Chronicles of Chiron: Defragging Data Haven | Scene 13

Cleve and Chloe exit the elevator at this point, back from some hunting trip, I presume. With a sweeping arm gesture, Roze invites him and me into their office to talk about the data. They are now ready to fish around for answers to specific questions. I wave a greeting to Takuto, who is already here, his own tablet in hand. It looks like a nicer one than Cor brought along with her when she fled Morgan territory. Takuto still has a frailty about him, but maybe that’s just because he’s a gangly teenager. Certainly his color looks better, and he’s got energy for furious typing. I don’t notice any signs of breathing trouble. Hypercor is in here as well, hard at work over a laptop. She doesn’t even seem to notice Cleve and me come in.

Roze boasts, “I’ve got this data, mmm, indexed in a way that’s more easy to search through than Morgan’s awful database system. Now, who designed that database system?” They smile mischievously. “Mmm, that might have been me. I might have made it awful for them on purpose.” Cleve chuckles knowingly. He’s heard stories like this from Roze before, I’m sure.

But I’m surprised to hear this. Not the quality of Roze’s exploits, but the nature of them. “You worked for Morgan Industries?” I ask. In the aftermath of Unity’s failed landing, Roze was highly suspicious of Morgan, enough to transmit evidence of his potential crimes to Cleve. But perhaps there was little choice of who to work with or for as the new arrivals began trying to set up their lives here.

“Heh, let’s not dwell on the past,” Roze says, laughing off my question. “The important thing is what kind of questions you got? As I said, this index that I built is fantastic. It will really help us search for exactly what you want to hone in on.”

I see exactly what they are doing, evading my question, but I let it go. It’s a point of interest, but not what I really want to know about right now. “All right, then. What information do we have on what happened to Arx?” Roze pulls up video from the memory of the robot I took out, and we get our first look at Takuto’s partner in the job that ended so tragically.

There is plenty of miasma in the area around the network node, too much to see far beyond who this particular robot is fighting. But there is light enough to see that Arx is a year or too older than Takuto, with wavy short sky blue hair and matching eyes. Their broad pale cheeks are sprinkled with freckles, and in this footage, with bruises, too. The way they gasp as they struggle suggests not just pain, but miasma poisoning too. I put a comforting hand on Takuto’s shoulder as he sucks in a breath of alarm to see Arx so abused. It’s rough, but maybe not quite as bad a flailing as Cleve got for shooting his robot. We watch as this one gets handcuffs around Arx’s wrists.

“The robots aren’t designed to kill, in general,” Roze observes, “but they have the authority if necessary.”

“That’s what they say,” Cleve agrees, having been up against one himself.

“There’s a file in here that says the robot judged them to be a good candidate for experimental medical treatment,” Roze shares with a grimace. “That’s all I can tell you as far as what the robot saw. We can run a more comprehensive search on the data from the tap. I doubt we’ll find anything specifically on this name, though.”

“Well, what about the medical research arm of Morgan Industries?” I ask. I have the sinking feeling I may find myself there one day if a future job goes poorly.

Roze pokes around for a while and then says apologetically, “That’s not information that’s being put on a wire to be broadcast everywhere. This is the best I can do.” They show us the ad they found. “Be the experiment. Fight the fungus. Restrictions apply,” they read off. “Looks like there’s a new miasma recovery unit in the hospital in the main dome. If I was looking for a place to find Arx, I’d start there.”

Takuto stands. “Well, let’s go!”

“This is going to have to be done very delicately,” I say, trying to rein him in.

He looks to Cleve, still sporting his rifle from the morning hunt. “You’ve got a gun! Chloe’s got a gun, right? Can’t we go in guns blazing?”

“Are you from a Morgan dome originally, Takuto?” I ask.

“No. Well, I guess you could say I was. I grew up here. I don’t remember much about my life in the Morgan dome. I was five or six when we left. So what?”

“There are a lot more people in the Morgan domes than there are in Data Haven,” I point out. “And you can’t just walk around shooting people.”

“Yeah, you can’t just go in and start a war,” Cleve backs me up.

“Right,” Takuto acknowledges. “So what are we going to do?” he asks plaintively.

“We’ll come up with a plan,” I assure him.

“Whatever is going on, we may already be too late to stop,” Cleve says. “Experimental procedures are not quick, but they’ve had Arx for over a month.” Hard words, but ones Takuto needs to hear. “Taking time to prepare will give us more of a chance to be successful.”

“I’m going with you,” Takuto declares firmly.

“Sure,” I agree. Cleve throws me a look I can only describe as incredulous, but he doesn’t question this just yet. Takuto’s got every right to be involved in Arx’s rescue, as far as I’m concerned. The guilt of losing them has weighed heavily on him his entire convalescence, and now that he’s no longer confined to a bed, of course he wants to rescue his loved one. “When we figure out what approach we’re going to take—”

“The next time we leave Data Haven,” Takuto insists.

“Our next outing was not going to go to a Morgan Dome,” I tell him.

“Well, maybe now it is,” Takuto counters.

He’s right. Arx’s needs are pressing. “I suppose we can add that,” I agree. “We’ll be on that side of the pass already. Yeah, okay.”

Cleve speaks up. “I think our first order of business over there is to recover what we can before they get it.”

“Yeah,” I agree. There’s an urgency to that which Cleve doesn’t even know. I haven’t yet figured out how to explain to anyone—without sounding like I’m high—that the planet told me it’s in pain over there. “But you know what, if you have to drop us off at the dome afterwards and drive back here with the supplies, that’s fine.” I’d much rather have Cleve watching our backs as we search for Arx, but if that doesn’t fit his priorities, I won’t let it interfere with Takuto’s.