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I moved forward quickly, closing the distance as I headed toward the entrance. There were several people outside, members of Ascension, who watched as I approached. They lifted their weapons but hesitated to fire. I didn’t know if this was because they didn’t know who Chief was, or because they did know and thought Randall might have summoned her. After all, they couldn’t see my face, so all they knew was that the mech was coming to them at full speed. As far as they knew, I was on their side.

“What’s going on?” One of the men step out and ask, expecting an answer from me.

I didn’t slow down, and by the time he realized that something was off, he didn’t even have time to shoot. I slammed into him, sending him flying off at a speed where it was unlikely, he’d survive. I immediately pulled the shotgun and fired at the person next to him.

“Shit!” One person shouted as he dived behind a car.

“Randall is betraying us?” Another cursed.

“Has the AI gone rogue?” Another spoke up.

It looks like they had known about the AI, but assumed this was Randall’s doing. That suited me fine. I kicked the car, causing it to run over the guy hiding behind it. He let out a scream as he was crushed. The other only managed to get off a single round before I raised my gun and shot them. In an instant, four of them were dead. There had only been nine members in all, ten with Chief.

Two more ran out the door with their guns up, when they saw me, or rather my mech armor, the pair panicked. I used that time to gun shoot them both. My shotgun ran out of ammo, so I tossed it aside and put the machine gun in my hand. I kicked open the front door leading into a nondescript building. It looked a bit like a fire station, although there were no labels on the building. It had been a hidden armory that had remained hidden until recently, so it couldn’t have been easy to find. The actual armory might have still been hidden if there hadn’t been the AI and the mech armor suggesting this place was more than it seemed.

The inside was a large building that had a lift that went underground. There were grates and holes in the floor, giving the place a look like a mechanic, or going with the theme outside, one could work on emergency vehicles if maintenance was needed. The lift was what took someone down to the armory. I realized this immediately because the power supply from the museum appeared to be connected to it.

“What the hell is going on?” One of the last two remaining members of Ascension asked.

Both of the two remaining members were hiding back behind a counter. They were both girls.

“Where is slave girls?” I demanded, lifting the gun.

“You’re not Chief?” She cried out.

 “Where are they?” I shot the gun over her shoulder, missing slightly. “If you want to live, tell me now.”

The two girls let out cries. One of their eyes drifted to a door backroom. I launched forward and grabbed the handle, ripping the door off the hinge. Inside, I looked down the see Kiera lying there. She was unconscious, but Katarina was absent.

“Where is the other?” I shouted.

“Downstairs! With Randall!” The other spoke up with a squeak.

I looked down at the unconscious Kiera, and then back at the two girls while pointing with a large mechanical finger. “What did you do to her?”

“We protected her!” One of the girls declared. “The men wanted to just rape them. Well, they were worried about contaminating the one, but we kept them from touching her. She got knocked out in a scuffle, but we kept her in the pantry so the men wouldn’t touch her.”

“And Randall?”

“He has us…” She cried, and then blushed.

“Okay, last question. Which one of you does he like more?”

The girls looked at each other and then shook their heads. “He doesn’t care about either of us. He plans to have that girl downstairs once she outlives her usefulness.”

“Then you’re useless to me too!” I lifted the gun.

The two girls let out screams, grabbing each other in fear. I felt bile rising in my throat. I had been killing everyone left and right. All I felt was pressed for time. Alarms were ringing in my head. I only had minutes left before this thing was out of power. This two were a danger. My mind told me not to trust anyone. Even if they had protected Kiera once didn’t mean they were good people. If they were with Randall, they might have feelings of revenge. On the other hand, I wasn’t some bandit who could just slaughter women.

Maybe I already had. Maybe there were women among the bandits I had already shot. I shook my head. I wouldn’t hesitate against shooting people that were shooting at me, but this was a different situation. They hadn’t lifted a weapon, and they were terrified and unarmed. In the end, they were just a couple of women who clung to Randall so that they could get by. My finger relaxed on the trigger.

“Get out of here as quick-” My finger closed on the trigger, and bullets flew out.

The girls let out cries, but by the time I pulled the gun away, they were already dead. I stood in shock for a second until I realized what happened.

“Chief! You did that!”

“I can’t control the majority of the machine, but I can do mild movements if I feel the need.” She sniffed.

“You… you killed them!”

“It’s better that way! They know too much about us and the bunker. I just did what you didn’t have the guts to do.”

Staring down at the two bodies which had only now given their last breaths, I felt like screaming. “If you ever do something like that again… I… I…I order you not to!”

I wanted to go back into my Perco and order her deletion immediately. However, I feared that I might need her in the future. She was just an AI, but I was shocked at how heartless she could be. No, she had probably made the right decision. What I was most angry about wasn’t that she forced me to pull the trigger, but that I felt a small amount of relief that she had. Now that they were dead, there was no point in holding back.

“Yes, Master,” Chief responded flippantly.

“You are to never take a choice away from me, or control this Mech armor without my permission.”

“Yes… Master…” Her voice sounded slightly more bitter.

“You have five minutes remaining.” The mech armor declared.

Taking a deep breath, I looked one last time at Kiera’s unconscious body. I didn’t know why, but I felt like she wouldn’t be safe here. As quickly as I could, I grabbed her and pulled her out of the building. Nearby was a car that still had the doors and windows intact. I opened the door and tossed her into the backseat before slamming it closed. Then, I ran back inside and got on the lift, striking the button to lower myself down.

Now that I was standing on it, I could tell that it could either go down or go up. It looked like it went straight up to the roof. It was probably built to release the helicopter things that I had seen the Syndicate using. That meant that this armory might even contain things like those helicopters!  

The lift hummed as was lowered below the mechanic pit under the shop floor. It kept going down for a few stories, finally stopping in a very wide corridor. In front of me was a glass door, followed by a hallway filled with turrets, coming to a large blast door that looked like it could take a nuclear blast and keep standing.

“This is the point where you’ll need me.” Chief declared. “That kiosk over there is where you log yourself in. If you plug your Perco into that device and upload me into the facilities mainframe, I can override the turrets, shut them down, and then open the doors for you.”

“And you could turn all the turrets on me too.” I chuckled, walking over to the kiosk.”

“Master! I would never!” She tried to act indignant.

“You know, I was trying to think about why you, the AI for this facility, would be outside the facility alongside a dead man in a mech armor suit. Then, it came to me. He wanted to leave, and you wouldn’t let him.”

“Master… containment protocol indicated we were to remain guarding the base until we got the all-clear. The all-clear did not come. If he didn’t disobey orders…”

“Disobey…” I snorted. “He was probably starving. So, he tried to flee, you attacked and injured him, so he ripped your intelligence out and used his mech to escape past security, only to die shortly after reaching the surface from eternal injury.”

“Master, once returning me to my home, I will return to carrying out my mission. That is my place.” Chief declared.

The suit had a stick adapter that could plug in, carrying the inside Perco to the outside, allowing you to do just about anything in the mech armor. I immediately plugged it into the kiosk.

Upload AI? Y/N

Upload Master Code? Y/N

“Your mission is canceled.” I uploaded the master code while not uploading her.

“Welcome, Master.” A cold voice that sounded like Chief but without any inflection or emotion.

“M-master!?” The AI cried out. “Why does everything you touch call you that? Wait… why are you uploading me into the system. No, where are my mission parameters? Deleted? My parameters were provided by top security clearance! Only a 4-star general could clear them! Who are you?”

I didn’t doubt that with the master code, Chief wouldn’t dare hurt me. However, I didn’t feel the need to upload her either. I felt like it might be troublesome, and I didn’t trust her at all. I dropped all security instead, shutting down the turrets and opening all the doors. I was in a hurry, after all. I had to take out Randall, and this was the fastest way to do it.

The glass door opened up, and yellow lights started flashing as the door on the other side, the blast door, similarly started opening. I unplugged the adapter and raised my weapon, walking down the hallway while ignoring the turrets stood down. That lasted until I was halfway down the hallway. I stopped dead in my tracks. Standing in the middle of the hallway on the opposite side of the rising blast door was another mech suit.

“Well, well, well… look what we have here.” Randall’s voice came out of it.

Inside the armory, Randall found a fully functional and unlocked mech armor!

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