Dreams of Ancient Belka

After months of only ever sleeping in her Nightbell form, Akari has the first dream she can remember! It leads to an interesting discovery.

Date: 2018-10-20
Pose Count: 21
Akari Hayabusa 2018-10-20 01:13:28 99144
It's quiet in Mikoto's warehouse hideout. It's a cool morning, and the sun is just barely starting to rise in the early morning.

The silence is broken by a sudden loud grunt from Akari's room. She was lying on her futon (it's only the seventh or eighth time she's done so in this form), but now she pushes herself into a sitting position. What the hell was that? she says telepathically to Rubindorn. Did you get any of that?

MISTRESS, I BELIEVE YOU JUST HAD A DREAM, her Device replies in Belkan, sitting in the middle of the table.

Akari frowns. What do you mean, I had a dream?


Akari considers this a moment, then gets up, grabs the round bell Storage Device Ritterglocke from her closet, and then sits down heavily at the table and puts Ritterglocke next to Rubindorn. There's a faint hum as a holographic screen appears above the Storage Device.
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-10-20 01:28:21 99145
A room away, Mikoto has been sleeping the night away, hoping to sleep in early the next morning. Something has woken her up, though, and she rolls over in the bed with a sigh. "Alright, alright, I'm up," she mutters, reaching for a robe to put on as she gets up.

The little brooch that is Carnwennan's storage form floats up from the bedside table to affix itself to her collar, and she steps over to the door to check over the building and see what the disturbance was that woke her.
Akari Hayabusa 2018-10-20 01:33:17 99146
Rubindorn sends a brief communication-ping to Carnwennan, and Akari pauses. Oh, whoops! Did I wake you up, Mikoto-chan? she says telepathically. I, um, I had a dream. For the first time, I think. Maybe. She glances down at herself before focusing back on Ritterglocke's screen; she's wearing a simple white nightgown. You can come in.
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-10-20 01:36:37 99147
Mikoto ahhs softly, nodding as she heads out towards the kitchenette to fetch a couple of cups of tea first. Fortunately one of her first purchases was a hot-water fountain for just this purpose. The tea might be bagged, but it's quality in bags.

Tea acquired, she heads into Akari's room to see how she is. "Good morning, love. Did you sleep well?"
Akari Hayabusa 2018-10-20 01:54:03 99149
Akari looks somewhat exhausted. "I'm not sure," she says. "I, um ... I had a dream that I was Clara Meriva, the Knight who programed me. I ... she ... was just sitting around her house on Ancient Belka, talking with her family ... except her father kept turning into Frau Doktor." She shrugs. "Now I'm sort of ... poking at this."

At a mental command, the holographic screen rotates slightly towards Mikoto, showing a long list of statistics in Belkan:

Griffritter Nachtglocke I
General status: immediate corrective action required!
Mission status: Neither Saint Kings nor Belka existed as an institution by the time of activation, rendering that aspect a success by default. Bringing order to the world in accordance with the philosophies of Doppelkreuz is currently on hold.
Programmer: Knight Clara Meriva
Source template: Knight Clara Meriva
Source template self-identification: 3% of maximum safe level
Intrinsic desire for order: 224% of minimum safe level
Self-reflection: 77% of maximum safe level (WARNING)
Gullibility towards superiors: 15% of minimum safe level (DANGER)
Infiltration mode identity separation: 15% (DANGER)

And so on. It's clear that her creators tried to program her so that she'd be a good little minion, but it's equally clear that everything's gone haywire ever since she renounced her "Nightbell" persona.

Akari says, "It's this debug-mode Rubindorn and I found while we were moving." (She spent nearly the full day after "coming out" to Mikoto busily moving things from her apartment in Mitakihara to Mikoto's hideout, just in case the higher-ups at UMBRA reacted badly to Akari trying to leave; this turned out to be baseless worry, but Akari has shown considerable reluctance to move out since then.) "So now I'm ... heh, I'm trying to see if it makes any more sense while I'm sleep-deprived." She shakes her head. "I still have no idea what the 'source template' is or why self-identification is a bad thing ..."
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-10-20 02:02:20 99150
Mikoto hmmms softly, sliding an arm around Akari as she steps close to look at the screen. "It'll be fine," she assures her friend, as she takes in the details.

"Hrm," she muses, tracing a line with a fingertip. "First guess... 'template self-identification' means 'do you think of yourself as this Clara person'."
Akari Hayabusa 2018-10-20 02:09:35 99151
Akari smiles up at Mikoto, and leans slightly against her at the touch. Then she focuses back on the screen, frowning. "... um, no?" she says. There's a pause. "Um. Hang on, what do you mean by that? Because Meriva-san is credited with programming me and my source template in a couple of other places as well ..."
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-10-20 02:11:49 99152
Mikoto Nakajima mms, nodding, comfortable with Akari at her side. "Well, I may just be reading too much sci-fi manga, but I think she may have contributed more than just programming. You 'awoke' with a lot of basic knowledge, how to walk, talk, fight, and so forth. That's more than just programming."
Akari Hayabusa 2018-10-20 02:22:14 99153
Akari just stares at the holographic screen for several moments. The self-identification meter jumps up and down a few times, but never goes above 15%. "... oh," she says finally. "Yeah, uh. That would ... that would explain everything, wouldn't it?" She shakes her head. "I think I ... had ... some ... knowledge about that kind of brain-scan technology." Translation: Clara Meriva knew about that sort of brain-scan technology.

And then she sighs, and the self-identification jumps back down to the vicinity of 2% and stays there. She smiles up at Mikoto. "... I really don't feel like having another ... existential-confusion breakdown," she says. "Or trying to dig too deep into that. I'm Akari Hayabusa, and that's final!"
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-10-20 02:27:05 99154
Mikoto nods, smiling, and squeezes Akari to her warmly. "So you are, my dearest. So you are." She reaches up with her free hand to poke at the 'template self-identification' meter. "Won't be needing that one anymore."
Akari Hayabusa 2018-10-20 02:32:29 99155
Akari giggles. "I don't know how to edit it," she says. "... You know, Ritterglocke is just full of things like this screen." She shrugs, and turns it off. "Notes, and diagnostics, and all kinds of stuff, all of which basically just took it for granted that Meriva-san or other people in Doppelkreuz were gonna be using it." She shrugged. "Because who else would have activated me, right!?"

She leans in and kisses Mikoto's cheek. "... I just feel really lucky things ended up the way they did, though," she says softly. "I mean, it hasn't been great most of the time, but ... it could've been so much worse."
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-10-20 02:39:07 99156
"I guess they failed to take circumstances into account when setting this up, then." Mikoto hmms softly. Then blushes faintly and turns to kiss Akari's cheek in return. "At least you're here and well, and have someone you trust to help you work through this."

She looks further down the list. "Sankt Kaiser and Belka being gone is listed as a 'success'? Odd..." She hmms again. "I wouldn't worry too much about those last two in red... I think you want those as low as you can get them."
Akari Hayabusa 2018-10-20 02:50:39 99157
Akari shrugs. "Well, I mean, they couldn't have anticipated that I'd get blasted into the Dusk Zone for a thousand years," she says. "And my original purpose was to over throw them so Doppelkreuz could take over." Akari smiles, a blush crossing her own cheeks, and she gently wraps one arm around Mikoto's waist. "But ... yeah," she murmurs. "Thank you."
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-10-20 02:58:39 99158
"Most likely," Mikoto agrees. "Unless someone was just trying to get you away from them..." She shrugs and leans into Akari. "So to heck with Doppelkreuz. You're Akari, not whatever they wanted you to be."
Akari Hayabusa 2018-10-20 03:07:28 99159
Akari shrugs and nods, nestling in against Mikoto. "Yeah ..." She looks into Mikoto's eyes. "... Honestly, it's almost kind of weird ... just being my own person," she says. "I mean, I'm still sort of getting used to it." She relaxes. "No master, no following a purpose I created, just ..." She smiles. "... being someone my girlfriend and my sister can approve of, basically."

She pauses. "... okay, I know I said I wasn't going to try to dig into this, but wow Meriva-san's family must've been important to her," she says. "No wonder I was so desperate for that kind of connection ... and my first real dream I can remember was about 'family' ..."
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-10-20 03:21:19 99160
Mikoto nods. "Being someone you yourself can approve of, too." She squeezes Akari again, leaning her cheek on the girl's shoulder. "Family is a lot of what makes us who we are," she muses. "I'm glad to be your friend."
Akari Hayabusa 2018-10-20 03:23:18 99161
Akari nods. "That, too!" she says. "... I mean, I'm still sorting all that out, but ..." She shrugs. "Just going along with my general sense of Akari-ness seems to be a good start." She smiles. "'Friend', huh?" she says, a note of teasing in her voice. "I'm glad to be your 'friend', too!" She leans in and lightly kisses Mikoto on the lips.
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-10-20 03:38:51 99162
Mikoto smiles softly and leans in to return the kiss, both arms slipping around Akari's waist to hug the girl close as she lingers over the kiss.
Akari Hayabusa 2018-10-20 03:43:26 99163
Akari holds the kiss for a moment, then breaks it as she tries and fails to stifle a yawn. "... wow, it really is early, huh?" she says. "... Wonder if I should try to get back to sleep ..."
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-10-20 03:54:29 99164
Mikoto hmmmms and then it morphs into a yawn of her own. "Or we could sit on the couch and cuddle a bit..."
Akari Hayabusa 2018-10-20 03:55:34 99165
Akari giggles. "Yeah, that works," she says, and yawns again. "... I'll probably want to get in touch with Sakura-imoutochan and have her try to get someone who can purify me ..." She gives Mikoto a gentle squeeze. "But ... later."