Sy and Lucia at work

"I can't fuckin' take this shit anymo'," Sy said with a deep sigh. "Every fuckin' time it's somethin', you know?"

Lucia swallowed a gulp of protein-enriched shake and gave a wry smile. "I understand your feeling of disillusionment, Sy. But you need to focus on the good things."

Sy looked annoyed and amused at the same time. "What fuckin' good things? We got basically confined to the Dome with the whole fuckin' city on lockdown, Spire's got all the blinds drawn, what's good about that?"

"It'll be that much harder for Logos to get to you," Lucia reminded her pointedly.

Sy dramatically put her chin on the table. "But it's not like he could get to me here anyway," she whined. "An' I got you to protect me so 's not like I'm in any danger here."

Lucia chuckled and Sy rose from the table. "Hah! Third time today I got a laugh outta you. I'll be makin' a social creature outta you yet!"

"I don't doubt it," Lucia said. "Yet we must be back to our isolation cell within the next 10 minutes."

"Oh shit!" Sy started spooning mouthfuls of scrambled synthetic eggs into her mouth.

Lucia sighed and shook her head, bemused. "One of these days you will learn to eat your food at a proper pace."

"Thf ef eh frfr pff," Sy insisted over a mouthful of egg.

***

Fifteen minutes later, they were arriving in the lower laboratories. Sy was still talking, which was not unusual. Despite her 'lessons' in making Lucia more sociable, she couldn't help her habit of running her mouth. "Jus' the timing was so shitty, y'know? You said you were gonna go to Sirius, an' I was gonna go to the Spire an' all... Barely made it down the fuckin' elevator when they said O was goin' into lockdown."

"I'm well aware of the order of events, Sy," Lucia said, a tad coldly. "I was there, and you've said this same thing several times each day. Remember..."

"Let the past inform yo' actions, not control 'em," Sy recited. "An' fo' me the past is informin’ me to whine about it some mo'."

Lucia sighed. "Perhaps your focus is better spent on the Crawler. We are almost ready for the stage 1 test on the local Grid network you constructed."

Lucia had quickly understood that changing the subject was a good strategy with Sy, whose mind always seemed ready to move on to the next thought. Sy took the bait without ever noticing the hook. “Yeah! How much longer you think you gonna need, Luce?”

“Lucia, please,” Lucia said automatically. “And two hours of undisturbed focus should allow me to finish the nerve lattice. Will you have the interface ready?”

“Race ya,” Sy said with a wink, and activated her wrist keyboard and head’s up display.

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