From a dusty window, orange light poured into a room filled with cardboard boxes. Some were labeled “books, clothes, shoes, and junk,” but most were labeled “fragile” in a haphazard pen. One box, battered and bruised, was labeled “Not Fragile, kick around to your heart’s content!” That one sat quietly near the trashcan by the door. Five large boxes labeled “Bed Stuff” and one small box labeled “Pillow” took up one wall while the other boxes were pilled high to the ceiling where an electric lamp flickered with wasted light. A loud snort came from the fabric boxes, and then a large sniff followed with a mucous filled spat. An arm sprung out from the fabric box closest to the window and hung listlessly from the side of the box. Clear thick mucous dangled from the finger tips for a while before being wiped off on the outside of the box. The hand, nail-bitten, bruised and stubby, felt on the ground for a moment, looking for something. Failing to find anything within reach, the hand and the arm retreated back into the box. There was a rustle, a mumble, and a very low curse as the box shook. Out from the fabric box the quilt-clad head of Corvus Parallax Ursa appeared.
Corvus, Para or CPU to her friends, lives, breathes, eats, and sleeps her whole life in a box. When her parents found her as an infant, she was in a box. Whatever she ate had to come from a box. For Halloween she would dress up as a box. For any formal occasion, including her cousin’s wedding, she would wear a dress with brown squares on it from a designer specializing in box fashion. She never goes out of her box, so long as she can help it. Unfortunately for her, though, she lived in a very non-box oriented world, a world where humans live peaceful (for the most-part) lives with beings of pure energy and beings that resemble animals, insects, plants, and everything in between. Corvus unhappily occupied the “everything in between” part of her world’s spectrum.
An orphan raised by a brain surgeon and a mechanic (both of which claim to be human but act suspiciously un-human), Corvus was soon found to be an ANGEL, an Anthromorphic Neo-Generation Electric Life-form. These beings have a distinct birth mark that resembles a pair of wings on their back, commonly called Wing Slits, which are used to identify ANGELs when they are born. CPU’s parents saw a simple pair of black wings on her back that happened to resemble crow wings, hence her first name. Of course most Wing Slits are black but who is to fault two loving parents. Being identified as belonging to a certain group is all well and good in CPU’s eyes, just another box to fit snuggly into, but ANGEL and international law dictates that once an ANGEL turns 2 they are to be assigned a personalized set of wings that match the mark on their back and a HALO (Hovering Analog Locating Office-port). The wings are usually hand crafted for the child by one of the elders of their village. Unfortunately for Corvus, she was an orphan living in a far away from any ANGEL village. As the saying goes, “ANGELs do their work in Maya, but live in Nirvana.” Since Nirvana is hard to get to, even by air, CPU’s parents had to go to a local wing dealer to get her a pair. Wing dealers use a government-backed system to produce wings for ANGELs born in Maya: they scan the child’s back, send the desired information into a computer, lay the child down on a cold metal table, and let the machine create and fit a pair of mechanical wings onto the child. It is a pain-less process, most of the time, and if the job is done in central Maya, the wings would not only be functional, they would be beautiful. That, unfortunately, was not the case with Corvus’s wings. Her parents went to West Maya to get her wings, an area notorious for both violence and mechanical know-how. They had a family friend, Jacob McNeal, who was at the time going into the wing crafting business. He was cheap, near, and a celebrated genius when it came to mechanized technology. Completely imbecilic when it came to children, safety regulations, and painkillers, but a genius nonetheless. Her wings to this day are among the most advance, black steel crow wings ever created. They are also the most painful. Corvus had to have her whole collar bone and part of her spine replaced with steel ones. Growing up, she was the only kid in class who wasn’t allowed to play with the magnets. And . . .
. . . .
Okay, I am taking over my own narrative! You gave them more than enough back story to satisfy even the most anal of critics. Yes, I like boxes, Yes Uncle McNeal, though sweet, is an incompetent boob when it comes to medicine, but for Gods sakes get over it. Oh and you there reading this, you probably forgot what was actually happening so let’s recap: it is late at night on the day I finally move into my apartment across the street from my university. I have just woken up from a very long nap (I went to sleep the moment I closed the door after Mom and Dad left). Oh and I am not 2. I am 23! And NO, I do not plan to keep these boxes around like this in my room; they were just for moving for Heavens sakes. Oh and that narrator you were listening to, THAT was my HALO. It talks. None stop. All the time.
“I do not!”
Okay, it mainly talks when it knows I can hear it. It drives me mad! But, before I get to that little mechanized mistake, I should probably get out of bed, I mean these boxes, I mean, well you know what I mean. Sheesh!
So here I am. . . Getting up . . . Just got to find my glasses. They must be somewhere in this box.
“Why not try, oh say, the box labeled ‘Eye Glass?’ You know the one by the foot of your make-shift box bed?” says my annoying government issued torture device.
There they are. Man, my room is a mess.
. . .
Aside from being a very bad morning person, CPU, is for the most part, deep down inside, a very good person. To everyone except her HALO. Where did all this animosity come from? Well, it isn’t the HALO’s fault to be sure, but it may have something to do with how she acquires such a unique device. Most ANGEL’s receive their HALO’s after birth, right there in the hospital that same day as their parents rest. Receiving a HALO is all apart of the ANGEL registration process, you see. An ANGEL is born, registered into the hospital database, and their information is then even to ANGEL HQ where a blank HALO is selected for processing. Processing usually takes about an hour but on CPU’s birthday, something went wrong. Their was a malfunction at HQ during her, and countless other ANGEL’s, registration. Someone had hacked into the system in an attempt to send a virus into all new HALOs. Thankfully it was caught in time before anything too drastic happened. Unfortunately HQ could not destroy the virus programming in its entirety, they could only take away what made the program dangerous to others. In the end it was decided that the virus should be quarantined in the last HALO that was infected: CPU’s HALO. It is a harmless defect, to say the least, but it did leave one very unique and disturbing quality to her HALO which has already been dealt with.
“And who ever heard of a flimsy metal disc that could talk and behavior like it is some higher sentient power! ARGH!” shouted Corvus into the darkness of her box-crowded room!
Still feeling the effects of a three day all-night packing binge, Corvus stumbles out of her box on her very shaky legs. Her hair is wild, curving up in little black tendrils all around her head. In the darkness she looks like a black sun rising above a mountainous range and into an orange sky. She kicks around some boxes, stumbles over the smaller ones and finally, with many blasphemies under her belt, she reaches the light switch next to the door. She releases a heavy sigh as she places her hands on her hips and stares blankly at her new abode.
“I guess I should start by fixing myself up, no sense in going back to sleep. Took me three hours just to get my happy ass up,” she says.
“Well, to be accurate you took about 4 hours to get up but who’s counting?” replies her imprisoned HALO.
“I want none of your sass today mister!” she replied.
Bending down by the trash can, CPU lifts up the badly bruised box labeled “Not Fragile, etc.” She peels back one side of the cardboard top and pulls out her silver HALO. With as little grace as it is possible for one of the female gender to perform, she tosses it on to her head and walks on before it has had sufficient time to connect to her DNA.
To be continued.