《Tales of Emera》1.01 - The Pod


Emera’s mind fluttered with hope for the future. It was to be a new beginning for her, and she couldn't have been happier. Shortly after the Doctor left, the pod installation workers arrived and promptly began setting up her pod.

Taking the Doctor’s advice to heart, Emera took a brief nap to allow her body to adjust to the chip, her rest uneasy as her mind was unsure of when the AI would start talking. That was one of Emera’s worries. To forever have a chip inside of you is one thing, but for that chip to be able to talk to you? It was a big change that Emera would need to overcome. A talking robot in her mind was one of the most prevalent of reasons she was hesitant to undertake Doctor Kenton’s research.

What if it talked to her during her sleep? Noisy neighbours she could get used to. But a noisy robot? The Doctor said the AI chip would sync its personality to be the most beneficial to its host, allowing it to have its own personality, yet it would still be attuned to her needs. Does that mean she would need to tell it what her needs were? Or would it act without her input?

These thoughts didn’t allow her to nap at all, her mind stuck on repeat as she thought over and over how it could all go wrong, how all her dreams could be crushed if the chip didn't work or if the AI turned out to be an evil mind controlling monster.

Scary thoughts.

“Emera! The pod is ready for you.” The voice in the room made her sit-up straight away from her position on the living room couch, briefly wondering if the robot was ready to talk yet.

Nope, just her mother.


“Hello Emera, I am personal AI chip 00000002, here to assist and serve your every need!” said the voice in her head.

This time she screamed as the third voice in the room spoke.

“What? What’s wrong Emy?” Her mother wore a concerned look on her face, her gaze frantic as she looked for what startled her daughter.

“Don’t be alarmed Emera! It is just I, AI chip 00000002, ready to assist and serve your every need!”

She screamed again, then settled down as the AI made soothing noises within her head. It was actually quite calming, all things considered.

“Sorry mamma, the AI chip just started talking. I guess it finally acclimated to my body.” Emera soothed her mother’s worries, her own worries slowly abating as a sense of wonder occupied her thoughts.

“You sound like a girl! And you don’t sound roboty like a translator?” Her mind thought the words, and so the robot heard the words.

“That is right Emera, my calibrations are complete and I am fully functional as of 12.835 seconds ago. I have already determined that you would be most comfortable with the sound of another female in your head and have made adjustments to my voice algorithm accordingly. It is with great, as you say, happiness that I am equipped with the finest voice modulator as well as various technological advancements as of yet unseen within the greater world. Doctor Kenton has programmed me to tell you of those programs at a more convenient time as it appears your mother is about to speak again.” The AI said

“Really! What is it saying? Does it have a name? Is it a boy robot or a girl robot?” That last question Emera swore she saw her mother wink and which she answered with a “mooooooom!”


“You may name me at your leisure, Emera.” The AI spoke in between her mother’s next sentence.

“Tell me all about it! I’ll start lunch and then afterwards you can check out your new pod. I can’t believe how big those things are!” Her mother rambled on, seemingly as excited as her daughter.

In truth, she was sad she couldn't be there with her daughter as she took her first steps, but the Doctor had assured her that Emera's progress would be recorded for his research and she would be able to watch the video feed afterwards.

Lunch was a long affair with a brief word or two from Emera as she held two different conversations while translating the second for her mother. The AI spoke in between sentences, sending almost what seemed like pulses of information, allowing the AI to speak a string of sentences with little to no impact in the conversation with her mother.

Her mother, after much discussion between the two humans and the AI, offered up the name Era, which fit nicely for Emera, seeing how it would be a new era in her life, and how it fit nicely with her own unique name.

Soon, lunch was finished and her belly was full of the nutrient filled foods her body needed. When her mother washed the dishes and she dried them, they were finally ready to view the pod. Emera, blindfolded within her wheelchair as she was wheeled down the hallway into her room, breath held as the blindfold came up and light blinding her for a scant few seconds as her eyes adjusted from the blackness of the cloth to the lighting in her room.

There, in front of her eyes and beside her bed, stood her pod. It had been custom made to her height which was a small 4’11, what with her shrunken legs and all. It was of the sleekest black, polished to a shine that almost seemed to glow as it reflected the lights from her room.

She might have drooled a little.

“There you are. The pod is ready for you Emy, just say power on and power off when you want to get out. I’ll leave you two to get acquainted.” Another wink and her mother was gone, closing the bedroom door on the way out.

For minutes, Emera just sat there in awe.

Wheeling herself over, she ran her fingers along the sleek, cool metal frame. Her fingers brushed against a latch and she swiftly popped the lid open. The interior was of a soft satiny material that just begged to be laid on. Emera complied with this request as she lay down, feeling like she was lying on top of a cloud. With reverence, she lowered the pod lid and rejoiced within the confines of her new life.

Without ceremony, she let out the words she would repeat whenever she wanted to walk.

“Power on”

A flash of light and a feeling of rising into the air. A brush of wind and a touch of sunlight. Her thoughts flew as the universe spoke to her.

“Welcome user, Emera. Pod activation and chip connectivity has successively connected. Please stand-by as your senses are slowly returned to you. If at anytime you feel discomfort, please do not panic. This is only natural as your mind regains functionality within the pod universe. Have a nice day!” Said the universe, in all its wisdom.

Feeling slowly crept into her arms, working its way over her body while her eyes starting seeing colour again. With an uncomfortable jolt, her body returned to her all at once. She was lying down on a field of grass with an open sky above her.


She was outside, free from the constraints of a sterilized house. Free to roam to her heart’s content. New feelings pulsed through her, emotions so powerful she couldn't describe them accurately.

With a calmness within the vast expanse of excitement coursing through her body, she slowly reached towards her legs as her hands skimmed her body. It was incredible how she could feel every sensation and every movement.

Her hands reached her legs.

They were the same.

Immense disappointment came over her as she beheld her dreams being crushed. Slowly, she started to cry, then wail, letting out a vicious screech that would put a banshee to shame.

“Emera. Emeraaa. Emera!” A voice echoed within the grassland, the voice breaking off as Emera finally heard its echo.

“Is that you Era? You sound different.” Emera sniffled, her voice catching as hiccups plagued her and snot leaked from a runny nose.

The AI made this thing too damn real.

“Emera, stop that snivelling and calm down. Remember what Doctor Kenton said! When in your separate world you must will things to be the way you want them! As your chip, I am only allowed to receive your commands and act upon them. It is up to you to fix your legs.” Era replied, her voice still an echo, yet clear at the same time.

Her voice almost sounded like a wizened village elder, offering sage advice to the needy farm girl. It made her smile a bit.

“Alright oh grandmaster of mine, I beseech you to restore thy legs!” She said, her voice the right mixture of awe and reverence. She had lots of time alone to practice different voices.

Sometimes she held whole conversations by herself.

She really needed to find some friends.

“Not like that you dingus. Visualize your legs whole and will it to be. I will handle the rest.

Emera concentrated as she willed her legs to be fixed, to be what she wanted them to be.

And so it was.

Emera immediately felt the difference as her legs contorted and eventually settled down into a vague leg shape. Progress!

“Try a little harder Emera, this time remember the muscles and bones!” Era said.

Huh. She didn't realize she needed to concentrate on the insides. Hopefully she didn't have to be an expert in biology. Her lack of basic anatomy would screw her over.

The AI seemed to sigh. Can robots even sigh?

“No Emera, you don't need to know basic anatomy. I've got diagrams from the Internet to help with your will. It helps with the overall design. Do you want macular legs, small legs, long legs. You name it. Bone and muscle mass are defining characteristics that needs input from you.” Era replied.

“Whoa, cool! You have internet in there?” She knocked on her head.

The robot sighed again.

This time, Emera was almost successful and it just required minor tweaking from Era to fully form pathways that her brain would understand how to work them.

Slowly, she kneeled. Then she was in a crouch, hunched over as her new muscles stretched.

“Ow, oww. Muscle is too short on the left leg. Gah. That's better. Thanks Era.” Emera smiled happily as she rose to a full height of 6’5.

“Uh Era, I might have made them a bit too long.” Emera blushed happily. She wished she had a mirror to see how she looked. Suddenly, a mirror unfolded in front of her.

She looked ridiculous.

“Right. Way less muscles and way shorter legs. Definitely should have skipped leg day. That set her on the floor, laughing her ass off before she finally made her legs Emera sized. It brought her height down to 5’3. With her legs thinned to match her unathletic upper half, she looked absolutely normal.

She loved her new body. For the first time in her life, she could walk.

It was more of a crawl at first, but over two hours later, she took her first step. From there she began to walk, then to jog, and finally ran all along the grassy hills. Her sheer joy seemed to make her world brighter and the grass greener. It was an interesting effect.

Finally she slowed down, not even breathing heavily as she willed her body out of the depths of exhaustion. She looked around and wondered what her world would look like a year from now.

Probably a very long running track she could zoom around on.

Finally, one of the worries she’d been having came full force as she wondered out loud.

“Era, the games stop you from willing anything into being right? Same with the school worlds. How will I have my legs there?” Emera asked.

Era immediately sent her a data packet of words, and more interestingly, a picture of a character customization screen.

“Huh, so in most of the multiplayer games, players choose how they look like? Wouldn't that grant them better abilities if they make themselves muscled?”

Again, Era sent another data packet with another picture, this one titled: “A guide for noobs who don't know anything about games.”

“Don't get snarky with me, miss robot! You know I don't know anything about games and that kind of stuff. How am I supposed to know strength affected agility!”

The robot sent one more data packet with a single word, “Noob.”

“Fine then, show me how to get into that one game that just came out. Whatsit called again? And speak dammit, you have a voice for a reason!” She replied bitterly.

“It was what I believe you call “joking” Emera, sorry if I offended you.” Era replied, her voice almost sounded sullen.

This time, it was Emera's turn to sigh as she apologized to her AI.

“Sorry Era, I know you meant no harm. It's just that I don't know anything about all of this and it's anxiety provoking not being within my element, not knowing what to do or how to go about doing it.” She tried to make her voice cheerful again as she asked once more.

“So, what's that game called again? The news article I saw was clamouring over it, citing how gaming forums were drooling over it. Twenty-one hundred artificial intelligences working in tandem seems overkill, is it not?”

Era didn't bother answering that question. Even she knew it was overkill with how much even she was able to do as a chip. What the advanced AI’s could do with several terabytes of processing power was beyond her. Apparently, it was enough to create a world so complex that one could mistake it for the real world.

That is, if one saw dragons, goblins and thousands, perhaps even tens of thousands of other creatures. All unique, all different. Even Era was drooling a little, figuratively speaking of course.

“The game is called Terramore Online, Emera. The Doctor took the liberty of purchasing the game for your enjoyment, and as a fundamental aspect of his research into the capabilities of virtual games on the human mind. Your journey awaits whenever you are ready.”

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