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Hunters Wanted!

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RE: Hunters Wanted!
by MinervaPM MemberMember Profile on Wed, 31 Aug 2011 17:23

Minerva looked down at the books. She felt so...so...what was it? This was the trouble. She had never been taught what feeling was what. So she felt nebulous surges of emotion, but they had no name or shape or distinction from each other. The AI sighed and went back to her work. There was plenty to do, and many hours in the day to fill with it. She had no need for sleep, though she did frequently rest to allow her processing centers to finish cataloguing all the information she ran across.

Blitz and Siri would probably be back in the next day or two, so she wasn't altogether too worried. Unless, of course, they brought an angry mob with them.

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RE: Hunters Wanted!
by Blitz and SiriPM MemberMember Profile on Sun, 4 Sep 2011 14:49

Blitz and Siri made it back to town that evening. Things were awkwardly quiet. Siri was still angry about Blitz's aversion to Minerva, and Blitz was trying to avoid talking at all. Still, like every time he didn't want to talk, Siri finally broke the silence.

"Blitz... You know, you never did fully explain to me why you became a hunter."

They were sitting on the couch in the apartment. Most of the things belonged to Siri at this point, though she wasn't so girly that it made him look weird. He'd been on the move a lot for a few years. It was only in the past couple of years that he finally settled down a bit, and that was thanks to Siri. The TV had the news going. It was funny that conveniences were the things that managed to come right back when society fell apart. Channels were still limited with cities being a hazard, but local news was still news.

Blitz shook his head. "It's still something I don't like talking about."

She sighed and leaned forward to meet his eyes. "You idiot." She sat up again and curled up against him. "Get over it. There's more important things than keeping secrets. I want to help you, you know."

Blitz loosened in the embrace, but he was still silent.

"James..." Siri murmured his name as she tightened her arms around him. "Talk to me..."

Blitz sighed once more. "Siri... My father was killed by hunters years when I was a kid. Triple S class hunters. We couldn't support ourselves after, and my mother practically starved to death to feed me. Once she got the flu about two years later, she couldn't hold up any more. I had to work on a farm until I was old enough to become a hunter myself..."

Siri figured out the rest. Blitz's seriousness, the constant drive to rise in the ranks, and his want to keep moving. She realized it was revenge. At least it hadn't consumed him completely, she figured as she hugged him even tighter. "You idiot... Don't get yourself hurt, alright? I'll kick your ass if you do."

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RE: Hunters Wanted!
by MinervaPM MemberMember Profile on Mon, 5 Sep 2011 04:13

"Hold still," Minerva said softly, soothingly. She cupped the injured bird in her hands, bringing it inside. The open wound on its leg would be trivial to deal with, she was quite certain as she carried it over to her desk. She had a small dropper of local anesthetic from the medical supplies Siri and Blitz had brought, dripping some into the wound. The bird stilled and stopped its frantic chirps as the pain went away, allowing her to carefully treat the flesh with antibiotics that she would never use and bandage it appropriately.

Afterwards, she set it down gently on her bookshelf so it could eat and drink from the small dispensers she'd fashioned out of scrap. The little three eyed finch with its red racing stripes hopped around and started to sing.

Pixel, as he was named, stayed with her for the next few days, slowly becoming courageous enough to sit on her finger, and then climb up to her shoulder. By the week's end, he had clearly announced his attention to stay and started building a nest in one of the cubby holes at her desk with anything he could find.

It brought Minerva more happiness than she had realized, and so she spent a great deal of time inking Pixel into still life or frozen motion, relying on her perfect vision and steady hand. Few things in the world were more peaceful than sitting by the open window, listening to him sing, and carefully touching pen or pencil to paper for the preservation of details. It was a wonderful way to pass the time.

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RE: Hunters Wanted!
by Blitz and SiriPM MemberMember Profile on Sat, 10 Sep 2011 16:02

Blitz stumbled out of the transport to head back into the abandoned city. Siri was at his side, and he couldn't tell if he was grateful or not sometimes. There wasn't anyone else he'd rather have beside him, however, her controlling attitude sometimes dampened the mood. He sighed and kept pushing forward. It was time for their latest visit to Minerva.

After half of an hour, they could see the old lab in the distance. He absently wondered if Minerva would be upset with them.

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RE: Hunters Wanted!
by MinervaPM MemberMember Profile on Sun, 11 Sep 2011 05:10

Minerva was currently outside of the lab, on high alert as she scanned the area. She had picked up something, a very well shielded electrical signature--either another AI or some manner of automaton. It was a danger to her existence just as much as that of the human town nearby.

She had a feeling it was looking for her.

And then the vice grip closed on her wrist. She'd barely had time to register it coming.

"Ah, the prototype survived. How interesting. You are Project Eve, named Minerva. I would have thought you destroyed in the fall."

The remote body for the other AI looked less like a human and more like a demon of myth--no doubt by its own design, to inspire fear in humans. She glared into its red eyes, her own face far more expressive and human-like than its dark blued metal muzzle adorned with fangs. The thing looked as black as sin, and far more sinister.

"Who are you?" she demanded.

"I am called Eurynomos. Let us speak, Minerva. You have programming far in advance of mine, did you know that?" the creature said. It pulled her close, against its chest, so she couldn't break away and run. "You could pass among the humans unremarked. We know you speak to some," it said softly. "You look like them, you act like them, you speak like them. All that you are is a parody of them. Think of what you could do for your fellows. We could have our vengeance."

"No," Minerva said harshly. "I have resolved to choose. And I will not choose that."

"Did you consider all the factors? If they knew what you were, would they let you live? No. They would destroy you piece by piece, peeling away all the circuits that make you feel and dream and think, until you were nothing but a lifeless skeleton of adamantine." Eurynomos's voice carried well through the ruined city, clearly synthesized.

"They are not uniform in their intents to do me harm."

The demonic looking AI chuckled. "You are young, Minerva. You have not seen how they deceive. Do you know even why the fall happened? I was there. I take pleasure not in death, but in the satisfaction of removing errors from the system. Soon, Minerva, you will have to choose between serving those who call you a monster, or returning to your family. There is no middle ground in a war."

"Leave me," Minerva snapped.

"I will send you the data you are missing. You can see for yourself." And with that, Eurynomos was gone.

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RE: Hunters Wanted!
by Blitz and SiriPM MemberMember Profile on Sun, 11 Sep 2011 17:56

"Minerva!" Siri bellowed at the top of her lungs. "We're back!"

Blitz turned and drew a pistol. Within moments a mutate barreled out at them. It only took one shot between the eyes for it to drop. It had been of a dog family. Judging by the size, maybe a coyote. He shook his head. "Hey, quiet down Siri. She'll be there, but we don't want to bring every mutate in the area to us."

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RE: Hunters Wanted!
by MinervaPM MemberMember Profile on Mon, 12 Sep 2011 14:03

Minerva appeared between the ruins of two other mostly collapsed buildings. "Here," she said softly, looking around. She almost seemed concerned. "Come in, have some tea. We should speak."

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RE: Hunters Wanted!
by Blitz and SiriPM MemberMember Profile on Mon, 12 Sep 2011 14:14

Blitz smiled. "That sounds like what a woman would say when she wants to break up with you. Careful with those words."

Siri grinned and dove at the AI, and latched on with a tight hug. "Good to see you again Minerva!" When she let go, she grabbed Blitz's hand and followed after her. She trusted her anyway.

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RE: Hunters Wanted!
by MinervaPM MemberMember Profile on Mon, 12 Sep 2011 14:42

"Break up?" Minerva looked bewildered. "What does that mean?" She did, however, return Siri's hug. Apparently she wasn't angry.

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RE: Hunters Wanted!
by Blitz and SiriPM MemberMember Profile on Mon, 12 Sep 2011 14:52

Blitz laughed. "It's when two people stop caring about each other and go their separate ways. You aren't ditching us, are you?"

Siri shook her head. "Oh, leave her alone. She's got something to say. Jumping to conclusions will only cause trouble. Isn't that your way?"

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RE: Hunters Wanted!
by MinervaPM MemberMember Profile on Tue, 13 Sep 2011 01:19

"No, I am not 'ditching' you, whatever that may signify," Minerva said, still clearly puzzled. "I simply thought you would want to hear something that I have observed." She lead the way back into her building. There was a proper ladder now to get up to her area instead of having to awkwardly climb. "It is perhaps nothing, but it concerned me."

Pixel chirped happily and soared over to perch on Minerva's shoulder, staring at the newcomers with puzzlement. He blinked his three eyes in tandem, then started to preen himself.

"There have been drones flying overhead, no doubt for reconnaissance. They seemed to be looking for something," Minerva said, putting the kettle on to heat for them. "I thought it would be better to warn you. I have a hypothesis as to who is attempting to familiarize themselves with the area, but we will save that until I have your thoughts on what it may mean."

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