Lightning Seeker

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No Threat

“Dangerous directive?” Vale asked staring down at the screen. She shook her head, trying to process the words. What were the AI’s planning? What did that have to do with me? Why did he need my help?

Vale had stumbled into a world that was bigger than she ever imagined. She had wanted to be a lightning seeker, a lookout that helped bring energy back to help humanity. She wanted excitement and although this was quite the adventure, it was far more terrifying than she bargained for.

Sky nodded and turned the screen back around, typing in something else before handing it back to her. He moved to the door and shut it, locking it from the inside while she read the text on the screen.

They have several targets across humanity. These particular AI can’t handle the high voltage without leaking several layers of code. I discovered that they have a list of people that they are supposed to destroy. Mortem from your ship is one of them.

“But...” Vale’s brain wasn’t functioning well. “Why? We haven’t had any problems until now with the AI’s.”

Sky walked back over and pulled the screen back into his hands. He typed furiously, a spark of focus filled his bright blue eyes. Then he handed Vale back the screen. He pulled out her mechanical arm that was still hoisted against her hip in the electrical chord before I she protest and knelt next to her. He motioned for Vale to take a deep breath.

She hesistated and then did as he asked. Fire ripped through her shoulder as he began to reattach Vale’s mechanical arm. She let out a growl of pain through clenched teeth and swore. “That hurts!” He gave an apologetic shrug and continued working.

Vale couldn’t feel her shoulder under the numbness that took over. The pain was so powerful that she fell forward, throwing up. Sky who seemed to read her far better than expected, moved a trash can below her as she emptied all the contents from her stomach.

He took a step back and motioned for Vale to move her newly attached arm, wanting her to test it out. She took in several shallow breaths, suddenly exhausted from the painful arm reattachment.

Vale wiggled her fingers and was surprised when it felt more natural than before. She moved her arm and shoulder. There was no painful tug against her skin when she moved her shoulder.

Glancing down at her arm, she noticed a new material chorded throughout the metal. “What’s this?”

He pointed to the screen urging her to read the last set of answers first. AI’s have always been a problem. When they control the news, they control our knowledge. Vale stared at him, trying to decide if he was a crazy conspiracy theorist. There had been others before him that claimed the same, but there had never been any evidence to back it up.

She thought of The Libertatem getting ripped out of the sky without a moment’s hesitation, and wondered how true it could be. Could they be dangerous? AI’s aren’t supposed to do that. But all of them? “They can’t all be that way,” Vale pointed out.

Sky typed out his next response, his fingers moving far faster than anyone she had ever seen. The entire AI structure is controlled by one system. One set of overhead. It’s like a virus or disease, if one has it, they all will if it isn’t eradicated.

Vale stood up and paced, finding it hard to believe that she was having this conversation. “So what are you suggesting? We destroy our entire system? Humanity can’t live without the AI’s. What if it’s just a glitch.”

He wrote one small response each tap of his fingers far louder than necessary, trying to make it clear that he was insistent, correct in his assumptions. He turned the screen around and stared Vale down. THIS. ISN’T. A. GLITCH. She crossed her arms, raising a brow at him. He stared at her as he wrote another set of text, not needing to look at what he wrote. I wouldn’t lie about something so large.

Vale pursed her lips, processing. “That’s just it. I don’t know you.” He scoffed mutely and rolled his eyes throwing his head back. Running his fingers through his hair he bit his lip, thinking. “I need more proof,” she added.

How much? he typed.

“Something large. Something that I can’t deny.”

So your ship getting ripped apart wasn’t enough?

Vale placed her hands on her hips. “What they have done is wrong. But that can’t speak to all AI’s.”

He nodded, seeming to come to a decision. He typed something onto the screen and then handed it back. Sky walked around the room, grabbing items and throwing them into a large bag that he slung over his shoulder.

Fine. But as soon as you see the proof, you have to be ready to run. It will be far more dangerous on this ship than it already is for you.

“How am I supposed to leave the ship? Jump off?” Vale asked staring up at Sky who walked back to her. He gave her an irritated look and chucked the screen back at her after typing out another message.

OF COURSE! I went through all this trouble to keep you alive so you could go throw yourself over the side. He grabbed the screen from her hand and wrote one final message. Don’t get separated from me or you will die. They have been ordered to kill all humans on sight.

Vale’s mouth dropped open. “What about you? Why don’t they kill you?”

Sky who had shoved the screen into his bag, pulled it back out and typed. They don’t see me as a threat. I can’t verbally speak out against them. No voice. No threat. He replaced the screen in his bag, a look of frustration crossing his features.

Vale pulled him to a stop, grabbing his arm before he opened the door. “They are idiots then. You’ve made your voice heard.” Sky stared at her, his ice-cold eyes thawing slightly under her words. He nodded, looking somewhat unconvinced, and then opened the door, leading them out to find answers.

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