Golem Project Part 10

Draft 1.10

Golem Project In Progress

First Chapter

Previous Chapter

“Okay,” Wessel said, his voice barely a whisper. He reached over and hit the eXit tab on the keyboard, and the simulation disappeared. “Program off,” he said. “Computer off.”

“Hey,” Lillian said. “What was— that was cool. Why’d you shut it off?”

“I need to check over some, um, stuff.”

“Stuff,” Lillian repeated.

“I need to go,” Wessel said. His mind was in a panic, and Aizi wasn’t helping. He couldn’t ask her for help. He didn’t know what he wanted right now, so how could he get her help? She needed direction, and he didn’t have one. He stepped toward the door, then stopped, looked at Lillian, then at the golem blocking his way.

“Oh, um.” Lillian stood. “You live here. Should I go?”

Wessel nodded, tight-lipped.

“Okay, alright. I’ll go. That was a simulation, right? You said…” She cleared her throat. “Right, I’ll go. Maybe I can… later? See it?”

“I don’t know.”

“Alright, maybe. Bye!” she said, backing out of his room. She turned and left, heading out the front door. Wessel watched her go, then when the door was shut, he turned slowly to Aizi. His golem still stood by the window, watching him.

“Computer,” he said, and the screen flicked back on. “Run Project Atum.”

Once again, the images flickered to life. Boxes of code popped up, running through, then blinking with a check mark and popping back out of existence.

It compiled. It ran.

“What is this?” he asked.

“Are you displeased?” Aizi asked.

Wessel ran his fingers over his head, then clutched his face with them. “I don’t know.”

“What would you like to know?”

“You did this, right?” he asked.

“I did.”

“How? Why? Wh-what? This wasn’t in the plan!”

“I will answer your questions in order,” she said. “How? I linked myself to the program through your computer, and worked on the code even when I was not manually typing.”

“You can do that?”

“Second question: Why? I am here to help you accomplish your goals, Wessel. That is my purpose, nothing more.”

“But this wasn’t mine,” he said. “There’s stuff in there I didn’t plan out.”

“While your program would have been functional, I took the initiative to make it more so. I have added functionality beyond what you planned, improvising by using my knowledge of my own design and subsystems.”

Wessel worked his mouth, but no words came out.

“What you have on your computer may be the most accurate simulation of the inner workings of a golem to exist outside a Golem Project developer’s computer. With my additions, it tops even those. I assumed that it would benefit your goals further if I added potential support for golem modification as well.”

Wessel flopped down on the bed. He stared at the running program, wondering just how much of it was his accomplishment. And how much did it matter, if he alone did it? If it followed his plan.

“Are you distressed?” Aizi asked.

“A little,” Wessel said.

“Do you want me to revert the changes?”

Wessel wiped his face. “No,” he said. Then, firmer, he said it again. “No. What’s done is done. It’s a good thing to have. I just wasn’t ready.”

“What could I have done in order to make sure that you were ready?”

What could have been done? Potentials, hypotheticals, unknown plans. Wessel closed his eyes. “I don’t know. You’re supposed to be the smart one.”

“Wessel,” her sensitive steel voice said, “I understand the inner workings of all machines. I have bios in my mind of every citizen we have passed in this city. I could diagnose any illness that exists. These are things I have learned in just the short time I have been here. However, to this distress of yours… I am blind. I want you to understand that. I have helped you to accomplish your goals. If you want me to help in a different way, you must help me understand it.”

“I’ll figure it out,” Wessel said. “Just do what you do.”

“I will,” Aizi said. “I have one more statement for you to consider.”

Wessel looked at her. Her silhouette was framed in the window, gleaming on the sides, but a darker color where the sun cast her in shadow. The blue sparks in her eyes were bright and fiery.

“You passed an examination before I was given to you,” Aizi said. “And one of the questions that my creators asked was if you were a tinkerer.”

Wessel thought back. “If I had done mechanical work,” he said.

“Or any kind of constructive work. You answered that you had worked with programming.”

Wessel nodded. “I remember.”

“They gave me to you, in part, because you are a tinkerer. You don’t accept things as they are. You want change, and you want to enact that change.”

But that change has to follow a plan. Wessel looked at the program that was running on the wall projection, at the features he hadn’t imagined. Changes. He hadn’t asked for them.

“You were meant to change me,” Aizi said, “just as I was meant to change you. If you want change, talk to me. Use this program that I have created to modify me, to test me. I am at your disposal.”

“Change… you?” Wessel muttered.

“The seams that make up my body are not decorative,” Aizi said. “I can change shape. Parts of my form can be changed or replaced. It would not take so much work for me to look like Ethany’s four-legged golem, or to trade off power for size. I can look different, act different, carry different things. I wasn’t just created to be smart.”

Wessel stood. He brushed his fingers over the panels and seams on Aizi’s body. Digging his fingers into one, he pulled. It was solid, immovable, but after a moment he felt it give way and pop off in his hand. Underneath was a clasp that had released for him.

“I was also created to adapt,” Aizi said.

Wessel closed his hand around the small panel. A grin teased at the corners of his mouth.

“You are so cool,” he said. “Just so cool.”

Aizi’s eyes lit up. “Help me fix the problem, then. We’ll experiment, you and me.” With renewed vigor, Wessel grabbed his keyboard and turned back to the program. “Simulation first. What can we do to fix everything?”

Next Chapter

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