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Zenith Omega
Contrapasso II
Mon Apr 6, 2009 10:57pm
75.164.125.182 (XFF: 70.192.119.56)

Contrapasso


He Who is My Master


Lord James Whitmore Comb stared out the massive plexiglass window of Sugi Corporation’s Delta City headquarters as the latest in a long succession of executives rattled off his department’s numbers for the quarter. Even as he listened the young Lord Comb allowed his mind to drift.

Buried deep beneath the earth, the Shadow Division Laboratories of Sugi Corp lay like the mythical labyrinth, and at its black heart a team of scientists monitored innumerable streams of information. Their faces, lit by the blue light from their monitors, had a dead cast to them giving the whole lab the aura of a coven of technological mages. In the center of the massive room Lord Comb and Dr. Vere stood examining their captive as the scientists swirled around them like a river of bodies.

James smiled when Zenith Omega’s eyes fluttered open then locked with his own. Bolted to an x-frame she hardly seemed the demonic assassin that had killed his father and many of the company’s most promising researchers before vanishing into the Free Zone.

“Welcome home.” Comb said, his smile widening as the realization of her situation struck and she began to struggle against her bonds. “Usually I strive to control my emotions. Business is no place for men who cater to their own whims.” The CEO continued. “But today is special and I do believe in the occasional indulgence.” He signaled Vere and the skeletally thin doctor cranked a dial on his dais up a notch. Zenith grimaced as an electrical charge surged through her body.

“Satisfying.” Comb said. “But not nearly enough to repay the blood debt.” The dial jumped three notches and Zenith barely bit back her scream. Another two notches had her throwing her body against her restraints in a frenzied attempt to break free.

Vere’s lips parted to reveal crooked yellow teeth. He rarely had an opportunity to indulge in his particular vice and the doctor was determined to enjoy the moment. His artificial hand twitched a little on the dial, a parting gift from Zenith during her wild massacre that led to her escape from the facility. At James’s signal he rotated the dial fully and sucked in a deep hissing breath through his teeth as the lithe assassin’s entire body stiffened and she screamed until her voice broke. Only when smoke began to stream from her joints did she sag against her restraints, fully unconscious. Vere reluctantly set the dial back to zero.

“Once your examination is done have her repaired.” Lord Comb instructed, never taking his eyes from Zenith’s pitiful form. “I am far from finished with her.”


“And…that’s all.” The executive said, his voice cracking in the last syllable. James nodded his head.

“Very good. I’m pleased with your progress Mr. Orton. Send Miss Hsu in on your way out.” The little executive bobbed his head and practically ran from the spacious office, moping cold sweat from his brow with a folded silk handkerchief. Being a business man in Delta City, there was little that truly disturbed Orton, not this late in his life, the young lord’s smile was one such thing.

“Y-your turn.” He mumbled to the petite Asian woman as he darted past her, struggling with the stack of reports clutched against his thin chest.

Miss Huang Hsu did not bother acknowledging Orton. His department was infinitesimal in the grand scheme of things and she found the man himself repulsive and far below her notice. Rising gracefully from her seat the slim woman strode into her employer’s office. The cadence of her heels against the marble flagstones of Comb’s office did not deviate even a hint when the door whisked closed behind her and locked with a solid metal ‘Shunk!’

“Ah, Miss Hsu. Always a pleasure.” Comb said, looking up from the report Orton had left as the lady deftly seated herself and demurely angled her legs, unconcernedly smoothing a wrinkle from her appropriately knee length burgundy skirt.

“Indeed.” Hsu replied. “I assume you are ready for my report on the prospects you asked me to look into?” Comb nodded. “Very well.” She handed Comb a data stick and began talking even before the images of several women appeared in the air between them.

“These are the best candidates for your marriage, each matches your requirements perfectly.”

Comb looked from one picture to the next, his eyes coldly tracing the details of each woman’s lovely features as though he were window shopping. After a brief moment he keyed a command into the receded keyboard of his desk and the holographic display wavered. When it solidified only three pictures remained, all of a different Japanese woman.

Hsu quirked an eyebrow. “Interesting selection sir.”

“Hardly.” Comb replied. “It is currently in my best interest to more fully cement the ties of my family to the Japanese. Through them I am able to avoid dealing with BioSyn. Leopold was a disgusting cretin, but his replacement, this Genghis MacMorn is abominable. A clone accomplishing a hostile take-over. Deplorable.”

“I see.” Hsu pointed to the central portrait. “Then I recommend her. Yashira Satori, third cousin to Hamada Satori, the current head of Satori Industries.” Comb stared hard at the portrait then tilted his head back.

“Tell me about her.”

“She is, perhaps, the most suitable for your requirements my Lord.” Hsu pulled a slim folder from her briefcase and slid it across the desk to Comb. He immediately began leafing through it absorbing the information and locking it away in the memory banks that were hardwired to his brain. “Submissive, as is expected given Japanese culture, she will do as you say when you say. There is no left over spark of defiance in her. And she is young, I believe seventeen. Perfect age to produce a strong heir.”

“Excellent.” Comb closed the file and removed the data stick. “Begin the litigations Miss Hsu. I expect to be allowed to introduce myself three days from now.” Hsu collected the file and data stick then rose smoothly to her feet.

“As you wish my lord.”

When the door closed behind her Comb relaxed slightly and leaned back in his chair. Silent motors adjusted the padding to perfectly accommodate his new position. From the door his eyes drifted down to the picture of his family, one of the very few personal effects to grace his otherwise sterile office. Ten year old James stared back at him with a smugly confident grin twisting his lips. He stood at the right hand of his father who was seated in the Family chair, the Comb crest rising dramatically above and behind his head. Kneeling beside him, her hand resting gently on his knee, was James’s mother. The picture was taken only days before her death.

James closed his eyes and remembered…

James breathed a sigh of relief when the photographer signaled he had taken as many pictures as he wanted. His mother softly removed her hand from his father’s knee and then stood in a rustle of skirts.

Father’s hand snaked out and grasped the front of her dress. His blue eyes, cold as the Antarctic, swiveled to James’s face. “This is the cause of all human failing.” He rumbled in his gravelly voice. Releasing Mother’s dress he stabbed a finger at her groin. “Never fall prey to this James. Conquer it and you will conquer the world.”

James frowned. “I don’t understand.”

“You will boy.” James’s eyes slid from Father’s cold face to Mothers and he saw a blush creeping across her cheeks. She was very obviously uncomfortable. Father watched his eyes then snorted and rose from the chair. After tugging the folds from his jacket he backhanded James. “Do not turn your eyes from me when I speak boy.”

Sprawled on the ground James held a hand against his burning cheek and slowly nodded, fighting back the tears that threatened to spill from his eyes. Father did not approve of tears.

Lord Alfred Comb strode from the room, utterly ignoring the photographer even though he held out the first prints to choose from. Mother strode forward and spoke quietly to the photographer swiftly selecting three different pictures. James slowly clambered to his feet and wiped his nose with the back of his hand. Feeling a wetness he looked down and saw blood on his knuckles.

When she was done Mother returned to James’s side and gently wiped his nose with a handkerchief from her sleeve. Capturing his head in her hands she looked into his eyes then smiled slightly. “Don’t believe everything your father tells you.” She said softly. “You don’t have to believe what he believes.”


***

Doctor Thaddeus Vere slid his security card through the reader then stepped through the doorway into his laboratory when the reinforced door slid aside. Flicking on the lights he waited briefly as his eyes adjusted then strode to the table that had replaced the x-frame as Zenith’s prison.

Looking down at her he smiled and brushed red bangs back from her eyes with mocking care. “How are we this evening my lovely?” Zenith snarled up at him, the only show of defiance she had the energy for. Vere laughed and calmly set the thumb of his prosthetic hand over her left eye. Zenith’s snarl died away and Vere removed his thumb, his grin widening.

“Good girl.” The doctor lifted her ear up and pushed a connector into the carefully hidden jack to her positronic brain. “I’m afraid this is the last time we’ll talk my dear. Lord Comb has plans for you…for your body I mean.” His groin swelled at the sight of the fear on the assassin’s face. Zenith was not stupid, if Comb meant to make use of her body then her current personality, her unique soul if reploids could claim to have such, would have to be deleted.

Just as he began the process Vere’s phone rang. Holding a finger up to Zenith he glanced at the caller id then flipped his phone open. “Yes sir?”

***

Aiden leaned forward and rewound the recording then played it again.

“Yes sir?”

“Prepare a second table. Aiden has fulfilled his purpose and it’s time to make some profit off him.”

“My lord?”

“His mission is done. I have no further use for him.”

“Ah. Yes sir. I see.”


The betrayal stung. Aiden had sacrificed everything to fulfill his obligation, even his sister, and now he was being rewarded with death. A hot anger built in the pit of his stomach and the sniper reached out to rewind the recording again.

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