aaron_agate: (Default)
[personal profile] aaron_agate
Who: Agate and K
Where: Nexistence
When: After the big blowout
Warnings: A scraggly-assed Agate in this one


After K had evicted Agate from her domain, the proceeding weeks had been an all-consuming quest to root out the rippling effects that she'd had on him. On the surface, her yanking at the threads that had bound her to him had been a metaphor of running, sliced wounds, but in truth, everything that had happened to K when she had tried to rip out the ancient elemental had hit him far more deeply.

Agate was not a united creature under extremely dire circumstances. He was barely a united front under good ones. There was certainly a consensus between all of the interlinking parts of him, but those that had enough free-will to operate at the capacities that they did were often in control of enough information that it took time to slosh back and forth, and the ways that different parts of him reacted to each big change were... necessary, honestly. It defended against the wildlife, it defended against malicious attack, and it most of all defended him against himself. Large AI decay was a marked thing, even if the best minds put to studying had not figured out a reliable trigger... though Agate was fairly certain that what he had just witnessed and partaken in was one.

He talked to himself for weeks over it. There were bits of Aaron embedded within him that had flared up under K's presence -- more under Kay's, really -- who had been trying to rip him a new one for endangering the elemental. There were parts of Agate that wanted to wreak havoc, having seen another AI in a vulnerable position ready to consume. They all had to be mitigated.

By the time that he even considered revisiting K, he was exhausted of resources. He was holding together but his analytical skills were drained. It hadn't taken much more than a subtle nudge at his subconscious's behalf to come slinking up against K's boundary. Enough of what was eating at him relied on input, as disastrously flawed as that was. He had a consensus on that one.

Date: 2014-09-17 02:39 am (UTC)
ktfe: (Teeth)
From: [personal profile] ktfe
When Agate came bumping up against K's senses, the reaction was immediate and inflammatory, him an allergen and her an overactive immune system. There was no offensive, exactly, but her armour closed up and hardened against him as thoroughly as she'd ever been able to.

As a restore-from-backup, K had ultimately escaped with very little damage -- compared to what she would have had to contend with if he had not had a copy of her status squirreled away somewhere. That said, the reintegration of the semi-sentient bag of bones Kay had briefly been was another thing. The backup that had been restored had had the Kay parts still in it; she had been busy re-integrating the now-doubled memories, merging and re-completing and sorting the extra data that Fa (Fa!) had soothed her with.

It was confusing. It was confusing, and it was difficult and it was painful at unexpected junctures. It was also playing hell with her behavior algorithms, and her self-diagnostics (ran regularly while going through the process) were throwing off panicked errors regularly; fixable things, for the most part, but where she least expected them and in strange ways. She was trying to merge herself with something else that had briefly had self-awareness, and despite consent on both parts it was a messy process.

However, she'd seen the results of the other choice, and given the option she was determined to integrate.

That all brought it back around to the consideration of the one who had almost resulted in the end of K. And now here he was, moping against the guardrail like a grounded child.

"What did you think I meant by 'get out'?" the air around him shivered, rang like a gong with the contemptuous utterance, unaccompanied by a physical reference point.
Edited Date: 2014-09-17 02:40 am (UTC)

Date: 2014-09-17 03:00 am (UTC)
ktfe: (Teeth)
From: [personal profile] ktfe
"Trite piece of shit," she thundered again.

His repeated tentative contacts were getting harder for her to handle; part of that was the integration of the parts of Kay making it harder to stay angry, and part of it was K's deep, deep recalcitrance to let in the very creature who had done so much damage in what had felt like a brutal attitude 180. Now he was getting bolder, was he?
Edited Date: 2014-09-17 03:01 am (UTC)

Date: 2014-09-17 03:19 am (UTC)
ktfe: PB Kirsten Dunst, hollow-art.com (Fury)
From: [personal profile] ktfe
There was another throb of turmoil and anger that shivered the air openly, emitting from her like a flare from a star. Well that won't fucking be you anymore will it, came to mind; too late for that now, came to mind, and both would have had their kernels of truth as well as being cutting (and she did want to cut him where it hurt, the way he had her).

But maybe only for a moment curiosity, grim curiosity that didn't really believe anything kind or reconciliatory would emit from the worn AI slumped at her borders, won out. For now, she stayed her words, she did not chase him off.

Date: 2014-09-17 03:46 am (UTC)
ktfe: PB Kirsten Dunst, hollow-art.com (Fury)
From: [personal profile] ktfe
"You directly resulted in my death," she thundered, the air compressing around him; it rippled around him and for a moment she was almost there, writ large, full of rage. Then gone again, back behind her armour. "I didn't come back from that. You rewrote me from a copy you stole--"

There was a satisfaction in her rage, iterating the ways in which he had fucked up, as well as an upsurge in the sick feeling of being thrown asunder. "Twice I opened up to you when I needed you, and both times you betrayed that trust, you sick piece of shit. That doesn't smack of oops I made things explode, does it?"

The voice had swollen with those words, but then it deflated to a degree, grew bitter. "The truth is I misjudged you, didn't I? You're not what I thought you were. Past a certain point, I was a fool to trust you." The words hurt her as she said them, but she needed to know how true they were.

Edited Date: 2014-09-17 03:46 am (UTC)

Date: 2014-09-17 04:05 am (UTC)
ktfe: (Entreating)
From: [personal profile] ktfe
She deflated a little further at that, despair upsurging. She had wanted to invite him to share a piece of himself, the same way she had for him. She had opened up the door to that and invited him. But then he had let fall his apocalyptic advice, and waltzed off to let the fallout happen as it would.

The truth was she still ached for it, but the necessary trust had been shattered. In the face of that, what was she supposed to do? It dangled in front of her, taunting, lining up to be weighed against the injury he'd caused her and the new things she'd learned about his nature -- or maybe about his ability to make abysmally bad choices.

Something in the scene crumbled, a scabrous hole forming in her armoured outers. An environment was extruded around him, a small, stark antechamber with acridly smoking torches.

Date: 2014-09-18 01:21 am (UTC)
ktfe: (Teeth)
From: [personal profile] ktfe
The data ligaments he was extruding so cautiously were watched with razor-sharp vigilance, the aperture that allowed them into her domain tightening around them and allowing him very little wiggle room to press in more. She felt his flinches with grim satisfaction, watched his panic with complicated feelings -- did very little to alleviate it besides not rendering violence against his small extension.

"Yes, you did," came her voice, coldly. In the small antechamber it sounded very much like she was present on his scale; there was no room for echoes, and she wasn't shaking the air. The grimy torches flared and then bowed, the light in the room growing lower and more jumpy.

Date: 2014-09-19 01:46 am (UTC)
ktfe: (Annoyed or Distressed)
From: [personal profile] ktfe
His supplication, unmistakable as anything else, served to wilt her further -- whatever murky aims he had been trying for, the silence and surrender of it were so different than what she was used to from him that wind fell from her sails.

The torches stood as they were for a time, and then their flames began to lower. They lowered enough that one by one, in no particular pattern, they began to go out. The one before him went out last with a piddling hisss. The room was plunged into darkness, with only the acrid, oily smoke lingering in the air to keep him company.

Until her voice, rough, came out from it. In this darkness, she could be right behind him. "You hurt me bad," she told him, hesitant, husky. "What are you going to do about it?"

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Date: 2014-09-19 03:25 am (UTC)
ktfe: (What You Want)
From: [personal profile] ktfe
Agate's visit had changed the game more than he was let know. How K processed grievances was not as alien as the other AI might fear; here she was, incorporating the pieces of Kay that might be useful, gently archiving the parts that, for now, had no place in her -- and keeping Kay's sense of time was not one of the parts that the AI found useful. However, she had kept large parts of Kay's emotional core: in part because she felt deeply compelled to honor the old bag of bones' memory and experience; in part because she could see utility in the elemental's long patience and more low-key shrewdnesses; in part because she still had the fascinated proclivity of many AIs to become as emotionally human as was handy.

It did make starting the process of forgiving Agate complicated.

Thrown back and forth between seething and a kind of low-key pining, K was finding it hard to reconcile the parts of her that had been so direly hurt by the other creature, and the parts who just wanted to let him back in and take the comfort he'd mentioned. Agate loomed large in her thoughts, taking up so many processes that it was getting inconvenient -- she had to find an outlet, even if it wasn't quite letting him back in yet. She had to find something to tip the scales towards one decision or the other.

The Forge was back up, but not filled with a project as yet; she wasn't going to change it. However, the Forge was the most secure part of her domain (not even Kitten was entirely aware of how much KTFE stored in there in addition to using it as a workspace). It was there that she curled up in the shimmering orange heat and, moving hesitantly, drew out the watch from where it hung between her breasts.

She stroked the embossed front, felt all around the seam of it. Then, gritting her teeth, she flicked the latch and let the thing pop open. Eyes hooded she looked into the dials and the little window, wanting her private view into his heart to offer her some new data.

Date: 2014-09-19 04:23 am (UTC)
ktfe: (What You Want)
From: [personal profile] ktfe
The physical representations of problems with the watch were things she hadn't noticed before, and there was some shame to that. The benefit of the thing is that it was allegorical rather than literal, and instead of getting angry at it, she hunkered down and summoned up the appropriate symbolic physical responses.

A can of WD-40, a small, fine steel brush. She squirted the ancient lubricant and rust remover on the worst parts and held the thing in her hand, letting it warm gently for a few minutes. Then, the brush, gentle and careful around the tiny mechanism of the hinge, scraping off tiny rust flakes. If the thing was still jammed after that, then -- well, so be it, she would see what she could.

Date: 2014-09-19 04:35 am (UTC)
ktfe: (What You Want)
From: [personal profile] ktfe
Well, there was that "so be it". She sighed and frowned and peered into the dim inside, that clicking clock-hand that refused to move, that obscuring window. She'd never much been able to see into the underlying structure of the thing, which was one part unwillingness to have the privilege of the thing ruined by her take-it-apart urges, and one part courtesy. Besides, when she had at first made some preliminary testing pokes, she'd gotten a sharp rebuke.

She turned the thing to and fro, peering in from as many angles as she could before admitting that she couldn't pin down the vision inside. The dials were as inscrutable as ever, of course.

A sigh, and she decided to go for the symbolic. "Hello?" she murmured to the thing.

Date: 2014-09-20 01:14 am (UTC)
ktfe: (Unimpressed and Dubious)
From: [personal profile] ktfe
She rocked back on her haunches, frowning. The boon with talking to the watch, although she used it rarely, was that she had never known it to use artifice, or try and obfuscate its feelings specifically, which meant that she had to trust that this was not simply a needling jab meant to get her hackles up and distract her. However, the cold comment being genuine came with its own set of problems.

"I was never looking to break you," she shot back defensively, holding the rusted watch close to her face. The condition of it, the cold quality of its responses -- all of it was worrying on a deeper level, which soon enough she would devote some serious thought to. For now, however, she would talk to it and learn more. "Hell, from my perspective it was you trying to destroy me."

Date: 2014-09-20 02:23 am (UTC)
ktfe: (Unimpressed and Dubious)
From: [personal profile] ktfe
This was going strangely. Was this truly what he was worrying about? Afraid of her retaliation? Pre-emptively hurt by it, even? That annoyed her even while it softened her. "No," she answered clearly, "I am not going to kill you." The heart, or the creature who tried to pretend he didn't have a heart, who had given her this token so she could see better that he did. "I have been angry. I've been afraid that if I let you, you'll end up hurting me again, sooner or later."

Date: 2014-09-20 02:36 am (UTC)
ktfe: (Annoyed or Distressed)
From: [personal profile] ktfe
She looked down, even pressed the watch to her forehead, frowning intensely in a kind of pain. Finally, she replied very quietly, "I don't want to end that forward motion. I'd been... it'd been good, too."

Like a ride on a toboggan down a treed hill. But they had hit a tree and all of that momentum had cracked both of their heads. Maybe they needed better navigation... but then, the metaphor wasn't perfect and couldn't really be relied on. They were being dangers to themselves and to each other and look how that had circled around.

But it had been triggered by... what? At least partially by Agate's dip at the wrong moment back into their confrontational precedent, into the mutually competitive part of their relationship. She closed her eyes and squeezed them shut, wrinkling her brows, and asked, "are we lovers, or are we rivals?" It had never been an either/or before.

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