Mack hovered around the bars, snagging drinks not meant for them and walking away. They slinked past married couples, the ones in straight relationships questioning the love for their spouse. They teased and danced with the single people (back on the way to the bar, of course), flirted with the old people to make them feel young again, stole glances (and money) from the rich. For two hours, Mack felt pampered and doted. They twirled away from an interesting prospect, someone who wanted to name a whole planet after them. The alcohol made them tipsy and a quick refresh in the restroom was needed.
They ignored the stares from the jealous pasty women as they checked their makeup, reapplying their lipstick.
“So, from where you are at right now, the best way to get to the server is up the stairs as soon as you leave the bathroom. But I can’t narrow it down to a specific room. Everything scrambles once I get to a certain firewall and I can’t knock it down. I’m almost done fixing the interference, maybe that has something to do with it. Rihal is still MIA but I’m getting updates. Just be careful. Zahari out.”
Mack took a deep breath and walked out the restroom, their prospect having been waiting with bated breath.
“Darling, let’s walk, shall we?”
Mack raised their eyebrows, taking the extended elbow.
“And where are we going?” Mack asked in a soft voice. The prospect shuddered and smiled at Mack, pushing a stray hair behind Mack’s ear.
“Outside, my love. Let me woo you away from these… cheap peasants,” he spat, practically dragging Mack outside.
The cool air sobered Mack a bit.
“Oh, wow, this feels fantastic,” they mumbled, fanning themselves.
The prospect nodded, sitting down on a bench, watching Mack.
“Come sit,” he said, patting a spot next to him. Mack obliged. He watched other people walking around, watching Mack’s face, but really looking behind them for cameras. He leaned in, rubbing his thumb against their cheek, mouth against their ear.
“Underneath me is a duffel bag with your clothes and a USB with the blueprint for this building. Communications will be cut in about an hour according to security. Your radio for a ride out will need to be put on a schedule when you get dressed. The party ends in four hours, you have two and a half hours max to leave since you showed up late. Prepare for missteps and mishaps, breath, keep your handgun on you. I hope to hear from you in a week. If not, I’ll have Zahari moved for her safety.”
The prospect winked and kissed Mack’s cheek, leaving them stunned on the bench.
“Goddamnit, Rihal is so fucking smooth. I didn’t even notice it was– wow. What a great get up. Wow. I’m gonna go over this footage and look at the makeup job he did. He just blended in with the crowd. And he never actually left your side! WOW, he’s just… RIGHT, the ship. Okay, we have essentially an hour and forty to get the fuck out, I’ll have the Beader sent out and buzzing around in an hour and a half. Setting it to leave at 2:35. I will have Med Bay on standby. Good luck.”
Mack sat quietly on the bench, watching people head back inside when the special guest, a pop singer, came to the stage. Mack took a cautious glance around, seeing no camera in sight. They grabbed the duffle bag, hopping off the bench and ducking behind a tree. They changed out of their dress and heels and switched into a black, full body catsuit and sneakers. They slapped the holster for their handgun onto their thigh, shoving their ancient yet modified Micro Desert Eagle into it. They pulled their hair up into a tight ponytail in case shit got wild later.
“Oooooohhhh, the reliiiiief,” Mack sang, stretching out. They shoved their old clothes into the bag after pulling out the USB with the blueprint on it. They shoved it into a tiny computer that was attached to their wristwatch that was in the bag, which was connected wirelessly to their glasses. The glasses made note of a hidden vent system to their left.
They crawled in the vents for twenty minutes, catching peeks at rich people making illegal bets on space fights and space races, affairs with husbands and wives and side pieces, political secrets that could catch a pretty penny to the right person if Zahari wanted to isolate the audio.
The server room was two doors down from the president of some developing country sucking the drunk cock of a mayor from an impoverished city. Mack unscrewed the vent covering from the inside, pushed it off and crawled up from the floor.
“Which one, which one…”
Mack pushed the USB into one of the computers, the program that was set into it doing its thing. The computer whizzed and hummed loudly. Mack watched the tower shake. They bobbed their head up and down to the muffled beats of the pop singer’s song, looking up when they saw a shadow move in front of them. They watched intently, the shadow coming closer and closer.
“C’mon…” they mumbled, standing up, hand on their handgun.
The figure stepped into the dim light of the computer screens and the room itself. They stood six inches taller than Mack, who was already pretty tall at 6’3″, their body also wrapped in a black catsuit, every bit of their face but mouth covered in a mask. They smiled. Mack knew that smile. They’ve thrown it at men all night.
The computer beeped. Mack slowly reached over to pull the USB out of the computer tower. The giant grunted and rushed at Mack as they put the USB in their bag, spearing them. Mack cried out in pain, as their bodies went through several walls and falling into a buffet table of sweet and sour ribs and Kani salad. Women screamed, making some of the folk leave the venue. Mack rolled onto the floor, gasping for air. The taller, walking shadow stood above Mack’s body, fists clutched, ready to start swinging on Mack.
Zahari’s voice crackled through Mack’s earpiece.
“Sending… Beader is… Moving ship… twenty minutes…”
Mack blinked, trying to fight off the dizziness they felt. They slowly got back to their feet, only to get punched in the jaw and stumbling backward. Mack huffed, spat out blood and put their hands up, their eyes focusing on that familiar mouth. The giant smirked.
“STOP THAT,” Mack roared, sprinting at them. The taller one grunted, bracing themselves for impact to the face. A right foot kicked in their left knee followed by an elbow to the temple. Someone else screamed, yelling about security, but nobody came for five minutes before somebody smart enough decided to guide folk out of the way as Mack fell into tables.
“She moves quickly, but still sluggish. Do you–” One of the investors gasped as they felt the barrel of a gun to their spine.
“Be respectful. Just because they have tits doesn’t mean they’re a woman. And don’t even mention their dick or I will kill you right and here and now and you’re partners get your share, are we clear?” the gruff voice from before cooed.
The investor nodded, swallowing spit, holding back piss.
“The sluggishness is their own personal character flaw. To replicate them, I had… adjust certain qualities as to make your soldier a more lean tank, if you will.”
Mack managed to grab ahold of the mask and pull it off. They had hoped Zahari was able to at least see what they were seeing.
“The sluggishness in our model, however, is due to only being free from the tank for a few days.”
Mack stared at their own reflection. The taller Mack didn’t have all the facial scarring, was a bit more lean around the middle, was broader in the shoulders and bald, but it was Mack’s carbon copy.
“The other two shouldn’t be a problem. I’ll have them out and working within the week. Mack here is about to leave. Are you satisfied with this model?”
“ABSOLUTELY NOT,” Mack cried out, turning around running toward the exit. The clone cackled and chased after them, throwing a chair at them.
“WHERE DO YA THINK YA GOIN’?!” The clone screamed, tossing a tray of glasses at Mack. Mack ducked, yelling out fear.
“ZAHARI, I HOPE YOU CAN FUCKING HEAR ME. PLEASE LET THAT BEADER BE OUTSIDE!” They took a hard right, jumping down stairs as another chair came flying at the wall. The sudden burst of energy came to Mack in a sprint they were never able to do before. The doors were still stuffed with people trying to leave the commotion from upstairs.
“Get out of the way, get out of the way, GET OUT OF THE WAY!” Mack roared, jumping onto a wall and bouncing off of it onto several peoples heads before falling into the crowd. The clone was on the floor now, slowly walking toward the mass of people, holding onto several long tables. Mack looked back and cried out in frustration as nobody moved forward. A table zoomed through the hallway, crashing into 10 people, causing them to fall into a heap on the floor. People screamed again.
“SHUT THE FUCK UP AND MOVE!” Mack howled, elbowing people in the stomach to get them out of the way. Another table smashed into throw crowed, one of the victims falling into Mack. The cool air from outside was close. As the last table flew through the air, Mack was able to reach the outside, rolling out of the way of the table. They looked around, spotting the dark purple Beader ship to the left. The adrenaline still raced through their veins, but everything was slowing down. The jog to the beader left them physically exhausted but their mind was still pumping at 100 miles a minute. As they pulled off, the clone stood on the ground, watching them fly away. The owner of the gruff voice, a tall, brown-skinned woman in a navy blue suit with a silk press down to her shoulders, stood next to the clone, placing a manicured hand on the small of their back.
“Come,” she said in that accent of her’s. “There will be another time to kick their ass. Right now, it’s time to cash those checks.”