Jump to content

Recommended Posts

January 2016 

 

"So why didn't you bring your robot body?" asked Eira Katastroff as she walked alongside Sharl Tulink, the blonde girl now substantially taller than she had been just a few days earlier. At twelve years old, the young full-body cyborg had long since mentally outgrown the body she'd been uploaded into in 2011, but a Christmas visit to America and the Archetech labs (along with a chastened Uncle Magnus) had gotten her installed in a brand new body more suitable for a girl of twelve. She was over five feet tall now, a young woman who came up to Sharl's shoulder, her long blonde hair in a braid that went almost all the way down her back. (Eira had been a big fan of the Hunger Games) 

 

"Because I want people to be looking at you, not at me in a giant robot body," commented Sharl with a big brother's grin at his sister...well, not by blood, but as close as it could come out here in the 'real world.' "We wouldn't be able to get anything done out here." He was projected today, a miniaturized holo-emitter actually something included in Eira's physical 'body', the magnetic enhancers she used to get around with peak human strength and dexterity easily able to power the matrix that produced his own unique energy matrix. It meant he had to stick close, at least until they got into the DuTemps Building and he could directly interface with its systems, but that was okay - why would he not stick with his not-so-little friend? 

 

"So tell me more about your girlfriend," teased Eira, which he had to admit was the other reason he was planning to integrate with the DuTemps systems once they were up in the castle proper. Sharl used a security code Eliza had given him to get in one of the staff elevators, and the two of them were whisked upstairs towards the castle. 

 

"She's very nice," said Sharl, "and I think you'll like her. You can tell her what you were telling me about the vatnavættir, I think she'll like that." He hmmed. "But maybe in a different way." Come to think of it, Eliza would probably be pretty put off by stories about how Sweden's national superteam was endeavouring to clear psychic debris from the oceans surrounding the high-latititude nation. "Eliza's views are very different than mine, or yours, but I still respect them." 

 

Eira was pretty sure that was because Sharl and Eliza were having sex, a prospect that managed to be disgusting and hilarious at the same time, but said nothing to that effect as she and Sharl talked more about the friends who lived in the DuTemps Building, some of whom Sharl had known since she'd been first been uploaded almost five years earlier now. Calling upstairs as their elevator reached the security barrier of the castle, Sharl reached the castle's AI, who patched him through to Kimber. 

 

"Hey Kimber, it's me!" he said to the air, transmitting at the same time up to Bluebird. "Let us up, I've got a visitor who wants to meet my favorite Canadian." 

 

"

Share this post


Link to post

"Becky's going to be all mad," a chipper voice teased over the intercom as the elevator continued smoothly upward. Naturally Bluebird had let Kimber know the moment their expected guests had stepped off of the sidewalk toward the skyscraper but the poltergeist enjoyed the motions of answering the metaphorical doorbell all the same.

 

She was there to greet them as the door slid open, all translucent blue smiles and hovering a handful of centimetres off of the castle floor. Beaming, she thew open her arms, wrapped in a cozy looking cowl neck seater. "Ohmigoodness, look at you! You're so tall! And you hair!" Kimber looked several years older than the last time Eira had seen her which wouldn't have been unusual if they'd been anyone other than who they were. Certainly the Canadian's current hairstyle was a departure, too. "Get over here and give me a hug! I give hugs now!" She raised her gaze to give Sharl an amused look that wrinkled the faint dusting of beryl freckles across her nose. "You can come in, too, Sharl. I suppose!"

Share this post


Link to post

Eira did indeed give Kimber a hug, the girl's embrace quite a bit stronger than her still-relatively small frame suggested. "Hello, Kimber! Sharl told me you had an adventure with jotunns!" 

 

"Hey, I was there too," teased Sharl, coming over to give Kimber a quick hug. He'd never been much for physical contact - but at least these days Kimber was less likely to short out his emitter. "By the Republic, it's good to see you," he commented. "I never thought I'd be happy to be back on Terra, but after the last two years, just being out in Freedom City is nice." It was no Tronik, of course, but he was beginning to figure out that no place was, and neither would Tronik itself be with the Republic broken. 

 

"I am glad you like the hair," said Eira, her voice a little singsong with her remaining Swedish accent, stepping back and doing a little twirl to show off her big braid. "Miss Americana gave me chemicals to dye it any color I want, but I will keep what I have for now." 

 

"Ffft, long coats and black hair will be fashionable again on this planet soon," replied Sharl with a grin. "You two should get in on the trend now." He and Eira followed Kimber further into the castle, towards a 'living room' that had a good view of the city. Nodding in satisfaction, Sharl peered out the window and said, "You should get Eve to bring in more castles, make the city look civilized." 


"No way, save us Europeans our castles!" said Eira. "Where am I supposed to live?"

Share this post


Link to post

There were aspects of Sharl's life that Eliza did not deal with on a daily basis, just as there were aspects of her life that he did not delve into too deeply. After that one lunch date backstage - that had ended with the two of them fighting a spiritual reflection of a parasite city trying to muscle in on Freedom's turf - Sharl did not feel too keen to dive into the matters of ephemeral beings, and Eliza understood that this was her territory. But there were aspects of Sharl's world that she did want to get close to. Namely, she wanted to understand his involvement with the tech sector - not just in the sense of the people who brought him through from Tronik and helped give him stability, but who he also deeply related to. Sharl had much to say about Miss Americana and others who knew the finer arts of high tech, and Eliza did kind of wish she understood his friends on the level she understood him.

 

Well, maybe not that fair. And there were times she knew she didn't fully understand Sharl. But it would be nice to meet more of his circle of friends.

 

Which was why she accepted the offer to meet with Sharl, Kimber, and Ms. Katastroff. She descended from the castle, dressed in simple yet cool blues but leaving the ice behind. "Glad to see you again," she said to Sharl, pecking him on the cheek. Her eyes descended to the young woman before her. "You must be Eira. It's great to meet you in person. How's your trip to Freedom been?"

Share this post


Link to post

"Hello," said Eira, giving a little wave as she looked up at Sharl's girlfriend. Eliza didn't seem very touchy in the way Kimber was, but that was okay by the mechanical girl. "My trip has been very good. I love my new body," she said, doing a twirl for Eliza's benefit to show off both her new physique and her gold and blue print dress that matched the colors of the Swedish flag. (The look had been a gift from Miss Americana.) "And Sharl has shown me many good things in the city. How have you been?" 

 

For his part, Sharl relaxed, putting his arm affectionately around Eliza (about as affectionate as he was likely to get in public) and watched as the closest thing he had to a sister talked to his girlfriend. Both hologram and robot were clear to Eliza's eyes, with no more spiritual presence than any other pieces of technology. "She says she wants powers with the next one, but I said she'd better wait till she's in high school first. Claremont could use some more students from her kingdom." 

Share this post


Link to post

"Oh jams, now I'm rethinking my new costume," Kimber sighed theatrically, her sweater shimmering as it was briefly replaced by her ornate coat, belted at the waist and tattered ominously about her ankles, ice crystal patterns over the shoulders off-setting the black undercut on either side of her head. "If Sharl thinks it's fashionable..." She gave Eliza a comically mournful look before letting her casual outfit return and laughing brightly. "Good thing Eira has a bit more style, hm? I do wonder why you bother with that big, adorably clunky robot body though, Sharl, if Miss Americana can build bodies like that."

Share this post


Link to post

"Sharl does, on occasion, have good taste in some things," said Eliza, smiling. As for the 'robot body' thing, well... she felt she had a good understanding. Sharl had spent most of his time in a digital avatar that was his own, and - as Eliza could attest - was fully interactive with the world. And while he did have a sense of romance, he was also a highly practical person who didn't really see the need for extra gewgaws. Especially if he knew he could look like that otherwise.

 

Then again, she didn't really feel like speaking up on the matter. She was afraid it might be fleshsplaining. Instead, she decided to follow another train of thought. "What sort of powers might you want to go with the body, Eira?"

Share this post


Link to post

"Oh, flying, and being strong, like Sharl and Miss A," said Eira brightly, evidently having given this a lot of thought. "Sweden may not be as exciting as Freedom City, but we still need to have superheroes. Maybe we will build a whole Nordic superteam, if I can find other people my age!" She laughed, her smile and confidence a foretaste of the woman she wanted to grow up to be. But after a moment, the smile faltered. "I was very lucky to be given this chance," she added more soberly. "If my uncle had not been a superhero, if he had not known superheroes like Miss Americana and Dragonfly, I would be dead. The world gave me much because of my blood. I want to give my blood back to the world." 

 

"Well, hopefully not real blood," said Sharl warmly, "that's what the neo-titanium's for." For Kimber's benefit, he added, "It never seemed worth the effort. I already have a body and a real life - it's just not in the world here. Building a robot body that looked like myself would be like lying to myself. About what I really am, and where I'm really from." 

Share this post


Link to post

"You should see if they can set you up with invisibility and intangibility," Kimber suggested with a broad grin, lacing her fingers under her chin and letting her feet rise higher behind her until it looked like she was lying on an unseen mattress around eye level for the more gravity-bound in the conversation. "The be~e~est!" she singsonged before rolling over onto her back, regarding Sharl upside-down. "If you say so. If you're asking the dead gal, though, take all the life you can get, wherever you can get it. Who says you can only be one thing or from one place, eh?"

Share this post


Link to post

"Yeah, well, you should have heard me in space," said Sharl, putting one hand in his pocket as he watched the hovering Kimber. "When I first got out into the Republic, I kept getting mad when people thought I was a Terran. I was wondering if it was stamped on my forehead or what." He grinned ruefully. "It wasn't till about the time Eliza and I were beating the Communion that I realized I am a Terran - and a Lor, too. Being one doesn't cancel out the other." 

 

"Like how I can be Swedish and a cyborg," offered Eira cheerfully. "I do like sneaking around," she told Kimber. "But I love being strong! I can already lift a motorcycle with one hand, and when I have my adult body, Miss Americana says I will be as strong as Lady Liberty - and twice as fast!" 

Share this post


Link to post

"Flesh and spirit, Terran and Lor, Swedish and cyborg, ghost and Canadian," said Eliza, "we're all a set of our own personal combinations. And they all give us our own distinct senses of strength." She looked to Eira. "As long as we're advocating for choices of powers, I must say, elementalism has its advantages. I'm not exactly into advanced robotics, so I don't know if a cyborg body that can produce its own electrical field for purposes of control and projection is a gigantic no-no. But hurling great bolts of lightning can make one hell of an impression, both of the battlefield and in everyday life." 

Share this post


Link to post

"Aw, look at you with the emotional growth," Kimber teased Sharl while Eliza waxed poetic about the nature of duality. It wasn't like the poltergeist was in much of a position to judge, not when her own personal development had literally involved physical growth. Still, joking was easier than asking how Eliza reconciled her philosophy with Sharl's distinct lack of 'spirit'. She had to assume the elementalist was aware of it given the nature of her magic but it wasn't something she was in any rush to have clarified in detail.

 

Instead she rotated lazily though the air until she was right side up again and turned to Eira. "But ice is so much cooler! Eh? Eh?" Grinning broadly she waved in the direction of the castle beyond the room they were in. "C'mon, I'll give you the tour so these two can be all gross for a bit."

Share this post


Link to post

Eira paid close attention as Kimber gave her the grand tour, nodding her head politely at all the right moments without actually seeming insincere. It reminded Kimber a little of a princess being given a tour of some government building by a functionary - a very good princess. When they were up in the upper tiers of the castle, in a tower done up in 14th century furnishings to showcase ancient Martel family artifacts (the one the public was allowed to see, anyway), Eira looked up at Kimber and asked a question. "Kimber, can I ask you a question about you?" They were before a stained glass window displaying a long-dead Martel's victory over demonic invaders. "The thing that you are. Does that happen whenever a brain shuts down?" 

 

 

When Eira and Kimber were gone, Sharl picked up Eliza by the waist and, asking permission with his eyes, kissed her passionately on the lips as he pressed her against the wall by the window, the view beneath them the doll-sized skyscrapers of Freedom City. "You are so beautiful," he told her with a warm smile, "and I missed you. Holos in the plankton fleet are not the same. I don't know the people who can't fly off to another dimension take those shifts."

Share this post


Link to post

Kimber put most of her arm through the castle wall as she turned around to look at Eira, caught off-guard by the abrupt change in conversation. "Um. W-well, I suppose you're getting to be a young woman now, it's natural for you to start thinking about that sort of thing," she reasoned aloud, steepling her fingers awkwardly and looking about in vain for a distraction. It was the sort of topic she would have liked to have a little preparation time before handling but she also didn't want the girl feeling embarrassed for bringing it up. 

 

"I guess first off, you can say 'ghost'. Even if you want to think 'free roaming psionic echo' or whatever Sharl rambles about, 'ghost' is just a lot easier, I think." She folded her legs up underneath herself and floated downward until she was at eye level with Eira, hands in her laps so that she didn't fidget. "But no, usually someone only leaves a ghost when there's a strong emotion involved; fear or anger. 'Unfinished business' is sort of the classic but it can be more complicated than that. Like, I'm a poltergeist specifically but I'm also much, much stronger than most ghosts, more coherent. After Jotunheim..." One hand went to the pendant hanging from around her neck. "I'm something different again. Everybody's changing all the time, sometimes the changes are just a little more dramatic."

Share this post


Link to post

"I used to wonder if there was something left behind when my old brain shut down," said Eira with a voice that sounded older than her years, "but it doesn't sound that way. I just wanted to live, and wake up in a body when I wasn't sick anymore. And I did!" she said, smiling winningly at Kimber. "I talked to Sharl about it," she went on, "but he doesn't really understand why I'm worried because he never had a meat brain. Is going to Jotunheim why you like girls?" she asked the ghost curiously. "Because I remember I thought you had a crush on Koshiro..." 

Share this post


Link to post

"Well," said Eliza, "I could say something about the tranquility and peace others find in the ocean, but I think I've reached for profundity enough for one day." She sat down, giggling, and pulled on Sharl's wrist to bring her down to her side. "One day I'll see your place. Plankton fleets or not. It would be a very interesting change of pace." She meant that. While a part of her might have once disliked the idea of being slightly cut off from the spiritual continuity of the world - if Sharl's accounts of the computerized nature of Tronik were accurate - she was seeing the appeal of stepping into a place that allowed her to take a break from squabbling pigeon spirits and sewers wardens that made their displeasure known in unavoidable fashion. "For now, though, let's make sure all of this works out." 

Share this post


Link to post

Sharl didn't respond so much as he kissed down the side of her neck, right down to where it met the junction of her shoulder. His electric touch was like static electricity on a crisp fall morning. "Eira's going to want to see the whole castle," he whispered. "She said she had a lot of questions for Kimber - and that she wants to meet your friend the machine intelligence. Could take a long time," he suggested, with a meaningful look at the hallway outside of the floor's common room. "Right now, I want to get the most out of visiting _your_ place." 

Share this post


Link to post

"Ah." Eliza knew that things were heading in this direction. Well, she suspected. And she was happy for it. "Well, then. Let's get some good mileage out of that visit." 

 

Eliza was between semesters, which meant she had the time to move things in from her dorm. Then again, the college didn't really truck well with somebody cancelling their semester's worth of room and board, paid in advance. Especially after her dad was kind of left to fight things out with the college. Eve had offered to make it go away - something about having "screw you" money - but her dad kind of took it as a point of pride to fight his own battles. Eliza wished she could help him fight it, but that pride also conveniently left her out of what he saw as "his" battles. 

 

So, for now, the room was painted - a cool shade of blue, of course - and well-furnished - with a fine bed and chairs that were a step up from the ones Eliza had scrounged off of Craigslist for the dorm room. But there wasn't much in the way of personal touches, save for some books and her old stuffed fox, tucked away in one of the cubbies. She put the fox into the closet - she knew that there was power to anthropomorphizing objects, and she didn't exactly want a witness - and sat on the bed. "Well. Do you want to sit and talk?" she said, implying clearly that her plans included the exact opposite of that. 

Share this post


Link to post

"I've sometimes wondered about Sharl's brain period but-- ha, no, Eira," Kimber clarified with a short laugh, more than happy to change the subject even if the topic was still personal. "You could sort of argue liking girls is part of why I went to Jotunheim. And just between us the last couple of years were very good to Koshiro. Remind me to find the pictures." Carrying a phone around with her wasn't really practical most of the time, not when her relative corporeality charged from moment to moment. The phantom floated a little lower in the air and unfolded her legs, letting her feet hang just above the floor next to the uploaded Swede. "But no, I realized I can like boys and girls before the forging. And that I definitely have a type but we're not talking about that until your older, I think." She paused before tilting her head to one side slightly and studying Eira's expression. "Er. Unless you had... questions? About... that sort of... stuff?"

Share this post


Link to post

Eira made a face. "Everyone wants to talk about who I am dating," She wandered over to one of the windows and looked out, her eyes glinting in the glow of the city far below. "My mother and father wanted to wait until I am sixteen before I have puberty installed, but Miss Americana said that is not psychologically healthy - so they had an argument." She rattled off the English word "psychologically" with perfect pronunciation - medical terms being something she never stumbled over. "I don't know when I want to do any of those things," she admitted. "I want to look like a grownup. so that no one thinks I am a child, but..." Unconsciously, she made a fist. "it is strange to think about changing my brain and being different. Bodies are...strange when you think about them. You and Sharl, you have shown me I do not need flesh to be a person." 

Share this post


Link to post

"Oh. Oh, they'd have to-- Honey, I'm sorry, I didn't realize that was how that would work for you," Kimber apologized, gliding through the air until she was close enough to place a hand comfortingly over Eira's fist. With the new, older looking robot body the girl had been... installed in, she supposed was the term, she hadn't considered that her mind wouldn't develop normally right along with it. The idea of intentionally introducing the digital equivalent of hormones seemed like a sensitive topic indeed. "There's no rush, right? You take your time deciding what's right for you, it's your body and your mind, eh? If anybody argues you let me know and I'll set them straight." She offered a smile along with that promise but from her tone it didn't sound at all like a joke. "Having spent a good long while stuck at sixteen or so, though, I can't really recommend waiting forever. Somehow I don't think a ritual flouting the ancient laws of gods and nature would work in your case."

Share this post


Link to post

Going downstairs, Kimber and Eira heard Tarva before they saw her, the latter singing as she made her way up the castle steps with the vocal freedom and almost overcompensating confidence that told Kimber she wasn't aware anyone else was there. "And if you look deep in her eyes, she'll put you in-oh!" Beneath them on the steps, Tarva gave Eira a startled look, her shadowy accompaniment slithering back beneath the folds of her dress, then looked behind her at Kimber. "H-hello. You must be Kimber's guest, the p-princess." 

 

"Countess, actually," said Eira cheerfully with a look back at Kimber, evidently misreading Tarva's tension. "I'm sorry we surprised you. You have a beautiful voice." 

Share this post


Link to post

"Hey, liquorice whip," Kimber greeted, floating around the stairwell to kiss the black haired woman on the cheek. While she doubted Tarva was thrilled to have been overheard she also knew that meeting new people generally wasn't enough to cause such a pronounced level of discomfort. It only took a beat to realize what was actually bothering her, leading the poltergeist to turn to their young guest. "Eira, can you give us a sec? Meet you downstairs, okay?"

 

She waited until she was confident the countess would be out of hearing, enhanced robotic sensors or no, before reaching down to take her girlfriend's hands. "Hey, I told you about what happened when she was younger, right? I know she doesn't-- She's like Sharl, not like Bluebird. If they'd had Furion technology or a spell or..." She turned her eyes downward for a moment, chewing on her bottom lip. Clearly Tarva wasn't the only one unnerved by Eira's 'condition', though for Kimber it wasn't fear for herself so much as for Eira herself. "But she's still just a kid, eh? She's got her personality and she worries about growing up and she wants to be a hero and help people! Are you going to be okay with that? I can always just tell her you had work to do, I'm sure she knows what goes into keeping a castle running and all."

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...