It was almost a minute that Byte and Kris were conducting a silent conversation: the incredulous gaze of the girl was fixed on the determined one of him.
« … You’re kidding, right?» Byte decided to break the silence and got up from the relaxation area sofa, approaching the snack machine.
«Humor isn’t my strong suit» answered Kris, who instinctively made a move to open his arms «And you should know me well enough to know that I usually don’t joke about this kind of things» the gesture stopped itself at half. The lack of the left arm was something he had not been able to get used to.
«Let me check if I understand this correctly…» continued Byte while she was examining the snacks offer and her indecision was making the mental selector of the machine go crazy. «… you want me, a young and inexperienced recruit… to program the control system for your bionic arm?»
Kris moved closer in order to alleviate the pain of the machine that was feeling almost as confused as Byte was “I would like us to work on the project together, yes”, he said resetting the machine and allowing it to finally take the chocolate chip cookies that she was longing to obtain, «Together we are a good team»
«Oh yes, you’re absolutely right about this» she agreed sarcastically, «Here’s another brilliant result that we have achieved», she added, opening the cookies and offering him one. To Byte’s grin, Kris opposed a cold expression remaining to observe her impassively.
«Ok, ok» Byte looked up to the sky, «Just kidding, I do understand» and sat down on the bench, followed by Kris, «It’s not that I will not help you» she started to talk again with a more serious tone, «But given the circumstances of the incident you are surely entitled to a higher level medical assistance than what I could offer you, aren’t you?»
Byte’s thought forced Kris to talk about the incident in which he had been involved. It was the first time he was going to tell someone for reasons that were not related to service reports. «The explosion of a counterfeit equipment is an eventuality covered by the medical assurance, yes» he said, sitting next to her, «but I’m not going to use it. The blame for that accident is mine alone. And because of my negligence the whole operation failed.»
On hearing these words, the girl’s expression softened.
«At first I had decided to not apply any aid in order to remind myself what happened» Kris continued, «But I’m realizing that the lack of an arm is affecting my work. The prosthesis is necessary for me if I want to go back on the field. That’s why I need your help.»
Byte was pondering and munching her biscuits. After the third she seemed to have made a decision, «All right, after all, if you want to take the risk of trusting me instead of a specialized clinic, who am I to oppose?»
Kris stood dumbfounded for a moment. He knew Byte could be stubborn and he had prepared a long discussion, however, the relief of having got what he wanted prevailed on the surprise.
«Thanks Byte» he said looking into her eyes. The steady gaze of her confirmed to him how seriously she had taken his request. Kris was aware that he was asking her a lot.
«Don’t worry… I know that you are busy with the lessons and the workouts… and you also have to concentrate on your exams in order to become an effective member of the team…»
«Yeah, of course… and then I must be careful not to catch a cold… to go to bed early…» here it is, Byte’s sarcasm, «Actually… if I were you, for safety, I would also escort me to my room» she said walking toward the dorms.
Before getting up to get the girl, for the first time since he started the conversation, and for the first time since the accident, Kris’s features relaxed. You could say he was… smiling.