Blindsided An Argento Soma Fanfiction

By Prospero Hibiki The Grandmaster Mongoose God of Misdirection, Caffeine, and Those Socks You Lost Last Tuesday hell_frost@hotmail.com

Brought to you by Frozen Hell Productions

Disclaimer:
The characters in this story are the sole property of their creators and owners whoever they may be. The characters of the series Argento Soma are being used without permission. No profit is sought nor will any be received for the production or publication of this work.

Fate & Secrets

It's been three weeks since I started working in the lab, or Purgatory as one of the girls in the command center jokingly called this place. The name's seemed to stick too. Besides I like it. That laboratory is my purgatory.

It's gotten even more cluttered in there, but that is how I want it. I can find everything I need to at a moment's notice which really is all I need. Besides the clutter serves to hide Angel as I continue to add more and more processors to her adaptive network. Maki had been an excellent programmer. The top of her field really. I think more of the personnel here at Funeral have realized this now since my little slip in letting Guinevere find out that Maki wrote the voice recognition program. But that's all people know.

Slowly as the clutter in the room accumulated I added computer after computer, often hiding them in the bottom drawers of filing cabinets, which I then blocked off behind desks. Why? To hide the real number of processors that I've installed in the lab. Angel can now draw from over two hundred processors strewn throughout the room. She was originally meant to be nothing more than an advanced research compiler, but that was just what Maki intended it for. I knew immediately that Angel could be so much more. Which is why one day when no one was paying attention I brought in a box with one hundred and fifty top of the line processors. It cost a fair amount, but I haven't needed to purchase anything else during my time as Ryu Soma and I had a fair bit saved. Now Angel has developed a much better personal operating system that's allowed her to change her own code so she can improve upon her capabilities on her own. Not only that but she has begun to move beyond compilation to analyze the data itself and report it to me through a wireless headphone piece of my own design. It transmitted the sound directly through the bone behind my right ear preventing anyone from overhearing her responses to my verbal requests.

Walking in the door to Purgatory I begin with my traditional greeting to the computer. "So what's on the agenda for today, Angel?"

That Angel responds is a given. What was unusual was that her voice wasn't the only one that did so. So while Angel lists off the possible avenues she has hypothesized the previous night a second voice calls out from within the room.

"Terms of endearment already, Lt. Soma? Whatever would the Commander think?" Lt. Green response was, of course, slightly more...unexpected.

It takes me a few seconds to locate her as she has commandeered the most comfortable chair in the room, which also happens to be located behind a bookcase. "I'm sorry Lt. Green, I didn't realize anyone was here. I was...thinking out loud."

As Guinevere rises I could tell that she doesn't quite believe me but is willing to let it slide this time. "Be that as it may I've just been wondering if you've had any interesting ideas about life in space recently."

The odd nature of the request brings to mind the fact that she hasn't really asked about my work in the past two weeks. Not since that interesting dinner at her apartment. For some reason it suddenly occurs to me that she'd been avoiding me in a professional sense since that time. Sure there has been the occasional lunch and even a dinner or two, but not once during that time has she asked me about my research. Something I'd said that night, or maybe something she'd said had set her on edge, and I can't for the life of me remember what it was except that it had to do with space. I'm jolted back to reality when I realize she's been trying to get my attention. "Sorry?"

She frowns slightly. "I asked you if you had a theory as to the best way to continue the research on space influenced radiation diseases that was halted because of the landings."

I scratch my chin in thought for all sorts of alarm bells are ringing in my head over this seemingly innocuous question. "Hmmm, I might have, but I'll have to do a full search on the network to be sure." Which was of course a complete and total lie, because I could have just asked Angel to do so for me. What the sentence really did was cause Angel to save whatever projects she'd been working on and devote all of her attention, and that of her recorders, to our current conversation and any requests I made of her. All of which might seem a given, but in reality whenever I make a request of Angel in any other manner she only uses at most ten percent of her true processing power in addition to whatever the machine I'm working on is capable of.

"Is there any specific disease you'd like me to look into? Though I'm not a specialist in the field I remember reading that different diseases were studied differently." My brain is working overtime, bringing up the memory of the medical journals that I'd seen inside of Guinevere's apartment. This is obviously more than idle curiosity on her part. Tapping away at my keyboard I query Angel about the identities of victims of such diseases. When she reports that they would be secured files I tell her to hack whatever she needs to.

Lt. Green hesitates for a few minutes before answering, further confirming in my mind that this is personal in some way for her. Maybe a relative? "No, no specifics." The way she says it screams that there is a specific, but it seems I've reached the end of her trust on this issue. Not that that's going to stop me in anyway. "I'm sorry to disturb you, Ryu." That she's called me by my first name begs me to forget this but this is a case where that is not an option.

As she approaches the door I reach out and grab her wrist to stop her. "If I come up with anything I'll let you know Guinevere." I know I've made the correct choice when I see her almost sag in relief. She nods in my direction and leaves walking slightly faster than her normal pace.

Closing the door I turn the deadbolt I'd recently installed, locking the door before I sit down. "Angel, initiate a full search of any and all known space related radiation diseases and sicknesses. Concentrate on any whose research on cures was interrupted by the landings, and specifically on any that have had any instances over the course of Lt. Green's lifetime. Until otherwise notified this shall occupy half of your resources. I want to know what's going on here."

"Shall I create a new research topic for voice filing?" Angel's synthesized version of Maki's voice responds in my earpiece.

I nod and then sigh when I realize I have yet to install a camera in her network. "Yes, file it under the keyword...Companionship. Ensure there is a cross link search of other topics for pertinent material."

"Of course Ryu. I've already done so. Perhaps you wish to tell me how to add and subtract now as well."

Another sigh escapes. There is one bad point to an adaptive AI that I don't think either Maki or I ever thought of. Angel seems to have developed a sense of humor that stands a fair bit lower than my own. It's a real shame that I've decided to keep Angel a secret from everyone because I think she and Guinevere would get on famously in that regard. "Okay, Angel, point taken." Standing once more and unlocking the door I move back to my seat and start working the research I'd meant to start on before moving onto this tangent. "Oh, and Angel remind me to install several cameras so you'll be able to know when I nod."

"I've already placed a request through the Funeral supply office. One should arrive by tomorrow evening."

"Thank you. Now about the idea for a gravity rail launcher..."

***

"Ryu?"

"Yes, Angel?" Once more I try to rearrange the gravity conductors into a better configuration for what I intend them to ultimately do. By now I doubt that I'll be able to do it, since this is the one hundred fifty third combination I've tried today.

"While it is rather amusing to watch you do the same thing over and over again, I believe your time would be better spent going to the cafeteria and refueling."

"What?" I turn my head in an effort to look at something that doesn't have to do with this project. Incidentally this directs my gaze towards a clock that shows that I've been working on this problem for the past eight hours without a break. My stomach confirms it for me. "Has it been that long already?"

"Yes, Ryu. Hattie has come and gone several times since you arrived this morning. In fact, you've already lied about having eaten lunch to no less than five different people."

Sighing I lean back in my chair and roll my shoulders to get rid of some of the knots that have built up in the past few ours. "I guess that means I should eat." A thought occurs to me. "Were any of those people Lt. Green?" I don't think she's shown up since this morning if for no other reason than the fact she never believes me when I lie about eating.

"Of course not Ryu. If she had been here you wouldn't be."

Standing up I walk over to the center of the room and run the save and sort programs. "You make it sound like I'm henpecked."

"You mean to tell me that you aren't?"

I turn in my chair and glare at the center of the room where I have a small angel figurine made of crystal. "You can be replaced you know."

"Not very easily, and besides who would compile all of your data for you in the meantime?"