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Not Angry, Just Disappointed

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Iris was the far from the first to arrive in the small waiting area outside of Peri’s dock. She was the only one currently present who was wearing a crew uniform, though. The others were students all about the same age as her. They were first year Post-Relativistic Astronomy students at the Pansystem University of Mihira and New Tideland. There were eighteen students who would be present on this academic mission, and each had just completed their first trimester of studies. Iris had also just completed her first trimester, but she was studying Corporate Political Relations.

Perihelion was returning from what had been, as far as the Corporation Rim solicitors were concerned, a long-distance extended cargo route. It had been gone outsystem for over five months, and Iris was anxious to get back aboard. Iris had grown up on Peri, and it was her home more than anywhere on the station or the planets below.

Iris received a notification from the port feed that Peri had just exited the wormhole, and all the students burst into excited chatter over the same notification, but Iris wasn’t paying attention to the conversation. She was paying attention to a message she had just received over a private comm channel.

It was Peri. Hello, Iris, it said.

Iris replied, I missed you! How was your trip?

Peri told her, Intriguing.

Iris lifted her eyebrows. She was used to it complaining of boredom after a reconnaissance mission. She would later realize that she should’ve taken it as a clue that something out of the ordinary had happened.

Once Peri was in dock and the rest of the crew arrived, Iris had nine university students to give a tour to. This was always her and Turi’s first duty on research voyages. It had been a little odd when she first became a real crew member (instead of just being the captain’s daughter, with no responsibilities) and took on the duty of orienting the students, because she had been slightly younger than them. Turi was more outgoing than Iris, and never seemed to feel awkward about this like Iris did.

They brought the students to their cabins first. The four large dormitory cabins were all located on the same hall, in a separate section from the single bunk cabins. Turi waited with her in the corridor while the students fussed over their things and stowed away their luggage in the bunks.

Turi’s parent Ada was an administrative officer in the university’s department that designed and built the research vessels, so like Iris, Turi had also grown up interacting with the university’s sentient ships. Turi had spent more time as a child interacting with Viridian, one of Perihelion’s sister vessels. Peri, however, was the one that had an opening when Turi was old enough to officially join a flight crew.

Turi whispered to Iris, “I heard there’s going to be another… special mission after this.”

Iris felt a brush in the feed through her augment that made her aware that Peri was listening to them, specifically. She said, “My dads told me that Peri is currently authorized for the next two missions. This one-month academic voyage, and then another crewed mission with an indeterminate timeline.”

Turi nodded. “I really hope we get to go this time,” they said.

“I think we will,” Iris said hopefully. Iris and Turi had both been official Perihelion flight crew members for the last two years. However, since they were both still minors when they made crew, they weren’t allowed to actually go on any of Peri’s more illicit missions. They usually provided support from base while the rest of the crew was off on those trips. They were the ones who waded through the mountains of data that Peri collected on its “cargo” missions to help develop the mission plans. But when it was time to actually execute the actions, they had to sit and wait at home impatiently for the news. Iris hated being left behind.

However, they had both (finally) reached the age of majority while Peri was gone on its five-month cargo trip, and they were eager to get to play a more hands-on role in the next mission. They just had to get this academic voyage over with first.

Well, they had to convince Iris’s dad, Seth, to actually take them too.

Peri whispered over its private connection with Iris, I have materials pertaining to the next mission for you to review when you are finished with your ‘tour. For a bot, it had a way of packing a lot of derision into the last word. Peri had a lot of affection for students, but it was always irritated by the time it considered wasted on tours when the guests could check its schematic in the feed at their leisure.

Don’t you like it when we show off how nice and fancy you are? Iris asked it sweetly.

Yes. It sounded almost sour.

One of the braver students in Iris’ group ducked her head out the doorway, and said, “Iris, we’re done.”

Turi nudged Iris to get her attention and she rolled her eyes at them. “Okay Mya,” she told the student. “Let me just check with the other half of the group.”

Mya chirped, “Okay, we’ll wait in the hall I guess…?” she trailed off, unsure.

“Yes, that’s fine,” Iris said. She was surprised by how oddly intimidated this group of students seemed by her. Usually they were a little snotty. Maybe it was because she was an actual university student now, and not just the captain’s kid, and that made her seem impressive instead of like a tagalong.

Peri seemed to be picking up something about her thoughts through her internal feed, because it said, I like you better than Seth.

Iris pressed the door release for the other dorm cabin. Don’t tell Dad that, she told Peri, He’ll get jealous.

He already knows, Perihelion said. Iris wanted to laugh. Instead, she peeked in the cabin and saw that the group of four students housed in here had already put away their luggage, and were fussing with the group display surface, arguing over something. Probably whether or not they would watch a movie in here tonight. Iris crossed her arms, and said, “You’ll have time for media later.”

The students looked guilty. One of them said, “Sorry Iris, are the others waiting for us?”

Iris just said, “Come on,” and led them out.

Iris gave the students the tour, showing them the way to the mess, the two installed classroom modules, and the newly refurbished observation deck where they would be spending most of their time aboard. She pointed out all the different particularly fancy things Peri had for the students to ooh and aah over, the students having no idea how much they were stroking the ship’s ego.

On these education trips, Peri had to be quiet on its public ship-wide feed. It was generally public knowledge that the university’s AIs were experimental, but just how successful the experiments were was highly sensitive information. So to the students, Peri had to behave like a more typical transport bot pilot, and communicated over the feed using imagery and preprogrammed phrases. On the crew’s private, secure feed it was its usual self, but something about it felt quieter and more distant this way.

Iris had always liked research missions without interlopers better.

After wrapping up the tour, she met Turi again and they deposited the students back into their cabins. At least for the rest of the cycle, while the crew handled the departure protocol and they made their way to the wormhole, Iris didn’t have to worry about the students. As they walked upstairs towards the crew meeting area, Iris tapped into the secure crew feed to listen.

Does anyone need any assistance with finishing their preflight tasks? Her dad, Martyn, was asking.

All of the thumbs down rolled in, and Iris sent one too. Settling the students had been her preflight task.

Matteo was the only one who sent a thumbs up. They said, Martyn, I’m finding some odd stuff in Medical. Would you mind taking a look?

Turi, who was also listening to the crew feed, exchanged a wide-eyed look with Iris. They’d never had any problems with anything in Medical, or Peri’s MedSystem before, but there was a first time for everything. Iris was just glad that they would confirm that everything was okay with MedSystem before they left dock. They rarely needed it to treat anything aside from minor illness or injuries, but it wouldn’t be safe to depart without making sure everything was okay.

Martyn said, Hmm, I’ll come take a look. Peri, how are your diagnostics on the medical equipment?

Peri told them, All diagnostics on MedSystem are Normal. No anomalous results.

Matteo was a little hesitant. They said, I don’t know, maybe it could be nothing, but I still think Martyn should take a look.

Martyn replied, No, don’t worry, I’m coming. I agree with you. We don’t want to be caught off guard if something happens.

As they rounded the corridor, Turi and Iris met Martyn, who was just walking away from the lounge the crew regularly gathered in. When they passed by each other, Martyn squeezed Iris’s shoulder, and said, “Did those first years behave, Iris?”

“Of course, Dad,” Iris said, smiling. “They’re astronomy students, they’re always a bunch of nerds.”

Turi was tentatively majoring in Einstein-Rosen Astrocartography, which was technically a different field than what the new students were focused on. But they took offense at the comment anyway, and said sourly, “Not all of them.”

Martyn grinned at Turi, and agreed, “Not all of them, but definitely this one.”

Turi just crossed their arms and scowled. Iris and Martyn laughed, but when Iris nudged them and Martyn gave their shoulder a reassuring squeeze too, they smiled and said, “Fine, I walked into it.”

Martyn got serious again then, and said, “I’d better get to Medical. Matteo seemed concerned.”

He continued on his way, and Iris and Turi went through the hatch to join the others in the meeting area.

Iris’s other dad Seth was seated at the table looking at the route Peri had plotted to an uninhabited system at the fringe of the local sector on the big display surface, his brow furrowed in thought. Karime was lying on one of the couches with her hands folded over her chest and her eyes closed. She often relaxed like that when she was using her augment to work in the feed. Kaede and Tarik were seated at the opposite end of the table from Seth, bent over Kaede’s favorite interface and whispering to each other.

Turi went to join them, and Iris settled down on the couch next to Karime’s, pulling her legs up to tuck her feet under her thighs as she relaxed. She closed her eyes and began to dig into the feed. Peri, could you show me the data you wanted to look at? She asked.

Peri answered immediately, Yes, and sent her the file path. It told her, I scraped all of the newsfeeds I encountered in the past six months and identified several different corporations who may be, or are, leading colony salvage missions in this supersector.

I see, Iris answered. She opened the file and started to review it, and Peri waited patiently for her to read. The file was a report that aggregated relevant data from the different corporations Peri had identified, such as current executives, major shareholders, historical scandals, past salvage missions, special risks, and known colonies.

Peri sorted most of the reports like this that it generated in alphabetical order, so the first corporation listed was one called Barrish-Estranza. It was fairly standard, a company that specialized in establishing colonies that it quickly sold off (with or without enslaved labor force) as soon as it could turn a profit off them. Apparently, they had begun three colony salvage projects in the last two Corporation Rim standard years.

She noted the hazards Peri associated with Barrish-Estranza. They worked closely with an experimental weapons manufacturer that was owned by the same parent company. Apparently they sourced SecUnits from that manufacturer.

Iris paused when she read the word ‘SecUnit’, which had an appended link to Peri’s archive on them. Something about the link had changed. Iris had read Peri’s small file on SecUnits many times. It had collected plenty of information about what SecUnits did, but what they were was another story, because the corporations that manufactured them closely guarded their secrets. Iris examined the metadata, and realized that Peri’s file on SecUnits was larger than it was before; it looked like Peri had recently collected more data. A lot more data.

Peri’s old file on SecUnits was frustratingly short, and Iris had read it so many times she could recite it verbatim if asked; so many potential missions had been axed in the past because of the risk of encountering a hostile corporation’s SecUnits.

SecUnit: A subtype of construct. Usually built by weapons manufacturers or security companies. Commonly used as spyware, prison guards, and corporate enforcers. Much faster and stronger than an unaugmented human. Level of intelligence unknown. When injured, they are easily repaired. Most are outfitted with upgrade-able onboard weapons. 

The new file was much longer. It had more detailed information about SecUnits, as well as diagrams, specs, and diagnostic data mixed in. How could Peri have gotten this data? Peri! She scolded it through the feed. You know you’re not supposed to scrape the security companies! What if they caught a trace of you?

Peri answered immediately, sounding offended. Your lack of confidence wounds me, Iris.

You’re a spaceship, you can’t be wounded, Iris replied.

I didn’t scrape a security company, Peri told her, forcefully. Iris winced, Peri’s intensity in the feed startled her. Peri softened a little and said, Sorry.

It’s alright, Iris said. If you didn’t get this data from a security company, then where did you get it? She questioned.

A station library, Peri said evasively.

Yeah right. Fine, dont tell me, Iris sulked, But I will find out eventually.

“Get out of your feed,” someone said, startling Iris and interrupting their conversation. They thumped down on the couch next to her, and Iris blinked rapidly, disconnecting from her internal feed. It was Tarik. He still had Kaede’s touch screen interface in his hands, and he asked Iris, “Are you down for a watch party tonight?”

“I think we already watched everything good that came out this season,” Iris said. The others liked to rewatch their favorite shows, but she was never in the mood for reruns.

“Check this one out,” Tarik said. He pushed the interface into Iris’s hands, and she squinted at it. It was a show called Worldhoppers. It did look good, but Iris had never heard of it before, and didn’t recognize any of the actors from the promotional image.

She connected to the interface with her augment, and sorted through the metadata, and realized that the show had been created by a production company in the Corporation Rim, located in a completely different sector from their polity. “Where’d you get this serial?” Iris asked Tarik. “Did you get it from one of the foreign students?”

“No,” Tarik said, confused. “We just found it when we were scrolling through Peri’s entertainment archive.”

“That’s so weird,” Iris said.  

Her train of thought was interrupted by Matteo and Martyn rushing into the lounge. Martyn ordered, “Peri, seal the hatches on this section, now.”

Immediately, Iris heard the noise of the two hatches down the corridor clicking shut. Matteo asked, “Are any of the guests in this section?”

No, Peri replied, All of the students and professors are currently in their cabins. Only crew is present within this section.

“Good,” Martyn said, darkly.

“What’s going on?” Seth demanded.

Everyone seemed concerned. Turi and Kaede were both wide-eyed. Karime had emerged from her feed, sitting up on the couch and rubbing her eyes. Tarik and Iris looked at each other, and Tarik shrugged, but Iris had a weird feeling in her stomach. So many strange little things were piling up, and they didn’t make sense together, or separately.

“There’s three liters of blood missing from the medical supply storage,” Martyn said. “There’s no record of any procedures since our last voyage, obviously, but Perihelion is insisting that nothing is missing.”

Iris expected Peri to butt in, but it said nothing.

“Are you sure that it’s not up to spec?” Seth said, pressing his lips into a thin line.

“It looks like everything is accounted for on Peri’s spec, but I can tell that the spec was altered,” Matteo said. They had their hands clasped together, alternately squeezing the fingers on either hand. “I had a backup of the medical supply list saved on my data clip from the end of the last voyage, and they don’t match anymore. That’s how I knew three liters were missing.”

“Do you think someone could’ve hacked Peri?” Tarik said, looking at Kaede, a tremble in his voice.

Iris breathed in sharply. Her muscles tensed. She expected Peri to say something, but it still didn’t say anything.

Kaede shook her head. “It shouldn’t be possible to hack Peri, unless they were able to make physical contact with its systems. They would have to get onboard to do that.”

Martyn said, “Well, that blood had to go somewhere…”

Seth looked stricken. He said sternly, “Perihelion, you need to tell us the truth. We can’t leave the home system until we find out what happened. If you’re hiding something—”

Peri cut him off. I am not hiding anything.

Peri might be able to lie astonishingly well to a corporate representative, even impersonate a human over the feed, but it couldn’t lie to Iris. “Yes, you are,” she said. “This doesn’t seem like some corporation sabotaged us, or got a way into your system and made you forget about it. It’s just too weird, and they left too much of a trail.”

Everyone was quiet, even Peri. After a moment, Seth said, “What do you mean? Aside from the missing blood?”

Iris said, “Well, first I noticed that Peri has a lot of new information in its archives, about SecUnits, specifically, and it wouldn’t tell me where it came from. Then Tarik showed me that show from the Corporation Rim in the entertainment archive. I’ve never seen any entertainment in Peri’s archive that wasn’t produced locally.” She felt a little shy. “I know those are both minor things Dad, compared to the missing medical supplies—but it’s all kind of weird, isn’t it? It doesn’t make any sense.”

Concern seemed to bleed into confusion. Karime bit her lip. “That’s all odd,” she agreed, “It doesn’t sound like what someone trying to sabotage us would do.”

Peri didn’t say anything, even though they all waited expectantly. Seth sighed, and rubbed his forehead. “Peri,” he said sternly, “You need to tell us. We’re your crew.”

Please, Iris added, over her private connection to Peri.

A few more seconds passed. Then, Peri said, It’s a long story.

“Then tell it,” Matteo said. “We’ll listen to the whole story. No jumping to conclusions.” Everyone nodded.

I promised before that I would keep it secret, Peri said, But you are my crew.

Tarik whispered under his breath, “Who’d it promise?”

Iris flicked a look at him, and leaned forward in the couch. “We’ll keep it a secret,” she said.

Seth said dryly, “Unless it puts the university in danger.”

Karime said, “Do we need to amend our NDAs?”

Stop talking, Peri said, and the crew fell silent. Peri continued, Three months ago, I violated my operating procedure. I allowed an unauthorized entity to board.

Entity. Iris suddenly felt cold. Peri had acquired so much new data about SecUnits. Iris glanced around—it seemed like she wasn’t the only one who felt a little alarmed. They all knew that Peri bent rules sometimes, and it could be incredibly obstinate when it wanted to. But Iris didn’t think it had ever directly violated its operating procedure before. But she had said she wouldn’t jump to any conclusions, so she bit her lip and kept her mouth shut.

Peri waited for them to say something, but when no one did, it explained, On TavCorZen Station, I was pinged by a SecUnit that asked to ride to my destination on RaviHyral. It offered me the Corporation Rim media in return. I could tell from its feed that its governor module was inactive.

There was a collective intake of breath. Iris squeezed her hands into fists so tight the color drained from her knuckles. She breathed out, “A rogue SecUnit.”

I did not think it was hostile, Peri insisted, And even if it was, I could have neutralized it easily. I was curious. It was trying to escape the Corporation Rim, and was using RaviHyral as a way point. I thought it would be caught, so I altered its physical form to help it look more human. After a beat, Peri added, It took a lot of convincing.

Matteo asked, “Was that when you used the blood that’s missing from the medical supplies?”

Yes, Peri said, I altered my logs to hide it.

Seth exhaled heavily. He asked, “Martyn, Matteo. Do we need to replace that before we depart?”

Martyn said slowly, “I don’t think so… Definitely before the next mission, which is way higher risk, but there’s still a lot in reserve. We were stocking it based more on what capacity we had, not based on what we actually needed.”

Matteo nodded and said, “I agree. All of the students would have to get into a knife fight to actually deplete our supply.”

Karime groaned. She was a couple years younger than Martyn, and had been a member of the crew nearly as long as Martyn and Seth. Over the years, she had seen it all. “Don’t give them ideas.”

“I think we can probably file for departure, then… does anyone feel uncomfortable with that?” Seth said, looking around the group. Nobody made any objections, so Seth said, “Right, I guess that’s settled. Peri, you can hail Port Authority now.”

I will contact them now, Peri said.

As Peri’s public feed began to light up with the activity that suggested it was occupied with departure, Kaede said, “I did not think it would be possible for Perihelion to violate its operating procedure. It’s such a central part of the architecture of the system.”

Seth said, “All of the ships in the fleet are surprising, and the project has been a remarkable success.” He sounded dour. “Peri has always been particularly surprising.”

“Yes,” Karime agreed dryly. “I was more surprised that it wanted to hide it from us.”

Iris said, “It didn’t try very hard.”

Tarik said, “Surprising, yeah, but I don’t think it’s a bad thing though?” Everyone looked at him.

Iris didn’t think it was a bad thing, necessarily. She thought everyone was just a little too stunned to know how to react to the revelation. Maybe the older members of the crew who had actually encountered SecUnits while interacting with corporations were a little more scared, but to Iris they were abstract. A rogue SecUnit was more abstract. Rogue SecUnits were in the movies, and in newsbursts from the Corporation Rim that were so biased and propagandistic you had to take all the information in them with a grain of salt.

Kaede said, “Yes, it used some of the medical supplies, but we’ve got all this intel about SecUnits now. I checked the article when Iris mentioned it. There’s a lot of useful information about them, and how they’re built.”

“And some free Corporation Rim TV,” Turi said. Iris gave them a look, and Turi said, “I know you’re a media snob, but downloading outsystem media is always so expensive.”

Matteo perked up. “If you found something good, show me.”

Seth held up a hand for quiet, and they settled down. He said, “Perihelion, if you’re not too busy, I’d like to ask you some questions.”

Yes? It answered.

“Did the rogue SecUnit ever try to hack you or damage anything on board?” Seth asked first.

No, Peri said, It never tried. It may have thought about it.

“Did you provoke it?” Iris asked drily. She knew Peri.

No, it said. Iris lifted an eyebrow. A little, Peri admitted.

“Do you know what it wanted? Or where it was going?” Seth said.

It didn’t even know that, Peri said. But it did not intend to hurt anyone. It was escaping slavery, not the consequences of a crime, it said, getting testy.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to insinuate that you would put us in danger, Peri,” Seth said. His tone turned grave. “But I am disappointed in you. Your operating procedure is designed to keep you safe, just as much as it is to keep us safe. You understand, don’t you?”

You made me smart enough to take calculated risks, Peri said, petulant.

After that, Peri refused to answer anymore questions that Seth asked. They were nearing the wormhole, and it filled the feed with activity as it prepared to make the jump. They all knew it was ignoring them though. It had enough processing power to do that and have a conversation with them at the same time, it just didn’t want to talk.

Eventually, they dispersed from the lounge. Kaede, Tarik, and Turi were going to comb through Peri’s new catalogue of serials from the Corporation Rim to see if there was anything good, and they invited Iris to join them, but she declined. She felt weary, and she had a feeling most of the content existed just to be a vessel for product placement anyways.

She retreated to her private cabin and locked the hatch behind her. As she picked through her cupboard looking for pajamas, Peri tapped her feed.

She couldn’t help looking up. “What is it?” she said aloud. She hoped it had nothing to do with first year university students.

Are you okay? Peri asked.

Iris sighed and answered it through the feed. I don’t know. Shocked.

It asked, Are you angry because I violated my operating procedure?

Iris closed the cupboard door and sank onto her bunk. No, she answered, I don’t care about that.

Then why are you angry?

Iris narrowed her eyes, staring at the ceiling. I’m not angry.

Peri was quiet for a few short moments. Then, it said, I am having trouble processing your behaviour, Iris. But it is abnormal. Usually you are more sociable and happy at the beginning of missions. Are you anxious?

You’re not acting like yourself either, Iris told it.

Seth and Martyn are angry with me, it said. It sounded upset.

They’re not really mad, Iris said. You just scared them. They thought that someone hurt you when we knew you were hiding something. They would get upset with me if I try to hide something like that too.

It was quiet for long enough that Iris began to wonder if Peri had withdrawn from their connection altogether. Then, it said, I did not want to keep a secret from my crew. So I told you. I don’t feel any less conflicted now than I did before, though.

Iris thought about that for a moment. She wondered if the rogue SecUnit had threatened Peri, or sworn it to privacy. Or if this was an issue of trust, and Peri thought it had broken it. She asked Peri, Why did you do it though? Really?

Peri sounded more like itself, answering her with incredulity, I really was curious.

But the extra stuff, Iris insisted, altering its configuration, trying to help it blend in.

Because it is my friend.

Iris lifted her eyebrows, feeling a little spark of surprise. Peri had always cared for the members of its crew, even as they rotated over the years, but it had never called anyone its friend before. At least that Iris knew about. She asked, Do you miss it?


Neither of them said anything for a moment. Iris asked it, What was it like?

Fascinating. Infuriating. Peri answered. It was frightened, a lot. But it had reason to be.

Iris thought about it, then had a startling realization. You said it was running away. Did the university technically steal it if you gave it a ride?

No, Peri answered forcefully, Its crew won’t think about it like that.

If it’s a rogue SecUnit, why does it have a crew? Iris asked. She figured it had to mean the people who owned it, the people it ran from. Wouldn’t they want it back?

It was purchased by a group from a noncorporate planet. They knew it was rogue when they bought it… They weren’t bad. Peri paused. It said, I shouldn’t tell you this. It’s private.

Okay, Iris said. She could understand. She was getting curious about it, though. Expecting Peri to say no, she said, Can I see it? She knew Peri had to have video archived of it on board. Whether or not it would share that was another story.

Peri didn’t answer for a split second, then it pushed a still image into her feed. Iris opened it and examined it. It was taken with one of the cameras used for video conferences in the lounge she’d been in earlier. It was darker than usual in the room, the lights dimmed. Sitting in one of the deep chairs was a person. A SecUnit. Was a SecUnit a person? It looked like one.

It was curled up in the chair in a startlingly childlike pose, its knees pulled close to its body and hands clasped around its shins. Where its sleeves had ridden slightly up its arms, she could see the edges of panels on the forearm, where its weapon ports were. Its face was partially obscured by the rest of its body, but she saw the edge of thick brows, furrowed with anxiety, and dark, narrowed eyes. It didn’t look angry. It seemed an expression of deep, existential worry.  

It does look afraid, Iris agreed.

Peri seemed to needle for a moment, then it agreed, I picked it up not long after it ran away. I think it was… overwhelmed.

You probably didn’t help much with that, Iris said, because she knew Peri all too well.

No, Peri agreed sullenly.

Iris didn’t know what to say.

Finally, Peri said with a touch of hesitance, I gave it a comm.

Good, Iris told it firmly. I really hope you’ll meet again. Then, she wondered, You liked it, didn’t you. Because it’s like you.

Yes, Peri answered, It was… easier to understand than a human. It made a good companion.

Iris thought about that. She never thought that Peri might be lonely before, but it made sense. Even after she got her augment, Iris would never be able to interact with the universe in the same way Peri did, or understand things in the same way. Another bot wouldn’t be the same either, because most of the other bots Peri interacted with were low level bots. The other sentient ships were never in range of each other long enough to make a true connection, not like the one Peri and the SecUnit could’ve forged over that twenty day trip in the worm hole.

What did you do together? Iris asked. Aside from experimental surgery.

We watched media.

That didn’t surprise her. You didn’t need a human to help? She asked. Peri was always interested in the media the crew would watch together, and had told her before it couldn’t fully parse it without their help. Iris always tried to make her reactions clear to Peri when she joined it, but sometimes she wondered how helpful it really was.

It was easier to watch with a construct than a human, Peri said. But I added the media to my archives anyways, because I still wanted to see your reactions.

Iris could understand that. Which was your favorite? She asked.

Peri pushed the link into her feed. It was the one Tarik had been looking at before, Worldhoppers. Iris bet it had put it at the top of the archive in hopes that the crew would watch it first on their own, and it wouldn’t be reduced to asking.

Unable to keep a small smile off her lips, Iris started the first episode.