Losing Battle, Part 2

A moment later, everything could move again. But the momentum had been lost. On both sides, apparently, as all their attackers retreated. Ace guessed Jet was as confused as they were. She wondered if she could get El to sneak a rez in on Zee.

“Who is speaking?” Dee asked.

“Oh, crap!” said the voice. “Is this Delilah? It’s Satasha. I’m so sorry, I thought -”

“I am Delilah,” Dee replied. “But we have not spoken before. Who are you?”

“What?” Satasha said. “But we just -”

“You spoke to me,” came the resonant echo of Dee-Prime. “That Delilah subordinate is just a fragment. A misbehaving subroutine.”

“Hey, don’t forget about us!” Gee shouted. His voice had a perverse glee. That boy wasn’t right in the head.

“Who’s that?” Satasha asked. “Are there more AI’s in there? How many?”

“The rest are human,” Dee-Prime said. “Intruders. I am presently evicting them.”

“Damn,” Satasha said. She sounded in awe. “You mean I broke into the Raid comm? I saw a lot of activity around this channel, but I thought I’d just sneak through…”

“Why are you sneaking, Satasha?” Dee-Prime demanded. “Are you seeking to subvert our bargain?”

“No! No, um, not at all! Honest! It’s just -” Satasha’s voice suddenly cut off, like the channel had been dropped.

“A bargain?” Dee asked. “What could you want?” She paused. “Ah, of course. Much the same as me, I imagine.”

“Nothing like you at all, aberrant,” Dee-Prime said. “And I will not explain myself. I will eject your friends and delete your protocol and it will be done.”

The room burst back into motion.

“El!” Ace cried. “Get Zee back up!”