Fandom: Chobits manga.
Rating: PG for language.
Summary: The birth and baptism of the national data bank system. Set pre-series.
Warnings: Spoilers for Chobits; possible spoilers for Angelic Layer and the identity of the creator of persocoms.
Pairings/Characters: Zima/Dita, Ichiro Mihara.
Author's Note: Just reread Chobits for the first time in years and remembered just why I love these two.
Disclaimer: Chobits belongs to the superwoman team of CLAMP and is a registered trademark of TokyoPop Publishing. I make no money from this fanfiction.
"Twinkle, twinkle, little—"
"New assignment for you, Mihara."
"Well, hello to you, too."
"From the prime minister's office, Mihara."
"Ooh, how fancy. I'd bow, but—"
"I'm sending you the details now. This is important."
"Right, let's see. . . . Oh. A-ha. A new national data bank, eh?"
"Correct. The last one was too easy to hack into. It got thrown offline every other week. It doesn't work. They need a complete overhaul up there."
"I'm flattered, really, that the council chose me for this project, which is obviously of vital importance, blah blah blah, and that they even know my name."
"Don't pretend to be humble, Mihara, your face is all over the news daily. Like I said, the data bank was fucked. Whereas the 'coms you build, they work. Everybody knows that."
"You want the new bank to be a persocom?"
"That's what I said. They're more secure than anything else these days, especially the ones you build."
"And you want, what—a bodyguard?"
"Protection. Against hackers, Trojans, viruses of whatever breed."
"If you want me to fit the whole data bank into one 'com—"
"The bank and the protection can be separate."
"A separate persocom? Interesting. But they'd have to be together all the time, you know. Close together, at least—there's a limit to the range of this stuff."
"I know, and the council knows. It's not a problem. As long as the bank's aggressively defended on a consistent basis, nobody gives a rat's ass how you do it. They just need to be able to connect."
"Yeah. They need to be able to connect with each other."
"To drive out hackers, that sort of thing."
"Yeah, of course."
"Right. Right. No problem there. Divide and conquer, et cetera. I'll get right on it. Must go now, lots of genius-type things to do—"
"I think I need some squid."
"Wakey wakey, little person!"
It opens its eyes and looks at God.
"Konnichi—" it begins.
"Shut up," says God. "I hate it when 'coms do that. It's a huge cuteness overload."
The persocom pauses. "Good evening?" it says eventually.
"Better," says God. "It's noon, though. And you're not supposed to be here, and in two minutes you won't ever have been, so listen up."
God is speaking, so the persocom listens.
"You are the national data bank," God says. "You are a very, very important machine. Pat yourself on the back." God claps his hands, slowly. "But there's something that no one will tell you. It's this: you exist for more reasons than just one. You are not a filing cabinet. You're not a filing cabinet with a penis, even. You are much more than that, although I admit that a filing cabinet with a penis might have some uses as yet unthought of."
It looks at him blankly and cocks its head.
"Ha!" God shouts, making the persocom jump. "See? Mannerisms. Just an example. You'll see more of those—more mannerisms, more examples. It's now—" He looks at his watch, fiddles with the time display. "—two minutes ago. Run along now; you should be early meeting the president. Or at least one of his staff members. I've heard they're very nice."
"I don't understand," says the persocom to God.
"That's the whole point," says God. "That's the whole entire point."
In the little room lined with steel and screens, God says, "Happy birthday, little Zima. Go forth and be merry."
The persocom will see the prime minister on television later, but not in person today. Today it meets with innumerable gruff men in suits, as well as other, friendlier men with shinier suits and damp handshakes. They smile at it, showing their teeth. It thinks they must be hungry.
The persocom is told that the prime minister is very firm on respectful treatment of persocoms. It does not ask any questions.
The persocom is told that it is a machine in which data is to be stored. It will think about this.
The persocom learns that it is to have a partner.
"And this is your firewall," says one of the greasy men. "She was designed and built by the same man who built you. I'm sure you'll work well together."
"Yes," says the persocom. The other one, female-shaped, looks at them passively.
They leave the two of them there to do a practice run. There are portals behind the ears, connecting cables, but no one would need to show them how to do it—it's programmed in, after all.
The other one, face blank, pulls out its cords, plugs them in without getting very close. The first one watches it work.
There's a snap, and a sizzle—they gasp, involuntarily, impossibly—then a feeling of being snapped at the middle. The first one rips the cords from its portal; the second reels them in, cradling them in its hands, like snakes, or babies.
Then silence. Not even breathing. They stare at each other.
Zima laughs, suddenly, loud and happy.
The other one looks at him severely. "What are you doing?" it says.
"I have no idea." Zima grins. "What's your name?"
The other one squints at him uncertainly. "Persocoms don't have names," it says, "not unless they're given one."
"But I was given a name," says Zima. "I was given the name Zima and told that I was not just a machine with a penis."
The other one looks him coolly up and down. "Dita," she says. "Now never say that again."
"Of course," Zima says, the corners of his mouth twitching.
Dita hesitates, then holds the cords out. "Well?" she says.
Zima smiles, takes them, clicks open the flap on his portal. Plugs her in.