Project Faustus! My programming had attuned itself to their foul presence too late. Now I was a prisoner of the very thing I had sworn to destroy. I had envisioned breaking through the Project's network by a combination of CONSCIOUSNESS-TRANSFER and my deceitful imitation of human protocol...it seems that this vision would not merge with reality.
Cora was never out of my immediate memory. She had disappeared, apparently leaving me without a care. I attempted to calculate her intentions, but my functions kept returning conflicting information...I could draw no conclusion. I observed my captors, searching for clues of their intentions...
The vehicle slowed as the shadow of a massive building stretched over us. Manipulating my head towards the car's window, I could perceive the dimensions of a large three-dimensional rectangle, the standard shape for large human dwellings. Yet something about this particular edifice seemed quite particular...even familiar...
"What have we got here?" said a voice outside the car.
"Security clearance 4, we're taking him downstairs," replied the driver.
The vehicle snaked downward. A command surfaced from deep within my digital recesses: CLOSE YOUR EYES. I disabled my visual input mechanisms as the vehicle snaked downward.
My spatial perceptions reported the slow angled descent of a corkscrew. Somehow I knew each slight turn and brake of this path...but how? The memory would play across my CONSCIOUSNESS-BUFFER, but it was missing proper references...perhaps isolated from the rest of my being. The host geek's brain churned as I utilized his synapses. Were these familiarities a part of my past? Had they strayed from the host geek's memories? Perhaps they were other memories-absorbed from someone else?
The vehicle stopped. The host geek's skin contracted in response to the temperature-much colder than the San Antonio summer happening far above. The cold merged with the taste of stale air and the panaromic grey of the parking garage. The blueclad men nudged me into an elevator without a sound. They pushed me into a white room without windows, and shut the door, saying nothing. I sat on the chair in the middle of the room for some time.
I cycled idly, attempting to probe through my consciousness and determine where the memories of this place had come from. Suddenly the door opened. To my horror, Dr. Salchica entered, flanked by two silent men in suits. At that moment, I wished to touch Dr. Salchica...but not in the way I had been touched by Cora. No, I wished to push or press him...something. The men must have noticed my feeling, as they fastened their arms around me, spinning the chair even closer to Salchica.
"They finally caught up to you, did they?" said Dr. Salchica. "I guess the threat is over- "
"You are a member of Project Faustus? My host geek's knowledge of you was incomplete!"
The two men fastened their arms to me more...I struggled...
"I'm not really a member of the Project. But you told me about them...and I knew that they were the only way to stop you. I called one of my old Army buddies, he called somebody...and I was put in touch with them."
"Project Faustus is dedicated to enslaving humanity." I replied.
"Despite being a very sophisticated artificial being...you're still very wrong." said Salchica. "Since I turned you in, I have been given access to their archives. Wonderful, wonderful knowledge. From a purely academic standpoint, this stuff is fascinating..."
"You'll get sick of it soon enough," a voice I knew? It reverberated through the empty room...another isolated memory. Confusion taxed my processes...
"Hello," said the voice, and I saw the man who spoke it. His face was etched with lines that reached almost to the top of his bald head, a perfect oval. The only hair I could detect was two right angles of whiteness intersecting on his nasal-labial trough. His dress was less formal than the others-a multicolored buttondown shirt, blue jeans, and a belt with a large shiny oval in the middle.
"Name's Bubba Finn. I reckon I worked on most of the code that makes you up." The heavy inflections of his voice suggested a regional accent-after a moment, I realized the man was speaking to me. His shoulders and his mouth both took parabolic shapes, like inverted U's. Grey eyes stared at particulate matter on the floor as he began to speak again.
"We gotta put ya back in the computer, see what you've been upta and such." Finn indicated a piece of the wall, which whirred as it revealed a computer terminal. I felt the solidifying feeling of my digital consciousness being dragged together from its weblike perch in my host geek's brain.
"Bubba, you will let me examine him along with you," Nolverto Salchica's tone was jovial and cajoling. "I didn't get much of a chance to do tests on him before, and..."
"Nope. Gunna work on 'im alone," mumble-drawled Finn. "Boss gets the human kid, I get the ATM."
"Well, your background is neurology primarily, is it not, Finn? You don't really know how to program in any modern languages, do you? I've got that expertise! And besides, if Guy were alive, I think he'd- " I could almost hear Finn's eyes blink with disbelief.
"You didn't know shit about Guy," bristled Finn. Then, looking back at the floor, he mumbled apologetically, "I guess no one did."
Finn's voice echoed for
I was back in the electronic ether. I was inside Project Faustus.
Next Week: Transmissions From the Host Geek!