Wayward Guardian

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Boldly Forward


Sam looked over at his personal computer terminal when it chimed. The ‘new message’ icon was visible.

Sam sat down at the terminal and quickly read over the message. It was the acceptance message for Ayla’s papers. Sam uploaded the attached file to his own memory files, he had indeed had it all memorised, but this would be in a format that he could share to other people’s data pads or computer terminals.

He decided to get the ball rolling. His first stop would be the ship’s hospital, so he could talk to Ira, and brief the doctors on the procedures they’d be undertaking. The needed parts were already in one of the cargo bays, every Advocate on a deep space mission brought enough parts to make two Advocates. The extras were used as spare parts, normally every colony only needed one extra Advocate, and after a while, if they needed another, they’d either have enough expertise to make the parts themselves or have had a supply ship from the rest of Human space bring them more.

Sam confirmed the file transferred, and then left his room. He double checked to make sure his uplink was still muted. He’d probably get a little emotional talking to Ira and Ayla. He suspected that somehow it was the emotions of last night that was affecting Exo.

The hospital wasn’t far from where his quarters were, and he arrived quickly.

He stepped inside and walked up to the receptionist.

‘Hello, how can I help you today?’ the young man behind the desk asked.

‘I’m looking for Ira Geer, is she in?’

‘Yes, she is. She’s just in the diagnostics lab. Shall I show you on the map?’

‘No thank you, I know my way.’

The man raised an eyebrow at this, having never seen Sam in here before, but after a few weeks of being directed from location to location by Exo, Exo had finally suggested he just look at a map of the ship. Sam had obliged, and could now get anywhere on the ship without directions.

He soon found himself in the lab. Ira was sitting at the front desk. There wasn’t anyone in line here.

‘Mrs. Geer?’ Sam said quietly.

Ira looked up, and recognised him instantly, ‘Hello Advocate Jennings.’

‘Hello. How is everything?’

‘It’s going well enough. What can I do for you? Not here for a test are you?’

‘Can’t say that I am, no. I’m here because I got word back from Axion.’

‘Oh?’ she said carefully.

‘They’ve approved Ayla’s application.’

‘You know... I was holding out hope that they wouldn’t.’ She said softly.

Sam smiled sadly, ‘I know. I promise you, though, so long as you are here to support her, she’ll be just fine.’

‘I’ll be there for her.’

‘That’s what I knew I would hear. I brought the instructions needed for the procedures. I was going to overview them with the medical staff. We can get started as soon as you and Ayla are ready.’

‘The doctor who’s going to be in charge of everything is named Daksha Singh. He’ll be in the Surgical wing. He shouldn’t be busy right now.’

‘Yes, I know him, he’s the chief medical doctor correct?.’

‘Yes Advocate, and thank you for coming down.’

‘I’ll keep in touch. I’ll let you know when they are ready.’

Sam turned and walked out of the lab.

***

A week had passed and the first of the Advocate procedures were behind them. Alya still looked the same, but underneath, she was far from human. She stood in Doctor Singh’s office being examined while Ira and Sam looked on from the sidelines.

‘Her body is almost fully integrated with the new Advocate systems.’

Ira, ever curious about the process, asked, ‘How much of her body is still human Doctor Singh?’

‘About 76%, including her brain. Though even that has some additional parts. It’s not a total conversion, as we need to give her body time to finish it’s physical development before the process can be finalised. Most of the upgrades are just for mental processes and uplinking with the Guardian. Her physical capabilities are still quite limited, nowhere near as powerful as Samuel.’

Ira seemed to grimace at the thought. Sam interrupted softly, ‘It took me some getting used to. I still feel human. I just feel more. I have my original senses. In many ways, they are enhanced. I can still feel pain, I can still feel joy. I’m still human, but in some ways, I’m something more, and in other ways, something less. But Ayla will still be your daughter, and she’ll have plenty of time to get used to this before the next round of upgrades.’

Ira looked at him for a moment before turning back to her daughter, ‘How do you feel sweetie?’

‘I feel okay. I’m a little tired, but okay.’

‘The systems have always given Advocates superhuman stamina, but we won’t be putting in those particular energy systems until stage three of your development. You’ll still need to sleep like normal.’ Dr Singh said.

‘Besides, it can be nice to forget about everything for a bit while you sleep. You won’t be forgetting anything that happens when you’re awake anymore.’ Sam commented, ‘Your memory implants will make sure of that.’

‘Do I still have to go to school?’ Ayla asked, turning to Sam and Ira.

Ira grinned, ‘No dear, Sam will be teaching you now.’

‘Cool!’ Ayla said, smiling.

‘Are we done here Doc?’ Sam asked.

‘Yes. Everything seems fine. She’s progressing wonderfully.’

‘Come on then Ayla, we will have our first lesson.’ Sam said, starting for the door.

Ayla rushed over to her mother and gave her a hug, ‘I’ll be back for dinner mom.’

Sam and Ayla left the doctor’s office together.

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