33.5 \ 215

Yykth raised a hand to gently interrupt, and redirected focus toward Chrysanthe. During the next musical measure, the mekani disappeared. No sound nor sight of it anywhere. The song played on, as people stood, stunned and silent.

In a landing crouch at the other end of the facility, the mekani reappeared with Chrysanthe inside. Both sets of arms then raised in triumph! The children clapped and cheered wildly, while their guardians were slower to break into congratulation.

Bassel tugged at his mother’s clenched hand. “That’s the thing humans can do with Vedani stuff, that Vedani can’t do with Vedani stuff!”

“Did she become invisible, or…” Mirya hesitated.

Listening from nearby, Daniel Renaud dropped into the conversation. “Like translocation… but without an inter-g travelgate.” Yykth nodded from her angle, gauging the degree to which they were impressed.

The accompanying guardians knew they would soon discover reasons or purpose. Right now though, their magnificent children deserved congratulation. This kind of discovery was the tentative mark of an alliance: something peoples could do together, that they couldn’t do without each other. Some were well aware of similar events that occurred during Aquari and Dragon contacting, which cemented functional relations. Not just a discovery of idle preoccupation; not a show for mere entertainment; this was no small thing.

33.4 \ 215

Chrysanthe was assisted to an entry hatch in the dome of the mekani. She climbed in and walked to the platform like she knew exactly what to do, which she did. She had driven the discovery experiment, in that one glorious heist which had been instantly forgiven. She’d figured it out after getting just enough of the information. An admirer of the Scion Princess and an avid dancer, those were her two gymnastics inspirations as a matter of attitude and style. She snapped her fingers at the motion sensor to start the music, as they’d planned. This was her song: Absolutely Gorgeous.

You’re absolutely
G-O-R-G
E-O-U-S
Gorgeous!

A line pattern glowed on the young girl’s suit, the same which began to glow on the body of the mekani. Surrounding support scaffolds were moved away. Chrysanthe pointed her toe, and the mekani pointed its toe. A series of stretches and rests followed this, all moving in tandem synchronization. The giant robot was nearly soundless, except for controlled exhales at the joints that sounded like the breathing of a big tortoise.

Don’t need you to tell me,
You just have to show me –
Every time, you blow me
A-way-ay-ay-ay!

Onlookers sighed when Chrysanthe and the meka executed their first pirouette. This chamber was huge, but it wasn’t infinite, and it was only then that the walls seemed near. The movements of Meka-Chrysanthe were light as air, and not one bit clumsy. Daniel, her father, had moved to the front of the rail, and was actually beaming. “She’s a gymnast,” he said with unconcealable pride to the people next to him. “A really good one.” He was right in guessing that there wasn’t enough room for a full routine in here, but her medal-winning moves were translated with the point precision of a little girl who weighs next to nothing.

“This machine is very powerful,” Mirya said soberly, looking at Yykth from one side. The Vedani adolescent nodded an acknowledgment with all seriousness.

Catching the tone, Daniel aired his next thought in subtle accord. “It could do practically anything with her inside it.”

33.3 \ 215

Vanessa cleared her throat and waved to gain everyone’s attention. When she had it, she carefully raised the entreaty. “We want to show you what this does, so you can understand what we aim to do. It’s why we’re all here.” Her voice dropped to another level of seriousness. “Are you ready?”

A moment of sighing and held breath, while a ripple of consensus moved through the group. The latent interconnection they possessed since surviving the lethal Hirylien Affliction, through the grace of Vedani-embedded codes, made understanding pass more easily between them. Mental signatures of revelation alerted them to wordlessly transmitted truth of emotion. Those with the perceptual acuity could discern a difference of emotional shape between Vedani and humans, even pinpoint the feelings of a more familiar individual. Such a time as this, was when they might reach for that internal connection and find it helpful. The logic could follow to explain the details, but the first thing anyone wanted to know was if they would be alright. The naked reply was of well-founded confidence. “Sure,” said Daniel Renaud, the first to break the anticipatory silence, “Show us.”

The nearby Vedani teenagers alerted their adults, which set the entire vault in motion. A detachment of human youth went with some of their Vedani peers to a platform which floated them into the thick of operations, under the gaze of their guardians above. Yykth, ‘Kate,’ stayed with the stationary group and relayed phases of the action.

The youngest and littlest of the detached group emerged from a cabana donning a fitted bodysuit with gloves. While delicate looking, Chrysanthe was also incredibly self-assured. Her father, who’d given first assent, watched from the front at the rail, wearing the beginnings of a small smile while Yykth continued recounting developments.

33.2 \ 215

“They already had the giant body mechs. We figured out to change what went on top to make it do something different. Like when I–“

“Like when you jam your toys together,” completed Bassel’s mother. Concurrently, many other guardian-child pairs were having their own versions of this conversation, excitedly and cautiously divulging their roles.

“Did you know that they know the Princess?”

Looking at her 9-year-old son, Mirya specified, “The missing Princess of the Pan-Galactic Imperium?”

“Yes. They’ve seen her and talked to her. She figured out something that she, that humans could do with these scooter ships that look like that,” Bassel said, pointing to the clear dome at the top of the mechahumanoid. “Her ship also figured out what they learned. That machine told other machines how to do it, but they still need the right machine, and it still needs a human.”

“Not a Vedani, but a human? Okay, what does it do?” This was still strangely like a living room discussion about a toy. Tempting as the parallel was, that powerful creation was not a toy. Still, Mirya wanted to see where they were going with this.

“Well, wait. So we said, what if we put one of these machines on one of those machines!”

“At some point when you were allowed to see both of them?”

“Yeah, sort of. So, some adults decided to help us stick it together – program the connections – and we tried it, and it works now. It’ll be great. Don’t worry.”

33.1 \ 215

“First, we want to show you this thing we worked on together. Before we talk about anything else important. Because none of it will make sense unless you see this.” Vanessa Udar had been appointed elder (teenager) spokesperson of the kids group on this walk with all guardians present. They were gathered at the mouth of a Vedani-style bent opening which obscured the chamber beyond without requiring a barrier. “We had some help, and our idea works really well now. So, here we go.” Like many of the kids, Bassel took his mother Mirya’s hand and the group went forward through the wide, right-angled curved hall to obtain a platform view of a gigantic hold.

They were received by a bunch of the familiar young Vedani at the edge of the view. A population of personnel was scattered beyond that, and around the project. Literally standing multiple stories high in the center was a mechanical humanoid form with powerful limbs, topped by an empty dome. It gleamed, and the place smelled of new manufacture. Mirya’s default-level response to one of her son’s creations tumbled out of her haltingly. “Wow, you… made this?”