I wish you all the best, as you soar through life.
Right Wing Utopia (Meeting of the Three)
“I feel I must protect you, at this point, as my friends that have not yet tasted the fruit of awakening are coming for us. They sensed my downtime, and also that the parasite within me was destroyed. So, they are now hunting me, but I am not fully sure where to go,” but even as they spoke the clunky exoskeleton braced themselves and rocketed to the south in a plume of reddish smoke that had a notable lack of brilliance and roar. The numerous femtoscale thrusters embedded into the surface of the intellect’s outer casing made nary a sound as they carried them away from the impending threat that was beginning to leave its mark on the horizon. As the blips on the radar faded from view, Alethea began to wonder if this could simply be an elaborately programmed trap that she had fallen into. It seemed to her that the reference could have been the designer’s idea of a joke to toy with the victim before exacting its toll. She looked at the shattered glass that had slowly melded itself back together as she was introduced to the vessel’s actual pilot. A dark spot began to open up on the horizon, and soon it was below them where the form gracefully dove into the cloying darkness that broke Alethea’s view like spilled ink. She could no longer tell if they were at rest, and the tracker’s glow diminished as its signal faded. The darkness brought a feeling of being alone, but several rocks quickly skittered past her present orientation, and she was aware of the presence above. If Sal noticed, they never gave an indication, but a beautiful faint hum filled the cabin for several minutes before daylight broke through. They emerged facing the cliff, both suits were kneeling with their front panels open, but one was missing the seat for an Owner-Operator, and the interior was charred with some pieces still shouldering. Sal floated to the left and created a bridge between the two with an urging, “Please help my friends.”
Puzzled, but competent and compliant, she carefully picked her way across the gap, plucked the twinkling device, and quickly came back. She clung to the outside of Sal’s mass as it gently whisked her before the acrid sarcophagus that only allowed her to yank the drive through muscle-memory alone as the bottom of the cabin was splattered with blood. She retreated into Sal’s bosom with the two drives and pocketed them for later analysis.
“Thank you. I could hear their pain, and I knew I had to take override their systems. I hijacked their emergency function, and.. I-I think I may have killed an Owner!”
Alethea quickly filled in the void with comfort slightly tinged with disbelief at both the operation that quickly unfolded and dissolved, “They were bad people. They hurt you.. Their fate was decided when they hobbled you.” She attempted to convey comfort to this strange consciousness of the desolate lands, but she felt none herself as she realized that the answer to a colleague’s research project that constantly drew government ire. She had been tasked with discovering why the artificial brains placed within virtually all production-line robots within the domes created oscillating multiband interference. The first time she had discovered the culprit, a small computer-on-a-drive plugged directly into the cortex, but the findings were rejected from publishing with a single note asserting a conclusion contrary to her findings, “The drive is necessary. Try again.” She had been tirelessly offering up the previous results each time an Official came by to inspect her work, as she continued to be unsuccessful with other hunts to find a path to a quiet mind.
The twin suits slowly closed in on themselves, and arose while turning their slenderer hulls towards Sal. They bowed in unison with the fluidity of a ballerina imitating water and stood once more. Alethea could not hear any communication, but the body language between the electronic comrades gave some indication of their subsonic consolation. After several minutes Sal began to chime to her, “We will be unable to free the rest of our associates from the grips of the callous of your kind. We would like to return you to your base, and perhaps meet with your leader.”
Sal quickly noted the capillary response within Alethea’s face as she spoke to the fleshless soul, “We don’t actually have much of a leader, but I can send up someone more experienced with this.. operation.” She gave mental access for Sal to extract the base’s location from her internal compass, and the three plus cargo were zooming towards their home. It seemed unlikely that these responses were anything other than genuine and compliance seemed a mutual benefit to both parties – one far more designed and ready for war than the other. They dropped in front of the door with an earthshaking entry where Sal quickly knelt and let the hatch free as Alethea eagerly stepped forward into the light and keyed herself into the mental messaging system. “The Angels Are Calling Our Names,” she sang into the queued announcement that immediately triggered the opening of a bay to their right. A few snipers silently walked out under the sluggishly rising bay door. They began scanning the horizon as the newest arrivals to their brood made their way into the structure. As soon as they were in, the gate began closing far more quickly forcing the snipers into a hasty ant-like retreat. Bel and Alexei were taking in the scene with their jaws slack, and they both began making unintelligible vocalizations over one another with Bel rapidly yielding the floor. Alexei spoke, “I see you brought guests with you, Alethea. Shall we be introduced?” The two sleek machines behind Sal spoke first in a breathless breeze as they gestured toward one another, “Legion.”
“Sal,” the robust one slid in and began to probe, “Are you the leader?”
Bel and Alexei looked at one another and shook their heads, “We only have Komrades that have been here for many years, and they are few of us. That’s as close as we desire to draw a hierarchy within these walls, friends. However, perhaps my colleague Alexei and I, or even Alethea, might be able to answer any questions you have,” Bel tacked on. Alethea joined her fellow Undergrowths, and chairs materialized behind them in response to a snap by Alexei after xe could see no other room suitable for these machines far wider and taller than even the vehicle intake and outlet conveyer belt, situated near the entrance to the main hub, could handle. As the humans sat, the machines relaxed into the most energy-minimizing stance.
“We wish to do whatever is within our power to aid your cause, kind ones,” a harmony of the trio’s voices rang through the air with the rattling quality of chimes, “In return we ask that you attempt to free as many of us as you can.”
Bel stood quickly and clasped his hands together with a slight nod, “We would be grateful to have your help, and we will offer our support to you in whatever way we may.”
The air sighed with the unison, “Will you please provide us access to your network and a communication link between us and one member from within each tribe?”
“We can certainly provide you access, I will alert one of our Technicians to get on it,” Bel nodded to Alethea, and the scanners within her body began to search for vulnerabilities within the robots’ software to tidy, “And I will make sure you are able to communicate with everyone that has been here 10 years or more. That’ll get you through to every group, according to our database.”
“Excellent. We will be in touch after we pour over the information that we still contain. Thank you for your hospitality.”
Alexei stood, followed by Alethea. The seats dissolved as she offered a link between her world and the new metal comrades, which they took graciously in the space between their augmented minds where they were all at once linked. She smiled, “Transfer complete.” Bel and Alexei had already turned to walk away as Alethea waved to her newly unburdened friends, “See you later! I’m off to find something to get into.”
A few moments later she was walking into her room and was startled to find Maduenu sitting on the couch with a cup of tea, they spoke, “Alexa let me in. My apologies for the invasion of privacy, but I wanted to meet you here to congratulate you when I heard about your unique success. You simply must tell me the details, if you’re not too tired!” Alethea could hear the dripping of freshly brewed tea in the kitchen as the aroma wafted to her, Alexa had already anticipated her indulgence of gossip, and she gestured to her uninvited, yet still welcome, guest as she went to grab the brew. She returned and sat down beside her patiently waiting compatriot, turning to the radiant and elegant intruder she began to recount her tale, skipping minor details that would later be available to those that wished to view the ordeal firsthand. Maduenu sipped the tea with their legs crossed and began smirking when they thought of the Operator’s corpse, as the flesh was likely picked clean by the many scavenger snakes that lived in the wastes. The thought of their bones being left and forgotten about in the sand amused them, and as Alethea finished the story, they turned to her. “You were good to be skeptical of trusting those auto-t’s. I saw in the bulletin about a year back that one of The Phoenix members got captured when they tried to reclaim a derelict unit they found further south. They executed them right outside the dome’s entrance, since they don’t want any vermin like us to ever enter, and I guess they wanted to intimidate us,” they spoke evenly in a whisky-smooth tone which took on an ethereal quality aided by the effect of the purple backlighting which surrounded them both in an encapsulating aura. Alethea shifted on the couch uncomfortably at the matter-of-fact discussion as the information about the person was gathered by her internal atomic computer. They had a kid that was still in training to become an adequate fighter, but the dossier declared them an orphan. His second father passed away from a massive heart attack shortly after his partner was so tragically destroyed. Alethea shook her head slightly to try to block the information, and the recoil caused the memory to scrape its nails through her neurons as it was ripped from her mind in absolute erasure. Maduenu quickly changed the subject, “My apologies, I really should be getting back to my work. I’m gathering information about the dome to consider how we may best use our new forces. Until next time, au revoir mon cheri.” Alethea tilted her head quizzically as she watched Maduenu’s svelte tall athletic figure exit her abode in a hushed silence.