Terry lay wrapped in his bunk blanket, his head jammed half into his pillow, pushed back against the back wall as he could go. He'd pulled down the privacy screen almost all the way. Without Mom running the fans and filters it would be dangerous to sleep with it locked down. But the temperature in the cabin outside dropped precipitously once the sun was down and even his regular coat hadn't been warm enough.
Not that he would have wanted Mom to zip up again even if he could get her attention. It was horrifying to be locked into an inert shell with no way out that he could control, though the manual had mentioned emergency break-outs. Those were damaging to Mom and would delay their getting under way.
They were heading to someplace called 'Lainz', though Eshmaeel had been appalled at where they'd ended up in the desert.
The wind howled around the edge of Mom's open door and under the screen, moaning. *seed activation. Terence Arthur Cameron, identifier. Prime chameleon screen activation. Low power.
The seed blossomed in his head, slowly, gently. A single code-burst to the moon, now visible above should he look, downloaded all of his waiting program in a tiny, hopefully hardly noticeable blip, shutting it down behind him.
He set his codes to mirror reflect any kind of strange code and put up three layers of 'pretend to crash and burn' firewall in case any of Prime's monsters found it. Then he paused before he went any further. Waited. It was as though he could see himself encased in his control bubble, his code around him, pinging around Mom.
*Terry.* Gerald's voice recording was very tired. *I am recording this for when you connect into your own code. I am assuming you have accessed coding somehow, with all your wild courier friends. I disconnected Mom from Prime years ago and I've been down here in the bowels of the lab, bellyaching to a machine, while you rose up to go as far out as the moon. I envied you, little brother. That's beside the point.*
*You connected. Excellent. Mom is now ceeded to you. Possession code XG6-bb-4545-222-333-Xx-a DNA code as follows [a signal squeal of part of their shared DNA]. She is gaining both knowledge and intelligence and I like her a great deal better than the damned quisling robot horse that Prime so graciously gave me, that I simply must ride regularly or he will suspect me of avoiding it.*
So you stole Mom and now I have been given stolen goods. You know, brother, I quite like your thinking. Prime doesn't deserve a selfless vehicle like Mom. She's a mechanism, true, but I personified Station. I was starting to hate Station, because I knew she was not on my side. Such a human reaction.
*Once you get out... take the boys back to their homes and find a place for you to settle, ask Mom for the rest of the recordings if you like. I don't think there will be a way to broadcast through to me directly, without alerting Prime and having his wrath descend upon you, both literally and figuratively. Usually he likes to kill people at a distance, without ever having to think about it or dirty his hands. He likes to think of them, not as people but unfit cell cultures that are refusing to obey his lab rules.*
*One last note. Perrin II didn't just stomp off in a huff after a family set to. He really left because his dear old dad was trying to kill him, thinking he was behind a significant assassination attempt. He wasn't, as far as I know, but he was just a child then, really.*
*I'm afraid that Perrin the First still hasn't forgiven him and is luring him back with 'let's make up, lad, prodigal son, you're still my Heir, of course, I'm not well and not long for this world [which is bullshit but..] come home all is forgiven'. I told you that he planned to use my research to make young Perry compliant and now I'm afraid he'll retreat to plan B which is kill him.*
Click. End of recording. Dated: ten days ago.
The warmth was finally building up in his bunk and he actually found himself sleepy. His code was woken up and active. Tomorrow he should be able, carefully, to help Mom fix herself, though he'd be careful to ask her permission, since he'd made such a big stink about personal autonomy and free will and so forth.
She still didn't quite understand what he meant. He'd have to work on that some when she came back online.