Tyson Braddock, a man in an expensive suit with brown hair and eyes and a trim beard, poured champagne for himself and his wife. Sarah was a gorgeous blonde with bright green eyes, in a sleek white dress.
“Max, do you want any?” Braddock turned to his personal body guard and friend, Max Cybernaut, who was wearing the newest iteration of the Dexterity line of Braddock exosuits.
“No thank you, sir!”
“Always on guard…” Tyson chuckled to himself. “Very well. Eve?” Tyson’s eyes danced as they beheld his fourteen year old daughter, blonde like his wife, but she had his brown eyes.
“She’s a bit young, dear…”
“But it’s a special day!”
“Well…I suppose it is.”
The Braddock family clinked glasses and he said “We’ve done it!” before sitting back, drinking, laughing, and smiling next to them.
“After all this time you’ve finally convinced them.” Sarah said. “I knew you could!”
“The Enchanters’ Guild is taking a risk with this deal…but I’m hoping we can negotiate with the Caster’s Guild. Think about all the good it will do for the world when we can mass produce magic lamps, or healing potions! We’ve made history! As long as we’re together nothing can stop the Braddock family!”
“Eve, what’s wrong dear?” Sarah Braddock asked. Her daughter was glancing out the window.
“The street got quiet.”
Alarmed, Max shouted “Driver, ge-!” before an explosion ripped open the side of the hovercar and sent it spiraling.
Tyson saw only a bright light, and then there was ringing in his ears, the smell of smoke… Where am I? “Sarah!” His wife was on the ground, in the upside down hovercar. He turned her face up and checked her vitals. Dead? No! Tyson let out a wail and then heard gunfire hit the side of the vehicle. He dove to the ground for cover, next to her corpse. Then he shouted “Eve!”
He crawled to the opposite side of the vehicle. “Eve! Where are you!?”
His daughter was just outside, opposite the direction of the gunfire. Her forehead was cut open, but the wound was superficial.
A woman wearing a long black coat strode around the side of the vehicle and fire started to form in her hands, but then she dropped to the ground dead at the sound of gunfire. The Braddocks turned around to see Max aiming his gun at one of their would-be assassins!
“This way sir, quickly! It isn’t safe here!”
Tyson nodded and ran, grabbing his daughter’s hand, but Eve wasn’t moving. She was in shock, her legs just wouldn’t go. “Eve, we have to move!” She turned to him as if she was just awoken from a trance.
“Sir, get down!” Max jumped on Tyson just as the hovercar’s containment field exploded. Tyson was more prepared this time and covered his ears instinctively. After the wave of heat he immediately ran to his daughter, who was lying nearby.
“Dad…” She groaned, weakly. A jagged shard of metal protruded from her abdomen.
Max started trading fire with more would-be assassins across the street. “Sir, we need to go now!”
Tyson scooped up Eve, who’s small arms wrapped around his neck weakly. “It hurts.”
“I know baby.”
Tyson Braddock ran, his suit stained with blood, sprinted down the block and into an alleyway opposite the street the gunfire was coming from. Max was behind them, constantly firing back against the enemy. Some stray bullets hit his plasma shield. A bolt of lightning missed them and hit the wall nearby, sending brick and a cloud of dust spilling into the alleyway.
They got out the other side just as Braddock security forces arrived on scene. They started fighting the armed forces in the alleyway as Max, Tyson, and his daughter loaded onto an armored hovercar and lifted up above the streets and higher than the buildings. They nearly missed a streak of lightning cast at them before speeding off towards Braddock Tower.
“Hold on Eve, we’re almost there!” Tyson said as the tower came into view. He held in his arms the weak life of his daughter, her face smeared with blood and it falling down from her red-stained hair in droplets. He grabbed a health potion and poured it over her wound, and it fizzed as it clotted over the area, but he knew it was better to wait and pull out that shrapnel in an operating room with professional medical care. Even health potions had their limits.
Finally they land, get Eve on a stretcher, rush her into the elevator, down to the medbay. They operate for two hours. Tyson waits, outside the curtain, watching. His hands are covered in dried blood, Max nearby, not taking off his helmet, refusing to leave his side.
Just hold on Eve. Please God! Tears streak down his face.
“Sir,” A doctor said “We’ve removed most of the shrapnel, but she’s lost a lot of blood, and there is damage to her spinal cord, and most of her major organs…”
Tyson didn’t look at the man speaking, his eyes were locked on his daughter.
“Sir…she hasn’t got a lot of time… If you need to say something I’d suggest you do it now.”
Tyson walked over to his daughter, stifling a sob. She’s going to die?
He forces himself to smile at her. “Hey baby.”
Eve manages a tired "Hey dad.’ Then she coughs violently.
“Shhh…” He brushes her head. “It’s okay now. You’re gonna be just fine.”
“Where’s…mo-” She suddenly went limp, dark blood ran out of her mouth and onto the white cloth of the operating table. There was the long-winded beep of zero pulse.
No, I won’t lose you too! A dark expression of determination over his face, Tyson ran, wheeling the operating table with his daughter through the hallway and to the elevator. The doctor’s cries of protest hardly have any meaning. Max is on the elevator too.
Tyson’s shaky fingers, covered in his daughter’s blood, press a button on the elevator and it takes them out of the MedBay.
He runs out and into the laboratory, his laboratory, the place of top of the line technology, things never before seen. He puts Eve into the adult-sized plastic chamber, her red blood staining the white walls and floor. He straps a few basic monitors to her, then closes the chamber.
“Sir, it’s only in prototype…” Max cautioned.
“I don’t care!” Tyson pulls the switch, a manual switch. Heavy manual switches are only used for things you want to be sure about. A dark swirling cloud of nanobots enters the chamber, swarms around Eve’s corpse. They enter her wounds, permeate her body.
“Computer.” Braddock commanded, and a holocomputer projected in front of him. He checks her life signs. None. Are the bots working? They’re showing activity…but that could just be their movement…
Fifteen minutes pass. Still no life signs. Beads of sweat form on Tyson’s forehead. Please work!
Ten more minutes. Now the robots aren’t showing much activity…still no life signs.
“Just give it a minute.”
“She’ll be fine!”
“She’s dead, Tyson.”
“No!” Tyson yelled and he slammed his fists through the holocomputer, which fizzled out. He breaks down, collapses on the floor weeping. “No! No! No! Oh God!”
Tyson wakes up covered in sweat. How many more times must I relive it? Nightmares about days from over seven years ago… He won’t sleep again even though it’s before dawn. “Computer.” A green hologram of symbols and letters appeared before him in the air, projected from the wall. A holoscreen projected in front of him. He touched the screen to select his most recent project. After ten hours of sitting and typing in bed it was finally finished- five years of work had led to this moment. The newest software model, able to learn in simulation! The screen displayed: “Download into prototype unit…complete.” “Bringing prototype unit online…complete.” “Select region of deployment…Badlands, sector E14.” A video monitor showed the machine’s point of view, walking in the slightly jarring way machines typically did.
A small icon showed Eve was watching it as well. He pressed it, and her face appeared. She had grown up so much. “I like this one, daddy.” “You think it can work?” “Mmhmm…daddy have you eaten yet today?” “Huh? Oh… Haha, guess I forgot… Want to get something?” “That would be nice. How about some Ramen?” “Okay sweetie, be right there.” Tyson unplugged the power cable from his back and got out of the bed.