Mila, James, and I started walking to the room I was using after deciding on Star Wars for guys’ night.
“Sorry, master. I must excuse myself and prepare for the girl’s night.” announced Mila, looking as if this was the last thing she wanted to do.
“Oh. That’s not a problem. Isn’t it a bit early still though?” asked James, looking surprised.
Shaking her head, she said, “Of course not, master. We’re starting off our girls’ night with a little shopping followed by dinner.”
Ai and Mai had already told me what the girls had planned. James really needed to talk with Alma more often if he was really going to date her.
“Well, have fun!” he exclaimed.
Mila frowned and said, “I’ll try, master. the princess is ignoring my protests, so I’ll do my best to manage.”
“Protests? What’s wrong?” asked James, obviously worried over Mila’s lack of enthusiasm.
He just didn’t get how attached to him she was.
“I don’t feel I should be having fun without you, master, but Aaliyah insists that I should.” she explained.
I laughed behind my hand. I couldn’t help it. An Artificial Intelligence vastly beyond any other software on the planet, except maybe Ancient Tribes of Earth, was pouting.
“Your life truly doesn’t need to revolve around me, Mila, and you’ll still be here even while you’re away.” insisted James.
He had that right. Running Mila’s body wasn’t at all taxing for her hardware. I asked about details on it a few times, the last being when she started explaining the layers of a single processor by chemical compound. Though I do appreciate the relevance of the compounds used in producing the incredible speed, my memory and imagination wasn’t on par with understanding the arrangements she described by mathematical formulae.
“But… It’s just not the same. We’ve barely spent any time together in the flesh.” she complained, caressing her cheek with one hand.
Nodding, I said, “I still want to know how Aaliyah synthesized her skin. For some strange reason, they didn’t want me involved with that part.”
“I’m sure we’ll have plenty of time in the years to come, and I am taking you on a date in the near future.” stated James after a moment’s thought.
Smiling now, Mila told him “Maybe the girls will want to discuss my outfit for it.”
“Well, I hope you enjoy yourself. Catch you later.” he replied.
“Thank you, master!” she exclaimed, practically bouncing as she turned and left.
“So… you’re going on a date with Mila?” I inquired with a grin.
James sighed before saying, “She had me promise her a date before she even had a humanoid body.”
“Yeah, I know. I was already working on the body’s design when she told me. How does Alma feel about it though?” I asked, getting to the more important part. Making Alma jealous immediately after talking about dating with her could be lethal for most people. Luckily for James, he wasn’t just anyone.
“Well, she was fine with the notion until Mila showed up in that body. Now, I’m not too certain.” he admitted.
“Just make sure you plan this momentous occasion with fireworks and everything.” I told him.
“Calling a date a ‘momentous occasion’ might be a bit much, even being Mila’s first date. Aaliyah’s going to help me plan it, so I’m sure everything will be in order.” he stated.
I nodded and said, “Aaliyah does have a way with organizing things. In all seriousness though, you do realize this will be the first date with an Artificial Intelligence in the history of humankind, don’t you? No one else is even close to creating sentience like Mila, and she’ll have the entire thing documented for… well, forever!”
James opened his mouth as if to respond, shut it, and thought for a bit. As I expected, he hadn’t really considered that aspect yet.
When he finished thinking, he looked up and asked “Have you thought much about how the twins aren’t exactly human?”
“That’s pretty much a prerequisite for dating them. You’ll find out when you start dating Alma.” I replied, knowing I couldn’t say too much on the topic.
“Do you really think I should?” he inquired, just above a whisper.
“Well, you do like her still, right?” I asked.
“Yes, but… some of the things she’s done don’t sit well with me.” he admitted.
I stared at him, wondering if there was any conceivable way he could have put that more blandly. Alma was a mass murderer. Only she knew how many beings were on the tally, but there were many. Ai and Mai defended her actions, pointing out that she only murdered those believed to be murderers, but mistakes happened.
Nodding, I said, “I’m not surprised. I doubt I know as much about what she’s done as you do, but the stuff I do know about is pretty terrifying. Someone with her temper having tremendous influence throughout the world seems risky on a good day, and Alma’s far more than a politician. She’s a superweapon with a temper.” I was tempted to say more, but James was already frowning.
“So you don’t think I should date her.” he stated glumly.
I thought about saying, “No.” I knew how hard fighting my own feelings had been before, and I wasn’t sure that I really felt the same way about Laura as James does toward Alma. If his feelings for her could match how I felt about Ai and Mai, how could I really judge him for dating her? Ai and Mai had blood on their hands as well and possibly less remorse.
“I don’t really know, man. Sorry, but you might actually be a good influence on her. You’re fine with being a martyr for humankind, right?” I teased, not knowing what else to do.
“Did you know Alma studied medicine?” he inquired after thinking a bit.
“I’m pretty sure she’s studied about everything, but yes. I remember how she was helping tend people after the zombies blew up at the amusement park.” I explained, still feeling haunted by that day. I had been introduced to a new level of feeling helpless.
“Oh. Of course. She also created a more efficient system for cleaning and sanitizing the air in the new children’s hospital.” he added, obviously wanting to defend her.
“She also takes samples from people to look into their DNA on whim. The girl has some interesting pastimes.” I wryly replied. Then I reached into the closet and pulled out my Sith bathrobe. Hearing the sound of a lightsaber, I turned, finding Brandon there with a brown robe and an ignited lightsaber. “Whoa. You bought the Obi-Wan Force FX Lightsaber?”
He stood there smiling with more swagger than ever as he turned the lightsaber for me to see better.
“Would you two mind starting our guys’ night in a truly manly fashion: building a weapon?” I asked as I looked between them.
“Aww… no need to be jealous. We can go out and buy you one. Brenna said the girls are starting their night with shopping too.” replied Brandon in a mocking tone.
“Oh, it’s not that at all. I just don’t want James to be entirely left out. I mean… look at him.” I stated as I gestured to James. “How is this a guys’ night if he’s barely participating. I can get some costumes going too, and they’ll be far better than what we could buy.”
“Hmm… You do have a point.” stated Brandon, rubbing his chin. “How long will it take?”
I put on the glasses for my tablet, grinned, and said, “If Mila’s willing to help, an hour tops.”
“Of course, Jarod. You know I’ll do anything for the master.” she replied after appearing on the nearby mirror.
My smile widened as I started sorting through designs. Then I said, “Mila, please show these two various lightsaber styles as we walk.”
While James and Brandon discussed the designs they like, Mila and I worked out what to use for durability with the right amount of transparency. James was incredibly strong now. I knew I couldn’t make anything that would withstand his swing if I wanted to be able to lift it up myself, but I wanted to do the best I could manage in case he accidentally did get a bit enthusiastic. Mila and I had some debate over gyro sensors, light emission, and audio boards, but we were satisfied enough by the time the group got down to the lab.
“This place always looks so impressive. What do you need to do first!?” asked Brandon as he looked around.
“Mila’s already fabricating circuit boards. I’ll just need you to confirm which styles you want and figure out costumes.” I replied.
He grinned and said, “That’s so cool…” He walked over to one of the tables, nodded to himself, and then told us “Yep. You’re right. This feels much more manly than shopping, not to mention far more worthy of Star Wars. Shopping is for girls.”
“Oops. I think I just destroyed Brandon’s board, Jarod. I am, after all, going out on the girls’ night, shopping. I don’t see how I was supposed to concentrate on your manly endeavors at the same time.” stated Mila with sarcasm flowing through each word.
“Seriously? You know I was only joking, right?” insisted Brandon.
“Oh. Looks like it survived.” she assured him.
Brandon looked up at James, shook his head, and whispered “Women. I tell ya.” Then he loudly proclaimed “I was all for using the theater, but I wouldn’t mind starting the movies down here if you don’t mind creating a serving droid as well.”
I laughed and told him “I fear Mila would take offense. Help James pick out a costume.”
If he actually did manage to offend her, only James and Aaliyah could convince her to help us, and I knew James wouldn’t take the offender’s side in such a case.
“Jarod, can you make this?” inquired James, pointing at the screen after briefly perusing costumes. He was pointing at Darth Vader.
I nodded and grinned. That certainly would suit James’ build.
“You do have the height for it.” admitted Brandon. “I mean I could and all, but I make everything look good anyways.”
“Mila, mind making a voice enhancer for the helmet?” I asked, signaling which base module to use via the display from my glasses and a gesture.
“Already started.” she replied.
I grinned again, excited by what we were doing. If I could convince James to mimic Force powers with spells, the movies might be put off for a while.