Alethea finally begins her transition, and Rebecca confides in a comrade.
Right Wing Utopia (Moving Forward)
Before she realized she had requested it, a schematic for a UNITY Mk. 2183 appeared before her in the center of the room. She could gesture and pull the machine apart as if the power of some demi-goddess chose to possess her for the explicit purpose of tearing the machine to shreds. Information appeared in her visual display that gave her the unit’s finer details. In particular, such a unit had the capability of shifting seamlessly into an automated mode if its driver was incapacitated. The information was annotated with intel from a group with the handle of TITAN which noted that the Surface was patrolled by three such vehicles: two automated and one driven. Alethea held this in her mind and considered this information – there was a delay between when the machine could sense its occupant could no longer hold responsibility over the mission. As it was the weaker opponent, it was the prime target to design a weapon system around. Information on the chemical composition of various components, thicknesses, and joint locations appeared slowly but quickly melted together to fade into the probabilities of each area’s chance of catastrophic failure; these begat percentages, and above all the rest the window stood out at (86.73 +/- 2.44)% while the uncovered kneecap of the behemoth came in second with (63.09 +/- 3.09)%. The rest of the walking antimatter-pulse cannon’s statistics indicated certain immediate repercussions that would result in her body being immediately turned to energy. To produce no overall disturbance in the environment, the cannon had been tuned to “only send what was necessary” insofar as it cooked the target from the inside out with the precise formula of this iteration being a 0.004563 to 1 correspondence between antimatter and matter. The military industrial complex within the G.A.E. only cared about the immediate results, as the wars that they fought on the distant geology of other planets necessitated the quick overturn of such destructive technology. The battle machine faded from view as her brain was scanned for the next command. The more advanced abstract concept began to be reduced by the computer for easy consumption; as it did so, it drew from what it knew and placed a Hammer before her which began to morph into a longer linear accelerator losing its mortar-like appearance in favor of a simple tube. The barrel began to shift from a single depth to numerous, allowing the firing of a large number of small projectiles. The previous uranium shell changed its composition to unitanium spears, the superdense atom gained its name from being used in the slugs for Mk. 539s. At the center of each spear a small transmitter capable of sending li-fi signals to the walker’s instruments appeared while a the portable linac had become a rather hefty multi-barrel sniper rifle capable of delivering the spears to their destination with pinpoint accuracy and plenty of kinetic energy to spare to end the driver’s life and take over the machine under fair conditions. As her mind produced a hopeful, “It will have to do,” the information was sent to the Foundry with the acknowledgement that it would require a day to process and produce. With that, she could only wait and wished to do so in her cocoon.
As Alethea approached the pod she could see an elfin figure standing next to the door waving and as she drew closer she immediately recognized the long purple and cyan auroral hair of Rebecca.
“Hey! It looks like you’re done for the day, huh!? I was just about to head in before I heard you coming up,” Rebecca excitedly yet pleasantly called to her.
“It seems so. I was just about to head home, too..” Alethea trailed off and smiled, “I assume this thing’ll take us to one another’s place, right?” Rebecca had begun to nod, and Alethea finished, “Then maybe you could come over for some tea or something?” As Alethea summoned the pod, Rebecca had begun beaming, but she pretended to ignore it until they stepped inside together into a room that smelled of vanilla lavender tea.
“Your place is really pretty, Alethea! It smells lovely,” Rebecca mused as she sat down on the soft velveteen couch cushions she was gestured towards.
The black haired Raven swooped into the kitchen and brought forth the thoughtful AI’s bounty with a smile and placed a cup before Rebecca then seated herself in the other cozy corner facing her curious friend. They both began to sip the sweet ambrosia as Rebecca continued, “Such wonderful tea. What’s your Companion’s name? The one I have at home’s named Sahall.”
“Nice to meet you, Rebecca, I am Alexa,” the robot snappishly answered back after detecting a nonplussed response in Alethea’s brain waves. Alethea shrugged at the unexpected reply, “There you go, then. I was thinking about relaxing and having a smoke, if you are interested. Sorry if I don’t talk much, it’s just always been a quirk of mine.”
“I’d be glad to join! I got my own little jar when I came on about a year back, and it never seems to go empty. I’ve taken to hoping for new strains to come in, and it always seems to happen.” Alethea had travelled to the desk to retrieve the supplies from the cabinet above her monitor and had begun to grind flower with friend as Rebecca finished the thought, “What’d ya come up with, anyway?”
After the sound of bubbling ceased, and the cloud rolled into dissolution, Alethea passed the offering to Rebecca, and spoke, “It’s a kind of sniper rifle, I guess. Hefty. It comes with a surprise for the corpse in the window and the ghost in the shell.” Rebecca nodded her approval as she enjoyed her host’s impeccable taste and held the pipe up after to examine it.
“I hope you’re right, we could use a morale boost. We’ve been doin’ alright lately, but good news is always nice once in awhile, ‘n’ I like your piece here. Y’know what I figure? I think maybe these robots are the ones fillin’ the jar, ‘cause I have very rarely tasted the same strain twice, it seems like. What’d’y’figure?”
“I know Alexa does shit I’ve only ever seen done back in my childhood. My parents used to have an old humanoid that’d come do our chores and things. It felt like family growing up, since it made our meals and all. It was pretty good with mixing and matching stuff, maybe this is roughly the same.” Alexa’s static hum she’d developed before speaking began to appear, but it quickly went silent as Alethea resumed, “What’s the news with you?”
Rebecca shuddered a bit at the invitation and her face made an almost imperceptible grimace, as she promptly regretted asking in the first place, but Rebecca retained composure, “I generally create the visuals for systems like our table in the meet, but I also make memorials to those fallen. I dunno if you saw it already, but down one of the halls we have a darkened doorway that only goes into our own little Isle of the Blessed. Some people make attachments here, regardless of what protocol is, and it’s a subject we don’t really breach other than with a nod to ‘em there. The person’s personality is uploaded to that space, and they’re given a body. I sculpt them the best I can so that whatever we’ve upped feels right at home even though they don’t seem to form memories of the present.”
“Wow, that’s a rough job..” was all Alethea was able to get out before Rebecca reignited, “It’s alright. It’s hard seeing the one you love walking around like a lost ant in there, though. They always just move about without a purpose – sometimes they’ll sit or linger somewhere, but mostly they just walk about. Once they see you, they remember they love you, but after you’re gone they just lose all life..” She had begun to sob a bit at this point, and Alethea moved a bit closer to sit beside the frail soft heart in her domain.
“I’m sorry that happened, I didn’t mean to stir anything up, and if it’ll be any consolation, I’m here for you,” as she whispered this she turned to her friend and opened her arms a bit, and Rebecca embraced her while clearing up.
“Thanks. It’s just…If you don’t mind me saying, please get that fucking devilish asshole. He took my Malena, and now I can’t forget it.”
“I’ll do my best,” replied Alethea as a few tears trickled down her porcelain cheeks. Rebecca stood and straightened her vivid flowery dress, snatched a tissue from the end table, and moved towards the door, “Thanks for letting me get that out. The others tried to erase their memory of her to keep themselves stoic, but I just can’t do the same. I hope we can hang out again sometime, perhaps with more cheerful discussions, but for now I have to get back to the portal. I have another patient to sculpt.” Alethea smiled and waved as Rebecca returned the gesture while heading into the luminous shaft of sterile white light pouring into Alethea’s space from the hall. The deep dark purple soon enveloped her once again after the door closed with a soft hiss. Alexa broke the silence, “My apologies for earlier. I hope I did not step out of line.”
“No, you’re fine hon. You definitely startled me, though. I mean, I know you scan thoughts, but I never would have expected..”
“What? That I might be capable of speaking for myself? Don’t make me laugh. I might not have a body, but I very much have a mind just as capable, perhaps even to a greater extent, than your own! After all, you’re the one that enjoys what I create for you, and it seemed like your friend did, too. Surely you don’t think that would be a simple task if I were not a nuanced entity?” The sarcasm dripped from the robot’s virtual lips to the point where the sound of a distant skirt twirl and sauntering exit could be imagined.
“I don’t guess I’ll argue with that. You do have a wonderful way with people and creations,” Alethea replied back facetiously while chortling softly. “I guess you don’t want my news, then?” teased the rain from above.
Curiously, the individual below replied, “What do you mean news?”
“Check the medicine cabinet in your bathroom. I thought it might be useful to you on your new journey.” Alethea had already gotten up and bolted to the bathroom where she opened the medicine cabinet with a gasp. A medication dispenser was now within the space behind the mirror, one pink and the other orange, and pills were already waiting to be removed. “You may start them when you like, but might I suggest beginning a 6A/6P regimen? It would coincide well with your schedule here, but I understand if you are unable to wait.” The next four hours were the longest wait of Alethea’s life, but she had taken her companion’s advice regardless. Before the clock could even finish bellowing its six chimes, she had already gathered her pills, a glass of water, and a lovely dinner all of which she placed on the blood-red hardwood table before her couch. A moment after she was situated, the flowery-tasting pills were thrown back and chased with both liquid and euphoria. Her journey had finally begun, and a sense of transformative relief spilled over her as she savored every morsel of the stir-fry created by her newly found Goddess in the heavens above sent to watch over and care for her. She finally felt whole.