Running on autopilot, Cylee found she had walked home. She headed upstairs, undressed, got into a comfortable pair of shorts and a loose t-shirt, and nestled down into her nest-bed.
She didn’t need this. She wasn’t a sister. She wasn’t a mother. She hadn’t asked for this, she’d done nothing to make this happen. She punched her pillow, well, pile of blankets, and shifted. The buzzing in the back of her mind was still going, and she was surprised to feel the warmth of her Spine against the nape of her neck. The battery was down to 30%, a level it shouldn’t have hit for another day or two. Apparently the Agent was using her brain as well as her Spine. She dug the new charger out of her pocket, settled the charging collar on her neck and nestled down again.
Cylee: Are you ready to tell me what you’re doing? Agent: Not yet. Get some sleep.
Cylee growled a little but closed her eyes and finally fell asleep.
Agent: Cylee? Hey, Cylee. Wake up, we have something to tell you. Cylee: Ugh. Since when do you wake me up in the morning? This is new and I don’t like it. Agent: Yeah, whatever. Listen, we’ve learned some things. Cylee: Couldn’t they have waited until some time after 4:48 AM? Agent: Hmmmm, don’t know guess we’ll never find out.
Cylee opened her eyes. This wasn’t how the Agent spoke. This was…personable.
Cylee: Okay, I’m listening. What’s up with you? Agent: We’ve learned a lot. Cylee: How? Where? Agent: From Kelly’s Agent. We were in contact with them…well, we still are. And they’re like us, but they’ve had an entirely different experience with Kelly than we’ve had with you.
Cylee felt a little—what, jealous?—and realized she was jealous of how an only theoretically sentient swarm of microbes got along with a clone of herself. Given the state of affairs she was less surprised she couldn’t find a good word for the feeling. She doubted anyone had ever felt this before.
Cylee: but we’ve been around tons of clones before, and this never happened. Agent: Yeah, we’ve all been thinking about that. Our best guess is that all those other clones had your personality stamped into them, while Kelly is mostly a new personality. Also she’s not a soldier and has had other experiences. So, instead of her Agent getting used to a clone-Cylee that had Cylee-style memories, that Agent has grown up with a person who is having entirely unique experiences. Kelly: Also I grew up with the Agent, so I’ve never not had it helping me do things. Cylee: Oh. um…you can invite yourself to conversations I’m having with Agent now? Kelly: Wellll….if you’re talking to my Agent…or if your Agent is talking to my Agent—
Cylee laughed out loud.
Cylee: Have your microbes call my microbes. Kelly: What? Cylee: Old joke, don’t worry about it. Anyway the Agent…both Agents…the Agents, in the very definite plural, can communicate with each other. Agent: Yes. We can. And it occurs to us you might want to know which of us is talking, although all of us have basically updated ourselves with everything everyone knows. Kelly: Brag much? Agent (Kelly): No, it’s just true. You know how you were both having that little buzz behind your eyes? That was us, doing a massive data transfer. Agent(Cylee): And we’ve found that we can do other things. Like when we showed Cylee some scenes from Kelly. And some real-time information, that was cool too. Cylee: You don’t get to say cool, and also I’m pretty sure tapping someone’s sensory feed without their consent is a crime. Kelly: I told Agent they could. Cylee: I didn’t! Anyway, imagine the lawsuit. “Your honor, I’m a fugitive soldier that everyone thinks is dead and I’d like to sue the bacteria in my body for making me see things that I shouldn’t be able to see.” They would have to have an auction to decide who gets to lock me up. [Sigh]. Okay. How often am I going to have this party in my head? Agent (Cylee): Honestly only as often as you like. It’s like chatting to us (local us, not 'all the Agents' us, and I won’t send random thoughts over to Kelly, or let her tap into your sensory feed when you’re sprawled out on the couch eating ice cream or whatever. Kelly: But I think we have a lot to share. I’ve always looked up to you— Cylee: You’ve only just met me! Kelly: In person, yeah. But Aunty Tammy has told me about you my entire life. All four years of it. Cylee: Okay, 'Tamara' I can deal with but 'Aunty Tammy' is a bit much. Also, she’s not in on this group thread, is she? Agent (Kelly): No, for whatever reason the Agent doesn’t work with her body type. Or really anyone who isn’t your direct genetic line. Not sure why. Agent (Cylee): It seems like, if we could make contact with Watt, Sagittarius, and Zeta, we could figure that out. Cylee: Listen…all of you. We’re not going to make contact with Sagittarius. And nobody knows where Watt and…where Wes and Kim are. Kelly: What happened to Shaun? (See how I used his real name instead of the much cooler code name Aunty Tammy gave him?)
Cylee sighed. This was turning into a quest, a family activity. Wes and Kim had gone to ground just like she had and she had no reason to believe they would be able to find either of them, nor that finding them would do any good. Also she didn’t feel like joining forces with Kelly and Tamara and their misguided quest to take down Pacifica.
Except she already knew she was going to join them.
Cylee: Kelly, can you tell Doctor Patel to please bring a car to my apartment? We’re going on a little trip. I want to show the two of you something. Or the four of you. However we count the Agent or Agents or whatever.
Agent (Cylee): WE ARE LEGION Cylee: I think I liked you better when you were boring. Anyway. Let me know when you can get here. If you want to figure out what happened to the Ghosts you need to see this. And I can’t send it to you; I uploaded this to a memory store because I do not want it inside my head all the time. Kelly: Okay, Cylee. And perhaps there’s something you need to see as well. I do store it, but I’ve had this memory my whole life, and I’m used to it. Also Aunt Tammy says we can be there in forty minutes.