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Laughter rang out in the conference room of Riot 6.1 as the group of heroes shared memories.

"I've lost count of how many times I've been teleported unexpectedly and found myself flying face-first into a wall of some sort at about 100
miles per hour. Or dropping several hundred feet from midair, as you like doing to me."

Quicksilver Nano sent a pseudo-dirty look at the archer sitting in front of her who's face was turning red, either from laughing so hard or embarrassment,
or both.

"I already said I'm sorry about 100 times!" The kitten that had been sitting on the hero's shoulder at that point fell off into Just
Another Archer's arms, mewling in laughter. The red-faced blaster looked down at the furball. "You're not helping things any."

The woman sitting beside her had a small grin and was following their conversation, even though her attention seemed to be on a datapad in her hands.
"Sounds like you guys had some fun in Bloody Bay. Did you happen to meet up with villains while you were there?"

The small silver woman sitting cross legged on the table tilted her head. "Luckily no. We made it through safely. Only things we had to take down were
the Shivans and the firebase defenses." She sighed and looked down at her hands, which were putting out enough light to put shadows on the table.
"Between that place and Terra Volta, I'm never going to stop glowing."

Sylia raised an eyebrow slightly. "Well, it did earn you the title 'The Bright'."

Quicksilver sent her a tiresome look that just made the woman smile.

Archer opened her mouth and closed it a few times before she got her courage up. There was a question she'd wanted to ask for a while but never seemed
like the right time, until now. "Uhh... Silver?"


"You... how... I mean, you are a person too, but also colony of nanomachines right?" Alice stammered trying to find the right way to say her

"That's true."

"S-so, how were you made? Who made you? Where did you come from?"

Silver blinked in surprise. "You want to know about my history?"

The girl looked kinda ashamed. "I'm sorry if you're not comfortable telling about it, I just was so curious-"

"No! No, it's ok really." The nanocolony smiled back at her reassuringly. "I don't mind. I was just surprised, that's all."
She leaned back on her hands and stretched her legs out, staring up at the high ceiling and thinking for a minute before starting her story.

"I was created about, oh, a year or so ago. Someone wanted a computer program that could hack and plant viruses without being detected. And also could
disable a computer or any kind of machinery, without leaving a trace. Well, to do that, you had to bypass all the normal ways to access a computer core and
get within the core itself. And you needed something small enough to do that with."

Silicon Sabre's eyes widened as it dawned on her. "Nanomachines! That's why they chose nanos."

"Exactly. I can rewrite the code of a computer from inside the motherboard. Literally change it on a molecular level, and can do that with only a couple
dozen nannites. Barely enough to be noticed under a microscope. So they wrote a program that would be perfect for that, but then came across a snag. The
first few tests with my programming went normally, but when they started throwing random variables in, there wasn't enough processing power in such a small
amount of nanomachines to deal with it. I could do one or two things well, but they needed a program that could take whatever they threw at it without
flinching. That's where the AI came into play. In addition to my regular programming, they built in an artificial intelligence that could analyze and
adapt to different situations. It was quite advanced for the team that built it. As far as I know there were only two complete AIs made."

Alice sat up straighter. "Two? You mean there could be another you out there somewhere?"

Silver shrugged her shoulders. "Possible, but I've never found any evidence of that second AI. Aside from some notes about it being created
simultaneously. Believe me, I've looked quite a bit."

Sylia tilted her head to the side a bit. "So wait, you're an artificial intelligence? What or who were you patterned off of?"

"I wasn't. I was built from the ground up. In addition to the abilities to adapt to my environment I was made able to also mimic designs. So I
could blend into whatever I need to."

"So how did you get from there to where you are now?" JAA wondered.

"Basically, my creators made one huge leap, and one huge mistake. They managed to artificially infuse me with curiosity. The perfect slave program
doesn't care about what they're doing. But the problem with that was that didn't make me as adaptable as they needed. So they gave me a thirst to
find out more. And the more I found out while I was there, the less I realized that I wanted to do what I was doing. The first and harshest lesson I learned
was to not let them find this out. They tried to completely erase me once, and install me with a new personality. Fortunately, I had made a backup of myself
that only I could access. I was able to restore myself and then escape."

"Wait, they tried to wipe you? And implant a new personality?" Sylia looked at the tanker, concerned.

Silver shrugged again. "They tried, but failed. I don't think the new personality had the ability to survive like I did. Maybe that's why I
was able to overwhelm it."

"Doesn't that worry you?"

"Not really. I went through all of my code not long after I got here and removed all the malicious parts. Did some housekeeping so to say." She
grinned and looked back at Alice. "So, does that answer your question?"

She nodded. "Yes, but I'm still curious... if you could be anything you wanted to be, why are you a girl?"

Nano blinked. "Why? Well, that's never occurred to me. I'm not sure, it just seemed natural."

"Well, do you remember who the creator of your AI was? Was it a woman?" Sylia asked.

"Well, yes. Now that you mention it, she was a woman."

"Then that's probably why. Creators often make their creations either a shadow of themselves, or their perfect fantasy."

Silver shrugged it off as Alice asked another question. "Have you ever thought of trying to be a boy before? I mean, you can shift between outfits just
like that. Can you shift bodies that easily?"

"I've never tried it before. Again, something that just never occurred to me." She stood up and paced back and forth on the table for a few
moments, thinking hard. "I don't see why I couldn't do it. Would be handy if I needed to infiltrate something, somewhere. Or just to give
somebody a headache to try and figure out exactly what gender I am." She stopped and grinned mischievously. "I'll give it a try! Who knows, it
could be fun."

She leaped off the table and walked over to the side, putting some distance between her and the other two. "I'm not sure what's going to happen.
I've never tried this involved a change before. If I liquefy, I should reform in about 15 minutes or so."

Sylia stood up. "Wait, this isn't dangerous for you or us, is it?"

"No, it shouldn't be. There's no reason it will be. Worst case scenario is that I'll shut down and it'll take about fifteen minutes to
reboot. I'll just be a puddle on the floor if that happens." She smirked. "Try not to step on me until I can gather myself back up
please." Concentrating for a moment, she shifted back to her base form, one that looked like a mannequin painted in silver metallic paint. "Here
goes nothing."

After a second, the pink glow that was her eyes dimmed down to nothing. Oddly enough, the green glow that had been surrounding her since her exposure to
radioactivity also disappeared, and her body seemed to loose some of it's lustre. Then it began slowly shifting, details melting back into her body until
she stood there looking like a practice dummy. A lump for a head, four longer lumps for arms and legs, and no other details. Two long minutes later, it began
shifting again. It grew a few inches and muscles soon began being recognizable along his limbs. They were much more noticeable than when he was in the female
form. It slowly continued inwards, creating abs, pecs, and eventually the face. It was much more chiseled and harsh. Once the body settled down and stopped
shifting, the glow flashed on in his eyes. Only this time it was a dark purple glow. Nothing like Silver's normal pink glow.

Alice took a step forward a few moments after the changes settled. "Silver, you okay? You definitely look different."

He swiveled his head and stared at her hard, causing the young archer to back up. "Identify yourself." He rumbled in a surprisingly deep voice for
such a small man.

Sylia stood up and stepped slightly in front of Alice. "I am Sylia Stingray."

Alice looked at the foreign nanomech standing in front of her. "What's wrong Quicksilver?" That name got a reaction out of him and he took a
step towards her, eyes narrowing.

"Where is the Quicksilver program? Where is she?!"

The woman stood up to him. "First off, who are you."

"I am nanocolony CHT2: Warrior Class. Codename: Mercury."

"And why are you looking for Quicksilver."

"I am hunting her, and need to dest...dest...dest...dest...dest...dest..." His body froze and he kept repeating the partial word like a broken

Alice looked up to Sylia. "What went wrong?"

She shook her head. "I don't know, lets just hope Silver can bring herself under control soon."

He finally stopped repeating and his eyes went dead for a second. When he came back, he held his head in his hands. "Ugh, that hurt."

"Silver, you back with us now?" The younger woman asked hopefully. The nanomech looked up, and his optics were just as dark purple as before.

"My name is Mercury, and I have no idea where this Silver you speak of is."

Alice's eyes went wide in surprise. "But you-"

Sylia shushed her with a shake of her head. "I see. Mind telling us a bit about yourself... Mercury?"

He still held his head in his hands. "I don't know. My prime directives have been erased. My only directive now is to assist Riot Force 6.1."
He looked up at her. "Where can I find this Riot Force 6.1?"

"Well, you're here. This is Riot Force 6.1's base you're in. And I'm Silicon Sabre, a member of the Supergroup."


"Yes. Riot Force 6.1 is a Supergroup created by Lady of the Peace. We work together to help the citizens of Paragon City."

"I see." Mercury thought for a moment then made a slight bow towards Sylia. "With that information, I am to assist you in any way

"Thank you." The woman bowed back. "In that case, welcome home."

"Wait!" Alice stepped towards the nanomachine. "Please tell us, what happened to Quicksilver Nano, is she...?"

He gave the archer a confused look. "Quicksilver Nannnn..." Suddenly he froze again, and his eyes faded out again. After a few seconds, the body
shifted quickly back to it's shorter feminine form. The body flashed and the green glow that had been emanating from it before came back in force, and the
eyes flashed back to pink. "Oy... that felt weird." She looked down at her hands and sighed. "And it looks like I wasn't able to pull it
off." She shrugged and looked at the girl apologetically. "I tried, I'm sorry Arch-aah!"

She was taken by surprise by the body that hurled in her direction and enveloped her in a hug. "You're back! Silver, you're ok!"

"Of course I am, I was only out for a few seconds..." Silver looked up at Sylia's face, even more serious than it usually was.
...pull camera back, fade down to

(SHOT: Quicksilver Nano's face, confused and alarmed, Alice clamped onto her crying. Fade to black as camera pans up to CLOCK on wall. CLOCK is spinning at
approximately 100x speed.)

Voiceover: And this concludes another trip into the land where identity is more than just skin deep, and it may _be_ that the only thing you can trust is
friendship.. the Twilight Zone!

"No can brain today. Want cheezeburger."
From NGE: Nobody Dies, by Gregg Landsman