Welcome To Crisis – Short Story – “Welcome” Series Part 4

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

“So how did you join the Resistance?” Ravi asked Petite. The strain evident on his face as he navigated out of H for H space belied the casual tone of his voice but he’d noticed Petite’s leg bouncing, the stress emanating from her. Blue might be dying, the Resistance weren’t sure if they would help, whether the value of Petite’s engineering experience and the information they had been sent out to gather were worth the risk of helping.

Ravi was hyper aware of everything appearing on his radar, just in case it was H for H soldiers, or soldiers from the Reset Facility they had just rescued Blue from. Petite had plugged Blue into a memory port in an attempt to repair at least a little of the damage caused by whatever had happened in the Reset Centre.

“I met that idiot” Petite snorted, gesturing wildly in Blue’s direction. She sighed, glancing in Blue’s direction again. “Actually” she said softly “I ran across Blue a few times before I even knew the Resistance existed.”

She hadn’t intended to keep finding the cyborg, but each time she did the intrigue – purely from an engineering standpoint of course – had been too great to not attempt to observe the cyb’ further.

“Why exactly are you following me?” The cyb’ had appeared behind Petite, as if from nowhere. It was the first time Petite had seen the cyb’ close up. It was quite the machine, she found herself thinking. Even humanoid skin tone, deep brown eyes, medium build. The hair was surprisingly choppy but Petite guessed that was the cyb’s choice rather than an inbuilt feature.

“You’re interesting” Petite found herself saying “You don’t move like you should, or look like you should”

“Do you work for Humanity for Humans?”

“No” Petite’s face screwed up in disgust

“How do you know how I should move?” the disdain evident in the cyb’s voice surprised Petite. Most cybes she had met hadn’t been able to manage tone.

“You’re a Gen Alpha-3, series 87 by my reckoning, a non-typical service bot.”

“You picked all that up from a little observation?”

“I’m an engineer. And in hiding”

The cyb’s smile was devious, it stole onto their face like a cloud over laundry, making Petite nervous.

“You always were a bitch” Blue murmured from their position on one of the cots pressed up against the wall.

“You’re awake!” Petite gasped, abandoning Ravi to the control panel. He was a pilot and an ex-soldier, even in danger he would manage.

“Opened my circuits and messed with them after knowing me for only a week” Blue continued as if Petite hadn’t spoken

“she did that to me on day one!” Ravi challenged

“There was nothing wrong with me” Blue countered “Whereas your brand new mech’ arm was glitching. You want a glitchy arm?”

Petite took one of Blue’s hands between both of hers “How are you doing?” she asked

“Any word from Toria?”

“Not yet”

“Without Resistance resources this probably isn’t going to happen” Blue sighed, turning their face away from Petite. “You can let me go Petite, I’m only a cyb’” the words stuck in Blue’s throat but they forced them out. Blue was just glad that they got to see Petite one more time, and that they weren’t successfully reset.

Blue and Petite had got on ridiculously well from almost the get go. After bringing Petite back to the Resistance base, much to Toria’s distaste, Blue had been forced to spend time learning more about the woman herself and her engineering skills in order to assuage Toria’s suspicion.

Petite was flighty at the best of times, constantly distracted by the next potential. But she’d made the energy disruptors that Toria had asked for. Those first few tests had shorted Blue out one too many times for power cells that hadn’t been charged in 6 long years.

“I could make you a port-charger!” Petite had exclaimed when Blue’s circuits had come back on board.

Blue had never been quite sure when feelings of friendship had turned to feelings of love. They supposed it was a gradual thing. The realisation came with absence. Toria was constantly demanding new pieces of tech from Petite, so much so that Petite had secluded herself in the lab. Not long after that Blue had gone away on another mission.

Three days in Blue had realised the weird feeling that sat in their torso was due to Petite’s absence. They’d wandered into Petite’s rooms when they’d returned to the Resistance base. The theory was that they would wait until Petite left the labs and talk with her. Instead Blue had fallen asleep on Petite’s sofa. They had awoken to find Petite curled around them.

“You are not just a cyb’!” Petite snapped “and even if you were the whole point of the Resistance is to  show your humanity. If Toria can’t see that then I won’t go back and she’s doing it wrong!”

Blue couldn’t help the weak laugh that escaped them.

“You’re right” Ravi said “If you take the definition of ‘human’ from ‘humane’ then Blue fits it better than half the ‘humans’ I have met – and that’s just the ones I actively remember”

“So, what?” Blue asked “If Toria refuses to aid us you two will go off and start your own new resistance?”

“Us two? You’ll be there” Petite argued

“My wires are damaged, Petite, they’re eroding more as time passes. There’s a chance if I power down it’ll prove fixable and a chance I’ll never power back up”

“No.” Petite said “I don’t accept that”

Petite reached up a hand to Petite’s face, a soft smile stealing over their face. “I should have told you sooner”

“Should have told me what?”

“As soon as I realised, I should have told you”

“Blue?”

“Promise, no matter what happens, you’ll aim for happiness. I think I could accept that”

“Blue. Stop it. Stop talking like you’re going to die”

“They don’t make my kind of wiring anymore – not since the Crash. They don’t make anything for my generation anymore. I think this is the most human I’ve ever felt. If this body dies I go with it. Do you believe in the afterlife?”

Wetness on Blue’s hand made them realise Petite was crying.

“There’s a sight I’ve never seen” Blue whispered, wiping away the tears “It’s like one of Toria’s silly romance books. I should have told you”

“Told me what?” Petite’s rough voice was barely more than a whisper

“I love you”

*

Since it’s my birthday on Saturday there will be an extra post tomorrow! If you want to wish me a Very Happy Birthday you can buy me a coffee here

Epilogue Coming Soon – Welcome To The Alliance

Part 1 – Welcome To Your New Life – Ravi has been Re-Animated, brought back to life by the government, but nobody will tell him why… well, not until he meets an odd pair of renegades calling themselves “The Resistance”

Part 2 – Welcome To Your Old Life – The Resistance work is never done. Ravi, Petite, and Blue are sent off on another mission. This time they have to infiltrate an H for H Neighbourhood and, of course, things are never as easy as they should be.

Part 3 – Welcome To Reset – Blue’s very life is in jeopardy, as some H for H scientists try to crush the individuality from them with repeated resets. Will they escape or will they be reset and labelled a ‘service bot’ once more

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