“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.”
“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…”
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 suddenly 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 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 lay 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 worst I’ve seen, buddy. You do you.”
Before Requiem could say anything else, the door shut 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 were never 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 worse. 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 contemplation. “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 it 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 that he wasn’t aware was there as Clippy whined and complained the entire way to their next location.