Chapter 7: Freya's Memories
If there was anything Freya could teach those around her at that particular moment in time, it was but one thing.
Persocoms could, in fact, shed tears.
She of all persocoms would have known, seeing as she was crying silently right there on the floor. The weight of everything that had happened to her since awakening had caught up with her, adding to what had already been there even before that. And she was, in fact, aware of the buried trauma from her previous life; she felt it acutely, despite not even remembering what exactly had caused it in the first place.
Do I even want to know?
On top of this?
Whatever it was, it colored the way she interacted with those around her. It was that trauma that made her somewhat hesitant to open up to her new family, especially him. And even now, it left her despondent, desolate and listless in the midst of those who wanted but to help her heal. And she wanted to help them do so, but she still couldn't bring herself to talk about it –
That's just it.
Freya stood up, catching everyone by surprise.
She looked around her; at her mother who continued to wear that sad, but hopeful smile; at her doppelganger and her companion, both of whom looked as confused and clueless as ever; at Rei, whose expression was one of concern.
Finally, her eyes found the young boy, sitting behind the desk, and the blue-haired persocom beside him.
Freya hoped she would be receptive to her request.
"Miss Freya?" Yuzuki asked, concerned. "What's wrong – oh!"
Yuzuki gasped in surprise as her eyes glazed over, which was what all persocoms did when they were in the middle of processing something. After several seconds of tense silence, both Yuzuki and Freya came to, each resuming her place at the side of her master – no, human.
"What was that all about, Yuzuki?"
She looked back at her master, eyes suddenly downcast. "Freya's memories."
"Oh?" Minoru looked up at that. "What about them?"
Yuzuki bowed her head in apparent discomfort at something, though exactly what that was, Minoru had no idea. "She… gave them to me, Lord Minoru."
She gazed up at Freya questioningly. Minoru opened his mouth to speak, but it was Rei who asked the question written on Yuzuki's face.
"Are you sure about this, Freya?" asked Rei, concerned. "You told me you couldn't talk about it, at least not yet. But showing your memories like this…"
Freya's smile was strangely sad, a ghost of its usual self, though this attempt at reassurance was not lost on him. She then turned her gaze on Yuzuki before nodding slowly, but deliberately.
"Yes, Miss Freya. I understand."
After fiddling with a small panel on the side of one of the shelves behind Minoru's desk, Yuzuki reached behind her right ear to pull out a cable which she then plugged into his CPU. A moment later, one of the tiles on the ceiling at the other end of the room slid down, revealing what looked like a large, sophisticated-looking black monitor. It momentarily showed Minoru's desktop for all to see, before he clicked on the media player to run it.
At the same time this was happening, Freya glanced momentarily at Ms. Hibiya – her mother – and returned her smile of sorrow and hope. Memories or no memories, there was something about the woman that inspired immediate trust in Freya – no mean feat, considering the one other person who got that kind of reaction from her was Rei.
Rei who, despite himself, couldn't help but be awed at what he was seeing. Even taking into account the obviously vast financial resources Minoru seemed to hand at his disposal, things like these were normally reserved for all but the biggest and most financially successful corporations.
Sometimes not even then.
You couldn't tell me about it, Freya, so you've decided to have your memories laid bare?
I just hope you're sure about this.
No sooner had he begun to ask this question than the answer made itself obvious to him. He looked up, seeing the light from the fluorescent bulb glinting off of the overhead monitor. Sure enough, following the initialization of Minoru's media player, a video began playing.
Freya still believed that her reawakening was a miracle that was not to be taken for granted, but that did nothing to change the circumstances surrounding it or, more importantly, the events directly succeeding it.
Freya still couldn't muster the courage to speak of what had happened to her. She wasn't lying at all.
But then, she thought, leaning against Rei's shoulder as she closed her eyes momentarily, to actually let everyone see her past was another story.
She just hoped that, somehow, he'd still accept her regardless.
Freya had no idea as to how long she had been 'sleeping' on that 'bed' of hers, but if she were to guess, she'd been out for a relatively long time. Considering she was a persocom, though, the passage of time during her slumber meant very little. Regardless of how long it had been since she had been put to sleep, it would still feel like yesterday to her.
The last memory she had was rather hazy, that of another persocom that looked identical to herself gazing at her as she lay in a bed not unlike this one, while a man – what she had that passed for a heart lurched within Freya – stood over her, an expression of mourning etched into his still-youthful face.
And so it was that, after lying still for a few more moments, she decided to run diagnostics on herself. While this was induced more by boredom than anything else, she did want to make sure all her hardware, not to mention the software that had been installed into her, was still functioning properly.
The time it took for Freya to complete her self-scan roughly amounted to the same time the average human took to draw breath – not surprising, considering that the one bit of software she had was her learning software, which incidentally was working as well as it ever had. Likewise, her hardware continued to function at optimal levels.
But then –
"VANGUARD" type class-IV armored endoskeleton – fully operational
"TARRASQUE" nanobot regeneration system – fully operational
Experimental accelerator module "BUTTERFLY" – fully operational
Experimental Grav-con unit "ALICE" – fully operational
Prototype perpetual power generator "BLOODSTONE" – fully operational
"EAGLE"-class prototype sensor array – fully operational
Standard armament – hidden blade x2, mounted on inner wrists
Optional armaments currently not available
At these latest updates (which, incidentally, flashed on the monitor one by one for her companions to see in the present day), Freya had only three words in mind. Vulgar though they admittedly were, she thought them most appropriate, given what she had just discovered about herself.
Not that she had time to dwell on that train of thought, as it happened. The sensation that washed over her was different, to say the least, as she was being blessed – burdened, more like, or maybe even cursed – with information in vast quantities, and on an equally far-reaching scope.
Basic household tasks.
World culture, history and literature, advanced mathematics…
Even knowledge of the most ancient and intimate art in the history of mankind was something she came to possess right then. At that moment, she wondered why she was being made into a repository of information – more to the point, why the sheer volume of information being given to her was enough to make the National Databank himself – or herself, as the case might be – look like an ignorant child.
The next batch of information uploaded into her was more specific, yet much more disturbing for it.
What they gave her next was slightly more… specific, beginning with data pertaining to various organized crime syndicates located all over the globe. Dossiers on various figures of import, located in the highest echelons of multinational corporations and of the governments and armed forces of various nations. Detailed maps, not only of the world as a whole, but of every country, town and city in it.
A mounting sense of fear crept up on Freya as she reviewed this latest influx of data. It was as if they – whoever it was that they were – were intending to turn her into some kind of –
No. Please don't…
Much to her horror, she couldn't reject the information being implanted into her, however much she wanted to. She gained all kinds of knowledge on the arts of stealth and concealment\. And in the same moment, she obtained lifetimes' worth of experience with respect to both covert and overt warfare, as well as assassination techniques.
She knew just then, what she had become.
The most dangerous persocom in the world.
"SPU-009. Project Seraph's one and only."
"Abstergo's Platinum Angel."
"Abstergo's angel of death."
At the sound of her name, an echo from long-faded memories, Freya opened her eyes as she sat bolt upright, letting loose a piercing cry that startled all who heard her. She took in her surroundings, looking around at what was clearly a laboratory of some sort, judging from the collection of monitors, panels and terminals all over the place.
She then turned her eyes at the two men in labcoats who stood before her, the emotion burning within her changing from abject terror to utmost fury.
The two didn't even have time to scream as cables shot out like snakes from inside the housings Freya had in lieu of ears, throttling and constricting their entire bodies until two sickening crunches issued from them. And as she let their bodies hit the floor, she got to her feet, glaring at those who yet remained as though daring them to move.
One man tried to get to the alarm mounted on the lab's west wall, but she was on him in a heartbeat, ventilating his carotid artery and sending his blood flying all over the place. Two more dropped dead as they made a futile attempt to escape through the door, Freya seemingly materializing in between them and driving her hidden blades into their necks. Within the span of ten seconds, she had filled the lab with corpses, and the stink of way too much blood.
Finally, only one was left, backing away in sheer terror as the smell of urine mingled with the already pungent odor permeating the room. In stark contrast to her screaming rage from just moments ago, Freya was utterly emotionless as she lunged at the man and extended her right arm, caving in his chest cavity even as she drove the blade straight through his heart.
The deed done, she let him crumple uselessly to the floor. Stepping over the body, Freya stood at the edge of the window as she spoke, not even caring to look back at her final victim.
"My name is Freya."
"I am not your tool."
"I am not your monster."
Without even a moment's hesitation, she went right through the glass, shattering it, as she took a leap of faith to the ground below.
The memory had ended, but still Freya sat on the couch, her face buried in Rei's chest in an attempt to shield herself from her own past. She knew perfectly well the emotion that was all but radiating from them right now. She saw it coming, even without looking at any of them.
Disgust, maybe, in the case of Rei and her mother.
Freya stood abruptly, looking round at everyone else there. She took little notice of the looks on her faces, instead focusing on the one in that room who mattered most to her now.
And sure enough, the look on his face was one of mingled shock, fear and… sympathy?
Whatever it was, the pain in her heart – if she did have one – grew too much to bear.
Tears threatening to fall once more, Freya turned tail and ran, as far as she could, not bothering to look back to see if he would follow. Though from the sounds she heard from behind her, of someone chasing after her, he definitely was.
Not that she cared right now. All she wanted at the moment was to get away.
Away from her mother.
Away from him.
Away from herself.