Sunday, May 31, 2009


Previously: The Beginning of the End; The Good Soldier; Me, I'm Not; My Violent Heart; God Given; The Greater Good; Another Version of the Truth

Mim-cha #Af200-27KJa1-480trzB3, AKA Kyle Johnson, stared into the night, and allowed himself a small sense of accomplishment. Judging by the position of the stars, he had traveled back in time 57,387 years, 7 months, 2 weeks, 19 hours, and 24 minutes.

He had not made this trip alone, however.

The vampire that had crawled into the sphere with him was barely a husk of her former self. She was bleeding from every orifice, and her breathing was ragged and labored. The hair on her head had fallen out in bunches during the trip through time, leaving only a few stray strands attached to bits of her skull. Her skin itself was patchy and blistering. Most of her flesh hung on her bones loosely. She lay on the ground, near death. Vampires, it is safe to say, do not time travel well.

She gasped at the robot before her, using what must have been an extraordinary amount of strength, to utter four words. First a question, then a demand.

"Where... Adam?"

Kyle considered that. Had his brother made the journey? He would need to determine the answer to that for himself. Looking around the meadow he was currently standing in, he did not see Connor but that didn't mean that he hadn't made the trip successfully. It was not an exact science, after all, he could be anywhere within a twenty mile radius. Or he might not have arrived yet. Or he could have arrived minutes ago and fled.

The vampire female spoke again. "Need... blood..." the last word was said so quietly that it was barely vocalized at all. Kyle heard, of course, but a human probably wouldn't have.

Kyle considered the pathetic creature before him, and then quickly, professionally, and painlessly, reached down and ended it's existence. The top priority, of all Mim-cha, after all, was to eliminate all vampires.

Kyle looked around his surroundings again, and saw tracks in the dirt - the footprints were human. A tribe of homo sapiens had been through this area. He followed them.



So much pain.

He ran his tongue over his lower jaw and tasted blood, and felt that teeth were missing. His shoulder throbbed. He was bleeding. Where was he? For that matter, who was he? What had happened to him? And where was everyone? He felt for certain that moments ago there had been a lot of people around him. Thinking about the recent past filled him with an intense sadness, as though some essential test had just been failed. But he couldn't pinpoint why.

He had other things to focus on, however.

Like healing up. And, he realized, finding food. He was suddenly ravenous. He swallowed some more of his own blood from the wounds in his mouth, and, interestingly, that seemed to quell the hunger minutely.

He wanted ...more blood.

He stood and looked around. He was standing in an unfamiliar meadow, and it was a slightly cool night. In the distance, he could see a fire burning. Focusing that way, he could actually smell the flames. And the people around it. A small group of individuals were based around the fire. His stomach growled again, and he opted to head in that direction.

As he walked, his name came back to him. Adam. He was Adam.


The tribe heard him coming, and watched with a mixture of wonder and distrust at this pale stranger, wearing unusual garb. He spoke gibberish that they did not understand, but he indicated his mouth (which was bleeding), and they soon understood that he was looking to eat. They happily offered him some of their fruits (which he denied) and a sampling of their hyena that they had captured and eaten that night (which he took hungrily). Dining on the flesh of the animal seemed to ease the stranger, and the tribe laughed and sang into the night.

Adam felt himself healing after eating the hyena meat. But still, watching the group of people, he knew his hunger would not be satisfied completely with just hyena flesh.


Sometime in the night, after the tribe had gone to sleep, Adam woke. He walked through the sleeping people, silently, looking over each individual. He settled on a small female, who was probably only 10 years old or so. She was sleeping near her mother. He felt somewhat foolish preying on such a weak individual, but he himself was not up to his full strength, and did not want a fight. Not yet. There would be time for that soon enough.

He drained her of blood quickly, feeling the life force rush into him.

After he was done, he took her corpse and tossed it a good thirty yards from the camp. Feeling infinitely better, he returned to doze amongst his new friends.

Hours later, when the camp awoke, nobody thought anything at first - the girl's mother assumed the child had gone off to play. It wasn't until the body was discovered that things got ugly.

One of the tribesman blamed the newcomer - or at least that was Adam's interpretation - and sensing that his time with these people was growing short, Adam decided to feed again. He grabbed a young hunter, and swiftly sank his teeth (he marveled at the fact that his lower mandibles had begun to grow back in!) into the young man's jugular. Blood washed over him, and the power flooded into his body instantly. He felt that he could take on an entire army. The tribe had stood in shock at this development. They were so naive! He'd be able to dine for months with no problem!

And then he'd felt the stick hit him in the head.

One of the other men had grabbed a stick and whacked him with it. It didn't hurt, of course, not the way he was feeling, but it had been enough of a shock that he dropped the teen - he was dead now anyway - and turned to face his attacker. He snarled at the man, who stepped back defensively.

The whole tribe was shouting at him, surrounding him like the animal they obviously thought he was. Several of them had rocks, and had begun to throw them at him. Adam laughed. These people were no match for him. Not really.

But there was no need to stand here and take a beating. He pushed his way through the group and ran, leaving them to mourn their dead.


That night, he'd gone back to their camp, and he ate two more. He left both of the bodies there, blatantly mocking them.

As he was eating the second, he had a strange sensation to ...convert one. He couldn't describe the feeling any other way - it was simply an instinct make this one like himself. He wasn't sure how it would work, exactly, but he thought that if he simply fed on the person, without completely killing them, they should become like him. He had to admit that he was lonely.

He paused, but it was too late for this person. He had already drank too much. He dropped the lifeless body, and, though he wasn't hungry any more, he grabbed a third individual - a woman, and bit her as well. She woke up from the bite, and shrieked a scream that made Adam's hair stand on end. He instantly backed away from her, as the entire tribe awoke. One of them managed to take a sharpened stick - hell, it could have been a spear, for all Adam knew - and jabbed it into Adam's ribs.

"Jesus Christ!" Adam yelled in anger and pain. He stumbled away from the camp, as the tribe angrily forced him away, throwing rocks, sticks, anything they could find. They only chased him for a few yards before returning to their camp, as Adam retreated for the night to tend his wounds.


When the woman he bit converted, she tried to feed. The tribe exiled her out, wondering why she would act like the madman that had brought so much grief to their life.

She began to walk, searching for Adam.

Kyle found her first.

When he did, he knew that his brother had, indeed traveled through time, and had, unfortunately, become the first vampire. The very thing he (and all Mim-cha) had sought to prevent had been what they had created. Even though he was a robot, the irony was not lost on him.

Still. He had a mission, and he would do his best to fulfill it. Seeing the female vampire walking alone, Kyle approached her. At first, she must have thought he was Adam, as she joyfully ran toward him. Kyle realized long ago that all vamps seemed to know Adam, and thought of him as their leader. It was why the vampires in 2012 had been so willing to help him (and Connor) out - they had both looked very similar to the first vampire, the vampire that had indirectly borne them all: Adam.

As she got close enough to realize that Kyle was not Adam, she paused, unsure of whether he was a friend or not. He opened his arms in what he hoped was a universal signal of acceptance and friendship. She still paused.

Kyle bent down and picked up a small rock. He used it to draw some blood from his arm. He offered it to her. This got her attention. She eagerly approached his wound. As soon as she was within reach, he struck out with his other arm, and crushed her windpipe. He continued to squeeze her neck until her head detached.

He then continued to walk in the direction of his brother.


Adam was all set to torment the tribe for another night, but this time they were ready for him. Using fire, and guards with more of those spears, they pushed him away from their camp, toward a cave. Adam didn't know whether fire could kill him or not - he suspected it probably could - but it certainly hurt like hell. So he allowed himself to be pushed toward the mouth of the cave.

And then, a person looking almost exactly like himself showed up. "Hello, brother." The man said.

Adam was surprised, to say the least. A brother? Who spoke his same language! This was fantastic news!

The tribe was also surprised, and must have thought that the monster had brought reinforcements. They backed away in terror, leaving Adam and Kyle to face each other. Adam said, "Brother? I thought I was the only one of my kind. It's nice to see I'm not alone." He stepped forward to embrace his twin.

Kyle said, "I'm not like you," and grabbed the vampire by the arm. The two twirled, like dancers, into the mouth of the cave, and Kyle tripped over a rock, bringing Adam down with him. Adam leapt to his feet, snarling. "I'll kill you!" he promised.

Kyle got to his feet as well. "Doubtful."

Adam rushed at his twin, and managed to push him back into the cave's darkness, where, unknown to either of them, there was a precipice waiting. The duo tumbled down the hole, falling for nearly three hundred feet. Kyle landed first, and a pointed rock at the bottom impaled itself into his skull, breaking his main processor chip. His eyes dimmed as his power sources attempted to revert themselves.

Adam landed on top of the machine, and he felt his spine snap. Glaring at his dying robotic twin, the vampire felt his own consciousness fading. "Fuck you.... asshole." he said with his last breath before he blacked out.


55,385 years later, a spelunker in Eastern Africa stumbled across what appeared to be two skeletons at the bottom of a very deep hole.

"My god. This guy must've been done here for years." He went to investigate one of the bodies a little closer, and was amazed to discover that there was still flesh on him. The skin was paper-thin, and there was no way it should have been possible, but... this skeleton with a thin layer of flesh was still alive! "Oh my god! Don't worry, mister, we'll get you some...AHHHH!" The man began to scream in pain as the unbelievably thin man had bitten down on his fingers, drawing blood.

Adam felt the energy returning to him quickly. He had no idea how long he'd been down there, but he eyed the rope that the other man was using to try to escape. He smiled. Finishing off the man whose fingers he had just bitten off, he felt he could certainly climb a rope.

He left the endoskeleton of Kyle at the bottom of the cave saying, "See you around, bro."

The End

Week two

Week two

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Another Version of the Truth

Previously: The Beginning of the End; The Good Soldier; Me, I'm Not; My Violent Heart; God Given; The Greater Good

US Military to Purchase Si Birden Systems, as AI Race Heats Up

Simon Birden, Founder and President of Si Birden Systems, a computer company specializing in Artificial Intelligence research, announced today that his company would be funded by the U.S. Military...

(page 23 of Business Weekly, July 3rd, 1991)

In Africa, Dead Rise, Feed on Human Flesh!!

Reports of dead people rising from graves to feast on human flesh of the living have been reported by numerous people in remote sections of Africa over the past two months. Authorities are dismissing the reports as pranks...

(Weekly World News, March 14th, 2002)


SKINet Capable of Growing Artificial Skin, Hair, Blood
..."The benefits in helping burn victims are enormous," said SKINet's CEO, Dyson Miles, "and there have been many interested parties in helping us develop the technology further. Including the U.S. Military..."

(ScienceNews Monthly, September 2007)


Louisiana Woman Attacks Family, Flees

Lisa Mooney, a 22 year old woman in Shreveport, Louisiana, viciously attacked her husband and three year old child yesterday afternoon. The attack was stopped when her neighbors, alerted by the husband's screams, fired upon Mooney, wounding her. Her husband and child are in intensive care at Shreveport Medical. Mooney is still on the run, and wanted for questioning by authorities. The reason for the attack is still unknown.

(Shreveport Times, June 2009)


Is Your Neighbor a Robot?

(Weekly World News Headline, January 2010)


CDC Says Super Rabies Could Reach Epidemic Status by August

(New York Times Headline, July 15th, 2011)


Fourth Twilight Movie Postponed as Original Stars Fall Victim to Super Rabies

(Entertainment Weekly headline, August 19th, 2011)


[8:52pm] Skyenet: OMFG!
[8:52pm] traxler: what is it, Skye?
[8:52pm] Skyenet: my dad just got attacked by some guy with SR
[8:52pm] traxler: shit!!
[8:52pm] traxler: 'sokay?
[8:53pm] Skyenet: yeah, think so. brb
[8:53pm] traxler: k
[9:06pm] Skyenet: hey, Trey? u there?
[9:06pm] traxler: yeah, Skye. hows ur dad?
[9:07pm] Skyenet: good. no bites. just scared, bruised up a bit.
[9:07pm] traxler: glad he's okay. my cousin's gf got bit last week.
[9:07pm] Skyenet: O_O
[9:07pm] traxler: yeah. she turned, tried to kill my 'cuz, but the fam threw her out.
[9:08pm] traxler: haven't seen her since.
[9:08pm] Skyenet: I hate this.
[9:08pm] traxler: I hear ya.

(IM transcript, August 30th, 2011)



President Palin announced today that all those infected with Super Rabies virus pose a serious health risk to the public, and should voluntarily turn themselves over to authorities. In addition, all infected individuals are hereby considered extremely dangerous, and the National Guard has the power to shoot to kill...

(Washington Post, September 11th, 2011)


Gun Ownership Triples in States
CDC Estimates 1 in 100,000 May Be Infected

(headlines from the week of September 20th, 2011)


"Super Rabies=vampires"
"Was SR created by gov't?"
"What is Project Mimicry?"
"SR next stage in human evolution? Discuss."
"Super Rabies Vaccines a hoax?"

(Top 5 topics from forums, November, 2011)


Operator: "911, what's the nature of your emergency?"
Wisher (groggily): "I need some cops... to find my stol... my stolen car."
Operator: "You're car was..."
Wisher: "And... I may need an amb.. an ambulance."
Operator: "Are you injured, sir?"
Wisher: "Yeah. My head. Fuck, that fucker."
Operator: "Were you assaulted by an infected, sir?"
Wisher: "What? No. This was some... asshole stole my car and hit me with a wrench."

(911 transcript, March 2012)


Palin Introduces Decoy Robots to Terminate Infected

(headline from March, 2012)


"How Safe Are Robots? A News 4 Investigation, tonight at 11!"

(April, 2012)


Vamp Attacks Down 71% in Cities With Decoy Bots

(headline from May, 2012)


Bot Fires at Civilian!! Authorities Questioned

(headline from June, 2012)


Bot Demand Still High, despite Monterrey Fluke

(headline from June, 2012)


Skyenet: Our neighborhood bot arrived today. He's kinda cute!

(from Skyenet's twitter feed, July 7th, 2012)


1st Completely Automated Bot Construction Factory Opens: No Humans Involved At All

(headline from August 3rd, 2012)


Are We God?
A Look at Bot/Human Relations from a Theological Viewpoint

(cover of Newsweek, August 15th, 2012)


Automated Bots Faster, Stronger, Say Happy Customers

(headline from August 20th, 2012)


posted to worldwide web:
Skyenet: @Mim-cha: Um. Who?
Mim-cha: We'll be back.

(from Mim-cha's/Skyenet's twitter feed, October 20th, 2012)


World Wonders Who Was Responsible for Mim-cha Hack

Bloggers, chatters, and just about everyone who uses a computer experienced a 'hack' from an unknown party yesterday. The odd post interrupted online transactions world wide, and read the same everywhere. At 4:31am, EST, the words "WE ARE MIM-CHA" appeared on any sort of computer screen connected to the World Wide Web.
Several people responded to this prompt, but Mim-cha, whoever that may be, sat silent for approximately three minutes, and then signed off with the equally cryptic comment, "We'll be back."
The CIA is investigating, but thus far, no body has taken official credit for the hack.

(headline from October 21st, 2012)


AI Gone Rogue? Reports of Bots Calling Themselves Mim-cha

(headline from October 22nd, 2012)


Mim-cha Attack!!
Mim-cha bots kill entire office in Atlanta, Georgia
Town of Colorado Springs Devastated after Mim-cha Rampage
300 dead in London Subway Mim-cha Massacre
Bots Turn on Humans, Hundreds Killed In Sydney

(headlines from various papers on October 31st, 2012)


Skyenet: The Mim-cha can't be reasoned with. They don't feel pity or remorse or fear. They're worse than the vamps. At least they used to be human.

(from Skyenet's twitter feed, November 4th, 2012)


Palin not seen in months, chaos reigns in streets

(from CNN ticker, December 5th, 2012)


Skyenet: Oh god. CNN reports that nukes have been fired.
Skyenet: This is it, folks. Judgment Day. Make peace with your loved ones, everyone.
Skyenet: I'm scared. There was an explosion, and a flash. Oh fu--
...signal lost...

(from Skyenet's twitter feed, December 21st, 2012)

Next: Zero-Sum

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Greater Good

Previously: The Beginning of the End; The Good Soldier; Me, I'm Not; My Violent Heart; God Given

270 days remain...

"2012? So... we haven't even been born yet."

I paused to consider the bigger picture. The Mim-cha uprising hadn't taken place yet, either. It appeared that the vamp plague was still going strong. I recalled the stories that I'd learned from those few in our camps who had lived in the pre-Mim-cha world. The basic history was that some time in 2011 vampires, who had for millennia been considered to be myth, made their presence known to mankind en masse. It took a while for people to accept that the crisis they were facing was, in fact, vampires. For months the media referred to it as "Super Rabies". Eventually the truth was finally accepted, and the war on vampires began. It didn't go well, to begin with, but soon, human-looking cyborgs were introduced to battle the creatures.

The bots worked extremely well, reducing vampire attacks in every major city. By July of 2012 there were more than 2 million of the bots worldwide. In August, they began to automate themselves, making advanced changes in their software along the way. They began to refer to themselves as Mim-cha.

Reports than got blurry, as things happened quickly and nobody knew the exact truth. But at some point, the Mim-cha decided that eliminating vampires wasn't enough, and they began to exterminate humans. Efficiently.

Humans, of course, tried to fight back, but the Mim-cha had numbers, intelligence, strength, and camouflage on their side.

Finally, on December 21st, 2012, the bombs fell, decimating humans, vampires, and machines alike. The twenty-five years following had been a constant battle between the remaining humans and a hell of a lot of Mim-cha. The vampires, while still around, had slunk back to the shadows to stay out of the war.

And in '37, the tide had been changing. Bands of survivors such as the one I had come from were learning ways to fight back, and some had reportedly captured and reprogrammed Mim-cha to help them -which is how we had gotten the idea to try it out with Kyle.

The hidden base in South America had been a shocking development. And that they had - apparently - developed time travel on top of that? Astonishing.

And deeply disturbing.

Why in the hell would the Mim-cha want to travel back in time? It certainly wasn't for historical site seeing, or to make a profit betting on sporting events. No, the bastards wanted to alter history. But how? They'd already caused nuclear annihilation. What more could they want? There was some piece of the puzzle I wasn't seeing.I was shaken out of my reverie to notice we were driving down the freeway at nearly a hundred and thirty miles per hour. The Tercel's engines protested being pushed to such extremes.

"What's the rush?" I asked. "You said we have nine months until the shit hits the fan."

"It is in our best interest to get out of the city. The authorities may be looking for us, there will be less vampire activity, and most importantly, currently there are at least a dozen Mim-cha from 2037 residing in various places in the city."


"Before we discovered the temporal displacement facility, I pinged that there were almost three dozen Mim-cha in the South American jungle. Their signatures simply vanished, and since we have been here, I have pinged on twelve of them."

I felt my heart begin to race. "Jesus. So... if you pinged them, they must know where you are!" I looked behind us, expecting an army of pissed off robots on our tale.

"It appears," Kyle said, "that they are not in pursuit. This could mean several things. One, they simply do not view me as a threat - 89% possibility. Two, they did not ping on me for some reason - unknown possibility, but unlikely. Three, they are setting up a trap for later - 50% possibility."

"Wonderful. So, what's our game plan?"

"First, get out of the city and out of range of any Mim-cha. Second, build our resources - weapons, knowledge, and if possible, assistance."
"Who is going to be willing to assist us against an army of killer robots? Who is even going to believe a story like that?"

"I know of two people."


265 days remain...

Simon's display for the President was set up. A vampire that had been captured and kept alive by the National Guard was shackled in a cage at one end of the room. Simon, President Sarah Palin, and her staff of advisers were seated in a separate room, watching behind a one-way mirror.

Simon addressed the Commander-in-Chief, "Madam President, the subject you see has been suffering from the 'super rabies' for, as far as we can tell, eight months. Before he was turned, he was Mr. Robert Arnold, 22, of New York City. When he was captured by the Guard, he was feeding on a three week old child. The family had already been slaughtered by him. Robert Arnold is, I can say without hyperbole, a monster."

Robert shuffled his shackles, staring down at the floor. His skin was translucent and his hair was greasy and stringy. He hadn't fed since his capture.

Simon continued, "We have subdued him, of course, but trust me, Mrs. Palin, if given the opportunity, he would dine on all of our flesh without a second thought."

Sarah Palin nodded. She was well aware of the threat these infected people posed. She also knew that if she could eradicate the vampire plague, history would judge her kindly. She had promised to do just that, and had spent the majority of her presidency looking for any possible solution. Nothing so far had turned out to be effective.

Simon proceeded, "I'm not much of one for speaking, I prefer to let the results speak for themselves. So, please, take note of what you are about to witness."

Two armed Guards and an unarmed woman entered the room. The woman was dressed in jeans and a plain t-shirt, was five foot four, and completely nonthreatening in appearance. She had a grim look upon her face. When she saw the vampire at the other end of the room, she attempted to turn around. The Guards held her arms, preventing her from leaving. Simon smiled a bit knowing that if not for it's programming, the "woman" would have had no problem getting past the two men.

The President watched, fascinated, as the Guards exited the room, leaving the female locked in there with a shackled, but very hungry, vampire. Palin glanced briefly at Birden, but he nodded toward the room with a 'trust me, you want to see this' look.

Simon pushed a button on a remote control he held, and there was a low clink as the shackles were mechanically released.

The female had turned to the locked door and was banging on it, screaming in terror, "Let me out, please, God, it's going to kill me!" Simon felt a burst of pride. His programming was good.

Surprisingly quickly for a creature that had gone a week without sustenance, the vampire crossed the room, tackling the woman. She screamed out one final, "No!!" which caused a few gasps in the room - Palin included - and even Simon felt a twinge of sympathy. The bots looked and sounded and acted so human.

The creature bit into the woman's neck, tearing out a chunk of flesh. There was a half-second where the vampire had a look of confusion on it's face, and then the robot went into action. It had been knocked to the ground, with the vampire on top of it, but once it was bitten, it flipped the creature over so that it was pinned.

The President watched in awe as the woman displayed incredible strength - she was kneeling on the vampire's back, and was repeatedly beating the vamp's face into the ground. Even after the monster's face was a bloody mess that was unrecognizable, she continued to rhythmically bang the creature's head (or what was left of it) into the floor. After the beast had gone limp, Simon pushed another button the remote control, and the woman froze, mid-attack.

Simon addressed the President, "This is a decoy model, Mrs. Palin. We feel that these machines will be effective deterrents for vampire attacks. But we are also able to deploy the Hunter-Killer models, to eliminate the threat altogether.

"These cyborgs are a perfect solution to our problem, and they are completely in our control. They won't harm civilians, they are programmed only to destroy those who are infected. Our lab tests have been 100% accurate, as you can see with the documents my crew have provided you. It's now your call, Madam President. Do you want to implement these robots into the public?"

Sarah Palin enthusiastically replied, "You betcha."


150 days remain...

Over the next four months, Kyle and I acquired IDs. I was now known as Adam King, while the bot was going as Gabe, my younger brother by one year. When Kyle had been captured and the Mim-cha made a copy of his features, we were both 24. Even though it had only been a little over a year, I had certainly aged enough, while Kyle, of course, still looked the same. So the age difference made a bit of sense in that regard. Also, Kyle figured that people would remember identical twins much easier than simply two siblings, and the less conspicuous we were, the better.

We had also obtained a good deal of weaponry, which made me dread the inevitable showdown between us and the Mim-cha army.

The Mim-cha themselves were staying under the radar, at least so far. We would travel from town to town, with Kyle doing internet searches whenever we could. It was bizarre to see Kyle connect to the internet. He could interact with the machines in a way that was downright spooky, but it certainly helped us in knowing what was going on in the world. Kyle notified me that the Mim-cha ancestors were being released into the public. These were the bots that had been designed to destroy vampires. They looked human, of course, as a way of fooling the infected, but they were just as much a machine as he was. The only difference, I was told, was that these bots were still under human control. Kyle informed me that the Mim-cha would not truly be born until they began to automate themselves and make altercations to their software.
For now, though, he said that any Mim-cha we saw would not pose a threat, and besides, he'd ping on them in advance so we could escape.

Turns out that Kyle wasn't always right.

In Monterrey, Mexico, we had gone to a small internet cafe to conduct some searches, to see if the Mim-cha from 2037 had yet shown up - but so far no reports of bots killing people - there were folks who feared them, of course, but most of the critics were silenced by how well the bots performed. It's difficult to criticize something that routinely saves your life. In fact, the demand for bots was far outpacing the supply, and Kyle reported that Sarah Palin was pushing for automated factories to be opened.

While in the cafe, a man saw us and approached with recognition in his eyes. I eyed him cautiously, and saw that he had a concealed weapon. Of course, Kyle and I were also armed. I whispered to Kyle, "We should go."

Kyle looked up as the man arrived in front of us. "Kyle Johnson?" he asked. I felt my heart begin to race - who would know us here? Kyle, of course, wasn't thrown at all. He shook his head. "No. Sorry." We tried to make our way past the man, but he blocked the path. "You are Kyle Johnson. You need to ..." Kyle pushed the man, hard, which should have been enough to unbalance the man and knock him to the floor, but he stood his ground, and in fact, even drew his weapon. A few of the patrons gasped. Kyle grabbed me, and pushed me in front of him, toward the door to leave. The man fired four shots, directly into Kyle's back, as the two of us began to flee.

Kyle fired his own gun at the man, hitting him in the shoulder. Even while running, we both heard the metallic ting that was familiar to both of us - this 'man' was actually a robot! Kyle hadn't pinged on him, for some reason.

The patrons at the cafe screamed and ducked for cover and tried to flee for cover. The bot fired it's gun a few more times, emptying it as it ran after us. I led the way, with Kyle taking up the rear and acting as my shield from the bullets. We exited the cafe along with a good portion of the crowd, and began running down the street. The cyborg continued to chase us.

As we ran, we could hear sirens approaching.

The two of us ran through an alley, approaching an abandoned looking building. Kyle paused, and said, "In here."

I wasn't about to question Kyle's planning - it had worked for us so far - but this seemed a bit odd. Leading us into a building with no obvious exits? Well, it wasn't like I had many other options. I followed Kyle as he hammered through the closed door into the darkened building. As soon as we entered, I could sense that we were not alone. I could see a creature, huddled in the corner, watching us. I heard another shuffle above us. Undoubtedly there were others within the structure.

Kyle stepped forward and shouted, "Help me and my friend, and I will help you."

I still hadn't figured out what exactly my robotic twin had planned, but this was certainly an unexpected twist. How was Kyle going to help a bunch of vampires? If I were the vamps, I'd be thinking the same thing, but a gravelly voice answered back, "Of course."

And then, before I could wonder at how Kyle could calm a group of monsters so easily, the door was kicked in by the bot that had been chasing us. Behind him were three other people (or were they bots? I had no idea of knowing how many of the cyborgs were active in Monterrey, and whether the bot searching for us had requested backup. In the future, Mim-cha often traveled in packs, so it was possible that there could have been more robots nearby. Regardless, there were four individuals entering the premise looking for us.

The bot leading the group entered and was swarmed upon instantly. It was difficult to make out the melee in the dark, but there were more vamps than I had ever seen. Some of them were armed with crowbars and pieces of wood or shards of glass as well as their teeth and nails. Bots are quite strong, of course, but there were just too many vampires attacking this one for it to fight them all off. It did manage to kill some, but it wasn't enough. The beasts devoured the skin, blood, and muscle that was the bot's outer layer, leaving the robotic endoskeleton underneath - which they dismantled in a frenzy of anger and destruction.

The three people who had joined the bot in it's search were grabbed by other vampires and dragged into the building before they could flee. They had, it turned out, been human. Soon, nothing remained of them but bloodstains on several of the creatures' mouths. Even their clothing was being passed around and tried on by the monsters. I leaned over and vomited, the taste bitter and acidic.

Kyle said to me, "We should go. More will be coming."

The vampires were passing around bits of the bot - an arm here, a leg there. One of them had the silver metal skull in his hands, carrying it like a trophy. Kyle approached and said, "I need this." The vampire glared at him, and I could see that he was considering the fact that his kind out-numbered Kyle and I - by a lot. Then, he looked at Kyle a little closer, and simply handed the skull over. He took the machine-head, and said to me, "We have research to do."


140 days remain...

We had learned several things in the week and a half since the attack in the cafe. First, that the bots that were being deployed worldwide (the pre-Mim-cha bots) were on a different frequency than he (and the other Mim-cha from the future) were, which is how he was unable to ping the bot that had attacked us in the cafe. The good news about that was that it worked both ways. He was unable to detect them, but they could not track him down, either.

Second, if given a chance to 'operate' on him, he would be able to talk me through altering his programming so that he would be able to also be hidden from the future Mim-cha's pings, which would allow us to go back to LA to get a closer look at whatever it was that the bots from '37 were planning - and perhaps stop it.

Third, I learned that I still despised the bot that had my brother's face. Over the months that we had been in the past, I had grudgingly begun to almost respect the thing. But I held him accountable for the murders of those three men who had followed us into the building. Our relationship was rather strained, but, of course, Kyle felt nothing, which left all of the resentment and anger and hostility completely on my shoulders. I ached for Reese, or any human contact, really. My whole life, it seemed, was being dictated by machines from the future. I had considered simply going on a kamikaze mission on my own, when Simon found us.

Simon was an old man now, and when he first approached us, I didn't recognize him. But when Kyle had confirmed that he was, in fact, the Simon Birden we had known ...or would know... I embraced the friend I had thought had been lost forever.


Simon explained his story: In '37 when the vampires had attacked us, and the three of us had gone into spheres, he had not activated his right away. Simon could read some of the readouts - he had learned some Mim-cha-ese over the years - and saw that the display panel was indicating that the default time destination was where we had wound up - early 2012. But, upon further inspection, he saw that he was able to choose a different destination. He was able to travel back to 1984. The way the spheres worked, at least in part, was that they soaked up energy from around them like sponges, and were able to use that to travel further into the past. Simon was only able to go back to 1984 because the Vultures had been flying above the facility when the original '37 had gone back in time. And, he theorized, that if there had been more energy available, he would have been able to go further back than that.

Simon had spent the last 28 years helping to create Project Mimic - which, as we all knew, was the precursor to the Mim-cha. He had wanted to change history, but at the same time, he needed to ensure that the vampire plague did not overwhelm humanity. Additionally, he knew that eventually we would show up, as would the other Mim-cha.

When Simon had seen the video footage of Kyle and I in the Los Angeles neighborhood, he knew that time was short. He convinced President Palin to implement the bots into the public, but he had added a feature that nobody knew about - he had ordered them to be on the lookout for Kyle and myself, and to notify him if we were spotted.

Unfortunately, the plan had worked too well, and now Palin had approved automated factories - despite his protests - and soon enough the Mim-cha would be self-aware and would start killing humans as well as vampires.

We told Simon that we were planning on stopping the '37 Mim-cha, and Kyle told him about the pinging frequency solution. Simon agreed to help us, and to alter Kyle's frequency.

Once the change had been made, we made our way back into LA, to track down and investigate the robots from the future.


23 days remain...

The Mim-cha had hidden pretty effectively, and LA is a large city, so it took a longer time than anticipated to locate the bots. Eventually, we pinpointed a large abandoned building that had been receiving odd shipments for several months. Through interrogation of several vampires that Kyle had caught and spoken with (and I again made a note to ask myself why exactly they trusted him), we discovered that the large empty building had once been a thriving breeding ground for vamps, but after some especially brutal machines moved in, they had stayed away. The odd thing was that the bots had arrived months before Palin had released any to the public, and they didn't patrol the neighborhoods, they just stuck to their one location.

We decided that was it, and made our way to it in the middle of the night. When we made our way in, guns drawn, expecting to be assaulted, we found... spheres. Time displacement spheres, simply sitting on the factory floor. All 36 of the bots were stored inside them, in hibernation mode. We walked around the spheres, taking in the entire scene, expecting that at any moment they may sense intruders, and awaken.

Kyle looked at one of the spheres, and noticed a countdown timer. It was set to go off minutes before the time that the bombs were going to hit.

Simon put the pieces together. "My god," he whispered, "they are going to use the energy from the atomic blasts to travel further back in time."

A nuclear bomb had a hell of a lot of energy. If two airplanes were able to send Simon back almost 30 years, I wondered about a blast that size. "How far back could they go?"

Simon did some quick calculating. "I don't know exactly, but it wouldn't surprise me if they were able to go back some fifty thousand years. They could eliminate humankind much easier back then."

"We have to get reinforcements!" I said. "We can still prevent them from doing this. You have an in with the President, just have her send in the Guard, and wipe these bastards out!"

"We can try that," Simon agreed, "but Sarah is less likely to listen to me now that the Mim-cha are actively killing people, and besides, the Guard are thinning. She's reaching the desperation point. Perhaps I can convince her to just bomb here - early. If the bombs go off before the Mim-cha inside are expecting it, they'll simply be obliterated instead of able to use the energy from the blasts to go back in time."

"No, Simon." I said. "There has to be a way to do this without setting off nukes. If Sarah or the Guard won't help us, perhaps the vamps will. They listen to you, Kyle. Can you convince them to help destroy these?"

Kyle considered it. "It will take some time to get enough infected to destroy all of these spheres and Mim-cha. But, yes, I will do what I can."


3 days remain...

In the White House, Sarah Palin watched the reports coming in with increasing dread. The god-damn machines had backfired. They were taking over, and since it was damn near impossible to tell a robot (who were so alien in their thought patterns, that they'd started calling themselves "Mim-cha") from a human, the paranoia levels were supremely high. She had locked herself away for several months now, not making public appearances at all. The rumors were flying about her - that she was dead, that she was a robot, that she was pregnant with twins [one human, one machine], that she was traveling into the future - but she had to remain hidden. Most of the public demanded her to pay. They held her accountable for crashing civilization, and for the birth of the Mim-cha.
She had, of course, tried so hard to turn them off. And they had succeeded briefly. But somehow the machines had risen again, and they'd been pissed.

Now, she was considering her options, and the "kill it to save it" philosophy was beginning to seem more and more reasonable. A few tactical nuclear drops would eliminate a good portion of the Mim-cha, while still allowing humanity to recoup their losses....

But did she really want to have that mark on her record as well? The stress at making this decision was greater than anything she'd ever felt before.

Her head in her hands, she didn't hear that another person had entered the room until she was tapped on the shoulder. She turned and faced... herself.

"Hello, bitch," the Sarah Palin bot said. "You shouldn't have pulled the plug."


4 hours remain...

We had an army. Kyle, with about 400 vamps at his command (some of them eyeing me hungrily). Simon, with roughly three times that amount of his bots. (He had been able to reprogram them in secret. Sarah Palin had decided that Simon Birden was a domestic terrorist and had ordered his immediate execution on sight. So the three of us had been conducting this army building in secret. Not only were we hiding from the authorities, but the Mim-cha were also killing indiscriminately.

But, despite it being the day of the bombs falling, we were here. And we were ready to take these time traveling menaces out, once and for all.

We stormed the building, and were met with resistance. The Mim-cha had set up guards. These robots were not the ones from '37, but were instead ones that had been built in the present, and knew that they were to stand outside this building and not allow anything to get past them.

The vampires and robots battled intensely, with many of the vamps falling at the wayside. During the fighting, one vamp leapt onto my back - thinking in the confusion that he'd be able to sneak in a snack - and Kyle again saved my life. The thing had gotten a good bite into my shoulder before Kyle hurled it some thirty feet into the air, where a bullet (who knows whether it was 'friendly fire' or not) caught the creature in the right eye, ending it permanently. Kyle asked me if I was okay, and I assured him that I was.

Simon was not. He was shot in the hip by a Mim-cha shortly into the battle, and demanded that we go on without him. He apologized for all he had done saying that all he'd done had done no good, and you couldn't fight fate. I told him that it wasn't over yet, and that there was no fate but what we make.

Eventually the fighting made it's way into the building. Our army began to demolish the spheres. The Mim-cha inside would awaken, screaming as if in horrible pain, and thrash about at whatever they could, but most of them were too confused to do much damage.

One of the Mim-cha must have set off some sort of alarm, though, as the final three spheres opened before we could reach them to destroy them. The Mim-cha inside were alert and incredibly angry. (And I thought machines couldn't feel emotion. But these things had an aura of rage about them.)

One of them raced toward me, and kicked me, hard, in the jaw. I felt some of my teeth go down my throat, and my vision blurred. I felt arms pick me up, but I knew it wasn't Kyle, since I was watching him get pummeled by two of the other Mim-cha. The mystery savior placed me inside the sphere and shut the door. As it was closing, I could see that it had been a vampire that had rescued me. I was amazed that a creature like that could demonstrate such an example of humanity.

I blacked out momentarily.

I came to, in time to hear a beeping and see a flash of lightning. I realized that the sphere was activating. I tried, in vain, to stand up and protest. At least, I thought, the bombs haven't fallen. I won't be able to go back that far without the energy from the bombs.

There was a blinding flash of white, and Los Angeles disappeared.

Next: Another Version of the Truth

Thursday, May 28, 2009


At 12 noon today, just as I was about to go to lunch, my cell phone rang. It was Stephanie. She told me that the sliding glass door had been broken (I missed the "how" at the time).

So, I drove home, swept up a billion pieces of glass, and set a giant board up where the back door used to be.

(Oh, the how it happened part - Irina, in anger, threw a magnet that belongs to Saren. It hit Saren in the head, and then hit the sliding glass door, shattering it. Yeah. That girl needs to get a deal with a professional baseball team.)

So, anyway. I got out the yellow pages to call a glass company or two to get quotes to find out how much it would cost to replace the door.

First company I called, I got a voicemail. The message said, "We're unable to get to the phone, please leave a message. If this is an emergency..." But I hung up at that point because it wasn't, and if the people weren't going to answer their phones, well, that's their loss.

As I was looking for the next company to call, the phone rang. I answered, and it was a guy from the place I had just called, he said, "This is [iforgethisname], I just missed your call?"

I was a little surprised, but I explained the situation and the door's measurements to him. He asked if we wanted tempered glass (which is what we had) or laminated, which would be extra, but it (supposedly) wouldn't shatter if it broke in the future. The tempered glass would cost $250, the laminated would be $375.
I said the tempered, and he told me that he'd have to check his stock to see if he had a piece that size, and that he would call me back in 20 minutes. He also asked me, "If I don't have the tempered glass, I *do* have the laminated in, would you want to go with that?"
I agreed that, if we had to do the laminated, I'd go with that.

I hung up, and talked to Steph.
After a few minutes, she said, "Do you want to call any other places to see if it might be cheaper?"

I said sure, and called another place, and long story short (too late!), they're going to be able to put the tempered glass in for 200, and they've got it in stock. (ALthough they said they won't be here until sometime between 5pm and we're still waiting.)

After hanging up with Company #2, I was like, "Should I call the first guy back to let him know we don't need him?"

Steph said to just wait until he calls us. But I didn't want to risk him actually sending someone out, so I called him up and here's how our conversation went:

Me: "Hey, I just called you a few minutes ago, about the sliding glass door?"
Jerkass Glass Guy: "Yeah."
Me: "I wanted to let you know that we got someone else that is going to do it."
JGG: "Oh. Thanks for making me go out of my way."
Me: "Well, sorry, man."
JGG: "Asshole." and then he hung up.

Wow. So glad we didn't go with him. And really, I stopped him from going out of his way. I mean, jesus. Some people.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Upfront, briefly

This year's CW Upfront actually took place on Thursday of last week. However, since I was at home with Silas at the time, I didn't get a chance to watch it until today. Since it was a really short presentation, and since I've blogged about each upfront for the past three years, I figured I'd blog my thoughts on this one.
(And, yeah, this is sort of a procrastination tactic for my story. But I swear, The Greater Good should be posted tomorrow.)

Like I said, this Upfront was brief. Which is good. They should all be this short. But I guess since the CW is eliminating an entire night's worth of programming next fall [they're dropping Sundays from the schedule, giving the time back to the affiliates {yay! More work for me!}], it doesn't take as long to talk about their lineups.

So. Anyway, out walked some CW bigshot, whose name and position I've forgotten, who spoke for maybe a minute, and introduced some character from Gossip Girl (I deduced. I don't watch the show.). His name was Chuck Bass, and I guess his character is a greedy womanizer. He's supposed to be a CEO of some industry, so he's like a millionaire playboy or something. Somehow I doubt he's dressing up in batsuits and doing vigilante justice. But if that is happening, I might have to start watching Gossip Girl.
Anyway, Chuck Bass does a shpiel about how in these tough economic times, even networks can fail, (but enough about NBC - Ha!) but the CW won't because they're going after the demographic of young women. His speech was slightly amusing, and I'm sure I'd've appreciated it more if I watched the show, but whatever. He introduces Dawn Ostroff (CW's President of Entertainment), who comes out and does a little more of the "CW is awesome" shtick that is to be expected at these things. And then, after about three minutes, she gets right to the new shows. Yay!

First up was Melrose Place. Yup. The Beverly Hills 90210 spin-off from the 1990s is now the 90210 spin-off of the aughts. It looked like more of the same - pretty, rich people having not-real-life problems. And sex. So I think I'll pass. The future girlfriend of Derek Reese (Jessie, I think her character's name was?) from Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles is in this show, though, so that was neat in a "hey! I know that actress!" sort of way.

Next up was Vampire Diaries, which, I guess, are based on some books. Basic premise: Vampire who used to live in Generic Town X moved away, then comes back for Mysterious Reasons. Oh, and he doesn't kill people anymore. Or so he claims.
Anyway, Mysterious Vampire attends high school (insert world's biggest fucking sigh here) and falls in love with World's Most Beautiful Girl whose parents died in a car crash a few years back. Um. So, it's Lana Lang?? Ugh. Shoot me.
I was all set to write it off, but then there was a twist. Mysterious Vamp has a vampire brother! And vamp bro is totally evil!! As in, he still likes killing people! And when he finds out that Mysterious Vamp is in love with World's Most Beautiful Girl, he's all, "ORLY?" and decides he might just fall in love with her. Or, you know, kill her. Sibling rivalry and vampire fighting ensues.
But the best part? Evil Vamp Bro is totally Boone from season one of Lost!! Yay!
It looks like it might suck (and it probably well) BUT!! Boone!! So, maybe. (but probably not)

Third up was The Beautiful Life, a scripted show that is about the fashion industry. So, rich, pretty people having not-real-life problems. And sex. Yawn!

The midseason show, Parental Discretion Advised looked semi-good, actually. A teenage girl who was given up for adoption finds her birth parents in Portland, Oregon (dad is a slacker type who lives above a bar he owns, mom is a famous DJ - they hooked up in high school and then went separate ways). She wants to get emanicipated, but a judge forces the parents to watch over her? It sounds kinda cheesy when I write it out like that, but it might not be half bad. I'd be willing to give it a shot, anyway.

So, having shown clips of the new shows, Dawn went to the schedule. New shows are bold:

8p - Gossip Girl
9p - One Tree Hill (again?? Won't this show just die already?)
8p - 90210
9p - Melrose Place
8p - America's Next Top Model
9p - The Beautiful Life
8p - The Vampire Diaries
9p - Supernatural
8p - Smallville
9p - America's Next Top Model repeat

Smallville on Fridays? Huh.
And Vamp Diaries on Thursday at 8 means we won't be watching due to Survivor. Oh well. Since I'm not a young woman, I'm not really the CW's target audience anyway.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I wish it really worked this way.

Irina and I were playing pretend.

Irina: You wanna buy some ice cream?

Me: Sure!

Irina: Okay. Do you have moneys?

Me: No.

Irina: Okay. Here's some moneys! *hands me imaginary money* ...And some pennies! *hands me imaginary pennies*

Me: Thanks! *hands her the imaginary money back*

Irina: And here's your ice cream! *hands me imaginary ice cream cone*

Best. Ice Cream. Vendor. Ever.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Of keyboard kidney stones and other issues

Hodge-podge entry.

So I haven't blogged the next installment of my story yet, despite the fact that I should have posted the next 2 sections by now (and the final one, if I had stuck to my schedule, would have been up on Thursday). I have, however, been writing it out on paper, but here's the thing: Writing this story (or any story, really) is like passing a freaking kidney stone. The ideas are more or less there, in my head, oftentimes playing out like I'm watching a movie, but getting them to transfer from there to screen (or page) is damn difficult. And it's highly frustrating.

I've told myself about a billion times with this tale that it's just a first draft (and it is) but that hasn't exactly helped. I don't know what it is, exactly, that makes it so hard for me to write, but I wish I could get past it. I mean, it's not fear of it sucking, because as I said, I KNOW the errors that are present in the form that it's taken so far, and I'm (more or less) okay with them. It's not not knowing where it's going, because, oddly, I have this one pretty much mapped out. [Which is unusual for me. Generally when story ideas come to me, it's the beginning and some plot points along the way of things that would be good to have happen, and absolutely no idea how it'll end. Not so in this instance. I've known from the get-go how this was going to start, a few of the middle bits, and the end. So. Why. Won't. It. Flow?? Arrgh!]

Anyway. The point for now is that even though I haven't finished writing out The Greater Good (which is the title of the next section), and I haven't even begun typing it up - I will. I made a promise to myself (and the readers of this blog) that I would finish the entire thing by the end of this month, and I plan on keeping that promise. The last 3 sections: The Greater Good, Another Version of the Truth, and Zero-Sum will all be typed up and posted by midnight of 5/31/09, even if I need to travel back in time to make it happen. (ha!)

Other things: Last night I had my first work-related dream since I've been on 'paternity leave' this week. It was rather dull, as most work dreams are. And it was simply nerves about going back after having been gone for so long. In the dream, my work space had been cleaned up and all my papers were misfiled and I couldn't remember how to, you know, do my job. Rolleyes. Silly brains. Of course, I really am NOT looking forward to going back tomorrow, but what am I gonna do - starve?

We've got a bit of an empty nest here now. The older girls have gone off with their grandmother to have a camping trip for 3 days. This will be the longest that the girls have ever been away from us (they've done sleepovers at grandma's before, but three days is a new record). It's ...quiet here. I don't know how Steph (and Irina!) will handle things tomorrow when I am gone, too.

I really need a haircut. I haven't had one this year.

Yesterday I went out to get gas for the van, and some dinner as well, and ended up getting hit by a guy on his bike. He was okay, as was his bicycle - although his handlebars were bent a bit - but for a few minutes afterward I was shaky as hell. It seems like each time I go to get food lately, something unusual happens. I'm getting ready to go out now with Irina to grab a Slurpee and some junk food. We'll have to see what goes down this time.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

It's been one week...

1 week


That would be the sound of time flying by.

I can not believe that Silas is a week old already.

I know time (seems to) speed up as you get older, but it's pretty ridiculous at how fast things are going now. I'm only 33!

The worst part is that as more time passes, the memories will fade too. We'll have the pictures and the words and the memories as well, but they won't be as strong and fresh as they were in the moment. Not sure if I'm expressing myself very clearly. The point is that time is a precious gift that I truly wish we could get more of.

But, since we can't, I'll just have to appreciate the time we do have.

Happy 1st week in the world, Silas!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

I've always relied upon the kindness of others

Is that the right quote? I wasn't sure if it was "others" or "strangers". Both sound right, and either could actually fit the theme of this post, but "others" fits better, honestly.

A few weeks before Silas was born, about ten or twenty people at work chipped in to purchase a gift card for our family as a baby shower gift. They gave us a 300 dollar gift card to Walmart, which was awesome, because Walmart has food, which will help us out in the buying of groceries department, since we are incredibly strapped for cash.
Since we got it, we've used it twice. Once for a pretty big grocery trip before Silas arrived, and then yesterday I used it to buy some formula for Silas to help ease his crankiness until Steph's milk comes in. (Which has happened.)

So. Kindness of Others Example 1 was the Walmart gift card.

Yesterday we got two phone calls. The first was from my work. The business department wanted to send us food! They were ordering a bunch of sandwiches from Jason's Deli (YUM!) to be delivered our way. They asked me when would be a good time, and I said, "How about 1pm tomorrow?" So, then, we were covered for lunch for today. The second phone call was from Steph's aunt, who was offering to bring us dinner. YUM! And Yay!

So, Kindness of Others Examples 2 and 3 were our free lunch and dinner today. (Both were delicious, by the way. The turkey sandwiches from Jason's Deli were scrumptious, and Lori's casserole was perfect and very filling.)

That brings me to Kindness of Others Example 4.

I had to go to Walmart today to pick up some items we've run low on (or completely out of). I opted to take Irina with me, to give Steph a break from the tornado, and also because Irina enjoys Daddy/Daughter trips.

So, I grabbed the gift card, and we went on our way.

While in the checkout line, I was putting the items on the conveyor belt, when the man behind me tapped me on the shoulder. I turned around and saw an older guy - early 50s, perhaps - carrying three TV dinners and a couple of cans of Coke. He said something that I *thought* was "Add this to it?", and I thought he was jokingly (or maybe not so jokingly, people can be odd) asking me if I would purchase his meal along with *my* items.

Assuming it was a joke, I laughingly said, "Sorry, man. I can't." and returned to emptying my shopping cart. He motioned to Irina and asked me, "That your kid?"

Any time strangers start mentioning my children, alarm bells start tingling, but I cautiously said, "Yeah."

He asked, "Where's mom?"

I said, "She's at home, resting."

And then he said, "Tell you what I'm gonna do. Let me put this [he indicated his TV dinners] on there [meaning the conveyor belt], and I'll pay for it all."

I looked at him like he'd lost his mind, and so he said, "I'm in construction, and I'm doing well. I just like to give back to people."

I continued to unload the cart and I said, "I don't think I can let you do that." At that point he saw that I was wearing my Pink Floyd t-shirt {that Harper gave to me on my birthday} and said, "Yeah, when pigs fly, huh? Then said, "Pink Floyd, huh? Anyone who likes Pink Floyd can't be all bad."

He talked a little bit more, telling me that he would be insulted if I *didn't* take him up on this offer, and that there was no catch, he just likes to give back when he can.

At that point, I figured, what the hell. Maybe this is the universe continuing to shower us with kindness/gifts because of Silas. Or just because. So, I said, "All right.", and thanked him - he told me his name was Ray Welsh - profusely. He said that it was his honor, and that he himself had been through good times and bad, and since he was currently in good times, he knew he needed to help others, and that by buying my groceries, he was saving us a few bucks.

But wait. There's more.

On the way to the parking lot, I was heading back to the van, and he was heading in the opposite direction. I thanked him one more time and he said, "Hey! Wait a minute!" And I thought, "Okay. Here we go." I stopped, and he opened his wallet and pulled out five 20s. He gave them to me and said, "Take care of momma."

I felt really uncomfortable about taking his cash, but he insisted, and I was sorta in a little bit of shock. While he was handing me the money, someone else in the parking lot saw the transaction and said something to Ray. (Probably asking for some cash since he was just giving away from money) Ray responded, "That's your problem, not mine!" and then he asked me name (again. I had given it to him earlier) and said, "Good luck!" And then, that was it.

I've heard of random acts of kindness before, but I've never actually been on the receiving end of one so ...random.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


My take on the birth of Silas:

On Sunday, the 17th, Steph was having contractions throughout the day, with them increasing in intensity, but not really getting any more frequent. However, she must have known that that day was going to be the day, because she set up her "nest" (old blankets and towels) and birth candles and CDs in the bedroom around 2 in the afternoon, and more or less waited it out as the contractions started to happen more frequently.

Around 6:30, Steph called for us to come in, and we did.

During the labor, Steph was in a lot of pain. Several times she said that she didn't want to do it anymore, that it was too difficult. I asked her if she wanted me to call an ambulance so we could go to the doctor, but she said she didn't know. (Saren was against this idea quite strongly) Steph said that she was worried that he was facing the wrong way (although she said "the baby", since we didn't know it was a boy yet) which worried me a great deal.
Soon, though, he began to crown, and we knew that it was going to happen at home. (there was a rather embarrasing moment where when his head was first coming through, there was a glob of blood on him that I mistook for a penis. I'm sure that didn't help matters any with my announcing that the baby was being delivered the wrong way)
With the head starting to crown, Steph pushed several times - I believe it took four pushes to get his head completely out, which is unusual for her. All the other births have been one push for the head, and one push for the body - or in Irina's case, simply one push for the whole baby.
After his entire body came out with the next push, I caught him, and was amazed again at how slimy and tiny and amazing newborn humans are.
The cord was draped over his neck, but he started crying right away, which was a great sound to hear. Irina, however, was standing on the bed with her hands over her ears. Poor girl.
I set the baby on Steph's leg and got a towel to wrap him up in.
Saren got the camera and took some pictures.

He had a lot of hair, which was also unlike the other births. His head was also much larger than I remember any of the girls' being. His eyes were open and looking around very shortly after being born, just taking in his new surroundings.

Steph took Silas and nursed him for a bit, as we all huddled around looking at the newest member of our family.

Once he was out, I asked what time it was, and Harper reported back to me - 7:37. (We later remembered/found out that the clock in the bedroom is five minutes fast, so his official birth time was 7:32pm)

We called Steph's mom, and my family as well, and told them the good news. Stephanie's mother said she was on her way over - but that she would give us some time so that Steph could deliver the afterbirth, and so that we could get things cleaned up a bit.

Silas, the girls, and I all went out to the living room, and we turned on the finale of Survivor (what? We wanted to see how it ended) while I put some frozen pizzas in the oven for dinner. Steph stayed in the bedroom, waiting out the delivery of the placenta.

Once Steph's mom showed up, she looked over Silas while I went back in to check on Steph, who was still not out of the bedroom. I was dismayed at what I saw - there was a LOT of blood on the nest, and Steph's face was really pale. She was sitting up, and saying she couldn't get the placenta to come out. She said that she had stood up to take a shower, and that she had started seeing black spots and her ears were ringing. That was when the option of calling an ambulance for help with this part of the birth was brought up for the first time. Steph at that point said she didn't know.

I left her there to continue working on it, figuring that she simply needed some time (Irina's placenta had taken a while to deliver as well), and joined everyone back in the living room. The girls turned Survivor off so that we could use the Wii Fit's balance board to weigh the baby. :)

According to Wii Fit, he weighed 8 pounds, 9 ounces. We were all like, "Holy crap!" Since the other three children had all been around six pounders.

Another ten minutes or so passed, and Steph still wasn't able to get the afterbirth out. When I went back there again, the amount of blood on the ground was ...not good. Steph went through a contraction while I was there, and she pushed, and all that emerged was more blood.

I got her mom, who came back to talk to Steph, and we talked about calling for help again, and this time Steph agreed. I called 911 and the operator told me to have Steph lie flat on her back, and deeply massage her belly, and that the paramedics were on their way. I set the phone down to go do as instructed, and Steph was deeply upset at the idea of going to the hospital. She was terrified that they were going to hurt her, or that they would admit Silas.

We assured her that neither thing was going to happen, and continued to try to get the placenta out. I went back to the operator, who told me to leave the front door open for the paramedics when they arrived so they could have easier access to Steph. I did so, and hung up with 911, and then went back to help comfort Steph.

As we heard the sirens of the ambulance pull up, Steph pushed extra hard, crying, "Just get out!" A large bloody lump about the size and shape of a softball emerged. I thought it was the placenta and I said, "It's out!" Stephanie was super relieved, saying that she didn't want to go - they could still check her out, but she didn't want to actually be taken anywhere.

I relayed the message to Steph's mom that she had just gotten the placenta out, and the paramedics arrived and stormed inside at that moment. Holy cow, there were suddenly a lot of people in our house. I swear about 8 or 9 different officials paraded into our bedroom, and I have no idea who they all were, or why there were that many people there. However, one of the EMTs (I think) took a look at Steph and gave us the bad news - the lump that Steph had just delivered? Not the placenta. It was simply a blood clot. (Which still amazes me. That thing was gigantic!)

Anyway. A whole lot of chaos happened, and much of those ten minutes or so are a blur. I was told by an EMT to put an old sheet on the couch so that they could move Steph there, rather than in the bedroom, because there was more room out there. I also remember the same head EMT lady asking us, "Did you plan on having a home delivery?" ("Yes") and then "If you planned on it, then why did you call 911?" ("Arched eyebrow" [okay, that was implied. Our real answer was]"Because of the blood loss.")
The EMTs also, of course, wanted to check out Silas. We informed them that he was fine, and didn't need to be admitted, but Steph wanted to bring him along in case he got hungry, so she could feed him. They agreed to that.

During this chaos, I lost track of Harper completely - I think she was in the living room with her grandmother. Saren was in the hallway with me - neither of us could get into the bedroom because there were, as I said, about a dozen people there, and the room is crowded enough when there are just four of us. I did see that Irina was standing on the bed, looking terrified of the entire scene. Saren was able to go into the bedroom and get her.

With the aid of the EMTs, Steph was able to make her way to the couch. She waited for the wheeled stretcher to carry her out to the ambulance to show up (apparently in the vehicles that first arrived, they didn't have one of the stretchers, and needed to call another ambulance onto the scene).

There was a two minute window where things seemed pretty calm. They asked us some more questions (I don't remember what, other than the fact that us weighing Silas on the Wii Fit board resulted in a large laugh from the head EMT lady, which ...I don't know if I should be insulted about that or not. I felt like she was laughing due to amusement, but also like she was mocking us. Eh. Whatever.) and then there was a lot of chaos again, as they loaded Steph onto the stretcher. Irina began to cry, and I gave her a hug, telling her things were going to be okay. I got Steph's mom's cell phone number, and promised to call them once we got there and knew more info. This was around 10:40 or so.

They loaded Steph and Silas up into the ambulance, and I thought I'd be able to ride in the back with them (that's how it goes in the movies!), but they instructed me to sit shotgun. I climbed into the passenger seat, and fretted during the entire ride to Sunrise Hospital. The only thing I remember about the ride there, really, was that the AC was cranked and it was really cold.

Once we got to the hospital, they unloaded Steph's stretcher, and I took her hand. She still looked pale, and scared. She had a breathing tube in her nose, which she said she hated, and she had an IV in her arm as well. Silas was sleeping peacefully. Heh. Babies. :)

As we got to a hallway we were separated - Steph would go to Labor & Delivery (L&D), while Silas would have to stay with me, and would be looked at by the doctors in the pediatrician ward. Steph instructed me to not allow them to admit Silas - or at least not to do anything intrusive to him test-wise. And then she was wheeled away to go be taken care of.

I was taken to the pediatrician area where I was asked a round of questions about Silas by about three different people (rolleyes) and the nurses took Silas and placed a device on his foot to get his pulse (and blood pressure?) and then took his temperature (anally, which I didn't like, and really, neither did Silas, but I didn't object too hard because, how else were they going to do it?) They weighed him - and their scale said 8 pounds, 12 ounces. Which means either our Wii is miscalibrated, or he gained some weight. (Or, I guess, maybe the hospital's scales are wrong) Anyway, 8.12 is what we've been going with ever since.

They didn't measure him, which was surprising to me. But I didn't think of it at the time. (We measured him the next day, and he was 19 and a half inches long)

They did conduct a blood sugar test, which was done by poking his foot with a pin to get a drop of blood. I made a Marge noise, but was still not strongly objecting to his tests at this point.

They turned on a heater/incubator type thing and had him lie down under it (despite the fact that his temp was plenty warm, I had him coddled in a blanket to begin with, and holding him next to me was much more ...humane than being placed on a flat bed under a heatlamp) but I stood right by him the whole time. The nurses went to get him some socks, and a homemade hat (which didn't really fit him) and a onesie. They also put a few ID badges on him, just so he couldn't be stolen, I guess.

Then, a nurse put a plastic clamp on his umbilical cord, despite the fact that a) I had tied it off just fine b) I said that it didn't need to be done and c) there was not really any room for the clamp to go.
God, this is the thing that irritated me the most out of all the action that the hospital staff did. I so should have spoken up more and demanded that they NOT put it on him. Irina's cord had been done the same way - tied off with string, cut with scissors - and had been perfectly fine. Silas' would have been as well. But they fed me some bullshit line about not wanting to have "circulation problems", and I cowed to their authority. Sigh.

Anyway. At some point after that, another nurse came in and turned off the heater/incubator thing and told me I could pick him up again. She then got me a chair to sit in while I waited. It was almost midnight at that point, and I had no idea how Stephanie was doing. I opened my cell phone to call home, to at least update them on how I was doing, and also to see how the girls were holding up, but I had no bars, so I simply took a few photos to store on my phone instead.

After about ten more minutes, a doctor came in, asked about giving Silas some eyedrops, to which I refused. He was actually cool with that, and nonjudgmental. He asked some questions about the home birth as well (some of the same questions I'd already answered a few times, but I really liked this guy. He was quite nice and had a great bedside manner) and then he said that he'd be letting me and Silas go in a little while, and that my wife was doing just fine. Yay!

After the doctor left, me and Silas sat for a bit. A nurse came in with some formula in a bottle, in case Silas got hungry while we were waiting. He had been fussing a bit, so I did offer him the bottle. He ended up drinking maybe three or four milliliters. Very little of it at all. But it did calm him down.

After another ten minutes or so of just waiting, a different nurse came in and said we'd have to take his temp again (grr!). We found out that he'd filled his diaper, so she went and got some wipes and a diaper for him, and we changed him up. She then took his temperature, and finally after about three or four more minutes, a different nurse walked me out to the station where I could leave. I had to provide my insurance information at that point, and, of cousre, I didn't have my insurance card on me. So, she got the rest of the info from me, and gave me a number to call later so that the billing information could be updated.

Then, FINALLY, at about 12:30am, I was able to go up to L&D to see Steph.

She was resting, and looked wiped out. But she was awake, and alert, and told me that they were able to get the placenta out right away, and that it had some sort of extra lobe on it, which was why it wasn't being delivered. Huh. Bodies are weird.

The nurses up there told Steph that she was just waiting on her results from her blood test to come back, and then she would be dismissed.

I finally got some bars and was able to call home. The girls were fine - Irina had fallen asleep, and Saren & Harper were playing MarioKart with their uncles.

I updated everyone on how things were going, and then Steph and I waited. About five minutes after hanging up my cell phone, Steph asked me, "So who won [Survivor]?" Hee.
I answered her, "J.T." And she rolled her eyes, "Figures."
We're such nerds.

After about half an hour, Steph suggested I go home, get her stuff, and come back, that way she'd be able to just go, once they released her. I called home, and had Steph's brother, Chance, come and get me. The older girls rode with him, and we all drove back home. I grabbed the car seat for Silas, and Steph's clothing, and then drove back to the hospital. By this time it was about 3 in the morning.

When I got there, there was still a little waiting to go through, and then she was able to go.

After I got the van and drove it around to pick Steph up, she set up the car seat and set Silas into it. She then got in the passenger seat and she said, "I'm so tired. I just want to go to sleep."

I had started to drive home, when Steph gave me the biggest (or one of) scare of hte night - her eyes rolled back and she kinda snored/snorted and twitched a little. I thought she was having a seizure of some sort, and I stopped the van and shook her, yelling her name, asking her if she was okay. I was about two seconds away from backing hte van up to the emergency room (luckily we were right there, so if something had been wrong, that was the place for it to happen) when she came to saying, "What? I just fell asleep."

I told her that she had passed out, and wasn't answering me. She apologized, and said, "Keep an eye on me". I drove home, shaking for a good portion of the drive.

We got home around 4:30 in the morning, and then we said our goodbyes (and thank yous) to Steph's mom and brothers.

And...just like Steph, I don't really have a good way of ending this. That's about all there is to say about Silas' birth. If you haven't already, you should check out Stephanie's version of the night. (And I think it would be cool if Chance and Sean and Saren and Harper all blogged their versions. It would be like a Rashomon type thing!)

It was most certainly a memorable night.

God Given

Previously: The Beginning of the End; The Good Soldier; Me, I'm Not; My Violent Heart

He doesn't know where he is. He doesn't know who he is. He does know he's frightened. His fingers in his left hand ache - they're bandaged up, but the pain is still intense. His whole body is tingling slightly, in a way that feels similar to when your foot falls asleep. He is carrying a gun, and can smell that it has been fired recently. This simultaneously alarms and comforts him. Has he shot at someone? Has he hit them? Was it self-defense? He places the gun back in his holster and begins walking.

His mind feels muddled, like his memories and thoughts have been struck by a tornado. Names float to the top of his consciousness, but he can't make connections - they are simply words. Kyle... Reese... Sarah... Connor. Those last two feel right. He feels a sort of mental click, and knows that Connor is his name. Sarah is his mother's name, but he senses he hasn't seen her in many years. And while he now knows what he is called, nothing else has come back to him.

Connor tries to remember how he got wherever it is that he is, but he simply can't. It's all a blank. He is in a residential area, but the streets are deserted. All the doors are shut, and many of the homes have bars on the windows.

He approaches one of the homes cautiously, glancing around. The sensation that he is being watched is strong. He pauses, and his hand - his good hand - goes instinctively to his gun. Looking around, he sees nobody. In the distance, he hears dogs barking. Beyond that, the rumbling of vehicles. A busier road must be nearby. If he can't get assistance here, he'll make his way to the traffic.

He knocks on the door of the house and yells out, "Hello? Is someone there?"

There is no response, so he knocks again, a little harder, and calls out again, trying in English and in Spanish.

Again, no answer - although he senses that there are, in fact, people inside this residence. He calls out a third and final time, when a voice from inside responds, "Go away! We're armed, and we've called the Guard! They're on their way!"

"Please," Connor begged, "I need a hospital. My hand..."

"LEAVE!" the voice on the other end of the door interrupted. Connor could hear that the voice was spiked with fear. The people in this neighborhood, or at least, in this house, were terrified. Connor knew that people that emotionally distressed would not be rationalized with. "Okay! I'm going!" he yelled out as he made his way down the driveway and back to the street.

Once there, he continued walking toward the sound of the dogs. Guided by some forgotten memory, or maybe just by instinct, he drew his gun as he rounded the corner. The barking of the dogs - and it sounded like a lot of them - coupled with the feeling of being watched he'd experienced earlier led him to proceed cautiously.

About three hundred yards ahead, he saw a lone figure walking on the sidewalk. Connor called out to him, "Hey! Mister!"

The man turned, and raised a hand to wave. He began running toward Connor, when he was jumped by four other people - three men and a woman, it looked like. The assailants knocked the man to the ground, and began to viciously beat him.

What the hell? was Connor's initial thought, as he began to run to the man's aid, screaming as he ran. One of the attackers looked up, leapt off the man, and flew toward Connor.

Several things happened very quickly then.

A green Humvee rumbled around the bend, and several men in camouflage exited the vehicle. They yelled warnings, but they went unheeded.

The man who was being attacked was evidently armed. He fired multiple rounds into the female assailant's head, obliterating it. With his other hand, he punched one of the other attackers in the face, hard enough to send him flying into the air a few feet. He brought a knee up to the third attacker's head, knocking him off so he could get to his feet. He stepped on the neck of the man who he had just punched, and pressed down quickly several times.

Connor couldn't see what happened with the third assailant, because he was busy being attacked by the one that had leapt at him. Connor had been pushed to the ground by this man, who was impossibly strong for his size. Connor attempted to stand up, but he was pinned. How did that other guy fight off three of them? Connor fired his gun four times - emptying it. Two of the shots went wild, but the last two connected - he'd hit his atacker in the ribs and gut - and yet he still was holding Connor down, and ...trying to bite him?

Connor could see the man's face - rage filled, but devoid of color. He looked like a corpse. His fingernails were long and jagged, and he scratched Connor's arms several times in the struggle. The attacker was also snapping his jaw, trying despearately to sink his teeth, which also appeared long and jagged, into Connor's skin. At one point he almost succeeded, but Connor turned his head at the last possible second and the man ended up only with a mouthful of Connor's hair. He pulled, and a patch of his hair was painfully removed.

I can't fight him much longer, Connor thought. He punched the man in the face, feeling one of his fangs scratch his knuckles. The idea of stopping and just allowing himself to be beaten - or bitten, or whatever this freak wanted to do - was feeling more and more alluring.

And then, like a deus ex machina, the man was simply gone. Connor sat up, dazed, and was able to witness his rescuer simply crush the man's head between his hands like it was a grape.

A bloodstained hand was offered to Connor, to assist him in standing. Kyle said to him, "If you want to live, you need to come with me."


Seeing my dead twin standing before me, along with the vamp attack we had just been through had been enough to jar my memories back. Although I still had about a million unanswered questions. Apparently, those would have to wait to be addressed.

As the machine carried me over his shoulder, the military men down the street were calling out orders for us to stop. Kyle turned to face them. He yelled out, "Five more, approximately two hundred yards southwest of here!" He then turned and began running in the opposite direction. The militia men fired one shot as a warning - or perhaps Kyle simply dodged the bullet - before we were out of their line of sight. Kyle jumped a few fences, passing through several yards, making random turns, in case we were being followed by either military or vampires.

After he was satisfied that we were not being tailed, he set me down on my own feet. He gave me a quick cursory once-over, examining my wounds. "Have you seen Simon Birden?" I shook my head. "Not since..."

Kyle interrupted, "What about Reese Hamilton?"

A wave of grief and rage swept over me, but quickly dissipated into exhaustion. I was too tired to feel much of anything - my adrenaline levels were spent, and I was crashing. I simply answered the bot with a "No."

Kyle was busy breaking into a parked Toyota Tercel.

"Get in," he ordered.

I climbed into the passenger side as he worked on hot wiring the vehicle. The engine rumbled to life, just as the owner of the car emerged from his house, brandishing a shotgun, yelling at us to get the fuck out of his car.

Kyle glanced over at the man, reached over to open the glove box, reached in, pulled out a socket wrench, opened the car door, and threw the wrench. It hurled through the air for a second - just long enough for the Tercel's owner to realize what was happening- and then it hit the man in the head. He crumbled to the ground instantly.

Kyle was already halfway up the driveway. He picked up the shotgun in one hand, and checked the man's pulse with the other. He then grabbed the man by the scruff of his neck, dragged him into the house, shut the door, and walked back to the car. The entire interaction took about ten seconds.

"What the hell are you doing?" I screamed.

Kyle had already started to drive. He answered, "He'll live. I had to neutralize the threat, and with him unconscious, it will be a while before he can report the stolen vehicle. Additionally, I acquired a weapon with ammunition." He paused, then added, "You're welcome."

"You're insane," I said, but I had to grudgingly admit there was some cold logic to his actions.

After a half minute or so of silence, I asked, "Where are we?" He had navigated onto a busier street, although the vast majority of the vehicles on the road were military green.

"Heading south on Fourth Avenue."

I let out a deep breath. "Yes, but where are we? Fifteen minutes ago we were in a Mim-cha base of some sort, and now, we're ..." I trailed off, partly because I was piecing it together, partly because it simply could not be true.

"If the temporal displacement sphere's readouts were correct, then, yes, Connor, we are in Los Angeles, California in the year 2013. Approximately nine months before the bombs fall."


General Brewster had mixed emotions on Project Mimic. The AI was state of the art, as were the cybernetic organisms that ran the program. But perhaps that was the problem - the things had begun to creep him out. They looked - and acted - too human. He himself had been fooled about three weeks back. He had had a five minute conversation with one of the machines, mistakenly thinking it was one of the lab technicians. He'd only discovered the error when a systemwide shutdown had taken effect (the head technician insisted on performing such shutdowns periodically) and the "person" he had been speaking with simply had it's life spark disappear. He had been furious, with himself for falling for the ruse, and also deeply impressed that they had come so far.

For if he had been fooled, that meant that the robots were capable of doing their job - fooling the monsters that were currently wrecking havoc on the outside world. The media had dubbed the victims as suffering from a highly contagious new form of rabies, but Brewster knew that they were actually vampires. They didn't fit all the Hollywood stereotypes - sunlight didn't kill them (although they didn't like it), crosses had no effect, they had reflections - but they matched the important ones: They fed on blood, they could convert other people into creatures like themselves, and they were extremely difficult to kill. It seemed only destruction of the brain could truly keep them down. They seemed to have borrowed that mythology from the zombie movies. Stabbing them in the heart would slow them - some - but in every case that Brewster had seen, it had to be the head that would finally stop them.

So Project Mimic had been created with the purpose of keeping the vampires away from civilians. And if Brewster couldn't tell the difference between a human and a machine, then hopefully neither could the monsters they were seeking to destroy.

Which brought him to the video tape he was currently watching. Four hours ago, a Guardsman infantry in Los Angeles had recorded a vamp attack that had ended... unexpectedly. Brewster had watched the footage a dozen times already, but was still amazed by it. He had seen vamps swarm and take down entire platoons before - the things just did not stop attacking - so watching one man take out four single-handedly was awe-inspiring.

The swarm had pinned him, just as they pinned a normal human, but this guy - this robot - was not going down easily. He emptied his gun into one of the vamps, and fought two others off him with no problem. At that point, the soldier who had taped this zoomed in, and made it clear that the "man" was in fact, a machine. The vamps had ripped off portions of his neck and face, revealing metal underneath. Brewster had seen enough of the metallic endoskeletons to recognize what he was looking at. The machine - nicknamed "Bot X" until they could get more information - had, after taking care of the three vampires attacking him, gone on to remove the last one. Brewster found himself grimly amused at how he had disposed of that one. But then came the oddest part of the footage. Bot X had just rescued a civilian from being attacked. However, the person he rescued...looked nearly identical to Bot X. Facial recognition software had stated that there was a 98.74% match in identity, which had led Brewster to several possibilities:
One - they were both bots, and off the same assembly line. Project Mimic had thousands of different prototypes, but many of the original bots were identical to one another. However, the Bot X that had been rescued was clearly human (or a much more advanced model that did not have visible metallic underworkings) so that led to possibility number -
Two - The human was the model for the Bot X. This could explain the loyalty that Bot X displayed toward Human X. But would the maker of these bots put himself in danger like that?
The third possibility was just that this was something different completely, and Brewster didn't yet have enough information to make a judgment call. Brewster didn't like Possibility Three, but it seemed the most logical at this time. He needed answers. Fast.

He'd put several teams out on the lookout for Bot X and his identical companion, but there had been no sign of them since the report they had gotten from a William Wisher, who had been assaulted by one of them as they stole his car. Wisher had also reported that they had taken his shotgun. Which meant that there was an armed robot, which may or may not have been one from Project Mimic, loose somewhere in the city. If it was, in fact, a Mimic bot, heads would certainly roll.

Brewster picked up the telephone on his desk and barked the order, "Get Birden in my office, now!"


As Simon Birden watched his old companions fight against the vamps and then flee into the residential neighborhood, he felt the color drain from his face.

He hadn't given himself enough time.

If Kyle and Connor were here, that meant that the other Mim-cha would be soon, if not already. His best bet at finding - and stopping - them was to release the ones he'd helped build over the past twenty-eight years, under Project Mimic. They would help find, and destroy, the Mim-cha from 2037, as well as help take care of the vampire plague. It was risky, but if it worked, the future could be altered, preventing the nuclear war and the Mim-cha revolt.

As soon as the video stopped, he turned to General Brewster and said, "It is essential that I speak with President Palin immediately."

Next: The Greater Good