Chapter Thirty


My love, can you hear me?

Zephyr jumped from the shock of the feeling of warm hands on her legs. It wasn’t the first time the sensation had occurred, but it was still unnerving.

The voice hadn’t come from her com. It came from her legs. Was that even possible? Did her legs have speakers? They must have, but she hadn’t known it. And they hadn’t sounded like Crystal, either, though there wasn’t anyone else who it could be.

“Crystal?” she ventured.

Yes. Don’t listen to anything that the monster tells you. I’m fighting it, but it won’t be long before it gets control of the coms. They’re blocked right now. These legs have a shard of my mind embedded in them… just enough intelligence to tell you what to do, but not enough to have a full conversation. You’ll mostly be on your own here, my love.” The sensations of pain and pleasure rolled through her legs as Crystal spoke, not just the crude feelings they’d been at first, but full sensations as vivid as any other part of her.

She was in motion. She had just been stretching in warm up for her burpees, and while there hadn’t been any warning she was already packed. She’d been preparing for this moment. As she reached the airlock she asked “What about secrecy? Do I go in guns blazing or do I use stealth?”

The Crystal shard didn’t answer her. “It’s time. The program from the nameless computer will be in control any minute. You need to unplug me from the hub before it gains control. Do not listen to it. The coms are re-activating now.”

She scrambled to put on her pants. The sound from her legs was muffled by the bulky material. “But do I need to be stealthy or fast? There’s so much I don’t know!”

“Where are you going, Zephyr?” asked the voice on her com. The nameless program had Crystal’s voice, but she knew better.

Zephyr threw the com into the corner of the airlock and worked on getting the rest of her suit on. One of the machine guns, fully loaded, leaned up against the outer door.

The com hissed with static. When it stopped the com and her legs spoke in unison. “Please, my love. I can’t talk right now, but you need to get me unplugged from the hub and delivered to Mukhya! The part of me that I’ve placed in your legs will talk through the restoration process once you’re there. Do not listen to the com. I need you.

“On my way.”

Her helmet clicked on.