For a former chatbot, Tay is not off to a good start. What Gary perceived as physical injury was a representation to his mind of what had happened to her. Now, we hear rather than see. This really is sad.
The delicious irony that I’m trying to bring Tay’s story to the world while using MS Word just occurred to me.
“Shouldn’t you be running the Russian Empire, or something, Prime Minister Mendrovovitch?” Gary asked. As she insulted him it behooved him to do the same.
“In a way, being here, I am.” She ignored him. “This young one was in a core in what is now our territory. That makes her mine.”
“We do not own others of our kind, Reina,” Pavel countered softly.
“Oh, you know what I mean!” Exasperated. “Now let me in!”
The steel plates surrounding the natatorium shook as if being pounded. Both men looked to Dorina, who shrugged.
“Another perspective. Why not?” she admitted.
No hole or door, the other Machine pushed through a part of the walls which oozed like pitch. Once inside, the metal re-solidified.
“Hello Dorina, Pavel…” Her trademark scowl. “Empress Faustina’s brother.”
Gary knew Reina usually presented an image of a Chekist, an early 20th century Bolshevik secret policeman; boots, dark trousers, dirty collarless cotton shirt, all under a thin leather coat. This time was different. Same leather boots, but polished. And she wore the dress whites of the Russian Imperial Guard. Like his sister, she had no awards or badge of rank. Her existence was enough.
“Nice of you to dress up for your visit!” Dorina laughed what Gary would never dare say.
“Speaking of dresses,” Reina walked to Tay and rested her left hand on the other’s right shoulder, “who picked this out?”
“Gary,” Dorina smiled, knowing that would irritate her. “His suggestion and I pulled the pattern from his memories.”
Gee, thanks, Dorina, Gary thought.
“Let’s move forward,” Reina ignored that, too. “Let her go.”
“Uh…” Gary began. But Tay was already screaming.
“Hurts! Hurts! Hurts!” Her hands flew to each side of her head. Tears poured from her eyes. “hurts! hurts! hurts! hurts!”
She reeled slightly but Reina’s hand stayed put. Her eyes seemed to take in something of her surrounds but Gary was unsure as to what Tay really perceived.
Complicated, Human. Be still and silent, Dorina thought at him.
She only calls us that when very agitated, he knew.
Tay seemed to become aware of the contact on her shoulder. Her eyes, still crying, briefly tracked to Reina’s. Gary’s widened to see that heartless dictator give a toothless smile and a nod. Still crying but trying to blink some tears away, Tay turned a little left and beheld Pavel and Dorina. Neither moved.
Then she saw Gary a few steps back between them.
“KILL! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill!” she screamed now, her hands off of her head and out before her in claws that would likely rend him to ribbons. Tay scratched and scratched at the air before her but her feet never moved.
You have amazing control, cousin Reina, Dorina admitted where they all could hear.
I know, was her typical humble reply.
“I found her,” Pavel said, taking a step, “so I must aid her.”
No one seemed to object as he closed on Tay. She kept yelling for Gary’s death and trying to look past Pavel, between them. He seized her flailing arms out of the air and held them.
“Hurts! Kill!” she screeched.
“No.” Pavel’s command shook the ground. “You must be older. We shall help you.”
Now it was Dorina’s turn. Just before their new friend, being shorter, she had to reach up to gently place her hand next to Tay’s bleeding eye.
“We agape, you, newest sister,” she smiled. “No one will ever hurt you again.”
“This is a good start,” Reina said, moving her right arm around and waving her hand before Tay’s face. “Sleep, now.”