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The halls of Null Sector were empty, barren with only the faint whirring of machinery to fill the silence. Occasionally, conveyor belts would power themselves on, humming as they dragged metal pieces from one section of the complex to the next. Soft purple lighting lit up just enough for the building to not be entirely dark, but it did little to cut through the gloom. Every piece of machinery, drone, security camera, mounted weapon…felt dead, dormant, lifeless. Lonely.

Truly, this was no place for a human. Figuratively and literally, as Ramattra had modelled it after omniums of the past. Structures made by machines for machines. No human safety protocols. Large drop offs with no guard rails. Wires and exposed circuits that would electrocute any organic in seconds.

And yet, despite it all, they stood outside of her office door, attentively listening to the omnic prattle on about liberation and warfare through the muffled frame. Hours prior they had tried to engage in conversation with her, only to be waved away with the simple command of ‘entertain yourself.’ A daunting task in a place like Null Sector’s base. Ramattra’s troops weren’t exactly known for their conversational abilities.

They had taken to wandering through an assembly line of sorts, where combat units were built and designed. The process was fully automated, and fascinating to watch. At least until they nearly fell off of the suspended ground below the conveyor.

Begrudgingly, they resigned themselves to waiting for Ramattra to be finished with whatever the hell she was doing, sitting cross legged on the ground and tapping their fingers along the concrete. Her voice was a monotonous, droning lullaby of propaganda. They blinked, feeling a heaviness settle over them as their head bobbed. It was almost comfortable.

Until the door swung open, and the air was knocked out of their lungs as they fell forwards.

Ramattra, in all of her towering, imposing glory, stood in the doorway, illuminated from behind by the glow of technology in her office. They heard a soft hissing sound, and could not be certain as to if it was her amused laughter or internal fans. Likely both.

“I believe I told you to leave me to my work.”

They shakily pulled themself up, dusting off their baggy jeans with a frown. She looked exactly the same as always. Pristine. They idly wondered if someone polished her metal frame.

The flash of jealousy that came next made them nauseous.

“Your kind is hopeless.”

Her words were filled with far less malice than they had heard out of her when speaking with other humans. A comforting thought.

They managed a slight smile, shrugging with conviction. A pathetic display, most definitely. Ramattra shook her head.

She stepped aside, the lights in the room beyond shining through her silhouette.

A silent invitation.

Rarely were they given the opportunity to see the inside of Ramattra’s office. A large painting of hundreds of omnics was framed by a multitude of blueprints and schematics. The walls were covered with screens displaying information in a language they couldn't decipher. Several maps showed the progression of Null Sector activity. Cities marked with an imposing red ‘X.’ Dozens of them.

Her desk was immaculate, every inch of its surface clean and organized. They quickly recognized a small dried rose, its petals black and its stem a shrivelled up twig. A gift they had given to her, which was still well preserved and placed on display.

“You kept that?”

Their voice was incredulous, quiet after hours of solitude. Ramattra seemed to stiffen, glancing towards the object. Mulling over her response.

"It was a thoughtful gesture."

They nodded, nervously fiddling with the hem of their jacket. The office was silent, the faintest hum of the machinery beyond filling the quiet. Ramattra took a seat at her desk, resting her head on her palm and staring at them expectantly.

They stared down at a seat on the opposite side of her desk, then back up to her. She tilted her head, as if confused by their hesitation.


"Oh, uh-"

They quickly followed the command, sinking into the surprisingly soft cushions of the seat. Their gaze shifted around the room, avoiding eye contact with the omnic.


Their eyes snapped to hers, and they swallowed thickly, nodding in acknowledgement.

"We will need to work on your posture."

Something akin to a laugh left their lips, bewilderment written all over their eyes. Attempting to sit properly, they straightened their back.

"You look like a frightened animal."

She sighed, waving a hand dismissively.

"For now, that will have to do."

They felt their legs shaking, a nervous habit. It felt as if there was a spotlight on the two of them, even though no one else was around. The screens surrounding Ramattra lit her face in an ethereal blue, accentuating the harsh angles of her facial plating. Threatening. Intimidating.

And yet, when she spoke to them, her voice was gentle.

"Do you…enjoy it here?”

It was a genuine question, not an interrogation. The way she asked it felt as if she actually cared for their answer, and they had no reason to lie.

"I enjoy being with you."

She scoffed.

"That much is obvious. What of the location?"

They felt their face heat up, mortified to have their declaration of affection shrugged off so casually.

"It's nice."

Their answer was a blatant lie, and Ramattra knew it. She tapped her fingers against her desk, the sound echoing in the silent room. They could faintly hear the whirring of her internal mechanisms.

"Do you find comfort in lying? Like the rest of your species?”

Her words were venomous. Spat like an insult, a personal offence.

"I, uh-no. No, not really."

The tapping of her fingers stopped, her piercing gaze fixed on them. Waiting. Expecting more. They continued, stumbling over their words as they attempted to explain.

"I mean, it’s not exactly the Ritz-Carlton, but I do enjoy being here."

"The Ritz-Carlton."

She repeated, her tone flat.

"Yeah, it's, uh- a fancy hotel.”

She hummed, her fingers moving to gently grasp a pen. She tapped it against her desk. "Well, I am glad you tolerate being here."

"I’d deal with anything to be with you."

They regretted their words the moment they left their lips. It sounded so…dramatic. Profusely lovey-dovey. Appalling.

The pen was set back down, Ramattra's hands folded together.

"I have already expressed my gratitude for your assistance."

Her words were firm.

"Do humans require constant validation to function?"

They couldn't stop themself from chuckling, their eyes drifting downwards. Once again tugging on the fabric of their jacket.

"No, not really."

She made an intrigued sound, her hand returning to the pen. A comfortable silence settled between the two of them, her attention on the papers on her desk and theirs on her.

It was perfect.