CHAPTER 1: Project G

Dr. Luke Grayson closed the notebook before him; it had been a long day for him. The late and well renowned Dr. Markus Grayson, his father, had been murdered at the age of 58 just three days ago, and now Luke sat at his inherited home in the city of Charnel. He ran his hands through his long black bangs and let out a sigh; his face was itchy from the three day old stubble of beard he had acquired. He looked around the vast upstairs room that had been his father's lab. Papers lay scattered across the floor, and strange machines and tools lay everywhere. Someone had really torn up the place after the murder and then escaped, leaving no trace or clues.

Luke shook his head. Now he sat there feeling like his father. He too had gone into robotics and computers; he had followed in his father's footsteps for a long while. Robots and androids amazed him; the things were so close to human now only a trained eye could spot them in a crowd. Others were so advanced that even their mindless obedience scared Luke, if they fell into the wrong hands. Robots had been his passion until he met Dorina. She had stolen his heart and they had spent so much time together. Now she, like his career and father, was gone, killed in a traffic accident involving a malfunctioning android. Luke's life collapsed from there.

He reached down and picked up a folder on the ground in front of him. He read the tab: Project G. His father had started so many projects and it hurt Luke to think his gifted father would never finish so many helpful projects aimed at helping and serving mankind. He flipped open the folder and saw something only a few scientists could understand, schematics, notes, and numbers. Reading over it, he read something about saving lives with injected android characteristics. He shook his head; his father would be missed. A knock came to the door and a sweet familiar voice came from the other side.

"Master Grayson…would you like a glass of tea?" It was Carly, another "inherited" treasure of his father's, a very lovely creation indeed. He wondered what purpose she had served when he came to live at his father's home the day before. Luke's mother had died a few years ago and he assumed Carly was built to fill the emptiness in his fathers heart, but Carly looked younger; she looked Luke's age, in her mid twenties, and she looked real beyond measure, not even he could have known she was a robot had she not said so herself.

The door opened and she stood there with two glasses of tea, one simmering, the other cold. Luke smiled and Carly blinked. Her blonde hair was up in a bun. She wore a red body suit with gloves and boots. He wondered what laid under the nicely fitting suit; he wondered if there was skin or a mass of wires and "robot guts," as his father called the network of parts working to make each robot function. Carly was small. She only came up to his nose, and Luke himself was short for a man. Luke stood and took one of the glasses, the cold one, and sipped. He glanced at a small jewel between Carly's eyes and smiled--finally, some proof she wasn't a human.

"What was father like the last few days, Carly?" Luke asked. Carly looked across the room with no emotion other than a twitching in her left eye.

"Very paranoid…He said he must finish it," Carly replied still looking back and forth. "Finish it if nothing else." Luke shook his head.

"Finish what?" Luke asked. Carly looked down and cocked her head awkwardly.

"Why…what you have in your hand master Grayson, Project G." Carly looked up and watched Luke finish his tea. "Shall I dispose of your cup?" Luke nodded slowly and handed Carly the cup. Carly started for the door and stopped. "You must not let them take it…" she whispered in a strange, less human voice and left. Luke felt chills and slipped the folder in his lab coat. He then spotted a revolver on the desk nearby. He felt the need to pick it up and slipped it into his lab coat's inner pocket.

Carly walked down the stairs and into the kitchen. Her security sensors had been going crazy since the death of Dr. Grayson, Sr. He had programmed her the day before his death to protect his son. She had never met him, and now here he was. She did not understand humans and did not understand the danger behind her until it was too late. As she turned to head back upstairs, the shotgun blast struck her in the abdomen. A large man, or robot, in a cloak fired again, the second blast higher, across her chest sending her falling back across the table. Her vision went to static and warnings were blaring in her body's network of wires.

Carly placed a hand on her body below her breasts and felt a flood of the red substance of humans gushing out of her. She heard a revolver click and cock and the second cloaked figure pulled the trigger smashing and shattering the jewel in her forehead. Carly's head shot back and a small stream of blood flowed from her head. The man holstered his revolver and turned to the man behind him.

"The b**** is dead. God, overkill don't you think?" the big man said. "Must have been his girlfriend. Let's get upstairs and deal with what we really came for." The slender and taller man nodded and they headed upstairs. Luke had heard the shot and met them halfway down the stairs. The big man leveled the shotgun.

"Back upstairs good doctor…Let's not let this get ugly." Luke was terrified. He had never been accustomed to guns growing up, and seeing one that big leveled at his head was too much. He heard the table collapse and assumed that was what was left of Carly.

"What is the…meaning of this?!" he found himself demanding. The big man cocked the gun and an empty shell fell out; he had already blasted Carly. Luke knew he was next. He took a step back and headed up the stairs at the two cloaked figures' request. The taller, slender one shoved him in the back sending him falling forward. He rolled over and looked up at the two men. Under the cloak of the tall one he could see red eyes staring back, no human.

"Where is it!?" the bigger man demanded, shoving the barrel of the gun in Luke's face. Luke cried out.

"For god's sake, what are you talking about!?" he replied, trying not to show his obvious fear. The man laughed.

"You know d*** well what I am talking about--now tell me!" The taller man leaned down.

"Project G…" he said in a cool emotionless voice. "We need all of it, so just tell us and you live." Luke looked around. He needed an escape.

"Give me…a moment…I will try…to find it…" he replied, wishing he had never pocketed the damning file in his coat.

Carly lay motionless. She had been shot twice with scatter shot from a tactical weapon, and one small caliber shell was in her head. Slowly the shell fell from her head, and her eyes slowly opened. She still saw static and her heads up display told her over half her body was inoperable. Almost all those human parts Dr. Grayson Sr. had put in her were failing--good thing she had a mixture. She couldn't see anything out of her left eye, but through the static from her damaged sensors, she could see some from her right. Carly tried her arms; both worked, and she slowly pushed herself from the collapsed table.

She sat up and found that her left leg was also quite damaged. She was still able to stand though. She got to her feet slowly and more warning lights appeared. She was badly damaged, but one thing was on her programmed mind: Luke. She jerked off her glove to reveal a very human hand. She moved her fingers some and then turned her head slowly toward the stairs where she heard the screams. She limped to the stairs and fought back the pain her, as her master had programmed her.

"Dr. Luke Grayson…" The tall robotic man was sitting with his legs crossed in an armchair, throwing folders as he read their tabs. "You are not your father, are you?"

Luke looked around, a window from two stories up would kill him, but maybe, just maybe he could come out with a few broken bones…but they would still have him.

"My father never mentioned such a Project," Luke replied. "If I knew, I would be more then willing to…"

"Lies…You should see yourself in infrared…lighting up like a Christmas tree," the tall one said chuckling. "No, you can't talk yourself out of this one. It's the project or your life." \

Luke took a deep breath. He slowly reached into his coat. He could feel the paper and the ivory handle of the revolver he had picked up. He closed his eyes and that's when the more burly man screamed in agony as sparks coursed through his body. Luke's eyes shot open, and there stood Carly, lighting spilling from her fingertips into the bigger man, now revealed as a robot by the sparks.

"Luke…leave now…" Carly cried as she turned to the taller man. She was torn up from her waist to her chest and to Luke's shock and surprise, not only were wires exposed in some area's, but blood and flesh. He stared, wide eyed, then the taller man held out the revolver. Luke snapped out of it and drew the gun from his coat taking two shots at the tall man. Both shots slammed into his side and he cursed and turned on Luke. Carly held out her arm which now had a small cannon protruding from her wrist. She fired and her arm and body lurched from the recoil. The blast of energy smashed into the taller robot's chest tearing it to pieces.

The robot let out inaudible electronic screams of agony as his body disintegrated. The bigger one was already on the run. He fired back at Carly with the shotgun as he leaped from the window. Carly looked at Luke. He could see a lot was wrong with her. She was looking around and not directly at him.

"Carly…what the hell just happened!?" Luke gasped. She shook her head and turned back to the door.

"We must leave, follow me…" she replied and started downstairs. He followed her, and she led him to the garage where a hover car waited. She sat in the passenger side, feeling her way to her seat. Her body jerked, and she touched a hand to the bullet hole in her head. "You must drive…I cannot see…I am too broken…"

Luke walked around to the other side and got inside. He fired up the after burners and the car lifted up. He opened the garage and took off headed for the sky highway. Carly looked in his general direction.

"You need to go to this address…Your father told me this…might happen…he programmed me to make sure you got here." Carly reached to her breast and pulled out a small note. It was blood stained…with her blood…a robot with blood. She nodded slowly and leaned her head back. "Go fast…They will be after you."

"Us, Carly, they will be after us," Luke replied.

Carly shook her head. "I will not be able to stop them again... You must take Project G to these people.." She looked out the window. "I wish your father still lived…I miss him."

((Beta-reader: marinawings))