Happy New Year 2009!
Lotte Grønkjær via Creative Commons

Yang bends at the knees and leaps, barely distinguishable against the deep blue night sky until her silhouette passes in front of the gibbous moon. With a hum she activates her cloak and becomes a shimmer like a drowned shadow beneath a mirrored lake. The overlapping tiles clack together softly as she lands and her lively eyes scan the rooftop. On the far edge, Horatio-6 leans against a smokestack as if it were a signpost. It knows she is here, and it follows its languid personality routine to the letter.

“Took you long enough,” it says.

“If it helps you to think that,” Yang whispers, knowing it can hear.

“I don’t really think.” Horatio-6 raises two actuators in a parody of air quotation marks. It is a human-like gesture and it makes Yang’s lip curl back beneath her cowl. “I process. I decide.”

“And you’ve decided to be destroyed by not continuing to run.”

She could swear it smiles. “If it helps you…” it says, pushing off from the stack. Yang’s sword is unsheathed and reflecting moonlight before the phrase is over. She wishes their combat programming was as advanced as their banter routines. She leaps again.