A/N: Part 1.5 of 2! Apologies to all, but it would seem that the two-chapter limit I set for myself has been exceeded… Whoopsies! Anyhow, creds to the lovely @shadowfear-art, as this was based of their wonderful au. I hope all you lovely little kiddies enjoy!
Fandom: Borderlands | Prompt: Angel is roughly 2-4, and since Jack’s a workaholic, she doesn’t really get the amount attention she wants. So naturally, Angel finds someone who will pay attention to her. | Pairing: Rhack | AU
“So your name is Angel, is it?”
“Yeah!” The little girl rocked from side to side as she sat wide awake in Rhys’ desk chair while he leaned against his desk, arms crossed against his chest, one foot nestled behind the other. “Name?”
“Oh, um, I’m Rhys.” The little girl- Angel -had woken up roughly five minutes ago, and had spent her first two minutes awake just poking around Rhys’ office before he could convince her to sit down and talk to him.
“N-no. Rhys. Ree-s.”
“ReeeeICE.” She kicked her legs happily, abandoning her rocking motion to instead bounce up and down on the spot.
Rhys just subtly shook his head, eating a sigh before shifting his position and clearing his throat. “Okay, close enough… Um, Angel, may I ask how old you are?”
“Old? Um… I’m no old.”
“Yes, yeah, no, uh, what’s your age?”
She frowned for a moment, then her face lit up. “Oh! Mm!” She held up a thumb from one hand, and two fingers from the other. “But ’m a'most four! Dat’s what daddy says!”
Rhys perked up at the mention of Angel’s parentage. “Oh? Speaking of, do you know where your daddy is now?” Rhys asked, becoming increasingly more aware of the fact that the longer this child stayed with him, the worse it could possibly escalate. She was adorable, but he wasn’t really interested in being accused of kidnapping. It had been roughly an hour since she’d mystically appeared, so it would be an easy fix, or whatever it was that involved returning a missing child to their parent before accusations of kidnapping them bubbled up.
“I'uhno.” She over dramatically shrugged, then smiling brightly and went back to swaying from side to side again.
Rhys’ heart sank a bit. “Oh, um, okay, do you know where he works? R&D? Accounting? HR?”
Alright… “Do you know what he looks like?”
“Yeah!” She replied with an encouraging smile.
“Good, good, can you tell me what he looks like?”
“My daddy!” She giggled with a huge grin, clapping her hands together.
Rhys pressed his hands together and held them against his lips, as if to make sure nothing unsatisfactory slipped out. “Really…” He hummed, a polite smile plastered on his face.
Angel was nothing but big smiles until it disappeared, her eyes growing wide, and almost sparkling, as she looked up at Rhys with a newfound interest. She hurriedly pushed her off the chair, legs nearly buckling under her, making Rhys jolt forward, holding his arms out to catch her should she fall. “You wong like me!” She cried, grabbing at his cybernetic arm that was right within her grasp now.
Rhys frowned, standing awkwardly with is knees bent and rear pressed against the edge of his desk. “How’d you mean?”
She shrugged her one blue splattered arm. “You wong. Diffent wong, but wong!”
Rhys knelt down on one knee, poking at her arm. It was flesh, not steel like his, and the blue markings were what Rhys could only assume were tattoos, or maybe just an incredibly detailed birthmark of sorts. “There’s nothing wrong with you, Angel.” Rhys said, almost defensively for her, squeezing her shoulder lightly in comfort.
“Yes dere is. Docs say it a birf def.. def…”
“Mm.” She frowned in concentration as her tiny hands fiddled with Rhys’ fake arm, picking at all the curves and indents in the metal. “Arm… It?”
“Metal. Well, cybernetic is the proper term. It’s not my real arm, I wasn’t born with this, I uh, sort of volunteered to have this done…” Rhys admitted, then took his hand off her shoulder, tapping the sleek metal so she could hear the tink-tink of finger nail on metal. “But this,” here he pointed his index finger to the side of his temple, “I got because I had a birth defect just like you. Well, not just like you.”
“Diffent birf defet?”
“Yeah, after I was born, a doctor found out that I had Retinoblastoma. They had to remove my whole eye because of it, that way it wouldn’t…” He began without thinking, but stopped abruptly when he noticed the confused horror crossing the girl’s soft features.
“Is docs gonna take my arm?” She asked in a quiet, terrified voice.
“Oh no, no, no!” Rhys quickly shook his head, placing his hand back on her shoulder to comfort her as she looked near to tears. “No, no, little one. Your arm will be just fine, Retinoblastoma only affects eyes, and it’s very rare too. No, your arm has what’s called a birthmark. A very beautiful one, too.” Rhys smiled kindly, giving her shoulder a light squeeze.
“Birf mark?” She tilted her head, blinking, her mind seeming to wander away from its previous terror. “You don’t fink I’m wong?”
“For having a birthmark? No, little one. Having a birthmark, or any kind of birth defect, doesn’t make someone wrong, it’s just another part of you that makes you who you are. Has someone said that you’re wrong because of your birthmark, Angel?” Rhys asked, taking a seat on the floor in front of her and giving her his full attention.
Angel’s gaze shifted back to his arm where she continued to feel over the smooth surface, the cold material against her small warm fingers. “Mummy would ‘for she ‘eft. She say it was daddy’s faut ‘cuz he was wong too.”
Rhys felt his stomach knot up in sympathy. Biting his tongue, he took her blue stained hand in his own, drawing her eyes back to him. “There is nothing wrong with you, Angel. Now, what do you say we go find your daddy, okay?”
Angel still had a sad expression on her face as she regarded his sincere expression. A small smile crossed her face as she gave a short nod. “Okay, Rice.”
“Alright then.” Rhys gave her hand a squeeze before letting go so he could push himself up, which he then became aware of how he was practically crammed underneath his desk, Angel still not moving away as he twisted from side to side looking for a way to turn so he could get up. “Uh… You think you could give me a hand up, actually?”
People say that the longer you remain angry about something, the longer you think on it, the less angry you tend to be by the time everything was resolved. Well that wasn’t the fucking case here. Jack’s fury had done nothing but grow more and more since the news of his daughter going missing. He’d even torn apart her rooms himself, searching it from top to fucking bottom trying to find her. He’d checked the security cameras again and again and again, but they showed nothing. There wasn’t even a time lapse that would indicate tampering. And he checked for any kind of that too. Nothing. It’s was like she just fucking up and disappeared into thin-fucking-air.
Security detail? Air locked.
The useless R&D team? Stalker food for the next week.
Helios? On the tightest lockdown since Dahl had tried to fuck it in the ass a few years back.
The loaderbots that had been programmed specifically to not let her out of their sight? Well, Jack was currently listening to their mechanical screams of agony as he had them strapped down to a conveyor belts headed slowly legs first toward a grinder while they were drenched in corrosive liquid.
Today was not a good day.
“Have you found her?” Jack snapped into his EchoComm the moment the screen lit up.
“No. But workers are starting to get jumpy about the lockdown, Sir. Some are even starting to get physical, thinking it might be Dahl back for another go. Sir, I think we sho-”
“No, fuck the workers. I want her found, and I want it done yesterday. Do I make myself clear?”
“Y-Yes, sir.” The line died. As did the wretched cries of the loaders.
“I’m not hearing anyone screaming.” Jack shouted, turning around to glare at the short, timid looking technician that stood holding a clipboard like it was the only thing that could save him from the man’s wraith.
“A-all of the loaders have been disposed off, sir.” He squeaked.
“Well, then you’d better go find some more, huh, pumpkin? That or you can strap yourself to the conveyer belt, I don’t really care. Point is, if this room isn’t filled with someone’s agonizing wails in the next, oh I’m gonna say six seconds, it will be you going next. Capiche?”
The pure unadulterated terror in the man’s face was almost enough to put Jack in a better mood. Almost. “Y-yes, sir, right away!”
Jack looked back down at his Echo, expecting either a call or short message from the search teams that she’d been found. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. “Your six seconds have just fuckin’ expired, kiddo.” Jack sucked on his teeth, the technician froze in their spot where they’d just booted up a loader digi-structor, their face paler then the deepest crater on Elpis.
Rhys had managed to make it to the nearest elevator before Angel had began to refuse to walk, insisting that Rhys carry her instead. And by insist, she sat on the floor and refused to move or say anything until Rhys asked if she expected him to carry her. And that was how he ended up holding the girl against his back piggy-back style while they continued to wait for the lift to finally reach their level. They, or rather Rhys, decided that the Hub was the best place to start looking for the girl’s father.
“Uh oh.” Angel whispered against his back, arms tightening around his neck.
“What?” Rhys twisted his neck, eyes catching on a large group of armed security personal down the hall to his left who seemed to be looking his way. “Angel…”
“Eevator open!” Angel kicked her legs into his sides urging him to dragging his eyes away from the group and head into the open doors. To his surprise, the moment they were inside, Angel slid down his back and started to hit random buttons before she started aggressively hitting the one that closed the doors faster.
“Someone hold that door!” Rhys heard someone yell from outside the elevator before the doors slid up and the lift jolted before it began its descent.
“Mm, mm, mmm.” She hummed along to the calm elevator music, her head swaying from side to side.
“The law of three states that whatever someone puts out there, good or bad, it will return to them threefold.”
She opened her mouth, then closed it, puffing up her chubby cheeks. “No fair.” She whined, crossing her arms and pouting.
Rhys considered apologizing, but he really needed to ask her about what had just happened. “Who were those people, Angel?”
“I'uhno. Daddy’s I fink.”
Rhys frowned, then asked, “Are you saying they work for you dad?”
“Yeah, I fink.”
“Do you think your dad is looking for you, then?”
“No. He busy. A'ways is, no time for me.” She sniffed.
Rhys sighed, holding his arms out to her so she came over to him, accepting his offered hug. “That’s usually how it is when you work for a corporation like Hyperion.”
“You have time.” She pointed out as Rhys lifted her up, holding her against him.
“Yes, but I am also a stranger.”
“No, you Rice.” She mumbled against his shoulder.
Rhys smirked, tucking one arm under her bum, the other resting against the flat of her back so she wouldn’t slip down or fall backwards. “That’s not what I meant.” He pointed out, then thought to ask something as the elevator came to a stop at one of the random floors that Angel had hit the button for. “How’d you find me, by the way?”
“I'uhno. A'one all time… I don like it. I want friend i fink… You friend?”
Rhys felt that familiar knot of sympathy in his stomach again. “Yes, Angel. I’ll be your friend. But that means you have to be honest with me, okay? You have to trust me, and I’ll trust you too. Okay?”
“Okay.” Rhys patted her back as the elevator doors slid shut and the began to descend again.
“So you saw her, and what? You just watched her go? Are you that incompetent that a fucking three year old got by you?”
“N-no…” Their voice shook over the EchoComm, likely because they could feel their life speeding towards its gruesome end. “She wasn’t alone, Sir. There was someone with her. Male, tall, brown hair.”
Jack remained silent as he thought on this. “Where are they headed.”
“We don’t know. We got someone to the floor where they should’ve gotten off the elevator, but they weren’t there. They either got off the elevator before then, or we just missed them. I have teams spread out over every floor that the elevator could have opened up to.”
“By that you mean you’ve locked down the whole sector, right? Stopped all elevators, gotten full access to all the cameras, right?”
The lack of an immediate ‘yes’ ignited his anger. “W-we’re a little short on manpower right now-”
“And brainpower apparently. No get that area locked up tighter then a white politician’s back account or you’ll be short a few more men, starting with your stupid ass.” Jack disconnected without another word, grinding his teeth until he was sure they were nothing more then little nubs. How could they be so incompetent? And what the hell were they thinking? Calling him up only to say that they’d seen her? What good did that do him, or anyone? People were just asking for reasons to test their mortality today. Starting with whoever the fuck was parading around with his daughter.
He had long left the grinder behind and was back to pacing in his office where he’d cancelled all coming and goings of shuttles, disconnected all fast travels, and jammed the space stations ECHOnet so no signals could be received or sent out, except from within the station itself. If it was Dahl coming back for another taste of Hyperion Spirit, well, Handsome-Fucking-Jack was going to give them one hell of a hello when he caught the sonofabitch.
A/N: I expect 2/2 to be complete very shortly, it will be up by tomorrow at the latest. Until then <3.
If the robots take over, at least Elon Musk will be able to say “I told you so.” The billionaire inventor loves to make the impossible possible, but he is deeply afraid of artificial intelligence (AI). On Twitter this weekend, Musk said that “we need to be super careful with AI,” adding that they are “potentially more dangerous than nukes.”
If that weren’t concerning enough, Musk followed up his statement with another tweet that read: “Hope we’re not just the biological boot loader for digital superintelligence. Unfortunately, that is increasingly probable.” Both are scary enough — one compares sentient networked robots with the most dangerous weapon on earth, and the other suggests we’re merely the fleshy precursors to robot dominance
“The first devices that are set to benefit from the unlocking treatment are the global version of the HTC Sensation, followed buy T-Mobile’s version of the device and the Sprint Evo 3D. Since unlocking the bootloader is one the of the first steps to running a custom ROM and really having some fun with your Android device, it’s heartening to see them focus on getting newer hardware opened up. Hopefully the floodgates will soon open, and we can start messing with our HTC toys with reckless abandon." Read more…
Am I missing something? It’s swell that HTC is reversing their bootloader locking policy. But now, by forcing you to register with them, you’re warranty is permanently voided. What if you have hardware failures, is HTC not responsible? In the pass, you could unroot your phone and HTC would be none the wiser. This seems like a constrictive step on HTC’s part. —drego