Tech Support

Story by Goldlust
Art by Lost One Zero

Characters by Goldlust and Lost One Zero

 “Error! Error! Altitude increasing—increasing!” The dented toolbox’s bottom levitator panels went from a dim cyan to a thick, flashing blue. The hum of its motors went from a purr to a roar, drowning out the click-clack of Yuki Kobayashimaru’s heeled boots against the long hallway’s linoleum floor. With a sudden jerk, the machine drifted from its meandering pace at the Intergalactic Enforcer’s hip towards the linoleum ceiling.
Yuki jammed her fingertips deeper into the control grooves and leaned on her palm, using all her slight body weight to keep the thing in place. “H-Hey! Please stay down, little toolbox!” She blinked furiously behind her glasses’ thin frames, suddenly grateful that the vast majority of the administrative staff had gone home at 2100. Her rubber soles screeched against the floor with the strain and the sleek strands of her chestnut-colored hair flopped against her face. The hot, tin casing warmed through the heavy cloth of her uniform when she pulled the floating droid to her chest. “Y-You can’t do this!” she squealed, further grateful that the Universal Service Droid’s side panel door was securely latched and the tools were free from falling. “Commissioner Nagato is expecting—”
Those words ended in a choke. The hallway’s rounded arches reverberated with the spinning screech of the USD’s fan-belt, and Yuki’s delicate frame jittered with the machine’s every jolt. “Increasing!” the static-clouded speaker-box boomed once again. Her boot-tips dangled inches off the ground, scuffed white leather dulling with every kick. Her long legs weren’t the only things kicking: in fact, some unseen gear within the toolbox had begun an irregular cycle, bucking the USD’s rectangular frame up and down midair and bucking Yuki up and down with it.
“Ohjeezohjeezohjeez—” were the only words Yuki could say again and again as the arms of her glasses jumped out from behind her ears and tumbled to the floor, as the worn leather of her insoles slipped free from her clutching toes and her boots fell away to the floor, as the Level Five Security Clearance badge with her supervisor’s picture on it around her taut throat flailed about like her flailing legs. She squeezed her arms around the USD’s casing and felt her pale flesh stick to the steadily heating tin. She dug her chin into the control grooves, jamming any button she could still reach to keep the USD closer to cool, solid linoleum.
Then, with a split-second shift in tempo, the USD’s internal kicking blurred into a constant vibration. Although the techie tensed her stomach, the warmth of the machine still radiated throughout her midsection, pulsing past her uniform and brushing light and fast against her sensitive tummy.
“Pfffft!” Yuki bit down on her lower lip, hoping to seal away the wave of laughter rippling through her. Alas, it was to no effect: her eyes watered, her nostrils widened with a snort, and giggles escaped the corners of her mouth soon enough. Her toes arched, first from the littlest toe proceeding all the way to the largest. Her knees bent with the giggle—which had now grown to a chortle, tears welling up in her great, brown eyes—and lifted her feet straight up, toes pointing towards the ceiling almost in prayer. The tickling had yet to cease, however, and whatever prayers she made went entirely unanswered. “Bwa-hahahahahahaha!” She squeezed the USD’s casing with both her arms, as though she were trying to squeeze shut her own helpless, body-racking laughter.
Almost as soon as it began, though, the tempest-blue of the USD’s levitator panels returned to a cool, calm cerulean. “Alternate power engaged! Erroneous battery isolated!”
The machine’s rapid ascent became a rapid descent, and the still-giggling Yuki found her legs growing limp. Soon, she felt the cool floor against the tops of her feet, then her shins, then against her doubled-over frame. “Haha… Ha…” she sniffled and brushed her nose. A quick grazing of her fingertips across the linoleum produced her glasses, which she quickly pushed back upon her nose. “S-Stupid Universal Service Droid…” She tugged her boots back on, rose up, and kicked the rounded toes of her boots against the floor for a better fit. Hesitating only a bit, she slid her fingers back into the control grooves and guided the USD down the long hallway to the final chambers, to the executive suite.
The double-wide doors to Commissioner Aja Nagato’s domestic quarters slid open without issue. The climate control’s sound suppressors functioned nominally, and the room remained a reasonable seventy-five degrees Fahrenheit. Only a faint, constant peal of raspy laughter bubbling up from behind the Comfort X-3000 Luxury Spa Chair hinted that procedures were operating at a few degrees less than one hundred percent efficiency.
Half-coasting on reserve power, half-pushed by a helpless junior techie, the USD made its assessment of the situation as clear as a fuzz-filled speaker-box: “Mind-state evaluation module corrupted! Default cheerfulness.exe program running at indeterminate intervals!”
Yuki rubbed her supervisor’s identification badge like a talisman. “It can’t tell what she wanted?”
“So then, cheerfulness.exe…” Behind the panes of her glasses, Yuki’s eyes grew wide. The gentle slope of her jaw went slack. Pushing hard into the control grooves, she accelerated her USD forward, glimpsed about the back of her boss’s chair, and let out a shrill squeal.
Intergalactic Enforcement Agency Executive Commissioner Aja Nagato had been wriggling breathlessly in the cushions of the Comfort X-3000 for quite some time—probably since her workday had ended hours ago. Her blue-black hair began to fall free of its tightly drawn bun long ago, as her head rolled uselessly about like a cog spinning in the air. Beads of sweat glittering from the hot overhead lights ran in salty rivulets down her high forehead, across the bridge of her nose, and over her plush lips. The perspiration had wetted her apple-red lipstick, but the stickiness of her lips failed to stop the sweat’s progression past her laughing mouth along her slender throat and down her wilted suit-jacket. The royal blue of her uniform had long-since darkened her underarms a soggy navy and begun to yellow her starched, white dress-shirt. Rubber tubing from the chair’s six Flexi-Arm Multi-Purpose Relaxation Hands knotted about her calves and above her heaving bosom. Sturdy robotic fingers grasped her willowy arms and tormented her round thighs. Every purr of well-oiled servos was wrought with the aching wheeze of a laugh-cracked voice; an odd squirm or desperate shudder joined the hand attachments’ every movement.
Worse yet, Aja’s silky nylons visibly dripped with sweat. Her splayed toes stretched the sheer fabric past the stretching point, and it was obvious that this particular pair of pantyhose would go directly into the trash if Yuki could free her superior from this rather ticklish situation.
Following her rough assessment of the situation, the junior techie sprang into action, mustering all the skills she learned with her three years of academy training. With a flick of her slim wrist, she popped the USD’s storage hatch open, seized her wireless optimizer and keyboard, and smashed the keyboard’s data jack into the optimizer’s control port. Her fingertips stumbled about the keys, and an array of system tool windows exploded across the optimizer’s holographic display. “Just a second! Just a second!” she called to her writing, cackling supervisor. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, just a second!”
The single second stretched out into several, then melted into minutes: the control grooves atop the older USD’s flimsy frame lacked the sudden-stop function of newer models, so the unit continued to drift as Yuki wormed her way through the graphical user interface’s labyrinthine windows. By the time she had pulled up the gold-and-black-striped AUTO_TERMINATE command, the USD had pulled away entirely. A strangled scream ripped through the junior techie’s throat as the optimizer fell free of the keyboard; an electric hiss ripped through its black, plastic casing when it cracked upon the floor.
Whatever dying impulse the wireless node transmitted to the Comfort X-3000 certainly wasn’t the one that either the junior techie or the executive commissioner wanted. The fingers did cease their relentless assault on Aja’s wriggling toes and taut thighs for a moment. In fact, the limp-limbed commissioner was even able to force “P-Pull the… the…” between her gasps before the rubbery robotic fingers sprouted feather casings and redoubled their efforts. They gashed holes in her damp nylons, the fingers weaving between her defenseless toes and buffing her salt-slicked, ivory-colored flesh mercilessly. As Aja’s head reeled back with mindless, crazed peals of raw-throat laughter, her glasses finally flew from her face to land with a clatter at Yuki’s round boot-tips.
Abandoning the drifting USD to spring into action, Yuki wrapped her arms around one of the Comfort X-3000’s Flexi-Arms and tugged with all her might, but was soon shaken to her knees by the attachment’s patented Sheerubber™ exterior. Again, she rose to her feet and seized the Flexi-Arm’s smooth, PVC hand with two of her own, but only succeeded in being jerked about like a rag-doll and turning her superior’s face purple with laughter. Yuki hyperventilated at this point, feeling the tears leak down her cheeks as she shook the chair as violently as she could in hopes of blowing a fuse.
A gentle thud from the far side of the room signaled the end of Yuki and Aja’s ordeal: the Flexi-Arms all reeled backwards like speared serpents, drooping to the floor as the Comfort X-3000’s holographic display panel flickered twice and then flickered out. The commissioner slid down her chair’s cushioned back-rest, her chest rising and falling and her feet hanging limp. Yuki’s swung her head towards the far side of the room, finding the USD stopped up just above the floorboards: its altitude had decreased with no fingers to guide it along, leaving it to putter along and knock out the luxury chair’s power cord from the wall socket.
The junior techie immediately leapt into damage-control mode, scooping up the commissioner’s glasses from the floor and repositioning them along the bridge of her nose, hefting her by the underarms into a more comfortable position, fetching her high heels and stuffing her rubbed-red toes back into them, all the while peppering in apologies and excuses. “S-Sorry it took so long, Commissioner Nagato, but, well, my supervisor was off-duty and I was the only one manning the tech support desk and I know I should’ve called Executive Communications Officer Ramirez, but I got really high marks at the Academy and—”
Aja raised her hand, and Yuki stifled a squeak. The commissioner took a few moments gathering her breath, glancing expressionlessly from the inert USD to the inept techie. “Do you know why the emergency call went out for a top-level techie, Miss Kobayashimaru?” She tugged a damp handkerchief from her waistcoat’s interior and began mopping her damp brow.
Yuki hazarded a guess. “It’s a really dangerous chair?”
“It’s really a very dangerous and very expensive chair.” She lifted her newly-shoed foot into the air, examining her reflection in the polished Corsican leather. “The fuses alone cost a workday’s worth of credits.”
Yuki winced and rubbed her hands together. “A junior techie’s workday or a commissioner’s workday?”
"There's a chain of command you need to follow, Miss Kobayashimaru, no matter how much you think you can help. You need to learn what it means to rely on your superiors." Aja drummed her fingertips upon the luxury chair’s inoperative armrest keypad for a few moments, then felt a small smile curl at the sides of her ruby-red lips. “I’ve just the assignment for you. Have you ever heard of the HMS Dancing Damsel?”