102

It was like a wink, and she noticed it as one might, after the fact.  Soleil stopped in her meanderings through visualized information.  She remarked on it.

Later, she was muddling around in the same areas of research.  It had crossed her mind to poke into the parameters of her environment, but that would do her no good as she wasn’t there to escape.  Soleil still felt a flavor of restlessness, searching for something that wasn’t there.  And then it was, again.  Right there.  And there.  Then not anymore.

That unusual glimmer appeared in her streams more frequently, like an approaching animal.  She couldn’t find anything to learn about it, so she played at coaxing it.  This felt like a little game, and she wondered if there was something wrong with her streamviewer.

Soon, Soleil found herself caught in a looped knot of connectivity.  Information pathways operated with circular logic, like a maze of doors that led back to the same room.  Then, something turned the lights on, and her programs went berserk – in a nice way.

There were a few consistent tracks in the disturbance that kept a kind of form.  Soleil could follow them by observing where there was something particularly unusual.  These unusual things showed patterns different from each other, like individuals.  The Princess wondered at it, while being aware that programmatically speaking, she was stuck in a back alley.

A noise began that was just like a word:  Hhhhhhheeeeeyyyyyy.  It flickered from one point to another.

Soleil put her hands on her hips and tried to take this in.  “What have you-“  She interrupted herself, “actually, who are you?”  The protracted ‘hey’ that ensued sounded also like laughter.

Then a flurrious introduction in very well-formed language.  “Who what is that?”

“Who/what is right.”

“Who-what is us, and she’s right.”

“About what, who?”

“Us.  She was completely right about us.”

“What about us?”

“That we’re here!”

“So you found us, and you saw us.  How do you think you did that?”

“Yes – tell us how!”

The Princess tilted the view, keeping all the glitches in her field of vision.  Somehow they were more present than the program.  “It seemed as though it were you who found and saw me.”

One replied.  “Not entirely, no.  At a point, yes.”

Soleil asked as to whether they were Vedani.  “No, but we know them.”

“They know us.  When they can find us!”

“We show them.”

“We sure do.”

“So they know us.  We are named.”

Soleil regretted it as she said it.  “But what are you?”  This was followed by a silence.

“We’re not always entirely sure.”

“You tell us.”

“And, tell us how you found us!”

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