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Suha

You walk towards the soft glow, but before you reach whatever is causing it you have to stop as your head begins to ache. You clutch at it fruitlessly, the pain not going away. You think this is what remembering feels like, as it is the same pain you felt when the twins first appeared. The feeling doesn’t go away, nor does anything become clearer. This amnesia is starting to annoy you.

Shaking your head, you step towards the soft glow again, fighting through the pulsing in your brain to reach the end of the code filled hallway. At the end you find the Sorceress’s scepter. You feel your heart drop as it is not the Sorceress herself, but then your spirits soar again as you realize she must have left you her weapon, just as the shieldsman left you his. You take the plain object, feeling the weight of it and hefting it easily.

As soon as you touch the object, flashes of images pass through your mind. You see people laughing and joking together. You are not sure who they are, but the faces seem vaguely familiar to you. You shake your head after a moment, and walk back the way you came through the unsettlingly comatose hallway. Only two paths remain.

What do you do?

The blonde’s eyelashes began to flutter, and Myos held her tighter, silently begging that the girl be alright. Zeke looked slightly away, as if he was uncomfortable but Myos couldn’t understand why. That’s when the realization finally hit him - Amaya wasn’t wearing any clothes. The red haired boy was suddenly glad for the armored suit between him and the frail woman. Attention back on her, albeit a bit more uncomfortably, Myos sighed in relief when she opened her eyes.

“Where...what happened?” Amaya asked in a small, hushed voice, as if she were scared. “I don’t remember what’s real anymore…” she continued quietly, probably to herself more than the others in the room.

“What do you mean by that?” Myos asked gently, glad that whatever had happened left Amaya with her computer glasses so he could still speak to her without removing his suit. The girl didn’t seem to be embarrassed by her state of undress, or at least was too preoccupied to notice.

“I had, well, a lot of, um, memories kinda playing on loop while I was in there,” Amaya said, the thought of the glass prison making her shudder. “It was horrible.”

“Well, that was all basically a bad dream,” Myos laughed, giving a comforting smile even though she couldn’t see it. “C’mon let’s get some, uh, well, some clothes on you.” The lithe man put her down and immediately averted his gaze, but before he could look away completely, he noticed that she was as smooth and featureless as the plastic dolls he saw young girls running about with. He spoke without thinking, “What are you?!”

Amaya immediately crouched over to hide behind one of the many bulks of technology, ashamed at how she appeared. How she was different. The word alone flashed in her mind and it was hard to shake the notion that she was. She ran her fingers through her golden hair that crowned her like a halo, the only bit of the stuff found on her body.

“C’mon, no, I didn’t mean it like that,” Myos tried to barter, guilty that he hadn’t caught the words before he hurt one of his most trusting teammates. He shoved his hands deep in his pockets, a slump coming over his posture. Even Zeke semi glared at him, before taking off his long vest-coat to give to the girl to wear. The difference in their heights was immediately evident, with the jacket turning into a dress on the girl. After she was clothed, she came back out to face them with a somber face unusual for the perpetually smiling woman.

Amaya took a deep breath, trying to steady herself before she launched into her story. “I’m a, well, a halfling,” she started, fumbling for the words and never quite meeting either of their eyes, “I’m one of ten like me, and, um, well, the only one still alive.” She went over to sit on the base of the instrument where she was recently imprisoned; the nerves making her shake too much standing up. The shame. She was different - so, so different. “See, this isn’t the first time the Empress has tried to make humanity her...technologic slaves. Before she, um, she tried to breed them.” Amaya paused to look at the two, seeing if they were connecting the dots yet. A spark of recognition was there, but the fair haired girl knew they deserved the whole story. “My mother, she was one of the ten chosen for the experiment. The Empress’s team of scientists had thought they had created a robot that could be used to inseminate human women with enough strange chemicals to sort of weed out free thought? I don’t really understand it either, but the Empress thought it was a good enough shot to take,” Amaya fiddled with her hands, twisting her fingers this way and that before she started up again, “but it didn’t work like that. The DNA that they gave the robot had all the right chemicals, but it was missing the right chromosomes for a healthy child. The ten of us were born with mutated DNA, and the chemicals didn’t even work properly because the mother’s immune system had killed it off during pregnancy. The project was scrapped and all of the children were killed, except for me.” Her bottom lip began to quiver, and Myos wanted to reach out to her but was afraid he would be pushed away. “My mother escaped the testing facility with me and went so far as to secure me a safe place to grow up in, but the Empress found out and killed her. My grandmother raised me in secret, and taught me who I was.”

“Is that why you started the Rights for Robots campaign?” Myos asked quietly, things finally starting to connect in his mind.

Amaya nodded, a happy look coming over her face for a moment as she remembered the thing about her life she enjoyed the most. “That’s also why I wanted to help you. No one should be told who to be or how to act. They should be able to be their own person and think their own thoughts, and to not live in fear of having it taken away from you.”

Without hesitation, Myos held his hand out for the girl to take, a genuine smile gracing his lips. “Amaya, I don’t care where you come from, or what you are. You could be a giant lizard for all I care. What matters are your actions - you can make yourself a hero or a villain. So come be heroes with us.”

Amaya laughed, relieved and took the other’s hand, standing up. “Let’s go get the others, m’kay?” She giggled, feeling accepted for once in her life.


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