Lady Bonitas and Inpuritia are back! What’s the evil plan? Can Bonitas even find Inpuritia? Why won’t Millie the genius be like normal people? How much barely-veiled sarcasm can I possibly fit into one little story?
Spoiler alert – the answer to that last one is: “quite a lot” 😉
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by Lee Hulme
“She’s up to something,” Bonitas muttered, pacing the living room.
Millie nodded absently and continued sketching.
“She’s got a delivery system, something that can withstand an explosion, and a lot of flu virus. What the hell is she gonna do, give everyone flu? That’s ridiculous.”
“Unless it’s altered somehow,” Millie suggested with a shrug.
Bonitas stopped in her tracks and spun on one heel to face her young assistant, “Altered?”
“Yeah, like mutating so it can’t be cured, or extra powerful, or…something.”
“Even just a few million people getting the flu would grind the country halfway to a halt, right? What if those that got it died, because their bodies couldn’t keep fighting it?”
Millie shrugged again, “I mean, she could be doing anything, we don’t know if it’s that.”
“We need to find out. We need to track her to wherever she’s working.”
Millie nodded, “Already on it.”
Bonitas peered over at the sketchpad and smiled, “I’ll assume that’s something helpful you’re drawing.”
Millie looked up and laughed, “Oh, this? Nah, just playing around. The helpful thing is right behind you.”
Bonitas turned and leapt backwards, startled, “Um…you made a robot?”
“I did. And it’s carrying your new toy.”
“Oh? Oh! Well, thanks. Does it have a name?”
Millie looked at her blankly, “A name? It’s a tool, why would it have a name?”
Bonitas sighed, “Because normal human beings who built a super-advanced robot to carry stuff around for them would probably give it a name. Or at least a gender.”
Millie shrugged, “Humans have names to identify each other with, and for call and response. It has a serial number for identification, and it responds to either pre-programmed or live commands via a portable console,” Millie reached into her pocked and waved a palm-sized device. “This is also a phone and a computer, does it need a name too?” She grinned at her own joke. “You can give it a name if you really want to. Something from one of those sci-fi things you watch or whatever.”
Bonitas shook her head and took the package the robot was still offering, “You are a strange girl, Millie.”
Millie ignored the comment, “That’ll let you track anyone by any signature – heat, smell, pheromone, whatever. Just gotta get close enough to collect the data, and they’ll never shake you. I also input all the chases you’ve had so far – marked where you came from, where you lost them, any details about them or their vehicles – it’s not much yet but it’ll be a mini database in time, and it’ll notify you if it spots any of the flags I’ve set in it. Buckle it on your wrist and I’ll show you how it works.”
“Alright, but what is it called?”
Millie’s face went blank again, “Called?”
“You know, like the jetpack, the robot, what is this?”
“A database, gps and tracking device. With an inbuilt, voice-activated communications systems that links to your phone, so you can talk to me – or anyone else – with ease. And a whole lot of other useful things.”
“That’s not a name, it’s a description.”
“So are robot and jetpack,” Millie retorted.
“No, those are short and descriptive names – easy to say, easy to make reference to.”
Millie sighed, “Then call it a comms device or something, like your sci-fi stuff probably would even though it’s a highly inaccurate and simplified description of the true extend of the capabilities.”
Bonitas raised an eyebrow, “Oh we’re being snarky now, are we?”
A short while later, Bonitas was flying above the city, looking for something suspicious, the police alerted to call her on any strange crime, or on sighting anyone suspected of contact with Inpuritia. Bonitas herself circled an area the goons all seemed to pass through, heading in one direction. Frustrated after hours of nothing, Bonitas was lazily beginning yet another circuit when the comms device bleeped.
“Show me,” Bonitas commanded and a holographic map covered the city below. Two dots appeared on the map, heading towards her, and two boxes popped up with mugshots and basic details.
Bonitas stopped flying for a moment in surprise, “Holy crap! Alright Millie! Now let’s get their signatures, but quietly, ok?”
The device remained quiet and Bonitas sighed.
“Yep, talking to a gadget. Come on then.”
Flying ahead, Bonitas shot into an alley and out the other side, falling into place right behind two motorbikes that flashed as yellow dots on her wrist. As signatures were confirmed on each, the dots turned red and Bonitas shot upwards, following the dots from just below the cloud cover. When they stopped moving, Bonitas landed atop a parking lot by a tall building, the dots indicating that they were inside.
“Any chance you can give me building schematics, let me see where they are?” she asked the device quietly. Almost immediately a plan appeared, showing the two red dots beneath the building. A loading bar crept solely across until, complete, the floors below were visible on the plan.
“Alright, can you mark the entrance to the underground section?”
A section of a wall at street level was highlighted green.
“Don’t suppose you could remind me to tell Millie how amazing she is too?”
Bonitas laughed as a ToDo list showed up and added one item ‘Tell Millie how amazing she is too’.
“Almost perfect, there. Almost.”
Bonitas fired up the jetpack and lowered herself to the ground, by the marked section of wall. “This one I can do,” she told the comms device as she tuned her eyemask to search for clues on how to enter. The door itself was a faint red line, and to the right was a small compartment. When opened, there was a keypad. Tuning her eyemask again, Bonitas saw fingerprints on the numbers used for the code.
“All I need now is a cracker. Or to guess the 6 digit combo in the right order in however many tries I get before alarms go off and people come to kill me.”
She looked down at her wrist, about to ask the device to call Millie for help, only to see a 6 digit readout waiting for her.
“You are actually a little bit too good to be true, you know,” she told the device as she tapped in the numbers and the door swung silently open.
Tuning her eyemask once again to let her see in the dark, Bonitas stepped inside and felt the door close behind her. The corridor ahead was empty, sloping sharply downwards, and she moved forwards swiftly, the comms device showing life signs in a wide open space ahead.
Slowly as she neared, Bonitas crouched in the shadows to listen, heartbeat rising, sweat breaking out in prickles all over as she peered around the corner.
“…in just a few more days,” Inpuritia was saying. “More immediately, however, our plan was successful and we have the wannabe superhero hiding in the shadows over there.”
Bonitas flew to her feet and turned to run, but her legs refused to obey and sent her crashing to the floor.
As she fought to stand again, a booted foot pressed into the small of her back, “Now, now. You fell so nicely into my little trap, you don’t really think I’m letting you leave so soon, do you?”
Unable to move from under the foot, Bonitas let herself be pushed to the ground.
The boot was removed, and immediately pressed painfully into her ribs, forcing her to turn onto her back.
“Recognise this, do you?” Inpuritia held up a faintly thrumming shard and nodded at her goons, who grabbed Bonitas and took her to a stiff-backed chair, chaining her limbs, torso and head into place.
“I honestly don’t know if this will kill you, or if you’ll just stay here, all helpless until you die of thirst. I can’t wait to find out, though.”
Bonitas pulled at the chains, and Inpuritia laughed, “Oh I wouldn’t struggle if I were you. If you cut yourself you’ll lose fluid, and that would just make you die faster, which would ruin my whole experiment. Wouldn’t want that.”
“The flu!” Bonitas gasped. “What-“
“Oh you figured that much out, did you? More than I expected, actually. I have a genetically altered form of flu which has a much higher infection rate, and a mutating structure which will eventually kill about 95% of the people who have it – most of them after suffering terribly. Even the ones that survive have about a 70% chance of permanent mental or physical disability. Can’t wait to see what this does to this country. Oh, and then the world, of course.”
“Why?” Bonitas forced out.
“Why?! You mean why as in do I want to rule the world, get myself one hundred billion dollars, that sort of thing?”
Bonitas moved her head slowly up and down.
“Oh, you poor, deluded thing. I don’t want any of that.” Inpuritia stepped forward and patted Bonitas gently on the cheek. “You ask why? I ask why the hell not?”
Flashing a final toothy smile, Inpuritia left the shard of NegAwe on the table, well out of Bonitas’ reach, and stalked away up the corridor, goons in tow.