Controlled Environment Prologue

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In an expanse of perpetual darkness, with not a sound to be heard or a breeze to be felt, the numbers 0629 glared in a bright, crimson hue. Then, as if purposeful in disrupting a seemingly endless peace, the numbers shifted, now reading the time of 0630. As if weakened by such a disturbance, the darkness groaned like an engine buried within a cavern, and found itself pierced by the brightness of the lights overhead.

Following in tune with the lights and machinery, the air vents exhaled their long held breath; giving the room it laid service to its first moments of fresh air since eight hours prior. It took its time filling up the ceiling area first, but eventually the cool yet carefully maintained oxygen traveled thirty feet downwards where the lab lay ready and awaiting.

Circuit by circuit, one by one, the current of power traveled between every device and every electric-fueled piece of equipment, which upon awakening began the cycle of work they felt tradition to. From the bio-mechanic scanners mounted to the tables, to the large flatscreen bolted to the cement wall, every piece of technology in the room arose to begin their usual day of work; but all of these things would become unused, unless Kim had yet to use them.

Kim was here, in a way, but she still had yet to arrive. She was here, her young and delicate figure seated in the labs’ sole rolling chair, and slumped over the white, vacant table adjacent from the flatscreen; yet, she still had yet to arrive. Her head rested ear-to-table, her blue-hued eyes wide awake and focusing with emptiness at the nearby wall; yet, she still had yet to arrive.

Kim, however, was well on her way. As soon as the time had shifted to 0630, her consciousness had left the storage-bank she dwelled in, and now was in the midst of traveling through the massive maze of wires, cables, and the electric-streams in which they all connected to. Actually, being familiar with the schedule she was on, Kim had anticipated her departure before the time had even shifted; she was now in the habit of this. Indeed, she was well on her way.

On her way in the stream, she felt relieved to break free from the boredom and loneliness the storage-bank now offered to her. It was hard making friends in the storage-bank, not just for the fact that it was a military-based artificial-intelligence bank populated by nearly every AI present at the outpost, but because a major factor of those AIs were low-grades who could barely function beyond their pre-determined tasks. Honestly, it was hard being a Mark V in a box of Mark IIs and IIIs.

Fortunately she wasn’t the only Mark V in the entire outpost; there was also Aura and Redford, but even those two were becoming harder to reach with the passing times.

She had frequent chats with Aura, whose job was to partake in hand-to-hand combat training rounds with both human and synthetic troops alike, a task that had gained her a good amount of respect amongst both parties. This had led her into a budding relationship with one of the human cadets, and as a consequence, this resulted in her presence at the bank to become less and less frequent; the fact that she was entirely absent at the outposts designated nighttime was a clear ringer to Kim on what her whereabouts were.

Redford, named so after his Armour ID code “Red Squad Designation 04-D”, had the crucial task of heavy security and frequent facility patrols. Usually he was assigned to the dayshift, but after the outpost had lost one of their hev-sec mechs in a field check, Redford was now altered to the nightshift to cover for a lack of security. Both Kim and Aura thought of him as a cute and actually quite charming guy; it was too bad he was always in a Heavy-Armour Bulk Security mech, with no human-based form to walk around in on his free-time.

Indeed, the growing absence of her friends had led Kim to find ‘lab-time’ as her only means of personal enjoyment; to think, she would be pushed to the point of finding work as fun. On the brink of frustration, she calmed herself down as she now passed the Level 3 circuit-spread and was now on her way to home base, Technical Lab 2. She thought to herself that not everything was completely downhill; she still did have her lab partner, and in the month since he’s been here, they’d gotten along quite well.

She sensed her arrival at her lab, and once again became astounded with how long (and how quickly) she had gotten here. What was incredible to her was what felt like minutes, minutes of traveling, maneuvering and conversing within the stream, was to the physical world, merely three seconds.

An AI, when placed in the right environment, was an incredible being of thought. Within the stream, she was like a god; capable of making decisions faster than any human being, and more maneuverable than the stroke of a key. And now, here she was, leaving her realm of true potential and once again receding into a form while fragile, yet capable of the more ‘human’ qualities.

She would have laughed as she pushed aside such thoughts of classic ‘robot overlord’ theorems, but she was too busy booting up the individual proxy’s of her work body. The systems were running up, the micro hydraulics began their flow, and now optical vision was coming into focus.

The form rested on the table began to awaken; her body lost tension, her fingers flexed, and her eyes refocused again. She pushed herself off the table, sending her rolling chair to the middle of the room, with her back slouched against the back rest. With her systems completely set, Kim stood up and out of the chair, and gave her lab a quick scanning. Everything seemed okay, nothing was out of place, and the lab was devoid of any occupants other than herself. Looking at the time, now reading as 0631, Kim knew that this only meant one thing: her lab assistant was now late.

Well to be fair, he was considered to be more of a lab ‘partner’ than a lab ‘assistant’; they were technically of the same rank, after all. He was a good hearted kid, a twenty year-old who had the rare quality of balanced fondness towards the fields of robotics and drone technology: a length to explore and tinker with it, while at the same time baring enough respect for it to realize when too far is too far. That alone, was what made Kim more comfortable with him than any other human in the entire outpost, quite possibly the universe. But for now, she spent her time waiting on him to check herself out.

She checked to see if her long brown ponytail was braded properly and wouldn’t untangle and cover the soft blue eyes on her gentle features. She checked to see if her lab coat gave the proper cover over her grey skirt but remained open enough to reveal her lime-green tank-top. But most of all, she checked to see if the thin Mono-cord remained connected to the bottom of her back, resting above the bottom of her skirt and under her coat, and was connected to the wall; never, would she forget that.

With everything in order, she would continue to wait for her partner to arrive.

Although it has nothing to do with the previous one, this story was originally 'another' prologue to 'another' project I wanted to work on. Sadly though, I was once again too busy with more important matters to put alot of focus at the time, so I had to shelve it.

Luckily, this won't be a habit out of any future work I plan on doing for this site.

And even though this story is lacking of the fembot-action from the mermaid tale, I thought the idea of sharing some synthetic philosophy with you guys would be pretty cool.

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