TechSmart Gigabyte Sci-Fi Short Story Comp: The Vernal EquinoxBy Staff Writer 5 May 2015 | Categories: news
The Vernal Equinox
By Linzé Brandon
It was too early for the Jacarandas, but Shine wasn’t looking at the trees. Tears started to roll over her cheeks when she spotted the approaching light.
Shine looked away. “I have to.”
“Then take me with you.”
She froze and slowly looked up, ineffectively wiping her face. “I can't.”
His expression shut down. “I get it. I am not human.”
He started to walk away. He stumbled when she grabbed his arm. “R-Ten.”
He righted himself, but didn't turn around. The light had stopped. It seemed to be waiting.
For her. No doubt.
To leave him. He rubbed his chest.
Shine stared at him, then gently touched his chest. No heartbeat, although his body temperature closely resembled hers.
He rubbed harder. “Don't bother. I get it.”
Shine gritted her teeth and dug her fingernails into his chest. “You don't 'get it'!”
He looked over her shoulder at the waiting transport.
She released her grip and traced the drops of blood that coloured his shirt in apology. “I don't want to go,” she whispered, “but I have no choice.”
She turned around. The light wouldn't leave. Not without her. “My humanoid body is failing. The vernal equinox hails the start of summer here, and more sunlight will destroy me faster.”
He spun her around so fast she fell against him.
She laughed as she tried to regain her balance. The look on his face caused her mirth to die. So focused. Intense.
At his sharp tone, she blinked. “I am more organic than you are. Sunlight, the ultraviolet frequencies specifically, degrades organic material at a much faster rate than normal. At the equinox the average temperature starts rising too, and it will accelerate the process. I will die soon.”
“I don't want you to die.”
There was nothing to say to that.
“I don't want you to leave.”
Shine swallowed hard, but her eyes stayed dry this time.
“If I can design a protection shield for you, will you stay?”
Her heart jumped and it was hard not to get excited. “You can do that?”
He expression had yet to change. “Yes.”
She blinked. He never lied. “Why? Real reason.”
Something akin to puzzlement flashed across his face. “My chest hurts when I think about you leaving. I don't like it.”
She placed her hand over his, gently this time, stopping the circular movement. “How can you feel that way? Such emotions cannot be programmed, can they?”
He stepped back from her. She followed, her hand holding on to his.
“Of course not,” he replied, the expression gone as if it never existed. “Emotions are not logical. Programming such things are improbable.”
She wasn't fooled. He was not just AI. He was part organic. More robust and adaptable than her, but organic nonetheless.
“But you want me to stay?”
A hint of wonder flashed through her mind. He wanted. AI did not desire, since it implied a human-like reaction towards fulfilling a need. She stared at the lights of her unhappiness. Could she risk it?
“If I stay, I have nowhere to go,” she said as darkness finally claimed the day. Six hours before the night of the equinox would be at its peak. It sounded like a long time, instead it felt like the end was rushing towards her at high speed and she had no way of avoiding it.
“You can stay with me. I have communicated with my superior. We will go to Norway where darkness will prevail, until the protection skin has settled and you are comfortable wearing it. If you wish to return to Pretoria, we will.”
Shine wanted to hug him. What the hell, she did, as hard as she could.
When R-Ten returned it with a more gentle action, she bit her lip and leaned back to look up at him. Awareness flashed in his eyes once more. It was growing.
The light flashed at them. It was time.
She stepped out of his embrace and lifted her arm towards the light.
About the Author: Trained as an engineer, and now working as a project manager, Linzé Brandon spends her free time writing, collecting books and reading as much as possible. When the mood strikes she also loves to draw, paint and do counted cross stitch projects. She is a published author of science fiction, fantasy and adult romance fiction. She is presently busy editing her third novel, Michael’s Mystery, scheduled for publication in the second half of 2015.
You can connect with Linzé online at:
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