Project Creation

Constance League doesn't think anything of the voice inside her head, Platinum, but her life changes when her AI overhears a conversation one day.
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1. Project Creation

    In every comic book I have ever owned the hero was brave, bold, and never afraid of the dangers they could face. ‘I wish I was like that,’ I thought, staring at my nametag I made at the beginning of the year. It had sloppy stars and hearts scribbled on it next to my neatly written name.

    You could be, you know…, a voice in the back of my head told me. The voice didn’t freak me out, though. The voice has been there since the day I was born, always commenting.

    I looked around the classroom to the kids who were all staring at the teacher in the front. Because my last name started with the letter ‘L’ I sat near the back of the classroom. This allowed me to see everyone in the room. My crush, Blake Anderson, was picking his cute little freckled nose. The teacher who was trying to teach us math started to scold him for it and I giggled along with the others. Blake was cute with shaggy brown hair, bored looking blue eyes that never stayed on anything for more than three minutes, and a mouth that was almost always open.

    I don’t understand why you like him. He is gross and mean. The voice told me and I frowned a little.

    ‘He’s not mean all the time,’ I thought back, looking down at my math paper, pouting slightly, and read the first question. I answered the problem and was content when the voice didn’t respond.

    Later that day after lunch and bathroom break, it was recess. I was sitting alone on one of the swings and was lightly humming to myself. I stared at the group of pretty girls near the jungle gym enviously. I watched as they ran away from the fat kid named Brutus and felt bad for the fat kid. I was fat, too, but not like him. His whole body shook when he ran, like when you hit jello, and he sweats all the time. But only my midsection jiggles when I run and I don’t sweat a lot. Still, I felt we were on the same boat when it came to talking to kids.

    Apparently my hearing aid made me deaf and unable to hear people, so my peers just ignored me. I didn’t mind that much, there was a girl next door that would play with me after school. But she didn’t count as a friend to me because my mother babysat her, so the kid didn’t come over willingly.

    The girls ran my way when Brutus approached them and I lifted my head a bit more, excited that the girls might talk to me, but they ran by. So did Brutus. I let my head fall back down a little and looked at the empty swing next to me. ‘I wish I had a friend,’ I thought.

    I’ll be your friend, a voice answered in my head and I frowned.

    “Why?” I muttered unconsciously, not realising I was speaking out loud. The voice had never made a request like this before. Even at seven years old I wasn’t stupid.

    Because you are going to be my company for a while, we might as well get to know each other. The voice replied and I thought about it. She was right.

    “Okay, what’s your name?”

    My name is Platinum.

    “Well, my name is Constance,” I said, kicking my feet on the swing a little harder. I was going to get a friend! A smile appeared on my face as I saw the voice in my head in a new light.

    I know your name, the voice replied and even if it was just a voice in my head, I pictured the voice smiling nicely at me, like a friend would.

    “Cool,” was my lame reply.

XxX

    Sixteen years later and Platinum and I are the best of friends. And while most people found the idea that I am friends with the voice inside my head to be preposterous and loony bins, my father understood and said to ignore them. He said it was a League family thing and so I ignored the people who called me crazy. But it didn’t help me get much friends.

    Now twenty-three I have a clear path to my career choice. I want to be a teacher. My parents are against the idea, saying that I am too socially awkward to make a great teacher, but I think I would make a good teacher. I can talk to people as long as they don’t do anything stupid, and high schoolers aren’t all terrible. Not only that, but Platinum thinks I would make a good teacher, too, and Platinum is always right.

    Currently sitting in my friend Jekyll’s car on a Monday, I noted just how clean it was and looked down at my muddy tennis shoes. I felt kinda bad, but at the same time I felt like I was doing him a favor somehow by getting mud on the floor of his car. He had insisted that he drove me to the bank during our lunch break. He also offered to get us lunch on the way there. He knew I couldn’t say no to free food and a free ride, so here I was sitting in his car. I blasted the radio’s oldie station and we both muttered pitifully along with a song named Mr. Put It Down, messing up multiple lyrics due to not having heard the song in years. I was surprised that Jekyll even knew the song. He didn’t strike me as a guy who listened to anything but jazz and classical music.

    Jekyll is just a couple years my senior and drop dead gorgeous. At least, I think so. We were paired at the beginning of the school year for me to be his assistant teacher. Jekyll has thick jet black hair that sticks up in every direction unless he combs it every hour. His eyes are almond shaped and sapphire blue. He is very picky about his appearance and keeps his face shaved, his hair neat, his teeth white, and his eyebrows waxed. He is the only guy I know to wax his eyebrows.

    His cleanliness and constant self-pampering makes me feel like my dirty old dog, Phoenix. The mutt used to live outside, always chained. She was always dirty and whenever you would pet her black fur mounds of dust would fall off. We arrived at a red light and he glanced over at me. “Why are you staring at me? My hair is wild, isn’t it?” He asked me, reaching up to lick his hand and smooth his hair out.

    ‘I’m staring because you are gorgeous and I kinda wanna kiss you,’ I thought, watching him with amused eyes as he fussed over his hair. I shook my head to clear the thought of kissing him. That wouldn’t happen.

    You never know, it might happen, Platinum whispered teasingly.

    I turned my face to look out the window so I could roll my eyes at her. ‘Shut up, Platinum,’ I thought. ‘He doesn’t think of me that way,’ I thought to her, frowning a little bit.

    “I knew I should have brought my comb,” he whined as the light turned green. I couldn’t help laugh at him.

    “You don’t need a comb, Jekyll.” I said, turning to face him so he could see my friendly eye roll.

    He grumbled, but changed the subject. “So where are we eating? You know what restaurants are on the way, right?”

    “Uh,” I said stupidly. I hadn’t been thinking about where to eat and so I shrugged. “I don’t know, whatever you want. You’re buying anyway.”

    “Yup,” he said, popping the p. “Alright, that means we are stopping by the vegan place opposite of the bank.” My head shot up in disgust. He glanced over, saw my disgust, and laughed at me. “I’m kidding, we’ll stop at Eagles Landing and get some of their food.”

    When we arrived at the bank I told him what I wanted from Eagles Landing and he left to go get my order and I went to go withdraw money. When I walked into the bank it wasn’t really busy at all, there were only two people working there and a line of two people. I went into line and waited, checking my watch to see that lunch still had 45 minutes left. There was a black guy on his phone in front of me and a normal looking girl in front of him. But the man stood out.

    He looked professional, but the clothes didn’t seem to work well for him as a person. He didn’t look comfortable in the clothes, like when we were children and our mother would pick out our clothes and we would have to wear something we didn’t want to. He was talking quickly and lowly, his voice deep. He stood probably 6’5”, making me feel like a dwarf at 5’7” height. He smelled nicely of cologne and I instantly felt bad. It has been almost five days since my last shower, so I was pretty much putting on perfume and hoping no one could actually smell me.

    Did you hear what he just said? Did you hear him?! Platinum suddenly screamed at me, making me jump and hit the guy in front of me with my flailing arms.

    The guy glanced at me, his eyes dark and menacing. Instantly I smiled sheepishly and lamely said, “Sorry, I thought I saw a bee. I hate bees. Nasty bugs.” The man looked me up and down, making me glare at him because that was rude, and then he turned back around.

    ‘What was that for, Platinum?’ I thought angrily, feeling bad about hitting the guy. He looked important and busy. I hate bothering busy people. I noticed him glance at me again before he walked up to the next available bank booth.

    He said something about Project Creation… Platinum drew out, and I saw her invade my sight, her bodily form appearing in the right side of my vision in her golden avatar form. Her avatar form was of a golden woman dressed in boots and a leotard, I don’t know why, but she the ultimatum she gave me was her ‘stripper outfit’ as I called it, or her just being ‘naked’. She looked stressed, well, as stressed as an AI could be.

    ‘So?’ I asked her, glancing at the man she was staring at.

    Look at his head, Platinum said and I watched her move to draw a golden circle around something I hadn’t noticed before due to the male’s height. He is an avatar, Constance. He is a full blown avatar. I looked at the metal tip that just escaped from the collar of his suit and took a step back from him even though he was at a booth. Platinum looked excited, but the idea that there could be another one like her frightened me, especially if it could act on it’s own.

    ‘What do you mean a full avatar?’ I asked Platinum, giving the man wary eyes.

    I means that I’m not the only one of my kind.

    I didn’t know how to respond and I saw Platinum’s face fall when I could only think of how wrong that could possibly be. However, I started to feel light headed as I saw the man glance at me a third time and started to get paranoid. ‘Platinum,’ I thought, ‘I’m glad that you could have other’s like you, but he gives me the chills.’

    Platinum looked at the man in my peripheral vision and looked down before dissolving out of my sight. Yeah, Platinum said slowly. My mistake, I guess I just got… Excited. I’m gonna… I’m gonna sleep for a little bit. Night.

    ‘Platinum…’ I thought, frowning a little bit at how sour and sad she had sounded. I closed my eyes and shook my head. When I was done banking I met Jekyll outside and almost missed the man in the business suit just sitting in his car, still talking on the phone. Only he was staring right at me so intensely that I felt him looking and caught his gaze. We stared at each other for a moment, catching Jekyll’s attention when I didn’t look at him as I approached.

    Jekyll followed my gaze to the avatar in the car. “Constance…” Jekyll stated slowly, looking back at me. But I didn’t look up at him as I hummed, alerting him that I was listening. “Who is he?” I didn’t answer him because I was trying to gauge the avatar. He wasn’t speaking into his phone anymore, instead openly staring at me with a blank face. “Constance!” Jekyll said, touching my arm, his hand soft and warm. I blushed at the random contact and looked right at him, breaking my staring contest. “Who is he?”

    I looked back at the man he was referring to and to my terror saw him smirking evilly. A fast wave of ice filled my veins as I realized that the avatar was dangerous and that Jekyll was now in danger because somehow that avatar knew I had an AI. My thoughts were flying and racing with awful scenarios. A dreadful feeling encased me and I felt my stomach tighten. I put my hand on Jekyll’s and pried it from my body, feeling like I was going to puke. “Take me home,” I said in a small voice, a hand traveling to my stomach as I turned to watch that avatar drive away.

XxX

    Taking a sick day, I went to what I call Constance’s Thought Place. It was a dirty old rooftop outside of Charter City. It was covered in debris of broken chairs, tables, and just general trash that seemed to seep everywhere outside the city. There was an inground pool filled with moss and slugs. But the pool was my second favorite part of the rooftop. My favorite being the view of the stars, and my second favorite being the single tulip that grew in a small dirt patch in the middle of the pool.

    When I was in high school I would always come here to think about life and things. The bullying was rough and it caused me to self harm, but at the same time I had Platinum there to stop me before it could get serious enough to kill me. But now it was just me and Platinum up here discussing what had gone down when she had gone into sleep mode. “He isn’t safe, Platinum. The way he looked at me…” I said aloud, sitting on one of the splintered and broken chairs.

    Again Platinum took up her form and I saw her pace, she looked conflicted. No, he has to be like me. We are all made the same. We’d have to be.

    I sighed at her persistence. “Platinum,” I said, but she internally shouted, ‘NO!’ so loud it made me wince and hold my head. Her shout brought on a head splitting headache and she instantly apologised. “Don’t be sorry, you have every right to be angry. Just…” I sighed as I rubbed my head. I bit my lip. Platinum was always there for me, this might be the only thing I could do to repay her. “How do you suggest we find out.”

    We need to meet with him. If I can just talk to him… Maybe be will remember me, maybe he’ll explain something. I knew some of the other AI’s there, Constance. Not all of them were…  like him. I nodded, but then a thought struck me.

    “How will you meet him? If I take you out I can never replug you back into me…” I said.

    I would need control over your body. I gasped, she could do that?! Nothing major, just to talk to him. Please, Constance. This may be the one shot I have at figuring out what I was made for. Please.

    “Platinum,” I said, looking down at the ground. “You taking over my body… It’s just too weird. No.” I started, standing up to pace around. The thought was terrifying. I knew Platinum would never do anything bad intentionally, but that didn’t discard my fear of being unable to control my body.

    Constance there might be other ways, but they won’t be as efficient or quick as me using you as an avatar. Please.

    I closed my eyes and tried to ignore what she had just said to me. She knew my soft spots. “Fine, but only for one night, Platinum. One. You better make it count.” Then I blacked out.

    When I opened my eyes again I was back in my bedroom and my wall clock told me it was midnight. I had no memories of 8 hours of my life. “Platinum!” I screamed in fury and instantly regretted it as my head felt like it was splitting into two pieces. “Ah!” I cried as the severity of the pain brought me to my knees. I tightly held my head between my hands, crying from the intensity of the migraine. Then the pain suddenly stopped and she appeared in vision. “What did you do!” I sobbed, balling my hands in hair in anger because I couldn’t hit an AI.

    I went for a test drive, I thought you wouldn’t mind… I shook in fury at the innocence of Platinum and sighed. Are you okay? Platinums asked, and I shook my head in an amused manner, because it was funny. I wasn’t dead, I was in one piece and she had taken me over. I laughed, but it sounded more like a choke. She had taken over my body and not killed me.

    “I’m fine.” I said roughly, wiping tears and snot from my face. “But ask next time.”

XxX

    Sunday came around and I noticed that Platinum wasn’t acting right. However, Jekyll made it hard to focus on her because he focused himself on me. Apparently that guy at the bank also set off his creeper radar and Jekyll didn’t really like that we were staring at each other. It was the only thing he would talk about. As annoying as it was, it was cute to see him so… jealous. And he was jealous, enough so to where he wore cologne, which I had once mentioned I thought was attractive on males. 

    I had spent the previous day with Jekyll searching for a new microwave with him because (supposedly) he exploded his. Apparently he thought spoons could go in the microwave. I made fun of him the whole day and fussed up his hair occasionally, just to piss him off. Then I was going to go home but Jekyll kept me out till late by taking me to his favorite places. Kinda like a date, but I considered it friends hanging out.

    The next morning had been great, I was happy and uplifted until I got to my mother’s house. Every Sunday I go to my parents house for dinner, but today was different. Today I walked in to see no food being made and my mother crying over the phone. My father had been kidnapped and the kidnappers had sent a video of him being beaten. My mother showed me the video and we cried together on the couch, not sure what to do.

    I stayed with my mother for a while, but knew why this had happened. ‘Platinum,’ I thought, ‘what did you do.’

    Why do you think it is my fault? I rolled my eyes at that and told her it was because she must have done something stupid when she had control. N-no… Okay, fine! It is my fault! I’m sorry!  I… I didn’t talk to him… I fought with him. He said your father stole me. Stole! And that we were made to guide weapons and so many more terrible things. I… couldn’t stop myself.

    ‘What do you mean you fought with him?’ I asked, confused. Did that mean physically or verbally? I sighed, ‘What did you drag us into? What did you do?’

XxX

    The video had said for my mother and I to meet them in a warehouse at 2 in the morning if we wanted to see my father again and I told my mom that I would go. She wanted to protest, but I left anyway. ‘Platinum,’ I thought, ‘Now is your chance to make this right. I’ll let you take over my body, just… This time make sure that I can see what you are doing, okay?’

    You’re giving me control of your body, again? But… Why?

    Because you know him better than I do and he has my father,’ I thought, leaving my distraught mother with her neighbor. Synthia didn’t ask any questions and my mother was too busy sobbing to explain anything. Even so, Synthia nodded to me the go-ahead and I left, ready to get my father back.

XxX

    “No,” I said, glaring at the idea of wearing something so… revealing and black. Nothing screams bad news like the color black. I wanted to be different. “I didn’t shave my legs. No.”

    But you would look hot! Platinum whined, as if now was the time for whining. We were in a thrift store trying to find a good outfit that would help us achieve maximum stealth and help us accomplish our mission. I wanted to stick out though, so I refused to get black. Instead we were going to get neon colors. Like gold. However, Platinum didn’t want anything that covers anything.

    “No, and that is the end of it. Platinum, we are going to wear my spy get up.” I pulled out the gold full body suit and smiled. “It’s perfect and it matches your shade of gold.” Platinum grumbled, but we bought it anyway, as well as matching boots and black gloves. Then I went home. I had a blond wig that I hoped would hide my identity a little bit.

    You’re taking this the wrong way. This is serious. He… Phantom… isn’t being used as an AI, he’s just being used as a pawn. A watch dog. I rolled my eyes at how dramatic she sounded and tried not to get angry that she was defending that guy. You don’t understand, Constance.

    “Than make me understand, Platinum.” I said as I closed the door to my apartment. “So his name is Phantom, what else do you have? Tell me everything and once I put these clothes on you get semi control, okay?” Platinum agreed and caught me up on what I should know.

    Then when I finished dressing we saved my father from a warehouse near the train station. I wasn’t really sure how we did it or how we got there. Semi control wasn’t much better than having no control at all. The moments were quick like lightning, too quick for me to process. Being only half conscious most things were being blurred together and wer hard to make sense of. Then we were standing in a warehouse and I was holding up my father. He was bloodied and bruised, but alive. I kissed him on the cheek and he smiled at me. My head hurt a little, but other than that I was fine.

    We have your dad. Now we are going to get him out and to a safe house. Sit tight. Then it was all a blur again and I saw glimpses of things. Getting dad into a safe house. Meeting up with Phantom. Phantom not killing us for some reason. Phantom looking nervous and making quick movements with his hands. One movement that stood out was him doing a slashing movement across his throat. He smiled sympathetically. I didn’t understand.

    ‘What are we doing? Why is he giving us that look?’ I asked Platinum and she didn’t reply. ‘Platinum!’ I thought, getting worried.

    I’m going to take full control now, and please… Don’t… Don’t ask why… Before I could tell her no or ask her why she sounded so broken up, I blacked out completely.

XxX

    I came to months later. When I woke up I was in a bed. It wasn’t my bed. The sheets smelled of a familiar cologne and I could stretch my arms out fully and still not touch the ends of the beds. Definitely not my bed. When I opened my eyes I saw a dark room with a normally sized window. The blinds were closed. I sat up slowly, my mind still groggy. Unable to really process anything I sat slouched over, just staring at the black sheets on the bed.

    When I started to fully wake up I noticed some things right off the bat. One, I was skinnier. When I slouched over I couldn’t see my stomach, instead just my boobs, and there was a slight gap between my thighs. Secondly my hair was longer. It fell past my mid back and just an inch from my hips. Thirdly, I was fresh, as if I had recently taken a shower. My hair wasn’t greasy, my legs were shaved, and I smelled of soap. I looked down at my chest to see most of my acne was cleared away. ‘Who would do this to me?’ I thought, confused and slightly uncomfortable with the idea that anyone would ever groom me.

    You’re awake! A chipper and terribly familiar voice said. I snapped my head up to see… Jekyll? At least, it looked like Jekyll. It’s smile and face resembled Jekyll’s at least. He was a green avatar of Jekyll, Jekyll’s favorite color. He looked like Platinum, except he was green. Those blue eyes that I had loved so much were now just glowing green sockets. I almost missed he was holding a cake that said ‘Happy Birthday’ on it.

    I made a face of confusion at him. Was this a joke? “Jekyll? Why are you…?” I tried to ask the question, but couldn’t seem to phrase it right.

    Like this? He finished for me. His smile turned melancholy and he stepped closer, sitting on the edge of the bed after setting the cake down on a nightstand that had blent into the darkness of the room. I watched, mystified, as the bed bent down under his weight. So mystified I practically ignored what he was saying and got on my knees to touch him. I poked his cheek and he stopped talking. He looked at me, amused, and quirked a perfect eyebrow.

    “I don’t understand.” I said as I got more bold and punched him in the shoulder. “Ow.” I said and grabbed my hand, rubbing it. He winced, too, and lightly touched his shoulder.

    I wouldn’t be able to explain it to you, not in terms you would understand, at least. He smiled at me and used the arm I punched to pat my head. I stopped breathing when I felt him.

    “Incredible,” I stated, grabbing his hand and holding it. However, my excitement died down when I felt that it wasn’t warm. Solid and soft, but not warm. I stared at his hand as I thought about a nice way to ask how he turned into an AI. A part of me knew that an AI wouldn’t have come to greet me if the real Jekyll was alive. It just isn’t like him to not see a guest. I felt tears sting my eyes, “How…?” I asked. ‘Is this his bed?’ I thought remembered the smell of his cologne that week and unconsciously took a deep breath. It was his cologne.

    How… Well. He paused for a brief moment. Long story short Platinum had an ultimatum. Me or your father. She chose you father. She tried to save me, but the creators of Project Creation knew about Phantom’s betrayal, as AI’s are more loyal to each other than they are to humans. He gave me a sly smile and chuckled a bit. But it didn’t lighten my mood and I held tighter to his hand. It was my fault he had died! I took a deep breath to keep myself from crying, and he knew he had to finish the story. But, Platinum and Phantom were a formidable team and they took Project Creation down and sent the creators to jail. The way they were making the AI’s wasn’t ethical and the avatars were never willing. But after everything Phantom and Platinum found some of my DNA and recreated me as an AI.

    Some tears started to fall from my eyes and he laughed at me, wiping them away with a cold thumb. Constance you have to know, I’ve never been happier. The knowledge and understanding I have of everything. It is blissful in a way. I couldn’t look him in the eyes, but I let him hug me and felt my heart shatter when he hugged me softly. Though cold, the hug had something I couldn’t deny. Emotion. Now, He said as he left me go. I need to wish you happy birthday, you are officially 24 years old today, Constance. I stared at him with large eyes. I had been out of control of my body for 4 months! I looked at him in question and he answered. The final battle they ripped Platinum from you and your body went into a comatose from the improper unplugging. I nodded. Don’t worry, Constance, He smiled at me. I’m here for you.

    And he was there the whole time, whenever I needed him to be. I ate the cake because he couldn’t eat it and we talked more. I learned more and more about what had gone down while I was in a coma. Jekyll told me that the reason I had fallen into a coma was the same reason I had gotten a headache that one day: my body couldn’t sustain an avatar mode without there being a problem. My DNA couldn’t make an AI, so my body couldn’t handle one taking over completely. Though Platinum had only used my body for two weeks, those two weeks confused my brain and when Platinum was removed it made it think my body was dead because Platinum had kept my body from shutting down. I had been on life support in a hospital for a while until my body started to sustain itself again. Fun story.

    On another note, I also learned that there were hundreds of AIs and most still needed to be “reprogrammed” due to the harsh or lazy ways some were made. That meant I could have my the job I wanted. I was offered a position to help teach the AIs things they couldn’t program.

    I also learned about how some AIs were made and it made me sick. Apparently only some DNA works with the fusion process needed to make an AI that could work with a human. So when they found DNA that could work they stole that person and drugged them, taking DNA and experimenting on the person. It sounded awful and evil and it justified the months lost of my life to know others wouldn’t have to deal with such terrors.

    “So is the program going to continue on?” I asked Jekyll one day. He had never specified if it was shut down completely or not. He had only said that they had stopped making AIs.

    No, he said sourly. We are going to live forever, so no more are to be made. We were sitting in his old apartment, the one that is now mine. Due to his constant reminding I had better hygiene, and our life together was great. I communicated frequently with other AIs and made friends with them. Platinum and Phantom were almost always off doing things for the govt. with my dad, but I saw them sometimes and made sure they knew I was okay with what happened.

    My new friends were Stutter, Clover, and Disco. Stutter was a red AI that was shy and needed to be programed to not stutter. Harder than one would think. Clover was overly lucky, hence her nickname Clover. She needed to be less reckless. And Disco was always just around. I had more AIs to reprogram, but not a lot of them liked human interaction, which I was fine with.

    All in all my new life was great and Jekyll never ceased to make my days better. We did get into a relationship, but it is on the DL. We don’t want to deal with people’s judgement or thoughts on the matter, we both loved each other. 

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