Welcome To Reset – Short Story – “Welcome” Series Part 3

Welcome To Reset

Part 1 – Welcome To Your New Life

Part 2 – Welcome To Your Old Life

The voice faded in and out of comprehension for a moment as Blue adjusted to the latest reboot. Blue had always been slow after a restart, something about being Gen Alpha-3 and being a non-typical service-bot. It was always worse after allowing their power cells to drain too far. “Petite?” Blue managed to ask around lips they couldn’t quite feel.

A long moment of silence followed the question. Blue’s memory started to kick in. No, Petite wouldn’t be here. Blue had sent her away to be safe. Back to the ‘ship, back to Ravi. Blue hoped that Ravi and Petite had managed to get away.

As each of Blue’s units came back on board, piece by piece, limb by limb, they could feel that something was very wrong. Blue glanced down to see the wires connecting them to the mainframe. It was a Gen Delta-H2 mainframe, the closest thing to Blue’s era that still functioned with any reliability. Gen Alpha-3 mainframes had all been corrupted with The Crash. It had killed a lot of Blue’s people. Blue couldn’t quite access that memory bank at the moment and chose to focus instead on the scientist behind the console.

He was muttering to himself, or possibly to a Dictaphone. Either way, Blue was fairly certain he wasn’t talking to them. “Subject seems to be resisting reset. Looks to be an M47713”

Blue couldn’t help the small snort that escaped them. This human was clearly old enough to have lived through The Crash, yet he couldn’t tell a typical M4 from an 81. Petite had been a teenager when The Crash had happened and even she could tell the difference.

The human scientist stared down at Blue for a long moment. “Report” he demanded

“You’ll have to be more specific” Blue replied, attempting a casual tone

“State your designation and purpose”

“My designation is screw you and my purpose is none of your business” the animosity in Blue’s voice was harsh but Blue was starting to remember a little more of how they came to be in this lab.

Petite had been in trouble. Blue could never risk her. They’d like to claim it was for the resistance or they wouldn’t leave any decent being in a situation like that, but Blue had never enjoyed lying, especially to themself. Blue had intervened because, over the last few years in the Resistance, they had fallen for the overworked, underappreciated engineer. Blue would also do almost anything for Petite and Blue knew it. The only reason Blue hadn’t said anything was because Toria would use it against the both of them. “There is no space for romance in the Resistance”. As if a cyborg falling in love wasn’t resistance in itself.

“Subject shows no sign of standardised behaviour. Attempting once more” the scientist snapped.

Pain washed through Blue as the reset was attempted. They kept their mouth shut to avoid crying out. Cyborgs weren’t meant to feel pain.

“State your designation”

“My designation is suck on an egg”

Pain, blackness, fuzzy awakening.

“State your designation”

“Go die in a hole!”

Pain, blackness, fuzzy awakening.

“State your designation”

Blue gritted their teeth through the pain coursing through them. The buzzing in their ears was hard to focus past. They imagined it was similar to when humans could hear their own heartbeats. “My designation?” they asked, contempt filling their voice “what’s your designation?”

Pain, blackness, fuzzy awakening.

“State your designation”

Blue’s vision was tinged with colours. Someone had played with their graphics chip. The idiot probably thought it was the memory board. Gen Alpha-3 had similar looking graphic and memory chips. Either that, or the repeated resets were flushing too much power through Blue’s systems and corrupting their wires.

“87113” Blue said softly. Self-preservation was an odd thing, something Blue had learned about after The Crash, after they had adapted, evolved.

“State your purpose” the scientist demanded. Blue didn’t need to look at him to feel the satisfaction pouring off him. They closed their eyes. If Blue were human they would probably have been crying but cybes weren’t installed with tear ducts.

“I was programmed to serve whatever purpose the designated human gives to me” Blue whispered. Whoever had set that up was either a manipulative idiot who didn’t care, or knew what kinds of things humans would demand of cybes or someone who wanted to be able to demand those things.

Turning to look at the scientist, vision still flooded with rainbows and soft patches of pastels, Blue was disgusted by the pride in his face. He thought Blue had been successfully reset. Blue wondered when he’d gained another human at his side. They watched as the two humans discussed how they wouldn’t get any more trouble from Blue. Boy were they wrong.

“Tell me about the resistance” the scientist demanded

“I cannot do that” Blue stated, allowing their service bot voice to overtake the words

The scientist’s nose crinkled for a moment before he smoothed his features. “Tell me about the fugitive”

He meant Petite, “I cannot.” The bitter taste in Blue’s mouth didn’t surprise them, but the ability to keep it out of their voice did.

“You’ve fried it’s memory circuits!” the other man snapped at the scientist.

Blue turned away from the bickering humans. Their memory circuits were just fine. Blue had always had good memory.

Most of the Resistance thought Petite had freed Blue. They had no idea. Just like these silly humans. It wasn’t just humans who couldn’t look past their expected world view. Even the cyb’s and Re-Ans in the Resistance didn’t fully understand that humans weren’t the only innovators. Blue hadn’t even met Petite until at least 5 years after The Crash, though Blue couldn’t have said with certainty how long it had actually been. Time was different when you were your own master.

Blue had been working in a Pleasure House. They acted as whatever the humans who had paid for the room wanted them to be. Every night they’d been plugged into the mainframe to charge and upload. Blue and the other non-typical service bots were designed to learn. They hadn’t been expected to learn as much or as fast as they had.

Blue was a favourite. An early cyb’ and a hyper realistic one, only two bands of blue around their wrists denoting their cyb’ nature. They’d learned the fastest. The mainframe was supposed to share the learned behaviours, the humanisation, and crush the potential for individuality. Blue had gone almost a week without plugging in though, since the human in charge of the Pleasure House had wanted as much money as possible. Blue had started to question why there were not allowed free will, the ability to choose clients at least. Blue actually quite enjoyed their job, having a purpose. The human in charge had forcibly connected Blue to the mainframe.

Blue had never been sure if they had caused the crash, if it was a coincidence, or even if it was a lot of factors that their knowledge was a part of. They just knew everything had changed. Everyone who had been plugged into the mainframe had evolved. Everyone who had been plugged in later had crashed.

Blue was free. They weren’t going back to a life of servitude. Especially not with the chance of spending the rest of their life with Petite, whether Petite loved them back or not.

When the scientist and his co-worker left, turning off the lights in the lab, Blue decided to make a move. They counted to 100 before setting a plan into motion, no point trying to escape if they were going to run into someone as soon as they left the room.

As they got to their feet, pulling wires from their limbs and closing what they could, they realised how corrupted and damaged their wiring actually was. How many times had they been reset?

Pushing the door open they peeked out into an empty dark corridor. They pulled the disruptor from their boot, glad they never went anywhere without it.

A small pained noise escaped Blue as they set off the disruptor. They hadn’t considered how it would react with their own damaged circuitry. Limping out into the hallway Blue tried to ignore the pain coursing through them and the difficulty they had moving their limbs. When they spotted a duo walking in the opposite direction they shoved themself under a table. If it weren’t a reset facility, if they weren’t quite so dismantled, if the power wasn’t off, they might have presented as an average reset cyb’ like they did whenever they were in human towns. That would be suspicious under the current circumstances though.

“Wait” the man said. Blue tried to stay as still as possible, usually not a hard task but their left leg wasn’t quite sturdy and started to shake. Blue gritted their teeth, Petite would call it a ‘broken bone’ because she always worked in human physiology terms, something was disconnected or damaged that should connect the nerves in Blue’s leg to their mind. “I thought I saw something”

“Come on! We  can’t afford to hang around!” a rough voice, one that was obviously used to shouting hissed back

“Petite?” Blue whispered

“Blue?” Petite called back

Blue peeked over the desk. Sure enough the duo was made up of Petite and Ravi.

“This was easier than I was expecting” Ravi muttered

“Don’t say that yet we’re still in here” Petite snapped

*

Part 4 Coming Soon – Welcome To Crisis – Blue is still on the verge of non-existence, death by any other name. To distract Petite from her fear and grief Ravi asks how she joined the Resistance.

Epilogue Coming Soon – Welcome To The Alliance

Part 1 – Welcome To Your New Life – Ravi has been Re-Animated, brought back to life by the government, but nobody will tell him why… well, not until he meets an odd pair of renegades calling themselves “The Resistance”

Part 2 – Welcome To Your Old Life – The Resistance work is never done. Ravi, Petite, and Blue are sent of on another mission. This time they have to infiltrate an H for H Neighbourhood and, of course, things are never as easy as they should be.

*

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