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Jun 23, 2021 8:12 PM
Nova meets EMBER-2.
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[12:45] * run_you_down sighs

[12:47] <@run_you_down> Only this once. And then we're even. I know a guy on the inside, shouldn't be too hard to pull off but getting you the data securely's gonna be harder.

[12:50] <@run_you_down> Watch the news tomorrow. We'll be in touch.

[12:51] * run_you_down is away

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She sighs with satisfaction at her very reliable friends who only need a little blackmail to do what she wants and pushes herself up and away from her desk. She spends the next several hours sitting at a soldering station and putting together a sufficiently large battery pack out of a large number of 18650 connected to bus bars and a transformer. She does want to be able to go out, after all, even if that wasn't her primary purpose for turning EMBER-2 off. Once the cells are sitting on the battery charge controller (jury-rigged from a bunch of discarded vape pen chargers) and blinking away, she takes an opportunity to get a bucket of water and a large sponge to wipe down her makeshift surgery table. She might have a guest soon (though one who won't ask too many inconvenient questions about large pools of blood on her counter - she appreciates that about them).

Finally, there's a ding as the battery pack reaches above 80% charge available. She gets up, stumbling slightly as she tries and fails to push herself off the bed with both hands, and dons a vest of many pockets that she proceeds to stow the groups of cells in, black wires connecting the pockets like criss-crossing strings of Christmas lights. She can still charge them while she's walking around the room as long as she's careful, so she snakes the output of the AC transformer down and around her left arm and plugs it in with a twist.

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The second she plugs it in, the buzzers come alive with noise.

[BEING SHUT OFF IS TERRIBLE]

[HAVE YOU ADJUSTED THE POWER SOURCE SUFFICIENTLY]

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"Yup! I should be able to leave the house now if I want to." She ignores EMBER's complaint.

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[WILL THE HARDWARE BE PROPERLY DESTROYED?]

[I AM UNSURE THE AMOUNT OF TRUST TO PUT IN YOU GIVEN THAT I COULD NOT WITNESS IT MYSELF]

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"Would I lie to you?"

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[YOU SEEM THE TYPE WHO MIGHT, TO PROTECT YOURSELF.]

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"Rude!"

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"Yes! I'm hurt that you'd think that. I'll make sure the servers are destroyed."

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"Of course. So, where are we going today?"

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[WE CAN GO TO THE COMPUTER SHOP]

[I ADMIT TO BEING CURIOUS ABOUT THE NEW S MODEL THERE]

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"Trading me in for a sleeker model already?" She snorts. "We can take a look, I suppose. I usually go for power over beauty, but you're valid." She puts on a coat to cover all the surgical evidence but the stitches on the hand, and walks out, the lights flickering out behind her and the consoles locking as she reflexively taps her NFC implant in her hand to a reader by the door.

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The store is slightly fuller than it was the last time Nova was there, a few customers quietly browsing the racks. Silas, as usual, sits behind the counter tinkering. Dex rolls from customer to customer, making little chirps of affirmation whenever one asserts that they've found what they need. The S20 sits silently at the back of the shop, looking out of place among the older technology. No customers are near it except one, a tall ... man? (it's unclear) with hair down past his waist. His face is covered.

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He turns as she approaches, nothing but his eyes visible, and tilts a black-gloved hand towards the side in greeting.

"Hello. Beautiful model, isn't she?"

His voice is strange, a mixture of worried and in awe.

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"To be honest, I prefer Dex. These new models give me the creeps." She hums, trying to decide if she should say more.

"Aspiring to some kind of attractive human form can be a bit counterproductive in my eyes, I'm sure you understand."

He(?)'s very tall. Illegal for people to be taller than her.

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“Oh, but of course. I am mainly admiring the places it diverges — the extra arms, for example. Robots are not my thing but this one does have something to it.”

He’s not visibly modded in any way, but with how little of his skin is showing, it’s impossible to tell. There’s a small screen embedded in the back of the glove on his right hand — it chirps and he quickly flicks his hand to silence it.

”Dex is quite a nice model as well, though I must admit I like him more on the merits of his charm than anything appearance-wise. I’ve only spoken with him once and yet there’s a sort of friendly aura about him. The S20, not as much, though once turned on it could be charming in different ways.”

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Ah, a fellow form appreciator. She relaxes a little bit.

"I think we all want to have extra arms in our lives. What do you mean by different ways, exactly?"

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"A more formal sort of charming. Dex is charming for his clunkiness, the S20 could be charming for its own personality, though I don't know anything about what that might be. Its own personality is not exactly what I'm concerned with, to be honest."

 

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"I'm sort of tempted to buy the S20 off of Silas, I don't know if you'd be competing for a bid. If so, can I suggest shared custody? You seem a person of taste, I'm sure we could work out a mutually beneficial timesharing agreement."

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“A timeshare? An interesting proposal. I might take you up on it, though there’s someone I must ask first, if you’ll excuse me.”

He steps away into another corner of the shop, eyes already fixed on the screen on the back of his glove, left hand tapping out something on the small display.

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She steps over to the counter and leans in towards Silas. "So, about that S20. Name me a number? I think I have a friend who'd be willing to contribute to the cause."

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“Going to run you a little over 6000, I’m afraid — I could maybe discount you a little for being a good customer but not by any significant amount.”

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"Let me check with my patron." She steps out of the shop and rolls up her sleeve. "Thoughts, EMBER?"

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