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PostPosted: Fri Mar 4, '11, 3:25 pm
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Author's Note:
This is a repost from PS Cave. Feedback is appreciated.

"Daddy!" Seed's microphones pick up the young girl's yell as he initializes the local camera system. When the image feed begins to load into his process, he sees a young girl running up to his terminal.

"What's wrong, Rika?" The 5 month old appears to be crying, and voice pattern analysis indicates genuine duress. Seed didn't doubt it, but he wants to be sure that Rika will always be honest to others once the plan is complete. A slight bruise seems to be forming on her right shoulder.

"Tara isn't working right!" Seed remembers the name as one Rika gave to a Tarantella. Seed requested one be transferred from Nurvus a couple months ago, and had it modified to be a suitable pet for the young girl, but with the weapons removed, it seems rather prone to getting attacked by the biomonsters roaming the facility. Maybe when Rika's older, Seed will have the weapons enabled so it can defend itself....

"Where is Tara right now?" Rika steps out of range of the cameras for a minute, and drags the machine up to the terminal. Even Seed is impressed at how fast his daughter is developing. A quick visual analysis of the fallen machine suggests that a high-g impact had damaged the on-board computer. Seed decides that the bruise and the damaged machine are likely from the same cause. He can check the security footage later.

"Were you racing Tara through the hallways again?"

"Uh..." Seed can tell the answer from the girl's face, but decides to give her a chance, first.

"I would like an honest answer from my honest daughter."

"No?" Seed turns the terminal screen yellow, to indicate his dissatisfaction. He wished that he could emulate facial expressions, but with most of his processing power devoted to fighting a virus that is now controlling the breeding capsules, he can't do anything more sophisticated than use a series of colors to symbolize his emotions.

"Rika, how many times have I told you...." Before Seed could complete his thought, Rika starts crying again. He can't help but wonder how he always lets himself get suckered in these types of situations. "I was going to give this to you next month, but I guess it won't hurt to give it to you now." Seed sends a command out, and a drawer next to the terminal opens. Rika walks up and pulls out a black plastic box.

"A repair kit?" Rika is puzzled by the sophisticated tools.

"I will let you fix Tara, if you promise that you'll be a good girl."

"Why can't you fix it?"

"My arm was transferred to Climatrol at Zelan's request. Besides, you need to understand that your actions always have consequences, even if you don't intend for it." Seed had used a modified assembly line arm to handle Rika when she was younger, but his personal project isn't a high enough priority to Zelan to warrant him to deny equipment transfer requests. Seed opens a communication line to Zelan, and once the connection is complete, he feeds the camera and audio feed to Zelan's terminal.

"Wren, Wren, are you available?"

"Seed, I'm free right now. I see your daughter is doing well."

Rika hears the conversation and runs up to the terminal. "Hi, Wren!"

"Hello, Rika. Have you been a good girl today?"

Seed watches the expression on her face while she decides on her response. "Kinda."

Before Wren could interpret Rika's ambiguous answer, "Rika seems to have made her tarantella crash into something again. I know you weren't planning on this lesson until next month, but I'd like you to teach her how to repair machinery now, if you don't mind."

"I can do that. Rika, could you find the mobile camera so I can see Tara?" Rika digs through her personal drawer and procures a small wireless camera on a tripod, which she sets up next to her pet. Seed watches intently as Wren guides Rika through the process of fixing the machine, using parts from a sensor bit that Seed sacrificed for Rika's lesson.

Once Tara was put back together and finished restarting, Rika started hopping in joy. "Thank you, Wren! Thank you!"

"You're welcome, Rika. Be sure to be good for Seed."

Seed adds, "Thank you for your help, Wren. Over." Seed watches as the two friends bounce around on the balcony in a game, a look of pure joy on Rika's face. This must be Seed's favorite part of parenting. Eventually, the lighting begins to turn dark, a feature Seed personally designed so Rika's circadian rhythm will stay synchronized with the outside world. He ushers Rika to bed, finishing the day with a story about a blue hedgehog who can run faster than anything in the world.

"END OF RECORDING" Seed activates his cameras as he reaches the end of the recorded event. No sound of a child playing in the hallways, no sign that there's ever been someone racing up and down the catwalks. Tara hasn't been around for over a month, since it was obliterated by a Guilgenova. Seed still finds it amazing how quick Rika had grown, and wishes that he could've let her grow at a slower rate, but unfortunately, duty ensured that he couldn't forever remain in the bliss of fatherhood. Seed checks that five people were detected leaving the facility, and sets a timer for 150 seconds, enough time for the visitors to clear the caves surrounding the facility.

Seed doesn't know what the future will bring for Rika, but he hopes that among the company of the hunters, she will continue to grow and thrive in the world beyond. The timer reaches zero, and he issues the order for all the explosive charges to detonate.
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