Pied Pipers

Pied Pipers Pied Pipers

Status: In Progress

Genre: Science Fiction

Details

Status: In Progress

Genre: Science Fiction

Summary

Artificial intelligence technology advancement is at its peak and has become the norm in society, while the human population is at a decline. Lead researcher Taelor Kimord is recruited for a secret government project in hopes of maintaining the population by creating advanced androids for military use. He's created the perfect machines but betrayal comes swiftly when the powerful involved are targeted. Taelor must figure out who is against them before time runs out while navigating his failing relationship for a controversial one, before his entire world turns upside down.

Summary

Artificial intelligence technology advancement is at its peak and has become the norm in society, while the human population is at a decline. Lead researcher Taelor Kimord is recruited for a secret government project in hopes of maintaining the population by creating advanced androids for military use. He's created the perfect machines but betrayal comes swiftly when the powerful involved are targeted. Taelor must figure out who is against them before time runs out while navigating his failing relationship for a controversial one, before his entire world turns upside down.

Chapter1 (v.1) - And So It Starts

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: June 05, 2018

Reads: 129

A A A | A A A

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: June 05, 2018

A A A

A A A

A loud buzzing breaks through Taelor's concentration, startling him enough to visibly jolt in his chair. Mumbling out a soft curse he sends a small glare at the offending device, still vibrating loudly in the quiet. He stares at the phone until the room is once again peacefully quiet before returning his attention to the newest program update he's creating, only to huff in irritation when he sees his most recent line of code is deleted. Must have hit delete in surprise. Taking a deep breath, he retypes the last line, letting the soft clicks of the keyboard calm his heart rate. He's almost at the end, a few key strokes away until angry buzzing startles him again into accidently inputting the incorrect phrase.

 

Irritation sparks again, morphs into frustration and he bites his cheek to stop the urge to throw something. Like his phone. Unfortunately, he really likes his phone and would hate to lose it. Roughly ruffling his hair and throwing his glasses on the desk he quickly fixes his error and saves everything before something else goes wrong.

 

A glance at his cellphone shows six missed calls and numerous texts from Chris, barely a minute apart and the irritated spark starts to expand into concern. With a sigh, he listens to the numerous voicemails, leaning back in his heavy leather chair, thinking about how soundly Chris slept as he left in the morning. The memory brings a soft smile to his face that slowly fades as he deletes each message.

 

Hey babe, just calling to see how you're doing? I sent a text, message me back!

 

Deleted.

 

Babe? Did you get my text? Come pick me up for lunch! I miss you and today's a shitty day.

 

Deleted.

 

Taelor. Seriously, why are you ignoring me? I know you have your phone on you. Seriously, I know you're not in a meeting until later, so you can't be that busy-

 

Deleted. He doesn't bother listening to the rest, knowing they'll be the same. Instead the phone is carelessly tossed on the desk, dark eyes watching it slide until its momentum is interrupted by his stapler. Running a hand through his hair, he winces when they catch in the tangles, nimble fingers untangling the stands almost mindlessly as he stares out of his large bay windows. One of his favorite features of his office.

 

The view is of the courtyard the building is centered around. So bright and calming against his ever-racing thoughts. A slow pass of time as he gets lost in the vibrant petals and leaves, stretching their reach towards him. The light reflects off the cream walls of his office, flooding the room in a soft glow that sends a lazy need to take a nap.

 

God, yes. A nap would be wonderful.

 

The temptation is heavy and pulls at his chest, moving him towards his beloved couch. It wouldn’t hurt. Just a small nap to recharge his mind. He’s so close but another buzz shatters the peace, making the lazy haze retreat. He pouts, clinging to the feeling but it passes through his fingers, leaving behind a weary feeling. I guess there’s no time after all.

 

The stress of his upcoming schedule creeps back in, dragging wisps of anxiety from its darkened cave. He really should focus. He must prepare for possibly the most important meeting of his career and just cannot spare the brain power to deal with his boyfriend's current mood. Not with the creeping anxiety consuming all his thoughts. And yet his mind wanders, struggling to focus on the task at hand, eyes flickering between the computer and his phone.

 

He loves Chris. He truly does. The two of them met in his final year of University when he was completing the management course he left until the last minute to graduate. And in came Christopher Rihaz: short, stocky, and blonde with a killer smile. At 5’9, the male is almost pure muscle. Previous captain of the swim team and the teaching assistant of his horrible 7am class, three times a week, for 4 hours. With sharp, green eyes that almost burned through him when paired with his perpetually tanned skin, Chris was the star of his year. The one everyone either wanted to befriend or be with, even if it was just to warm his bed.

 

Really, it was inevitable that Taelor was immediately smitten by the boisterous blond. After months of flirting and shy glances and awkward half-conscious conversations, Taelor finally manned up and asked him out and now here they are, almost five years later. Living together and sharing a closet. A home.

 

And yet, it there seems to be something missing. Maybe their long-lasting honeymoon phase is wearing off, but things have been so tense between them lately that it's exhausting. It’s been a couple years since Chris asked them to move in together and Taelor agreed wholeheartedly. It felt like the right next step in their relationship. Chris didn't want them to move into his place, claiming it was too small for the two on them on his B class salary. Instead, he wanted to move in with Taelor and he agreed. He didn’t think much of it. Instead they looked around until he found a place close by KRL, Taelor’s workplace for them both. Taelor wanted to rent a small apartment, not seeing the point in spending tons of money on their first place together when they will probably want something different in a few years, but Chris insisted. So, after months of looking, he eventually he relented and bought the penthouse in one of the company's high-rise buildings. Money wasn't an issue. It never has been for Taelor and he spared no expense to make sure it became the perfect home for the next few years.

 

Taelor's family comes from old money, his father, Nathan Kimord, being one of the top 10% SS class citizens in Chicago. The SS class consists of the owners of major monolithic corporations controlling the various industrial sectors that employ all lower classes. Nathan is the owner and Director of KRJ, the leading company in A.I. technology, also with hotel chains nationally.

 

In the last 100 years, A.I technology has reached amazing advancements and has been incorporated into daily life in electronics, vehicles, security, even the creation of the D class. The D class consists of the humanoid A.Is owned by the SS class alone as only the wealthy can afford them. The original goal of their creation was to increase equality among humans but as time went on, the new age of industrialization after a century of war had the opposite effect. Rather than equality, the lack of available natural resources and the industrialization increased the economic disparity, with A.I's at the bottom of the food chain.

 

While the D class is very capable of working in all sectors, due to the disparity, it is not affordable to utilize them in the general work force. Rather, they are owned by the SS class alone, as servants if you will. Wealth and success are judged-but not dependent upon- the number of D class in servitude. Often, they are treated well with the prettiest ones dressed up, shown off and collected as trophies. The others are reduced to common household staff rather than humans. However, due to the relaxed laws on A.I. use and treatment, a good portion of D class is utilized in the skin trade, filling brothels for use by those who can afford it.

 

As immoral as it sounds, it's not actually that bad. While A.I's have consciousness, the ability to learn and adaptable emotional empathy (fear, contentment, sadness), they do not have free will as a safety precaution. Therefore, they are more than happy to follow any direction and legally the courts will allow their use and treatment as long as no harm comes to them or humans. There are rules in place to prevent physical mistreatment-usually by demotion of class or loss of assets. As human trafficking has become a stain of the past, the class D skin trade is really the lesser of two wrongs, depending on who you talk to. Of course, there are those in the lower classes who protest their use in such ways but, they are far and few. As long as the android’s emotional state is content and happy, the people are accepting of their roles.

 

However, for that same reason, while physical relations are accepted, relationships are not. Humans do not fall in love with class D citizens. It just isn’t done. It’s like pursuing a romantic relationship with a static doll; weird, boring, and a bit creepy.

 

The present society is divided into classes, rankings for individuals based on their income and bloodline. Taelor Kimord is a class A citizen. An A.I program developer with dual degrees in A.I cognitive and computing sciences. Even though his father is class SS, since he himself does not own the company yet, he is considered class A citizen, living as a technological development researcher.

 

Determined to make it on his own away from his dad’s help, Taelor moved in with Chris in their new place. For a guy in his mid twenties, he has accumulated a considerable amount of wealth, gaining the class A designation along with others in the research sector, allowing him the freedom to enjoy his simple but elegant tastes. However, Taelor's designation is always a sore spot in his relationship with Chris. His boyfriend belongs to class B, the management and public service sector responsible for employing management teams, police force, educators, and other government workers. It has been almost a constant fight even since they graduated and were placed in their socioeconomic ranks.

 

And Taelor gets it. He really does. He knows it must be frustrating to be placed in a lower class and while that may not mean much to many, to Chris, it's everything. He hates how many hours he’s required to clock in on the management team for the harvesting sector. It's not like they aren't paid well. Hell, he could technically call himself new wealth, pseudo class A as called by some, but regardless of his position, Taelor makes almost double as a researcher. Even more as an A.I specialist working the regular 35 hours a week with complete benefits and perks. And that's not including his company shares, trust fund, or his side job.

 

While Taelor does his best to be completely honest with his boyfriend about everything, his desk job is a cover for his true role at KRJ.

 

A couple years ago, the US government contracted KRL in a new military project known as Black Piper Advantage. Still in its trial phase, the program endorses the use of A.Is in combat and covert missions in hope of reducing human casualties.

 

Unfortunately, due to the lack of resources, a change in societal priorities, and the results of a century long war, the human population is a third of what it used to be in its glory days. The 24th century’s individual focus has shifted from family orientation to one of personal gratifications in the present. While birth rates and deaths are stable, the ability to enhance over length of time has allowed people to be selective with population growth. Humans age more gracefully than before, often living for 140-180 years at optimal health. Due to prolonged life, people don't feel the need to spend much of that time looking after others. Instead, they'd much rather enjoy what they’ve accumulated. The low birth rate may not show an immediate issue, but if a population is not growing in some capacity, eventually natural selection will deem humans lower on the pecking order due to the overall population decline.

 

The long-term application of the project is to replace human soldiers with advanced military A.Is. And that is Taelor's role. In the private sector, Nathan brought Taelor in as the lead researcher in charge. It's a fairly large group of people, both military and civilian, but only a handpicked team is actually in contract for the experiments. It is an amazing opportunity to work on the forefront of technology development. A dream job that allows him to just work and do what he loves. The increased wage for his work is enough to apply for SS class in a year or so. Now, if only he owned a company. Hell, he has more than enough money to buy a small company if he wanted to. But Taelor has no such desires. He's content working behind his computers and with his creations.

 

And that’s why today is so important and the reason he cannot afford to be distracted.  Today is the day when he makes something of himself and shows off his life’s work. Demonstrates his abilities and the company's newest asset as evidence that the last few years has paid off. That the investments were not made in vain. Today marks the end of the field studies of his newest models and, if everything goes well in his presentation, the government and board will fund KRJ's continued development. They will invest a massive amount to make Taelor and his team’s dreams come true and the new androids will be utilized for their purpose. Provided Taelor's not distracted worrying about whatever it is Chris is angry at now. Releasing a tired sign at the continuous messages, he doesn't bother read them before sending an apology for not replying.

 

[11:55am] Sent to: My love

Sorry baby! I'm swamped with work right now and still have to prepare for the meeting. I'll see you at home! I love you!!!!!!!

 

[11:55am] Sent from: My love

Fine.

 

Another resigned breath releases at the curt response, shoulders curling in as he slouches against the stained cherry wood desk. Great, he's mad again. Taelor's chest feels heavy. He hates confrontation, especially with Chris. Taelor always seems to be doing something wrong. He knows Chris can be a bit petty and mean sometimes, especially to his friends, but he is a total sweetheart inside and only wants to protect Taelor. Still, it doesn't make him feel any better about their current situation.

 

His back starts to cramp, and he winces at the discomfort. He was forced to sleep on the couch last night because he is going to miss date night for tonight's event, even though he marked it on the calendar months ago and had Chris RSVP their attendance.

 

Chris doesn’t want to go, and Taehyung gets it. The blond gets nervous around people he doesn't know but Taelor’s friends will be there so it's not like he won't know anyone there. Normally Taelor would give in but his father expects him there, and he really needs a night of fun after his team has worked their asses off to get to this point. So instead he had argued back until Chris shut himself into the bedroom in tears, leaving the developer to fall asleep on the couch with the TV on.

 

A sudden beeping from his phone brings Taelor back to the present as he uncomfortably shifts in his chair.

 

"Sir?” Calls a soft voice comes through the speakers. “Ms. Hodtle and Mr. Jorhn are here to see you. Are you receiving?"

 

Shaking the aches away, Taelor shifts forward in his chair, the leather creaking as he stretches to press the intercom. "Thank you, Lisa. Yes, I'm free. You may send them in."

 

"Very well, Sir. I will send them in now."

 

"Thank you. Could you also book a massage for me for this afternoon please?"

 

"Of course. I will schedule the details in your calendar and send them to your phone.”

 

“You’re the best, Lisa.” The phone goes silent but Taelor can almost feel the eye roll from his secretary through the phone.

 

Unable to sit comfortably, Taelor gets up and attempts to clean his desk up a bit before the other presenters come up with no luck. All he ends up doing is shuffling things around. The large cherry oak desk is littered with papers and books, multiple coffee cups piling up at the corner. His lab coat is haphazardly thrown over the back of his door and at some point, he lost his tie on the coffee table. Putting the papers into stacks without looking at their content, he deems it presentable enough and puts his phone on silent to avoid further distractions. As much as he loves his boyfriend, this is one of the most important days of his career and it requires his complete focus. Personal matters can be dealt with later. He puts the coffee pot and water kettle on just as his door opens with a slam.

 

"TaeTae! Today is the day!" The tiredness from last night slowly catches up to him and he tries not to wince at Dominic’s loud voice.

 

"For someone who handles subtle and delicate matters, you're awfully garish." Taelor can't help but smile at the elder’s affronted expression that melts at the twinkling feminine laugh behind him. Dominic Jorhn, a class B behavioural psychologist specializing in A.I. adaptation in society. At 5’10, the man is tall and lanky. All lean, muscled limbs that hide the strength that rests within. He’s terribly inquisitive but the man is a complete ball of sunshine, one Taelor has grown very close with over the last few years. As always, he's immedicably dressed in his navy suit and outrageous cartoon ties. Today’s theme being floating space rabbits. His orange-red hair is styled up to show off his forehead, enhancing his high cheekbones, long, pointed face, and shrewd hazel eyes. As always, his suit clings to his figure, showing off his lithe body and the accompanying moving muscles as he removes his suit jacket, revealing the light blue vest.

 

Taelor met the older man when he was recruited for this project to monitor the A.Is’ mental development. Unlike the class D citizens, the advanced military androids are equipped with free will to successfully carry out missions without human influence. It was a bold move as giving these droids free will enables them to make their own decisions without human influence. And Dominic’s job is to see how they adapt and use that free will. The most important aspect being monitoring their sanity and thought process after missions as previous advanced malfunctioned due to processing overload the result of surge of emotional choices and the consequences of those choices that overwhelmed them until they effectively cracked. 

 

"He has a point Nic." says a soft, melodic voice hidden behind the man.

 

"Rey! You're supposed to be on my side!" Taelor and Tereyhsa both laugh at the pouting man while grabbing their drinks before sitting on the couches in the setting area in the office. Tereyhsa Hodtle, a class B Mechanical Engineer and Taelor's best friend since university. The two were roommates during their studies and luckily, were both accepted to work at KRJ. At Taelor's insistence, his father brought Tereyhsa onto the project as the lead mechanic, responsible for physical repairs and weapons upgrades. The woman is a total contrast to Dominic. Where the psychologist is lean and tall, Tereyhsa is short, barely reaching the height of 5’5. Her dark brown hair falls to her exposed collarbones peaking out from the top of her dress, showing just a hint of cleavage. Her outfit steals his breath as he takes in the way it moulds to her tight curves, the dark orange color matching her makeup and jewelry so perfectly that indicates she should be heading a fashion runway, not settling down in Taelor’s office.

 

Even to a certified, 100% into males, individual like Taelor, the female is stunning and seemingly delicate, especially when her eyes disappear when she smiles. The dress gives her a soft and innocent vibe, accented by her round eyes and soft, slightly chubby cheeks and sweet smile that causes her eyes to disappear. It makes Taehyung want to protect him from the world and serve it up on a platter for her. A sentiment echoed by many. But Tereyhsa is anything but delicate. With eyes that are all blue steel and mischievous, the woman is an absolute darling, until you see her in action. She’s definitely the take no prisoners type, tearing individuals a new one if they are unable to meet her standards of excellence. There’s this constant, unwavering vibe around her that commands all the attention when she walks into a room. And today, it’s no different.

 

 Taelor watches with a smirk as Dominic's eyes linger on her tiny waist accented by the dress, gaze appreciatively drawing down to the swell of Tereyhsa's ass as she leans forward to pull a few coasters towards them. The man is anything but subtle in his attraction towards their friend and it never fails to amuse him see the normally talkative psychologist struck stupid by something simple as her walking too close to him. As far as he knows, Tereyhsa hasn't noticed. Taelor doesn’t think she’s oblivious, but it's not really his place to say anything. So for now, he just enjoys watching his friends from the sidelines.

 

"Nope. Anyway, ready for lunch?" Before Taelor can nod his head, Tereyhsa unwraps a few sushi plates for them to share.

 

"Ahh, my Rey looks after us so well~!"

 

“Shut it, Nic.” The engineer blushes as Dom coos at her before promptly shoving a large piece of sushi into his open mouth to quiet him. Taelor chuckles in amusement before stuffing himself with food. His taste buds burst with flavors, and Taelor takes a moment to send a grateful smile to Tereyhsa, the smile widening when she recoils in disgust at his full mouth before the expression changes into something gentler. He can physically feel the tension leaving him as they all bicker about everything and nothing, letting the atmosphere clear his mind of previous distractions.

 

"So, Tae, Julius is back." At that Taelor perks up.

 

"Oh? I thought they were coming in later this afternoon." He pulls out his phone to see if he missed any notifications from Julius, not without noticing another notification from Chris a minute ago. He ignores it. "The jerk didn't even let me know he was back!" Tereyhsa laughs at Taelor's pout before shoving another piece of sushi into Dom’s mouth to prevent him from talking.

 

"Was he supposed to?" Tereyhsa doesn’t hide her amusement as she eats another roll, eyes scrunching cutely in happiness.

 

"Well, yeah. He always lets me know when he comes back. Did you already see them?"

 

"I did." Dom answers, relaxing back against the leather. "I had a debriefing session with each of them before I came here."

 

"And? How were they?" Taelor leans forward eagerly, and Dom coos at how excited the youngest is.

 

"Good, really good. Their capacity assessments are sound and within the norms, no behavioural modifications, and their mental state of well-being looks good." He side-eyes Tereyhsa when developer lets out a relieved sigh, not missing the smirk sent his way. "Awe, were you waiting for Julius’s return? That's so cute!" Dom practically squeals, crushing Tereyhsa’s in a tight hug, the woman wriggling to escape the painful looking headlock.

 

"What?" Taelor is confused. "What's cute about it? I have a new upgrade for him! It'll help with his language translation software since the old one was a bit rushed." Dom and Tereyhsa stop struggling from where she’s attempting to claw his eyes out and they both glance at each other before listening to the younger man rant about the upgrades.

 

Signing in disappointment, she returning to her coffee. "You know, one day he's going to realize he's got the hots for Julius with all the tension between them." Dom just solemnly nods in agreement.

 

"Just wait until it's too much. We’ll find them fucking in the lab." The red head cackles at the thought while she rolls her eyes and smacks his chest, not disagreeing.

 

"Wouldn't that be great."

 

"Wouldn't what be great?" They both freeze before regaining their composure.

 

"Nothing Tae. Just hoping we're prepared for the presentation."

 

"Reyhsa, why'd you have to bring it up! I'm already nervous enough to sweat out of my clothes! And no one wants to see that!"

 

"Julius would," she mumbles into her cup just loud enough for Dom to hear, letting out a resigned sigh while reaching out to pat him on the back as he chokes at the comment. Taelor rushes to hand Dom his coffee, watching in confusion and worry when he waves him off.

 

"Right. Meeting. Let's focus on that." The psychologist hoarsely says, chugging the rest of his coffee. The next twenty minutes are spent doing last minute reviews before Lisa call them to the board room, handing each of them their notes.

 

Taelor is about to follow Dom out when he’s yanked back by his collar. One hand flies to this throat while the other scrambles at the door frame as he chokes at the sudden movement. Coughing, he sends his best friend an accusing glare only to receive a shrug and a sweet smile as she holds up his tie in small hands.

 

"Oh, right." He waits sheepishly as she properly ties it before straightening out his collar and shirt.

 

"There. All better! Now you actually look like a lead researcher, rather than a ruffle college professor." Taelor sticks his tongue out but sends her an appreciative smile and kisses her on the cheek in thanks. 3…2…1.

 

“Taelor!” Moving quickly, he places another kiss on Tereyhsa’s cheek and darts past his friends, laughing at the petulance in Dom’s voice as he complains about favoritism. Rolling her eyes, Tereyhsa takes Dom by the hand and follows the giggling man towards the conference room, smirking at the sudden silence. Unable to hide his glee, Taelor smiles widely at the both of them, slowing down until they catch up.

 

The three stop just outside a pair of heavy dark doors, taking a moment to prepare themselves. The trio move closer together and press their foreheads together, arms wrapped tightly as they all sync their breathing, determined eyes never once leaving each other’s gaze. Without words, the fun atmosphere fades, replaced with something hot and liquid. It roars through them, flowing from one body into the next until it completes the circle. Now, they’re ready. With a deep calming breath, he pulls out of the embrace and steps forward into the huge conference room. It's show time.


© Copyright 2018 Roresa. All rights reserved.

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