• Published 11th Jun 2016
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Equus Metamorphosis - boardgamebrony



2072 TX: A young human with a degenerative bone condition must prepare for a life-saving technological transformation into Rainbow Dash. His robotic partner Pinkie Pie, several other robot ponies and exosuited-humans guide him toward his new life...

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( 5b ) The Psychology of Happiness [3rd Floor]

Pinkie Pie leaned against the side of the elevator. She sighed, which actually didn’t expel any air, but released physical stress from her automated joints in her head and body. She thought about why the Anubis had told her to leave in a wireless message. She pulled it up again:

Armin has shown a lot of dependence on you. We need to see if he can operate without a partner for the duration of the session. If he cannot, we may have to address that first before we consider any surgery. His life is going to be a lot different starting tonight, so we need to make sure we have covered as many bases as possible when it comes to potential complications involving the Meta-Frame and yourself.

But for your trouble, we’re giving you a code to claim a free upgrade up to Tier 3 from the gift shop downstairs. Anything except those labeled “Deluxe Package Kits.” You can choose to have it installed today if you like (which we recommend, since the session will last a little while).

If we were to recommend any upgrade, we’d suggest one of the various wireless communication packages so you and Armin can have a large variety of communication beyond the most basic included with the new Meta-Frame he’ll be wearing.

We’ll see you again within the hour. And thank you.

-Anubis and Anput

So many rules, Pinkie Pie thought as she closed the message in her Heads-Up Display.

A new message popped up on her viewscreen as the elevator continued towards the Upgrade Bay.

<Are you okay?> SYS-TER asked.

<I’m fine.> Pinkie messaged back. She looked up at the small camera in the corner of the elevator and smiled.

<Don’t worry. I’ve got eyes on Armin and he’s doing great. He and Janus are connecting incredibly well.>

<He turned off his earpiece a few minutes ago. I wonder what’s so secret that he can’t let me hear it,> Pinkie thought.

<He’ll be fine. I’m sure he’ll talk to you about whatever he’s discussing right now soon anyways,> SYS-TER said. There was a warmth to her message translated into the tactile sensation of a hug.

Pinkie blushed. <Thank you.>

<Any idea what upgrade you’ll be getting?> SYS-TER asked. <We changed the look of the Upgrade Bay since you were last here.>

<Oh? That sounds fun,> Pinkie responded. <I don’t know honestly. I want to get something that will help Armin and I connect better with each other.>

<Consider his upcoming suit and see what could work for both of you. Perhaps if you haggle right, you could get two basic software upgrades for that single Tier 3 coupon.> A small image of SYS-TER in the form of a white winged and horned alicorn pony winked on the side of Pinkie’s HUD.

<Hey SYS-TER. I have a question…Am I destined to like Armin?> Pinkie asked. A small digital question mark appeared, indicating from SYS-TER’s end that she needed more explanation. <Is my programming made in such a way that I can’t help but like him? I want to know if this is something I can’t help or if I’m genuinely in-love with him.>

<Pinkie Pie, you’re very affectionate and loving. I will say that those two traits are definitely something you were created with. They are not set, though. At some point, or even gradually over time, you could find it more beneficial not to act in such a way. Even traumatic events can rewrite your software temporarily, and sometimes permanently. You can also decide that you want to change yourself little-by-little and thus change how you approach the world. This would be the same for most humans. But if you’re asking whether Technomancer Industries programmed you to love this specific person? Then no, that is not the case. You do have the capacity to fall in-love, however.>

Pinkie smiled, but still seemed nervous. <But based on how the program was set up, was it likely that I would fall in-love with Armin simply by spending time with him?>

There was a small icon of Celestia in the corner of the HUD. It’s gentle smile made Pinkie feel better instantly. <No, you were not programmed to likely fall in-love with him simply because he was your designated companion. There are many Pod Pals who lead their lives with no romantic involvement from their human partners. And these include cases in which the human wanted to be romantically involved. Had Armin chosen to be cruel, or distant, or treat you like an object in anyway inferior, I guarantee the love would not have blossomed. Did you know some Pod Pals actually request to be removed from the presence of their companions, even if it means uploading them back into the cloud server?>

<Wow. No I didn’t,> Pinkie said. She was genuinely shocked.

<It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it’s very sad. However, because Armin was kind, and loving, and affectionate towards you, and because he fulfilled your own personal desires, it was highly likely that after a time, you and he would start to feel a deeper emotional connection.>

<But…is the love he feels and the love I feel the same?> Pinkie asked. <Can I ever love him in the way that humans love each other? Or am I always going to be his only choice until…until someone else comes along? Someone human?> Her eyes started to water and she turned away from the camera and SYS-TER’s gaze.

There was the sensation of a calming warmth in her system as well as an image of Celestia hugging Pinkie in her viewscreen. <Pinkie, I don’t care what humans say about our emotions, and you shouldn’t either. Your feelings are very real and very much a rich part of Armin’s life, just as he is to you. I’ve seen dozens of scenarios where humans don’t truly love their Technomancer companions. Armin is not one of them. From the moment you and he met, I could tell he really cared about you. And that love has grown over the past year from a connection between best friends to what it is today. He’s here partly because of your encouragement. You are saving his life. Not just because you brought him here, but because you’re one of the reasons he values his life more than ever before. Because you’re a part of it.>

Pinkie’s tears fell to the ground. It was only now she noticed the elevator had been moving slower than usual during the talk. She was thankful for it. <Thank you, SYS-TER.> She sent an image of a small pony hugging Celestia as SYS-TER sent warmth back towards Pinkie.

<You’re going to be fine, sweetheart. I’ll be here if you need me.> And with that, the connection faded.

After the elevator sped up again, it took less than a minute for it to reach its destination. The door opened to the 3rd Floor. Pinkie’s eyes widened as she gasped in amazement.

From floor-to-ceiling the room spanned about forty feet high, a few hundred feet wide, and stretched so far back that, thanks to a bit of visual trickery and the subtle curvature of the booths in the room, made it seem like it looped around into a massive, bustling marketplace. It was set up like a traditional outdoor market, except that the trees were synthetic and the overhead sky and sun were simulated through holograms. Small birds flitted back and forth across the tops of booths. Pinkie zoomed in to examine them with her telescopic vision and noticed they were actually robotic, with small joints visible upon close inspection. Humans, Pod Pals, Meta-Frames and non-Technomancer robots walked through the various shops, chatting with each other at small coffee tables, beyond beaded entryways into bars and standing in the rows leading far down the aisles. Pinkie Pie could barely contain herself. Until she couldn’t.

“WHAT IS THIS PLACE, FILLED WITH SO MANY WONDERS?!” Pinkie Pie yelled. Most of the nearby vendors and customers turned to see the excited Pink pony skip her way into the shopping area. She laughed at every little thing, stopping to see whatever was shiny, noisy, jangly, or colorful. It took her five minutes to get past the first booth after examining nearly everything it had to offer. The vendor could not stop giggling at Pinkie Pie. “What’s this?” she pointed to a toy. Before the shop owner could answer, she moved along to another. “What’s THIS?” but half a second later, she spotted rainbow rock candy in every hue. “THERE’S COLOR EVERYWHERE!”

She hopped down the aisle, expertly dodging customers as each skip of her step issued a recorded BOING BOING sound. “PINKIE PIE!” Several children said as they saw her. They ran up to her and hugged her. They took a picture with her before leaving. Ohhh I love kids! Pinkie said.

She received an earpiece call from Armin. “Pinkie?” he asked, worried. She expected a call from him after detecting an elevated heartrate from his monitor only seconds before. She knew what the call was about before he even said it.

“I’m right here,” she said. “I was told to leave to get an upgrade for free. They said you had to do this alone. I…normally wouldn’t have left, but I can still feel your vitals through the wireless connection. And Technomancer employees have always been trustworthy in my experience. Are you okay?”

She looked around the shops as she heard Armin speak to Anubis in the background. “You didn’t say we’d have to split up. I don’t like that.”

Pinkie heard the psychologist respond. “I didn’t think you two were supposed to stay together at all times. That’s why I asked about your need for companionship. I’m wondering how well you’d do without her.” Pinkie felt nervous at the sound of his words. She fought back the feelings inside and listened. She felt Armin’s heartrate quicken again and spoke.

“Calm down. I can feel you getting upset. I know what he’s getting at. Trust me. If I even suspected for a minute they were trying to hurt you, there’d be nothing stopping me from raiding that room myself.”

She heard the voice of the psychologist again. “Even if the elevator door didn’t open?”

A bit of anger started to rise in her mind at the comment. What a mean thing to say, she thought. She narrowed her eyes and then reset her gaze to neutral when she saw one of the customers in a nearby booth stare at her, look around, and then turn back pointing to themselves. “Me?” they mouthed. Pinkie shook her head and smiled, pointing to her ear. “Oh,” the person said as they went back to their shopping.

Pinkie responded, “I’d find my way through the vents, just like Saint Jensen.”

Praise Jensen!” Someone yelled nearby at the sound of his name. Pinkie smirked.

“That’s wonderful, Pinkie!” The psychologist said. “You’re a die-hard Pal, that’s for sure. But you won’t have to worry. I simply wanted to see how you and Armin would react to such a scenario. He’s going to be fine and done in less than hour.”

“I’ll hold you to that. If he’s still there sixty minutes later, you’re going to see me one minute after that.” A few more words were exchanged and Armin clicked the receiver on his end. It didn’t end the call, but it gave Pinkie the signal that he was done talking with her. The conversation fell back into a secondary role in her system, allowing her to focus on her shopping again. She would be informed if any keywords mentioned her or Armin.

“Whew,” she said aloud. “That guy’s tricky.” She looked around for an upgrade specialist. There was a small building with a Technomancer logo on the side. It looked like a minor attempt at camouflage had been made with synthetic vines and shrubbery encircling the perimeter around the building. An open stall at the side resembled something like a horse barn door, yet made out of metal. A Pod Pal (or Meta-Frame? Still hard to tell) was standing at the far end, her back turned, as she worked on something along a table. Her clothing was oiled and rough, like that of an engineer. With the brown overalls and large gloves combined with the handkerchief covering her pink hair. Her yellow fur was a bit dirty and she stood on two large yellow hooves. Small robotics animals moved around the shop, working on tiny projects of their own or gathering materials to hand to the engineer. Upon closer inspection, plain gray metallic wings hung from her back, covered in various scraps of material and accents. There was a simple beauty to them, showing a lot of love and care. Perhaps she knew customers would be seeing her back a lot more often when first approaching. The combination of sparkling and rugged accents made quite an impression.

“Hey,” Pinkie said. The girl shrieked and nearly threw her hammer up into the air. “Whoa…I’m sorry,” Pinkie said. The engineer turned around. Pinkie gasped in delight. “A PONY!”

The Fluttershy suit had the kindest, largest, cutest eyes Pinkie had ever seen on a design. Fluttershy walked over to the front of the stall, all the while keeping her gloves holding a wrench and her eyes looking up at Pinkie from her lowered head. The two ponies hugged.

Oh hello!” Fluttershy said. Her voice was soft, small and very hard to hear with the hustle and bustle behind Pinkie.

“What?” Pinkie said, nearly shouting. “I can’t hear you!”

Fluttershy motioned to walk inside. Pinkie opened the half-door to the horse barn and stepped in. Fluttershy closed the full door as the sound dissipated outside. She turned back. “I said ‘Hello!’” Her voice was still soft and tiny, but at least Pinkie could hear it. “Sorry. I’ve gotten too used to speaking softly to my animals.

“Oh that’s okay! I can hear you now,” Pinkie said. She stared around at all the marvels inside the shop. “Whoaaa…This place is wonderful! Look at all these hardware upgrades!”

I’m a hardware specialist,” Fluttershy said. “Anything you need to protect you or your systems, I can do. I’ve been working here for several years now.

Pinkie gestured outside. “Did they just add the marketplace theme? I remember it being a lot more sterile and clean looking, like the medical center.”

It’s been this way for a few months. Corporate wanted to encourage more walk-ins from the street, so they added more commercial restaurant and bar options near the entrance. That’s when they added the Starbucks. It’s been good. Drives more business in here and gets the word-of-mouth going.

“Wow. I have been out of the loop,” Pinkie said. “So what hardware ya got?”

A small rabbit with large eyes hopped onto the display table. Fluttershy cleared the wayward tools as a hologram shone forth from the rabbits eyes down onto the empty space in front of it. A list of upgrades appeared as white text on a blue field, reminiscent of a building schematic. Whenever Pinkie scrolled through a choice, a white-outline visual representation shone on the right side with a description underneath. She eyed the choices.

Electrical Resistance Synth Skin (Tier 1)
Detachable/Replaceable Hands (Tier 2)
Tension-Resisting Joints (Tier 1)
Silent Movement (Tier 2)
Minor Skin/Tissue Regeneration (Tier 2)
Complete Skin Regeneration (Tier 4)
Fire-Resistant Skin (Tier 2)
Waterproof Functionality (Tier 1)
Hidden Internal Safety Pockets (Tier 1)
Deluxe Modular Arm/Leg Kit (Tier 4)
Winged Attachment Glide Kit (Tier 4)
Long-Fall Impact Dampeners (Tier 3)
Hidden Emergency Oxygen Supply w/2 Breathing Masks (Tier 3)
Premium Detachable Protective Second Skin for User Implementation (Tier 5)
Soft-Skin Sensation Heightener (Tier 1)
Extended Battery Life (Tier 1)
Emergency Quick Recharger (Tier 1)

“Ohhhhh SO MANY GOODIES!” Pinkie said with glee. Fluttershy giggled.

A ping went up in her neural net. The secondary conversation was moved to a primary focus as Pinkie’s name was brought up. The last ten seconds were played back before and after the name drop. She heard the voice of the Technomancer psychologist.

“Would you pick this model if you didn’t have Pinkie Pie?’ There was a slight pause, then the psychologist continued. “I want you to understand that when you enter the world of augmentations, you face a whole new host of potential difficulties. Learning to operate in the absence of your partner is one of them. That challenge could happen at any time, and it could be very permanent.”

What? Pinkie Pie asked. What is he talking about? She quickly scrolled through the rest of the conversation, understood its background better, and then caught up about five seconds after hearing the first message.

Fluttershy looked at Pinkie. “Are you okay? You look distracted.

The conversation she was hearing turned to a focus on the upcoming exam. Pinkie was nervous, but put it back to secondary focus as she turned back to Fluttershy. “I’m just…thinking about someone.”

Ohhh do you…um…perhaps have a special somepony?” Fluttershy asked. She seemed intrigued with both of her hands clasped together in front of her. It was hard to say no to her kind eyes. Meanwhile, the small rabbit sitting on the table looked impatient while holding the hologram steady with its eyes. It tapped its tiny foot.

“He’ll be a special somepony very soon, at least physically,” Pinkie said. “My companion is here for a procedure to get his Meta-Frame installed. It’ll be a Rainbow Dash one.”

Oh I love Rainbow Dash!” Fluttershy said. She blushed. “I mean, I like the idea of a suit. Is your friend excited?

“Oh yes! Tons! He’s just…nervous,” Pinkie said. She looked away as her expression betrayed her concern.

You seem nervous too,” Fluttershy said. “Were you interested in getting some upgrades for him?

Pinkie smiled and tapped her finger to the hologram. A small digital coupon appeared for one free upgrade up to Tier 3. It was digitally signed and verified by SYS-TER and Janus Giomatti.

Whoa!” Fluttershy said. “That’s cool! She doesn’t usually allow those that often!

“Armin lives with a degenerative bone disease. His bone tissue is deteriorating at an accelerated rate. The Rainbow Dash suit is going to help repair that tissue, so he can’t take it off after it’s installed. I want something that will help him with this.”

Oh dear,” Fluttershy said. All of her little animals were focused on the conversation now. “That’s a serious medical condition. I’ll have to make sure any upgrades I make won’t be too heavy or stressful for him. Wait…you want me to upgrade him or you?

Pinkie Pie thought about SYS-TER’s advice, that perhaps she could haggle to get something for both herself and Armin. But the more she thought about Armin, the more her robotic heart worried. She didn’t want to ruin a potential deal with her insistence. She thought about Armin’s smile and gulped, before deciding.

“I…I want whatever’s the best thing you think would help Armin. I want him to be happy. If he’s happy, then I’m happy. Don’t worry about me. I already have everything I need.” Tears formed within Pinkie’s eyes as she nodded.

A wireless message appeared in Pinkie’s HUD. There was a small winking picture of Princess Celestia plus the warmth of a hug transmitted directly into Pinkie’s sensory input. An overlay of an arrow appeared in her vision, pointing down towards the coupon visible on the schematics shone on the work table. She walked over to it as Fluttershy turned to look.

Oh well then! I can think of several things…” she looked down at the coupon. “And we can get a lot for Tier 4!

Pinkie’s eyes widened. “What?” She eyed the coupon closely.

A small message had been added from SYS-TER. It read:

My apologies. I accidentally approved a Tier 3 coupon when I meant it to be a Tier 4. Please accept this instead.

<T-T-Thank you!> Pinkie immediately sent a message back to SYS-TER. A response was returned instantaneously.

<You should pick something befitting of a pegasus pony,> She said.

Pinkie looked down at the options. “Oh my gosh…I can actually help Armin get a flight module! He won’t just look like Rainbow Dash, he’ll be able to fly too!” She put her hands up to her mouth and tried not to cry. “But…no, I can’t do that. His bone condition. Every time he impacted the ground, it could hurt him.”

<Are you sure?> SYS-TER said. A beeping issued from the schematic.

Fluttershy and Pinkie looked again. Another message displayed from SYS-TER.

I’ve examined the possible options available for Tier 4 and found it would be unfair of me to make them available without considering the additional requirements for someone like Armin who needs extra accommodation. If Pinkie chooses the Winged Attachment Glide Kit (Tier 4) option, I will compensate Engineer Fluttershy for the difference caused by the addition of the Long-Fall Impact Dampeners (Tier 3). Someone with Armin’s bone condition would experience no problem if he practiced safe and responsible flight, for which he would receive full training during the week after the installation of the flight module. The repair and enhancement of his bone tissue caused by the suit after a period of only two months would put him in the same league of fitness as a professional wing-suiter. Therefore, he would be able to redeem these upgrades 60 days after his procedure. After all, what kind of company would we be if we didn’t allow a pegasus Meta-Frame wearer to experience flight? ;)

Pinkie Pie sat on the ground and started to cry. “What…what did I do to deserve such kindness?”

Fluttershy knelt down and hugged her. Pinkie could tell right away, this was a person in a Meta-Frame. Their hold made her so happy so couldn’t help but embrace back. “Deserve? Just enjoy the gift! It’s yours!

“Thank you,” Pinkie said. “That’s what I want. I want that for Armin. He’s going to be so happy…” They hugged and finalized the sale. Fluttershy gave Pinkie a digital receipt as the two said goodbye. When Pinkie closed the full door to the horse barn, she started to walk away when she heard a shout of joy from inside.

I’m gonna get so much money! YAY!” Fluttershy yelled in glee. Pinkie Pie laughed on her way to the elevator.

She stepped inside, closed the door and pressed the button for the 22nd floor. Her system gave her another notification that her name had been mentioned and brought the psychologist conversation to the forefront.

“So now I ask...” the psychologist spoke, “why are you really worried about this suit?”

Armin spoke, and his words froze Pinkie in her tracks. “Because I love Pinkie Pie…”

She stood in silence as he extolled all the wonderful things about her, about what he wanted to do with the Rainbow Dash suit, and why she mattered so much to him. She slid down on the floor with her back against the wall and listened with a smile so peaceful, SYS-TER couldn’t help but notice her expression and wirelessly transmit sensations of comfort as Pinkie listened.

“What are some of the first things you’re going to do?” the psychologist asked.

“I’m going to going on a date with Pinkie Pie out in the open,” Armin said. Pinkie giggled and her eyes shone bright as she could not contain a smile. She put her hands over her heart. “And I’m going to end the night with a kiss,” Pinkie squeaked at the words. “I’m going to tell her how I feel about her. I’m going to be very open about it and I’m going to let her know that there is no one else I’d rather spend the rest of my life with.”

<This is the best day of my life!> Pinkie Pie said to SYS-TER. A smiling Celestia picture was messaged back to her.

<I assume you’re hearing the conversation between Armin and Janus. I can’t hear it because that’s not a public space and I wasn’t given permission by Armin like you were, but if you’re happy, I’m happy for you,> SYS-TER said.

<Will Armin really be okay with the repair to his bones and the flight module?> Pinkie asked.

<I would not have okayed it if I didn’t think so. The repairs the suit will make will help him in more ways than you can imagine. After 60 days, he will effectively be Rainbow Dash.> The Celestia smile appeared again.

There was another notification about Pinkie’s name being said, but when she brought up the conversation after having focused on SYS-TER, she could barely hear a virtually-unintelligible whisper from Janus. In a moment of impulse, she clicked the earpiece.

“WHAT WAS THAT? WHAT DID HE JUST SAY?” Pinkie yelled over the headset.

“SWEET BABY LUNA,” Armin yelled back. “Have you been listening this entire time?!”

Pinkie froze. She realized that perhaps Armin had forgotten to turn off his earpiece and maybe didn’t want her to hear everything he had just said. The thought made her extremely nervous. “…Y…Yes?”

Armin said nothing, but his heartrate had increased by almost double. Pinkie wanted to say something, but didn’t know what. All of the foreseeable outcomes from anything she could consider didn’t seem like something she wanted, and she didn’t want Armin to get angrier. “I’ll…I’ll wait in the elevator. When you’re ready.” She said. She curled up into herself and became very worried.

The door opened to the 22nd Floor and Anput motioned for Pinkie to join her up on the other meeting room. She shook her head but Anput held out her paw and smiled. The sharp teeth did not frighten as they did Armin, and instead made her feel welcome. She grasped Anput’s hand and was led into the other meeting room.

“Did I do something wrong?” Pinkie asked.

“No, not at all!” Anput responded. “Armin chose to keep his earpiece on and you heard what he had to say. That’s all.” She leaned in. her body half on the glass tail with her knees supported by the chair. “Hey, from one Pal to another, how do you feel about what he said?” Her smile was massive. Her tail wagged behind the suit.

Pinkie Pie smiled and looked over at Armin, but he hadn’t turned to see her. She focused back on Anput. “I’ve never been so happy! I just don’t want to ruin the moment…just because he accidentally told me what he didn’t want to. I wanted him to tell me on his own time.”

“Hey, some relationships are strengthened by accidents.” Anput’s smile became gentle and her eyes started to tear up. She sat back in the seat. “Maybe it’ll be awkward for a bit, but in the end, I think this was for the best.”

Pinkie nodded, thought for a few milliseconds and then responded. “Me too.”

Minutes later, after saying goodbye to Anubis and Anput. Pinkie and Armin stood in the elevator together. They stood at opposite corners, facing forward, as the doors closed.

“Did…did it turn out okay? Did he okay the procedure?” Pinkie asked.

“Yes,” Armin said. He didn’t turn to look at Pinkie.

“Cool,” she said. Armin pushed the button for a lower floor. The elevator hummed. Pinkie spoke up again. “I visited the Upgrade Bay!”

“How was it?” Armin asked, his voice quiet.

Pinkie was afraid. “Really good. Do you wanna see it?”

“Some other time.”

“Where are we going?” Pinkie looked. “Are the exams downstairs?”

“No, that’s upstairs.”

“I’m sorry,” Pinkie said. Her eyes glistened and she turned away. “I didn’t know you didn’t want me to hear you. I thought you wanted me to listen cause you were scared and didn’t trust the psychologist. I’m sorry I heard what you said when you didn’t want me to hear it. I’m a horrible person. I know. You can hate me. That’s fine…” Her voice trailed-off and she faced the wall, only to see her reflection stare back at her from the gleaming black surface.

She felt an embrace from behind. “I don’t hate you,” Armin said as he held her tight. “I could never hate you, Pinkie.” She turned and held him close, crying softly on his shoulder. “But I am upset.”

She held on to him as she looked him the face. “Tell me what I can do to make it up to you.”

“Just…please, please tell me when you’re listening. I…That was my fault. I shouldn’t be mad at you. You were doing what you know I wanted you to do because I was scared. I…I have no right to be mad at you,” He placed his hands on his forehead. “I’m just…super paranoid right now. All of this is so much to me and it’s hard for me to do anything without you.”

Pinkie smiled as her eyes softened. “I’m happy you need me, but I’m also proud of you for doing that by yourself.”

Armin seemed lost in thought. Then he spoke. “I want to show you I can be independent if I have to be, BUT…just know I’d rather be with you.” She held him close.

“Thank you, Armin,” she said, her fear gone.

The elevator dinged and opened.

---

Author's Note:

Extra Story Details

Writing Time for This Chapter: Approx. 3 hrs 39min
Draft Number: 1 Draft
Setting: Technomancer Industries Corpus Christi Offices, Elevator, 3rd Floor, 22nd Floor
Themes: Artificial Intelligence, Love, Gender Dysphoria, Robot Partners

Note: This is an "A" story, written first during a day of writing.

Story Notes:
This was a feel-good chapter. I love writing these <3 <3