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Aug 13, 2020 7:28 PM
Ben and Kyros on the run, or: I Got Very Attached To My AI Dungeon Game
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Doing things to other people's consciousness is not legal. Transferring it elsewhere is, suprisingly, even less legal, even if the owner of the consciousness will otherwise cease to exist. Kyros elects to ignore these facts, on account of "I know my sister and she would like to stay alive" and "if afterwards she decides she would rather have continued dying, she still can, but she should get a choice". Initially he tries to get something at least vaguely antropomorphic for Nora's new body, but that turns out to be difficult, so instead he grabs some nanobots from the lab he's doing his apprenticeship in, spends some time bonding both with them and with his sister's mind, and eventually sneaks into the hospital at night to perform the transfer.

He gets caught.

He manages to finish the ritual and release Nora, who is now a silvery swarm of nanobots, into the world before they capture him.

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And so, after several weeks of facing courts, disappointed relatives, and his horrified--to his credit, mostly about the lab's reputation and the lost bots, not about Kyros's moral compass--mentor, he is standing in the canteen of the Detention Center, so called despite the fact that according to his sentence he's supposed to spend the next two decades imprisoned there.

He looks around, trying to spot any familiar faces among the seated prisoners. He recognizes one or two people he talked to since he arrived the evening before, and a few more the guy in the cell next to his described to him. The latter group includes a fellow with messy dark hair whom Kyros's neighbour described with "did pretty messed up stuff, demons or something, best stay away from him unless you need to blow off some steam; he sure is good for that, you can beat him up all you want and he won't try anything". Kyros can tell that's who he's looking at not so much by the other prisoner's looks as by the fact he's currently tripping over someone's leg.

For a moment Kyros considers whether associating himself with the man will make him share his reputation as an easy victim, but he quickly brushes the concern off, convincing himself that if the guy really is evil, he can simply act accordingly horrified, and otherwise he will... manage somehow.

He approaches the man, who is now collecting meal from the floor, and reaches out a hand to help him get up.

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Ben is very much used to this situation; few meals go by without him falling down, and it's still by far the least unpleasant torment he has to suffer.

The hand reaching out to help him get up is not a usual part of the scenario, but not completely unheard of either. After all, wouldn't it be hilarious if someone pulled him up just to make him fall again? He ignores the would-be helper and gets up on his own...

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...just to stand face-to-face with someone he's connected with. He's not sure himself what it means: He almost feels like he can see it, a physical link between the two of them, except when he asks himself what it looks like, he comes up blank.

He blinks in confusion.

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Kyros smiles in response.

“Are you okay?”

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“I...”

This is a bad idea, people interested in his well-being are usually just playing the long game with some trick waiting at the end. Then again there's this link, and it may not mean anything or even be a hallucination, but at least it's something interesting.

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Meanwhile, Kyros’s friendly neighbour is trying to explain to everyone at the table that obviously Kyros is just confused and wouldn't have tried to help someone like that if he knew, right Kyros?

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Kyros may sometimes be able to defy abstract societal norms when necessary, but it's harder when they're being stated this directly. He smiles again and sits down with the neighbor and his clique for the rest of the meal.

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Ben continues to glance at him in confusion during that time, and whenever an opportunity occurs in the coming days.

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A few days later Kyros decides he has hopefully gathered enough social credit with everyone that he will not be immediately ostracized if he talks to Ben again. He walks up to him in the yard.

"I see you looking at me pretty often."

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Ben jerks up. He noticed, he noticed and is probably here to make sure Ben regrets every single glance.

"I'm sorry, won't do that again," he mumbles without looking up.

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"Nonono, it's okay! I was just curious why," he explains quickly. "Mind if I sit here?"

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Shrug.

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Kyros will take that for a sign of enthusiasm!

"So again, I really, really don't mind you looking, but why?" He prompts again. After a moment of silence, he adds, grinning: "And I can't help but ask... Like what you see?"

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Ben tenses up. Is that what the guy's here for, of course, that would make sense.

"Listen, I..."

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As usual, it only takes Kyros two seconds after the words leave his mouth to connect the dots and realize what he just implied.

"Oh, fuck, no, sorry, no, no, not what I meant, sorry, that was stupid, a stupid joke, I didn't think it through," he blurts out at high speed, pressing his palms to his face. "Seriously, please ignore that." Why does this always have to happen.

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That might get a teeny tiny smile out of Ben.

"Okay, okay, I believe you," he assures the guy. "It's fine."

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He theatrically lets out air and chuckles.

"Thanks. Um, after that I probably owe it to you to leave you in peace, unless..."

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"Unless I decide to answer your question. You can stay," Ben interrupts him and smiles again himself. Something about this little faux pas makes him want to let his guard down and actually make this a conversation; maybe because the guy clearly isn't competent enough to be trying to trick him, or maybe because the link is the first truly interesting thing that happened to him in years and getting more of that seems worth quite a bit of risk.

"I was staring because I see something around you. I don't know what. It's... like you're linked to me? And it feels physical, but it isn't actually, because when I ask myself what colour or shape it is, I don't know," he explains. "It probably sounds weird."

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Kyros frowns.

"Interesting. I have no idea what this is about. It does sound a little bit like how my mentor described the few bots he's bonded with really strongly, but that doesn't really make any sense for a person, and we just met."

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They sit in silence for a while. Well, that conversation died quickly.

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"Well, sorry I couldn't help you there. But I get why you would look at me, it sounds cool! Maybe I can get someone to research it for me if they visit."

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Oh, right, other people get visitors.

"Could be interesting."

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"Yeah! Anyway, I'm Kyros, what's your name?" He attempts to smoothly transition into another conversation before another period of silence becomes apparent.

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Oh, not just here because of the staring, then. This means Ben will have to be painfully transparent about his situation. He takes a deep breath.

"I'm Ben. And whatever you heard from others about me and demons..."

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"It's probably all lies, right? I mean, you would be in a very different kind of prison if you were a summoner."

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