Chapter 8:

EPISODE 2: 00001000:EIGHT


   There was a strange calm that settled over the halls of Central. Much like the calm before the storm, but rather instead it was the tranquility that followed in its wake. A tranquility that was eerie - peaceful, but somber in the wake of its destruction. Perhaps it was the settling debris from the violent explosion that came from the vault earlier, or perhaps it was the pile of unconscious G.I.E. guards that once was five high, now stacked one taller.
   Filth broke his glide in the low gravity of the G.I.E. hangar by grabbing a hold of the cockpit door of a small jet.
   He looked around the tight and rather humble star-faring ship. "It's like the SUV of combat jets," he remarked as he plopped down into the pilot seat, letting the low gravity carry the girl to the back of the ship.
   Quil stood in the copilot's seat eager for Filth to move.
   Filth looked across the console; his peripheral's noticing the strong gaze he was receiving from Quil.
   Quil cocked an eyebrow with a condescending gaze, watching, as Filth seemed to struggle to start the ship.
   "I know how to pilot a damn ship, Kid." He scoffed, moving his gaze back at the switches.
   "Strap her in." Quil jabbed towards the unconscious star.
   Filth's eyebrows turned sharp as he flipped open a small hatch on the console that guarded a button. "I know how to pilot a ship, Kid." He turned his head swiftly to Quil, punctuating his anger with a slam of his fist into the button - a button that gave more of an exclamation of explosions rather than a full stop. Once the smoke cleared, Quil could see Filth's punctuation as a burning pile of debris.
   Filth kept his head turned towards Quil to, hopefully, continue to drive home his sincerity, but his eyes couldn't help but look out the front window.
   Quil's eyes went flat watching the flames dim behind the rising smoke. "I'm just glad there wasn't anyone aboard," he shook his head as he moved his eyes back to Filth to make sure he could understand his frustration. "Please strap the girl in." He spoke flatly, though his strained hands showed an anxiousness in him.
   Filth scanned up and down the console, "it's not that hard -"
   "No, it's not," Quil interjected sharply.
   "I need both of you to shut up." Filth's eyes now reflected as much annoyance as Quil's.
   Quil shook his head, hovering right over Filth in hope of pressuring him to move from his seat.
   "Look, Kid," Filth snapped as he shifted a lever on the ship. "You have a high value target aboard this ship. The G.I.E. will be ruthless once they catch up - this isn't like your little games you play back at home." This time he had it. This time his point would be driven home properly because this time he knew what he was doing. He slammed his foot down into the pedal to punctuate his point (again), making the ship roar to life and fly backwards with a loud and rumbly thump, sending Quil, Filth, and the unconscious girl slamming into the front display.
   Filth recovered pulling himself together with a groan. "Okay," he spoke through the soreness, "your turn," he surrendered, lifting himself out of the pilot seat pushing the fallen star out of his way.
   Quil shook his head, his cowlicks leaned back sharply. "Strap her in," he pointed as he moved to the pilot seat, tapping his watch a couple times then pulling his goggles down over his eyes.
   It all begins with the "c:/sudo get.adv.command" line as he punched in line after line of command line text into the terminal display he had brought up.
   First the front windows closed, shielded by ballistic plating, then the external displays came up, followed by numerous other overlays appearing on the front display giving readouts on temperatures, ship integrity, orientation to the nearest large stellar object, among various other things.
   The terminal had begun reading out new execution sequences: launch-seq 1 Beginning launch sequence... user count down initiate...

   Quil quickly hammered out "adv.command /force" down skipped...

   The engines began to hum to life, the interior lights dimmed, and the ship re-oriented itself from Filth's incompetence. Quil shifted the different overlays out of the way from the front exterior view - making sure some of the more important overlays stayed within his peripherals, but otherwise moving everything else completely out of sight. thrust1 1 thrust2 1 thrust3 1 thrust4 1; thrust temperatures [pol rate 2p/s] thrust Temperature: 10% thrust Temperature: 20% thrust Temperature: 27%
   adv.command /em release 1 em locks retracted thrust temperatures green

   Quil could feel Filth's breathing as he hovered in excited bewilderment over Quil's confident control of the ship.
   To Quil, this was simply the things he had wasted so many hours studying back home. He knew one day he would get to face his own dreams, he would get to achieve them. And to achieve those dreams he studied, spending hours of time (ignoring his school work) learning how to pilot the various crafts of the universe.
   He moved his gaze to the dashboard, taking a tight hold of the anxious vibrations of a lever that waited in anticipation with the life of the ship. "Now is the time you stop doubting me." Quil threw the lever forward with confidence. The ship rushed through the pressure barrier with intense energy that squeezed Filth and Quil into their seats along with a muffled THUMP in the rear of the ship. Perhaps it was being in the much further reaches of space that made it seem like there was such an unprecedented number of stars that were lined up before them, or perhaps it was the wall of G.I.E. guards prepared to intercept the single little craft that housed the renegade crew.
   Filth leaned forward with an anxious grip on the seat in front of him. "Anyone will doubt anyone who would go up against an armada of pissed of G.I.E. soldiers." He leaned forward more, nearly pressing his face against the external display. "We can't make it out of this, there're too many,"
   Quil pushed Filth out of the way, giving him more room to type as he swiftly began entering more commands into the terminal of the ship making the flight controls of the ship recede away from him.
   "Are you mad!?!" Filth shouted in fright as the kid relinquished his control of the ship.
   Quil pushed the holographic keyboard over to Filth. "We will be within jump range in about four-hundred kilometers, please input the jump coordinates."
   Through his panic, Filth couldn't find the time to concentrate on remembering a long string of numbers not to mention there was the other problem. "Kid, a jump will tear this ship apart!"
   Quil flipped one switch, two switch, three and four switches, swiftly making the temperature monitor of each engine nearly double within a few seconds of being engaged forcing the ship to release groans of exhaustion. "Please input the coordinates," he spoke calmly as he kept his focus on the various overlays.
   Filth watched the growing wall of G.I.E. ships as the tiny ship they were fleeing in dived headlong into the fray, a web of harpoons flew in every direction as the guards tried to pin down the small yet nimble ship.
   "Our biggest concern should be the jump," Quil moved his eyes to Filth (only for a few seconds. Monitoring ship integrity and temperatures was vastly more important). "The Imperial Empire will not fire lethal shots while the anomaly is aboard."
   Filth flinched instinctively as he watched the point of a harpoon just nearly miss the cabin of the ship on the front display.
   "Please input the coordinates." Quil repeated, ignoring the alerts appearing on top of the overlays warning about excessive temperatures.
   "I'm concerned you're going to blow the ship up before any G.I.E. or Jumper reaches us." Filth attempted to push Quil out of the pilot's seat. "Get out-" the ship rolled sending Filth into the wall followed by a muffled thump in the rear of the cabin.
   Filth recovered from the ship's harsh steering. "Kid, get out of-" the ship rolled the other direction making Filth collapse into Quil's lap, followed by yet another muffled thump in the rear cabin.
   Quil pushed Filth away. "We are running out of time, please input the coordinates."
   Filth stared at the keyboard, trying to get his own baring under the constant twisting and turning the ship made. "I didn't exactly have spaghettification on my 'to-do' list today," he grimaced as he fumbled across the keyboard.
   "You will be long past conscious before you truly become spaghettified." Quil turned to look at Filth, "if you can't put in the coordinates then I will input them."
   "Fine." Filth barked emphasized by the shutter of the entire hull as it rolled through the web of glowing E.M.P. shots and harpoons.
   "What are the coordinates?"
   "Enceladus Cluster – Sys M-W, three-five-eight-zero-zero, zero-zero-six, E-C zero-zero-zero-three-five-eight, zero-six-one-six."
   Quil input the coordinates as Filth hung on as tight as he could through the ships twists and turns. Each harsh bend the ship made being followed by that muffled thump in the rear of the cabin, and each time that thump happened, Filth jumped a little thinking it spelled the end of their escape. Surely, the engines were moments away from meltdown under the intense strain the kid was putting them under.
   "Closing in on jump range." Quil kept his eyes fixed on the data feed of all of the various overlays, largely ignoring the front external display.
   Engine temperatures in the last few percent before maxing out. Aeronautic wings damaged. Ballistic shielding critical. Phase polarizer inoperative.
   "Ten." Quil began counting down.
   A rumble shook the entire ship, nearly making Filth leap from his seat.
   A strike broadside the wing. It was pinned by a harpoon.
   Quil quickly typed "adv.command /eject -left.awing"
   The durability display reflected the command as it showed the expulsion of the left wing.
   The lights dimmed briefly, as the ship was knocked off course - a thruster disappeared from the durability display.
   Quil turned off one of the four switches he had flipped earlier.
   The entire cockpit was lit red as warning after warning popped up - "Temperatures at 98%"
   Quil prepared to turn off the remaining three switches.
   He had to wait for just the right moment.
! He flipped the remaining three down, instantly lowering thruster temperatures by a couple percent.
   "Jump in progress." Quil leaned forward, Filth bit his nails, the front displays went black as the entire ship began to glow a bright gold and even more bright as it neared the massive arch in the stars until the inevitable bright flash that left no trace of the hijacked ship nor its crew of thieves.

   And with that, all the energy was released. Quil lurched forward, Filth was thrown into the console, and the fallen star slammed into the front display with a familiar muffled thump.
   Quil's cowlicks lowered as he looked at the girl drifting freely in the cabin of the ship. "Jump complete." The lazy drifting of the unconscious girl had her drift just far enough for Filth to see Quil's cold eyes just opposite of him. "Why did you not strap her in?"
   Filth pulled himself together (re-shevel his disheveled clothes and wipe the single drop of blood from his nose) and immediately his eyes lit with excitement. "What in the name of the logic was that!?!" He knocked the girl into the rear cabin of the ship as he leapt forward. "The-G.I.E.-were-all-like-'pewpewpew'-and-you-were-like-'chka-chka-chka'-" (those are typing noises, one would assume) "-and-the-ship-was all-like-'buh-kerrrrr'-but-the-ship-never-went-'kersplshhhhhh'!" (Rest assured the theatrics he displayed were at least equal to the vocabulary on display.)
   Quil largely ignored Filth as his eyes followed the fallen star as she drifted in the rear cabin, "It will be impossible to determine the amount of damage done to her," he spoke solemnly under his breath.
   "Kid!" Filth grabbed Quil's shoulder with sweaty palms and a fiery level of excitement, "What was that you did!?!"
   Quil cocked an eyebrow, his cowlicks leaning back (mostly out of fear towards Filth's over-enthusiastic display).
   "I promise, this isn't like the lock," he crossed his heart, "I really do want to know what sort of magic you pulled to do that."
   Quil pushed Filth out of his personal bubble and cleared his throat. "The G.I.E. invest a huge portion of their budget towards developing a sophisticated cra-"
   "Okay, skip the economics lesson and tell me the magic trick."
   Quil rolled his eyes. "I feel like if I asked the same question you would answer with 'a magician never reveals his tricks'."
   "Probably. But, you're not me." He leaned back into Quil's face. "Tell me, tell me, tell me!"
   "People tend to think humanity's warmth is more powerful than a computer's 'cold calculations'," he dusted Filth's sweaty hands off of him, "but the only thing perfect about humans is the computer - a machine that does everything exactly as it has been told.
   "The G.I.E. jet is one of the simplest jets to pilot," Filth felt Quil's words jab right into him, "however it has one of the most powerful backends. I gave the ship priority control within a few constraints, such as prioritizing evasion of EMP blasts over harpoons, and to ensure that if a harpoon collision were to be unavoidable, then the ship would need to orient itself so that the harpoon would strike the aeronautic wings rather than a vital part of the ship."
   Filth narrowed his eyes. "Techno-wizard," he spoke under his breath.
   Quil shook his head, leaving his seat to move to the rear of the cabin, grabbing the fallen star and setting her on the floor of the ship. Filth drifted in right behind Quil. "Any idea what she is?"
   "I assume an android." Quil spoke flatly.
   Filth slapped the back of Quil's head. "Well, duh. I figured that much. But why is the G.I.E. willing to send an armada to stop us from stealing some stupid android model?"
   Quil's cowlicks lowered as he lifted his goggles from his eyes.
   "She looks impressively engineered." Filth leaned in to examine her, "I mean," he leaned in even closer to her body as he looked up and down it, "like, really," emphasis on 'really', "impressively engineered."
   Quil pushed Filth away. "You're drooling."
   "And you're not?" He reeled in surprise. "She's so shapely and perfect, from the," he wiped his mouth, "perfect body to the those lovely round bre-"
   Quil pushed Filth out of the way again. "You should keep your distance from her," his cowlicks lowered.
   Of course, Quil was curious too as he leaned in (Filth taking a small bit of smug satisfaction in watching the kid have similar intrigue in the beautiful girl) to take a closer look at the details of the face; a perfectly curved brow ridge, high cheeks, and a soft jaw. Every curve and angle of the face seemed to lead the on-looking eyes perfectly to the face of this fallen star. Her eyes were the only things that couldn't be seen behind the soft, closed lids. The crease of the eye gently folding to the inner corners of the eye in an elegant shape, the corner pointing gently to take in the details of the nose, which Quil followed down to the open mou-
   "BOOT SEQUENCE INITIALIZED -" a rather robotic voice came from the star's mouth.
   Quil shook his head, partly out of disgust at the strange and very contrasting tone of voice against the beauty of the fallen star; partly by the simple fact he was surprised the star seemed to be active. He wasn't entirely sure how he should feel as he looked at Filth who could only reply with a shake of his head and a shrug of his shoulders.
   Quil's cowlick cocked in confusion as Filth scratched his head. There wasn't anything to lose, so why not? Quil shrugged, "Yes," he spoke clearly.
   Quil wasn't sure where his expectations should lie with the fallen star. He felt he should be excited, maybe even ecstatic about having the 'anomaly' the G.I.E. had chased from the Federation wreckage. That anomaly was here on the ship that he had stolen from the G.I.E. However, the synthesized robotic voice certainly lowered his expectations. The voice was this ugly contrast to her beauty, which made a small part of him lose his excitement. On the other hand, he could barely keep still as he waited for her to-
   "AN UNEXPECTED EXCEPTION OCCURED. THERE ARE [fifty-seven] MISSING LIBRARIES. CONTINUING WITH BOOT SEQUENCE MAY RESULT IN UNEXPECTED BEHAVIOR OF THE MODEL. OPERATOR CAN [continue the boot sequence normally], [abort the sequence], OR [plug a compatible visual interface in to review boot logs and boot the launch BIOS in safe mode]."
   Quil's eyes narrowed. Fifty-seven. Fifty-seven missing libraries. What could be missing from her operating system? If it was firmware data or kernel data, he wouldn't have even been able to get the boot sequence this far. It might have been missing registry keys for system operation, which might limit some of her functionality, but in the long run it could permanently damage her. The best course of action he could determine would be to plug his watch in to her and get the boot lo-
   "Continue normally!" Filth shoved Quil out of the way, shouting through his eagerness.
   Quil pulled himself together, lunging at Filth with a raised hand, attempting to hit him, only to be stopped by one strong hand of Filths.
   "You're an idiot," Quil spat, his cowlicks hung low in disgust.
   "Kid, we almost died, like," he thought for a second, "four times just to get to this point. I can't care if you want to poke and prod before stirring sleeping beauty awake."
   Quil's eyebrows narrowed, "Initializing now can -"
   "I don't care, Kid."
   Quil's eyes narrowed further in disgust towards Filth.
   "I haven't broken our promise; I'll still take your little sleepy star to whatever lab we need to." He looked away, jamming his pinky in his ear. "Although getting a model analyzed is a little bit more expensive than a piece of space dust."
   "And what course of action would you have taken had I not found you? Would you have spilled hot tea on the locks?"
   "A promise is only a few words," Filth pinned Quil to the floor with his foot, "and let's face it, now that I am out of that cage, you don't exactly have a lot of leverage for me to hold onto that promise. So I recommend you try not to hold the favor you did for me over my head. Because remember: just because you're holding it over my head doesn't mean you aren't right in front me."
   Quil pushed Filth off of him. "Or maybe you could be less selfish so I wouldn't feel the need to manipulate you with my fav-"
   "Shut up, Kid," Filth snapped.
   Quil's cowlicks lowered sharply as he kept his gaze affixed on Filth, "So you are allow-"
   "Quilt," Filth exclaimed, "or whatever you name is, I forgot. Shut up and look," he grabbed Quil's head, craning his neck towards the now awakening star.
   They watched onward as the fallen star slowly woke from her slumber, her eyelids rising slowly revealing the glowing ocean of breathtaking blue eyes. Eyes that were unfocused from weeks, maybe months, maybe years of sleep.
   Through what was probably the most exhaustive grogginess from such a deep sleep, her eyes lazily looked around the ship until her eyes eventually came to focus on Quil's twin cowlicks where her eyes - very literally - lit up. Perhaps it was a way to acknowledge her new surroundings, or perhaps it was simply there to remind any operator that she is actually an android model. Her eyes remained glowing, reflecting her brightening smile with each moment her eyes remained on those twin cowlicks.
   From her grounded position, she quite ferociously leapt forward, instinctively making Filth flinch far out of her reach as she tackled Quil, grabbing ahold of his cowlicks, "Usagi! Usagi!" She danced with smiling eyes as she held tight to his cowlicks.
   Quil's eyes quickly drooped, annoyed as the awaken star continued to dance with his hair.
   "Get off," Quil spoke harsh, trying to dam the overflowing irritation.
   Her eyes dimmed. "Yes, Rabbit!" She saluted, swiftly returning to a seated position just in front of Quil.
   "Clearly you are awake," Quil muttered.
   The awakened star contrasted his solemn tone with a stark playful "Yes!" And a smile to match her excitement.
   Filth leaned in - still quite a bit surprised at her awakening. "Do you have a name?"
   The awakened star stared blankly at Filth, her eyes unable to sit still, even though she, herself, did. She sat, perhaps thinking. Maybe trying to locate what her name is. Filth, really wasn't entirely sure and the surprised look he had from her awakening slowly changed to a look of confusion as she continued to stare blankly at Filth.
   Quil pushed Filth out of the way. "Do you have a name?" He repeated.
   "Yes!" she exclaimed to Quil with her smiling eyes.
   Filth looked at Quil and after not getting a response from the star, Quil looked at Filth as well, both confused.
   "What is your name?"
   She snapped from her joyful state, "Oh! I mean 'No'." And then back to her smiling self.
   Quil and Filth returned each other's gaze of confusion yet again. "That seems weird," Filth scanned over the awakened star.
   Quil shook his head, thinking for a minute about why she had a missing name. It could have been related to the missing libraries. Perhaps they contained the important metadata associated with her. He decided to test his hypothesis. "Do you know your developer?"
   "Yes!" she paused, her face becoming very stern as she paused to think. "I mean, no." she spoke rather seriously, though, impressively, still with that same playful smile.
   Filth leaned back in. "How can she not know her own developer?"
   Quil shook his head with uncertainty. "She was unfinished."
   The star's eyes danced between Filth and Quil (really, it was Quil's cowlicks more so than Quil himself).
   "Yeah," Filth's eyebrows cocked as he lazily let the gravity (or lack thereof) cradle him, "but name, developer, location, all that stuff seems pretty important to append right away."
   Quil moved his eyes to his subject that shifted and moved impatiently under her energy. "I think Rheiser intended on keeping this project a secret." Quil moved his eyes back to Filth; meanwhile, the star's impatience got the better of her as her eyes darted to the lonely looking bag with a misaligned zipper that sat to one corner of the craft.
   "Wai-wai-wait," Filth was pushed forward by his own surprise, "this -" a finger jabbed towards the star, "is Rheiser's project?"
   Quil's eyebrows parted, "As far as I am aware. He was last seen aboard Unity with a crate reminiscent of the wreckage we pulled her from."
   Filth watched the star as she crept like a cat ready to pounce on that lonely bag in the corner of the ship.
   "Do you have any insight?" Filth spoke softly to himself.
   Quil cocked his head. "What?"
   Filth simply shrugged, his focus not really on Quil, however, he did help Quil's attention as he pointed towards his bag which was moments away of being rifled through by very curious, pale hands.
   "Get out of that!" Quil shouted moving swiftly towards the star to shoo her away.
   She leapt back to the spot where she was sitting before, sitting astute. "Yes, Little Rabbit!" She barked, trying to keep her attention on Quil, though her eyes continued to dance; dancing from Quil to the bag.
   Filth leaned back, again letting the lack of gravity cradle him. "Pets are a large responsibility, you know that, right?"
   A cowlick cocked. Quil turned to Filth.
   "Nothing," Filth tossed his hands up in a shrug. "You got a name for her, Kid?"
   Quil shook his head as he tried to think, moving his gaze back to the awakened star. She tried her best to remain anchored in her spot, but at the same time the gravity of the bags secrets pulled heavily on her arm. She paused a minute, realizing she had been caught, looking towards Quil, she took a minute to think, knowing it would take careful planning to get her out of this situation.
   She unfroze, giving an unconvincing yawn with an equally unconvincing stretch as she quietly shuffled nonchalantly back to her spot, at attention.
   Quil rolled his eyes under flat eyebrows. "Lilli," he spoke staccato.
   The awakened star's (potentially "Lilli's") face lit up with joy.
   "Lilli?" Filth rolled forward in his weightless cradle.
   Lilli's eyebrows narrowed as her gaze darted towards Filth. "I like the name Little Rabbit has given me."
   "I'm not 'Little Rabbit'." Quil bit down sharply before turning his attention to Filth. "What's wrong with Lilli?"
   Lilli turned back towards Quil with her previous delighted excitement.
   Filth shrugged. "I'unno," he rolled a little more forward in his cradle, "I just don't see her as a 'Lilli'."
   She turned towards Filth with puffed cheeks and a displeased 'boo'.
   Filth's nose wrinkled. "How old are you? Act your age."
   The awakened (and sassy) star stuck her tongue out at Filth.
   "Well what name, exactly, would you -" emphasis on 'you', "give her?"
   She turned back to Quil with an eager smile.
   "I'unno," he shoved a pinky in his ear to help clear out some of the gunk around his brain. "Maybe something like Beatrice," he looked away from the rabbit and the star. "What do you think?"
   The star puffed her cheeks out again as she stared rather intense daggers at Filth.
   "I -" Quil paused for consideration.
   Lilli turned her head, "Little Rabbit," her eyebrows parted as she leaned in.
   "I think..." another pause, just a brief one, "I think I like -"

   Lilli knocked Quil to the side. "He likes Lilli!" She stood triumphantly, "Lilli. Lilliiiiii-"
   Quil recovered from the rather impressively powerful hit. "Okay, Lilli it is."
   She jumped, "Yay!" she spoke with such boisterous energy as her eyes lit up (quite literally) a bright blue - perhaps as a way to register the new name, or perhaps, again, it was just reminding the operators she is still an android.
   Filth pressed the girl back into her seat so his lazy drifting could be unobstructed. "She doesn't act like any android I've ever seen," Filth commented as he yet again rolled back into his cradle.
   Quil's cowlicks went flat as he continued to nurse the red mark on his face. "She doesn't act like any person I know."
   And just as Quil was certain he had fully nursed the battle wound, she tackled him in a massive hug. "Thank you, Little Rabbit!"
   Filth cocked an eyebrow. "She really likes the name," he paused looking away for a minute, his eyebrows sinking, "I think it's stupid."
   "Get off." Quil pushed Lilli away, his anger cutting through his words. A boundary was crossed, his personal bubble popped open by this awakened star. She struggled to sit attentively before the grumpy rabbit. "My name is not 'Little Rabbit'. Stop calling me that."
   Like a log lazily drifting down the river current, Filth floated past Quil with a snicker. "Little Rabbit."
   Lilli's eyebrows parted. "But, Rabbit, I don't know your name."
   And still like the lazy log, the current carried Filth back past Quil again. "She has a point, y'know -" he began in a mocking voice, "Little Rabbit."
   "You're the one who should act his age." Quil muttered in a harsh tone towards Filth who was preoccupied dredging out more nose-boulders as he orbited around Quil.
   Quil shook his head, letting out a sigh as his cowlicks perked back up a little. He extended a hand towards Lilli. "Quil Alighieri," he spoke softly.
   As Filth completed another orbit around Quil he pulled his dredging finger out of his nose to give a nonchalant wave towards Lilli. "Filth. Filth Verne," he wiped his dredging tools on his shirt, "you probably don't want to shake my hand."
   Lilli's eyes danced from the lazy Filth 'Verne', to the stern Quil 'Alighieri' and his equally stern, outstretched hand. As her eyes danced between the three points of focus she had, a smile crossed her face. No, not her usual, innocent, overly-energetic smile, but rather a far more humbling smile, one that was happy to take Quil's hand.
   She grasped his hand with both of her hands. "Lilli," a pause while she thought, "Uhm," a little more pause, "Lilli," she repeated with that same humble smile while at the same time bowing in respect. It was a humble display that might have been the necessity of reinforcing her humble smile, but it was very swiftly ruined by her uncontained energy breaking free from the humility. Her bright energy jerked Quil's hands in her overemphasized handshake, pulling him headlong towards her respectful bow, resulting in both colliding their heads together.
   "Looks painful," Filth orbited past the collapsed Quil, "need a hand?" he stretched his dredging tools out towards Quil.
   Quil's cowlicks lowered as he pulled himself up. "No."
   Filth slowed his orbit so that he could keep his eye on the awakened star. "Why would INTAL develop an android like this? She seems too rambunctious to be a useful model to carry out any meaningful task," he leaned in towards her. "Not that I think she would even be able to stay focused on any task assigned to her."
   Quil followed suit, leaning in to get a closer examination of Lilli making her hairs stand on edge as the prying eyes moved their gaze around her. "I can't say," Quil muttered. "I was only made aware of an anomaly the G.I.E. were chasing, not what the anomaly is."
   Filth leaned in even closer, pushing Quil out of his way as he scanned up and down her body. Somewhat clumsy. Energetic. Functionally, pretty useless for any task that involves going anywhere (even if it's just to make breakfast for the model's operator). But there was one thing this all could amount to. Judging by her body; pale skin that only men can dream of and women spend countless amounts of credits to achieve, and the curves to her body that would drive any man and woman mad with desire, and those long slender legs that athletes across the universe would drool over.
   "I got it!" Filth exclaimed, moving away allowing Lilli's hair to relax after such uncomfortable stares. "I think I understand her purpose."
   If there truly was some sort of voice inside of Filth's head, Quil imagined at this point it was saying something along the lines of: "Please don't say it, please don't say it, please don't say it..."
   "It's so simple," he scoffed, so suave with certainty, "She is -" he made as grandiose of a finger jab as he could -"A sex rob-"

   One cold, pale, swift hand swept across his face. "Am not," Lilli spoke in soft harsh tones.
   Quil shook his head lowering it into his palms.
   "Your words say 'no'," Filth recovered, "But your domineering strike says 'oh daddy, yes'."
   She pushed Filth out of his orbit, sticking her tongue out as he slammed into the wall of the ship. "Little Rabbit, I don't like him."
   Quil's eyes lazy drifted to Filth. "I'm still learning to tolerate him." He shrugged, "He's an unfortunate part of the 'crew'" He returned a cold gaze to Lilli, "I'm not Little Rabbit."
   Filth shuffled back into his cradle before eventually finding himself looking at Lilli upside down. "Well, then, what - exactly - do you-" emphasis on 'you', "think her purpose is?"
   Quil's eyes drooped, as did his cowlicks. "I don't know. Perhaps that information is contained within the missing libraries."
   "Well," Filth rolled towards Quil, "we don't have that information."
   Quil's gaze may have been a thousand meters away, but his eyes showed his focus dancing from one thought to the next, trying to figure out the best course of action. "I need you to get me to INTAL."
   Filth sat upright in his cradle, emphasizing his confusion with a cocked eyebrow, "You do realize Miss Rabbit-Lover here is stolen property-"
   "I'm not Property, I'm Lilli." Lilli spoke solemnly.
   "Excuse me," Filth rolled his eyes. "She's a valued product of INTAL who has been removed from their facilities without their consent. They aren't going to be grateful you came back with their stolen mod-"
   "I know," Quil spoke in a solemn hiss. "You said you will take me to any lab if I let you out, and so I want you to take me to INTAL."
   Filth's eye twitched as he looked down on Quil. "I knew I should have waited for someone else to help me out of that cell, but instead I just had to listen to you." He crossed his arms, "I should have just offered him a ton of cash instead of a favor. Never owe someone a favor; it only leads to more trouble."
   "So you will-"
   "Yeah-yeah, I'll take you there."
   Quil looked towards Filth's stern eyes. "Thank you."
   "First," Filth held up a finger as he leaned into Quil, "you might want to tell our little awakened star here that there isn't a cookie in your bag."
   Quil's eyes opened wide as he hastily turned to see Lilli scrounging around Quil's bag, "Lilli!"
   Lilli's eyes widened as well, realizing she had been caught yet again. She tried to put on her best acting performance as she kicked the bag away, "He started it!" She jabbed a finger towards the limp bag.
   Quil lowered his head into his palms.
   "Second," Filth straightened himself up, "Might I remind you I need to make a pit-stop. I have some business I need to attend to on Platinum Star. And, while we are there, you can see about getting her some proper clothes."
   Both Quil and Lilli scanned over the single piece of clothing that clung tight to her torso.
   Filth removed his red jacket and handed it to Lilli. "In the meantime, take this. Platinum Star isn't exactly the kind of place a pretty girl like you would want to walk around dressed like that."
   Lilli raised her hand.
   "Yes," Filth pointed towards her. "You there in the front."
   "Can I wear Little Rabbit's jacket instead?"
   "It's Quil," he hissed towards Lilli.
   "No, his jacket is probably too small for you. Don't worry, though. We'll go to Platinum Star, get this raggedy ass ship repaired while I get some stuff resolved, and you can buy whatever clothing you want."
   Lilli raised her hand again.
   "This isn't a school." Filth rolled his eyes.
   "Can I buy clothes like Little Rabbit's?"
   "Quil -" Quil corrected her.
   "Whatever you want, Lilli."
   She tackled Quil, grabbing ahold of his cowlicks. "I'm going to look just like you, Rabbit!"
   Quil's eyebrows went flat. No matter how hard he tried, he was 'Little Rabbit'.

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