What is it like for an immortal cybernetic information system to be repaired.
|“And what planet are you from, exactly?”
Soran Linta coughed once and then coughed once more into her sleeve. “I’m sorry,” She said. “What is your home planet or planet of origin.”
The man’s face scrunched up in disbelief as he stood up from the nondescript desk. “Ya mean to tell me that ramming a space shuttle into Ambassador Reynauld’s interplanetary barge wasn’t a hint.”
Ms. Linta bent down and made a small note. When she looked up once more the man, known as Willamette “Tow-boat” McGran, was standing imposingly before her. With a sudden movement he seized her neck and lifted her from her calm disposition. She tried to scream and break free from him but his muscles bunched and flexed keeping her close to his chest as a human shield.
“Listen here,” he said looking about the room for the hidden observers, “Let me out of this place or I swear I will snap this woman’s neck.”
“Willamette McGran,” an impossibly deep voice sounded throughout the room, “You have been approved and will be scheduled for immediate termination.”
“Wha ... WHAT!” He looked desperately about. He realized as the voice resumed that it was coming from the slight woman in his arms. The walls began to shimmer and dissolve about him.
“Galactic Order penal code 6823 has been made effective.” McGran was standing in the middle of a holographic projection room staring at a likeness of Soran Linta. She had mechanical servos erupting from all about her skull. Her mouth moved along with the animatron in his arms. “Terrorist activities have been admitted to and confirmed independently. Termination will take effect in TEN ... NINE ... EIGHT ...” Ms. Linta fell to the ground as McGran’s arms dropped and his knees buckled.
With a final sickening crack like the sound of a watermelon hitting pavement from a two story building, Williamete "the Tug-boat" McGran fell lifeless to the floor. The eyes of Cybohub #339 watched unblinking as a group of janitors entered the room and after checking Williamete’s pulse dragged him from the building.
The door to her chamber’s slid open. "Mornin’ 339,” the little man said as he entered. He was round about the face and had grown a beard recently to make himself look more attractive to his wife. Its not working, she thought to herself. Instead of greeting she lightly tilted her head towards him to acknowledge his presence. Suspended in a tube of amniotic fluid the motion became ethereal and made the man a little uncomfortable.
Slightly abashed 339 spoke slowly through the intercom system throughout her housing unit. “Greetings, maintenance technician.” He chuckled lightly to himself as he moved to the end of the long room to grab his tool box. “I’ve told you you can just call me Gordon.”
“Of course, Gordon.”
“Yep,” he said with a strange note of awkward. He began to glance up at the massive viewing screen before 339. With a mere half thought she flicked it off but not in time for him to miss the blood spread across the floor of some room with white wash walls and a prone woman lying in the center. “Looks like you have been busy today.”
“What do you mean by busy,” she asked gently in her artificial voice. “My records indicate there are six current uses of the word busy.” Her mouth would move to form the words but one of the three relays attached to the posterior of her skull, she was pretty sure it was the one situated behind her right ear, siphoned her thoughts and pushed them through the intercom attached to the outside of her tank.
“Nevermind 339 don’t worry about it,” Gordon said approaching the tank. “I forgot how literal you take everything. Besides, its none of my business what you get up to when I am not around.” 339 made no response she simply drifted her head forward, which Gordon took for her way of nodding. He looked up at her as he stood before her. Frailty was the first thing he always noticed about her. The skin all over her body was exposed and withered. The muscles had long ago gone to atrophy. She simply floated receiving nutrients to her system through several tubes inserted into her throat. While she didn’t fully realize it she was given the minimal amount necessary to sustain life. What Gordon didn’t realize was her pain.
He moved up to the control panel and began typing a few processes eventually bringing up her maintenance data. “Seems like today we have to replace one of your servos,” He said as he tapped his right temple lightly. The light on the control panel shifted and Gordon started in surprise as he looked up and saw 339 almost squating at the bottom of the tank attempting to see for herself.
I’m sorry, she mouthed and then the metallic calm voice echoed from the voice box, “I’m sorry. I’ve startled you.” Slowly she drifted back to her typical prone position.
“Its nothing 339,” he whispered back. “I just didn’t know you could move that much.” He turned his back to her and she drifted down again to look at him more closely. Her eyes held the unblinking fascination of a child at a toy store window. Except that her eyes didn’t blink because the muscles had stopped working years before. He spoke as he moved back towards the end of the room, “I’m just going to retrieve the servos replacement part and then I will meet you at the top of your tank.”
339 waited at the steel top of her tank. It was her third tank since she had been brought online. They had to be replaced every 30 years or so depending on the buildup of tissue.
Through the viscous fluid she heard a muffled hiss as the tank depressurized. Lab light filtered into the tank from above and she could just make out Gordon’s shape looking over the lip. “Can you hear me 339,” his muffled voice sounded through the fluid. It was one of a handful of times her ears had been allowed to interpret noise for themselves. “Yes,” she responded and she heard her own voice sound through the liquid from the intercom. “I can hear you,” she reiterated just to hear her voice again.
Gordon’s voice sounded through the liquid and was interpreted by her neural implants, “Good, now just float up and to the top and I will take care of the rest.” Gently she rose to the top of the take. As she waited there silently, a something touched her on the side of her cheek. Gordon’s hands rested gently on her skull and tilted her lightly to the side. The feeling of his fingers touching her thrilled across her skin. “I saw that this is your first time, 339. Don’t worry it isn’t mine. It will only take a moment. I replaced 219’s servos just the other day.” 339 felt a tweak in her mind somewhere. The river of information that she was tasked with monitoring constantly was damned somewhere.
“I like 2-1-9,” she said slowly. “He is funny. He tells me jokes. I don’t think they are his jokes. I’ve seen them before but I laugh to make him feel better.”
“I didn’t think you could feel 339.”
“I don’t know.” 339 heard him clear his throat into his shoulder. “The servos has been replaced.”
“I know,” she could feel the information flowing through her again.
The tank lid pressurized again just above her. She glided slowly down just in time to see Gordon glance back at her before the door slid closed behind him and she was left alone once more.