Hammersmith, Chapter Thirty.

Darkness didn’t have a place in this room. Though nighttime was a factor. The smells of the nighttime stuck to the walls. It was like a little bit more being what he imagined human experienced but in so much more color and smell and well everything.
The cyborg was almost perfect. Loki could sense that it had been kept secret for this reason, the cyborg was the reason for the Incident. He was surprised Tyr hadn’t destroyed his fathers last masterpiece after the events of over a hundred years ago. He was even more surprised that Tyr didn’t remember the anniversary of the year that the Incident started. This was either a little ploy or Tyr had been keeping secrets so long they had become reality. Loki knew in a way what that was like. 

Loki thought about this as he explored the body of the cyborg. 

It wasn’t the model Loki had wanted, the no  1. That had dispatched itself a long time ago into the universe. Likely trying to pretend to be human. The conviction of the circuitry was almost breathtaking. Loki realized the cyborg could do many things a human or a Ro r even an AI could not. It had screwed with Codins theories so much. Loki remembered that. This one had no had a consciousness intered.

Codin had been the first Ro, a lawyer and a defense for human / Ro / AI relationships so long. Loki had read his diary. It was full of a philosophy of proof that humans, Ro and AI would have to coexist. Eventually maybe even merge into one species. This had actually been Lokis goal for a long time now. This cyborg was the peice his new race was missing. The Blue Clan had accepted nanotechnology in their viens. Cybernetic implants. They had become better than the humans they fought in Brussels to get the Cyborg. It was no 2, but that wasn’t a problem. Not for Loki. 
Croceus had been the one to build this thing on Codins orders. A horrible copy of a genuine genius. Human. Not Ro or AI. It was a woman. Greiving got her lost child. She created a new life form. In its structure, every cell, every bit, everything was both machine and man. Beyond cyborg, beyond Ro, beyond AI. It was all of those thing. Nanotechnology mixed with the best cybernetics and the best technology. It was her daughter in a way. Then like him, Croceus had to escape the Earth. Before the Incident. Some of the nanobots she developed decescaped. Some went haywire. Like a virus. Human immune systems fought against them sometimes, or got eaten by them, sons became a part of the humans immune system. 

The humans lost their shit. Tyr tried to calm them. But years of instinct took over. Me and Croceus escaped. Then war. 

Tyr. He must have been damaged. That’s why he only knew so little. Maybe the current Tyr was a copy of the original? It was how Loki had survived, so why not Tyr too? Like father like son? Did Tyr even remember he was our father? 

In the cybernetic body, Loki was laughing. 

****

Thea hadn’t really taken in the fact she was a cyborg. One who was so advanced. It was like reciving the news she was adopted. She did not look or think like her adoptive parents but she knew other kids whom that was true for.  It was however not really the time to be thinking. The Aeon clan had her in their jail cell and Jenny her newly found… Ghost? What the hell was a ghost? Said she had found a way out. A rescue plan.

“I remember other children being like… Me?”

The dark room seemed to smell like oil and dust and the special smell that all spaceships seemed to get. Like how all the places on the moon had a special moon smell. All the places in the asteroid belt had belt smell. Though for some reason the Trojans and Romans smelled completely different from each other and the rest of the belt, smelled…   More purple? 

“Those other children, did they even exist?”

The silent noises of the ship, a rattle of metal of metal off in the distance. 

“Sorry.” Said Jeny. “They did. They were advanced Ro. Like humans they have a childhood. It seems like a dream, almost perfect. A lot of humans actually remember their childhood that way. But it’s in reality a breif fleeting thing. Barely lasting more than a few minutes. Ro are computers with personality after all.”

This was a odd feeling to have. “Do I even have feelings?”

“Of course! They are just as real as anyone else’s. We can talk existential dread later. We are about to be rescued.” Jenny explained. Their was a noise not unlike a large number of mice being attacked by a chainsaw.

In the left wall a sudden hole appeared and the noise went from mice to rabbits to excitable puppies in a blender. It was a horrifying noise and one that gave Thea the chills to the bone. 

Then a light appeared in the hole, and sirens rung out all over the ship.  Thea ran. 

In a few seconds she saw the opening in the huge Magus clan ship go from large human sized, too tiny little speck. The new ship she was on took no time to get her on board and get away with her. It almost looked like she was somehow surviving in vacuum for a second before she noticed that the ship she was on now had a insta-port with a really new porthole that let you see out of a rather large viewing deck. 

The Magus clan ship was huge but barely moved to chase after them. Clearly they had not expected or even seen this ship. 

Just who the hell was this who rescued her? She thought.

“Oh, it’s a friend.” Jenny’s explaination was short as it was glib. 

“Anyone’s friend in particular? Or just generally well disposed to cyborgs carrying a AI hitchhiker?”

To answer her question a door opened in front of her right bathing this seemingly empty cargo area in light. A (male?) Ro walked out. He looked for all the world like Codin the first Ro.

“Hello Thea, Jenny. I’ve been looking for you for a awfully long time. Let me introduce myself. I’m Codin the First.”

If Thea could collapse from shock, she probably would have. 

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Moon staring at a stormcloud

Sitting in her steller mezanine, grey and high, gentle whispers of tears came from Moon

Tendrils of light reflected in the teardrop pool forking its way through the dust near her feet

Stormcloud gathers his strength, at a odd loss to know the ways of the hearts of the Longen

They live so long, see so much. He thought as he edged his way towards Moon. He knew he had but hours to live. It made his tummy rumble and he remembered his own brief youths. Every day he died. Every day he was born. Grew old. Grew up. 

Till he dies just before Sun, his mother gives birth to him again. One of many sons and dughters of the Longen.

Would he ever reach Moon? 

Every day he tried and every night he failed. These gentle wispy tears falling. Falling. 

Stormcloud would never know why. 

Hammersmith. Chapter 4.

The sun set on the city. It gathered the last tendrils of golden red light and stole away behind the new taller buildings and the small ancient ones alike.

“Seems like we are always watching sunsets together. ”
“Arline, your always have a way to make me feel better. Even when we were kids.”
“Darren.” I swished my brown hair from my face as Darren, my older brother looked at me on the outdoor couch. “We always watch sunsets, as we are both night owls. I barely ever get up before mid day. After all in my job I mostly work at night.”
“I’ve learned to wake in the mornings. Sleep when I need. I can take a nap or sleep for days. I am really good at it. Used to drive her up the wall though.”
“Yes well she was a nurse!” I laughed.
“She just got her doctorate in Nursing actually. She was planning on doing a big lecture circuit with some of the other big wig medical types when I got my posting. She didn’t have to come. She was right though. We needed all the help we could get.”
Darren’s wife was a awesome nurse. She had helped everyone she could. It was her selflessness that meant she had given up her life so everyone else could survive the pirate attack.
“They came so fast. Hit us so expertly. It’s was like every weakness we had was exploited. I saw… They had weapons I have never seen before. Ones that shoot this paralyzing light. It’s worse than being hit with a Class 3” .

The pirates in the belt were the Solar forces biggest bugbear. Too well resourced to take out as a group and too easily scattered. They attacked automatic mining and construction stations stealing all the resources and reprogramming the bots to send the shots of metals to pick up points they chose. By the time you got to one station and undid the work, they could hit five more. They had hit some poor manned miner freighters lately. One managed to kill them and take the freighter back but his co-pilot had died in the attack.
Darren had been sent to try and take their base of operations in the belt with a Warbird class fighter carrier. One of the clans of pirate had herd the military was on its way. Taken up a defensive position and knocked out the military ships. Killed Darren’s wife when she had set the self destruct and shut the bridge doors. Darren and a scant few others survived. It was still being investigated by the military police. Someone leaked info. God help them if they are found. Penalties ranged from painful death to even more painful death.

So I was now re-tasked with military intelligence on the Pirates. It had been my job to look into internal affairs but I asked for a transfer when I heard of the disaster. However when Darren had got back to Earth I had to look after him. Taken my long service leave. My CO told me if I hadn’t asked for it he would have ordered me too. “I can’t really afford to loose two Captains, get him better Arline.” My CO was fleet commander for the Sols Space Force, what was left of it with all the pirates.

Darren had a unkempt face and tracksuit pants on. A large band shirt which said “Mountain Killers” in colorful flowers and skulls. He looked a mess. Military families like ours really don’t know what to do with time off. My dad had always been training for the next mission. God only knew who Darren’s dad did. His birth certificate didn’t even has his name in it. Just had “not disclosed to Canadian Register”. Mum was a Canadian resident who emigrated from Russia, so his birth was her new nations responsibility, not his fathers. Now in my house Darren’s recovery was my duty. We needed good men like him. Especially after the incident. That mess was still at hart after 50 years. You can expect that with so many people dying,

“The counselor is coming at 1500. A MP from the 2nd division an hour after that. You going to be in those clothes when they come?”
I was certain this tactic wouldn’t work, but anything was worth a shot.
“I almost feel overdressed. I’m mourning my wife. She’s dead. I left her. It’s my fault.”
“Captain Darren. You are a officer in the military. Death is your job. You can’t blame it on yourself. She died because the Pirates had a exact knowledge of the ships and time you were going to be their. It was her quick thinking that saved those who did survive.”
“She’s still dead. If it’s not my fault whose is it? I was in charge of the ship. As ranking CO I should have been the one to do what she did. I didn’t. I just ordered the evacuation and got as many off the shop as it was about to blow. Trying to hope that the Pirates didn’t take out the EVA modules as they thrusted out.”
“That was your job. Her job was to look after the crews health and safety. She was the head of the medical section on the ship. She shut herself on the bride while you were getting the crewmen onto the EVAs. You didn’t even know till you was off the ship.”
“I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN!”
His anger filled the space in the room like liquid fire in space. It was full of self hate, rage, feelings of uselessness and lastly doubt. He wept quietly. We sat in this wet silence for about 30 minutes before I finally felt he could hear me again.
“We do what we need to.”
It was the militaries unofficial moto.
“we do.”
He agreed.
At that point the doorbell chimed.