Trenn and Soundman walked silently down the sidewalk, both of them shoulder-to-shoulder, a single set of footfalls marking their progress step by step. They continued to walk like this for a while, wandering through the bustle of Electown, before Trenn finally decided to speak.
"Soundman, I..." He said, looking over to his companion. The syllables in his throat died off the moment he looked at Soundman's neutral, curious expression, and so they kept walking.
And so it had been for some time. One of them would attempt conversation, but a single look at the other's face would stop it dead in its' tracks. This was how it had been since the conversation a few days ago...
"So you see... it is entirely my fault." Trenn said morosely, eyes down. Soundman had looked on from inside the PET with a disturbed expression as Trenn continued to describe exactly what was going on within Soundman, and how it had come to be-- but now he was simply standing there, looking away and pensive.
"...Yeah. I'd hate me too." Trenn muttered. He could imagine the thought process going on in Soundman's head right now; thoughts about how he was such a child, how he wasn't careful with another person's LIFE-- how maybe he thought of Soundman as nothing but a toy, data to be used, not cared for.
How he was a completely horrible human being.
Unable to bear looking at his friend any longer, Trenn reached out to thumb the off switch, and was stopped.
"I forgive you." Soundman said curtly.
"What?" Trenn responded automatically, mouth moving faster than his brain could try to turn that sentence over in his head.
"I said... I forgive you. It wasn't your fault." Soundman continued.
"Yes it was!" Trenn shouted, knuckles turning white as he gripped the PET harder than he ever had in his life. "I made the error! I didn't manually check it! I... killed you..." Trenn's rage faded to a whisper at the last, nearly unable to say the words.
"And I'm saying it wasn't your fault." Soundman replied, face calm and body shrugging. "You were 15. You were excited. It happens."
"Yeah, but..." Trenn began.
"No. I said I forgive you, didn't I?" Soundman leaned forward, putting his hands on his hips. "If you'd like, I could really treat you like a murderer, you know. Disconnect from the PET, run away, see if I could find someone who could fix me. Is that what you want?"
"I..." Trenn couldn't reply.
"Is it?" Soundman pressed.
"...No." His voice was weak; tears were running down his face as he spoke. "Don't... don't leave me..."
Soundman sighed. "Then accept my forgiveness already, you jerk." He smiled.
...The problem was that after a moment like that, it became very hard to just have a normal conversation. Trenn kept thinking about it, which would make Soundman pause when he saw the look on Trenn's face, and Trenn just couldn't talk to Soundman right now. Forgiven or not, the guilt was still consuming him.
So they kept on walking. Two tickets to anywhere, first-class. Trenn would get some odd looks as they plodded down the street-- most people didn't leave their projectors on and set to full size-- it was horrible on the batteries-- and on top of that, the grim look on Trenn's face for half of the walk made people simply move out of the way and stare at them as they went by.
Finally, Soundman could stand no more of it. "Look, we have two options, is what you said. Either we restore me from default--" Soundman paused, looking at Trenn directly, "--Which I don't want for you, because I know it'd kill you even more than this, or we try to yank my memories and personality out of my program and put them in a duplicate without the bug. But you said it would be difficult, patchwork at best, right?" Soundman asked. Trenn nodded.
"Well, what if we didn't bother trying to make the memories and personality work in a navi shell?" Soundman grinned.