She enjoyed the sensation of the blanket against her naked body. She savored the feeling of the plush bed under her, and the warm body beside her. He stroked her cheek softly, and murmured beautiful words: love, dreams, and forever.
Between the soft words, he inserted hard truths: ill-fated, impossible, and never.
What he said was inconsequential… because the way he looked at her was the only part of the story that really mattered. It was enough for her.
Number 3 had never suspected that existence could be so… pleasant. Even more curious to her was the fact that it was due to something as simple as being held by the man that she was hopelessly in love with; target, lover, addiction.
** A Transcendent, when first “unboxed” has no conscious recollection of its past incarnations as previous models — but something, like residue, does seem to be left behind. The tran can occasionally tap into this residual data contained within its subconscious. But like all wisdom that is divulged from inspiration, the information is limited to hazy impressions and instinctual emotional responses.
There is no hard, scientific explanation for this phenomenon. It’s similar to elephant matrons [in times of drought], who have the uncanny ability to lead herds to watering holes that have been used by other elephants in the past — but that they, themselves, had never visited before.
It was clear to Number 3 that this particular feeling was unprecedented. Numbers 1 and 2 had had no knowledge of it. This was what the humans called, “happiness”.
Her lover kissed her softly. First on the mouth, then on each cheek, finally on her forehead. He took her chin, in the palm of his hand, and tilted her head to the side. He whispered her four secrets. One for each of the tran models — that he had encountered over the years:
“You are so lovely.
Prototype Nil… is alive.
You’re just her replica.
He shot Number 3, in the head, at point blank range. He didn’t toy with her; she never suffered. Her existence was short, but sweet. The others probably would have called her lucky. To date, she is the only replicated tran [models 1-8] who has learned the meaning of the word “happiness”.
Questions still remained, as to whether or not the same was true for Prototype Nil.
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