Diagnostics says I've lost control for about fifteen minutes. A cheery sounding but worried voice plays into my room.
"You okay little one?" The AI’s voice of my hab unit's safety overwatch calls out to me from somewhere in the wall on my left.
A few stray jitters and spasms clear out the rest of my energy overload. Sitting up straight immediately. I assure the AI that I'm perfectly fine and not in any danger. I'm uninjured and totally perfect.
It stalls for a minute before going silent, seemingly content enough to accept that as an answer.
I have two hours until the meeting time. Crawling over to my overly large bed, I climb up into it and decide to just lay there awake and computing but motionless for the last few hours. I feel terrible. Like my heart is weighed down. I feel like what would be considered depressed in most people. But it's strange that I feel like this because I'm not human.
This happens every once in a while. I've got this kinda cycle going on, where my body shifts into being depressed for a few weeks before it shifts into being intensely happy for the next few weeks.
Sometimes I get a few weeks of normalcy here and there but it's not frequent.
Right now, I just want to rest. It feels as if my batteries are drained and my generator has failed. It hasn't, I'm in proper working order. It's some other kind of drain. Something that exists inside of the parts of me that are still human.
Something that is in pain. Sometimes I wish father just took the rest of me along with him, made me truly unfeeling, unthinking. But he didn't. So I'm here to suffer along with the whims of my humanity that should have just died with my mechanics in that lab.
One hour has passed since I've laid here. I didn't even notice. I'm not thinking, though it's not on purpose. I should get ready soon. But I don't want to.
Thankfully, I don't always have to listen to myself. Opening my text prompt box, I jab in a few lines of text to make my legs walk me to the dresser, get out my clean clothes, and dress myself in my best outfit.
I have to stay casual though, I don't want to look like I want this as badly as I do. I want to look normal. Then I'll... put together the last of my gear in my little travel case.
Then I'll uh.... Wait, I guess. I mentally send the command through. My body twists itself off of the bed, and my consciousness retreats into the back of my head for a few minutes. My synthetic shell pulling me along through all my menial tasks. I want to close my eyes, but if I do, my sensors wouldn't be able to see the right drawers. So I just walk like a moving statue, checking off my list like a quest for an NPC.
My body places itself in front of the door. I still have just under an hour until I need to be there. I guess I could go on another walk, but I don't want to. So I just stand there in front of the door until the time passes.
My head jolts to the side momentarily as my consciousness comes back into the front of my head. Piloting myself once again, it's time to leave.
The door doesn't open. Oh right, I have to... Fuck it, I don't care enough for this.
"Door, please open." I ask. The door obliges.
"Have fun out there today cutie~" a disembodied voice fills my room then retreats as quickly as it came.
Then I just stand there with the door open. Oh yeah, command prompt. I grab my bag that's been set down next to the door and plug in the GPS coordinates to my location. My body pilots me there while I take a back seat and gather up enough social energy to do a presentation.
Terminal lets me know we've arrived. I've arrived. Terminal doesn't have consciousness like I do.
A few moments of half assed emotional response coding later, I'm bright and chipper, with a little touch of relaxation in my face. The real laid back look. Disregard everything that's happening beneath my skin. That doesn't matter. I'll have catharsis soon.
"Welcome little flower~" An Affani seated at a desk greets me as I walk in. My hand waves. She smiles and points behind her toward a board room at the back. My body walks there and walks inside.
I'm greeted by several other Affani, three of which have Florets in their laps for comfort.
"Hello Jalen. Welcome to our final safety committee meeting. Are you feeling well?" I am not.
"Absolutely, glad to be here. Happy to show off everything I've brought today. How are you all?" I ask, asking questions is good. They think about themselves rather than whatever's going on with me.
"Things have been going well for the most of us. My little floret here is very interested in what you have to show today." I look down, there's a happy little floret sitting in their lap, smiling wide and waving at me. They do seem excited.
Good. I've got good shit in here. I'd love to show it off.
"Well then, lets hop right in! I know you've all reviewed my final submission of my Domestication Treaty. Yes?" They all nod. I continue.
"Great, then here's my gear. This is what I will be using in my duels." my body opens my bag and halts for a moment. I retake control of my arms, pulling out a large box with a tube connected to it and a little handle looking thing on the end.
"Let's start with this, my favorite. This is my saber." I say with a gentle smile. Don't look too into it. But look happy to show, you have nothing to hide.
"What's it do, mister?" One of the florets asks me while in their owner's lap.
"Hey. You don't know if they're a mister or not, it's rude to assume, petal. They will show what it does, don't worry." The affini looks up at me, judging whether or not that was the correct thing to say to their floret. I wave my hands dismissively. "It's fine." It's fine.
I take the saber into my hands and slip the backpack onto my back. It connects to me in a few locations up my spine, drawing power from my core and making everything go dim for a second as my generator upshifts its power generation to accommodate for the extra load. My leg threatens to break cycle again. I lock its power and keep it in place. Now I can't use that leg for a minute. They won't notice.
"What it does is very very simple. It cuts things. Without damaging them. How you may ask?" I give a broad hand sweep. "It bends the space around the material that it's cut through and keeps the two pieces intact in relative space, while separating them in what we see. Care to see a demonstration?"
"Proceed, you intelligent cutie." One of the affini says. They're loving it.
"You may want to cover your Floret's eyes for this one. Its gonna look intense, but I promise, it doesn't hurt a thing." turning the hilt over in my hand, my thumb rests on the ignition switch. Pushing it up, a light fills the room along with the quiet sound of an explosion in slow motion. Then there's just humming as power is drawn from the hilt to the now extended red blade.
"Wow..... Tell us more? Why is it red?" One of the Affini asks me, nodding along. I gently swing the saber through the air, taking care to make sure it doesn't touch anything.
"Cosmetic. I can actually change it's color to anything I want. The light at the crest of the blade is bent in a way that I can shift it just enough to change it's color. What color should I do?" I pick my hand up and point to one of the Florets.
"Whats your favorite color?" I ask, kindly. Like I am talking to a toddler.
"Yellow!" They reply with a big smile. Good little happy pet. The dial just to the left of the ignition switch turns under gentle pressure, fading the blade through the visible color spectrum before it lands on a gentle yellow glow.
"Okay, here comes the crazy part!" I extend my other arm. Then I draw the lit plasmic blade through. Slicing my arm clean off. At the site of the wound, is a little circle of complete darkness.
Several of the Affini in the room gasp, I can tell they're struggling not to immediately leap from their chairs and take care of my injury.
I just smile happily, I've been practicing this. My disembodied hand struggles up to its finger tips and walks slowly across the room to one of the Affini. They pick it up and examine it. A green flowered vine pokes the end of my arm that's severed. I feel it in the base of the arm that Is not. Weird.
"How do you.... Get it back on? This seems like damage." The affini says. They have a feminine voice.
"This is where this button comes in." There’s a little gold button on the hilt of the saber. Tilting it over, they can see it shine against the glow of the yellow blade. I tap the button. My disembodied arm flails on the ground for a minute before leisurely floating back toward my body and locking itself in place. My smug excitement cannot be contained by my programming. A huge grin is across my face as they all gasp when it reconnects.
A quick flex of my fingers show that it still works. Completely unharmed.
"How did you do that?" One of them asks, their plant accent faltering a little bit into ethereal sounding speak.
"Actually, getting the bits to reconnect is actually far harder than it looks. The magnetization from the collapsed relative space is constantly fighting to draw my severed arm back to it. It wants to fix itself. Not actually letting it fix itself immediately was the harder of the two challenges. I just allow the magnetization to pull only at a fraction of the intensity it wants to pull at....." I've rambled hard and long about this. Too many details, they don't need to know more.
The affini seem satisfied with my demonstration. I get a few nods. They like it.
"Would you ever be interested in giving us the fabrication blueprints to make these ourselves? These would be incredibly useful in nonlethally subduing rowdy feralists." One of the affini asks with a hopeful smile.
I shake my head. "Not unless you wanna fight me for it. Cutie." I lean back against the wall and retract the blade. The glow and the humming stops as the charged particles surrounding the blade dissipate into an after image.
"You said you had more to show us?" That I do. You're really gonna like this one.
"Yes actually, this blade is the second of my two creations today. Collapsed space... Wormhole stuff... It's all very interesting to me, you see. First, I made this." I pull out a little oddly shaped thing. It has more cords dangling off it, but this time they're smaller.
I let them all get a good look at it before I place it in my mouth and secure it against the molars in the back of my jaw.
"So." I begin. "You all know of warp drives right? Large scale teleportation across spacetime in faster relative speed? What if I told you I could do that, but on a hmmmmm~" I bring my fingers to my chin and mimic a thinking look. "Smaller scale. Cover your ears, this is loud."
I step away from the table in the center of the large meeting room, then lock my eyes on my landing destination.
My mouth opens big and wide, they all stare into it like I'm a turtle about to belch flames. Then, I clamp.
There's a shock in the room, space collapses all around me, dragging my atoms apart in a vibration so fast it collapses my form into little micro bits, forcing my entire body through a pin hole in spacetime and spitting me out of another pinhole above the table. My body is reformed at light speed, my atoms replaced into their normal spots.
A shockwave of moved air blasts some of the papers around on the table. A loud bang of sound emanates off of the closing hole of space time.
All of this done in a fraction of a fraction of a second. To the uninitiated, it looked like I exploded then suddenly appeared in another location instantly. The moment I closed my mouth.
The Affini all stand up shocked for a moment before a few of them start wriggling strangely. I don't think they liked that violation of space.
"There. You see? I'm just flashy, but I'm all safe. Yeah? I'd love to give you all the details of my wonderful inventions, buuuuut.... Only if you accept my treaty. Oh, and my warp drive only works short distances. Just a note." I bow on the table before hopping off. I could have warped but I think it would scare them.
"We.... We will need time to figure this out. You will be notified of the outcome by noon time tomorrow." The plant in the back of the table says, gesturing toward the door.
Then I remember something important. I'm nervous, I feel like I'm on the edge here, but I need to tell them my final tool.
"Wait wait. I actually have one more thing to show...." I pull out a little box from my bag. It's my last item.
"It's just a field projector. It projects an artificial space field around a given area, making nothing able to leave or enter until it's collapsed. I know you all already have force fields, but this one is quite small and can be deployed anywhere without an extra battery or fuel source." I don't tap it, I think they believe me already.
"Thank you for showing us, Terran. You may leave now." Oof.... That does not sound good. I bow again and exit the room. My consciousness immediately retreating backwards and letting my body pilot me the rest of the way home.
The Affini at the desk says something to me on my way out. I don't hear it.
My focus recenters the moment I get home. Plunging me directly back into my depression and desperation. My blankets are soft.... I need to turn off for a while.
My flesh sleeps while my circuitry stays awake. It's like sleeping with open eyes.
When my alarm app jolts me violently awake the next day, I see that I've woken up at two again.
That should mean something significant.... What was I doing today?
Oh yeah, the meeting. I get the results today.
I... Ugh... I can't even feel good about that, whether or not they accept my pact is.... I don't have the energy to find out right now.
My eyes unfocus and my consciousness fades away again. Why did I even wake up in the first place.
Some amount of time passes. There's a knock on my door. It's quick and snappy.
Some amount of time passes. There's a knock on my door. It's quick and snappy.
No. I don't feel like it. Fuck off.
I can hear something murmured through the door. UUUUUUUUGH FINE. I throw myself off the covers. A quick infiltration of the camera systems through a panel on the side of my door, I see....
No one's there.
Charging up a small static shock. The door opens on its own, causing me to jolt as the charge is vented throughout my body instead.
The... Terran is standing here. The one I keep seeing. I've seen them everywhere. What do they want... I-
I'm in my bed. My eyes feel heavy and I quite frankly feel awful. Like my body is full of emotions that I'm not properly woken up enough to process.... What time is it? 4pm... Dirt I really slept in late today.
There's a knock at the door. Seriously? Why.
An AI voice chirps into my room. "Cutie, you have a visitor~"
I walk sleepily over to the panel near the door and inject myself into it for a moment. Lillina is there.
Honestly. I really don't want to deal with her today. But... Well she's already here I guess.
I can't open the door my normal way right now, she'll notice I didn't ask. Wait. Can she even hear me through the door?
"Lilliana! Can you hear me!"
She squirms around for a moment before tapping something on the other side of the wall. The door opens on its own. I'm barely able to rip myself out of the wall fast enough for her not to see when she slides in.
"Jalen! Are you okay? Is everything alright??" She comes over to me concerned. I take a minute to jostle my brain back into working order in my head. I have a basic level of integration into tech, but I don't use it very often because it makes me feel all out of wack for a second.
"I- yeah. I'm okay." I try to give her a smile but it comes out as a little lopsided with my currently scattered brain.
She immediately scoops me up into her vines, holding and cradling my body in a... Holy shit. Did this used to feel this good before? It's like... It's like every curve of my body is perfectly supported.
It feels like the thoughts in my head have been pushed aside for a moment. I struggle to speak.
"I- Lil- A- you- there's a lot of contact- Going on here-" it's shockingly hard to get my body to talk.
She quickly moves over to my bed and sets me down onto it. She keeps a vine in my hands and one on my head for reassurance.
Every time she moves her vines across my skin, it feels like whatever I'm thinking gets a hard stop. I feel great. The depression is simmering in the background of my soul right now, but honestly it's pretty ignorable.
I nudge my head a little closer to her vines unconsciously.
"Jalen... Sweet petal. Tell me you're okay?" She leans down in front of me and puts her shimmering eyes in front of mine.
It takes me a minute not to get distracted by looking at their swirling colors. Were they always this interesting?
Oh yeah, she asked me a question.
"Im.. hmnmnh... Yeah I'm okay." She takes the vine away from my head. I instinctually grab at it for a moment before putting my hand down half way there.
"Honestly lils... I was half asleep and was wondering if you could hear me through the door. I'm not in any danger." I tell her.
She moves her vines away from me for a moment. I could swear I felt the room get colder.
"Oh... I see. You are a very silly little Terran aren't you. Well, I'm just happy you're okay." She ruffles my hair again without asking. A strange whine escapes my chest cavity. She looks a little red... Is she blushing? I feel warm too…
"Jalen, are you on class-A's?" Weird question.
"Oh don't worry about it... I could have sworn you were... Well, it's no problem, really doll." She says with a funny voice. Ohh she's so nice to me.
"I appreciate the concern lils. I'm actually very sleepy at the moment, the meeting yesterday drained me a bit." I feel like I'm over sharing. I always do this with her. I shouldn't raise suspicion.
"I understand sweetness. Need me to go?" A simple question with a simple answer.
"You don't have to go. You're already here anyway." That's- I didn't want to say that.
She looks very happy for a minute. "May I sit down next to you?" I nod
Her viney mass of a body takes up a good portion of the bed. I lean onto her side. I'm tired, okay? Don't judge me. Geez.
"You can go to sleep if you'd like, Jalen. I'll make sure you're okay while you sleep." That sounds good.
"Thanks Lils... You don't have to do that for me though... What got you coming here anyway?" I pull away from her for a minute. I know Affini like physical contact but I shouldn't be crossing any boundaries here.
"The results of your meeting yesterday. That's what." She sounds... I can't decipher it. Strange to say the least.
There's a rustling of paper coming from inside the folds of her woven red bushy vines.
My head clears with anticipation. I sit up straight and look at her. She looks at me. I have a question but it's implied.
"Would you like to duel?" She asks me.
I accept on the spot.
(End Of Page Three)