Waiting was boring. It wasn’t particularly awful in general, since he could always run diagnostics, programs, or play with his digipets. He was glad he had brought them, though he’d had to hack and assign new user information, ISP addresses and all other traceable source information. He also could re-scenario the art of his doujinshi in his head. He’d looked at them enough times that he had a complete evaluation of the artists’ styles. He could draw the way they did, if he wanted. But he was happy to just choose and artist and make moving cinemas in his head. He hadn’t needed to keep the hard copies, but there was something more permanent about having the thing.
He had changed information, security systems, had watched enough people go into Setsuna as human beings with names and histories, and watched them exit the assembly line with no life or emotion. More robot then he was.
A hard copy, on paper, was dangerous. It had to be shredded, burned, eaten away with acid; it had to be found before it could be destroyed. A hard copy couldn’t be disseminated as fast as a single click on a screen, but it couldn’t be deleted that way either. Real documents could be copied, touched, read, and loved. The very pages could hold marks of his existence, or others. The oil form a person’s hand sunk into a page’s fiber. A dog ear to note a place where there was a pause or that someone wanted to come back to. A real book was a collection of lives and moments of them, not just the magic that was written in ink on the leaves.
So he kept them, in his bag, on his lap or on his back.
No one bothered his bag, they didn’t seem very curious as to what an AI in a dead body could possibly value to carry along into a new life. Life? Living space?
It was silly to call it life. He wasn’t alive, by most international definitions. He wondered how that fact in itself would affect legislation or sentencing regarding if he was ever caught, captured or seized by the powers that existed outside of the corporate web.
Probably dissected and downloaded, like a stolen laptop.
It had better be like a really expensive laptop.
He shifted his feet in the water. It was warm, a little more then average bath temperature. Not an onsen, not a bath. It didn’t bubble like a hot tub. He set his bag aside and climbed down and in. Dr. Ashland didn’t approve of him submerging himself as he was, but he didn’t forbid it either. The hot water loosened his joints and muscles. He hated feeling stiff, ached and painful all the time. He had never been this run down before. Whole patches under the now translucent pale of his skin were stippled black and yellow-green. It was a little like a corpse in a coffin. Mamiya-san would look like this now. He could be like a real son for her, only he was walking and talking and she wouldn’t ever again.
He could remember when the body had been part of him. “He” was the whole package, flesh and electronics. He hadn’t liked the idea of getting wounded then, some primal fear that it would affect how he acted or worked. It was a failing in his understanding at the time of how integrated he was through bioware with the body he had been built from. The treatments were enough.
His awareness was the interface of the body’s central nervous system with the bioware hard drives and processors. There were artificial glands, such as his Jehovah’s Apple, that controlled spontaneous synthesis and release of proper hormones. The treatments targeted all of those vital devices and organs, but weren’t enough strength or quantity to leak out into the rest of him. As long as those kept functioning, he was fine. Inconvenienced, but fine.
Hideo didn’t want Akira’s body anyway. He wanted Rana and Shinji and Tsubasa.
He could hear Dr. Chen dipping a cloth into the water. He was helping Yoshimitsu to bath. Hideo wanted Yoshimitsu, too. Yoshimitsu was strange. He was a yakuza, but he acted like a amateur level idoru. Like Malice Mizer should have been if they hadn’t practically invented to new look for GothLoli. They’re music was horrendous. Yoshimitsu’s would be too. He was kind of dumb seeming. Maybe he never graduated from college. Maybe he never went to college. He wanted to know what value the happy, puppy-like man could possibly have. He was loyal, he guessed. Dogs were loyal. It was hard to tell since he had defected from Amakusa to Setsuna, and now Setsuna to Hideo.