Attack doll 1 violet los.., p.1
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       Attack Doll 1: Violet Lost, p.1

           Douglas A. Taylor
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Attack Doll 1: Violet Lost
Attack Doll 1: Violet Lost

  by Douglas A. Taylor

  Copyright 2011 by Douglas A. Taylor

  Chapter 1

  Okay, so Shelley and I were standing there in the middle of the street, all powered up for battle, you know? When along comes the biggest, baddest-looking monster I've seen in, well, six months anyway. He looks pretty scary, but that's okay. I've dealt with guys like him before. I'm a Prime, one of seven Primes, and it's our job to deal with guys like him. In fact, that's pretty much all I do, besides hanging out at HQ waiting for the would-be alien invaders at Enclave to send out their next big, scary-looking monster.

  Honestly, I don't know where Enclave comes up with these guys. All right, I get that they're fighting a proxy war. There's something in the rules they have to follow that says that they can't invade Earth themselves, not until their proxies have conquered it for them, and those proxies have to be Earth stock, one hundred percent. Yeah, I get that.

  What I don't get is why anyone would want to join up with Enclave. Sure, they're big and bad, and they've been kicking our butts for most of the last fifteen years. But come on, have you ever seen what they do to a guy? You wind up with scales and horns and fangs so big you can't even close your mouth right. I mean, who needs that? Am I right?

  Take this guy. Shelley and I were standing there waiting for trouble because Wizzit had detected a disturbance and we were the only two Primes at home. So along comes this guy, and right away I can tell he's the one, because he's like nine feet tall and looks sort of like Godzilla, if Godzilla were yellow with red spots, had normal-sized arms instead of those dinky T-Rex-type ones, and breath worse than my Aunt Min's worm farm after a rainy night. (Okay, I made up the part about the breath. The force shields we wear do let through enough air and stuff so that we can smell things -- except when we have to seal 'em up tight -- but I wasn't close enough to get a whiff of Big Ugly's mouth vapors.)

  So anyway, here's this Godzilla-guy who used to be a regular human, except Enclave turned him into this thing -- at his request, mind you, because that's the only way they're allowed to do it. Shelley and I run up in front of him and strike a pose, but we don't attack. We can't attack; we're not allowed to, because Wizzit says we aren't supposed to go around attacking people that are obviously bad guys, like Godzilla here, not until they prove they're bad guys by doing something, well, bad-guy-ish. Attacking people generally qualifies, as do property destruction and general mayhem.

  So why do we have to do what Wizzit says? It's simple -- he's the one who provides the hardware, so he makes the rules. Well, okay, he doesn't make the rules so much as he tells us what the rules are. And he enforces them. Ask Shelley about it sometime; that's how she got to be Prime Red.

  Like I said, we're in a proxy war, with Enclave on one side and Wizzit on the other, and for some reason there are these rules they have to follow. Enclave wants to conquer Earth -- I guess because we're in a strategic location for something -- and Wizzit . . . well, nobody's sure what Wizzit wants. He says he just wants to help us fight off Enclave, and I guess most of us actually believe that. He does give us the tech, after all, and some damn good advice about how to fight the bad guy du jour. He's especially good at finding weaknesses and remote-tuning our force shields and weapons to exploit them. Personally, I think he's helping us because he thinks it's fun. Or maybe he just likes sticking it to Enclave. But he's an alien, so who knows?

  So anyway, Shelley and I are standing there, ready to fight, but we can't actually do anything until Mr. Lizard decides to start it. Except that he doesn't. He just stands there. And so do we. I keep expecting him to say something like "Thurrender, humanth!" (Yeah, most of these guys lisp. It's the fangs.) But nothing happens. Absolutely nothing.

  After about ninety seconds of this, I'm starting to feel a little silly. A crowd is starting to gather, even though they know they're not supposed to. Now, I realize no one is going to recognize me, because the force shields blur our features, but even so, I know I look like an idiot in front of all these people.

  Doesn't even faze Shelley. She's been at this a lot longer than I have, sure, but there's more to it than that. Nothing bothers her, not that she ever shows. It makes her seem kind of heartless sometimes, like when Robin died, but mostly it makes her a great leader.

  Before the crowd got too big, I heard her amplified voice boom out, "Move back, all of you! This is one of the Enclave's monsters. It is unpredictable and very dangerous!" And just like that, people started backing away. Something about the way she gives an order, even with her voice altered by the force shield, makes you want to do what she says. Like I said, a great leader.

  While I was watching and waiting for the attack, I spotted something out of the corner of my eye. I turned my head, and the combination of that and the movement of my eyes caused the force shield to thicken slightly, magnifying my view. It was a girl in street clothes, unaltered as far as I could tell, and not wearing a speck of Enclave hardware.

  "Hey, Red," I said, "there's a civilian up by the monster. Beside the building."

  Her reply was instantaneous. "I see her, Indigo. But she's not a civvie."

  Yeah, that's right. She just called me Indigo. It's not my real name; that's Trevor -- Trevor Chiao. But there are seven of us Primes, seven colors of the rainbow, and I'm currently stuck with Indigo. It could be worse; I could be Yellow. How'd you like to be called that in the middle of a battle?

  "The heck she isn't! She isn't enhanced, and she's not packing anything from Enclave. Got to be civvie."

  "Negatory on that, good buddy." That was Wizzit chiming in over the radio built into the force shield generator on my belt. I guess he used to eavesdrop on a lot of Earth radio back before the war with Enclave started, and he's got a weird sense of the way people really talk. "Red's right. No way she's a civvie."

  "Look at her close, Indigo." Shelley again. Her voice was quieter this time, and less clipped. She wasn't ordering, just explaining. "Psychology's all wrong. Is she acting like a civilian? Does she look scared or worried or even curious? No. And now look, she's walking beside it like she's its partner."

  "She's a minder." That's our Wizzit, master of the obvious. Of course she was a minder; if she wasn't a civilian, there was no way she could be anything but a minder.

  "Yeah, that makes sense," I muttered with a sigh. "You're right. Thanks for pointing it out."

  Yes, you did just hear me say, "Thank you for proving me wrong." One of Shelley's rules, not Wizzit's. Courtesy everywhere, all the time. Even on the battlefield when there's time for it. If you're wrong, you admit it and you move on, and no hard feelings. Works surprisingly well.

  "No prob," Shelley said casually. "Look alive now. She's prepping it to attack."

  Now, that much was obvious even to me, but I didn't say anything. Some day it wouldn't be obvious, or I wouldn't be paying attention, and I'd need that warning. I saw the girl point at us and say something to the monster, and it charged us. The battle was on.

  Shelley and I ran up to meet it. That much we could do, even though it hadn't actually attacked us yet. It took a swipe at Shelley with one of those human-shaped arms; sparks showered out from where it struck her force shield. "That's it," came Wizzit's voice. "It's definitely hostile; go ahead and take it down."

  "Got it." Shelley spun away from the contact while I hit its other side with a jumping side kick, striking it square on the shoulder. Off balance, it staggered toward her. She rolled out of its way, then swept out with her legs and knocked its feet out from under it. Knowing Shelley, I was expecting that; as its back hit the pavement, I jumped
forward and dropped an axe kick straight down onto its chest. And boom! Just like that, the thing vaporized.

  I think even Wizzit was surprised. Normally we have to beat on these things for a while and weaken them to the point where Wizzit can tune our weapons to disable or destroy their Enclave enhancements. When that stuff goes, there's usually a lot of sparks and sometimes an explosion and not much left of the original human. They usually don't just turn into gas and disappear at the first serious kick to the chest.

  After staring for a while at the spot where it had been, I asked, "It's dead, right, Wizzit?" You know, just to make sure.

  "Yes. Dead. It didn't teleport out." He sounded puzzled. "It must be some sort of experimental enhancement they were trying out, but it didn't look all that odd when I --"

  All of a sudden, Shelley jumped up and started running. "Indigo!" her voice cracked out, interrupting Wizzit. "The minder!"

  Without thinking, I sprang to my feet and took off after her. Normally, minders teleport out right away after the monster has been killed, which is why we hadn't moved to secure this one at once. I figured she had already left. She was still around, though. I could see her running away down an alley, with Shelley catching up to her like she was standing still.

  I poured on the speed and got there just as Shelley passed her and planted herself right in the girl's path. Force shields come in handy for things like that; not only do they protect us from getting hurt, they also jazz up our reflexes, increase our strength, boost our speed, and lots of other things besides.

  The girl stopped short as soon as she saw Shelley standing in front of her. She slowly raised her hands up like she was trying to protect herself, or maybe she was surrendering. Who knows? She must have heard me skid to a stop behind her, because after staring at Shelley for a few seconds, she slowly turned around to face me. My eyes went wide as I got my first good look at her. She was Asian and very pretty. And she looked absolutely terrified of us.

  Chapter 2

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