Under A Very Black Sky
Summary: Sarah 113 of 158 recounts some personal history, though she isn't all that keen to share. Yet.
Date: Day/Month/Year
Related: All of Sarah's logs.
Sarah LorraineF 

August 27, 3013 — Orielon Watch House, Landing

It is midnight in Landing, but morning over The Spine. That is a typical disconnect for those of Imperius — or more accurately those of Haven, period. Professor Figueroa had spent much of the last six hours in the deep caverns of Khar-Mordune, speaking with the scientists there who had first contact with Sarah. Now she arrives at the Watch House on Orielon Street at the height of the night. The Westend is a chaotic mass behind her once she is inside, reminding her of the human joy that contrasts her theories of the stark culture of the Fifth Worlders — the Hostiles.

She checks in with the desk sergeant and is then escorted down into the basement where the cells are kept. For the last six days, there has been only one occupant in these subterranean corridors — and it is the secret focus of the whole Inner System. How long will that secret be kept? Not even Figueroa knows.

There is a seat waiting for her at the end of the hall just in front of the Hostile's cell. She is not so bold to enter its holding this time around, deciding to speak to it through the protection of the electrostatic force field. She gently sweeps her long, tea-length pencil skirt behind her as she sits, turning those dark eyes in on the seated captive. Sarah has grown accustomed within the last few days to sit in the plain, metal chair in the center of its cell when the interrogators come. To its credit, Sarah has answered questions intelligently, but even Figueroa recognizes that the information it is comfortable sharing is not what the Crown would classify as vital.

"Good morning, Sarah," the Professor greets her. She starts to unpack the small messenger bag she has brought with her — a tablet, a writer's stylus, and a pouch of translucent nutrient goo. She notes how its eyes immediately fall on the ration pouch. Records show that its eating patterns are based entirely on whether or not a ration pouch is given — it will not eat Havenite food. "I'm Professor Lorraine Figueroa from the Academ of Landing."

Sarah does not return the salutation, but merely refocuses those luminous cybernetic eyes on Figueroa. That gaze lacks the soul that normal human eyes would offer; it is all mechanical, which is perhaps an important point as to why Haven has always assumed them to be more machine than human — if they assume them to be human at all.

"I'm told that you have not had nutrients in eighteen hours," Figueroa comments idly, placing the pouch on a small table to her right. "If our session goes well, I will ensure that you get this — " She pats the pouch. " — plus another three." The professor uncaps her stylus, drawing up her encrypted notepad on her tablet, flicking her finger across the surface to draw up Sarah's file.

"And what sort of questions do you intend to ask, Professor Lorraine Figueroa?" Sarah asks, its alto flat if not a touch tired. The last 48 hours of video records have suggested that the captive has only slept a total of six hours, and the exhaustion is only now starting to show. Lorraine notes this silently.

"I have no interest in the military movements of the Hostile fleets. I have no interests in upcoming battle strategies or attack plans, nor do I wish to engage you in theoretical discussion about how to cease your war efforts." The Professor remains steady eye contact with the Hostile, and she notes that the irises of those cybernetic eyes lazily spiral around the bright centers of its pupils like the zoom lens of a camera. That suggests that it is focused and alert. "I would like to know about you, Sarah."

Silence has been noted as a defense technique of this particular unit. It calculates and considers what it is asked and how it answers carefully, though there has also been incidents of emotional response that continues to support the theory that Hostiles are emotional beings as much as Havenites. Emotion is powerful. When Sarah does not acknowledge the desired course of the conversation, Figueroa asks her first question: "What is your full name and designation?"

"Sarah One-One-Three of One-Five-Eight," the Hostile immediately replies.

"What is the significance of the numerical values of your designation, Sarah?"

Again, there is a silent pause. When it speaks next, it does so with precision. "I am the one-hundred and thirteenth Sarah of one-hundred and fifty-eight Sarahs." Another pause, its gaze watching Lorraine as the professor takes note of its answer. "Or at least that was my last calculation."

"Why were you all called Sarah?" Lorraine looks up briefly as she poses that question, watching as Sarah tilts its chin ever so slightly to the right as if gauging the significance of that question. It answers, "The first of us was named Sarah. We are designated by our first ancestor."

The Professor nods in understanding, though she does add a small question mark at the end of her own note to Sarah's answer. She allows for a moment of silence — something that the unit appears to be comfortable with. Then she asks, "What do you feel makes you different than other Sarahs?" She looks up in time to see Sarah start to frown, though the expression is fleeting. "Are there physical differences between you and the other Sarahs? Do you perform the same jobs, or do you do things that the others don't?"

"Our levels of cybernetic augmentation are different based on our own experiences," Sarah replies, though there is a vague touch of uncertainty to its own answer. "I suffered from a training accident, which resulted in the replacement of my lower legs." It looks at the psychologist critically now. "We all perform the jobs of the Soldier." Consciously, it seems to leave out further details. If the Professor doesn't ask explicitly, the unit does not answer explicitly. Lorraine makes note of that.

"Describe your family unit," she prompts as she looks up at the Hostile once more. "You expressed to Lord Aidan that you had a brother. What was his designation?"

More silence. Sarah narrows its eyes slightly as if attempting to find a trick hidden within the question. When she finds none, she carefully replies, "Collin."

"Does Collin have a numerical tag to his designation?" Lorraine asks with a gentle nudging to her tone, but when Sarah is silent, she accepts the simplicity of the answer. "Do you have any other brothers and sisters?"

"No," Sarah replies flatly, though even Lorraine can detect the faint hint of tension in its voice.

"Are your parents also amongst those who landed with you on Imperius?" She asks, maintain a gentle mask over her own tone.

"No," Sarah replies again.

"Are they back on Cantos?"

Sarah does not reply, its luminous gaze staring intensely at the professor. Lorraine gently puts down her stylus, folding her hands together in her lap over the surface of her tablet. She returns the gaze, unfettered. "Sarah, these questions are merely for my own curiosity. No answer you give will betray your people or your honor to them." She tilts her head a bit, silky black hair remaining tightly bound back. "Are your parents back on Cantos?"

"Yes," Sarah finally replies.


"Because they are no longer fit to carry out the duties of their caste," the Hostile says, its voice sharpening by the syllable. Its irritation is obvious. Figueroa can read the signs; there are not many questions left that the unit will be willing to answer. She bows her head gently.

"Does that anger you?" Lorraine asks. "That they are unfit?"

"No." Sarah curls its fingers into its knees. "It is a matter of fact." It tilts its head a bit. "Eventually you will no longer be fit for your own duties and requirements of your station and position, and you will be determined obsolete. Will that anger you?" The question easily draws Lorraine back against her seat a bit. She offers an honest shrug.

"I don't know, Sarah… perhaps it will." The Professor pauses, breathing out a bit of a sigh. "I think we can pause here…"

She picks up the nutrient pouch, stepping to the static shield. She nods to her left where the guard still stands, and he activates the small, rectangular hole in the shield. Lorraine offers the pouch through it. The offering draws Sarah to its feet, standing a mere three inches over the good Professor. It steps up to the gap in the shield, and grasps onto the pouch. Lorraine does not immediately release.

"Humans are curious beings," she says as she looks up at the Hostile once more. "We want to find connections, make understandings, and ultimately take charge of our own future. These are things that we all share." The Professor tilts her head a bit, and then releases the pouch. Sarah says nothing, stepping away with the pouch held tightly between its hands like a sacred gift. It stares after the professor as she leaves.

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