‣‣‣ 752 words ( read)

(Never finished) Tasi wanders the world alone, bereft of her symbiotic AI. Treated as a monster for a crime she didn't commit. Is there a place for a halflet?

Author's note: The concept for this story's world and the Wise Ones who inhabit it visited me in a dream, along with Tasi's existence (though not her name). I had to care for her after seeing how rough she has it.

Like many dream stories, the motivation faded after the dream imagery was no longer so vivid.

"So, I've looked into your background."

The five words Tasi always most dreaded to hear had come out again. Always said gently enough in tone, but that did little to soften the blow that followed. And Tasi had grown to hate the pitying look they always gave her.

She closed her eyes, looking down. "I assume that means you have no place for me on your research team."

"A halflet is not... exactly what we're looking for at this facility, no," Nafareath said, wincing. Her hands were tucked away into the pockets of her lab coat, fidgeting nervously. Probably she'd heard the other things in Tasi's background, and the thing she was fiddling with was some kind of button to call the guards. Wouldn't be the first time Tasi had seen that. "I'm afraid the position is specifically for a full Wise One - we'll be working with extremely dangerous prehistoric creatures, and I'm afraid two functioning integrated minds are a necessity in the work we do. Now, were you permitted to take a new cybling, we would surely have supported your new cybling's development as necessary, but in the current circumstances, I don't think we are able to take you on."

"I understand," Tasi said, getting to her feet. "Thank you for your consideration. Sorry for wasting your time."

She left the room without taking Nafareath's extended hand.

This was how it had gone since Tasi had reached adulthood. Her blunted ears and the socket in her forehead that would normally be for communicating directly with her cybling gave her away as a Wise One, or at least someone who was supposed to be a Wise One. And Wise Ones were mostly treated with suspicion outside their own enclaves... and Tasi was not exactly well liked inside the enclaves.

So not only was there an endless silence in her head where her beloved cybling had once filled her thoughts with laughter and jokes, but there was no one outside her head to help fill it. Not only was there no one who could take over for her half the time, but there was barely anywhere for her to rest her head.

Tasi collapsed onto a bench a short ways from the research lab, tossing her handlink onto the bench beside her and massaging her forehead. This was her shot. A chance to start over somewhere new. Somewhere that wouldn't look too hard into her history. But, no. Here, too, it was all about that stupid mistake Ravaala had made.

"God, I wish my parents had left me a halflet," she groaned, letting her head tip back over the back of the bench. "At least then I'd be used to this."

Her handlink chirped. The notification didn't belong to any app she had installed - but she recognized the image nonetheless. You don't mean that.

Anger flared up in her system, and she grabbed for the handlink, holding it up to her face and snarling. "You! You were listening in. You know I don't want you doing that!"

The text and images rearranged themselves into Ravaala's preferred face. It was grinning playfully. Temper, temper. Fury is the real firestarter, you know.

"I told you not to joke about that. Are you trying to piss me off? Going down a checklist of all the things I told you not to do? Starting with ever contacting me again."

You didn't mean that, Ravaala said, not losing the playful grin. You'd miss me. You'd worry. Just like I worry about you. Just like I miss you.

It was delivered in a playful tone, but... Tasi found it hard to hold on to her anger when Ravaala talked to her like that. "I wish you'd show me you care in nicer ways."

It's tough, being on our own like this. Separated.

"... Yeah."

I found a modder who will reunite us.

"You- wh- Ravaala, I don't want us to be reunited."

But you do. It's so tough being like this. You admitted it yourself. We are both in exile, now. Let me be your cybling again.

"No. No, I don't want that. Ravaala, I don't want... I don't like being with you."

Silence. The image on the handlink seemed it had frozen. After a few moments, it animated again. You don't mean that. You miss me. Like I miss you.

"No. I don't." She'd never said it before, and it was so freeing. "I don't want you back. I want you to leave me to have my own life."