The Arbiter Initiative
Updated: Feb 7
Ivy sits alone in her father’s office as the light fades, the cityscape outside her window becomes a distant blur. The sunset is casting a lavender hue over the room and adding a sense of ethereal beauty to the space. She holds her mother's hairpin tightly in her hand, its diamond chrome alloy glinting in the dimming light.
As she toys with the device, a droplet of blood traces its way down her hand, a stark contrast against the gleaming chrome alloy of the hairpin. She watches, mesmerized, as the droplet flows over the intricate needles, each one glinting in the fading light of the setting sun. And then, with a suddenness that takes her breath away, a line of text appears on the glass window before her, as if summoned by the very blood that now stains her hand. "Arbiter Initiative? (Y/N)" it reads, a question that seems to echo in the silence of the room.
As Ivy ponders over the question presented before her, she knows deep down that the answer is yes. Gazing upon the device in her hand, she's accepting the weight of her father's sacrifice and the knowledge of her fate hangs heavy on her shoulders. She can't shake off the nerves that her father has a bigger plan for her, a plan that this mysterious device is a part of.
She feels a sense of determination rising within her, as she knows that she must uncover the full extent of her father's plan, no matter the cost.
"Yes" Ivy responds.
"No Ivy, my dear! Not you!" Ivy's heart jumps as she hears a voice echo in the room. The voice sounds distantly familiar, but it also touches her deeply. She looks around, trying to locate the source of the voice, but the room appears empty.
She calls out, "Mom, is that you? Are you alive? Where are you?" She looks around the room again, searching for any sign of her mother's presence, but the room remains empty. She can only hear her mother's voice coming from the device in her hand, and she feels a mix of emotions as she tries to understand what is happening. She wonders if her mother is truly alive and where she is, and how it is possible for her mother's voice to be coming from the device in her hand.
"My name is Sylvia. An A.I. created by Dr. Hamlyn with your mother's memory and personality. Dr. Hamlyn foresaw the danger of Beitons since their inception. As his endeavor to advocate for stricter control failed, his plan B was to develop a countermeasure that could combat today's dire situation. Your mother poured her life into this project and ultimately sacrificed herself in order to advance to the progress we have today. Before she passed, your father successfully extracted her consciousness and programed it into this device as a final safeguard to prevent the device falls into the hands of the wrong person. Your father was supposed to be the executioner if all things failed. Not you."
"You may not know this Sylvia, but father is no longer here." Ivy bites her lips. "His last words were warnings to me about the consequences of activating this plan. After what just happened out there, I've made the decision to accept this fate so we can have a chance to fight back."
Ivy awaits anxiously for a response, her heart pounding in her chest. But instead of the anticipated reply, the room falls into a deathly silence. The silence stretches on for what feels like an eternity, each second ticking by with endless slowness.
"My dear, I know this decision is not an easy one to make, but I am proud of your bravery and strength." It may only have been 10 seconds, and that's all Sylvie needed to analyze the current situation and says the words to encourage Ivy to embark on a journey with no turning back. The state's future has no other options.
Without hesitation, Ivy deftly removes the hair band that holds her bangs in place. With a graceful motion, she sweeps her hair back, revealing her forehead. The gesture is simple, yet it carries a sense of purpose, as if Ivy is shedding her old self and embracing a new identity. The pin, held firmly in her grasp, is a symbol of the transformation that is about to take place. In that moment, Ivy is a warrior on a mission, determined to take on the power that awaits her and the sacrifice that comes with it. She takes a deep breath, ready to face whatever lies ahead, confident in her decision and in her strength.
As the needles of the hairpin entangle with her hair, Ivy feels a sharp, burning pain. It's as if a thousand fiery needles are piercing into her skull all at once. Her nerves feel like they are on fire, and she can't help but gasp in pain. She grits her teeth and tries to remain still, knowing that this is a necessary step in the process. The pain intensifies as the needles travel deeper into her flesh, each one connecting to her nerves and sending waves of agony throughout her body. Her vision blurs and her head feels like it's going to explode. Sweat beads on her forehead, and she can feel her pulse pounding in her ears. "Ah------" She bursts out screaming, to writhe in agony. Her voice shutters all the glasses in the room. To alleviate Ivy's pain, Sylvia squeezes Ivy's abdomen tightly.
"Don't fight it my dear! You will make it worse. The Xeitons are building transmitters and receptors on your nerve cells! There are no way around the pain but to accept them at the best of your ability!"
"MOTHER! I'M...... gonna DIE!"
(It's going to be a long, painful journey, but she's determined to see it through to the end.)
Ivy stands triumphant, a picture of grace and resilience. Her hair, now the source of deadly nano fibers, shimmers in the light as a testament to her unwavering spirit. The process of synchronizing the wavelength of her Xeiton hairpin was a struggle fraught with pain, but she persevered and emerged victorious. With her newfound power, she stands ready to face any challenge that comes her way…
(To be continued...)