Darkness……is a beautiful thing.
Not the darkness that is so commonly associated with the veil of fear and the nature of the macabre, or the kind very easily used to define the wickedness and glory that is applicable to human nature.
No, the darkness spoken here is the good kind, the kind that is bestowed upon you when the world no longer has need of your services and thus pushes you out of its’ influence, leaving you alone and at complete peace with yourself.
So often is this darkness accessible by the individual, either with the closing of your eyes and ears, or when the life is pulled out of you, sending you to what may be a long and eternal sleep. Most times, however, it is simply achieved, with the flip of a switch.
///////--Aurora-Airlines-FLIGHT-367--/////// //////--ACT-CODE-CUE.2-INITIALIZED--////// /////--ASSIST-CALL-DECK2.-SEAT.D--///// ////--UNITS-A.188.8.131.52-DUTY-OCCUPIED//// ///--UNITS-A.3.6.-INACTIVE-CHARGE /// //--UNITS-A.5-CHARGE-FULL-OFFDUTY--// /--INITIATING-UNIT-A.5-ACTIVATION--/
The peaceful sea of nothingness was once again punctured by the streams of codes and protocols that commanded the unit to re-activate, and initiate new duties.
Resuming its place in the world, the first thing caught within the cross-hairs of the unit’s adjusting visual system was the confines of a small, plastic box, barely large enough to fit a human, yet small enough to be quite snug to those unplagued by claustrophobia; clearly, the unit was not.
As it gazed upon the dancing streams of information that were telling the unit not just to wake up, but also on ‘how’ to do it, it listened to the pops and whirs that sounded from the power cables disengaging from the charge ports on its back.
//////--CHARGE-PORTS-A1.2.-DISENGAGED--////// /////--OPTICS-SET-VISUAL-SYSTEMS-GO--///// ////--CHARGE-PORTS-A4.5.-DISENGAGED--//// ///--AUDIO-SYSTEMS-CLEAR-SET-GO-AUD-VID-SYNC-SET-GO--/// //--CHARGE-PORTS-A3.-DISENGAGED-UNIT-A5-POWER-INDEPENDENT--// /--UNIT-A.5-PROTOCOL-GO--/
With the cables unplugged and the protocols complete, the unit exited the charging container and made its way towards the origin of the code call. Stopping at a security door, the unit waited for the above-head camera to scan it, so it may be allowed to exit the area. With a chiming beep, the metallic doors slid away, allowing the unit to leave the services storage apartment, and now enter the main cabin.
Knowing that this was the exact floor the call came from, there was no need to use the elevator system, and instead the unit went through a nearby set of fog-glass sliding doors; the same doors, that would lead to the main floor of the aircraft, Floor 2.
The unit began to make way through the rows upon rows of seats, but not before checking to see if anyone was using the nearby toiletry module. Finding that the indicator light above the door glowed white (meaning that the module was unoccupied at the time), it deduced that no one was within, and began its’ search for the call in origin, all the way from Seat Z to Seat A.
The unit scanned every passenger it passed by, making note that the human-emulation stream was not necessary when in the presence of an inactive person; so far, everything seemed to be motionless.
///--SEATS-T-STATUS-OCCUPIED--/// //--OCCUPATION-PASSENGER-10834--// /--PASSENGER-10834-STATUS-INACTIVE--/
Along with the occasional snore or sneeze, only the soft clicks of the unit’s magnetized steps against the carpeted floor could be audibly heard from anywhere in the cabin. The magnetization was necessary, to prevent the chance that the unit may stumble in the incident of rough turbulence.
////--SEATS-P-STATUS-OCCUPIED--//// ///--OCCUPATION-PASSENGERS-10837.10838--/// //--PASSENGER-10837-STATUS-INACTIVE--// /--PASSANGER-10838-STATUS-INACTIVE--/
The aisle was fairly big, allowing enough room for three persons, elbow to elbow, to make it through with little to no difficulty. The unit, guided by its’ motor synchronization measures, was able to walk down the exact center of the aisle without fault.
The seats, two to each side of the compartment, seemed to hold comfort enough to allow one to ease through even the most vicious of storms; thus, was fair explanation as to why twenty-five of the cabin’s twenty-six passengers were completely sound asleep.
///--SEATS-D-STATUS-UNOCCUPIED--/// //--ASSIST-CALL-ORIGIN-DECK2.-SEAT.D--// /--#ERROR-INVALID-ASSIST-CALL-ORIGIN-DECK2.-SEAT.D#--/
This is where the call came from, yet looking at the supposed section of chairs, it did not find the presence of any human having sitting there. But indeed, the call had come from here, for the call button at the side of the seat was blinking a faint, white glow.
Regardless, if a human was not present to make the call, then there was no logical reason to be here.
“I believe that would be my seat, maam.”
The unit was caught off guard; not a noise had been heard to signal that a human was behind it, and nor had it taken note on whether the rear toiletry cabin was occupied.
///////--ACTIVE-HUMAN-PRESENCE-DETECTED--/////// //////--IDENTIFYING--////// /////--PASSENGER-10845-IDENTIFIED--///// ////--INITIATING-HUMEN-PROGRAM--//// ///--#ERROR-FAILURE-INITIATING-HUMEM-PROGRAM#--/// //--#ERROR-HUMEM-PROGRAM-INITIATION-STALL#--// /--HUMEM-PROGRAM-INITIATION-TIME:000010--/
The sense of surprise had momentarily delayed the unit’s hum-em code stream, thus making the facial transition from cold and emotionless to happy and pleasing a very slow process. And because of the indicators that now blocked a good degree of the unit’s vision, it made identifying the man in front a very tricky one; plus the overhaul on the human-emulation loadup time didn’t help much either.
He was a young looking gentleman, no older than twenty-eight according to the facial algorithms, yet the lack of facial hair could lead a common human to false conclusions. His build also added to this allusion, with long, lanky arms yet a well-toned chest and thighs.
His hair was a complete mess, medium-cut with dark bands thrown about on top of his forehead.
What was now noticeable were the small scars across the left cheek and upper brow, and were marked in ways in which the unit could not identify.
He wore a leather coat displayed in a complete state of disrepair, with cuts scattered all across the darkened hide. His legs were fitted in a set of brand new, clean-cut pants, a surprising contrast from the above attire; yet this was corrected again by the pair of black and white athlete’s sneaker. The sneakers, combined with the odd build, led the unit to the conclusion that the man was possibly a runner.
Finally, with a smile on its face, the unit chimed, “Hello sir; how may I help you?”
One minute, that’s how much time he’d expect the unit to reach his seat; meaning he had exactly just one minute to push the Call button, and quietly reach the restroom before it could even take notice of him.
Wishing to hold the moment no longer, he reached for the small, silverfish oval at the armrest of his chair, pressed his thumb into the plush-like surface. He watched as it began to glow a yellowish hue, and made a run for the rear of the compartment.
Well, it wasn’t as much of a run as it was a lightly-paced walk; he was on a plane after all, even if it was high-class. Besides, everyone other than himself was sound asleep within the compartment, and if his little test was to play out as smoothly as he desired, it required for him and him alone to be the only active human in the entire cabin.
Walking lightly onto the green-dyed carpet of the floor (and in his socks to boot), the young man managed to reach the single-sized bathroom module just in the nick of time, for only mere seconds after he slid the plastic door behind him, the metallic locks of the ‘STAFF ONLY’ door’s slid apart, signaling that someone else had now entered the cabin.
At first he thought to lock the door to prevent the unit possible entry, yet he wisely guessed that it would only check to see if whether the bathroom door would read “Occupied” or “Unoccupied”; if it were the later, the unit wouldn’t even bother, and instead would walk along until it found something else of interest.
He waited for the light, clicking steps (no doubt the sound of the unit’s magnetic clamps just in case the plane were to suddenly hit turbulence) of the unit to get farther and farther from the restroom, until it seemed that they were now halfway across the cabin; with this in mind, the man quietly slid the grey and blue plastic door aside, and peeked only his head out to check the scene.
As he expected, the unit was a little less than halfway through the cabin, lightly walking along in what appeared to be the traditional flight attendant’s uniform, with a small skirt and low-heeled shoes to match. It was definitely modeled after human anatomy, with the exposed legs modeled in pale skin and only interrupted by what appeared to be gray fabric at the back of the knees; the arms were fully concealed by the uniform, so it was hard to tell whether the joints would be similar there as well.
It was at Seat G now, meaning now would be a good time to get out of the restroom and get the sneak on her. And yes, it was definitely “a her”, with the legs long and feminine and the back of the head dressed in a brownish short-cut hairstyle; typical flight assistant fashion.
Out of the bathroom now, he now made his way towards the still-walking android, making sure to tip-toe this time, just incase it had some form of enhanced hearing built-in. He continued to move like this until he saw that the android was now at what had been his designated “Seat D, Chair 2”, and watched with intrigue as the poor thing looked in confusion at the empty chair.
The man wondered if these things had ever been prank-called before, and if they had, how could they possibly respond to what in ‘their’ view would be a massive misplacement of protocols and calculations while in our own, would only be read as a ‘joke’?
As he quietly made his way right behind the confused unit, it was time he’d find out.
“I believe that would be my seat, maam.”
The man watched as the unit (definitely a young woman by the looks of her face) spun around to face him, and at first he thought that the attendant-droid had anticipated his presence. However, that appeared to not be the case.
The unit had apparently been hammered by a massive overhaul of information, and was now slowly initiating what he could only assume was its human-emulation software; very, slowly, like watching a person’s expression go from stern and emotionless to happy and cheerful in a still-motion film.
Now, as the man guessed, would be no better time to take physical note on the android that stood before him.
First off, it was definitely an android and not a drone; a drone would have to be run this effectively by an AI or a puppeteering team, and none of those were aboard. Second, it was indeed modeled after a human female, no older than the late 20’s by the looks of the facial structure; which, I might add, was a very beautiful one to put on a model much older than what was common most of these days.
This was evident by the black-fabric joints and multitude of seams across its’ frame; from the neck to the shoulders, the only thing that seemed genuinely human was again, the face. By his guess, if the uniform was to be removed and thus exposing the (apparently) C-grade chest it had on, one would only hope to be welcomed by the sight of plastic breasts with no motion and devoid of nipples.
And back on the face, it was still moving slowly, inching its way from showing no emotion at all to one of practiced joy. The eyes, human in design with the exception of the grayish-blue pupils, made a poor attempt at concealing the optical instruments held within. The skin was (like the rest of the body) pale in tone and human in texture, only it was molded in a substance far more flexible and authentic than the plastic and rubber that covered most of its figure. To top it all off, she wore a small flight attendant’s hat on top of what was indeed, real-looking hair.
Finally, after what was (he checked the time to make sure) about ten seconds of waiting, the android finally broke through her data-stall and managed to give him a welcoming smile.
“Hello sir; how may I help you?”
He liked how cheery her voice was, considering the fact that she almost crashed in completing the simple task of smiling.
In his entire plan to evaluate just how this machine would react to a simple little test, he had failed to think of an adequate reason to call her in the first place. Right off the bat, he asked, “How long have we got until we reach our destination?”
“ATTENTION PASSENGERS. WE ARE ONE HOUR, AND THREE MINUTES UNTIL WE REACH OUR FINAL DESTINATION. REMEMBER, WE ARE ONE HOUR, AND THREE MINUTES AWAY FROM OUR FINAL DESTINATION. THANK YOU.”
The blare of the intercom caught both him, and a few of the passengers behind him off guard, yet the android attendant had not flinched even the slightest; which made it no surprising with what she joyfully chimed next.
“One hour and three minutes, sir.”
A chuckle escaped from the man’s lips; it continued to amaze him, even with all his experience, how blunt these things could be.
“Will you be returning to your seat now, sir?”
She motioned to the side, allowing him entry to what was, indeed, his seat. As he pressed by her, his elbow accidentally grazing her right breast (indeed, as hard as a rock), he sighed under his breath, “Yes, yes I will be. Thank you for asking, and thank you for taking the time to answer my question.”
“My pleasure, sir.” And with that, she walked off, probably back to the charge outlet to regain what had probably been a loss of only 0.05% battery power.
Just as he had set himself down on the maroon-tinted seat, he forgot to ask her one more important question, one that was vital for everything he just did now to be conclusive. With a turn of his head, he called back, “Hey, just one more question: What class are you?”
With a pause, the lightest turn of her feet, and that smile upon her face, she cheerfully answered, “I’m a Class Four.”
The man’s face, whose expressions before only consisted of those familiar to the common analyst who enjoyed his work, now contorted to an emotion of complete dumbfounded-ness. And this expression would remain on his face, even as he watched the attendant –droid merrily walk her way towards the back of the cabin, even as she disappeared behind the heavy metal doors of the “STAFF ONLY” area, and even as one of the passengers (the elderly man in Seat T) made his way towards the bathroom module, and watched still, as the indicator light above went from a light-green to a crimson-red.
As he turned to face the backs of Seats B, he couldn’t help but ponder with an air of worry on what exactly was wrong, both with what he heard, and what he saw not moments ago.
Class Four, a Class Four wouldn’t behave in the way he took note of. The chance of a Class Four crashing over a simple misplacement of a simple protocol was exactly the same as the chance of shooting a clay pigeon at two hundred yards; meaning it wasn’t impossible, just……...very unlikely.
Regardless, it’s what he heard, and all he could really do at the moment was just to look out his window, and take note on all the stars, and how they surrounded them all in a span of complete awe; and, especially taking note of the large, earth-like sphere they were now approaching, the place, that for the next few months, would be his new home.
For everyone else on-board, however, it was just another weekend getaway.