Wayward Guardian

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Ira Geer’s Quarters

‘Ayla? Where are you going?’ Ira asked looking at her daughter heading towards the door.

‘I have work to do mother. With Sam gone, I have to do his job too. Exo needs me.’

‘Are you sure you’re okay Ira? I think Captain Fredrick can manage the ship. I know how much of a friend Sam was.’

‘Thank you for the concern mother. I will be fine.’

‘Are you sure? You seem distracted.’ Ira walked up and put her hand on Ayla’s shoulder. Ayla rocked on her feet for a moment before pulling away.

‘I’ll be home later.’ Ayla left the room without a another word.

Guardian Control Room

Ayla entered the core and stood in the middle of the room.

The face of Exo appeared in the display tank. He watched her silently.

She rolled up one of the sleeves on her shirt. Her upper arm was criss crossed by cuts. She raised her other hand but then hesitated.

The hand hovered over her arm for a long moment.

Motor functions delayed

Nervous system non-responsive.

‘No...’ came a faint whisper from Ayla’s mouth.

Control is being lost. Compensate.

A small boxy cleaning robot rolled out of a storage closet and ran full speed into Ayla’s legs. She fell over and slammed into the floor.

Control reestablished.

She got up again, and once more raised her arm over the cuts. Her hand clamped down and dug nails into the exposed skin of her arm.

She didn’t cry out in pain. A rivulet of blood trickled down her arm. Exo’s face flickered for a moment.

‘E-e-e-xcel-lent.’ Came the stuttering voice of Exo.

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