Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
It took some time to get down to the first reactor core. The one that wasn’t shut down, of course. Seeing as how he didn’t have to jump down this time, he took it at a leisurely pace, the creatures behind him silent. He glanced at them as he walked, taking the steps slowly and deliberately. The woman was looking at him with such fury that he was sure his face would have melted off if not for the fact that he was made from metal that didn’t melt at regular temperatures.
“So, what are your names?” he asked conversationally, and the female robot growled.
“It isn’t any of your business,” she spat, and the male sighed.
“I am Ethan,” he said, giving Dominic a smile, “And she is Halle.” He took a moment before the name registered within him.
“2001 a space odyssey!” he exclaimed, and he turned to them, walking backward for a moment. They were looking at him oddly.
“What, you’ve never seen that movie? Let me give you a synopsis!” And so he prattled on for quite some time, explaining the mechanics, themes, and his own opinions about the movie. He mentioned Hal, of course, and related it back to the woman’s name. They continued to walk as Dominic spoke, going backwards down stairs as well as down the halls.
“What,” the woman said, seething, “Does this have to do with anything? We came to learn about your methods, not your leisurely habits!”
“Oh yes, thank you for reminding me! So the homicidal robot, as mentioned, is name Hal. Are you homicidal, Halle?”
“Shut up,” she said simply, “and hurry up. We have somewhere to be.” Dominic shrugged, spinning around and walking forward again. He tried his hardest not to be like a giddy child, but he think he knew what these people were. They were cyborgs. How that prevented radiation poisoning, he did not know. Perhaps they had some kind of field around them to prevent their deaths? Surely that had to be the answer. Still, he had no way to test the theory. Might as well be blunt about it, he decided.
“So do you have some kind of field that prevents radiation poisoning?” he asked, sounding as innocent as possible. The female cyborg stiffened, and the Ethan’s eyes widened.
“How could you possibly-”
“No,” Halle said, giving him a vicious glare before turning to Dominic, “Stop assuming things.”
“You were built at least thirty years ago,” Ethan continued, mystified, “How could you possibly have inferred that?” Had it really been so long? It felt like it was just yesterday that he was ripped away from— He didn’t want to think about that, he remembered. He kept that far from his train of thought, no matter the circumstances. Being upset about his past didn’t fix anything; it certainly didn’t make it any less awful. All it did was make him sad, and that wasn’t going to help him figure out how to beat Ai at chess. Nothing could really help him with that, though.
“I’m smarter than I look,” he gloated, and he could picture the winning smile on his face. But there was no smile, because he had no face. He hoped his words would convey that expression.
“That doesn’t say much,” Halle muttered, and Dominic shrugged.
“Well I am old, after all,” he said, “Thirty years is a long time for a robot to be functioning, don’t you think? And within all that time, no one’s really come to visit.” With that, he stopped where he stood and gave them both a once-over.
“So I do wonder why they sent to cyborgs to see me. Cyborgs that are certainly more machine than human. Wouldn’t a human emessary make more sense, do you think? If you can make these fields, someone would have had to come. And yet they didn’t.”
“It is relatively new technology,” Ethan said, a good natured smile on his face, “But I understand your questions. We aren’t at liberty to answer, but know that—”
“I have had enough of this idle prattle,” Halle said, taking a menacing step towards Dominic, “It is clear that you do not run this facility properly. We assumed you dead with how the power has been these last few years; the fluctuations have been unremarkable, but steadily worsening.”
“Uh huh,” Dominic said, “I’m curious to know why you’re cyborgs. How long has this technology been around?”
“We are the most advanced,” Ethan supplied helpfully before withering under the glare from Halle. He cleared his throat.
“Yes, but we aren’t here to talk about ourselves. We were quite interested in knowing how you function.” Dominic was slightly taken aback at the question. Halle was staring at him intently, only a hint of malice behind her one human eye. Ethan seemed eagerly interested, despite his fear of his companion. Dominic shrugged.
“Well how do you expect me to talk about myself when you’re clearly unwilling to talk about yourselves? And here I thought you came to look at the cores.”
“Okay, this game is done,” Halle said as she pulled out a futuristic gun from a holster Dominic had not seen, “You are going to give us the schematics, and you’re going to do it now.”
“I’m terribly confused, “Dominic said, putting his hands up, “What schematics? Also, why lie about wanting to see the reactor cores?”
“To bring you to a place where your precious computer cannot help you,” Halle said, smirking. She cocked the gun. So she was homicidal. Go figure.
“Of yourself, she means,” Ethan said, “We want to know how you were built. Your creators were not specific with how they built you.” That was a sore subject. He felt something foreign, something he didn’t want to deal with. Loss.
“You are making a mistake, cyborgs,” Ai chimed in, her voice reverberating through the hall, “I may not be able to interact with you myself, but you’ll need to leave the facility at some point.” Dominic would have grinned if he could. He knew of the hidden weapon system in the building. It was old, unused, and possibly malfunctioning, but it was his ace in the hole. Still, it wasn’t as if he didn’t have his own skillset.
“Look, I don’t want to get my lab coat dirty,” he said, “So make it easier on all of us. Get out of here. Now.” Halle bared her teeth and shot. A laser flew from the gun, and Dominic dodged with speed he almost didn’t know he had, calling out his thrusters. With a plume of fire and smoke, Dominic blasted his way through the cyborgs and dodged the laser fire. He heard them cry out behind him as he flew. Oh well, he mused, they’d just have to catch him.
He flew straight through the building, dodging laser fire as he went, the two cyborgs much faster than he’d anticipated. Dominic kicked his thrusters up a notch, sending him flying through the air much faster than he’d ever flown before. He always had this capability, he just never used it. And it was a great thing that he’d managed to rest. Without all this energy, he’d surely be dead by now.
“0X239,” Ai was saying, “Get out.”
“And leave you here?” he called, “Hell no. But for goodness’ sake, Ai, can you please call me Dominic? For once in our lives?”
“We aren’t alive,” came her response.
“You know what I mean!” There was a pause as Dominic found himself in the atrium. The turrets were already deployed, the rusted weapons targeting the hallway he’d come from. He deactivated his thrusters, falling to the ground with a clang and drawing out his sword. It was an attatchment he’d come up with some time ago; it sat in his hip, and all he had to do was press a button to remove it. He wielded it carefully, pressing a button on it while it was not pointed at his face, thank you very much. Fire exploded from the hilt, and formed itself into a blade. He grinned internally. Fire blades were pretty useful: they cut through just about anything with great precision. Especially cyborgs. Although he wasn’t interested in killing anyone; if he could avoid that, he’d be happy.
Halle came running in, laser gun pointed at him. He stood there, watching her carefully, weapon in hand.
“So,” she said, “It’s just you and me, now.”
“Where is your friend?” he asked, “Did he do the right thing and leave?” She chuckled.
“You could say that. Let’s say he doesn’t have the stomach for spilled blood. Or whatever makes up your insides.”
“That’s funny,” he said, “Because you do have several turrets pointed in your direction.” She frowned, looking around. And, indeed, the turrets were pointed directly at her.
“If you don’t leave,” he said, “You’ll probably die. And that’ll suck for all parties involved.”
“I’m not leaving!” she yelled, walking forward, “You’re going to give me the schematics or I’ll survey your insides myself, you fucking piece of trash!” Dominic nodded once, and the turrets opened fire. The lasers that were shot exploded upon impact with her, and smoke billowed out.
“0X239, there is a situation. The male is planting charges in the reactor core.”
“What!?” Dominic cried. He activated his thrusters once again, flying right back where he’d come from, leaving Halle to the turrets.