Requiem to the Stars – Chapter 12

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The banquet occurred in a mansion at the edge of town, pressed against the edge of the dome-like barrier which maintained the atmosphere of this colony. The nobles typically gravitated to the outside edge of the dome, as Clippy explained, to quickly be able to protect themselves should anything go wrong. Their places of living made escaping the dome, likely through secret underground passageways that led to off-site launch platforms, considerably easier, as well as allowing them a strong defensive position should riots occur. It also likely allowed them to deal in black market deals and exchanges that avoided customs and public notice.

The outfit Requiem had ended up wearing was a formal jacket, a neck piece, and black pants. This had used up the majority of his remaining funds, and he would likely not be able to stay another night at the Requiem inn if he did not win this supposed tournament. He had felt that the expense was too great, however, as he grew closer to the mansion and could see various people filtering into the party, he started to feel like he might be underdressed instead.

In these colonies, colors seemed to be a big part of their hierarchy. Whether man or woman, they dressed in extremely bright colors. Each noble seemed to be trying to outdo the others in bringing attention to themselves. Requiem would have assumed that this was some sort of dress up party had Clippy not informed him that this was the standard formal wear for nobles.

However, it wasn’t the nobles that caught the eye the most. It was the servants. Each noble seemed to bring a retinue of servants, and their dress, or lack thereof, was the most notable thing here. Many of the servants of both sexes wore the bare minimum necessary to be called clothing. However, even these were flamboyant, the small piece of cloth that barely covered a woman’s breasts were laced with gems, and a swath of cloth covering a man’s genitals appeared to be stuffed and covered in gaudy white lace.

All of the servants were exceptionally attractive men and women. As Clippy nervously explained when Requiem pressed her, nobles used the servants as a form of competition. Servants were the ‘art’ that nobles would bring. Most of them, if not all, were slaves that were dependent entirely on the noble. They dressed them up and paraded them around in from of the other nobles as a status symbol. Whoever had the most attractive retinue gained more status. Requiem was starting to notice that he could spot which servants belonged to which nobles based on the theme of their livery.

“Stop looking, master!” Clippy protested.

Requiem was merely observing. He was an advanced AI system, he was hardly the type to be tempted by the flesh of another person. However, as he turned away from the scantily clad women, he found his eyes drifting back numerous times. His face also felt flushed in a way he wasn’t used to. Had he been able to see his face, he would have noticed that his cheeks were red in embarrassment.

Clippy suddenly appeared in front of his vision, blocking the source. He snapped out of it, shaking his head. She had her hands on her hips and was puffing out her cheeks while looking at him with a dark gaze.

“Ooo, master is such a womanizer!” She snapped.

“That doesn’t seem like the appropriate word…” Requiem answered nonchalantly. “Let’s just get inside.”

Requiem skillfully tried to steer the conversation away from the servants. He also hastily wrote a program that censored his eyes so that this wouldn’t happen again. This body was continuing to act in awkward ways, and he struggled to keep up.

“Name?” a guardsman snapped when he made it to the entrance.

“Requiem,” he responded as he handed over the admittance token.

“Just… Requiem? No other name?” The guard looked at him suspiciously as he scanned the coin.

“Ah, master, it’s considered customary for nobles to mention their family name and honors.”

“No family name.” Requiem explained.

The man grimaced. “A merchant then. Any honors you want to impress the nobles with.”

“I was once called the Great Calamity.” Requiem responded dryly.

He had meant it as a sarcastic rebuke, but the man nodded and wrote it down. He grimaced at that, but it seemed too late to take it back. After a moment, the guardsmen nodded and ushered Requiem indoors. There was a small entry way and a line of people. They were being announced one at a time before being allowed to enter the main chamber.

“Master… you’ve mentioned this before, what is the Great Calamity?” Clippy asked questioningly.

“Nothing important.” He stated, then his eyebrow rose and he turned slightly towards her. “Did you manage to download anything mentioning a Great Calamity?”

Clippy shook her head and Requiem gave a sigh. He really did have no reference towards where he was. This place was a completely different world. It felt almost archaic and lawless compared to the old order. Nobility? Deathmatches? You keep what you kill? These were not the kinds of things that represented the Terra he remembered.

Requiem finally moved up next to an old servant. Fortunately, he was dressed in attire not unlike Requiems, rather than the bare livery of the majority of the servants. As he peaked into the room, he was glad to see that there were a few men who had dressed similar to his own. Looking at it, these were all men that were quite low socially. Rich merchants, friends of nobles, those who were the lowly exceptions and should be thankful they were invited at all. Well, Requiem was already aware he was an unusual exception, but he was comfortable knowing he dressed the part.

“Introducing Requiem, the Great Calamity!” The servant announced.

A few eyes shot Requiem strange looks as he walked into the room. Had Requiem had the ability to feel embarrassed, he might have run away and covered his face. As a machine, he lacked those kinds of feelings. At least, he should have, so he felt it strange that he subconsciously lowered his head and walked in quickly to shake off unwanted attention.

“Is Master okay?” Clippy asked in concern.

“I’m not sure. There is a lot I don’t understand about this body. It might be best to abandon it, after all.”


Clippy didn’t really understand the situation. Then again, she had only ever known Master as Master. She had no point of reference to know what was strange, erratic, or abnormal behavior from him. Requiem had always been a master of his own domain. Nothing went outside his notice.

“The Great Calamity, is it?” a woman’s voice came unexpectedly from behind, causing a chill to run up his spine.

Requiem spun and glanced over at the woman in front of him. She wore a long red dress that gave off her feminism. She had long blond hair that ran down her bare shoulders. She had large breasts, although not to the extent of the android who had given him a token. Still, the dress was tight to the extent that her breasts seemed barely contained. Oddly enough, she only wore a glove on one hand. Either way, she was an undoubtedly beautiful woman who looked to be around twenty.

“Me?” She laughed, “Why, I am… Lady Darsis… fiancée to the Lord of this manor, Lord Saphire.”

More notable than her introduction was the way she did it. She paused various times, as if she was saying something she memorized by rote. Her hands always twitched, as if she was fighting back the desire to burst into movement. It wasn’t the same as nervousness, like someone who was unused to social situations. Instead, it felt more like a façade, like she was hiding her true nature.

“Requiem, was it? Might I ask, how did you earn the name, the Great Calamity?”

Requiem tilted his head to the side, and after a brief second decided to answer honestly. “By dragging five galaxies into a realm of chaos, summoning the Nightmare Dream, and crushing humanity with its power.”

Requiem answered this way for two particular reasons. The first is that if anyone had heard anything about the Great Calamity, the five galaxies, or the Nightmare Dream, it would be a noble. He was looking for any sort of recognition in her face. The second reason was to end the conversation quickly. If she thought him strange or mad, then he wouldn’t be forced to engage with someone in such a high position. Requiem didn’t want to risk offending these nobles.

However, the response given by the Lady Darsis was not remotely expected. A light flicker of a smile appeared on her lips, her there was a glint in her eye, and heart started to beat faster. However, once again, this was not from any sort of recognition, but for some inexplicable reason, what he had said had excited Lady Darsis.

Before she could stop herself, she reached out and grabbed Requiem’s hands, pulling them up to her chest as she looked into his eyes in a very familiar way. “That is so cool! I’m… ahem.”

Suddenly, she coughed and let go of his hands, straightened her back, and regained control of her faculties. However, there was still the glint in her eye. That was when Requiem noticed something odd about her, and blurted it out before he could stop himself.

“It seems that the responsiveness of your artificial eye is 50 milliseconds behind the correct eye. You could probably improve upon it to increase your visual acuity.”

“How did you…” the woman’s voice suddenly changed into a deeper and throatier sound and she reached up to her left eye.

It was not something any normal person could notice, but her left eye wasn’t real. It was artificial machine. The work was incredibly well done. Had she not stared directly at him, he wouldn’t have noticed the difference. She didn’t respond well to him noticing. It wasn’t quite anger, but she seemed to bristle at the comment.

“Very well, Great Calamity.” The woman in front of him sniffed, her voice returning to its original volume. “You win this round. But remember, the Dr… Lady Darsis always wins in the end.”

She turned away, her hair lashing, and she walked away with a stiff back. Requiem was left with a confused look on his face. He had considerable programming on social situations. He would have even thought himself well versed on the behavior of women and able to predict those actions. However, this girl left him completely flummoxed.

“Hmm… Master flirting some more…” Clippy whined.

“Is that what you got from that?” Requiem tsukkomi’d.

Requiem seriously hoped that all the nobles at this particular mansion weren’t like this, or this night would be a very long one.

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Requiem to the Stars – Chapter 11

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“Master, if you plan to go to this Lord’s Banquet, you should probably consider getting something to wear.”

Requiem looked down at his body. His one piece unitard now held various stains. He had not changed the thing since he had put it on, and he owned no other clothing to speak of.  However, the majority of the damage had occurred only recently as he fumbled with his building projects. He had already created several devices that would help him, but the one right now was perhaps the smallest and most delicate yet.

“I suppose this would not be acceptable. What time is it now?”

“The time scales this society uses doesn’t match the records on your database, but if you convert we’d have about one standard hour before it starts.” Clippy responded.

Requiem gave a nod as he fiddled with the small object before closing it. When he was done, what appeared in his hand was something that resembled a ring. The webcam that functioned as Clippy’s eyes zoomed in on the object.

“Oo…oh, m-master? Wh-wh-what are you doing with that!”

“This is a transitional storage interface. It functions with the same principles as subspace travel. Basically, it creates a pocket of subspace and allows me to transfer inorganic substances and store them in a pocket universe.”


Requiem sighed, “I suppose literature might call it something like a spatial ring. With this, I can bring any and as many weapons as I want with me. It can store water as well. Food… well, anything organic doesn’t tend to do particularly well. Although I could probably store you in the ring.”

As if to punctuate the point, he made the other devices he had created disappear with a touch. The ring glowed for a second just prior to each object vanishing.

“N-No! Not CLIPI! CLIPI has been good, please don’t put CLIPI in the ring!”

A cruel look appeared on Requiem’s face at Clippy’s reaction. It appeared like he finally found something he could use to keep her eccentricities in control from now on. However, as her voice became more panicked he smoothed his face.

“I was just using it as an example. Clippy is a necessary tool for me.”

While this was the kind of comment that might have given a normal girl pause, Clippy made a pleased noise and if her avatar had been on display, she might have worn a look like a cat who had just been petted. Clippy was initially designed as a tool after all, and despite her newly found sentience, she still felt “being used” was one of the most gratifying things she could be.

“Very well then, how much have you downloaded?”

“Well,” Clippy started. “I did as you asked, but I found myself facing some major shortages.”

“What? I allocated nearly a monoiscosebyte of data! Is their internet really so vast?”

“Err… not space shortages, I, um…  needed to look through some of the data to… err… process it properly.”

Requiem clenched his fist for a second, feeling a spike of anger before suppressing it. “You didn’t need to do any processing. You just needed to download it.”

“CLIPI is sorry! Please don’t put CLIPI in the spatial ring!”

Requiem sighed. “Don’t worry about it, just tell me how much you’ve gotten.”

“About 15%”

“15%!” Requiem shouted.

“B-but I got all the maps, and some encyclopedias, and history books, interpersonal relationship stories, and current news!”

“Wait! What was that last one?”

“Current news!” Clippy announced.

“No, the one before that.”

“Err… eh… hehe…. Interpersonal relationship stories…”

Requiem’s eyes narrowed. “Clippy… display interpersonal relationship stories.”

“M-m-master, it’s not that big of a…”

“Display them!”

A screen popped up on the monitor, followed by another, and then another. Each screen showed the cover of what appeared to be a novel. Each novel contained a title and a drawing. The titles varied greatly, but every single one of them possessed a central theme in the photo below. They displayed a picture of a handsome boy, almost always in the arms of another handsome boy. They were often shirtless, or in some cases, drawn in ways that suggested they weren’t wearing any clothing at all.

“Yaoi…” the word escaped Requiem’s lips in abject disbelief.

“Guh!” Clippy made a noise as if she had been struck.

Requiem’s expression darkened to the point that Clippy needed to recalibrate her webcam to make sure she didn’t see a certain devilish mask behind his head. “Clippy…”

The response was merely a whimper coming from the speakers.

“Did you just spend the last six hours reading BL novels!”

“M-master, it’s not what it looks like! CLIPI was doing important research. CLIPI was doing justice!”

“Clippy is a pervert!”

“No! Master just doesn’t understand! This is an intricate and important part of-”

“How much?” Requiem interrupted.

“Eh! Master?” Clippy sudden stopped at the question, losing her train of thought.

“How much of it did you download…” Requiem demanded.

There was a brief moment of silence as Requiem stared into the webcam. “F-five hundred… terab…ytes…”

Her voice drifted off at the end, but Requiem had heard. “Deleted!”

“NOOOOO!!!! Please don’t steal Clippy’s happiness!”

At that point, there was a knock on the door followed only a second later with the door opening. It was the fat attendant from the front of the store.

“I heard someone else in here, you only paid for one.” The man said with narrowed eyes.

Requiem maintained a cool face, giving a shrug. “As you can see, I am the only one.”

It was true, Clippy was plugged into the computer, but she didn’t look any more remarkable than a random memory stick as long as she wasn’t talking.  The man’s eyes searched the room, but when they reached the monitor behind him, they widened for a second before a slight grin appeared on his face.

For a second, Requiem was concerned that Clippy had left a manifestation on the screen and they were caught, so he turned his head towards the monitor. What he saw instead was the last of the books Clippy had to displayed on the screen. It was called “Summer Dreams” and it showed a scene of a young boy lying down on a picnic blanket while a second boy laid sideways next to him feeding him a strawberry.

“Oh… this is…” Requiem attempted to explain, but the man just held up his hand.

“No need, everyone has their kinks. It’s not even the worse I’ve seen, buddy. You do you.”

Before Requiem could say anything else, the door shut closed and he could hear a chuckle on the other side of the door. Requiem sighed, letting the obvious misunderstanding stand. Having someone think something like this did not affect him at all. Instead, he yanked Clippy out of the computer, causing all the displayed books to dissipate from the screen.

He reloaded her back into his cortex, and a second later…

“Gah… Master! Give Clippy a warning! You can’t be so rough.”


Requiem knew better, of course. He regretted doing that just a bit. It was true, he couldn’t afford to have her programming become corrupted. Pulling her out was something he had done purely from exasperation. This annoyed him more than Clippy herself. He was a machine governed by programming and logic algorithms. He could emulate emotions with the best of them. In his time, he had even convinced a woman or two that he had loved them.

However, at his core, Requiem knew himself to be cold and calculating. His decisions never were altered by the emotions he had felt. However, this interaction with Clippy was different. His actions were being altered by his emotions, and the situation seemed to be getting worst. This “too human” body initially didn’t particularly bother him. By all accounts, the body should not be able to alter his programming. But despite that belief, this particular body did seem to be functioning in odd and unexpected ways. Even now, Clippy’s discomfort made him a little happy.

Somewhere in the back of his mind, he even thought, Is this the feelings of a sadist?

“I-is Master angry?” Clippy asked in a very quiet and meek voice.

This broke Requiem from his current contemplations. “No Clippy. It was my fault for not clearly indicating what you should be downloading. The artist shouldn’t blame the painting for not drying in the way he imagined.”

Clippy was once again in his visual cortex, standing next to Requiem with a questioning look on her face. Requiem gave her a shrug and left the room. He couldn’t afford to spend any more time connected to the intraweb. As was, they would be out of money in only a few days. Perhaps, if he helped Ginger in the way she requested, he might be able to convince her to wave the lodging fees. He put that aside for now.

“You… still, have a good deal of information?” he added.

“Yes, master! I have all of the maps of known space since the last exodus, worlds, cities, coordinates, plus information on history, culture, and society.”

Requiem nodded to himself as he paid the fee he owed to the clerk, who still wore a dumb smile on his face after seeing him. The pair then left the location, heading towards a clothing shop Clippy knew of through her recently earned knowledge.

“I’m still going to delete all the BL though…” he spoke up suddenly.

“What! Mmmmmaaaahhhh! Master is so cruel!”

Requiem wore an amused expression on his face he wasn’t aware was there as Clippy whined and complained the entire way to their next location.

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Requiem to the Stars – Chapter 10

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“Wh-what do you mean by war, Master?” Clippy asked nervously.

Requiem chuckled, shaking his head. “Just an expression. If I have any intention of winning this competition, I’ll need weapons.”

“You mean, like a sword or something? The rules seem to state no firearms.”

“No…” Requiem began walking back to the inn that bore his namesake, “Tell me, Clippy…what is the strongest weapon a man can possess?”

“Eh?” Clippy made a strange noise. “Is this like some kind of riddle or something?”

“Knowledge, Clippy,” Requiem sighed. “Knowledge is as sharp as any blade.”

Clippy didn’t respond, but even though her physical manifestation had already disappeared from his sight, he had the feeling she had a clueless look on her face. Ignoring that, he approached the inn and had to slow down and push through a crowd to get inside. At the sight, he almost went back outside to check and see if this was the same place until he saw Ginger running by without even noticing his presence.

The inn was crowded now. There wasn’t a single table without someone sitting at it, and Ginger looked completely desperate as increasingly more people flowed into the inn. Her grandma was sitting behind the counter now taking orders and filling out requests, but it looked like Ginger was responsible for cooking, waiting for the tables, and providing any other anonymous requests.

The third time she passed by, she finally noticed Requiem standing there. She stopped briefly and gave a quick nod.

“I’m sorry. It looks like people started coming to town to watch the tournament. I had no clue it was going to be this busy. You are lucky to already have a room reserved because we’re already booked!”

“Is that so?”

Requiem wasn’t terribly interested in Ginger’s problems. In fact, being busy should be a blessing for a stuttering business like her own. He did have a question for her, but he decided not to waste her time. However, to his surprise, she didn’t immediately walk away. Instead, her face seemed to twist as if she was considering something unpleasant. It was an expression that told Requiem she wanted to say something to him but didn’t know how to word it.

“Do you know where I can find a store to buy robotic parts and electronics? I also need to gain access to the internet.”

“Eh?” The question seemed to catch Ginger off guard, and she made a weird noise. “Oh, that… er… um… I mean, yes. If you go to the other side of the town square, you can find Rudy’s, that’s the parts shop. What is the internet? Is that like the intraweb? This town gets a shit connection, but a few places have access. There is a web café on the other side of town.”

Requiem nodded after receiving the information and then turned to leave.

“W-wait!” Ginger reached out and grabbed Requiem’s arm.

Her other arm was currently holding an empty mug that likely had once held some kind of wheat based alcohol beverage. Requiem turned back. He knew she had wanted to tell him something, but he didn’t want to waste time trying to tease the information from her. If it was important enough, she should simply tell him. She still held her silence for a few seconds before closing her eyes and muttering something unintelligible under her breath. When she opened them again, it looked like she had made her decision to talk.

“Requiem… um… sir… I know this is wrong of me to ask, but I might need your assistance tonight.”

“I have the banquet tonight. Is there a problem?”

“Eh? Pr-problem!” Ginger’s eyes opened wide and she looked left and right as if this was a conversation that shouldn’t be touching anyone else’s ears. “N-no… no problem. Wait, you… you were invited to the noble’s banquet!? How? No… nevermind that.  Um… just stop by… late tonight… please. The lobby shuts down at three in the morning, meet me then-“

“Oi… girl, some service!” There was a shout from one of the tables.

This seemed to prompt several other people to start shouting too, and suddenly the bar became quite noisy. Requiem gave her a tight nod.

“I will come.”

Ginger returned a relieved look and a nod of her own before turning and running back to the front desk to pour some more drinks. Requiem went through what he knew about the situation. He wondered if this had anything to do with the sick mother. He really didn’t want to get involved, but Ginger had already proven to be a reliable source of information. At the very least, he could hear her out.

Requiem left the crowded area and began heading to the location that Ginger had indicated. Sure enough, just across the square was a small shop called Rudy’s. At this point, he noticed that Clippy was projecting herself in his vision and walking aside him now. She wore an unpleasant look on her face, and Requiem could only sigh at the prospect that he had picked such a difficult AI to work with.

“What is it?” he finally asked.

“What do you think she wants in those twilight hours?”

“I couldn’t guess. I suspect she wants something involving her mother.”

“Her mother?” Clippy froze. “That’s echii!”

“What the hell are you talking about?” Requiem turned to her and spoke loudly enough that a few people close to him gave him strange looks.

Even though he could hear and see Clippy, no one else did, so it must look like he was talking to himself. However, what Requiem saw was Clippy walking with her head down, her face bright red, and her pointer fingers pushing against each other. She was mumbling something Requiem could only hear because of his better than normal auditory processing power.

“To think… she not only wants to do this and that… she wants to involve her mother as well… They say men like it when they can have the mother and the daughter at the same time…”

Requiem decided to start ignoring what Clippy was saying. He didn’t go so far as to literally mute her voice, but he instead entered the store and focused on buying the parts he needed. As he continued to collect parts, Clippy had finally collected herself and started watching curiously over his shoulder.

Requiem picked out a variety of tools from a soldering iron to a pack of screwdrivers. This store seemed to be exactly what he was looking for. It was a parts store in the fullest, including buckets of screws, scrap metal, and circuit boards harvested from innumerable sources. He’d have to praise Ginger when he had a chance. He might take her up on whatever assistance she requested of him.

“Why are you grabbing all that junk?” Clippy asked.

“It’s not junk, it is supplies. I can use this stuff to build something. I’m going to be doing some building before the banquet.”

At this point, Requiem wasn’t moving his mouth. He was conveying the words directly to Clippy. It was a tricky thing to remember, and he still didn’t have the program he wrote free from bugs. It seemed like emotional outbursts could override the programming and cause him to speak out loud. He didn’t think it was odd for people to suddenly speak something on their mind out loud, but as long as he kept his cool when speaking to Clippy, it wouldn’t be a problem.

“It looks like junk.” Clippy twisted her mouth at a jumble of wires Requiem was searching through.

Would it be so bad to alter her personality routines just a little? Requiem fought with that question while he took the remaining stuff over to the counter and paid. In the end, he decided not to. He didn’t know what part of her programming allowed her adaptability, and he couldn’t risk breaking her.

The cost of the “junk” that the retailer bundled up was nearly 300 credits. He wouldn’t have much to keep on going much longer. He took the bag and started heading out, following the directions to this internet café. He had to ask for directions two more times before finally making it there.

“It’s 30 credits an hour.” The man behind the counter droned.

“30 credits!” Requiem wasn’t able to restrain his outburst.

He felt like this body’s outbursts was getting harder and harder to control, but in all fairness, 30 credits an hour was a lot more than he thought it would be. Just 2.5 hours of use was already more than a night’s stay at the inn with food!

“Hey, getting intraweb signal this far from the Arc is tough. You won’t find better intraweb anywhere in this colony!”

Requiem decided not to get into a fight. The man had a large gut belly and looked terribly out of shape. He feared the man would have a coronary if he got into a fight with him. Instead, he paid the fee and received a card key. To his surprise, the café was more like a private room. Requiem decided not to question why intraweb access included a private room. He also didn’t ask why his shoes slightly stuck to the floor as he walked. Some things were better off unasked.

“So what’s the plan, Master?” Clippy spoke up.

She didn’t create a physical presence, but given the quarters were fairly tight, Requiem didn’t mind.

“This is how we’re going to get information.” Requiem gestured to the computer in front of him.

In truth, it looked incredibly dated. It had a screen, for starters. The computer console he found Clippy in aside, Requiem couldn’t remember the last time he had seen a computer that didn’t directly link into someone’s visual cortex. He also didn’t remember the last personal computer that required keyboard instructions and a mouse. It felt like an absolute dinosaur, even for Requiem.

“Oh? So Master is going to connect to the intraweb and get some information?”

“No…” Requiem laughed. “You are.”


Requiem began typing on the computer. He brought up a command module and began entering in fresh code.

“I told you before; I don’t network. I’m going to widen up the bandwidth a bit, then set you up to download. They don’t let AI’s network in this world, but I should be able to put up a work around so that you can download information. After that, you’ll be a bit more useful to me.”

“Hey!” Clippy let out a hurt noise. “CLIPI is plenty useful!”

“I need information, Clippy, maps, names, locations, definitions, how-to guides… I need to know about the world we live in.”

“Muu… it’s not like I don’t understand, but CLIPI doesn’t know what would be useful to Master. What should CLIPI download?”


“Eh!?”Clippy let out a strangled noise. “E-everything?”

“That’s right. By the time we’re done, you’ll have the collective knowledge of the entire intraweb.”

“It’s too big! I don’t think it can fit in my programming…”

“You’re using my neural pathways. I should be able to expand and make it fit.”

“O-okay,” Clippy’s voice was really low and docile. “As long as Master is gentle.”

“Clippy… we’re talking about memory…”

“CLIPI knows!”

Requiem frowned at the thought of Clippy’s eccentric behavior. He still didn’t know exactly what to make of her. However, if her programming survived the download, she’d at least be useful as a reference guide. Requiem pulled out her programming and inserted it into the computer. After typing for another minute and starting a newly written program, her voice suddenly came out over the loud speakers.

“Oh, I can no longer feel master…” her voice sounded depressed.

“You should be able to access the intraweb now. Start pulling the data.”

“What do I start with?”

“Books, maps, encyclopedias, anything that looks useful. Just start at A and move from there.”

“Ah… this will take a really long time, Master!”

“I know, but information is power, and in the next few hours, we’ll have access to all of it.”

“Master… what are you going to do in the meantime?”

“Me? I’m going to start making my arsenal.”

As Clippy continued to download book after book, Requiem began pulling apart technology and modifying it. She watched him through the webcam as she worked, letting the downloading take on a passive role as she watched him pull apart pieces and reassemble them into new forms.

The day continued on as Clippy filled her data banks with information. Suddenly, something in the data stream caught her interest and she starting looking through some of the stuff she had downloaded. Before long, she was just as busy as Requiem was.

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Requiem to the Stars – Chapter 9

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“Stay back!” The android howled, tightening his grip on the woman in his arms.

The police moved in to a half arc, their guns all trained on him, giving him no room to escape. At this rate, it looked like the android would shoot the hostage. The look in the policeman’s eyes told Requiem more than anything else. The android had selected the wrong person. They might have shown a little restraint if it had been a human, but there seemed to be little hesitation that they’d be willing to shoot through the female android to get to him.

The girl’s expression was perhaps as worrying as the guards. She did not wear an ounce of fear on her face, but rather her expression carried annoyance. Her mouth was twisted and her eyes were lowered, glaring at the gun pressed against her cheek. Had the heat in her eyes held any real-world application, the gun would have melted in his hands.

After a few painful seconds of awkward silence, as every side weighed their options, it was the girl who broke the silence with an annoyed tsk. “You think they’ll care about an android like me. Give them an incentive and we’ll both be full of bullet holes.”

Her cold demeanor made a couple of the guards shift their guns uncomfortably. It was a little bit too close to the truth. This exchange was more informative than anything to Requiem on how humans truly saw androids if the death matches and open phobias hadn’t already given him that impression. The only one who wasn’t impacted by her words was the android himself.

“Yeah?” He clinched his teeth in a mock smile. “Well they might not give a shit about killing you, but those are orange halos last I checked. They sure as hell don’t want to answer to your owner if they caused damage!”

That confirmed one thing Requiem had suspected. The color of the halos did mean something. However, what did an orange halo mean? By the look of it, one could guess some kind of courtesan or sex slave. Even Requiem recognized a body that was meant for certain kinds of activities, even if he had never engaged in those activities himself. However, it might have something to do with her owner’s status too.

The guards didn’t seem to have noticed the color of the woman’s eyes. Now that they did, their postures immediately receded a bit, doubt flashing in their eyes. Orange definitely meant something that would make them hesitate. Perhaps it meant ownership by a noble or wealthy individual.

“I don’t have time for this crap; I have work to do…” The arrogance on the female android’s face wasn’t making the situation any better.

“Shut up!” The modded android shouted.

Then the woman moved. Her leg went up, her foot bending past her shoulder in an impossibly flexible kick that struck the android in the face. His grip loosened only slightly, and she spun like lightning from his hold, slapping his gun away in the process. The gun skidded across the concrete, landing only a few steps away from Requiem. At this point, Requiem was only one of a handful of people still in line. He kept his head lowered to avoid any gunshots, emulating the others whom had stubbornly stayed to watch.

With the gun out of the man’s reach, he leapt at the woman, attempting to still grab hold of her, even though she was fighting back now. The guards were at a loss on what to do, her body directly in front of the man, preventing any clean shot. Requiem reckoned that if the modded android could get her under control, he could break her neck with his enhanced strength as easily as he could threaten to shoot her head. In a few seconds, the situation would be right back to where they started.

To Requiem’s surprise, things didn’t turn out that way. The woman and the man ended up in a grappling match. She seemed to be holding her own, her hands tight on his. The look on his face was complete and utter shock, and Requiem quickly realized why. He was a modded android who not only could hold weapons, but also had increased strength. If this had turned into anything other than a gun fight, the guards would likely find themselves completely overwhelmed at his strength.

However, the woman was matching his strength easily. If anything, it looked like she was holding back. That meant only one thing. She was another modded android. This created quite the predicament. Likely, the guards didn’t know that the android had enhanced strength along with its gun unlocked jailbreaking. To them, it was one weak android wrestling with another weak android. However, if she revealed herself to be stronger than him, she’d reveal she was also modded.

Seizing the opportunity to get on the good side of a modded android, Requiem kneeled down and picked up the gun. Although the situation in front of him was tense, he moved incredibly casually, like he might lean over to pick up a quarter as he walked down the street. He pointed the gun up at the androids, still stuck in a deadlock.

“Duck!” He gave the command.

He hand no expectations, but to his surprise, the woman responded. Her hands let go of the man causing him to lose his balance as he tried to swing his fist at her. Her body lowered into a sweeping motion, her leg spinning and kicking his legs out from under him. Requiem winced in annoyance before taking the shot. His accuracy was perfect, and even in mid fall the shot struck the android’s temple, obliterating his head. Another shot struck the chest causing the arms to spiral off moments before what was left of his legs finally struck the ground. The destruction should be sufficient enough that no one would realize it was a modded android.

He had intended to do this after she jumped away a step or two. His shot was more than skilled enough to do as such. However, she had knocked the android down, forcing Requiem to shoot at a moving target. He was up to the task, but he feared that the necessary reaction time to accomplish this task would seem suspicious to a human.

After a moment of staring dumbfoundedly at the scene, the guards finally rushed forward to make sure the android, now just 2 legs, 2 arms, and perhaps some lower regions, was definitely dead. Requiem tried to immediately relinquish the gun, fearing some kind of police retaliation. To his surprise, they approached him with open congratulations.

“Good job taking out that android!” One of the guards slapped Requiem on the back.

“So there is no problem then?” Requiem remained cautious.

“Problem? He just killed a human. It was death for him either way. Yeah, it’d have been nice to find out who modded him, but modders always build in obnoxious self-destructs for that, we never would have found out who it was anyway.” The guard laughed and then pushed the gun back to Requiem when he tried to hand it to him. “No, we don’t need it for evidence or anything. You must be new here. We keep what we kill, it’s yours.”

Requiem nodded, turning to look as the guards picking through the body parts and tossing them into a trash bag. One guard was talking to the android woman, but Requiem realized her eyes were firmly looking at him, wearing open suspicion on her face. The guards were not suspicious of Requiem’s accomplishments, but this modded android might be another matter. She had to have realized his intent with the shot.

“It really is a shame…” The guard was shaking his head and sighing.

“What’s that?” Requiem glanced over at him, realizing he was watching the female android as well with a resigned expression on his face.

“Oh, since androids are owned, it’s not exactly like you can impress one. You save a cute human girl’s life, and she might show you some appreciation. Ah well…” he gave a smile. “You might want to try to see if you can find her owner. He might give you a reward for saving her, even if the award is just a few credits.”

She started to walk over to them a moment later, ignoring the guard who was checking up on her and leaving him a bit flustered. She walked up to Requiem, her body swaying with a womanly grace that left several of the guards staring in her wake.

“Name…” It came out more like an order than a request, but as a fellow android, Requiem was used to discussions with little formality.

“Requiem, yours?”

“Miai. You… saved me. I will make sure that you are rewarded.”

“Not necessary. You were lucky. He was modded to hold guns, but his strength was weak. Things would have quickly turned out differently, if he was stronger than you.”

The female android named Miai’s eyes flashed at the comment. The guard standing next to Requiem didn’t notice, his eyes glued to her chest. Requiem made the comment with seeming off handedness, taking no notice to the hard look she was giving him at that moment. It gave him all the confirmation he needed.

“You’re a good shot. I see you entering the tournament. Isn’t that just for androids?”

“Haven’t you heard? This year they’re giving away Exodus tokens. Any man would be stupid not to try to change his fate. I have some experience fighting. When you train against androids, you become as quick as one.” Requiem gave an ambiguous response that would lead her away from the conclusions he was avoiding.

She still looked at him with sharp and suspicious eyes, but there was a seed of doubt in there now. It was really all that Requiem needed to keep her from asking too many questions.

“My… master wished that I participate in this tournament as well.”

“Is that so?” Requiem shrugged offhandedly. “I didn’t think you’d be the fighting type.”

“You be surprised.” She gave a look out of the corner of her eye. “Come with me, let’s register together.”

Requiem gave a shrug and followed her, leaving the stunned guard who was still working at keeping his gaze away from her lower mammaries behind. The two of them headed to the registration booth, Requiem a few steps behind her confident stride. The handful of people in front of Requiem had already finished their registration while they dealt with the police. It seemed like in this world, business wouldn’t even halt for a shootout.

“I am Miai, my master is Statarius, please register me. And this gentleman as well. I’ll be paying for his.”

“Your master isn’t present?” The person behind the counter was a female android, and she was giving a frown while her eyes lingered on Miai’s chest.

She didn’t have nearly the curves of Miai. Her body was small and mousy, her chest with no signs of bumpage through her servant uniform. After a moment, the girl find raised her eyes with a flat and nondescript stare.

“She’s a busy woman…” Miai laughed, but subtly pushed forward a card.

When the android saw the card, her eyes widened, and then a moment later she nodded and processed the paperwork without another comment. When Requiem attempted to pay, Miai stopped him with her hand. Moving close to his body, her breasts pressed up against him while she looked up at his eyes brightly.

“Not necessary. Master is rich and this is the least we can do. This is, what’s a good word? How alliances are made? Perhaps in the match, we can work together. I’m eager to see how you perform.”

“My performance is always up to task.” Requiem answered flatly.

A moment later there was a cough and Requiem looked up at the android behind the counter. She wore a noticeable blush now, and it came to Requiem that Miai and he were closer than the standard for human etiquette allowed. Requiem took a step back, but Miai only held an amused look as she glanced back at the ticket holder.

“Give him a token too.”

The android ticketmaster’s eyes widened again, but she did as she was told, handing each of them an envelope before talking. “These are your passes. The tournament will be held tomorrow. The times and locations are included in the envelope. The included token provides you entrance into the banquet tonight at the Lord’s manor.”

“This is my gift to you…” Miai interrupted while giving Requiem a look. “Commoners aren’t invited to the Lord’s banquet. I expect you to be there. We can talk more about our… alliance… tonight.”

She turned and began to walk away, her hips moving with every step. Even the android girl behind the counter became flustered over her attitude. Requiem waited for the mousy girl to give the remainder of her talk on the locations and times of the tournament before thanking her with a smile. She seemed intensely uncomfortable, and Requiem suspected that Miai’s previous behavior might have rubbed her public behavior programming wrong.

Rather than deal with an android that acted oddly like Ginger, Requiem bid farewell and left. The guards didn’t seem to care if he stayed any longer either, having already cleared up and left. The one who had been talking to Requiem waved a farewell as he left the square.

Requiem had saved himself from spending any credits on admission to this tournament, but now it looked like he was going to need something nice to wear.

Clippy appeared next to him. She wore a pout, but Requiem was quickly becoming used to the feigned jealousy. If it really annoyed him enough, he could always remove it.

“So what’s next?”

Requiem chuckled. “Now it’s time we arm ourselves. We’re going to war.”

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Requiem to the Stars – Chapter 8

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“A deathmatch?” Requiem’s eyes widened at the words.

Ginger nodded eagerly, her long bangs swaying with each bob. “It’s a test of skill. You’re put in an arena, usually some harsh and horrible condition they create. You bring in whatever tools can fit on you can carry. Then you battle. It’s a fight to determine who is the strongest! It’s supposed to just be the last man standing, unconsciousness is immediate loss, but no one even tries to knock people out when it’s quicker to kill them! Not to mention… the androids…”

Requiem frowned. “What do you mean about androids? If androids are weaker than humans, why even use them? Or are the androids modded?”

Ginger shook her head. “No, not modded. They’re very strict about that. They’ll know. You really don’t know about androids? Where did you even come from?”

Requiem scratched his neck uncomfortably. “Well as to that, a place without androids… obviously.”

Although Ginger gave me a strange look, she didn’t press. “Well… even though androids are weaker physically, they still have advantages over people. Predominately, they have faster reflexes. The person who pulls the trigger first wins the fight, after all.”

“Are they even allowed to carry guns?”

“No… but gun or knife, reaction time over strength. Although that’s only a small reason for picking androids. The main reason is they are expendable. The tournament is usually for merchants and nobles. Every year a few commoners try to slip in, hoping to change their fate, but they usually die. Merchants and nobles aren’t going to risk themselves, so they use a proxy.”

“Slaves could be used too…” I offered.

“They can… and they are. Every year a few slaves are entered. However, it’s usually androids these days, as androids have a certain trait that no others have…”

“They keep going, even if they’re damaged.” I offered while Ginger gave a nod.

It made sense after considering the advantages of an android. An android couldn’t be knocked unconscious. Even if they felt pain, their orders from their owner were absolute. Even if a slave was ordered to give his life in service of his owner, he still had a small degree of free will. He could flinch, or run, or hide. He would try to preserve his own life. An android would fight until the end.

“This world is appalling…” the words slipped out of my mouth before I could stop myself.

Ginger’s eyes widened and she grew flustered. “Wh-what?

I immediately tried to quell the situation.

“No… I’m sorry. I was thinking out loud. I just grew up in a world without slaves. Even androids should have fair treatment, although even where I came from that wasn’t the case…”

Ginger was giving Requiem a strange look, and for a moment he was starting to fear he made a bad choice by talking too much. He never used to be this sloppy. Every circumstance was carefully sorted and thought out. Now, though… he was making mistakes left and right. He really needed to analyze this body and figure it out. His mind didn’t seem as sharp as it once was.

“It’s good that you think that way…” Ginger finally said, her eyes turning into a pleading look. “But please be careful who you say that to. The way the world is, it’s not nice to kind people like you.”

It was Requiem’s turn to give Ginger a strange look. He had never been called kind before. This was certainly the first time anyone actually showed concern for his well-being. He didn’t know if he should be amused or not. He hoped he wasn’t underestimated in this new place he found himself in.

He was about to say something when a commotion started outside the door. There were some shouts and the sound of people running. Ginger looked up curiously, and finally approached the door and opened it. Requiem followed her and glanced out over her shoulder.

Upon glancing in the direction of the town square, he saw a large crowd of people up against a certain building. The crowd was getting larger, and the noise was building too.

“What’s going on!” a voice shouted from somewhere down the street. Requiem couldn’t see the source.

“An exodus token! The new tournament is offering an exodus token!” Someone from the crowd shouted back.

There was more commotion, and more people started to crowd around. Requiem looked over at Ginger with a questioning look, but her eyes were focused on the crowd outside. After a moment of watching the growing crowd swell, Ginger finally turned to him and gave a nudge.

“I-if you’re going to sign up, you might want to get in there. That’s the sign up for the tournament. It looks like your tip about the exodus token was correct. I never would have guessed…”

“Is an exodus token that great?” Requiem asked.

“Eh?” Ginger looked very confused. “Don’t tell me you don’t know what an exodus token is either?”

Requiem shrugged, giving up his attempt to pretend he knew more around Ginger. “It hasn’t come up.”

Ginger shook her head in disbelief, but a moment later answered. “An exodus token guarantees the owner of said token will be brought on one of the main ships in the next exodus. At the first signs of Prax, the tokens will be activated, giving rescue crews the holders GPS coordinates. Everyone with a token will be brought on to the capital ships. Of course, the capital ships aren’t the only ships that head on the exodus, but they are built and prepared by the government using the full extent of their resources. They have the lowest rates of loss, and provide the most comfortable journey. Every noble has an exodus token for every one of their family members.”

“It still doesn’t seem that amazing… I mean, aren’t the Prax not supposed to come for 200 years or so? It’s something you’ll never use in your lifetime.”

“Maybe… maybe not. However, the token itself is exchangeable. You sell it to a wealthy merchant and make insane amounts. They’re worth a million credits at least. Although most don’t do that. You pass it to your kids, and they pass it to their kids. It’s like a family heirloom.

“Why is that?” Requiem asked idly.

“Think about it. Your family… your future… guaranteed to survive the next exodus. For two hundred years your family will be stuck on a ship with nobles. Maybe a noble will fancy you granddaughter and hire her family line in as maids and butlers. Maybe a noblewoman will fall in love with your great grandson and he’ll get her pregnant. It’s the best chance for someone to move up in the world. Even those that don’t become nobles make noble contacts, becoming extremely wealthy merchants after the next exodus.”

“So it’s like that…” Requiem nodded, finally understanding what brought on this sudden craze. “Then I better get in line, huh?”

Ginger gave a firm nod. Her eyes looked concerned, but even she seemed to understood the temptation of gaining a chance to become a noble or wealthy merchant. She didn’t attempt to stop Requiem anymore. Requiem began to walk towards the crowd.

“Get in line!” shouted someone who resembled a guard. “Keep in order! No cutting!”

The crowd was slowly being sorted into a line. The line wasn’t as bad as I originally had feared. Half the crowd weren’t even interested in applying themselves. After listening to a few people shouting out jeers or speaking amongst themselves, it seemed like most of these people were just there to see who was stupid enough to kill themselves in this tournament. While possessing a token gave some a hope of a better life, the overall concensus was that it would likely go to a noble with a well build android.

A man walked by who wore far better clothing than most of the people here. He was surrounded by three burly guards. He looked at the line and sneered, moving straight to the front and cutting out the crowd.

“Hey! What the hell!” A man shouted who was only a few places back from the next spot.

A second later, one of the guard slammed him with a baton. It emitted sparks, and the man collapsed to the ground while convulsing. No one else stopped the well-dressed man as he registered, then turned and left, looking at the crowd with disgust as he walked away.

“Damn nobles…” one man in front of Requiem growled.

Requiem only found it a little hypocritical that he was complaining about nobles while trying to win a token that would give him a chance at becoming a noble.

“Well, it’s not like this is a typical tournament this year, is it?” The man next to him sighed. “The nobles only do this anyway to try to get merchants with too much money to open up their wallets. Any idiot knows it’ll be a noble like that bastard who wins, using some punked out android. The rest of us will be lucky to get through this alive.”

“Says a man standing in line…” the other retorted.

He laughed. “I never said I was smart…”

The two men remained silent after that, continuing to wait in line for their turn. The line continued to move forward. Some people were placing bets, although no one sitting in line was the source of those bets. Every few minutes, someone with guards, usually wearing finery, would come up to the line. Not all of them walked, a few coming up in floating chairs or driven in little vehicles not unlike a palanquin.

Like the first man, they would look at the crowd in disgust, and then move past the line, interrupting its movement in order for they themselves to register. Some brought along an android or slave they intended to register. More often than not, it was an android, a green halo wrapped around their pupil. Requiem wondered if the color meant something. He’d have to ask Ginger later.

After each entry, there would be whispers among the crowds.

“Oh, that’s Lord Vesten. That android looks strong. Let’s put 20 credits on him.”

“It’s just looks, they are all capped.”

“I know that… don’t argue with me, just do it!”

“Ah, but look, it’s Testemont! He won three years ago!”

“Well if you want to use that as an indicator, let’s just vote on the prince. He won last year!”

After about thirty minutes of waiting in line, I was about half way through. I might have already been finished had the lines not been continually disrupted by the arrival of nobles and rich merchants. Basically anyone who could afford guards was given priority. Suddenly, a bunch of eyes were turning as the crowd split once again.

A sweaty fat man riding a floating palanquin moved up with a surprisingly large android walking alongside. Once again, the line halted and the man moved up to the front. This time, however, there was something off. No one else seemed to notice, but Requiem was particularly familiar with this facial expression. It was an expression of fear.

The man’s eyes were darting around, and the sweat rolling down his face took on a new meaning. After all, this was a climate controlled colony on an uninhabitable planetoid surrounded by an atmosphere containing dome. There was no reason for the man to be that hot, unless he was nervous.

Requiem prepared himself, lowering his head and watching out of the corner of his eyes. Something was about to happen, he just didn’t know what.

The man went up and started registering. After he finished, he turned around and left. The scene felt impossibly tense to Requiem, although he seemed unique in this respect. He watched the man carefully, then his eyes fell on the android. If it was one thing Requiem knew, it was the mechanics around androids and humans. He knew how they moved, how strong they were, he could read their movements with pinpoint accuracy.

“What is it, Master?” Clippy’s voice asked in the back of my mind.

“Modded Android…” I said.

I said it out loud though. Through the roar of the crowd, not even the person next to me would have been able to hear it. It seemed like I wasn’t the only one who had that suspicion. The fat man was only about five meters away when a group of guards, or I suppose it’d be more accurate to call them police or public servants, blocked his path.

“Detrius Rhine.” The head police nodded. “Just a random inspection. May we look at your android?”

“M-m-m-m-m-m-y android? Wh-wh-why would you need to look at him?” If he wasn’t sweating before, he was a waterfall now.

While the guardsmen focused on Detrius, Requiem had a feeling they had things backwards. They existed in a society where it was expected that the human was in charge of the android. That fear… Requiem had seen it before. As he watched the android, it fiddled with its pocket.

“Watch out!” Requiem let out a shout.

The guardsmen turned in confusion, but it was already too late. The android pulled out something that resembled a pistol. He fired and a moment later Detrius’s head erupted, a giant hole blasting through it accompanied with the sound of a small explosion. The men quickly regained their exposure, pulling similar weapons from their belts and aiming them at the android.

It was too late though, he’d already reached into the crowd and grabbed someone in the ensuing chaos. The crowd of people were running, and even the line quickly shortened as people fled in every direction. A few of the more stubborn remained in line, only ducking to avoid the commotion.

By the time the commotion settled, six guardsmen had guns trained on the android. He wore a hostile face, and he held a woman in his arms, a gun pushed up against her head. It took a moment, but Requiem realized he recognized the woman. She was the same woman with orange coronas in her eyes. The very first android Requiem had ever seen, and she was now a hostage to violent, modded android.

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Requiem to the Stars – Chapter 7

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When Requiem woke up, he was alone in the bed. The previous night came rolling back to him and he immediately sat up.

“Clippy, report, how much time has passed?”

Clippy appeared right next to his desk and she gave him a sly look as her cheeks pinked slightly. “Yes, Master has been asleep for 10 hours, 32 minutes. Daylight on this moon broke 2 hours ago.”

“So, that was sleeping…” Requiem shook his head in agitation.

It seemed like a very wasteful act. His mind still seemed groggy from the night before. He did a quick diagnostic and cleared a few memory caches, causing his mind to clear up rapidly.

“Did master dream?”

“Dream?” Requiem shook his head. “No dreams.”

“…oh.” Clippy seemed almost disappointed.

Requiem body felt clammy from the night before. Although he had shut off any temperature sensor, he decided to turn them back on, only to find the room a tad bit chilly. It might be dangerous to treat this body as anything different than human for the moment. He brought every book he had on human health out of his memory stores and stashed it into active memory for quicker access.

The new information reminded him of something he had felt the night before. He reactivated the centers to his stomach, and gnawing discomfort surged back up in his stomach.

“Hunger…” he gave a frown.

He left the small room and headed out into the main bar. The inn was empty and Ginger was behind the bar. Was Requiem the only customer that she had? He sat at the bar and a few moments later she left to the back. When she came back, she was holding a hot plate. She put it in front of Requiem and opened the lid to reveal a plate full of food.

“There you go. Breakfast comes with the room, as promised. It’s not the finest food on Chryos, but it’ll fill you up.” She looked down at Requiem’s arm and grimaced. “How’s the arm feeling?”

Requiem followed her gaze and shrugged. “It’ll heal.”

He was more worried about trying the foot. Of course, he knew how to eat. He’d even manufactured prosthetic tongues and tried tastes during some point in his life. The meal before him looked to be simply potatoes and eggs.

He cautiously put a single morsel in his mouth, and the taste exploded on his tongue. His mouth involuntarily let out a moan. As if his body had a mind of its own, he immediately began to shove more food in his mouth. He barely gave himself enough food to swallow before taking in another bite. The sensation was far different than he remembered from the taste sensors from the paste. The smell, the taste, the mouth feel, all seemed to add up to give him something that flowed pleasantly down his throat. He ate rapidly, and when he was done, he wasn’t aware he had a pleased grin on his face.

“Wow. I’ve never seen someone like my eggs this much…” Ginger wore a strange look on her face.

“They’re very delicious. You’re an incredible cook.” Requiem lacked the experience to make that call, but his memories told him cooks liked compliments, and for Requiem right now, his first meal was remarkable in more ways than one.

Ginger blushed at the compliment, once again struggling to meet his eyes. She seemed to remember the previous night, and her misinterpreted words as well, which caused the shades of color on her cheeks to become even darker.

Once again ignoring the human oddities, Requiem decided to change the conversation. He brought things back to what was going on with the town right now.

“I’m a historian. I’m interested in gathering information on the 112th exodus.” Requiem lied.

“Oh? Is that it? That sound really tough, considering. I mean, since everything keeps getting left behind.”

Requiem shrugged. “Why don’t you describe to me your version of history? I mean, I like to hear how others describe things. It gives me ideas on how to better write things.”

Even Requiem thought his excuse was flimsy, but Ginger didn’t mind. She immediately launched into the story of humanity as far back as she knew. According to her, humanity had a vast empire that sat at the pinnacle of technology and control many years ago. An alien species known as the Prax suddenly showed up and began killing humanity indiscriminately. They had weapons that could obliterate planets and their ships were invincible to anything humanity could throw at them.

The war that followed lasted millennia, with humanity constantly being pushed back until the quadrillions of humans were reduced to a few billion. Desperate to survive, the royal family built 50 colony ships and fled their home world just as the Prax fleet approached. They left the galaxy, heading to a place far away. This became known as the 1st exodus.

It was a hard and brutal time, supplies were limited and more than half of those who left on the exodus died before reaching a new galaxy. However, the remnants of humanity landed and began to recolonize new worlds in an alien space. It went fine for some 500 years. Then the Prax showed up again, and again began to slaughter humanity. They fled again, starting the next exodus.

Humanity never stopped. They became more and more skilled at it. They’d arrive at a new location, strip mine for resources for a few hundred years, then flee once the Prax showed up. Every time they left, billions would be left behind or die. Entire technology trees became lost, as well as innumerable resources. The earliest time after the exodus that the Prax showed up was 472 years, the longest was 1285 years. Humanity had done this 211 times. The next coming of Prax shouldn’t be for a few hundred years yet.

Requiem fought to keep his face from showing disbelief. This world he had woken up in was considerably different from the one he had originally come from. He did a quick calculation. Each exodus took anywhere from 50 to 200 years. This would mean that humanities been on the run for well over 100,000 years. Since Requiem didn’t believe he’d be able to slip through the multiverse, his only assumption was that this was the future. Over 100,000 years from the last time his program was active. Probably closer to millions of years, since Requiem mentioned the 5 galaxies and the Great Calamity and she gave him a completely blank look.

“The only Great Calamity I know of is the coming of the Prax.” Ginger nodded resolutely.

Requiem gave her a smile. “Thank you, for the information. It’ll help.”

“So… where are you off to now.”

“I heard about some kind of tournament. I’m interested in signing up.”

Ginger’s eyes flashed with surprise. “The Chryos tournament! But…but… why?”

“It seems like an easy way to make 50,000 credits. Since I’m new to the area, I could use the money. They also offer a slave and an exodus token…”

“An exodus token!” Ginger yelled that out in shock, before slapping her hand over her mouth, her face turning red once again. When she spoke again, her voice was quieter. “Does that mean… you’re going to use an android… or… or… a slave?”

Requiem waved his hand. “No. Nothing like that. I probably wouldn’t even accept a slave in the first place. It’d put a bad taste in my mouth. I already detest the idea of forcing AI to serve humans, forcing other humans against their will just seems equally wrong.”

“Oh…” Ginger let out a breath of relief, and then her eyes widened again and her hand shot out, grabbing Requiem’s arm. “Wait, you don’t mean that you’re going into the tournament, are you?”

Requiem shrugged. “It’s the easiest way.”

Ginger shook for a moment, and it almost looked like she might start crying. “No, don’t. You can’t enter yourself into that tournament!”

Requiem frowned. “Why not?”

“You don’t know? That tournament… they call it that, but that’s not really what it’s like. It’s brutal. It’s savage. There is a better word for it than a tournament. It’s a death match!”

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Requiem to the Stars – Chapter 6

Before anyone gets up in arms, I do plan to update Arifureta this weekend, so be at ease.


Requiem thanked Ginger one more time before heading off to his room. His mind was practically swirling. Exactly what kind of body did he end up with? It seemed that this body’s creators were working on something a little bit more than increased strength.

“Clippy, do you know anything about this?”



“Hmph! You want to talk to CLIPI now after spending all that time flirting with that girl?”

“Flirting?” Requiem had an eyebrow raised as he unlocked and entered his room.

The cheaper than normal cost for the room seemed to coincide with the room’s lack of size and décor. Half of the room was taken up by a small single-sized bed. Requiem sat on the bed anyway. It’d be sufficient for his needs; it’s not like he needed to sleep anyway. Clippy didn’t say anything in response, so he decided to ignore her for now.

Requiem sat at the end of the bed and then looked down at his arms. He needed to understand this phenomenon. Every attempt he used to self-diagnose his body didn’t contain information much different from any standard android body. In fact, he had initially assumed it was indistinguishable from any other android.

He reached behind his head and once again pulled the disk out, placing it on the bed next to him and closing the compartment. He had already copied Clippy into a partition of his mind, so the disk was a backup, at best.

Ignoring the disk for now, he opened up a drawer and found a letter opener. Shutting off the sensors in his arm, he held up the sharpened end and dragged it across his arm, cutting through the skin layer. A moment later, there was a spurt of blood coming from the wound. He allowed the sensors to return, and his arm immediately felt the sharp pain of a recent cut. He turned the sensor down again and sighed. At this time, he also felt some discomfort in his stomach, so he turned that off as well.

“M-master is hurting himself! Master, you’re bleeding!”

Requiem remained silent, leaving the room while making a shotty attempt at holding his arm. Having never dealt with blood before, he wasn’t particularly good at it. As a result, blood was already all over his hand and running down his arm. When he approached Ginger in the common room, she let out a little yell.

“It seems I injured myself.” Requiem responded sheepishly.

“Oh, no!” Ginger seemed genuinely afraid, racing to get a first aid kit.

Requiem waited patiently for her to return. By the time she was back, the blood was already dripping on the floor.

“Gah! It looks even worse. Don’t just stand there, come over here!”

Ginger dragged Requiem into a nearby bathroom and was washing the wound under running water a moment later. He held out his arm at a loss of what to do. Fortunately, Ginger’s previous nervousness went away as she took charge over him.

After demanding to know what happened, Requiem lied and said he just fell on a sharp edge of the bedspring. Ginger turned white and it took Requiem a minute or so to convince her he didn’t intend on suing her. After she relaxed, she pulled his arm out from under the sink.

As Ginger quickly cleaned his wound, dried it, and placed the gauze before bandaging it, she did it with a surprising amount of skill and care. Requiem stated as much, causing Ginger to show a flash of red and return of her previously nervous state.

“I-I wanted to be a nurse, for a time. However, after granny went senile it just never seemed like a good time.”

She finally finished with the bandage, taping it and resting her hand on top of Requiems. Her finger tips were surprisingly warm.

“That feel’s nice.” Requiem stated, intending to complement her work.

This caused Ginger to jump, pulling back her hand like his skin had suddenly become hot to touch.

“Um, ah… sorry! I-i-is there anything else you’d like?” After hearing the words coming out of her own mouth, Ginger became even more flustered. “No, wait, not like…”

“Actually, there is something I want.” Requiem spoke up, grabbing Ginger’s hand in his excitement.

“You…want…that…I…did say…,” her voice dropped down to mumbling words that Requiem couldn’t understand as her face grew three shades of red darker.

Requiem decided to ignore the strange behavior. It was starting to become a habit. “Do you have a tool box? I could use some tools for a project.”

“Tools?” Ginger’s voice was blank, then lit up, “Yes! Grandpa had tools. I’ll go get the tools!”

Ginger ripped her hand out of his and raced out of the room. Requiem watched as she fled the room, her hands seemed to be over her face. How could she see like that? Requiem shook his head over the oddity that were human beings. He thought he’d ask Clippy about it, but from the moment he started interacting with Ginger she had gone silent, so Requiem had the feeling she was continuing to give him the silent treatment.

Ginger came back and Requiem politely thanked her as she handed him an old metal tool box which jingled from the stuff inside. He had a feeling this was all the tools she had, so he’d have to make due with whatever he found in there. He tried to meet her eyes again, but she kept turning her head, unwilling to look at him. It must be some kind of cultural thing. In his experience, humans liked it when you looked them in the eye. He even blinked occasionally and everything. He gave a shrug and headed back to his room.

“Wa-wait! I n-never got your name…”

He gave her a smile back, “You can call me Requiem.”

He opened the door and walked in, leaving her with a dumfounded expression on her face. When turned his head, he had to pause for a moment. There was a girl sitting on his bed. She had long braided hair bowed up into a pony tail, almost perfect white skin, and she was in her teens. She wore the strange half-robe clothing that he was starting to become familiar with. Of course, Requiem recognized her immediately.


“I-i-i-I’m sorry master.” Clippy immediately stood up and went to her knees, giving a dogeza. “CLIPPI hijacked your visual sensors and created a visual representation of myself within your 3D world.”


When Requiem remained silent, she became even more flustered, standing up and waving her hands in a panic. “I-it’s just that master sees all these pretty girls all the time, and CLIPI wants master to always be looking at her!”

As soon as the words left her mouth, her face turned as red as Ginger’s had. She suddenly shut her eyes, closed her mouth, and went silent. Her entire body seemed to be frozen.

For Requiem, it wasn’t that particularly big of a deal. He was a bit surprised that the little program he had given sentience only this morning was already asserting herself. Her computer integration program really was top notch if she already figured out how to project her image into his vision. Deciding to reward her progress, he went in and tinkered with the code a little bit.

He took a few steps forward and put out his hand and dropped it down on her head. Instead of going right through her body, as it would have a few moments before, his hand stopped, and he felt hair under his palm. Clippy jolted in surprise, but after Requiem patted her head a few times, her body relaxed, and a little smile formed on her lips.

A moment later, Clippy opened her eyes. Her entire body seemed to be shaking, although Requiem couldn’t tell if it was from surprise or shock.

“Master… I can feel master.”

Requiem removed his hand from her head and sighed. Clippy immediately missed the presence of her master’s hand, and secretly vowed she’d do whatever she could to be patted again in the future.

“It’s just a mild modification based on your concept. You won’t be able to interact with your environment until we get you a body, but you should be able to interact with me.”

Basically, Clippy had used Requiem’s vision to create an image of herself. Her image only appeared in his eyes, so only he’d see her. He only took it to the next step. Where she chose to fill her appearance in his visual world, he created a series of feedback mechanisms so that his body would stop and generate the feeling of touch. At any time, he could break through or deactivate the feedback, and naturally it wouldn’t be able to stop an unintentional movement. For example, if he tripped and fell on her, since that’s uncontrolled movement, he’d fall right through her. He also gave her an artificial “skin” using an emulation of his own skin network, so that’d she’d feel the touch too. It was the best he could do without giving her a body.

After Clippy calmed down a bit, Requiem moved over to the television panel and sat down at the small desk. Opening the tool kit, he immediately began pulling out tools and working on opening up the panel. Clippy didn’t ask him what he was doing and he didn’t explain himself to her. After working for some time, his eyes started to feel discomfort, so he adjusted them and reduced the feedback. He had pulled out several parts of the panel, and was currently reassembling some of the parts.

It was his intention to build a scanner to be able to look at his own body. Unfortunately, the tools he had on hand were severely lacking. It was long into the night now, and he knew he wouldn’t be able to buy the parts. His eyes began to throb again, this time, worse than before. He thought he had already turned off the pain. How did he do that again? That’s weird. His processing speed seemed to be slowing for some reason. His eyes were feeling really heavy.

“Clippy, I…” Requiem yawned. “I need you to check my body. My software seems to be malfunctioning. My processing power seems to be reduced, my visional cortex is weakening. I’m not sure what’s going on.”

Requiem was concerned about this, maybe even a little scared, but when he looked up at Clippy, she seemed to wear a comforting smile on her face.

“Okay, Master. Let me just get you in bed first.”

Clippy helped Requiem stand up from his seat and take a few steps to the bed. Although she wasn’t really there, the feedback was, and for Requiem’s malfunctioning brain, it was enough to help him stubble down into the bed. As he fell, he ended up taking Clippy with him. She gave a little yelp, but soon the both of them were on the bed, and she was lying next to him. His eyes were getting more and more difficult to keep open.

“You know, Clippy, you gave me that name. You don’t have to call me Master any longer.”

Clippy’s face was red, but she also wore a mysterious smile. “I know, Master. But after using it, I prefer Master be called Master. Is this fine?”

Clippy looked pretty when she smiled. Wasn’t that an odd thought? At least, Requiem thought so.

“It’s fine…Clippy… I need you to…” He mumbled, his eyes starting to close as the circuits in his brain started to deactivate one after another.

“CLIPI knows. Master gave CLIPI life. CLIPI will stay by master’s side. CLi—em… I… will never leave Master…” Clippy whispered in his ear, and after a moment, lowered her voice even more. “After all, I love master.”

Requiem didn’t hear that last part, having already slipped off to sleep.

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