FutureBlog by Pete Nicholls, chapter 3
Sato survived the fall--but who was that woman? And how is she surviving in the M Levels?
When we last saw Sato, he had narrowly survived a fatal fall with the help of… who was that woman? Sato remembers more for you in this week’s FutureBlog! Want to start at the beginning? Do that here!
22220802 posted by Sato Nakamoto
I remember seeing, as I fell, the faces of people looking on in horror as they watched me descend as fast as gravity would pull me. In hindsight that is, of course, impossible. I couldn't have seen people because they simply are not permitted this far down into the M's. I must have seen the various robots that go about their programmed duties down here. The trouble with that is—why were they looking at me in horror? Why were they looking at me at all? Normally, I would move among them and they would simply ignore me as any non-service-oriented robot should.
And was there… music playing? Days later, I ran the fall over and over in my mind and I began to recall hearing music. Bopp-bopp-bahhhh…? It was nothing I’ve ever heard before. Or maybe it was? I can only remember a bit of it.
But you want to know about the woman—certainly she was human, well, I believe she is—why else would she have such human and feminine features? She was above me, four or five meters from the ground I found myself standing on, after that long fall, looking down at me from some sort of outcropping of what I assumed were cable conduits. Yes, another human this far under Saviordome and down easily a kilometer from any actual surface light. How did she get supplementary D vitamins down here? She’d have needed them to survive this long. For that matter, how could she have avoided detection? And why is she hiding down in the M’s?
I assumed that she was staring at me because she just stood there, partially in shadow. She wore a mask of circuitry that covered her face and had very short hair. In my mind’s eye, I can still see her partially in that shadow and partially in that lone shaft of bright blue light coming down from… who knows? Details like the curve of her hips, her athletic, muscular frame and the hint of breasts beneath a rather tight suit of some kind that covered most of her body excluding her left arm and shoulder. Across the fabric of the suit seemed to run wires—or rather lines that mimicked wires. That could have been precisely what they were, I suppose, but I currently have no way of knowing for certain.
"Do I owe thanks to you for saving me?" I called out to her.
She took a deep breath and suddenly the floor beneath me, or rather a meter-square portion of the floor beneath me, began to rise, lifting me upward. In seconds I found myself moving skyward so quickly I had a difficult time standing. I knelt down, held on to the edges of the meter-square platform and called out to her but I had already past her by. I looked upward and saw a ceiling directly in my path. I immediately became concerned that my life had been spared only for fun or accident and that I was about to become squashed for either of the same reasons.
I couldn't be sure how close or big that ceiling was at any given moment because, as I’ve said, everything was so disorienting down there. However, I know I watched the ceiling for a long time. It kept getting bigger and bigger until suddenly I was jerked to my right. I was thrown from the platform onto another one and was immediately off again, this time riding on a rather large metal claw of some kind riding, I think on a track. I sat in the sort of palm of it as its sharp metal fingers bent up around me to keep me safe, seemingly... that said, they were very sharp—enough to draw blood I would estimate.
Before I could begin to tell how long I had been in the claw it turned itself perpendicular to the ground and deposited me onto the floor of the large lobby I had first entered into with the intent on entering the M Levels.
How in the world had I gotten there? I'm not sure. Who or what was in control of my journey? As I turned around to look at where the claw had been, I saw it flipping over the edge of the balcony and disappearing back, down the wall that supported the lobby's balcony. At this point, there was no track for the claw to have ridden upon so I have no idea how it was able to deliver me to the lobby at all, let alone so quickly.
Who was that woman? I have no idea.
Was I lucky to be alive? That much is certain.
At this point, however, I am hooked like an extinct salmon! Who ever she is, I need to find out.
The frustration of it all is that my antics in the M’s that night were captured by a security sensor which captured video of my fall and immediately dispatched it to my employer at the SNA. I've been told to stay away from the M's for the foreseeable future. The good news for you, faithful readers, and the bad news for me is that I don't really like to stay away from a good story when I smell one. Of course, I can suppress a story for a time, I can be a good little patriot. The trouble is, I don't even have a story yet, so there's nothing to suppress, is there?
So, I won't be backing away from this story. Not unless—well, I’m honestly not sure what would keep me away from a human…alive in the M’s. Not even the… that’s right—I haven’t told you about Ryca yet…
“She” is the other bit of trouble for me. My employer at the SNA assigned a secdroid to me. A secdroid is a sort of robot equipped with AI to "help it be a better 'bot" as the advertising slogan goes. The secdroids the SNA uses are from a corporation called Chendyck Industries, they happen to be one of the many sponsors of the United State Governance, so naturally, their products are favored by it. Their new secdroids are very nearly human looking. They’re also modular and come in body types—large, small, anywhere in between. Whether you’re a shallow corporate-type who needs to be surrounded by beauty and wants a phalanx of olympic athletes or a shallow government official who seems to need to be surrounded by the ugliness of sloped shouldered, gangly security guards from a bland nightmare, there is a CI secdroid model for you.
There is little that is more depressing to me than people who care about android esthetics.
Absurd, really. As long as it fulfills it’s function, why waste the brainpower?
My secdroid was female and slim, I think this was done to keep me from feeling aggression toward it. Everyone’s got a mother, right? Won't work on me, of course. While I have nothing against women generally, Ryca, as it has asked me to call her, could never pass for human. Her plastic flesh moves too unnaturally over her chassis. Undoubtedly, as she sits there, watching me type this content, she could pass, but ask her to move and all doubt vanishes—at least to my eye. I think it used to be called “the uncanny valley” when an android couldn’t quite pull off a visual Turing Test.
Now we just call it “bad engineering.”
You can also hear her nano-servos hum ever so softly when you are near her. It's quite a distracting giveaway in a quiet room—at least to my ears.
Aaaand--she's looking over my shoulder just now.
I’ve told her not to do that.
I told her I'm only blogging and that there's nothing to be suspicious of.
She sat back down.
How in the world did she get so close to me without me noticing? I must be enjoying this blog a bit too much. I should be careful.
So, how am I going to evade this secdroid who has a human name fetish? I have a plan for that. How will I protect this plan? First, I talk to Arif, my college friend and current advanced temporal technology scientist, with the time-traveling blogging service. Get him to lock my blog down with my DNA and a QPP (Quantum Pass Phrase). I’ll also need to enable NRDP (Narrow Refraction Display Cloaking) on my dev’s display so that Ryca, or anyone else looking over my shoulder, will see text skinned from some other AI’s output rather than mine. Once all that is done, I’ll be able to actually explain my plan… maybe. Regardless…
Thanks for reading! The next chapter will be out next week, assuming I can edit it in time! Got thoughts on FutureBlog?
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