At long last we meet this Machine. I think his construct is what he thinks Mars will look like once the terraforming project is complete. As to what he wants with Princess Kira? I’ve no idea, but things start to move fast.
As we’ve learned, Kirry is a demi and it seems their contact was brief, so I do not think this will be a major emergency. However, even a small medical crisis can become a major one when in – or on – a hostile environment.
Laszlo could not count the number of times he had been in a machine’s construct so did not find the sudden change of scenery at all jarring or surprising. Worrying for Kira, he looked about until he located her about a dozen feet away, standing next to a low wall beyond which was a wine-dark sea under a blue sky which was so beautiful it hurt right through him. Fortunately, she only looked surprised, not shocky. He turned about toward the voice.
As rumor had described him, Aqua appeared as a tall, thin – almost gaunt – man of Mediterranean complexion. He was wearing an impeccably tailored black silk suit offset only by his bowtie which was the same color as Kira’s new eyes. No one moved or spoke again until Laszlo walked to Kira’s side and made a motion with his eyes for her to answer the question.
“That word, Aqua, would be ‘insolence!’” Les forced himself to not grin. “I am a Crown Princess of the Russian Empire! The largest stakeholder in the terraforming venture of Mars! Would you care that we end this project today?”
Machines only showed what they wanted for their own reasons, but Les saw mirth on this one’s face.
“Of course not.” He lowered his head but never let his eyes, slitted like a cat’s, Les now saw, leave hers. “So please accept my apology, Crown Princess.”
“That’s better! Good.” She took two steps toward their host; Les was content to let her play this out. “Rumor is you are something of a recluse, yet here we three are. What is your agenda, Aqua?”
His blink was just a trifle too long.
“You cannot imagine my complete agenda. However, for what you humans call the near future, my agenda is you,” he said, extending his hands to her, palms up.
“Careful, Kira,” Les interjected. “Touching one of them in a construct is very debilitating. I’ve had members of my family, including mother, go into cardiac arrhythmia.”
“Thank you for your warning, Crown Prince,” the young woman said, taking a step and raising her hands to Aqua’s, “but I’m a big girl.”
For just a moment the entire construct seemed to flicker and he found himself back on the Martian surface watching Kirry’s body slide to the ground.
“Medical emergency!” he shouted into his helmet while scooping her up. “Assume a code blue!”