What Really Happened After Episode 85 by evangelina
[Reviews - 6] - Table of Contents - [Report This]

Printer Chapter or Story
- Text Size +

What Really Happened After Episode 85



I have a skill, a power if you will, that is greater than anything G-Force boasts: I am invisible. 

Until something goes wrong. Then I only wish I were invisible.

And everything went wrong last night.  They were questioning us, one by one, and I hadn’t decided yet whether I was flattered that they actually realized we existed, or just terrified someone was going to blame me.

Terror was definitely the primary emotion I felt when it was finally my turn to go in and sit down in front of Chief Anderson and the leader of G-Force himself.  When they focused on me, I quickly realized they were both more imposing than I expected, and for the first time I had a real sense of what the Spectrans feel when they end up on the wrong side of G-1’s wrath.

I wondered if this would be harder or easier if he weren’t wearing his wings.  I couldn’t see his eyes well through the visor, but I could see every hard, muscular line of a body honed by years of fighting Spectra.

I sat down in the chair I was offered, nervously adjusting my glasses and tucking back one of the stubborn pieces of hair that refuses to stay in my ponytail.  What I really wanted to do was gnaw on my fingernails, but my mother assures me it’s an unseemly habit, so I’ve taken to sitting on my hands instead.

“You know what happened last night?” Chief Anderson said.

“Yes, sir.”  Belatedly, I realized the question had been rhetorical, an invitation to speak.

He waited, so I tried to remember the speech I planned so carefully over the endless minutes I waited for my turn.  Explanations of how the records showed no illicit activity, not a single blip to indicate that something was going wrong or had gone wrong.  No hint of what Chief Anderson would find when he tried to call 7-Zark-7 first thing this morning.

I winced a little.  They hadn’t told us everything, but they’d told us enough.  The little tin can had been fried from the inside out, and he was beyond repair.  Way, way beyond repair.

Even the backup servers that hosted his consciousness when we had to work on him were wiped clean.

As a group, we techs had been through multiple scenarios, trying to figure out if he could have just overheated somehow, but the bottom line was that the damage was far too bad for anything but an enormous fire (which clearly had not been the case) or sabotage.

The calm, incisive explanation I’d planned came out as nervous bits and pieces littered with geek lingo that probably meant little to the men in front of me.  Finally Anderson nodded, lifting his hand so I’d stop talking.  It took me several seconds to obey; I’ve been told I talk when I’m nervous.

“We need to comb through everything,” Mark said to Anderson.  “Every vid file, every record other Center Neptune computers have on Zark, all the records of outgoing and incoming communication…”

“There are terabytes upon terabytes of files,” I protested.

“Then I guess we’d better get busy.”

* * *

I’d been called in early, and since they expected to be working around the clock with the three of us who headed IT until they found out what had happened (they’d started even before they finished questioning all of us), I was encouraged to go rest.  I managed to sleep for a few hours in one of the rooms they kept at the base, and by the time I got up again they were into their third shift, and they’d still found nothing.

I expected to be working beside Princess, but she had apparently taken the second shift.  When I was told I would be sitting in the server room beside Jason, my heart dropped out through the bottom of my feet.

Gillian grinned at my stunned expression.  “Here’s your chance, honey.  Go show that boy how computer geeks do it.”

“Oh,” I said.  “Oh, no.  Gilly, no.  You go.  I can’t.  I can’t think if he’s sitting there.”

“You don’t have a choice,” she said cheerfully.  “You, Tommy, or Gwen have to be there, and Tommy and Gwen are off this shift.  Sorry, sweetheart, it’s all you.”

I raked both hands through my hair, wishing I hadn’t just slept in my clothes for five hours.  I hated that I cared so much, but I had to stop in the washroom to brush my hair out and wrap it back up into a tidier knot.

I’d been told before that I was pretty, but I didn’t really see it.  And I resented being reduced to my exterior, so I didn’t put much effort into my looks.  I insisted on wearing glasses even though I’d had the laser surgery done in middle school, like most kids with bad vision.  It might be a stereotype that smart girls wore glasses, but it was one that saved me some time and effort.

Now I just wished I were one of those girls with perfectly curled eyelashes, the perfect shade of lipstick, and cute little shoes with a matching skirt and purse.  The kind of girlie girl the Condor might notice.

Gillian stuck her head through the door.  “Your prince just asked, and I quote, ‘where in hell that tech is.’”

“Great,” I muttered.


Jason and I each took a computer, and we paged through reams of transcripts of Zark’s flirtations with “Susan.”  We could have listened to them, but I don’t think either of us really wanted to listen to Zark talk about his fosdic.

Jason finally sat back in his chair.  “I hate to be suspicious of Zark, but I guess that’s the point here.  Someone killed him for a reason.”  He pointed to the screen in front of him.  “Is it possible some of this is code?”

I swiveled my chair around, impressed.  “Code?”

“Yeah.  I mean, I shudder to realize how much flirtation was going on between two inanimate objects…I mean, seriously -- were they programmed to have sexual…capabilities?”

I grimaced, mostly at the flush I felt climbing my cheeks, because he actually wanted an answer. “Zark was programmed to be as close to human as the ISO could manage.”

“Shouldn’t they have put him in a body that looked a little more human, then?”

“You’d think so.  I came on the project after he’d already been built.”

“But he wasn’t…I mean, he didn’t have…”  He covered his eyes with his hand.  “Please tell me he couldn’t get off.”

I pressed both hands to my cheeks, praying they wouldn’t blister.  “I don’t think so.”

He swung his chair back around with a little shudder.  “Okay, then back to my question.  Could some of this flirty stuff have actually been code?”  He sent the page in front of him to the printer, then fumbled around for a highlighter and a pencil.

Once we’d established that there was a good chance at least some of it was code, I started tagging pages of my own, printing out hard copies and highlighting the relevant passages.  A pattern emerged quickly, and when we had ten pages’ worth, Jason hit his communicator.  “Mark, this is Jason.”

“Go ahead, Jase.”

“Susan wasn’t another early warning system.  She’s a Galactor plant.”


~ Table of Contents ~
[Report This]
You must login (register) to review.