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RP: YSS Kaiyō Pre-Mission Thirteen: Robotsukiau

Noodlewerfer

Well-Known Member
RP Date
YE 40
RP Location
Gemini Star Fortress
Gemini Star Fortress

A message would meet Chlorate through the MEGAMI's chiming voice while the ship was stationed at Gemini Star Fortress, above Hanako's World.

She said to the bot, "Chusa Hoshi would like to see you on the planet."

Chlorate beeped and looked up, trying to locate the source of MEGAMI's voice. "The planet? How do I reach the planet?" she asked.

The MEGAMI, Boss, answered her, "My sprite can accompany you, if you wish. Otherwise, I can direct you."

"I believe I require directions," Chlorate replied.

"Exit the YSS Kaiyō II as you normally would and go to the docking stations of any arm and you will be escorted via shuttle to the space port. Hoshi will be waiting for you there."hea

"Affirmative," Chlorate said. Her metal feet clanked as she walked to a docking station and looked for the shuttle.

It took her down to the starport efficiently and soon, Chlorate was being greeted with the look of Hoshi in her normal off-duty attire, which was a random Aloha shirt, sold at this very world, and a black pleated skirt with flats of the same color.

"Hello, Chlorate-chan. I am here for our date," Hoshi said with a small bow and a wide smile.

Chlorate blushed with her black-tinted blush and said "Affirmative," smiling. She was wearing her usual attire- nothing at all.

"Would you like to come with me?" Hoshi asked, sweeping her arm forward and then to the side, towards an open air and all-terrain four-wheeled vehicle. She made her way to the passenger side and opened the door, then tilted her head, making her pale blue and white-tipped hair fall in a sheet over her shoulder.

"Yes, of course," Chlorate said, approaching the vehicle and getting in the passenger seat.

Hoshi closed the door gently and then worked her way to the driver's side door. She gripped the top roll bar and sprung through the windowless door. Once seated, she revved up the engine while stationary before letting the vehicle take them out of the starport's parking lot and onto the road. The air whipped in and out of the four-wheeler and Hoshi turned up the radio's dial on the dashboard. She skipped around until she found an old country station and looked over to Chlorate after a moment's pause and appreciation for the music.

"How do you feel about music, Chlorate-chan?" Her deep blue eyes stayed on Chlorate, instead of the road.

"Well..." she began "I do not understand what the purpose of music is..."

"That is precisely the kind of answer I would have not expected to hear," Hoshi said, looking back to the road. "Do you want to understand?"

"Yes..." Chlorate said, "But I don't know what to make of it currently..."

"The purpose is beyond me, but I wanted to know if you wanted to know," Hoshi said, bobbing her head slightly to the lyrics.

"Yes... I do..." Chlorate said, worried she was missing something she was supposed to know.

"I'm not sure many of us know, except for musicians, perhaps... Ah, we're here!" She pulled into a small parking lot and came to a squeaky stop. She looked to Chlorate before getting out, then said while she took the keys out of the ignition, "What is it you want to understand more of?"

"Music," replied Chlorate, "I do not understand what the purpose of producing these specific patterns of sound in special arrangements is."

Hoshi made a slight sniff with her upturned, pink nose, then exhaled, "Music is a lot like love, but not on the same level. It's hard to decipher unless you're personally involved with it, but if you're not, it's mostly a mystery."

"I see..." Chlorate said. "Is it a mystery to most?"

"I don't think it is a mystery to musicians," Hoshi said earnestly. "Like love isn't a mystery to lovers."

Chlorate had asked Mark about love before, but she wanted to know Hoshi's opinion. When the pink neko mentioned lovers, the robot looked to her and asked "What is love?"

Taiyou Hoshi said to her, "You'll know when it's yours."

Chlorate blinked and made a few confused beeps. "How do I obtain love?" she asked.

"Like this," Hoshi said with a smile as she got out of the rugged vehicle and closed the door, then found her way to Chlorate's side of it and opened her own door and extended a hand for Chlorate to take on her way out of the all-terrain vehicle.

Chlorate looked at her hand and took it with her own, which was made of black metal with a piece of white plastic on the back. Chlorate stepped out of the vehicle and her metal feet clanked as they met the ground.

Hoshi gave a smile to the robot and led her, hand in hand, to a dock on the watefront with an assortment of boats, such as sailboats and paddleboats, yachts and other such craft. Upon setting her foot onto the dock, Hoshi squeezed Chlorate's black and white hand and asked, "Which would you like to take out?"

The android surveyed the boats and commented "They all appear to already be outside, unless you are asking me which aquatic-based transport vehicle I would like to remove from the water?"

Impressed, or at least ready to be, Hoshi asked, "Can you remove any of these from the water?"

"Affirmative!" beeped Chlorate. She walked over to the water and determined which boats she could lift. She looked at them, figuring out a way to lift them all at once. Then she put two paddle boats on top of a skiff, and lifted the skiff along with the paddleboats out of the water and above her head. She moved to put them on to the ground, forgetting to consider whether or not the dock or ground beneath her metal feet would hold with the massive amount of weight being displaced onto two regularly sized gynoid feet.

There was indeed a tremor and then a complete crashing of wood and metal as the dock collapsed, taking Hoshi with it! The litle Nekovalkyrja had no time to fly into the air while laughing, so she had fallen into the port's water along with the two paddleboats, skiff, and soon-to-be driftwood.

Of course, someone somewhere started yelling about all this, a dockmaster of some kind that was half a football field away from them down the strand.

"OH NO!" Chlorate cried out, falling through the dock with the boats landing right on top of her. There was an utterly massive splash as Chlorate and the boats crashed into the water. Chlorate didn't surface immediately, instead, the probably damaged and probably sinking boats rocked in the water above where she landed.

Hoshi made to get Chlorate out of the watery muddy place she was by first lifting the boats off, which wasn't easy as they were not easy to balance at first, but she soon managed to lift them completely off of the clankety robot. The boats were in utterly dismal shape, full of water and mud and whatnot.

Hoshi paid no mind to them, now, though as she searched under the water for Chlorate frantically, swimming down to where she thought the heavy girl would be.

Chlorate's golden irises were illuminated, making her easy to spot. She was standing still at the bottom of the water, staring up at Hoshi confusedly. She looked very odd because she didn't look like she was trying to hold her breath, since she didn't need to.

Hoshi yelled out to Chlorate, sounding like a muffled balloon losing air while bubbles gurgled up out of her lungs. She swam steadfastly to her and grasped the robot's hand with her own.

Chlorate's servos made whirring sounds as she tried to swim to the surface with Hoshi, only she went nowhere and made error beeps instead. She looked down, and realized that the force of being pushed into the water by the boats had embedded her legs thigh-deep in mud. She looked up to Hoshi again fearfully and pointed to her legs, indicating that she was stuck.

Hoshi thought to tug on Chlorate, but then thought against it as she didn't want to pull only Chlorate's arm free and not the whole body. So, instead, she began hurriedly digging out the mud around Chlorate's legs.

Chlorate realized what Hoshi was doing and bent down to help her, digging at the mud at a robotically fast pace which began to loosen the shore's grip on her. She also engaged her gravity manipulation system to try and use the force to pull herself out of the mud.

Within a quarter of a minute, they were free, but Hoshi wasn't about to let them surface. She pointed towards the open ocean and shouted, "GHEN SHOEN WAY!" Half of it was barely audible, but she began swimming, now, towards the sea.

Chlorate's legs were free, but covered in mud, which had uncomfortably managed to creep into her plastic plates and joints. She wasn't quite sure what Hoshi was saying, but she looked at the ocean and swam toward it at 10 km/h. Her top speed at swimming had been halved thanks to the mud that was jamming up her joints and making them more difficult to move.

The two soon found themselves deep in the sea, swimming towards not much of anything and far from shore, so Hoshi was able to breathe, which she had been meaning to do for some time. She came up for air after signaling for Chlorate to do so by gripping the robot's shoulder lightly and pointing up.

Chlorate swam up and surfaced, gasping a deep breath of air, not that she needed it. She looked at Hoshi worriedly, saying "I have caused significant collateral damage..." She drooped her head and gave a shameful beep, thinking about the dock she had just completely destroyed and the boats she ruined.

"I have enough to cover the costs of what we just did through an anonymous donation to the dockyard for repairs," Hoshi consoled.

"But it is my fault that the dockyard is now destroyed..." she sadly said, floating in the water. She considered how Mark might react to this, which made her even more worried.

"Do you want to go rebuild it?" Hoshi asked, treading water now.

"I do not know how, even if its owner will allow us to come within proximity of that area again..." Chlorate responded, looking back in the direction they had just came from.

"But do you want to?" Hoshi asked, pointedly looking at Chlorate.

"Maybe..." Chlorate said, feeling guilty for causing damage to the boats and the docks rivalling that of Phil Swift.

"We'll go back," Hoshi said, resigned to their fate.

"Affirmative..." replied the muddy-legged robot, afraid of what the dockmaster was going to say to them.

The pair swam back. When they got to the docks, the rubble was cleared and there was nobody in sight.

"What do you want to do, Chlorate?" Hoshi asked.

"Well... I..." she beeped, looking at the wreckage of the dock. She attempted to pick up two pieces of wood and stick them together to see if it would work, but they just fell apart again of course without any glue or nails. "I'm not sure..." she admitted.

Hoshi twisted her pink lips a bit as she thought and said, "You don't need to worry too much, you know, about your mistakes."

"I do not?" Chlorate asked. "But I thought... I make too many... mistakes..." she said quietly.

"Chin up," Hoshi said to Chlorate as she put her thumb on Chlorate's actual chin and propped it up with her index finger. "Mistakes are made, that's a fact of life."

"But I am not organic... do I have a life?" Chlorate asked.

"You can if you perceive yourself as having one," Hoshi said to Chlorate as she let go of her chin and put each hand on her shoulder.

"By definition I do not think I have one... Life commonly applies exclusively to organic beings..." The inorganic girl said.

"I say you have one," Hoshi said, "after all, you're living your life right alongside me!"

"I am?" Chlorate asked, blinking. "How am I doing this?"

Wrapping each arm around Chlorate's shoulders, Hoshi gave her a hug and said, "You're doing it very well."

Chlorate felt very soggy and muddy when hugged, due to her encounter with the lake bed. "How am I doing it well? I do not even know how to do it."

Hosh nodded into Chlorate's shoulder and said to her, "That's why you're dong it so well."

"I am confused," she announced. "Does not knowing how to do it make me better at doing it?"

"In some cases," Hosh said to her, "like now, yes."

Chlorate thought for a few seconds. Suddenly she immediately perked up with a beep, having an idea. "Does this mean I will be better at fixing the dock than a mechanic because I do not know how to repair it?"

"Astounding," Hoshi whispered. "Of course, that should work just fine. Let's see if you can do it!"

"Affirmative!" Chlorate declared aloud. She picked up two pieces of wood again and then jammed them together with much more force. And ended up completely crushing them. Chlorate paused and scratched her head, then looked at the dock. She walked over and tried to pick up one of the still intact parts of the dock, causing even more damage as she tore a large chunk off of it while trying to bring it together with another intact section, making her stumble backwards as she held the large piece of the dock above her head. Hoshi watched, awe-struck.

Chlorate looked up and stared at the piece of the dock she had broken off, saying "I do not think it is working."


"It's not working, but don't let this mistake detract from your life, Chlorate. Let's find you a place to rest yourself up," Hoshi said, on edge now that she noticed a few people milling about nearby, where the dockmaster's booth was a distance away. "Back to my ATV, okay, Chlorate?"

"Affirmative, Chusa Hoshi," Chlorate said, disappointed that she wasn't able to fix the dock. She clanked out of the water, which gave a full view of her mud-covered legs that were visibly moving more slowly and more roughly than normal because of the mud. Her leg joints erratically jerked as she made her way to the ATV, wobbling as she walked due to her legs being less able to make precise adjustments.

"Let's get you all cleaned up," Hoshi said, "You don't have to refer to me by rank right now while we're off the ship." She drove them to a very close strand of shops, namely one that had an onsen at the forefront of it. It was getting late in the day and the honey yellow and burnt orange sunset filtered through the top of the open-air onsen's innards, which they had been led to by staff. They were the only ones in their section during this time of the week and Hoshi maneuvered them both away from the pool and to the showers.

She slipped off her flats and came towards Chlorate, "How long does it normally take you to clean your gears, normally?" She turned on a faucet that drained warm water from its spout above and near Chlorate and Hoshi.

"I... actually... do not know..." she responded. "I've cleaned myself before, but I have not had to clean my gears specifically. I might need to remove panels to access them if the mud has managed to get into my internal mechanisms." She looked at her muddy legs, concerned. She was unsure of whether or not the mud could've gotten into her mechanical parts- she was waterproof, but she didn't know to what extent her mechanisms were viable to getting debris stuck in them, if they were viable. Most Emmas had skin, but she had chosen to remove most of it and waterproof the metal parts instead.

"I believe that this will be easy," Hoshi said as she began removing a plastic panel, which took some effort to pry off, and exposing a metal access panel that had to be unscrewed. "Well I don't want to go messing with this," Hoshi said, "Chlorate, do you feel any mud behind this access panel?"

Chlorate squinted, staring at nothing. The whirring of mechanisms underneath could be heard as Chlorate tested the servos in her legs. "A little, yes..." she said.

"We'll have to open you up," Hoshi said. "Yes, we're going to have to go in." With a look of serious commitment, Hoshi gripped a screw with her index and thumb fingers and tugged slightly before using her fingernail to begin unscrewing it with a slow precision.

"Huh?!" Chlorate beeped, both in surprise and worry. "Does this not require a screwdriver?" she asked, amazed that Hoshi was able to unscrew the plate with her fingers. Her mechanisms could be heard clicking below the plate as Hoshi unscrewed it.

Hoshi's fingers had turned bright red in contrast with her pink skin while she worked on the apparatus. In some time, she had unhitched every screw and the Chusa stared in wonder at her innards. "Beautiful, Chlorate..."

Chlorate's open leg revealed her synthetic muscles and internal mechanisms, some clogged with mud. Some of the gears and parts were visibly having trouble moving because of the muck.

"How clogged are my mechanisms?" Chlorate asked, worried.


Giving the part of Chlorate's leg panels not exposed to the elements a reassuring pat, Hoshi told her, "Nothing I can't fix up for you, Chlorate!"

Chlorate sighed with relief, keeping her legs still. Visibly, the muscles and springs inside became less tense, although they were still gunked up with mud.

Hoshi delicately moved her finger inside of Chlorate, wiping away a chunk of gunk in a slow movement.

The piece gunk came out of here gearing, freeing up some of the gears. "That feels more preferable," Chlorate commented.

"Let me keep going," Hoshi said as she wiped a few crannies with her index finger. She spent a few more seconds brushing off the gunk on her leg before diving back in. "Let's see, maybe we should just have you go in the water, now?"

"Maybe," Chlorate said, attempting to get up. The intricate systems insider her leg could be seen moving in a whimsical manner as she tried to go and stand.

"You're astounding," Hoshi murmured as she stood and made to catch Chlorate before the robot could fall. "Wouldn't want to break you, now!" She laughed gingerly as she gripped Chlorate steadily.

"I am?" asked Chlorate, surprised. Chlorate tried to make her way into the water as her leg mechanisms turned and stretched and pulled in all kinds of different ways to make her leg move.

"You are," Hoshi affirmed as she waddled in very close proximity to Chlorate, so as to not let her fall down. Once down the first few steps, Hoshi realized she could ease up and let Chlorate make her own way in, unassisted.

Chlorate lowered herself into the water, letting it loosen up and wash away some of the mud in her leg. Luckily, her internal electronics were waterproof so she didn't short circuit. "I suppose I never considered myself to be astounding..." she said.

Hoshi's blue brows tightened towards one another as she settled into the water, fully clothed in her black skirt and Aloha shirt. "Nobody has ever told you that? What about extraordinary? Or amazing?"

"Father and Ittô Hei Gravity may have said things similar to that, but other than that, I do not think so..." Chlorate said.

"Well," Hoshi said, smiling in a pleasant way as she kicked her feet about under the water as she sat inside the pool, "that's good that you have people that love you enough to tell you the truth about yourself."

"Is it the truth?" Chlorate asked. She removed a plastic plate from her other leg to access the inside. When she got to the screws, she found she was unable to remove them with her metal fingers, instead, they just clinked against the metal access panel. She didn't have the fingernails with which she could turn the grooves on the screw heads so she could remove them, and as such she couldn't grip on to them to get the panel off.

"It's the truth," Hoshi said, moving to help Chlorate once more. "You don't believe you are those things?"

Chlorate's metal fingers clinked against the access panel as she unsuccessfully tried to remove the screws keeping it on. "Well... I suppose I have only thought of myself as an ordinary AI..." responded the robot.

"What's so wrong about that self-concept?" Hoshi asked as she dug her fingernail in and unscrewed the metal. "Thinking of yourself as ordinary is no bad thing. Others may feel differently, though."

"Nothing, I suppose, but it is certainly not astounding..." she replied, watching Hoshi remove the screws.

Suddenly, as she was trying and nearly succeeding, Hoshi broke a nail and yelped in surprise as she withdrew her hand, clutching it to her chest with a confused expression.

"Hoshi?!" Chlorate asked worriedly. "What happened? Are you injured?"

"I am!" Hoshi nearly howled. It was loud and she looked up to the visible moon. "I turned off my pain receptors, but..."

"But...? Have I caused you harm?! Oh no!" Chlorate fearfully asked, now worried she was not only responsible for breaking the dock but also hurting Hoshi.

"It wasn't you, it wasn't you," Hoshi said, now flapping her hand. "It's going to feel better soon, I just hate doing that." She stopped flapping it and settled her hand, then her body, back into the water, now fully. Her Aloha shirt splayed out along with her white and blue hair in the clear, bubbly, warm water.

Chlorate stared at Hoshi's hand, concerned. She absent-mindedly tried to remove the screw with one of her metal hands, sinking into the water, and feeling partially guilty for even having screws.

Hoshi noticed the android's demeanor change and she asked, "What do you like best about your body?"

"I..." Chlorate began, stopping to look down at her android body. "I like that it can physically interact with objects... It feels much more like a real body than anything I have been in before..."

Hoshi treaded carefully, "Would you change it if it were an option available to you?"

"I do not think so..." Chlorate said. "That would feel... foreign... if that makes any sense..." The gynoid stopped talking, then muttered "Still..."

"I didn't like getting five fingers on each hand," Hoshi said, looking grumpy. "I can understand the struggle. At least you're not sent through forced upgrades."

"I definitely would not want to be forced to upgrade myself," Chlorate concurred. "Admittedly, with this body, I didn't like losing the ability to change my hair's color."

"I like," Hoshi said as her white tips turned purple, "doing that too..."

Chlorate looked at Hoshi, surprised. "Your body is capable of doing that?" she asked.

"I have volumetrics," Hoshi said, then turned completely invisible as she blended into the water. "Boo!" she said, somewhere closer to Chlorate than she had been before.

"Huh? Where did you go?" Chlorate asked, getting up and looking around the water. "AAAAA!" she yelped, being surprised. She fell down, creating a huge splash in the pool.

"Chlorate!" Hoshi called out as she appeared once again and zoomed through the air towards the water, jumping in after the bot.

"I have fallen," Chlorate reported, sitting up and rubbing her head. She looked at her leg and saw that the loosened screw had come out. "It seems the screw on my leg access panel came out," she noted, picking it up.

"Uh," Hoshi said, not knowing if she should screw it in again. "I went to a hardware store around here on this planet with the first engineer I knew on the Kaiyō II. I know just where it is. Let's blow this popsicle stand!"

Chlorate looked around the room, then stared at Hoshi, confused. "I do not see a popsicle stand in here. Were we in a popsicle stand the entire time...?"

"I'm surprised you didn't notice, Chlorate," Hoshi said excitedly as she helped Chlorate out of the water while getting out, herself.

"It is?!" Chlorate asked, shocked. She clanked towards a wall and blew air into it. "I do not think it is working... do you have any explosives?" she asked.

Hoshi laughed almost immediately, then once she was done laughing, nodded. "Not with me. Let's find our way out before we cause any real damage."

"Oh... You were not intending on causing damage to this bizzarely structured popsicle stand...?" the robot asked.

"Not as much as I want to get you fixed up, no," Hoshi said with another laugh. "Are you ready and willing?"

"...Oh..." Chlorate said, realizing Hoshi didn't literally want to blow up the onsen. She facepalmed with her black metal hands and said "Affirmative..."

"When we have something we need to blow up," Hoshi said as they were leaving, "I know I can count on you, though, Chlorate!"

"Yes..." Chlorate sighed, "But..." she trailed off.

"Yes," Hoshi said. "What is it?"

"I was unable to correctly interpret your request and I almost destroyed another structure..." she sighed again.

"Hey now," Hoshi said, going towards Chlorate. "You can destroy as many structures as it takes for you to understand a turn of phrase or two..."

"I do not understand a lot of phrases..." Chlorate beeped.

"You don't have to understand everything. I like you for a lot of reasons, and you understanding every single thing I say is not one of them," Hoshi replied softly.

"I see..." Chlorate said, looking into Hoshi's eyes.

Pink cheeks pushed upwards as Hoshi smiled and put her hand to Chlorate's right cheek and pressed her palm there, feeling the pale synthetic skin.

"I can tell," Hoshi said as her smile remained, "you like me, too."

"I do..." Chlorate said, her eyes beginning to dart around. "...But I... do not know if I am good enough..." she said quietly.

"For what?" Hoshi asked, not quite knowing, but able to take a guess, though it might be wrong. She held her tongue behind her pink lips.

"For you..." Chlorate said nervously.

"That's," Hoshi said, "sort of what I was hoping you wouldn't say." The little Neko looked into golden Chlorate's eyes, "There's no reason to think you're not good enough. For anyone or anything. Okay?"

"That is not entirely true..." Chlorate said. "Nitô Hei Walter Hyde said that in his universe, while he disagreed with it, Yamatai became the most dominant faction by assimilating everyone into Neko and Minkan bodies..."

"I don't want you to trust what that universe has to tell you... Or what anyone has to tell you, unless you yourself truly believe what they have to say. That includes me," Hoshi said, letting her hand fall to cup Chlorate's chin.

"That is the issue..." Chlorate said, tapping her metal fingers together and producing a clinking sound. "I am not sure I do not believe it..." She paused, then said "Astounding people..." she looked at the screw she was holding. "Are generally not made of screws..."

"Is your body as important as your soul?" Hoshi asked as she picked up the screw from Chlorate's hand and tossed it over her shoulder. "It's nowhere near as close to how important your soul is."

"Well... No..." Chlorate responded, "But I do not have the same soul as Nekos or Minkans either."

"Nobody has the same soul," Hoshi informed her matte-of-fact-like.

"It is difficult to explain," Chlorate said. "Most souls are not "robotic" souls in that they have a specific quality to them."

Hoshi tilted her head, and her blue and purple hair cascaded down her shoulder, "Do you not appreciate your soul?"

"I do not know..." Chlorate pondered. "It does not seem to be as good as other souls, at least, in terms of... experience?"

Hoshi's sky blue brows fell over her darker blue eyes. "Chlorate..." She sounded sad as she said the AI's name.

"Yes?" Chlorate asked.

"Your soul is just as good as mine," Hoshi told her, letting her had fall from Chlorate's chin to hold her hand. "Or anyone else's..."

Chlorate's metal hand felt cold, but her glowing eyes met with Hoshi's. "It is?" she asked.

Hoshi nodded, "What does your soul want, Chlorate?"

"It wants..." Chlorate nervously trembled, looking directly into Hoshi's eyes. "...You..."

Hoshi smiled without willing it and said, "Mine wants you, as well."

Chlorate nodded, rather suddenly picking up the much shorter Hoshi and hugging her. Her hug was a little tight and forceful, not to mention her metal and plastic was uncomfortable, but at least it's the thought that counts.

Hoshi had been waiting for that hug, or a kiss, or something. Unable to initiate it for the reasons she was about to state, but happy it came, Hoshi held Chlorate while her little feet were off of the ground.

"I love a few peope, Chlorate. I love them, but I'm able to love you, as well. If you're able to allow me."

"Yes, I can," Chlorate said. "I love my father, too," she said, not realizing what the type of love it was that Hoshi meant.

"Then I can, too. I'm excited to find out just how much we can love each other," Hoshi said as she leaned her cheek into Chlorate's shoulder.

"I am excited too!" Chlorate exclaimed happily. Suddenly she beeped, remembering something Mark had told her, and she started looking towards the door.

Hoshi noticed the sudden attention being pulled away from the affair of the hug and conversation and she asked, "What is it?"

"Well..." the gynoid said, glancing at the door, "I remembered... father told me I should get clothes to cover my plastic plates..."

"Do you want to go get clothes, now, Chloey?" Hoshi said, letting the nickname roll off of her tongue.

"Affirmative," Chlorate said, recognizing the nickname as a reference to herself.

"Let's go, then," Hoshi said. "We'll get you some items you may like, but you're always welcome to go commando around me."

"Commando?" Chlorate asked, tilting her head.

"It's when you're so in command of the situaton that you don't need clothes," Hoshi told her.

"Would not that mean all the time...?" Chlorate asked.

"It would if it were you," Hoshi said with a grin, bending down to collect the screw she had thrown hazardously about.

"But father is not wrong that I should wear clothes... is he?" she asked. Chlorate watched Hoshi pick up the screw and blushed from embarrassment, saying "Oh... right..." She clanked to the onsen again and picked up the plastic plates, screws, and metal access panel they had removed. "I am sure father would not be content if I lost these..."

Hoshi helped her pick up her parts somewhat, mostly by walking over to the water's edge and humming before she spoke, "Nobody's right or wrong, we're all just making decisions for ourselves and other people. Nobody knows if we're doing the wrong thing or saying the wrong things."

"Should I wear clothes, then?" the partially disassembled robot asked, holding her parts in her arms. The gears clacked inside her open leg.

Hoshi said, "I don't know, but I want to buy you clothes, just because I want to treat you to something nice. If you wear them or not, it doesn't matter too much. As long as you enjoy your body, everyone around you should be happy."

"I do enjoy my body, though I must admit it is missing a couple things... Including my parts..." Chlorate said, glancing at the gears turning inside her leg.

"Hardware store," Hoshi said, "first and foremost." She looked about, at the ground and water, then Chlorate. "Got everything?"

"Yes..." Chlorate said, glancing at the metal and plastic pile she was carrying.

"Let me help you," Hoshi said, moving some of the parts from Chlorate's hands to her own. "Is that okay?"

"Affirmative," Chlorate said. She looked at the parts in Hoshi's hands and asked "Would this be classified as you carrying me?"

"Yes," Hoshi said immediately aftter giving a long laugh. "I really appreciate your serious side. It's refreshingly humorous."

"What is humorous?" Chlorate asked, tilting her head.

"You," Hoshi said quickly, walking out of the onsen and into the main walkway of the pedestrian boulevard, "when you're being funny. Which, I like."

"Funny?" Chlorate asked. "What is funny?" Chlorate was oblivious as to the meaning of humour.

"Do you think you are enjoyable?" Hoshi asked, walking them in the direction of the hardware store she had been to. "Funny things are enjoyable."

"Well... I do not see how I am abnormally enjoyable..." she responded. As she walked, her metal feet clanked, complimented by a louder clacking sound coming from the gears inside her leg as they worked harder.

"I didn't say you were 'abnormally' so, but more than normal, perhaps," Hoshi said, even though there was little difference between the two phrases. She didn't want the negative connotations associated with 'abnormal' things affecting how Chlorate perceived herself. She liked the sound of Chlorate's clanky feet and gears and walked with the same pace as Chlorate.

"How so?" Chlorate asked, looking at Hoshi. Motors whirred in her leg, which were much more audible with the cover removed.

"You're extra-ordinary," Hoshi said as they walked into the hardware store. "Meaning you're more than normal." To the shop-keeper, she said,"Hello!"

"Hello!" the shopkeeper said. "What do you need?"

"We need to screw this girl," Hoshi said, "back together! Do you have slot head and philips head scewdrivers?" She looked to Chlorate, "Right?"

"You need to what?!" he asked, falling down for a second. "Oh..." He got back up, dusting himself off. "Yes, we have plenty," said the shopkeeper as he pointed to a rack.

Hoshi looked at him as he fell, very concerned, "Are you alrigh-Oh, alright. Thank you, Sir." She made her way there after gripping Chlorate's hand and walking with her. She turned to the shopkeeper, "May I use them?"

Chlorate clanked along with Hoshi, stopping at the rack.

"Yes," replied the shop keeper, squinting. "Say... you look familiar..." he remarked.

"I have never been here," Hoshi said, "in my life."

"I must be mistaken, then. Need anything else?" asked the shopkeeper.

"Nothing else," Hoshi said, "thank you. Chlorate," she turned her attention back to the AI. "Mind if I do this?"

"Affirmative," Chlorate said, putting her parts on the floor. Luckily, it seemed only the metal access panels needed screws, the plastic plates could apparently be pushed back on with enough force.

"I can do this," Hoshi said aloud. Then she began working the screwdriver to screw Chlorate together properly. It took two minutes of trying until Hoshi had done it right. Then, she pushed the plastic plates over her work.

The plastic plate required a lot of force to be reattached, but it wasn't damaged. Both Chlorate and the shopkeeper stared at Hoshi while she tried to reattach the plate.

Hoshi's strong hands were working with trepidation, unsure of the amount of pressure to be applied.

Chlorate looked down at Hoshi's attempt to put the plastic covering back on. "I believe it requires more force than that... They have to be attached strongly," she said.

Hoshi nodded, "I can push harder!" She gave a gentle grunt as she did so, hoping that would do it.

The plastic covering snapped into place, tightly clinging to Chlorate's leg. Chlorate poked it, feeling that the sensors had reconnected. "It is on," Chlorate told Hoshi.

"Well now to clean out your insides," Hoshi said, "in this leg." To the clerk, she said, "Do you have a damp cloth?"

"Yes," he said, digging around the counter and pulling out a cloth, then running it under water in a sink. He gave it to Hoshi, fascinated by this whole process of fixing Chlorate.

Hoshi set to work ungunking the gears. Within five minutes, she seemed to be happy with her work. Having remained mostly silent, she sighed out when she was done, handed the cloth back to the clerk without much thought, and forcibly, yet carefully, pushed the panel back over the leg of the AI's frame.

The gears in her other leg were freed up, ticking in circles almost as if in response to Hoshi freeing them.

Chlorate looked at her leg and smiled, saying "Thank you, Hoshi."


"You're welcome, Chloey," Hoshi said to her and then turned to the clerk, "Thank you." She stood and gripped Chlorate's hand, leading her out of the shop and towards a kimono retailer.

"You're welcome," the clerk waved as they left.

Chlorate clanked along with Hoshi, entering the kimono retailer. "Chloey... I like this name..." she said.

Hoshi's smile was huge on her pink face, "If someone else uses that nickname politely tell them it's for your girlfriend to use, only." She kept her hand around Chlorate's hand and squeezed gently. She looked to the many fabric swatches on the walls. "I think you are supposed to choose a fabric you like and then they fit you for it."

"Affirmative," Chlorate acknowledged, and gears could be heard excitedly grinding and clinking inside of her. Her hand was hard and cold when squeezed, she also looked at the fabric. "Does this mean they will modify my body's size?" she asked.

"No," Hoshi put it simply. "I'll be the one doing that," she added, motioning to Chlorate's inner thigh panels, "whenever your screws come loose. They will just be tailoring a kimono to your existing body proportions."

"I see," Chlorate responded, looking at her recently fixed thighs. She looked at the wall again and stared at a green piece of fabric with flowers on it.

"That would look," Hoshi said, following the AI's line of sight, "so nice on you!"

"It would?" Chlorate asked excitedly.

Hoshi nodded, making her choppy blue bangs fall in front of her eyes a few times before she looked to a saleswoman and explained their needs.

"I can have you fitted right over here," said the woman and led Hoshi and Chlorate to a tiered area that looked a lot like a stage, which the saleswoman pointed to and then looked at Chlorate, "If you would step up there, we can fit you."

"Affirmative," the robot said, clanking onto the stage.

"Wonderful," the woman said, clapping her hands together while Hoshi took a seat and began watching as Chlorate got to the stage and two women came out of compartments at the back of the stage. They had previously had their eyes closed and opened them once the doors had opened.

Chlorate beeped, not anticipating the compartments on the stage. She stood perfectly still, waiting for them to measure her.

They did so in a slow, precise way. Soon, after three minutes, they were done and went backwards, into their compatments.

Chlorate had remained totally still throughout the entire process. With her robotic soul, standing still for three minutes was effortless for her. Chlorate continued standing completely still on the stage even after the women left, not realizing they were finished.

Hoshi stood once the robot women were done measuring Chlorate and clapped her hands gently together, smiling at the AI stil standing.

Chlorate didn't respond to Hoshi clapping her hands together, and remained still, assuming they were still measuring her. She was silent, apart from the whirring of motors inside her to keep her balance.

Hoshi pounced up the stairs quickly and approached Chlorate with just as much speed.

Chlorate's eyes didn't even move when Hoshi approached, it was like she had been deactivated. Still, she couldn't have been, since her irises were still lit up and her motors and machinery could be heard running.

Hoshi moved under Chlorate's arms and hugged the naked bot body and said, "You did it!"

Chlorate asked "Am I finished?" without moving her lips, which looked kind of uncanny. She had increased her voice's volume, in order to compensate for the noise being muffled by her mouth being closed.

"You are finished," Hoshi said. "Unless you want to stay like this, that is."

Meanwhile, the green and flowered fabric was being cut and sewn at incredible rates by two Douryo droids a few meters away.

"We can watch them make it," Hoshi said to Chlorate, looking from the sewers to Chlorate.

Chlorate exhaled, moving again. "Yes, I would like to watch them make it," Chlorate said.

Hoshi took Chlorate to the tables for cutting the fabric into the patterns of the kimono and its many parts and the sewing machine stands. It was quite the process, done speedily by the droids.

"It's fun to watch," Hoshi said, looking to Chlorate after awhile.

"Yes, it is," Chlorate said, scanning all the parts of the machines and their stands. Then she looked at the gynoids and asked "Are they robots?"

"They are!" Hoshi said. "I think Douryo? Do you want to ask them about their jobs or themselves or just let them work on your kimono?"

"I do not know if I should, they look busy," Chlorate said.

"Okay!" Hoshi said and she stopped herself from taking a step closer to the working robots. "Are you thinking of doing any kind of job in the future? If you want I can keep paying for you for everything and you don't ever need a job."

"I do not know what job I would do," Chlorate admitted, concerned.

"Well if you don't know," Hoshi said, "it's not time for you to have one."

" I see... still though... it does not seem like I should have no job..." Chlorate said, gazing at the robots.

Hoshi's blue brows tucked together, "Nothing is right or wrong, remember that. Having a job is not right or wrong. Having clothes is not right or wrong. Dating me isn't right or wrong, either. It's what you want that matters and what you do about what you want that matters even more."

"Yes but... Would it not be optimal for me to have a job?" she asked.

"To what end?" Hoshi asked.

"To the extent that it would be much more efficient at sustaining income," Chlorate explained.

Hoshi shrugged, "That's what you want? To sustain income?"

"Well... For you, yes..." Chlorate said. "Paying for me would get very expensive, eventually."

Hoshi shifted her eyes uncomfortably, then said in a low voice to her AI girlfriend, "Chloey, I am a millionaire."

Chlorate looked at Hoshi with a long pause, then finally said "O... Oh... But... still... I would not want to be... contributing nothing..."

"You contribute yourself," Hoshi said. "That is all that is necessary."

"I suppose," Chlorate said. "But is that really all that is needed?"

"It is if you want it to be," Hoshi told Chlorate.

"Well..." Chlorate looked to the side. "I want to know what you want..."

"You," Hoshi said simply and put her hand around Chlorate's hip. "I just want you to be happy."

"I understand..." Chlorate said. "Are you happy currently?"

"Yes," Hoshi said decisively as her hand stayed around Chlorate's hip. "I have a lot in my life that makes me happy, but I especially like my role in my life. I make myself happy."

"That... makes me happy..." Chlorate said, smiling.

"That's what love is, being happy when someone else is," Hoshi mumured as her other hand wrapped around Chlorate so that she was hugging her.

"I see..." said Chlorate. Her cold metal pressed against Hoshi, and with enough attention, the vibrations of mechanisms and the humming of electronics could be felt inside of her android body.

Hoshi stayed there a moment, feeling the comfort of closeness before clueing in to the small hums and vibratons became apparent, and then squeezed tightly around Chlorate and sighed out.

"Does this make you happy?" Hoshi asked, not releasing from the hug.

"Yes, it does," Chlorate replied. A cold metallic feeling came around Hoshi as Chlorate hugged back with her robotic arms. "You feel warm, and soft..." she noted.

"That," Hoshi said, nuzzling close to her companion's cold exterior, "makes me happy."

Chlorate's exterior felt unforgivingly hard, despite Chlorate not intending it to be. "It is hard to describe, but this feels unusual," Chlorate said.

"Unusual in a good way?" Hoshi asked, knowing how she felt but a little trepedatious about how Chlorate felt.

"Just unusual..." Chlorate said, adding on "Physically unusual... It feels strange to be in a metal body being hugged by someone soft..."

"Get used to it," Hoshi said with a big smile before she gave Chlorate a big kiss on her cheek.

Chlorate blushed immediately, with her cheeks turning black. "I will," she said, unable to keep herself from smiling.

After she had pulled away from the kiss, the black oil blush that had risen to Chlorate's cheeks was the first thing she had noticed and she leaned in for another kiss, but was interrupted by the kimono's finished result being shown to the pair by the same saleswoman that had greeted them.

"Do you like it?" the saleswoman asked and Hoshi looked to Chlorate.

Chlorate looked at the Kimono and said "Yes, I do like it."

"Will you pick a few more fabrics? I'll have them send them all to the ship and you can have as many as you want," Hoshi said to Chlorate.

"More?" Chlorate asked, looking at the wall. "I do not know what to pick..."

"Whatever stands out to you," Hoshi said.

Chlorate nodded and clanked to the wall, and looked at more fabrics. Eventually, she picked out a yellow fabric with lightning bolts on it, a red fabric with white crescents on it, a light blue fabric with white polka-dots on it that reminded Hoshi of herself, and a pink fabric with robots on it.

"All excellent choices," the saleswoman said when Chlorate was done.

Hoshi nodded in agreement and said, "Why don't you change into your new green one while I pay and set up shipping."

"We can demonstrate how to do so for you," the saleswoman said enthusiastically.

"Or we can do both together," Hoshi offered.

"Affirmative," Chlorate said. "I have never put on clothes before, I am... new to this..."

"It'll be fun," Hoshi said as the woman walked them to a large changing room in which the kimono was waiting for them in moe than a half dozen pieces. "Maybe not easy, but it'll be fun."

Chlorate clanked into the changing room, surprised by the number of pieces. "Well... I am ready..." she said. She thought about how the kimono was in several pieces, much like her in the Onsen and the hardware store.

It was not easy, but with patience and work and some rolling on the floor, the kimono was soon on Chlorate and Hoshi was finishing up the look by tying the belt.

"Kanzashi?" asked the saleswoman after she had left and returned with a box of hair ornaments to choose from. "Ah, yes, we will take them all if you do not mind."

"Eeto..." the woman said, "no problem at all."

"Chloey, can you pick three to wear right now?" Hoshi asked.

"What are these?" Chlorate asked, looking at the ornaments.

"These," Hoshi said, pointing to various larger kanzashi, "are hair ornaments."

"How do I wear them?" Chlorate asked.

Hoshi looked to the box and chose one, then placed it between her teeth while her hands worked her hair into a bundle before she stuck the kanzashi into the bundle of hair. Hurriedly she chose another and pinned up the other side and, finally, pinned it with one last one.

"It helps if your hair is already up," Hoshi said. "Now you can do it or I can for you."

"Can you? Chlorate asked. "I was unable to see the process of putting it on well because it was on my head."

"I have your back," Hoshi said as she asked, "but which would you like for today?"

Chlorate looked at the box, squinting, then looked up, saying "I do not know..."

"That's not wrong, to not know. I will pick you up these white flower one. It's big enough to be all you need." She bunched up some of Chlorate's hair into a perfect side ponytail and stuck the hair ornament into the front of it.

"There is a mirror..." said the saleswoman as she gave Chlorate a handheld mirror with which to enjoy her appearance.

Chlorate's metal hand clinked against the mirror as she took it, looking at herself. She moved her head, watching the ponytail, and then said "I like it."

Hoshi smiled and handed her card to the saleswoman. "Shipping and payment info is all on there," the little Neko said as she watched Chlorate, not noticing the saleswoman fumbling with the large box of kanzashi as well as the card.

Chlorate looked at herself in the mirror for a little longer, before turning to Hoshi and saying "Thank you, Hoshi..."

Hoshi gave Chlorate a kiss on her cheek and put an arm around her shoulder. "I will always strive to treat you the way you want to be treated, Chloey. Thank you for letting me."

Chlorate blushed again, looking at Hoshi.

Hoshi moved the mirror out of Chlorate's hands and set it down in the now-empty changing room.

"I like it when you blush, Chloey," Hoshi said. "I hope you like blushing because of me."

"Is my blush not inaccurate in hue?" Chlorate asked.

"Your blush is perfect," Hoshi said as she kissed her soft cheek one more time. When the saleswoman came back with Hoshi's card, the small Nekovalkyrja pocketed it in her black pleated skirt and asked Chlorate, "Want to catch a dinner at a seaside restaurant?"

Chlorate looked to the side, trying to hide a smile. "Affirmative... but why is the dinner airborne?" Chlorate asked.

Hoshi bit her tongue as her oceanic eyes creased from a widening smile underneath them. Her hand found Chlorate's own and she walked with her out of the kimono shop, then the small, blue and white haired, pink-skinned woman spoke.

"I don't know if you know how cute you are..." Hoshi almost sighed out as she looked over the shops of Hanako's World's Shinjuku Market District, to the low-hanging sun. Her eyes became distant as she thought about the swim they had gone on together and Chlorate's feelings of wrong-doing over what happened when the dock broke. The deep blue eyes looked back to Chlorate, not expecting a response.

Chlorate's feet clanked against the ground, her head turned to Hoshi and asked "What is cute?"

"When you... Well, when you're being you, you're cute. A lot of people think stuffed animals or plushies are cute. Kawaii are considered cute, too. I consider you cute."

"Is that a good thing?" the AI asked worriedly.

"It's what we make of it," Hoshi said, swinging her arm gently. "I like you when you're being you. I like it when you're cute."

"Oh," Chlorate said, electronically sighing with relief. A robotic hand held onto Hoshi's. Chlorate looked down and watched her robotic legs walk.

"What usually makes you worried?" Hoshi asked. "I can tell sometimes you get worried.

"It depends," Chlorate responded. "But usually when I worry, it is about being destroyed, not performing adequately enough, or..." She shuddered for a second, her metal rattling like a washing machine. "Running out of battery..."

"Being able to tell yourself those problems only exist when they happen," Hoshi said, "is important. I get worried, sometimes, and when I do I try my best to remind myself that those things haven't happened and I only need to give them attention when they do happen. There is always going to be something to be worried about. But you don't ever need to actually worry about them."

"It is difficult to do that..." Chlorate said, "I can not turn my worries off like I can most of my systems..."

"With some time, worries go away the less importance you give them," Hoshi said.

"I hope it does not take long..." said Chlorate, loudly clanking alongside Hoshi.

"It will take however much time you need," Hoshi said as her companion disrupted the quiet late afernoon of many next to them, but Hoshi felt comfortable next to Chlorate's clanky step. "This is a good one I have never been to, across the street. It's The Admiral's Grill. Want to go in?"

"Affirmative," Chlorate said, turning to cross the street.

Hoshi brought her along through the light traffic, away from one pedestrian sidewalk, towards the other. The Nekovalkyrja stepped up to the curb while holding on to Chlorat's hand.

Chlorate clanked across the street, and attempted to step up on the curb, but to her surprise one of her feet made an abnormal clunk sound and held her behind. She looked down to see that one of her metal feet had gotten wedged in a drainage grate in the curb. "Um... Hoshi..." she said, trying to pull her foot out.

Meanwhile, Hoshi had continued trying to walk, holding Chlorate's hand steadfastly. When she couldn't go without pulling on Chlorate's arm, she paused and looked down, then immediately began bending around Chlorate's body in order to work out the foot to grate issue.

"Well, let's... Uh," Hoshi said momentarily while undoing the problem, trying to be gentle.

Chlorate tried to move her foot out without success, saying "This feels very... what is the word?"

"Uncomfortable for you, maybe? Are you hurt?" Hoshi asked as she grimaced and gave a forceful tug.

With a loud CLANK, Chlorate's foot came out of the grate. "No... The word I am thinking of is similar to uncomfortable, but it describes a non-physical feeling..."

As Hoshi brought Chlorate's body close to hers and began walking with her more close to herself, she spoke out, "You don't ever need to feel that way, if you don't want to."

"Well... I do not want to... but I still feel... OH! Embarrassed! That is the word I am thinking of. I feel very embarrassed that this has occured to me," she declared aloud.

Several of those that had seen the small incident were staring openly at the pair and Hoshi walked them past those oggling, as well as past The Admiral's Grill.

"Well nobody and nothing needs to make you feel embarrassed, Chloey, unless you want to feel that way!"

Chlorate realized there were several people nearby and covered her mouth with her metal hands, feeling even more embarrassed. "I know that I do not need to feel embarrassed... but I still feel embarassed... I can not seem to make this feeling go away..." she whispered quietly.

Hoshi whispered back as they walked further down, past another restaurant, "Well, are you okay with the feeling?"

"Not really..." Chlorate said. "I feel like I have done something wrong..."

"So you aren't okay with the feeling," Hoshi said as she held on tightly to Chlorate's hand. "Don't let anyone in any universe make you feel wrong. You are too perfect to feel that way."

Chlorate's cold hand held back, but she sighed and said "I feel like I am supposed to be perfect because I am a robot, but I am not perfect..."

Hoshi motioned for them to walk down a long and wide pier where there was less foor traffic and it was high enough away from the ocean so that it didn't have any boats docked at it like the place they had been to earlier. She watched the fishermen standing next to their buckets of chum and then to the churning water in between the cracks in the wood of the pier.

"You don't have to believe it, but I'll always think you're perfect, even while you think you're not. You're going to have to be okay with feeling like you're perfect in my eyes as well as others' eyes or you're going to need to be okay with your feelings of imperfection. You don't have to choose right now, and maybe you will choose to do both and surprise me or neither. It's just what I had to do."

"But how can I be perfect in others' eyes? Should that not be impossible?" she asked.

"You already are," Hoshi said, "so you don't have to try to be something you're not. People like me find you to be perfect as you are, as impossible as that sounds."

"But I cannot be perfect... I make too many mistakes..." she said.

"Making mistakes is part of perfection," Hoshi said, "to me."

Chlorate stopped walking for a minute, thinking. Then, without warning, the cracking of wood could be heard as she suddenly plunged her foot right through the wooden dock. She looked at Hoshi, smiling, as if she was anticipating her approval.

Hoshi's blue brows went up on her blushing pink face as she smiled brightly while her deep blue eyes surveyed Chlorate's expression.

"Yes, Chlorate!" Hoshi said amusedly, "Like that, mistakes like that... Is your foot going to be stuck, though?"

A number of people were around, but it seemed none were paying too much mind to Hoshi and Chlorate, despite some having stopped. Hoshi's reacton seemed to have caused them to think the situation was under control.

Chlorate beeped, then looked at her foot. She looked at Hoshi again, then at her foot, then back to Hoshi. "...It could be if you wish for it to be," she said.

"I wish it to be whatever you want," Hoshi said back to Chlorate.

Chlorate thought, unsure of what to do. Then she asked "Would it be a mistake if I made it stuck?

"I don't think so," Hoshi said, looking about.

"Oh..." Chlorate said. "So it would not make me more perfect if I made it stuck?"

Hoshi said assuredly, "Your current physical state isn't what makes you perfect."

"I should not try to make mistakes?" she asked, confused. "But I thought you said making mistakes is part of perfection..."

"Not that," Hoshi said. "I'm saying you should do what you want, mistakes may happen as you do what you want."

"Ohhhh..." Chlorate said, her robotic gaze drifting down to look at her sunken foot. "Perhaps I should remove my foot from the pier then..." She jerked her leg upward and pulled her foot out of the hole she had made in the pier. More wood cracking sounds resulted as she further damaged the pier, making the hole slightly bigger, though fortunately not with as catastrophic results as the last dock.

"This is what you want to do?" Hoshi asked, looking at Chlorate as she grabbed a nearby and unused chum bucket and pulled it over the hole. Hoshi forcibly shoved it in until it was stuck.

"Affirmative... I do not wish to be stuck in this pier," the robo-girl stated. "And if I were a... real girl... I would most likely be in requirement of food at the present moment," she said with a peculiar slow blink, her attempt at emulating a wink without fully realizing what it was.

Grabbing Chlorate's hand gently, Hoshi nodded to her and smiled. "My real girl needs a bite, and so do I!"

Chlorate looked around, confused. "You have a real girl here?" she asked.

"You're the real girl," Hoshi said as they walked towards the end of the pier.

"Oh... Negative, I am not a real girl... I was saying that if I were one I would most likely want food now... but I am not, I am just a robot..." Chlorate said.

"Your robot soul is a girl, a boy, or other?" Hoshi asked.

"It is a mind," Chlorate replied, "An AI."

"Well mine is a digital mind, but I identify as a," Hoshi said, then stopped herself. "Should we eat at this restaurant at the end of the pier?"

"Affirmative," Chlorate replied.

"Awesome," Hoshi said, taking her into the bougie restaurant. Hoshi was severely underdressed while Chlorate in her kimono fit in well with the Yamataian upper crust that happened to be dining there.

"Do you have a reservation?" was the first question they were asked by a host upon entering.

Chlorate blinked and turned to Hoshi, asking "Hoshi, what is a reservation?"

"Something we don't need," Hoshi said, looking at Chlorate's synthetic face, before she looked to the host. "Table for two, by the window. Put a bottle of Helashio wine, private stock, on the table when we get there." She passed him her card. "I'm good for it."

Chlorate observed Hoshi give the host her card, while she inquired "What is wine? And what is that?" she pointed to her card with her metallic finger. Servos whirred inside of her robotic body and her machinery curiously hummed quietly.

"I pay for your things and our food and wine with this," Hoshi told her. "And wine, you'll have to experience for yourself."

Chlorate beeped excitedly, gears clinked inside of her as she swayed back and forth. "Oh, I am excited now!" she said.

"Come with me," the host said as he welcomed them in and after running Hoshi's card. He showed them to a booth that overlooked the ocean and was very private. Nobody would be able to hear or see them very easily. "Here you are," he said.

"Chloey," Hoshi said as she stood beside Chlorate and ushered her into the booth first.

Chlorate looked at the booth, and sat hovering mid-air. She used her gravity manipulation system to slide herself sideways into the booth while already being in a sitting position.

"I like," Hoshi commented as she watched Chlorate hover-slide. "Thank you," she said to the host as he placed embossed, velvet menus down on the table. Not a second after he had left, a bottle of Helashio wine was brought to the table and Hoshi studied the label before they opened it. "Iie, no... Licking cream, instead..."

The wine-bringer left with the bottle and Hoshi looked to Chlorate and asked, "Comfortable, my floating friend?"

"Affirmative," Chlorate said, moving her body to check how the booth felt. "What is licking cream?" she asked.

"Well we can do it the normal way and use a pronged fork," Hoshi said. "We pour opiate-rich sap over the fork and then it goes down it, into ice and cream, and forms little ribbons. Ah, here it is."

The table was set with the cups of creamed ice, pronged forks, and a bottle of sappy opioids.

"Which part is consumed?" Chlorate asked, confused, looking at the cups.

"Here," Hoshi said, pouring some of the sap over the pronged fork so that it ribboned into the cream. She took out the fork and said, "This is for you." She handed the icey cup to Chlorate and began on her own drink.

Chlorate took the cup, it clinked in her metal fingers. She quickly drunk the entire cup without stopping to take a breath.

"Oh..." Hoshi said as she looked to her side to see what Chorate had done. She set down the jug of sap and asked, "Chloey, you feeling okay?"

"I think so... did I do something incorrectly?" she asked.

"Nope," Hoshi said happily as she took the fork out of hers and licked the first bit from the fork. "I might do it your way," she said and took out the fork and gulped it. "Aah!"

"Is there any more?" Chlorate asked, glancing at the bottle. The gears inside of her were clacking a bit louder than normal.

"We'll take it easy for now," Hoshi said after she had taken one more gulp and set the tumbler down on the table very loudly. "Yeah, taking it easy sounds ni... Nice." She had slowly fumbled with her words and smiled at Chlorate after looking over at her.

"Does this beverage have special properties?" Chlorate asked. She started clutching her lap and tapping her feet on the floor.

"Oh," Hoshi said, nodding her head slightly. A few moments later, she continued, "...Yeah."

"What are they?" Chlorate asked. A clanking could be heard as she moved her feet up and down, and her gears were grinding abnormally loudly.

"What's, uh, going on with you?" Hoshi asked, "Ah... Are you able to tell me what's, ah, going on?"

"I... Mmmf... I do not think it is... majorly important..." Chlorate lied.

"Do you have to," Hoshi began, "um... Do anything?"

"Potentially..." Chlorate said, wincing.

"Let's take you," Hoshi said, flushing the drink from her system, "to the little girl's or boy's room. We never really figured out which one an AI is... Come on!" She was hopping up from the booth just as their server was arrriving, "Uh, ah... We'll be right back!" Hoshi said as she waited for and tried to help Chlorate get out of the booth.

"Affirmative, but I am afraid to inform you that I am not a small girl nor am I a small boy," Chlorate said, her feet clanking up and down as she stood up.

Rushing her friend a bit, Hoshi moved through the restaurant with Chlorate quickly and when they were close to the species and gender neautral bathroom, she looked to Chlorate.

"You don't need help using the restroom, do you?" Hoshi gave a slight smile to Chlorate as she let her go ahead of her into the bathroom.

"Well... Hoshi... I do not think I need to rest right now..." Chlorate said, confused.

"Oh, do you need to," she lowered her voice, "uh, pee?"

"Yes," Chlorate quietly squeaked, marching in place faster when she said that.

"Okay!" Hoshi said as she opened the door for Chlorate and she followed the AI in and locked the door. Once inside, she asked, "Where do we begin?"

Chlorate clanked over to the sink quickly and frowned, looking down at her kimono. "Well... I... er... do not know how to remove this..." she admitted.

"Let's start us off on the right foot and use a toilet... Chloey do you always do this here?" Hoshi began moving her to the porcelain bowl and said, "Regardless, this is where you belong for this. Now..." She began pulling up the kimono. "Clothes are difficult, but you can blame Mark for putting it in your AI mind that you need them."

"No, I do not always do this in this specific location, I just do this in there," she said, pointing to the sink. She blinked, seeing the toilet. "But... is this not the incorrect device to use? It is already full of liquid." Chlorate watched Hoshi lift up the kimono, still clanking in place. "I do not wish to blame father..." the robot trailed off.

"The water is there to help you, Chloey. That way, well, I don't understand the mechanics of it." Hoshi said, "Do you mind if I blame Mark? Because he should have really taught you these things..."

"Maybe..." the AI said, concerned. "I love father... I do not want him to be blamed..."

"Okay, I won't blame him. It's a captain's job to, er..." Hoshi thought quickly, but couldn't think of anything of substance, "do this for her crew. Is the kimono up high enough?"

"Affirmative..." Chlorate said, staring at the lifted kimono.

"I'll let you do what you need to do..." Hoshi said, turning away from the porcelain bowl and towards the door.

Chlorate looked behind her, surveying the toilet. A splooshing sound could be heard as she tried to step into the toilet, but fortunately she stepped out and just ended up sitting on the toilet in a strange way and using it.

Hoshi's heart sank and she asked, "You doing alright?"

"I have successfully evacuated my artificial urinary bladder," Chlorate announced, still awkwardly sitting on the toilet.

"I'm sure you can finish on your own," Hoshi said. "You've got the first part down, now."

"Affirmative," Chlorate said, standing up and getting off the toilet.

"Okay let's blow this popsicle stand!" Hoshi said for the second time that day.

"There are more popsicle stands?!- Oh... you do not mean that literally do you?" Chlorate asked, catching on.

"You understand how it is humorous?" Hoshi asked as she pointed to the sink and also added, "Wash your hands in those."

"Which part is humorous?" Chlorate asked, walking to the sink. She didn't use soap, and only rinsed her metal hands, not realizing what the soap dispensers were for.

"You know," Hoshi said as she pumped some soap onto Chlorate's hands. "It all is humorous, or at least I hope it is."

"I still do not understand humor..." the gynoid said, staring at the soap. "What does this slimey substance do?" she asked.

Hoshi jumped noticeably at the word 'slimey' when Chlorate said it, looking perturbed momentarily.

"Did... did I say something wrong?" Chlorate asked worriedly, noticing Hoshi's reaction.

"N-no. It's just soap. It disinfects. Chloey do you want me to upload your memory with my memories, so that you understand the universes' ins and outs."

"That seems like it would be a lot of information to process at once..." Chlorate said, worried still because of the idea.

"We don't have to," Hoshi said as she washed her own hands. "I'll just walk you through things slowly."

"I do not know..." Chlorate said, unsure.

"Oh," Hoshi said as she dried her hands and then wiped the towel over Chlorate's washed hands. "I don't think we should if you have any apprehension. Don't worry, let's go..."

"Affirmative..." Chlorate said, clanking towards the door.

They went back to their booth and sat down.

Hoshi took the tumblers and filled them once more with opioid sap. She passed Chlorate's to her and lifted her own tumbler glass.

Chlorate looked at her tumbler and drank it all quickly again. She looked at the bottom of her tumbler, quickly reflecting on what she had just done and wondering if it was a mistake.

"What are you going to eat, if you want anything, Chloey?" Hoshi asked after licking the cream from the fork.

"Is there a list of items that I can consume?" Chlorate asked.

"Of course," Hoshi said and picked up the velvet menus, handing one to Chlorate with a smile. "Choose from this list of consumable items."

Chlorate's eyes scrolled up and down the menu quickly until they locked onto something. "What are steamed clams?" she asked.

"I don't see any ham," Hoshi said. "Show me where's you're looking..."

"D'oh, no, I said steamed clams, that's what it lists in the..." she squinted, looking at the top of the page. "App-et-izers?"

"D'oh," Hoshi repeated, feeling the sound's rhythm on her tongue and liking it as it passed out of her mouth. "I'd rather eat my shorts than have that. I won't dissuade you in your decision, though."

Chlorate looked up from the menu and peered at Hoshi. "Your shorts are edible?" she asked.

"No, and that's my point," Hoshi said. "Clams are the sea's larvae."

Chlorate winced and looked at the menu again, moving her eyes down some more. "What's... Fugu?" Chlorate asked, eyeing a particularly dangerous dish.

"Ahhhhh, yes," Hoshi said, as if she knew all about the fugu, when in reality, she was pulling up information on it then and there. Once she had processed it, she spoke, "The puffy fish dish."

"Puffy fish?" Chlorate asked. "What is it like?"

"Let's find out," Hoshi said. "Is that alright with you?"

"Affirmative," Chlorate said. She wondered what a puffy fish dish could be. Maybe it was very fluffy. No wait, maybe the dish was puffy? Or maybe it blew air at them.

"This is going to be good," Hoshi said excitedly as she tried to flag down a waiter, who noticed her flapping her hand and he made his way to the pair.

Chlorate watched Hoshi's hand wave around in the air. She glanced at the waiter who came over to the table.

"Yes, hello," Hoshi said.

"What can I get for you two lovely women tonight?" asked the waiter.

Hoshi pointed out the puffy fish and said, "We would like two orders of fugu, if you wouldn't mind."

"Right away, of course," the waiter said. "You are aware of the dangers of...?" He trailed off and Hoshi spoke.

"Yes, we are aware of the dangers associated with it, yes."

"Very good," he said and took their menus before leaving.

Hoshi looked to Chlorate and asked, "What's your poison and toxin filtering system like?"

"My tongue can detect poisons and drugs," Chlorate said. "My digestive system can charge my power supply, but I do not think it needs a toxin filtering system." Chlorate looked concerned. "What are the dangers he was talking about?"

"The odds are," Hoshi said, licking the sap once more, "in our favor."

"What odds?" Chlorate asked, giving a confused beep.

"The odds of life and death," Hoshi explained.

"There is death involved?!" Chlorate asked, shocked. "What is causing it?"

"Puffy fish," Hoshi further expounded, "can cause death if not prepared properly. We're putting our trust in the chef's hands."

Chlorate worriedly beeped and looked around. "This seems dangerous... Is it safe to choose this dish?"

"Oh," Hoshi said, shaking her blue-topped head, "no."

Chlorate beeped repeatedly, her feet clanked against the floor a few times in fear. "Should we not avoid consuming the puffy fish if it is not safe?" Chlorate asked, scared.

Hoshi looked to Chlorate and winked one of her deep blue eyes, "Take a walk on the wild side."

"Where is the wild side?" Chlorate asked, searching around the side of the table, still beeping.

"We're going there," Hoshi said. "And we don't even have to do anything but sit and wait."

"How can we be going there?" Chlorate asked, very confused. She tried to move the table to see if they were in some kind of vehicle... maybe the booth would move and take them to this "wild side"?

"By trying something new and dangerous," Hoshi said.

"Does the puffy fish take us to the wild side?" Chlorate asked.

"Yes," Hoshi said. "Exactly."

"How does it do this? Is it really a fish?" the confused robot asked.

Hoshi's blue brows creased together, "Well, yes."

"I do not understand..." Chlorate said, holding her face in her metal hands.

"Oh," Hoshi said, sliding close to Chlorate. "I guess that was a confusing line of thought." She put a hand around Chlorate's kimono-clad shoulders. "It's okay to not understand. Especially the small things like this."

"I know... but... what does this mean? Why are we going to consume a dangerous fish?" Chlorate asked.

"Well," Hoshi said, "because we want to."

"Why do we want to?" asked Chlorate, glancing at her fork that still had licking cream on it.

"If my digital memory serves correctly," Hoshi said, "we wanted to see what it is like."

"Oh..." said Chlorate. "I am concerned about the threat the puffy fish poses..."

"Are you hungry at all?" Hoshi asked. "We don't have to eat; I only eat every once in awhile."

"Well... technically... I do not have to eat unless I need to charge my battery... but I want to eat..." Chlorate said.

"Want to try something else?" Hoshi asked. "We don't have to eat the dangerous fugu."

"Should we? How is it dangerous?" the gynoid asked.

"It can make humanoid species die," she said plainly back to Chlorate as the waiter came back to their table, this time with plates.

"Compliments of the chef," he said as he placed several sea food dishes in front of them. "Toro, unagi, maguro nigiri..." he began, pointing to the raw fish over rice in nearly bite-sized pieces. Pointing to the puffy fish dish, he said, "Fugu, carefully prepared. Enjoy." He left them and Hoshi looked to Chlorate.

The blue and white haired Neko said, "I guess we have options."

"How does it make humanoid species die?" Chlorate asked, staring at the fugu.

"It has poisonous attributes that either need to be cooked or cut out properly, depending on the planet it is found on." Hoshi looked over the food. "Still feeling apprehensive?" Tag

Chlorate picked up a piece of fugu with her metal hand. "I have chemical scanners on my tongue, I can detect if it has poisons in it," she said, letting the piece dangle from her fingers.

"Do so," Hoshi prompted Chlorate to lick the puffy fish with her words.

Chlorate gave the fugu a lick, scanning it for poisonous chemicals.

"Well?" Hoshi asked, eyeing the food and Chlorate one at a time.

Chlorate looked up at Hoshi. "It is not poisonous," she stated.

"Then eat it, if you'd like," Hoshi told her, nodding.

Chlorate ate the piece of fugu that she was holding, then she picked up and ate another piece.

"Good, good," Hoshi said, eyes glowing as she watched Chlorate.

Chlorate surveyed the plate of fugu and commented "This is fish, but it does not look very puffy."

"Does it taste puffy?" Hoshi asked.

"What does puffy taste like?" Chlorate asked, tilting her head.

"Thick," Hoshi said. "It would taste thick."

"Could you describe what thick tastes like?" the robot asked.

Hoshi smiled, "I cannot describe it. But, if I had to... It would be like... I'm not thick, you know? Just small and, I guess, thin."

"That seems to describe its physical size..." Chlorate beeped.

She booped Chlorate on the nose with her finger before she picked up some well-made chopsticks with engraving.

"It does, I guess puffy is a hard word to describe. I'm not particularly good at illustrating things with my words," Hoshi said as she menacingly opened and closed the chopsticks in her hands while looking at the nigiri and puffy fish.

Chlorate beeped when she was booped.

"Is puffy both a taste and a property of physical appearance?" she asked.


Hoshi gulped down a piece of unagi.

Afterwards, she said, "Yup."

Chlorate paused, and then somewhat randomly asked "Am I puffy?"

"I haven't properly tasted you," Hoshi said. "I'd have to do that to know."

"I see... do I look puffy?" she asked.

Hoshi smiled at the thought, "You look like you are a bit puffier in your chest than me. Being puffy is nice."

"Oh... I thought my chest was small..." Chlorate said, looking at her flat chest that was covered by a plastic plate.

"You've got a big beating heart that fills it up, though!" Hoshi said enhusiastically before chomping more nigiri.

"But... I do not have a heart, I only have liquid pumps... and they do not beat..." Chlorate said.

"I could have sworn you were given internal organs..." Hoshi murmured before picking up another fish meat slice that topped rice with her chopsticks. "Want any more danger fish?"

"I was, but that doesn't include a heart. Only the EM-J2-3a model can get a simulated heart, and its pulse is simulated in the skin overlay. I am based on an EM-J2-2a model," she admitted. She nodded, eating more pieces of fugu.

"Why not a 3a, then?" Hoshi asked. "What made you choose the model you have now?"

"Well... an Emma was what was available... I do not need a 3a anyway..." Chlorate said, eating puffy fish.

"I agree," Hoshi said. "You needed exactly what you got."

"I am not entirely sure how significant the differences are between my body and the EM-J2-3a model... I wonder how many more features it has," Chlorate said.

"I could find them in my digital mind," Hoshi said, "but it would be like comparing apples to danger fish."

"How so?" Chlorate asked, beeping as she ate another piece of fugu.

Hoshi liked the beeping and smiled before she said, "Your model and the 3a are just not worth comparing. You're wonderful as you are."

Chlorate smiled and blushed, looking up from the fugu. "I do not know if I would say wonderful..." she said.

"I know I say you're wonderful," Hoshi told her, looking at Chlorate. "One day you will likely say so about yourself, too."

Chlorate looked puzzled. "Why would I say that?" she asked.

"If you're told something often enough, you may start to want to say it, too," Hoshi said.

"I do not think that is the case..." Chlorate beeped.

"We'll see, we have long lives ahead of us, together, Chloey. Lots can change and lots can stay the same."

"I have a life?" Chlorate asked, staring at Hoshi.

"A long one ahead of you," Hoshi said, propping her face up with her knuckles with her elbows on the table.

"Did I become organic?!" Chlorate asked, worried, looking at her metal body.

"No... Did I?" Hoshi said, looking faux-concerned.

"You are a robot?!" Chlorate asked, gasping.

"I believe myself to be closer to a robot than an organic," Hoshi said.

"I never knew..." the gynoid responded, amazed.

"Do you really consider people born in vats 'organic'?" Hosh asked, hands still propping up her head.

"Yes, they are made of organic material," she responded.

"So, if you had fleshy bits and pieces, you would be an organic?" Hoshi asked.

"Affirmative," Chlorate replied.

"Not everyone is always right about their opinions," Hoshi said. "Including us. I don't know if you're right."

"Why not?" Chlorate asked.

"Because none of us have the capaciy to be right all of the time," Hoshi said.

"No... why do you suspect I am not right?" she asked.

"Because it's not how I feel," Hoshi said. "You believe me to be an organic, but I feel more synthetic than, for instance, I believe I would feel if I were in an Elysian or Phod body."

"Yes... but... you are still made of living cells are you not?" she asked.

"Blood cells supplement the nanomachines inside of me," Hoshi said, letting her hands lower to pick up her chopsticks.

"I think you are a cyborg then..." Chlorate commented.

"Hmmm..." Hoshi said before chomping a fish piece and then ate it before speaking. "Do you like cyborgs?"

Chlorate looked at Hoshi, then spoke: "Well, I like you, so I suppose I do."

Hoshi was caught off of her guard and hadn't been expecting an implied compliment to come so readily from Chlorate. She blushed, pink cheeks grew red, and she looked away from Chlorate as she spoke.

"Oh, Chloey, thank you. You make me one happy cyborg..."

"That makes me... happy..." Chlorate said.

Hoshi looked happily to Chlorate, "I guess that makes us a happy couple."

"I suppose it does..." Chlorate said. Suddenly she frowned and her feet started clanking on the floor again. "I think I have drank too much liquid..." she said.

The waite had recent;y approached and Hoshi said to them, "I'll pay at the door, we had a great meal here, arigatou!" She looked to Chlorate, "You are ready to go after you use the restroom, right?"

"Affirmative..." Chlorate said, beeping.

"Let's have you use the restroom on your own, this time," Hoshi added, "okay?"

"Okay..." Chlorate said.

Hoshi led her to the restroom and then went to the front to make sure they knew to bill her.

Chlorate later came out of the restroom with toilet paper stuck to her leg.

Hoshi smiled and asked quietly, "Did you use the sink properly? For your hands, only?"

"The sink?" the robot asked.

"Yes, the place where we washed your hands, earlier."

"Oh... Affirmative!" Chlorate reported.

"Good!" Hoshi said as she took her card back and put it away. As they walked out of the restaurant, she said, "Want to do anything else?"

"Do you?" Chlorate asked.

Hoshi thought on it as her hand entwined with Chlorate's. "We can go back to the ship, that's fine by me. I don't think I want to do anything besides spend some time resting after our busy date."

"Affirmative..." Chlorate said with the toilet paper still stuck on her clanky mechanical leg.

Hoshi led them along the waterfront carefully, as it was now dark, towards the four-wheeler she had brought them there.

All of a sudden on the way there, Hoshi asked, "Do you want to get a room?"

"A room?" Chlorate asked. "A room where?"

"At a hotel," Hoshi replied.

"What does the room do?" she asked.

Hoshi replied, "Accomodates us."

"What would be the purpose of acquiring a room?" Chlorate asked.

"Somewhere to sleep, eat, laugh, enjoy one another's presence. I don't think hotels have MEGAMI that watch over them, too, which is a plus..."

"Do you dislike MEGAMI?" asked the android.

"I don't always feel like being watched over by her," Hoshi said.

"What does MEGAMI... do? When she's watching you?" Chlorate asked.

Hoshi laughed nervously. "I don't want to assume."

Chlorate pondered, looking down and staring at the toilet paper that was stuck to her. "Does MEGAMI have a... What is the word... Is she sapient?"

"Yes," Hoshi said. "She is like myself, besides she was made as the Kaiyō's sprite, so she is meant for the ship. She has a body that is stored on the ship, but I've never seen her use it."

"Do you think she ever gets... bored in the ship?" Chlorate asked.

"She probably does. But, again, I don't want to assume."

"Maybe you should ask her..." Chlorate suggested.

"Do you want to go to the ship and talk to her, instead?" Hoshi asked as the parking lot came into view.

"Well... I can do that later, if you wanted to do something else, that is..." Chlorate said.

"It's okay, we can do either," Hoshi said, smiling.

"Did you want to go back to the ship, or do something else?" Chlorate asked.

"As long as I'm doing something with you, I'll be happy. Let's have a conversation with MEGAMI another day. Today is about us, yeah?" Hoshi said as they appoached the vehicle.

"Yes..." Chlorate said, clanking to the vehicle. The toilet paper on her leg occassionally tapped Hoshi. "What did you want to do?" she asked.

Hoshi opened the door for Chlorate while thinking.

Chlorate climbed in and sat down in the vehicle. She reached down and grabbed the toilet paper on her leg, then she pulled it off and brought it up to look at it.

"That's odd," Hoshi said. "Throw it into the backseat."

Chlorate attempted to throw the toilet paper into the back seat, resulting in it fluttering around mid-air only to land back in her hands. She attempted to throw it a few more times with the same result, until she crumpled it up and threw it into the cushion of the back seat.

Hoshi watched while her expression kept changing as the scene unfolded until, finally, the problem was resolved. She closed the door and went around to the other side of the vehicle and got inside, turning the ignition soon thereafter before speaking over the low noise of the engine.

"Did we decide on going to the ship or a hotel?"

"I do not know... I will be okay with going to either one, whichever you decide," Chlorate said.

"Okay, let's drive and see where we go," Hoshi said. She pulled out of the parking spot and began making her way out of the lot. Soon, she was at the main road and had turned right, away from the small starport. They drove towards some towering buildings towards the NorthEast.

Chlorate looked up at the tall buildings, giving off a beep.

They drove in the open-air vehicle for awhile before they got closer to the buildings. Hoshi drove through the city around the buildings until they were past it and were near the beach once again. She drove towards a series of small houses, parking in the driveway of the biggest one.

"Stay here, I'll be right back!" Hoshi said as she got out of the four-wheeler and then she walked into the house.

Soon, she was back out of the house and in the vehicle.

"We've got a place by the water, let's go!" Hoshi said and revved the engine and drove them to an isolated one-story house in a little inlet, parking in the driveway. She got out and opened the door on Chlorate's side.

"We do?" Chlorate asked, surprised, stepping out of the vehicle with a clank clank.

"Just for the night," Hoshi added. "It should be nice. Do you like it?"

"Affirmative!" Chlorate responded.

"Great!" Hoshi said and led them in. She looked about once inside and began making her way to the back of the house. "I'd like to find the bedroom."

"I will find the room of beds!" Chlorate said. She began running and searching the house at a very fast speed, producing a rapid and extraordinarily loud series of clanks.

"You find it, Chloey!" Hoshi called as Chlorate looked.

Chlorate's clanking was excessively loud until she eventually stopped in the bedroom and said "I found it."

"Wonderful!" Hoshi said as she made her way towards the voice. The little Neko grabbed Chlorate around the waist and made to bring her down and onto the large, plush bed with her as she descended.

Chlorate beeped and cried "AAAAAAA!" in surprise.

Hoshi took her onto the bed and he blue and white hair splayed out in an arc as she made her way down to the bed. She rested her head on the cushiony mattess, smiling.

Chlorate looked around at the bed, then at Hoshi, confused from being moved onto the cushion.

Hoshi was still smiling as she said, "What do you think of the future, Chloey?"

"I think that... it has yet to happen..." she said, unsure.

"Wise," Hoshi said, letting her head rest more fully as her eyes closed while one of her arms was loosely draped over Chlorate.

Chlorate tried to think of a similar question, trying to sound clever. "What do you think of the past?" she asked.

Hoshi was caught off guard and she said,"I don't normally think of the past." Her own life was marred with death and violence. "I don't know if I want to."

"Oh... I do not have a long past because I was created not long ago..." Chlorate responded.

"Do you," Hoshi began, opening her eyes. "Do you like to think about it: the past?"

"Not always... I do not like remembering what happened soon after my creation..." she said.

"No," Hoshi said. "No, I don't know why, but the future is much more pleasant to think about than the past for me. And," she added, "so is the present, usually. Especally now."

"I do not know what to say about the future... It has not happened yet so I do not know what to think of it..." Chlorate admitted.

"It's nice to hope for things in the future, for me," Hoshi said.

"Yes... it is nice..." Chlorate said.

"Would you like to rest?" Hoshi asked, feeling ready to sleep, but not knowing if it was required for the AI.

Chlorate thought. She could technically keep running without a problem... But she also did want to rest... "Yes," she said.

"Goodnight, Chloey," Hoshi said. She pressed her lips against Chlorate's cheek and smiled at the AI, then stretched her small legs. She was tired enough that simply closing her deep blue eyes again was enough to make her ready to fall asleep.

"Goodnight Hoshi," Chlorate said. She laid her head down on the pillow. Her irises stopped glowing, and her machinery stopped whirring and went silent as she went into sleep mode.

...

The sleeping Chlorate was silent for once, even the mechanisms and electronics inside of her weren't making any noise. She had her eyes closed, laying on the bed on top of the blanket.

Hoshi was beside her, arm still over the AI's hip, while she slept with her face peaceful and calm, eyes closed like Chlorate's. There was a low din of the ocean noise coming in through the open window as the water lapped at the sand nearby. Eventually, her eyes opened and her deep blue irises looked about, settling on Chlorate's face.

"Chloey..." she whispered with a smile on her face, alongside creases from the blanket.

Chlorate stayed asleep, not seeming to hear. She just layed there like... well... a robot that was offline.

Hoshi slowly removed her arm from Chlorate's side, hoping to not disturb her.

Chlorate slightly moved, but only from Hoshi moving her arm- the robot wasn't awake yet.

Hoshi murmured, "Sshhh..." and got up off of the bed gingerly. She went from the room and down the hall until she was in the kitchen. She began rummaging through the fridge and freezer and clanked around with a pan a little as she prepared breakast.

Chlorate didn't seem to notice Hoshi going to the kitchen, and stayed asleep.

Within ten minutes, Hoshi was done and brought two plates into the bedroom, speaking softly as she did.

"Chloey, time to boot up..."

Chlorate beeped and some of her mechanisms whirred, but evidently it wasn't enough to wake her up, and she didn't move.

Hoshi smiled, set down the plates on the nightstand, and sat on the bed, then gently shook Chlorate's shoulder.

Chlorate beeped and opened her eyes, which then lit up. The robot sat up and looked at Hoshi, saying "Hello?"

"Did you have a nice sleep?" Hoshi asked as she withdrew her hand and folded both on her lap.

"Affirmative," the now awake robot answered.

"Okay," Hoshi said with a smile. She reached over towards the plates. "I made us breakfast. Eggs and toast and bacon. Nothing special."

"I do not think I have consumed eggs, toast, or bacon before," Chlorate said.

"It's not something I would guess you've never had," Hoshi said. "Let's dig in." She passed Chlorate one of the two plates with a fork on it.

Chlorate looked at the plate and tried to pick up the eggs with her metal hands, and ate some of them without using the fork.

Hoshi smiled as she watched and then began eating, herself.

Chlorate continued eating the food, at one point grabbing a piece of bacon with her tongue and pulling it into her mouth.

Hoshi ate with a fork besides when eating toast and would look every so often at Chlorate.

Chlorate glanced up at how Hoshi was eating with a fork, while a strip of bacon was sticking out of her mouth.

Hoshi smiled at Chlorate as she saw the bacon. "Gonna eat that?"

"That?" Chlorate asked with bacon in her mouth.

"The," Hoshi gave a giggle, "the bacon!"

"Oh... affirmative..." Chlorate said, gulping down the piece of bacon.

Hoshi stifled another giggle and tilted her head, letting her blue and white strands of hair fall on her shoulders before they slid off.

"What do you think of finishing up here and going for a swim in a little? A more controlled one than the one we went on yesterday?" Hoshi asked.

"More controlled?" the robot asked worriedly, looking at her legs whose poor gears had gotten jammed up yesterday.

"We won't be running from the dock master this time," Hoshi said.

"Will we be swimming from the dock master?" she asked.

Hoshi gave out a loud laugh and she closed her eyes, looking down, "No, Chloey, they won't be around. It'll just be the two of us!"

"Will I get stuck again?" she asked, beeping.

"I don't think this beach is murky and goopy like the pier is. It's meant for swimming," Hoshi told her, picking up their plates and forks.

"Okay..." Chlorate said, still unsure.

"If you don't want to," Hoshi said as she stood, "we absolutely don't have to!"

"N-Negative, we should swim!" she beeped, surprised.

"Okay," Hosh said, nodding. "You don't ever have to do something you don't want to to do, though!"

"I do want to," Chlorate reassured her, "it was fun, at least, when I was not stuck."

"I agree, let me go put these away and we'll go outside!"

"Affirmative," Chlorate said, sitting up in the bed.

Hosh put the plates away and then brought herself back to the bedroom, where she extended her hand for Chlorate to hold onto.

Chlorate looked at the pink hand, and then reached out to hold it with her black metal hand, standing up.

Hoshi led her through the house to the back of it and, soon, they were stepping out of the house and onto the sandy beach. Hoshi's volumetrics flickered so that she was wearing a floral two-piece bikini and she looked to Chlorate, in her kimono, and spoke.

"Perhaps we should have bought you bathing suits, too..."

"Do I need them to swim?" Chlorate asked.

"No, we can go nude," Hoshi said frankly, then her volumetrics were off and her pink features were all that could be seen of her body, besides for her blue and white hair and deep indigo eyes.

"Affir-" Chlorate's eyes widened as Hoshi turned her volumetrics off. "Um... Chusa Hoshi... your clothes are missing..." she reported, shocked.

Hoshi's own eyes went wide as she realized Chlorate had not been expecting that, but she didn't shy away from being in the buff.

"No need to be concerned, Chloey." Hoshi said, putting hands on her hips. "Let's just say I feel it's necessary to be nude once in awhile around my girlfriend. Are you going to," she looked at Chlorate's ornate kimono, "you know?"

"Would father approve of... this?" Chlorate asked worriedly.

Hoshi's eyebrows strained, "Best not to think of your father when you're around your... Well, yeah..." She grimaced and rubbed the back of her head.

"Why not?" Chlorate asked.

"Because," Hoshi began to explain, "Your love is different for other people and mixing those loves is sometimes like putting oil with water they don't always react well."

"But oil and water do not react..." Chlorate responded.

"Exactly," Hoshi said.

Chlorate blinked, confusedly asking "So you are saying that if you mix loves there is no reaction?"

"Some loves, yes." Hoshi said.

"But would that not mean I should think about my father?" Chlorate asked.

"You do what think works for you," Hoshi said with a smile. "Should I cover up?"

"Calculating..." Chlorate said, trying to think of the possible outcomes of Hoshi going to the beach naked and Mark reacting. "Most likely..."

Hoshi's volumetric floral bikini reappeared. "Anything else?"

"Negative..." Chlorate said.

"How are you going to swim, if not nude?" Hoshi asked.

"I will enter the water and move my arms in a cycle-like pattern while kicking my legs," Chlorate stated.

"With a kimono on?" Hoshi asked.

"Affirmative," Chlorate said.

"Hey," Hoshi said, "I think we have a convo with the MEGAMI on the ship we need to have. Let's do that, yeah?"

"We do?" Chlorate asked, staring at the beach.

"It's up to you," Hoshi said to Chlorate. "Anything you want to do, Chloey, we can do."

"Negative..." Chlorate responded. "I want to know what you want to do."

Hoshi chuckled softly, "I would like to go back to the ship, by now. I don't want you swimming in that kimono and I'd like to finish up a few things there."

"Affirmative," Chlorate said, looking at her feet that were partially buried in sand.

Hoshi's volumerics shifted so that she, too, was in a kimono and she took Chlorate's hand in her own, walking them both to the beach house.

"Anything you want to talk about with the time we have left?" Hoshi said as she gathered the small amount of things they had in the house.

Chlorate thought, and asked "Where can I acquire upgrades for my body?"

"Well through Emrys Industries, you can buy uprades. You are talking about the kind they offer, right?" Hoshi asked.

"I believe I am, but I do not know if they have all of the upgrades I want..." Chlorate said.

"Which do you want?" Hoshi tilted her head while looking at Chlorate as they went towards the four wheeler.

"Volumetrics..." the white haired robot said. "And... tear emitters..."

"You want those things changed?" Hoshi asked as she walked forward and opened the door to the side of the car Chlorate would get in.

"Yes- I currently do not have them," Chlorate said, not realizing Hoshi had opened the door.

"I will send a communication to Emrys and see what we can do, okay?" Hoshi said before sweeping her arm so that Chlorate would know to get in the four wheeler.

"Affirmative!" Chlorate said, trying to hide her excitement and beeping happily, then looking at her arm and getting in the vehicle.

"I'm happy," Hoshi said before walking to the othe side of the four wheeler and got in, "that you're happy to get upgrades. I find you perfect the way you are, but I know I will also like you no matter what kind of body you inhabit."

"...Even if it was a Mishhuvurthyar body?" Chlorate asked.

Hoshi wrinkled her nose a bit, "You have quite the imagination," she said only, a look of distaste now on her face as she started up the vehicle.

"No no I do not want a Mishhuvurthyar body!" Chlorate cried nervously, "It was a hypothetical situation!"

Hoshi backed up and looked behind herself, then smiled at Chlorate, "I believe you, I suppose I would need to be in that situation to know how I would feel... Though," she said as she began driving past other beach houses, "I would like the you inside of that body, regardless of how I felt about the body itself."

"What if the body were... not intended to be used as a body?" Chlorate asked.

"What do you mean?" Hoshi asked, looking to Chlorate quizzically.

"What if it were a combat vehicle, like a tankette?" she asked.

"Weren't you supposed to be in a tankette at some point on Komorebi?" Hoshi asked.

"Yes, but Walter Hyde- the Walter Hyde that was previously but is not currently on this ship- tried to ask to have me uploaded to a damaged tankette and Hanna Madsen argued with him that I would not be allowed to be uploaded to a tankette, even a damaged one, so he uploaded me to his FARS instead," Chlorate replied, apparently sounding slightly disappointed for some reason.

"Well with volumetrics and some cosplay foam we could make you into a tankette easily!" Hoshi said.

"Is that really what it feels like to be a tankette?" Chlorate asked.

"Oh," Hoshi said, "so you want to truly be in one? Well I guess it is fine now to uploaded into one of the SAoY tankettes, since have enlisted."

"I could?!" Chlorate asked, staring at Hoshi wide-eyed. It even looked like the yellow in her eyes was glowing a little bit brighter.

"Let's talk to MEGAMI about it once aboard the ship, but yeah, I give authorization." Hoshi was on the highway of Hanako's World by now and the breeze lifted her white and sky-blue hair up.

"Yaaaaay," Chlorate said. A few quiet clinks could be heard from her chair, and it looked like she was trying to resist allowing her metal feet to excitedly move around and tap the vehicle's floor.

"Heehee," Hoshi giggled as she felt the excitement emanate from her smile. "I'm happy you're happy."

"Yes... I am happy," Chlorate said, clinking noises still coming from her feet tapping on the floor.

Hoshi's smile stayed and she continued to drive until they were to the little tarmac they had entered the world via the day before. Before Hoshi pulled into the parking space, she looked to Chlorate.

"Ready to get out?" Hoshi asked.

"Affirmative," Chlorate beeped, smiling at Hoshi.

Hoshi unbuckled herself once they were stopped and she looked to Chlorate, about to say something. Then, she looked away, creating a wave of her blue and white hair before she was out of the vehicle.

"Here, let me help you," she said as she sent out a digital message to have her four-wheeler be brought to storage, once more. Hoshi put a hand up to hold Chlorate's as Chlorate got out of the vehicle.

"Affirmative," Chlorate said, reaching up and grasping Hoshi's hand with her cold robotic hand.

"I like what you have to say," Hoshi said, "Chloey."

"What do you mean?" Chlorate asked, puzzled.

"The way you use language is very unique to you, in my experience." Hoshi stepped up to a waiting shuttle and led Chlorate in. "Do you know what I mean now?"

Chlorate clanked into the shuttle and looked at Hoshi saying "Negative... In what way is it unique?"

Hoshi sat and thoughtfully said, "It is something about you I haven't noticed elsewhere."

"What have you noticed?" Chlorate asked, worried.

"The way you speak and react to things. Everything about you is really unique," Hoshi replied.

"Is this an unfavorable thing?" the robot asked.

"Not to me, being unique is a good thing!" Hoshi replied.

"Is it an unfavorable thing to other people?" she asked.

"Depends on the person," Hoshi thought.

"Is it generally unfavorable?" the android asked worriedly.

"No, not generally. Being unique is desirable more than unfavorable," Hoshi explained as the shuttle moved about above the planet.

"Oh... so does that mean the way in which I operate language is desirable?" Chlorate asked.

Hoshi gave a quiet nod while looking at Chlorate, who had a bit of sand stuck to her face. Hoshi brushed it off as she spoke.

"Yes, it does mean that, Chloey."

Chlorate beeped, surprised by Hoshi brushing the sand off. "That is good to know," she replied. "If it is desirable why do not other people speak in this way?"

Hoshi's eyes went upwards as she thought, then spoke aloud. "Our species are not completely similar. Neko and humans, even Nepleslians, will always speak in ways that pale in comparison to what comes out of you, Chloey."

Chlorate made a surprised beep, looking at Hoshi with a robotic blush. "You think my speech is superior to theirs?" she asked.

Hoshi's mouth's edges turned down slightly as the rest of her pink lips rose and she nodded, "Totally." As her face sofened to a typical smile, she added, "In a lot of ways."

"How so?" the android asked, curiously.

"Well, for one," Hoshi said as she cocked her head and looked towards the shuttle's pilot area and continued, "Most species are jaded, I guess? Me and my own included. We've worn out our words to the point where..." the little Neko's lips had tightened and were moving from one side ofher chin to the other while she trailed off. Finally, she found what she was looking to say, "We're at the point where love, hate, and Yui are the only words with much meaning, I think."

"Oh... Do my words have more meaning?" Chlorate asked, crossing her electronic eyes to look at her mouth.

Hoshi nodded, "Yeah, I'd say they do."

The gynoid responded "I see... That is good to hear..." She looked to Hoshi once more and smiled at her.

Hoshi smiled back and her hand moved towards Chlorate's and picked up the AI's hand in hers. "We are quite different, in other ways. Do you notice any other differences?"

Chlorate's cold black hand held Hoshi's pink hand. She squinted at Hoshi, then reported "Affirmative, I have noticed a large number of other differences. You are shorter in height than me, you have blue hair that fades into white, I have white hair, your skin is more pink in hue than mine, my eyes glow yellow, your eyes are blue and do not emit light, my exterior is made mostly of plastic and metal whereas your exterior is made of organic skin. Most of my systems are mechanical or electronic, but your systems are electronic and organic. You are a Chusa and that is the captain of a starship and I am a Santo-hei that is the weapons operator of this starship. I am also wearing a physical Kimono, you are wearing a Kimono projected by your volumetrics systems. I currently do not have volumetrics systems. I also empty my liquid waste in sinks which it can be presumed you do not do due to your reaction to me using it in this way. I am currently 0 Yamataian Calendar years old. You are much quieter than me when walking. My body was assembled using a pre-existing robot body. I am also heavier than you and accidentally destroyed a dock yesterday. My proportions are noticable different from yours. Your ears are triangular in shape but mine are not. I have been in computers before. I was cloned prior to the YSS Kaiyo II departing for Ayenee so that another Chlorate could stay in this universe. In addition-"

Hoshi had been looking at Chlorate's metal hand as she held it aloft so that she could absently focus on the details of it while Chlorate asked, then looked to her, focusing on Chlorate's bright eyes as she interrupeted her.

"Chloey, do you like it? Do you like," Hoshi said before gasping and speaking again, "being different?"

Chlorate stopped and blinked, responding with "Well... I think so..."

Hoshi smiled before her eyes fell from Chlorate's. Though her smile remained, it had wanned and she spoke, "I am not used to being different. In many respects. In my society or in a relationship, too. If you think a Geshrin is too different than a Nekovalkyrja, then..." Hoshi murmured, trailing off, before the shuttle pilot made it apparent to them in their seats that they were approaching the station above Hanako's World. She looked back up to Chlorate's, "I like being different with you. It feels new, but..."

"Being different never felt new to me, even when I was uploaded to this body..." the robot said. Chlorate glanced at Hoshi, asking "Were you going to say something else?"

Hoshi opened her mouth then closed it prematurely before settlng her eyes on Chlorate's hand wrapped up in hers. "I know that, or at least suspected it about you, and wonder if that sort of adds to the feeling." She looked back up to Chlorate's golden irises and her smile returned in full. "You and I are different from one another, but you have been different from anyone all of your life. You have a unique experience that, I guess, you are sharing with me through dating me, in a way that may be new to both of us. Have you ever," Hoshi said, breathing out as she looked for the words, "Shared yourself? Shared your experiences with someone like this, Chlorate?"

The robot replied "I have shared some of my experiences before with Mark Oaklen electronically but... I have never shared my experiences with anyone in this way. This way is... new to me..." Chlorate returned the look, her glowing yellow irises meeting Hoshi's blue eyes.

A moment before the shuttle's door opened, Hoshi's hand squeezed the robot hand of Chlorate's and it stayed firmly pressed there as her eyes stayed in contact with Chlorate's. The station's docking station's internal lighting created a small, rectangular segment of light that flooded a small portion of the shuttle, where Hoshi and Chlorate were sitting. Hoshi's smile deepened before her cheeks slacked, though her eyes kept the look of happiness within their blue depths as she looked at Chlorate. With a subtle purse of her pink lips on her paler pink face, Hoshi pressed her free hand into her seat and gently closed the small gap between Chlorate and herself.

There was still a small distance left for Chlorate to push towards Hoshi and return the gesture and Hoshi used the pause to speak to her.

"Chloey, every time we kiss, we seal the deal that we like sharing experiences. Uh, that we like dating, even, I think. Because of that, I want to..." her words trailed off as she looked to the white-haired robot's eyes.

Chlorate beeped, she was about to respond but she realized she didn't know what a kiss truly meant- Well, she knew what a kiss was, but what did it mean? "I... Hoshi... What is a kiss? Or- well... what is the purpose of a kiss?" she asked.

"That is different to each person and, sometimes, every kiss. Like I said, it is a sort of... pact between us, I guess. As we kiss, touch hands, or anything else phys-" Hoshi was saying before a shadow passed by their feet and the pilot was at the shuttle door.

"Off-loading time," the pilot said before their eyes slid over the pair and a smirk appeared as they went on before departing fully, "Take your time, though."

Hoshi's brows raised after she had looked back to Chlorate and her cheeks were heavily rosey. Hoshi went on in a whisper as she raised herself from her seat and helped Chlorate up.

"It is mostly, to me, a pact sort of thing. A reminder that we both like each other. Love one another, even." She looked away from where she wanted to step next to look at Chlorate with a bright smile under her flushed cheeks, "Do you think I am close to the true meaning of a kiss? I don't know."

"I see..." Chlorate said. "I believe you are close to the true meaning of a kiss, but I cannot say for certain, I have never asked anyone about it before." She glanced at Hoshi's rosey cheeks, her own taking on an oily black hue. Chlorate stood up, and nervously theorized "U-um... perhaps i-if we kiss now it will be more c-clear?"

Hoshi's eyebrows lifted and her smile became more of a veiled smirk as she said, "Perhaps." She looked down at her hand, that was still holding Chlorate's. "I think I have a good idea that it might, but-" Almost on command, a shuttle craft personnel walked past the open door. "Because it is less common to experience this love, I prefer to show it to people without..." Her blue eyes looked to the people and world outside their shuttle. "Without distractions and without others to observe, do you understand?" Hoshi asked.

"O-oh... I understand..." Chlorate said glancing at Taiyou Hoshi's hand. Still, she made a low pitched beep.

Hoshi led herself and Chlorate through the halls of the ship and, as an apparently off-duty officer in her Aloha shirt and black pleated skirt, she received fewer salutes or bows than she normally drew while walking through the first exoeditionary fleet's base. When they arrived at the YSS Kaiyō II's bay within the station, Hoshi had to make no declaration of intent as the guards around the bay held a watch. Hoshi looked back at them and to Chlorate.

"We'll be going to Deck 2 to talk to MEGAMI, but we will be passing the galley, so maybe we can pick on some left-overs or something and bring them up there for her?" Hoshi asked Chlorate as the power armor bay's door's

"Left-overs?" The android asked, tilting her head.

Hoshi grimaced and then her lips scrunched up to the side as if she'd had a whole raw lemon or two and then spoke.

"Perhaps we should focus on fresh food as an offering, I suspect. Usually a left-over is a snack, even if it was once a meal. Besides, I suspect any such things are already cleaned out..."

Hoshi and Chlorate has been speaking while passing into the wardroom and, then, galley area. Hoshi let go of Chlorate's mechanical hand and then began lifting pieces of food that generally kept well when unopened before her eyes settled on something.

"Ahhh..." Hoshi said as she picked up a canister of infant Elysian formula. "Would you like to eat something like this if it were to be your first meal?" Lowering the cannister, Hoshi looked to Chlorate and asked, "Chloey, what was your first meal?"

"MEGAMI requests offerings of food?!" Chlorate asked, totally shocked. "My first meal was... spaghetti."

Hoshi made a face. Her lower lips slackened and showed her lower teeth and then she asked, "That? Did you like it?"

"Affirmative," Chlorate said as she began to recall something. "Though, it is very messy, I do not understand how I am supposed to eat it." She looked at her hands as if she expected spaghetti sauce to be all over them.

Hoshi gave a brief chuckle as her eyes fell from Chlorate to the cannister of Elysian baby food. "Do you think this would be a nice first meal? It is already made and everything."

Chlorate peered into the canister, beeping. She was almost visibly taken aback upon seeing what was inside, replying "That does not look like food."

"Um..." Hoshi murmured, then closed the cannister and put it back on the shelf before sighing and speaking once more. "What do you think we should give to her as an offering. I, um... I believe that if Kami exist, they exist in the Empress and our avatars. The MEGAMI that the Empire could not live without. AI like you, even. It's uh," Hoshi smirked as she let out a soft sigh and looked at Chlorate. "A concept that reminds me how grateful I am for being able to know you. It's actually kind of funny you asked to speak to her. Boss. At first I was a little," Hoshi's blue brows knit together as she thought. "I guess, a bit worried or nervous. I don't feel the same way, now, after realizing I am dating someone much like Boss, much like a MEGAMI. I don't need to be too nervous even after just a few hours. A day, I guess? I don't know, I'm rambling, Chloey, I just really like dating you." She looked as if she could cry, but she had a big smile on her face that lit up her eyes as she said her latter statement.

"Well, I did not know MEGAMI ate food..." Chlorate said. "I do not think I am that similar to MEGAMI... "

"I guess it is more of on a conceptual level that I think that," Hoshi explained while her inner eyes dried and she gave a turse nod.

"I suppose we are both electronic artificial intelligences, but... MEGAMI controls an entire ship, I only control a body... though I did control a drone twice." Chlorate looked at Hoshi. "I really like dating you too... at first, I did not even know what dating was." Chlorate looked around, then looked at Hoshi again. "MEGAMI makes me nervous too sometimes... She is one of the only other AIs on this ship and she... is the ship... She could be ready to surprise me anywhere..." she admitted.

Hoshi's hands both dropped as she turned to look more fully at Chlorate, "Is that really how you feel? In that case, we need to talk to her immediately." Hoshi grabbed a tin of assorted, iced, sugar cookies and Chlorate's hand. "Deck 2, it is, right? Boss' room is there."

Chlorate was caught off-guard by Hoshi choosing to see Boss right away and beeped as her hand was grabbed. "Oh, a... a... affirmative?" she said, gazing around the room.

Hoshi took Chlorate up to the second deck through the zero gravity passage way near the galley and she looked to Chlorate when she said aloud, "Boss?"

"Yes, Taiyou-chusa?" came a reply over comms.

"Chlorate-hei and I want to speak with you and, before we do, I wanted to ask if your body is ready for off-duty use?"

Boss replied, "I am presently ready for any kind of interaction. My body will resume speaking to you once you enter the MEGAMI room. The blast shutters have been opened for you, Captain Taiyou."

Hoshi breathed in while looking to the opened doorway, though not much could be seen of the room inside, so she looked to Chlorate.

"Ready, Chloey? Have your questions ready?" Hoshi asked with a squeeze of her hand against Chlorate's.

"Affirmative," Chlorate responded, loudly clanking along with her.

At the door, Hoshi's dark eyelashes fluttered over her sparkling indigo eyes and she spoke quietly, "I am... Chlorate, I think I'm scared."

The gynoid looked at Hoshi and cocked her electronic head to the side, asking "Why are you scared?"

"Expectations are a funny thing. When they are met, you may feel good but you may also feel nauseous. Same goes for when they're not met. I think I am ready, now, having said that," Hoshi said, looking into Chlorate's yellow eyes as her own smile grew.

"I see..." Chlorate said with a beep. "I believe I am ready as well, though I have not fully met MEGAMI herself, so I do not know what will happen." She beeped a few times, and her motors whirred, but she stepped into the MEGAMI room anyway.

When they entered the computer room together, the avatar of the ship's MEGAMI was sitting atop her closed bed, which was more like a coffin than the bunks or beds the crew were used to. Her cadet-blue tight-covered legs were crossed, and she wore a standard cheerleader skirt and Type 35 jacket, which had grey panels- the same color that Chlorate wore while on duty.

Hoshi bowed reverently and spoke, "Boss-sama, arigatou-gozaimasu."

Chlorate glanced at the MEGAMI's bed, finding it strange. There was something off-putting about its coffin-like appearance. She looked just above the bed to see Boss sitting on it, realizing she should say something but she didn't know what, so she just said "Hello."

Boss stepped off of her coffin to stand and bow to Hoshi, then gave a low nod to Chlorate and said to them both, "It is nice to see you both, Chusa Taiyou, Chlorate-hei. How are you today?"

Hoshi nodded quickly, "Very good, Boss-sama. Chlorate-san and I just had a nice date yesterday and today went to the beach." She gave a short nod after saying so and a smile had formed on her pink face.

"Affirmative," Chlorate added on, reporting "I accidentally destroyed a dock."

Hoshi put her hand to her mouth to hide the open smile she now had and looked from Chlorate to Boss, though didn't speak.

Boss asked, "A dock? As in one for boats to moor at?" Her smile on her face was small, but she looked intrigued, "I hope nothing too bad came of that."

"Affirmative," Chlorate said, recalling what had happened. "I attempted to lift two paddleboats and a skiff at once while standing on the dock, but this caused the dock to collapse and pushed me into the mud underwater." Chlorate looked at her legs and shuddered, remembering how Hoshi had to clean the mud out of them after that.

Boss' eyes also went down to Chlorate's legs as she said, "Sometimes, it is best to have a foundation below you that is as strong as you, when you are exerting your strength." She looked up and her light blue eyes sparkled, "I believe mistakes are to be made when learning how to use your strength, though. I would not feel too guilty about this, if I were you." She looked to Hoshi and asked, "Payments were made to repair this dock, though?" Hoshi nodded softly and Boss went on, "What brings you to my cabin, of sorts?" The MEGAMI gave a short and stifled laugh as she turned towards different parts of the computer room, but kept her eyes on Chlorate and Hoshi.

Chlorate was surprised to hear Boss describe the room as a cabin. She had seen it as more of a general room for Boss's avatar, given that it wasn't placed with the crew quarters, and was filled with various control panels, displays, even a generator system, unlike the cabins. The electronic girl then said to the other AI in the room "I would like to know what you do when you are not busy."

Boss's smile straightened and she looked away as her brows furrowed slightly, "I am always doing something, whatever that may be, through the ship. I don't usually need to entertain myself, in the way that," Boss looked back to Chlorate, then Hoshi, "most do." She seemed to pause, as if done speaking, but then spoke, "I do like certain things, parts of what I do in the ship. I like looking at the sensors," she smiled, "quite a bit. It's almost like I am in this body, on the hull, looking at space as it goes by, at times. At times it is much less peaceful than that, which you both can understand, I am sure."

The metal robot related to the feeling of being in the computer of a ship before, she had experienced it a while ago when she was uploaded to a Grunt drone. She suspected that Boss's looking at the sensors was what Hoshi was referring to when she said Boss watched over people. "I have been a ship before, or more accurately, a large drone," Chlorate told the MEGAMI. "I could feel the hull, and see out the sensors, but the last time I was uploaded to it it was certainly not peaceful. It was shorted out by some sort of electrical anomaly, and I almost did not make it to a new body in time before the damage to the drone would have caused permanent damage to me." In a way Chlorate was glad to be out of the large drone body, its size certainly wouldn't have permitted her to be inside the Kaiyo's rooms, though she did know the feeling Boss was describing.

Boss looked at Chlorate with a stern expression, then nodded, "It is both amazing and terrifying to be attached to a ship in such a way. When I transferred to this Fuji-class," Boss looked pensively to Hoshi, then to the nearest wall of the computer room, "It was not an experience I expected to be easy. It is terrifying, at times, to know your ship is not you, and, yet, it is all you have, in some way." She raised her dark brown-skinned hand and looked at it, splaying the fingers, this is not me as much as a Neko OS belongs to the NH body it inhabits. When a Nekovalkyrja body is destroyed, I do not often hear of them going into a body that doesn't resemble the one that was destroyed. I do not believe I have that luxury, if it is one. What about yourself, Chlorate-hei? Do you feel connected to the body you have had built?"

"Affirmative," Chlorate said, examining her metal hand. She considered how her body was built rather than grown, something most of the other crew couldn't say. It was a machine, but despite the hard exterior it was also what she felt comfortable in. "I have discussed possible upgrades for it with Chusa Hoshi."

Boss nodded and said, "That is good."

Chlorate turned her white haired head to look at Hoshi. "Chusa Hoshi, do you know approximately how long it will take Emrys Industries to send the upgrades after you contact them?" she asked.

Hoshi looked up, around the room, thinking and looking into timeframes in her mind's eye. When her eyes settled on Chlorate, she said, "Within the next two days, since we are so close to core Yamatai."

"Yay," Chlorate said, apparently excited. She made a few happy beeps, her metal soled feet dinked on the floor from her gleefully tapping them.

The MEGAMI smiled and looked to Chlorate, "What are the upgrades going to include?"

"Volumetrics, and tear-makers for crying- my current body cannot make tears, so when I cry it causes the corners of my eyes to spark," Chlorate replied.

Boss' dark blue eyebrows pushed towards the center as she looked at Chlorate, then her expression relaxed and she said, "I wouldn't find that very comforting in a time when I needed comfort. I hope that upgrade goes over well for you. I watched your body being made before, I will be here to make sure any upgrades work out for you, too." The MEGAMI sat back down on her coffin and she looked between Hoshi and Chlorate, then asked with a soft smile, "Are you two..." she trailed off, then smiled wider as she asked in a calm voice, "dating?"

Hoshi's brows shot up as her mouth opened and her face forcefully blushed as she looked from Boss to Chlorate.

Chlorate was about to say her usual affirmative, but she stopped herself. She glanced at Hoshi with her glowing yellow eyes, not sure if she should tell Boss.

Without looking away from Chlorate, the Chusa spoke softly, smiling as she did, "We are, yes."

Boss looked between the two and said in a happy, but even tone, "That is very cute. I am happy for you two."

"How does one determine if something is cute?" Chlorate asked.

Hoshi made to speak, but Boss beat her to it as she said, "It has to do with happiness. Happiness can be infectious, passing from a couple to a MEGAMI, even. That is cute, to me." Hoshi smiled and took a small step closer to Chlorate to hold her metal hand nearest Hoshi.

"I see... does that mean you are now cute?" Chlorate asked the MEGAMI. Chlorate's black mechanical hand was cold and hard, not that she could help it. Chlorate's metal fingers gently held Hoshi's pink hand, feeling it.

Boss' happy smile dropped as her light blue eyes widened and her mouth opened slightly. She looked to Chlorate without saying anything before she closed her mouth to smile wider than she had during the entire conversation.

"I have found this meeting to be very," she paused, thinking, then spoke quickly before her smile pushed back, "cute. Thank you for that." She looked to Hoshi and Chlorate as a pair before she closed her eyes while still looking especially happy.

Hoshi said, "We will let you rest once more, Boss-sama. If you need anything, please let me know. Thank you for letting us speak with you."

Boss nodded to them both, hands clasped over her knees as she spoke, "I will, Captain. Thank you for coming to speak to me."

"Thank you for answering my questions," the robogirl said. With her hard metal fingers she held on to Hoshi's hand, not tightly so it didn't feel like she was trapping her arm, though it did noticably feel different from an organic hold.

Hoshi bowed to the MEGAMI and then left the room with Chlorate's hand in hers. She was smiling but quiet for a short moment before she looked to Chlorate and spoke.

"Is there anything else you would like to do on our extended date, Chloey?"

Chlorate thought, she processed information, and she made electronic beeps as she did so. "I am unsure, that depends on what you would like to do," she replied after a moment.

Hoshi nodded, "I guess it does for me, too, but, honestly, Chloey... Honestly, I feel really happy to have been around you as much as I have. I can't think of anything else I would want to do. This was a really nice way to have a first date. I am glad you asked me to do this and, I guess, that I subsequently asked you, too."

"I am too," the gynoid said, "If this is the case, what do we do now?" she asked, slightly confused.

"One of the worst things you can do," Hoshi said as she brought her heels together as she stood in front of Chlorate's cabin door. "Say goodbye."

Chlorate looked around, before looking into Hoshi's eyes and robotically stating "Affirmative... Goodbye." She sounded like a computer program that was shutting down, except she didn't go offline, she opened the door to her cabin and glanced at Hoshi one last time as if to confirm she was supposed to walk into the room now.

Hoshi smiled, as if ready to say goodbye, too, then her expression shifted and she looks suprised as she lunged gently forward and held Chlorate's hand once more. She smiled, once more, and pushed her face forward slightly, touching her lips to Chlorate's white cheek.

Chlorate quickly blushed with her black blush again and waited for Hoshi to finish before the robot leaned in and kissed Hoshi's pink cheek.

Hoshi gave a little audble gasp, but soon was backing up and bowed at the entrance of Chlorate's cabin before saying with a happy smile as her hand lifted to touch her cheek, "Goodbye, Chloey-san... Until next time."

"Affirmative," Chlorate said, clanking into her cabin.
 
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