Raylorian Dawn
Author: Othello Gooden Jr.

Chapter 6

“Daddy?” Kayla called in a loud voice, trailing down the stairs from her room wearing sweat pants and her gray hoodie. Around her head was a blue ski band.


“What?” Earl answered. He was half sleep in bed.

“I'm going out for a walk!” Kayla yelled after hearing him.


“Take Liz with ya!” Earl said after waking up further with a snort. He paused to yawn before saying, “She needs to be walked.”


At hearing her name, Liz woke up with a bark. She was underneath Earl's king size bed. The dog scurried from beneath it and squeezed through the cracked open door. She found herself in the kitchen. The dog continued to follow Kayla repeatedly calling her name. Liz darted around the corner and finally saw the young lady with a leash in one hand. Liz barked again as Kayla bended down to her level to attach the leash on the dog’s collar.


“Where you going anyway?” Earl asked after another yawn, trailing Liz as he came out of his room in pajamas.


“To the post office.” Kayla answered him shortly as she opened the door.

“Oh, alright.” Earl waved at her, shutting the front door as Kayla exited the house.


Kayla and Liz walked around the block. Anti-gravity cars flew pass them as the two stopped at the stoplight. On the other side were people at the cross walk. Kayla glanced behind her and got a glimpse at the outline of a sign that read, “Mariana's Place.”


The building stood vacant for nearly three years now. Kayla remembered how Mariana's love for cooking prompted her to help out in the community. Mariana's Place, in Kayla's mind, was the lunar colonies' best soul food restaurant. She remembered how tourists came from all over to their family owned business just to taste Mariana's cuisine. What was memorable about these tourists were that the vast majority of them lived on the lunar space station (but known to most as Space Station Zyra). Some still used both names alternatively.


These memories Kayla remembered about her mom—the things Mariana accomplished in her lifetime—it put her at ease. Throughout her school year, Kayla remembered coming home to work a few hours every day serving customers. She briefly recalled Mariana’s Place was her first job as well as Marion’s.


Kayla looked briefly beyond Mariana's Place, watching a crowd of grade school students in MLA uniforms across the street. Kayla traced their path of origin with her eyes. The students were pouring out of the two-story building next to Mariana’s Place. This was MCLT-2.  Yet there was a small segment within MCLT-2 devoted to the “younger” MLA bound students. 


A small alley separated Mariana’s Place and MCLT-2. The school was five stories high and occupied the entire lot as opposed to the restaurant, which was no more than a two stories. Kayla remembered before Mariana’s Place was there, an elderly couple with their children and grandchildren use to live there.  Back then it was a two family.  When the couple died, the children with their families moved and sold the place to the Dartans.  Mariana made it into two floors, anticipating on attracting a lot of people to her restaurant.


Next were the street names surrounding the area—which were less than usual. The street Kayla lived on was 5th street, connecting with Robotic Pike, the street MCLT-2 resided. Then Kayla noticed the name of it now read, “Mellis Way”.


“They would.” Kayla thought aloud after laughing.  She remembered that section of the street continued to be Robotic Pike up until two years ago.


Kayla shifted her eyes back to MCLT'2's school grounds, eventually catching site of its two story science lab behind the main building, sticking out from the side of it. Behind those walls was the countless number of gadgets built by MCLT students. To Kayla, that place was nothing more than a large storage room for student projects. Each one demonstrated various aspects of the MCLT curriculum. Kayla then remembered—MCLT-2's science lab was also Taizo's home.


The more she thought about it, the more Kayla remembered her prized creation. Yet Taizo was more than just an android. In the beginning, Kayla remembered Taizo was just a flimsy looking robot just like the rest of the Silicone Embedded Circuitry Artificial Intelligences (Shortly known as a SECAI) walking around MCLT-2 with their creators. It stood about three and a half feet taller than Kayla, who was about five foot four at the time.


“What do you call him?” Kayla remembered Mr. Williams, her Advanced Robotics teacher asked one day. “I was thinking something on the lines of The Big And Buff Mechanized Robotic Bodyguard—BA-BAM!”


“Uh, No.” Kayla said straightly but then laughed her teacher’s attempt at naming her robot.


“Cannon-1,” Kayla called, shortly looking behind her into MCLT-2's science lab, saturated in deactivated SECAIs slumped over chairs. Others were connected to a terminal through a data port. The latter robots were the ones that were more complete on the outside.


“Yes, Ms. Kayla?” the 9ft tall robot answered her in a childlike male voice from distance. Its figure was still hidden within the sea of robots a few yards away.


“Show yourself!” Kayla ordered in a friendly tone and with a nod, folding her arms with a smirk on her face.


“Yes, Ma’am!” Cannon-1 replied cheerfully. The robot immediately took flight after taking a huge leap in the air. His shadowy figure in the air behind Kayla was now visible to Mr. Williams.  Williams was fear stricken as he watched Cannon-l jump high into the air.


Cannon-1 fixed his eyes on the empty space next to Kayla as he prepared to land. Through his turquoise colored shades stretching across his titanium-crafted head, he could see Mr. Williams' nervousness.  Behind the dense darkness illuminated by the translucent shades were Cannon-1's eyes, defined by a glowing light blue area. Mr. Willams’s became uneasier the closer Cannon-1 neared his landing point.


“Uh, Kayla?” Mr. Willams stuttered as Cannon-1 was about to touchdown.


“Get ready for robotic control!” Kayla looked at Williams with certain calmness, trying to ease her teacher’s sudden anxiety with her tone. That’s when Cannon-1's anti-gravity thrusters kicked in, causing him to safely land next to Kayla with elegance. Williams anticipated a large crash but sighed in relief after seeing that there was none.


Mr. Williams and Cannon-1 continued to stare at each other. He found Cannon-1’s bulky stature slightly intimidating, making the older man sweat profusely. The light scarcely exposed Cannon-1’s silicon skin around his armored exterior. Only his fingers were fully visible. The light also seeped into the crevices of Cannon-1’s face, exposing his cheeks and eyebrows around his shades.


A titanium plate covered Cannon-1’s forehead. The center part of his head was a dark gray hexagonal piece. The back of the helmet was shaped like a Pharaoh’s headdress, stretching behind him like two ponytails on opposite ends. In between Cannon-1’s helmet was a ninja-like mask covering Cannon-1’s mouth and nose. His voice could be heard through a microscopic speaker built into the mouth covering. Yet Cannon-1 had the ability to project his voice for yards depending on the thickness of the walls.


“Cannon-1, tell Mr. Williams your name.” Kayla looked up to Cannon-1 briefly with a smile before returning her gaze to Mr. Williams who now looked at Cannon-1 in awe.


“My name?” Cannon-1 looked at Kayla and quickly scratched its head with his left index finger, tilting his head toward her.


“Run program C1T-2032.” Kayla commanded.

“Affirmative.” Cannon-1 nodded. “C1T dated September 10, 2032.”


“My name—“ The robot paused. His robotic eyes adjusted itself before turning to Kayla again, and then to Mr. Williams. A few seconds later, Cannon-1's voice changed to a more adult sounding male as he continued, “…is Taizosu!”


“Taizosu? Sounds Japanese. Does he happen to be named after the Taizo crater near Lunar-3?” Mr. Williams asked, nodding his head at the thought.


“Partially. Although the root word, Taizo, is a male Japanese name for ‘third son’.” Kayla said in explanation. “Taizosu is just a variant of that.”


“So his name is pronounced Tie-Zoh-Sue?” Mr. Williams thought aloud.

”The u on the end is short.” Kayla corrected.

“But I won’t get mad if you butcher it.” Taizosu replied.

“That’s a relief to hear!” Mr. Williams said after a sigh of relief.


Mr. Williams paused, looking Taizosu up and down before fixing his eyes on Kayla again. He was truly amazed by his student’s design. “But what makes Taizosu any different than any other SECAI? He just has on medieval armor. What would be his goal in life beyond MCLT?”


“If my family or I are threatened, he'll be there to handle it!” Kayla answered with certainty. “Like a Youjinbou.”


“A Youjin what?” Mr. Williams shook his head, lost at hearing the unfamiliar word.


“Youjinbou means bodyguard in Japanese.” Taizosu said informatively.


“So, for those non-Japanese speaking people, what will you call him?” Williams asked in a serious tone.


“If you can’t pronounce his nickname, Taizo, or the full extension of that, Taizosu, then I guess you have no choice but to learn how!” Kayla said with a grin.


“Exactly!” Taizo added with attitude while flexing his eyebrows. His reply and gesturing made Kayla and Mr. Williams both laugh.


Kayla came out of her daze, laughing at that memory. She now looked to MCLT's gates with students and faculty alike, entering the building. A bright orange canopy led up to the steps of MCLT’s revolving doors. Above it was a sign that read, 'Welcome to Madam Curie Lunar Tech' in flashing letters on a giant electronic billboard. At night, MCLT's radiant neon lights could be seen from around the neighborhood, like a giant light bulb.


MCLT's summer activities attracted many students and faculty, keeping them interested year round. These were anything between seminars for interns heading into college to tourneys ranging from every sport invented by man, including the unofficial and not widely accepted. Some of the students and faculty were dressed in sports uniforms.


The young woman continued in her reminiscence and recalled that MCLT as a whole didn’t have a school playground. In place of one was a holographic environment. In Kayla’s opinion, it was just as good. Shortly after the Mellis Foundation built Mankind's first “Holodeck” almost two decades ago on Lunar Prime, Kayla knew that one day football fields (or any type of stadium for sports for that matter) would become obsolete. Many engineers foresaw the discovery in the early late 20th century but maintenance and cost was a limiting factor. Eventually, holographic simulators became more advanced and cost efficient as the years went by.


Kayla remembered her interest in MCLT started back in grade school. She heard they were the first schools on the colonies to be completely enhanced by technology—electronic chalkboards, online tests (making tests in paper form a thing of the past), not the mention the opportunity of designing your own AI, and working out in a futuristic gym the size of a planet! When MCLT finally accepted her, Kayla was eager to check out their holographic environment. Her first gym class was inside a gymnasium within a virtual world!


Kayla stopped daydreaming after a crowd of students in casual clothing entered the premises with laptop cases. Kayla watched the first person in the group enter the building. He had a large binder in one hand. On the front cover was picture of a spaceship. She presumed that this book was the game's “manual”. Kayla remembered that these MCLT students were those who participated in the school's annual Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) tourneys. Kayla had been a part of a few of them herself. She recalled all matches she won and how her fans and defeated opponents use to call her “Anedra the Great. That Science fair trophy wasn’t the only one she won in her high-school years. Though most of them are plaques kept in boxes, they were memorable because they reminded Kayla of the good times she had with her fellow “geeks”.


Kayla just laughed at that title she was given. She didn’t play many video games now. She had either two choices: become a video game junkie or musician. Kayla felt that she couldn't do both equally. So she went with her greater love—music.


By the end of the summer, all of the students returned to the school’s grounds in their MCLT grade differentiated colors. The halls would be filled with students standing in long lines outside the school's bookstore to buy books for their classes. A week before class started, freshmen swarmed into the school’s giant auditorium for orientation.  Kayla remembered listening to an hour-long speech given by a holographic representation of Norman Mellis and the MCLT school board from Lunar Prime.


Kayla turned her attention to the parking lot in front of the school. These were where the cars driven by MCLT’s teachers were parked.  An electronic sign reading, “Reserved for MCLT staff” was posted next to the entrance. Most of MCLT’s teachers parked there year round as some regularly oversaw the school’s summer festivities.


Suddenly, Liz rubbed up against Kayla's leg impatiently and with whimpering. Kayla ignored her, continuing to daydream about her high school years. Liz tried another attempt in getting Kayla's attention. This time she tugged on Kayla's pants leg with her sharp canine teeth. Finally, Kayla flinched at feeling Liz's biting. She turned around, back on path, and continued walking.


When Kayla and Liz turned the corner, the dog switched around and barked at a yellow car honking at them.


“Kayla!” A feminine voice called from within the car, making the young girl stop. The tinted windows rolled down as Kayla looked to see inside the vehicle.


When Kayla saw who it was she yelled happily, “Renee! I haven't seen you since high school!”


“Same here!” Renee said and then quickly looked into the back seat, attentive to a whining child.


“Who is that?” Kayla asked coyly as she moved to the back window.


“This is my little boy, Jaylin!” Renee said as she pressed a button on her driver side’s door. 


The window on the right side of the car near Kayla rolled down, revealing a child strapped in a small seat behind Renee.  The little boy was petrified by Kayla’s friendly stare at him. He stopped whining from for the time being as the two continued to stare at each other.  Jaylin suddenly turned his head to the front, starting up his whining again as he stretched for a bottle in the center cup holder behind the clutch.


“You want your bottle?” Renee looked back to him after picking up the green, white-capped container. The inside was filled with a red liquid.


“Juice!” Jaylin begged in broken baby English.


“Here!” Renee then handed the bottle to him. Jaylin took the bottle and gulped down his juice.  He now had big grin on his face.


“How old is he?” Kayla asked Renee after moving towards the front passenger side.


“He'll be three tomorrow.” Renee said and then frowned, looking away.


“What's the matter?” Kayla looked at her sensing something was wrong after reading Renee’s sad expression.


Renee shook her head and sighed. She pulled up on the brake latch and took her foot off the brake pedal.


“Darin, of course.” She finally said after a sigh.


“Didn't you two get married? You two had planned on it after high school!” Kayla said.


“Ha!” Rene paused to laugh before saying, “After I had Jaylin, he split! That cat still owes me child support!”


“So he's in—”


“The first time they did,” Renee interrupted but then added with a grudge, “but after Darin got out, he still was bent on not paying up! Then he just skipped town trying to evade the police. A couple months ago, the authorities told me Darin had changed his phone number, bank accounts, and moved somewhere down on Earth!  And Earth is outta their jurisdiction.”


“I'm sorry to hear that!” Kayla sounded apologetic.

Liz suddenly barked in the background, jumping up to see Renee.


“Down—now!” Kayla gestured at Liz. The dog whimpered at Kayla’s hollering. Then Kayla picked her up. Liz calmed down.


“Doggie!” Jaylin exclaimed with a point to Liz after taking the bottle out his mouth. Jaylin shrieked after Liz jumped up and barked at him. Liz barked to each shriek Jaylin let out.


“I didn't know you had a dog!” Renee said surprised. “So you have that in addition to—”

“Not anymore.” Kayla interrupted shyly.


“How come?” Renee was surprised at Kayla's answer.


“Long story.” Kayla said nervously and then changed the subject, “Anyway, how things been going with you besides Darin?”


“Fine!” Renee said with a grin after a short laugh. “Me and Jay here are going to the mall—I happened to see you walking your dog and stopped by to say hi! So what's up with you—you working or still in school?”


“Right now, I'm working.” Kayla said surely with a nod.

“Where?” Renee asked.


“I'mma full-time musician!” Kayla grinned. Her grin faded as Liz resumed barking started to annoy her. She pulled Liz away from the window after holding the dog’s mouth still. Liz quieted down after Kayla closed her snout.


“Really?” Renee looked surprised. “I thought you would've taken that RIAS scholarship and moved to Zyra!”


“Then… my mom died.” Kayla said with hesitation.


“Hey, things like that happen, girl!” Renee said softly. “Mariana served the city well, didn't she?”


“She did and it was her that encouraged me to fulfill my dreams!” Kayla said more cheerfully.


“What about Earl and Marion?” Renee asked, wondering about her father and sister.


“Marion is always with me on that issue like Mariana was. Then there’s Earl but he's kinda…” Kayla trailed off with aimless hand gesturing. “How can I explain it?”


“Overbearing?” Renee joked.

“Hey!” Kayla joked while looking at her with a frown.


“Just kidding!” Renee laughed at Kayla's seriousness. “At least that's what your boyfriend always poked fun at—by the way, how you and him doing?”


“The, shortly after that Del Rico incident, he and I broke up!” Kayla said, almost relieved of getting rid of that person she believed was a reject.


“Doesn't adversity make lovers stronger?” Renee asked, sounding a bit naïve.

“He wasn't a serious.” Kayla said in a low voice.

“Wasn't he handsome?” Renee asked playfully.

“For a guy, he was.” Kayla said, rolling her eyes at Renee’s question.


“Then why did you break up with him—wait, lemme guess—Earl?” Renee anticipated Earl was the cause.


“That and what that kid tried to get me into.” Kayla said after she sighed. “And what almost happened!”


“Huh?” Renee looked at her in confusion. “Like what?”


“I wasn't ready to raise a child, Renee.” Kayla paused after speaking in a soft voice before continuing, “Not when I still had minimum wage job that didn't pay enough—sure, Mariana's restaurant was the best but servers still don't make enough!”


“And what about Makoto?” Renee was still confused. “He earned a decent wage winning at those late night rap battle contests on the weekends, didn’t he?”


“But at what expense?” Kayla reflected. “Some nights I was scared sick because some drunk guy wanted to shoot him!”


“You have butthurt peeps everywhere you go! If you didn’t like what he did, you still could’ve—”


“I tried to talk him out of it, Renee, but he wouldn't budge!” Kayla interrupted with a small whine. “Plus, I got sick and tired of him and his flirtatious self—always hanging out with other women, and just being antagonistic!”


“Antagonistic?” Renee asked and then paused but remembered something and said, “Oh, like he played Jordan after getting him to write that love letter to you?”


“At least Jordan's probably doing a lot better than Makoto right now!” Kayla nodded confidently.


“I heard he got accepted into University of Zyra as a Communications Major and is working on his own radio station!” Renee recalled.


“That's better than that shell-dater, who has nothing better to do except trying to woo the next babe that comes his way!” Kayla added with sarcasm.


“That's why I envied you at times, Kayla—you showed a measure of restraint.” Renee mumbled low. “You had good parents that helped you avoid the pitfalls—then there was that other girl who was raised similar!”


“What other girl?” Kayla asked curiously.


“You know—what's her face?” Renee shrugged. “Y’know—Lina Vera? But uh… didn't she try to steal Makoto from you that one time?”


“Wrong!” Kayla replied jokingly. “She had him—until he grew to hate her!”

“Say what?” Renee yelled in surprise. “How could she run Mr. Popular away?”


“Easy!” Kayla stopped to laugh. “Play the game better than him—He wasn’t ready!”


“Weren’t you that type?” Renee grinned.


“Heck to da nah!” Kayla shook her head and laughed. “I was a shy little EMO—to guys like him, that's easy prey!”


“Why did Lina play him like that, anyway?” Renee wondered aloud.


“You saw how she and I were constantly at it, right?” Kayla answered with a grin. “I could've imagined why Lina stayed single—that manipulative, loudmouthed, devilish snook isn't the dating type!”


“A devilish snook?” Renee laughed loudly at Kayla’s insult. “You crazy! Well, I'll see you later, Kayla, keep in touch okay?”


“Will do!” Kayla nodded. “You still got my number?”


“Is it the same one you had in high school?” Renee then reached for her phone on a stand between her dashboard and clutch.


“Yep!” Kayla replied as Renee eased up on the brakes.


“I'll be seeing ya! Jaylin, say goodbye Ms. Kayla!” Renee turned to him with an instructive glare.


“Bye Ms. Kayla!” Jaylin repeated, waving at Kayla frantically.


Renee drove off down the street.


Kayla continued walking, and around the corner after letting Liz down on the ground. She and Liz crossed the street.  Kayla noticed that this side was full of abandoned apartment buildings and foreclosed homes.


“Yo, Kayla!” A young man's voice called from behind. He honked his car horn again, calling her a second time, trying to get Kayla’s attention.


Kayla kept going. He called again, louder this time.  He slowed down in his black corvette to match Kayla’s walking speed. She kept walking but now with a defiant stride. Liz barked at the stranger following them.


“Kayla, what is wrong with you?” The young man asked angrily after rolling down his window. “Didn't—”


“What part of I don't like you anymore don't you understand, Makoto?” Kayla snarled. Her words echoed with a bark as she added, “Just leave me alone!”


“Child?” an older woman asked in a loud voice from across the street. She had a phone in her hand. “Is that man bothering you?”


“I’m fine, Ma'am, thanks!” Kayla answered the woman calmly while turning to her. The lady was standing on the porch, noticing the two arguing loudly at one another. Makoto speedily drove off after seeing the lady start to dial something on her phone.


Liz watched Makoto's vehicle, angrily barking as the young man turned the corner. He stopped at the light abruptly, almost colliding with a green and yellow SUV crossing the intersection. The SUV made a quick maneuver sideways to avoid the collision while honking their horn at him. Makoto shook his fist at the other vehicle through his sunroof as it continued moving down the street, leveling with the curb.


“That’s what you get,” Kayla mocked. She rolled her eyes at the scene, shaking her head and added with emphasis, “Stupid!”


Kayla waited there until Makoto turned at the light. When he disappeared from her view, she continued down the street, walking a couple more blocks before coming to the Post Office. Liz barked as Kayla tied the dog's leash around the pole outside. Liz tried following Kayla through the glass doors but was stopped by the restraint. Liz whined in defeat, plopping down on the ground, and rested up against the pole, staring at people going in and out of the place. From the top of her eyelids, Liz darted her eyes at each person. She occasionally blinked in her boredom.



Inside the Post Office was crowded. The right side of the wall had pictures of famous people in the Postal Service in digital frames. Near the front but behind the mail clerks’ desk were a picture of the branch’s manager and assistant manager also in digital frames. Kayla shortly watched the people standing in a long line holding various items.


Some were standing around the stamp display case in the center of the room, mesmerized by the collection inside. On the left side of the wall were hundreds of P.O Boxes. The boxes stopped short a few feet from the counter. One man opened a box with a small keycard. After a beeping sound, the door to the box swung open, revealing its contents. The man dug inside the cubicle and pulled out a package. He passed Kayla with a nod on his way out. Kayla smiled at him before reaching her designated P.O box among a wall of several dozen others. She took out her keycard and inserted it into a horizontal slot on the front of her box. The box’s door opened after a green LED bulb lit up green above the slot, revealing a small package. Kayla took the package, closed the box’s door and headed home after untying Liz from the pole.



“Now for the final piece!” Kayla said to herself triumphantly. She continued to make a small incision into SGY's interior above the heart area with an Exacto knife. After doing so, the girl placed the small black computer chip into the hole and stitched it into place.


Kayla sat next to the opened package sitting next to her on the bed. A few wires laid in the box next to Kayla as she used her Exacto knife to cut holes into the suit. She fed the wires through these openings, giving the SGY’s insides an overall skeletal appearance. Kayla then stitched gray pieces of cloth around her suit to hide the skeletal wire-frame. Adding to the wires already in the suit, SGY’s insides now looked more like the veins and nerve endings inside the human body.


“Kayla!” Earl called from downstairs.

“Sir?” Kayla turned her head to the door.


“You need to clean out your closet!” Earl said scolding her. “The clothes in there are making the upstairs smell—Marion is already starting to complain!”


“Alright, already!” Kayla yelled through the floor. Her voice was muffled to Earl.


“What?” Earl asked impatiently as he neared the stairs.


“I said,” Kayla stopped to open the door but only had her head out, glancing at Earl near the bottom of the stairs. “I'm doing that already!”


“Okay.” Earl said as he limped back downstairs to the couch, watching TV.


Kayla sighed in relief, closing her door once more. After she finished sowing on the leather cover, Kayla took her soldering iron, plugged into the wall by her computer, and started soldering the wires still hanging out of the suit to a microchip. Kayla carefully glued each multicolored wire onto the chip's nodes around its edges. Each was secured with a small chunk of melted Zinc-Aluminum by Kayla's soldering iron. Once she was done, Kayla packed her soldering iron back into its box. She covered the module over with a cut out square piece of sensory material. Lastly, Kayla sowed it into place before hooking the SGY up to her computer.


The computer awakened from hibernation after Kayla moved the mouse. The screen lit up to the MCLT robotics program minimized on the task panel. Kayla maximized the program window, revealing a subroutine section labeled “KFE” within her SGY's core programming code. In another window was an email sent by one of Kayla's high school instructors. Kayla sat there, scanning through the email. She nodded slightly at some points her instructor explained.


“From [email protected],” The email started in the body, “Still making robots in your post high school years, I see! What you’ve explained to me is something along the lines of Evanstonian tech. That's some deep stuff! Companies have tried to duplicate their work but never could. That's why government robotic bodyguards today don't have impenetrable forcefields! They diminish in strength after a while. Even those terrorists aren't too far from failure (Thank goodness).


Keep in mind, on the consumer level, the hardest part is trying to get KFE in sync with the robot's CPU. The KFE is a secondary power source by default. You will need to switch the KFE manually on back of the chip for it to work! Refer back to the Blue Book, Chapter 11—Advanced Robotic Applications for more information. It would be the section under external energy sources and modules. Hope this helps!


P.S.: Tell your family I said hi!”


Kayla pulled up another screen that displayed her computer's hard drive in folders. She navigated to a folder labeled “Senior Year” and into a folder named “ARQ3”. In this folder was a .pdf file named “ARA”. She scrolled to the section noted in her email and sat there for a few moments reading the section while taking down notes. After reading for a few minutes, Kayla sighed hopeless at not finding anything. She went over to her SGY and disconnected it from the computer again. Kayla cut the covering over the KFE chip out of her suit.


“Here it is!” Kayla exclaimed after finding the switch on the chip’s underside.


There were three tiny labels engraved above each node, “A”, “M”, and “O”. The switch was over the “A” setting. Above the labels was an acronym that Kayla couldn’t quite make out. Over the years the letters had faded away. It wasn’t engraved like the labels were, drawn in with high quality paint. Kayla sat there for a moment trying to read the lettering but to no avail, like it had been over the years.


The letters were unnoticeable even to the naked eye. The young woman shrugged, not caring anymore about this at the moment Kayla now concentrated more at what she was doing. She moved the switch one click to the right. Afterward, she re-sowed the patch into its place over the chip.


Kayla flexed her fingers after she slipped into SGY. She rose from her seat while sipping on a bottle POWERade that was on her computer desk. Kayla prepared herself for SGY’s test run. As she clenched her fists she could feel the energy flowing through SGY’s circuitry. The sensory nodes rubbing up against her skin were warm. Kayla continued clenching her fists, raising both arms sideways.


Kayla yelped, grimacing in pain as she began to feel the sting of the nodes around her wrists overheating. She reacted quickly, unclenching her fists and hoping the burning would stop. In an instant, the mirror mounted on the wall next to Kayla’s closet door cracked in the center. It fell to the floor with a loud crash. Music sheets on a stand next to it fell sideways after it and onto the floor. A book of sheet music hit her flute stand next to the setup, rattling it in a domino effect. Before long, music paper covered a small section of her room's floor. Kayla curled her hands up, holding both her wrists that continued to hurt from the burn. This prompted her to take the suit off. After a while, her suit cooled down.


Kayla looked at her wrists were she felt the pain. She touched one of the several small red marks around one the wrist with her finger. Kayla grimaced after her touching the red spot made the pain worse. She quickly rushed into the bathroom and ran cold water over her wrists to numb the pain. Kayla sighed in relief to the cold water soothing her burns.


“Kayla!” Earl yelled shortly after Kayla ran into the bathroom, alarmed by the boom. “What’s going on up there? I heard something crash.”


“I uh—” Kayla hesitated while coming out the bathroom as Earl neared the stairs. She quickly stuffed the SGY back in its concealed place. Earl edged closer to her room’s door. Kayla came out and met him half way with her wrists hidden in her sleeves.


“Girl, what did you break up there?” Earl looked at her in alarm.

“I was cleaning and accidentally bumped into my mirror.” Kayla sounded innocent.


Earl said nothing for a moment as he turned around back to the kitchen. He grumbled something.


“Sir?” Kayla blinked, not hearing what he had said.


“Use some of that gigging money to buy another mirror!” Earl said louder with a grudge.


“Yessir!” Kayla answered as she closed her room’s door. She sat on the front edge of her bed and sighed in exhaustion. The pain subsided but the experience left Kayla tired.  So, she fell backward onto her pillow and went asleep.



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