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 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 shoddy 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 fingertips 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 toolbox? 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 toolbox which jingled from the stuff inside. He had a feeling this was all the tools she had, so he’d have to make do 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, “You can call me Requiem.”
He opened the door and walked in, leaving her with a dumfounded expression on her face. When he 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 ponytail, 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 stumble 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.