New Opportunites


 

The gentle clink of a spoon stirring in a glass was the only sound that punctuated the stillness of the clear spring morning. A young man with black hair, brown eyes, and an average height stood motionless, lost in deep thought. 

 

Adam leaned against the counter, staring out into the distance, his mind consumed by a troubling incident that had taken place at his workplace the famous online retailer, DanukiWarez, just two weeks ago. 

 

A wild spark from a Raiju set off one of the Electric Forklifts which collided with a pallet rack. The pallet rack fell into a domino effect colliding with one another. After the devastation, thirty-five people were injured eight being severely and requiring immediate medical treatment. The company itself was also facing backlash for only paying for the hospital bills for the injured, and not having an interest in pursuing new safety regulations and standards for the implementation of liminals in the workforce.

 

 More outrage came as it turned out that the eight injured individuals, would most likely be laid off from the company after they are compensated for their injuries. Because of the lack of compensation and ignorance from the company a $120 million lawsuit seemed to also be forming claiming that the incident could have been caused by anyone and not just a liminal and the company should compensate the workers for the unsafe working conditions. 

 

Adam being the lead Engineer manager for his department, sees it as his responsibility to fix and help those who were affected. 

 

Adam sipped his coffee before he lost his train of thought as he heard a yell from the other room. 

“Damn It!” An agitated female voice yelled. 

Running towards the living room He is met with his Automaton assistant Linda who is trying to calm down an angry one-armed Hellhound.

 

“It’s okay Mrs. Tara, you managed to get to ‘P’ this time. I say that progress.” Linda said with hope in her voice trying to soothe the agitated Hound.

 

“Easy for you, you piece of scrap, You have both your arms.” Tara retorted as she shoved the pencil and paper off the desk and tucked her ears low onto her head.

 

“Are you two okay in here?” Adam chimed in.

 

“Just fine-” Tara scoffed 

 

Adam made his way toward the mess that the Hellhound had created, carefully picking up the paper examining Tara’s rehabilitation progress. Tara’s injuries stood out as some of the most severe. She had put herself in harm’s way to protect her gargoyle coworker from getting crushed by a fridge that had slipped off a rack, risking her own safety to prevent a potentially fatal accident. 

 

Despite the limited space and mobility, she managed to catch it just in time for her coworker to move to safety. However, the heavy fridge ultimately fell onto her right arm, causing severe injuries that required amputation up to her elbow. Since then she has been trying to recover at home with the help of Adam and Linda.

 

“Hey you are getting better at writing the alphabet with your left paw, a little bit more practice and you should be able to comfortably use it as if it’s your dominant paw,” Adam said enthusiastically. 

 

The flames in the Hellhound’s eyes grew and a low growl developed in her voice.

“I don’t want to use my left Fucking arm, Adam!” Tara growled in frustration. 

 

“How about we try your metal arm doohicky again? Didn’t ya say you fixed the twisty thing in the wrist?”

 

Adam looked at Tara with a surprised and eager expression. “Do you- are you willing to try it again?” Adam asked surprised by her willingness to try the prosthetic.

 

“Yes, for Hell’s sake Yes! I’m tired of using my left arm its weird, annoying, and pissing me off.” She exclaimed. 

 

“Okay, okay we will try the prosthetic arm another try. Linda, can you get the prototype and my laptop, please?” 

 

“Of course,” His metallic partner replied. 

 

Adam was in charge of the maintenance of the automated machinery in the warehouse, and he was always tinkering with his gadgets in his free time. He managed to take some spare parts from the warehouse and put together a robotic arm for a personal project. However, after the incident, he renovated it to accommodate Tara’s disability. 

“Here you are Adam,” Linda said as she handed Adam the Arm.

 

“Thank you, Linda. Alright, Tara are you ready?” He asked with a bright glint in his eye.

 

“Yeah come on hurry up already, and ya fixed the annoying stiffness in the wrist right?” Tara asked.

 

Adam confidently assured Tara that he had addressed the issue. He explained that he had updated the software connected to the Linear actuator in the forearm and adjusted the DC motor in the wrist to make it more flexible. Adam looked up at Tara and noticed she held a blank expression as he spoke. 

 

“You don’t care do you…” Adam asked.

 

The hellhound continued to hold an uninterested expression as she slowly shook her head back and forth. 

 

“I find it very interesting Sir!” Linda chimed in.

 

“Enough of yall’s nerd talk, just get the damn thing to turn on,” Tara snuffed with a hint of impatience in her voice.

 

Adam nodded and attached the arm gently to the titanium socket implanted on Tara’s elbow. Once attached Adam grabbed his laptop to check the data. 

 

“Okay…okay mana levels are looking good, nerve and muscle signals are being processed well…” Adam whispered to himself as he monitored her progress. 

 

“Alright, Tara go ahead and try to pick up the pencil and write the alphabet again.” 

Tara took in a deep breath and began to move her metallic fingers, stretching and wiggling them in place. She was not used to having a hand instead of a paw, and the sensation was foreign to her. She moved her wrist in a circular motion, trying to get used to the feeling. 

 

“Feels weird,” Tara announced, finding it difficult to articulate the sensation. 

 

“Can you elaborate?” Adam asked as he started to document her response. He wanted to make sure that Tara was comfortable and that her new hand was functioning properly.

 

“I don’t know how to explain it, It’s like constant pins and needles, like my arm is asleep. I’m able to move it better than last time, but I’m not used to not having any sensation.” She explained.

Linda chimed in, “Perhaps you could try applying more of your mana to your bionic arm, Miss Tara.”

 

 Linda explained that the Titanium socket connecting Tara’s prosthetic arm to her body could facilitate the infusion of mana, much like how Automatons are infused with mana to function. Intrigued by Linda’s advice, Tara tried to concentrate and channel her mana to her prosthetic arm, hoping to enhance its capabilities, just as she would with her natural arm when she needed to increase her physical strength. Adam looked at the readings on his laptop and was shocked to see the processes were off the charts!

 

“Um- Tara do you think you can proceed with the test?” Adam stuttered in amazement, he couldn’t believe how well the mana was bonding with the arm. 

 

Tara looked at the paper and pencil in front of her. She grabbed the pencil and delicately began to write the alphabet. 

“Hey, I can feel it!” Tara exclaimed with pure joy, turning to Linda and Adam. “Holy shit Linda, Adam, I can feel the pencil!” She continued to write the alphabet, her face lit up with amazement and delight. 

 

Adam couldn’t help but grin from cheek to cheek, filled with pride as he watched Tara write. It was incredible to see the influence of Mana producing such outstanding results. He envisioned all the good that could be done for the company hell the world.

 

 Once Tara finished writing the alphabet, she slammed the pencil down and showed off her writing skills to both Adma and Linda. It seemed that the prosthetic arm worked wonderfully, but not wonderfully enough to improve her handwriting. 

 

Overwhelmed with emotion, Tara approached Adam and wrapped him in a bear hug, her tail wagging excitedly behind her. 

“Thank you thank you thank you thank youuuu” She repeated as she hugged him tightly.

 

Adam, struggling to breathe due to her tight embrace, managed to respond, “I’m- gl-ad you l-ike it.”

 

Tara eventually put Adam down to catch his breath.

“I’m happy you were able to adjust quickly to it, but I will have to inform you it is a prototype. I will need some time to reinforce the Linear motors and improve the software and overall design.” Adam explained. 

 

“Yeah the open bits and skinny design, kind of make it look like a skeleton,” Tara says as she wiggles her hand in a spooky manner. 

 

Then Tara remembered something. “Speaking of which, now that you have gotten it to work, didn’t you say the other day you were planning to meet with the CEO of Danuki and try to get the company on board with this tech stuff?” she asked, with her head crooked to the side. 

 

Adam’s eyes went wide as he looked at the time and realized he had forgotten all about the meeting he scheduled for the day. 

The meeting was crucial as he intended to inform the CEO about his progress and convince him to fund his research. The research was aimed at fighting against the impending lawsuit that might bankrupt DanukiWarez and put millions of people out of work.

 

“Shit, I forgot about my meeting at the corporate office at noon! Linda, what time is it!” Adam asked as he frantically packed his files and laptop.

 

“Exactly 11:47 a.m. Adam” Linda replied in a sweet and calming voice.

 

“Damn, I’m going to be late, Linda can you stay with Tara and monitor any changes?” Adam asked as he walked towards the door.

 

“Of course, I have connected the Prosthetic Data analysis and it’s currently under review,” Linda responded.

 

“Great. And Tara…” Adam paused to look at her.

Tara, who was leaning on the bar, looked up lazily and asked, “Yeah?”

 

“Please don’t overexert yourself with the new arm. It’s just a prototype and might not be able to handle your physical strength,” Adam warned, still halfway out the door.

 

“Yeah yeah fine, just get going will ya,” Tara said as she used the metallic arm to wave him goodbye 

Adam noted her gesture towards him and shut the door, before running towards his car and speeding off to the corporate office. 

 

Tara watched from the window as he sped off out the driveway. She chuckled to herself as she turned towards the automaton. 

 

“Ya know I really appreciate you and your mate taking good care of little ole me.” She says with a smug expression.

The automaton’s eyes widened as her face turned a shade of pink. She seemed flustered and unable to respond properly to Tara’s comment. 

 

“We- Uh, how do you know that? I keep the appearance of a professional relationship with him when around others,” the bot says flustered, not able to respond properly to the hound.

 

Tara simply rolled her eyes and let out a small laugh. “Oh, relax. He talks about you at work all the time. Especially how much of a bottom you are~” she teased as she made her way to her bedroom to retrieve something.

 

the automaton felt her face grow even redder than usual, her pale off-white color replaced by a bright shade of red

 

“Did he really discuss our private affairs?” She said aloud with her hand over her mouth, she was beyond shocked by what she just heard.

 

The Hellhound emerges from her room, holding a bundle of paintbrushes wrapped in a cloth. She smugly smiled at her robotic companion as she walked toward her sunroom. 

 

“Nope…he didn’t tell me a thing, but you sure did hehe~,” Tara said, teasing Linda for inadvertently revealing information to her. Linda pouted to herself as she stood in the doorway as she stared at the Hellhound. 

 

Tara settled into a cozy stool, facing a canvas that was already splattered with a riot of colors – blues, pinks, blacks, and grays. Linda became lost in thought as she peered into the room, her mind seemingly consumed by her artwork. Finally, Linda snaps out of her trance and joins the Hellhound in her creative space. 

 

Linda took note of the many abstract art pieces that were displayed on the walls. She also observed the scattered paint tubes, pencils, and paper on the floor. 

“I did not take you for a painter, Miss Tara,” Linda said as she studied the artwork that bestowed before her.

 

The Hellhound turned to face the automaton with an offended look. 

“What? Do you think just because I’m a Hellhound, I should be into weightlifting or some cop? What are ya a Speciest?” Linda’s remark had clearly struck a nerve. 

 

The robot felt embarrassed and covered her mouth in a show of remorse, “I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean that. I was just saying…” Linda was interrupted by the sound of the Hellhound’s laughter. Tara sat on her painter’s stool, wiping a tear from her eye.

“Ya know you are fun to fuck with right? You need to get your mate to poke around in your software or whatever and make ya less serious.” Tara said with a toothy smile, as she looked back at her painting. 

 

“And I do work out, by the way, painting is just a hobby I picked it up since coming to this world.” 

 

Linda couldn’t help but sigh in annoyance at the Hellhound’s teasing. She surveyed the room once more until she noticed Tara using her robot arm to paint. She noticed how her brush strokes were calculated and precise, Linda could tell that Tara was fully immersed in her art. She marveled at how quickly Tara had adjusted to using her new arm and how effortlessly she had incorporated it into her painting.

 

Tara sat calmly on her painter’s stool, her gaze soft and focused. She was lost in thought, as she stared intently at the canvas before her. Linda, who was observing her, noticed Tara’s solemn expression and felt a pang of empathy. 

 

“I see you are using your right arm to paint?” Linda said trying to analyze the art piece 

Tara looked up at Linda and nodded, a faint smile playing on her lips. 

 

“Yeah, it’s been a while since I painted. I’m still getting used to the smaller fingers on this new hand. I wish they were larger like my paw, but at least it’s easier to grab the brush now,” she replied, as she mixed pink and grey paint together.

 

Linda made sure to make a note of her feelings towards the arm’s design. Linda also kept watching her paint random streaks and blotches of paint on the canvas.

Curious, Linda walked closer to Tara and knelt beside her, placing her hand on her chin while taking in every detail of the art piece. She was trying to figure out what Tara was painting, but she couldn’t make sense of it.

 

 “Is this going to be one of those art pieces where you remove some hidden adversary or covering and it reveals to be something different?” she asked, hoping to get a better understanding of the artwork.

 

Tara gave a confused look to Linda, “ Uh no… This kind of art is abstract. It may look like I’m doing random shit, but I can assure you, every price of paint on this canvas is a calculated decision, that expresses emotion.” Tara said proudly as she pointed her brush at Linda.

 

“I don’t understand what emotion can be understood from random colors and streaks” Linda responded with a monotone expression.

Tara rolled her eyes as she turned back to her work, “And I don’t see what makes a hunk of metal like you appealing to men.” She mumbled in an annoyed tone under her breath. Tara resumed her work, hoping that Linda would appreciate the art piece once it was finished.

 

 

The hallway echoed with the frantic sound of Adam’s shoes clattering against the pristine white tiles as he rushed towards the office. He knew he was already ten minutes late for his meeting with the CEO of DanukiWarez. 

 

Despite having only seen the CEO perform speeches, Adam had gathered stories about the man from his coworkers. They described him as a calm, collected, and driven individual who had climbed the ranks from Supply Chain Manager to CEO. While Adam couldn’t deny the impressive nature of the CEO’s journey, he couldn’t shake off the fear that negotiating with such a figure might prove to be a daunting task.

 

As he approached the CEO’s office, Adam felt a sense of dread with each step. The door exuded a foreboding presence, almost as if it stood between life and death. With trembling fingers, he grasped the door handle and pushed it open, entering the office with his laptop and notes clutched tightly to his chest for comfort.

 

Seated at the desk was a neatly trimmed man with brown hair, clad in a dark blue suit, engrossed in a phone call. He glanced at Adam’s entrance and gestured for him to take a seat, indicating that he would be finished with his call shortly.

 

“Yes, Zen, I know about Wednesday… I promise I won’t miss it. Okay, alright, I’m in a meeting. Love you too Hun, Bye.” The CEO concluded his call, slipping his phone into his pocket and fixated a stern look on Adam.

 

“You are late, Mr. Williams,” he said as he rose from his leather chair.

 

“My apologies, Mr. Ford, Sir,” Adam replied with an anxious tone.

 

“Robert is fine, Mr. Williams,” Robert said as he walked over to the window, gazing outside. 

 

“You told me that you were making some progress on your bionics research?”

 

Adam quickly straightened his posture and rummaged through his bag for his notes.

“Yes, sir, I have made significant progress!” Adam exclaimed as he handed his notes over to Robert.

 

Robert accepted them and meticulously flipped through them, analyzing the contents with a discerning eye.

 

“You plan to make a bionic arm for the brave Hellhound that was injured in the horrible accident two weeks ago… Interesting idea. I wouldn’t expect any less from Danuki’s lead Engineer Manager.” Robert says as he hands the notes back to Adam.

 

“Yes, Sir. I still need to make a few adjustments, such as the materials used, overall design for each liminal and human affected in the disaster, and the mana stabilizer in the prosthetic, but overall it is functioning,” Adam explained.

 

Robert’s expression turned skeptical as he listened to Adam. “Uh-huh, let’s cut to the chase Mr. Williams. Why is it that you called this meeting today?” Robert asked with a hint of impatience in his tone.

 

“As you’re probably aware, there’s a lawsuit brewing in response to the recent incident,” Adam began tentatively.

 

Robert fixed a piercing gaze on Adam before he responded, “Yes, I’ve been informed. However, the lawsuit lacks merit and won’t hold up in court. I’m not concerned, and neither should you, Mr. Williams,” he stated with calm authority, reclining in his chair.

 

“Sir, the basis of the lawsuit stems from the rumor that the company intends to terminate all eight of the severely injured workers,” Adam retorted.

 

“Danuki has pledged to fully cover the health expenses of those affected, sparing them from any financial burden. Regrettably, however, Danuki won’t have any positions for the eight injured workers,” Robert explained, propping his feet up on his desk.

 

Adam seethed with anger at the CEO’s seemingly callous indifference. 

“Do you not care, Sir? The plaintiffs claim that anyone could have caused the accident, and there are allegations about the forklift batteries needing to be recalled due to their potential to force electrical pulses from Raiju. If we don’t play our cards right the company could end up bankrupt Sir!” Adam exclaimed, his tone filled with frustration.

 

Robert chuckled before responding, “Do you see yourself as that Shift Supervisor who discovered that Hobgoblins are likely to be hypoglycemic? Do you expect an award!? Leave that to the politicians and OSHA representatives. DanukiWarez could not have foreseen this type of accident.”

 

“But Si-“

 

“ENOUGH!” Robert roared.

“If you are here to waste my time, you can leave! I have better things to do than listen to your sob story,” Robert dismissed Adam, as he turned his chair towards the window. 

 

Adam wasn’t going to back down now, not when he was this close, he took a deep breath before speaking. 

 

“I have the technology to help the eight injured individuals, Sir,” he said, as he hoped to recapture Robert’s attention. 

He continued, “This will not only prevent layoffs but also improve Danuki’s public image. The lawsuit will likely be dropped, and we may even gain more customers in the end.” 

 

Robert slowly turned his chair back to face Adam, clearly intrigued but not yet convinced. 

He questioned, “How can I be sure that you can deliver what you’re promising.” 

 

Adam put his hands on the desk leaned forward to explain, “That’s what I wanted to discuss. I just need about 120 million dollars in funding for research to kick-start the optimization and production process.”

 

Robert laughed “Yeah, I don’t think so… I personally don’t see enough evidence that you can do this. You say you can do it but you bring no physical product? Please,” Robert remarked, tapping on Adam’s reports. “With what I’m seeing, I don’t see that you are in any position to ask for 120 million dollars in funding,” he continued, his voice calm, but a smug smile plastered on his lips.

 

Adam clenched his teeth, determined. “I can! I’ll improve and modify the arm and show you that it can fully replace the limbs of those injured while also being safe to use in public,” he said as he pleaded his final attempt to convince Robert to fund his operations.

 

Robert leaned back in his chair, as he placed his hand on his forehead and shook his head in frustration. Adam, standing across from him, could hear Robert grumble and sigh before he finally spoke.

 

“Monday…” Robert muttered, lifting his head to meet Adam’s gaze. “You have the rest of this weekend to make any necessary fixes, modifications, and additions to demonstrate that you can handle this. Once it’s done, I expect you to meet me at the Warehouse on Monday at 9 a.m. with a physical, working product. Do you understand?” Robert’s tone was firm and unwavering.

 

“Y-Yes, sir,” Adam replied, nodding in response. Robert sighed and extended his hand to seal the agreement.

 

Adam’s face lit up with excitement as he couldn’t believe the opportunity he had been given. With a bright smile, he reached out to shake Robert’s hand. “I won’t let you down, sir!”

 

 

“So the different colors and patterns in abstract art can signify different emotions?” Linda asked, with her finger on her chin.

 

“Yes! The pink and blue in this art piece contrast the grey and black to express a surge of creativity in a land of dim inspiration,” Tara explained with a tired tone. She had been at this for about an hour.

 

“I see…I think I get it now,” Linda said.

 

“Do you?” Tara asked, sounding exhausted and disheartened.

 

The automaton’s expression remained blank as she slowly shook her head from side to side.

 

“God, you are hopeless,” Tara said as they both heard a car pull into the driveway.

Adam stepped through the front door, his face lit up with a wide smile.

 

 “How did the meeting go, Sir?” Linda inquired eagerly. Adam made his way to the kitchen bar to set down his notes. 

 

“Great, better than I expected. The CEO mentioned funding the project if we can demonstrate the bionic arm’s capabilities through a few specific tests,” Adam explained. 

“Speaking of the arm, any changes or unusual sensations?” Adam asked Tara as she entered the room, wiping some paint off her cheek.

 

 “Honestly, it’s been pretty good. I even managed to complete my art project while you were away,” she said, showing her canvas to Adam. 

 

“Wow, Tara, I didn’t know you had such a talent for art!” Adam exclaimed, admiring the abstract painting on the wall. Tara flashed a cheeky smirk at Linda, who seemed unimpressed.

 

“Seems like not everyone appreciates my art,” Tara remarked. Linda crossed her arms and turned away, dismissing the paint splatter as uninteresting.

Adam looked confused. “Linda, do you not understand art?” he asked, then he shook his head and quickly changed the subject. “We can tackle that subject later. Tara, did your arm give you any trouble?” 

 

Tara nodded while she held up her metallic arm. “Well, I noticed when I have to lift heavy objects, like my unopened paint cans. I have to concentrate and use more mana to get my arm to cooperate with me.”

 

Linda searched through her database and her eyes widened as she turned to Adam. “It’s true, Sir! The mana readings spiked each time Miss Tara was lifting an object over 4.5 kilograms.”

 

Adam thought for a moment before responding. He felt relieved that the arm didn’t have any major issues, but it was clear that some additional adjustments were needed. 

“It seems like the arm may be struggling to regulate the Mana input,” he mused. 

With a decisive clap, he reached for his laptop, “Alright, I’ll get to work and see if I can’t code and design a way to fix that issue.”

 

Tara chimed in, “Oh, and do you think you can make the hand and fingers similar to a Hellhound’s paw? It was kind of a pain in the ass to learn how to use a hand.” 

 

Adam flashed her a reassuring smile. “Of course, I’ll start working on that.”

 

Tara’s stomach grumbled as Adam finished his sentence. Tara put her hand on her stomach and looked towards the kitchen a hint of drool escaped from her mouth.

“Alright well, while you do that, I think I’ll try cooking again. I’m craving some spaghetti and meatballs.” She said as her tail wagged with excitement.

 

“Are you sure you are comfortable to operate in the kitchen?” Adam asked with concern. 

 

“Trust me, Poindexter, I can handle it, if I need any help I’ll yell alright.” She assured as she left the living room. 

 

Adam and Linda looked at each other, they both nodded silently acknowledging that Tara would be fine. Adam opened his laptop and started analyzing the data that Linda gathered while he was out. Adam then turned to his laptop to analyze the data that Linda had collected in his absence. 

 

He delved into the software, studying the code in an attempt to figure out how to make the mana cooperate with the arm. Linda quietly stood by his side, observing his work. Adam and Linda had a special bond, seemingly in tune with each other. Adam valued Linda’s attention to detail and her ability to catch errors in his work, while Linda cherished the time spent with Adam, fascinated by human and liminal thinking, and eager to learn more about them.

 

As the minutes ticked by, the savory aroma of marinara sauce wafted through the house, signaling that dinner was almost ready. Linda stole a quick glance at Adam and his work before turning her attention to Tara’s art room. She couldn’t fathom how non-automatons could derive any meaning from such a preposterous creation.

 

 Adam noticed her frustrated gaze and remarked, “Still fixated on that art piece, huh?” without taking his eyes off the computer screen.

 

 Linda responded in an irritated tone, “Miss Tara already explained it to me, and I refuse to believe that such a mess deserves to be called art.” 

 

Adam paused his typing and turned to Linda with a warm smile. “Let me tell you what I see in Tara’s art,” he said, gesturing towards the array of colors. Linda’s demeanor softened as she listened intently to his explanation.

 

“I interpret a deep desire to conquer adversity,” he explained, as he briefly glanced back at his laptop to attend to his work. Linda blinked rapidly, noting that his description of the art’s meaning differed from Tara’s. 

 

Adam maintained his focus on his work as he spoke to Linda. “Art is subjective,” he remarked. “Each person has their own way of perceiving it. Tara, I, and even you will have different interpretations.” 

 

Linda mulled over his words until suddenly, everything fell into place. “Oh, I think I understand now!” she exclaimed, a glint of realization in her eyes.

 

“No, you don’t!” Tara’s voice echoed from the kitchen, where she had overheard their conversation. Ignoring Tara’s remark, Linda concentrated on the painting. As she studied it, a realization dawned on her. 

 

She could see how the pink and blue hues reflected life and tranquility enveloping a dark and desolate backdrop.

“I-I see it! I get it now Sir,” Linda exclaimed with a radiant smile.

 Adam grinned as he continued typing, “Oh really? Explain while I wrap up this last bit of code.” 

 

Tara flicked her wolf-like ears towards the living room, eager to hear her response. “I perceive it as a portrayal of life blooming into a barren land of death and sorrow,” Linda explained confidently. 

 

In the background, the clatter of silverware and an exasperated chuckle emanated from the kitchen. “Well, well, well, it seems Mrs. Rust Bucket finally gets it. It only took her mate to get it into that metal skull though,” Tara teased from the kitchen. 

 

Linda’s cheeks flushed as she pouted. Adam could not help but chuckle as he sat his work aside and strolled towards the kitchen, drawn by the tantalizing aroma.

 

“Wow, it smells amazing, Tara!” Adam said as he walked into the kitchen to observe the food.

 

“Aye! The kitchen is my territory, ya got it!” she said as she stuck a spatula in his face.

“Go sit down at the table and I’ll bring ya a plate. It’s the least I can do for ya fixin’ my arm.”

 

Adam smiled and gave her a nod as he took a seat. Tara arrived with two plates, one in her left normal hand and one in her bionic right hand. She set his plate in front of him, the sweet, saucy, and cheesy aroma filling his nostrils. Linda accompanied Adam and Tara as they ate.

 

“Thank you again, Tara, I can’t wait to try it,” Adam said.

 

“I also see that you are getting quite used to your new arm!” Linda added.

 

“Yah yah, save the thanks for later, alright, Adam dig in already,” Tara said as she started to scarf down her food while she wagged her tail. Adam looked down at his plate and stuck his fork into a meatball and some pasta. He swirled his fork to wrap the noodles around it before taking a bite. He chewed for a while until it hit him. 

 

The tangy flavor from the sauce mixed with the spices in the meatballs combined to be a quite delightful taste. 

“This is really good Tara, is this a homemade recipe?”

 

The Hellhound nodded her head excitedly “Yep! Everything is better when you do it yourself,” she replied all while she got up from her seat for seconds.” 

 

Adam nodded to her comment as he took a bite of a second meatball. His face this time morphed into one of slight disgust as he noticed this one was a bit overdone. Linda noticed his expression and asked if everything was alright. Adam gave her a reassuring pat on the head as he looked over towards Tara. 

“Hey, Tara are you sure you didn’t have any trouble with making dinner?” 

 

Tara’s tail stops wagging and her ears droop down a bit. “you noticed huh?” She turned around with an embarrassed look plastered on her face. 

“I was using the bionic arm to cook and even out the meatballs. Guess I wasn’t as fast as I used to be since I need to use a lot more mana.” 

 

Adam figured that was the case and he reassured her that the improvements he is making will combat that issue.

 

 

The next morning, Adam rises early to make final adjustments to the arm. He informs Tara that Linda will be staying once again to assist her for a short while, so he can complete the final touches. “Before I leave, is there anything else you want me to add?” Adam asks as he prepares to head out. 

 

Tara looks up, placing her hand on her chin, and exclaims, “I want it painted crimson red, like Venom Snake’s in Metal Gear V! That would be badass.” Adam chuckles and promises to do just that before bidding them farewell.

 

 As the sound of his car fades in the distance, the two sit in the living room and watch the Sopranos on MBO until Linda breaks the silence.

 

“Tara,” a monotone voice said from across the room.

Tara glanced towards Linda, “Wha?” she said while she stretched her legs on the sofa. 

“How are you able to clearly know what it is you desire,” Linda says while she continues to watch the show.

 

Tara glares at her confused, “Whatcha on about? like my type? Oh~ are you trying to spice up your private sessions with Poindexter?” Tara says with a teasing grin. 

 

Linda’s eyebrows narrowed in annoyance due to Tara’s comment. “No, get your mind out of the gutter,” Linda grumbled, all while a blush grew on her face.

 

“I mean, how are you able to speak your mind so easily, and know that what you said is truly what you want?” Tara turned her body toward Linda giving her, all of her full attention.

 

“Last night, I realized how easy it was for you and Adam to interpret and find meaning in your art. Then I started to think of how motivated you and Adam are in your passions, and then it got me thinking.” Linda paused as she turned her gaze to meet Tara’s.

 

“What is it that I truly want? I have programming and software that give me answers to problems I face, but this is a problem that I still have not answered,” Linda said in a frustrated tone. 

 

Tara noticed Linda was caught up in her thoughts. She got up from the couch and tightly wrapped her arm around her for a hug. 

“Guess computers can’t solve all problems huh?” She said jokingly in an attempt to lighten the mood. 

 

“No, they can’t that why I’m asking you,” Linda pouted.

 

“Well, for starters my hobbies like art, are just that, hobbies. They kill time and help me enjoy myself a little.” Tara said as Linda looked up at her with interest. 

 

“What I desire most is a family. I want a house, money, a good job, and a husband I can indulge myself with whenever I want,” Tara said with a wide grin.

 

“That just sounds like typical liminal behavior,” Linda responded.

 

“There you go again, you need to look deep and not just at the surface of an explanation. Yes, I want a family I can come home to every night, I want a good job that can support them, and lastly I want a husband who understands and cherishes me as much as I do him. But most important of all I want my bloodline to flourish and I want to grow old with someone by my side rather than being alone.” Tara said with a sweet smile and a tear in her eye. 

 

Linda was left stunned by Tara’s beautiful explanation. She then started to think about herself and Adam.

 

“I can’t speak for our tech wiz, but from what he blabs on about at work we are vastly different. He is always talking about new methods and strategies to make others feel more comfortable and relaxed. Hell to be honest the world needs more people like him, I greatly appreciate what he is doing for me.” Tara said as she sat down next to Linda.

 

Linda began to contemplate her own desires and aspirations. Like Tara, she longed to spend her time with a loved one, but she also harbored a keen interest in studying and deepening her understanding of liminal and human thinking, in order to gain insights into them and address related questions about them.

Linda’s voice was warm and gentle as she stood up and held Tara’s hand. She had a determined look in her eyes as she spoke, “I think I know what I want, Tara. I want to be by Adam’s side, always. I want to assist him in his work and learn from him so that I can fulfill my own goal of solving and answering problems between humans and liminals. Thank you, Tara, for helping me realize my true goal.”

 

Tara responded with a warm smile as she wrapped her arm around Linda, “I’m glad I was able to help, Rust-bucket.” 

 

The two hugged each other tightly before they sat back down and chatted for a while until Adam returned from the lab. 

 

 

Adam arrived home just before three o’clock, carrying a sleek black case that seemed to contain something intriguing. As he stepped through the door, Linda and Tara rose from their seats. Tara seemed visibly excited as her tail wagged eagerly. 

 

“Is it finished? Did you manage to get it in the color I wanted?” 

 

Adam replied, “Yes, I did, but please, let me show you the changes I’ve made and how it operates.” With a slow and deliberate movement, he opened the lid of the case to reveal the device inside. To everyone’s amazement, the case contained a black titanium arm with a robotic paw that bore a striking resemblance to a Hellhound’s, which was painted red on the palm of the paw. The arm was exquisitely designed, with intricate details etched into its polished surface. Tara’s tail wagged with excitement as she examined it.

 

“Wow, it’s amazing! I want it now!” Tara exclaimed as she lunged toward the arm.

 

Adam gently held her back, “Hold on, let me explain how it works first.”

Tara rolled her eyes and stepped back, her tail still wagged.

 

Adam carefully presented the main add-on, a revolutionary “Mana Stabilizer”, to Tara. This cutting-edge device utilized advanced technology to read her nerve, blood pressure, muscle, and mana responses, ensuring a precise match with the mana in the rest of her body. The arm was encased in a sleek titanium shell, providing both protection and a striking appearance compared to its previous skeletal design. To personalize the arm, Adam had crafted the paw from artificial fur and titanium, painting it red as per Tara’s request.

 

With precision, Adam helped Tara attach the bionic arm, and as it clicked into place, a soft hum filled the room. Tara and Linda watched in awe as the arm’s crevices began to emit a radiant bright red light, illuminating their surroundings. As Tara flexed and wiggled her fingers, she loved how seamless and smooth the movement of the arm felt. 

Linda couldn’t help but be captivated by the remarkable technology before her.

 

“You really outdone yourself self Adam, It is a lot easier and smoother to move the arm now,” Tara spoke up.

 

Linda analyzed Tara’s mana, “It seems her Mana levels are stabilized throughout her body. both her left and right arm have an equal amount of mana flowing through them.”

 

Adam nodded, “Good to hear, but the real question lies with how well it can keep up. Tara, do you have any weights that we can use for a test?” 

 

Tara nodded as she walked into her room to retrieve some dumbells. 

Both Linda and Adam heard her proud chuckle as she emerged from the room, holding two 100-lb dumbells in each hand.

“Check this out! I can do this all day,” Tara declared as she began to perform a set of hammer curls. As she worked out, Linda observed Tara’s mana readings, “Sir, it appears that her mana is perfectly balanced in both arms!”

 

Adam acknowledged Linda’s report

“Try lifting the dumbbell over your head using your full range of motion, Tara. I want to ensure that there are no issues, no matter what action you perform,” Adam ordered Tara. She picked up the dumbbells and lifted them overhead, then slowly lowered them to the side of her waist, repeating the action a few times. Tara even increased her speed before putting the dumbbells down.

 

“How do you feel, Miss Tara?” Linda asked her. “Pretty good, been a while since I lifted weights though,” Tara said as she put the weights down and sat on the sofa. Adam was satisfied with what he saw, and a grin appeared on his face as he knew that Tara would pass Robert’s test the following day.

 

 

The deafening sound of Tara’s sleek black Dodge Durango echoed throughout the parking lot of DanukiWarez. As she stepped out of the car, Tara stretched her arms, letting out a deep yawn. 

“Man I’ve never been to work this early before?” she grumbled, still rubbing the sleep from her eyes.

 Meanwhile, Adam and Linda emerged from the car, looking alert and ready for the day ahead. “I apologize Tara, but the CEO said he wanted your evaluation to take place early and on warehouse grounds,” Adam replied firmly. 

 

The trio entered the warehouse where they noticed operations seemed to be carrying on well. As they ventured further into the complex, they saw Robert talking with a Ratatoskr squirrel liminal, who wore a hard hat and carried a notebook. The two were standing near a section of the warehouse that was cordoned off from the rest, and the group assumed that this was where the testing would take place. 

 

As they approached, Robert walked towards Adam to greet them  

“Ah, Mr. Williams, how are you today?” Robert asked as he held out his hand to greet Adam. 

 

“Doing great today Sir, I can’t wait to show you the progress we have made,” Adam said as he shook Roberts’s hand. 

 

“The pleasure is all mine, Sir, I can’t wait to show you how much progress we made.” 

Robert released Adam’s hand as his eyes glanced over to Tara. His eyes landed on the mechanical arm attached to her.

 

“Ah, Miss Tara Koleta. I, on behalf of the company, apologize for what you were put through, we at Danuki plan to help you in any way possible.” Robert said as he held out his hand to greet her. 

 

Tara held a warm smile but internally scoffed at his corporate BS as she used her bionic arm to shake his hand.

 

“Tara is fine, and thank you very much, Sir.” 

Robert was shocked at how accurate and precise the arm functioned as she shook his hand. He let go of Tara’s hand and moved towards Linda. 

 

Linda stepped forward grasped Robert’s hand and introduced herself, “I’m Linda Rus, lead Technologies Advisor here at Danuki, it’s a pleasure Mr. Ford.” Linda said in a professional manner. 

 

“Oh no Miss Rus, the pleasure is mine, I can’t wait to see what you and Mr. Williams have been working on,” Robert replied as he motioned for the trio to follow him onto the testing floor.

 

“Come, I and our head Safety Manager Miss Allene here, have reserved a section of the warehouse to commence today’s Safety Operations,” Robert said as Allene, the Ratatoskr gave a friendly wave from behind him.

 

The group walked onto the testing floor, as Allene approached Tara.

“Alright Miss Tara, I just have a few questions before we get started okay?” the squirrel girl said.

Tara glanced down at her and gave a slight nod, “Alright,” she said.

 

“Great! First, have you noticed any changes in your mood or diet since having the prosthetic arm attached?” Allene inquired, as she tapped Tara’s metal arm with a pen

.

“Nah, everything’s pretty much the same. I even took a shower with it last night and slept with it,” Tara replied.

 

Allene jotted down some notes while she murmured to herself. “Okay, and are you on any specific medication we should know about?”

 

“Flee pill,” Tara said nonchalantly.

 

Allene let out a light snort. “Alrighty then, could you please walk towards that ‘X’ over there, and we can begin,” she said, as she pointed to the ‘X’ made from tape ahead of her.

 

Tara walked forward and stepped onto the designated mark, she looked back at Allene and Robert and waited for their instructions. 

 

“Alrighty then, let’s start with a simple endurance test. Can you get in a plank position and perform 25 pushups?” Allene asked. Tara responded with a smirk, “Just 25? Hah! Alright, make sure to keep count,” she said got herself in position for the challenge.

The group observed in awe, as she effortlessly started to fly through the workout. Tara’s breathing quickened as she increased her pace,

 

“This is too easy,” she confidently remarked, as she then transitioned to performing one-handed push-ups using her bionic arm.

Adam and Linda both shared a surprised look, as they watched how in sync she was with her new bodily attachment. Allene excitedly wrote some notes down, while Robert had an impressed look on his face.

 

“Alright, I think you’ve made your point, Miss Tara. Let’s proceed with the next test,” Robert announced, gesturing for Tara to follow him. Tara cockily scoffed as she walked over to Robert, who was standing next to some hefty crates.

“DanukiWarez requires all warehouse floor workers, human and liminal, to be able to carry at least 75lbs. Pick it up when you’re ready,” Robert declared. 

 

Tara rolled her eyes, “Please, I can do that one-handed with my normal hand,” she said as she effortlessly lifted the crate with her left arm. 

 

Robert smirked, “Very good,” and walked towards another, larger crate. “This one right here is 200lbs,” he said as he slapped the top of the crate. “Shouldn’t be a problem for you, right?” A smug grin spread across Tara’s face, “Now this is what I’m talking about!” she exclaimed as she confidently squatted down in front of the crate.

 

Adam held his composure as he observed Tara’s evaluation, he knew that the combined strength of a Hellhound and his bionic arm could easily overcome a measly ole 200lb crate. 

 

With one motion Tara managed to lift the 200-lb crate off the ground and over her head. 

“Ya know, If you hop, up on top of here I guarantee I could still hold ya up you know~,” Tara said in a flirty manner. 

 

Robert snickered “Sorry, already have a fiery Hell-Woman in my life,” He said as he flashed his ring at her. 

 

Tara playfully scoffed as she dropped the crate and followed Robert to the final task of the evaluation. 

 

Allenne this time accompanied the two as they stopped by a forklift. 

“Miss Tara, it says here that you are forklift certified, but it is Danuki’s policy that all employees who have sustained a serious injury must complete a test to keep their license. When ready may you please board the vehicle,” She declared as she stood next to the machine that was 3x times her height. 

 

Tara nodded and climbed onto the forklift, she noticed it felt different compared to the forklifts the company used to operate with. 

“Did Danuki change forklift suppliers, Sir?” Adam asked Robert.

Robert nodded, “Yes, Danuki ordered a recall on the older electrical forklifts and we received these new sets yesterday. They are equipped with a more protective case around the battery, as well as having a kill switch if the no operator is detected to be on the vehicle.” He explained.

As Robert and Adam talked, Allene informed Tara to start the vehicle and move forward and then in reverse. Tara seemed to have no problem handling the vehicle as she completed Allene’s tasks efficiently. 

“Miss Tara seems to have become quite comfortable with her prosthetic arm don’t ya say, Adam?” Linda said with amazement.

 

“Yeah it seems she has gotten the hang of it pretty well so far,” Adam responded. 

 

“Alright, Miss Tara I want you to approach that practice pallet over there and lift it onto the 2nd level of the pallet racks,” Allene instructed.

 

“Yuh got it boss,” Tara responded as she gave her a sarcastic salute gesture. As Allene instructed, Tara confidently approached the practice pallet and skillfully lifted it onto the second level of the pallet racks. 

 

With remarkable precision, Tara maneuvered the forklift, drawing the group’s attention to her intense focus. Slowly and carefully, she lifted the full pallet and drove towards the shelf. Upon arrival, she meticulously placed the pallet on the shelf and then reversed the forklift, parking it near Allene.

 

“How’d I do?” Tara asked with an anticipated tone as she climbed out of the forklift. 

Allene flipped through her notes and then looked back at Robert, and nodded. Robert nodded back, as he walked toward Tara. 

 

“Congratulations Miss Koleta, your evaluation proves you are capable of returning to your usual operational schedule,” Robert said as he shook her hand.

 

“Thank you, Sir!” Tara said to Robert as her eyes trailed off toward Adam who was standing behind him. 

 

She released Robert’s hand and approached Adam wrapping him and Linda up in a bear hug. 

“And thank you two nerds for taking such good care of lil ole me, I appreciate that,” Tara said as her tail wagged. 

 

“You are very welcome Miss Tara,” Linda responded with a cherry tone, as Adam only nodded, as he struggled to breathe in Tara’s grasp. 

 

Tara laughed as she set the two of them down. 

 

Robert approached Robert Adam with a serious and determined look on his face. Adam, visibly nervous tried to catch his breath as he waited for Robert to speak. 

 

“Mr. Williams, I must say, you have truly impressed me today…” Robert paused, reaching into his suit jacket to produce a document. “It is with great pleasure to announce that I will be initiating funding for DanukiWarez’s Bionic Research and Development department, with you as the Head Director of Operations,” Robert declared proudly. 

 

Adam was speechless, unable to believe what he just heard. He was finally being given the chance to make a real impact with his research. 

 

“Congratulations, Mr. Director~!” Tara exclaimed, as she playfully nudged Adam’s shoulder to celebrate his achievement.

 

“I uh I…” Adam stuttered to speak as he tried to gather his thoughts. He was too shocked to even formulate a proper sentence.

 

Robert noticed this as he reached out and patted his shoulder, “Congratulations on your promotion.” 

 

Adam took a deep breath as he gathered his thoughts and looked up at the CEO. Adam held a determined smile on his face, “I promise, I won’t let You down!” 

 

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2 thoughts on “New Opportunites

  1. I noticed a missed comma, and, there was what seemed an error: “Hell-Women” when “Hell-Woman” looked more appropriate… Was Robert supposed to be married to more than one Hellhound? Nice story, though!

    1. Yeah, that was an error on my part. I fixed it now though, thanks. Robert is not the harem type, one Woman is more than enough for him. lol

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