I woke the next morning to the feel of someone kicking my side. I opened my eyes up and glared at Katarina. I could see that her wounds had almost all healed. There were a few scabs and yellow areas, but compared to the damage from before, it was night and day. RegenX was a ridiculous item. With a sigh, I rubbed my side where her boot had just been.
“Can’t you wake me up gently?” I asked.
“Can’t you wake up on your own?” She said in return.
“I can with an alarm.”
“Hmph… alarms will alert things in the waste. It’s best not to use one.”
“Then, just be gentler.”
“That’s colonist talk. It’s a weakness.”
“We’re both colonists though…”
“I’m not!” She glared at me. “Not anymore.”
She seemed angry and walked away from me after that. My stomach growled, so I opened up my bag and pulled out our traveling rations. Katarina came back quickly when she smelled food, but she still made a point of not talking to me. I didn’t know if the slave woke up to a kick or did so on her own. She hesitated to take the food I offered, instead, pulling the bar she had hidden in her clothing out and nibbling on it instead. I gave up trying to feed her and just ate myself.
“What is your name?” I asked the girl, but when she gave me a blank look. “I’m Daniel, you are?”
“Slavers beat slaves until they no longer remember their names. It’s part of their indoctrination. You’d be better off just giving her name on your own.”
“I name her?’
“If you insist on keeping her, yes.” She snorted. “I think you should just kill her.”
This time, she did listen to Katarina, stopping chewing for a second, before continuing.
“I won’t kill her. I’d free her if I wasn’t worried she’d get hurt.”
“Not that you can free her,” She added, but suddenly looked a bit uncertain.
I hadn’t told her what I had done, but she knew that I had changed ownership. If I could do that, then I could probably free her as well. I could, it just involved deactivating the necklace. By the way, once setting her as my slave, the Perco had her name on my device. I could see her 6S, as well as some other information on her status. I could locate her on my map hub, punish her, and also could… well… end it. I wished I could get rid of that button. I didn’t want to ever hit it by accident.
“Fine, if I have come up with a name, how about Kiera?”
“It means, little dark one, she has very dark eyes, it contrasts her blond hair. And she’s, well…” I blushed, and when I saw her looking at me, I coughed. “Sorry, I have a thing for the etymology for names.”
“What does my name mean?” Katarina asked curiously.
“Ah! That… you…” For some reason, she grew flustered and shot me a glare.
What? I didn’t pick her name. My name’s meaning was purely religious, although my mother picked it because it sounded nice. Hazel was a nut. My mother wasn’t good at picking names at all.
“I’ll be calling you Kiera, okay?” I said to the young girl.
The girl looked up from nibbling her bar, having only eaten another third like she was afraid it’d be the last food she had for a while. She nodded and then went back to nibbling.
After we were finished with breakfast, we headed downstairs. The security droid was right where I left him the night before. It didn’t look like he had to work at all last night. At least, I didn’t see any new corpses. Looking at the bodies lying everywhere, I remembered that most of these men died because of me. It gave me a feeling of discomfort.
Sucking up a breath, I bent down and began looting their bodies. I stripped them of their guns, any crystals they had on them, and finally their bling. I grimaced with disgust as I fought to remove piercings, necklaces, and rings. Katarina only saw fit to watch with her arms crossed. It looked like if I wanted the money, I was going to have to earn it myself. This felt like grave robbing, but I had to do it. They had ransacked most of the stuff in the store and were wearing it now. I couldn’t find a single ring or necklace still in the display cases.
As I worked, I felt a tug on my pants. I glanced down to see Kiera crouched there. She gestured to me, and so I followed her as she led me back to where she had been sleeping before. I wasn’t sure what she was trying to tell me until she pulled back a piece of carpet, revealing a small door. No, it wasn’t a door, but a safe.
“I guess the bandits missed this,” I said, feeling a bit excited.
“Those things are difficult to get in, but with your Perco, it should be simple for you,” Katarina said, looking over the cabinet at the pair of us.
I pulled out the dongle and then did a factory reset. That’s when I frowned. The loading bar appeared just like when I sent the Master Code… but it was extremely slow. It took nearly five minutes before the whole reset was finished. Even then, the option unlock was greyed out.
“If you just reset it, you need to the default code to unlock it,” Katarina advised when she saw me staring at it in confusion.
“What is the default code?”
“You don’t know?” She asked in surprise.
“O-of course I do!” I clicked the Master Code, then pretended to type something in before hitting the unlock button which just became available. Had I factory reset that security droid back then, it would have taken far too long. That damn mayor didn’t tell me it’d take that long! The master Code was almost instantaneous comparatively. Ah, the Master Code also allowed me to look up the real code, so I knew that now.
With a click, I opened up the safe. This door likely hadn’t been opened in seventy years. It opened like it, creaking the entire way. Inside, I looked with delight as I saw piles of money and jewels. As I pulled item after item though, my excitement deflated. The money didn’t resemble US money as I knew it. I had thought that with the two countries being similar, that the money would have been the same too. Unfortunately, this money was nothing alike. The twenty-dollar bills had JFK on it.
The safe still contains some of the richest looking necklaces I had seen, so I quickly pocketed them. Everything else was just papers and useless things. I tried to give the bar I was going to give her for breakfast to Kiera again. This time, she seemed to accept it as long as it was an award.
I stood back up, only feeling slightly deflated, and finished stripping the bodies. I put all the guns and ammunition in a pack, and after a bit of thought, I handed it to Kiera to carry. I barely knew her, but she was technically my slave. She wouldn’t suddenly turn the guns on us, would she? Well, they weren’t easily accessible on her back, so it wasn’t like she could pull one out without alerting us. To the always alert Katarina, it was impossible.
Before we left the store, I put the ownership of the robot in the name of Katarina and tested it. I had been correct. My commands overrode her commands. Katarina didn’t seem to understand what I was doing, so she only pouted when the robot didn’t do what she wanted.
“We won’t be able to sneak back. Anything that comes at us will need to be killed outright.” Katarina warned. “It might be best if you carried a weapon.”
“I don’t think I can handle again, I admitted. I recovered my machete, cleaning it off after pulling it from that guy’s head.
When we went outside, I asked where the bodies had fallen, however, other than a small stain of blood on the concrete, there was nothing left. The bandit’s that had died outdoors looked like they no longer existed.
“It’s not surprising.” Katarina shrugged. “Scavengers got the bodies.”
While she thought nothing of 4-5 corpses being dragged away just a block from us in the middle of the night, this news caused me to grow a bit cold. Maybe I needed to get comfortable using guns. With the jewelry ransacked, the three of us headed back to the Rink. I didn’t know whether it was luck or this world’s deity feeling sorry for me, but we made the entire trip without running into anything that attacked us.
Katarina suggested that while some things saw us, they were scared off by the metal beast. Those with intelligence knew how difficult a security bot was to defeat. That almost made me feel even more worried. Sometime around noon, we had finally made it to the Rink.