I barely managed to keep control of my own excitement. I had been asking after an art museum, and there was a museum close to here. Not only did it solve our problem with the fusion generator, but it also got me the art I needed to sell back home. I couldn’t have been any luckier.
“That place is death,” Katarina responded shortly, causing my growing excitement to sputter just a bit.
“It might be possible, with the Perco.” The merchant suggested.
“Is it another mutant-controlled building with an inactive security force?” I asked, looking between Katarina and the merchant.
Last time, we had to fight our way in and activate the security to take over the place. However, once we did that, it became pretty easy. That said, at the time, I had been protected by a team of expert mercenaries. Remembering how things had ended, I didn’t want to think about them anymore.
“No.” Katarina sighed. “The security force isn’t inactive.”
“What does that… oh…” I realized what she meant halfway through asking.
The robots were still working at guarding the museum. A place with valuables likely had a very strong security system. With three droids, I had managed to nearly wipe out all of the syndicate forces. Even with a rocket launcher on hand, I sent them fleeing for their lives. Well, they could have killed me, but the point was that I could imagine being on the other side with those droids firing at me. It was terrifying. They were sufficient to repel the entire mutant threat in the hospital, so what hope did Katarina and I have of getting into that place?
“The security force there has managed to keep anyone from entering that building in seven decades. Entry is death. Everyone in Argos city knows that.”
“Why do you think the fusion reactor is still intact?” The merchant shrugged.
“Is it close?” I asked.
“It’s only a few blocks from here.” The merchant explained. “You could check it out pretty quickly without too much risk.”
“The problem isn’t the location.” Katarina sighed. “This place will be a lot more trouble. It isn’t like the hospital which routed everything through the security center. Attempting to take it over is nearly impossible.”
“What are you saying?” I asked, suddenly becoming wary of what was implied by those words.
“Each security droid was programmed independently. They were disarmed by reading the Perco signature on the art gallery employee’s Perco. Only they have the kill switch. So, there isn’t a single place where you can claim all of the security in one sweep. You’d need to sneak up behind one, plug yourself in and then do a factory reset, one robot at a time. That leaves a lot of room for accidents.” Katarina explained.
“Can’t you just use one of the Percos from an employee and use that signal?”
She gave a dry chuckle. “I suppose it’s possible one of them died somewhere near the art gallery. If we could find one, it’d still be locked to them. We’d need some kind of hacker to get the code off… at that point, you might as well discover a way to unlock Percos in general.”
Of course, I had never revealed to Katarina that I could do that. I had an unlocked Perco sitting with my bags next to the mirror. Although it was only a 3000, it still had a lot of value. I had been debating what to do with it. I had considered giving it to Katarina, but I didn’t think she’d want it. It just didn’t seem like something she’d care about.
Katarina took my silence as affirmation and gave a nod. “Therefore, we won’t be…”
“Let’s check it out.”
Katarina turned to me, giving a disbelieving stare. I shrugged in response. Although I had promised myself, I wouldn’t go on any more dangerous missions, this was only a few blocks away. We could be done and back before anyone knew I was gone. Plus, these were just protective robots. They weren’t going to shoot us on the street, nor would they chase or hunt us down. I understood that much, at least. These were turned on to deal with thieves and residents. While I considered their methods a bit extreme, this entire world was extreme.
“We don’t have to enter the building,” I explained. “They don’t shoot if you don’t enter, right? We can at least scope the place out. Maybe… maybe there is a way in the basement that doesn’t involve the droids. If we can get that fusion generator, it’s worth it. We could at least look, right?”
She stared at me for another moment and then gave out a long breath. “You’re going to be the death of me.”
Although she thought that, I planned to find an employee Perco and then unlock it and get that code. My specialized Perco 9000 should be able to manage that much. If the robots saw me as an employee, I could take control of all of them with ease. I was excited about this. If I could take over the entire museum’s robot army which had managed to keep the museum untouched in seventy years, who would be able to touch my base? Not to mention that we needed that fusion reactor. It was almost too good to be true.
That didn’t mean I wasn’t still cautious. I wasn’t going to jump into another situation like the hospital again. We were just going to examine the periphery, and see if we could find a Perco to hack. If I was lucky, there would be some skeleton lying around. If not, then, we’d slowly over time try to map out a way to reach the breakroom. I reckoned that the break room would have a Perco even if we couldn’t find one outside.
I didn’t want to risk my life, but my Perco was essential to getting this done. I thanked the merchant for his information. Then, we completed our trade. He wasn’t carrying that much. While going to new locations, it was better to set up agreements first and then bring supplies, rather than carrying everything. I gave him a list of the things I needed and a 10% payment with the rest paid on delivery. I was told by Katarina that this was a fairly standard practice.
He was risking getting hit on his next trip, while I was risking 10% of my payment. If everything went according to plan, he’d have everything we ordered, and they’d get the food that they requested. I also exchanged a bit of food for some crystals. These would allow us to power our defenses for the next week. That would give me time to see what I could do about this fusion reactor.
It was several hours before I had finally finished my agreement with the merchants and signed a contract. It was my first negotiation and trade agreement, so I was hopeful that it was advantageous. At least, it was advantageous toward me, since the supplies I could pick up were worth practically nothing in my world. On this trip, I asked mostly for essential supplies in return, but in one month when he returned to me again, I planned to ask for things I could sell in my world for money. Then, I’d truly be able to pull us out of the debt that we were in. As they began to leave, Katarina gave me a side look.
“When do you plan on going to the museum?”
“Tomorrow.” I declared.
Although the merchants had left, I wasn’t going to take Katarina away from the home base. As I said, I trusted no one. They could slip back around and give us a surprise attack. Well, they only looked armed enough to defend themselves, not attack, but I wasn’t going to depend on a contract to save my life. We’d go as prepared as possible tomorrow. I’d even bring the Destroyer just in case.
At this point, it was starting to get dark, and a look at my Perco told me it was 6:00 pm in my world. Time for dinner. I returned to the mirror and gave the girls a farewell. Just before I turned to the mirror, Jeri stepped forward and put something in my hands. I looked down to see five syringes. Two were made of a certain red liquid, and the rest appeared to be silver.
“What’s this?” I asked.
“The red liquid is RegenX. I told you I could produce a dose every 3 days. As for the 3 other syringes, that’s three doses of Allgility.”
“Allgility! This will enhance my speed?”
“Not just speed, but reaction time as well. It speeds up the action potentials within your nervous system. It won’t make you smarter like Allknowing, but it will make you quicker at thinking. Mostly though, it’ll make you quick on your feet. I should note it will not increase your stamina, so even if your speed is explosive, you will exhaust easily.”
I grabbed the Allgility in my hands. I wondered if I should take all of the doses for myself. Katarina had said that after each dose, they became weaker. I was already at a speed of 3. Then again, the other girls were probably faster. I was pretty sure Keira was 3 like me.
“Take them all.” Katarina put a hand on my shoulder, but then pulled it back. “Your life is the most important.”
“Very well. One a week, right? My speed is 3 right now.”
I also noticed that all of this running around had increased my stamina. It was now 2. It had been a pitiful 1 before, so it didn’t take much to get it up a level.
She nodded. “You should have a speed of 5 by the time you’ve taken all three.”
“Then, I’ll see you all tomorrow.” I entered my room and closed the door.
I had decided from now on that my door was to remain closed unless I was present. I raised my hand and touched the mirror, returning to my world. Tomorrow was going to be an eventful day.