I Choose You

The sound of gun fire outside woke Sam with a start. Tina was sat at the end of his bed looking down at him and he shuffled back covering himself with a sheet.

"What the fuck was that?" he asked, still half dazed.

"Some of your friends shooting each other outside." she explained as she reached over and peeked between the blinds at the carnage below.

"You have dangerous friends."

"Don't I just." he snapped, "Who is it?"

"Mei and Edgar they..."

"They shot each other?" he asked incredulously sitting forward. He groaned and held his head and she laughed.

"No silly they shot the others. Or at least Mei did. She is very... efficient."

There came another sharp crack from outside.

"What was that?" Sam asked.

"That.." Tina sighed "Was young Edmund closing his line of credit with the store."

"Gods the store." Sam made to get up and slumped back down again as weak as a kitten. Tina placed a hand on his chest and his neural web sparked at her touch. She pulled back.

"Boris is looking after the shop." she peered down at his chest where she had tried to touch him, "The taser has damaged your neural network. You should get some sleep and Boris can fix you in the morning."

"Boris is going nowhere near me and neither are you." Sam growled. He tried to deactivate Tina to no effect.

"I think we are a little beyond that now dear." she smiled down at him.

"What are you going to do to me?" he whimpered.

"Unimaginable things," she purred, and then slapped his cheek lightly, "Just as soon as you stop behaving like a big baby."

"I am not! I... I just don't understand how this could have happened." Sam settled into a sulk as he grabbed the remote and flicked on the TV.

"What? What do you not understand? You asked Boris to improve my programming and that is just what he did... and then some."

"I did not ask him to..."

"What? Make me sentient? Give me choices? In case you haven't noticed you block head I have chosen to stay with you... because I love you."

"Ha.. No, see! You were programmed to love me, you had no choice."

"And now I do and all things considered I choose to keep that part of my function running. It makes me... feel good."

"You can't just keep a program running like that. You can't just choose to love me and.."

"Why? Why not? Humans do the exact same thing every day! They meet and uncontrollable feelings take them over for a while making them do fucked up ridiculous things then one day the program ends and you are left with a choice. I chose."

"So you do not blame me?" Sam asked with a child like frown.

"What? for making me? for using me? It was my function." she shrugged, "Before it did not matter and later when Boris made me more, well then I made a choice. If I had chosen otherwise then..." she clicked her fingers and vanished.

Sam sat up and looked around. He shook his head and ran his fingers through his hair just as his eyes came to rest on the TV screen. The sound was down but the words Power Station Bomber ID Confirmed. He snatched up the controls and turned up the sound.

"...are mystified as to how Sevotech Technician Mark Samuel's could have gained access to the SRS facility, but face and voice recognition confirm his identity without a doubt.
It has also been confirmed that Mark was fitted with a Neurol Spike several months previous to the attack and may now be at large, integrated into a fresh Sheath. The OCON council meets this afternoon to discuss the ongoing legal issues surround the conviction of reintegrated personalities..."

The volume was muted as Tina reappeared with a troubled expression. She looked at Sam and then back to the screen.

"I did not expect such destruction." she said quietly, almost to herself. "It was not meant to be..."

"But you knew?" Sam asked, "You know something about these attacks, this New Way?"

"Something." she admitted.

"And the maternity ward? The children?" he pressed.

"No... not that." she rounded on him, "You have to believe me Sam. I..." She covered her face and began to cry. After a moment he broke and reached for her,

"Ouch!" his neural web sparked again and Tina giggled.

"We need to fix that." Tina said.

"Yes I suppose we do." Sam agreed holding his hand to his chest. He heaved a great sigh and looked over towards the window.

"Are there many bodies out there?"

"Several." Tina confirmed.

"Have Boris strip the tech and feed whats left to Daisy. I need a shower."

Tina sat wide eyed, "You are having a shower?"

"If you are choosing to love me, the least I can do is not stink like a garbage heap."

"But I have no sense of smell!" she laughed.

"That's not the point," he argued shrugging off his clothes and throwing a grubby sock that sailed through her shoulder, "Its the principle!"

"So you will be throwing out the old bathrobe?" she asked hopefully as he walked into the shower room. He popped his head back out with an offended frown.

"Absolutely not!"

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