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Spherical Objects in Digital Space

In the cycles since her creation Yori had seen many things, but this was only the second time she saw this particular one.

She'd been written by Lora_B to operate a laser for the Encom system and because of that she always felt she was somehow closer to the users' world than any other program, save perhaps the tower guardians. Every time Lora_B and Gibbs_Walter digitised fragments of their world, bringing them into the system, Yori took pride and pleasure in the fact that she was allowed to catch even those small glimpses of the higher realm.

Sure, the digitisation process didn't always work. In fact, it rarely did and Yori couldn't help but wish for a cycle when the object she scanned and the object that appeared in the entry port looked the same. As it was, it always either missed something, was misshapen or didn't come through at all.

Until about five millicycles ago. It looked like most of the problems were finally over because the new method - a scanned UV beam - seemed to work much better than the single-pulse exposure, and the spherical orange object that appeared in the entry port looked exactly as it should.

Yori stared at it in delighted wonder before it was pulled back by the beam to be reintegrated in the users' world.

And now Yori watched as another orange object appeared on the port's platform. It would remain here for about three microcycles so, theoretically, if she wanted to look at it closer, she could - there was ample time to do it. And yeah, she really wanted to.

Yori came closer and picked up the object. She didn't know what to expect, but it turned out to be quite light. She wondered what purpose it served in the users' world - the sphere didn't look like it did anything useful. Maybe it was some sort of an inert bit? Well, at least it had a nice colour - Yori didn't think it was one she'd seen before. It wasn't the red of the MCP's hordes and it wasn't the yellow of a program she'd glimpsed a few millicycles ago. She hadn't seen him since; the rumour had it that when the MCP had caught him, the program was derezzed - painfully, one layer of code at a time.

Yori shuddered at the thought. She was really glad her functions ensured the MCP would need her right where she was. Or at least alive.

She returned to studying the object in her hand. The surface wasn't smooth, she noticed, but instead a little pocked and there were two dark spots on the opposite sides of the sphere. She rubbed one spot, feeling the different texture. She also noticed that the surface gave slightly where she pressed her finger. That was definitely out of ordinary. There weren't many things in the Grid with such a soft structure.

Yori pressed her finger harder and the surface broke noiselessly, startling her. Her finger sank into the sphere and she quickly pulled it out, looking at it uncertainly. There was no damage to her code, though, and when she looked back at the sphere, it too didn't seem to be disintegrating any further. There was just this... hole in it.

Oh, and the smell. Yori sniffed the air appreciatively. Breaking the object's surface apparently released some of its data. Interesting.

Yori debated with herself for a second, but she was too curious to stop now. She picked at the edges of the small hole, widening it, and in the process realised that the outer surface peeled rather neatly, revealing the softer inside.

She squeezed the sphere excitedly and suddenly the thing released what looked like liquid energy, squirting it in a metre-high fountain. Yori jumped back to avoid the liquid - Users only knew what it really was - and watched as it landed on the floor, spattering in bright orange drops.

And then it just lay there.

Yori frowned in thought and glanced back at the sphere (a bit mangled now) still clutched in her hand. A big fat drop of the orange liquid was hanging from one of Yori's fingers, winking at her merrily.

Lora_B certainly wouldn't introduce anything harmful into the system, the program thought. And Gibbs_Walter, who was currently using Yori, surely wouldn't do that either so there was no need to be overcautious. She had a feeling Tron would disagree, but well, he wasn't here now. Yori brought her hand up to her mouth and licked the drop off her finger.

"Oh!" Her eyes widened in surprise. The liquid was both tart and sweet and tasted nothing like normal energy. It had a similar effect, though. Very refreshing.

Yori licked the rest of the liquid off her hand and then the rest of the sphere, discovering that it was soft enough to chew, and in a couple of moments all that was left of the object were the pieces of the outer shell.

Yori bit her lip. She hoped Gibbs_Walter didn't need the sphere for anything. She should probably send an acknowledgement, though. And maybe thank for the new energy source.

xx xx xx

Down in the Encom's laser bay, Walter stared in disbelief at the place where the orange he'd just digitised for the second time today, should have reappeared. Should have because what the laser actually spat out was a pile of orange peels.

Walter took off his glasses, wiped them with the hem of his lab coat and put them back on his nose. Nope, there were still only the peels, the rest of the orange decidedly not present. He hesitantly picked them up and glanced at the monitor of the laser terminal.

MATTER TRANSFORM SEQUENCE
PROGRAM ORANGE
ROM YORI
KEY YORI
MSSG TO GIBBS_WALTER: ENERGY INTAKE COMPLETED. THANK YOU.

Walter plopped down on a nearby chair.

"What the Devil...?"