Chapter 2
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Dale (POV)

"Lina, play some entertainment news while I walk."

[Sequels to recent movies or sequels to classics?]

"Sequels to classics, of course! That's where all the big budgets and hype go anyway."

[Entertainment News:

Article 1: Fast & Furious: Legacy of the Family is said to break the hearts of fans. According to the several famous directors who are in charge of the movie. They have all sworn to social media influencers that this will be the last entry into the series. It started as a story about a family participating in illegal racing. However, it has reached the point where the family battles aliens on Pluto in their modified cars. Writers of the F&F universe say they have exhausted every idea possible and feel it is time to end it. But an anonymous source has hinted the descendants of the family might have a possible crossover movie with the Transformers on Cybertron.

Article 2: Everyone knows the Jurassic Park franchise went extinct over two hundred years ago. But last night, EZ news obtained the leaked scripts for a possible revival of the beloved Dinos in a new reboot that aims to bring back everything we love and add something new. During the terraformation of Mars, the scientists of Vector's colonies discovered fossils of several alien species that once lived on the Red Planet. One might think they had seen enough Jurassic Park movies to know that reviving extinct species is a horrible idea, but when has that ever stopped the people of Vector?  

Article 3: The Marvel Cinematic Universe has released over 350 movies over the past two hundred years, but even Earth's mightiest heroes cannot last forever. After several heads of various departments within the Nation of Disney were arrested on the charges of pedophilia of child actors, Marvel has been struggling to attract children's attention due to their overprotective parents. Thus it is high time they reinvented themselves by making pornographic content for adult audiences. So naturally, the furry community is over-excited by this news as their favorite characters will finally have…]

Dale lets out an exhausted breath and bends over to massage his knees.

"Lina, I think I hit my limit. I need to stop for a bit to recharge."

[User Dale has walked less than 800 meters]

"Only? I could have sworn that it was at least 1 kilometer."

[Human perceptions of distance are highly inaccurate]

"That doesn't change the fact that I need a break... How far is Rebecca's place from here?"

[1.6 Kilometers to your destination]

"Damn it! Why does she have to live so far away? Can you call in a drone cab?"

[Does User Dale wish to spend his remaining funds for it?]

"Stop reminding me of my finances. But since you pointed that out, I think pushing my limits is not bad." Dale replied as he resumed his walk.

[User Dale's dedication to fertilizing a digital egg is admirable]

"You don't realize how bad that sounds?" Dale pointed out with an expression of disgust.

[Encouragement is said to be a strong motivator for the human mind]

"I don't think anyone wants to be encouraged like that. You should try motivating me with information that will provide positive reinforcement."

[According to recent public health data, individual User Dale's fitness capabilities match those in the 'extreme health risk' category. Thankfully, rigorous exercise, medication, change in lifestyle, and diet can bring the body back to 'low health risk' within four months]

"I said something positive! Why are you making me feel miserable?"

[Alternative methods of encouragement to exercise were analyzed, this was the most positive reinforcement available]

"You know, I wonder why dad had wasted all that money to get a customized butler? I could have used that money to invest in some business."

[User Dale's investment history reveals that such a decision would not have resulted in any changes to the current situation]

"Remind me again, which one of us can mute the other?"

[Is User Dale willing to try?]

"Fuck it! Talking to you is the only distraction I have."

[Is User Dale committing to hatching the egg before the final date?]

"Why do you ask?"

[It will be challenging to fertilize the egg within the specified time limit stated by the Monster App with User Dale's current body fitness]

"There are still thirty days, right? But, as the saying goes, slow and steady wins the race."

[Sounds like procrastination]

"Who programmed you to be so mean?"

[User Dale's father]

Twenty minutes later, Dale found himself in the poshest area of the state where the rich and influential people lived. He used to frequent this area when his father was still alive since he was the head of the highest-rated construction company in the state. Rebecca's father, a Senator of the Union, was one of the clients. Dale had befriended her many years ago in their early teens.

Dale walked up to the gate of the Lawman mansion and rang the intercom. A video display on the gate wall showed the familiar face of Ali, Rebecca's AI butler. It was expensive to give butlers a lifelike avatar, but the Lawman family spared no expense. Through the sensors above the screen,  Ali studied Dale's face.

[Master Dale? What brings you here?] 

"I thought of catching up with Rebecca since it has been a while."

[Miss Rebecca is not home right now. You should have contacted her before making the trip here]

"Oh… I thought I would surprise Rebecca. When will she be back?"

Before Ali could answer Dale, a luxurious hovercar came down the street and softly landed in front of the gate. The back door opened, and a young woman in her mid-twenties stepped out of the craft wearing a striking emerald studded dress suit. Rebecca brushed off her long blonde hair covering her green eyes that focused on Dale with shock.

"Dale? Is that you?"

"Of course it is me! Why do you ask?"

"You are all fat and sweating like a pig. Where is your hovercar?"

"I sold it a few months ago since I wasn't using it. So I walked all the way here from my apartment and thought I'd drop by."

"It took you a year to decide to drop by?" Rebecca asked with a suspicious tone.

"I wasn't in a great headspace."

"No space in it to reply to my messages?"

"My bad! I told Lina to block all contacts because I wanted to be left alone after dad passed away."

"Idiot! I should give you a tight slap for ignoring me, but I am happy you came here. Get in the car, and let's go inside."

"Alright."

Several minutes later, they sat at the dinner table covered in several dishes made by a human chef with natural ingredients. Dale stared at the food while taking in the rich aroma and holding back the saliva that was building up in his mouth in anticipation.

"Dig in already! You're creeping me out with that look."

"Sorry, I have been eating low-grade printed puke for a long time."

"Why? You should have inherited a fortune with the company shares."

"One of dad's partners sold my shares to cover my dad's debt. However, the man was kind enough to let me keep the apartment."

"Wait… you don't have any money? Didn't you become a doctor?"

"I failed the finals and left the University before getting the medical license. I spent whatever I had left on getting the renewable essentials and looked for regular jobs. But none of them worked out because of my background check."

"Oh, what was wrong with your background?"

"My dad owed money to many people who deal with illegal stuff. So they offered to let me pay it off by offering my medical services for several months, but two months ago, the cops busted them and arrested me. Luckily the criminals confessed that I was not part of their gang, so the cops released me, but they didn't bother removing the felony that gets highlighted in all my job interviews."

Rebecca did not appear to be fazed by the revelation of Dale's felony. Instead, her eyes displayed sympathy and understanding for him.

"So the main reason you wanted to be left alone was the felony?"

"The cops go after anyone who is friends with felons. So I had to cut ties with… wait, you know about it already?"

"Of course, I kept tabs on you. Idiot!"

"But if you knew, then why ask?"

"I just needed to hear it from you directly. We shared everything while growing up, and I wanted to see if you are still the same dork I remember."

Dale was both surprised and relieved by her revelation. He was worried about how she would react after hearing about the felony. It usually meant losing friendships and business relations with those of high status.

"Are you okay with it? But won't it get you and your family in trouble?"

"Ali!"

A hologram projection of her butler appeared beside Rebecca.

[Yes, Miss Rebecca?]

"Contact the Commissioner and request him to remove the felon status of Dale's background sheet."

[If he asks why?]

"Tell him that Dale will serve as my aid, and I can't have a felon."

[That should be enough]

Ali disappears, and within a minute, Lina informs of the change in Felon's status, and the employment field now lists him as an aide to the Lawman Family staff.

"You have that kind of power?"

"One of the perks of serving the President of the Union."

"Serving? You have a position in the Union?"

"I am a glorified caretaker for his seven-year-old twins since he is a widower. I can hire a personal aide and a bodyguard on the bright side. The bodyguard position has already taken, so you must be satisfied with the aide salary."

"Salary?"

Dale quickly checked, asked Lina to check his bank balance, and found three thousand dollars.

"So this means you are my boss now?"

"In front of others, you will have to call me Miss Rebecca. In private, just Reb is fine."

"I see… I don't know how to thank you for all of this."

"Never lie to me! Oh, and do everything I tell you from now on. That should suffice as repayment."

Dale couldn't stop himself from smiling as he slowly nodded his head. 

"Now, I can't bear the stink from your sweat anymore. I will have Ali drop you back home after dinner."

"Umm… I still have to walk three more kilometers, so I will have to pass on the ride."

"Are you on some fitness workout? I am not complaining because you need to get back into shape."

"I am following the instructions of an app."

"A fitness app?"

"Kinda like that, but this one seems more mysterious."

"Mysterious?"

"Have you heard about something that appeared on everyone's phones, and no one seems to be able to delete it?"

"Of course, I know about it. Everyone in cyber security is freaking out. That was why I had to leave Ali at home and use my father's old phone. Hold on! Did you open the APP?" 

"Yup!"

"Weren't you worried about data theft or viruses?"

"What data of mine is worth stealing? Anyways there weren't any viruses. It only needed my unique DNA code to activate."

"Curious. Why does a fitness app need that info?"

Dal informs Rebecca about the message from the app, which made her cackle.

"This has to be some kind of troll screwing around. Why are you even bothering with it?"

"I am just curious about what's inside the egg."

"Probably a troll joke."

"Maybe, but a troll who calls himself 'The Majestic Pink Fluffals The Third' has to have something special inside it, don't you think?"

—-----------------------------------

Selvaria (POV)

Selvaria and Rad are seated inside the compartment of a Mag-Lev traveling over the moon's dark side. Holo screens fill the space on the walls. They display the distance between the Daedalus Base and Orion Base. The entire compartment is empty, so the two lone occupants can talk without being overheard.

"At least take a few of our combat androids for protection."

"It will be more difficult to hide their identities than mine. Not to mention that they wouldn't pass any scanners used in the transport terminals."

"Personal weapons shouldn't be a problem. Something small and powerful will suffice."

"I was planning to take one of these."

Selvaria activates a holo keyboard interface and then types on it. Immediately the travel distance information on the screen is replaced by blueprints of a Mauser C96. There seem to be a few upgrades in the design, making it odd.

"A WWI-era sidearm, eh?"

"Look at the modifications made for it."

"Interesting… you increased the barrel length, replaced everything with tungsten, and somehow made it capable of firing Lapua rounds. Only wealthy individuals on Earth could create this with their current tech level."

"That is why I will need a fat bank account."

"Not a problem. I know some people who have been mining the cryptocurrencies of Earth for over a century. Will get them to create an account for you that should cover all your expenses."

"You are always so dependable, Rad."

"Whenever you praise me, you always ask for something complicated."

"Other than the bunnies I ordered. I plan to bring back more animals."

Rad didn't seem surprised by that plan.

"As long as they are fit for life on the moon, it's fine. But do try to keep them small, it will be difficult to transport them here without getting noticed… ah, finally, we are here."

Several compartment walls seamlessly open up to allow the occupants to disembark. When Selvaria and Rad stepped onto the station's platform, a young officer in a black uniform bearing the rank of Captain greeted them. 

"High Command and the admiralty have been waiting for your arrival. Please follow me to the meeting hall."

Selvaria's eyes wandered towards Vector's Officer Academy as the trio walked through the Orion base. Rad noticed this and understood what was catching her attention.

"You still hate that place?"

"Kinda hard not to when those idiots forced me into a vat of nanomachines for their twisted experiment."

"That experiment did give you some benefits."

"Surviving the experiment and gaining control of all nanites does not cancel out the pain they put me through. I was treated like a freak for many years because of my powers. I am just lucky that regular troops came to my rescue."

"True, but look how far you have come since those days. All the other admirals fear you, and even High Command grants your requests."

"High Command grants them because we are good friends."

"I am sure the control over nanites doesn't have anything to do with the special treatment."

"I am the only one who treats her like a human. The rest of you think of her as a tool."

"Says the woman who is more machine than human."

"You should think of making the transition before you get more grey hair or lose it all."

"I signed myself up for the reincarnation program if I get killed in battle."

"Really? When did you do that?"

"Someone has to be there for you if something happens to me. Since you don't have anyone else you trust, it might as well be me."

"Aww."

Selvaria reaches out her right hand and pats her adopted brother on his head. The young Captain escorting them turns his head back with a weird look of disbelief.

"We are here. Admiral Selvaria, please head through the door."

"Rad goes where I go."

"Rad?"

"Vice Admiral Radion."

"Oh, I am sorry, but only the senior admiralty is allowed in. Anything related to Mars is restricted information."

"Go inside. I will wait out here."

Selvaria nodded and proceeded to walk towards the meeting hall. Rad turned around and was about to head towards the shuttle bay to arrange for a drop pod for her trip to Earth when he noticed the young Captain was still giving him a weird look.

"Problem?" 

"Are you two a couple?"

"No, I am adopted. So it would be weird if we were."

"Oh... is that why you are willing to serve under her?"

"Older brothers have to look out for their siblings, don't they?"

"Right, but I overheard you saying she is a machine."

"An accident long ago ate most of her flesh, and the nanomachines rebuilt her body. But the Selvaria I know and love is still inside, so I have no problem serving her."

"I see..."

"Why are you so interested? Were you planning to ask her out?"

"Oh no! I will be transferring to her fleet. That's why I asked."

Rad was surprised by that information, but then he recollected about a transfer in his files that morning.

"You are Captain Mason?"

"Yes, Sir!"

"What is your specialty?"

"Spent most of my early years in the Heavy Armored Infantry. But I have been on an infiltration assignment on Earth for the last few."

"Interesting... Did you complete your mission there?"

"No, it was cut short once High Command decided that all our efforts should focus on Mars. Since your fleet lacks officers, I got transferred to you."

"I see... Captain, are you interested in going back to Earth?"

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