You instinctively put your arms to block your face, but as the swordswoman lunges the man steps in and blocks the blow with his shield. You are sure you should hear a loud clanging on impact but only silence surrounds you. Seemingly satisfied by the simple sparring, the swordswoman sheaths her weapon and gestures to the room around her, wondering if you or the man knows how to get out, or better yet how you got here. You shake your head and the man does the same. You suppose that answers your question if he knew any more than you. You are still too unsure of yourself to wonder if these strangers could be lying.
You wonder if either of them heard whispering, but keep the question to yourself. Moments later, a pathway out of the swordswoman’s virtual space opens and you are the first to step towards it with your new companions following you. You hope the next area is the exit, and you don’t have to ask the others to know they feel the same.
The next area is back like the first two rooms, with identical walls of identical coding of identical shape and size. In the middle lies a sleeping girl with arms clutched protectively around a scepter like some sort of sorceress.
What do you do?
Later that day, after wishing his goodbyes to Achernar and watching Zeke slink back uncomfortably to his post, Myos was walking back to his living pod with an easy grace when he bumped into a small energetic girl with frazzled blonde hair streaked with uneven strands of black, purple, and teal. He was about to apologize when the girl opened her mouth first and launched into a spiel.
“Hey! Do you have a moment to spare for my Rights for Robots campaign?” The girl asked, amethyst eyes impossibly wide. Myos could swear they were bigger than some of the dinner plates he owned.
“Rights for Robots?” Myos questioned, giving her a sideways glance. If he hadn't removed his eyebrows long ago for a better gaming connection one of them would’ve been quirked. “Sorry I’ve got somewhere to be,” he replied finally when a red dot suddenly blipped onto his screen. He may be in the middle of plotting to take down the Empress, but every hero needed a little downtime, right?
“Please, sir!” The short girl persisted, jogging along behind him when he started running. She was much faster than she looked, and Myos was surprised the girl could keep up with him. The heels of her short ankle length boots clicked along, and she held out the electronic clipboard towards him. Glancing at it for a moment, Myos saw it held very few signatures. “Currently if a robot is mistreated by the person who owns it, which is like another matter entirely because nothing that expresses sentient thought should even be owned anymore because that’s slavery and our forefathers way way forever ago banned it, and right now robots are being oppressed which shouldn’t they be given rights like everybody else? You would think with, like, as far as we have come as human beings and a race and technologically advanced-wise and stuff we would move past that as a culture? I’m hoping to raise enough signatures to submit it as a proposal to the government. So sir if you could please sign this,” she paused, her thoughts that were flowing faster than a flood to take a breath that she desperately needed, “it would really help a lot.”
“This really means a lot to you, doesn’t it?” Myos asked, finally slowing down to really look at the girl, seeing a spark of innocence in her eyes along with determination. It reminded him considerably of himself.
“Yes, it really really does,” the blonde replied, shaking her head vigorously. Finally getting a moment to stop, she was able to catch her breath – just as Myos was able to catch the slight tremble in her shoulders.
He didn’t know this girl, but he had the urge to explain the Empress’s plan to her - they needed all the help they could get so there was really no harm in telling her. He knew, judging by the ideals she had just extrapolated to him and her campaign in the first place, the girl wouldn’t turn him in and would most likely be considerably interested in helping. Besides, Myos always trusted a person unless they proved themselves to be the opposite. “Hey, what’s your name?”
“My name? It’s Amaya!” She smiled wider, her thin pink lips adorned with a small silver ring in the middle of the lower one. The girl seemed to be the very definition of bubbling energy – she was never still for a moment and her emotions seemed to always shine brightly on her face. The blonde fidgeted with her delicate looking blue and purple computer glasses, fixing the curved wire that curled around her ear.
“Amaya, will you start a revolution with me and my friends?” Myos asked, taking her black gloved hands in his own, that same fire burning in his eyes. He didn’t explain the situation just yet, but he could tell the passion in his eyes resonated somewhere within the young woman in front of him. The girl was taken aback for only a moment at the stranger’s forwardness before excitedly squeezing his hands.
“Of course! That’s a quicker way to change things around here!” Amaya replied, voice sounding as if it were the embodiment of a fizzy Cola. “What are we revolutionizing?”
Myos brought the girl close, out of the way of the rest of the pedestrian traffic that was milling about the residential area of the ship – it wouldn’t do for the two of them to be turned in before they were able to do anything - and explained what he already had twice before, eyes continuing to flicker brighter and brighter with sparks of emerald as he once again got completely lost in his own heroics to come. As Amaya listened, she also quivered with excitement at the chance of being a part of something bigger than herself and being able to make a difference in this space that had grown stagnant with complacency.
Even though the space outside them was ever changing - albeit they were slow to notice the changes - with bangs of lights, different combinations of constellations, and beautiful new collections of color at every turn, it seemed as though the ship Astraia was stuck in a past that was linked to the desolate Earth. The same Empress had ruled over them for what seemed like eons, epochs even, though none had ever seen her in person; and even though life was pleasant it seemed like living in a perfectly organized terrarium that one would keep a house pet in. Steadily, the human race had lost the inner value of independence and innovation that pushed them to fight injustices done to them on Earth. Now was the time for change. Now was the time to grab tomorrow’s future and mold it into something new and exciting, like the dazzling galaxies around them.
“The Empress will never guess what’s coming for her,” Amaya giggled, the picture of innocence.