Town of Living Gears, Part 5

Hello once again and this time yet again we are playing the psychological game as we talk our way through this current arc, though in the coming parts we will get many more revelations, not that many revelations already haven’t been made or are being made. And once we are out of this arc, we will ramp things up with a little bit of action to finish things off. But for now, sit back, and enjoy the ride as we go through these very important interactions between Marianne and Kloe. Here you go, “Part 5”.

“I don’t know how reliable you are now, but did Klover ever tell you about how he made you?” Kloe asked as we walked down the town. I searched the database in my head and tried to push out memories of the time that now seemed so faded in the mist of everything else that I was trying to keep together. I shook my head at Kloe.

“Figured as much. Have you ever heard of Adam and Evelyn?” I searched my database for the two terms, but only a blank had resulted.

“Okay. Well, today will be a long day. For both of us.” Kloe lead me around town until stopping in front of a park. I recognized it. It was a place that stirred up images of frolicking kids in the warm grass, with laughs and energy exuding every crevice. But now, it was a gray land. The grass was brown, and not a single child dared to play in the swings or sit in the sandbox. The input of this image into my system made me sad, somehow.

I looked over to Kloe to see her smile. She moved over to the sandbox, and then asked me, “This place… Sometimes I wish that this place would be filled with children all smiling and playing. But this place is devoid of life. How do you see this place?” I processed her question, but could not come up with a proper logistical conclusion for why she would ask such a question. I wanted to understand why Kloe would ask me such a question, why she would fill my head with all of these thoughts and confuse me. I failed to understand that it wasn’t that she wanted to confuse me. I failed to remember that I was still a robot, not a human. But something in me wanted to seek more. I needed to know why she said the things she said. I needed to understand her.

“This place…This park…It’s something that I miss, I really miss it, Kloe. I really miss this place, the way it used to be. Why can’t it be like that anymore?” Kloe looked at me with wide eyes. She then lowered them, and smiled. She got up from the sandbox and moved to the swings. She sat in the seat and then motioned for me to push her. I obliged, walked behind her and started with small pushes. She swung in the air in front of me, creating a small pendulum, all the while having relaxed shoulders and a wide smile on her face.

“That’s a question that I’d like to answer, it really is. Even so, don’t you think that this is nice too?” The air in the atmosphere was toxic beyond standard comprehension, but despite that Kloe was inhaling it like a fresh breeze of mist. She was enjoying the moment, I knew that, but even so, I could not for the life of me come up with a proper reply to her question. It was anything but nice. It was morbid at most for me. My logic loops came to tell me that this situation was morbid. I thought it was morbid.

“Why the long face?” She asked.

“Why have you brought me here?”

“To show you what the world is now. This is it. This is everything.” Kloe slowed the swings by gripping on the chains and then jumped off onto the sand below. She then moved towards the small slides designed for children and climbed up to the highest point. With one hand blocking her eyes, she scanned the surrounding area, though I knew that her being there didn’t amount to much elevation.

“There’s nothing more than I could hope for in a town like this. An absolute mess.”

“The world is in a state of decay to you?”

“If it isn’t, then I’d think two things of you. A slave to the country, or an ignorant fool.”

“Is it because of the way that the streets are desolate, and that the air is toxic?” Kloe looked down at me from the top of the slide and said, “It’s because of the way we were designed to live.” Kloe slid down the slide and then dragged me away from the park. When I asked her where she was taking me, she simply said a place where no one was allowed to go. I ran that sentiment through my logic and decided she was bringing me to a place where no one in power wanted the public to see. Such a thought was in of itself illogical to me, for why would someone in power refuse to show something that would constitute their power to others? I had no explanation as to why someone would feign their own weakness for the sake of the people. I find it quite unfair to say I was naive at the time. After all, such is a human sentiment. Once at the building, I immediately noticed that the air quality had lowered. It had already been at levels far too toxic for any normal human to breathe, but now it was even worse. Toxins in the air don’t kill immediately, they deteriorate one from inside, leaving a mark and having it germinate and permeate throughout the body over time. The air where Kloe had brought me would double that time needed for death. I could not find any proper logic into why anyone would subject their bodies to such poison, but I now knew why someone would want others to stay away from that area. Kloe called it a factory. Even she had to wear a mask when traversing near here. We scaled the walls of the factory, until Kloe pointed at one of the windows and pointed for me to look inside.

I grabbed the window sill and slowly peered over the ledge. What I saw inside was something that I could not come to understand no matter how much I looped my systems. Rows of people all worked on metals, welding, and inspection gathered in a single confined space that I could barely make out from the toxic fumes that aired the area. Everyone in the factory had white masks and gloves on, and despite their inclination to complete their work, they all seemed empty. Their eyes were devoid of any emotion, and I engrained this scene into my database. I traced the conveyor belt in which they worked on and at the end I saw finished bodies, heads, arms, and legs. They were all of the same make.

“This is how robots are made now.” Such a system was ethereally more efficient than anything of having singular smiths work on robots day in and day out. But such a system for some reason did not sit well with me. Such a system was not glorified. Such a system was not a status symbol for whomever governed the town I lived in. That thought, and that notion caused paradoxes throughout my entire logic, and I could not come to fathom any justification. A simple allegory came to mind, in which I made the situation out to be like a king ruling over a kingdom. Such a king would not hide under to reign a rule, but would announce his candidacy so that all would know of his greatness. That much seemed logical to me. Such a system in this factory at the time seemed like the wellspring of prowess. It was unbelievably human. That was the mistake I forgot to remember.

“This is how far we’ve come since your time. The time you claim to be a prosperous time for both humans and robots are now a time for humans and bots.”

“Bots?”

“It’s what most people in this town call your kind. It’s not a nickname.”

“And this is hidden from most of the public?”

“If we’re caught here, then we would be five meters in the ground. This is how your kind is made. How do you take it?”

“It is unbelievably efficient. Yet I cannot come to fathom its existence.” I spoke the truth.

“And even so, most of the people in this town accept it as commonplace. It’s a taboo to speak of the factory. But it’s what makes this town run. It’s in our blood and veins now. It’s a part of us. Even to those who despise it.”

“Are you and Wren one of those people who despise it?”

“We despise it so much that we banded together a bunch of kids and called it a club. Just like school children.”

“Is that the congregation I saw in the bar?”

“More or less. But not just the bar. We’re everywhere. Hidden among the citizens who embrace the new blood they’ve been given, hidden in our homes, and some of us even work for the ones who’ve made us like this. But despite that, we’re all one. We’re all here for the same reason. Care to guess?” My systems had routed a sequence to figure out why they would band together, and to me, it was clear. It was clear, but I still could not figure out why they would want to do so. Even with her showing me this, I just couldn’t come to understand their reasoning. I was simply unable to be human.

“You all banded together to figure out my purpose?” I replied.

“More than that. We banded together to figure out your purpose because we knew in the back of our minds that it would inevitably help us. We’re a band of resistance fighters. We resist the oppression of those above us, and we hate what the world has come to. We’ll start with this town.”

“You wish to destroy the efficiency of the system for your own gain?” Kloe laughed, and then shook her head.

“You make it sound like a selfish dream. We are anything but. I have one more thing to show you. Care to join me?” I had no choice but to comply at this point. I knew that, and I wanted to know more. I wanted to understand her, to understand everything that all these people banded together for. Something about it made me curious but something else made me want to help them in their endeavors. I was made to destroy the fabric of this system. To make sure that the end of peace comes with consequence. And yet, I cannot with all my logic come to understand that. I so desperately wanted everything in my database to make sense, but as I followed Kloe to her next destination, something else in me struck. Thoughts of Klover overwhelmed me. Thoughts of children whom I did not know the name of anymore. And thoughts of smiling. I clutched onto Kloe’s sleeves and then asked her, “If everything here were to end. If everything that those in power decided to upfront in Klover’s absence and in mines ended. Would I feel joy?” Kloe didn’t answer, didn’t falter, and I suspect, didn’t know. But I asked her in hopes of knowing.

“Perhaps not. But even so, will you help us?” Even so, I wanted to help. I wanted to honor the one who made me, and I wanted to figure out and understand Kloe and Wren’s cause. I wanted to be like them. Maybe, just a little human.

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