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The Recollection Of Meira

Chapter 8


The time was roughly @683 Beats or so when I got home, which, for my personal schedule, meant that I'd been up all night, and it was about darn time to get some well-deserved sleep. So I made a crash-run for the shower, then dragged myself out of there and into bed.

Hunting can be an exhausting profession. Coming in from a long night of killing and gutting, you get back not just dead-tired, but quite filthy as well. You usually end up with blood all over you, and if you're Dragoon, then you'll be covered head-to-toe. I want to think, for some reason, that he said his next stop would be the carwash, when he left the Hunters' Deck. I suppose he could've been going anywhere, though. When most people leave the Hunters' Deck, they leave through the teleporter in the Hunters' Guild. Dragoon, for some reason, has a habit of running to the area of the deck where the check room is, and jumping over the edge of the deck that has all the spot lights shining off. I suppose it hasn't killed him yet, so it probably won't. Everyone else is agreed, however, that he's a loon.

I suppose that the real advantage of using teleporters in buildings, as opposed to, say, elevators, is that a teleporter is not only faster, but a teleporter can put a person in a number of pre-defined locations, in a non-linear layout, and best yet, it can do all this, with only a fraction of the space that would be required. Though teleporters are more expensive, Pioneer 2 does indeed have a few elevators installed on buildings, though they're mostly for only short navigational purposes.

The Principal's office is a shining example of how a system of teleporters can make a big place seem smaller. The Principal's office is but a single location, but the single teleporter in the room feeds in from a teleporter in each of 10 sections of the Hunters' Deck, as well as from several other locations that they don't like to tell us about.

The only thing that keeps an individual, such as myself, from using that teleporter to go somewhere that I don't belong, is that unlike an elevator, a teleporter doesn't have a built-in console-- After all, if it did, then the console would be teleported along with the occupant!

This is where the small console terminals come in. Most hunters wear them on their sleeves, to have quick access to it, as hunters deal with lots of teleporters, not to mention that it also acts as an interface with their MAG. This is common with hunters, though civilians usually have pocket-sized units with pathetic battery life and no where near the number of neat little features, like MAG interfaces and so on.

The device isn't really a computer in and of itself, but it is designed to automatically interface with nearby computers using a short-range RF signal. So, by entering a teleporter pad, or by activating a MAG, the device interfaces with it automatically, and will likewise, load up a selection of options and whatever. The display is generated by the host computer, and not the device, though your console terminal may send the host computer some basic information for generating that display, such as personal preferences like a display theme, as well as things like Government ID number, Section ID, Guild Card information, etc, etc.

That's not to say that these things have no computing power whatsoever, though. Many people use them to store contact information, and hunters commonly use them to trade guild cards with each other, so that they can contact each other on the BEE system at any point in time.

So, anyway, back to explaining the teleporter system. In the Principal's office, the teleporter interfaces with the user's console terminal, and after receiving information where the user came from, it will then prepare the route to the destination. A normal user here will only get one option of destinations, though a higher-up, like a government-sponsored scientist might get the option of going down to the Hunters' Deck, as well as the lab he's working in. Then Principal Tyrell himself, I would assume, probably has the option of going to any section of the Hunters' Deck, as well as any number of those other locations I mentioned earlier.

Entering a teleporter pad is always interesting. The actual hardware that does the teleporting isn't present on the teleporter pad. The teleporter pad more or less just acts as a containment field, which keeps the teleporter from warping everything in the general area to the destination. I want to think that it's some bizarre sort of magnetic work, or maybe static electricity, because it feels all tingly when you walk through it, but then again, maybe that's just me. The hardware itself that does the teleporting, is usually located somewhere else in the immediate area, generally near the middle of a well-planned teleporter network.

Old science-fiction flicks left over from hundreds of years ago, before teleporter technology was figured out, spoke of teleporters that take a person apart, molecule by molecule, and put them back together somewhere else. Scientists later on scoffed at such an idea, because it was not only far too complex to be effective, but the principles behind it were simply too painful to be imagined.

The way they finally figured out how to accomplish the feat of teleportation was actually quite simple, and I suppose that the idea came from the Ryuker technique currently used by Hunters, as well as the Hinas technique, once used long long ago. Rather than taking the individual apart, and sending them to a location, teleporters now take a location apart, and send it to the individual. Sort of. A teleporter will create a bend in space between two points, and augment it until the two points meet. The result is that the two points end up having zero distance between them, and if someone happens to be standing in one of the two locations, then when the teleporter releases that bend, the person will suddenly find themselves standing in the other location. Heh, you would not believe how many times Zeirom had to explain that part to me, before I finally understood it.

After I got up at about @020 Beats, I got a hold of Zeirom, then headed over to his apartment, just because I had nothing better to do. An android's apartment is an interesting thing to behold. The place was, above all else, a classical bachelor pad, but with a metallic twist. The place was, for the most part, uncleaned, and rather than the usual dirty clothes that might be strewn about, there were old circuit boards, screws, bolts, nuts, and so on.

Nobody answered when I knocked on the door, so I let myself in. I called out, "Hello? You in there, Zeirom?"

"Huh? Oh, yeah, come on in, Meira," I heard from another room. So I wandered on in, and found Zeirom sitting at his kitchen table, which, as might be expected, covered in circuit boards, screws, bolts, nuts, washers, and a number of other vital parts. Except they weren't his own parts. I walked over, and sat down with him.

"What's all this?" I asked, as I pulled a chair out and sat down.

"Well, you remember when you saw that chest plate in that bag the other day?"

"Heh, yeah, I recall."

"Well, this is everything else that was in that bag, plus some other stuff I had laying around, and some stuff that I'd bought before."

"And... uh... What are you doing with it?"

"Reproducing."

Awkward silence. I had to think about that one for a second. "What?"

Zeirom chuckled, shook his head, then tried to explain. "I'm building another android, Meira. When she's finished, I'm going to call her, 'Rosy 2000'."

Then I exclaimed. "OH! Now I get it! You're an android, so you can't reproduce sexually, so you have to do it manually! I get it!" I had a giggle fit at this point, and Zeirom shrugged.

"Well... I suppose you could describe it like that, though I had never thought of it in such a detail," he said, as he held up a little thing into the light, to look at it. "Hm. Another small electric motor found dead. I really need to start throwing these things away when I replace them."

"What's that thing do, anyway?"

"Well, this particular one is part of a power cell ejection system... It, uh, makes things move."

"What kind of things?"

"Power cells...?..."

"Those are like batteries, right?"

"They are batteries, Meira."

"Oh... What kind of batteries? Like, double A, or car batteries?"

"Actually, they look like mason jars."

The rest of the day pretty well went on with conversation like that, with me asking questions that were far to simple for Zeirom to answer simply. Sometime during this period, is when he explained to me the whole thing about how the teleporter systems work and so forth. When I finally got hungry, Zeirom volunteered to treat me to dinner.

We wandered out of the building his apartment is in, and down the street to the cafe where we first met. They actually do make a pretty mean burger there, and the atmosphere is pretty nice, too. Strange things happen out on the streets, though.

While we were sitting there, having our conversation, someone ran by, some sort of Newman guy, and ran into a really tall, blue haired Newman. The guy that'd been running shoved some stuff into the other guy's hands, said something to him, and then ran off, soon to be followed by a couple of humans, who I believe were military personnel. It didn't seem very important at the time though, and I question why I even mention it here, except that maybe it's because I found the guy's expression to be rather amusing, when the other guy ran off. He had this deranged look of, "What the heck just happened, and what is this stuff?" Looking back on it, I believe that he would've been considered a FOnewmn class hunter, if he'd been a hunter, which, for some reason, I don't think he was.

The next couple of months were occupied more or less with visits with Zeirom, with the occasional time that Dragoon would run through, and a few times I invited Lynn for a sleepover, just because hanging around with guys all the time just isn't quite healthy.

I was also visited a number of times by some of Randon's old friends, like the FOnewmn, Dux, who, ever since Randon's death, had become considerably more philosophical, and often wondered the point of going down to Ragol anymore. He'd say things like, "We go down and kill things to get better, and stronger, and stronger, but what's the point of doing this? What the heck am I working toward?" Sometimes a downer, but over this little break in going down to Ragol, I discovered that Dux gets really really funny, when he's been at a bar for too long.

So, one of the times that Lynn came over for a sleep over sticks out in my mind, in particular. She'd never had a sleep over before, but then neither had I, so we just kinda winged it. We stayed up late, ordered out food, watched the glowing box, listened to music, talked about woman things, and so on. I like to think that we lived up the stereotype pretty well.

We talked about Zeirom, and she expressed her dislike for being alone with him for too long. She was quite animate that if the four of us go down to the Mines together, then if we are to split up, then next time it would be her and Dragoon, and me and Zeirom, not the other way around. Which, indeed, that's what ended up happening, when we eventually did go down to the Mines.

We also talked about hunting, and she told me all about the monsters that were to be found in the Ruins. All about the Dark Belras, the Arlans, Dimenians, Delsabers, Chaos Sorcerers and Chaos Bringers, so n and so forth.

"The Ruins are pretty tough," she said.

"Tougher than the Caves?"

"Oh, by far. In the Caves you don't have to worry about monsters with some actual combat skill, like Delsabers, or things that have a habit of knocking your weapon out of your hands, like Chaos Bringers."

"They knock your weapon out of your hands?"

"Yes. They're like the old Centaurs or Horsemen of legend, but when they charge at you, they aim to knock your weapon out of your hand."

"Do they do that on purpose?"

"Well, I've never gotten into a Chaos Bringer's head, but I would assume so. The monsters down there are aggressive, but they're not stupid, Meira."

"What about the Delsabers? What do they do?"

"The Delsabers know how to fight. It's like they've all been trained in some sort of martial art. They've got one arm that's like a saber, and one arm that's like a shield. They're quite grotesque."

"What else is down there?"

"Well, there's Dark Belras. They're absolutely huge, and they have these big claws, that they shoot at you."

It went more or less like that. After that night, I no longer looked at Lynn as a peer, but more like a role model. Someone to really look up to. She'd been down on Ragol longer, and had seen a whole lot more of it than I had, and I just absolutely had to respect that, or I'd never be able to live with myself. She did seem awfully knowledgeable about the Ruins though, for some reason. More so than she was about the Mines, at least.

Then there was the time that I spent with Dragoon. That time was mostly spent getting in trouble. I don't know what possessed me to go to the zoo with Dragoon. I suppose it was mostly because I couldn't think of a better place to go with him at the time. Security threw us out, after he tried to attack an Orangoo. Dragoon kept insisting that it was looking at him funny with its third eye, but only its third eye.

"It was looking at me really weird with its third eye!!"

"It was looking at you funny?"

"No, just its third eye was looking at me funny."

"What about the other two?"

"I don't care about the other two. It's just that spooky third one. It was really pissing me off."

"But how can it be looking at you funny with one eye, but not the others?"

"The other two were looking at something else."

"But all the eyes have to focus on the same thing!"

"Since when??"

"Ever since we started studying them!"

"Well, that one was different! It wanted a fight!"

"It's just an animal, Dragoon! It didn't want to fight you!"

"Oh yeah?? Well, I'm gonna go show that triclopped froop what a metal fist does!!"

Then Dragoon started marching back toward the zoo, and I chased after him yelling, "Dragoon! Stop! It wasn't looking at you funny, I swear!!"

What was really interesting, though, was watching Dragoon's AI suddenly go from 'don't kill' mode to 'KILLL!!!' mode, when he saw some guy snag an old lady's purse. We were walking down the sidewalk, along side a fairly busy street. There's an old lady about a block away from us, when this guy jumps out of an alley, snags her purse, and starts running.

Fortunately, this guy was unfortunate enough to run in the general direction of Dragoon and myself. At first I thought Dragoon was just going to stay calm, and let the guy run by, but then all of a sudden, just as the guy got right along side us, Dragoon grabbed him by the collar of his shirt, slammed him into the ground, and started beating the snot out of him, like he was a Booma or something. So, while Dragoon was busy going nuts on the guy, I keenly pulled the purse from the body, and returned it to the old lady. I nervously handed it back to her saying, "Heheh... hope you don't mind the blood...!..." I guess the guy that programmed Dragoon's ability to differentiate between things that should die and things that shouldn't die, gave him a very thin line, with absolutely no gray area in between, whatsoever. From what I hear, they were able to save the poor guy, however. I'm fairly certain that he's eating most of his meals through a straw now, though.

That's pretty much the way it went throughout that hiatus. Not a whole lot else happened that was of any consequence.

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