A note from TheWitchOfTheRock

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“Well, that’s settled.” Overseer T said once Q10 and their Overseer was gone.

Settled. There was no concern or sorrow for Q10, who had been taken away to be corrected. Maybe they weren’t even Q10 now. Maybe for the time being they were simply N, just like PQ12.

Nothing. Nobody. Null. They were gone. Just as TO had realized that they were different, that maybe they were sad and lonely too, they were gone. They had realized this too late. They had been so close to fixing it, so close to making it better, but because they had mentioned Q10’s attacks, because they had made an observation…

“You can go back to your dormitory now.” Overseer T said, “It might be best to get some rest. It has been a tiring day, and you have training tomorrow.“

TO wanted to go back to their dormitory. They wanted to lay down and go to sleep so they could forget what had happened, but they couldn’t.

“... If it’s alright, might I stay in the Medical Bay?” They asked, “I was told I could if you would allow it.”

“The Medical bay?” Their Overseer’s ears flicked back with mild concern, “Are you injured.”

TO shook their head, “70H67 is there. I’d like to stay with them.”

Overseer T nodded as they headed to the door, “It doesn’t matter to me where you go, so long as you can perform your training in the morning.” They paused and turned back, “You did well in bringing up those eyes. You might have actually been a big help, long term.” At TO’s confused expression, they continued, “I’ve been trying to create a system to measure value on a potential and projected level, rather than an immediate one. A way to project a synth’s capabilities at the end of their training and spend resources based on that, rather than their immediate capabilities.” They gave TO a hard look, “I don’t know or care why you’ve been helping 70H67 to improve, but I expect you to continue it now. They will be an excellent example for my findings in general, and may help me overhaul value calculations on a wide scale.”

“I… what?” TO felt so confused. Was Overseer T saying that what they had done, the argument they had put forward for DH had only been part of a study? An experiment?”

“Most synths have a value based on potential- a score, if you would, from 1 to 100.”

DH suddenly realized that that was the number at the end of their files. The number that they had seen at the bottom of their own file, and on Q10’s.

“While skills improve, most scores stay relatively static through training, some do tend to increase over time for some synths. 70H67 is one such synth. It’s my belief that by using the rate of growth and projecting an end-of-training value score, we can develop synths with greater capabilities to serve King Decon. This is the first time I’ve been able to convince anyone to take action on such projections.” They looked excited for a moment, and a smile flicked across their face as their ears quirked up, “If 70H67 finishes their training at my projected value score, I believe I can present a report to my Commander.”

That’s all it was. A game of numbers. Values and projections. It was DH’s score that allowed them the medical treatment that they received already. It had been TO’s high score that gave them painkillers, and perhaps which allowed them to rest for the day when DH punched them. It was their score, the number at the end of their file, that allowed them to live or die.

They wanted to ask,to confirm that that was true. They wanted to ask how low a score was allowed to go. They wanted to ask about GiDi’s score.

They kept quiet; their curiosity had cost enough for one day.

“I understand.” They said.

Overseer T took in TO’s flat voice, and their low ears. “You should be proud.” They said, Confused, “You might have made a real difference today.”

“Yes, Overseer.”

Overseer T’s ears flicked back in confusion for a moment, then relaxed, “You’re worried about 70H67.” They said, “I see. Yes, you can go on, so long as you attend your training tomorrow.”

“Yes, Overseer. Thank you, Overseer.”


TO made their way back to the medical bay with a slow, tired walk. They didn’t know if DH would actually be fine; Overseer H had simply said they’d speak to the Medical Officer about their new option.

Still, their own Overseer seemed fairly confident that they would be fine. They were happy about it; it was good for their report or research or whatever they were doing.

There were a few more synths in the Medical Bay when TO got there. All the seats were taken up so TO stood against the wall and watched as other Medical workers examined synths on the nearby beds and gave them the medical care they needed. There were very few who had to be taken away to a procedure room.

“What’s your injury?”

TO hadn’t even noticed one of the medical synths come up to them with TO’s file projected in the air.

“I'm not injured.” TO said, “I’m waiting for 70H67.” At the confused look the other synths gave them, they said, “I was told I could wait here for them if my Overseer said it was fine, and they did.”

The medical synth looked at TO with that look: what are you, why are you here? You don’t belong.

“It is no concern of mine.” They said, “But 70H67 might be in the procedure room for quite some time. They’ll be in a private recovery room for a while afterwards due to the delicate nature of -“

“Will I be able to see them then?” TO asked, “When they’re in the recovery room?”

Another frown from the medical synth. They sighed, and closed their screen, “I will check.” They said, “I normally would say no, but if your overseer said you could be here, I will check with the Medical Officer once 70H67 is in recovery.”

The relief must have shown on TO’s face, because the medical synth gave them another weird look before they went onto their next patient. TO stayed standing, their back against the wall. A delicate procedure. A private recovery room.

They wouldn’t have those things if they weren’t having the transplant, so TO could stop worrying about that at least. Now, they only had to worry about Q10. About telling DH that they failed to save them. They had to worry about how it was actually their fault, their own words that caused Q10 to be taken away for correction in the end.

How it was their actions that caused PQ12, no, Snout, to be taken away.

They had to worry about GiDi, alone in the dormitories. Were they ok? Should they go back? TO was worried that the moment they went back DH would be done with their procedure and be looking for them. They didn’t want DH to wake up and be alone.

They sent a quick message to GiDi, “DH is being treated.” And then went back to worrying.

Would the procedure be successful?

Could something worse happen to DH if it wasn’t?

How would DH react when told that Q10 was being corrected. It occured to TO that by the time they got to tell DH, the procedure would be done already. Q10’s Overseer said it would take less than an hour. When DH woke, Q10 would be corrected.


A few hours later the medical bay was mostly empty. Any synth that had come for treatment had been treated and sent off. From what TO had seen most of the injuries had been mild, ranging from throbbing migraines to severe stomach sickness to the odd sprained joint. The one that TO had seen coming in when they were sitting out in the hallway with Q10 had broken something in their arm, but they had been sent off shortly after with their arm in some kind of plastic cast.

TO found themselves wondering what their score was like, and how bad the break might have been.

They were sitting by themselves in one of the chairs when their implant went off with a message- it was a news broadcast. TO could tell from the timestamps that the video had been released nearly two hours ago even though it had only just been released to the synths.

“Of course.” TO muttered, “They wouldn't show us anything live. Not after what happened.”

With a quick gesture the screen popped up and showed the same face of the same Synth newscaster that had seen earlier– the Galactic News Broadcaster Program.

“After being cut off from the rest of the Galaxy, communications to Caerlapis has just been restored.” They said as a screen popped up behind them, showing footage from the scene. The stadium that King Decon and the insurgents had been in earlier was nothing but rubble now. There were medical teams running around in the background, and emergency workers moving debris.

“It has been confirmed that the attack on the Caerlapis was orchestrated by the Despair Rebellion.” The newscaster continued, “Best experts believe that the objective of the attack was to kill the captured insurgents who possess vital information to help restore peace throughout the galaxy.”

Did that make sense?

It was odd for TO to think that, but they were thinking more of GiDi;had been questioning why the attack had happened, they were saying it didn’t make sense. Well, now they had the why. Would that make sense to GiDi?

“King Decon was able to use His own defensive force field technology, along with the assistance of His Vanguard, to protect the civilians in attendance from the blast, but it was at the cost of the lives of the insurgents, and others standing in an acting role for the ceremony. The majority of the damage and the additional casualties was caused by structural damage to the building after the blast.”

TO couldn’t help the smile, and the way their ears quirked up with pride at that news. Of course King Decon would have put the lives of the civilians over the few officials. Of course He would have found a way to protect everyone else. The Despair rebellion could say what they wanted, but the truth was that King Decon was keeping the galaxy peaceful and saving lives, while they were sending projectiles at stadiums filled with innocent civilians.

“While King Decon, though alive and well, is unavailable for live comment at the moment, He has given the following statement to be read to His subjects at this time. ‘I regret only that I could not have saved more lives. Though this attack was brutal and the lives lost were needless, there is no point in seeking vengeance, only justice. It is my solemn vow that those responsible for this heinous attack will answer for their actions. I can only hope that this revelation of the true nature of the insurgency to the rest of the empire will serve to show their brutal nature, and the need for harsh actions taken against them.”

The GNBP started showing videos of leaders of other planets who were commenting on the tragedy when another Medical synth came towards them. TO glanced up, and seeing them heading their way they closed up the screen.

“An update?” They asked, their ears suddenly perking up with interest as they approached.

“Yes.” TO said, “King Decon is fine.”

“I knew He would be.” They responded, “Though, I am still relieved to hear it.”

“Yes. I am very pleased to hear of King Decon's good health as well.” TO recited, “I’m sure 70H67 will be pleased as well, if they’re in a state to hear it?”

“Yes. That is in fact why I’m here.” They said, “MO-6 has finished with the procedure. They are still asleep, but if you wish I can take you to them, to wait until they awaken.”

“Yes. Please.”

A note from TheWitchOfTheRock

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Bio: A writer and Illustrator with scenes to show and stories to tell

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