TO soared around the Flight Training room, their wings outstretched as they rambled on and on about their experience in the production labs. They had learned so much, and saw so much that they felt like they were bursting to share it all.
“-And then I got to help them take scans of the more matured embryos –the ones that are just about ready to be considered fetus. They have the tiniest toes! And their wings, you can almost see RIGHT thought them, but they’re all wrapped around their little bodies, and their eyes-“ TO swooped around in mid-flight, flapping up to DH and GiDi who were sitting up on a platform high above the rest of the Flight Training room. They had found it periods ago, and realized it was a good place to sit and rest when they weren’t flying. TO grabbed a pole that was running through the ceiling with their bare feet, and hung upside down as they looked at the two, “Their eyes were so BIG!”
DH suppressed laughter as they let GiDi rest on their shoulder. DH and GiDi had been far too exhausted to fly, and just wanted to rest; a stark contrast to TO, who was filled with so much more energy than normal.
“I had FUN!” they said, beaming, “I’ve never had fun being trained before! I learned so much! And the tiny little synths were so cute!”
“Well.” DH said, shuffling over to give TO a space to sit, “I’m glad you enjoyed your training.”
“I’m still so excited!” TO said. Even though they were panting and covered in sweat from their frantic flight they didn’t know if they could sit still. “I feel like I’m going to burst out of my skin! I get to do this tomorrow too!” They beamed at DH and GiDi, and only then realized that their friends were not quite as excited. Not only did they seem physically exhausted, but their ears were a bit limper, and their smiles were not as wide.
“How was your training?” TO asked, their voice probing and careful as they decided that maybe they should stop for a minute and sit with them.
“Tediously boring!” GiDi said, their voice rising for the first time that TO had ever noticed. Their ears were pinned back and their eyes were narrowed. “The officers in weapons production treated me like an idiot. They set me down at a table, and told me to solder one piece of a multigun to another. Then, when I did that they made me do it again. And again. All afternoon! I didn’t learn anything outside of how to solder that one piece to a multigun!” They slumped against DH as their rage seemed to drain out of them, “And I’m there for the whole period, for hours every day. And in the mornings we have air punching and running.” they sighed. Any strength they had left in their body seemed to leave them after expressing that little bit of frustration and rage. They seemed to melt against DH as their wings drooped behind them. They looked up to TO, their ears down and their eyes wide and pleading “I did not like this day." they said in a soft, almost pleading voice, "I don’t want to do it again.”
TO felt their ears flush. They felt a little bad for going on and on about how great their day had been while GiDi had hated every moment of their own training. They crawled over to the other side of the platform and sat next to GiDi, wrapping a wing around both GiDi and DH. “I’m sorry you hated it.” they said, “But...You’ll be reassigned next period, right?”
“They will be?” DH asked. DH and GiDi looked at TO, confused, “How do you know this?” DH asked.
“My supervisors told me.” TO said, confused. “They told me how my training was going to progress soon as I got to the laboratory.”
“Wonderful.” GiDi said dryly, “Maybe next period I’ll have the privilage of working in maintenance. Or in the mines.”
“There’s mines?” DH asked. They looked to TO, “We have mines?”
“Apparently!” GiDi said, “I messed up my first few multi guns and got yelled at because there’s a shortage of some metal that comes from a mine somewhere.” They sighed again. “I don’t want to do this. Am I going to have to do this forever?”
"Well, like I said, only until the end of the period-"
"No. Not just this job, this... all this!"
“You don't want to do… work?” TO asked.
“Work that…” they trailed off, and to TO’s surprise they hid their face in DH’s arm, their ears flicking down with shame. “I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to just do unimportant work until I die.”
“Until we retire.” DH said, looking up at TO. “We’re going to retire. Together.”
“I don’t want to do this until I retire!” GiDi said. “I don’t want to just be given a job and do that over and over every day all day until I die or retire, and then just get replaced! I don’t want to do that! I… I want...”
“GiDi?” TO leaned in, setting a hand on GiDi’s shoulder, “What do you want.” They didn’t know if it was something that they could make it happen, but they would try. They’d do what they could. They’d do anything for their friends.
“I want to... I don’t know… I want to be important. ”
“You’re important to us.” TO said firmly, surprising even themselves. DH looked up and gave TO a big, beaming smile as they nodded.
“TO is right.” DH said, “You’re important to us. We couldn’t just replace you.”
“I know.” GiDi muttered. “But that’s not what I mean.” They looked up finally, their ears tilted down, their eyes somehow dull. “Doesn’t it bother you? Even if we do become retirees, we won’t have any lasting impact. Nobody will remember us. Even our designations will be reused once we’re assigned properly. Doesn’t it make you feel…” They trailed off, “I don’t know. I don’t know how it makes me feel, but it’s not good. I want to make a difference, and I honestly don't think I'll evey manage to.”
TO leaned against GiDi and squeezed them tightly. They were supposed to be the one who had answers; They made the plans. They didn’t know what to plan for this. They didn’t know what they could say because GiDi was right; Their lives had meaning in serving King Decon, but would they have meaning when their lives were spent? Would they matter? Did any synth have individual meaning?
TO almost felt their mind split in two - one part saying that to further King Decon’s goals was all the legacy they required. It was a practiced thought, like a script running through their head. The other part of them thought that GiDi was right, and that the idea that they were, on a wider scale, individually insignificant was very sad.
The worst of it was that TO didn’t know what to say to make it better. They looked at DH who was looking back at TO with the same confused look.
“What would make you feel better.” TO found themselves saying. GiDi looked up, their ears twitching in confusion.
“I don’t have answers.” TO admitted. “I mean, you’re right; We’re insignificant. We’re supposed to be, I think. That’s… That’s how this works.” They frowned, “And… You’re important to us. I know that’s not the same, but you are! You and DH are the most important things in my entire life, and I hate that I can’t fix this!” They held GiDi closer, “But… I want to do what I can, and if that means finding a means to distract you, just to make you happier for now, I will. What would make you happy.”
GiDi stared at TO for a while, then a small smile crept over their face, even though their ears were still down.
“I don’t think anything will make me feel better in this regard.” They admitted, “Short of finding a way to do something different… But, I appreciate… well.” They looked aside, and a light flush crossed over their cheeks and up their ears, “You don’t normally say things like that.”
TO blinked at them, “I don’t?”
“Well, not unless we pry it out of you.” DH said with a grin, “It’s nice to hear it though! I’m normally the one who says the big emotional things, no?”
TO felt their face flush as they looked away, unsure of what to say. “Is that a problem?” they asked.
“No!” DH said, a slight hint of amusement in their voice “It’s just makes it a lot more fun when you do say something sweet like that.” They smiled as their ears twitched, “It’s good to hear it now and then.”
GiDi giggled, the sound was low and soft, “TO saves up all the nice things to say and then they let it all out at once; they’re super sweet when they do it” they said.
TO huffed, and turned away, trying to ignore the burn to their ears. They relaxed their grip on GiDi, but still kept their wing around their two friends.
“Aww, don’t be shy.” DH said, “We liked it!”
“I’m not shy!” TO insisted. “Anyway. What about you!? You didn’t say what your training was like!”
DH gave a dramatic, heavy sigh but chose not to comment on the tell-tale twitching of TO’s ears. “I was in programming.” they said. “I am not good with programming.” They gave a wry smile, “At least not yet. They gave me this big book of information that I was to use as a reference, then they sat me down and told me to find the error on the programming for a sentry droid.”
“It didn't go well?” TO asked.
“I changed one thing that I thought might be the problem and 54 more errors rose up, none of which I knew how to fix. I spent the whole afternoon going through this big, heavy book trying to figure out how to fix the bugs that I created.”
“Did you fix any of them?” GiDi asked as they looked up at DH.
DH laughed, “Oh no.” they said, “Quite the opposite. I had 78 bugs in the script by the time I was done. Tomorrow, I’m to keep working at it until it’s fixed.” They shook their head, “I’ll be working on this for the whole period, and by the end of it all I’ll just manage to make the Officers angry. They were really angry when I messed up the coding.”
“Let’s switch.” GiDi said with a grin, “I think that sounds at least less mindless than what I was doing.”
“Unless you want to gouge your implants out-“ TO said, tapping the back of their hand, “Then I don’t recommend switching up.”
“Yeah. We can change our uniforms, but the chips will still tell eveyrone where we are.”
“Just take your time with it tomorrow.” TO said, “Don’t worry about fixing the bugs. Maybe work through the book? Start from the beginning and see if you can make sense of it.”
“What do you mean?”
TO frowned. They had some basic knowledge of programming from their own research, but they didn’t know much about it. “Well.” they said, “Maybe try to make your own program?” They grinned, “You tend to learn better if you’re allowed to play with stuff, Like when you’re trying to figure out puzzles; you have to make the mistakes and play with the system. You can’t just read through logic books. Maybe just try playing with the programming stuff and see if you can make sense of the language that way?”
DH nodded, “I’ll try that.” they said, “But honestly… After this afternoon, I’m almost looking forward to another morning of running and air punching. At least C12 lets us leave training early.”
- Galactic Gothic Empress
Bio: A writer and Illustrator with scenes to show and stories to tell