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Security Issues

Author(s): Morgan Hawke

Rory has a rather intimidating personal problem: Teradyne Corporation's chief of security, Jin. Despite his attraction to the dark-haired elite, Rory knows better than to get involved with someone whose first love is their Job. Unfortunately, Jin doesn't seem to want to take 'no' for an answer.

Excerpt


Jin, the tall, dark, and intimidating Security elite on Christophe's right, lowered his brows slightly.
Far across town, Rory's sensors picked up the slight movement. Rory barely hid his instinctive scowl. Shit, Jin noticed something. Luckily, Elizabeth hadn't. She was a little too trigger-happy for Rory's comfort.
What had set Jin off? His mind went over every detail of his motions, then dismissed them. His virtual reality equipment was damned sensitive to even the slightest twitch, so his replica's motions were in perfect synch with his actual body, except for his legs. He couldn't very well walk around when he was hard-wired into a chair. Walking was done by sensing the slight tightening and loosening of his leg muscles.
Abruptly, a white-haired board member wearing a blue suit entirely too snug for him turned to Rory with a question.
Rory responded to the member with facts and figures, dismissing the puzzle for later examination. No matter what the Security elite had spotted, there wasn't a damned thing he could do about it from his VR chair. He'd just deal with it, should Jin ask any…pertinent questions.
Of course, getting out of there the moment the meeting ended and avoiding the man entirely was another option. In fact, it was his preferred option.
The meeting concluded in the usual fashion--about an hour past the time it was scheduled. In twos and threes, the members rose from their chairs, gathered their briefcases, and began talking about places to eat where they could discuss the results of the meeting.
Across town, Rory worked his hands as quickly as possible. Need to get out of there… Need to get out of there…
Rory's replica rose from his chair, gathered the scattered files, and began stuffing them into his briefcase.
“Mr. Arrington, Rory…” The voice was right at his shoulder.
Rory startled so hard, the papers in his replica's hands flew out of them and all over the table. He turned. Right behind him was the elegant and extremely dangerous Jin. His hands were neatly folded behind him, but his head was slightly tilted in an obvious pose of polite inquiry.
Rory swallowed. Crap. He pasted a smile on his replica's face. “Oh, Jin, you, ah…” He started grabbing for papers again. “You startled me.”
Jin's straight black brow lifted over one uptilted black eye. “So I see.” The corner of his lips curled in the slightest of smiles. “Do I make you nervous?”
It was such a stupid question that Rory stopped his paper shuffling to turn around and face him with a blank stare. “Nervous…?” He sighed and rolled his eyes. “You're only capable of killing me in at least six nasty ways in about that many seconds, without ever using your gun.” He leveled a glare at the man. “Of course you make me nervous!”
Jin folded his arms across his chest. “I could see that as being a valid reason...” He lowered his brows. “If you were actually here.” He gave Rory's replica a very obvious head to toe stare. “This is definitely one of your better robots. I didn't even realize that it was one until the very end of the meeting.”
Rory dropped his paper-filled hands to the table and bowed his head in defeat. “You're also one of the most observant son of a bitches I've ever met.” He took a breath and began stuffing the last of his papers into his briefcase though more slowly and carefully. He cleared his throat. “And the first to have noticed.”
Jin's smile widened slightly. “Thank you. Does it bleed?”
Rory stilled, then turned to face the Security elite, his brows up and his mouth open. “What kind of question is that?”
Jin shrugged. “If it was shot by an assassin, bleeding would make them believe that they'd actually hit their target, giving you a greater chance to identify them, or at least, make an escape.”
Rory sighed and closed his briefcase. Trust Jin to think in terms of assassins. But then, he had designed the replica with assassins in mind. “As a matter of fact, it does bleed.” He pressed his palm to his chest. “The skin is cloned organic, which is why I have…body hair.” He looked away and coughed. “A fully organic circulatory system is needed to provide it with nutrients and oxygen.” He smiled wryly. “Though a mechanical heart pumps it.”
Jin's smile widened and he shook his head. “Brilliant.”
Rory felt something warm bloom in his heart, and in his face. He smiled. “Thanks.”
Jin's smile curved a little more sharply. “However, it does not sweat. Wiping your brow when it wasn't damp is what gave you away.”
Rory cringed. “Oh.” He stepped away from the table, briefcase in hand. “My…control room doesn't have air conditioning, and the system is so sensitive, it mimics everything I do.”
Jin's brows lifted. “I was wondering why your expressions were so very…you.” He tilted his head. “What about sensitivity from this end?”
Rory frowned. “You mean, can I feel what this unit feels?”
Jin gave a small nod.
Rory shrugged. “Damned near perfectly, on the surface anyway.” He lifted his hand and spread the fingers. “Normally with a virtual reality system, electronic pulses from such things as movement have to be translated into nerve impulses to perceive them and send them, so there's a slight drag in timing. However, because the skin is organic, it transfers directly. It's already nerve impulses, so sensations register instantly.”
Jin's eyes looked a touch unfocused.
Rory winced. “Sorry about the techno-babble.”
Jin smiled. “I didn't mind.” He casually stepped closer. “So, you can feel everything your robot feels, yes?”
“Er…” Rory frowned and stepped back, only to feel the table up against his butt. “Yeah, but only on the surface.”
Jin looked downward and nodded. “So, then you should be able to feel this…” He reached out lightning fast, catching Rory by the back of his neck. His head dropped down, and he planted a kiss directly on Rory's mouth.

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ISBN (Print):
ISBN (Electronic): 978-1-60180-113-5
Genre: GLBT
Date Published: 04/10/2010
Publisher: Mojocastle Press

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