Took me a while, but here it is! Galt, of course, is a reference to John Galt, but I do not support Ayn Rand, any morals in this story are not really there. Except for one Love is Sacrifice, and a little bit of... Betrayal!
Robert Galt was the man of year. He had been that last year, and the year before that too. He had, three years ago, created Galt Robotics. It was a company that turned humans into cyborgs. It also created mobile weapons platforms for the military and artificial organs for hospitals. He was considered the greatest engineer and scientist of his age. He had an IQ of 300 plus. But he was normal. He didn't really have any quirks, no bad habits. He just worked, and worked hard, and things happened. Nothing that he did failed, one thing nearly failed, but he sacrificed himself and he succeeded again. That was who he was.
He had three intelligent, good looking children, a loving, beautiful wife, and numerous other things that people say make you happy. It did not make him happy. Sitting in his chair, he was suddenly ripped open to reality and he forgot where he was.
The brown hair on his head stuck to his forehead and his gray eyes darted around his office. The office had designs and pictures of himself with people he had helped. On his desk, the pictures of his three kids sat with his wife and himself. Soon, his memory returned and he turned the pictures down. His children were dead, weren't they? Killed in that horrible fire that nearly took his wife as well.
He looked at the clock. Three O'clock. No one had needed anything for the past hour, and all his work was done for the day. He decided not to bury himself in the work that would, inevitably, wait for him tomorrow. His wife needed him still. She wasn't healed yet.
He picked up and buttoned up his grey trench-coat and put on his cricketer's hat and left the room. There was Doris, the secretary. She nodded to him as he past, she had no business whether he wanted to leave or not. Three years of back breaking work had earned him that.
His vice-president, Juniero (Jun) Dragon, met him on the elevator. He looked Asian, but he said he, nor his parents, knew exactly what nationality he was. He knew the heart of Robert second only to Robert's family. He also wanted Robert to return to the way he was: happy, energetic and brilliant.
"Hows everything, then? Leaving for home?"
"Yes. You know how she is, Jun." He said this without interest. There was nowhere else to go. Home was the only place that accepted him. He couldn't take his wife to the parties of the rich. They had tossed him out of their circles. The middle-class were wary of such a man that could, should he had wanted to, buy an island with cash. The poor just wanted hand-outs.
"Well. You should stop feeling sorry for what happened. You didn't do it, your wife didn't do it!" This wasn't the first time they had had this question between them. "Something will happen that will change you, and you will have to lose your lethargy!" He said this with a great amount of emphasis. He would do something, Robert knew. "Listen, why don't you come over tonight for dinner. Hannah is making a roast and all the fixings. You'll like it. Seven o'clock." He stepped out onto his floor.
Robert pondered it. He would love to go. But... would his wife want to? Would she be sane enough to... to... It hurt.
He stepped out onto the foyer. People greeted him. "You're company gave me a new, mechanical liver! Thank you!" "You're inventions saved my child!" "President! Our earnings are better than ever!" Everyone had something to praise him. The mother who had addressed him had given him a card, hand-drawn, from the child that now lived because of him.
He walked away, graciously accepting everything that he was given. Thanking them all. They weren't allowed to see his wounds.
He had his own, private square in the parking lot. Enough for himself and any friends he cared to bring. No one was allowed to use it without his permission. His car was not the best or fastest. It worked and he was extremely comfortable in it. The glass was tinted, no one could see what happened inside. No one could see the tears that poured out of his eyes as he started the car. Why did everyone become happy but him? Why did he and his wife suffer, when every father and his wife had a brood of growing, healthy alive children?
He got over it before he reached the security booth. The guard waved him by with a smile. Eventually, he arrived at his home. It wasn't a mansion. He had sold that land when his children had died. It was comfortable. It felt like it tried to heal him too. He walked into the front door.
"I'm home!" He called out. He heard scuffling. He hoped his wife wasn't doing something harmful. He walked into the front room and was attacked playfully by her. Julian, every since that horrible fire a month ago, had become dissatisfied with herself. Since she had gained the body Robert had given her, she had modified herself constantly. Recently, she had watched Cartoon Network on a whim and had seen one of those confounded, in his opinion, fantasies called anime. She had become obsessed with stranger and stranger modifications. This one, at least, was definitely human, if not completely.
That fire had taken their children, but also took something else. Happiness. Julian had given up many things to raise them while he worked hard to provide everything for them. The shock of losing it all broke something in her, just like something had broken in him.
She had turned herself into a cat-girl... Neko something or other. He thought to himself. But he found himself supremely pleased with this one. She had regained her bright brown hair and blue eyes. Her face was her own, despite the addition of cat ears and whiskers. Her body felt normal again as she greeted him, and, for once, he felt she felt proud of what she had done.
"I really like it." He said. He didn't have to force it out and she knew that too. Even if it was distorted by the fantasies she had wrought for them both.
"Really? Nyow?" She said, looking at him. Her eyes sparkled. He kissed cheek where the whiskers came out. She giggled and kissed him back. She opened her eyes in surprise. "You've been crying again! Nyow!"
He felt taken aback. He felt... something, not even he could describe. He sat down and she curled next to him. Her body was much more flexible. "I just... we're going over to Jun's for dinner. Says Hannah's making a roast. Do you want to come?"
"Do you? Nyow?" She said earnestly. He didn't want to do anything rash that would hurt her sudden good mood. She hadn't been playful, or even contented in the month since the fire, this was something to treasure... but.
"Yes. Were expected for seven o'clock." He said with a confident nod and smile. She attempted a cute meow but she, and then he began to laugh.
Seven o'clock found them at the Dragon's house. The roast was delicious and the conversation uplifting. Jun was a master of reacting to people's feelings. Robert left feeling better, full and contented. Julian sat next to him in the car, talking about something he couldn't quite understand, but it sounded really nice. They felt content all the way to their bed time.
Julian never had to sleep. She ran on batteries that sucked energy from around her invisibly. She would only have to plug herself into anything every year or so. But still, she closed her eyes, regulated her breathing and put a look of contentment on her face while he fell asleep.
Nightmares always hurt. He found himself in the house as it burned. He saw his three children die. He saw Julian rush in, panicking, trying to drag the already dead body of their youngest from the flames. She struggled out as explosions ripped the skin from her body and burn her horribly. Finally, she dragged herself out, with the dead body of their youngest. He had been on a trip, the Caribbean no less, for the day, trying to get the leader of the Dominican Republic to buy his medical equipment. It was successful and he entered the corporate jet (which was used by whoever needed it at the time, not just his top level) proud of himself for doing something to save so many lives.
He got a phone call from Hannah Dragon telling him to come right away. He rushed himself the fastest way possible and arrived just as were about to let his wife die. But he was Robert Galt! He had never known failure! He watched himself, for four days, work without sleeping, minimum food and water, coughing up blood, vomit and water... until he had designed and rebuilt his wife using the best technology that he could think up.
He woke up to find his wife holding him down. She was much stronger with her knew modifications. "You were having a nightmare, are you really awake? Nyow?" He couldn't meet her gaze. So she lay on him, resting head, which was metallic in the end, on his pillow. He fell back into sleep, but, mercifully, he did not dream.
The next day was bright and his wife had fallen back into her character of an energetic cat girl. He left after breakfast and gave her a kiss. He nearly left again, but stopped at the door. "Julian? Stay the way you are." He said to her with the greatest emotion he could muster. He liked the energy she had regained; he didn't want to lose it, no matter what people said.
"YES! NYOW!" She said, glomping him. His breath was taken away, but he enjoyed it.
He arrived at his office building. He had one of the greeters drive his car in. He felt energized. But really, he knew it was false energy. Nothing really... He shook his head and looked around to remember the happy past. He had set up in this town. It was a mining town until the ore had dried up. He bought the place and turned it into a robotics factory. The mines were used for storage until one of the caretakers, himself an old miner, rediscovered ore. The vein went deep, and soon, he had to build himself smelters and refineries that worked around the clock. His company was self-sufficient so long as people kept buying his inventions. This made him more energized.
He walked into the building with a spring in his step and glint in his eye. One man bumped into him.
"I'm sorry... Hey! You're Robert Galt! You gave me a new arm!" He lifted his hand. It was chrome, unlike most models, which used a type of skin, bred from vats hidden in the mines. It also was modified, but he couldn't really tell how.
"You're welcome. Have a nice day!" His grim face had a smile. He walked into his office, greeting Jun and his secretary, and Doris. He sat down and checked his emails. But soon, after taking a look at the pictures on his desk, he lost energy. But he struggled on. He wanted to change. He didn't want to be sad anymore.
"Sir?" His secretary opened the door for a military representative. "General Helliton to see you." The officer was stiff military, men like him were tough and deadly.
"Thank you, Doris. What can I do for you, General?" He motioned to the chair in front of him and the General sat down.
"We have need of a weapon." He said without prompting or explanation. "Something that can stop your... creations... in their tracks. A shut off switch or something."
Robert was alarmed at this. "But I don't create..."
"Shut up, Galt, you're not in trouble. It's not your fault. People corrupt things. That's how it is. As you well know, Great Britain and Spain have been going at it since that Rock of Gibraltar incident. We don't want Britain to lose, but we don't want Spain to get mad at us too. Mad Spaniards are tough bastards. Do you have anything that could shut their armies down with minimal harm?"
Robert knew he did. "Yes. Come with me." He led the General into the mines. They were covered in metal and security cameras were everywhere. He hadn't been here for a month, and already he had forgotten the excitement he always felt going to this secret place. "What you see here is not available for comment. I never showed you this room. Do you understand?" The General nodded and entered the room.
It was full of half-finished inventions, though several were obviously done. Some, the General knew, were now commercially available, but some he had never even dreamed of before. "This is what you wanted, General." He picked up something that looked like a tuning fork. "This shuts my... creations, as you put it, down with minimal harm. It won't affect anything that would threaten lives. Want it?"
"Any price you care to ask."
They parted, both very satisfied with what had happened. But soon, that satisfaction ebbed away. He was about to see if his wife wanted to have lunch with him, when Hannah Dragon called his phone. "Mr. Galt! There's been an emergency! Your wife has been kidnapped!" This hit him like a sledgehammer.
"I'll be right over! What now...!?!" His cell phone rang and he picked it up as he grabbed his coat and hat. "Who is it? Emergency."
"My name is Signor Joya. I have your wife. If you do not give us, the Spanish independent militia, 500 million in Spanish currency, and your shut off switch, we will dismantle her in the most painful way we can imagine. Come to Esperanza's at Fifth Street within twenty four hours with the machine. The money is to be wired transferred to the account I will give you when you give me the machine." Joya closed the connection.
Jun grabbed Robert Galt as he was running out and tossed him onto a chair, keeping him in place with his foot. "All this intelligence and not a whit of sense... Want to know what I'd do?"
Robert struggled, but Jun was too firm. "What would you do, risk the life of my wife?"
"No. I want you to change yourself. Come with me." He went into the mines, into another secret place just like the lab Robert used. "First off. I know there's a listener-bug on you..." He picked off what looked like a button off his coat. The covering revealed a miniature listening device and transmitter. He broke it under his foot. "Now... as for you. I'm going to show you something." He opened a door and Robert saw what looked like him, down to the last hair, on a table. "Yes, it's the same idea that you used for your wife. I had a replica of you made for a similar situation. There's one for me and other top executives too, by the way. But in yours I placed that device you sent me to build for the military. Do you know what you will have to do?" He said. Robert Galt nodded.
Scientists and doctors rushed in and laid him on the table and began to operate on him. He woke up barely an hour later. Completely changed. He felt stronger, faster, more able to deal with things. He felt new. Jun said something and he turned. He thought about raising the volume on his ears and he heard him.
"To activate your disrupter say, 'I'm sorry, but this might hurt.' got that." Robert Galt committed it to memory. No going back now, he had to save his wife. "Take this. It has the device. I'll take care of everything else! Go!"
Jun hurried him into the outside and into a car. The car sped down onto Fifth Street and outside of Esperanza's. Robert Galt walked in. He saw his wife chatting animatedly with one of her captors. She had a control-bolt in her neck. They inhibited free will. They took it off and her face went blank while she tried to figure out what happened. "I have it, Joya." He said. A man walked forward and laid a paper on a table and held out a hand. Joya had turned off the lights.
"Yes yes." He opened the case for them to see. "I'm sorry but this might hurt." He felt a pulse go through him and everyone in the restaurant went limp. He had shielding technology, he was surprised, the signal was supposed to be unblock able. He energized himself once he was sure they were down and grabbed his wife and took her out while the police rushed in. He took her to his complex and scientists turned her back on.
"Robert! I... What...? Nyow!?!?" She said rather pitifully. She didn't seem to get it. Obviously an after affect of the control-bolt and shut down.
"You were kidnapped and I saved you." She looked at him a little blankly. "I have been changed. Just like you. I feel like I've woken up. Just like you said this morning. I want you to know that I love you beyond anything I have made." She continued to look at him. Listening to his bared heart. "I want to leave the past behind us. We'll go on and love each other. I want you to stay the way you are. I feel we both have been sleeping. A long, horrible nightmare that drained our souls. We missed our anniversary two weeks ago, let's celebrate it tomorrow. I'll stay home and we'll talk." She lifted herself up, double checking to make sure her joints were okay and walked with him out to the waiting car and back to the house where they lived.
Some months later, Juniero Dragon walked the halls of the high-security penal facility in Ohio. It was miles from any city. Impossible to traverse without a vehicle. Perfect place for a prison. He sat down at a table. Across from him was the man Joya, incarcerated for an armed kidnapping, among other things.
"Well. Are you satisfied? I am." He said with a sneer.
"I can assure you that I did pay the money. You got a light sentence. As I recall only one life sentence." Jun said.
"And what about my... bonus?"
"Another hundred million was sent to the account in various ways. By the time you get out, you'll be the richest man in Spain. War was lost, by the way." He said, getting up.
"I don't care about that. The war was not something I was involved in. Did you become satisfied with the results."
"Yeah, I have." Jun said over his shoulder. Robert was back to his old self again. He knew he was a manipulative bastard. But it was worth it to see the Galts happy again.