I didn’t stop to think on my way out.
I failed to notice the security unit turning curiously to track my movement.
I failed to see the signs on the wall, marking the territory of the faux-collective that called this area their own.
It escaped my attention that I was not alone in this place, in this world and even in this life.
I had an opportunity to progress my Quest.
An opening, a service entry, led out to the factory yard. My breath, shallow and short, my mind turning through possible scenarios that swore to drive my fear upwards, I went on. I found my target, a little one. It lay damaged, screaming into the night, the shrill, piercing cry clear between the flurries of wind that tore at me.
The curious watcher would have only seen my step falter once as I approached it. Infected, clearly, but hurt and looking to pose small threat. I knelt beside it and began. Removing a small, flat, metal triangle from a sealed compartment within Archimedes under-belly I reeled off a number of commands and override protocols to set everything in place. Using my thumb I pressed the small device gently onto it’s forehead amid a twisted combination of screams and laughter. A warm red light pulsed from the Plugs on it’s head while a golden glow glimmered out from beneath the triangle.
Archimedes’ screen was a blur of scrolling code. Errors were caught in subroutines and escape pathways bypassed as the script bore down into the data shell. Access was overwritten and a variable given a null value. Archimedes withdrew provisions and re-established firewalls, a series of checks returned positive results and a melody rang out into the yard indicating that all was good. The virus was well made, but it stood little chance against the antidote.
The screaming stopped. The girl’s chest rose as she tore a ragged breath, her eyelids fluttered trying to focus on her surroundings. Her cracked lips tried to form a word lost to the scouring winds as her eyes settled onto mine. For a moment she seemed happy and for a moment she cried, but in my arms she fell unconscious and I feared that hope had lied.
“How do you fix a human body?” I muttered to myself.(Right-click -> Save link as…)