The Inevitable, part 10

A Chinese symbol for “inevitable”

A message from Fred comes hurtling through the information traffic, snapping Rob out of his investigative reverie.

“Here’s your old memory file. The information it contains will help you operate parts of my network.

Install it.”

Again, these words are not spoken, or even written. They are transmitted across the web of electrical devices separating Rob from Fred, and sent through the airwaves to the supercomputer that Rob used to think was his brain.

Reading the volumes of binary code is as easy as hearing for Rob, and carries the same emotional impact.

The fast-paced activity is wearing on him. He’s beginning to wonder if the only way to keep this up long-term is to shut off his consciousness, going back to that sightless ethereality.

He’s not sure if this is the result of an extended period of being “human”, or if Fred designed it that way: to overload his conscious self until he is nothing but a mindless tool.

He’ll have to shut Fred down fast.

Taking the virtual file, Rob analyzes it’s content. The file is huge.

“How much of this is actually instructions? The system can’t be that complex?”

The “file” is more like a program, with numerous folders containing myriad files.

He opens it, virtually of course, and begins installation.

Another message from Fred. “Installing the file will draw a lot of power. Shut yourself down to conserve our energy source.”

Those feelings of independence rise within Rob again, unbidden, and stronger this time.

For once, he will not be told what to do.

As various files install, they give him new information, and more power over the vast system.

He tracks the signals coming from Fred, or whatever device Fred is using. As soon as Fred’s message ends, Rob notices that he isn’t being tracked.

For whatever reason, Fred doesn’t know what Rob is doing.

Driven to recklessness by the intoxicating desire for autonomy, Rob doesn’t shut down. He waits for the full installation, hoping against hope that Fred doesn’t decide to check on him, and discover his disobedience.

To his surprise, most of the program is instructions for using the system. Passwords, protocol, advanced code with power that borders on the arcane, all firmly implanted in his hard drive.

There are still some files left, collected into one relatively small folder.

He continues the installation, and his android muscles give way in shock.

The remaining files are memories.

Memories of his past life.

Memories neither Fred nor Art has told him about.

To be continued…