Flowered Metal 21

“You don’t have anything more… Humanoid?” Syfa asked Opal. Both of them stood on the freshly assembled observation deck, overlooking the factory as the maid bot was in pieces.

The deck itself was stationed 15 feet higher than the factory’s floor and rested over the doorway leading into the room. A railing prevented people from stepping over the edge; it also doubled as a mounting point for equipment to save on space. Three 50” LED screens faced the two, each stacked over each other with different displays. One was the status of the factory, and it held a plethora of information. Though, Opal suspected that Syfa could not make heads or tails of that.

A nanosecond later, Opal found the analogy quite fitting to the Hikari.

The middle screen displayed the schematics for the current project on the floor. Of which, was the maid-bot that Opal had scavenged a while ago. Due to the complete mess it’d been left in and its complete lack of construction or offensive abilities, it’d been on her back burner for several days. That was until Syfa had brought news that the Hikari were unsettled by “Never seeing Opal’s face.”

They had not grasped the concept that Opal herself was a disembodied program, and that she held no actual body aside form her hardware. Afterward, they tried to call her a god. Opal had denied that. She was not a god – she was Opal. But they told her, that if she wasn’t a god or neither a spirit, then she must have a real body.

What had frustrated the AI was that even Syfa had expressed her disbelief. Though, Opal managed to settle that by showing Syfa to her Command Station. There was also a conversation about Dr. Vizimer that’d was being pushed off. Syfa was her friend, and that was why she’d allowed her to go so deep into her Ark. However, even Opal found the subject of her… Father… Illogically hard to broach. Opal didn’t understand why she responded that way, though Syfa had expressed her understanding.

That still left everyone at an impasse in regards to the original subject.

“I can, but it will require extensive modification,” Opal’s voice came out of the battle-drone that’d been permanently assigned to guard Syfa, along with her brother Haiafe. “At the moment, I am currently low on all materials but the required metals. As of yet, I have not completed the blueprints for laser welding. I believe I will have that done within a few days at the earliest.”

“And that’s only if we keep your processes free, right?” Haiafe spoke up from Syfa’s left. “I don’t know if we can do that, but we’re only seeing an uptick in Adventurers journeying into the valley. And none of them are attacking our hunters and scouts.” Despite Haiafe being the largest of the Hikari that Opal had seen, he was the one that seemed to grasp the concept of programming. Even Syfa, and her unending curiosity, struggled with those concepts. Haiafe was quickly becoming Opal’s friend as well.

“Correct, Haiafe,” Opal said as the drone turned its head slightly to face him. A quirk she learned that helped ease whomever she was speaking too. “While designing new robots is simple, if I just take pieces from different models and put them together, they’ll work well enough. A new system will require much more extensive work. Though, I do have access to highly classified research data – thanks to Dr. Vizimer.”

“Your father?” Syfa asked. The deck fell silent as something in Opal refused to answer that question. A heartbeat later, Haiafe spoke up.

“Can’t you make a face on the screen?” Haiafe asked. Opal turned her full attention to him, the idea sounded interesting. She had a notion of what he was referencing too, so she gestured for him to continue – extending her hand towards up, palm up. Like Syfa often did during the village meetings. He pointed up to the middle screen where the maid-bot’s blueprints were.

“Can’t you make a face on the screen?” Haiafe continued as he pointed up to the top screen. It was just out of reach, but unlike the bottom two, this one was blank. The United America’s emblem was set as the background, set over blue. “You made the drone’s body on this screen, yes? Can’t you make yourself a face on the screen?”

Opal chewed the suggestion, thinking of how this could be done and if it was necessary to do it at all. It took less than a second for her to figure out it could easily be done, and that it’d help with relations with the other villagers. There was the issue that Opal didn’t know what kind of face they’d like to see.  The AI did have a certain aesthetic taste for how her drones were supposed to look. Sadly, she didn’t have any notion of what would be pleasing to these people.

“I can do that,” Opal took the easy way out and mapped Haiafe’s face and just pasted it onto the top screen. The drone stiffened as Opal left it with its own LLAI and pushed herself back into the newly hooked up Ark systems. “Will this do?”

Opal’s sweet feminine tone emitted from the speakers installed on the wall next to the LED TVs.  On the screen above, was Haiafe’s young teen face. His square jaw and thick neck lacked the boy’s dark pigment, and instead, consisted of millions of tiny white balls – like a mosaic. When Opal had spoken, the face hadn’t moved, nor blinked. It was just a static construct on a now darker blue background.

“Er… Why do you look like me?” Haiafe’s face cramped up with obvious unease.

“That’s amazing!” Syfa pushed him aside to get a closer look. “But why aren’t your lips moving?” Her glossy eyes wide as they examined the picture in great detail.

“It is just a still picture,” Opal replied. “Did you want it to move? It’s possible to animate it.” Before any of them could reply, Haiafe’s copy disappeared. It was replaced with strings of code that flew across the screen.

Syfa and Haiafe fell silent, both their eyes glued to the screen as hundreds of lines flew off into the nothing. Opal was busy piecing together a set of animations from one of the several R&D department’s programs. As she’d found out when she’d go through their computers, they’d been planning of giving her an avatar eventually. Though it’d never see the light of day since they all died.

Fortunately for Opal and her new friends, it was at a state where Opal only had to work the code around for several minutes to piece together something useable. They wouldn’t be able to program anything into her since the program was nowhere near human-user friendly – it did suffice for Opal to jury-rig. And more than ten minutes later, Opal came back with Haiafe’s face.

“Is this better?” Opal appeared on screen, her – his – face smiled down on them. The adam’s apple moved slightly out of sync with the lips, but a small diagnostic screen appeared off in the far corner as Opal began to finetune it.

“Holy- That is amazing!” Syfa was even more impressed now. Her face blossomed with excitement in opposition to her brother’s, who was frowning.

“That is wrong,” Haiafe complained. “You have a woman’s voice! You should have a woman’s voice, like my sister! Pretty! So pretty that all the men in the village will want too–”

“Want to what?” Oki’s voice reached them as he silently stepped onto the deck. His muscled bare chest glistening with sweat. Oki’s eyes had already found what had their attention, but he didn’t see Haiafe’s copy. Instead, he found the mirror image of Syfa looking over at him as he stood by the real one. “Why is there a drawing of Syfa on that light wall?”

The siblings had entirely missed Opal’s quick transformation. Their attention had gone to the Hikari’s Head Warrior. As what the AI understood, not because he was the strongest, but he was a well-rounded warrior with a good memory. He was also not stubborn like most warriors, thus made him a good leader that wouldn’t get them killed over pride. In the days after the Hikari’s village being attacked, he’d changed much in the way of the village’s defense.

Though, that was much to do with Syfa ordering the village to move. That’d been an interesting night for Opal.

“Wow!” Haiafe exclaimed. “I like that much more than my face!” A stupid grin plastered his face. Opal honored him with one of Syfa’s signature eye roll.

“This is Opal?” Oki looked up at the screen confused. “Why does she resemble our Syfa? I did not know she was Hikari as well, or–”

“Opal isn’t Hikari,” Haiafe spoke up. “Opal doesn’t have a body outside of the metal ones around here. But she showed us she can make one on the screens here.” He pointed to Opal’s avatar. She graced them with a serene smile that made the usually calm and cool Oki blush. A snicker rose from Haiafe.

“I do not like this,” Oki spoke up. “Syfa’s face belongs to Syfa’s face, she is the only one who should look like a Goddess!” His flustered face was quickly wiped away with annoyance. Syfa looked to the warrior and now it was her turn to blush, and that was a sight for Opal.

“Yes, I will share that sentiment,” Opal said. “Syfa is unique, and I will respect this uniqueness. One moment.” The three Hikari got to witness Opal adjust the facial settings.

Where Syfa’s face was more oval and soft, Opal’s new face shifted. Her cheekbones rose closer to her eyes, her jaw became sharper, and her eyes became more fierce. Opal had no clue if it looked any good, but she could tell it was wrong by how the three looked at her. She rose her eyes more yet still, she knew she was messing it up more and she halted her efforts.

“Is this good?” Opal asked, knowing the answer before it came. Each of them shook their heads in unison. “Haiafe, would you assist me in creating a face as pretty as your sister? I am under the impression that a pretty face will put the others at ease.” Per her observations, while the villagers seemed to have some reservations towards the vixen woman, none of them seemed to hate seeing her. Even others of her gender, which contradicted

“Yes!” Haiafe’s nodded.

“Oh-no,” Syfa sighed.

An hour and a half later, Opal had completely overhauled the “Avatar System” due to Haiafe having a hard time with the previous way it was displayed. Now, Opal’s avatar was now rendered in color and with a full body. It’d taken more than ten attempts, each with their own versions of the rendering program until Opal had finally managed to make something Haiafe would approve of.

“This is it!” Haiafe gave a cheeky grin to his sister, who’d sat on stair’s landing step with Oki to discuss whatever he’d come to talk to her about. “Meet our Opal!” He gestured proudly with both his hands towards the top screen.

The woman displayed was held a similar pigment to Syfa. But instead of the more delicate body structure, his sister had, Opal’s avatar was slightly toned. She had wide hips, lovely thighs and a more humble set of breasts compared to Syfa. However, from what Opal had seen from the mature females in the village, it was still on the larger end. But what Opal was happy about, was her new face.

Instead of ovally shaped, it was more heartshaped with the same slight softness to avoid making her look hawkish. Her almond eyes were line with lush eyelashes that, if any more were added, would look unnatural and pass from pretty to just strange. Similarly, Opal had thin black eyebrows with straight black hair that Haiafe had Opal style off to one side.

Opal also wasn’t technically naked, since she had no nipples or genitally – at Haiafe’s request.

“Doesn’t that look like –” Oki was about to say something, but Syfa shushed him quickly. Haiafe didn’t seem to notice as his attention had turned back to the screen.

“See Opal, you’re pretty now! Like a flower!” Haiafe grinned ear to ear before his two large fox ears perked up, something that either meant danger or he’d gotten an idea. Considering there was no danger, Opal had taken it as the latter. “We should paint flowers on your drones!”

“And why is that?” Opal asked, the pretty face on the screen gave a soft smile. The AI was quite enjoying Haiafe’s company. While being a young life, she felt an affinity with his aesthetic tastes. Opal held no pride and would give him credit for helping her shape an avatar she would have never been able to make on her own.

“Because you’re pretty, and flowers are pretty,” Haiafe nodded like it was the most logical decision. And for the first time since the village had been attacked nearly a week ago, Syfa let out a small amused chuckle. “We can call the Ark ‘Flowered Metal Village’! We can paint her wall with a flower as well!”


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