The Big Picture

Mar 19th, 2019
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  1. One of the curiosities of life after the Fall is the rarity of films and television. There are stories about the kinds of entertainment people used to have in the days before the war. It seems almost incredible to you, but like so much else there’s no way to know for sure. It’s a great surprise then, when your friend calls you over and shows you what he found in the scrapheap. A silvery interface drive. Old tech. He asks you to have a look and see if you can recover the fragmented data. Of course, he can’t help but throw in a wink when he claims that ‘you’re good with old tech.’ After a friendly smack from you, the drive is passed on and you bring it home. It may take a while, but with a free day and with Alita out for a Motorball scrimmage, you don’t mind it so much.
  3. The data is in pretty poor shape, even by pre-Fall tech standards. It takes you an entire day of work but eventually you piece it together. As the file starts playing, the words Flash Gordon appear on the screen. Simultaneously, you hear light footsteps skipping up the stairs to your apartment. You leave the video paused as you come to meet your favourite cyborg.
  5. She bounds through the door, duffel bag in one hand as she reaches out with the other for a hug, which you gladly give. Her body is the same pleasant warm as always, but her face is flushed and her hair sticky with sweat. It’s comforting, almost. Small things like this keep her human; even when she’s barrelling down a Motorball track at a hundred miles an hour. She’s smiling even more than usual as you disentangle from her and take her bag.
  7. “Today was a really great scrim! I went over some tight cornering work and I think it will give me a real edge next game!”
  9. Her enthusiasm is infectious, and you ask the usual questions while you arrange the little table in the living room for dinner. Her eyes flash with excitement as she regales the small and big of the track. Apparently the next big round will put her in a clash against Jashugan. You ask if she’s scared and she just laughs. Of course not.
  11. Dinner is simple. You’ve never been much of a cook, but at least you know enough to get by. It helps when your audience loves exploring all the new foods in the world. Even a basic stew is cause for excitement. You’re itching to tell her about your discovery, but you know how happy surprises make her so after you’ve both finished eating you direct her towards the shower. Waving off her protestations about you cleaning up, you simply tell her to meet you in the bedroom.
  13. One of the little secrets you know about Alita is her love of long showers. Today it’s a blessing, as it gives you time to fiddle with the projection unit you salvaged from a scrapped Centurion. A few minutes and a few focus reticle adjustments later and the picture flickers on to your wall. The colours aren’t as bright as you’d like, but this tech interfacing together at all is a minor miracle. Best not to push your luck with it. You draw the curtains closed and stand in the darkened, room staring proudly at the title card. Soon after, the shower stops, and you hear soft footsteps coming towards the bedroom. Alita steps in with her bundle of clothes, and her jaw drops at the sight before her.
  15. “What is that?”
  17. Before answering her question, you take a moment to drink in the sight of her just out of the shower. The berserker body has just the final remnants of blue plasma fading from it; leaving her dry and clean. She’s naked, or at least the cyborg equivalent. You’ve long since stopped averting your gaze, and the sliver-purple curves of her body are as alluring as ever. Her hair has become the poofy mop it always does out of the shower, and the residual shower mist carries with it her other secret love: flowery shampoo. Today it’s lavender and… lily? You can’t tell for sure, but it smells incredible. Your stare breaks as she turns to you, and you quickly answer.
  19. “One of the trawling crew found a beat-up drive. He thought there might be something on it. Something pre-Fall. I spent the day fixing up the data and:” You gesture grandly at the projection in front of you. “Ta-daa!”
  21. Alita laughs delightedly and quickly stows her Motorball gear. She steps over to you and slides in to your arms as you both look at the wall. The projection flickers as she keeps on with the questions.
  23. “What do you think it is? Is it a film?” Her voice is light and excitable. “I love films! Or at least, I love the film I’ve seen.”
  24. You stroke her hair and respond.
  26. “I think it is. Do you want to find out?” Her adorable little nods can’t come fast enough, and the two of you settle in to the bed. Before you snuggle up under the blanket though you remember something, and you jump back out.
  28. “I’ll be one second!”
  30. You scramble to the kitchen and from the fridge grab a tall bottle of orange juice. Pouring up two glasses, you quickly bring them back and watch as her face lights up.
  32. “I didn’t know you had juice!”
  34. You can’t help yourself.
  36. “I’m just full of surprises.”
  38. She rolls her eyes but happily receives a glass from you and takes a long drink. The little orange left on her lip is cuter than you though possible. So you get the movie started and as you settle in with her you tell her that she’s missed a spot and quickly kiss her. She makes a tiny noise through it, and pulls you in to the bed. You curl up together as lasers flash across the screen and a rocking soundtrack tells the tale of the great hero Flash Gordon. It’s warm and comfy and beautiful; your limbs and fingers interlinked underneath the covers. The story captivates Alita, and you sneak more than a few glances at her face, lit up by the projector’s flickering light. How lucky you must be, to live a life blessed like this.
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