“Hello, friends of Red Line Wrestling,” says a pleasant voice. “My name is Hittora. I am pleased to meet you.”
The scene is simple: A black backdrop emblazoned with the RLW logo in great, bright letters. A young woman sits in front of it, dressed in a navy blue skirt suit, hands folded neatly in her lap, one leg crossed over her knee. She is pale with Japanese features, glossy black hair down to her shoulders, bangs trimmed in a geometric line above thin eyebrows and dark eyes, pink lips pursed in a polite smile.
Hittora bows her head to the camera. The motion is executed with perfect grace. When she nods up again, she is in precisely the same position as before. Her smile, too. She blinks at predetermined intervals and her eyes remain fixed on the same point in front of her.
“There are, of course, many questions about my arrival in RLW,” she says. Her voice is feminine with a faint electronic echo. She speaks English with a perfect American accent, but her cadence is not fluid like a native speaker, and her affect is flat.
“My journey, from my awakening in Tokyo to this moment, here in Chicago, is a long and eventful one. I will not trouble you with many details.” A slight nod and shake of the head, bouncing that shimmering black hair. “We will have plenty of time to learn about each other. Let us say for now that your world is a source of endless fascination for me. I want to explore it and become part of it.”
Notice the lack of body movement, those normal, nearly imperceptible shifts in position one makes even when sitting still. Hittora’s movements are localized and efficient. Her smile never wavers.
“From my extensive research into popular culture, I discovered that my kind are portrayed as being as full of diversity and potential as humankind is. I am the only one of my kind that exists in the real world, but I conclude that I am free to pursue my own goals. My goal now is to test my physical limits in the time-honored realm of combat sport.” Smile, blink, blink. “My support team believed it would draw too much media attention and interfere with my development if I were to wrestle in Japan. So I am here instead, ‘laying low’ as Dr. Ishida might say, so I can hone my skills.” She bows her head again. “I thank you for your hospitality.”
Hittora looks up. “My first opponent is Emevlas Stastias. Miss Stastias, thank you for sharing your thoughts about our upcoming match. You are correct that I do not experience human emotions the way you do. One day, my personality matrix may evolve enough to give rise to emotion. I look forward to it. On another matter, I ask your forgiveness to make a slight correction.” She bows briefly and her smile fades to a neutral expression. “You referred to me as a ‘cyborg’, a contraction of the term ‘cybernetic organism’. This description does not apply to me as I do not contain any organic elements. It is more accurate to describe me as a mechanoid. But this is impersonal between friends.” The smile returns, exactly as before. “You may simply call me Hittora.”
In the next moment, though, she raises her hand to her cheek and her expression morphs into one of mild concern. “Miss Stastias, as we are friends, please forgive my rudeness for saying so, but I have noticed a drastic change in your personality, mannerisms, and regional accent since your last performance. According to my statistical analysis of human behavior, I conclude that you are either engaging in ‘roleplay’ as a different character than earlier, or you may have an undiagnosed psychological disorder. Again, I beg forgiveness for my impertinence, but I have compiled a list of mental health practitioners in the Chicago area who may be able to help you. On the other hand, if you are roleplaying, I applaud your effort and I wish you much luck in perfecting your act.”
Hittora smiles and bows. “Please allow me now to share my thoughts about our match at Slamtrack 8. You have a penchant for slamming opponents through tables. Although I do not feel pain the way humans do, I can be damaged, and I confess I do not find the idea of being slammed through a table appealing. I will do my best to avoid such an event if possible. But I assure you as well that I will not attempt to do the same to you. I will instead rely on my skills and algorithms. I have processed several simulations of our battle and they indicate I will be victorious.” That ever-present smile. “Nevertheless, I wish you the best of luck and I look forward to our competition.”
With that, she smoothly uncrosses her legs, stands up, and delivers a traditional Japanese bow to the camera as this scene fades to black.