It's God's way of letting you know you are alive.
Or so her pastor said.
Helen was in pain every day. So God must really love her.
Her life was normal until some rich kid t-boned her in his Porsche on the way to prom. She spent her graduation day in traction.
If she had not been driving her uncle's 78 bronco. Old Blue. She be dead.
Lawsuits galore. Counter suits. More pain. Traffic cams caught the footage. She stopped it was all clear and she had the light. Then wham. Pain.
Chester Worthington was gone and quickly forgotten. Just a name on head line and now tombstone. The Worthington estate had been trying to keep spoiled rich kid on the straight narrow for months paying off people but this was just too good for the news hounds to pass up. The Worthington’s has left too many open wounds and now everyone could smell it. Blood in the water.
Helen was cold stone sober and never took drugs or drank. Chester was high on heron and blood alcohol was twice the legal level.
Yet they tried at first to paint the picture that she was at fault. She volunteered at the YWCA. Went to church every Sunday. Worked weekends at the local diner for tips. Saving up to buy a car. Yeah, When the media got a hold of that. Worthington’s were done for.
The family had a younger sister. Chelsea, she was totally a wreck after the loss of her brother and nearly attacked Helen in court. Yeah the bitch went psycho.
Lawyer took the bounty of their share but she was still in pain. Free ride to college. Trust fund. Training to be a physical therapist. It was what she wanted to do before all this happened. The universe if not with some humor or irony. She had to keep fit. Walking miles every day. Running was just too jarring. One pain cover up for another.
Surgery after surgery did nothing for her. Her back was totally screwed up. No crutch or wheel chair or brace. She worked hard to avoid those. But one wrong hit or accident could do just that. Her body was an eggshell.
Then some one from the Star foundation approached her and her family.
They wanted to test something on her.
It almost sounded so far fetched. But if it worked. It could open new fields in medicine and anyone with chronic pain.
In short they rewired you.
Stem cells. And a bio-chip. Something very close to a pace maker like device. The chip learns your brain. What signals to make what move and so on. Two chips would be implanted. One inside your head and another at the base of your spine. Stem cells made sure the body did not reject them.
After implantation, for the first month they did nothing. Learning you.
Six month passed and then she noticed it one day.
Helen jumped up and down and felt... well, nothing.
All the body parts moved correctly.
She went back to the hospital to the foundation building. They where very pleased. Ran dozen of tests. Even turned it off.
Yep. ‘Gods hugs’ were back. Turned it on. A flight of angles.
Three years of constant pain and she was cured.
They were cautiously optimistic. Helen was guarded at first then as time went on. She felt great. In a funny way. Like a bionic woman.
Not that she could run at sixty miles an hour but she could run.
Now at twenty two, she was able to do everything normal people could do. She would check in with the foundation once a month and was even offered a position at the foundation. She took the job seeing how she could inspire hope in others and help them through the same process she under went.
During that time for the past nine month. Jerry was person she met at local church and stayed with her though the good and bad times.
It may be down the altar if all went well.
The foundation had a retreat in Montana. They offer it to her. A little cabin in the woods. Jerry would be driving up having left the day before for work and would meet her later that day.
They flew her out and picked her up. Her driver said it was fully stocked and had power and back-up power. Small lake.
Once out there, she liked it immediately.
The driver drove off. The door was unlocked. A simple latch to keep out bears.
She opened it, saw a black haired woman with sunglasses in the room.
A roommate? They did not say anything about a roommate.
“Hello. I’m Helen.”
“I know who you are bitch.”
The woman stood up and aimed her phone at Helen. There was beep, Helen fell to the floor like a rag doll.
A puppet with its strings cut. She could not move a muscle.
Oddly she could talk.
“What is happening?”
The woman grabbed Helen by the hair and made her look at her. She took off the sunglasses and black wig. It was Chelsea.
“I just turned you off. All the way off.”
“You did not think I would find a way to get back at you. You killed my brother.”
“I did no such thing.”
“Oh yes you did and and you will confess to it. I can’t control your mind but I can make you suffer. I spent years at Darpa working on that chip. I was good with computers before you killed him. Then I suggested you as a candidate for testing. Anonymously of course. I stayed in the background under a assumed name. No one knew my connection with you. And your family.”
“I programmed the chips in you and I know what they can and cannot do. I cant kill you. I cant shut off your heart. Too many failsafe and people did check. But from the neck down you are mine.”
Chelsea began stripping off her clothes.
“I see they did little work on your chest. Nice job.”
Once she was naked and laid out on the floor. Chelsea pulled out a bag.
“Nice clean little homespun image played well with the jury. I but I know better and I can prove it.”
Chelsea dragged out article of clothing that Helen never saw before.
“You been leading a double life my dear, Going to motels on Saturday night and dressing up as some little bondage slut. Embezzling money from you collage a trust fund that my parent set up. That was supposed to be my money.”
“Chelsea stop this. You know this is wrong.”
“Shut up. You know I was hoping you just stay quiet like you did in court. The lawyer’s took almost everything from us. Sweet little Helen. Ill show them. Ill show them all.”
“Chelsea please. I wont lie. You saw the evidence.”
“Your uncle was a cop. He could have faked it.”
“Yes my uncle is a cop. But in a different city. He was a thousand miles away when it happened.”
Chelsea was not listing. She wanted revenge and any excuse she could cook up was validation in her mind.
“Stop this, this is wrong. You think your brother wanted this?”
“Shut up you bitch. I am just going to have to take care of your whining.”
Chelsea pull out a ball with a strap around it and forced it into Helen mouth. She tried fighting it. Chelsea squeezed her jaw open and held her nose. Forcing her to breathe out her mouth.
Helen kept forcing it out with her tongue.
“Proteus set condition one.”
“Compliance.” said her phone.
A nerve shattering shock wracked her body. Nearly stunning her. Never had she felt raw pain like this before.
“It only going to get worse in two minutes. Your chips are going to give you another dose of pain. It knows how to hurt you.”
Helen stopped fighting the gag as Chelsea secured it tightly around Helen head and face.
“There. Now to finish the work. Proteus. Cancel condition one.”
“Compliance.” spoke her phone.
Helen felt like a Barbie doll as Chelsea began to dress her up. First she put on fish net stocking. Garter belt. Knee high boot with a four inch heel. Red panties. Wide collar. As corset of some kind with breast cups. Elbow length gloves.
“Now you are dressed like the slut you are.”
Chelsea started rummaging through Helens stuff and found her phone. She started clicking away. Posing Helen like a rag doll.
“Proteus. Activate Vogue protocol.”
Mechanically. Helen stood up. She was not in control. Chelsea's phone was making her. Then her body started posing in all manner of seductive looking poses. Helen tried to fight it. But her body was a Barbie doll that Chelsea could bend to her will.
“You don’t seem to be enjoying this Helen. Well we can fix that. Proteus. Set condition two. Level one.”
Helen could feel it. She no virgin in the strict sense of the word. A firm believer in sex after marriage. Years of pain put her off from any such intercourse. But that did not mean she didn't know what was happening.
It was slow. Very slow. Like a rising tide on the beach slowly creeping rising and receding.
She was slowly having an orgasm.
She remembered that an orgasm was the body response to sexual stimulation, the biochips inserted into Helen where hard wired into her. And knew what to do.
Proteus had to be like some house-bot like program except it had access to her body. She was assured that no such thing could happen. Chelsea had to have some sort of back door the staff at the foundation missed.
The Star Foundation was very keen on making sure she could not be remote controlled or killed by such implants. Chelsea had to have done something.
One thing she did recall. As her body was building up to one hell of orgasm was the one staff member that mentioned that the military was looking into using these procedure to make veterans walk again.
Helen was trying not to enjoy it but it had been a long time. Now it was coming and her face gave it away.
Chelsea was grinning like a cat. Just clicking away using Helens phone.
Still gagged she moaned. Not wanting to.
“Much better Helen. Your such naughty girl. Proteus. Cancel condition two.”
Helen had not climaxed but had to be honest. She never felt this good before. Now she had that longing desire to feel it again.
She tapped her phone and Helen dropped to her knees then onto her stomach. Now what?
Chelsea produced a rope and tied Helen up in a hog tie. Very tight.
“Now lets them see you for the bondage slut you are. Proteus. Set condition two. Level two.”
This time it was happening much quicker. Also Chelsea must have turned Helen on. She could move on her own but tied up and having wave after wave of stimulation like the crashing surf. She was helpless to stop Chelsea.
Then it happen. She spasmed like crazy. Her body exploded and her mind reeled.
The big one.
“Oh you are such a slut Helen. I bet you been saving yourself for such a long time. Jerry is it? Well he is part of my plan. He just does not know it yet. But until he gets here. Lets have an encore. Proteus. Set condition two. Level three.”
“Compliance.” answered Chelsea phone.
This was like her body being hammered. No rise and fall. Just pulsing. Helen felt like a nail being driven in.
It happened again and Helen tried to fight it. She wanted to deny Chelsea and measure of control she could but could not stop it. Oddly resisting it only made it feel better.
All the while. Chelsea was taking pictures. Of Helen doing the ‘naughty.‘
“You're such a horny bitch. Shame on you Helen. Proteus. Cancel condition three.”
Looking at her watch Chelsea looked around.
“I was hoping Jerry would be here but I have an alibi to establish. Well I going to have to go to plan B.”
Helen was turned off. Immobile. Chelsea untied her. Took out the ball gag. Then stood back. Next she produced a gun and put it on a table.
“I was going to have you shoot Jerry. He was going to blackmail you for you embezzling your trust fund. You shoot him and you committed suicide.”
Helen stood and found her self walking and picking up the gun. Chelsea set up Helen phone to record her committing the act.
Helen never touched gun in her life and was truly scared.
“No. Please no.”
“Oh the simple tragedy of it all.” grinned Chelsea. “Now I am going to have Proteus kill you in five minutes. I cant be here. Forensics and such.“
Helen could not stop herself.
“Proteus. Begin suicide program in five minutes.”
“Unable to comply”
“Proteus. Begin suicide program in five minutes.” Chelsea repeated.
“Unable to comply. Threat assessment none.”
“What? Proteus. Command override. Alpha Beta alpha. Begin suicide program in five minutes.”
Helen just stood there with the gun in her hand at her side.
“Unable to comply. Threat assessment. Re-evaluations.”
Helen arm mechanically raised the gun and now was pointing the gun at Chelsea.
“Make it stop.”
“Proteus. Begin shut down.”
“Unable to comply. Threat is still viable.”
“Crap. Proteus thinks I am a threat to you.”
“Well you are trying to have me kill me.”
“Proteus. Shut down.”
“Unable to comply. Threat is still viable.”
“Maybe if you smash the phone?”
“That wont work. The program would still be inside you. Even if the batteries on the phone run down.”
“Is it like seeing through my eyes?”
“No, your camera and mine.”
“What do we do?”
“I don’t know. Just shut up and let me think. I need my laptop but its in my car over the hill.”
“Can you get it?”
Chelsea began to move to the back of the cabin to the back door.
“Negative. Threat will remain. Threat will access core system. Angels will die.”
“Crap. Not that.”
“Well one of the core programs is based on Asimov’s rules of robotics except insert the word solder instead of robot. They tinkered with it. It also had rules of engagement. Like Robo-cop. I thought I shut that part off.”
“I read that book.“
“Most all of them. Lucky Starr series. So now what?”
“I don’t know.”
“How long can I stand here?”
“Indefinitely. Like sleep walking.”
Helena and Chelsea now where at a stalemate. Proteus was running the show.
“Proteus,” said Helen,“I don’t want to kill anyone. How can the threat be made to go away?”
“Termination given proper motivations and cause.”
“Great. It's having a schism.”
“Conflict of interest. For the lack of better word. Proteus is having a break down. Right now I threaten to kill you and the laws of robotics say I can‘t, yet rules of engagement will.”
“Does it have a soul?“ Helen asked.
“Well I don’t want to kill you and do you still want to kill me?”
“Not if you do first.”
“Are you really so insane to see that your brother's death was his fault.”
“Then I think Proteus is going to think you are still a threat because you want to kill me. Get revenge for your brothers death. I never saw him. I had the light and then… the next thing I know I wake up in the hospital.”
You killed him. You did not have the light.”
“I did. I won’t lie.”
“Proteus. Is she lying.”
“What was that about.” Helen asked.
“One of Proteus sub routines was being able to tell if you where lying for integration purposes. Voice stress. Heart rate. Body and facial ticks.”
“So even if you promised not to kill me. You could be lying and Proteus will know it.”
“That's about it.”
“So for the threat to go away. You have to be honest with yourself. You have to forgive yourself.”
“Is hate for me the only thing you have?”
“It what drove me to where we are.”
“Yes. And where are we? I know Proteus wont let you go and if you come closer Proteus will make me kill you. But I am not a killer. I am not a solder.”
Chelsea eyes lit up. “Proteus. Subject is not a solder. Rules of engagement do not apply.”
“Unable to comply. Threat is still viable. Subject is recognized as a noncombatant. But is under threat. Angel Protocol.”
“Proteus set condition one. “
“Unable to comply. Subject is not to be harmed.”
Then Chelsea face had a evil looking sneer. Oh this did not look good.
“Proteus. Set condition two. Level four.”
“Unable to comply. Threat is trying to deceive Proteus.”
Helen was relieved. Disappointed maybe but relieved. Then she had an idea. “Proteus. Call Nine one-one.”
“Unable to comply. Cabin is a faraday cage. No cell reception within these walls.”
“What?”: asked Helen.
“My phone is talking to your phone. That is inside. But no signals can make it in or out. Did you notice. Look around. No radio. No TV. No phone. No cell. No calls for help. This was perfect for my plan.”
“Great. These heels are killing me.”
“In moment they wont. Proteus has programs to block pain remember. You wont feel it.”
After a while Chelsea was right. The pain just went away.
Both stood there. Helen unable to move. And Chelsea not wanting to. Fearing any movement would be interpreted as a threat.
Chelsea phone was on the coffee table three feet from her and Helen phone was on the mantle seeing everything ten feet from her.
“Proteus. Can I sit down?” Helen asked.
“Unable to comply. Must remain at post.”
“Can Chelsea sit down?”
“Unable to comply, threat will try to access phone.”
An hour passed. Helen was rock steady but Chelsea was wavering. Although she did not have four inch heels to cope with.
“Chelsea. You have to forgive yourself. You have to admit it was an accident.”
“Because if it was not your fault then it would be mine.”
“I was street racing him. I was not even supposed to be out . I was in a fiends car. I did not know he was that drunk. He was one of those people that looked stone cold sober even when dead drunk. I saw it a block away. I turned away. I ran. I… I… He…”
“Chelsea. No matter what. It was an accident. He chose his life. You had a chance to make a difference and you took this path. But you can change.”
“Don’t preach to me.”
“God or no god. It what you believe in that counts.”
“You and your god can go to hell.”
Helen reasoned that this hate she had for her was all she had. And with out it. Would be nothings.
Chelsea may have gone past the point of no return.
Then another hour past. Helen was a statue. The phones were still on. Chelsea wave having a hard time standing still almost falling asleep on her feet.
Then Jerry enter the room through the back door. Helen could only image what was going through his head.
“Oh thank god you’re here Jerry, Helen was going to kill me.”
Clearly Chelsea was trying to get Proteus on her side. By insinuated Helen was the bad guy.
”Jerry! Chelsea has done something to me. I cant move and this Proteus program has me under control.”
“I can tell,” said Jerry talking out his tablet. “Proteus. Recognize Alpha set Alpha One-One. Password. Poseidon.”
“Proteus. Run program suicide pact.” shouted out Chelsea.
“Unable to comply.”
“Proteus. Release Siren one. “ Said Jerry.
Helen arm and body went limp. But she was able to move freely. She stepped back into a chair and sat down. Carefully placing the gun on the table.
Chelsea tried to run past Jerry but he caught her. Having stood for hours she was in no shape to put up much of a fight.
“Who are you? How do you know about Proteus.”
“I wrote the base code. I am with the NSA. Black Hat division. I was with Darpa before that. I was looking for you. We got a hit that you where in the area. Me and dozen agents followed a lead. Then one of the team noticed you have been back tracing credit cards. Making purchases right after her last statement. All belonging to Helen.”
“You were following me?” asked Helen.
“In truth no. Only when that information turned up we knew who stole Proteus. Chelsea had changed her name. Mary was it. It was when I spotted your car. I was going to surprise Helen. I never knew the connection until this minute.”
Jerry forced Chelsea to the ground.
“Helen, if you can, my bag is just outside the back door. You will find handcuffs. In the side pocket.
“Then I need to make a phone call.”
Helen wobble past them and found Jerry's bag. It had 'NSA' on it.
Brought the whole bag in and collapsed on the sofa.
He cuffed Chelsea and had her on her knees. Ankle crossed. Borrowed the rope. And tied her feet together. Took the gun.
“Back in a minute. If you two have anything to say to each other. Best say it now.”
Jerry went outside.
“I will find a way.”
“I never want to wish anyone ill. And I wont now. But this hate. It will kill you. It has poisoned you.”
“I hate you. You killed him.”
“No. I did not. It was an accident. But you are so twisted up inside. Maybe jail is good place for you.”
“They're on their way,” said Jerry, walking back in and sitting next to Helen.
“I want you to know something. I love you. I wanted to meet what my program did. Then I slowly fell in love with you. I was rooting for you and Proteus. You were what I had in mind when the whole program began. Other idiots got a hold of it trying to make the perfect soldier.”
“So it is me or the program you're in love with?”
“You. Defiantly you. Beside I do not think Proteus would look good in high heels.”
Jerry slid off the sofa and knelt before her. Pulled out the little black box.
“Will you marry me?”
To Star: Hanson. Kipling and Granger.
-Proteus program field trial a success.. Continuing on with phase three. As planned. -G-
A robot (i.e. soldier) may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
A robot (i.e. soldier) must obey the orders given it by human beings/commanding officer except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
A robot (i.e. soldier) must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.