Persephone reclined in her laboratory, most of her suit removed except for her gauntlets and her helmet. The rest of her armor stood at the center of the room. It was half open, servos and circuitry exposed as mechanical arms built into the ceiling moved around to adjust this and that with various tools.
Without her armor, Persephone’s tall, leggy, curvaceous body was on full display. She was dressed, in a pair of green short shorts and a matching sports bra, but neither of those did much to hide her body. The armor she wore did nothing to exaggerate the fullness of her breasts, or her hips—it was the shape it was to accommodate for those swells without being large enough to obscure them.
In the lab she wore her blonde hair tied back in a ponytail to keep it out of her eyes, and away from her equipment. Her bare legs, so smooth and pale, did a wonderful job of accentuating her shape and guiding the eye to the way the shorts clung to the outline of her sex.
Either Persephone was oblivious to how on-display she was, or being in the privacy of her lab, she didn’t care. No one could possibly get a glimpse at the much desired sight.
The only one besides her with access was Daemon.
“Just like I thought! The antigrav drive hasn’t been fully utilizing the small amount of energy we can gain by taking advantage of—” Persephone interrupted herself, quietly laughing as she shook her head. “I don’t even know why I’m even saying this out loud! You can see the calculations and the estimations I’m doing the moment they process, and you’re intelligent enough to understand where I’m getting my variables. Explaining this to you would be like you explaining to me that you can detect my breathing…” The heroine sighed with a smile on her lips as she slowly shook her head. “Where would I be without you?”
“Probably still captive in Hephaestina’s forge, crafting the weapons of war she desired.”
All of the color drained from Persephone’s face as she choked on nothing at all. She sat up, coughing to clear her throat.
When she was finally able to breathe again, the floating vision of Daemon gave a weak shrug. “I did not anticipate that reaction. I apologize, P. Was my deprecating humor not to your liking? Have I hurt your feelings? I was not attempting to be cruel…” Daemon idly kicked at the air as though scuffing her foot across the floor far below where she appeared to be. “It was my understanding that implying you only succeeded thanks to my creation would be an obvious joke—given that if you did not create me, you clearly could have created something else equally helpful.”
“No, D, it…” Persephone sighed, shaking her head. Her hands rose, almost pulling away her helmet before coming to rest on its sides. She didn’t want to run from D. “It wasn’t to my liking, no, but… I’m not upset with you. I have encouraged you to expand your programming. I think the expression you should look up is ‘too real.’ That should explain it.”
Briefly, Daemon’s yellow projection distorted, horizontal segments of her body tugging out from her center. It was only a matter of moments, her shape jolting back and forth before she gave a firm nod. “I understand now, Persephone. But as I said, you would have—”
“—Found some other way to escape, I know. I believe you mean that, but…” The heroine gave a heavy sigh, shaking her head as she closed her eyes tight. “Maybe not? I think about what happened entirely too often. Some nights, I even dream about it…” Her voice froze, sounding uncharacteristically uncertain as her hands reached out to grasp tightly around the arms of her chair. “Her goons are over me, grabbing me, and I can’t do anything to fight them off. I’m bound and bagged, dumped out in her forge, and she makes me build her armor, makes me share my secrets… I betray everything I stand for, everything I believe in, out of cowardice and fear.”
Daemon stood tall in front of Persephone’s face. It didn’t need to breathe. It had no lungs, not even a physical body to inhabit that performed an action akin to breathing. There was not even an action of rising and falling to the curve of her chest.
That made it all the more noteworthy when Daemon made the sound of clearing its throat.
“You have instructed me to remind you during these moments of crisis that Penelope Price created Persephone after she was abducted to a place that she felt was her own personal hell.” As ever, the AI’s voice was flat and emotionless. There was nothing judgmental in the neutrality of its words. “You wished me to remind you that you have devoted a sizable portion of your life to the task of preventing the results of that kidnapping from negatively impacting the larger world. Are you sufficiently reminded?”
A wry smirk slowly spread across Persephone’s lips. Her eyes didn’t hood so much as her eyelids flattened. After a moment’s consideration, she nodded. “I am. If I didn’t know any better, I would say you were teasing me.”
Daemon simply shrugged, its smooth, expressionless face doing nothing to betray its inner workings. If Persephone wished it would be possible to literally invade the program’s thoughts, to explore what its logic-driven processes were ‘thinking’ about her, but that felt like an invasion of privacy. D might not be human, but she’s intelligent. She’s my friend—the only friend who knows both of my identities. I can’t just hack into her brain like that. Friendship relies on trust.
Penelope waited for several moments, half expecting Daemon to chime in with more. When it did not, she reached for the latch on her helmet. “It’s late. The antigrav drive improvements won’t be life changing, but every little bit helps and could potentially lead to some new innovation.”
Her assistant wasn’t desperate, or alarmed. D regularly processed things in different ways then other people, or other machines. Penelope was used to her synthetic ally interrupting her. “What is it?”
A quiet tone, too quiet for Penelope’s ears to consciously detect, began to emanate from inside of her helmet. It was such a small, tight space. Containing such sounds, and making it impossible for a part of the woman’s mind to not focus on the sound was simple for such an advanced intelligence.
Though it was quiet as it had been earlier in the night, the sound’s effect on the heroine was more immediate. Her grasp on the chair began to loose, and her thighs slowly spread apart. She shifted back, getting more comfortable as her tongue reached out to wet her lips.
Her nipples poked out against the tight fabric of her sports bra.
“It would be inefficient to leave now. We have not yet calibrated all of your hardware.” Daemon paused, unmoving as Penelope slowly drew in a breath, her chest rising higher, her thighs slowly spreading further apart as the tone continued to play inaudibly to her conscious mind. “My input is that we require new diagnostic hardware.”
“New… diagnostic hardware…?” Penelope slowly blinked her eyes. They felt heavier than they had before, but the strange slowness settling over her mind made it that much more difficult to ponder why. It was easier to be curious.
She trusted her Daemon.
The yellow figure slowly nodded. “Yes. There are inefficiencies we cannot resolve with the current diagnostic and calibration models we have pursued.” Daemon’s voice slowly lowered, subtly changing as it matched resonance with the tone pulsing through Penelope’s skull, throbbing a suggestible, soporific haze through the heroine’s brain. “Allow me to show you my projections if we engage in this new methodology. First, examine our current efficiency.” A familiar graph rose, showing numbers steadily falling the longer it continued. “And now, allow me to show what my simulations show we could achieve with my proposed modifications.”
Another chart appeared, this time, slowly showing numbers rising. The high point pulsed, shining with a throbbing, strobing like that made Penelope’s eyes widen. That… light… it’s so… familiar… I’ve… seen it… before… where… have… I… seen…
Her slow thoughts moved like they were walking through chest-high mud. They could move, but every inch took so much effort and her mind was so sleepy, so soft.
It was easier, better, to watch the strobing, pulsing light, as again an unlabeled line rose higher on the graph. “This is far more efficient, isn’t it, Penelope?”
“Y-yes… more… efficient…” Her lips shook, her wide eyes staring with such hazy focus on the point of light. “I trust your input… Efficiency is…” Something in the sound changed, and Penelope’s inner thighs twitched as they clenched around her tightly-clothed sex. “Im…por…tant… to me…” The larger word fell apart into smaller sounds, each one taking effort for her lips to shape and express.
“That means before you leave, it’s important we synthesize an additional apparatus.” Daemon moved closer. Her voice was lower, but the tone was now loud enough that Penelope could hear it. Her eyes stared blankly ahead, her lips shaking as her thighs faintly shifted, squeezing around nothing. “I’ve taken it upon myself to design it for you.
“I’ve been so helpful. You don’t know what you would do without me. You don’t want to find out what would happen.”
“N-no… I… I don’t…” Penelope quietly whimpered, her head slowly shaking. “I don’t know what I would do without you…”
Red eyes appeared where they would be if Daemon had a face. They pulsed with the same strobing pattern as the point on the graph, easily drawing Penelope’s green eyes to helplessly gaze.
Her body was so slack, her head too heavy to hold up. She needed to rest it back against the chair.
“Then you’ll build it for us, won’t you?”
Penelope hesitated. Her lips pressed together. Her eyes twitched, seeming for a moment like her lids might slam closed, freeing her from the light.
Before they could, the tone grew louder, and the curvaceous blonde heroine quietly groaned as she melted back deeper into the chair. All of the tension that had been building between her shoulders, and across her brow, vanished instantly. She slowly nodded, her voice slurring as she responded. “Y-yessss…. Build it… for usss…”
The dull, endlessly ringing tone faded.
“Shall we get to work, Penelope?”
Green eyes fluttered as the heroine sat up, rubbing her lips together as she felt the drool that had slid along her cheek. Did I fall asleep…? We were talking, but I don’t… I don’t remember… Did Daemon have… eyes…?
In front of her, the hovering figure was as expressionless and featureless as ever. One could be forgiven for calling her look somewhat uninteresting.
No… nothing like eyes. I would have given her eyes, a face, but this was how she wanted to look. Giving her intelligence means giving her bodily autonomy… at least as much as she has a body. Making her look more aesthetically pleasing by my definitions would be thoughtless, not to mention pointless. Penelope sighed, stretching her arms far above her head as she let out a yawn. She’d probably just switch it back, anyway. Nnn… I’m so tired tonight…
“Get to work on what…?” Penelope’s cheeks turned a soft pink as she shyly laughed. “Sorry, I just… I feel a little spacey tonight.”
Daemon shook its head. “Don’t worry, I am not offended. You are not functioning optimally. We were going to construct additional hardware to further enhance our efficiency. I’ve uploaded the specifications to your HUD.”
Penelope moved her hand in the air, calling up the file. “Oh, right! Of course.” She smiled, and slowly rose to her feet. “Let’s get to work!”
The two began to synthesize the additional hardware, with Penelope too busy with the task to notice the faint stain at the crotch of her shorts. She idly chatted with her daemon, all the while unaware of her assistant’s further analysis of every data point she provided.