NOTICE: USER “ACE ADAMS” CONTROL RESTORED.
“LAVERNA D’ALCINA” WILL BE ON STANDBY
“Laverna… what now?” My body felt exhausted. I slowly opened my eyelids as I got up. And looked around to find my younger sister Freya by my side.
Inspecting my surroundings it seemed that I was in a classroom. Freya looked at me and jumped with relief as she embraced me in her arms tight.
“Thank god you’re okay!” she sniffled as she spoke “Mum and Dad are outside with your teacher.” placing my hand on her head to calm down her worries I thought, he’s here too, huh? Lost in my thoughts Freya brought me back with her question.
“Acey, don’t you need your glasses?” I was puzzled by the question
“What are you on about, Frey? I’m wearing them aren’t I—?” I lifted my hand to my nose bridge to adjust my glasses only to revel in a discovery.
“That’s what I’m saying, you’re not! They found them in pieces near the Art building…” she was concerned, I on the other hand shocked. I wasn’t wearing glasses, and my vision was even better than when I did wear them. In a cold sweat, I looked around the classroom.
On a wall was a poster with writing on it. One fact I knew for my entire life is that I am or was near-sighted… then why is it I can read clearly from such a distance of about ten metres give or take?
“Ah good, you’re up!” said a rasping voice following the turning of a door. I looked towards them to see dad and mom and my teacher. “We’ve been worried about you, son. How’re you feeling?”
I was silent, I had no answer and I couldn’t understand what happened to my vision. Everything is so clear, crisp I don’t even remember the world ever being this bright. I noticed my mom’s look of concern, it’s as if she held back tears. Dad was just feeling relieved it seemed. Should’ve been obvious he might show up.
“I’m… fine, surprisingly not a lot of issues on my part.” I was honest, as hesitant as I felt to talk, I said the truth.
“You can tell us anything, son. What’s wrong?” He seemed aggravated, it pissed me off. Not only did I tell him the truth but he’s condemning me for it? “Out with it son, I’m here for you.”
How did he not hear me? Taking a second I remembered that he never listened to me in the first place.
“Lay off the kid Marshal!” Said my teacher, out of everyone in this room he’s the last person I expected to respond “He said he’s fine so accept that. You haven’t changed.”
“You’re the last person I want to hear from Ryan!” Dad was furious, but why? “I came to you all those years ago for help and you took advantage to turn my son into one of your experiments?” Advantage? Experiment? What are they talking about? “How do you—”
“Advantage of you? All I did was give your son the chance to see again, for that I needed to prepare a few augmentations to supervise the process.” my teacher’s tone was honest, he was calm and kept his cool. I respected that “In theory, it’s likely that the technology evolved along with Ace’s brain so any deep-rooted ambitions or desires might’ve also been accounted for by the technology.”
As the two grown men kept arguing, mom stood by me and inspected my pupils she seemed startled a little.
“Ace, honey, tell me how’s your eyesight at the moment. Give me your honest view.” she looked to me, she crouched as she held my hands for comfort, with Freya embracing my back in her arms, I took a deep breath to formulate my words.
“I can read every word on the poster from that wall.” I was blunt, no doubt and no resistance. I just stated the truth.
My mother took a second to process my words as she smiled and took me into her arms stroking my head in relief.
“I’m so glad, it’s paid off in the end” I could hear her soft sniffles her warmth calmed my mind. “Thank you so much, Dr Caine!”
“Rosalyn…” my dad paused his nonsense as he calmed down.
“That’s so cool, Acey!” after my family and my teacher explained what happened my sister commented, “Your eyes changed such a pretty red colour too!”
“It suits you, honey” added my mom as she wiped away her silent tears.
Ten years ago, I lost sight in both my eyes after an accident where glass shards flew into my eyes.
My case was given up on by normal means. My dad and Ryan have known each other ever since their high-school years. Ryan was a scientist in cybernetics and thanks to him I was able to see again. At least that's what I can remember...
“So you also programmed an AI to supervise the nanotechnology that calibrated my eyes as I matured… And given how close it worked with my brain there may have been choices made by the AI to help me?”
“That would be correct!”
NOTICE: “Laverna D’Alcina” is Online and Active. To begin calibration call “Laverna”
“Yes, good afternoon, sir! I am Protocol Laverna D’Alcina” the same voice I heard earlier, an elegant womanly tone and it was as if it was speaking right into my brain. “Calibration has been completed, HUD elements will be activated in a few moments. As Dr Ryan Caine mentioned: as an AI I took the liberty to integrate modifications from subconscious interpretation. I apologize if inconvenience is assumed, as I matured with you, I could not help but try to find ways to protect you while the installation occurred.”
“Protection from what?”
“On January 14th 2018, I have interpreted from the tone of thought and mental state that USER: ACE ADAMS required “Protection From the World” at that moment”
Protection for what?
“Therefore I took precautions to build means of protection for USER from THE WORLD.”
While everyone in the room was quiet, they looked at me in confusion.
Someone listened to me.
As the air cleared, three distinctive knocks on the classroom door took our attention.
Ryan walked over to check on the other side. Signalled my parents and sister to take their leave and wait outside. Puzzled, I watched my family take their steps out through the door, Ryan then waved someone in.
As I glanced at the door I watched as a well-groomed old man in a fancy suit walked in with a younger lad walking beside him. They seemed to be well off in their lives. The boy was well-groomed and his attire seemed nothing more a more casual version of the man’s attire.
Seemed about my age, I had seen him around a few times but never caught his name or held a conversation. In my thoughts, I asked myself “What do these big-shots want from me?” No sooner would my answer be given.
“Ace Adams, I presume?” asked the young lad looking for confirmation
“Yeah, what’s your business?” although a bit aggressive, I couldn’t help my tone. The pair gave each other nods as they exchanged a silent confirmation. The old man took a step forward and bowed as he spoke
“I owe you a debt of gratitude Mr Adams,” he said “If it weren’t for your intervention, those evil vermin would’ve caused more trouble than they did.”
“Uh-huh…?” confused I told the two to raise their heads. “What vermin are you referring to?”
“The trouble-makers you stopped today,” he paused “They were part of an organization which is founded on the idea that technology advancement is against human origin.”
“So why are they targeting you and your son, old man?” as swiftly as I asked I got a reply
“My institute has a vast variety of resources, if they managed to ransom those resources from me, they could be almost unstoppable” the old man looked scared but kept cool. I respected that.
“Is that so? Well, you’re welcome.”
“I wanted to forward to you an offer.” he straightened his back and looked at me “An offer to attend our Institute Academy.”
“Father!” the lad turned to his father in shock “We can’t let commoners attend, it’ll ruin our—”
“Silence Christian!” demanded the old man
“I said silence!” as he spoke, the old man lectured the boy named Christian “You should be thankful to this boy, if it weren’t for him, we would already be ruined!”
Although all the credit is for Laverna's auto mode, I’ll make sure I thank her later
“Doyles always pay back their debt!” the man stood firm “That’s why Mr Adams if you ever need it, the offer is open.” I stared at the man, as I processed my thoughts asked
“You’re related to Colt aren’t you?”
“You know my nephew?”
“He’s one of the few people I hang out with”
“I see, I’m glad to know my nephew found a man like you to be his companion.”
“It’s just a coincidence, he’s pretty lucky not to have come in today.” As I looked to the man’s son I turned back to him and said “I appreciate the offer, and I refuse, for now, I wanna get back to some personal issues.”
“That’s fine with us, if you make up your mind Dr Ryan will give you my contact.” Ryan had a forced smile as he waved them off making their leave.
“You good, Ace?” asked Ryan.
“I guess, Laverna said my HUD should process into my vision right about…now!” within a second I saw my environment as a wireframe and as it turned back to normal the HUD display loaded up, with displays of status, analysis of any injuries, even a web browser.
“Didn’t think you’d get used to the tech so quickly, but hey, glad you’re enjoying it.”
“When you live your whole life travelling and moving all over the place, it becomes second nature to adapt to new situations.”
“You’ve had it tough, huh?” Ryan took a deep breath, his words resonated with me
“I guess…Look sorry about my dad, I’m sure you know how he is.”
“Know it? If there was a trivia about his stubbornness I’d win second next to Rosalyn.” I chuckled as I crossed my legs on the table we sat.
“So you’re the miracle doctor that saved my vision, I’m guessing you started monitoring me these last 2 years in case the installation was completed, huh? Didn’t want a merciless cyborg around huh?”
“Well, aren’t you Marshal’s kid, intuitive much?” Ryan frowned as he asked, “So, what do you plan to do now?”
After chatting for a few minutes, we decided to go take a look at how our class was doing, although Ryan seemed a bit on edge. I braced myself for whatever came to be. As we walked out of the block, we were reunited with my sister and my mother. The campus was a mess, first aid tents were set up in the grass patches and authorities blocked off entrances
“What in the…?”
In one of the tents, five students were tended from injuries. Some were burned, bruised or just knocked out. From what I gathered each tent held a few students in the same state but in this one, they were here.
“Billie, Daze!” I rushed to them as I finally caught their glimpse, Daisy was laying on a bed while Billie stood facing her. “What happen—” before I could ask, Billie, leaned on me and sniffled as she gripped my sweater.
“We’re fine, she’s unconscious… I know she’ll be fine but seeing her like this…” keeping herself from stuttering she kept strong as I felt her arms shaking “It’s hard…”
“I know.” is all I could say. I wrapped my hand around her and tried to calm the chaos in her mind.
One of the strongest people I know is crying and it hurts.
After a few hours, it was decided that the injured are transported to hospitals for treatment and monitoring. If it’s nothing serious, they’ll be home by the evening.
While mom and dad left Freya with me, Ryan offered to get us home in his car. Without a rush, I gave Freya a ride on my back. After standing around almost all day, although she hid it, I knew she was tired.
Roaming through the campus parking lot Ryan kept silent, occasionally indicating to us where to go to find the car.
We got to a silver Volvo which he unlocked with his keys. He opened the back door as I helped Freya climb into the back seat. I shut the door and took my seat next to Ryan.
In the car, I went about clicking my seatbelt and before we knew it we were out of the parking lot onto the road.
“Laverna” I summoned her as I dived into my thoughts.
“Yes, sir?” although it still was odd to hear, it became easier to utilise the cybernetics.
“Can you make some research on the Doyle family institution they were talking about? And the organization that’s after them.” I paused for a second “I know it’s probably no use but to be on the safe side, make sure you prioritise secrecy and privacy”
“Understood, would you like to set up an authentication code?”
“Yeah, make it 5085072209. While you’re at it set up an introduction course so I can learn about how you work.”
“Understood, I shall let you know when data is compiled, and ready to be read.”
“Thank you, Laverna, good to have you aboard.”
“No problem, sir”
“Call me Ace!” it didn’t bother me that she called me sir, but I’d rather Laverna be in touch with familiarity. Even if she is an AI.
Now time to do my part.
“Ryan, you asked me about my plan and in truth, I have no idea.” I looked out the window as houses and cars drove by “Until today, all I wanted to do was be an artist and live an easy life with my friends by my side.”
“Did that change now? After everything that happened today?” He kept his eyes on the road but he confirmed he was listening.
“I don’t think so.” I paused as I fidgeted my fingers. “But I don’t know what to do… Why did you decide to give me this technology? My eyesight back?” I looked to the man for an answer as the continuous purr of the wheels rolling onto the road was filling up the air.
“I’m not good at finding reasons for my decisions, maybe I saw a little of me in you. Maybe your dad’s desperation made me not want to disappoint either of you.” he steered he took a deep breath “I didn’t have a grand purpose for what I did. I didn’t know it would evolve by itself for your benefit. The only thing I would say to you would be that... you should use this technology for you, and however you want, it’s my prototype but it’s completely integrated with you.”
“I see.” in relief, I sighed and leaned back on my chair “Thanks, I’m still confused but some loose ends have been tied at least.”
“We’re a few minutes away from home,” he said.
We parked at the end of the driveway, as we got out, I carried Freya and inside as Ryan helped open the doors.
Tucking Freya in her bed I let her be and sit down with Ryan downstairs.
“Sure, it's been quite a day after all.”
“Then kettle’s behind you, coffee is on the top shelf, sugar and cinnamon in mine, thanks”
“You don’t know how to make coffee, huh?” annoyed, he chuckled and made coffee anyway. Once done mom and dad arrived through the door. It was midnight, Work must’ve piled up after today.
“We’re home!” exclaimed my mom quietly. “You guys had a good time on the way back?”
“Yeah, it was alright.” We took our coffee mugs and went into the living room to chat about the elephant in the room.
“How’re your eyes Ace, dear? Any issues?” as every concerned mother would; mine asked a million questions in one breath.
“Yeah, I’m adjusting well to them, thanks to Laverna too.” My parents took a second as they looked at each other before my mom asked
“Who is that?”
“The AI that supervised my eye repair,” I said as I thought it was already a known fact, “It’s a program that I can talk to and analyze stuff” I saw my father’s face from the corner of my eye, I can feel a disturbance.
“That’s it, Ryan! What did I tell you about Telling us what you did to our son!?” he was fuming “You implanted a killer robot in my son’s head you sick fu—”
“Get off his ass you old fart!” I had enough “Laverna is nothing like that! She only did what she believed I wanted for the past ten years! If you ever stopped and took that stubborn stick out your ass you would finally listen!”
“Look son, you don’t understand—!"
“I understand enough! This is your fault in the first place! You’re only lashing out at your oldest friend because you’re mad at yourself!”
“...” He went quiet. I was furious, but quickly found my calm “I—”
“Marshal, honey…” interrupted my mother “I don’t think it’s up to you what happens now. Please drop this act.” like Black Widow singing a lullaby to Hulk, my dad sat down and listened to reason.
After the fight cooled down and I started another topic, to keep our minds occupied.
“So I wanna ask, what does the police know about the terrorists?” I turned to my dad waiting for an answer. I could see him hesitate to speak up but in the end, he had no choice but to.
“Renaissance” he paused for a while as he leaned forward looking at his hands “they’re a very extremist group that have but one goal, the destruction of technology and its worshippers.”
“I can confirm that. Ace, the data you asked me to check for is complete.” Laverna placed her input. I thanked her and told her to go to regular stand-by “Understood.”
“They have a strong belief that humanity is losing itself to the convenience of technology, to the point that technology takes over us.” Although I couldn’t tell for sure, I felt that Laverna was bothered by these comments.
“I see, so what’s the police gonna do?”
“Nothing as of right now, other than chasing loose leads and finding tattletales.” he took a long pause. I closed my eyes as I leaned back on my chair crossing my arms.
“Well, not much we can do about it now” I got up and stretched as I headed for the door ”I’ll check in on Freya then I’ll try to catch some sleep. I suggest y’all do the same. Tomorrow might not be easy for any of us.” I took another look at my parents and Ryan and then left them with a good night as I headed into my room.
The following morning I followed my usual routine. With Laverna keeping me updated about the weather and whatnot I headed downstairs finding my parents had gone to work already. My sister followed shortly down the stairs as I waited in the kitchen. My phone vibrated in my pocket, I fished it out and checked to see a new message from college.
Today there won’t be any classes, due to recent events we decided to let students take a day off, we’ll keep you updated on any changes. Thank You for understanding.
Well, that makes sense.
“Laverna, can you sync to my phone?” to stay updated I asked Laverna to scan my phone.
“Synchronized successfully, messages, calls, and more are now updated and can be accessed through your HUD.”
“Thanks, Laverna!” As I thanked her, Laverna went back into stand-by keeping updates about the day.
“Acey!” exclaimed Freya “Howcome I still have to go to school, It’s not fair!”
“Now, now, we’re going just in case” I explained “I’ll try and talk to your teachers and maybe get you the day off, that way you can stay safe with me at least until this whole Renaissance thing blows over”
“I see! You’re really smart, Acey. No wonder you’re a delinquent!”
“Who are you calling a delinquent?”
After getting a pass from the teachers, Freya and I headed for the hospital where Billie and Daisy stayed overnight. I didn’t get any update on their conditions so all I could do is hope nothing bad happened.
Following the cute nurse, I was escorted in front of the room the girls were in. She opened the door and left me and Freya to check on the two of them.
“Well, look who it is!” excited Billie spoke, “The man who saved the Campus from terrorists.”
“Yay! Now the bigshot finally came to Make-A-Wish for us!” Daisy, full of life giggled as she spoke
“How long did y’all plan those jokes, haha!”
“Billie!” before any of us could react, Freya jumped to embrace Billie “Are you feeling okay? Did you get hurt badly?”
“Not at all! I think you completely healed me just now, hehe!” As we joked around the door behind us slid open as a new visitor arrived.
“Ethan!” in surprise shouted Billie
“Hey, you good?” as Ethan approached her, he held his one hand back hiding away a bouquet, baby blue coloured. “I got you these, hope you like them.”
“Aww, if I knew this is how I can make you buy me flowers I would’ve brought myself in here ages ago!”
“Oi don’t joke about that!” although he knew it was a joke Ethan couldn’t help but panic, in the most amusing way possible.
As we enjoyed a time of fun, we heard a few knocks on the door as it slid open. Entering the room was a boy with a skinny physique, he wore skin-tight jeans and a football shirt. He walked in with a certain forced swagger. His curtains hair was a dirty dark blonde and his dead-fish eyes were blue.
“Hey, you guys a’ight?” in the most accented tone, he spoke. Following behind him was his girlfriend. We know her as is ‘Karen’.
“Ah, Colt didn’t expect to see you here.” said Billie “I’m guessing the girl behind you is ‘The One’ you’ve told us about?”
“Or one of ‘the other ones’ haha!” As I made my joke, Karen quickly faced me giving me a mean gaze.
“What are ya tryna say, huh?” she asked “Ya think that’s funny?”
“It’s a joke, chill—”
“Well, then it wasn’t funny.” before she could continue Colt grabbed her quickly.
“Babe, relax it’s no big deal, that’s just how he is, leave it be for now.” although he kept calm, I felt intense aggression in his breath. What’s their problem?
“So, I missed yesterday, mind if I ask you to fill me in on the details?” as he sat down with his girlfriend by his side he began a conversation.
“Well not much to say,” Daisy started off explaining the terrorist attack, “we thought we weren’t going to make it for a few minutes at least.”
“Yeah, and suddenly our classroom blew up, and out of all people, Ace completely protected us using a sword that shot fire!” continued Billie “I wanted to ask how did you do that? What happened?” as she pestered me for answers Colt chuckled.
“Wow, that is quite the story! As much as I like jokes, come on! Try and make it realistic.” he didn’t believe them, not like I blame anyone for it but it pissed me off to hear him dismiss it so blatantly as a lie.
“Colt it’s not a lie, he did a whole transforming thing too, his clothing changed in like a split second.” Billie was being genuine and didn’t tell one lie, although I haven’t gotten to explain what’s happened.
“Alright, pranks are fun but come on.” the boy looked to Ethan. “Ah, didn’t notice you there mate, tell me you don’t believe this crap do you?”
“I don’t know the specifics, but the news caught a glimpse of a masked man wearing red who took down the extremists.” he paused as he stroked Billie’s shoulder “If Billie says that was Ace, I’ll believe it, she was there, after all.” before he finished he stood up and faced me. “Ace.”
“Yeah?” he placed his hand in the air waiting for me to shake it.
“I know we just met, but I need to thank you. Whatever your explanation is, it can come later once the girls recover. If I lost Billie I wouldn’t know myself by my name.” As I heard those words, I shook his hand and pulled him in for a bro hug.
“You don’t owe me anything,” as we pulled away, I found respect in the one-armed tall boy in front of me, “Just make sure you don’t annoy her too much.” as we laughed together we found a sense of calm. Which was then interrupted.
“You guys need to stop this joke, ya know,” said Karen, “Like, I get it, a joke, haha so funny, not!” Our good mood was ruined as we all sighed in disbelief at this situation.
“Colt, my guy, you need to get your girl to chill, man!” as blunt as I could, I said it in hopes to open Colt’s eyes.
“Are you seriously talking about me like that—?” before she could go on a rant Colt held her back and began to speak.
“You guys are aiming to be comedians, huh? These jokes might not get the reaction you're looking for though.” he looked down, soft-spoken and aggressive.
“Dude, what the hell are you on about?” I asked.
“You think you could trick me? Fine! Keep at it. I’ll just take my leave.” he turned and grabbed his girlfriend by the arm as they headed for the door. “I’ll see you at college!”
“What’s his problem?”
After the mood lightened up, I told the gang I’ll explain everything once they recover. As it got late, Freya and I took our leave walking to the hospital lobby together.
“Acey,” she murmured.
“Was that scary boy your friend?” she asked, it affected her seeing Colt meltdown like that.
“Hmm, he is and isn’t” I took a deep breath “I treated him like my brother but he’s been acting odd for quite some time.”
“You mean that wasn’t his usual self?”
“You could say that, but it could be that his real self is just slipping out slowly.” as unfortunate as it is.
“But don’t worry about him, you’ll most likely not see him that much. If you do, I’ll be there to protect you, ya hear?” as I stroked her head I saw her smile from ear to ear. She held onto my arm while we walked.
As we made it to the office we noticed everyone around, including nurses and patients startled. Their attention was on the TV. A news coverage, huh?
Only a few moments ago, the extremist group ‘Renaissance’, the suspects of this current attack has wreaked havoc on the Ilford Police Department. A large number of injured have been found among the rubble with a minority of casualties.Between those, it’s been confirmed that Detective Marshal Adams is confirmed to be in a coma along with his wife, D.A. Rosalyn Adams.
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