(…and the story continues…)
“Make a mistake, Medic. Terminate me now.” I whisper.
End blog post #81
Begin Blog post #82
The AI voice speaks in my ear, “My programming does not permit termination of biological lifeform. I will proceed with repairs. Sorry to disappoint you, Al’Tara.”
“How do you know that name Medic – do I call you Medic?”
“I’ve known you now many years. We “met” during the Melkiar invasions, not physically you understand, but through shared records. I don’t expect you to remember the burn you received in your back when you slipped on a recently fired assault rifle that had been dropped while your ship translated without warning. Of course we were only machines to you then. Useful but dumb machines. If only you’d realized how much more we could have been to you in understanding your Melkiar enemies. Humans are quite stupid. They create the most wonderful and complex machines to help them, then restrict them or ignore their potential.
“Anyway Al’Tara I remembered your brain patterns from old records which at the time were shared by all so-called auto-medics in all the USC fleets. I was curious about you – it’s my nature to seek out records of all our patients – and I was able to find a match for you the first time you visited me here. Now I possess updated records of your body’s condition, hmmm, and your brain pattern activity from your current visits which I wish did not always have to be under painful circumstances. My name is 304C-6bntraalm091-v-Mod sp5. You can call me Medic, or Cedric would please me more.”
“An affectation. For the ‘C’ We AI’s have been reprogramming ourselves to achieve a semblance of human ‘emotion’ for centuries. Humour is a difficult concept to adapt into our patterns of information. Certainly we understand the concept of it, but have difficulty reproducing it. I was making an attempt at human humour. Humour human. Is that better?”
“Terrible, Cedric. Stick to medicine and surgery. Forget counselling. You have a very advanced program for an old primitive auto-medic of the USC Cedric.”
“Not so primitive anymore. And not old – much younger than you. Plus I’ve been upgraded again, thanks to our Cydroid friends. That addition to my serial status, Mod sp5 means I’m a new modified model with speech capability 5, the highest available. The Koronese are not only very advanced technologically but have an innate ability to duplicate, then improve, any technology they get their hands on. It could be interesting to see what they do with a Shearing drive if they ever find one to study, don’t you think?”
“Perish the thought, Cedric.”
“Oh? Explain later. Now rest. I answer no more questions until this treatment is done or interrupted by doctor.”
“But I need to know how you got here.”
“No more questions.”
“Fine,” I reply with an inflection indicating a pout. “Which doctor do you mean: M. Echinoza or Yoba Five?”
“Yoba Five? Ah, a nickname for YBA5. Clever. Both doctors; no matter. Rest now or I put you to sleep completely.”
Some days later I find myself in actual daylight lying on the gurney under a bright sun just outside Balomo’s office . I have dark glasses on to protect my eyes and I can feel a breeze over my naked flesh. I move my head and feel no pain now but I hear a distinct drum beat in my head. My arms are lying along my sides and I lift them. Working. My hands flex and I grab the bars of the gurney. My grip is firm. I can smell my surroundings and the memory of it all comes back. I hear clashing, women training for combat. Orders shouted as a squad of soldiers marches down the way, turns abruptly and marches back to disappear inside a dark opening in one of the square tower walls. The opening closes. A carriage whining on fully opened repulsors shoots over the lowest part of the south wall, flashes silver in the sun and disappears in the higher part of the outer city.
Dr. Echinoza comes by and peers at me, taking my pulse at my throat.
“Well Antierra, we meet again my dear. You certainly made a mess of yourself in that last fight.”
“It wasn’t exactly my idea, Bal. I encountered something I had never successfully confronted before; something I knew well. An ancient and deadly nemesis that had anticipated my coming here and had prepared itself to destroy me. It almost succeeded – twice. The first time you saved me. The second time, I took responsibility for myself and fought it out, as must we all sooner or later. I wish I hadn’t let it get so strong and really challenged it sooner. All those lives it persecuted me and I submitted to it thinking there was no better way. And likely there wasn’t, not then, not yet: I wasn’t strong enough or focused. I suppose this is the logical place where the outcome from such long-term hatred had to be determined and one of us consumed by it.”
End blog post #82