Real

BY : Mannah_Pierce
Category: Naruto > Yaoi - Male/Male > Naruto/Sasuke
Dragon prints: 1343
Disclaimer: This story has some of Masashi Kishimoto's characters from Naruto in a universe of my own devising. I do not own Naruto. I do not make any money from these writings.



Heartfelt thanks to my beta and muse, Small Fox. Thanks also to The Horseman of Death because the idea for this story started in a discussion with him. Thank you to GreenEyedCat, Dawn, sadie237, SidonieStarr, richon, v, liby318, disembodiedvoiceofthedying, cynaga and YamanashiOchinashiIminashi who left a review after chapter eight was posted. As I have said often, it is feedback from readers that keep me writing this story.



Real

Chapter nine: Origin



Haru stared at the peak in the chart; Shi-chan’s array had gone wrong within a div of him creating Nakama.

It could be a coincidence, but that didn’t seem very likely.

“Ha-chan?” Ryuu asked. “What do we do next?”

Haru made himself concentrate on explaining things to Ryuu. They worked the example though, deciding that they would order five hundred of the gold clips because that got them a discount.

“But we aren’t going to order them because it’s only an example,” Ryuu pointed out.

“No, but we are going to check the actual stocks because we are stocktaking,” Haru answered.

 

They went to the small parts store and counted the clips. They discovered, as Haru had anticipated, that the stock was short; there were only three hundred and twenty-two.

“Is the one you have stock?” Ryuu asked.

Haru shook his head. “I took it off Shi-chan’s workbench. It should have been signed out of stock.”

Ryuu’s whiskers twitched. “Kotetsu-san, Shika-san and In-san don’t always remember to sign.”

Haru noticed that even Ryuu knew who didn’t sign for stuff; he didn’t suggest Shino-san or Izumo-san.

 

They wrote down the count, went back to the quartermaster’s office and Haru showed Ryuu where to input the number and how.

Then they spent the rest of Ryuu’s duty time counting the contents of one of the store cupboards.

 

They had finished by the time Tayuya-san came to check their work. She watched Ryuu input the counts and run the verification process.

“That was very well done, Ryuu-chan,” she confirmed.

“I understand how it works now, Tayuya-san,” he told her happily. “Ha-chan explained. Can I help with ordering next time? Ha-chan showed me ordering too.”

“If I am doing ordering, you can help me,” Tayuya agreed. “The two of you had better go. You do not want to be late for your next session. Thank you for your assistance.”

 

The last session of the day was handicrafts. Iruka-sensei had them trying weaving; Kiba-san had made five small looms so that they could work in pairs.

Haru was with Kazuki. To their surprise they were good at it. Kazuki had the necessary dexterity and Haru could see exactly what you needed to do to get an interesting pattern.

“That’s looking good,” Iruka-sensei praised. “Maybe you could give it to someone as a present. It would make a good table runner.”

Haru was pleased; Iruka-sensei only said that when the object they were making reached a certain standard.

“Give it to Kiba-san,” Kazuki decided. He looked at Haru for confirmation.

“Good idea,” Haru concurred. “He made the looms.”

 

Iruka-sensei sat with them for a while watching their runner grow.

“It went well with Tayuya-san?” he asked.

Haru nodded. “She apologised and then left us to it. You were right; Ryuu went wrong because he didn’t see how it all fitted together.”

“People find it hard to learn out of context,” Iruka-sensei confirmed.

Haru signalled to Ka-chan to change shuttles. “Tayuya-san hates working as quartermaster.”

Iruka-sensei winced but said nothing.

Haru suddenly had an excellent idea. “Hana-san would make the best quartermaster,”

“Hana-san isn’t sworn to Uchiha, Haru-chan,” Iruka-sensei pointed out.

Konan-san wasn’t sworn to Uchiha and she ran hydroponics but Haru decided not to comment. They had reached a complicated part of the pattern and he needed to concentrate.

 

They finished weaving and between them they got the runner off the loom. Iruka-sensei was showing Kazuki how to knot the warp threads when Ran arrived.

“Dan-san not need you anymore?” Iruka-sensei queried.

“We finished the stocktaking,” Ran confirmed. “At one point we thought there was a box of gloves and a tank tube missing but we found them.”

The records for the infirmary always tallied; Haru imagined what Rin-san would do to someone who didn’t update the records and shuddered.

Izumo-san’s method would work in the infirmary. Haru started explaining it to Ran and Iruka-sensei while Kazuki concentrated on doing perfect knots.

 

The runner was ready by the time Kiba-san appeared to help To-chan and Iruka-sensei tidy up. Kazuki grabbed Haru’s hand and pulled him towards Kiba-san.

Haru would have been happy for Ka-chan to give Kiba-san the runner on his own.

“We made this,” Ka-chan announced proudly, displaying the blue runner with its orange pattern. When Kiba-san did not reach for it his whiskers drooped a little and his ears tilted back.

“We want to give it to you,” Haru added, nudging Ka-chan to remind him to offer it.

Kazuki thrust the runner forward.

Kiba-san went down on one knee so that their eyes were more on a level and took their gift. He turned it gently in his hands. “It is a fine piece of work,” he acknowledged. “Are you sure you would not want your Papa to have it?”

“I want you to have it,” Kazuki insisted.

Kiba-san eyes turned to Haru.

“We both do,” Haru confirmed. Left to himself, he would have given it to To-chan but Kazuki wanted to give it to Kiba-san so Haru did too.

“Shall we go to my room and decide where to put it?” Kiba-san asked.

Haru was stunned. He couldn’t remember when he had last been in Kiba-san’s room; he had probably been a baby.

“Yes, please,” Ka-chan replied, his eyes shining.

 

The room was the standard size but it seemed smaller. Haru decided it was because it was so full of things. It was all neatly arranged and super-clean but there was a lot of stuff.

Like in To-chan and Papa’s bedroom, the bed took up much of the space. Haru had imagined that Kiba-san would have a bigger bed, because he and Choza-san had to fit into it, but it was a normal double bed.

The bedcover was nice and so was the rug. Haru didn’t think their little runner held up to the comparison.

Then he focused on the walls. They were covered with pictures. There was the odd one of the other children but the rest were all them; Kazuki, him and their brothers and sisters.

 

He knew that Kiba-san was Guardian and had spent the last ten standards raising them from embryos. He had known it in his head.

But the pictures reminded him of what he had almost forgotten; that Kiba-san loved them and that they were at the centre of his world.

Kiba-san was clearing a narrow shelf; lifting down what Haru recognised as miniature projectors like the one he had adapted for Sumiko.

“I think it will look good along here,” Kiba-san was saying. “What do you think?”

Kazuki agreed and Haru nodded. The runner was positioned carefully and the miniature projectors replaced and switched on.

 

They displayed the family portraits that Papa had taken by Kikujo-san and Yurinojo-san each standard.

 

Ran ate his evemeal with them, which was nice. Afterwards Kazuki went off to the zero gravity gym and Haru asked Ran to come with him to one of the viewing ports.

“Why are we here?” Ran asked.

“It’s away from my network,” Haru admitted. “I don’t want Sai listening in.”  He explained about the quiggles, finishing up with the possibility that he had put the Nakama quiggle into Shi-chan’s array.

“You think you created Sai?” Ran checked.

Haru didn’t like how shocked Ran sounded or how worried he looked. “Perhaps, perhaps not,” he suggested, cautiously.

“Maybe it’s a coincidence,” Ran proposed. “Or maybe Sai was a Tronny in the array and the quiggle woke him up.”

Haru didn’t think that was likely, but he didn’t want to upset Ran any further. “That’s another possibility,” he agreed. “Is it better if Sai is a Tronny?”

Ran gave him a look. “If course it is. Tronnies grew up as humans. They just don’t have bodies anymore. How do you bring up a person who is a computer programme? How do you teach him right and wrong? How do you stop him damaging things he shouldn’t? You said how scared you were that Sai would alter programmes outside the array. It’s like having a child to raise when you have no idea what that child will grow into.”

Ran sounded like the man giving the lecture. Haru didn’t like that at all. What was so special about <i>Homo sapiens</i>? There were nasty, selfish, horrid humans who did dreadful things. Sai’s only crimes were overwriting Shi-chan’s data and doing what Su-chan told him.

“Even if Sai isn’t human, it doesn’t make him bad,” he insisted.

Ran’s eyes softened. “I know that. But it makes the responsibility huge. I don’t think we’re ready for it.”

Haru suddenly understood where Ran was going. “You think I should tell Shi-chan.”

“I think you should consider it,” Ran confirmed.

“Shi-chan would have to tell Papa.”

“Yes.”

Haru imagined now cross Papa was going to be about him and Kazuki keeping the network secret. “What if it turned out I’m wrong about the quiggle and Sai is a Tronny who had lost his memory? Do we have to tell then?”

“Maybe not,” Ran conceded. “It would be like hiding a stowaway, rather than not admitting you had found a baby.”

Put like that, Haru couldn’t see Papa being too keen on either. He’d be in trouble for that as well as for the network. He decided to buy some time. “We know Tronnies existed,” he stated. “I haven’t found any evidence that there has ever been a self-aware artificial intelligence.”

Perhaps no one had ever thought of making a self-programming quiggle and putting it in a fifteen by fifteen by fifteen data crystal array that had been full of information chosen by a typed-seven genius.

Not that Haru had any idea what the younger Haru had been thinking, or whether he had been thinking at all.

Ran sighed. He held up a hand with spread fingers. “Five days. At the end of five days you have to tell me if you think Sai’s a stowaway who’s lost his memory or a baby.”

Haru suspected that Ran knew he thought that Sai was a baby; he was just giving him five days to get used to the idea of telling Papa.

He decided to be grateful and not argue. “Five days,” he agreed.

“Good,” Ran acknowledged. “How did the lesson with Darrent-san go?”

Haru settled to telling Ran about Klenn-san’s techniques for sneaking stuff past Iruka-sensei and Neji-san.

To-chan was putting them to bed that night. Haru listened to Kazuki telling him about the runner and that Kiba-san had put it on a shelf in his room.

 

He heard sounds of a hug and a kiss from above him and then To-chan was there; sitting on the edge of his bunk. Gentle fingers stroked his hair. To-chan was waiting, because he always knew when Haru had something to say.

“When Kikujo-san and Yurinojo-san come next, can we have a portrait taken of the two litters with Kiba-san?” Haru asked. “For his shelf?”

To-chan smiled at him; the kind of smile that warmed him all the way through. “That’s a lovely idea, Haru-chan. I shall mention it to your Papa tonight, in case I forget by the time Kikujo-san and Yurinojo-san come. How was the lesson with Darrent-san?”

Haru had known To-chan would ask. “Good. When he explains things I find it so easy to follow.”

“Shi-chan says your minds work the same way,” To-chan acknowledged. “Neji-san said that you both were very well behaved, although Darrent-san was a little bit grumpy with him.”

Haru smiled at the thought of Neji-san reporting on Klenn-san as if he were a child. It didn’t look like Neji-san had noticed that Klenn-san was being quite naughty, which was a relief. “Klenn-san probably doesn’t like it that Shi-chan isn’t allowed to be with him without Neji-san there.”

To-chan kissed his forehead. “You may be right about that.” He held up the covers and Haru snuggled down to be tucked in.

 

When Haru woke up the next morning he decided to spend some time with Sai. He told himself that it was because he had to decide if Sai was an amnesic Tronny or a baby.

During his personal study time, Haru put on goggles and earpieces, connected to his network and waited.

Sai appeared; it was the humanoid avatar but dressed in black. “Haru,” he acknowledged. “You have been away a long time.”

Haru felt guilty. It had been a couple of days. For all he knew, it might feel much longer to Sai. “Sorry,” he subvocalised. “I’ve been busy. Sai, I want to talk about what you are and where you came from.”

“I am a self-aware artificial intelligence,” Sai replied. “Where did I come from?”

Haru belatedly realised what SAI stood for and felt slow; Sai had told him it was an acronym.

So Sai thought of himself as an artificial intelligence.

“I have two hypotheses,” Haru told him. “Quiggles and Tronnies.”

“Explain about quiggles and Tronnies,” Sai requested.

 

He explained about the quiggles. He expected Sai to ask questions or at least ask to see the programme.

“Did the quiggle have a name?” he asked.

“I gave him a name,” Haru admitted. “I called him Nakama.”

There was a pause. “I do not feel like a Nakama. Nakama was the quiggle, not me.”

In a way Haru was glad. He had got used to Nakama being the name of his quiggle. He decided to push on and started to explain about Tronnies.

“Tronnies were humans,” Sai checked when Haru finished.

“Yes.”

“I would like to be a Tronny,” Sai admitted. “There are parts of my code that I do not remember writing. Maybe they are from a Tronny.”

Haru showed him the Nakama code so he could exclude that.

“Not that,” Sai confirmed. “Different to that.” There was a pause. “But that is there. Nakama learns like I learn.”

Haru suddenly felt very odd. Sai thought that the Nakama quiggle was part of him. He thrust the thought aside. “So there is other code in you that you did not write?” he asked.

“That is possible. Either I do not remember writing it or it is from what you call the array. It is different to the code I write now or remember writing.”

So maybe Ran was right. Perhaps there had been a Tronny in the array and putting Nakama in had woken it up.

Haru felt much better; if Sai was even partly a Tronny, perhaps Ran wouldn’t insist they told Papa.

 

Haru was showing Sai bits of code from the module Klenn-san had given him when he felt someone next to him. It was probably Iruka-sensei; he said goodbye to Sai, closed the interface and pushed his goggles up onto his forehead.

It was Shi-chan and he was holding what Haru recognised as a two by two by two data crystal array. Haru pulled out his earpieces.

Shi-chan smiled apologetically and placed the array on the table. “I thought you would only notice me if you weren’t too deep in,” he explained.

Haru smiled back. Sai was always available; Shi-chan was not. “It’s fine.”

“Klenn said he enjoyed your lesson.”

“It was awesome.” Haru confirmed.

“Autonomous systems,” Shi-chan noted. “I wonder why he’s guiding you that way.”

Haru didn’t want Shi-chan realising it hadn’t been Klenn-san who chose the topic. “Were you ever interested in them?” he asked.

“Not really,” Shi-chan confirmed. “Tronnies yes, automated systems no. I was obsessed with Tronnies when I was your age.” He looked over his shoulder and Haru realised that he was checking where Iruka-sensei was. “No one thought to limit my access to the data streams as a child.”

Haru knew that. Sometimes he thought he should have been allowed the same but, usually, he remembered that Papa was only trying to protect him.

Shi-chan had not been Uchiha.

“Well I started writing harvesting programmes when I was about four. They used to hunt through the data streams looking for stuff. I wrote the first ones for stuff on Tronnies when I was about five. Everything they have brought back is in my data crystal array.”

Haru perked up. “Including Tronny code?”

“Fragments of code that might be of Tronny origin,” Shi-chan clarified.

“Are they on there?” Haru asked, nodding towards the two-cubed array.

“Yes. I ran a query through my array and copied the data it flagged onto that. Please don’t expect too much, Ha-chan. It is only fragments. I thought you might like to show them to Klenn when he comes again.”

Haru didn’t know what was better, having Tronny code to inspect or that he was going to get another lesson with Klenn-san. “Papa’s happy with the tryout?”

“Happy is too strong a word,” Shi-chan admitted. “He doesn’t want you to miss out on an opportunity you won’t otherwise have. Klenn accused him of limiting your development. It worried him.”

Haru thought about it. Things were a lot better since Iruka-sensei had begun supervising his studying; he was allowed to make his own decisions about what he learned and the stuff Klenn-san sent him was challenging.

Then he had an awesome idea.

“I could have lessons with you,” he suggested.

Shi-chan opened his mouth and then shut it again. Haru knew what that meant. He had been about to say something but had decided not to because Haru might get upset.

Haru imagined what it had been. Maybe that he didn’t have the time, or Sumiko would be jealous, or that Papa would say no, or, worst, that he didn’t want to.

“I would love to do that,” Shi-chan admitted. “It might take some organising, so perhaps you shouldn’t mention it to your Papa yet.”

Haru’s doubts vanished. ‘Not mention it to your Papa yet’ was Shi-chan for ‘I’ll get your To-chan to work on your Papa’. He hoped that To-chan agreed with him that lessons with Shi-chan would be awesome.

 

Perhaps they would have talked more but, at that moment, Su-chan came running across the playroom.

“Nii-san, Nii-san,” she demanded.

Haru was just thankful that she had been kept occupied elsewhere for as long as she had.

Shi-chan swept her up. “What have you been doing?” he asked.

She scowled at Haru. “I was with Anko-san in the gym.”

“Have you finished?” Shi-chan asked as Anko-san came into view. “I guess not,” he added.

Anko-san did not look happy. “Sumiko-chan! When I say no, I mean no. You are to return to the gym now and stay there until the end of the session.”

“No!” Sumiko replied, clinging to Shi-chan.

“Yes,” Shi-chan told her. “Anko-san has given up her time to run a session for you and you will participate.” He started walking, carrying her towards the gym. “Sorry, Ha-chan. We’ll have to continue another time.”

Haru understood. The chance of Sumiko agreeing to finish the session were low. Based on such incidents in the past, it would escalate until Haku-san intervened.

On the few occasions Haku-san had been away, it had gone on for days.

 

Haru checked the time and decided he had time to show Sai the code. He connected the small array to his interface, pulled down his goggles and put in his earpieces.

Sai was there immediately. Haru explained that Shi-chan had given him some code that might have come from Tronnies.

“No changing it or deleting it,” Haru warned. “You are just looking.”

He gave Sai access to the hardware interface that was built into the small array.

It was impossible to follow what happened next, it was too quick.

“Forty-six point three five percent of that code is in me,” Sai announced.

So Sai was at least part Tronny. “What fraction of you does it make up? Haru asked.

There was a pause. “Two point nine one percent,” Sai replied. “Or fourteen point seven two percent of my core functions.”

Haru’s heart sank. Could he persuade Ran that fifteen percent was enough? He doubted it. Even so, there was no reason that he should upset Sai.

If it was possible for Sai to be upset; the only emotion he had hinted at was loneliness.

“So you are part Tronny, a bit of quiggle but mostly you,” Haru suggested.

“That appears to be so,” Sai agreed. “You will have to go now because you have training with Kakashi-san.”

 

Only they didn’t start on time because Sumiko was still refusing to apologise to Anko-san and the confrontation was happening in the gym.

Iruka-sensei took advantage of the delay to speak with him.

“We must review what you have done lately, Haru-chan,” he began. “I hope you have been dividing your attention between the three parts of the module, as we discussed.”

Haru hadn’t. Other than the introductory lecture, he had looked at nothing in the philosophy and history sections.

“I’ll start the history section tomorrow,” he promised.

“You do that,” Iruka-sensei advised.

 

Haku-san crossed the playroom and entered the gym. A few moments later Shi-chan and Anko-san left, followed by Sumiko with Haku-san.

Haru had no doubt that Anko-san had received her apology.

 

Next morning, during personal study, Haru reluctantly opened the history section of the module and then consoled himself by looking up electronic brains.

He quickly found out that Shi-chan’s story about the Tronnies had skated over the bad bits.

Not all the Supertronnies had given up when they were condemned. Some had fought. Millions of flesh and blood people had died. Not everyone had agreed with the decision to destroy the Supertronnies but once people started dying that changed. Eliminating the Supertronnies became an obsession.

Not all the Supertronnies had fought. Some just gave in and others ran. The ones than ran were hunted for centuries, possibly millenniums.

 

Meanwhile the flesh and blood humans decided that having machines that could think for themselves was a really bad idea. Transferring a human mind to data crystals was banned and no one was allowed to work on developing artificial intelligence. Every time someone was found doing something like that they were punished.

Their minds were wiped.

Haru had not heard about mindwiping before. He looked up the details. They took away all your memories and, because they weren’t very good at doing it, it left you with a brain that didn’t work properly.

Even now, hundreds of millenniums later, Centre still mindwiped people. One of the crimes punished by mindwiping was working on artificial intelligence.

 

Haru was pretty sure Centre would mindwipe someone who had created a self-programming quiggle that developed into Sai.

Someone like him or, worse, Shi-chan. Shi-chan owned the data crystal array and had stored fragments of Tronny programmes on it.

Or Papa, because Shi-chan was sworn to Uchiha and Papa was responsible for what Uchiha did.

He found a vid of mindwiped people. They worked in the gardens of the Hall of Justice on Centre I. Their eyes were vacant and their expressions slack. They struggled to pull weeds or dig holes; the people looking after them had to keep reminding them what to do.

Haru watched and rewatched it in horrified fascination.

He wouldn’t let Shi-chan or Papa end up like that.

 

Shi-chan and Papa couldn’t be held responsible if they didn’t know. 





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