“Kimona”: Chapter Three: The Arver

“Speak to me,” Vastrada commanded.

K-2 felt her face, she had a mouth! She opened it…it felt so strange. Nothing came out. No voice came out. How did one talk? She had never done it before.

“Ah, hold on I forgot,” the dictatress said.

She pressed something on her head. K-2 jerked and her head fell forward, her newly attained eyes staring forward as if stunned. Vastrada ejected K-2’s square disk. With her own long fingernails, she adjusted a wire within the board. Placing it back in and syncing it to the battery once more, K-2 blinked, jerked, and sat up again.

“You have the knowledge of how to speak,” Vastrada announced as if a common fact. “Go on.”

“But I don’t know how.”

K-2 stopped, clasping a hand to her face. It was from her own mouth. One part of her thought it normal, while the other was stunned. She had spoken. She, K-2490—robotic mechanism of 6093 L.Y.—had spoken her first sentence.

“I can talk…” she said. Her voice was sweet and clear. She had always wondered, if she had ever had a voice, what it would sound like. “I can talk…” she repeated. She moved her body around the table. She began to get used to the gravity pressure. “I can move—I am an Arver!” she cried, “an Arver!”

“Walk, K-2,” Vastrada suggested.

K-2 got up and placed her feet on the ground. She was in control of them. She wobbled as she took one step and then the next while holding tightly to the table. Her whole self felt free and exposed. She let go of the table and fell. And she actually felt her fall. Vastrada did not help her rise. As K-2 used all her strength to get up and begin again, Vastrada watched with only slight interest. K-2 walked unstably and fell again. She could not get used to the strength her new muscles required. Gravity pressure pushed her down, but she got used to fighting against it. She could walk on her own…for the first time.

Things fled into her mind. Where would she go? What would she do? Magnetization opened up a whole new world. Maybe she wouldn’t have to stay in this dreaded snake-mansion any longer. She could step out of it and breathe the fresh air, like a normal Arver would. Her insides leapt as she tripped on her foot, practicing walking around the table. She was so overwhelmed, but she could think of nothing else!

K-2 stumbled around, and Vastrada spoke to her.

“K-2 you have been magnetized for the purpose of servitude.”

K-2 stopped. “Servitude?” she asked, spirits sinking slightly. She could now speak her mind and she took great advantage of it. “I have been under you since I was created.”

“And I improved you with that same purpose!” Vastrada boomed. K-2 was suddenly aware that she was not armed with her robotic self-defense, and she could feel things just like everyone else. She did not attempt to speak for a while.

“Anyway,” Vastrada continued in a softer voice, as K-2 again continued to try and walk. “I have magnetized you, as I have said before, to be evidence that I have technology that could potentially rule the world—the Galaxy. The more I invent, the more I discover. And the more I discover, the more I invent. Everyone believes magnetization is pure nonsense and virtually impossible. I, however, have proved that incorrect…as of today.”

K-2 was getting used to walking. Though gravity pressure pulled her down immensely (as it does with all Arvers), she had successfully paced around the room with nothing to hold onto. It was amazing—she could hardly believe it. She was walking on her own—on her own! It took her a minute or two to realize and comprehend what Vastrada had just said to her.

“Wait,” K-2 finally said. “Rule the galaxy?”

“And you’re going to help me,” Vastrada said, her voice suddenly becoming malevolent.

“What?” K-2 said. She didn’t like where this was going.

“Do you know what our galaxy is powered by, K-2?” Vastrada questioned.

“No,” she answered.

“Energy,” Vastrada declared. “It is run on power and technology! Without either one we cannot survive—not in this Galaxy. The one who controls advancements is the one with power. I have every single life in the Altross Galaxy in the palm of my hand! I have the power to have it that way and I have the power to take advantage of it!”

“But…” K-2 thought aloud. “Nosgo—you’re dictatress of Nosgo.”

“That will not stand in my way!” Vastrada laughed. “The Arvers of Nosgo will soon become what you once were, my creation—robots. Programmed to do the same thing, every single day, there will be no trouble here. That is also why I have magnetized you—because you will be the last Arver. The rest will be history in the robotic world.”

“No…” K-2 whispered. “No…this is not right.”

“What is right does not matter, K-2,” Vastrada said softly, as if teaching her a lesson in school. “What matters is the real world! The world is full of things that are wrong, and it is the one thing that keeps going! I shall take advantage of these lives in my hand—I will make myself the most powerful woman in the Galaxy—Empress Vastrada.”

“What about Emperor Conogo?” K-2 asked.

Conogo was the emperor of the Galaxy. His dwelling was on Planet Tinacia, yet K-2 knew that he was becoming excessively weak. No one wanted an emperor. That is why there were so many wars with Planet Tinacia. The people began to rebel against the Empire, as they did not want order in the Galaxy. Each planet shall govern its own, the people protested. Emperor Conogo knew, however, that if each planet were to govern its own, there would be one who would rise up and take full dominion. A monarchy would rise up worse than any other in history. And, as K-2 witnessed, this had already begun.

“Conogo,” Vastrada smirked. “Conogo will be nothing more than a bend in the road. You, my beautiful creation”—she paced towards her with great desire and passion—“will be an example of who I am.” She gazed at K-2 with great pride and wonder. “You will be the symbol of my dominance and beauty. It will be you that they think of, when they think of my technology, capable of bringing all of Altross to their knees.”

“You will turn the world’s people into nothing but robots?” K-2 inquired.

“So that no one will stand against me…” Vastrada glared.

“No,” K-2 backed away as steadily as she could. This was not who she thought Vastrada was—an empress, a rebel? “This is not right,” she said weakly, and she repeated, “This is not right.”

Vastrada’s eyes burned with fury. “Here,” she said. “Come here.” She reached out her hand.

“No!” K-2 yelled, and she backed away more. Vastrada would eject her brain disk and make her give in to her every wish. She wouldn’t let her. Vastrada advanced as K-2 tried to run away. Instantly she saw the room behind the glass walls. It was an extra lab room. She saw the computer that had hooked her up before. She dashed through the glass door and locked it. Vastrada screamed.

K-2 dashed to the computer and inserted the connecter to her circular brain socket. Since robots know so much about technology, K-2 easily found her brain disk options.

“No!” Vastrada shrieked. “Get away from there! I command you!”

The download began. It was so strange to have her own freedom of the keyboard. K-2 began to type, and then she entered her download. Finished—her brain disk now required a password to be ejected. And, she knew, it was something Vastrada could never guess.

Vastrada suddenly burst through the glass. K-2 yanked the connecter from her head and spun around.

“You miserable wretch!” she screamed.

K-2 hardly dodged her as she thrust herself forward. K-2 instantly felt a terrific blow on her back which pulled her down. She collapsed onto the floor. It hurt—nothing ever had. The blow was so strong and forceful—where did it come from? It was not a hand that struck her down, but a force. What was it? Her vision blurred, and did she fall asleep or simply go unconscious?

She never knew.

~J.L. Cordova

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