Blink 1

The waves rolled in, the sun beat down and she felt on top of the world. Sipping her punch, the woman known to the world at large as Blink reclined, stretching, into a beach chair. Life was good. That is, until the sun started skipping. It would rise a bit, then drop back and repeat. Cursing, she sat up again. "Cheap Nip progs…" she muttered, cutting the link.

A sickening lurch left her dumped rather abruptly back into reality. Or what passed for it. A one room cube, adjoining toilet, just big enough to be cramped. Rolling on her side she whacked the VR unit. No go. So much for first stage maintenance. Before she could move onto more advanced methods the door exploded inward. She had time to sit up and wonder just who the hell these guys in black were before something cut the strings and she slumped into blackness.

Awakening wasn't so bad on the scale of things. She was in something soft, still clothed, and didn't seem to be bleeding. Opening her eyes she looked around. Nice room, comfortably furnished, it looked familiar.

"Welcome home." The voice confirmed it. Her father… great.

"Why, hello Daddy," she replied, with as much sugar as possible. "Can't say that I'm happy to be here, but since you went to so much trouble to see me. Was there something special you wanted, or is this just a happy family visit?"

He stepped into her field of view. A grossly overweight man, layers of fat rolling under the 1000 cred Hitashi suit he wore. Sweat beaded on his forehead, along his chins and fleshy jowls. For the umpteenth time, Blink thanked whatever maker for her engineered genes. He just gazed at her, deep-set piggy eyes glinting with something akin to emotion but colder, more calculating. If a snake could stand up right it would have those eyes. As he lowered himself into the chair, Blink mentally added, and if it gained about 200 kilos.

He grunted. "Hardly. It was to prevent you from being a further embarrassment to this family. To turn you over to the authorities." He paused to pluck up a small berry and roll it in his sausage-like fingers before devouring it. "Your antics have gone on long enough, but of course, I can't have any member of this family jailed. So you will be inducted into a special program."

"I should have figured you'd find a way to get me out of your hair. What's the matter? Your 'creation' got too big for its britches?" Blink cringed inwardly, awaiting the inevitable firestorm.

His piggy eyes narrowed a touch more. "Out of respect for your mother, I invested quite a bit in that new body of yours, young lady… the bionic prostheses are state of the art now and were 10 years ago."

Respect for my mother? Which one? There must have been at least 4 female gene donors…

"And you have return on that with insolence and embarrassment. Well, no more. You've heard of the Purgatory Project? No? It's a penal program for metahuman criminals. You're going to do good deeds to make up for your past."

"I didn't know you cared, Daddy. How does this make the Corporation look, hmmm? Do you get good press or something for turning in the 'arch-criminal' or something? When do you have me go?" Two options… I could blink out of here, take a chance that it might get me, or go do… good deeds. Some choice. "I'm sorry, father. I'll go quietly…out of respect for my mother." I will be calm and contrite, 'cause I know he'd have some nasty surprise waiting if I try to blink, and I know there might be something waiting for me if I blink.

"A wise decision… that phobia still plaguing you, eh?" He looked thoughtful, then shrugged, or rather, rolled his flabby shoulders. "I have arranged for you to be transported discreetly to the Special Crimes Center."

"'Wise' depends on your point of view, father." Now how would he know it still bothers me? she thought. "When do I go? Do I need to take anything? Any last words or commands?"

"Take what you feel you'll need, and you have 24 hours. As for commands, that should be self-evident. Don't mess this up." He locked eyes with her. "This is important, child, perhaps more than you know."

Now what the hell is that supposed to mean? "All right, father. I'll try to make you proud… this time." Blink looked around the room to see what was here for her to take. "Can I go through the house, or am I confined to this room. I think you know I won't try to leave. Better the evil you know than the one you don't, hmmm?"

"Go where you will… it's your home," he replied with another shrug. "You have grown wiser–perhaps your time among the street scum did some good after all." He smiled, a greasy disturbing look that made her feel somehow dirty for having it focused on her.

"Ok, don't mind if I do." She left the room, attempting not to show the revulsion she felt. I haven't been here in so long… she thought. Where do I look? The kitchen sounds like a good place to start. She wandered around the house, looking at everything, until she found the kitchen.

Nothing much had changed. Nothing ever did here. The same antique furniture, the same real wood paneling, animal furs and head trophies… killed by remote hunter/killer units in an enclosed "preserve". It wouldn't do for an Oswald to stir up a sweat while killing a lesser life form. None of the "security" staff dogged her heels. Why? He knows he's got me, so why worry… She smirked. Daddy's girl had picked up a few new skills… she could likely lead them on pretty wild chase around the estate even without blinking. But why bother…

The kitchen was large and state-of-the-art. Most of the food was prepared by real people though, not AIs. Flesh and blood labor was the status symbol. Anybody could afford a program and remotes, but a real staff of flunkies and Dolls, that was "class." Currently there was only one other in the kitchen, a petite little Doll in a maid's outfit cut ridiculously short. Any bending and she'd have no secrets and, being a Doll, she wouldn't mind at all. Looking up as Blink entered, she smiled. "Hello, ma'am, may I serve you?"