Lies, Chapter 4: Filler

“Hey, Joshua!” Karai cried out towards the bathroom, where her fake boyfriend was taking a post-coital shower. “Can I use your computer to check my e-mails?”


It was two days since the incident with Miyuki, and three weeks since Karai had inserted herself into Joshua’s life. Karai was now ready to enter the next phase in her plan.

Karai removed a pendrive from her bag and connected it to the computer; a few drags and clicks later, the program it contained had been passed to Joshua’s own hard drive. Designed by the boys at Foot Engineering, the program would, barring an unforeseen miracle or three, remain undetected as it fulfilled its programming; once it made its way to the Cyberbiotics network (thanks to Joshua’s casual disregard of rules forbidding the use of personal software in office computers) it would quietly collect the information The Foot wanted, split in into fragments, and send it to thousands of untraceable dummy locations, where it would be retrieved by Foot engineers.

Her task now completed, Karai turned off the computer, she heard the pat-pat-pat of shower water stop. A few minutes later, Joshua reappeared, dressing for the day. “Hey, Karai,” he said, as he buttoned his shirt. “I have to tell you: my mom and stepdad are coming here for a visit in a week or so, and they kind of want to meet you. They’ve—”

“Wait…you told them about me?” Karai interrupted, her face contorting into the gamut of human emotion.

“Shouldn’t I have?”

“It’s fine,” a blushing, flustered Karai said. “I just didn’t think we were at that stage yet.”

“You haven’t told your father yet?”

“No—then again, I never tell him of any of my boyfriends.”

“Oh,” Joshua responded, downcast. “In any case, will you come have dinner with us? I’m sure they’d love you.”

Karai considered her options before realizing she had no options at all. “Sure, why not?” she said tentatively.

“Awesome,” Joshua said, his face as bright as a well-polished katana. He moved towards Karai and gave her a simple, unpretentious, kiss. “I love you, you know that?”

“Y-yes. I know. I love you too,” Karai answered. What else could she say?

“In any case, my parents will be pleased—they’ve always wanted to meet one of my girlfriends, and I’ve always disappointed them by not having any,” he said with a sly smile.


The meal turned out to be a lovely affair. The Claibornes were a perfectly affable couple, very much still in love with each other, and obviously quite fond of their son. They presented the sort of warmth that had her own father rarely ever displayed nowadays. It made Karai jealous. As they were eating, she got a text message on her phone: the program she’d planted on Joshua’s computer had failed, and she’d have to go to Cyberbiotics to install the program herself.

“You know what we should do?” Lin asked, as she paced around her room. The rain made its pat-pat-pat sound on Lin’s window, and the storm showed no sign of letting up.

“Bored?” Karai, as she sat, cross-legged, on her friend’s couch.

“Heck, yes. Anyway, we should call Takeshi and the guys and have a little party. God knows the weather won’t let us do anything else.”

“The guys” consisted of a handful of men who had gone up Foot Academy with Karai and Lin, but had decided to forgo the usual career path for graduates and enter the pleasure industry, and whom Lin and Karai occasionally hired whenever they wanted a consequence-free good time with a known quantity. Takeshi Miyazawa in particular was Karai’s favorite of the lot: clocking in at almost two meters and 220 pounds of muscle, he was the Japanese equivalent of the Aryan ideal. He was also incredibly smart, possessing wit of the type that came back around to resemble stupidity. Why he’d chosen prostitution as his career path, particularly when he was also in a five-year old committed relationship had been the subject of much speculation among their social group.

The call was made, and within an hour, Takeshi showed up at Lin’s with a friend. Drinks were served from Lin’s fully stocked bar, Griffin Silver played on the stereo, and the party was under way. Normally, this sort of party was one of Karai’s favorite ways to pass the time—a chance to unwind with peers. However, this time, she found herself distracted, even as she and Takeshi began their usual descent into carnality.

“Takeshi, do you think I’m a cruel person?” Karai asked they lay naked in Lin’s couch. Lin herself had disappeared into her room with Takeshi’s companion.

Takeshi hesitated. As post-sex conversations went, this was a new one. “Well, do you try to be?” he answered uncertainly.

“I don’t know—I like to think not.”

And yet, she reflected, she could cut off the limbs from a man sobbing for mercy without flinching. True he’d been a murderer—but Karai wasn’t sure that changed things.

“For what it’s worth, I’ve never seen you be cruel, intentionally or otherwise.” He brushed a strand of stray hair from Karai’s face. “What brought this on?”

Speaking in generalities, Karai told Takeshi of her predicament. He, for his part, listened attentively, like a psychologist would—or a bartender.

“Okay, first things first,” Takeshi said, once Karai had finished. “You’re fucked. Somebody will end up getting hurt, whether you want it or not—most likely him. You know that, right?”

“Yes,” Karai admitted. She’d reached that conclusion almost immediately, although she’d tried desperately to find alternatives.

“So, do you know what you’re going to do?”

“I think I do. After the mission is complete, I will tell him about the ruse—that I used him to obtain information from the company. Nothing, terribly specific, but enough so that he’ll get the idea. He deserves that much.”

“Sounds sensible enough, if that’s what you want. Your cover remains more or less intact. He gets a measure of the truth. Nobody has to die.”

“Yes. But that does not mean I have to like it.”

“Yeah, well—if everything went your way, you’d be a terribly unlikable person.”

“Heh.” Karai smiled. “True.”


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