Behold, the majestic giant clock tower in the ass end of nowhere! Look upon its strong stone base carved right from the mountain. Marvel at its giant door barricaded by some guys. As if that could stop me.
Actually, it might. I think that time spent in the future gave me a virus. Yep, totally the future thing. Nothing at all to do with being strapped to a bed by a vampire. Though, seriously folks, if you’re going to have sex with dead things, always wrap it up. Remember, a penis bag could prevent you from needing a body bag.
I thought I was mostly fine after getting out of that timeshift zone and didn’t notice any problems even running from some prehistoric knee-high raptor thingies. Then I reached the little village here at the base of the tower and got sick. I didn’t like the idea of laying around another so-called abandoned village, but I also didn’t like the idea of shitting my pants. It might ruin the delicious chocolate pudding I hide back there.
At least the clock workers didn’t have time to pack up all their cots before we got there. We didn’t actually see them, which worked for me. I needed to lay down and pump myself full of juicy nanites, ready to flood my system and repair damage at the cellular level.
Would have been real nice if they’d worked. The damage didn’t physically exist, not even to my cybernetic components. Heck, I could have even altered the nanites to handle damage to my armor, but that wasn’t it, either. The hardware was fine; the aliens fucked up my software. Most people won’t understand, but it’s rather difficult to work through the programming of your own eyes, brain, and other body parts. You ever try to code a spleen? I didn’t think so. Most of y’all don’t even know what a spleen does. Well, I got that baby back in order and pumping out hot espresso in no time.
Here your programmers are excited about video games and there I was debugging my pelvic splanchnic nerves. One wrong ganglion and I could have had a bowel movement so large, I’d have been lucky to have any bones left.
Things got a bit trippy there; at some point I had to chase a rogue line into the language center and wound up speaking in faux-Shakespearean English. That’s the language center of the brain, not the language center of the pelvic splanchnic nerves. Those things speak a language all their own. If the saxophone plays the language of the heart, then the best instrument for contacting your pelvic splanchnic nerves is the percussion burrito.
I worked on that and pulled my armor off, prompting Cookie to throw snow at me to try and clean me up. It wasn’t an ice thing to do to me. “Forsook, thou dost not throw snow at mine crotch, you fusty nut with no kernel.” I glared at her as I injected a nice helping of nanites into my neck. I’d rather have them around in case of organ failure so they can keep things running.
“Did somebody just quote the Bard?” asked Mobian, stepping into the room.
I “Eek!”ed and held the loose snow over my crotch as if to shield my delicate privacy. “Thou sayest what?”
“You have a problem, sir.” Mobian pointed at me, then turned to Fortune Cookie. “Hello again. I’m glad you two finally made it. What’s with him?” He directed the question at Cookie who rifled through her pack for a bottle of water she sipped.
Since she was preoccupied, I answered the question about me directed at her on her behalf. “Sick. Went through a timeshift and caught a virus from the future. Hey, I fixed the Hamlet-wannabe sound. Drink up, me hearties! Aw jelly-boned crud buckets. I sound like a pirate!”
The Mobian looked at me, then began to smile. He tried to fight it even as he told me, “Oh. I hope you turn out fine. It would be a shame if you died.”
Cookie glared at him. “He got me here, which is more than I can say for you. You left us back in the town.”
“I was coming back, but by then you already left. In the future, be more patient. We have all the time in the world.” The smile he flashed her looked far more convincing than what he forced out for me, but it only pissed Cookie off.
She walked right up to him and poked him hard in the chest. “No, we don’t. We don’t have a lot of time. I don’t know how much anymore because we’ve gone forward and backwards in time so much on the way up here. I don’t even know what year it is anymore. We need to get to the top of this clock tower.” She pointed at the wall in the direction of the clock tower.
Mobian nodded. “We should start now and leave your friend to catch up.”
“He’s sick,” she indicated me with her hand. “Let him rest, then take us right to the top. Be more patient.” She threw his words back at him.
“About that, you see we have a tiny problem. You see, this tower is the epicenter, right? Right. It’s all very complicated and I don’t have time to explain everything. Only, you see, my ship, the Stridar, can’t seem to go up there.”
“Too much rum gave ye the whiskey dick,” I added.
Mobian didn’t even glance at me. “Shut up, you.”
“You stayed here doing nothing all this time when you could have picked us up, so now we have to hurry up there without the guy we need.”
While they went back and forth on that, I had to crunch some numbers. As advanced as those aliens had to have been to reach earth, they still had to work within the limitations of human programming to make anything compatible with human operating systems. It’s like giving yourself a partial lobotomy because your brain is incompatible with the locals. But what could I possible know about that?
I ran into a bit of trouble when it looked like it would jump to the organics. I’m pretty much the only person on earth that could happen to. Instead, I managed to trap it. It involved priorities. It had its straight. I had its figured out. Ah, the limitations of artificial intelligence in the face of chaos and irrationality. It reminds me of that time I was hired to slay the Roko Basilisk. Pissed off a whole bunch of transhumanist uber geeks. I have no problem with nerds and geeks on their own, but there comes a time when an obsession becomes so intense that you’re rejecting reality in favor of it.
Not that I’d know anything about that, either.
So even though the transhumanist people got all outraged, they couldn’t even have me prosecuted. It wasn’t murder because that involves a human victim. It wasn’t animal cruelty because that involves an animal. It wasn’t even destruction of property since none of them wanted to come forward and claim it wasn’t sentient. If you ask me, it wasn’t much of an artificial intelligence anyway. It just played the Sims all day, making people resemble anyone who didn’t like it, then torturing them.
I swear, you’d think I was giving those transhumanists a heart attack.
Holy crap, I was having a heart attack. Nanites, away! Meanwhile, I continued ignoring the argument between Mobian and Fortune Cookie to concentrate on my parts, particularly the cybernetic portion of my brain and my spinal cord. That’s right, I have a spinal cord, meaning I technically do have at least one sympathetic fiber in my body. Some might say I have at least two; a parasympathetic fibers.
That’s just a little anatomy humor for y’all. You know there’s going to be more coming.
There was the little bastard. Rewritten code. Gibberish that screwed up the functioning of my heart valves. I took over manually while reverting the code. Nanites repaired the dead muscle tissue.
I performed a quick check of my autonomic functions. Balls fine, bladder, kidney, ass, intestines. Crap, my heart was screwing up again, but this time from an excess of adrenaline in the system. Way too much. I breathed in and out way too fast, but hardly took in any air. Motherfucker! I will murder this virus and feast upon its code!
I moved even more quickly through the system, shutting off the flow of adrenaline completely while I tried to clean up the adrenergic storm, which sounds like an awesome band name. “Tonight, for one night only, hold onto your panties as we introduce Adrenergic Storm!” They’d totally play “Through The Fire And The Flames”.
I had a moment to think on the solution while my body attempted to stabilize most of the physical symptoms. Because I’m awesome, and because this all took place much faster than activity outside my own body, and because adrenaline surges slow down the perception of time. But mostly because I’m just that awesome.
More problems cropped up in the spinal cord. The modification I’d made to give myself remote control over my limbs in case of paraplegia or quadriplegia acted up, too. I was hitting myself. At least I knew why I was hitting myself. The heart operating system had been corrupted again. Jinkies, a clue!
I found the bastard code having settled in to my central nervous system registry files, having written itself in to come back after any modifications, including reversions, to the other stuff. That’s when I noticed I had wifi up again. The thing tried to spread outside of me. Uh uh, buck-o. Not when Captain Mega Asskicker The Ultimate Psychopomp Cornelius Gecko the Great is handling things. It’s time to chew bubblegum, kick ass, and take names. It’s time to layeth the smacketh down upon thine candy ass!
At least the bitch of a virus couldn’t crack the interdimensional transceiver. That thing’s set up in a format and encryption from my old world. The only way data gets out that way without my say-so is a timer connected to its own local log only accessible through my organic components. A deadman’s switch, you could say. If I go too long, at least it’ll tell as much of the tale of my death as possible before I get there. Luckily, I haven’t had to make much use of that one outside that time Shieldwall almost killed me in Empyreal City. I don’t even know when it’ll send stuff with how this trip has been going.
At the very least, I won’t just disappear and leave people wondering what happened.
That shouldn’t be the case with this virus, but it worried me. Fucker spread way too fast. And, as I realized when I tried to clean it out of the registry, it could come back about as fast as I scooped it out.
Damn thing had a message, too. An attempt at subliminal messaging, as if that’d work. Obey. Serve. Give in. Surrender. Pave the way.
Bitch, like I’m that easy.
I still had an ace up my sleeve, but a potentially dangerous one. Reformatting back to my old system. As in, before I got to this version of Earth. Whole different way of storing and connecting files. Some stuff might not be there afterward, but most of it should be. I figured I could check through and recover the data that didn’t have any nasty surprises waiting for me, then do a quick repair of affected programs. It would all be isolated, unable to spread, until I gave the order. Even if I did clear infected files, I think our little virus would soon find itself incompatible with the new way of doing things around here.
That also meant I’d have some problems with a few functions. You know…seeing, hearing, breathing, pumping blood, shitting, and cleaning my own blood. Minor inconveniences, obviously. At least I still had the adrenaline surge on my side. I swept through my own nervous operating system, rendering it all unavailable and unreadable.
I briefly wondered if Cookie might try to give me mouth to mouth when she noticed I wasn’t breathing, but pushed that to the side while dealing with my imminent demise. Kissing could come later, when I live to tell about it.
I focused on my core, heart, and lungs first. Had to keep the power core contained, the blood flowing, and the air moving.
After that, I had a lot of systems to check, like the stomach, liver, and pancreas. Oh, and the bowels. My small intestine was fine, but the malicious bugger had buried itself in my large intestine and my rectum. Rectum? Darn near killed ’em!
Told you I had more coming. Speaking of coming, I checked the gonads. Luckily, the virus didn’t have the balls.
I didn’t worry about my eyes and ears until last. For those keeping track at home, the ears aren’t part of the autonomic system, but I still have parts of them cyberized so I can handle loud noises like rock n’roll and explosions. Insert gratuitous Iron Maiden here.
All in all, I purged myself of the foreign invasion, and even avoided brain damage in the process. That’s really important. Some things are even more thorough at screwing up data than a virus.
Feeling like my usual awesome self, I sat up, pumping my fist in the air. “Aha! I am invincible!”
Except it’d been awhile since I checked in with reality. Over by the door of this shack we’d huddled in stood Mobian and Fortune Cookie with their hands up in the air, men with guns standing around them. One of them stood right in front, training his pistol on Cookie and taking her smaller pistol away with the other.
he whirled flashloud-
***Connection lost. Archiving transmission. Preparing transfer. Transfer complete.***