jetamors: Yoruichi is really hot (Default)
Jetamors ([personal profile] jetamors) wrote2010-11-18 11:22 pm
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Nanowrimo Day 18

TBH I didn't know if I'd be able to do any writing today. I didn't even start until 10 pm. But somehow I managed to make word count anyway!

Tatiana nodded. "By the way, my ride is going to be here soon. Can I leave now?"

Afua looked up at her sharply. "You aren't hiding anything from me, are you?"

Tatiana could practically feel the heat of her gaze. She looked up and met it, thinking to herself, *I'm being open, I'm being open*. "Nothing at all," she said.

Afua only looked at her more closely; Tatiana cocked her head and tried to look confused. "What?"

And then Afua broke their gaze, shaking her head. "It's nothing, just... a certain loose end we expected to be tied up by now. Still, if you can remember anything else, you have to contact me immediately, okay?"

Tatiana nodded. "Okay," she said, backing away. "I guess I'll be back the day after tomorrow, to be... reassigned."

Afua's attention was already distracted; someone else had come up and started talking to each other. Tatiana turned and started walking away, trying not to walk too quickly, or think about the still-unknown object in her pocket. This was her chance, she was certain of it!

"Hey," Kid said when she reached the cab stand. "Lotta activity today, huh?"

"Ugh, let me tell you about it," Tatiana said as they went in to board Qaf. "The guy I usually guard? He was murdered today. It wasn't anything we could've prevented, but still. Horrible business."

"Sounds really bad," Kid said.

"Yeah, that's horrible!" Qaf interjected. They were rising through the roof, now. Soon they'd be off this deck, and Tatiana could talk more freely.

"There's also... something else," she said, after they'd lifted and had gotten as far as Deck 112. "I didn't tell anyone else about this. In the morning, before he died, he gave me something. I don't know what it is yet," she said. "I don't want to take it out, even here. But whatever it is, I think the Consortium is looking for it."

"Shouldn't you give it to them?" Qaf asked.

"No way! If it's something they want, but they don't want other people to know about it, that makes it--"

"Valuable," Kid said. "Qaf, you can't talk about this with anyone besides us."

"Okay, Kid!" Qaf trilled. Tatiana suspected she had developed a bit of a crush on her pilot. "I'm good at keeping secrets."

"If this one gets out, chances are we'll all be spaced," Tatiana said. "Or whatever it is they do to androids: slagged? Anyway, people have already killed to get this thing. We have to make sure that doesn't happen to us."

"So you don't know what it is yet?" Kid said.

"Not a clue," Tatiana replied. "I haven't even had a chance to look at it. It's light, but heavier than something like a datachip. That's all I know right now."

"We'll have to check it out when we get back to Hold Steady."

"Ooh, ooh, can I come?"

"No, it's too dangerous," Tatiana said. "We can't break our routine right now."

"Yeah, but the guy you were guarding just died! Wouldn't it be more suspicious if I didn't come? I should want to comfort you or something, right?"

Tatiana thought about it. "Well, you do have a point. And you've got your humanoid body back now, right? I don't think I've ever seen it."

"Awesome!" Qaf squealed. "You won't regret it, I'll be really useful."

"You can't be so happy when we leave, though," Tatiana told her. "Act sad, and worried for me, okay?"

"Yeah, sure," Qaf replied.

Though she seemed to be blowing it off, Qaf actually did a passably decent acting job. Her humanoid form was very similar to her mother's, though her face projection was modified to look younger. Her body was a much brighter silver; it looked as if it was carefully buffed every night.

Tatiana made conversation as they walked along. "So, Qaf, I have a question, but it's definitely ignorant, and I think it might be offensive. Can I ask you anyway?"

"Sure!" Qaf said. "Androids have very few taboos, you know."

"Well, I know how human reproduction works, but how is it with androids? You have a mother, but do you have a father too? I mean--ugh, I don't know how to ask. But there wasn't anything about it in my pad or Hold Steady."

"Ohh, that. It's kind of complicated to explain to humans, but basically--biologically, you usually have two parents, right? For us, we can have many. There's the different factories where we're manufactured, the ones who help us wake up, the ones who... well, I don't know the words for it in this language. But Chay is like my final mother, the one who helps me acclimate to the outside world. I don't know how humans are when they're new, but we're almost helpless when we're first made. We don't know anything."

Tatiana nodded. "It's like that with humans too. Sometimes we're reared with our biological parents, but of course oftentimes we're raised by different people. I think it can be different on different planets too. Or at least it is on the interstellar shows."

"Oh, do you watch any of those? Chay watches Love and Lasers a lot; she's shown it to me a few times, but I thought it was kind of boring."

"Well, not at the moment, since we're saving money. But if you ever get the chance, you should try..."

They chatted about interstellar shows and human and android child rearing all the way to Hold Steady. Once they were inside, though, the mood changed to business.

"There's no way to see into a spaceship like this, right?"

Kid shook his head. "There are ways, I think, but if they can see into this place, then there's nowhere we can go to get real privacy. We might as well just hand it over now."

"Yeah, that's true," Tatiana said. For the first time that day, her hand stole toward her pocket. She tightened her fist around a small, cold object.

"This is what he gave me," she said, and drew it out for them to look at.

"Wait, is that--a pad?" Qaf said. "You can't really disconnect those from the net, everybody knows that. You can't keep anything secure on a pad."

Kid picked it up, and tapped it on. "This isn't an ordinary pad," he said. "It's a kiddypad, the kind we give to human children. No net access. Usually not much computing power, though who knows how he might've altered it."

"So that's what it is," Tatiana said. "Can you access what's on it?" She looked over Kid's shoulder at the screen.

The screen showed a happy yellow animal waving at them. [Hello,] a message typed. [Are you ready to have fun?]

"It looks normal," Tatiana said. "Completely normal. Don't tell me this is all a bust?"

Kid was tapping at it. "Just because it looks normal doesn't mean that it is," he said half-absently. "And even if it is normal,"

"They don't know that," Tatiana finished.

"Hey, hey, let me see it," Qaf said. "I want to try it out. An android can understand computing systems better than humans do, right?"

"Have you ever even touched a pad before?" Kid asked her.

"Well, no. But still, let me try it!"

Kid sighed. "Fine," he said, handing it over to her. "But don't press the screen too hard. And don't scratch it or drop it."

"Thanks!" Qaf said, and started tapping away at it.

While Qaf played with the kiddypad, Kid and Tatiana sat down and started talking. "So how are we going to set this up?" Kid asked. "At some point, they'll have to know who we are to transfer the money, and at that point we'll be in danger, right?"

"Yeah, but I'm thinking, we don't need the money itself, right? What we need is to have our debt forgiven. We can turn it over to Hurston Station's government in exchange for all our debt, and then we can get out of here."

"Where are we going to go, though? We can't go back to Garvey, the Bastard probably still has a hit out on us. And we don't know how to get anywhere else."

"We can probably feed Hold Steady coordinates one by one, right? Let's look up some planets near here. This is a hub station, they can't predict where we go next. If we play it right, we can get onto another hub station or hub world, and then we can really disappear."

"What if the Consortium finds out, though? Maybe we can dodge the Syndicate, but can we dodge them and the Consortium too? Even if nobody in the government rats us out, they're going to know something is up when we suddenly disappear."

"So are you saying we should try to sell it back to them? Because that'll guarantee they know it was us. We'd never even get off the station. I say we turn it in to them, lay low for a few weeks, and then pretend we hit it big in the casino or got an inheritance or something. Make sure they can't connect it back to us."

"Which is fine, unless someone in the government leaks that it was us. And you know they will."

"So what do you think we should do, then?"

Kid was silent.

"Look, I don't think it's the best plan I've come up with, but I think it's the best option we have."

"Look, let's at least sit on it for a few days," Kid said. "We can play with it some, see if we can find whatever's in there. You said the Consortium didn't seem hurried, right? Otherwise they probably wouldn't have let you leave without a strip search or something. I don't think it's too time-sensitive."

"Yeah, that's probably a good idea," Tatiana said. "We'll act normal, play it cool. In three or four days, we can contact Fatima or her boss, and see what they can do."

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