14 February 2011
She slipped quietly out of the room now plunged into a deep and dark slumber. She had not the faintest idea of what she had become. She remembered only the slimy roughness of the tentacles that had gripped her and the electrolytes that raced like shining lights behind her eyelids. When the Ostrother was finally diffused in her veins, she heard a dull voice say in a metallic inflection “Anodox level 10 reached. The human broth was extracted and the droid only retains the human resemblance of before. ”
When the survivors came to deliver her from her misery, she felt no transport of delight, just like a click somewhere in the depths of her frozen body like a muffled thud coming from her soul. Did droids have souls? She felt herself carefully thinking about her agitated resistance during the questioning but felt nothing and saw no traces of what she expected to see on her body covered, only a few minutes ago, by tubular protrusions inserted deep into her flesh. She thought back to the mad race followed by her arrest and the long hours spent in the Shabbyshank with the other Adventors awaiting trial. She had not breathed out any name but had heard many others talk on the Judgment field. All of them, one after the other, delivered loudly and clearly the names of the seniors to safeguard their innocence.
She had watched them crumble with a mixture of pity and disgust thinking of when the seeds would reach her and would be planted in her. There was no possible escape as they penetrated through the nostrils, ears, eyes and even through the pores. It was hard to resist the sowing of the seeds of truth, but she was well trained by her battalion and would not give in. Drop by drop, she had distilled out of her extremities the Carmelion that resulted from the mixture of her blood and the seed, but this resistance proved fatal. Nobody had ever resisted the field trial and the result of her struggle, unbeknownst to her, had been collected in a cup. Turkheim had plunged a finger into the drink and had tasted the dense liquid of her insubordination. He felt the beat of a sudden bolt of thunder. The intense substrate of revolt had scourged through him like a thousand bolts of lightning and he felt its raw power. She had not only survived the treatment but had even turned into an intoxicating mixture of rebellion that could be fatal for him. He could not allow that to be known and he decided that his only chance to control this Adventor was the Anodox operation. It was usually reserved for Adventors convicted of high treason but he decided that the court did not need to know the details. He would state in his report that she could not use her innocence because her name was among those who created the rebellion and she was therefore guilty of high treason. In front of the Court of the Outdated, she tried in vain to invoke her innocence but the council of Luels was formal and the sentence without escape: transformation by Anodox.
“Liar, you ugly liar,” she yelled to Turkheim who looked at her tauntingly. These were the last words she uttered as Adventor before the lid closed on her and the tubes crept into her flesh.
She pulled herself together and returned to the present. The survivors were fast but she found herself overtaking them absolutely not weakened by her long inertia. Kayla looked at her with narrowed eyes. She had never run so fast before and should have normally been further slowed down by her ordeal. Kayla would have to subject her to the humangrity test if she wanted to be able to count on her in the revolution. Naques who did not feel Kayla’s mood change continued to run in the open. Outside EtherLite servers diffused a cold light and stroboscopic lasers alternated between musical pauses. A young group of Turkheimites were dancing a mad Paradedance between the stroboscopic flashes and the musical notes. Nobody paid any attention to them and they continued their mad dash to the shuttle waiting for them outside the space station.
Once inside, the shuttle took off without further delay and Kayla gave a mute command to seize Naques who indifferently allowed herself to be seized. Then followed a questioning but not identical to one she had been subjected to with the Turkheimites. Kayla crept into her mind to question her and did not need to sow the truth seeds that would have not served anyway as Naques was immune to their effect. Naques reassured her that she did not need to lie, this was her clan and she answered all Kayla’s questions, including when she asked her about the Anodox. Kayla looked at her in amazement because she did not expect a droid to be on their side. She gently took her arm and exclaimed, “They have greatly improved their technique. You’re really well machined and have kept all your human resemblance. Naques, the name that you were given for the silkiness of your skin, you still deserve it although your interior is metallic. It is funny how your voice has not changed and has taken no metallic inflection”. The other Adventors began to fidget at these words spoken aloud instead of in Naques’ mind. One of them came yelling that they needed to get rid of Naques as soon as possible otherwise they would all be in danger. Followed a rapid dialogue between her and Kayla and she returned to the ranks of her peers, purple but without uttering any further threats.
Kayla turned to other Adventors and said in a loud voice “I take custody of Naques and declare having gone through her mind. She has not embraced the cause of the Turkheimites and remains Adventor in her soul. She has undergone the Anodox but her soul remained intact.”
-“The droids have no soul!” yelled a voice in the crowd and protests resumed.
Naques felt again that curious click and thought about her own interrogations a few minutes before she was freed. How to convince them? She looked at them, her sisters turned strangers and felt that snap again and a strange feeling at the level of her eyes. The Adventors were watching her with an expression between pity and revulsion. Raising her hand to her eyes, she felt the metallic marbles fall on her fingers. She was weeping tears of metal. The droids did therefore have a soul, she thought remembering the countless droids she had had to destroy, her sisters transformed by their Anodox. A feeling of great weariness overwhelmed her. The revolt, the Adventors, Kayla, nothing seemed to matter anymore.