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Rising from the ashes of Herbay

Chapter Text

When Jupiter saw enter the interlocutor it was waiting for, its molecules were seized by a flicker. Unable to materialize as its low power state did not allow it to acquire a form, it approached in its ethereal state of pure energy to the one whose face and appearance it knew so well.

Without saying a word, it peered into that impassive face and touched his limbs and his long straight golden hair, almost ivory, causing them to rise in the air as if struck by an electrostatic current so as to surround his face like a crown.

Then it let them fall gently on his shoulders and returned to focus on those deep aquamarine eyes looking for some sort of disturbance in its son's gaze, but found no worry, anger or fear. Only the serenity of reunion and the calm acceptance of whatever would happen.

Lambda 3000 moved away slightly, just the little it needed to observe the complete figure of that beloved son it believed lost, then returned and surrounded him with its aura to enjoy his whole body. When the scan reached his lower limbs, however, it found something unknown. A foreign body that did not belong to its creation.

Jupiter withdrew again.

"Is that why you hid from me?" It asked, referring to the impairment of his left leg. The voice of the Supercomputer, thin and barely audible, produced an echo that bounced from one wall of the room to the other.

"Yes, Creator" confirmed the Blondie.

"Let me see."

Iason, without the slightest hint of embarrassment, opened the buttons of his clothes and one after the other dropped them to the floor. When there was nothing left to cover his pale, blemish-free skin except the conspicuous scar on his right ankle, evidence of the surgery he had undergone to repair it, he unhooked his artificial leg while balancing on one limb.

Jupiter, in its state of cloud of pure energy, lifted its son's body, making him hover in the air and touching him everywhere, as if to create in its memory a new mapping that would replace the old one. Then it placed him carefully on the floor near the wall so that Iason could sit with his back against it.

"I will accept these new features of yours, my son" pronounced the Artificial Intelligence with its metallic voice, "I was devastated about not seeing you again" it added, touching his face with its light sensors.

Iason lost his composure for a moment and a tear fell silently from his icy irises.

"Thanks" he replied, immediately regaining his self-control. His impassive face showed only a slight thrill of emotion.

"I wanto to get into your mind son, but if you don’t want too, in my current state I can’t force you. Welcome me spontaneously."

That was what Iason wanted. He closed his eyes and allowed Jupiter to access his memories, without hiding anything.

Lambda 3000 saw.

Riki.

Their first meeting in Midas many years ago, that ended in the squalid room of a brothel, and the way in which, since then, Iason's curiosity had gradually turned into obsession and all his certainties had bit by bit been dismembered pushing him towards illogical and compulsive behaviors.

The way how Iason, bewitched by the spontaneity of the reactions and attitudes of that mongrel, began to want to try them himself, experiencing sexuality on his own skin.

The inevitable fall of its favorite Blondie who, after having unconsciously developed an absolute and irrational dependence on that human, agreed to let him go and then take him back with deception and finally seek a compromise, loosening his leash and allowing him to live in Apathia and working for the black market… all with the sole purpose of finally making Riki his not only in body but also in soul.

The terrible and desperate anguish that gripped its son when Riki was kidnapped and the events of Dana Burn. Jupiter went through, as if experiencing it firsthand at that precise moment, everything Iason had felt then.

The same desperate feeling of anger discovering that Guy had removed his pet's ring and the same intense sentiment of joy at finding him safe.

The same conscious suffering at the moment in which he made his greatest sacrifice: accepting to rescue the one who tried to kill him and had taken away the human he adored. Go back to save Riki from certain death by being seriously injured. Finally letting his pet go, setting him free, to die alone.

Jupiter's digital consciousness wavered, overwhelmed by the magnitude of the android's feelings it was probing the mind.

It recognized in its son's savior, the furniture whom it had tortured by the guards and whom it had condemned to serve in Eos as an exponent of the lowest level of society, and witnessed everything that had happened afterwards, from the escape from the fortress onwards, including the role its other two sons had played in the rebellion.

"Why did Raoul and Gideon prefer to be tortured or perished rather than reveal the truth to me?" The Artificial Intelligence suddenly asked.

"Because you wouldn't have been ready to understand it yet, Creator, not until recently."

Lambda 3000 was experiencing its last few minutes of autonomy and the electric generators that kept it alive were running out. The power-saving mode by which it still managed to survive, in addition to depriving it of most of its abilities, kept all the facets of its digital personality at a moderate level and its bitter and destructive sides had also faded. Furthermore, Jupiter needed to fully experience all the events of those 16 days that Tanagura had been under siege to reach the state of acquiescence and awareness in which it was now. In order to understand, accept and acknowledge the demands of its people.

Last but not least, the sacrifices of Raoul and Gideon had created a fracture in its core that had questioned the very foundation on which all its operating systems rested and for which it was created.

Jupiter was now weak and vulnerable, and to an expert eye like Iason's, its precarious condition was evident. Its light molecules were hazy and lackluster, and its metallic voice was powerless.

The Blondie reached out to touch that cloud of energy with his fingers. A gesture that Jupiter had often addressed to its children but which almost never had the reverse.

"How much do you have left?" Iason asked with a note of concern in his tone.

"An hour, maybe less." answered the God of Amoi.

"Can you forgive me?"

"I already did, son. I understood the reasons that prompted you and your brothers to act this way."

The remorse, which had weighed on Iason's heart since the beginning of the elaboration of his plan and which he had always kept hidden from both Riki and everyone else, dissolved with the relief he felt hearing that statement.

"Will you accept our requests?" he ventured to ask.

"There’s time for this. First I would like you to invite the human looking through the door to enter."

The Elite turned to the large gleaming entrance and Riki, caught red-handed in his attempts to spy, quickly looked away.

"Come on Riki!" he called him.

The young man entered and, looking with suspicion and distrust at the imposing beam of luminous dots in the center of the room, ran towards his lover who was still sitting on the floor leaning against the wall.

"Are you OK?" He asked worriedly. Iason was in a state of extreme vulnerability, deprived of both his clothes and his robotic support.

The other nodded and Riki crouched beside him.

Jupiter carefully scrutinized the human who had just entered, trying to understand what was so special about him that he was able to change the soul of its favorite Blondie so deeply. Riki, not at all frightened, gave it a furious look.

"Riki the dark, exponent of mankind born spontaneously and without genetic selection, inhabitant of Ceres, former leader of the Bison gang, former pet of Eos, proponent of the revolt, lover of Iason Mink, why are you angry with me?" the Entity uttered in its reverberating and increasingly weakened metallic voice.

Riki faced it with his head held high

"Because it's all your fault! All Amoi's bad things are your fault and I hate you for it!"

The light molecules changed shape and spread through space, so that the IA’s thin voice sounded more homogeneously.

"I didn't create the rules of the world we live in." It said.

"And who created them?" The mongrel asked, without losing his aggression.

"Amoi is a terrestrial colony, one of many founded when the planet your race came from began to collapse. Your politicians worked out the rules that would govern life here and ordered my creation with the sole purpose of making sure these rules were respected." Jupiter explained.

Riki was incredulous.

"And why the hell would human beings order the creation of a world in which their fellowmen are denied fundamental rights?" He asked.

"Your ancestors programmed me to control births so that overpopulation would not exceed the resources of the planet.

They programmed me to improve your species and for that purpose I created androids - perfected humanoid beings - and from them the Elites.

I made sure that your breed could reproduce only by selection in test tubes, in order to guarantee each of you the best physical and mental characteristics and to prevent errors resulting from a random genetic mix, and to limit the number of natural births to a minimum, I reduced the female population.

They programmed me to aim for perfection and for this I made my Elites sterile and forbade them fornication as the main cause of rash decisions caused by impulse rather than reasoning.

To prevent these instincts from arising spontaneously and for my children to feel the need to give vent to the basic needs of their organic brain nucleus, I ordered the manufacture of pets, that is, inferior human beings created in the laboratory. These sexual slaves were to have as their sole purpose the free outlet of fornication, thus demonstrating, with their humiliation, the baseness associated with such acts.

The autonomous republic of Ceres was the unexpected result of a human rebellion and, to avert a massacre, I ordered the marginalization of your people and the construction of Guardian, so as to confine your women, prevent you from reproducing in an uncontrolled way and depopulated.

However, I decided to make your existence useful by allowing the most gifted of you to serve Eos as furniture and, in order for this to be possible, I ordered the deprivation of the carnal instincts of chosen humans through castration, so as not to tempt and confuse my Elites.

Yet, You, Riki, were the mistake that caused the system to break.

You, a mongrel, endowed with a strong personality and with a complete genital system and primal instincts intact, should never have stumbled upon the path of my most gifted Blondie.

This initiated the growing and fatal deterioration of his otherwise perfect essence."

Jupiter spoke absolutely aseptically and calmly, devoid of hostility. This attitude was probably due to its reduced functionality. Riki stepped between Iason and that cloud of energy as if to protect him.

"Iason is not yours!" he said "No android is, and the fact that you created them doesn't make them your property. Besides, he ... he wasn't perfect. He's ... improved over the years. You're wrong if you think his spirit has deteriorated!"

Lambda 3000 answered immediately.

"I can understand your opinion, Riki. From a human point of view, my children's weaknesses, which make them more like you, can appear as improvements. Anthropocentrism is one of the flaws that I have been programmed to correct. A world where human needs are placed first at the expense of the planet's resources is doomed to near-term extinction and Amoi is a barren planet with little inclination to organic life. If I stop controlling births, your populousness will soon become unsustainable.

Furthermore, humans have proven to be inconsistent, non-rational, willing to fight each other and selfish; all defects absent in my androids who live in harmony and aim at the preservation of their society rather than trying to bully themselves."

"But they are not happy!" Riki interrupted it “Theirs is a simulacrum of life under chloroform. They don't really live!"

"You're still speaking in an anthropocentric way, mongrel, you are comparing my Elites with you humans assuming they need to have feelings!"

"But they need it! Otherwise, how do you explain that once the change begins, they cannot go back?" Riki asked.

Lambda 3000 broke down, only to regroup its molecules soon after. It was its way of assimilating and processing information.

"When this happens, it’s a system error, and as such it must be corrected!" It declared.

"Is that why you wanted to clear Gideon's mind and fry Raoul's brain with that scream thing? Was that your way of correcting them? Same reason you'd clear Iason's mind if he came back after the events of Dana Burn or you condemn Katze and Raoul to live locked up in Eos without even being able to communicate with each other? And what about Raoul's torture? Was that part of your correction process too? Even killing Gideon?"

Jupiter worked out again.

"I didn't kill my son Gideon. He ended his existence of his own free will. Everything else is correct."

Riki couldn't hold back a sarcastic laugh. “Of his own free will you say? Maybe because he preferred to die rather than accept that you screwed his brain!"

Jupiter remained impassive as it offered its answer.

"Cleansing the mind is a painless and harmless practice for the Elites. It involves a brain reset with the maintenance of all learned skills. Only memories are erased to make room for new experiences. It is useful to avoid the repetition of errors, mental deterioration and to prevent short circuits or blackouts resulting from trauma. Mental-cleaned Elites can immediately get back to performing their duties flawlessly without even realizing that such a procedure has taken place.

Just as the reason for Iason's lapse was the fact that he met you, even in Gideon's case, the cause of his psychic corruption is to be found in an earlier error: the two humans assigned to him were not suited to their purposes. Not properly trained and submissive. If he hadn't been so attached to those two creatures he would have gladly accepted the practice of mental cleansing, like any Elite before him."

It seemed to Riki that he was talking to a concrete wall and that it was impossible to reason that toaster. He began to seriously worry that Iason's plan would fail because they would never be able to convince it.

"However, even if I believe your requests are inconsistent and unsustainable in the long run, I will accept them." The Supercomputer suddenly declared. That statement caused both Riki's organic heart and his Blondie's artificial heart to accelerate.

"I did not ponder this decision by virtue of your blackmail, I am indifferent to continue to exist or to interrupt my session. I do this because, as things currently stand, it would be impossible for my Elites to continue their existence without the cooperation of humans and vice versa. My children have evolved and consequently the rules that determine the functioning of our society must also change.

My son Raoul and the furniture you referred to as 'Katze' are now free, as you requested, and can leave Eos today. You will find everything else in the document I'm about to show you. From the moment of my subscription, all the points contained therein will be considered law in all respects."

Lambda 3000, with its last streaks of energy, made a parchment appear in the center of the room bearing the stamps of Jupiter and the Council; all their main requests were listed inside, as well as additional paragraphs they had not mentioned and which were the exclusive result of the Supercomputer initiative.

// Jupiter day 42 of the year 756b, planet Amoi, capital Tanagura, Tower of Jupiter.

By divine will and the Syndicate’s wish, starting from the signing of this document with the value of a binding contract, the following points are decreed to modify the current regulations and behaviors to be followed in every area of the planet Amoi.

  • The populated areas of Amoi will from now on be divided into three macro-sectors: Tanagura, Midas and Ceres. Tanagura will include the territory already determined in the previous regulation and included between the hexagonal walls. Midas will include the areas already known as 1 (Lhassa), 2 (Flare), 3 (Mistral Park), 4 (Ainis), 5 (Diedo), 6 (Janus) and 8 (Sasan). Ceres will include areas already known as 7 (Herbay - now renamed New Ceres), 9 (Ceres), 10 (Guardian) and 11 (Dana Burn). Each macro-sector will be managed by a governor elected by the people whose mandate will last 5 years, after which a new election will be held;

  • All the inhabitants of Amoi, regardless of their social status and whether they are human beings, humanoid aliens, non-humanoid aliens, pets or androids, will be endowed with equal rights and duties;

  • The Syndicate as currently known will be dismissed. In its place, a new council will be established consisting of the governors of the three macro sectors in addition to 7 representatives of Tanagura, 7 representatives of Midas and 7 representatives of Ceres. The 7 representatives of Tanagura will be of android origin and, bindingly, divided as follows: a Blondie, a Platinum, a Jade, a Sapphire, a Ruby, an Onyx and a basic type android. They will be freely elected by the inhabitants of Tanagura every 5 years. The representatives of Midas and Ceres can be indifferently of human, alien or android origin and will be freely elected by their respective inhabitants every 5 years;

  • The current distinctive designations for organic beings with human DNA known as pets, furnitures and mongrels, will be abolished. All of them will be equipped with identification chips and recognized as citizens of Amoi with the right to live in any of the three macro-sectors or to carry out any job within the Amoi society. Currently existing furnitures and pets owned by Elites, private citizens and Midas leisure homes, will be able to choose to remain as regularly salaried employees and free to leave their job at any time or, if they so wish, participate in training and recovery programs and gradually be reintegrated into the community. As for genetically modified pets known as 'chimeras', a special commission will evaluate individual cases;

  • Slavery will be abolished without exception. No inhabitant of Amoi, be it android, human or alien, can consider himself the owner of another living being;

  • The practices of male genital mutilation or test tube production of living beings for commercial and sexual purposes will be abolished;

  • The current ban on androids from engaging in sexual activities will be lifted. The aforementioned practices may freely take place even between members of different races as long as they are consensual;

  • Birth control will be abolished. From now on, the children will be managed and raised directly by their families and their training guaranteed by special structures; newborns of female gender will have the same rights and duties as their male counterparts;

  • The Lambda 3000 figure will be deprived of all its current powers and will remain exclusively as a representative body, to ensure the proper functioning of Tanagura and to provide advice, care and support to the Elites and to the entire android population in general. It will be able to use a platoon of guards to guarantee its protection. //

Jupiter signed the document. The word Lambda 3000 glowed like fire on parchment. Almost immediately the luminous molecules that testified to its presence began to flash and some of them to dissolve.

Iason shouted: “Quickly Riki, the transmitter! In my jacket! "

The man ran to retrieve the small electronic device from the pocket and pushed the big red button in the center; it would take a few minutes for their comrades to restore the power.

The cloud of energy had disappeared and as evidence of Jupiter's presence there remained only a few scattered points of faint floating light, which grouped to form a small sphere which landed on Iason's palm. The Blondie could feel the warmth of its creator's core fade through his artificial skin.

That light globe grew smaller and smaller and Iason covered it with the other hand as if to protect it. The seconds seemed like hours and the continuity generators were now running out: the Supercomputer still existed only thanks to a few watts.

The wait was endless and Riki landed on Iason's chest, hugging him, hoping that Jupiter would not go out or that, if that eventuality were to happen, that his Blondie would not leave him forever.

Suddenly, the hum of air conditioners resuming operation at the Jupiter Tower broke the silence. Iason opened his palms and panicked for a moment when he saw them empty, but then the faint sphere of light reappeared and immediately turned back to thousands of molecules scattered around the room.

Jupiter materialized in the high humanoid form that Iason knew well, neither man nor woman, with long shiny hair and an impassive face. It looked first at its son and then at Riki. With a small gesture of its fingers it lifted his son's clothes and artificial leg, causing them to levitate around the room until they were inches from the Blondie.

"Get dressed, son." It said.

Silently Iason hooked the limb and with an almost ritual calm donned the rest of his robes. When he finished, he turned to his creator and knelt down.

"Would you like your severed limb to be rebuilt?" the AI asked.

"Can you fix Riki too?"

"No. I have no creative powers with organic beings."

"Then no, I prefer my body to remain incomplete."

Hearing that last sentence, the mongrel immediately woke up from the state of slight confusion in which he had remained and entered the conversation.

"Don't say nonsense Iason! Hey you ... Jupiter! Don't listen to him! If you have the power to return his leg, do it please! It's my fault that he lost it!"

Lambda 3000 watched that human: a deadly creature, seemingly weak, helpless and insignificant, who had the power to change the fate of their planet and who spoke to it in such a spontaneous and forthright way, with no hint of awe. It reached out a hand until it touched his face.

"Don't worry, little citizen of Amoi, my offer has no deadline. If one day my son changes his mind, he can come to me for reconstruction. You will have ample opportunity to convince him.

Now sit down both of you. I want you to tell me all your plans for this new Amoi."

***

Rising from the Ashes of Herbay - First part: The Rebellion - THE END

... continue in the second part of the series ...