[Glossary: Ai-brain - [ay-brain] artificial intelligence brain; Aiman - [ay-man] artificial intelligence man]
Ovashni ran like a slithering squirrel as she ferociously hopped from one tree branch to another, avoiding a powerful blast from an invincible enemy, which smashed the ground and anything she jumped on. Her breathing was getting heavy from running nonstop for two hours but she had to continue or lose her life. She touched her chest and commanded her ai-brain to lessen her panting. Then she heard an audible whirring sound and felt oxygen entering her lungs in a slow manner.
Afterward, her breathing stabilized and her strength came back. With a thought, she added 30% to her speed and in a split second, a laser gun appeared on her hand. Then as she spun around, she fired a flat horizontal beam and her jewel-like eyes squinted, carefully observing where the laser beams deflected.
She leaped rearward and fired another laser blast, stronger than the first and the enemy's invisibility cloak fell apart like broken pieces of glass.
There, a robot doubles her size and height appeared before her very eyes.
Early this morning, she was awakened by an explosion outside her room. And without delay, she dove out of her window avoiding the second impact, which transformed her bed into ashes. In the wake of her escape, she caught a glimpse of the other five students sprinting to different directions. As she ran, she blinked her eyes and her pajamas changed into a body fitting skin suit, leaving only her arms and face uncovered. A pair of ankle-high boots protected her feet. Her finger tapped her forehead and her shoulder-length hair neatly braided itself.
Ovashni knew today would be their last examination day as trainees for the Elite Aiman Force in the country of Fulkor. But it never occurred to her to be ambushed while they were asleep. Such a life-threatening exam. No wonder only a few would dare join this force.
"This is crazy, Kushak. Why send a robot to test me?" she said to someone in her communicator attached to her earlobe. Ovashni couldn't' believe she was fleeing for her life from a robot. This was totally unnerving for one of the top students in the Aiman academy.
"Let me test your robot then." Instead of fretting, she decided to face the enemy head-on.
She raised her right fist then a laser sword appeared in her clasped hand. Then while running toward the robot, her right foot stomped hard on the ground and in an instant, her body sprung up meters high on the air it was as if jumping from a trampoline. And with great might, she slashed her sword up to the incoming robot's hand, which was about to reach her.
Somehow, the sword didn't slice or even scratch the robot's armored hand but only gave off a bouncing sound as her laser sword made a hit. The robot's body jerked back from the strike, giving Ovashni a chance to escape. As her left foot touched the ground, her body swerved backward away from the robot, which crushed the area where she stepped afoot into smithereens using its laser beam from its eyes.
"What the hell is this, Kushak? Are you using me as your guinea pig for your new inventions?" She hollered while running away again.
"I can't give you an easy sparring partner, Ovashni. You're an upgraded Aiman and a very dangerous one. So enjoy, survive, and come back here in the academy in one piece after you defeat this beta robot," said an audible voice from her communicator.
"Are you crazy? A beta state robot? Damn you. The academy should fire you for using your students as guinea pigs," Ovashni hissed in annoyance. She ran as she planned. Fortunately, she spotted the mouth of the volcano five hundred meters from her.
Then a devious idea popped up in her mind. Her lips curved up in pleasure. She stopped talking but dashed straight to it.
Kushak, a tall and eye-catching aiman instructor of twenty-seven years old, known for his fame for graduating from bioengineering at the age of fifteen and as a strict professor, was with his colleagues and other instructors, viewing a holographic widescreen monitor in an audio-visual room. They saw her running on a trek covered with dried lava all the way up the mountain while the robot left a devastated mountain behind it. From the lush greeneries and fresh blossoming shrubberies, it became obvious blast holes, flaming fallen trees, and vegetation turned into a pulp. Birds squawked as they flew east above the sky and animals fled for their safety to either side of the mountain.
However, all of these didn't matter for their eyes were set on Ovashni, who raced uphill at high speed. The instructors realized where she was heading and even agreed with her tactic.
"Nice, Ovashni is going to melt your robot," a lady instructor said as she chuckled in delight.
"Let's see if she can easily reach the volcano. If she does, I'll give her an all paid vacation," said an unperturbed Kushak. He then punched a red button on a transparent keyboard in front of him, then the monitor showed a green fog leaked out from the ground just ahead of Ovashni's direction.
Ovashni saw the green fog but too late to evade it. Suddenly, a choking smell assailed her nose, pervading every inch of the area. The smell of rot and sulfur grew so strong it was as if a pair of hands grasped her throat, refusing to allow her to breathe. In dismay, her steps faltered a bit as she coughed violently trying to cleanse herself of the putrid and stagnant air while hearing the robot's heavy steps closing in.
"I'm not going down this way. It is time to use it," she said to herself.
And with a thought, an oxygen mask took shape, covering her mouth and nose. She inhaled and exhaled deeply and yelled with all her strength to bring all the courage from within her. Then all of a sudden, her feet became light and she jumped imitating Neil Armstrong hopping on the moon. Her whole body floated up high above the fog and went down two meters away then so on. With her every step, the gap between her and the robot widened.
"Hey, that's cheating. That is an advanced upgrade. How did she get that?" Kushak said as they saw her almost reaching the volcano's mouth while the robot relentlessly chased.
"She's not cheating. You underestimated our top software programmer. She didn't sleep last night until she finished altering the program in her boots," said an elderly man, who sat beside Kushak.
"Oh, she did that? Haha, I'll be damned. It never crosses my mind her altering the AI machinations."
While they talked about her achievements, Ovashni has reached the ten-meter wide mouth where visible white smoke came out from the red bubbling lava inside. Her floating stopped and her speed instantly went back to normal. She turned her head and cast a glance at the chasing robot, which was twelve meters away from the mouth.
She ran near the mouth, baiting the robot to follow. But, suddenly, she shrieked and jumped backward out of reflex as her exposed flesh on her face and arm got burnt from the scorching heat emitted from the lava. Ovashni's face cringed in pain and with a thought, a transparent force shield engulfed her whole body, diminishing the heat flowing at her.
As the robot arrived near the mouth, it gradually ceased its movements and totally stopped.
"Fine, you won. Come back here and we will discuss some important matters with all of you who completed the test," Kushak said in her communicator.
"I'm totally pissed, Kushak. Don't ever think this is over," she said with an aggressive voice as she tenderly pressed the reddish skin on her face.
Within seconds, they saw her lifted her arm pointing straight to the robot and a raygun materialized in her grasp. And for a breath, she pulled the trigger.
"No," screamed Kushak, standing horrified to lose his new robot but he was too late. The robot received the blast on its head and the whole thing fell backward away from the smelting lava.
"Whew! I thought you're gonna make it plunge," Kushak said as his body dropped sluggishly on the chair.
"I'm not as savage as you. But next time, I won't hesitate and totally melt your badass robots," said Ovashni as a huge grin appeared on her face, feeling victorious.
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