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>.< So despite it being summer, and me theoretically having more time, I've been kinda failing at this writing thing.

Therefore, new self-assignment. Any day where I don't write something, make some kind of progress either on a fanfic or some of my other writing stuff, I have to write something else. Any kind of drabble-whatsit-thingy. Or longer. Which I will post here, though not necessarily anywhere else.

Doesn't have to be good, just has to be writing. :P So, uh... be warned for highly probable fail. I really suck at this discipline thing; my hope is by assigning "ANYTHING" as the goal, I'll end up writing decent fiction if only to avoid publishing something too personal or badly written to be comfortable with.

Not necessarily posting something every day, since some of my writing projects are offline work. But decent odds for most days. We shall see how well this works...

This is actually yesterday's widget; I passed out before I managed. So I should write something else today.



It was quiet on the game grid.

Well, below the game grid. She supposed they could be having another glitching party up above. Fireworks and everything. She wouldn’t know. The cells were blanketed with a thick audio filter, one she didn’t have permissions or skills to bypass. Leave that to the MIDIs. Not her thing.

Aurora curled on her side, pushed on the narrow ledge as she tried to sit up. To look. It was harder than it should have been, and more than a bit pointless. Black walls, smooth and reflective, outlined the perfect cube, a distorted shimmer blocking the exit. Just barely larger than she could reach across. No point sitting up. No point to anything.

She clung to the idea though, cycling it through her processes stubbornly. It wasn’t easy. Not to move, not to focus. The cells leeched you of power, drained you to passivity and applied a background distortion that disrupted much more than audio functions. It… she shouldn’t be affected this much. Crash it, she should be better, should be…

She was sitting up. She blinked, visual data lagging as she tried to refresh. Why was I… Lying down seemed easier.

She didn’t lie down.

Fists clenched on her lap, a nagging frustration seething, spiking past the tired haze. Well, almost past. Her circuits flickered for a moment, and she stared at the dark blue lines as they returned to dimness. They were wrong. This wasn’t her armor, wasn’t her…

She couldn’t process. Kept stalling out, lagging, glitching like some bug-ridden beta. She wasn’t working, and Aurora hated that. As much as she could manage, now.

It was her own fault, as much as anything. She could feel the new disk digging into her back, the emptiness, missing data and memory and functions. It was dizzying, gaps where she knew there should be records, jarring mismatches where her system misaligned. It wasn’t synced right. She hadn’t let it.

She’d broken her own disk.

Pain, regret, loss broke through the static looping better than any stubborn pride, and she inhaled sharply. It was fragmented and broken, like most of her memory now (which was good/bad/intended/unacceptable), but the sensation was there, self, knowledge, identity breaking with a snap. Shattered data dissolving as it fell. So quickly. Was it that easy to erase everything she’d been?

Everything I am.

Still stubborn.

She’d erased more than that. System records, files. No use destroying her backup if a resync would tell them everything they wanted to know. Better if the data was gone. Not there to be read from her disk, not there to be torn from her systems. The Black Guard wasn’t above torture. Or Rinzler, if you managed to get on Clu’s circuits enough.

Aurora had a talent for that.

Still, she hadn’t expected this. Derezz, clean or otherwise, was supposed to come quickly. Diskless or no, she wasn’t some glitching stray. The cache she’d been caught in made that clear enough, if the heaps of trashed sentries her team left behind weren’t enough of a pointer.

Her team.

Oh, users. Aurora closed her eyes. She heard a faint noise, a building whine rising in her chest like an overworked processor. She didn’t have the energy to silence it, the focus to redirect. The distortion was fragging up her control algorithms.

Yeah, that was it.

She’d destroyed them. Got them killed. Does it make a difference? But it did, she knew it did, and she’d done both. Most of her people had derezzed when the trap sprung. Sentries were one thing, the Black Guard another entirely. She was one of two actual security routines within the eight-person squad. All her programs were skilled, trained, had expanded their function set far past what they’d been made with. But they weren’t ready for this.

She’d derezzed Logg herself.

She felt her face twist with helpless fury, system clashing, subroutines twisting as her glitching disk tried to help, offering perfect recall of one of the few memories written since its connection. She didn’t want it, didn’t care, couldn’t… she’d rip the thing from her back if she had the energy.

She didn’t.

Redirect. Refocus.

It was too quiet in the cells.

(he stared at her through the transparent helmet, she knew what he was seeing because they looked the same, homogenized armor, identical sets balanced across the symmetry of the cage)

The last patrol to pass by was… she grasped at it, tried to find the moment.

(pale blue wavered as he took a step back, stared at her, disk dipping as he shook his head)

A milicycle ago? No, less, definitely less. It had to be less.

(she threw first and he fell back, dropped below like she’d taught him, face tight as he returned the shot)

Still too long. She frowned. Something was wrong.

(the crowd screamed with joy, a calm voice spoke but she didn’t hear it, he was dodging, ducking, couldn’t keep it up, she knew she was better, but he wouldn’t just stop, let her end it—she was so proud).

She wished she could focus. Could figure it out. It was probably important.

(a thump above, steps—why steps—and he turned to look and she

s—tOP IT.


Sound shattered the silence, a booming crash—and the haze was gone. Lights cut. Noise cut through distantly, the clash and shouts of combat. And Aurora was standing, reaching, tearing the glitched disk from her back as the barrier in front crackled. Flickered.

Dropped.

Weapon in hand, she moved towards the fight.
 
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May 2013

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