Rebecca's Trip to the Surface
Rebecca's Trip to the Surface
The sun stung Rebecca’s eyes to the point that she had to cover them with her gloved hand until the camera like aperture in her eyeballs adjusted itself. She had just emerged from an underground facility that, despite atomic destruction on the world above, had continued production. When news of the world above had reached the collective ears of the administration team below ground there was heated discussions about what to do. Would one of them go to the surface and try to make contact with survivors? Would there even be anyone left to contact? The debates lasted too long and it was finally decided that they would bide their time before making any kind of decision.
A generation later and a choice had been made. A special android would be constructed of the most sturdy material. Programmed with the latest algorithms and knowledge of an age past. She would be an emissary from a scientific community to a destroyed world above. That’s how Rebecca came to be constructed. In a lab, under the microscope of the greatest minds left on earth.
Now she stood in the hot sun, her red hair pulled up into a tight ponytail on her head, green eyes still just barely adjusted to the natural light of the surface. She wore a cream colored jumpsuit, lined with light blue trim, the logo of the facility she was built in embossed above her healthy chest. The dusty sun bleached dirt under her boots crunched as she took her first few steps into the remains of the city.
Rebecca scanned left and right, looking for any signs of life. So far she had seen only a few stray insects and other small animals.
“Hello?” She called, using her hands to try and amplify her voice. Even though she could manually adjust the volume, even her small vocal assembly had its upper limits.
“Hellllooooo? Is anyone out here alive?” She called again, walking forward. She turned a corner and stopped, shocked at what she saw. An old industrial building of some kind loomed in front of her. There was smoke billowing from one of the smokestacks on top, but the street that ran next to it was littered with sheet metal, old tires, and blocks of wood, all of which were intentionally lashed together to make a wall. As her eyes drifted upward she saw that there were figures strapped to the wall...or worse.
As she stood there in stunned silence for a moment something popped up at the top of the wall, leveling some kind of weapon at her. An ugly looking bald man with a wicked scar across his eye, or at least where an eye used to be.
“A’int you pretty.” He gurgled, his voice sounded like he had been eating nothing but gravel and glass for years.
In response Rebecca put her hands up in a non-threatening stance and began to speak.
“Hello, I represent-” At that moment a pair of arms wrapped around her upper torso and another around her legs. She tumbled to the ground and she felt her head slam into the pavement. She didn’t feel pain, but she knew it was meant to immobilize her. She didn’t struggle, she couldn’t blame these savages for being suspicious. Soon she found her hands clasped behind her back by rusty crude shackles.
“This really isn’t necessary, I wont hur-”
She was interrupted by the butt of a rifle slamming into the side of her head. She cried out, and learned quickly to keep quiet. Her systems automatically detected the impact and began a scan to detect any faults or damage. Her vision popped up with an alert that there was a small tear in her artificial skin, but not internal damage had been suffered.
As they passed through the make shift gate into the alleyway between the factory and the adjacent building it became abundantly clear that these were not just savage survivors. These people thrived in the fallen world of death and destruction. She was dragged past a few trash compactors that looked like they had been rigged to operation again, barbed wire fences made of twisted wire lining doorways, and crudely crafted spears and pikes made from scrap wood. Rebecca came to the dawning realization that the people of this world had lost civilization, and in return had lost their humanity.
“Dis one looks good enough to eat!” another voice growled from some kind of central court yard. Rebecca looked up to see another man, wisps of grey hair clinging to his skull. Fur, leather, and scraps of metal adorned what could only very loosely be called armor. He had two big pistols strapped to his legs. He stooped down low and looked Rebecca in the eyes.
“N’less she good for something else..” he said, his disgusting tongue sliding over his sun chapped lips.
Rebecca said, trying desperately to not only preserve herself but alert them to what she was in hopes of sparking interest and letting her go. “N-no, I’m..you can’t eat me. I’m not a human. I’m a-”
“You isn’t no ghoul. You isn’t no mutie. You is good t’ eat one way or ‘nother!” the man said, standing up and Rebecca heard the cheers from at least a dozen other voices. Rebecca struggled against the bindings on her wrists a bit to see if her mechanical strength was enough to break them. Despite being rusty and old, the clamps were thick and so much more sturdy than she had calculated.
“No, I'm an android, ive been sent by-” Rebecca was cut off once again by something impacting her. This time it was an old leather boot with a steel plate riveted to it. Rebecca knew right away what had happened, the series of alerts on her heads up display let her know as much. There were a cascade of alerts telling her about an illegal device disconnection, impact alerts, torn synthetic skin and fluid leaks in her cranial module. Her eyes lowered to the dusty ground and saw a small pool forming, she knew it was hydraulic fluids dripping from her jaw assembly.
A few feet away some of the savage humans hopped back slightly as Rebecca’s lower jaw landed, kicking up dry dusty irradiated dirt as it landed. Rebecca’s tongue dangled from her now jaw-less mouth. Along the sides exposed and snapped wires sparked slightly before her operating system cut power to them. She looked up at the figures surrounding her, she knew this must be a sight for them.
“I told you, I'm an android, an artificial human-like machine.” Rebecca said using only the speakers inside of her neck, this time no one interrupted her, in fact they all looked horrified.
“No good for eat. Throw away!” the man, presumably the chief wailed finally.
“W-wait what!?” Rebecca managed to say before dozens of hands seized her and hoisted her to her feet. She was dragged back towards the front gate. In a panic she looked around and saw that the chief picked up her jaw from the ground and tucked it into a pouch on his side. Rebecca calculated that she would likely need to return underground to have that replaced before venturing in another direction.
The hands that held her aloft began to pinch and pull and tear at the jumpsuit she wore. Son she felt the fabric strain against her synthetic flesh and start tearing at the seams. She heard the threads popping and her jumpsuit was torn away. She was nude below it, the organization that sent her to the surface hadn’t anticipated the need for an android like her to wear undergarments.The sound of metal squealing metal drew Rebecca’s attention. It wasn’t the gate that was opening but rather the protective grate on one of the trash compactors bolted to the side of the building. It was in that moment that Rebecca knew that this mission had gone from bad, to total loss.
“No! No! Just let me go!” the restrained android pleaded as she was moved into position and then tossed in as if she were some kind of cursed item. She couldn’t use her arms to help soften the impact and landed on her side, her head slamming into the rusted metal ground plate. She made a motion to grit her teeth in response, but the servo motors in her ruined jaw simply snapped and sparked as they tried to move a jaw that wasn't attached to her face any more.
Rebecca quickly scrambling to her feet she bashed her head into the heavy steel plate at the top of the compactor and turned in time to see the cage door slam shut and a latch drop into place. Her eyes went wide as she looked from the cage door to the side of the unit where an amused looking woman flipped a heavy switch into place. There was a small spark from an electrical box on one side and Rebecca heard the tell tale sounds of industrial strength hydraulic pistons pushing downward. She glanced up and saw that the steel plate above her was moving steadily downward.
“No! Please, I won't hurt you! I won’t tell anyone about you, please just let me go!” As she pleaded her operating system initiated a distress signal, it would alert her creators of her last known position and would call for help. As it transmitted the signal a crowd of the dozen survivors crowded around the cage and a cheer rose up from them. Rebecca strained against the shackles on her wrists, wiggling desperately to free herself from them. She even managed to start making some headway, though it shredded the artificial flesh on her wrists, exposing the metal and plastic joint under it. Soon though she managed to load a possible escape plan.
She lowered her right arm and began jerking violently upward with her left shoulder. The small motors in her shoulder whined audibly, but only she could hear it over the sound of the approaching steel plate above her. It took several wild and abrupt jerking motions to do it, but finally her left wrist couldn't handle the strain and with a snap the plastic bindings around the joint gave way. Her hand fell to the ground, snapping and sizzling with the last sparks of electricity. She held her left arm up in front of her face and cocked her head to one side as her operating system filled her log files with errors of missing devices and damage reports.
Once the error list cleared itself, the sensors in her scalp let her know that he head was beginning to push downward due to the plate above her. Rebecca placed one hand on the plate and pushed upward with her legs. They weren't built for this kind of work load, but she had to try. She pushed upward and strained the mechanisms in her legs and back, pushing upward, hoping that if nothing else she could cause enough resistance to short out the electronics that worked the hydraulic press. It was ultimately feeble though.
Rebecca had to eventually lower herself to her knees as the steel plate was coming on faster than she imagined. She looked pleadingly at the onlookers continued to try and resist the plate above her. She was soon pressing her back into the steel plate and pushing upwards with all of her mechanical strength. Unfortunately, the hydraulics were relentless and soon Rebecca heard a faint crunch and she knew the plastic polymer in her legs was giving way, and a moment later there was another more violent crack. Rebecca looked down just in time to see the core “bones” of her legs shatter and pierce her skin, shards of plastic and metal flying out of her skin with it. Small flashes of light popped and sparked below her flesh. She could no longer support herself and crumpled to the floor of the compactor.
Rebecca’s head jarringly looked down at her legs and up at the plate. Her vision filled full or errors and warnings of broken mechanisms inside of her. She tried moving her legs, but all that she could do was swivel them from the hips, and even that brought forth a whining sound from the actuators in her joints. Her lower legs were completely offline and simply dragged along the floor while Rebecca tried to move.
“Error, this unit is-is-is malfunc-functioning-ing. Please pow-power down and return to the re-re-repair bay-ay in sec-tor-tor eight.”
Rebecca’s head spasmed to one side with each tick and stutter. Her higher functioning A.I. was beginning to fail. The steel plate above her was mere inches away now. Rebecca, incapacitated as she was, was only vaguely aware of it.
“In-initiating se-self preservation pro-pro-System error. Cannot initiate. Database entry damaged-amaged or mi-mi-mi-missing.”
Rebecca intoned in a mostly monotone voice as her operating system tried to manage the damage as well as keep her body going. The plate now pressed into her side and Rebecca managed to roll onto her belly. Her breasts pushed her torso up a small amount and her head raised to look out at the onlookers. All she registered in the microphones lodged in her ears was screams and cheers of excitement. The sensor laden skin on her back registered immense pressure as her body was now the only object between the two steel plates. Her head was pressed downward and she could no longer look out of the cage, only down at the rust covered metal plate below her.
The mechanism running the crusher whined as it finally began to compress Rebecca’s body. From inside there was a loud squealing sound followed by a pinging noise. Rebecca’s metal ribcage had snapped inward, breaking free of her artificial spine and into the mass of wiring and circuitry inside of her torso. One of them punctured a power cell in her torso which began spraying acidic fluids from the inside. Wiring was eaten away quickly. Her CPU barely had enough time to register the damage and report it before the acid found its way to the flesh on her belly and began melting it into a pink puddle.
The steel plate continued its relentless journey downward. Rebecca’s head began to compress and warp. It was made primarily of tough metal. Her skull was designed to be tough, and as a result many of her most critical components were stored there. But soon her skull began to warp and twist with the pressure. As her head changed shape her face plate forcefully unlatched itself and skittered across the floor a few inches away from her head. Soon there was more crunching and shattering as the last of her electronic head was flattened. Soon after her face plate, the last bit of her was pressed between two steel plates.
Her entire body was not merely flattened, it was shredded, shattered, and utterly destroyed. When the compressor would eventually lift up, all the surface dwellers would find was silicone and circuit boards that were ground to a course dust. Synthetic flesh like glue sticking to the top and bottom of the press, parts of what once made her look human clinging to it.
The signal she sent would never reach its destination, the ground was simply too thick and the protective plating around the facility too good. Rebecca’s existence would be a note in a report somewhere but she would never be seen again.