It was early. Too early to wake Legacy, unlike her, his frail human body needed sleep to function.
The silence was deafening. She was used to the soft whir of refreshing machines at night, recharging the batteries of her bunkmates.
She sat against the cold concrete rubble and stared up at the sky. It was dark still, but she knew it wouldn’t get much lighter even when morning came. The dark stormy sky and biting, sub zero winds were caused by the Plant, a building constantly ripping souls apart and encasing them in cold, cruel steel.
She couldn’t wait any longer, she needed to move. The sooner this was over, the sooner she could get away from this mortal. He had a nasty tendency to bring back long-foreign emotions and frankly, it was cumbersome.
“Let’s go.” She said, standing of Legacy, her leg poised to kick him in the ribs.
He opened one eye and in a split second was up and backing off defensively.
“You could break one of my ribs if you kicked me! I can assure you, a punctured lung would definitely slow down this whole walking process.” He said, glaring at her.
“Oh, relax, you wuss.” She said, rolling her eyes. “I wasn't actually going to do it. It did get you up though.”
“Yeah, sure, whatever, just don’t do it again,” He said, already packing up the last of his supplies and slinging his backpack over his shoulders.
“Wuss...” She muttered again.
“Bitch...” He growled in reply.
They were on the road again. Legacy had gotten over the morning’s scare and his mood was much improved, hers, on the other hand, was not. Her energy supply was depleted more than she could have anticipated. Naturally, a night off from her refreshing machine would have consequences, but combined with the rejuvenating effect of even a little bit of human emotion coursing through the mechanical confines of her body, they should be barely noticeable. In fact, she shouldn’t have to be refreshed for days. But the depletion was surprisingly drastic and it was worrying her.
“Are we almost there?” She asked tensely.
“We’ll get there soon enough.” He said calmly.
She rolled her eyes. “That is not not helpful.”
They walked in silence for a couple minutes. She tried to tap into the mental radio to see what was going on back at the base. She couldn’t. She heard the static and lines of code, but she didn’t have enough mental energy to concentrate it into a readable format. Her calculating mind, while not capable of anxiety, sensed danger and recognized the need to get out of it.
“Are we almost there yet?” She asked again, with a little more urgency.
“We’re half a mile closer then when you asked five minutes ago.” He replied, a slight smile touching his lips.
Another minute of silence.
This time, it was Legacy who broke it.
“What’s your name?” He asked, turning to face her.
“My name?” She asked, suspiciously, dead eyes meeting blue. “Why do you care?”
“Because I care about you, you saved my life and we’re traveling together, it might be nice to know your name.”
She didn’t respond and they walked in silence for another mile.
Suddenly she said, “1LT-F241”
“That is my name.”
“No, not your serial number, your actual, human name, I know you had one.” He said, looking at her half playfully, half serious.
She almost tripped.
“Your human name. The name you had before they made you into a machine and stamped a number on you.”
“I...I’ve forgotten.” She said, turning back to face the cracking, overgrown asphalt that used to be a highway.
He stopped walking and grabbed her arm.
She stopped and slowly turned to face him.
“Forgotten? Or choose not to remember?” He asked, looking at her with a strange intensity in his eyes.
She felt the spark lighting again. Humanity. It was happening much too often nowadays, she was bound to make a mistake soon.
She pulled her arm away.
“It doesn't matter.”
“Yes, it does matter!” He said, his voice steadily rising. “Once you stop fighting, once you let that one last piece of your soul die,” He paused and when he spoke again, it was almost a whisper. “All hope is lost.”
She and Legacy had been traveling a while now at what was, for her, an agonizingly slow pace. She wished she could just superspeed to her destination, but unfortunately, her guide was a weak mortal and could not go much faster than this sluggish pace. In reality it had less of an effect then she would have expected, but she assumed that had something to do with the sneaking suspicion she had that she could no longer superspeed, even if she wanted to.
Her own body was attacking her, but she couldn’t determine the source of this betrayal. She ran hundreds of tests, scanning for viruses, bugs, or even just out-of-date software. But even the most in-depth procedures revealed nothing out of the ordinary.
Unfortunately, that was the worst possible result, it meant that something was attacking the system running the tests and it was messing up the results. Something was infiltrating her motherboard at an alarming pace, she knew she would completely shut down soon. She needed to get back to the technicians on base or at least talk to the General of the Army and receive orders, amended or otherwise.
“What was that?” She asked, stopping and looking around.
“What? I didn’t hear anything.” He said, also stopping short and looking around warily.
“I think it came from there, in those trees, I’m going to go check it out.” She said, turning toward the offending group of dead trees.
“I’m coming with you.” Legacy said firmly, starting after her.
She rolled her eyes. “What could you do if something was there? Stay here, it it’s safer.”
“I appreciate your vote of confidence.” He said sarcastically, but obediently stayed put.
She made her way over to the frozen, barren oak trees, trying once more to connect to the radio. She couldn’t get anything. She couldn’t even hear the static.
A pang of panic touched her icy heart. She gasped and clutched at her chest, that was even more frightening than her sudden lack of resources, she hadn’t felt more than a shadow of the least intense emotions since her Conversion. Something was wrong, very wrong.