Everyone was silent while Mr. Locke glanced at the guard who had brought up his concerns. I waited, ready to make possible adjustments to my new owner’s first command.
Mr. Locke let out a sigh, laying his eyes on the ceiling for a moment before speaking in an annoyed tone, “Make my son an exception. That is Tobias Locke. Unless he is actively trying to kill me, you are not to eliminate him. You may, however, use as much force as needed to keep him under control. He can sometimes be a handful…”
“Yes, Mr. Locke,” I repeated. I would scan the premises for a young man who shared Mr. Locke’s DNA immediately after we’d arrived. “Are there any other rules I should know before I enter the house?”
“Your primary mission is to keep me safe. I have plenty of enemies – rebels trying to ruin everything I’ve worked hard for – so your job is to protect me above all else. You are also to protect my home and everything else that belongs to me, including my son. You’ll be working under Gnash, the head of security. He will give you instructions and make sure you are doing your job,” Mr. Locke spoke, taking a short break before adding, “As for the rules, Gnash will fill you in.”
“Understood,” I replied. “I am looking forward to doing my job.”
“Sure,” Mr. Locke said, turning to speak to Ava. “Anything else I need to know before taking it… him… home?”
“No, I’ve already provided you with all the passwords, security codes, and emergency terminate code should it be necessary,” Ava replied. “And anything else that might be unclear, Zed can explain about himself.”
Mr. Locked gave her a pleased nod, and stepped closer to her. “Thank you for your hard work. I’m sure I’ll have a lot more projects coming up for such a bright scientist.”
Ava smiled. It was genuine this time. “Thank you, Mr. Locke. I enjoyed working on this project very much. I look forward to my next.”
“I already have big plans for this establishment,” Mr. Locke said, looking around the room. “You and I will change the world. For the better.”
My scans indicated we were in a big, but mostly empty building – the room I was in was the only fully operational one. I ran a search for our location and found out that this building had been bought by Mr. Locke only a few months earlier, and his intention was to turn it into the main facility of Locke Technologies.
“Imagine being the leading scientist in your field,” Mr. Locke turned to speak to Ava. “Your kind does not have the means to create such advanced androids yet, and my kind has always been weighed down by pointless rules that are not allowing us to share our magic and knowledge with humans. You and I are making history. We can change the world and the rules by showing them the marvelous things we can accomplish by working together.”
“Absolutely,” Ava agreed. “If we work together, the future looks bright, Mr. Locke. I am excited to hear more about your future plans.”
“I will contact you once I’ve seen how this thing really works,” Mr. Locke said, nodding his head toward me. “Then we can proceed into bigger projects.”
“Of course, sir. I’m sure you will not be disappointed.”
“I sure hope so.”
After bidding his farewell to Ava, Mr. Locke gestured for his men to follow him. I assumed he also meant me, and I walked with the group of bodyguards, blending in. The man I hit kept his distance from me, still holding his stomach and looking paler than his colleague. My visual sensors picked up no new information on the way out of the building, and when we stepped out onto a sunny yard, I saw it wasn’t the only empty building around. The whole area was mostly unoccupied. My scan picked up only seven individuals close by.
The car we were approaching was a brand-new, black Mercedes. One of the guards hurried to open the passenger door for Mr. Locke. I waited for everyone else to take their seats before taking the one that was left in the front. The car had alarmingly bad security. It failed the first item on my list: basic bulletproof windows. That was something to be addressed, but not now.
I watched the city closely during the drive, scanning it every now and then to get a clear map of it in my database. A quick search through my database told me this city was the nineteenth area declared as a sanctuary in the country – a city of peace where supernatural races coexisted with humans, although still hiding their true identities from most of them.
Fifty-nine percent of the population was human, and the rest of them consisted of several different species, out of which seventy-eight percent were humanoids: nagas, vampires, werewolves, orcs, dwarfs, mermaids, trolls, elves.
And one android.
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