Cara and the Mystery Robobabe
Cara and the Mystery Robobabe
“Check, check 1..2.. 1.. 2..” The technicians buzzed around Cara, her tank like body stood unnaturally motionless while her head tracked the pencil being waved in front of her face with a whirl of tiny motors. They had installed new software into her and her sisters, Dana and Gennifer, and OCP’s best and brightest were testing to see if there were any potential problems. Several of the previous updates had resulted in the cyborgs having embarrassing errors in the streets. Their bodies seizing up refusing to respond to commands or getting stuck in loops forced to repeat the same set of actions till a tech team came to shut them down. This time was going to be different though, every piece of them was going to be analysed and gone over to make sure the clockwork soldiers worked like…. clockwork.
Some sections of Cara’s memory only OCP had access to and whilst combing through some of these files on Cara’s hard drive a technician, a young man who Cara had never seen before, found the corrupted video that would put everything in motion. It was a cyborg like her, she could see they were designed identically with the same components as her and her sisters. They even held themselves in the same bolt upright position and held a familiar vacant stare whilst running diagnostic checks, and from the position of the light and the chair this was clearly the same room. The thing was, Cara had no idea who this mystery cyborg was. According to OCP records she and her sisters were the first of the cyborg law enforcement series. Sure there were other models from other companies, a lithe but deadly red head called Barb, who Cara had previously been a victim of. J01 a British cyborg called Joanne to her friends and another named Alexandra who had been deactivated for a considerable amount of time.
“Who is she?” Cara inquired in her soft robotic monotone to the technician who had opened the file. He didn’t respond, they never did. She and her sisters were treated as nothing more than machines to be tinkered with, and the OCP technicians had been instructed to not indulge in conversation with them with the threat of termination. He curses under his bread, not at her but at the extra work he has given himself. Bringing out a small hand held machine he inserts a cable running from it into a port in the back of the cyborgs head. A slew of text rapidly flashed on Cara’s HUD a sign that a new program was being uploaded into her. Command module detected Select time to commence memory deletion and restructuring. Warning constantly deleting cyberised law enforcement unit’s memory can lead to instability.
“Wait what are you doing?” with a hint of panic which was as much emotion as her vocal processing allowed. The technician ignored her and continued to adjust parameters on his device. Cara stood unmoving even if she were able to power her actuators, her programming didn’t allow her to resist an employee of OCP. More text came up on Cara’s HUD.
The last 120 seconds will be deleted from this units memory and reconstructed to avoid inconsistencies. Do you wish to continue? Y/N
“No, I…. I….” but she doesn’t get to finish her pleading. Cara’s head seizes upright as the young man taps a button with a sigh of relief that the evidence of his mistake is being erased.
Yes Please wait while this units memory is erased. Warning do not disconnect device during this process. ….….
Her mind goes blank and she is unable to even think a coherent sentance as her computer side takes over and goes about removing all memory of the mystery cyborg and rebuilding it to avoid suspicion and increase compliance.
Deleting… Deleting….. Process truncated….. Please reattach command module to complete process.
With a burst of static in her vision, Cara snaps back into consciousness to see Dr Marie Lazarus with the command nodule in her hand shoving the young technician away. “Get away from her!” she shouts. Marie had always been the only person on OCPs payroll who treated the cyborgs as people it was against regulations but she was a one of a kind expert in the field of cybernetics and OCP were willing to overlook her eccentricities for now. “You’re violating her, you’re monsters! I’ll see to her myself Get out all of you. OUT!” The other technicians walked away, happy to leave their work for Marie.
Cara would have been grateful but she was having trouble due to the abrupt ending of the memory deletion program. Her electronic brain temporarily fried she is left mute and immobile aware of her surrounds but unable to interact in any way. “What were they doing to you Cara?” She says more to herself, unaware that her friend is awake. She walks over to a terminal which is plugged into the cyborg, with a few quick keyboard commands she brings up all the details and changes during the maintenance session. When an image of the mystery cyborg appears she gives out a shocked gasp. The recognition was clear as day. “Steph” she says. Marie brings up a current status report, and with a concerned look realizes that Cara is taking in all the information. She hurries over to the cyborg flips a switch, the soft hum of Cara’s internal workings slow down her head slumps down as energy is drained from her and she powers down.
Programs are loaded, systems are booted, capacitors are filled, preliminary checks are completed and Cara reactivates. She slowly lifts her head and scans the cold spartan workshop with several sensors to find that a full day has passed, she has been moved remotely into a chair and that she is alone with her cyborg sister Dana.
Dana too was receiving some minor maintenance hooked up to computer performing a slow monotonous task. She sat silent and motionless with an identical robotic body to Cara, staring off into the distance with a vacant look not acknowledging that Cara was awake. She wore her customary headband which pushed back her black hair and small items of jewellery. An attempt by Dana to reassert her own individuality on the dull functional look that had forced upon her. This was initially protested by the higher ups in OCP, “a weakening of the brand image” one had called it, but was grudgingly accepted after they were informed by psychologists that small actions of self determination like these would allow a smoother melding between woman and machine. Not that it mattered though, the maintenance crew having long given up arguing with the normally brass, loud and disagreeable Dana.
Recently though OCP had decided they had had enough of Dana’s free will and disobedience. A simple traffic pull by the cyborg had resulted in a powerful political friend of OCP being arrested. The bruises to their pride and body and the destruction of their flash car had led to several calls being made and the decision by OCP to bring Dana to heel. Committees were coalesced, focus groups were formed, meetings were scheduled and the resulting hot air had concluded with Dana being given a large amount of reprogramming. They were warned by the tech crew that too many restrictions on her would result in poor combat effectiveness and slow response times, she would effectively be paralysed by conflicting directives. A powerful friend had to be placated though so the warnings were left unheeded.
“Hello Dana.” Cara said to her sister.
Seeming to notice her for the first time Dana replied
“Greetings, Robocop Unit 3” her tone was uncharacteristically over enthusiastic and friendly and she used the unimaginative official name assigned to Cara, something she had never done before. “Nice weather we’re having.” observed Dana.
The room was windowless however a quick check online by Cara revealed that the dull drizzly day was anything but.
“Yes. Great weather for ducks.” quipped back Cara. The lack of emotion afforded to her synthesized voice only hammered in the dead pan aspect of her comment. Normally this would have elicited a response a smile or a groan, but this time Dana did not respond as if she did not notice the reply. She returned her stare to nothing in particular.
Cara was slightly disturbed by her sisters bizarre behaviour, was the update being tested only on Dana to punish her for her transgression or would this behaviour modification be rolled out to Cara and Gennifer as well? Had her other cyborg sister Gennifer already been reprogrammed? Gennifer was fine the last time Cara saw her just before she underwent her service but had she been reprogrammed whilst she wasn’t conscious? She felt a small sense of dread, her machine half diluting all of her emotions.
“Dana where is Genn?, when was the last time she came back?” inquired Cara
“I’m sorry Robocop Unit 3 I am unable to reply to your request, more input is required.” replied Dana
“Dana where is Gennifer did she come back whilst I was deactivated?”
“I’m sorry Robocop Unit 3 I am unable to reply to your request, more input is required.”
Cara tries another approach.
“Robocop Unit 2, has Robocop Unit 1 returned to Detroit Police Station cybernetics division to receive a maintenance service in the 48 hours?”
“No, Robocop Unit 3, Robocop Unit 1 has not returned to Detroit Police Station cybernetics division to receive a maintenance service in the 48 hours.”
Cara was relieved, then remembering the mysterious cyborg known as Steph, Cara brings up the file that had accidentally been brought to her attention by the new member of the maintenance crew. Dana had been a police officer longer than Cara so perhaps she would be able to cast some light on who this cyborg was.
“Robocop Unit 2 can you give me all information on this unknown Robocop Unit, possible name Steph?” she asked passing a copy of the file to her cyborg sister wirelessly.
Dana lifts her head from her stupor like gaze an acknowledgement that she had received the file and was studying it. The video has an unexpected effect seeming to momentarily return Dana to her former self. She moves her body towards Cara a look of concern and crossing her face her arm raises motors whirling.
“Yes, Cara, I remem.....” the last word is left incomplete though. Something kicks in within the dark haired cyborg and she returns to her initial position staring blankly forward arms by her side.
“Yes, Cara, I remem....” she tries again her actions perfectly mimicking her previous response. Again she is unable to complete the sentence and resets herself.
“Yes, Cara, I remem....”
“Yes, Cara, I remem....”
“Yes, Cara, I remem....”
“Yes, Cara, I remem....” The process is repeated multiple times all identically like a video on repeat. Her voice more like her former self, but more strained each time.
Finally, she is able to break herself free from the loop.
“Negative Robocop Unit 3. My apologies I am unable to assist you.” She says staring dead ahead, arms unmoving. Her voice losing all her previous character. “Excuse me I have to go, somewhere there is a crime happening.” Abruptly powerful motors are activated and Dana disconnects herself from the computer she is attached to and strides out of the room with heavy rhythmic steps. Making no attempt to make way for Dr Marie Lazarus coming from the other direction. She clumsily side steps the mass of metal charging towards her and narrowly avoids being knocked over.
“They really did a number on her.” Sighs Dr Marie Lazarus entering the room throwing the files she’s carrying down on a table.
“They did a number on all of you, but her especially. Anyway Cara, how are you? No problems since that arsehole tried tinkering with you?” She was referring back to the previous day when a new member of the technical maintenance crew had attempted to erasure her memory to hide his mistake.
“None. Thank you.” replied Cara. She realised the Dr was merely asking out of politeness. The Dr was perfectly able to determine her condition through the many monitors that kept checks on her.
“Ok then I think you’re all tuned up let’s put your head back on and set you off.” The Dr picks up the back of Cara’s silver head, laying on a table, carefully places it over the back of Cara’s exposed delicate head circuitry. The piece fits in with a satisfactory click in and the Dr goes about drilling small screws into place to secure it fully.
“Thank you” said Cara “Thank you for everything.”
“Ah. Your welcome honey.” replies Dr Lazarus with a smile. She finishes fixing Cara’s head and gives the side of it a reassuring and loving stroke before resting her chin upon the top of the cyborgs silver fake painted hair. Her warm arms draped around Cara’s cold neck.
“Why do you this for us?” asked Cara.
“Because you matter,” she replies changing her position so that she is now resting her cheek on her. “Because you all matter, you Dana and Gennifer.”
“And Steph?” asked Cara? Referring to the mystery cyborg who Dr Lazarus had accidentally named the previous day.
The Doctors arms unwrap from Cara’s neck and she moves to shuffle some papers on a desk, clearly flustered by the question. Turning her back on the on the cyborg.
“Who is she Dr?”
The Doctor turns around and a worrisome look across her face she bites her lip and crosses her arms an answer almost bursting out of her.
“Who is she Dr?” Cara asks again.
Instead of an answer the Doctor replies
“Robocop Unit 3 full status scan.”
“Organics intact, systems efficiency 99 percent.....,” Cara is immediately forced to drop the conversation. Instead she obediently fulfils the Doctors command and her thoughts are turned to her many components and the processes that keep her running she lists them out one by one. Doctor Lazarus picks up the files she came in with as well as several tools and with a brief look of regret at Cara makes a hurried departure out of the workshop.
“Data corruption 2%…..” she continued oblivious to the departure of her friend.
“Testing actuators and motor function...” Cara stands up and performs a set of pre programmed movements to a now empty room. Twisting and turning in a bizarre dance by an unknown puppeteer to fulfil the requirements of a test she didn’t consciously understand.
It’s a full 10 minutes later till she has completed the full program. At which point she returns to her normal self and realises that the Doctor has left. She connects herself to the city’s CCTV system and heads of in pursuit.