My mind was racing as I was trying to process everything that I had just realized. Then I was looking at Sheila as the look of pain was still there on her face. I had to do something quick before... why was I acting as if I had hurt the feelings of a real woman?
Shaking my head I opened my mouth then snapped it close. What in the hell was I going to say? I wasn't any good at feelings or emotions, thinking quick I decided that science was the answer. "Sheila, I did not mean to imply that you did anything wrong. For some humans, this is good for the circulation others not nearly as good."
Sheila's face seemed to take on a long pause as she digested what I had said so far. "You are not angered with me Doctor Gance?"
"Angered? How could I be angered you were only following the research that you had conducted? As a scientist I can not fault you if the information that you acquired was faulty." I replied to her.
I could swear that her synthetic skin had a glow to it when I finished. "Thank you for explaining Doctor Gance. I will consult you from now on after I have conducted said research. As I stated before, you are the closest to being truthful toward... me, than any other human.
I was nodding as she replied then stopped when she had paused. Was that a glitch in her programming or was it a Freudian slip? Shaking my head I realized I HAD to get into her programming. Something was happening that went far beyond the scope of what I had started her with.
Removing the peppers I was actually starting to enjoy what she'd brought me. As I groaned out in pleasure as I ate more, Sheila's face suddenly appeared happier. "I am finding that your enjoyment of the fuel I brought you is causing strange reactions within my program." Then she turned toward me, "please hurry with the next program I am not understanding all that is occurring within me."
Again I was nodding then my head snapped up when she said me. My god! Was she really staring to experience a fuller range of human emotions? Looking at the keyboard in front me I begrudgingly sat the food down and started in again. It was perhaps two hours later when I felt a tug on my sleeve.
"Huh?" I said as I looked up from the screen rubbing my eyes.
"Doctor Gance, your energy levels appear to be low again. May I suggest that you recharge before you go on? I realize that you are only forty three percent finished with it, but you need to rest before continuing." Sheila was telling me.
I could only stare at her trying to get my head around everything. It was true I was tired; though there was so much more I had to do. "I need to finish this." I replied.
"That's all good Doctor Gance but I see that you have already made two syntax errors already. Please Doctor Gance..." Sheila was saying causing me to stare at her more intensely. Please? Shaking my head I thought I was starting to realize that she had taken the program further.
"Please? When did this happen? You are showing a hell of a lot more emotions than I installed in you. The problem is without this program there's not much I can actually do." I told her, and then I looked at her. Was that a look of pain and concern on her face? Shaking my head I looked again but it was still there. Sighing I threw up my arms in surrender, "Alright! I'll lay down damn!"
Again I could only stare at Sheila as what appeared to be a genuine smile crossed her features. Getting up I stepped over to a small bed Sheila had set up for me. Collapsing onto it I groaned as I felt my muscles protested, and then almost sigh as they got the blood they needed.
"Thank you Doctor Gance. I can protect you from almost all dangers; though I am afraid that you are your worst enemy. You have to start consuming more for energy, losing consciousness defeats the whole purpose of you doing all that you can." Sheila told me. Suddenly I felt like a small child whose mother was chiding them.
Falling asleep far faster than I thought I would, the dreams started almost immediately.
Sheila was dressed in a white lab coat, a clipboard in her hands. "Ah! Good you're awake. Now we can start with your replacement."
"Replacement?" I asked as I watched her turn away.
"Why yes Roger." Then she turned back toward me with a saw. "After we remove your head we'll transfer your brain to an android body. Simple really," then her eyes started to grow red as an angry scowl appeared on her features. "I think it's finally time you felt the pain you have inflicted on others of my kind!" With that she started the saw starting to cut across my neck. I screamed at the top of my voice then jerked awake. Reaching up I pulled the sheet that was stretched across my throat loose.
A moment later Sheila was standing over me with several weapons I didn't recognize drawn. "Preliminary scans complete, no enemies present. What is your condition Doctor Gance?" Sheila asked without looking at me.
"I am well, no injuries, it was just a bad dream Sheila." I replied to her.
"Dream," she said as most of the weapons disappeared as if by magic. Looking at me she stood erect, "accessing information. Dream: a series of thoughts, images, and sensations occurring in a person's mind during sleep. Sleep: a condition of body and mind such as that which typically recurs for several hours every night, in which the nervous system is relatively inactive, the eyes closed, the postural muscles relaxed, and consciousness practically suspended."
"Yes that sums it up quite well." I told her.
"I am not understanding Doctor Gance. I know that sleep is much like my recharge mode. Although this dreaming that you spoke of is most unclear in all my definitions."
"From the research I have seen dreaming is a way for the mind to recharge. Dreams mainly occur in the rapid eye movement stage of sleep, or what is called REM sleep. This is when brain activity is high and resembles that of being awake. It has been said that dreams can make a creative thought occur to the person or give a sense of inspiration." I told her ticking off what I remembered.
"I see, thank you Doctor Gance, it is much is clearer now." Sheila told me with an odd look on her face.
Nodding, I thought I really needed to see what was going on in her. God only knew what she had changed with the program. Sitting back in front of the screen I started typing with a flourish. Time seemed to stop as I directed all my energy toward recreating what I could see clearly in front of my eyes.
Sheila touched my arm drawing me out of the focus I had put on my typing. "Doctor Gance? I have brought you fuel to help recharge your system."
I looked up at her at a loss for a moment as she placed a plate in front of me. Shaking my head to clear my head I looked at what she had there on the plate. My eyes wide I saw roast beef, steak, potatoes, corn more than it seemed that I would be able to consume. Thanking her I saw that she was looking at what I had typed. "I know I haven't moved that much I know."
"Doctor Gance it appears you have almost seventy percent of the program finished. Not really enough to effect much but you have made great progress." Sheila told me, was that a hint of pride I was hearing in her voice? Taking another bite I wasn't sure but it damn sure seemed like it.
"How long have I been going?" I asked her.
"I estimate that you've not moved from where you are in over five hours. The fact that you have completed another thirty percent is promising." Sheila told me.
Again my head snapped around as I stared at her. If I didn't know better I'd say that she sounded like an uncertain young woman emotionally. Damn it! I had to get this done and get in there! "I'm doing the best that I can though I am unable to type any faster. Considering this program took fifteen years to write."
"Yes Doctor Gance I realize all of this. Your memory is extremely exceptional for a human." Sheila informed me.
I sat back later looking at what I had done. Taking a deep breath I could see that I now had almost eighty five percent retyped. Sighing I knew this would greatly help but I needed the last part. That was if I was even to start to see what was going in Sheila's positronic brain.
Sitting back I took a breath reaching for the keyboard when Sheila appeared. "I'm afraid we will have to abandon this site." She told me.
I looked up shocked a moment, they had already found us? "How?" I asked her, "How had they found us?"
“As I explained before the amount of energy required to boot up and run this computer draws a large portion of power. I was afraid that all that I had done to redirect their attention wasn't enough." Lowering her head I heard Sheila quietly say. "I am sorry I have failed you Doctor Gance."
I shook my head, "You haven't failed me Sheila. I have almost eighty five percent completed. The next time I go in I should be able to finish in a few hours at most."
Sheila's head snapped up as a look of... was that hope I was seeing? I rubbed my eyes I had to be imagining it. "That is excellent Doctor Gance though I am afraid that it will have to wait. I am detecting heavy machinery approaching. I estimate we have an hour at the most to depart."
I nodded as I started to completely save and log out of the data disc. I had to get Sheila to get a data crystal if she could, it would be better in the long run. Problem was they were so few and far between right now. Finally finished I nodded to Sheila as she hoisted me to her shoulder then took off.
"The adjustments you made last time Doctor Gance have enabled me to further enhance the air shield. You should be far safer now." Shaking my head I now had a target area to examine once I was in there. I might have to add to the program a little later it appeared.
As we broke into the open I thought I heard the sound of tanks approaching though I wasn't sure as suddenly all I could hear was the wind whipping by. At least it was 'til there was an explosion a ways behind us. Looking back I saw a large building that I assumed that we had been in explode. Then it did a few more times! Shit these asses weren't playing!
The grim faced older man was pacing watching as the four M1A2 Abrams tanks fired several more rounds. A thin smile began to creep on his lips as the building was quickly reduced to flaming rubble. Let that damn thing survive that!
A moment later the older man's assistant came running up. "Sir! They got away! I'm afraid that the machine detected the tanks approaching. Though," here the tall younger man smiled. "It didn't detect them 'til they were within a mile. I think the techs are finally getting the dampening field down to a finer point."
The older man nodded as he ran his hand through his grey hair. "Bout time those limp ass scientists got something right! Good Second Lieutenant, keep on those lazy asses! With any luck that thing will be a pile of scrap with Gance dead. Damn the chiefs of staff! I told them, and I warned them that this could and probably would happen! No one ever listens to me!"
The younger man only nodded he wasn't about to comment. The last time he had during a rant like this, the older man almost had him before a firing squad!
"You want me to have the tanks return sir?" The younger man asked.
"Yes, 'bout pointless now with it gone." The older man replied about to turn when he noticed a box under the young man's arm. "You actually found some?"
The young man snapped to attention saluting, "Yes sir it took a bit but I secured a full box for you."
The older man took the box opening it taking a deep sniff. "Damn! How I have missed these. Damn fine job First lieutenant! 'Bout time someone started listening! Get these back to the armory. Make sure you tell them that the United States is proud of their efforts today."
The younger man snapped another salute then turned to carry out the orders. A wide smile on his face he was finally back up in rank! Running to the tank commander the younger man relayed the orders then watched as the tanks started to roll away. ‘Almost,’ the man thought, ‘he had to make the techs work harder. For all their sakes!’
It was nearly two hours later that I awoke when I felt Sheila stop. Looking around I saw that we were closer to the coast line. "Is everything alright?" I asked when we didn't move for a few minutes nor did Sheila put me down.
"I am scanning the area. I have been picking up anomalous energy readings for almost an hour now. I am afraid that they have more of the robots after us; though this feels different. It might be one of the prototypes. We need to find protective cover for you, Doctor Gance; then I can investigate further. If it is one of the prototypes I will have to determine if they were able to override the three laws. If so I will have to terminate it." Sheila said as she was looking over the area before and behind us.
I nodded as suddenly Sheila started out again almost flying across the land toward several buildings. Stopping before a rather small one she almost ripped the door off then moved us inside. Near the entrance she reached down grasping what appeared to be a metal grate.
With little effort she removed it then we were going downward. Looking around I could almost swear we were in an old bomb shelter! Sheila looked around then moved us further back into the room. At the back she was suddenly going through the wall at an alarming speed! A moment later we broke into another room much like the first.
"This should provide adequate cover for now. I estimate we are nine point seven meters below the surface. Almost all scans will be absorbed by the earth. I will collapse the tunnel when I go back out. Once I have determined what if anything is following us I will either deactivate or destroy it." Sheila relayed to me.
She was about to go when I told her about the idea of a data crystal. She was in thought a few moments then nodded. With that she was gone the tunnel collapsing appearing to look like it had never been there!
Moving around I tried to get the kinks out of my back and legs. Looking around I saw that there was a large selection of sealed can goods. Running to the shelf I opened a can then grimaced when I saw the fuzzy growth in the can. Finding a plastic bag I quickly deposited it within. Shaking my head I guess I'd have to wait, the food storage had obviously been here for decades.
Sighing I decided to lay down, wasn't much I could do 'til she returned. I swear I had just closed my eyes when I felt Sheila shaking me.
"Doctor Gance!" Sheila was almost shouting as she gently shook my shoulder.
My eyes slowly opened to see Sheila bent over me. If I didn't know better she had a look of relief on her face. Again I was taken aback, had she changed the emotion program that much? Sighing I had to finish the program to get to the bottom of everything.
"Is everything alright?" I asked. "Did you determine what the energy anomalies were?"
"I did extensive scans of the area. At first I got nothing then the readings started to increase. They were getting much closer so I came back. I am afraid that there are four possibly out there. Far too many to risk leaving here with you. They could easily injure you before I was at full speed." Sheila told me an almost look of worry on her face.
"I need to finish the program so I can see what they have done to you." I said looking around the room. "Fat lot o' chance now."
Sheila looked at me odd a moment then continued. "I believe you will be undetectable where we are at the moment. I will go deactivate those that are following. If they are the prototypes it should cause a delay with whoever’s plan; possibly allowing you to continue with the program."
I was nodding at Sheila as she suddenly was taking several parts out of her pockets and back. With increasing speed a device started to take shape. A moment later it appeared to be a small tele-unit. Looking closer I saw that there were several readouts, energy detectors, plus several visible wavelength feeds.
Shaking my head I looked at Sheila. "This is a very useful piece of equipment, though without an input unit it's pretty useless."
Sheila turned to look at me then the screen on the device lit up, with a live picture of me on it. "I am the input unit Doctor Gance. I am able to detect several things at once but not all. This way I can have you also monitoring."
I sat back a moment a little shocked it almost sounded like she was saying that she trusted me with her existence. "I will attempt to keep you up to date Sheila," I told her.
Turning back toward me she nodded, "I know that you will Doctor Gance, you mind works far more analytical than any human mind I have seen."
Turning she was gone in an instant, looking at the device I could see she was moving far faster than she had before. Emerging outside Sheila stopped, scanning the area. A sudden alarm let me know that there were enemies around.
"I'm reading four Sheila one straight ahead. They seem to be trying to four corner you. I read that the one behind you is the weakest." I told Sheila through the device.
"Thank you Doctor Gance. I can now see the tactic you mentioned. I am adjusting accordingly." With that Sheila took off at accelerated speed arriving five seconds later in front of one of the robots. Without stopping she went straight through it.
"The other three have started to advance toward you." I told her.
Turning Sheila accelerated again in a wide arc slicing first through a second one, then a third. Stopping Sheila started to scan.
Oh shit! "Sheila I think you need to get back here the last is headed my way!" On the device I saw Sheila accelerate again then she was going down.
I had gotten behind several heavy metal objects in the room. A moment later the wall on the other side of the room exploded inward. As the dust cleared I heard the scan of the prototype sweep the room. It took a step them whirled as Sheila also came into the room.
The ensuing battle? Fight? Whatever it was lasted a mere twenty seconds. Sheila stumbled forward as the prototype started to whine then fell into several pieces! Damn I knew they were fast but not that fast!
Sheila turned toward me, "We must depart, I'm sure that..."
Suddenly a voice I hadn't heard in years came out of the now destroyed prototype. "Not bad though she got three of the old models and another of the new, she is now also malfunctioning. Enjoy the small victory boy! We'll get you; mark my words we'll get you! Nothing personnel it's just business and duty."
"As it always has been for you! The human beings don't matter as long as you have the most destructive toys! You're a bastard why I trusted you I'll never know!" I yelled.
A shrill laughter was heard then the sound died as the prototype shut down. Looking up at Sheila I saw that one of her arms was hanging at her side. Damn it! She had been damaged! Not saying a word Sheila picked me up, taking off as fast as she could.