BH:sitting admist a large pile of plot holes, scraps of paper, and plot bunnies I have begun the slow, painstaking process of editing and re-writing Project Dream, since I've got most of the story pretty much written (just need to get off my lazy arse and put them up.) Thanks a lot to Alankria for pointing out some of the flaws in my story. I order everyone to go read her stories, they're beautiful, certainly blow me out of the water. Thanks to everyone who bothered to read this Kami-forsaken bout of boredom I call a story.

Project Dream

Part 1: Awakening

"I'm not afraid of dying, far from. It's living that scares the hell out of me."

I suppose that's why I was afraid when I first awoke, if it can be called waking up. I'm aware, barely, but I have some idea of what's going on around me, not that it counts for much. It's usually very quiet outside. Now and then I will hear voices, but they mean little to nothing.

I dare not open my eyes, not yet. I don't know why, but something is nagging at my mind. They, who ever "they" are, cannot know that I am awake. Not yet. Am I paranoid? Probably.

Something taps my fluid-filled prison. I know this voice. This one is important. I listen to this one. I feel angry when I hear him, angry and sad and a million other things I cannot put into words. But, more than anything, I feel pity.

"Have there been any changes?"

"No doctor. It's as silent as the grave."

"She, Morgan, she."

"Right, she."

She? Is he talking about me?

He touches my prison again.

"Please wake up soon. Your boys miss you."

He walks away and the world falls silent again. I can hear the other one, Morgan, muttering, but it does not matter. I will wait.

Who am I? What am I? Am I human, like the people I hear coming in and out of the lab each day? Or am I something else, like the bizarre creatures I see in the computers? Maybe I am something else, something entirely new.

That would explain why I can do things I know no human can. I have no explanation as to how or why, but I can get inside the computers. I can leave my body and move around inside the computers, and more than that, I can affect them, control them. That's how I know where I am. I can tap into the video cameras that monitor the lab and watch what's happening in the outside world.

The lab I'm being held at works with advanced artificial intelligence programs and even more advanced personal electronics. It's strange to think I have no idea who or even what I am, but I can perfectly understand the programming and setup for almost any project going on here. I can even make helpful corrections and additions if I see a spot with room for improvement.

I doubt those poor harassed scientists even realize that their programs have been touched. Every other time I check their labs with the monitors one of them is either asleep over a pile of papers or chugging a large mug of extra-caffeinated coffee. I wonder if a few of them ever leave the lab. Doc never does. He is always at his desk or checking up on me.

I can see myself as well. I didn't realize it was me at first, but I know it is. I look like a dead girl, floating in a tube of what looks like embryonic fluid like something out of a sci-fi movie. I think my hair's longer than I am. There's a scar over my right eye that reaches down to my neck and another one across my throat. There are smaller ones, too, but those two are important. I'm proud of them, but I don't know why.

I need to get out of here.

I saw them a week ago. They are the only people I've ever seen go into Doc's office and they just walked in. I know them.

They're a part of me.

My brothers.

My boys.

I've been waiting for you.

I have now been conscious for one year, three months, twenty days, sixteen hours and some-odd minutes. I'm not bored, far from. There's always some trouble to cause or program to fix up.

I spend my days in the computers, exploring, experimenting, and finding out as much as I can. Ever since I saw those boys in Doc's lab I've known. My place is with them. I have to find a way to contact them.

I watch them come in and out of the lab at random. I don't need to watch the monitors anymore. I can feel them when they come in. But that, in itself, is the problem. Whatever control I have, I know the machines monitoring my mental patters spike now and then. How can they not? I'm more conscious and aware than ever. But my mind goes ballistic when I see them.

Thank God no one has made the connection yet.

I'm in the main server working on a new idea one of the scientists cooked up. I like this one. He's friends with the boys and a lot of the things he makes are to help them. These binders he is working on now are based on a design created by someone named Destiny Kusanagi. They're the equivalent on a three inch school binder that can hold documents, images, and videos, but are only half an inch thick and also are capable of connecting to the internet and holding an AI, or Artificial Intelligence program.

I have yet to encounter an AI here, but I have heard of them. There are records and files strewn through some of the older computers of experiments with AI programs, but most of them are conveniently missing. One program in particular caught my attention, but for now it's not important. I will have to remember to do some more research on Forte.

But right now I have another problem. He's been watching me for about ten minutes now. I can see why he might be concerned. I may be able to move around in the computers, but my body in this strange computer world is simpler than even the most basic program. I must like no more than an off-color blur drifting through files and packets of data.

He's walking towards me, slowly, cautiously. I can make out his features now. Blue-black hair and bright green eyes. My brother's eyes.

He's an AI. He has to be. Humans can't enter computers. That raises the question again. What am I?

I find myself on the blurred-body version of my knees with him looking down at me. He's confused and some inner part of me smiles. I know that look. Apparently he sees something, too, because he kneels down in front of me so we are on eye level.

"What are you?"

I can't speak, so I do the best I can. I try to shrug.

"You can't talk, can you?"

I shake my head. He goes silent for several minutes, as if having some internal conversation. He suddenly turns back to me.

"Well, I don't think you're a virus," he mutters, lightly biting on of his knuckles. "but you're not an AI."

This is hopeless. I can't do much with my computer body or my mental signs will spike, and even then, how do I tell him? And what do I tell him?

Instinct has gotten me this far, time to turn to it again. There's a symbol on his jacket and something clicks in my mind. I pull up a simple paint program in front of me and begin working.

Hell if I know what I'm doing. He sits there, watching me. Waiting. I think part of him recognizes me. I can almost hear the alarms from my brain wave monitors going off. I have to hurry.

Done. I leave the image with him and immediately pull myself out of the computers and come back to my own body. I was right, the computer picked up on my mental activity and the doctor monitoring me is going ballistic.

I let myself drift off to sleep, completely ignoring the activity outside my prison. Soon, everything was going to change.

It's been almost a month since my encounter with my AI brother. I have been paying more attention now, checking the monitors every time my boys come in. Now that I look, there are at least two AI programs with them. One of the boys has been snooping around a little, and there is always an AI with him.

I've finally found what I've been searching for these last few months. My file. Project Dream is a large compressed file shoved in the back of Doc's computer. There are notes, ideas, stats, records of all my mental activity over the last months, and blueprints.

Wait, blueprints? That's not right. I'm human, aren't I?

I open the file. I recognize my general body figure, but that's all I recognize. According to this, over seventy percent of the body floating in a tube on the other side of the lab is artificial.

Ninety-five percent of my bones are now metal or lined with metal. Half of my face, the scarred half, is really all that is left of the original bone. Most of my organs, too, are artificial. The muscles in my left arm have been enhanced with strips of a strange metal I have never heard of. The other three appendages have been completely replaced. My feet more resemble hands than feet and my fingers are unnaturally long.

What really strike me, though, are my replacement vocal cords. Doc seems to have put a great amount of attention and detail into my new vocal cords. For some reason I feel grateful to him for this.

I think back to the scar on my throat. What happened to me?

There are no notes on my life prior to Doc rebuilding me. I've found the name Destiny Kusanagi again. Apparently she and her brothers pioneered the technology that was used to rebuild me.

I've also found images of my body before I was rebuilt, though you would never know the body floating in the lab and the one in the pictures are the same.

What could possibly do that much damage? What could literally rip apart a human body and crush what was left of it? What I can make out of my remaining muscles and organs also seem to have been deteriorating for quite some time before.

I can't look at anymore. I close the file and return to my body. Now I understand why I am angry at Doc. He didn't save my life or help me. I'm a project, an experiment made from the body of a dead thirteen year old girl.

I'm starting to wish that he had just left me dead.

People rarely come in and out my room, so, when the door opened at night in the middle of a shift it got my attention. I have recently discovered that I can open my eyes without drawing attention, so that's what I did.

The scientist on duty is shooing out a familiar-looking boy. He looks directly at me and I risk gazing back, and then he is gone.

The AI is back. He actually came looking for me this time. I've been waiting for this.

"I was worried I wouldn't be able to find you."

I give him a smile again.

"Stupid, I know, but I've gotta worry. I mean, you died on us once already."

His face screwed up in annoyance.

"They didn't believe me at first, but I convinced Lucien to go snooping around. When he showed up at the house the other night and said he found you mama went crazy."

I giggled. I could almost imagine a scene like that.

"Do you think you can get yourself out?" he asked worriedly. "I've checked, but everything that controls your stasis tube is disconnected from the rest of the system."

I can do that. I've got the whole thing figured out already.

Apparently he can tell what I'm thinking, because he brakes into a wide smile.

"Can you get out soon?"

I nod. It's time to risk getting caught, so I focus on my artificial body enough to create something like a voice.

"Just tell me when." My voice sounds alien, wrong, but it does the job.

The poor AI blinked at me for a few minutes, as if trying to comprehend the fact that I just spoke. He went silent for a moment, eyes blanking out.

"Tomorrow," he said. "We'll all be here. Where should we wait for you?"

I thought about it. There was a little-used back door I had found in one of the maps of the lab, at the end of the hall leading from the main lobby.

"Meet me at the elevator outside my room; I know a quick way out. Be careful. The scientists are really jumpy."

"So we noticed," he said with a chuckle.

I smile. I have to get back to my body. I think he realizes this.

"Get going. We'll see you tomorrow, sis."

And at that moment I knew everything will work out.

Everything is ready. My doctors have been going crazy with all my mental activity for the last few hours. I've set up a video loop on all the monitors that could catch me and the boys slipping out. Everything is set up and ready for me to leave. With a single mental flip of a switch everything will start, and all hell will break loose.

The scientist on shift is Morgan, my least favorite of the scientists who look after me. Scaring him will be fun.

I've been watching the monitors all day. The boys just came in. They're acting like they always do when they come in, and I doubt anyone noticed that they went to a different elevator than they usually do.

As soon as they enter the elevator I trip the switch. Alarms go off and the embryonic fluid around me begins to drain. The video loops are on and Morgan is so busy trying to figure out what just happened to notice what was going on with me.

I begin moving my limbs as soon as they are released from the gel-like fluid. Everything feels so alien, but by the time the fluid drains away from ankles I can move almost as well as a normal person. I supposed my bionic limbs can be attributed to that.

I reach up and pull off the equipment that is monitoring me. Alarms begin blaring and I pull an IV out of my arm and another out of my hand. I trip the switch on my tube and it slides open and I step out.

I feel oxygen fill my lungs for the first time in years. It feels wonderfully warm and I just stand there for a moment, letting the last of the liquid drip off my body.

I finally move again. Morgan has finally noticed me and is now trying to call Doc. I disabled all the lines going out of the room, so no one outside knows what is going on. I can't help but toy with him a little.

I step forward so he is within arm's length and reach for him. I'm not surprised he started to panic. Having a formerly comatose teenage girl suddenly walk out of her stasis tank looking, no doubt, like a scene out of a horror movie, completely naked with her extremely long hair covering half of her face and most of her body would be scary to almost anyone.

"I'm going to need that," I say calmly and reach for his lab coat, which he habitually throws over the back of his chair when ever he comes in.

I smile at him and walk towards the door, putting the coat lightly around my body and ignoring his stunned sputtering.

I wonder if I was this much of a troublemaker in my last life, or if I enjoyed it this much. Oh, you were, a small voice in the back of my mind whispers.

The boys are waiting for me in an open elevator. All three stare at me for several moments when I walk in, before one bounds up to me and throws his arms around me, almost knocking me over. He stares down at me with huge bright green eyes and an infectious smile. He's almost identical to the AI, save for his hair, slightly longer and random varying shades of brown and red. This one is my flesh and blood brother. Damon, my heart tells me.

I hug him back and kiss him on the cheek. The other two approach us, looking slightly suspicious. The one who had been snooping around approaches me. He's almost a head taller than me with icy purple and blue eyes and a perpetual scowl that I just know rarely leaves his face. Long black hair that sports a single deep green stripe falls down his back and three long scars cross his cheek, only adding to his worrisome appearance, but for some reason I'm not worried.

He brings his hand up, and for one terrifying moment it looks like he is about to back-hand me. Instead he knocks my hair away from my scarred eye with such force that it swings over my head.

I stared at him for a minute and a small smile twitches across his face. I finally brake down laughing. I honestly have no clue why, but it's funny, some inside joke that I should know. Part of me knew that only he would identify me by the scar on my face. Only Lucien.

He held out his hand to me and I took it. "You're late, Kusanagi." And he put his arms around me, placing a gentle kiss on my forehead that only I noticed.

The last of the boys looked thoroughly amused by his comrade's behavior. His two-tone hair was quite laughable itself, half being short, black, and sticking out at all odd ends, while the rest falls down to his shoulders in long black tendrils. He shoves a pile of clothes into my arms, the corner of his mouth twitching. Alroy in all his bluntness.

"If we bring you home in nothing but a lab coat mother will kill us."

The others nod in agreement, all Damon and Alroy smiling. Apparently they are used to my silence. It's only a pair of blue jeans and a racing t-shirt, but Im grateful to have something that doesn't reek of chemicals to wear. This fells more natural anyway.

Slipping out is amazingly easy. Damon seems to know every back passage and door in the lab. The few times that we pass another person, Damon will yank open the nearest closet or empty lab and shove me in. The few times that doesn't work, I can easily hide behind Lucien, he's so much larger than me. I seem to have a natural affinity for sneaking around.

But Damon very nearly panicked when Doc came strolling around a corner in the one hallway where there weren't any doors to hide in. I automatically reach for a metal strip that ran the length of the wall, knowing that it is connected to the network. I reach into the computer with my mind and quickly find the switch for the first alarm find on the other side of the lab.

Doc yells and drops the steaming cappuccino in his hand as he turns on his heels to run in the other direction. The boys all turn to look back at me, Damon openly slack-jawed and Alroy and Lucien with arched eyebrows. The corner of Lucien's mouth is twitching and Alroy is outright smiling.

Damon opens his mouth to ask, but Alroy reaches up to cover his mouth, "Not here..." Alroy hisses, then takes my hand and leads the rest of the way out of the lab.

A limo is waiting for us in front of the lab and I gratefully fall into the seats and the boys slide in behind me. The ice-eyed Lucien sits next to me the other two sit across from us in old habit.

I close my eyes and lean on his arm. I didn't realize how tired I am.

"You okay, Sis?" Damon asks.

"Just tired," I reply softly.

If anything I've done has surprised them, apparently this is the worst. Damon has gone slack-jawed and Alroy's eyebrows have shot up. Lucien gives a slight twitch at my side.

"I couldn't talk before, could I?" I ask, giving Alroy and Damon a knowing look. They shake their heads.

"Don't you remember?" Alroy asks.

All I can do is shake my head. An arm wraps around my shoulders. "I can't remember anything," I whisper leaning against Lucien. "I know what I feel and I know I should remember you, but everything's a blank. The emotions and the bonds are there, just not what formed them."

"And?" my brother's still got that stupid infectious smile on his face. "So most of your life's been erased, big deal! You're back with us and that's all that matters. You'll get your memories back eventually. We'll still love you, even if you don't."

I can't help but smile. This really is where I belong.

"At least tell me what my name is," I mutter tiredly.

The last thing I hear before I drift off is Lucien saying "Kusanagi, Destiny Kusanagi."