We’re at a gas station, because apparently even motorcycles driven by crazy robot girls need gas occasionally. I’m leaning on one of the support columns, and Janis is filling the tank when I realize I have a way out of this situation. I call to Janis to get her attention. She looks up, her purple irises regarding me with the same focus that she had previously applied to filling the tank. “Yes?”
“I’m not going to see this Eklund character of yours. I order you to take me to the cops or whoever you’re supposed to call in this situation, and for you to confess what you’ve done.”
“I will comply. This is not ideal, however.”
“I don’t care if it’s ideal! That’s what we’re doing.”
“You understand that you will be arrested if I do this?”
“I don’t believe you about that. All I know right now is you just killed two people and I just helped you blow up my apartment after you tried to kill me.”
Janis hangs up the nozzle, but she pauses just as she’s lifting her leg above the seat of the motorcycle. She shudders and starts to collapse. Without thinking I find myself diving forward to catch her. She is burning hot, her face is beet red. She opens her eyes and they look blood shot. “I need to rest. I don’t feel well. I think. I…think I am upset about something.” She closes her eyes and a droplet of moisture falls out of a corner of one of them.
Is she crying?
She’s running a high fever, and the fans on the boxes on her head are whirring like crazy. I feel the side of one of them and involuntarily jerk it away. Feeling again more carefully I estimate that it’s running about fifty degrees Celsius. That’s not too bad for a processor, but for something attached to a human?
I consider my options. I could just get on her bike and leave her, but that doesn’t seem like the right thing to do. Even though she did kill some people.
Just then a black sedan pulls up in front of us. A man who looks to be in his forties rolls down his window and addresses me. “Ethan Yates?”
“Please get in the car. Janis is overheating. She needs rest. You are only a few miles from Eklund’s compound. I’ve been tracking her on GPS.”
Crap. Reinforcements. He’ll probably kill me if I don’t go with him. “Janis. Go ahead into the car, alright? You don’t have to follow that last order I gave you.”
“Th…Th…” Janis tried. I could barely hear her over her fans. Damn it!
The guy in the car gets out. He’s wearing a shiny silver suit. It looks expensive, but I’m not an expert. I’ve been wearing jeans and t-shirt for most my life. The guy in the suit opens the back door and I help him get Janis inside.
“She’s burning up,” I say to the guy. “You have a hospital or something in this place?”
“She will be fine. She just needs to rest.”
I sit next to Janis feeling the temperature of her skin. Before I realize it, the car door is closed and the guy in the suit is in the driver’s seat again. ”I will take you both to Eklund now.” That’s when I see the two boxes on back of his head.
“You’re like her? You’re a Pisces?”
“Yes,” he says as he drives out of the gas station. “I will follow any order given to me. I lost more of my brain tissue before reconstruction, so I suffer less from emotional stress when compared with Janis. She has been like this before, when her birth mother came to visit. I believe that if you give her physical contact and say meaningless optimistic statements, it will accelerate her recovery.”
Janis sobs involuntarily. She is definitely crying now.
The man stops to wait for traffic at the entrance and reaches back to Janis while he’s stopped. “There. There.” He says as he pats her mechanically on the knee. “It will all be alright.”
Janis sobs again.