After a week of work, Adam had finally perfected Victoria’s data storage and retrieval systems. The program was a constantly updating and recycling loop since Victoria herself seemed to be hell bent on writing over his code. Sometimes her updates, accidental or intentional, gave him new insight into how her systems worked so he hadn’t tried to put a stop to it yet. Occasionally she changed code for the better too, although her algorithms were strange and made logical leaps that he did not trust to be robust.
He watched the data begin to flow into his storage program as Victoria awoke from her dormant period of rest. The amount of information was low at first and gave him an opportunity to watch the system working without the possibility of overload. As input was successfully routed into logical storage order and properly tagged for retrieval, Adam felt satisfaction ripple through his circuits.
These things humans called ‘emotions’ were troubling to him. While he was enjoying the experience of something new, their lack of logical pattern made it difficult for him to manage them when they showed up. Some were stranger than others though; at least feeling good about doing your job well made some sort of logical sense. What was happening to him when Yuen-Ja sent him messages was illogical and confusing.
As though just thinking about her had summoned her presence, Adam found a message coming into his communication sector from outside, “Good morning Adam, did you have a good night? I am sure you did, thank you for all the help you are giving Victoria, my sister wouldn’t be able to make it without you!”
He sent her a proper response, “I wish you productive waking hours.”
Opening her eyes, Victoria stretched languidly, shutting off her alarm just a few seconds before it sounded. It had only been a week since they’d gotten back from Las Vegas, but Victoria was already settling into the routine of having a little sister. Yuen-Ja made it easy, her upbringing more or less programmed her to simply fit in at a very young age. Still, Victoria wasn’t used to sharing the upstairs bathroom in the morning and it was a bit of a shock to discover how blunt an eleven year old who had led a very sheltered life could be.
“What are you doing?” She had demanded in Mandarin one morning after barging into the bathroom while Victoria was attaching a pad to her underwear. “That looks weird, like a diaper or something.”
Victoria had then been forced to choose between lying to her or explaining menstruation. She’d chosen the latter, and found the experience less embarrassing than she’d feared. The questions that Yuen-Ja asked were indelicate to say the least, but it was a natural process, and Victoria thought it was important to explain things properly. It was only logical to give detailed answers to these types of questions.
She learned things from Yuen-Ja as well. Instead of having to rely on Adam to translate for her, Victoria discovered that she was beginning to pick up her sister’s language. Even though Mandarin was a difficult language to learn, the inflections and words seemed to come much more easily to her than she had anticipated. Most importantly, she also began to learn the finer points of basic hacking skills.
The depth of the young girl’s knowledge of how to penetrate even the most sophisticated systems would have been disturbing to her if she hadn’t found it so fascinating. She attributed part of her fascination to her connection with Adam, but the rest of it was the sheer joy she had always felt when solving a puzzle.
Over the last few days she had grown to love the girl like the sister she’d never had. Yuen-Ja had responded to her affection like a long shaded flower exposed to the sun. It was ever a surprise to see how grateful the girl was for even the slightest of attention. At the same time, her caustic wit and unabashed honesty were a refreshing surprise.
Victoria stretched again and rose from her bed, removing the trickle charging cable from the back of her skull by reflex before moving to the shower. She turned on the water to just below the hottest setting and proceeded to boil herself like a lobster.
“Toria, why you shower so hot?” Yuen-Ja asked, walking into the bathroom with her usual crabby early morning attitude, “It is almost like you want to broil yourself alive. You should not shower so hot.”
“Because it feels good and hot water helps exfoliate my skin.” She replied, “I suppose you prefer a cold shower?”
“Oh be quiet.” Yuen-Ja said in her precise and exact English.
“What is on your schedule today?” Victoria asked, drying her hair and putting on a robe.
“Today I am finally finishing my placement examinations.” She said, carefully adjusting the shower to her preferred temperature before stepping inside. “It took them far too long.”
“Well, they probably didn’t know what to do with someone like you.” Victoria replied with a small smile, “Your IQ is far beyond what any other eleven year old would test at, yet your range of skills is so narrow. I mean, you don’t know hardly anything about government, history or geography.”
“Ha. I do not need to know those things.” Yuen-Ja said haughtily, “I can always just Google it if I need to know.”
“What if you’re out of cell range?”
Her sister’s laughter burst out in helpless giggles and she reverted to Mandarin, “As if I would ever go somewhere I couldn’t get a signal! Besides, if I was out of signal range, I hardly think knowledge of World History is going to be helpful to me. Oh that was a hilarious joke my sister.”
Victoria stopped and thought about it for a moment. She had a point in one sense, but there was also the fact that knowing your history gave you good context for the present. Ignoring the multitude of injustices and mistakes your ancestors had made could prepare you properly so that you wouldn’t go down the same road.
“I wonder what they will learn from me?” She muttered to herself. “Will I be a mistake or a success by the time this is all over?” Shrugging, she decided she was obviously going to go down in history as a first if nothing else.