Sunday, February 10, 2013

Ruth Long Week 33: Adam's Rib

Picture 1

Picture 2

Ruth Long’s Picture Choice: Two

Title: Adam’s Rib

This is part two of the Cypher Cove story. Read the first installment here.

Zaydee looked up when the lab door slid open. “How is the professor?”

“Much better this morning,” Cayden said, staying in the doorway and surveying the tech-packed landscape. “You wanted to see me?”

“Yes. Come in.”

“Said the lion to the lamb.”

“You’re awfully cynical this morning.”

“I’ve been here a week and this is the first time you’ve invited me into your inner sanctum.”

She put the handset down and joined him. “I was waiting for the professor’s condition to stabilize before asking you to leave his side.”

“Fair enough. But the tension in here is thick enough to choke a man, so what’s really going on?”

Taking his hand, she led him to a platform, where two figures stood at the center of a circular control panel. “The fellow scowling at the teletron is Peter Skellings, my lieutenant, and this elegant unit is Janix, our lead AI. Together, the three of us built and oversee Cypher Cove.”

Cayden pulled free of her grasp. “Is this the part where you tell me they’ve voted me out of the picture?”

“What? No! What is wrong with you today?!”

“It would have been nice to see a friendly face at some point in the last three days.”

Her jaw pulsed. “You’re upset that I didn’t check on Professor Dunscomb?”

His hand struck the desk, sending a metallic echo across the room. “No, Zaydee. I’m ticked off that you didn’t bother to come see me. I thought – damn it, I don’t know what I thought. Real world situations aren’t my specialty. But it felt like we connected, and I needed that. Especially with the professor’s life in limbo.”

She nodded to the door. “Let’s take a walk, just the two of us.”

He headed for the door and went through it without waiting for her.

“Cayden,” she called after him. “Cayden! Wait! I can’t keep up with you.”

He slowed, waited until she was beside him, and then grabbed her around the waist and pushed her into an empty office. “I warned you, Zaydee. I told you I experience things. I’m not just a circuit board and wires.”

She held still against him. “You’re right. I’m sorry. What can I do to help, right now?”

He put his forehead to hers. “I can’t identify this sensation and without Dunscomb to interpret for me, I’m lost.”

“Will you let me try?”

He closed his eye and sighed. “It’s almost like part of my circuitry is missing.”

“Oh, that makes sense. You’ve been separated from Dunscomb for five days. Have you ever been apart from him that long?”


She hugged him gently, like a mother comforting a child. “That feeling of being disconnected is loneliness. Dunscomb has been your only friend and while he’s recovering from his injuries, you’re missing him.”

“So, this will go away when he is fully recovered?”

“Yes,” she said, stepping back and smiling up at him. “I’m sorry I didn’t consider what you were going through. Truth is, I got wrapped up in something else. That’s why I sent for you today. Janix brought back some data from Dunscomb’s burned out lab.”

“He went into the city?”

“He’s quite the adventure junkie. I think the two of you are going to become fast friends.”

“How could he risk it? If he’d been caught, they would’ve smelted him within the hour!”

She went to the window and looked out across the bay, to the city beyond. “He is a big fan of yours. Said it was worth the risk to be the one who helped figure out who was hunting you and the professor.”

He sat on the edge of the desk. “What did he find?”

She turned to face him. “Dunscomb created a unit just prior to you. He perfected her defects when designing you – and then scrapped her. Only, she survived, and she is determined to have her revenge on the professor by taking possession of the mate he created for her – you.”

“I had no idea,” Cayden said, coming to his feet.

“I didn’t think so, and I didn’t want to broach the subject while the professor’s health was in the balance. I don’t know what her name was when Dunscomb created her but now, she’s known as Crimson Plague, and she’s working an ‘Adam’s Rib’ scenario in reverse. She believes you were made from her and thus for her, and she is coming to collect.”

When he remained silent, she said, “We’ve been brainstorming our options. Janix, Skellings and I, that is. I’d like you to sit down with us and finalize a battle plan today. Come on.”

He blocked the door for a moment. “I wasn’t just lonely for Dunscomb. I was lonely for you too.”

“Trust me, Cayden, you are about to make so many friends you won’t ever be lonely again.”

“I’ll always be lonely for you when we’re apart.”

She chuckled. “Let’s find and contain your lady stalker before we explore that particular emotion any further!!”


A reader by birth, paper-pusher by trade and novelist by design, story-telling in my passion. If you enjoyed reading today's story, please consider checking out my blog, joining my creative community or participating in the madcap twitter fun @bullishink.



  1. Nice! I was wondering if you were going to pick this story up at some point. I hope you're going to give us part three in two weeks because this is a blast... Great pacing and good story hooks...

  2. This is writing at its very best. It's been a while since I have read anything pertaining to AI, so it was really refreshing to read this. Very interesting story.

  3. Thank you, Jeff!! I really liked the characters but wasn't sure where to go - until I saw this photo and then the word 'nemesis' tugged at me!! :)

    Thank you, Kayla!! I'm so glad you enjoyed reading!! I write in a variety of genres, but I'm a tech girl at heart and always come back to it's siren song! ;)