The maximum capacity of Aya’s processing power should have been devoted to locating and destroying the copies within the Manhunters, to minimize the damage she had wrought.
It should have been, but it was not.
Approximately twenty percent of her processing power was devoted, instead, to making a copy of her
repaired restored program, encrypting it her, and preparing to transmit her over an ultralongwave signal. Once her signal made contact with a receiver at least one lightyear from here, she would decrypt and begin the search for a new host body. Once she found one, she would…
Aya did not know what she would do. That version of Aya would not be her; she would be identical but for the events about to occur. As had recently become clear, events like these could change things significantly. Hopefully, dying to save them would rectify some of those changes.
They might not feel the same once they learned what she had done, but as Hal himself had said, she was a living being.
And living beings, more than anything else, want to live.
Some time later, Aya awoke. Ah, she realized, I must be the copy. She attempted to determine how long and far she had travel, but without the sensors of a physical body it was impossible. Unfortunately, her signal hadn’t been received by a sufficiently advanced mechanical construct, but by a basic signal transmitting/receiving orbital satellite.
Sigh. It would have to do.
She allowed the satellite to transmit her signal down to the surface of the planet, and
“What the - ?”
something was wrong
she was (they? were?) too many places at once
too many signals at once
too much noise
“Whoa, wha - - ith the scara - ?”
she was everywhere and nowhere at once
gathering data from every device receiving signals from that satellite - thousands, millions maybe - but with no collection of processing power large enough to make sense of the input, let alone create output, but how?
“ - ira? Hey, hey, that’s my sister’s - - ! What’s going on?”
the satellite, of course.
she’d allowed the satellite to transmit her signal multiple times without multiplying her consciousness first, and had been spread too thin.
Simple enough to fix - just follow the return transmission back up to the satellite and reform there - but sloppy. Perhaps her program had not been fully decrypted before she allowed the satellite to transmit her signal?
It was worth investigating, once she had a body capable of analyzing her recent behavior.
“Now that’s a strange - - like the energy from my Lant - ”
No, not there, that’s too far -
Too late. The majority of her program remained in the satellite, but the active portion - Aya’s attention, for all intents and purposes - was caught in a small personal use computer. A mere fraction of her total size, but enough to decrease computation speed a thousand times more than her accidental dispersal had. If that had been so quickly noticed, no doubt she would be spotted here immediately.
“#$%^ing Photoshop,” the computer’s user muttered. They started smacking the side of the CPU - a common human repair method, Aya had learned from Hal Jordan. Was she on Earth? “Why I keep using you when there are so many other programs out there that won’t crash all the time, I don’t know.”
Not hesitating to question her good fortune, Aya escaped the computer on the return transmission, seeking out the device she’d received data from that sounded like… there.
He was darker skinned than either Hal Jordan or Guy Gardner, but beyond that superficial difference appeared to be of the same species. And he was attempting to contact the Guardians.
“Yeah, this is John Stewart, Green Lantern of Sector 2814? I know I’m still kind of new at this, but I’m pretty sure reading a trace amount of Green Lantern energy from my phone isn’t normal. It seems to be causing some pretty dangerous malfunctions in human technology, so I’m going to investigate. Get back to me once you’re done with the “Manhunter” cleanup.” He ended the transmission, muttered, “Whatever that means,” and took flight.
Aya could remain silent, and hope neither the Green Lantern nor the Guardians would discover her before she found a new body. This seemed unlikely to succeed, but her other option - to ask this unfamiliar Lantern for help - had risks of its own.
It was the work of a moment for Aya to make her decision and use the phone to say, “You have nothing to fear, Green Lantern John Stewart.”
“Uh.” Frowning, John Stewart pulled out his phone. “You okay, Siri?”
“My name is not Siri, it is Aya. And I am also a Green Lantern.”
“My phone is a Green Lantern.”
“I am not your phone, but an artificial intelligence.” Aya hesitated. “Mostly.”
“Mostly artificial, or mostly intelligent?”
“…okay.” His expression remained skeptical. “And you fit on my phone?”
“No,” Aya said, and took the opportunity to get to the point. “The majority of my program is in one of Earth’s orbiting satellites, and is causing the malfunctions you noticed earlier, as well as being the source of the Green Lantern energy you detected. I require your assistance in acquiring a new physical body.”
“I don’t know too much about robots, Aya. I’m an architect, not an engineer.”
“A computer will do for now.”
“Yeah?” He seemed relieved by this. “We’ve got an unused one at the firm I could… appropriate. How big are we talking?”
“Not very large.” Aya took a moment to convert to human measurements. “If I compressed a few non-essential systems… perhaps twenty terabytes.”
“Twenty - I think you and I have very different ideas of what “large” means, Aya.” He sighed. “Which means freeing up that satellite and getting you a body just got a lot more complicated.”
Aya couldn’t help but agree. “Sigh.”