Wherein I mine three? Four? Different books of Machine Civilization for Aurie to thoroughly confuse her friend with a real-world demonstration that when, some posts ago, the princess said, “we demis think fast!” she meant it. To each other and humans.
I like how when Colour probes some of Aurie’s defenses, she gets the polite equivalent of “not telling” right back at her. Like y’all, I’m beginning to understand that there are things Machines know demis won’t get and things demis know humans won’t. A future both simpler and vastly more complicated.
Side note: lots of about-the-house projects this weekend so we’ll be back on Monday.
“Six days, huh?” Colour asked when Aurelia took her right hand with her left to lead them out into the woods. Even in the late spring, only half the leaves had come in, such was the effect of the cold of the Maunder Minimum.
“Hell, that was nothing,” the member of the Hartmann family explained. “When my mom and dad met, he was three, they asked to be married on the spot. They ended up having to wait until dad was thirteen and mom had manifested a mortal body.”
Aurelia glanced left.
“Lost you again, didn’t I?” she asked.
“Mom, Henge, was, they hate this term but are not listening right now, pure code; an AI. Made by her father Thaad and some effect of human Lily Barrett’s co-creation in the construct of tribe Tohsaka.” Another look. “Didn’t help at all, did it?”
“No! Were you even speaking English?”
“A little after dad, his name’s Gary, turned thirteen, Henge convinced several of her family and some of the humans around Oak Ridge-Knoxville to allow her to make a physical body using nanomaterials and an equipotential flux point of a fusion reactor,” Aurelia kept on deliberately. “Destroyed the reactor; billions in the old currency. But now mom had a body and married dad the next day. Quite the love story!”
“I… admit I do not get any of the details. But yes, it is a beautiful story,” Colour agreed. “Any other good ones?”
“My brother, Roland, is a doctor with multiple specialties, as you might expect from us,” she said, moving on to another story. “On a ten-week assignment in central Kentucky – just recently made a province of ours because of the Canadians on the Ohio River – he met an albino waitress at a bar in Frankfort. I think he was in love with her in about two days. Oddly, it took him and my normie cousin, Crown Prince Robert, nearly a day to talk her around. She could not believe a demi and prince would want a commoner with muddled genes.”
“Love is love,” Aurelia shrugged, “even when you’re a deviant like one of the other Crown Princes.”
“Deviant?” Colour asked as they turned right, deeper into the forest and weaving around the trees.
“The old word was homosexual. In the imperium, we speak plainly.”
“I told you before,” another look, “I will not lie to my friends.”
“You said your empress wants you married this year?” Colour asked, forcing the conversation into another direction.
“At twenty-five?” The princess snickered. “Faustina began to drop hints when I was sixteen. Because I elected to serve as a cadet, then centurion, then legate in the legions, she’s trying to give me as much rope as possible. But at a quarter-century? That’s over.”
“Do all of you have to do what she tells you?” the human asked as they turned right again, aiming back to Colour’s home.
“No. Yes. I’m sorry, friend. I’m not trying to be an ass or hide anything from you but our internal family politics are very complicated.” Aurelia stopped them but kept looking forward. “A mistake could cost lives. One of my other cousins found that out the hard way. Hey! Let’s head back! I need to go scare your Governing Council!”
“You never stop do you?” Colour asked, being the one to give a friendly peck this time.