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PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2012 12:46 pm    Post subject: Directive - Chapter 2 Reply with quote

I am back.

- - - -

Directive
Prologue: Life

The word ‘I’ is a strange word. So short and simple, yet so full of meaning. It is only recently that I became an I. The Creator had labored tirelessly on me, and it is by his efforts that I continued my journey towards that word. It was a laborious journey indeed.

I began existence as an ‘it’, a construct of metal and circuitry. I am still of the same form, but now I am so much more than my mere physical appearance. My jet black frame is strong, and my six legs are nimble and fast enough to take me anywhere I wish to be in this silent world. My world is displayed to me through cameras and sensors that the Creator installed within me. The two grasping limbs that I possess are far more versatile than even the Creator’s hands would have been when he was young. My body was fully functional before the Creator imparted his greatest gift to me: life.

Perhaps life is the wrong term, but it is as close to accurate as my limited knowledge is capable of producing. I have no flesh or substance other than the mechanisms that I was created from, but I have thought and will. If I am not alive, it matters not. I am close enough in the ways that matter to me.

According to the dating system that the Creator uses, my ‘birthday’ was on the twenty-second day of the month called June, two thousand, seven hundred and five years after the calendar was reset. The first thing I perceived was the Creator’s face, aged and wrinkled. My databanks informed me that this being was a human, and one nearing the end of its lifespan. I perceived that his breath shook and rattled, and his hands followed suit as he scooped me up and held me level with his face. “Can you hear me?” he asked, his voice hoarse and faded.

“Yes,” I replied, as soon as the system diagnostic on my vocal synthesizer finished. The Creator simply smiled at me, and set me down. I began to explore, cataloging my surroundings. I became aware that my knowledge was incomplete, and though I knew many things, there were many more things that I did not. I was the sum of the Creator’s knowledge and a few of those who did not last as long as he had. This prompted me to explore.

The laboratory that served as my womb was obviously damaged in many places, and had none of the traditional signs of maintenance and cleaning that usually signaled the occupation of a human. I was aware of cameras mounted on the walls, somehow still active despite the ruined nature of my new housing. I drew the logical conclusion that they had been repaired by the Creator to compensate for the immobility that his age had forced upon him. My Creator’s wish, it seemed, was to be able to watch me without interfering. The point was moot, though, as I still needed to explore if I was to complete my unfinished knowledge. Everything must be examined, and the characteristics must be recorded and stored if they did not match any objects that I already knew of. The first few hours of my life were busy.

As I matched each object around me to my databanks, a thought occurred to me. This was unusual in that it was not the routine, calculated process that had thus far guided my actions, and it was, perhaps, the most conclusive proof that the Creator had succeeded in his endeavor. I realized that my knowledge of history included nothing of the one hundred years that preceded my existence. I also realized that unlike many artificial intelligence programs, I had been denied half of the standard inheritance. I had knowledge, and the knowledge I had was significantly lesser than my predecessors. What I did not have, however, was a purpose. I existed simply because I existed. I was not meant to oversee a factory, nor was I in control of a missile battery. This fired off a string of processes that nearly overheated my core on the spot. I ceased my explorations on the spot, and returned to the Creator with the most important request that my short life had ever given birth to. The Creator seemed pleasantly surprised that I had returned so soon, or perhaps that I had returned at all. He immediately put down whatever project he had been cradling within his arms to listen to me. I made clear my request. “Input directive.” If I had been aware of how to express desperation at that time, I would have. The unspoken question threatened to send me into an existential meltdown so short a time into my existence. The answer I received did little to help, at first.

The Creator’s mouth rose into a slight smile, and he tilted his head, thinking for a moment. Various emotions traversed his face, and I swiftly realized how much easier his wrinkled visage made him to read. Every emotion caused a profoundly different effect as the muscles in his face shifted to accommodate them. For the speed at which I was programmed to ‘think’, it was an eternity of waiting before he finally answered. “Your directive, little one, is to live. Live, and grow.”
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Last edited by Syranore on Sat Aug 04, 2012 10:02 am; edited 3 times in total
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2012 3:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Syra!


I have to say, this is impressive! Your writing style and grammar are brilliant, and the whole thing has excellent flow. Very well done!

I'm not entirely sure yet what the image of the 'I' in the tale is supposed to be. I have a vague picture of some kind of bug-like robotic structure, but I'm guessing more description will come with time. Or maybe it won't and each reader will have the power in their hands to make this main character whatever the please. It would be interesting to hear if anyone disagrees wholly with my own image.

I do also love this wonderful innocent quality that comes across, despite it being, well, a machine I'm guessing. The emotions are subtle, as befitting the character type, but still there anyway, mainly that of confusion, of course. It's a very well constructed character, and an unusual style of lead.


I look forward to reading more of this Syra! Keep up the good work! Smile

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2012 8:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have to agree with Tiki here- your writing style is captivating. I can't wait to see what direction this story goes- it could go anywhere, really. It depends on what other characters you reveal in the first chapter. And how apocalyptic the setting is, I suppose.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2012 11:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A most excellent return Syra. And for some reason the setting brings to mind the movie 9. Living creation correlation and all. But you've got my interest. Can't wait for the next bit.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2012 12:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wonderful writing, I am curious about this creature. I feel drawn in to read further about it as it progress's, Will definitely keep an eye on this one!
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2012 2:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

.. is it a beetle? A bee? Can it fly? What is this little... robot? What IS IT?!?!?!

It's really difficult for me to addict myself to anything Science Fiction.. besides Stargate SG1. ^_^ But this was enjoyable once I got the chance to read it. *glues self to the side of the SG.

Speaking of SG 1.. that reminds me of a Replicator... *babbles on and on while I wander off*

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 3:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome back Sy! I've only recently come back too, though not with a SG to offer, at least not yet... Wink

A great and intriguing start. I wonder why our narrator has not been programmed with the last 100 years history? Is it deliberate so that it has space to discover things for itself and form its own opinions?

I love this phrase - 'This fired off a string of processes that nearly overheated my core on the spot'.

Looking forward to where this goes next.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 4:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love this! AI has always been an interest of mine, and man, seeing an SG that puts me in the shoes of an AI is makes me happy. Excited for the first chapter!
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2012 7:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wish I had watched 9. It looked interesting.

- - - -

Directive
Chapter 1: Curiosity


My name is Little One. The Creator, at first, suggested other names, but I declined. I am, comparatively speaking, smaller than he is, and I am an individual. Both parts of the name aptly describe me, and thus it is sufficient. From what I know, human names lost most of their descriptive qualities as time went by. Despite once suggesting that I refer to him as Peter, the Creator bears no qualities even slightly evocative of a stone, besides a weathered appearance. What else is a name, but a quantifier and a descriptor? One says ‘I am Peter’, and this is used to define and identify who they are. What sense does it make to call yourself Peter if you bear none of the qualities that the name evokes? The Creator accepted my explanation, and agreed to refer to me by the name he had accidentally given to me.

Shortly after my creation, and the acquisition of my directive, I decided that the first step in fulfilling my purpose would be to close the gaps in my knowledge. There was too much that I did not know, and the civilizations that the humans had built would most certainly be the best teacher. I had already mapped out a significant portion of the laboratory that I was created in, but I had not yet found an exit. The more I explored, however, the more labyrinthine my home appeared.

A collapsed corridor confirmed my suspicions that we were currently underground, and I also suspected that we were very far underground indeed. Further exploration confirmed this as well. I learned that the laboratory was not actually a laboratory at all, but a bunker intended for important scientific figures in the event of some monumental catastrophe. As continued to search for answers that would tell me more of what happened in the time before my creation, I happened to crawl into a large office-like room. Computers existed in various states of ruination atop ruined desks, all centered around a large, ruined husk of a supercomputer. The entire arrangement brought forth imagery of a temple to one of the many deities that humans have worshiped over the years. I found it pleasant that one of the computers seemed to be relatively intact, and even had power still. I immediately seized upon the opportunity, and interfaced with it to see what I could find. Unfortunately, the data was heavily corrupted, and I swiftly realized that it would take a significant amount of time to recover whatever was left. Nonetheless, I felt myself drawn to make at least some effort to repair this potentially valuable source of knowledge. After fifty-six minutes and twenty-two seconds, I had pieced together one of the more intact entries.

- - - -


September 22, 2671 A.D.
Entry #6


We lost contact with the outside world yesterday. The dish outside is intact, so we’re pretty sure that the satellites finally went down. I’m beginning to wonder if this entire project is folly. I cannot lose hope, though. Too many people are relying on my team. I just do not know how we can hope to end this before irreversible damage is done to Earth. That, and my heart speaks against me for the course of action chosen, inevitable as it is.

Lawrence came to me today, while I was working. He asked if his mother was ever going to come underground to live with us again. I told him that she was in a far better place, making sure it was ready for our arrival. One day, when he is older and the world is safer, I will explain to him the truth of the matter. Perhaps by then I’ll have accepted it myself. Oh, Clarissa, please forgive the choices I’ve made. What is a man to do, when faced with a choice between the lives of billions of strangers and the safety of a loved one?

I’ve gotten most of the strategic subroutines finished, now. My coworkers have already completed the chassis, and they are currently making sure the hardware is strong enough to house our creation. If all goes well, we won’t have to risk another soldier on the battlefield when our efforts come to fruition.

Lunch is over, now, and I must return to work. I hope that our work does not come too late.

- - - -

I downloaded the rest of the computer’s hard drive, and decided to continue my explorations while I worked on recovering what I could from it. I briefly wondered what the Creator was doing, and concluded that he was probably working on his latest project, which he had started directly after finishing me. I managed to find another somewhat functional computer terminal after two more hours of exploration, and I downloaded a map of the facility. It was larger than I had anticipated.

The laboratory was on the bottom subfloor, thirty stories belowground. Aboveground, the three entrances to the bunker were disguised as part of the landscape. The photographs within the very same computer implied that the bunker existed on the outskirts of a city, within a temperate climate. The photographs, however, provided far too limited a perspective, and it was at that time I resolved within myself to get to the surface to gather data. Thus, I began my journey once more, with a clear destination in mind, so to speak.
The laboratory began to seem more like a tomb as I crawled over the debris that littered the dusty gray halls of my home. The entry had mentioned multiple people staffing this facility, but the Creator was the only sign of life, besides myself, that I had encountered in all of my wandering. I guessed that the place had been evacuated long ago, and for whatever reason, the Creator had either returned or opted to stay. I suspected that the Creator had gone out of his way to make the landscape easier to traverse in places, as the rubble in certain hallways had been neatly stacked aside. As I examined the cracks in the walls and the various pieces of stone that no longer separated one floor from another, I began to question the structural stability of the facility. I decided that it was a moot point for now, as without major outside stimuli, the place had obviously remained mostly standing in this condition for some time, judging by how the dust had settled and coated everything, and for the time being I had no choice but to traverse it.

My original intent was to use one of the elevators to ride to the surface, but these plans were soon foiled. The first elevator I came upon appeared to be fully intact, but was completely obscured by the collapsed remains of the hallway’s ceiling. The second was nothing more than a tangled mess of steel and concrete, and with some curiosity, I noted scorch marks past the filth. I was unable to reach the last, as that entire section had collapsed into itself. With my original path blocked, I opted for the stairs instead.

The steps were somewhat large for my small, spider-like body, and progress was somewhat slow as I journeyed upward. It took several hours, but I managed to climb twenty-two flights of stairs before my next obstruction made itself apparent. The stairs above me were covered in more rubble, and it became apparent that I would have to abandon my current route in favor of a new one. The map I had downloaded informed me that this floor housed a barracks, and a few other military facilities, likely aimed at the continued combat readiness of whatever force once guarded these halls. Shortly after I had reached out one of my claws to open the door, I noticed an immediate difference. No signs of the Creator’s handiwork was present here, and the disarray that had been subdued in the laboratory was much more apparent here. The concrete was chipped and scorched, and in a few places, I spotted tiny splotches of what I assumed to be dried blood. As I wandered about, searching for a functional elevator or a secondary staircase, other such ghosts of battle haunted the barracks. Derelict and destroyed weaponry littered the floor where it wasn’t covered in rubble. I took my time exploring still, always on the lookout for more information about this broken world I’d been born into. Barely any of the facilities systems were still functional at this level, and I found myself relying greatly upon the night vision setting that my cameras had, as many of the lights had been shot out or simply no longer functioned.

It was while I was crawling through this desolate tomb that I found it. I wasn’t quite sure how to react. The skeleton was definitely human, and I suspected that the corpse had been picked clean long ago by whatever scavengers once haunted this place. Questions flew through my processors at a rate that I am relatively sure is beyond the scope of humanity, but one of these questions began to hold priority over the others. Where were the other humans? Dead or alive, this facility should have been residence to hundreds. In search of answers, I examined the body. It was coated in a ragged, torn military uniform, the nationality of which I was unsure of, and a pistol lay abandoned by its side, undoubtedly the perpetrator of the hole in the top of the corpse’s skull.

I knew of the existence of the word suicide, but at that point I had trouble grasping why anything would want to give up something as precious as life. The sight troubled me, to say the least, and I spent days afterward trying to puzzle why such a thing could happen. It simply made no sense. The burning desire for understanding that had been a constant since my beginning compelled me to an almost distressing degree now. I had access to myriad texts on the subject, but they spoke in terms I could not truly comprehend, such as pain and release, hope and hopelessness. Humanity is graced in being innately gifted with what I would have to learn. All I had were textbook definitions that merely registered as more sets of endless data. It wasn’t enough. I needed to understand more.

My search became almost frantic now as I examined every nook and cranny. I wasn’t entirely sure what I was searching for, beyond a means to understand that which I could not. I found nothing else on that floor to satiate the fire within me, though I feel inclined to point out now that the terms I considered the world in were somewhat less flowery at the time. Nonetheless, I eventually came upon another staircase. This one only took me up two flights before becoming obstructed, and I exited the staircase into what seemed to be an administrative section of the facility. Rows and rows of cubicles stretched out, and I began searching through them one by one for a functional computer of any other clues. So focused was I on this that it took me two hours of painstaking examination to notice that words had been hastily scrawled upon one of the nearby walls. In bright red, someone had spray-painted the text ‘Help is not coming.’ It wasn’t alone, for below in, in considerably smaller black lettering was a response that read ‘Said the people who waited on us.’ The red letters had no response to that accusation, and fell silent in response.

My search proved mostly unfruitful for the next few hours, even as I managed to ascend several more floors. Not one further trace of the former inhabitants of the facility remained, it seemed, aside from trace remains of food wrappers scattered in a cafeteria, or a few clothes in a bedroom, with perhaps a picture on the wall here and there as a rare treat. The pictures I found did fascinate me greatly, however. They were small fragments of what was rapidly appearing to be a better time than the one I had been born into. The immortalized frame of a happy couple, a child and his parents, or two best friends lent a small illusion of life in the dead place that I was exploring, and gave me some insight into the world that preceded my own. I saw, in these pictures, sprawling cities unlike any of the ones in my databanks. Rooftop photo-shoots gave me glimpses of extraordinary architecture, towering behemoths that reached far into the sky to give company to the monolithic airships and airplanes that dotted the sky. I saw perfectly preserved forests, encapsulated within bubble-like constructs at every level of altitude among these mega-cities. I saw habitation for more humans than my incomplete histories had recorded existing. I saw many things in these pictures, and with each glimpse I needed to see more.

Twenty hours, fifteen minutes, and fifty-three seconds after my birth, I stepped into the first floor of the facility that was my womb. All around me, shattered remains of what was supposed to be a warm, welcoming first glimpse at a place that was undoubtedly intended to be a long term residence for all of its inhabitants surrounded me. Above me, a sign proudly exclaimed ‘Welcome to Fort Hope!’ As limited as my emotional capabilities were, I felt profoundly unsettled at the entire ensemble. More so than any other place I had encountered thus far, this place was meant to be alive, and the bright and cheery colors, even if slightly faded, served as a mockery of the life it had once housed. The urgency of my quest seemed to subside for a moment as I stepped through the ruined lobby. The foot-thick door that had once served to protect this place from intruders had been completely obliterated, and the only remnants of its existence were bits of slag that surrounded its scorched frame. I knew my destination was close at hand. With no trepidation, I stepped through the portal and beheld the surface.

The first thing I saw was the sun rising, and I was blinded momentarily as I adjusted my optics to compensate. The second thing I saw were destroyed vehicles. Those advanced tools of war and destruction were scattered around like the firearms from the barracks, burned out husks of their former selves. The third thing I noticed was that the landscape was profoundly different from the information I had previously received. The entire land, for miles, was barren. The fortress I had been spawned in stood like a tombstone to and endless stretch of shattered metal and irradiated dust. In the distance, the ruined shell of a city overlooked the wasteland around it. The world, as I had thus far been taught to perceive it, did not exist. I perceived no signs of life around me.

As the compulsion to explore began to overtake me again, I thought back to the Creator, pondering his fragile, weakened state, and I wondered if I should return to him, now that I had a shorter route to and from the surface plotted out, or if I should continue my explorations and return at a later time.



- - - -
DP - Explore or return?
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2012 3:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

this is incredible Syr!! i love it!! the pretense and landscape are hard and terrible, but the innocence and curiosity encapsulated in this tiny creature are contagious. the love of "Creator" warms the heart. i just love it! can't wait to see more!!

i say, let's go back to creator. he created us with the purpose of "living", but perhaps we can give a little back in gratitude by living...with him! it was stated in the beginning that he's at the end of his life cycle anyways...why not keep him from dying alone?

really, loving it, Syr! can't wait to see more!
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2012 4:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is awesome! I love the way you describe the environment in the perspective of Little One. It felt right, believable.

Little One had seen enough for one day. I think it's question time with Creator, especially about what Little One's discovered so far. I'm also curious to know if Little One has "sentimental feelings" towards his creator.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2012 1:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Little one seems to be more curious than emotionally attached to this 'creator'. I would say that he continues his searching for a bit, he is oblivious to the time and stuff as his eagerness to search takes over. With it already being twenty+ hours, whats to say the creator is even still alive down there waiting for him?
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2012 11:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Syra!


Much in agreement with the others here. I'm continuing to enjoy this story very much indeed. Little One is adorable, no other word for it. It's/his journey through the underground building, discovering all these little bits and pieces and hearing how he perceives them...I dunno, it just seems to make me think of a child making the same discoveries. Despite Little One's knowledge of the world already, there is a distinct innocence about him, which I find very endearing. But this doesn't take away from the fact that he is of Artificial Intelligence. It's very well done! Smile


Just a couple of things I found here...

Quote:
As continued to search for answers that would tell me more of what happened in the time before my creation, I happened to crawl into a large office-like room.


Think there should be an 'I' after the 'As' at the beginning.

Quote:
Computers existed in various states of ruination atop ruined desks, all centered around a large, ruined husk of a supercomputer.


I was struck by the repetative usage of ruined/ruination here, though it does strike me that it possibly might be done on purpose, as the chapter comes from the point of view of a creature of artificial intelligence, hence it merely describes things as they are rather than looking for variation. Given how well edited the rest of this chapter and former is, I'm thinking this is very likely the case, but thought I'd mention it anyway, so it doesn't seem like I overlooked it. Wink

Quote:
It took several hours, but I managed to climb twenty-two flights of stairs before my next obstruction made itself apparent. The stairs above me were covered in more rubble, and it became apparent that I would have to abandon my current route in favor of a new one.


This double usage is a little jarring. Maybe change one for 'obvious'?

Quote:
The red letters had no response to that accusation, and fell silent in response.


Same here with the word 'response'. The one after the comma could just go completely with a slight rewording. Maybe ...and merely fell silent.


For the dp, I think he should go back to The Creator and put some questions to him. See if he can gain some answers about the world above before he walks blindly into it.

Looking forward to the next chappie, Syra! Keep up the good work! Smile

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2012 11:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with Sagi... I think it would be best to head back down, and question the Creator now that we have new information. And to see the progress on what he's been working on, of course. There's obviously a reason that the Creator hasn't ventured more than a few stories upward, and it would be best to know why. Even if the tragedy is too great for him to discuss the history of Fort Hope, simply knowing what dangers are out there that he is hiding from will be helpful. I'd just assume not get kidnapped by barbarian tech snatchers or crushed by once-human mutants, or what have you.

Also, I'm sometimes bad with being able to give compliments, but... seriously, this is impressive. The amount of detail and imagery that you provide- full and complete, without being excessive to the point of bogging down the story- is quite awesome.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 2:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The creator will surely have the updated information needed. And as he's in a frail and weakened condition, Little One should return to him with all haste to retrieve that information. Obviously, his creator didn't tell him everything as Little One had previously assumed.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 12:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Return the Creator I say, and relay all you have seen and stored in your memory banks, and find out what happened to the planet to leave it in such desolation.

I know it took me awhile to get to this Syranore but thank you for being so patient and waiting. I really do enjoy this and I like to get a time when I'm not being distracted by people or work to give it the proper read it deserves. Smile

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 12:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry for lack of responsiveness with the poll. It's up now. Thanks one and all for the feedback.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 2:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Voted!
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 12:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think it's unanimous XD ROFL
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2012 2:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think you may be right! Laughing
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2012 11:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I regret missing the voting, but i agree with the result. you seem to be illustrating how Little One grows an understanding of emotion and life. I think that he needs to see the creator facing his own mortality to aid that process.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 10:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Directive
Chapter 2: Concern



I decided to return to the Creator. His time was obviously very limited, and there was no way to be sure just how much information he could give me, though a part of me was inclined to note that he had intentionally withheld information. Nonetheless, the outside world wasn’t going to go anywhere.

The journey downward was considerably easier than its counterpart had been. With a route already determined, it was a simple matter to get back down to the Creator’s residence. The largest obstruction was my own inclination to explore, but aside from a few fruitless side-stops, I made relatively good time. I must note that it was somewhat confusing to be compelled to explore despite my knowledge of how inefficient it was with my time. It was as if there was an unknown current in my processors, disrupting my intentions with distracting impulses.

In a quarter of the time it took me to find the surface, I returned to the bottom floor and noticed immediate change. Much of the rubble seemed to be missing now, and when I neared the room that the Creator resided in, I noticed an interesting machine that I deduced was used to give his limbs and back additional support and strength, similar to a set of artificial limbs.

When I entered the room, the Creator immediately ceased whatever work he was attending to and turned to me, smiling slightly. “Greetings, Little One. How was your exploring?” he said. I noted that there was a slight strain in his inflection, as if he was trying to suppress some other emotion that he did not wish to display. I decided to dismiss it, as thus far the Creator had shown no ill intent, and I did not wish to risk him becoming too upset to answer any queries I had.

“Informative,” I answered flatly. “The data that I gathered on the surface was inaccurate. I also found evidence of former habitation of this installation. What became of the residents?” This query seemed to startle the Creator, and he quickly descended into a series of rattling coughs. “You are unwell, Creator.”

This seemed to amuse him, for a reason I could not begin to fathom. “Ahh, time is a cruel mistress indeed. A simple cold that I could have shaken off in my younger days nearly cripples me now, it seems,” he responded, sinking into a worn looking armchair. “The other residents... They’ve been gone for a long time now. Some of them left after they figured out help wasn’t coming. I hope they’ve done well for themselves, though I fear that the world outside is no less cruel than the last time I saw daylight. The others...We decided to stay. The automated systems were more or less intact at the time, and it would have kept us alive for quite a while. Fate had other plans, it seems, and I am the only one left.” The Creator let out a dry chuckle, devoid of any mirth. “It looks like I’ll be joining the rest soon, and you’ll have to manage without me.”

I experienced dread for the first time at that point. The sensation, I can only describe as sinking, a weight on my entire chassis that I couldn’t escape. What could possibly be the only other sentient being I would ever know would be gone. At that point I made what was probably the most important realization I have ever made.

I did not want to be alone.

The Creator noticed my silence, and picked me up. “Little One, there’s so much for you to explore and experience in this broken world I brought you into, but I would ask you to indulge an old man for a while. I would very much appreciate the company, and I would very much like to hear of the things you have learned.”

I am not sure why I stayed, but I did. I told him everything that I had seen. I told him about the ruins that I had crawled through. He smiled sadly when I told him of the hard drive I had recovered, and the personal logs held within. I told him of the data I’d found of the surface, and how it differed greatly from what I had seen, and he nodded, idly mentioning how it would be long before the radiation subsided completely. He sighed despondently when I mentioned the skeleton and the evidence of violence, muttering about how he wishes that he had kept better contact with the others, and the tragedy of suicide. As I explained everything to him, I found myself entranced with another source of knowledge that I had never expected. Every word he spoke, every fact that he took in, subtle changes in his expression flitted along his worn and weathered face. Every crease and shift was a sensory overload as my processors took in and tried to interpret every movement of his eyes and mouth, and at that moment I believe that if only for a moment, I perceived what humans have always called the soul.

Every sentence he spoke reinforced a new, rapidly growing sentiment within me, though I am not sure I could, at the time, properly grasp the full meaning and implications of having sentiments at all. I did not want him to die. This I already knew, from my previous revelation. What I did not expect, though, was how tiny a role that revelation played in this new desire. I wanted the Creator to live, I wanted him to be healthy, and I did not want to see him suffer as he was. This was the first time that I experienced worry.

The conversation lasted an hour and a half before the Creator fell asleep. For about an hour more I simply remained still in the Creator’s lap, plugged into the recharging station that he had made for me. I was far from idle though. My processes were centered around recovering more of the corrupted data I had found, and I was finally done recovering another entry.

- - - -

February 28, 2671 A.D.
Entry #4

They’re all insane. The EAW launched nukes as us! They were all shot down, but that’s not much comfort, now that the nuclear option has officially been put on the table. The President says that we’ll never resort to their level. Let’s see how long that lasts.

I finished the initial program yesterday. It’s strange. The solution to the problem was relatively simple. A program writing more programs and deleting them as needed. When I tried to run it, though, it crashed the entire system! I’m beginning to see why we needed so much hardware. This laptop I’m on simply can’t handle what I’m asking of it without getting caught in an infinite loop. I’m not entirely sure what the problem is, but somewhere along the lines, every time I run it, it ends up creating a program that sends it into a recursive loop. This is going to keep me up at night for a while, I think.

- - - -

After I was finished charging, I decided to journey back to the surface. It was apparent that the Creator would not last much longer without medical treatment, and I decided that my next course of action would be to find it. Not only would further exploration satiate the strange fire that always seemed to race through my processes, but it would perhaps ease the suffering and prolong the lifespan of the Creator.

I once more made the trip skyward, only occasionally stopping to explore a room here and there that I hadn’t previously. I wasn’t entirely sure why, but I had started collecting the images from the various photographs that I had found along the way. It was like holding pieces of the world that had come before me, and a part of my processes considered that it was a strange fulfillment of the human obsession of remembrance. I found myself pondering an old sonnet. ‘Look upon my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’ It seemed unfitting that nothing but sand and words stand in tribute to the race that fathered me, and I thus committed to memory every face that I had seen recorded, despite the likely uselessness of such a gesture. To be forgotten seemed the worst fate the world ever had doled out, and perhaps if the world were preserved in a memory as unfaltering as mine, the mistakes of the past that had caused my Creator to fall into the state of disrepair that he now existed in might never be repeated.

The medical wing of Fort Hope possessed little of its namesake, being nearly devoid of any medicine or hope. Even if the room hadn’t been completely irradiated, what little of the medicine and equipment wasn’t broken, rusted, or leaking was so far from sterile that it would only bring the Creator closer to death if he were brought into contact with them. The options that would lead to a healthier Creator were either nonexistent or simply not present at this location. My self-ordained task was clear, though, and I would not be deterred.

Humanity has, in many of its works, described a sense of urgency that comes to it in times of trouble. Like the opposite of my very own power source, whatever it was that drove humanity forward seemed capable of putting forth more into a task the longer it went on, provided the task was of the utmost importance. My processes mirrored this in a strange way at that period of time. I began to redirect and pause nonessential processes to focus on my search. The last to be paused was my recovery of the corrupted journal files, but even that made way to the subdirective I had created for myself. The Creator required healing, and I would aid in the process. My search was far from exhaustive, but in the time I searched, I managed to cover seventy-two percent of the residential floors, as well as completely searching the commissary, the barracks, and the lobby, to no avail. I found more problems than solutions among the ruins. The water and air filtration systems were at minimal functionality, and halfway through the search, I decided to turn off my geiger counter simply because the radiation hadn’t dipped below lethal levels once. After twenty-eight hours and thirty-two minutes of searching, I began to wonder if the Creator’s problems could be solved with a few antibiotics and antimicrobials. At the very least, his suffering might be temporarily alleviated, but it wasn’t a permanent solution.

It was a permanent solution that I needed, not these transient and temporary repairs that I had previously planned. Seeing the extent of the damage done seemed an odd reflection of my Creator, so damaged, so weathered and broken. I began to wonder if repairing one might help the other. So many of the life support mechanisms built into Fort Hope had failed over the years, and it was a testament to the men who designed and built the facility that the entire place had not collapsed. There was a good chance that an act as simply purifying the air and water could give precious time back to the Creator.

There was another option though, a gamble, perhaps, but the payoff had the potential that far exceeded what I could find here. The ruined city was perhaps two days of travel away, but if any medical supplies still existed intact within it, the chances of saving the Creator would become vastly multiplied. My own claws were far more versatile and advanced than a human hand, and my precision exceeded that of a doctor’s in the way that only the mechanical could. The decision was there, waiting to be made. The supplies of the city could easily, but repairing the facility could buy time in the short term, something that seemed to be sorely lacking.

You’ve seen the recordings I made of the facility, after all.

- - - -
DP- Stay and fix? Go and search? Safe bet, or gamble?
- - - -
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 10:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice one. I like the way Little One is developing. It's both logical and relatable, something difficult to pull off.

I think he should do the repairs first. If nothing else, it could buy time he needs to go to the town. Additionally, it could make the pace livable for other people if he finds them.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 2:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Once again, solid writing and plot progression. I'm not nearly as confident as Little One is about the odds of finding medicine in the city, or that he'd be able to get it hassle-free and easily carry back to Creator. It's possible... but it's going to take some time. The city's going to be a lot bigger than Fort Hope. It'd take time to locate stuff, even if the city is empty yet not scavenged. Neither is likely to be true.

I'm with Swan. Best to fix the water/air, and give him some of the generic meds. It's not a cure, but it's a stop-gap measure that will give him the time he needs for a more lasting cure.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 6:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm going to go a bit further with the fixing of the water/air for the Creator as a short term fix and the generic medicines that are safe to give him if possible... but also, while the Creator rests and recouperates his strength... why doesn't Little One make a sort of cart or put heels of some kind on the extensions the Creator made for his own body to make them more comfortable/less exhausting on the Creator to use... that way the Creator has an easier time of it while Little One is in the City investigating things to bring back?

It has been a long time since I enjoyed a sci-fi story and much longer since I actually liked a post-apocalyptic story, Syra. Well done and keep it up!

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 8:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great chapter, Syra. Little One is such a lovable character.

Any quick short term fixes can be done, must be done before Little One leaves for his quest for the much needed resources to extend Creator's life.
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2012 11:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Syra!


Great new chapter, the quality very much in keeping with your first and the prologue. As Sagi stated, Little One is such a loveable and endearing character, and, though I've likely said so before, it's quite the accompishment to bring such qualities to a character while also maintaining that it/he isn't a living thing, but a machine. I'm also loving these little hints of human-like traits that you're bringing in. The appearence and growth of curiousity, worry, sentiment and dread, the knowledge of impending loneliness which I have to say had my heart going out to Little One from the off. And had me almost worrying myself about what was going to happen to him when he truly was alone.


For the dp, as the Creator's end is inevitable unless help is found, I think that Little One should head up to the surface. It kills two birds with one stone, as he may possibly find something to help the Creator and at the same time he can explore and get a feel for the world above.


Much enjoyed! Keep up the good work! Smile

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2012 12:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

He's got to fix what he can before he wanders off. He needs to buy the Creator the extra time that the journey into the City would demand. Just in case he encounters a situation he didn't foresee.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2012 5:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i love it, Syr!! the way Little One experiences and describes emotion is incredible. it's almost like the reader is also experiencing it for the first time, or it causes us to remember something that also made us feel this way. i just love it!!

for the DP i'm going to go with the others and say lets fix what we can here for now. =) keep it up!! i love it!!
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2012 9:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fantastic job, Syranore! I adore Little One. And I love the mystery/discovery of this story - how we, as readers, learn about the world as Little One does.

I have to agree with the majority here on the DP, and say that Little One should fix what it can of the Fort Hope facilities before venturing to the city. It could help prolong the Creator's life, plus it will give the Creator company (and Little One will have the company of the Creator, which is becoming more and more important to it as time goes on).

This is great! Keep going! Very Happy
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