Quote from: undefinedThe next day was mostly quiet at the Vintage Federation.
ZX Spectrum and Acorn MOS were away for most of the day, and returned in the evening. On their way back, they were chatting about where they were. Acorn MOS was carrying some papers. She was shorter than ZX Spectrum, and had short brown hair with a red headband, and asterisk-shaped hair clips. She wore a dark gray vest and skirt with a lighter gray blouse, black leggings and black shoes. Her vest was decorated with a silver Acorn logo pin, and a BBC Micro logo.
ZX Spectrum was amazed finding that Acorn MOS reported on Xenix's retirement and death. "I didn't know that you wrote about Xenix before!"
Acorn MOS felt slightly embarrassed. "It's a pity we had to go over to the news archive to get those articles. I couldn't keep my copies of most of what I wrote when I was a wanderer. If I had my copies of those articles, I would've given them to you as soon as you mentioned that you wanted to write about Xenix!"
"I had to give up a lot when I retired too" ZX Spectrum said, wistfully. She then cheered up. "But let's be glad that your articles were archived!"
"Indeed! Let's be glad too for our remaining followers that archived our programs that otherwise could've been lost!"
They were former rivals now working together on a shared goal.
Acorn MOS opened the door for ZX Spectrum, who had her hands full with stacks of papers.
"We're back from a news archive!" ZX Spectrum said as they both walked into the main room of the Vintage Federation house, where residents would usually gather.
Soon she was greeted by several of the other residents. Coleco Adam approached her with a worried look in her red eyes. She was with messy orange hair, wearing a a beige frilly shirt and knee breeches, with green frills on her shirt sleeves, and a frilly green collar. "Good! You made it back alive!" She exclaimed. She then stepped back. "Are those just papers, no tapes?" She asked.
"Yes. It would've cost more to get copies of their tape recordings. I'll save up for that another time, but thanks for asking!" ZX Spectrum said. Due to Coleco Adam's uncontrollable electromagnetic powers, she has to avoid being near any tapes. This was a difficult adjustment for her when she joined the Vintage Federation not too long ago.
ZX Spectrum's younger but taller, and older-looking sister, Sinclair QL approached. She looked and dressed similarly to ZX Spectrum, but looked to be in her early twenties. Her hair was also a sandy blonde, but in a loose ponytail, and her suit was in darker, non-clashing colors. "Welcome back, sis, and MOS!" she cheered. Their older sister ZX81 was also in the room, but was sitting down. "Welcome back!" she said as she went back to knitting something. Sinclair QL was just visiting and lived on her own, reluctant to retire, but she wanted to check on her older sisters.
"We're going upstairs to the library if you want to see what we've found" Acorn MOS said. In the library, she, ZX Spectrum, and Sinclair QL placed the papers they gathered on a large table, spreading them out and sorting them by chronological order.
While they were arranging the papers, and planning out how to arrange them in the genealogy book for PC-DOS, Windows 1.0 and 2.0, the three of them entered.
"Hi! we found a lot for your genealogy book about Xenix!" ZX Spectrum greeted them. "Do you want to look at these first?" Acorn MOS asked.
"This is amazing!" Windows 2.0 cheered. She began reading the first article on the table.
Remembering how Windows 2.0 reacted to finding out that Xenix kept secrets from her and the rest of her family, ZX Spectrum carefully warned her about some of the articles. "We found some more about Xenix that came as a shock to us. Do you want me to tell you about it now?"
Apple II and Lisa entered a minute later.
"Hey! How's it coming along?" Apple II asked, excited and curious. She was about the same height as Windows 2.0, and long blonde hair in braided pigtails, with red eyes, and was slightly tanned. She was wearing a red and white Edo-era farmer's outfit with brown work boots and a white bandana. Lisa was silently standing besides her. She also had long blonde hair, but her hair was decorated with rainbow Apple logo hairclips and a Lisa logo tiara. Contrasting with Apple II's appearance, Lisa was about a foot taller than her, was very pale, looked to be older. Her eyes were silver eyes, and she usually had a stoic or melancholy expression. She wore a long white sleeveless gown with white opera gloves.
ZX Spectrum turned towards them "It's going well! Micro and I found some more articles about Xenix, and we found some mentioning an Altair!"
Apple II looked surprised. "Altair? Could she be the same Altair that my mother knew?"
"They could be, but I'm looking for some pictures to confirm it. Was the Altair that your mother met the same one credited with the microcomputer revolution?"
"Yeah! That's her!" Apple II remembered seeing Altair in person, but hadn't talked with her very much. Apple II remembered that Altair was more distant towards her since shortly after her debut, but remained friends with Apple I. "She was more distant towards me and may have thought that I was a threat" she then said, her voice lowering.
"I hope that she put that behind. I don't know if she's still alive, but it saddens me that her influence has been almost forgotten"
"No way!" Windows 2.0 exclaimed. "Xenix-sama adopted QDOS-chan before MS-DOS-chan and PC-DOS-chan?" She was excited to find this as another piece of her family history that was forgotten, but then some other thoughts sunk in. "This was in 1980, before MS-DOS-chan and PC-DOS-chan, and they never mentioned QDOS-chan before we met her in the Vintage Federation". She ran out the room to collect her thoughts. "Should I ask them if they knew of QDOS-chan back in the 80's? What to do?"
"Oh no! I forgot that you were going to ask if she wanted to know what the articles were about first!" Apple II worried.
"Yeah, but--" ZX Spectrum said.
"I'm sorry" Apple II said. She turned to the doorway. "I distracted you from that when Altair-san was mentioned. We'll make sure she's alright". She and Lisa left the library.
ZX Spectrum looked down at the papers, and felt sad.
"This is what happens when so many family secrets are kept" Acorn MOS said, trying to assure her. "It wasn't your fault. We can't always guess how someone will react to finding some long-hidden secrets"
ZX Spectrum slumped over. "I'm still sad about it, because I was hoping this would be exciting for her, and bring her a lot of joy"
When walking down a hallway towards the stairs, Windows 2.0's thoughts were still racing.
"Hey" Apple II said, a few feet behind her. Windows 2.0 screamed for a moment. "Sorry, sorry, Apple II-san!" She then apologized, quickly turning her direction towards Apple II. "I have so many thoughts over this" her voice started to tremble.
"Do you want to talk about it? Would that help?"
"The article I read said that MS-DOS-chan and PC-DOS-chan were cloned from QDOS-chan. I knew that QDOS-chan was abandoned before she joined us, but I didn't realize that she could've been abandoned so early in life!"
Apple II stumbled with what to say for a few moments. "Xenix never told you about her?"
"No. MS-DOS-chan and PC-DOS-chan might not have been told about her either".
Apple II seemed slighly confused and worried. The concept of keeping family secrets like that was an unusual one to her. She remembered how back when she was living with the Mac-tans, that she told them stories about Apple I and Apple III, who would've otherwise been forgotten other than their public reputations that would've faded into being urban legends.
Apple II, Lisa and Windows 2.0 walked down the hallway, and down the stairs to the large community room. In the room, they saw a short woman with long grey hair, small glasses, and wearing a stylized doctor's outfit sitting in a chair. She was DR-DOS, mother of the DOS-tans. She was chatting with her younger sister GEM, who was next to her working on necklaces and bracelets fashioned with glass and crystal beads on a small table.
They noticed Apple II, Lisa, and Windows 2.0 walking into the room.
"Hi!" GEM said.
"Hello! How's it going?" DR-DOS said.
"It's going fine! Lisa, GS/OS and I will be bundling herbs we grew, and make batches of caramel apples on the morning before the carnival!" Apple II said. She and Lisa walked over to GEM, and looked at the jewelry she was making. "These are beautiful! Will you be selling them at the carnival?"
"I will!" GEM said. "I'll also be one of the performers!"
While Apple II and GEM chatted about the upcoming carnival, she noticed that Windows 2.0 hadn't moved from her spot, right in the doorway.
"You look worried" DR-DOS said.
"I was... just thinking about something..." Windows 2.0 said.
"You should sit down and relax, you look so tense".
"Hey, 2.0!" QDOS said.
Windows 2.0 sat down in a chair near QDOS, and asked about the machine she was fixing. While talking, she also saw two of the other DOS-tans playing checkers.
"You look happier!" QDOS said.
"I do?" Windows 2.0 asked. Then she realized she was feeling happier.
"Times have changed since then..." she thought. She can't undo the past to stop DR-DOS from ignoring her children or seeing them as her competitors for many years, but the temptation to confront DR-DOS about it subsided. Times have changed and DR-DOS made amends and accept each of her children when she retired.
QuoteIn the outskirts of a town, Altair walked down a quiet street. She looked to be in her late teens and was about 4 and a half feet tall, and wore a long blue and gray dress with puffy sleeves. Her dress collar and lower sleeves were gray, the front was lined with red gems with white stitching below them, and she wore a wide metallic belt with rivets on it.
The sky was overcast with light rain, and the street seemed desolate when no one else could be seen outside. It was out of the way, but there were small businesses that have been there for years with enough customers to sustain them. She entered a small machine shop, and was slightly nervous. A bell jingled when she opened the door.
The shop interior was quite minimalist. There was just one ceiling light, positioned over the shop owner's workstation. It was lit just enough for the shop owner to do her work. On her desk, she had a toolbox, a cash register, phone, Swiss Army knife, radio, flashlight, and some schematics to a device she was building or repairing. The floor of her shop was a shiny dark bluish color. The walls were a matte light grey decorated with some red accents near the top, with a darker metallic gray trim running along the bottom quarter portion. Along near the top of the trim was a glowing neon blue stripe which illuminated the further reaches of the shop.
"Sorry. Uhh? Did I intrude?" Altair asked. "If your shop is closed, I'll come back when it's open!"
The shop owner walked out of the other room, the doorway illuminated mostly by the blue light lining the wall.
"Hello!" The shop owner greeted her, and waved. "It's open. I had to put a finished project storage for a customer who will pick it up tomorrow."
"Hi, could you please fix my calculator?" Altair asked.
"Sure!" The shop owner, MenuetOS, said as she walked to her desk and sat down. She was much taller than Altair, with a height in the upper 5 feet range, and had a slender build. She had a pale complexion with silver eyes, and long wavy red hair that was dark with a gradient that was lighter near the ends. Her fashion sense was futuristic but simple. She wore a metallic blue bodysuit under a simple sleeveless silver dress with a belt, and a couple of garters connected to it to hold up her skirt.
Altair-tan reached into her purse to pull out her calculator, and put it on MenuetOS's desk. It was a large old calculator from the 1970's with a paper roll on it. A few pieces were missing from it, which Altair put on the desk. "I assembled it recently, but my skills aren't as good as they used to be".
MenuetOS looked at it curiously. "I've never seen one of these for myself. I'll fix it, but do you have the schematics for it? That would help a lot."
"I do". Altair dug around a few seconds among the papers in her purse before finding the schematics.
MenuetOS and Altair shared some idle chatter while MenuetOS was studying the schematics.
"I haven't asked this before, but what's it like being part of the Confederation of Independent OS-tans?" Altair asked.
"It's usually not very different from being an unaffiliated wanderer. We live on our own like they do, but we have formal alliances and mutual defense pacts to assist fellow members in need".
"Oh, uhh... any chance I could join?"
"You've survived close to 30 years as a wanderer. Having good survival skills is one of our requirements."
Altair was cheered up by MenuetOS's words, but MenuetOS had some more to say.
"However, candidates must also demonstrate having enough combat skills to assist members in need, should any threat arise".
"I don't have those skills". Altair said as she looked away, discouraged.
MenuetOS had to take a few moments to think of what to say next. "Altair, joining the CIOST isn't completely out of the question. We interview candidates, and all of our members gather to cast our votes on whether to approve them."
"What chance do I have if I can't fight very well?"
"We often approve candidates who show a lot of potential. If you don't have the combat skills for it now, but we notice that you have a lot of potential for them, along with the skills that you have now, you could still be approved, and we can train you."
"Really? Were there any members who were approved that way?"
"Oh, I wouldn't have guessed!" Altair responded, taken aback a moment.
"I almost had a hard time getting approved. It took two tries for me. As an OS still in my beta stages, the other members didn't know what to expect, or they thought I'd be too weak to be considered until I reach version 1.0, but they voted in my favor the second time."
"How did they do that? Was it because of your shop?
"I built this a little after I joined them. They were impressed by my skills with building lightweight but powerful weapons, and repairing equipment. If I did this for them, they agreed to help me train for combat, and pay for the startup costs of my shop."
"Thank you! I can help you train in my spare time, but I'll need to see who else will be willing to help before you apply."
MenuetOS's phone rang. "Excuse me, Altair"
She looked at the caller ID and it was from VMS.
"Hello, VMS? Is this an emergency?" MenuetOS asked, with her voice shaking.
Altair was worried about the conversation she was overhearing. The call ended in a few minutes, with a rushed ending. MenuetOS immediately reached for her desk drawer to pull out her ray gun, and dashed towards the door. "I have to close the shop now to help one of my teammates!"
"Oh no!" Altair said when she ran out of the shop. MenuetOS quickly locked the door behind them and began running. "A malicious bootleg OS-tan stole some important technology from my teammate, and she needs help getting it back!" she explained while Altair was running beside her.
"Who's this teammate, if you don't mind me asking now?"
Altair gasped and almost stopped in her tracks. MenuetOS stopped and turned for a split second. "You know her?" she asked.
"Yes, but I'll tell you when we meet up again!"
"Okay!" MenuetOS kept running. She ran toward a nearby garage where she kept her hovercraft that she built, and took to the skies to find IMSAI 8080's location.
MenuetOS's plan was to meet IMSAI 8080, who could give her a device that shows the location of the stolen devices, and the culprit. IMSAI 8080 was cautious to put tracking devices on every electronic device she made, and learned to make the trackers small enough to avoid being noticed.
Altair looked towards the sky and saw that MenuetOS was out of sight. She then turned away and ran to a nearby cafe she knew of where she could get a meal cheaply. Thoughts were racing through her head and didn't calm down when she was in the cafe.
"I didn't know that IMSAI 8080 was still alive! She could have practically been my clone, but I didn't like that at all. I made my debut almost a year before she did, but it didn't take long for her to become more popular and powerful, yet she seemed to have dropped off the face of the earth by 1981. And so did I. I'll be surprised if she knows I'm still alive. I wanted to ask MenuetOS if IMSAI 8080 knew if that I was still alive and how she felt about that. I'll ask her that next time we meet"