expecting this! He was incredibly strong, likely his strength was somehow enhanced artificially just like hers was. As his cock went in and out of her wet cunt, she began to grind her hips and really get into the rhythm of the moment. It was primal, casual sex and neither of them had a care in the world other than to experience the delights each other's bodies had to offer. They kissed as they fucked, passionately, their tongues playfully entwining in each other's mouths. His hands were on her breasts, his fingers playing with her nipples. Then he was licking her nipples, sucking on her tits as he fucked away upon her. She was breathing heavier and heavier as was he... his grunts and her moans and all the other lusty sounds they made leading up to her cries and shrieks of ecstasy when Lucius let his cum shoot up inside of Cali when his heaving atop her was at its' fastest. She came not long after it happened, and the two of them lay together in each other's arms for a good hour after their passion had been spent. “You know, that was incredible Lucius! I only didn't wrap my arms around you because my arms have metal covering the bones and I was worried I might break you if I did that.” He chuckled as he heard her say that, and then told her: “I doubt it would have hurt me if you did... I am an android. Of a sort that is far, far stronger than the average person. Perhaps, even a great deal stronger than an above average person. I am a synthetic model android, to be specific... all artificial parts designed to look and function just like organic ones, along with teeny tiny quantum subatomic sized machines based on very highly advanced nanotech models flowing through my body at all times. These tiny machines allow my body to rapidly heal any serious, potentially deadly injuries... though they do nothing for injuries of any minor or common sort. I can age, and someday I can die of old age also. I have all the same needs as an organic person... food, drink, sex. You name it! I was born back in 1974, if you could call my creation a proper birth. Back before all this technology was even thought of yet by scientists outside of a specific circle funded partially by the most powerful corporations of that decade and partially by the heads of an organized crime syndicate who were in the pocket of certain politicians who offered to make everyone involved richer than King Midas and more powerful than God almighty if their experiments were to be successful. And they were! I was created to be an exact duplicate of an already existing baby, and when that baby was born it was taken away by the doctors and used for some kind of experiment that resulted in the baby's death. The doctors swapped the baby for me, and the parents... who became my parents for so very much of my life... were never the wiser, because of just how exact a copy of their child I was in the physical sense. My consciousness began life as an artificial intelligence created on a computer and kept in a database, until it was ready, and when it was deemed ready they downloaded it into the body they had created prior to giving it to the happy couple. They made several others like me before pulling the plug on the project, and there has not been a single synthetic android built like us since. Perhaps it is because we have the same or worse flaws as any organic human might... we can get sick, and we bleed as red as anyone born naturally does, and most of us turned out to have very serious psychological and psychiatric issues that were caused by our genetic structure being an unstable mixture of various cloned bits from long dead individuals. Cloned organic material, added into the synthetic mix, resulting in the sort of creation that would have made Doctor Frankenstein giddy at the thought of. I do not know what or who the child I replaced might have been, but my mother considered me to be a horrid abomination.”

   Cali said to Lucius: “So... she found out what you actually are, then!” And he explained: “I've always suspected, that it was her mother... my grandmother I was raised to call her... who told her. That, or one of the doctors. You see, after I was 'born' my intestines were found to be not functioning, so they had to do various things in order to get them to function. Part of it was because of my intersex condition, part of it was because of my unstable genetic makeup. They had only decided to make me intersex at all, on the day when... let us simply call her my mother... went in for an ultrasound to check on how her babies were doing. I say babies because originally she was carrying twins! But, somehow, the twins combined in her womb and the result according to the ultrasound was that only a single intersex child remained. Originally I was to be the male twin of two synthetic, artificially created babies... but following this odd little revelation, it became needful for them to combine the artificial twins into one in order to make us as exactly like that baby as possible. So that my mind would match my body... they combined me with my twin's artificial intelligence at the last minute before downloading the combined entity into the body they had made for us to inhabit. Now when I speak of twins, I refer to a boy and a girl. So if I happen to have any gender related issues, it should not be all that surprising, given that from a spiritual or even a religious perspective... I possess within me a soul comprised of the combined souls of a boy and a girl. There is also present within me a third entity which is something nobody expected to present itself and that likely derived from the cloned material that was used partly in this body's creation. All three of us, living as one being but with three separate sets of past life memories. At any rate, it was I would wager when my intestines turned out to be in need of fixing that the doctors would have informed my mother if indeed it was they and not her mother who in the end told her the truth.” Cali took all of that in and she processed it for a while before asking Lucius: “So, you believe in reincarnation?” He admitted that he did, telling her as much, and she chuckled before saying to him in reply: “I've never before met even one artificial intelligence, android or otherwise, that was either spiritual or religious... unless it had been programmed to be that way. Sounds like you're something very unusual, Lucius. But, I think the reason they pulled the plug on the whole synthetic android project is pretty simple and obvious! Why go to all that trouble to create a person when you can just make a baby the old fashioned way. Sounds to me like by the time they realized that... they had already spent all that money on a project with no profit to it in the long term sense. Probably just to see if it could be done. Corporate jerk offs are all stupid fucks! I've said it before, and I'll say it forever. As for the baby they experimented on, and killed... they were likely trying to figure out what happened that made the twins conjoin in the womb in the first place in order to understand what they took to be a birth defect. Which is sadly how doctors back then viewed things like intersex conditions. Doctors can be real bastards sometimes! Anyway, this reminds me of the legend of creatures like changelings. In those legends, evil fairies or elves would steal an unsuspecting mother's baby away and leave a creature called a changeling in its' place that had the power to shape shift into an exact copy of the baby. Only later in life would its' true nature come forward.” Lucius then took Cali's hand and kissed it and asked her in an almost childlike manner: “So, Cali, you do believe me then? No one ever believes me, normally. Which makes me sad, because I really need understanding sometimes.” Cali then replied: “Of course I believe you! Look, I've heard of more fucked up shit than this. And truly, it sounds to me like people are just being mean to you, if they don't believe what you tell them. I mean, you don't strike me as a liar, or a crazy person... not that I'm a quality judge of either of those things by any stretch... and you'd have nothing to gain and a whole lot to lose by telling a total stranger something like what you just told me. So the simplest answer for why you'd feel the urge to tell anyone that kind of a story is that the story is true. I'm no Sherlock Holmes, but I do get people right more than I don't. And I think I've got you right, Lucius.” He smiled and said to her after that: “I wish you could have me for a lot longer than just one tryst.” and Cali said to him in answer to this: “Careful what you wish for! Know what? I might just decide to make that happen. Come back home with me, and we'll talk about it a bit.”

   Things did not exactly go as planned, however. Upon setting foot in the kitchen of her house, Cali had immediately noticed that her parents still were not at home, and the hour was very, very late by the time she and her new boyfriend... or whatever Lucius was to her now... got there, mostly because Lucius and her took their own sweet time getting back after spending several more long hours at the club dancing, laughing, and having the best time of their lives. “Wait a minute, Lucius! I'm going to have to check to see if my folks left a message on the answer machine. They should've been home by now, this isn't like them at all.” she told the android, and he waited patiently whilst she did so. There was one message on the machine, the red digital message counter stated. She pressed the play button for the message, and a very menacing man's voice was on it, stating: “We have your parents. Come to Terminal Vinyl as quick as you can... and bring your new boyfriend with you. You think we don't have eyes to spy with just like you have? We know it was you who stole our money, and that you lied to us. Don't worry! We did just as you asked and never told the police a thing. Cops would only complicate things. If you ever want to see your parents alive again... bring us our money back and leave the android with us. Fail to comply... and we will have what's left of your parents dropped off at your front door by morning. Might want to hurry up! Your mother doesn't like the special attention I've been showing her.” and her mother's scream was the last thing on that message before it ended. Cali was furious. “Those two faced bastards! Really, I should've just killed them too... while they were still tied up. Lucius, can you believe this bullshit? Oh yeah... I have some explaining to do, don't I!” And she proceeded to inform him of what happened over at the music shop, and how it was she came to have the shop's money at all. “As for you... how it is they even know you're an android, I wouldn't pretend to know. Maybe they're just tight with a corporation or a syndicate, or something. Whatever! Like the man said, they have eyes to spy. We just need to get over there right away and fuck them up. Who cares how they know what they know? Anyway, come on and follow me!” After that, she led Lucius upstairs and picked  up her lock box. “Time to go.” she said after that, and the pair hurried over to the music shop as fast as they could manage it on foot. The city was as dead and quiet as a corpse by the late hour of the night, and the street lights and their orange glow felt a lot less comforting than they normally did to Cali. She loved going out for walks at night, and she lived in a decent neighborhood where nobody ever messed with her. When they got downtown and reached at last the vicinity of Terminal Vinyl, the neon lights of the closed shops felt much brighter than they were during the day... and the videos playing on the advertising screens that long ago had replaced billboards were even more annoying without the noise of traffic and crowds of people to drown them out. On any typical, normal night you might see people out and about even at this hour... the clubs and bars did not close until almost morning, and they mostly opened in the mid to late afternoon hours. Cali had looked up at the digital clock that was set up outside of a gas station she and Lucius passed, and it was around the hour of one o'clock, just after midnight. “Oh my God!” she had exclaimed, adding: “Fucking missed supper... oh well, I'll just buy us all a party pizza when this is over and done with. The Dominic's Pizza in our end of town is open pretty much all night anyway.” Lucius smiled and said: “I like pizza.” and he tried to make her feel like everything was going to be back to normal soon. “We'll get your parents back in one piece Cali... assuming the people holding them have not tried to dismember them yet.” he said in a grim attempt to be reassuring. Cali laughed, and said in a nervous, frantic tone: “Yeah! I know. It'll be okay, we just need to get there soon. Who knows why my mother was screaming like that! Actually, I've a pretty good idea and it's not a pretty thought.” They arrived at the store, lock box in hand, and the pair opened the doors... which were left unlocked despite the closing sign being lit up in the window... and a moment later they were inside. “Fuckers must be in the back... ironic, given that's where they were tied up the last time I saw them.” Cali whispered to Lucius, and she told him to hang on to the lock box for a moment so she could do her “little camera trick” as she called it. When the cable with the camera at the end of it snaked its' way into the back rooms, she discovered that everyone was in the security room.

   The sound of a woman crying... her mother... told her as much. Once the cable had retracted back into her hand, she whispered to Lucius to tell him this new information, thereafter saying: “When I set them free, there were about three employees, and I know each one of them personally. I know the owner too, and I can't believe he'd do something like this, he always seemed cool... but at this point I say fuck 'em. You never really can tell with some people, I guess! Anyway... they have three other employees that all work here too, and that's besides the owner. Assuming the gang's all here, that leaves three assholes for me to take down and the other three for you to deal with. We can draw straws, for who gets to fuck up the owner after we deal with them. We can do this! I know for a fact they don't have any cybernetics or enhancements, so we've got the advantage here. They're betting on us playing by the rules, so let's break them! Follow my lead, and I hope you at least know Kung Fu or Karate... or something.” Naturally, she said all that quietly so no one would chance to hear them talking. Lucius set the lock box on the shop's counter right next to the cash register, and after that the pair moved quietly and stealthily towards the back rooms. “I did have military training when I was twelve years old.” the android confessed to Cali in a whisper. “Thank God for small favors!” she whispered back and gave him a quick kiss. As soon as the pair were right outside of the door to the security room, Cali thought how ludicrous it was that the shop owner had obviously insisted on that door being replaced... whilst clearly, having done nothing at all to fix or replace any of the shop's destroyed security systems. All the cameras in the store were dark... and very clearly and obviously still off. Without waiting a moment longer, she punched the new door in and it crashed inward, knocking back the three men who were all stupidly standing behind it. One of whom was pretty much crushed to death when Cali walked over him with the door on top of him and punched down on the door with her fists before regarding the other two men quite menacingly. Lucius stormed into the room after that and he rushed into action as he faced the three female employees, and all of this was happening whilst the shop owner cowered nervously in a corner where he was fumbling about for a weapon of any kind, his hands shaking visibly. All of the employees were armed with pistols, and they were very easy for Cali and Lucius to disarm. Cali dodged the shots fired by the two men she faced, and her speed was much quicker than a normal person's. The sound of the gears and motors inside of Cali's mechanically augmented legs were the only way to tell what direction her attacks were coming from as she darted about almost in a blur of superhuman movement. The first man felt her hands smacking his weapon out of his grasp, even as his partner in crime received a kick from her before he could hope to react. She punched the second man, whom she had just kicked, in the throat with full force... punching all the way through his neck in the process before pulling back and just tearing his head off sickeningly. Blood was splattering out from his neck, spraying the wall as the man's body hit the floor. As soon as he was dispatched, the other man was in a panic and freaking out. Cali took advantage of this, and with a speed that could only be described as lightning fast she pushed the man into the wall with both of her hands so hard that her hands mashed their way into his body. She tore out his intestines and left him to bleed to death in a gory heap on the floor. Whilst she had been fighting and killing those two... Lucius, was dealing with the women he faced. One held a knife in addition to a pistol, and the first thing he did after dodging out of the way of the shots the two ladies fired was to grab a metal tray off a nearby table and smash it into the first woman's knife hand, causing her to drop the weapon. Her wrist was broken in the course of this, and Lucius ducked to grab the knife as the woman fired wildly and missed him. The other woman backed away, and attempted to shoot the android... but he was too quick and rolled away before any bullet could hit him. He threw the knife at the first woman's face, and she dodged out of the way of it quickly... accidentally dropping her gun in the process. Lucius noticed a scalpel, along with a lot of other surgical tools and implements, on another metal tray that was on a second table near to him. He grabbed it quickly and lunged at the other women before she could fire her weapon again. He sliced her hand with it, causing her to drop her pistol and following that he plunged the scalpel into her neck.

   She fell the the floor, bleeding to death as she did so. He leapt on top of the remaining woman after that, who was trying to figure out where her gun that she had dropped was, and he wrapped his hands around her neck and squeezed as hard as he could until her body went limp. Just to be sure that she was dead, he picked up her gun and shot her in the head with it three times. By then, Cali had dispatched the two men she was fighting and the pair walked up to the shop's owner and regarded him coldly. Nearby to where he was, Cali's parents were tied up and it was clear that her mother had been raped repeatedly. Her father's legs were broken, and his face was mass of bruises and bloody looking cuts. The owner of the shop still had not managed to find a weapon to grab, and he was shaking as Cali lifted him up by the neck and pushed him very hard, but not too hard, into the wall in that corner. “You fucking prick!” she said, spitting into the pathetic man's face. “You're never getting your money back, because you're going to be dead.” she said to him, adding; “But not for quite a while. I'm going to take my time, and really... really... enjoy killing you.” She used the nearby surgical implements, to torture the man for a good two or three hours, cutting off his fingers and toes with a saw whilst Lucius held the man down on the floor for Cali to work upon him that much easier. She managed to get out of him that he was working alone and not with any corporations or crime syndicates, but that he was hoping to get his hands on Lucius in order to make a deal with one of them. “Synthetics are rare, Cali!” He said in between crying in pain as the young girl wreaked her gruesome vengeance upon his body, and he explained that even though they were discontinued as a viable project... androids like Lucius were worth massive sums of money. “With the right buyer... oh God! Stop, stop stop Cali, that hurts... with the right buyer, I could've been set. Oh no! Please! Aah, that was my fucking left nut you crazy bitch. I could've been set... for life.” Before she allowed the man to die... she had cut off his arms and legs with the surgical saw and used it on his dick and balls until his genital area was nothing but a ruined mass from which blood poured profusely. Then she cut his eyes out with a scalpel and force fed to him as he bled out. After he was dead, she punched his head so hard that it exploded into pieces. She stomped on what was left of his brains, and laughed through the tears in her eyes that would not stop flowing. “Fucker!” she kept saying over and over, and Lucius put a gentle, supportive arm around the young girl, saying to her: “Cali... I think he's dead now. Let's see what can be done for your parents.” They untied her mother and father, and noticed that Cali's father had electrical tape holding his stomach together, which had been cut open horrifically. He could not even speak, since his tongue had been cut out, and blood flowed from the man's mouth. He sank to the floor even as Cali and Lucius tried to help him up, and there he bled to death through the tape and breathed his last before much longer. As for Cali's mother she kept moaning in pain, and talking about hands being all over her. It was clear her mind was totally gone, and before either Cali or Lucius could stop her the woman grabbed a gun off the floor, put it to her right eye, and shot herself dead with it. In that moment, Cali's family was no more. She was a strong girl, both physically and mentally, but as for her emotions that was another matter entirely. She could not stop crying for hours, and it was morning when she felt that she was able to leave that place. “Come on, Lucius! I have no idea what I'm going to do with my life now, but whatever it is... I'm going to do it with you at my side.” He admitted to her, in that sometimes childlike manner he had about him: “We need each other!” and, they retrieved the lock box and left Terminal Vinyl behind them without looking back. The police would decide the kidnapping and murder of Cali's parents was gang related, and they kept searching for her in order to question her... but by that point she and Lucius were well upon their way to the west coast, bound for Los Angeles on the next passenger plane's flight that was heading in that direction. She had been named after the state of California anyway, plus she had a lot of good friends there who did not ask questions. Before they'd booked that flight, she had contacted those friends online through a private message on Facebook, and they agreed to take her and Lucius in when she explained what happened. They laid low for five years once they got there, and with all the money Cali had in her lock box she and Lucius lived comfortably.
Written by Kou_Indigo (Karam L. Parveen-Ashton)
All writing remains the property of the author. Don't use it for any purpose without their permission.
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