10.Absorbing

Upon her arrival in the South, Hira was promptly mistaken for Juni by Tamu, who clearly had communicated with her before. As Juni had lost its clothing again (much to Tamu's chagrin), Juni, Sam, Hira, Sasha, and Tamu headed towards Sam and Juni's home so that Juni could get a change of clothing; Sam and Hira stayed behind to rest and get to know each other.

Tamu had explained Captain Lombard's involvement in the assassination attempt to Juni; their first stop was the holding cell where Lombard was being held pending a military tribunal. Lombard asked to speak to Juni in private — meaning there would be no witness to the conversation — and Juni refused on the grounds that it would make it unable to use anything said as evidence. Lombard quickly convinced Juni otherwise, however, by repeating Juni's private joke, "The square root of love is happiness."

Lombard soon learned that Juni had forgotten everything from the past round, which was a pity, as the fake assassination attempt was part of a plan Juni had come up with and convinced Lombard to follow through on. This plan apparently involved the very fabric of Unity's society, and was important enough that even as high-ranking agents of the government they had to work in secret.

Juni attempted to parlay this into placing Lombard into a psychiatric ward for his own comfort and protection, and with an unfortunate comment muttered under its breath, Tamu realized Juni was withholding something, or was at least very confused. He ordered it to have a psychiatric therapy session.

Juni and Tamu discussed the various things which had happened since it awoke without any memories — according to Tamu, Juni had opted for the memory suppression as a therapeutic technique — as well as the memories it had regained. Juni expressed concerns over its own identity, having felt that it was not living its own life, and Tamu was able to reassure it that at least one of the things which led to that conclusion was a simple misunderstanding on Juni's part.

They continued to discuss various aspects of Juni's mental transformation. Juni explained "sparkle," and wondered why its synaesthetic effects had surprised it, implying that this was a recent phenomenon brought about by its exposure to the information repository. For his part, Tamu described the changes he saw in Juni since its exposure; Juni had begun to work at a feverish pace, attempting to assimilate as much information and talent as possible, and his belief was that Juni had simply overexerted itself and had suffered a mental breakdown.

Juni's pivotal project was the neural interface, which the safety protocol had been a part of. That was the turning point at which Tamu realized Juni was in over its head and perhaps needed to be reined in.

Juni was now determined to figure out what was going on, and convinced Tamu to allow it to speak with the simulation alone. By this point, the simulation had clearly gained a great amount of skill at controlling its own existence and the way in which it communicated with the outside; it was able to throw out rapid-fire semantic knowledge which only Juni, and not Tamu's data node translator, could understand (with the side-effect of giving Juni a significant headache).

The simulation had also learned how to project part of its sensory experience directly into Juni's, and it replayed Tamu's attempted experiment on Seth, allowing Juni to know what lengths Tamu had gone to in the name of science. When confronted about this experiment, however, Tamu defended it, and was a bit surprised that Juni did not approve. Juni explained that while many Kayohash decide to become prostitutes (due to a lack of general scientific skill among those who grew up in Kajoshu and a somewhat insidious ghetto effect), they are selling a service, not their bodies. For Tamu to consider Seth to be "just another spadetail" and inherently disposable was extremely demeaning.

At this point, Tamu came to realize that the flesh-and-blood Juni in front of him was as close to a complete Juni Melrose he could ever hope to get, and that the existence of the simulation was superfluous. Under protest from Juni, Tamu shut the simulation down, causing Juni to lose all remaining faith in Tamu and consider him a murderer of the worst kind.

In the last few seconds of the simulation's existence, it, too, learned how to share its memories.

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