Chapter Four
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I Can’t Wait

 

Smith was sitting on the end of her bed the next morning.

“Your refrigerator is leaking,” he told her.

Groaning, Gemini covered her head with the pillow.

“You’re not going to fix it?” Smith asked.

“Pest,” came the muffled reply.

“Virus.”

She threw the pillow at him. Calmly, he dodged it, making a little noise of consternation. She was always cranky in the morning. Smith wondered how an arbitrary increment of the clock could affect someone’s mood so profoundly.

“You left a note to yourself on the leaking appliance,” he told her. “Something about a plague of locusts coming today. Are you able to predict Biblical curses?”

Gemini flung herself from the bed, nearly tripping over Smith’s feet as she rushed for her closet. “Fuck and shit and damn and hell!” she spat.

Smith raised an eyebrow. “In that order?”

Ignoring him in her haste, Gemini broke two personal rules: she got dressed before breakfast, and she did it in front of Smith. That earned another unseen arched eyebrow from the AI. This was very unlike the usual sedate Gemini.

Still barefoot, Gemini rushed into the kitchen...and right into the puddle beneath the fridge. “Shit!”

Smith was behind her. “Actually, it more closely resembles urine.”

“Don’t start with me, Smith!”

He smirked. It was...entertaining to see the female so upset. But it didn’t last long. Gathering her mental energy, Gemini slowly changed that small part of the Matrix that contained her leaking refrigerator. The puddle at her feet disappeared. With a satisfying *clunk* the appliance resumed normal function.

Whipping the note from beneath its magnetic anchor, Gemini whirled on Smith, almost colliding with the tall Agent where he stood behind her. He lifted an eyebrow at her again. She was exceptionally amusing today. However, Smith examined her flushed and disheveled appearance and decided it was most likely unwise to tease her further. Fortunately, as a sentient program he was endowed with enormous restraint.

“I will start nothing,” he told her sincerely.

But she was still in Battle Mode. Jabbing a finger into the middle of Smith’s chest, she threatened bodily harm to his...manhood (terrible word choice, in his opinion, since he wasn’t a “man”) if he didn’t behave today. Smith frowned. While on the one hand she was still amusing, on the other she was now touching him.

“Don’t poke me,” he said.

Her hand froze in mid-poke. “Why?”

Smith wrapped his fingers around her offending wrist. “You’re too close,” he said in a voice that was too calm to be anything but dangerous.

She blinked. “Agents have personal space?”

Releasing her wrist, Smith adjusted the lapels on his suit. “Of course we do.”

“Oh.” She backed up.

Smith sighed. How naive humans were. And how easily distracted. “You were threatening me?” he prompted. “With harm of some sort to my...nether regions?”

“You think it’s funny!”

“Yes.”

After several moments of sputtering indignation from the female, Smith began to find the situation less amusing. Was it so difficult to understand his teasing? He hadn’t been very scary or intimidating toward her. He’d been quite well behaved. As per his orders, Smith would not harm this female.

‘Learn their ways so we may better control them,’ had been his orders. It was a familiar agenda. Machines desired order, predictability, control, and sentient machines had no conscience when it came to achieving those desires. One of the reasons Smith enjoyed being a machine. A conscience was a burden. Humanity seemed bound by its emotions and its own sense of fair play. Smith did not have to worry about that.

Gemini finally managed to shake off her indignation. “My friends are coming today,” she told him. “I’m worried for them, to be around you. But they’re all protected by the Watchers, so you’d better play nice.”

“I told you, nothing about me is nice.”

She folded her arms. “Then just be a little less murderous than usual, okay?”

He was about to inform her that he had not once been “murderous” toward her, that if she ever saw him “murderous” she would not be standing there in front of him. But Smith only nodded, smirk back in place. It was safer to tease her. “I shall be virtually harmless,” he assured her. He paused, thinking. “Why do you call your friends a plague?” He was sincerely interested in her reasoning behind that. Any human who agreed with him on his opinion of humanity was worth befriending.

Echoing his smirk, Gemini said, “You’ll know when you meet them.”

“I can’t wait,” he deadpanned.

She laughed. “Yes, well, I always need about a week of rest after the gang all collects together. There’s really no way to prepare you, Smith. I love them, but they conspire every once in a while and descend on my little sanctuary.”

“They conspire against you? Not a very friendly group.”

She stuck out her tongue. “You don’t know nuthin’.”

“That’s terrible grammar, Ms. Shriver.”

She crumpled the note in her hand and threw it at Smith’s chest. “You’re not a Grammar Agent.”

He ignored that. “How many locusts will make up this plague?” he asked.

“Four.”

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