Part 5 of Academy.
The smaller woman placed her ceramosculpt mug back down, now empty of the fruit and spiced tea she had finally settled upon. Steam still rose from Daisy’s mug, held in both hands carefully under her nose in front of her face.
“So, those implants allow you to really access a lot of the ARO Daisy, would you like me to help you turn them on? I’m guessing you might not be familiar with them?”
“We have some pretty big spiders I’ve hunted with a bow, but I don’t think that’s what you mean?”
“Oh, sorry, A R O, not arrow. It stands for augmented reality overlay, it’s a neural interface most galactic sapients have with that overlays their senses. Have you piloted large machinery in your time?” she continued when Daisy nodded in between taking sips, “it’s like the displays you would have run the machinery from, but lain over the real world and with a degree of mental interaction. It’s how I dropped the isolation curtain before, and requested the food and drink.”
“Yes, you said that was you, but I didn’t see you do anything. Some of our specialists have something similar, but we can generally tell by their eye movements when they’re communication with the network.” Liliana was glad Daisy had picked up on it, she was reasonably sure the larger woman hadn’t put it down to magic abilities like some fearful rimworlders.
“Ah, that’s probably one of the much earlier kinds, there were ARO’s and neural interfaces like that before we even made if off Earth. The modern ARO is very powerful in comparison, especially when the user has implants to back it up. With your implants I think you’ll be able to control most of your biological processes, such as pain, pleasure, and even the chemical reactions within your stomach, lungs, and other organs just like I do. You’ll be able to enhance your physical self, with care you don’t injure it of course, but the best part is you’ll be able to do all of it without anyone else knowing.”
Daisy nodded, still sipping her hot tea. She was beginning to guess how Liliana had gulped down hers so quickly.
“There’s much more too. Before, when Snool was scanning you, I was using my own implants to make sure he wasn’t doing anything other than he said, to document everything about his species that I could, and to slow my own subjective reality just enough to keep track of both of you a little easier. Even that was just a scratch of the surface really. When we were in the auditorium during the induction from Clavius and Glorklox I read information on both of them, and a lot of the others in the room. It was a touch limited because access to the Galactic Web is blocked here, but I expect that’s just temporary and the ARO can function perfectly fine without it.”
“So how do we turn it on?” Daisy asked.
“Do you want me to run through what to expect first?”
“No, I know I got a bit overwhelmed earlier, but I’m feeling much better now. What do we do?”
“Ok, if you close your eyes after a few moments you should see a small white square in the top right of your peripheral vision. Concentrate on it without moving your eyes for a few moments, and I think you’ll open the initialisation.”
Daisy closed her eyes and her brow twitched in concentration. After a few moments she noticed the square, letting it spread in her awareness without trying to look directly at it. It reminded her of several of the mining machines, where she had to keep aware of readouts to the sides of her heads up display while concentrating on drilling feedback. The square slowly grew, covering the dark red and floaters she could see behind her eyelids with a pure unblemished white.
Things started to seep into her mind that she could only think of as mental algorithms or patterns of thought. Each came with an awareness of their purpose, use, capabilities and legalities within core worlds. Some were basic information aggregators, others self diagnostics and interfaces for automated sleep and other biological functions, and a handful of data processing and review overlays for differing situations.
Liliana could tell by her new friends expressions that she was taking it in, and felt proud that Daisy was handling it well. At first she had been concerned the large woman was far simpler than even the average rimmer, but as her scans had suggested there was a keen intellect backed with an adaptive personality. She likely lacked confidence, and had obviously never lived to her full potential, but she was embracing it well.
“This is really great!” Daisy spoke, her eyes moving side to side behind the closed eyelids. She began to think in some of the patterns the ARO had slipped into her mind, beginning to engage it actively. One pattern engaged her outward digitag, which she filled with basic information intending to return to later, while another allowed her to add persistent information to her sight. Mentally she chose the local subjective time overlain in her peripheral vision, with a sub option that she would see various identifiers for any individual she directly looked at, including an easily accessible subjective “pause” that would speed her thoughts momentarily while she took in their digitag.
Pointing her eyes up before opening them she tested the ARO on Liliana, sweeping her vision down to settle on the neo human. Reality slowed down around her as she took in Liliana’s digitag, currently showing several gaps to galactic web data. She could see her new friends main identifiers: female, human, romantically yet confidentially attached, polyamorous and pansexual, open to physical, vocal, and digital contact. Her own ARO suggested it was statistically odd that no parentage was shown, let alone homeworld or established citizenship, but that her public information showed a similarity to around forty percent of humanity within the core worlds genetically, around twenty five percent sociologically, and that she had not been flagged for any known illegal activity.
“That’s pretty useful, it must save a lot of time at bars” she commented.
Liliana smiled. “It does wonders for you wherever you go. Watch this.” The young woman began making a strange series of clicks, gesturing rapidly with her hands and bobbing her oddly. As she did, words formed in Daisy’s’ vision, “This is the language of the Kriteek. They’re best described as part praying mantis, part otter, mixed with a streak of pride that would make a house cat impressed. Your ARO can translate a lot of languages in real time for you.”
Daisy widened her eyes impressed “Can it help me speak them too?” she asked.
“After a fashion”, Liliana switched back to verbal intergalac, “socially most sapients prefer others stick to their own languages, so their own ARO’s can interpret in their chosen manner. Many languages aren’t vocal, or discernable by non augmented senses of non native species at all, you’ll find nearly every core citizen has some form of ARO for that reason, and even many in the rim worlds.”
“Ahh, yeah I guess there’s no point trying to speak a language my voice is too low frequency for?”
“Exactly, and it’s just not worth risking saying something wrong. Your ARO can communicate the meaning of your communication pretty clearly to someone else’s ARO, which will then translate it into a better context for them.”
Daisy nodded, mind a blur thinking of all manner of aliens communicating with gestures, sounds, lights, and smells.
“Now you’ve got your ARO up and running, shall we drop the screen and see what’s going on? I didn’t exactly want to follow the loud mouth upstairs, but I’m a bit curious about our lodgings myself.”
“OK, thanks for your help Liliana, I’m feeling a lot more comfortable with you around.”
The neo human reached over and up to pat her new friend on the thigh and smiled.