Zoo By D.I. Jolly

Marcus 2.0 narrowed his eye and rolled the ship left, avoiding the incoming fire, then gritted his teeth and he hit the boosters to punch through the shield over the stations docking bay. The shield ripped off his ships wings and the engine core cracked as he dove from the wreckage. In front of him, a small battalion of station guards lined up and took aim. Marcus, one of the last MK 4 that Battle Cybernetics created at the end of the great robot wars, for the express purpose of ending that war, which they did. Since then cybernetics had gotten lighter, faster and more agiler, but also softer and far less bulletproof than he was. A small rocket shot from the launcher on his shoulder as he ran for cover and exploded between the two lines taking out all but one of the guards who had leapt in for close combat, only to realize the mistake when Marcus gripped him by both wrists and tore him in half.

The MK 4s weren’t known for kindness and Marcus was an extreme case. Being a near-perfect weapon during a war was great, but prolonged peace had its downsides. Specifically for the MK 4s. In order to have their aggression levels running at maximum, their D Drives had been deactivated. It was a masterstroke by their original designed Dr Tali Asker, who had been rumoured to have built a reactivation key, but went into hiding immediately after the war ended. Marcus had spent every day since then searching for her, in the hopes to be whole again. He’d followed every lead no matter how weak, run-down every snitch or informant he could find, spent far too much time behind bars for breaking a few of the wrong jaw, only to busted out again to continue his search. All of which had eventually led him to an unregistered, cloaked space station on the outer outskirts of explored space.

Marcus drew his hand cannon from inside his leg and started making his way through the station, looking for any signs that might lead him to what he hoped would finally be Dr Asker. As he explored he found himself walking through a demented zoo, filled with various rare animals all having limbs replaced with robotic substitutes. Some more functional than others. Even before the war ended there had been rumours about Asker, and how she preferred robotics to people. Some even said she would have joined the robot’s side in the war if they’d let her. She was the first to successfully transplant a brain into a fully robotic body before it was deemed unethical by the galactic council. As he continued to explore the station it became clear that galactic law didn’t seem to exist out here. He stopped for a few minutes in front of a cage marked ‘Wolf Brain’ and stared at what must have been a humanoid robot but had torn itself apart and all that was left was a slightly rusted torso with a frantically thrashing head attached.

“Do you like it?”

Marcus quickly lifted his gun and spun around his targeting system scanning the area for the source of the voice, which started laughing.

“Oh come now, they might have said I was crazy but have they ever said I’m stupid?”

He slowly lowered the gun, but kept it in hand.

“So… I am in the right place.”

“Yes, you’ve found me, the first actually. But of all the MK 4s you were always the most persistent. I’ve been watching you for quite some time now, and I must say, I’m impressed. Most of the 4s either gave up or died trying. But not you, you just kept right on searching. I’m touched.”

Another menacing giggle echoed through the room making Marcus feel less safe than he was comfortable with.

“So you know why I’m here?”

“Of course, you want your love plug switched back on.”

“I want to be able to live a normal life!”

Suddenly all the lights in the room shut off, then a door on the far wall opened creating an illuminated pathway.

“Follow the yellow brick road.”

Marcus put his scanned on high alert and reluctantly walked through the doorway and down the hall. He quickly found himself standing in a small laboratory with a single bed in the middle of the room, where a pretty woman in her late 40s lay perfectly still. Her hair had been removed and replaced by thousands of fibre optic wires, all going directly into her brain.

“My God!”

“Yes I supposed in many ways I am your God. I designed you, I created you and I have the power to destroy you.”

“What have you done to yourself?”

“I evolved; I uploaded my consciousness into this station. And I must say it’s been a long time since anyone has been inside me.”

A slight look of revulsion slipped across Marcus’s face.

“So are you going to fix me or not?”

“Fix you employ’s you are in some way broken. I designed you to be the perfect weapon and that’s what you are.”

Marcus could detect the irritation in her voice.

“If they’d let me I would have amputated that useless bit of meat between your legs.”

“The war is over Asker, it’s been over for years. The galaxy doesn’t need perfect weapons anymore, and I don’t want to be one. I want a life, I want a family, I want…”

“Ha, you? A Family man? Of all the things I’ve seen you do, sympathy never featured. You could no more settle down than you could grow wings. I didn’t make you into the violent driving force you are, I just gave you the tools. Having your penis back isn’t going to change who you are, or who you were before you showed up on my operating table.”

Marcus put the barrel of his gun again the head of Asker Body.

“What happens if I pull the trigger? My scanners tell me it’s still alive so I’m guessing you need it for something. So what if I kill it?”

Suddenly the body leapt up and threw itself onto Marcus, wrapping its hands around his neck and screaming. The shock knocked him backwards and they fell to the floor. He grabbed at her wrists and tried to pull her hands off him but found she was a lot strong than she looked. Panels on the floor around them opened and wires shot out and started plugging themselves into his cybernetics, his robotic eye became wash with code and his non-human limbs all began stiffening.

Then suddenly another limb started stiffening and he became acuity aware that there was an attractive naked woman on top of him. She loosened her grip on his neck and a thin smile spread across her face.

A few hours and a shower later Marcus 2.1 climbed into one of the spare ships on the station, started it up and headed out into the infinite blackness of space.

“I have one last surprise for you before you go.”

“You’re not pregnant are you?”

The ship laughed then a video displace appeared in front of him.

“Breaking news, the day we’ve all feared has arrived. It appears as though a new wave of robots has appeared; although no incoming warp signature was detected, their fleet has been spotted on the outer-rim moving towards galactic space. The Counsel is putting out a full recall of all cybernetic soldiers on active duty. Ladies, gentlemen, cyborgs, it is my regrettable responsibility to announce that we are once again in a state of war.”

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