Made, p.1

MADe, page 1

 part  #1 of  Team Eight- Origins Series



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  She died a hero. She has been remade to do it for a living.

  Venda was having a nice lunch with a friend when her life took a wrong turn. She and her friend were held hostage, and when the payoff didn’t arrive in time, she put herself between her friend and harm. Dying wasn’t pleasant, but waking up in a mainframe took some getting used to.

  Venda uses her connection to the data stream to learn how she died and who was responsible. Once that little task was accomplished, she set out to gain revenge on the ones who had killed her in such a vile and public manner.

  Her little revenge adventures gain attention, and soon, there are members of the cluster hero teams standing in front of her mainframe, asking if she would like a pardon in exchange for a little light espionage. How can she resist?

  She can have a body again if she joins Team Eight.

  The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.

  Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage the electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.

  This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.


  Copyright © 2019 Viola Grace

  ISBN: 978-1-4874-2613-2

  Cover art by Angela Waters

  All rights reserved. Except for use in any review, the reproduction or utilization of this work in whole or in part in any form by any electronic, mechanical or other means, now known or hereafter invented, is forbidden without the written permission of the publisher.

  Published by eXtasy Books Inc or

  Devine Destinies, an imprint of eXtasy Books Inc

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  Team Eight: Origins Book 1


  Viola Grace

  Chapter One

  Venda grinned and asked Theeda, “So, are you looking forward to the wedding?”

  Theeda blushed. “This is really weird. I never meant for it to happen.”

  “What? That my best friend would fall for my ex-husband and that I would help to plan their wedding? I am very well adjusted. Also, Timmor was a good man. We just wanted very different things. I wanted to work, he wanted a family, and that is where things broke down. Since you are already pregnant, things seem to be going in the right direction.”

  Theeda paled. “How do you know?”

  “You are slightly wider, definitely paler, and you insisted that we meet in a public place. Congratulations to you and Timmor.” Venda smiled. “I am so very happy for you both.”

  Theeda teared up. “How can you be so calm about this?”

  Venda reached out and took her friend’s hand. “Theeda, Timmor and I were friends that fell into marriage. It was a light bond, and our connection as companions is stronger now that we are not married. I want him to have happiness, joy, and tiny little Timmors and Theedas running around. I am going to be an amazing aunty.”

  Theeda stared and then burst into laughing sobs. “Oh, thank god. I couldn’t bear to lose you.”

  Venda smiled. “Friends to the end.”

  Their hands remained clutched together on the table until the moment that the marauders attacked.

  Venda heard the flight packs, and she looked up to see ten battle-suited terrorists landing in the food court.

  “Theeda, come with me.”

  Theeda looked around, and her eyes went wide as she saw the men coming. “Are they coming for me?”

  “Unless someone else here has an experimental scientist for a father. Let’s go.” Venda murmured, “Trigger your distress beacon.”

  Venda grabbed all the cutlery from the table. She got up casually, easing Theeda toward the nearest alley. She kept her body between Theeda and the scanners, hoping that they weren’t using her own shape as an indicator of Theeda’s presence.

  When she heard the footfalls coming toward them, she said, “Run.”

  Theeda sprinted down the alley and turned left and right and left again. She was doing well until the marauder landed in front of her and grabbed her.

  Venda lunged forward and hung onto the bot’s arm while jamming the fork into the joint and pulling back hard. The fingers lost power, and Theeda was released to stagger back.

  A few more jabs with utensils and the man was trapped in his battle armour.

  Theeda’s shriek let Venda know that they were no longer alone. Hands grabbed her, and Venda was dangling from the mechanical grip of a battle suit in flight.

  They were dropped on a rooftop, and Venda went to her friend, holding her tight and checking for damage. The beacon between her breasts was pulsing. Help was on the way.

  “Ladies. If Dr. Hemmar simply parts with some of his new technology, you can return to lunch, and this will all be a bad dream.”

  Venda cocked her head. “And if he doesn’t?”

  “I am afraid that you will have to become an example to those who will defy us, that innocent lives have no meaning to us. We are fighting wars. We need the best weapons.”

  Venda held Theeda as she shook with panic. “We will follow directions.”

  The man inside the suit paused, and he cocked his head. “That is very reasonable. No threats?”

  “We are dressed for lunch, not for battle.”

  They remained together for ten minutes when the men began fidgeting. They weren’t getting the answer that they wanted.

  Theeda was clutching Venda’s hands, and her eyes were wide and worried. “He won’t.”

  Venda squeezed Theeda’s hands, but one of the men was listening.

  The leader stepped toward them and grabbed Theeda by the neck, lifting her up and carrying her to the edge of the roof where vid bots were flying to take in the situation.

  Venda was on her feet and running toward her friend, but one of the bastards caught her.

  “Perhaps if we make your situation clear, your father will be more forthcoming with the tech.”

  Theeda was hanging on to the arm that held her, her legs kicked slightly as she fought for a grip.

  Venda was being held back by a hand on her shoulder and one on her bicep. She strained, but the metal grip was unyielding.

  “I can hold her here for one minute, Dr. Hemmar.”

  Venda watched the pulse between Theeda’s breasts speed up. The heroes were on the way. If they had just cleared the portal, they would be there in four minutes.

  Time ticked by, and Venda watched for the signs. When the leader began speaking, she tore free, smelling her blood and feeling her skin shred.

  She ignored the pain and ran as the metallic fingers supporting Theeda let go, one by one. Theeda hung on to his arm as long as she could, but when her weight dropped to her arms, she fell.

  Venda lunged forward, caught Theeda’s arms and held on as she was dragged over the rough surface of the roof.

  “Hang on, Theeda! That’s an order.” Venda was still sliding, but assistance came from an unexpected source.

  A metal foot came down squarely on her spine, and it pressed heavily. “Well, well. That was unexpected.”

  Venda was watching the slight quiver beneath Theeda’s shirt, and it was getting faster. Two minutes.

  The vid cameras swung around her, around them. Theeda’s feet swung slightly, and she tried to grab a toehold on th
e wall to take the weight off, but it was no use. The wall was a slick panel of plexi, and there was no support to be had.

  “Well, this worked out better than I had hoped. I was going to set you loose after Dr. Hemmar’s daughter was dead, but now I can make you the means by which she dies. This is delightful.”

  The weight of the foot on her back increased. She heard a crack, and searing pain followed.

  “Theeda, I am not going to let go.” Venda made the promise staring into her friend’s eyes.

  She breathed through the pain. Each increment of her body being crushed was a reminder to hang on and keep her focus.

  When blood began to drip on Theeda’s face, Venda apologized. “Didn’t want to mess up your makeup.”

  Theeda chuckled slightly, but her eyes were full of tears.

  “You cry too much.”

  The torture continued, and finally, Venda saw what she was waiting for. Under Theeda, a flyer was on the way, and as he met her gaze, she nodded.

  Her lower spine had broken, so the pain was minimal now. When the final crushing weight pressed on her, she let Theeda go, sending her falling into the arms of a hero that whisked her to safety while the others took out the war machines on the roof.

  She heard shouting, she heard screaming, and then, she heard nothing.

  * * * *

  Dr. Hemmar was at the front door when the gurney came through. The amount of blood on the sheet didn’t disturb him. Her face was covered, and he needed to know what the situation was.

  He flipped back the sheet and stared into her lifeless eyes. “Excellent. Get her to the lab. The equipment is ready.”

  The next few minutes were spent with saws, electrodes, and keeping his hysterical daughter outside of the lab.

  The brain was removed and settled in the solution with the electrodes in place. A charge was introduced, and the mainframe began to light up with signals. Mapping the living mind was his passion, and keeping Venda Mills alive by whatever means he could was now his focus, just as hers had been to save his only child and the new grandchild that had just begun.

  Forty days later, the mainframe flickered while Dr. Hemmar was at his desk.

  “Dr. Hemmar, how is Theeda?” The voice was raw and mechanical.

  Dr. Hemmar looked to the machine, and he blinked slowly. “They are doing well. She was on bedrest for a few weeks, but she and the baby are doing well.”

  There was a pause. “They killed Timmor.”

  “They did. It was how they found you two.” His loss of a prospective son-in-law had been muted when he had nearly lost his daughter a second time.

  “I have been watching the news. The heroes did not manage to find them all. Some escaped. I do not like that.”

  Dr. Hemmar blinked. “I do not expect you to like it, but what do you want to do about it?”

  “Put me in a robot, and I will find them. I will make them pay.” The voice was changing, become more like the young woman he had known, only far colder.

  He blinked slowly. “Did Theeda tell you what I was working on?”

  “No, and I would never have asked, but now that I am no longer alive, I have access to all of your systems. I have looked through all of your research, and it seems you have been working on tethering consciousness into a bot host.”

  Dr. Hemmar walked up to the huge bank of lit crystals. “You can’t be tethered. You are a hosted consciousness already.”

  There was a dark chuckle. “In that case, get me some bodies, and I will go and finish up some unfinished business.”

  “I don’t—”

  “Dr. Hemmar, it was not a request. Get me a body or several. I have work to do.”

  Chapter Two

  Venda focused and tried to make the robot on the stand move. She muttered to herself, but since she wasn’t using the speakers, no one could hear her.

  She pushed again and paused. “Dr. Hemmar, did you turn on my projection array?”

  The researcher checked, and his cheeks darkened. “I neglected to activate it. Powering it now.”

  Venda pushed a portion of her consciousness into the bot and took a few steps. She flexed her hands and used its vision.

  “It is responding well.” She spoke using the bot’s systems.

  Dr. Hemmar was frantically recording. “This is the first time you have not blown the systems.”

  “Seventy-third time is the charm.” She walked the bot forward and began to do the basic tasks. She signed her name on a blank data screen, she threaded a needle and picked up an egg. The tasks were ridiculously basic, but she understood their necessity. Control was the first step. Speed was the second, and strength the third.

  “You are only using a third of one percent of your brain to move that bot.”

  She chuckled. “That is what it feels like. It feels like I am steering with my fingertips.”

  The experimental lab was for her use alone. It was the size of a university gymnasium.

  “Speed test... commencing.” She looked at the track, and she started to run. It felt weird to be running, but she concentrated on the visual and sensory input that the bot gave her as she got better at moving it around the track.

  “One hundred kilometres per hour.” Dr. Hemmar read out the stats.

  She pushed the bot and kept going faster.

  “One hundred and fifty. The bot is showing signs of stress. Heat is building in the joints, and electronics are shorting out.”

  “Understood. Discontinuing speed trial.” She slowed down and walked calmly to the strength test.

  The bot’s joints were smoking, but the strength tests used different artificial muscle strands than the running. There was less friction and more brute force involved.

  She settled the body under the pressure plate and lowered the unit into position. “Steady resistance setting. Go!”

  Her palms pressed upward, and the pressure unit came down. As the bot kept the weight away, she monitored the stresses on her physical form.

  This bot was the best out of all the tests, but it was still failing her. She needed something else. Something better for her purposes.

  “Failure imminent. Four thousand pounds.”

  She nodded. “Test to destruction?”

  “I would prefer not.”

  “Disable test.” She sent out the command, and the pressure plate retracted into its housing.

  With slow steps, she walked the badly damaged bot back to the stand. She set it in the support harness and retracted her control. “Clear of the unit.”

  Dr. Hemmar immediately hooked up diagnostics to the unit at every available portal. “Let’s see if this was any better.”

  The damage that had resulted from her controlling the bot was extreme.

  “How was this thing even mobile? It should have collapsed on the walk back.”

  Venda’s voice was grimly satisfied. “I kept it walking, but I had to go slow.”

  The doctor sat down and sighed. “This isn’t going to work. I can’t give you a long-term body.”

  Venda would have nodded, but as he pointed out, she had no body. “What about a temporary one or several?”


  “The marauders who did this to me have six members out there. What if I can tell you where they are, and you can get a bot to their location?”

  She waited while the doctor mulled it over.

  “Could you assist me by keeping my name out of the transport?”

  “Find the bots for me, and I will take care of things. You, as a good citizen, will have nothing to do with it.”

  The doctor frowned. “Do you think they will tell anyone?”

  Venda let out the first true laugh since she had died. “Oh. No. They won’t say anything. Next test is going to be control at a distance. Send a bot out to Karmoran, and I will see if I can take control of it.”

  He nodded. “Right. So, you can do that?”

  She sensed his
hesitation at being implicated. “I will take control of production and deliver a new bot to a resort. If I can get her to walk around the entire resort without gaining attention, I will have her shipped back to the factory as a gaffed order.”

  “What if someone interferes with it?”

  Venda chuckled. “The bot will have a catastrophic failure and its processor will burn out. It does not happen all the time, but it happens often enough that it won’t cause much notice.”

  “If you think you can manage it, proceed and report.”

  “Great. Keep my broadcast capabilities up.”

  “Can they trace the signal?”

  “I have no idea. Reasonable attempts will be made to camouflage my signal, but you would have to tell me. I don’t have any monitors on this end of the process.”

  It was the truth of her current existence. She was memories and intelligence in a box. Crystals acted as her nervous system, and a feed to the outside world brought her all the knowledge she could sift through from her world and those around it.

  “Beginning the first test of remote activation. Stage one. Bot selection.”

  The doctor nodded. “While you work on that, I am going to contact a colleague on Medua.”

  “You follow your impulses. I am designing my temporary body.”

  She read and listened to all of his correspondence over the next two days while she waited for her base model bot to be delivered to the resort.

  The good doctor was seeking out all specialists in consciousness transfer as well as advanced robotics. He kept his communication vague, but there were several members of his circle who wished to participate in his project.

  While she waited, Venda ran the specs on all of the specialists, and then, she cross-referenced them with other members of their particular area of expertise. She flagged a few interesting researcher’s names and sent them to Dr. Hemmar. He could figure out why.

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