I Just Want to Sleep

Heather laid down on the hotel room bed. It was a pretty nice hotel room, not a coffin motel at least. The night had been a disaster. Her father had been after her for weeks and she was determined to not end up back there, it might be the nicest prison, but prison was still a prison.

The little cheerful dwarf had given her a disposable comm and she tossed it onto the side of the bed. The first group that had picked her up she still wasn’t sure who they were working for, but the second group had clearly been working for her father. Except they hadn’t taken her back, they’d gotten her the medication and had gotten her a room for the night.

Her head spun as the medication eased through her. She needed a better source if she was going to maintain her incredibly important work. The comm buzzed. She rolled away from it, letting it lay on the far corner of the bed. She needed better resources, she needed a way to keep her father off her, she needed to not let this happen again.

The comm buzzed. She sighed heavily. She’d just been warming up to the idea of the adorable little dwarf and the pair of elves but now this? It had to be them of course.

“Hi, Heather.” The voice from the speaker was a woman’s, clear and a moment later a projection of a woman filled the space above the comm. “I’m Aynka.” A small vaguely asian woman appeared wearing a tailored business suit, she leaned on a sword that came up to her waist, using it as a staff, it glowed slightly.

“Your room is paid up tonight and tomorrow, it’s not traceable back to you, or anyone in the group,” she gives a tight smile. “You’ll need a way to get medication that doesn’t force you to wait until the last minute. You’ll need a way to keep your father,” the distaste in her voice is thick, “from trying to track you down.”

Heather looked at the woman in shock. “Who are you? Are you one of them?” She wasn’t even sure who she was talking about. The first group or the second group who had tracked her down. It had all been a blur.

“Remember the pterodactyl?” Aynka grinned. Heather nodded remembering the giant beast swooping around and shuddered involuntarily.

Aynka smiled and hoisted the sword into the air where it vanished. “He’s a friend of mine.” Something about that struck Heather as very odd, maybe that this woman had just referred to a giant mechanical dinosaur as a friend…

“Are you working for him?” Heather pushed herself up in the bed as much as she could, too exhausted to run tonight, she prayed she wouldn’t have to.

“Your father?” The distaste from Aynka was thicker now. “No, absolutely not.” Something in her form shifted. “No. I’m here because you need my help. You need to not end up like this so he’s banging on your door.”

“Who are you? What are you?” Heather got the feeling that this woman wasn’t quite what she seemed. She didn’t quite move like avatars usually moved, but she was advocating for meta rights, maybe this was an AI looking for rights and wanted to use her as a part of the campaign. Part of her soared inside at the potential, she’d spent so much time with her campaign focused on metasapients, maybe people were finally starting to come to her.

“I’m Aynka.” She frowned. “I’m going to help you. You need my help.” Her avatar shimmered and shifted and seemed to come apart. Heather rubbed her eyes. “Do you have friends? Someone who will be able to help you? A place to stay?” The comm made a noise and Aynka frowned.

“Yes, I’ve got some friends, if they are ok. Were they ok? At the center? Oh god did I hurt them?” There was a bit of a delay as Heather wracked her brain back through the events of the day.

“All the information I have I’ve loaded onto the phone. The files will be destroyed in 4 hours, so look at them before that.” Aynka gave a look that was shockingly genuine and compassionate, it nearly seeped through the comm, it felt so real. “I will help you in whatever way you need. He will not get you. If you need me, just call.”

The image vanished but piece by piece, a flame licked up and destroyed the image and the comm shut itself off.

Heather reached out for the phone tentatively and picked it up like it might be hot. She took a deep breath and pulled up the video images.

I Just Want to Sleep

Out of Toronto 4.0 loudlyquiet