“Ya know, maybe this isn’t such a good idea.”
“Seriously, you wait till I’m about to do it and then voice your concerns? I spent like two fucking hours setting this up!”
“What if you fry her brain? What if something leaks in the wrong direction? Besides, that helmet is lame. All the powers of sorcery at your disposal and you make it look like some Frankenstein rip-off.”
“Gungnir. If you have a better idea, then spill. If not, we’re frying the alien.”
“You know she’s not an alien.”
“A genetically advanced human with wizardry and magical battle armor qualifies. Besides, she’s a foot and a half taller than me.”
Reeath’s unconscious body was slumped over in a solid stone chair in front of the crystal vat holding the dragon’s brain. Her limbs were encased in conjured iron shackles as thick as a man’s forearm while a multi-pronged crystal helmet secured her head to the back of the chair, which had a wires of gold connecting it to the vat. Gungnir was resting in the shallow divot that served as its docking station. I had one hand on the orb with another on my prisoner’s head. My bright idea was to see if I could copy all the information from Reeanth and drop it into my makeshift biological computer and then have Gungnir go through it so everything would be nice and easy.
The only thing standing in my way was the fact that I wanted to dissemble my uber-weapon that housed a vulnerable slice of my soul, but the damn thing was my only hope of actually making this work. And, it randomly has good ideas that might save me from myself, like the possibility of me royally fucking this up.
“You catch more flies with honey!”
“Kindness is never wasted!”
“Love makes the world go round!”
“I swear. . . “
“What is love? Baby don’t hurt me!”
My grip on the orb tightened as a tiny bit of magic crackled down my arm. “ENOUGH!” I yelled, “For the love of magic, enough!” One eye twitched as I reined the whimsical desire to bury both Gungnir and Reeanth. “I am not actually frying her, I know she’s not actually an alien, and she really isn’t my slave!”
“Wait, what?” Gungnir sputtered, “Then what’s the whole damn point?!”
“You know, for being an extension of me, you really suck at this,” I said, “I don’t want or need her to be a slave, all I want is the information in her head. Besides, we don’t really know if magically binding oaths are a thing. They probably are, but that doesn’t mean I know how to make it stick. We are ignorant about magic, remember? Just because we’re powerful doesn’t mean we are educated.” I gestured at the bound over-sized but proportional woman in front of me, “She is a means to an end, the only end that matters, knowledge. That’s what I need, cause we don’t know shit. Besides, the whole point of scaring her into accepting being a slave is to make her feel better later when I scan her brain and then set her free. She can’t be that mad at having her information copied if she is free to complain about it.”
“I know plenty of things. The brain vat is full of things! You literally don’t need her,” Gungnir pouted.
“You’re wrong, we do need her. Do you think dragons care about enchantment and futuristic weapons beyond the fact that those things are a threat? No. I bet dragons only care about food and power, and there is more to life than that. We need that info. Stop acting like a child,” I grimaced but continued, “See, this is one of the reasons I wanted to dissemble you. You’re an immature liability with a whole bunch of useful capabilities. Too dangerous to exist, but it’s far too risky right now to be without your added power. So grow up. You’re a piece of my soul, which means you should be able to mature, so fuckin do it.”
The orb rotated in its dock so that the Chaos crystal eye was looking me in the face. “You’d really do it wouldn’t you?” Gungnir asked.
“If I have to,” I answered grudgingly, “But I don’t want to. The fact is, I need all the power I can get, but without losing myself or my life. You’re a liability and a powerful tool all rolled into one annoying ball.” Shaking my head at losing a bit of focus, I turned back towards Reeanth. Using flesh sorcery, I put a nerve block at the base of her skull and then woke her up.
“Mornin sunshine!” My greeting didn’t inspire the happy demeanour that I was hoping for. Her eyes went wide and she began attempting to thrash around, which looked oddly funny as the only part of her that she could even move or feel was her head.
“Seriously, stop. Relax. It’s all you can do right now. I put in a nerve block so you can’t actually move your body below your neck, and I’m using flesh sorcery to keep you clear headed so you can understand what’s going on.” My voice had taken on a lecturing tone, both to convey my absolute control in this moment as well as to communicate the simplicity of what I wanted.
I put both my hands on her face and made her look me in the eye. “I am not going to hurt you. I promise.” I said, “You were wounded and I healed the worst of it. You swore yourself to me and I only want one thing, and it’s not your body.”
The frantic whites of her eyes receded as her brain caught up with my words. Her heavy panicked breathing began to slow down. “Then what do you want?” she asked, fear making her voice rough and a bit low.
“Knowledge. I want everything you know, with nothing left out. Knowledge is power, but knowledge is also context, and I need that too. I want to know everything I should if I had grown up in your society. I want to know who the big players are in the big wide galaxy, what to watch out for when invading a new planet, your society’s understanding of magic and how it works as well as what you forbid and encourage about magical research. Trust me, the list goes on.” I removed my hands and took a step back. “Now, I’m going to have Gungnir copy everything in your brain and store it,” I said, gesturing at the now quiet orb, “And I need you, Reeanth, enforced by the terms of your oath, to let this happen. That’s it. That’s all I want. And, to top it off, if you cooperate fully and willingly, I’ll finish healing your body so that you’re as good as new.”
She gulped and nodded. “How, how does this work?” she asked, “What are you going to do exactly?”
“You are going to sit there, and relax, and keep your mind open. My sentient weapon Gungnir, yes, the glowing ball thing right over there, is going to GENTLY,” I said, shooting a warning glare at the orb, “gently scan your brain and copy it and transfer the copied data into that vat, that holds the brain of dead dragon. It’s pretty much a biological computer that we’re working the kinks out of.”
“I could just answer your questions, anything you want to know I’ll tell you!”
“Honestly, I don’t know if I can trust you, so I’m doing it my way. This way I get the feelings associated with your memories as well, so hopefully provide some context. Gungnir will be discreet, and will erase all of your personal and private memories that don’t relate to what we need from the copied set of data.”
An hour later, we had what we needed, but not really in the way we expected. With one hand on crystal helmet Reeanth was wearing, and the other on Gungnir, the process was kinda fucked up. I had envisioned a seamless copy and transfer of data from Reeanth’s brain up through the helmet, which served as an amplifier and transmitter, through my body and governed by my flesh sorcery to be poured into Gungnir, who would then deposit the information in the giant brain of Rath. This is not what happened.
Gungir used my flesh sorcery in a totally different way. First, it did scan Reeanth’s brain, and then began using it as a template to grow another brain on top of Rath’s brain. The brain of the dragon had a human brain tumor sticking out of its side. [What in the fucking fuck are you doing Gungir?] I thought at the orb, [This is not what we planned!].
Gungnir replied, [I’m not done categorizing the dragon’s brain yet, or even from stopping it from thinking that it’s still alive. So, I used some of the unused portion to make a copy of Reeanth’s brain in order to give the foreign data a safe place to be before I get everything fixed.]
It made sense, but it was weird. [Besides,] it continued, [This way, since you have a conscience now, if you need to get at some memories that may be locked away by oaths or magic, you won’t have any problems breaking the copied brain to get to it.]
[So this is like trying to break into encrypted data. The data can be copied no problem, but it will still be encrypted. And I won’t have to burn out Reeanth’s original brain to break the code.] I thought back, surprised that I hadn’t thought of it first, [Keep this up and I’ll keep you around.]
[Exactly! Am I smart, or am I beyond smart?]
Growing the exact copy of our resident prisoner’s brain took fifteen minutes, and the data copy and transfer took forty-five minutes. I caught random memories here and there, a secretive first kiss, the pride at being inducted into the Council of the Cosmic Knights, the frustration of of the mundane task of overseeing the ‘appropriation’ of genetically damaged humans. Other parts flowing the data stream were pure white, the packets of information concealed by a shield of magic brighter than any I had seen so far.
Then, it was over. The only reason I knew that an hour had flown by was that Gungnir kept a rough track of time. My mind was heavy. The mental exertion of acting as the magical equivalent of a sorcery-enhanced MRI was taxing in a way I was definitely not used to. “Gungnir, fix her. Regrow her missing bones and heal the bruised muscles,” I said, stumbling off to my vault of canned food. I opened several cans of soup, set them in front of me, and sat in my chair, watching Gungnir through my magical senses as the orb undocked from its station and floated to Reeanth’s lap and began healing her. Bones began to grow while torn muscles knit back together.
[So, what are you actually going to do with her?] Gungnir asked through our mental link as it finished healing her, [I mean, she’s pretty hot, and you could use some extra help around here.]
[Nothing honestly,] I thought back, wolfing down the soup, [Knock her out so both of us can get some sleep. I’ll let her free in the morning after I feed her and check on the spare brain. If she were loose, free from her shackles and decided to fight, I don’t think I’d win right now. My head hurts too much.]