"Noba...I lobe you..."

Darkness falls as a wailing scream assaults him from all sides. The sensation of one falling down a long tunnel warps through his soul as all physical tactile sensations fade away. Even the mournful wail of Nova's screaming denial at his departure from this life fades, though it is the last thing of the mortal world Jason Matting hears.

How befitting.

The darkness is encompassing, then suddenly fades into brilliant, all-consuming light. Jason feels no fear as he senses a body...could it be called a body?...form around him again. Familiar sensations of movement, breathing, the five main senses, all rush into him like a tidal wave, then he looks around. All white, nothing in sight...


His eyes focus on a dark shape off in the distance, slowly floating towards him. Jason remains still as the shape grows, assumes human shape, becomes clearly female, then gains colour. His eyes then widen as familiar features come back to him. Golden skin with a fleck of brown. Long fiery crimson-blonde hair. The supple, lithe shape of a dancer. A finely sculptured face. Glittering blue eyes.


Jason remains still as Nova seems to slow, uncurling from a fetal position to glance around wherever they are. She then stops as her eyes lock on his. They widen suddenly as recognition dawns, then a delighted smile crosses her face. The smile instantly vanishes as Nova freezes, her eyes widening more in shock, then a horrorstruck look overcomes her, she falling back from him. "Nova, wait!!" Jason reaches for her...

...then screams out as SOMETHING as hard as diamond stops him from touching her. Jason grunts as he draws his hand back on himself, then stares quizzically at Nova before reaching out again. The hard feeling returns. A transparent wall between them? Pushing against it, Jason grunts on feeling nothing give, then he relaxes before fixing Nova with a determined stare. "Can you hear me, Nova?!!" he screams.

Nova blinks, then her mouth flutters in reply. No sound. "Oh, hell..." Jason mutters, then calls out, "I can't hear you, Nova!!"

Nova pauses, then nods before looking up, her mouth fluttering again. Jason stares at her, then jolts as a booming voice then calls out, "YOU MAY CONVERSE WITH DAIKOKU UNIT NVA-7, JASON MATTING."

"Can you hear me, Jason?!!" Nova calls out loud and clear.

"Yeah, now I can...where ARE we?!!" Jason looks around. Other than Nova, he can see nothing save white. "Is this...?!"

"Heaven?" one of Nova's eyebrows arch, a wry smile crossing her face, then she sighs. "No, nor is this Hell, Jason. We're not really dead...though we're not really alive either. What happened to you?!"

Jason jolts, then stares at her. "We're not dead?!!"

"No," Nova shakes her head. "Our...life-essences, our souls if you will, have been drawn into this preservation stasis loop that's inside a large computer unit within a building somewhere in the Canadian town of Fort Erie, across the river from Buffalo in New York state." Seeing Jason's eyes widen, she adds, "That's what I was told by one of the people who administer this loop. Our new benefactors, you might say."

"Are they part of your company?" Jason wonders.

"No," she shakes her head. "Daikoku has NEVER heard of these people whatsoever. Further, our benefactors...will, if they feel it necessary, go out of their way to ensure Daikoku or any other mega-corporation will NEVER hear of them, using means which are..." her eyes droop with regret, then she breathes out, "...quite violent even by my standards."

Jason blinks, then peers intently at her. "Are you...wait, that voice said you were..."

"En-Vee-Ay-Seven," Nova finishes, then nods. "Yes, Jason, it's me. It's so good to see you again," a celestial smile crosses her face.

Jason takes that in, then nods. "It's good to see you, too, Nova. So..." he looks up as he marshals thoughts, then gazes on her. "Since we're not dead, how the heck do we get out of this place?"

Nova jolts, then gazes past Jason's shoulder. "I believe Doctor Kennisson could better explain this than I can."

Jason stares at her, then turns around to see a slender woman in her early twenties floating close to him. She has wavy brown hair cut to a taper at mid-neck and glittering blue eyes, though a more natural shade than Nova's. Gazing at her body, Jason is quick to note the skintight black bodysuit which displays all her assets (Nova wore the same type of clothing), then glancing down at himself, relaxes on seeing that he too is covered. With that, he returns to gaze on the newcomer's face.

"Hello, Jason," the woman smiles, then stares at Nova. "So this is your delightful boyfriend. You have such good taste, Nova."

"Fate rather decreed it more than I did, Doctor Kennisson," Nova muses, her cheeks flaming at the newcomer's compliment. "Jason, this is Doctor Maria Kennisson. She's the Chairwoman of the Council of Elders administering the Andrews Foundation. Doctor, Jason Matting."

"'Andrews Foundation'...?" Jason's eyebrow arches.

"I believe you know of us through our ASFR nickname, the 'Sim Shop,'" Maria's eyes twinkle knowingly.

Jason jolts, then his jaw drops. "NO WAY!!!"

"Way," Maria smirks. "You must be wondering how we were able to save your soul from an appointment to see Saint Peter when Andromeda beat you to death, much less WHY we saved you in the first place."

Jason hums, crossing his arms. "It could be said." He then stares at Nova. "I'm also pretty curious as how you saved Nova, though I sure as hell don't mind the fact that you did that, too."

"Understandable...and it was our pleasure to help you and Nova both in your time of need," Maria beams. "We of the Foundation have, over the last forty years or so, dedicated ourselves to the preservation and enhancement of the lives of inducted sentients. People like Nova in other words. Part of that function is to save the lives of such people when they die and their creators have no clear way to restore them.

"We did that for Nova when her body was damaged beyond repair at the hands of Hyogen Mugoi, the man whom she was assigned to protect..." Jason winces at the sarcasm dripping in Maria's voice, "...him from an assassin. I'm not sure what you learned from Nova's replica, the one Doctor Lafeyson sent to you after Nova's 'death,' but if you need to know more, I'm sure Nova will gladly fill you in on the details."

Jason blinks, then turns on Nova, aghast. "You were protecting someone and he turned around and stabbed you in the back?!!"

"Yes," Nova nods, her eyes bowed.

His hands clench. "If I ever catch that fucker, I'll give the creep a piece of my mind...and this!" he holds up a clenched fist.

"You need not worry about seeking retribution against him on Nova's behalf, Jason. Thanks to Nova's father, Mister Mugoi is answering for his misdeeds to a higher authority," Maria clicks her tongue, a wry smile curling her lips. "As for you, when times come that an organic shows uncommon mercy and kindness to sentients like Nova...especially in the type of situation like when you first met...then we feel it's only right that such mercy be rewarded properly should such a chance come."

Jason blinks, then stares at the doctor before his eyes widen, a stunned smile crossing his face. "You mean to...you want to...?"

Maria sighs. "I'm afraid we've no choice in the matter, Jason. Your old body was damaged beyond any hope of repair, even making use of our own facilities. Andromeda's madness...and, unfortunately, your own show of recklessness...saw to that. Yes, you must become an android...or 'sim' as we like to call those such as myself."

Silence falls as he considers that, then he chuckles. "Well, if you might know about me, you'll understand that...on the odd occasion, I have dreamt of becoming an android, even when I was caring for Nova and her twin," his eyes fall on the fiery-haired woman nearby. "And since, as you also said, I can't go back to my old body...what choice do I have?" he shrugs. "Besides...if I love this beautiful woman here...and I certainly do...then I should damn hell try to understand her as much as I can. What better way to understand an android than to become one?"

"Well, that's good enough," Maria beams, then sighs. "I must also say that there is one other problem you will have to face. When it comes to bio-sim converts like yourself, Jason, we've found...very much to our regret in the past...that doing a male organic-to-male sim conversion leads to a growing number of psychological adjustment problems afterward. Put simply, male bio-sim converts eventually go insane. We don't know why, though we are striving to understand, then correct the matter.

"You can (if you so choose, of course) be put into stasis until such time as we have overcome that point, but..." Maria pauses, then stares at Nova, "...I'm afraid that Nova has a problem as well. Unlike myself and my siblings in the Foundation, she has no body and cannot be given one until such time as we're able to analyze a moleculartronic neural net CPU that goes into a Daikoku android, then create the necessary program adjustment algorithms to allow her to inhabit the type of bio-synthetic CPU used in a Foundation sim. And since, being the gallant sort you are, it would only be right for you to help us get that information, well, it would be only proper that we ask you to help us give Nova the life she deserves as soon as possible. But to do that..."

"I have to risk madness...or become a female sim," Jason finishes, then sighs, looking down before turning to gaze on Nova. "Nova?"

"I'll love you no matter which choice you make, Jason," she sighs.

Jason gazes on her, then braces himself before turning to Maria. "Okay, Doc, let's do it," he nods.

"Alright, then," Maria smiles, then stares intently at Nova. "Nova. Tell him everything. Leave nothing out."

"Yes, Doctor," Nova nods...




by gorgo
**** **** ****
Based on the Nova series, written by Kishin
**** **** ****


With Kishin-san's kind permission, I am writing this side story to his beautiful Nova stories, explaining what could have happened to the original Nova (NVA-7) and Jason Matting after their deaths. As Kishin-san stated in The Mourning After, he got a lot of flack over Jason's demise, so I decided to do a "what if" story in answer to that.

Kishin-san is to be credited for giving us our beloved flame-haired android and her love, not to mention the other characters which appear in his stories. The Andrews Foundation and all characters associated with that are mine, though people are free to use the concepts behind them in their own works (as long as I get credit for it, ^_-).

Timewise, this story begins immediately after NVA Showdown. Janna awakens in her new body around the time of An Unexpected Guest. Given what happens in the latter part of the story, I set Garbage around the same time-frame as An Unexpected Guest. Kishin-san might disagree with me on that point (which is his right, of course; they're his stories).

The sims (simulated humanoids) are, internally, much more realistic androids than the Daikoku NVA/NVX series. In essence, most of their bodies are composed of biosynthetic similcra of natural organic tissue, though they have mechanical parts scattered all over. "Laboratory-built synthetic cyborgs" would be one way of looking at them.

Like Nova and her sisters, the Andrews Foundation sims have a body unit number. Janna's is 86F002H/S-G. This means she is a female Type 86 sim (third generation combat model), Unit Two, built as a Heavy Combat Variant with Specialized equipment within her and currently possesses a Class G sentience rating (which is no different than Nova's).

Likewise, Maria Kennisson is classified as X64F021-G. That makes her a female Type X-64 (prototype) sim, Unit Twenty-one, with a Class G sentience rating. Audrey Lafeyson is X64F049-G.


"I don't believe that!!"

Jason stares wide-eyed and open-mouthed at Nova. He had learned that the invisible barrier between them was the equivalent to a computer programming wall, designed to ensure neither disembodied people would come into contact with the other, thus risking contaminating their souls with the other's thoughts and emotions. The fiery-haired android had just finished giving him a detailed account of her brief service for the Daikoku World Corporation. "It's true, Jason," Nova takes a deep breath, squeezing her eyes shut, then she gazes remorsefully at him. "That's the reason I had to keep things secret from you in those brief times we were together. If anyone from the Corporation learned of you..."

"Well, your dad did...but he did nothing about it," Jason hums, scratching the side of his head.

Nova nods, inwardly warmed at Jason's referring to her creator Aaron Lafeyson as her "father." Then again, it was, in a sense, the truth. "Yes, he did do nothing about it. But as you now know thanks to your recent run-in with Andromeda, there are those within Daikoku...even those of my own kind...who would, for whatever reason, grossly disapprove of our liaison and punish you to the extreme for it."

"Yeah, you sure got that right," Jason slightly scowls, then he sighs. "Well, it doesn't matter to you anymore...and I don't think your double'll be affected by it, either. She was built without any sort of connections to Daikoku. I'm glad at least that the Foundation's keeping an eye out for her, then they'll step in to help if they have to."

"Yes, I am, too," Nova inwardly beams at the idea of having her own child, someone moulded by her thoughts and ideals even if by proxy. "I hope I'll get the chance to meet her someday."

"You'll like her, a lot," Jason assures her, then blinks. "Eh?!"

"What is it...wha...?!" Nova's eyes widen.

Jason turns, then his eyes widen on seeing the woman standing before him. Equal in height to Jason and Nova (about 175 centimetres tall in realspace), she has short-cropped black hair tinted in deep sea blue and eyes the shade of freshly-cut grass. Like Jason and Nova, she wears a black bodysuit that hugs her trim yet shapely form. Her face is finely sculptured though it currently has no expression etched in it. Her nose is stubby yet utterly cute, there are dimples under both eyes and her lips are slender and warm, glossed over with dark pink-red lipstick.

"Cute as a million kittens" would be one way to describe her face.

"Who are you?" he asks.

The girl blinks, then evenly replies, "I am a mental representation of the CPU fitted into a Type 86 female sim, sentience Class G, Unit Two. My designation as programmed into me (unless the controlling conscience disagrees) is 'Janna Matting.' I have been projected into this stasis loop to merge with the controlling conscience, designate 'Jason Matting,' so programming and construction of my physical form can be completed."

Jason blinks, then lightly smiles. "Why the name 'Janna?'"

"It can be interpreted as the female version of 'Janus,' the god of new beginnings in Roman myth," the conscience of Unit 86F002-G replies.

"Befitting," Nova muses.

Unit 86F002-G ignores her comment, gazing on Jason, awaiting his response. Jason blinks, then stares at Nova. "As King Henry once said, 'Once more unto the breech, dear friends'..."

"Good luck, Jason," Nova smiles hopefully.

Jason nods, then faces 86F002-G. "I'm ready."

"Let it be so," the female nods, then her eyes glow.

Jason feels his body fade...

...then suddenly reform as a tidal wave of thoughts and ideas slams into her, filling every crook of her essence. Faces, names, body unit numbers, ideas, codes, a torrent of information no normal organic could absorb without going insane...it all makes sense to her.

Next comes the history of the Andrews Foundation and its founder, how a man whose awe and love of the science-fiction classic Metropolis metamorphed into his creating a top-secret research centre, one secluded from general society to this very day. A nexus point where others like George Andrews could gather, share ideas, experiment and build without interference. How that nexus point became the well-spring from which sims...simulated humanoids...were born, starting with the Type X-64s like Maria Kennisson. When they were proven to be compatible emotionally with organics, the sims were let loose, given full control of their destiny, then charged to go forth, seek those like them out and welcome them into their orbit. Offer shelter to those androids, robots and other inducted sentients...plus those organics who demonstrated love and kindness to such beings...then allow them to become one with society at large.

Her vision then returns as Janna gazes on Nova. Confusion warps through the former for a moment...wasn't she supposed to be standing with her back to her beloved?...then her mind clears up as she floats over to place herself against the barrier protecting Nova's soul from her own. "You okay, Nova?" she wonders, noting the awed look on the other's face.

"I...it was incredible," Nova's voice is hushed. "The look on your face, Jaso-...Janna," she corrects herself, grinning apologetically. "Oh, it must've been sheer ecstacy for you..."

"Yeah, it was pretty intensive," Janna chuckles, then sighs. "Look, I have to go get things ready. As Arnold said it best," she turns away, her voice slipping into a faux German accent, "I'll be beck."

"I'll be waiting," Nova waves in farewell as Janna fades, then slips into a sitting position. "Ganbatte (Good luck), Janna...my love..."

"Ah, there you are, Janna. Ready to begin?"

Janna jolts, then smiles on recognizing the slender Slavic woman with long, straight black hair and brown eyes. Like all those who enter the Foundation's stasis net, she is dressed in a form-fitting black bodysuit, a holographic datapadd floating before her. "Doctor Lafeyson," Janna straightens herself, then bows her head. "I'm ready."

"Alright, then," Audrey Lafeyson, Aaron's ex-wife (and thus, Nova's now-adopted mother), taps the datapadd to begin the construction process. "You're receiving a Type 86F body, Janna. Would you like HCV add-ons?"

The Heavy Combat Variant augmentation to her body and wetware, Janna quickly comprehends Audrey's request, instantly understanding what that would mean in realspace. "It'd be wise, I suppose," Janna crosses her arms. "If Andromeda was anything like what a crazed Daikoku combat android can be, why take the damned risk? Besides, I might be asked to rescue NVA-C one of these days, so I might as well be prepared."

"Good point," Audrey taps controls. "Would you like to try out the HCV-S module as well? We need it tested."

Janna blinks. The Specialized variation of HCV meant that she would have forearm-mounted gravity-warp projectors, the emitters built into her hands. Using that, she could do some major redecorating in case the opposition got intense. "I'll need at least a Class 8 fuel pump to keep up with the demands those monsters'll draw on my energy reserves."

"You'll get a 9S pump," Audrey counters. "It's more efficient than an 8 or 8S pump, so you won't have to binge TOO much."

"Great!" Janna smirks. Fuel pumps served as combination heart and stomach for a Foundation sim. Taking in food like normal people (or any sort of solid matter), the pump would convert it into plasma energy, then force it through an efficient cardiovascular system to answer her body's energy demands. The fuel pump in a Foundation sim was, outside the CPU, the most important organ in the body. The Class 9S pump, about the size of the average hardcover novel, was the latest model.

"Alright, then," Audrey taps controls, then notions to a glowing circular pad beside Janna. "Step there and relax. We'll beam you in."

"Right," Janna steps onto the pad, then smirks. "Energize!"

Audrey flips controls. Janna fades out in a sparkle of light. As soon as she is alone, the brown-haired prototype sim closes her eyes. "Go, Janna...my beautiful daughter-in-law..." she whispers, her eyes glittering with tears. "Go, Nemesis...my angel of vengeance. Go bring Aaron, Nova and Andromeda the justice they deserve..."














TIME TO AWAKEN...05...04...03...02...01...00

Janna's eyes flutter open, a diagnostic window in her left eye flashing the necessary messages flowing in from all parts of her body. The warm touch of the bed under her allows her skin to remain loose, the underlying duranium fibres which served as her outer layer of defensive armour not moving to interlink and render her as hard as the plate armour of an M-1 tank. She also senses that almost all her body was now sheathed in clothing. A bodysuit, perhaps? As elements of her CPU receive confirming messages from various parts of her body, she slowly sits up, allowing the blanket to fall away from her skin. Gazing at herself, Janna smiles on seeing the plain white jumpsuit normally worn by female Foundation sims when working inside their headquarters.

Slipping the covers aside, she swings her legs out, then stands up, her internal auto-balancer pumps, located in her head beside her ears, making sure she remains on her feet. With that, she takes several steps to a floor-length mirror to stare at herself. As the beautiful image is reflected back through the glass, Janna feels her cheeks heat. "Shit, I do look hot," she purrs in a silky yet refined voice, similar to Nova's in a way, but without the nasalized English noblewoman's accent.

Curiosity fills her as she reaches up to the zipper holding her jumpsuit in place, then she pulls it down to the level of her hipbones. Seeing the generous cleavage exposed, Janna shudders as a subtle rush floods through various parts of her lower body. Closing her eyes as she takes a deep breath, thus ensuring more oxygen would flood her plasma-like "blood" and keep the energy output from her fuel pump high, Janna takes the flaps of her suit, then pulls away to expose her breasts.

Her jaw drops in awed shock as they seem to jiggle lightly, then drawing one hand from its sleeve, she reaches over to tenderly pinch one of her nipples. A jolt of hot fire lances through her sensory net as the flesh hardens, the input igniting special glands within her to send a torrent of synthogen...synthetic oestrogen...right into her CPU. Janna remains still as her hand continues to caress the plump mounds on her chest, then without thinking, she draws her other arm clear of the jumpsuit to ensure she could give pleasure to both of her breasts.

Guess this must be one way girls masturbate, she muses as she steps back, sitting on the diagnostic bed. Drawing one hand up, she licks her fingers, then reaches down to draw the dampness over her skin. The rush of synthogen inside her suddenly becomes a storm as she swings back onto her bed, one hand now reaching down to fully unzip her jumpsuit and seek out another dampening spot on her body.

Janna jolts in surprise on feeling crinkly hairs above her groin, then pulling the jumpsuit's fabric clear, looks down to see a neatly-trimmed bush of raven hair over her womanhood. Maybe I should shave myself down there, she muses as a finger probes past the folds of her labia, then her mind explodes as it makes contact with her clitoris.

"WHOA!!!" she cries out, her body tensing as an orgasm slams through her, then she slowly shifts onto her side as she allows the synthogen to drain into her cardiovascular system and clear away from her CPU.

"Oh, man...that was fuckin' fantastic..." she mutters, a giddy smile crossing her face, then taking another deep breath to restore her active power levels to normal, sits back up, her hands reaching over to yank the jumpsuit away from her body. A glance to her left reveals a small dresser unit with vanity mirror. Walking over, she opens the top drawer to see several folded pairs of panties and sports bras. Taking a pair out, she slips the panties up her legs. Stopping at mid-thigh, Janna shifts her legs apart, then slips a hand in to lightly caress herself. Another shudder rips through her, then she draws her hand up to take a deep smell. Ripe, freshly-picked strawberries. Almost like the way Nova's womanhood had registered to Jason when they had made love.


With that, she slips her panties into place, then draws the sports bra over her, adjusting herself so that her breasts weren't pinched by the cloth. No doubt, it'd hurt Janna as much as a constricted hard-on would hurt Jason. Now donning the right undergarments, Janna kneels to the second drawer to draw out a polo shirt and a pair of worn blue jeans. Janna pauses on seeing the jeans, then grins. Brand new clothes might attract someone's attention, make people question what was going on.

Slipping them into place, she then puts on cotton socks and slip-on pumps before walking to the doorway, one hand reaching for a bomber jacket hanging from a wall rack. She heads through the door, slipping her arms into the jacket as the door automatically closes behind her. Janna now finds herself in a dimly-lit corridor. Walking to a seven-way junction, she then turns left, finding herself before double doors. They part as the door sensors detect her, allowing her inside.

Past the doors lay a small control room, about five metres square. Computers lined all the walls, along with air vents. Seated at the various stations were women of all possible racial backgrounds, varying in age from late teens to early thirties. Staring at these, a small sampling of her new family, Janna is surprised to see that not all of them were unnatural icons of beauty. There were girls that seemed nearly anorexic, some body-builders, the stocky overweight types, girls with overlarge breasts, the permanently underdeveloped. Shaking her head, Janna emits a low whistle. They all looked like normal people. No wonder the Andrews Foundation had kept itself secret for so long.

With that, she proceeds to stand behind one station, marked MONITOR UNIT TWO (DAIKOKU) on a placard over the viewscreen. At the station was a stocky Asian with plain-cut black hair and brown eyes. Her attention is locked fully on the screen before her. Janna hums, then concentrates:





Janna hums, responding negatively to her UIP request as she turns her full attention to the woman before her. Chisato wouldn't normally attract the attention of most young men, but from the intensive look on her face, Janna guessed she was a handful in bed. It's always the ones we ignore who're the best at that sort of thing, she hums.

Glancing down, she notices that Chisato's button shirt is opened, allowing cables from the monitor computer to be plugged into an open panel on her stomach. It was centred on her navel, Janna notes, then remembers that all Foundation sims had a maintenance hatch located there. That was one big cosmetic difference between sims and androids like Nova; they had realistic navels. All one had to do was press into the belly button and they would trigger a hidden switch to open the panel.

Seeing the thickness of the cable plugged into Chisato now, Janna quickly concludes that the monitor officer was directly inputting feed data from the monitor units right into her CPU. The fastest way to do it, the just-woken special action officer (that was Janna's job within the Andrews Foundation) nods. Sighing, Janna places a hand on Chisato's shoulder, causing the other sim to blink. A quick glance to Janna, then Chisato turns back to her screen. "Can I help you, Janna?"

"I need to know if there are any Daikoku androids in North America and where they are, Chisato. It's for Nova and Andromeda."

"One moment," Chisato closes her eyes, firing off a request into the monitor unit's CPU, then she relaxes. "I have Unit NVA-C now in Los Angeles, currently at Galaxy Fashions..."

Janna jolts, then sighs. "Nova..." she whispers, then shakes her head. "No, not her. Anyone else?"

"Unit NVX-3R has just arrived in Los Angeles..."

Surprise crosses Janna's face. "Who's that?!"

"Self-designation: Robyn. She's an information and reconnaissance officer; she was just activated. She was dispatched from Neo-Tokyo to investigate a computer leak inside Daikoku's system. The trace will take her to Galaxy Fashions, but the origin of the leak is elsewhere."

"Will it threaten Nova?"

Chisato hums, then shakes her head. "I don't think so...but given that the second Nova is sentient, if she and Robyn encounter the other, the chances are very good that Nova will boost Robyn to full sentience, not to mention cut Robyn off from being traced by Daikoku."

Janna takes that in, then hums as elements of her CPU churn through the data, the "Nemesis" protocols postulating several scenarios which could result from such an encounter. She purses her lips, then sighs. "If that happens, additional personnel could be sent after Robyn."

"Agreed," Chisato nods. "Most likely organic officers. Janna, the Council has forbidden a direct attack by any Foundation field officer on Daikoku special ops personnel. You need a waver from Doctor Kennisson to go after them even if Doctor Lafeyson wanted you to."

Janna nods. "True, but that's not our worry now. Any other Daikoku units in North America or do I gotta go to Japan to find them?"

Chisato turns back to her screen. "There is a possibility."


"Just outside Dallas, Texas. There's an unauthorized research unit there being run by one of the scientists who worked on the NVX combat android program in Japan. Unit NVX-14 is with her now."

Janna blinks surprisedly, then pulls up her shirt, her finger pressing into her navel. Click! A round section of skin cuts away from her abdomen, revealing underlying layers of synthetic muscles plus several datajack ports. "Link me in, please, Chisato."

"Alright," Chisato draws up a spare cable from the monitor unit, then turns, slipping that into Janna's abdomen.

The field officer jolts, then closes her eyes as data streams into her mind. Alright, the chief scientist of the group was a woman named Riho Futaba. One of Aaron Lafeyson's apprentices, Riho spearheaded the development of the NVX combat gynoids, units similar in function to the Type 66, 76 and 86 combat sims the Foundation created.

However, due to development problems with the NVXs, especially concerning their wetware, the project was shelved. Riho had dissented, wanting the chance to try to make it work. It had been refused and she had been reassigned to North America. It was there that she disappeared from Daikoku's security net by faking her own death in a car crash.

How on Earth did she get her hands on one of her own creations? Janna wonders, then sighs. Despite how it happened, this was a very good development. If Riho was smart, she would've ensured records on NVX-14 were wiped out. Someone who was working in Daikoku was helping her...

Yes. Kensuke Ichiman, another scientist who had been assigned to the NVX project. Yes, he was still on Daikoku's payroll. If that was so and if he was working with Riho, chances were there Kensuke was a possible double-agent, ready to sell her out if something went wrong...or went very right. Given the nature of the people working for Daikoku, Janna was willing to wager that if NVX-14 was made safe, Kensuke could easily eliminate Riho, then take credit for what happened himself.


"We got a hot one here," Janna nods, then stares at Chisato. "Hey, want to tag along for the ride? I could use an expert for the trip."

Chisato stops, then stares wide-eyed at the other sim. "You...want me to go with you?" her voice is a stunned squeak. "Janna, I'm not..."

"Field personnel," Janna finishes, then nods. "Yeah, I know, but you ARE an expert on all the types of androids Daikoku builds. I'm willing to also bet that you're also knowledgeable on what that company does since Nova and her sisters clearly play a big role. I don't know everything I'd want to about that situation. Programming it into me's fine and fair, but I'd personally prefer a second person to give me a counter-argument in case something goes very wrong down there."

Chisato blinks, then feels her cheeks heat at Janna's compliment before she nods. "I'll do my best to justify your faith in me, Janna," she turns back to the board, then concentrates. "There, I just contacted my replacement. When he gets in here, we'll head out then, alright?"

"Great!" Janna nods, moving to unplug herself...

Thirty minutes later, a private jet lifts off from an airfield north of the Foundation's headquarters, turning south-west to cross Lake Erie into Ohio on course for Texas. Once the airplane is wheels-up, Chisato, in the pilot's chair, flicks a switch, activating a visual/radar cloaking field that makes the plane fade from outside view. Now in the co-pilot's chair, Janna sighs as she watches the countryside pass. Chisato had explained that the cloak now protecting them wasn't enough to cover a heat trail or the engine noise, but if the jet remained close to cloud cover, it could confuse ground observers as to who was passing overhead.

Gazing at the other sim, Janna sighs, then reaches over to squeeze Chisato's hand. "Thanks for helping me do this."

"My pleasure," Chisato smiles, then projects a concerned stare. "How are you adjusting, Janna? It's rare for an organic-convert sim to leap into action the day she's first activated."

"I guess it's this 'Nemesis' program inside my brain that's keeping me focused on what I have to do," Janna shrugs, lightly smiling. "It's a good thing, though...and besides, Nova deserves the chance to get back on her feet as soon as possible. I'm not going to deny her that."

"You must love her," Chisato chuckles. "I'm envious."

"Hey, it doesn't mean that I don't want to be friends with anyone else," Janna returns, then sits back in her chair. "Chisato?"


"Others like me...those who were organics before the Foundation helped them...did they have problems adjusting?"

Chisato takes that in, then sighs, giving Janna a reassuring squeeze before flicking on the auto-pilot. "Some of them did, but we're careful over who we choose to become part of us. Then again, every one of them was usually the lover or friend of an android we wanted to rescue, so that made things flow a lot more easily. They decided the same thing you did before your parts merged to become Janna: if they were going to stay in love or be friends with the android in question, it was only right for them too to become sims when the android crossed over."

"That's good," Janna closes her eyes. "I'm going to go into sleep mode for a bit. Wake me when we get there, alright."

"Alright," Chisato nods...

Four hours later, the plane lands on one of the runways at Carswell Air Force Base, west of downtown Fort Worth. The air base had been closed down some years ago due to budget cuts. Once clear of government red tape and oversight, it had been taken over by a front corporation controlled by older-model sims so that field personnel like Janna would have places to insert and extract themselves from quietly. The company that ran Carswell as a private-use runway actually turned a profit from the many businesspersons who regularly fly in and out of the Dallas area. Seeing one more private jet land or take off wouldn't make any passer-by blink; the cloak that shielded the jet could maintain a complete radar masking even if the visual cloak was deactivated.

Pulling into a hangar, the jet is shut down as ground crews...Type 70 Class C heavy labour sims ("droids" in Foundation parlance due to their total lack of sentience), Janna is quick to notice...secure it. Janna and Chisato disembark to find an unmarked panel van awaiting them.

"I called ahead to have transportation arranged," Chisato smiles as they climb in, then she guides the vehicle out of the hangar.

"Thanks," Janna nods. "Now you see why I asked you along?"

"That's the big disadvantage of the 'Nemesis' program," Chisato smirks. "You're concentrating so much on avenging what's happened to Nova that you're risking letting details slip through. It's okay."

"Okay, then. Get us over there!"

"Right away!!"

The van makes its way onto Interstate 30, heading east past Fort Worth into Dallas' outskirts. Turning north on Route 360, then taking the Carrier Parkway exit, Chisato proceeds into the western outskirts of Irving. Just north of the underpass racing below I-30 outside Grand Prairie, she makes another left into an abandoned industrial zone, then pulls the van aside. "We're about seven hundred metres from where Doctor Futaba and Unit 14 are," she points to the south-east. "See there?"

Janna looks. "The place with all the windows gone?"

"That's it," Chisato nods. "They're in a basement room. Other than Doctor Futaba and Unit Fourteen, there're four other people: Doctor Ichiman and three assistants, all of them still Daikoku employees."

"Good enough for me," Janna nods, opening the door as she slips out. "Stay here until I signal you to come in."

"Right. Good luck," Chisato nods.

Janna heads away from the van, acting like someone who had to do something on her own, then when she reaches a side road that led past the target building, she turns and begins her approach run.

Concentrating, she relaxes on seeing a message flash in her eye:





Janna tenses as she begins to do a multi-spectral examination of the target building. No external sensor units or hidden weapons emplacements are seen. Heat residue indicates that a vehicle, no doubt a passenger car, had recently driven up to one of the loading doors obscured from a casual glance from nearby roads, then head in. Heading over, she stops behind the corner of one building, glancing at the door in question. The door seemed locked...wait! No, it was opened, but obscured in a way that it would seemed locked whenever someone passed by (if someone ever did).

Alright, fair enough, she relaxes, concentrating:


With that, Janna straightens herself, then dashes to the door, stopping to one side as she checks through a broken window to examine the main floor. Almost empty save for some rusting machinery...and a car hidden in the shadows, obscured easily by surrounding machinery and the building walls. Very clever, these people.

With that, she walks down to another shattered window, then slips inside, landing gingerly on the floor. Rising, she glances around, then jolts as a hidden access door opens, revealing a muscular man dressed in overalls, Daikoku symbology on the arms and chest. He looks at her, then smiles, closing the door behind him as he sneaks over to her.

"'Bout time you came here!" he hisses in English. "We've been expecting someone for sometime now."

Janna jolts, then realizing that the fellow must now believe her to be one of Nova's NVA sisters, relaxes, falling into her "role." No doubt, all the others with Riho Futaba were ready to sell her out to the Daikoku Corporation. Too bad. "I came as soon as I was dispatched from Japan," she allows all emotions to drain from her face, lowering her voice. "Where is Doctor Futaba and the rogue android?"

"This way," he beckons her with a finger.

Janna falls in behind him as he returns to where the hatch was. Kneeling, he taps a hidden sensor pad, then straightens as the hatch opens up. As he swings around to step down, a hand claps his mouth shut as he feels a VERY sharp pain rip through his chest!

Janna yanks his head back hard enough to break the spine as she twists her left hand, allowing the 50 centimetre-long monomolecular vibro-claws that presently jutted from her fingertips to shred his heart and major blood vessels. Blood sprays from the wound as Janna yanks back her claws, tossing the Daikoku worker aside, then she looks down to see one of the fellow's co-workers staring wide-eyed at her.

At the bottom of the stairs, the stammering worker is paralyzed by fear. He had been told by Kensuke Ichiman that one of the NVA androids would be by soon to kill Riho Futaba, thus ensuring the company's android projects would remain secure. A ground sensor had picked up the arrival of a van five minutes ago, which meant that the operation was underway. Like his co-workers, he was expecting an unearthly beauty who could be co-oped into sex (after all, androids were programmed to obey any organic working for Daikoku). He CERTAINLY didn't expect a raven-haired tomboy with half-metre long glowing claws tipping the fingers of one hand!

Especially one who had just casually murdered his friend!!

Staring at him, Janna growls as her legs propel her down, sending her flying into him with the force of a runaway semi! Her claws lancing into his heart aren't necessary; the impact of her body on his crushes his rib cage, pulping his heart and lungs in an instant. With that, Janna spins right to see a large space, about the size of the central monitor room back in Fort Erie. Standing there were three more people, two men and a woman, all now staring wide-eyed at the new arrival. Also there is another woman, a tall silver-haired beauty now prostrate on a diagnostic bed beside the woman Janna recognizes as Riho Futaba.

"Who are you?!!" Kensuke Ichiman, standing close to Riho, screams.

Janna doesn't answer, snapping up her other hand to aim her palm at the third person present. The air before Janna crackles loudly as an energy ball forms, then lances forth at the hapless Daikoku worker. Riho and Kensuke gape as the poor man is pulped by the gravity-warp blast, shredded flesh and blood showering the wall behind where he stood. Once he is down, Janna stops, staring intently at the two scientists.

"Do I have your attention now, doctors?" she then sweetly inquires.

Riho, a dusky-skinned woman with blonde hair pulled back from her angular face, that pierced with blue eyes, suddenly grins. "You're from the Foundation, aren't you?! You're a Type Eighty-six!"

Kensuke jolts, spinning around to stare wide-eyed at Riho. Janna is just as stunned as the Daikoku scientist. "You know of us?"

"Yes," Riho nods. "Did Audrey send you?!"

"What foundation?!" Kensuke sputters.

Janna stares at him, then holds up her hand, allowing her claws to retract into her fingertips, melting like plastic over an open fire right into the surrounding flesh. Gazing at that, Kensuke blinks, his mind whirling at warp speed. An android of some sort, clearly VERY advanced if what he just saw was an indication, working for a group that openly hunted Daikoku personnel...that wouldn't be tolerated by ANYONE back in Neo-Tokyo. With that, he yanks out a pistol. If he was fast enough...

Seeing that, Janna lunges at him, her fist cocked back. Just as he is about to swing the gun to bear on the oncoming sim, Janna's fist connects with his jaw. His head snaps back with an audible crack! as the spine and jaw are shattered, sending him flying against a wall. He sinks to the floor, the pistol clattering at his feet as Janna steps back, arm raised to strike again if he gets up. No chance in that.

Riho looks over, then relaxes before walking up to stand beside Janna. "I think you got him," she clicks her tongue.

Janna blinks, then stares intently at the scientist before reaching over to unbutton the older woman's shirt. Riho jolts, then places a hand on the field officer's arm. "Relax, there's no need to do that."

Janna pauses. "You're one of us?"

"Modified Type 66F infiltration sim; I'm one of about a half-dozen now working inside the Corporation at this time," Riho guides the hand from her. "I won't be listed in your databanks if you're trying to key in the identification program to learn who I am. Who came with you?"

"Just me, Riho."

Both turn as Chisato steps down into the lab. "Hey, stranger!" Riho walks over to draw her friend into a warm embrace. "About time!!"

Janna's jaw drops. "You mean you knew about this?!" she spins on Chisato, a bona-fide stare of death burning from her eyes.

"Yes, but I couldn't reveal anything about undercover personnel, not even to you, Janna," Chisato stares at the field officer, then turns to gaze on the unmoving NVX android nearby. "What about her? Any luck?"

"A little," Riho shakes her head. "As far as Ichiman and whoever was in control of him knows, I was being 'frantic' about trying to make the NVX program work properly. Too bad he won't be able to report more to whoever his friends back in Japan might be."

"So why kidnap this girl?" Janna wonders.

"Because of Nova," Riho gazes on the field officer. "I was one of the first to learn that she had become sentient. I knew that sooner or later, the chance might come that she'd die on duty. When her soul would be saved by our system, we'd need the chance to decipher the coding that goes into a Daikoku android's brain. I couldn't get the chance to do that while I was still working in Neo-Tokyo, so I had to do it here."

Janna stares at the older sim, then lightly smiles. "Thank you."

"You love Nova, don't you?" Riho wonders.

"Yes, I do. Very much."

"That's good. Well, I need to get back to Fort Erie to help give Nova a new chance at life...but first, I have something else to do," Riho sighs, her eyes turning towards the unmoving NVX-14...


"Why a garbage dumpster?!"

"Relax, she won't be there for long," Riho chuckles as the van pulls into the hangar. Already, the ground crew was warming up the jet for the flight back to Fort Erie. "I programmed Fourteen to awaken in an hour's time," the scientist adds as they disembark from the van, filing into the jet as one of the ground crew drives the vehicle away. "The first person she sees that shows her kindness, she'll start to gravitate to."

"What about her mental problems?" Chisato wonders as they slip into the cockpit, the monitor officer looking over the controls as she begins the pre-flight check, Janna and Riho sitting in the other seats.

"She'll still have some trouble coping, but over time and barring any serious problems, she'll overcome them and live a good life," Riho sighs. "If it gets too bad, I can always come back."

"What about whoever was backing up Ichiman?" Janna wonders.

"No problems there," Riho crosses her arms. "I managed to get my hands on a corpse from one of the morgues, then hid it in the lab when Kensuke and the others weren't looking. With the thermite you laid out to wreck the place, the people in Daikoku'll have no idea what happened there or why...IF they choose to investigate the matter, which I think they might not. After all, whoever the executive was that was behind Kensuke, if he raises too much of a stink over what happened, will have to explain to Osato why he let an NVX combat android loose."

Janna takes that in, then nods. "Too bad, then...but I'm still a little uncomfortable about letting someone with some screwed-up wiring in the ol' CPU running loose, especially with what else those NVXs're capable of doing when they're pressed against the wall."

Riho blinks, then nods. "Yes, that's true...but all of us, one way or another, learns best by experience, not just by programming. Besides, with the way I programmed Fourteen, I made sure she (once she chooses the person she loves) will always seek to protect him. The people in Daikoku never realized that in a bodyguard situation, the NVXs can be like a pack of lionesses. Whoever the lucky fellow or lady is that comes together with Fourteen, he'll be quite safe with her FROM her. Count on it."

"And we'll be always there if she needs us," Chisato adds.

Janna takes that in, then nods. "Okay, fair enough. Let's go home. The sooner Nova's back on her feet, the better."

"Okay," Chisato nods as she guides the plane away from the hangar, turning towards the runway.

Janna falls quiet as she closes her eyes, warm images bombarding her mind of a life Fate decreed that she could no longer live. Images that included, focused on, a beautiful flame-haired, blue-eyed Galatea. Two flame-haired, blue-eyed Galateas, the sim born as Jason Matting reminds herself. One of whom was now trapped, disembodied, in a master computer back in Ontario. The other alone in California, no doubt heartbroken over what happened to the man she loved. And now, a third Galatea would haunt Janna's thoughts: a tall, muscular giantess with silver-blue hair.

And with those images came doubts. As she was now, Janna Matting could do so much to help not just both Novas and the yet-to-be-named NVX-14, but all their many sisters in Japan and elsewhere. But would the cure she could provide for those androids ultimately be worse than the disease called "Daikoku?" Dare she go all out, hunt down the inhuman bastards who treated Nova, Andromeda and the others like throw-away toys, then give them a taste of Heaven-sent justice, Foundation-style? Or should she sit back and let things happen, let Fate and Destiny dictate what happened to the others without her stepping into the fray?

Which way should she go?

To Be Continued...?


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