I liked this, overall. Although it's a concept that's been tackled by many people, there's something a little horrifying about it, so they can be quite powerful stories.
Okee, here's for the more picky critique. Feel free to disregard, just giving my impressions.
“Your time has come. Report to debriefing room ...
A little melodramatic. If they're addressing machines, what about something like, "You have an assignment." Your later conversations suggest she's an experienced agent. A routine mission shouldn't be a momentous event.
The eyes blinked lazily and #117 unfolded herself to stand uneasily on cybertronic legs.
I'd replace 'lazily' and 'uneasily' with, say, 'slowly' and 'unsteadily'. To me, the first words have too many emotional undertones for a creature with no emotions.
The bottom part and left side of her torso were also a silver mass of wires, tubes, and metal plating. Her left forearm and hand glimmered, sleek and smooth as the most expensive of alloys. ... She was just like the other, forgettable and insignificant.
The first half of the first sentence is awkward. Try describing the body area differently, ie 'left and lower torso'. For the second sentence, IS it an expensive alloy? If you're going to use simile, it should probably read 'AS sleek and blah blah blah'. And for the last sentense... otherS. You drop a lot of 's's throughout the story. I do the same thing all the time with 'ed'. Proofreading should fix this.
Slowly at first, then picking up speed, #117 walked out of the room
Walked is a little... blah. Perhaps a more descriptive verb? Did she stride? March? Stagger?
“#’s 318, 211, 423, and 117: you have been specially selected for Code 13-BCX. You will live among a certain group of humans and analyze their actions. Become like them. After a period of two weeks we will collect them for processing. Your service will greatly benefit the Company. Step through the door and receive your temporary identities.”
'Numbers' instead of '#'s' might make that statement a little easier to read. Another thought: if they're essentially robots, why bother telling them what's going to happen in two weeks? It's none of their business. Their job is the recon. Or, if they're experienced operators, they already know the recon is for extraction. And why bother telling them their service will benefit the Company? It's wasted breath. Just order them around. They're flat machines.
The man felt chills run up his spine.
Cliche. Is there another way you could describe his unease?
The four entered the smoky, loud, thrumming club. It wasn’t hard to locate the group they were looking for. They were a group of college students, muses, punks.
Set the scene. Is it humid? Do they work their way through a press of talking, laughing bodies? Does the music grate on cyber nerves? This is an important scene for the story, a little more depth might pull your readers in better.
The young man, stunned, nodded at her dumbly.
Shook his head? Nodding would suggest someone WAS siting there.
"...They are so clipped.”
Loved this. Slang made it instantly feel like a more realistic culture.
"I don’t have any mates yet.”
She corrects this statement for Gabe, but then two more friends saunter right on up! I'd have a big question mark over my head on that one!
The girls eyed the young man approvingly and the young men inwardly sighed. Those still single had been hoping to snag Viola for themselves.
I wouldn't bother with the second sentence. Pretty redundant.
Viola inwardly shattered the image with a silent glare.
I had to reread this several times. I didn't understand what it meant.
It was one of the reasons she was so good for her purpose
Again, 'good' is a very blah word. How about 'perfect', 'ideal' or 'well suited'?
...in 13 days and 22 hours they would be joining their ranks.
Who and the what now? Try to avoid the words 'they' , 'their', etc, referring to different groups in the same sentence. The meaning of the sentence comes into question.
“Hey, sir, look at this.”
“Yes, sir. I’ll see to it myself.”
I would delay this interlude a little longer, maybe lump it in with the other headquarters scene a little farther down. You tend to lay out your answers immediately after your questions. Building mystery and leaving your reader wondering will build suspense and pull your reader deeper.
I was kind of disappointed the snap happened so early. A little more time spent with the group, or even a superficial resemblance between Clint and Josh, would explain her attachment to him later on. ie, if he's just another human, why would his name penetrate her firewall? His name is just meaningless data unless he means something to her.
Men in white lab coats grabbed Viola, yanking her off of the scientist.
If she's all souped up and cybertronic, could mere humans really restrain her?
The men yanked her wig and clothing off, stripping her bare.
Why waste the time before you have her subdued? If she needs to see her metal bits, one of the men trying to restrain her could accidentally tear something...
“We can’t! We’d have to un-strap her and she’d kill us all.
Reference as proof for above comment about regular men not being able to restrain her. Bring on the drugs, baby!
"That’ll take several hours at least.” ... it had only been about half an hour... “There you are!” he exclaimed. “You’ve put us severely behind. I was supposed to be working on #117 by now!”
If he was supposed to be processing for several hours, and it had only been a half hour, how could Clint have put them severely behind. And he wouldn't have been working on #117 by now, it's only been a half hour!
I was also really disappointed by the whole escape thing. Draw it out! Make it dramatic! It's the climax of the story! More struggle, more tears! When Viola gets the emotion chip, why doesn't she kick some serious butt, then she and Clint run through the complex, dodging Eras and bolting past horrors, screams, and rooms with row upon row of dormant cyborgs? THEN they get caught, or walk into a trap when they think they're home free, or something? I could have skimmed the entire description of their struggles and not missed anything. It wasn't involving at all.
The scientist placed what appeared to be two sharp needles on either side of 117’s head, directed at each temple. He switched on several computers and watched as their screens loaded up. He pressed a green button and the needles jammed into Viola’s head.
Again, hype it up. She has the emotion chip still in. Is she screaming? Spewing obscenities? Is she experiencing overwhelming fear, rage, or what? What does she feel when the needles go in? Static hazing to blackness? Her self of self spiralling away from her grasping fingers? Excruciating pain as the emotion chip collides with the deprogramming of her identity? Just skipping to the next scene gives us no chance to identify with your main character.
You are to guide #836 through the Company so that he may learn the paths.
Learn the paths? Vague and unscientific. What about, learn operating procedures, prepare for future missions (ominous sense of continuity of the evil company...oooh) or something a little more technical?
Immediately her firewall jumped up and cut off that train of though.
'Jumped up' is also a weak phrase here. Got anything with more punch?
Hopefully that helps. Sorry if I bruised your muse. I really did like the story, otherwise I wouldn't put so much effort into helping you either improve it or your future stories. I look forward to seeing anything else you might write about this character. You could have quite a little adventure evolve out of this short story.