Laurey was okay.
During the flight to plenty, Laurey was not exactly chipper, but more… pleasant? Colder? Less offensive.
The space battle had not shaken her resolve; it had strengthened it. She knew she wanted to serve the rebellion, that was a desire that burnt away all doubt. But the experience had birthed new iron truths that she held within herself. Namely this: the crew was insane. Not every individual, perhaps, but through mutualism they were a toxic whole. That had to be the truth. It was whilst she had been vomiting that Laurey had found this truth, staring her in the face. This ship was full of damaged goods led by a damaged captain.
So Laurey’s only hope of surviving was to do her best to avoid angering the bloodthirsty hormone-bombs.
As such, she spent most of her time in her room or workshop. When she met another she interacted with all the flavour of water. She even stopped having so many headaches in public
She had these in her room instead
And didn’t visit the doctor anymore
The silicon and gold were agony inside her
And even her mind was calm through careful self-medication of Bliss
But beneath the surface it was roiling agony. Computations eroded her day upon day and the world seemed a little duller and the people around her further and further from reach. And it hurt and it hurt and it hurt and it hurt
For the journey she was a pallid, sweaty ghost.
She made a drone. Modified one of the roombas, already equipped with weapons from its previous modifications, to respond to instructions through her omnitool, and therefore her mind. Simples things; there was only time for basic fuzzy logic. And it was still earthbound, but it would fly someday.
And it hurt and it hurt and it hurt
So busy she was that she didn’t notice what a watershed moment that battle had been. She did not notice the new division that rent the heart of the group. There were those who had fought, and there were those who had not. She did not notice Amy’s conspicuous absence. She did not notice the satisfied languor with which the killers stalked, lions full after a hunt. She did not notice Navi. The catalyst. Stupid Navi who deserved every ounce of loathing Laurey harboured against her. Sometimes even that grew cold. The tear in the group, it could grow, the slow death before total oblivion. But Laurey did not notice. That had to be the truth.
Laurey would not see it. One more mission and then she was leaving. The AI was the only thing stopping her asking to be transferred now. There was a proverb floating around the web about the five things a wise man feared. One was an unfettered AI. When strong AI was created, it was an act in defiance of any god. What pride it had inflated. What terrible cost it had wrought. A mind born of numbers, shorn of all psychology, infinitely contemplative and incidentally cruel.
It represented an intellectual diamond, and secretly Laurey hoped that it had been damaged, that she could salvage some esoteric knowledge or arcane programme something that would
Nothing will help you, hoping for a miracle is childish
Really take her drones to the next level.
Her part in the plan was therefore a godsend, and whilst there existed the formal possibility of violence, Laurey doubted the survival of any organic lifeform inside the ship.
She had the perfect skeleton in the closet for the role. From her footlocker she produced it, all crisp lines, immaculate. The skin of another life, one that would fade into the past and soon be someone else’s. She ran a finger along the fabric, and started to wonder at how different things could have been, but that way pain lay.
She arrived back at the pre-mission muster in her Ascendancy uniform, her hair tied and stuffed under a cap that was pulled low to hide most of her affronts to god. She nodded to Millard and did not taste blood. Laurey was okay. That had to be the truth.