In her recovery suite in the hospital wing, Sophie moon went into the kitchenette and made soup. It was a cathartic process, normal and comforting. With warm soup in hand, she went into her bed-sitter and sat in the easy chair. With the push of a button, she slid a table tray over the arms and set in to relax. The entertainment system was ready to play a comedy, one of many she’d been prescribed by Dr. Green. The opening credits, with their mesmerising graphics played, and she relaxed, anticipating some funny fun. She didn’t anticipate that unconsciously, her brain absorbed a series of semi-transparent letters and numbers flashing across the screen:
S0ph13 my 70v3!
1 f0und 4n 4w350m3 507u+10n +0 +he 3arthc0m bu+ 1 n33d y0ur h37p.
1'm w0rk1ng 0n i+ 1n 3ng1n33r1ng.
533 y0u 500n!
Periodically, as the message repeated overtop gags and dialogue, her eyes left the screen and fell on a photo of Roed she’d placed beside the screen. Each time she saw it, a feeling of warmth flooded through her. It wasn’t supposed to be there. She’d been told gently to remove all images of Roed, because he’d inserted memories of himself into her mind during the brains surgery that had brought her back to life. To life! She though. It was nice! She wiggled her fingers, appreciating her aliveness. Why shouldn’t Roed put memories of himself into her brain, while doing reparative surgery? He had indeed been in her memories, so what was the problem? She loved him dearly, so much it ached. Why wasn’t he allowed to visit? A thought occurred to her. Roed was a prisoner, but she wasn’t. She was allowed to leave her cozy recovery unit. Before she could logic her way out of it, she rose and, Pocod in hand, left to find him.
She wasn’t too puzzled at feeling a pull towards engineering, as if she were tuned into his whereabouts. When she came up behind him, she was a little surprised he actually noticed her though.
“You’re right on time,” he said. Uncharacteristically, he turned from his work and gave her a long hug.
“On time?” she queried. Then, “Oh! I almost forgot about our subliminal messaging system. You must have sent one in the show I was watching.”
“Yep! I superimposed leet over the screen a few times. So, here’s what I’m doing.” He gave a detailed lecture on his Earthcom blueprints.
“Ok, sounds like it basically works, in theory. I’m going to reiterate the steps to build this thing, long form. I have an inkling of where it needs tweaking.”
“Perfect! I love it! I love you!”
“Of course you do!” A weird feeling of déjà vu came over her as she had a brief twinge of resentment. Something about her brain let her understand his genius ideas, but not create them in the first place. She started remembering feeling like a glorified secretary, the one person who could understand, detail, and write up his work so others could do something with it. Then in a rush, wonderful images of Roed’s smiling face, entered her mind, pushing out all else. In a fog, she tried to remember the idea she’d had for the Earthcom. Hopefully it would come back to her as she detailed the steps.
“I don’t know how I ever thought I could replace you with holo-Sophie!” Roed said happily. It’s so wonderful to have you back, like when we first met!”
“Holo-me? What do you mean replace?”
“Oh, they made an AI you when they wouldn’t let me see you so you could recover. It was good company for a while. But I can’t hug it!” He demonstrated the lost functionality, and she melted in his arms. A stream of images of being happy with him played across her implanted rejuvenated grey matter.
“Ok, let’s get you back to work then,” Sophie said.
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