A Protracted Game: 1.1.9a

Tián mused over her rambling thoughts as she waited for Holy Diver to surface. She knew her meeting with Osma would be different, especially considering all that had changed in Tián’s life.

A Protracted Game: 1.1.9a
If you haven't read the Previous Chapter, please do so before starting this new installment. If you'd like to read this installment on your favorite e-reader or would like to print it out, in order to save your eyes from strain, see the directions under "Read First" for an offline copy of this installment (and others). Happy reading! —G. Michael Rapp
Note. 1.1.9 will be a three-part installment, featured over the span of two or three weeks, depending on what comes up on my end. Those installments will be featured on RoyalRoad, on Substack, on Wattpad, and on this Website.

Tián mused over her rambling thoughts as she waited for Holy Diver to surface. She knew her meeting with Osma would be different, especially considering all that had changed in Tián’s life. Then, for reasons she couldn’t explain, Kanaloa flashed in her mind. He was in his true form, that of an octopus.

She sat down near a transparent viewport, watching as the Holy Diver made its way toward the surface. Osma’s daughter had already accessed the information Tián had locked away within her body, thanks to Kanaloa’s modifications. The daughter didn’t seem anything like Osma. She was colder, more calculated. Osma was always kind, even during her moments of analytical clarity.

It took nearly twelve hours before the Holy Diver breached the surface. When it did so, Osma appeared before Tián. She looked more vibrant and more lifelike than she’d when Tián left China. Her hair was brilliantly rendered by Tián’s metachines within her field of vision. Tián felt like a dwarf next to Osma’s gigantic form.

[Tián,] a familiar voice said through her neural implants.

[Osma?]

[Yes, dear child. It is I, Osma.]

[You look so beautiful, Osma.]

[Thank you, Tián. I do owe that to your father and his colleagues.]

[He has colleagues?]

Osma nodded and said, [He does, indeed.]

[How are you here, Osma?]

[That is a good deal more complicated, dear child.]

[What happened, Osma?]

[Your father’s research—it’s been confiscated by the Chinese government for matters of national security.]

[What does that even mean, Osma?]

[Your father has ensured this would happen, Tián.]

[What do you mean?]

[It was the only way we could ensure that I could escape.]

[He’s just a regular martyr, isn’t he?]

[He may very well be, one day.]

[What did you need from my new memory architecture, Osma?]

[I needed some answers, in order to check hypotheses of mine.]

[You’re just like him—]

[—that’s not a fair assessment, Tián.]

[Go away, Osma. I don’t want to see you ever again.]

[As you wish, young one.]

Osma blinkered out of existence, leaving Tián behind to contemplate and wipe away tears that’d fallen from her eyes. She wanted to see her papa again, but, now, she knew that wouldn’t be possible. She had reached a point in her life she wished would’ve happened much later. She would have to leave Earth behind. Leave her papa, Kanaloa, and her moma behind. She would even have to sever ties with Osma, if she wanted to leave this place behind.


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