The Broken Path

A Mage, a Warrior, and a Machine, all locked in a dance spanning worlds, times, and universes. Locked together throughout history, guided by their friendship though struggles, pain, and suffering.

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9. Chapter 6

Testing

     After the initial startup process, as my parents called it, I was taken to what would be my home until further notice. It was white room, with lab tools lining the walls and devices were all over the place. There was a comfortable-looking bed over to one side, with what looked to be a box that was about half my height and half my width.

     "Mom, what is that box by the bed?"

     "Well, Dante, that is what we call a computer, though it is a very simple one. We'll get to that later. For now, let's eat."

     Apparently, in order for me to blend in with society, I have two ways of generating energy for me to function- by breaking down food to use in the miniature bio-reactor inside me, or by charging my batteries using electricity. "You need to be able to blend into crowds, Dante. Charging up with electricity is easier, believe me when I say building that bio-reactor inside you was not easy, but people eat food for energy, so that's what you'll have to do if you are with strangers. We also added in taste receptors, so you'll be able to taste foods like other people and evaluate its quality."

     We sat down at a plain wooden table towards the center of the room, and I saw a simple dining setup- a fork and a knife next to a plate. Sitting down, I noted that neither mom nor dad sat down, so I guessed that this must be another test that needed to be ran. "Alright, so is this a test to see if my more refined motor functions are running as needed?"

     Mother's face twisted into shock, but quickly went back to a bright, smiling one. "Yes Dante, we want to make sure that your movements aren't jerky, and that you can coordinate your movements in a relatively simple set of movements, like eating a steak, for example. This will also calibrate your taste receptors, so we've prepared a few different meals for you to sample an evaluate."

     I smiled. This was going to be fun. "Well let's start then!"

     About fifty meals later, and I was starting to get tired of sampling burnt, overcooked, under-cooked, spiced, unspiced, and frankly puzzling combinations of food. After biting into and spitting out what I learned was a piece of raw liver soaked in honey, I called it quits.

     "I'm done eating this garbage. I think I've eaten enough food for now."

     My mother surprisingly nodded. "We were also making sure that you had a thought process of your own, so we kept feeding you until you snapped. Our artificial intelligence software that we created doesn't let us control you like traditional AI programs do. Instead, we based it off the human mind, so we can just suggest ideas to you, and you can choose whether or not to accept them."

     I nodded "So I accepted the idea of starting the testing, but you were making sure I was able to stop and reject the idea on my own."

     Mom smiled at me. "Exactly. Now, I know you're feeling full after eating all that food, but it is time to check your power levels. If you want to check your power levels or perform any self system diagnostics, like making sure nothing is broken inside, you can do that by issuing commands from your brain, so you don't have to speak commands or anything like that. So, can you tell me how full your batteries are after sampling so many meals?"

     I thought to myself, and as if by magic a number popped into my head. "My batteries are at 95% charge."

     "Excellent! Jacob, do you want to show our Dante here how to access computers directly? I think we can start teaching him the basics of our planet's history."

     Jacob shifted, his face cracking into a smile. "And here I thought you would get to have all the fun. I'll open up another five petabytes for Dante to download our world's history, abridged, so we can start analyzing and connecting events. Dante also needs to know which connections are not necessary to make."

     Mom made a face. "It's a nasty job, though. What if he overloads with connections? Either way," she looked at me, "Dante, you're going to feel a bit overwhelmed. Good luck." She gave me a tight smile. A gentle feeling of dread was washing over me as we walked over to the computer, and Jacob pulled out a series of wires from behind the computer.

     "Dante, you should have a basic understanding of these cables, and their predecessors." A flash of information appeared in my head, like it was called forth. I nodded. "Yeah, those cables were implemented in the year 4524 by some guy named Joseph Dee. It's currently the only connection used, so it's everywhere and anyone can connect to it."

     That got me a smile. "Good, Dante! Now, this may feel weird the first few times, but I need you to give me your left arm so I can show you how to open up the ports for use." He took my forearm, and pointed out two locations. "So this skin is synthetic, and that means that we can mess with it in ways that normal skin can't. For example, if we move this synthetic skin away from its original location, nothing will happen. Sure, you may experience a little pain, but in the end, you'll still be a functioning being. Now, there are two servos built into your arm here. Not those big ones, but two extremely small ones. I know you can focus and move them, but the key here is to move them just right, so that you don't break the synthetic skin by overdoing it."

     "I understand. If I swing a door open too fast, it is liable to damage anything on the other side, right? But in this case, it is more of a sliding door." Jacob nodded.

     "Exactly. Now, let's have at it. Granted, you'll experience some pain at first, as your synthetic skin parts, but the more often you do it, the less it will hurt each time. Granted, we'll also need to cover the space with some sort of tattoo, but that will be easy enough, as we can just program one in." He grinned at me. "That's the benefit of having synthetic skin- you can just program what you want to show! We'll let you design what you want on your arm, how about that? It just has to have a black line where the skin opens. But I digress. Let's try it."

     I focused on those two motors. I just had to move them a little bit...

     And I screamed as I felt a red hot searing pain across my arm. Looking down, I saw a port had opened up, and true to Jacob's word, it was basically a sliding door. There were all sorts of ports, and I recalled all the information for each. I had all of the ports of the world on my arm. The oldest one was the IEEE 1394, which was no longer around. Strange that it would be on my arm, but I shrugged the thought off.

     "Sorry, but the first few times aren't going to be easier. Now, let's get you wired in." He leaned forward, and plugged the cables into my arm. I didn't feel anything different. I glanced at Jacob. He looked confused for a second, but then burst out laughing. "What, were you expecting this big explosion? Sorry for being so anticlimactic, but the computer is off. Let me get that for you. This might hurt."

     He switched the computer on, and with a small hum, I felt my brain being torn apart as wave after wave of information hit me. I didn't even have time to scream.

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