K-2 awoke in the same glass case. The realistic Manicheans scared her to death when she first noticed them. She felt the same—yes, she could still move freely. The laboratory was dark, and she didn’t have any clue where Vastrada had gone. Was she hiding? Was she waiting for her to wake up?
Her brain disk had not been tampered with (if it had, she would have had the last hour of her memory erased, but she remembered everything perfectly). She did notice her battery was hooked up to the charger beside her. She was being held down by metal clamps, holding her legs and arms down.
One thing raced through her head—she had to escape. She could not be Vastrada’s puppet. But if she ever left the laboratory, where would she go? She didn’t have time to think about that. Time was running short.
Arvers have one hundred and fifty times more strength than the average human. Vastrada must have forgotten this, because K-2 easily pushed through the metal clamps that held her down. Stepping out of the glass case, she glanced around violently. The only sound was the buzz of the florescent light in the room next door. Carefully, and as quietly as she could, she placed her metal foot onto the tile. The quiet sound seemed hair-raising in the noiseless laboratory.
Another trait of an Arver is the ability to disappear. It usually takes years before a young Arver can master this entirely. Vastrada, however, had previously inserted K-2’s knowledge to speak. At the same time, she had given her the understanding necessary to disappear. And K-2 did so.
She gently clamped her feet onto the tile as she advanced. A noise made her jump. Forgetting she was invisible she fell to the ground as quietly as she could. There was no one there. Instantly getting to her feet again, she sauntered to the stairway. (She would have gone faster, but the gravity was heavier on the battery when there was no light in the room).
The door opened at the top of the stairway. Vastrada and an Arver servant were approaching the stairs. K-2 spotted a utility closet to her right. The closet held mops and brooms. She was very quiet as Vastrada and the Arver approached the laboratory. Silently, she backed into the closet.
“Her battery is charged,” Vastrada said as they descended the stairs. “I need you to figure out her password to her disk without destroying her.”
“But that may take hours, madam!” the servant said.
“For your own good, I think you should make it take less time.”
K-2 spotted a large box in the back of the closet. She lifted off the lid with all her might. It was empty. It was stripped with red velvet. She deemed it the perfect place to hide. Indeed, soon afterwards, she heard Vastrada scream.
“Where is she? Find her! Find her—do not let her escape! Find her and bring her to me!” she screeched.
K-2 slipped into the massive box, pulling the lid over her head. She shifted for a more comfortable position. Suddenly her head hit the side of the box. K-2 abruptly jumped, jerked, and her head fell forward, staring blankly into the dark. Her brain disk fell beside her.
There she was: alone, hidden, invisible, with no one to reboot her back to consciousness. No light could charge her battery. She stayed there. For one hundred years her “mind” slept. For one hundred years, she was forgotten.