“Requiem? A song for the dead?” The AI considered it for a moment, “Suiting. Yeah, I think I can get used to that.”
“Eh? That’s what it means? I just saw the word over there and thought it looked pretty.”
The newly named Requiem focused his eyes on the sign in front of him. As she said, the sign had the name Requiem written in an exaggerated and swerved font. Smaller letters under it wrote tavern and inn. Requiem frowned.
“You’ve named me after an inn.” He stated flatly.
“M-master…” Clippy sounded almost in tears.
“It’s fine now, forget about it. Call me Requiem. Let’s head in and see if we can’t find out some information.”
“Alright Ma-…mm… Requiem.” Her voice sounded a little giggly, so Requiem decided to ignore her.
Requiem entered the small inn that was his namesake, glancing around. It was a small, wood built in with a dozen table and chairs, a bar, and very little to no technology. He supposed quaint would be the word someone might apply to this place.
As soon as the door closed, a bell jingled and a young girl a few years older than the unnamed slave came running out from the back. She had curly brown hair, dark eyes, a mousey face, and seemed to wear a black robe similar to the one Clippy was wearing when Requiem had seen her on the monitor.
“HelloI’mGinger.WelcometoRequiem.HowmayIhelpyou!” She said in a rapid and chipper voice.
The words were so blurred together that it even took a second for Requiem’s processors to sort out what she said. The girl seemed to have awareness of how fast she spoke, for as soon as she closed her mouth, her cheeks exploded with red color.
Deciding to keep things moving, Requiem moved the rest of the way into the room and gave the best smile he knew how to emulate. Strangely, this seemed to only cause the girl to blush more.
“Hello, I’m looking for a room, and perhaps some directions.”
“Oh… uh, yes! Of course! We have room.” She spoke slower this time, but still seemed nervous.
“Do you usually work here?” Requiem inquired.
The girl, Ginger, didn’t meet his eyes, instead looking down a bit. “I-my mom’s been ill, so this is my first day.”
Of course, Requiem didn’t really care, but he figured that small chat would put her at ease. Regrettably, her face seemed like a never-ending blush. Since she was trying to avoid his eyes, perhaps it was eye contact that was unnerving her. He focused his eyes away from her and heard a light sigh come from her lips.
Requiem took note that he’d need to develop a program to blink and unconsciously fidget when engaging with humans. He regretted not having a human to be able to test the program on. That would be a reason to have a human slave. Which reminded him…
“Do you know where I can acquire credits by tomorrow?”
The girl looked up startled, “Eh? You don’t have any money?”
Reaching into his pocket, Requiem decided to take the chance. He pulled out the card he had found in the dead man’s pocket back at the lab.
“I found this on the street.”
Ginger took a glance at the card and then reached over and grabbed it. She clicked a button located in the middle of it. A moment later, a light emerged from the side of the card which displayed a number, 852 credits. Ginger gasped.
“You found 852 credits just lying on the street!” she sounded amazed.
Requiem shrugged. “How much is it to stay here?”
“Here? Oh… its 80 credits a night with breakfast. You won’t find a cheaper inn this close to town square! The better… I mean the other hotels are all 200 credits a night or more.”
Requiem nodded. With that card, he’d be able to stay here for ten nights. He didn’t need breakfasts, but he did need a location to work from, at least for now. It’d also be enough to pay for the tournament registered. It looked like he had lucked out this time. He was afraid that a name might be attached to the card. The last thing he needed was his name being linked to the dead man back at the laboratory.
“Still it’s strange…”
“For someone to have a card with that much money on it and not use any biometric protection.”
Suddenly Ginger waved her hands excitedly. “N-Not that I’m saying there’s anything wrong with it! I’m not accusing you of stealing! I won’t re-report it or anything!”
“Can I put a biometric lock on the card then?” Requiem frowned.
“O-oh, right, here, be my guest!” She handed the card back.
Requiem looked down at the card for a second and then back up at her. “I’m sorry, it seems I forgot how.”
“Eeeeh? Really? Here, just push your finger there, then listen for the beep. There you go. Just remember to click it before handing it to anyone. That’ll unlock it for one minute to accept purchases.”
“Do we have a customer, who’s making all that noise?” an old woman waddled out of the back room.
Ginger’s face, which was only starting to calm down, suddenly blushed again and she gave the old woman a tight look. “Yes, Grandma. We have a customer. I’m taking care of it.”
The old lady glanced in the direction of Requiem, then waddled over to him, her eyes squinting as she glanced up at his face.
“You’re not one of those god damned androids, are you?”
“Grandma!” Ginger’s voice sounded shocked, agitated, and just a little bit complacent as she admonished her grandma. It seemed like this wasn’t the first time her Grandma had an outburst like this.
“They kept making those damned machines look more and more human, and now they’re gonna make them look like us!” She snapped at no one in particular. “I won’t have any androids in my inn!”
“Grandma, please. He’s obviously a human. Stop scaring the customer.”
“They look just like us! It’s creepy. We should have never built those creatures.” Even as the old woman spoke, she was already waddling away, heading back the way she came and ranting to no one in particular. “It’s only a matter of time until they start replacing our nobles, regents, and chambermen and start stealing our livelihood. Oh, I wish things were like the good ol’ days…”
The grandmother’s rant could still be heard in the backroom, but the words were becoming muffled as she put distance from the tavern lobby. Ginger was in a frozen state of perpetual mortification. After a few moments, she finally spoke.
“I-I’m sorry…” She lowered her head. “She’s been like that for a few years now. If mom wasn’t sick…”
“It’s fine.” Requiem pressed the button on the card and handed it back to her. “A room?”
“Ye-yes!” she brightened up a bit.
After pulling a tablet from back of the bar out, she ran the card. He clicked on the card to see the difference in the amount was one night. She explained that they could stay as long as they wanted, but he’d have one day of rent subtracted each morning until he checked out from her counter.
Requiem pocketed the card and nodded, receiving the key, which was also another card, this time colored in light blue with the name Requiem on it. Before leaving, he gave the girl one more look.
“Could I ask a strange question?”
Ginger didn’t quite meet his eyes, her face still blushing, “Wh-what is it?”
“How are you so certain I’m not an android?”
The blush on Ginger’s face faded and she blinked in surprise. “Well… I mean, it’s obvious from your eyes.”
“Yes, you didn’t know? All androids have a bright colored corona around the pupils of their eyes.”
“…That’d be pretty easy to cover up with contacts.”
She tilted her head as if to ask, “Who’d hide an android like that”. Instead, she laughed.
“Even if someone modified an android, you’re still obviously human.”
She gave a smile like it was the most obvious thing in the world. “The biometric chip, dummy, androids don’t have DNA. Only a human can lock a credit card.”