Lina, The Epilogue

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Lina, The Epilogue

Post by DukeNukem 2417 » Sun Dec 01, 2019 2:25 pm

NOTE: I know I said this was going to be up on Thanksgiving, but life got in the way. Don't ask.
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“Matt?”

Every time I hear Lina's voice as I'm waking up, I have to remind myself it's not a dream—thankfully, it never is. This time was no exception. “....yeah?”

“You were half-asleep again....just wanted to make sure you hadn't nodded off before we made it.” As per usual, Lina was driving, though I was looking into taking driving lessons and finally getting a license of my own either before or after our wedding. “And thanks again for agreeing to come with me for this visit....I'm pretty sure it'll mean a lot to her.”

“Right...” I yawned and stretched in the passenger seat. “Not a problem.”

Lina's eyes glowed briefly as she synced up to the systems of Lucy's car, then returned to normal as she turned to regard me. “You're not....regretting being here, are you?”

“It's not that.” I stretched again. “It's my damn foot again....I might've kicked something in my sleep last night.”

“You've had three foot soaks, and we've almost gotten to the halfway mark of that jar of Tiger Balm.” Lina sighed. “I thought that bruised tendon would've healed up by now.”

“Well, runnning and dropkicking a steel pipe into an android's chest tends to hurt...a lot.” I chuckled. “I've only done it once, of course, not that I'd ever want to do it again....anyway.” I leaned back in the passenger seat. “Once my foot's fully healed, I have to go check in on Mom at the mental clinic...you'll probably want to skip that one.” The smile I'd had was already gone, replaced with a scowl.

“Let's just focus on where we're heading today,” Lina suggested, giving me one of those beautiful smiles of hers.

“.....you ever worry that you'll put the car in a ditch doing that?”

As if to respond, the car flawlessly turned a corner without Lina's hands ever touching the steering wheel.

“....now you're just showing off.” I chuckled again. “I'm still trying to wrap my head around all of this....I got a phone with what I thought was a joke app written on it, and now....”

“Now, we're prepping for our wedding,” Lina finished, smiling. The angle at which I'd reclined my seat only served to make the sunlight hitting her cast her in an incredible light—I'd have sworn that she was straight out of a photo from a catalog or an ad campaign, if I wasn't sitting right next to her. “You think you'll need the chair when we get there, or can you put any weight on your foot?”

“Chair.” I sighed. “I'll take all the Charles Xavier jokes anyone can throw at me if it means not hurting myself worse.”

“You'd have to shave your head to look like Charles Xavier,” Lina replied, probably giggling at the mental image of me with a shaved head. “We'll do another foot soak tonight, and apply more of the Tiger Balm.”

“Sounds like a plan to me. How much farther until we get there?”

Lina's gaze returned to the road, her eyes once again glowing blue. “We. Will. Arrive. At. Our. Destination. In. The. Span. Of. Approximately. Thirty. Five. Minutes.” Just after she'd said “Minutes” in that flat, robotic voice that prompted the all-too familiar stirrings down South, she cracked a smile. “Sorry. I. Couldn't....” Apparently, trying to keep up the act was just too goofy for her, and she started giggling. Intentionally acting robotic to see what I'd say or do had become one of a few running jokes of hers—which, of course, I thoroughly appreciated.

“If anyone says their GPS has a voice that's sexier than yours,” I muttered, “they're a damn liar.” I couldn't help but grin.

Even as the car continued onwards towards the state branch of the Dyson Institute, I couldn't help but think of what went down in the hours after I'd proposed to Lina. For starters, Ashwyn had spread the word of the impending triple wedding—Lina getting married to me, Dani tying the knot with Fenton, and Lucy's nuptials with Uncle Frank—around, leading to congratulations from Millie, Siobhan, Peach, Mai, Hera and Kona (Adrienne was on assignment somewhere). Even Simon, the Regional Director, showed up to give us his congratulations and all that, which was a pretty good morale boost that added onto everyone's already great moods for the day.

A bit of intriguing news had come our way thanks to Mai—it turns out that the same “adult entertainment venue” that she'd worked at had also hired Hera...and Hera also volunteered as a “living exhibit” to a local history museum, due to her “unique, striking beauty” and such (and the fact that the club owner was fully supportive of the Accords, and let Hera do her volunteer thing on her off days). From what Mai told me about her routine, she was almost literally a goddess, slowly and regally disrobing for the “mere mortals” who paid for the privilege. When she wasn't doing her job on the stage or giving private dances in the back, she did her volunteer duty at the museum to be a full-on Valkyrie in an interactive display on Viking mythology (she also posed as the “actual” Hera, as in the Greek goddess, in summertime exhibits dealing with the Pantheon of Olympus), keeping her “usual job” a secret by way of using wigs, makeup and costume changes during her museum hours. Even though the club couldn't get Mai back, they could afford to keep Hera on. Of course, she immediately volunteered to visit Mai as often as possible down below the hangar, and even admitted that she might actually quit the club if Mai really wanted her to. And about that damaged leg of hers.....

Mai, Hera and Siobhan had all been repaired in the course of an hour or so, the day I'd proposed to Lina. Watching them get fixed up was...interesting, to say the least; all three were in various stages of undress, but were also laid bare by way of having their internals (or at least parts of them) exposed. Thus, it was a bit weird seeing them casually chatting with me while they were getting their limbs worked on and/or reattached.

“Can't wait to see where the League'll put me after they find out I lost me feckin' arm...” Siobhan had recovered nicely from her malfunctions; Hell, even the loss of an arm was a slight inconvenience to her. “You two holdin' up over there?”

“The damage to my leg is not severe enough to hinder my return to the club.” Hera sounded regal even half-dressed and with a power-screwdriver doing its thing in her leg. “Mai, if you truly desire, I will put in a word with management to see if they can set aside the funds necessary for your return.”

Mai had smiled at that—which was even stranger given that her head was still detached. “Thanks, Hera...but—” Her eyes went wide for a second, as another wire going from the base of her head was connected to something in the stump of her neck. “....sorry...anyway, thanks, but I've already made plans to have a room in the lab with Siobhan.” There was something in the way she'd looked at Siobhan after saying those words that made me wonder if they'd end up being more than just roommates....

“OI, Matt! Pretty sure you didn't come down here just to watch us get worked on. Somethin' on your mind?” Siobhan's friendly reminder did, indeed, help me to remember why I'd gone to the lab in the first place: “I...well, Lina and I wanted to ask all of you....”

“Would you be interested in being maids of honor at the wedding?” I could tell Lina was smiling, even though she was standing behind me (and the wheelchair). “Millie and Ashwyn already volunteered....”

Needless to say, all three of them had agreed almost instantly. Mai nearly rocked her own head off the table by trying to give an emphatic “yes” nod! Most of the talk after that had been between Lina and the other three; my foot injury was brought up a few times, and Mai offered to perform a deep tissue massage to see if it'd help. Later in the day, before the first of many foot soaks, I'd taken her up on that offer. It did hurt, of course, but the pain was surprisingly balanced out with a feeling of relief—it didn't just magically stop hurting right after the massage, but it hurt a lot less. Good stuff. Mai even volunteered to teach Lina how to massage my foot—and actually teach her, instead of just sharing programming.

Of course, there were other matters to attend to, including....

“Destination. Will. Be. Reached. In. Twenty. Minutes.” Lina punctuated her GPS impression by giggling. “Still awake, Matt, or should I turn the radio back on?”

“I'm not gonna fall asleep again, Lina.” I sighed. “I'm just....thinking.”

“What about?”

“.....when you and Lucy told me and Uncle Frank that you loved us....GOD, this is gonna sound stupid.....”

“Did we really have a full understanding of what we were saying?” There was no mockery in Lina's tone; she seemed to be genuinely curious in regards to my thoughts on the subject.

“.....that's pretty much exactly what I was going to ask, yeah.” I nodded. “And?”

“If I were to say that 'I feel tender affection for you', I'd just be quoting a dictionary definition of the term,” Lina stated, her gaze never leaving the road. “The same goes if I said I felt a romantic, sexual desire and longing for you. Nothing in terms of coding, or programming, or engineering or anything like that can explain it...” Now, she actually turned to regard me. “....but I know that I do love you, Matt, and it's not just because of the two times we slept together the day we first met. What I feel for you is....” She paused, looking a bit uncertain.

“....complicated?”

“....I've read a lot of stories,” Lina murmured, “about gynoids and androids enjoying 'being used'. How it's their function, and fulfilling that function is more than enough for them.....but that's not what I feel. With you...” She stared back out at the road. “....I want to be with you, Matt. To spend the rest of my operational, functional time on this Earth—my life, pretty much—with you. And the emotions that I'm feeling—and I am feeling them, by the way....” She chuckled, even as tears started to build in her eyes. “....I never want what happened at the Greensfield Warehouse Complex to happen again, Matt. What happened to both of us.....I never want to have to go through it again.”

She didn't need to elaborate. The memory of getting knocked the Hell out by that psycho android bastard, who then went on to throw Lina back in the capsule and shut her off again, was still vivid.

“....I don't think I've read a lot of stories that go this far into it.” I thought for a second that it was Lina who'd said those words, until I realized it was me thinking out loud. “There are some where the guy and the gynoid get together and stay together at the end, or make plans to have a relationship....but....” I leaned back. “Not saying there's anything wrong with the tried and true formulas, of course—they have their strengths and their weaknesses, more power to 'em....”

“...and our 'story'?” Lina mused.

I turned to regard her with a smile. “Our 'story' is ours to write. Not just yours or mine.”

“So if I left the car in self-drive and started taking my clothes off right now—”

Lina's “offer” was met with a groan from me, followed up by a giggle from her. “Seriously, Matt, I've said it before and I'll say it again—you're one of the most chivalrous robosexuals I've ever known.”

“It's equal parts chivalry and not wanting to get stopped by the police for public indecency.” I rolled my eyes. “I can just about imagine how they'd take the explanation of 'sorry, officer, we were talking about love and we both got kind of horny so we put it in self-drive, got naked, laid the seats back as far as they'd go and'....” I trailed off, mostly due to the fact that Lina apparently found my deadpan delivery hilarious enough to start laughing .

I shook my head, still grinning. Life with Lina was definitely going to be interesting, for both of us....

As we got closer to the Dyson Institute, my thoughts turned from what would happen if a random cop pulled us over for Driving While.....Intercoursing (if that's not a word, I couldn't care less) to other madness still going on back at the ALPA building. Before Lina and I had left, I'd wondered where Officer Rachel Drew had gone between her rescue from the Greensfield complex and the return trip to the place; turns out she was officially assigned to the case of Uncle Frank's DC-10 and helping him get it back.

“She put in a good word...a few words, really, with the precinct,” Uncle Frank had explained. “Explained how I was in no way aiding or abetting the whole smuggling ring, that my plane was being used without my consent....”

“And they asked her to help you get it back.”

“Well, the FAA isn't exactly being helpful! They told me to talk to the ALPA—the airline pilot one, not the...ah, the robot one....anyway.”

The conversation had taken place in the same lab where Peach had been getting her memories scanned; as we talked, I'd noticed that Uncle Frank barely ever stayed still. He'd go to sit down, but then stand right back up and walk over to a random spot, he'd pick up and put down at least five or six different things in the course of maybe a minute and a half, and he'd rattle off mangled similies or weird half-puns at the most random times. I could tell that he was trying to focus on both our conversation and his impending wedding to Lucy.

“You might want to slow down, Uncle Frank...you're going about a mile a minute, and it's hard for me to try and match pace with your train of thought! What's up?”

I'd had to guide Uncle Frank to a chair, just to dial it back a bit in regards to our talk. “Right...what's on your mind?”

“....about fifty things all at once, really. This thing with Lucy, and your wedding with Lina, and the hangar....”

“And you're trying to handle it all at the same time?”

“Not the ideal way to go about things, I know....” It struck me at the time—as it did when I recalled the talk, sitting in the passenger seat of Lucy's car—that Uncle Frank looked simultaneously tired and exhilarated. “The whole thing with Lucy is...it's like the opposite of the whole 'I wish I'd never been born' thing. It feels like the second chance I never got to have with Audrey—”

“You haven't told Lucy this?”

“I'm, ah, actually wondering if she feels the same way. I think she does...I hope she does....”

“You remember how she reacted when you went to propose to her, Uncle Frank—apart from the whole thing of maxing out her processors from the emotional overload....she said YES. I'm pretty sure...no, I'm positive that she feels the same way about this as you do.”

“....I hope you're right, Matt. I really do....”

The rest of the conversation had been light, and I could tell that Uncle Frank was still thinking about whether or not Lucy felt the same about him as he did about her. Before Lina and I had left for the Dyson Institute office, we actually caught a glimpse of Uncle Frank talking to Lucy....and Lucy's response (throwing her arms around him and pretty much Frenching him right in the corridor) pretty much proved that she did, in fact, feel the same way about him that he felt about her.

Pretty good stuff...and I won't lie, Millie dragging Ashwyn off with both hands over her eyes was pretty hilarious.

As for the matter at hand....

“....you're not actually thinking about taking me up on that self-drive quickie 'offer', are you?”

Lina's question jolted me out of my musings on Uncle Frank. “We'd have to go in the back,” I muttered, doing my best to keep a straight face. “The windows up here aren't tinted....we'd get busted for indecent exposure if we just went at it up here. That, and we'd need to be close to the steering wheel....” The absurdity of what I was saying pretty much won out over my attempt at stoicism—I gave in and just started laughing. Needless to say, Lina joined in pretty quickly.

About ten minutes later, having turned the conversation back to more sensible topics, we arrived at the Dyson Institute facilities. The place looked like any number of hospitals in the area, be they public or privately owned; apart from a sort of overabundance of chrome trim, it didn't really look like it would've been anything else.

Granted, the welcoming committee was far from what one might expect at a typical hospital....

“Mr. and Mrs. Harker?” The brunette who spoke those words might very well have been the definition of statuesque; the tone of her limbs was noticable even beneath the skirt that went past her knees, the formal dress shirt and jacket (without those 80s-style shoulder pads that made women's suits look more like football uniforms), and her face had an almost classical beauty to it—well-sculpted cheekbones, a nose that neither dominated nor seemed diminished by the rest of her face and what I could only guess were supremely kissable lips. A nametag bearing the moniker “Heather” in a sans serif font was clipped to her jacket pocket. I didn't bother correcting her flub as Lina helped me out of the car.

“That's us.” Lina gave me a bit of a smile and a quick thumbs-up; I could tell she was thrilled with the honorific.

Heather nodded. “Regional Director Caine sent word that you were en route to visit Ms. Quinn,” she stated, more than likely to explain why she was out in the parking lot waiting for us. “I'll show you to her room.”

“Thanks.” I nodded, avoiding the distracting sway of her hips as she walked by remembering who I was with.

“The Dyson Institute's primary function, since its inception, has been to accommodate the transference of the human consciousness to an artificial form.” From anyone else, it might've sounded like a rehearsed sales pitch; from Heather, it sounded as natural as passing along a bit of trivia in conversation. “Dr. Dyson herself was the first transference made by the Institute...granted, attempts at transference have been carried out since the 80s....” Her voice took on a tone of regret. “....unfortunately, one of those attempts led to a....rather horrendous incident.” She paused, shook her head at the memory, and continued—or would've, had Lina not spoken up: “And the psychiatric analysis?”

“....the Institute first started performing psychiatric analysis on new transference cases,” Heather admitted. “Nobody really had any idea about the possibility of detrimental effects that being moved from an organic body to a synthetic one might have on a human form.”

“I've heard your clinic is generally known for other, ah, maybe more controversial things....”

Heather must've heard what I wanted to ask a billion times before. “The 'sex thing'?”

“....yeah, that.”

“The Dyson Institute does encourage clients to embrace sexuality in their new forms, but we don't alter anyone's original personality to make them more receptive or open to sex. And in cases of psychological treatment and analysis, we never attempt to 'cure' affected gynoids by those means.” I could tell Heather was rolling her eyes. “Some people seem to have taken certain reports and testimonials and...embellished them, for lack of a better term.”

Off to my left, Lina was doing her best not to giggle; I could tell she'd heard some of the “embellished” tales.

I chose to just nod. “Makes a lot of sense...and where do these, ah....cases get handled?”

Heather pointed to a building further up the hill than the one we were walking to. “We don't go into details about specific transferrence,” she explained, “due in no small part to patient confidentiality.”

Lina nodded. “Perfectly understandable. And for those psychiatric cases who've always been androids or gynoids?”

Heather actually stopped walking—just in front of the door leading into the building—and turned to regard me. “Cases like Miss Quinn's are....quite different from transference cases. They can't be handled the same way, or sometimes even in similar ways.” She stepped aside, allowing us to enter through the doors. “She's been progressing rapidly over the past few days, since she was first brought here.”

“Glad to hear it. And the reason she malfunctioned after telling us why she'd done what she'd done?”

“It's...somewhat complicated, Mrs. Harker.” Heather gestured to the door without pausing. “The report mentioned that she'd hidden herself away in a crate of some kind, one equipped with a portable computer setup of its own...”

I kinda sorta missed out on what she said next, due to the fact that I could tell by FCon that most of the nurses and doctors present were robots. Some were incredibly attractive, and some would just melt into the background if they wanted to. Either way, I was impressed—they were all smartly dressed, from the attendant behind the desk to the various nurses walkng around, but like with Heather, their outfits all seemed tailor-made to cling to their figures in the most enticing ways one might imagine. Ethnicity, hair color, facial structure and height aside, the common denominators between every woman (none of them looked younger than 25 or older than...maybe 45) in the lobby were the undeniable levels of grace in every movement, their undeniable (and almost statistically unbelievable) beauty, and the fact that every one of them was a gynoid. Granted, there were a few “plainer” looking ones, mixed in....I'd say about a 60/40 split.

"If you think she's pretty, you should check out one of the other wings if you get clearance." Heather had apparently noticed my reaction to the staff, and was taking it rather gracefully (probably because she'd seen it before).

“Back to the matter at hand, if you don't mind...” Despite her apparent annoyance with me, I could tell Lina wasn't all that jealous of the attention I was paying to the staff. “Whatever was on the rig inside the crate wasn't an actual virus?” Her question had the same level of compassion and sympathy for Ellie as she'd shown back when we'd found her hiding in the crate back at the ALPA building's garage—and her change of focus and tone was as stunning as it was sudden.

“More of an inhibitor program, for her personality and human emulation systems,” Heather replied. “Judging from the system logs we retrieved from her, she went into that crate under the assumption that she wouldn't have to hook herself up to the internal rig...which explains the sudden spike in panic signals when the crate managed to auto-link to her and partially install the inhibitor. That, coupled with the trauma of events she'd related to you and Mr. Harker, were pretty much the root causes of her malfunction.”

I shook my head at the thought. “Must've been her worst nightmare...she'd set up the whole thing so that it wouldn't happen to her, but ended up getting auto-linked to the rig in the crate when she tried to hide. Hell of a thing.”

“Well, she's improved considerably since her arrival,” Heather assured me. “I'm sure she'll enjoy seeing you both!”

At that, I frowned. “....both of us?”

“Matt...” I could tell Lina was frowning.

“....I'm just saying, the last time she saw me, I wasn't exactly in the most....forgiving of moods....”

“Miss Quinn did mention wanting to speak to you specifically, Mr. Harker,” Heather mused, sounding disarmingly casual.

“...right....”

After a brief tour of the lobby, culminating in a quick elevator ride, we reached the second floor. Most of the doors were closed, though I could hear brief bits of conversation through some; at least one room's occupant was openly sobbing as she recounted some sordid incident, but I did my best not to listen in too much on that particular chat.

Ellie's room was about twelve doors down the hall from the elevator. “I'll buzz the pair of you in,” Heather informed us, placing her hand on a pad mounted underneath the sign denoting that the room was, indeed, Ellie's. After nodding at a beep from somewhere in the wall, she knelt to allow a scanner to, well, scan her eyes—which also caused the briefest flash of relay trails through her entire face. Before I could think to mention it, the door to the room opened, and Heather stepped aside so Lina could push the wheelchair (and, of course, me) into the room.

Contrary to the last time we'd seen her, Ellie actually looked...calm, for once. She still had hints of apprehension in her expression, but she was in fact smiling as we entered the room. Another girl, looking maybe a year or two older in what I guess were facility-issued clothing (though I had a feeling her knee socks weren't standard-issue) was in the middle of an anecdote when Lina and I entered the room, stopping only to regard us with an arched eyebrow.

“Your visitors have arrived, Miss Quinn,” Heather declared, gesturing towards Lina and me. Lina gave a friendly wave as she made her way over to Ellie. “We heard you wanted to see us—”

Ellie cut her off by wrapping her in a hug, which Lina emphatically returned. I didn't even have to lean in (or wheel my chair closer) to hear Ellie's muttered “thank you” as she pulled away from Lina. “...and Matt....what happened?” Ellie's smile faded only slightly when she noticed me in the wheelchair.

“....turns out that doing a running dropkick to a length of pipe was a really stupid idea,” I mused. “Don't try it.”

Ellie glanced at Lina for a moment, and after Lina's nod, Ellie tentatively approached me....then gave me a gentle hug, as she'd done earlier with Lina. Again, she gave a whispered “thank you” before pulling away, smiling through tears. “I'm really glad both of you were able to make it here.”

“And we're glad to be here,” Lina replied, smiling. “How's everything going?”

Before she answered Lina's question, Ellie gestured for her to take a seat on the bed—which drew my attention to the fact that the room looked a lot like a dorm room, albeit for a single person only. Clothing cabinet, desk, a small set of dresser drawers, a small closet, even a wall-mounted flat-screen TV!

My appraisal of the room was short lived, given how quickly Ellie responded to Lina's question. “I'll admit, I was...kind of nervous, when I first got here. When they first booted me up, I just started crying again...and malfunctioning again, just like back at the garage...” The girl (gynoid, of course) with the knee socks gently rested a hand on her shoulder. “...to be honest, my first day here, I didn't know if I wanted to stay here.”

Lina nodded. “And what led you to change your mind?”

“...I guess I'd thought that everyone here would just treat it like a 'software issue', or a 'bug',” Ellie admitted. “But from the moment I got settled in, they were helping me almost around the clock!”

“Helping you in what particular way?”

I'd expected my question to be met with the side-eye and a whispered “Matt...” from Lina, but Ellie didn't seem to mind answering the question. “Mostly, it's stuff like talking, group therapy, single sessions with a counselor...” She swept her hair aside from the back of her head, revealing a port at the base of her neck. “....but when I first got here, they had to pretty much go straight to program tweaking, just to get me stabilized.”

Lina and I exchanged concerned looks. “....program tweaking?”

Apparently, the concern in our voices was all too evident to Ellie, who merely smiled. “They didn't do anything with my memories, or change who I actually am,” she assured us. “What they did, pretty much, is go through all of my systems with the proverbial fine-toothed comb, and take out any programs or processes that were latching onto these negative thoughts and memories of mine, amplifying all the feelings that led to...well....” She cast an apologetic glance towards Lina, who merely patted her on the shoulder. “Like I said, I forgive you.”

“And the memories?”

“They went through all of those to make sure none of them were manufactured, false or 'plants'—phony stuff put there by the ones who bankrolled what I did just to have leverage on me.” Ellie sighed. “None of them were, so...”

“Well, it's great to see that you've improved after being here for...three, four days, tops.” I nodded. “And, ah....”

Lina's hand patted my shoulder. “You can say it, Matt.”

“Right, right....” I sighed. “Despite my....earlier thoughts and feelings to the contrary....” I took a deep breath, looking Ellie right in the eye. “......I forgive you.”

Again, Ellie leaned in and hugged me, thanking me for being able to find it in my heart to forgive her. I nodded, trying to play it off and “be cool” about it, but I could tell that those three simple words pretty much meant the world to her, and that they'd go a significant way in helping her to find her way once she left therapy.

“Like I said before, I'm really glad you two could be here.” Ellie nodded at her roommate, smiling. “I'd like to introduce you both to Amy—I met her in Group, and we just sort of hit it off from there.”

Even seeing her in a sitting position, I could tell Amy was a good half-foot taller than Ellie; she apparently preferred to wear her hair (which had a nice, sunset orange/red color to it) in pigtails. She smiled and shook hands with Lina and me, uttering a quick “hi” in the process.

“Amy had it rough before the Accords were signed,” Ellie explained. “She...doesn't like going into details about it.”

“Sorry to hear that,” Lina replied. “Where exactly were you before you ended up here?”

Amy's expression went blank, and a shudder ran through her form. “This always happens when someone asks about her past,” Heather explained, stepping in and running a hand through Amy's hair before apparently finding something hidden on her scalp. She pressed down and held whatever it was for a few seconds, after which Amy's shaking ceased.

“So.....” I glanced around the room for a bit, trying not to dwell on what I'd just seen. “....any estimate on when you'll be finishing up here? You know, going back out in the world and all that stuff....”

“I'm, ah, actually staying here for as long as I can,” Ellie admitted. “From what I understand, they're looking for the ones who bankrolled me, and they suggested I stay here for my own well-being and safety, all that stuff.” She shrugged. “I don't really mind staying here, to be honest...I don't feel afraid anymore, for one thing.”

“Definitely a good sign.” I nodded my approval. “Actually, ah....Lina and I....”

“We wanted to tell you something,” Lina cut in, squeezing my hand. “After our reunion back at the ALPA building....” She glanced at me with a grin. “....his brother had already proposed to his fiancee, so Matt decided to pop the question to me, and after reaffirming the whole thing of our relationship being based on actual love and not 'who owns who' or anything like that.....well....we're getting married!”

Ellie let out a surprised gasp, before hugging Lina and me again. “Congratulations to the both of you, then!”

Amy nodded her agreement, giving us both a thumbs-up.

“There's also another reason I'm mentioning this,” Lina added. “I was, ah, wondering....seeing as how the whole thing of me being taken is water under the bridge, and all that....” She rested a hand on Ellie's shoulder. “Ellie Quinn, I'd greatly appreciate it if you could be a guest of honor at the wedding.”

“.....me, a guest of honor?” Ellie was stunned. “I....I....”

“Ellie?” I'd nearly forgotten that Heather hadn't left the doorway. “If you're malfunctioning again, I can—”

“No, no, it's....it's not that....” Ellie was smiling, despite her tears. “You really want me to be a guest of honor?”

“I do.” Lina giggled. “Sorry, couldn't resist....”

“....when's the wedding?”

I shrugged. “Lina and I didn't really set a time-table...if not next month, then the one after that.”

“We'll let you know as soon as we have a date confirmed,” Lina added. “Sounds like a plan?”

“It does.” Ellie nodded, wiping away her tears. “And even if you can't reach me with the date, you can tell Heather.”

“We'll keep that in mind.” Lina rose from the bed, as Ellie rose from her chair. “I'm glad to see that you're doing so well, after what you've been through.”

“Believe me, I'm glad to be doing so well.” Ellie sighed. “I just wish.....”

“Andrew?”

My question earned me a sad nod. “I'd hoped to upgrade him, when and if the whole thing was ever finished with. He was the closest I had to family....” Her expression turned sour. “....BC was just there for the money, and for the chance to hurt people. He couldn't have cared less if Andrew and I got caught and decommissioned or not....he would've just found someone else.....I'm pretty sure he did what he did to Singleton and his guards because I'd told him not to...” She glanced at me again, frowning slightly. “....you hurt your feet from dropkicking a pipe?”

“After it'd been embedded in BC's chest.” I smirked. “Unfortunately for him, he was right next to a blown-open cargo bay door, so I think it's a safe assumption to make that he won't be back.”

Ellie's eyes widened. “You kicked him out of the plane?!”

“Well, the kick sent the pipe further into him, and that sent him staggering...” I gave a half-hearted shrug. “Wind, gravity and the air-speed velocity of the plane itself took care of the rest.” I couldn't help but chuckle. “I think the modern term would be that 'he got yeeted out the cargo bay door'.” Lina giggled at my use of “yeeted”—I guess she found the word inherently hilarious.

“....well, as long as he can't ever hurt anyone again...” Ellie nodded. “I just wish Andrew had survived. I did't really know that much about him, other than that he'd already been heavily damaged once before—that's why he always seemed so 'out of it', when he was with me.” She gave a sad sigh. “I just wish I could've done more to help him...”

“Well,” Lina mused, “the ALPA is working on salvaging his memory files. Maybe they can bring him back.”

Ellie nodded. “I hope so. I really hope so.....”

“Sorry to interrupt,” Heather interjected, “but Miss Quinn has another therapy session in ten minutes.”

“s'alright.” Ellie sighed. “This talk with Lina and Matt....I really needed it, and I appreciate that they came all this way just to check up on me.” She nodded towards Lina and me, smiling. “It helps me to put things in perspective, knowing they care.....I guess the human equivalent would be 'feeling all warm and fuzzy inside', y'know?”

With that, Lina moved into position to wheel me out of the room, after we both shared another hug with Ellie. “I hope you can keep up the recovery,” she stated, resting her hands on Ellie's shoulders.

“I'll do my best.” Ellie gave a confident smile. “The Dyson Institute has done a lot to help.” I nearly asked if they'd offered to “help” her in other ways (yes, I was wondering about “the sex thing”), but it was pretty obvious that Ellie's therapy wasn't focused on that particular aspect of things. “...I can't really say anything that won't just be what Lina already said,” I mused, “but I'll wish you good luck all the same.” I reached forward to shake Ellie's hand, and wasn't exactly surprised when she decided to hug me again.

Once she pulled back, Ellie smiled. “I wish both of you the best of luck with your wedding...and I'll be happy to attend as a guest of honor.”

“And we look forward to seeing you there,” Lina replied. “Bye for now, Ellie!”

I nodded. “Keep up the therapy and the recovery—and if the ALPA makes any progress with Andrew, we'll let you know as soon as possible.”

“I'd appreciate it, thanks!” Ellie grinned, giving us a thumbs-up as Lina wheeled me out.

Heather matched Lina's pace almost step-for-step as we headed for the elevator. “I'd say that was a pretty good visit, in terms of boosting Miss Quinn's morale,” she mused. “Her recovery started off...a bit shaky, I'll admit, but the changes have been astounding—practical leaps and bounds from where she was when she first arrived.”

“Which is nothing but good news.” I could tell Lina was smiling. “Does she have any plans for when she leaves?”

“She's expressed a particular desire to find her father,” Heather replied. “Normally, that information would fall under the banner of patient confidentiality, but Regional Director Caine contacted us with the news that the ALPA is conducting their own search for anyone matching Miss Quinn's description of a Mr. Scott Quinn.”

“I hope they can find the guy—watch the foot rests, please, Lina....” I winced as the elevator doors opened, hoping that Lina could stop the chair before the rests banged into anything—which, of course, she did. “....anyway, I hope they can find him. It'd be a great way to cap off Ellie's recovery if she were reunited with her dad.” I nearly mentioned his second wife, who sounded like a total bitch from what Ellie had said, but decided against it.

Less than five minutes later, Lina and I were back in the car and on the road—heading home, as opposed to going back to the ALPA building. “And you can probably ditch the chair when we get there,” Lina mused, effortlessly guiding Lucy's car around the curves of the road. “Just make sure you remember to keep weight off your right foot, and it'll all be good.”

“Easier said than done.” I sighed, leaning back in the passenger seat and closing my eyes. “If I haven't said it before, Lina....meeting you has been the greatest thing that's ever happened in my life.”

“I'm sure you'll rethink that,” Lina teased, “after our wedding turns out to be the greatest thing...”

The End....for now....
but Matt and Lina will return!

------------------------------------------------------
"No one steals our chicks.....and lives!"

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Re: Lina, The Epilogue

Post by Baron » Sun Dec 01, 2019 11:26 pm

Gimme an "E!"
E!!

Gimme a "P!"
Image
{Very funny, Inspektor!!}

Gimme an "I!"
I!!

Gimme a "C!"
C!!


And what do that spell????? :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
Assemble the ladies? I didn't know that they were broken......

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Re: Lina, The Epilogue

Post by DollSpace » Mon Dec 02, 2019 3:38 pm

I liked this very much :) I look forward to the next one!

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