Sir, Yes Sir

About 40 Years Ago

"Stand guard, Katrin," the man in the white lab coat said, as they entered the room together. Valkyrie Model 004 nodded assent and assumed her position, scanning the halls and watching for trouble while the man set to work. He was troubled and nervous about what he was doing, but his hands didn't shake, nor did his mind wander from the task at hand.

Model 001 had been an failure from the start. He knew that the first moment he saw her. She never came out of comatose, and finally the project decided to shut her down as a mercy. Models 002 and 003 were much better, but still not quite what Michael Peters had set out to create. 002, nicknamed Mary, was a skilled fighter but lacked human empathy. 003, Sophie, was an excellent negotiator and had an enormous heart, being mostly human with just a tinge of machinery added to her systems. She lacked killer instinct and fighting skills, however. Project Valkyrie had set out to create a supersoldier with skills in both combat and negotiation. None of these three met the mark.

Then Dr. Peters created Model 004, Katrin. She was different from her sister machines in nearly every way. Kat was halfway between introvert and extrovert. She wasn't all machine, but she wasn't too human either. Pete had personally overseen her education and training. He taught her the violin, and made sure her combat skills weren't honed too sharply. She was programmed with considerable ethics from the beginning, and Mike Peters showed her daily uses for those ethics. In the end, she was perfect. Witty and a skilled negotiator, deadly and a fearsome combatant, the machine named Katrin Romanoff was the epitome of what Project Valkyrie had set out to do. She was the soul of the American woman, with all her spunk and beauty. The Project was just on the edge of being made public when something went terribly wrong.

Model 002 escaped with new orders from an outside source: destroy Project Valkyrie. Her first target was 003, and Sophie never stood a chance. Then Mary went rampant on the facility, crushing and killing anyone and thing in her path. Pete had seen what was happening early on, and found Katrin. Together they went to the main computer. If the machinery was destroyed, the information on the four girls' creation could end up in enemy hands. Peters had to delete all of the Project's files before Mary could get to the computers. If she arrived early she could destroy Katrin, but the last Valkyrie knew that would simply be the price of duty.

Just as the door sealed behind Dr. Peters, Katrin saw the stronger cyborg coming down the hall. 004 stood up straighter and prepared her weapon. 002 knew no mercy. There would be no negotiation here. Kat had one thing on her mind. She had to protect Pete. So she aimed the barrel of her heavy rifle at her long-time companion and sister. She fired once, twice, thrice. Mary kept coming.

Dropping her rifle, Katrin activated her exoskeleton and braced herself for hand-to-hand combat. 002, knowing her sister-machine to be impervious in this form, did the same. The two faced each other for a long moment, before Mary attacked with full intention to kill. Kat evaded her blows, maintaining a defensive position while her opponent threw blow after blow. Katrin was smaller, however, and managed to keep clear, even throwing in a strike or two. It wasn't much, but enough to start wearing down the older Valkyrie's stamina. When she sensed the time was right, Kat threw herself at Mary with reckless abandon of defense. She struck fast and hard from all sides and with all limbs. Mechanically, 002 dodged the flurry, but wasn't fast enough. 004 felt metallic bones break under her blows and drove herself harder. At last Mary stumbled, and Katrin deactivated her permanently with a blow to the skull. Just as Kat was regaining her balance, she heard Pete step out of the control room and turned to him, expecting disapproval when he saw the shattered form of his earlier creation. There was a moment of silence as she deactivated her exoskeleton and switched her mind back from the killing machine she had made herself. After the moment ended, the dark-haired scientist looked at Valkyrie 004.

"Let's go, Kat," he said, with a weary smile.

Katrin returned the smile. "Sir, yes sir."