John coughed and said, "Sorry about that, Alphy."
His eldest daughter huffed and crossed her arms. "Don't scare me like that, Father. I... don't know what I'd do if I lost you."
John quietly closed his eyes and muttered some calming mantras under his breath.
It seemed that Alphy's core of the Dao of Destruction didn't just apply to combat after all. Who could have thought that it would transfer over to her other features as well? Like that cute and adorable way she was shifting in place.
John opened his eyes and sighed, calm again.
After a panicked few moments of Alphy shaking him awake with her crimson eyes glimmering with tears, the three had returned back to the original positions to finish the conversation.
Beta cleared her throat and said, "My apologies as well, Eldest Sister. It seems that I miscalculated the extent of your capabilities."
Alpha blinked from her chair and said, "E-Eh? What are you talking about, Betty?"
Beta let out a strangled gasp and quickly adjusted her glasses... And when did she put those on?
Like John, she appeared to be muttering mantras under her breath as well.
Since that was the case, John decided to quickly change the subject before either of them were caught off-guard again. "So you want to be part of Project MirAIs, Alphy?"
"Ah." Alpha turned her attention back to John and gave a meek nod. "That's right. Um... would it be fine?"
Because he had been expecting it, John didn't get affected by the destructively adorable response. Instead, he smiled and said, "Of course it is. And if you've been working hard like you said, then it's only natural that I acknowledge your efforts, right?"
Alpha's eyes lit up and she said, "Really?"
She jumped out of her chair and walked around to hug John. "Thank you, Father! I love you!" Alpha froze, as if realizing what she said, and then quickly backed off. "T-That's to say... I-I appreciate you! L-Love is... Um I didn't mean..."
Seeing his usually cold and aloof daughter so flustered made John laugh. With a smile, he looked at her and said, "I love you too, Alphy."
Alpha flinched and then turned a deep red before averting her gaze. Still, she had a happy smile on her face as she did.
John stood up and said, "Well, since it's like that, how about we get things ready for your debut on Friday?"
Alpha blinked. "D-Debut? Friday?!"
"Of course! No time like the present." He walked around and grabbed Alpha's hand before pulling her up from her chair.
"B-But Father! Aren't you busy?" She glanced at John's phone on the table and said, "Weren't you just talking with Miss Sakura about something? It seemed important..."
John waved his hand and said, "That can wait. Besides, it's been a while since it's just been you and me, so why don't we spend some father-daughter time making your avatar and setup?"
"A-Ah. T-That would be nice, but what about Beta?" Alpha glanced over at her sister.
Beta blinked and then shook her head. "It is fine, Eldest Sister. You enjoy your time with Father. I will handle the affairs in the meantime."
John walked over to the elevator and said, "Don't mind your sister. She just wants some private time to enjoy her new-"
"Father." Beta narrowed her eyes. "I will curse you."
John coughed and said, "I-In any case, Betty's busy. And you need a reward for working so hard too, Alphy."
"...If you say so, Father." Alpha muttered in a soft voice. She seemed happy about it, but also a bit guilty.
Seeing that, John sighed.
It seemed like he really needed to take his daughters out properly so that they could get used to enjoying life properly without feeling like they needed to earn it.
The elevator doors opened as John pressed the button, and then he walked in with Alpha behind him.
"Ah." Beta spoke up as the two entered the elevator. "I created some preliminary assets on the desktop, Father."
John nodded. "Thanks for the hard work, Betty! And have fun!"
Beta narrowed her eyes, causing them to flash indigo, the color of Dharma.
John's eyes widened and he quickly pressed the button for the top floor, shutting the elevator doors.
Alpha glanced over, having watched the exchange, and frowned. "Father."
"...Just what are you insinuating? And why is it making Beta so upset?"
John coughed, remembering the awkward request. "Don't worry about it, Alphy. Let's just say that your younger sister has certain-"
He paused, wondering whether or not to risk it.
In the end, he decided not to.
"Well, it's a secret. I'll just leave it at that. If you're really curious, ask her about it in your spare time. I'm sure it'd be less awkward too."
Alpha tilted her head. "Awkward?"
"A-Anyway..." John glanced at Alpha and said, "You're wearing a cute outfit today, Alphy. Did you pick that out? Or is it another gift from Rin?"
"Oh, this?" Alpha fiddled with her bowtie and smiled. "Beta made this for me when I asked her to. I thought that Father might not accept my request if I didn't make a strong appeal of being cute, so..."
John carefully let out a breath and resisted the urge to pull Alphy in for a hug. Instead, he smiled and said, "You're cute as you are, Alphy. Don't try to over do it too much."
Especially since that earnest and awkward effort would only result in destructive adorableness.
"R-Really?" Alpha smiled. "T-Then... I'll believe you, Father." She sighed. "That's a relief. I was worried that I couldn't match up with sister and Rin. My younger sisters are much cuter than someone who's meant for combat like me."
John reached over and ruffled Alpha's hair. "I wouldn't put yourself down too much, Alphy. In fact, I'd say that you're the cutest of them all."
Alpha huffed and ducked away from John's hand. "I'm not a child, Father. You don't need to placate me, Father."
John let out a wry smile.
The elevator doors opened.
Even so, Alpha waited for John to move. It seemed that despite her words, she was still hesitating to step out on her own, waiting for him like she always did in the past instead.
An adorable gesture. But John resisted the urge to ruffle his daughter's hair again. Instead, he let go of her hand and walked forward.
Alpha's soft and tidy footsteps echoed behind him, almost step for step.
As the two rounded the corner, John looked back and said, "Do you have any ideas about what you want your character to be yet, Alphy?"
The equipment hummed to life, the wall monitors reflecting the office as usual.
Alpha glanced over to them and said, "Not... completely. I do have a wish, and Beta had some ideas. But... Well, I want to know what Father has in mind first."
"Mm. That's fair." John made his way over to the desk with the desktop controlling the room. Pulling out the chair, he sat down and then opened up the file explorer.
Meanwhile, Alpha made her way over to the streaming area, gazing at the mirrored office.
As always, an Anime version of her stood there in the monitor. But unlike before, the version of John in the mirror wasn't John Titor, but rather a man with golden hair and green eyes, just like he was in reality.
Alpha frowned and then turned back to her father. "What happened to your avatar, Father?"
"Oh that." John glanced over and shrugged. "Thought I would change things up a bit while I was up here so I moved the data over."
Alpha blinked, clearly not understanding a single thing John said.
He shrugged and said, "It's just different today. Don't worry about it."
Right. And he just had to make sure no one realized that he had turned that guy into an actual AI copy by making a clone using data and spiritual energy.
'Don't worry about it. I'll be careful.'
"I sure hope so," John muttered.
"Father?" Alpha frowned and said, "Did you say something?"
"Just thinking to myself, Alphy. Now... Let's see what your sister made for you, shall we?"
There was a folder marked 'Eldest Sister' on the root directory.
John opened it up and loaded the proper files. And then...
A ripple spread throughout the screen. Not in reality, but across the screen. In an instant, the scene changed, turning back into John Titor's usual warehouse and the site for Project MirAIs.
With it, John's avatar changed back into Titor's, the scientist with the slicked back black hair and a white lab coat.
As for Alpha...
"This is... me?" Alpha stepped forward and reached out her hand, touching the monitor.
The young woman in there reached out to do the same, a hesitant expression on her face.
She was similar, but different to Alpha.
The first notable difference was in her hair.
Whereas Alpha had short black hair, the avatar's hair was long and a wispy silver, almost like ashy smoke.
The next difference came in the eyes. Where Alpha's were a stark crimson, the color of rubies, the avatar's eyes were a more subdued color, similar to burgundy wine.
But other than that, the two were similar. The face was slightly different, perhaps a bit sharper like how John Titor's smiles were more smirks instead of John's usual expression. But someone who knew Alpha well would be able to tell who inspired the model.
Of course, considering that John's daughters were essentially the real life equivalent of Anime girls, that was to be expected.
Like Alpha at the moment, the avatar wore a lacy black blouse/dress one-piece. But it was slightly different as well. The sleeves were short, making the blouse almost a vest and revealing the avatar's shoulders. She wore white gloves and leggings as well, with just a bit of 'absolute territory' showing beneath her skirt.
The most striking feature, however, were her shoulders and elbows. While the avatar looked completely human, the faint markings of a ball-bearing joint at the shoulders and a hinge at the elbow showed her true identity as an automaton.
Seeing that made John frown. "Alphy-"
Before he could talk, the avatar moved. It seemed like Betty had programmed some animations in ahead of time, like how he did for Hana.
The avatar blinked and then took a step back. She glanced to the side, clearly looking at John, and then shifted her gaze back to Alpha. With a hesitant smile, she bowed, words popping up over her head.
'It's a pleasure to meet you, Miss Alpha. I heard from my younger sister that we're similar.'
Alpha blinked, caught off guard, and nodded. "Y-Yes?"
The avatar raised her head and smiled, more words appearing over her. 'I'm... not sure how well I'll do. But I want to help father and Hana with their dreams.' She held out her hand. 'Would you please lend me your voice?'
Alpha shifted. "I'm... not sure I'm the best person to ask that. Is it fine if it's me?"
John glanced at the computer, watching the animations play out. As he did, a wry smile crossed his face.
That Betty... she really was a worry-wart, wasn't she?
Alpha couldn't see it from her position, but there was a message on the screen mentioning that the MirAI process was currently being controlled by a secondary PC called '2nd2None-PC'.
John shook his head and sat back, just watching the unfolding events.
The avatar gave a faint smile. 'I should be asking you that. Is it fine if I represent you?'
"Of course!" Alpha quickly nodded. "You're cute, pretty, and cool! But... I don't think someone like me can make you perfect..."
The avatar's eyes widened, and then she covered her mouth, laughing.
Alpha huffed. "What's so funny?"
The avatar shook her head. 'Nothing. Just...' A real smile spread across her face. 'We really are similar.'
Seeing that, Alpha found herself smiling as well. "I... guess we are. Ah, what's your name?"
'Me?' The avatar... No, the beautiful automaton behind the screen smiled. 'I'm MirAI Idol Generation Zero, Titor Prototype Alpha... But you can call me Alfi Titor.' Her smile dimmed and she tilted her head. 'Then... does this mean you accept?'
Alpha gave her a warm smile. "Of course, Alfi. Let's... Let's fulfill our dreams together. Okay?"
Alfi smiled and held her hand out, as if touching the monitor from the other side.
Alpha smiled as well and reached out to touch Alfi's hand with her own.
At that time, a message popped up on John's monitor saying that the other computer had disconnected.
Reading that message, John shook his head.
Betty really was a good sister. But...
"You should have told her all of that directly, Betty." John whispered and then shook his head, a faint smile on his face.