Half an hour later, he was regretting his decision. There really wasn’t anything happening. Empty hallways and more empty hallways, all gray and dull and metallic. Maybe this was all some sick joke.

And then things happened. He’s really not sure what exactly he’s just rammed into going around a corner, but it sure as hell looked like it wanted to kill him. It also looked vaguely like a teenage boy.

It stared at him for a minute, as if having difficulty understanding.

“Is this some sick prank, you little brat? Where’s your girlfriend, that May girl?”

Its eyes sparked a little at her name, and it lunged at him quickly, but it seemed…off-kilter, and Robbie stepped away just in time to not get smashed.

And then there was the girl, leaning against the wall, grinning.

“I made him miss. I hope you’re happy.”

“Make it go away!”

She shook her head. “Do you believe me now?” The thing was getting its bearings back. “Do you understand that I’m not some stupid little girl?” Its eyes focused back on him. “Will you let me help you for real this time?”

“Yes, I believe you, you’re not some stupid child.”

She grinned. “Good boy. You’re in luck. That one’s partially mine.” She flickered in and out again, her halfway present hand moving to point directly at the thing, and it lurched to life, turned on its heel, and walked away down the hallway.

May giggled again. “Messed up end codes are a bitch in programming. But it only works so many times.”

“What was that thing?”




“Not helpful.”

“His name’s Edison. Edison Leblanc.”

“Great, that’s really great. But what I meant was, what is…’he’, why’s it trying to kill me?”

She tilted her head and looked at him. That was when he noticed how mechanical her movements were compared to earlier. Jagged and broken, when they had been seamless and realistic before.

“That’s more of a difficult question. By the way, now that you’ve got me on your side again, you should probably head back to your office.”

“You told me earlier to run!”

“That was your best option then, but now you have me. That changes things. So, go back already.”

Robbie glared at her, but turned and started walking quickly in the direction of his office. May was right beside him, but her movements were jerky and awkward. “Are you alright there, Miss Hologram?”

“Sort of. I’m diverting a large amount of my energy towards trying to keep her in the dark about what you’re up to, so my physical form is taking a bit of a backseat.”

“Who’s her? Who’s in charge of this place?”

“Well, originally it was the Controllers, but they left. They bring us a steady supply of toys though.” She grinned at him, and he quickly realized that she was talking about him. “But with them gone, Beth is in charge, I guess. She’s just sort of entered into a freeform mode, taking in data and sending out orders she finds appropriate. They really failed with her. I’m basically superfluous if she can make decisions all by herself. I mean, I’m much more intelligent than her, and I could basically make her superfluous if I had a proper chain of command, but no. That’s not in my programming.” She sounded distinctly irritated about that fact.

He cut her off. “So where’s this Beth, can I talk to her?”

May laughed. “God no. She doesn’t talk. Not to humans anyway. And she’s in the back room. No camera in there, sorry, she had her Drones break it.”

“Great. How can I get her to not kill me then?”

“Oh, she’s not going to kill you. She’s the Commander. She doesn’t move much. She’ll just get one of the boys to do it.”

He was about to jump into another string of questions when they finally reached his office. He hurried inside and slammed all the automated doors shut. May flickered completely out for a few moments, then slid back in.

“I’ve jammed the doors for now. Don’t know how long it’ll take Beth to work her way through that, I’m trying something new tonight.”