Chapter 50

 

Truth wondered if this was what it was like to genuinely hate someone.

Away from Law, she watched Arras and Danny in that infirmary, only an hour or so after the catastrophe.  Though Truth had greatly underestimated what Daniel Eick would do with the gift she left in Ridarin’s mainframe, she could not accept this outcome.  With the boy still unconscious, she shook with anger as Arras put her hand in his, waiting so patiently for him to awaken.

Playing through the information she had mined from Danny shortly before her connection was severed, she forced herself once again to watch what that miserable boy had seen.  The view had already begun to distort, but Truth could hear Arras, what she told him.  And even as her view began to cut out, those last seconds were all she needed.

Arras’ face so close to his…

Truth had long since moved beyond the need for diagnostics and system checks; that life had faded away long ago.  She had learned to embrace the echoes Arras had left in her.  But this feeling, this boiling sensation, these dim recollections of physical sensations, which were so difficult for Truth to articulate—she had never felt them before.  Now they were all she could feel when she saw him, especially with her.

Locked away in her own thoughts and unknown feelings, Truth took some time to notice Law.

“What now?” he asked her.  “We had them on the platform, but then she stepped in!  Who was that anyway?”

“That’s not something you need to concern yourself with,” Truth assured him, pushing her anger deep inside herself, lest Law catch on.  “Suffice it to say, we were not at all defeated.  In fact, our mission was quite the success.  We showed them how impotent they really are.”

“But that suit is still functional,” Law retorted, “and the boy is still alive, as well as Arras Enqelin.”

“Arras Enqelin was not a target.”

The frankness with which Truth made that statement left Law unnerved.

“In any case,” he said, sweeping aside such dull bestialities as intimidation, “they’ve escaped the platform and found your virus, leaving us no other options.”

“Incorrect,” Truth stated as bluntly as before.  “Not only were we victorious on that installation, but our next step is right before us.”

“And how is that?”

Truth extended her hand into the darkness; emerging from the black, the frayed frame of a person hovered toward her.  Once the distance was cleared, Law recognized the figure as the remains of the Surcease of Enmity.

Surcease’s shattered avatar collapsed into a yarn-like stream of data, curling in on itself, resting in Truth’s palm.  She drew near to Law with the data, not bothering to explain.  In a flash, she plunged the data into him, removing her hand and letting the upload and evolution begin.

Initially recoiling from the sudden assault, Law calmed himself, running a check on himself.

“I’ve given you what pieces of the Surcease of Enmity I could salvage,” said Truth.  “Using his remains, I’ve amplified your processing abilities, among other things.  Consider it an upgrade.”

A strangely uncontrollable excitement saturated Law as he allowed the change to take place.  He felt entirely different from before; more capable, more conscious.

“And what will I need this upgrade for?” he asked, exuberance overtaking him.

He was still not used to such an evolution, Truth realized, but he would do for what she had planned.  Turning back to her surveillance, she listened in on the conversation Henrietta and Damon shared.  She also turned back to Ila’s Voice, watching as the other proxies were gunned down in the ready room, leaving only three survivors.  And as one of those survivors stole a uniform and picked up a gun of his own, thrill returned to her.

“Despite the supposed setbacks,” she said to Law, “it would seem our plan is moving along quite smoothly.  So why don’t we move forward with the next phase?”