Booting Up

The night was quiet and the moon was big and full.  The moonlight hovered over the ancient remains of a small village that once was alive with many voices.  As bare feet gently disturbed the dirt, quiet voices from long ago filled the area with song.  The owner of the feet was huddled in a mino, face wrapped in a cloth scarf, with only the eyes free, which were obscured by a wide-brimmed hat.

As they made their way further into the village, a fire was going in the middle.  Aside from scrambling animals trying to keep warm, no one was tending to it.  The ghostly song of the village got louder and louder as they approached the fire.  Something shifted.  The person looked around, trying to figure out if they were just overly tired or… something else.  One of the buildings focused in and out.  They spread their feet apart, a hidden hand on their hip.  Another building looked like early polygons from the 90s.  They took a deep breath and held it.

The villages song got louder and louder as the surroundings started to adjust to whatever was happening.  A sharp gust of wind kicked up, blowing off their hat and unraveling their scarf, their hair popping up, out and full of kinks.  A helicopter seemingly from nowhere was on them.

“What the fu–” was all they could manage to get out before it opened fire.  They took off in a sprint.  The moonlight was a better light than the light on the helicopter and it followed after them with ease.  As the helicopter took more shots at them, they threw off their mino, looking back to see it go up in a pile of hay.

“Fuuuuuuuuuck!”

They made a sudden right back into the village and jumped onto one of the taller buildings, running across the roof.  The helicopter was right in front of them and opened fire once more.  They ducked to the left, letting out a scream as they slid down the side of the roof.  They landed awkwardly on their feet before taking off around the building.  As they came out from the other side, a whistling noise was heard followed by a loud explosion, which shot the person a few feet forward.  A piece of firey building had bounced onto their back, catching their shirt on fire.

“FUCK!”  They tossed it off, revealing the body of a young black woman.  The helicopter paused.

“You some sort of fucking perv?”  She called out, her hand firmly on the hilt of their sword.  The helicopter didn’t move.  She let out  a scream and rushed toward the bird, jumping back onto another roof.  She jumped up, let out a yell, swinging the sword at the helicopter.

The sword was a hot knife and the helicopter was a stick of butter.  The sword sliced the chopper in half, circuits and wires sputtering and crackling with electricity.  The woman landed back onto the ground and get out the way as the pieces of the bird fell to the ground.  They walked back to the fire, a small pile of clothes were there as well as a mino.  She put them on and walked away from the village, the song and fire, dying down.

Elsewhere, a man was standing over her body.  She was connected to wires and tubes, her body small and frail.

“How did she do?” The man asked, looking up from her, changing his attention to another woman behind a computer.

“Well, she’s handling the simulation really well.  The sudden drops in the frame-rate didn’t cause a ton of activity, but she did notice it.”  The woman was scrolling down a screen with numbers and charts.  “Her heart rate didn’t change but her REM went wild here.”

“Interesting,” the man said.  Aside from the machines beeping and keys clacking, the room was quiet.

“How soon can we test out another one?” he asked, looking back down at the body of the woman from the simulation.

“Uh… Six months. …Do you think she’ll last?”

“Oh, she will.  She has to.”

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