"Don't forget that this is your last chance." The well-built man paced around the walkway, never taking his eyes off the rather scrawny scientist. "If you want to keep your life, then I suggest you get this one right."
"Y-yes sir," the scientist stammered.
"Now, I want to see the features of this new little toy of yours."
"Right away, sir. Follow me."
The men walked down the walkway to a door situated on the left-hand side of its endpoint. This led to a set of stairs, which held a large pod of liquid with a shapeless form hidden within. Thoughts of his parents, his home, and everything he held dear swirled in his mind. What… what would Marcia think of this?
He was jarred out of this thoughts by a single command.
Nervousness and just a hint of terror colored his walk to the pod's control panel. Upon draining the fluid from it, the formless entity was given a face. It took the appearance of a girl with a caramel complexion and jet black hair. Her form looked pristine, graceful even. No onlooker would ever suspect her true nature.
After a minute, the large man got impatient. "Well?"
After instinctively backpedaling. The scientist prepared to give the explanation of his life.
"Ahem. This agent, codenamed Cybil, is the latest innovation in meta-human technology. Her thoughts, words, and actions are processed light-years quicker than the human mind could ever hope to. Her reflexes are acute down to the nanosecond, allowing for lightning-fast maneuvering. Her focus is also acute: she will never waver from her mission, no matter what it is. And that's not even speaking of her combat abilities."
"Interesting. Let her out."
"I said let her out," the large man ordered, now more authoratative in tone. "I want to interact with her personally."
The scientist reluctantly did as told. The cables harnessing both Cybil's body and suit were released. She landed on the ground in a typical three-point fashion. She promptly stood up, opening her eyes for the first time. She studied the two beings in front of her with unnatural meticulousness. After apparently deeming said beings non-threats, she went idle, standing at attention and staring at nothing in particular.
The large man appraised her as if she were a new car to a prospective buyer. It amazed the scientist how his smile managed to denote pleasure without emanating joy of any kind.
"Intriguing. So she is capable of carrying out whatever I ask of her?"
"Yes," the scientist replied with small notes of the shame he felt inside. "She's just as capable of assassinating a chancellor as a common housewife is of grocery shopping… not that she couldn't do that, too. She could do anything we tell her to."
"Humph." After one last once-over, the bigger man decided to put her to the test. "Cybil, report."
The girl quickly turned to face the bigger man, focused on fulfilling her orders without fail, no matter what they were.
The next words out of the large man's mouth chilled the scientist's very blood.
"Break this man's arm, if you'd please."
Before he even had time to react, Cybil was all over him and swiftly snapped a large portion of his lower left arm in half. He looked up from his screams of agony to see indifference in his creation's eyes. He didn't blame her, though. To her, this was just the first of many missions to complete. Despite his obvious pain, another feeling seeped through.
"G-good girl," he whispered between tears.
To the broken man's surprise, she blinked once, perhaps acknowledging her creator before turning back to the man who ordered his harm.
"Consider that your punishment for the last failure, McDougal." Coldness permeated the man's voice. "I will admit that she shows promise, however. Cybil, get some medical supplies and patch up our friend here."
With that, the girl ran off to complete her mission, and the big man walked off, leaving McDougal to wallow in his memories.
Several days earlier…
James McDougal stared at the humanoid in the pod in front of him. His superiors would only see it as a weapon, a tool for their own ends. But he saw it… no, saw her differently.
"You're a very smart girl, you know that?"
Silence was his response.
"Seriously, I mean that." Pride and frustration mingled in his mind. "You can do things that most girls, heck, most humans couldn't dream of."
Another moment of silence passed. A sad smile crossed his face.
"You could do literally anything you set your mind to." He turned away, balling up his fists. "But those animals would rather use you as…as a gun, a weapon! A tool…"
He turned on his heel to face the girl in the pod, fire in his eyes.
"Listen to me, Cybil. No matter what they make you do, don't blame yourself. This is not your fault. None of it is! Just do what they tell you, for now. God willing, you'll get to be your own person someday."
James took a calming breath before changing the subject.
"I… I just wish you got to meet Marcia. She really would've loved you like a daughter…"
Imagining various scenes of Marcia bonding with Cybil, Jake managed to block out the reality of him beginning the mind override protocol. For now, at least, she would be at the beck and call of whoever her handlers would be.
A/N: I'm going back and rewriting parts of the first few chapters so they fit together better with the way the story is now. Enjoy!