13.Approaching

Juni returned home to find an excess of smoke and a lack of Sam. It found Hira in the kitchen, cooking on a jury-rigged oil stove. Hira, always distrustful of electronic technology, had refused to use the induction plate or even the vent.

After the smoke cleared, Juni had a talk with Hira, to try to explain what had been going on and why Hira was needed in the South. It explained what it knew of the origin of the Kayohash — that they had started out as creatures bizarre enough that the humans had decided to experiment on their genome; through genetic manipulation techniques, the humans had endowed them with long-term survival traits, and through behavioral experimentation, learned how to convey semantic information to their ancestors' minds via modulated electrical currents.

This explanation didn't satisfy Hira, but Juni remained undeterred. Realizing it was now night-time, Juni decided to call Sam, wondering when he was coming home; Sam strongly implied that he wasn't. Juni decided to go to bed, whereupon it had a dream, that it was speaking with one of the deactivated neural simulations, who appeared as a human-Kayohash hybrid. Juni's subconscious mentioned to Juni that Sam was gone, and nothing lasts forever.

Juni awoke early in the morning, only to find itself on the floor under its bed. It moved to the living room, where it fell asleep leaning against the couch Hira was sleeping on. It awoke again when Hira ordered breakfast without knowing what to order, asking simply for Juni's most common breakfast, a standard Southern dish. Unsurprisingly, this was not to Hira's liking, so Juni ordered her something more palatable.

Having now fully recovered its memories, Juni finally admitted to Hira that it hadn't intended to bring her to the South; it was the result of a long series of misunderstandings. However, Juni hoped that Hira would still be useful in providing testimonial in Ed's tribunal; the falsified assault on Juni was simply a ruse to get Tamu in court, so that Juni could hopefully expose Tamu's meddlings to the public government.

Juni learned that the tribunal was already underway, despite it not receiving a subpoena. It voluntarily went to the courthouse, and explained to the arbiter that Ed was innocent — Juni had asked Ed to stage the attack due to Tamu's interference but before it could explain how Tamu was involved, the arbiter asked Juni to review Ed's testimonial.

Ed's had explained his limited understanding of what was going on, which was that Juni and Tamu had been doing some research. Juni expressed concerns that Tamu was trying to discredit it, and asked Ed to help it to disappear. Ed didn't initially believe this, but then something occurred to cause Juni to forget everything. It was at this point that Ed instructed Tanya to shoot at Juni as a trigger for Juni's plan.

Juni corroborated this testimonial, and went on to explain its relationship with Tamu, which was partially familial and partially experimental. It explained the existence of the neural simulations, and shared its belief that simply shutting them off was equivalent to murder. It tried to explain the prior incident with Seth, where it believed that Tamu was trying to replace Seth's memories with Juni's.

The arbiter indicated a desire to pursue this line of questioning, and asked if there were any witnesses worth subpoenaing. Juni suggested Officers Corentin, Doctor Goldberg, Hira, and Kali Rosha; due to a conflict of interest, Rosha would not be called in for questioning.

During the witness-gathering recess, Juni wandered through a nearby park. Here it accidentally came across Tanya Harris. Juni told Tanya that it was on her and Ed's side. They sat in uncomfortable silence.

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