I awaken before Alvii, and crawl out of my tent. I look at him then at the Amazon trapped in rust, they look nearly identical to me, his eyes are different but that’s the only thing that stands out to me. As I examine her my companion awakens, eyes flickering to life before he rises and walks over to me. “Does she disturb you Hera?”
“No, fascinates me, is more accurate.” I sigh. “Let’s get going.”
“She causes you distress.” It observes.
“Yeah, I guess.”
“Is it because she is a programmed killer?” Alvii cocks his head.
“Its cause she’s dead.”
“Technically neither her nor I are alive.” While that may be true she looks real, looks ready to get up, but she won’t, and never has.
“Let’s just get going.” I pack away my tent and we get going, not speaking. I’ve never been so happy for silence in my life, I mean I know they aren’t alive but they are at the same time. Alvii ‘bled’ when I struck him with an arrow, it ‘sleeps’ at night, as far as I can tell they are alive. We walk on, the hours pass by slowly, I chance a glance at Alvii but its eyes are looking far ahead of us. I wonder at what.
“We must not go this way.” The silence is broken at long last.
“Why not?” I quiz “You said east and this is east.”
“It is not that we are going the wrong way, it is just that ahead of us is a triclops. He will fight us and I do not think we will win.”
“Oh, well what do you suggest?”
“Going around. Follow me.” We back track for a few miles before heading south, I am stuck relying completely on Alvii’s internal compass as we walk together, keeping quiet more out of need then want. It was a large circle that takes us well out of the range of the triclops but even as we return to our easterly direction we remain quiet, watching our steps as Alvii watches for anything following us, once we are safe we pick the pace up to catch up on what we lost today.
There is no reason to keep Hera in a state of worry, I lie and tell her we are safe but not far behind us the triclops picks its way closer and closer. We make good time, catching up on what we lost even though it requires we remain mobile through part of the night. When we make camp I allow Hera to build a fire and set up her hut but once I am certain she is asleep I put out the flames, not that it will stop the stealth killer from finding up but at least it is not a clear beacon.
I do not go into stasis this night, I remain awake though I dim my visual lights and remain completely still. Before dawn I can see the creature entering our camp, it is more interested in Hera then myself and so turns its back on me. A mistake, one that I make it pay dearly for. I jump on its back and rip at the cording connecting its head to its body, within moments I have severed most of the connections, fluids of varying color have spewed everywhere and wire are sparking in the dim light. It turns to me and unsteadily lurches forward I side step and watch it fall. It flails pitifully for a few moments, I intervene on its behalf. The metal supports snap with ease as I pull its head off, tossing it aside, the body twitches with the last bit of power within its cells but then it is still. “Alvii?” Hera. She sounds scared.
“Yes?” I turn and she is peering out at me, fear does not cover the expression on her face. Disgust, horror, unease- even those do not seem to do it justice.
“It came into camp. But do not worry I have disposed of it.” She nods mutely and steps out of her tent.
“I… Uh, thank you.” She offers weakly, I can tell she is not comfortable with what she witnessed but I do not question her on it. She packs her tent and we set off again.