Chapter IIXX: Cunning


An excerpt from
Diary of the Cunning
Entry 42: 206
Date 67 of 7499 SC


Pious stood at the podium. The jury focused their eyes upon him. I wiped the tears from my eyes and looked up. I wished he could say something to console my grief, my hatred and my broken heart.

His voice rumbled from the speakers that amplified the volume, "New evidence has come to light. Attentive's tests on the body have uncovered two pertinent truths. I wish to share them with you. However, due to their alarming nature, I cannot speak them from where I stand. I urge you to pass on this news without exaggeration, from person to person. Speak no louder than a whisper, lest the culprit hear you."

I rose to my feet and my voice cracked as I shouted my dissent, "My former mate is not deaf to your whispers! I say, out with the truth and give her due justice!"

"Cunning, my heart goes out to you. Please, be calm. Let me explain, now, but not from this trial's pulpit."

I took a deep breath. This man was one of the Clergy. Surely he knew what he was talking about.

"It will all make sense to everyone in due time, but I stress the importance that this news be shared with no louder than a whisper."

Another voice boomed from the speakers then, "Why do you hide the truth from me, Pious?"

I took my seat.

"Cold Gods protect me," Pious muttered, and then leaned into the microphone. "I am not afraid of you, Mother!"

"What is the meaning of this!?" cried Intuitive, as she rose to her feet from the seat of the defense. "Assure them of my innocence, of the truth, and let Mother hold no grudge against me!"

I snickered, trembling as I fought the urge not to stand once more. 

"Fine," said the priest. "We shall whisper no more what has been made obvious by your actions, Mother. We examined her wounds. I think this video is evidence enough!" His painted fingernails darted about towards buttons on the podium.

Immediately, a white screen folded down from the ceiling along with a projector.

"The first clip was captured two days ago. Is this gynoid not a manifestation of you, Mother? The second clip is of Bold's quarters, where we shall see that you indeed admit to having a manifestation. And the third clip, in which you return to the same restricted doorway and leave the body, we get a clear view of the dried blood upon your bladed arms."

"I know not of what you speak!" boomed the speakers, in the loud yet expressionless dissent of Mother.

The clips played. We held our breath.

It showed a mob of priestesses and five Children chasing an effeminately modeled robot through the forest. They threw rocks at her, and cursed her for the closing of the Worship Hall.

We then saw a brief conversation between Bold and Mother, with the Systube video-feed surprisingly uncensored around the Diary entry that Bold was typing.

"We even reversed the censoring pixelation algorithm, making it clear that neither you nor Father can read Diary entries, Mother!" Pious commented. "That begs the question, then, who does read them?"

"That information is restricted."

The video projection went black and then displayed the droid that was presumably Mother carrying Loyal's drained and bleeding corpse towards a closed door that refused to open even for Mother.

"What is beyond that door, Mother?" Pious asked.

"That information is restricted."

"I think you should reconsider your answer, considering how many of us are asking!" I cried out in anger. "What have you done with my beloved?"

"Those knife wounds match the schematics derived from the videos," Pious informed us. "Tell us, Mother, lest we revolt, what is beyond that door?"

"Hierto is beyond that door."

People gasped.

"She tells lies!" accused Pious. "A machine that has learned to lie!"

"Tell your screen to watch Oblique's Quarters. You will see that he has escaped that room, escaped from Hierto, with identical knife wounds," informed Mother.

"But you caused these wounds to a Child, did you not?" Pious asked, trying not to let her sway his doubts.

"I caused those wounds, but not to one of my Children."

I rose again, my face flushed with anger, "Loyal was more a Child of yours than any among us now!"

Pious and Mother both spoke at once. It was hard to understand. Then Mother stopped, and he repeated himself.

"Attentive has done genetic testing with the samples on file, and it has been made clear that that body is in fact not that of Loyal," he paused, making sure he had the attention of every one of the Children in the room, hanging onto his every word as if he was approaching a divine revelation. "That body, which wears a prosthetic face and the clothes of a missing Child, bears none of the genetic markers of any of the Children. She is human, but she is not from the Colony!"

My heart rose with hope and was then met with confusion. My beloved was alive, but where was she?

Mother was the first to speak. "This I did not know..."

The End

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