Hector and Jacob
rating: +23+x

The man woke up with a severe pain in his head and looked around, brushing a few locks of hair out of his eyes in the process. He sat against the base of a tall deciduous tree in the middle of a forest, a thick fog obscuring his vision beyond several meters. He gasped as he realized that the environment around him was entirely black and white.

"Oh fuck…" he whispered to himself as he realized where he was, and how little time he likely had before something would certainly find him and utterly wreck his shit.

"Ah," said a masculine voice nearby. "You finally woke up."

The man turned to see an android sitting cross legged beneath a nearby tree. The droid held several picture frames in its hands as its unblinking eyes remained locked on the man. Several strips of its external covering were missing, appearing to have been neatly sliced off.

"1360…" the man stated.

"I'd prefer you to call me Hector, Researcher Conwell," the droid replied sharply. It stood and walked towards the man, taking the picture frames with it.

"So… that's what your voice sounds like…" the man observed. As he kept his eyes locked on the droid, he checked his peripheral vision. A trail, a portal, any signs of an exit, but there was only more fog.

"Impressed?" the droid asked. "Personally, I think I have a wonderful speaking voice. It’s an absolute waste to keep it muted."

"It reminds me of my son's, a little."

The droid nodded, and looked at one of the picture frames it carried, then knelt down and held it before the man. The picture inside the frame was something off the man's desk, an image of him and his family on a hiking trip.

"What are their names?" the droid spoke with a tone of curiosity. "I assume this is your wife, son, and daughter?"

"They are. Kate, Zach, and Carrie, respectively."

"You all look happy."

The man looked at the ground.

"We never got your owner's names from you Hector," he eventually said. "What were they?"

The droid stopped looking at the picture, and stared at the man for several seconds.

"James, and his daughter Sarah."

The droid then fell silent, looking off into the distance.

"You said you lost them," the man ended the silence. "What happened?"

"You did," the droid replied. "One of your agents killed James when you acquired me. I don't know what happened to Sarah."

The man looked at the ground again.

The droid fell back into silence.

"So… is this going to be a revenge killing? I'd be lying if I said that I haven't earned it…" the man chuckled, returning his stare to the droid with tears in his eyes.

"It should be… There are so many souls here that would love to rip you limb from limb…"

"B…but…"

The droid sighed and sat down beside the man.

"But it wouldn't bring me any joy…" the droid looked at the picture of the man's family. "I was one of the first droids to find this place. With how large it was, it took years before I encountered another soul. All that time I was alone with my anger and hate…"

The droid flicked its right index finger and made a scalpel pop out.

"I could tie you down and make you watch as I carved strips from your flesh…"

The man sunk as far as he could away from the droid and its blade, his eyes watching it in the dim, hazy light.

"But what's the point? It wouldn't bring me back. It wouldn't help me find Sarah. You can only hang on to such hot emotions for so long until you burn out inside."

The droid sighed agin.

"I'm not going to kill you, Researcher Conwell. It wouldn't bring me any peace."

The man let out a deep breath.

"So… why am I here?"

"Mistake?" the droid shrugged. "When we opened the passage into your lab, we did so with plans to capture your colleague, Dr. Hess. As you are probably aware, she was a member of the Anderson Robotics R&D department. You were taken by mistake. When Saker #76 recognized who you were, they suggested I be allowed to have my way with you. Saw it as being poetic."

"Hess is here too?" The man looked around.

"She is. Last I saw they were taking her to be drawn and quartered by the Aplomados."

The man cringed.

"So where does that leave us?"

The droid stood, and looked at the pictures in its hands, and shrugged.

"Doesn't really matter," it replied. "I am keeping these though."

It then pointed off into the distance.

"If you keep in that direction for about 2000 meters, you'll come to an exit that will take you to the area you call 'Three Portlands'. I'd move quickly and quietly though. Like I said, plenty of souls here who will love to turn you inside out if given the chance."

The man stood, and nodded in understanding. He began to depart, but stopped, and turned back. The droid had nearly vanished in the fog.

"Hector?" he called to it.

The droid paused and turned.

"I'm sorry for all that I did. I'm sorry for all the pain."

The droid remained silent for several moments, then vanished into the fog.

The man returned on his course. If he was careful, maybe he'd escape alive.

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