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When We All Fall Asleep (IC)


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Eira had assumed Ryder had been talking about his sister, but had figured it was workplace harassment he'd been referring to - but decided there was no need to dwell on that. "I thought as much." She smiled, honestly. "A touch of the knight is a natural trait in a superhero. Forget about it," she said, waving her hand. "I have certainly made enough of an ass of myself today already." She began cracking her knuckles thoughtfully, watching Danica's machine print. "I thought for sure she would want that
förbannad thing.

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"Hah, I'm not really a knight or a superhero or any of that, though. I'm just one guy, like everybody else." Ryder raised both hands in front of himself and waved them quickly back and forth to brush away the assertion. "I never want to get into the habit of thinking I'm not allowed to make mistakes 'cause then I'd start thinking I can't make mistakes, probably? Like, you gotta be able to learn from an experiment, clean up the mess and apologize if you need to and listen to other people." He laced his fingers, pressed the heels of his palms together and placed his hands under his chin. "Making mistakes reminds us we're all human."

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Eira folded her hands behind her back, looking uncommonly like Miss Americana, and smiled. When she spoke, it was without the rancor of before, but feeling curled behind it all the same.

 

"We are not all human, yes? Magenta knows. But your point is taken." She considered, studying the subject of her conversation as much as she was studying Ryder, then said, "Have you ever considered an arachnid design for your bugs? I have always found spiders to be a fascinating order. They are so often seen as frightening creatures, caring only for the hunt. But some care for their young, others for their mates, and they build things unlike any other creatures of their kind on this planet. They are not as...monstrous as people think they are."

 

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Ryder returned the smile with a broader one the crinkled the corners of his eyes. "I said what I said. But maybe that's just problems with the language again, huh?" He crouched down and raised his open palms like a boxing coach. Magenta raced over and began hopping up and striking out with her forelimbs to tag his hands, bobbing about and skittering back and forth to evade imaginary counterattacks. "Honestly? I'm kinda saving spiders. Arachnids in general! Never know when you might need to design a whole separate set of armours or whatever, can't use up all my thematic material in one go! Like, I was thinking about a motorcycle, yeah, only instead of two wheels there's a central tread and the tread is a centipede! I've got sketchbooks full of 'maybes', so we'll see."

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"If you are interested in exploring future arachnid-themed technology," said Eira animatedly, "I have been making some designs along those lines in service of my own future incarnation." She gestured in the air, summoning the room's holograms to create what indeed looked for all the world like a humanoid-sized spider, a chrome-tinted creature of eight limbs and eyes. "This is just a test bed for the humanoid frame," she added reassuringly, "I am not going to turn myself permanently into some sort of...giant inhuman spider, ha-ha..."

 

She trailed off, brushing her hair behind a pierced ear, before adding, "Anyway! Your motorcycle sounds a fine idea and the common centipede will carry its young, so you have a theme for your sidecar already! We could take your drawings here and expand them in size and dimension...

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"Eira," Ryder interrupted, his tone serious as he looked up from playing with Magenta. "I promise you - and I mean really, genuinely guarantee - that if you decide you seriously want to be a giant mechanical spider I will one hundred percent have your back both because I have strong beliefs about bodily autonomy and also because that sounds unspeakably friggin' rad." Standing back up he arched his back in a stretch. "I've got a couple bike designs on my phone, I'll send them to you! I want to run a simulation on how fast it could go before literally falling apart!"

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