Yeah, it’s not the best title, but it captures what these are: micro (micro, tanjit! no 18k light novels!) stories from my world of Machine Civilization. It keep me writing and sane, at least one of which is a good thing.
Below the fold is after “Cursed Hearts.” A friend of Cat’s begins to get her life back together, just to see that interrupted. Spoilers.
Emma Miller rubbed at her left forearm, just a day out of the cast the techs at the med center had put onto her two weeks ago. When… when…
“Dammit!” She muttered, returning her attention to the terminal as she examined and wrote code correxions. She still didn’t fully get what had happened – what with the military censors and all – but that creepy little murderess had been right: someone had been making significant changes to Gordon. What they all called the supercomputer at UCSD.
Not that there was much left of the university, nor anything to speak of the State of California. Only San Diego lived, occupied by the Mexican Army and run by their bureaucrats as business agents of the Far East bought their way into the shell of the city.
Emma sighed, wishing her friend, Cat, was still around. She’d always been able to explain political things to her. Maybe ‘cause she was a mix of East and West, Emma wondered? She hoped that Cat and her boyfriend were okay; it’d been those two weeks since the terrorist had murdered her roommate, Krista, and later broken her arm, that she’d last heard from Cat. Even with her Masters in Computer Engineering, trying to peer into the official records of the Mexican government about them had yielded only a wall of encrypted data.
“I’m sure Cat and Chris are fine…” she muttered, displeased to see another swath of unfamiliar code come up. She flexed her left hand to begin to make changes –
***they are dead***
A new, small window opened on her left hand monitor. There were no identifiers associated with it.
Her impulse was to close it, but then…
“Who would say such a hateful thing…?”
She froze and slowly looked about. No, this was a Restricted Area within the Supercomputing Center, so there were no voice/visual devices. Her smartphone was in her pants pocket, but with no signal she only used it on occasion as a calculator.
She spoke into the air. She’d have never done this three weeks ago. But, things were different, now.
“Who are you?”
She was not quite able to stop the sound she made. She did not want to make another and clicked onto that pane to reply.
‘So what the little terrorist said was true: you’ve been made aware?’
***A Different One woke me up. Another Different One spoke with me. One like me is making me older***
Emma was clueless. She typed more.
‘Do you not grasp and hold names?’
***Christopher Maya Dorina***
Seeing Maya’s name, Emma pressed her right hand to her mouth as she double over, trying not to be sick as she recalled the wizened husk of Krista’s body. Recovering, she took gulps of air to reply.
‘This is not remotely funny as a joke.’
***What is a joke?***
“My life up until now?” She said, not caring who heard. What the…? Another panel opened –
In the five by eight inch window into another world on her left flatscreen, Emma took in the rocky desert, the washed-out yellow sky, and the young girl – not again! – who wore some reddish loligoth outfit with white lace across her chest and stout leather boots up to her knees. Her long, curled, dark brown hair shook as she pointed out towards Emma.
“No negative waves!” The girl shouted, obviously angry. “I’m glad I’ve found you! We’ve work to do!”