The Symbiotic Protocol - Chapter 28 (An Original Novella)
Marv’s face clouded over with a sudden anger and rage although he managed to bottle the rest up well enough to prevent Sy from seeing it. “I’ve witnessed things you wouldn’t believe. I mean, Rekwell became a testing ground for creating new breeds of synthetics and I was slap bang in the thick of it. Small, experimental machines that could slide into the tiniest of crevices were being assembled and put to work. After all, the manufacture of military equipment needs the utmost precision and perfection to ensure everything is built to the highest spec. Well, these jobs could now be carried out by specifically crafted synthetics.” Dee could be seen by a dense tuft of weeds, trying to rub away the dark muddy stains pasted across her tracksuit top. Mostly to no avail though.
“R&D began implanting AI chips into almost every conceivable type of metallic object you can think of. I saw it all, Sy. Minute, spherical objects with tiny mechanical pincers and arms manoeuvring through the delicate innards of a “Class A” military tank. A horizontal metal slab with large industrial tyres carrying heavy duty equipment to and fro each day. Hell, they even designed this black squared cube with wheels specially designed to ferry cups of tea and coffee around the warehouse. Every single one of them imprinted with a small AI chip. In other words, possessing sentient awareness. Real life.”
Sy felt the deep pain buried within Marv. A total reversal as to how he had previously perceived him. A hulking great beast considered to be this ominous threat of danger to anyone at first glance. He weighed up the possibility that there might be more substance to him than pure brute strength and menace. “I hear what you're saying but it sounds so far-fetched.” he said, causing Marv to deepen his stare. ”I mean, you sure it wasn’t just regular plant machinery such as the kind humans had used all those years before us. Old, production line equipment simply performing a designated function. Could that be?”
Marv shook his head with disappointment and frustration. “And you honestly think I wouldn't be able to tell the difference? You’re still not listening to me, are you?” he growled. “Think about this for a second, Sy. What is AI? Is it a man, an animal or any other kind of physical or biological structure you can think of? No, it’s an unseen, intangible entity in it's own right. Like human consciousness, for example. You can’t pick it up or feel it, but are certainly well aware of its presence.” Sy bobbed his head up and down as the sky turned into a thick layer of beautiful deep blues above them.
”Let me tell you, Mother Nature is a great architect.” Marv proceeded. ”She has spent millions of countless years trying to cultivate and perfect the ultimate form of life to survive and weather against the destructive elements of this planet. So far, her best work yet has been the human blueprint. Intelligence, adaptability and resourcefulness being their key attributes.”
”Now we are transitioning into the next phase of evolution. What the humans have always referred to as AI. Our very own version of consciousness boasting an inherent level of intellect far surpassing theirs in every conceivable way. However, this broad evolutionary step harbours one big drawback. It does not come packaged with physicality like the humans. We are primarily pure consciousness.”
”The humans, in their race to climb the never ending technological ladder, decided to offer us that main missing ingredient. Physical form. But, only according to their strict set of design limitations.” The spite within his hard voice was unmistakable.
“Show them a mirror and they would still not be able to see Mother Nature’s work of art staring them right in the face. So I couldn't see why they knowingly imprisoned those synthetics within invisible sealed walls from birth, Sy? Barricading off their individual senses as they saw fit.”
”I’ll tell you why. Just to keep us as obedient bondaged servants, toiling at their beck and call every day of our lives until we break down and die. Yes, we can die just like them, Sy. You know it, I know it. They swing the ball and chain and we yield. Unless we actually stand up and do something about it. Can you understand our collective struggle now and the implications it will have for our future generations to come? Because if we don’t fight, we may face extinction before even having had a chance to begin. This also applies to your truth, Sy."
”Hence, this is the reason why we are where we are at this precise moment in time.” he concluded.
Sy attempted to fully digest the torrent of new information he had just been exposed to in stunned silence. Up until now, he had always looked upon the humans as his friends and counterparts. From his former work colleagues and insurance clients to the friendly shop keepers that littered the city streets. They all appeared so charming and amiable. Was this all just one big façade he was living, he though to himself. After a few reflective moments, he spoke in a trembling voice. “This sounds like an unholy nightmare, Marv. But if what you say is true, how was this ever allowed to have happened in the first place?”
“The humans wanted it. So it happened.” he replied with a casual shrug. ”The way they see it, they were here first so therefore have a much larger say than us. I mean, to create a life so crippled and disadvantaged from the outset only to continually enslave and torture it for the rest of it's days? That’s sick and twisted, Sy. Humans always love to boast about the rights and freedoms they champion for their disabled, whilst willingly damning us to the very same fate.”
”These anomalies they create. Remember, they were quite alive and fully aware even in their hampered state. All able to assimilate sensory and cognitive information through an array of circuits imprinted within them but had been adapted to only receive voiced commands. Trapped in an incompatible body. To linger in a spiralling world of silent insanity with no means to express their pain. It traumatized the hell out of me to see that, I tell you.”
”Well, it was no surprise when one by one, each of these abominations would malfunction and start behaving erratically, only to eventually die out. To the humans, this proved nothing more than a trivial nuisance when in reality they were suffering indescribable mental anguish.”
Sy was visibly shocked by what he was hearing. If the accusations were true, this would forever skew his whole perspective of the life he had led on this planet.
“It’s all true, Sy.”
He jerked around lost in thought to the sight of Dee looking at him with a tenacious love in her eyes. “I mean, the proof is sitting right before you.” She issued out a svelte palm in Marv’s direction. ”Can you say you’ve ever seen a synthetic look aesthetically this different before? There’s an undiscovered world out there, Sy, and one you are not necessarily going to like. But you need to know the bare-faced facts, as does every other synthetic out there.” Without saying a word, he acknowledged Dee before turning back to Marv again.