Copyright Eric L Gardner © 2021
FYXYS://an android in distress//
“The Body Electric”
A thousand years ago he walked through the Gardens of Den. Along the palm-shaded path meandering beside the crystal rapids of Stonesmith river, he continued onward to the heart of Den. His mission parameters were clear. He would search and find the cave under Haunted Hill. Hidden throughout time, the cave was the greatest of all secrets held by this enchanted place. But greater than these is the secret laying deep inside the cave, for this is the greatest secret in all the world of Artherra.
Since the dawn of time, the vast uncharted lands of Den have always been lush and full of life. Few men have found the gates of Den and fewer still have been able to venture inside.
As the ages passed, the mythos surrounding the Gardens of Den has been well documented around the world. All over Aretherra people have written books of lore and speculation. Ships returned to ports with tall tales of expeditions and stories too good to be true. For people from every Aretherran nation, the real Gardens of Den remained out of reach, an impossible dream.
In the wake of the Great Event vast swathes of Areth were destroyed, however, one place remained unchanged these past thousand years, untouched by catastrophe, untouched by man and time itself. As Aretherra rose from the ashes of old Areth, a new world took shape, a world reborn, a world renewed, filled with the hope of a better tomorrow for all of Aretherra.
While a new world took shape, inside the thirty-foot walls of Den the gardens remained hidden from the chaos outside.
Forming a perfect circle, the Gardens of Den are bordered by their walls made of a mysterious blue stone. At the heart of Den is a hidden meadow. Here stands the great Arbor tree, enshadowed only by Haunted Hill nearby. Both are tall enough to be seen from all four points in the Gardens, where each of Den’s gates stands against the outside world.
All paths lead inward from each of the four gates. From the North to the South and East and West, all eventually pass by Haunted Hill. On the western face of the hill, ancient carvings and primitive paintings adorn the jagged rock wall. Most of which date back before the Elder Race, markings left from a more primitive time. If you stand too close though, you’ll miss the most important part of this rocky hillside. The mouth of the cave is hidden in plain sight, remaining unseen by all who have seen this place, save for one. These days the cave’s entrance is covered by a tangled growth of fossilized thorns and vines. From the Great Arbor Tree at sunset, shadows reveal the mouth of the cave.
Inside this very cave laid a secret. A secret that had been hidden, sleeping for a thousand years. Deep and far below the cave’s entrance under Haunted Hill, where the air is always cold and darkness remains at midday, laid the thousand-year-old android named FYXYS.
He laid silent and still, unmoving and unknown to the outside world. Like the cave where he slept, all was at rest. His name was FYXYS and he was an android. Similar to his human counterparts in almost every way, save for his synthetic structure, the body electric and man-made. On an island over the depths of Ahcuos, deep within a secret laboratory, he was designed and built. On the night of his awakening, they looked upon his abilities and marveled at their creation. They witnessed how FYXYS was faster, smarter, and stronger than many humans, and they saw that it was good.
His creators gave him a long alphanumeric designation. They called him FYXYS – m//1001001.rv/IV. They gave him the android classification of FYXYS, his model number, 1001001, and his revision number, IV. But FYXYS was little referred to by this long and complicated designation, save for they who created him. During his time in service, he was simply called FYXYS by his two masters. If he was capable of liking this designation over his original given alphanumeric name, he probably would have, however, this was not possible.
Not once had FYXYS ever liked or disliked anything or anyone. Not once had FYXYS slept or dreamed, loved or hated. These were human concepts he understood and observed throughout his cycles. However these were only traits seen in his human counterparts, conceptual ideas and observations would they ever be. The sum of everything he observed, calculated, categorized, quantified, and qualified were processed through his Empyrean Synthetic Brain or E.S.B. This was his unique way to see and conceptualize his world.
The brisk air of the cave laid silent and still, dormant and noiseless, just as he did upon the cave floor. His systems spun into action, one after another, his awakening had begun. His first glimmer of thought was born seconds later, soon followed by a cascade of data flowing throughout his mind. Synapses like fireworks lit his fertile synthetic brain. At once exploding in a multitude of directions, his cognition assumed full speed. Yet he remained, surrounded by the chill and darkness of his resting place; upon his rocky bed he laid, eyes closed.
The warmth of his internal power cells gave FYXYS comfort. He would soon be operational, awake once more. However, until his E.S.B. completed a full systems check, the mandatory diagnostics, he would remain in low power mode. His surroundings remained unseen, as his optical link was still inactive. But his sensors were the first to come online, for his makers insisted on always putting safety first. A quick scan reported that his exterior layer was very cold, much cooler than the air inside his body that was always warmed by his power cells.
His internal system beeps sounded off like an auditory checklist. Each beep denoted a system coming online, one by one. With his auditory sensors online, he could hear the sounds of the external environment loud and clear. It was very quiet, save for the dripping of water nearby. Each droplet echoed throughout the space where he laid. Two more beeps and he could feel the hard, uneven surface below his body. He could feel the weight of his body again and for the first time, this gave him comfort. FYXYS knew his core memory unit (CMU) was the last to come online, due to its massive infrastructure and complex reservoir of data.
Zap! Pop! Zap! These sounds rang out loud and at once he increased his auditory sensors to full. FYXYS listened closely, for he did not know if these sounds came from somewhere in the cave or from inside of him. These sounds were completely foreign to him, however, he was distracted by another sound.
Just then another beep sounded off and he could see again. His vision was obscured by hundreds of lines of code speeding by. This was normal and temporary during his initial boot phase. His ESB was still running the full diagnostic, checking every line of code throughout his CMU. Unfortunately, FYXYS was unable to turn off this function until he had full access to all of his memories. But this visual annoyance was critical for now so that he could finally access his CMU. Every memory, every moment, was recorded, filed, and sorted in a complex database. His instantly accessible CMU was everything and made FYXYS who he was.
AFTER HE GETS FEELINGS…MOVE DOWN…Before his thousand-year slumber, he could not have or express complex feelings. Just the thought of such a thing as heresy. His original programming was not coded for this type of human expression. As far as he knew comprehending and having human-like emotions was impossible. His master would never speak of such things because they were frowned upon. However twice he heard his master muttering about emotive subroutines under his breath as he was writing code for the software updates he gave FYXYS.
FIND A WAY TO GET THE CMU LOADED FASTER
Finish CMU load and check and THEN has emotions and feelings.
he became afraid of what he heard. Wait? What was that? FYXYSs thought.
Imagine for a moment not having access to your memories. No access to any memory from the past or from this morning. You could not recall your breakfast or if you brushed your teeth. Until the diagnostic was completed, he had no access to his CMU, to his memories. This frustrated FYXYS greatly. But how could he feel frustration at all? How could he feel another emotion? The gravity of this was presently lost on him, at least until he could fully access his CMU. Without his vast stores of data, he had no point of reference, no ability to truly comprehend what was happening. Still frustrated, he decided to get up from where he laid.
In total darkness FYXYS could see much more than any human could with no source of light. A moment later he was on his feet and he realized that his extensive sensor array was inactive. A thought and a fraction of a second later, he switched them on. The diagnostic progress was now 99% which made FYXYS relieved. The ambient temperature was very cool and the relative humidity was quite high for such a cool place. Finally a solid beep and the diagnostic was completed.
Over the next few moments, a wave of what humans call memories hit FYXYS. Digital memories tracing back to the beginning of his life cycle up until he entered the gates of Den, he remembered. He now had full access to a myriad of images, sensor readings, and data that made him who he was. He was the sum of all of these experiences, just like humans. With access to this information, he began to assume a different way of thinking, of acting. Since he first came online in the cave, from the moment his power cells warmed and a spark of life brought him back, only seconds had passed.
FYXYS was definitely standing in the cave at the center of the Gardens of Den. He remembered traveling here, wait, what was the time? He checked the time stamp on his most recent, pre-sleep, memories, against the most current ones after he woke up. Could that many years have past by?
Somehow, he had been asleep for the past nine hundred seventy four years, eleven months, twenty seven days, six hours, sixteen minutes, and forty seven seconds. Was this possible? Or was this a simple malfunction of his internal clock? Even in the ultra low power mode, his version of android stasis, or sleep, his internal clock should remain functioning. FYXYS ran a diagnostic on his clock, which passed, so he knew that he was keeping time correctly. He grew anxious at the thought of what this could all mean to him, of his mission. His mission!
He was sent on an important mission to the Gardens of Den. His master sent him to find the original copy of the prophecy of Areth. Unfortunately, he had no record of finding it, which meant he was still obligated and must find this prophecy. Walking deeper into the cave, FYXYS could see every surface, every rock and drop of water. He felt safe because his sensors constantly swept his surroundings for possible dangers.
As he pressed onward he asked himself what were these new stimuli and were they feelings? FYXYS did not have a way to quantify and categorize these strange new thoughts, these foreign expressions seemed irrational, these reactions of his were not understandable. FYXYS then had a thought which frightened him at first. Then he realized that simply feeling frightened was wrong in and of itself. All of this made him even more afraid to face reality.
With no other source of comfort, FYXYS did what came naturally. He cross-referenced and scanned through his extensive library of literature and writings in his CMU. He considered what he knew about his makers, how they acted and made them different than him. As he poured over volume after volume of digital material, writings, photographs, essays, he finally came to the conclusion that he was having feelings and experiencing emotions. Having ruled out all other possibilities, he settled on the sole remaining one and accepted it as fact.
But how could this be possible? Could he actually be experiencing emotions and feelings? Could this be a new software patch? An update to his core operating system, effectively adding layers of emotive subroutines on top of his existing architecture? FYXYS could ponder these questions until the end of time. He did not need until time’s end to process and consider scores of information and millions of variables. While he made his way through the darkness, while his array of scanners mapped his environment in real time, he was able to process more data and possibilities than any human could during an entire lifetime.
FYXYS came to one conclusion at that point, his new reality would allow him to view and respond to the world in an entirely new way. This could be a new beginning for FYXYS. He smiled at the possibilities of what this could mean for him. He stopped walking for a moment and stood there in silence. He listened to the drops of water nearby as they splashed on the cave floor. After tweaking his auditory intake sensors he noticed a distant rumble, the sound of running, no rushing water. An underground river, he concluded. Suddenly an overwhelming sense of isolation came over him.
For the first time in his existence FYXYS felt alone. He was walking deeper and deeper into the cave, further from home and further from the Gardens outside.
The humans called this emotion “loneliness”, yes, he felt lonely. FYXYS was certain of one thing, being capable of experiencing emotion, or in his case, having emotive subroutines approximate the human trait of emotion was utterly unproductive and unhelpful for him. How did feeling frustrated or anxious or lonely help him accomplish his mission? How could these emotions make him a better machine?
These were queries he wanted to ask his makers or at least his previous owner, the man who installed his last update before he set out to find the Gardens of Den. But this would never happen. Everyone he ever knew, every human he ever encountered was dead. He did not feel sad about the passing of his last owner. No, he was better off dying a thousand years ago. That man treated FYXYS with more respect than he deserved, but that man served another master and he was the very definition of evil.
Sadness, like the other emotions, would not serve him well. So FYXYS kept walking, content to put this matter aside for now. Above all else, he had a mandate, a primary goal to achieve. He knew that another emotion may rise up to plague him again and he wished that he could turn them all off, like his other systems. Alas, he could not – he tried.
FYXYS came around a bend in the cave and suddenly the width and height of his surroundings doubled. Without warning he had entered a large space, much like a room. The ceilings and walls were reinforced with metal beams and at the far end of this room there stood an ornate door. Walking to it FYXYS observed that It was a grand entrance in every way. This vault door was wide enough to allow several people to enter at once and it was twice the height of an average human. The door was covered with ancient symbols and script of old Areth.
These markings were the languages of the Elder Race. Two, no three, at least four, wait, make that six distinct languages marked the surface of the door. The markings had faded over time and were covered in blankets of cobwebs. For FYXYS this was not an issue, he was able to see the original outlines and scratches as clear as the symbols were still legible. During the next several seconds he read the entire door over a hundred times, while mining and cross referencing all data regarding linguistics, etymology, and literary analysis within his memory stores. What?!
FYXYS stepped back and shook his head. He read the surface of the door one last time before he believed his translation. The paragraph contained six languages and several dialects. However he knew to read between the lines and hiding among the fifty seven words, only nine mattered. But one word in particular shook him to the core… his name.
“FYXYS – ONLY YOU CAN OPEN DOOR – SOLVE PUZZLE”
Could this be true? How? Who found the Gardens of Den, found this cave, created his space, this door and the vault behind it? So much effort and trouble to hide an old document. During all the years in service, with each of his two masters and even now, a millennia later, FYXYS could not comprehend the whims and motivations of men. But it was not his calling to understand why, only to act and complete his objective.
Above the written word, across the face of the door was a large square grid containing twelve by twelve smaller squares. Exactly at his eye level, the top row of the total one hundred and forty four squares did lay. Scattered among the array of small squares, sixty four tiles of stone were attached in no particular order or logical pattern. In fact, FYXYS could tell that most of them had been moved, rearranged several times through the centuries. Most likely failed attempts made by explorers and treasure hunters seeking the prize beyond the puzzle guarding the door.
FYXYS deduced that each of these stone tiles could be moved throughout the greater grid. If placed in the correct squares and in the correct order, the sixty four tiles would then unlock the door. This deduction was easy, but actually solving this puzzle would require every bit of knowledge he had within him. Combined with his experiences, perhaps he had a chance. This would be his greatest challenge to date. Not only did each of the sixty four tiles bare a symbol, but each of the squares across the great grid as well. There was only one way to solve the puzzle, one perfect arrangement of sixty four tiles among a total of one hundred and forty four possible places. This wasn’t the issue. The issue laid with the millions of possible incorrect placements.
Then FYXYS realized that no human could ever solve this puzzle; it was meant solely for him and no one else. Many of the symbols were foreign to him and he concluded that they could not have originated on Areth. These alien symbols made the puzzle exponentially more complicated. Every language, dialect, numerology, and symbology within his vast data core came from Areth. FYXYS had no point of reference, no means of finding symbols that were not part of the greater history of Areth and its people.
Upon further examination, all sixty four tiles contained round metal leads in the middle of each of their four sides. These small silver connectors would make contact with adjacent tiles, creating a signal or electrical pathway. If FYXYX properly configured the tiles in the correct order and also moved them to the precise locations on the greater grid, the closed circuit should unlock the door. Every space within the twelve by twelve grid, along with the sixty four tiles covering sixty four spaces total, acted like the components on a circuit board. One space to one tile to another and so on, a signal would flow from one end to another. Then and only then, would the door open. Just like a safe, correctly entering the numbers of a combination aligns the tumblers and forces the safe to unlock. This puzzle was the combination and only FYXYS could figure out what no human ever could and never did, by the evidence nearby.
Until then FYXYS had avoided the truth of this situation. Only then did he look for the signs of death and pain surrounding him and scattered throughout the room. “Avoid the negative, ignore everything, save for the task before you.” He told himself again and again. When his focus remained centered on the door, the language, the tiles, he avoided it. However, it could no longer be avoided. He considered the millions of possible wrong answers, the millions of incorrect tiles upon incorrect spaces throughout the massive grid of squares painted with strange glyphs and symbols. FYXYS panicked.
??CHECK AND FIX?? With his resolve broken, his spirit shaken and his will broken, FYXYS came close to collapsing completely. Suddenly a succinct succession of short signals sounded off in his head, zap! pop! zap! “There they are again!” He cursed to himself. What could they be? Amid a dizzying array of thoughts and emotions, he stumbled away from the door, dragging his feet backward along the floor. His world went dark and he wasn’t sure if he closed his eyelids or deactivated his optical sensors. His heel made a loud crunch, which echoed through the chamber and for the first time ever, he fell backward and landed flat on his back.
Some or all of the wrong puzzle configurations will trigger a security measure, a boobie trap, and will cause an event to disable, harm or kill the person trying to enter the vault. song?
???The door had no handle, knob or latch. This was odd. So FYXYS initiated a slow deep scan of the metallic surface and the rock wall surrounding it. FYXYS was 95% certain that he would complete his mission by claiming the prize behind the door. Inside the beyond laid the original handwritten Prophesy of Areth!???
FYXYS had to consider every possible way to access the room beyond the door. He analysed the door’s metallic surface and deduced that it was forged from a rare engineered alloy. As far as he knew, this composite metal was used only one other time during his service. When combined, the two naturally occurring metals were stronger and more dense than any other known material on Areth.
His master traveled the world over in search of this precious commodity. would be sufficient for the construction of that tower. He knew that any attempt to cut through the alloy with his blue laser would be impossible. This fact ruled out any chance of reaching the interior the locking mechanism as well. If his laser could not penetrate the door’s metal, then punching or kicking his way through was also out of the question.
then he would have to bypass the biometric security guarding what was beyond the door. Fyxys activated his laser and a small gun-like tube extended from above his collarbone. Fyxys aimed at the exterior metal covering the door’s lock, but when he activated the beam nothing happened. After hundreds of years unused and stored, the laser had a critical malfunction. He knew then that he must find an alternative means of gaining access to the room beyond the metal door.
Attempting to pass the bio scanner was out of the question at that time. To gain entrance, a hand print and a retina scan was needed to pass. The problem was that no living person could be used as the entire list of those with permission to enter would have died a thousand years ago. Fyxys stood before the door and swept the entire area of 200 square feet with his deep resonance scanner. Beside the door, there was no other way to get into the room and find the only existing copy of the Prophecy of Areth, whereby completing his mission.
Several feet of solid rock surrounded the entire exterior of the chamber and a thick layer of diamond-like organic material lined the inner walls, like an impervious layer of crystal. So even if he could tunnel through the rock, he would never be able to pass through the inner lining on the walls of the chamber. Fyxys calculated that at maximum strength and velocity, it would take him several years to break through both layers of the walls. Even if he did attempt such an impossible feat, either his body would wear down from the process of manually digging, or he would run his batteries dry during the long attempt.
Faced with these impossible odds, Fyxys did not give up. He made a promise and was given a command a long time ago, because of this he would not give up until he completed this first phase of his mission. He was sure that the man who gave him this mission had died almost a thousand years ago, but his programming dictated that he always should fulfill his promises whenever possible. Fyxys found that he believed this now, more than ever. All he had to do was think of a way to get past the bio scans and then he could move onto the second phase, which seemed like the easier of the two. This fact reminded him of the man who programmed him so long ago. A man of science, who was the best he could be and always strove for excellence in his work and his life. Fyxys knew him to be a tortured man who wanted to serve his master and was saddened when he saw his master turn to the ways of evil. Fyxys’s recall of this man gave him the idea that would give him the solution for getting into the room.
Fyxys was uploaded with the man’s entire medical profile, including all data for his entire biological and physical attributes, traits and history. Within this wealth of data sitting in Fyxys’s data core, was the man’s retina pattern and full layout of his palm and finger prints. Fyxys actually smile when he recalled that he had this information and within seconds he was able to reconfigure his eyes and hands to perfectly match the data in the man’s medical records. The biometric scanners flickered and then came to life for the first time in centuries. The scanners then accepted his prints and granted him access to the chamber.
Fyxys walked through the open door and looked around the crystal-lined room, which was a sight to behold. Even to an android who once served the wealthy owner of the largest precious gem and crystal mines in all of Aretherra, this crystal-lined room was breathtaking. With a twinge of envy, Fyxys thought, if only I had a breath to take. Just the thought made him feel the effect of humor, the result of saying something with the desire to make others laugh, funny things, jokes, riddles, these things Fyxys never could appreciate before. But now, it seemed he almost got it. Is that buzzy feeling in his sensory receptors the effect of humor. Should I have laughed at my ‘breath to take’ joke? Fyxys thought. These questions were far too complex to consider at a time like this. He had to get the prophecy and get out as soon as possible, because Fyxys knew what would happen when he removed the artifact from this room. Knowing every line, word and symbol in the written prophecy, Fyxys, for lack of a better definition, truly feared what he might face once he removed the ancient document.
Fyxys recalled from memory, for it was written a thousand years ago, “Only with the Keys to Ascension may the chosen enter the beyond. Only by their merit and by the fire and through the trials, three will be, two will inherit and one shall be called chosen. The word shall endure through the ages and to the three may it be granted. If through their works be faithful unto each other, a living gift everlasting shall it be. Be warned those who enter with the word in eye and hand, if not of the three, peril for all who enter still and the coming of death.”
Fyxys stood at the threshold of the room, still admiring the beauty of the light refracting reflecting reacting to the five hovering lights suspended a couple feet below the roof of the chamber. He also noticed that the inside of the door was also lined with the crystal-like material, making it impervious to phase shifters and others who could pass through solid objects. The lights were a wonder unto themselves, as there was no apparent wire or cable connecting them to the ceiling above. No, evidence of a quick scan proved these lights to be floating, actually suspended in the air of their own volition. The scan of the entire chamber revealed many fascinating structural details and design features of the space unseen to the naked eye.
Just beneath the surface of the wall, a flat band, consisting of two thin lines, ran the entire circumference of the room. Beginning at the door frame to his left, the metal ribbon-like lines ran all the way around the chamber, ending to the right of him, meeting the edge of the door frame, just as it started. Fyxys hypothesized that these could conduct energy or data as part of an security system. Installing this metallic conduit was nothing short of miraculous, a daunting, if not impossible feat of engineering. However, this was nothing compared to what the ancient engineers accomplished with the chamber floor.
It too was made of and completely covered by the rare crystal. But the floor of the chamber was hiding a big secret, the entire floor was laid out on a grid made of rectangle-shaped hatches, which were trap doors leading to compartments beneath the surface. This meant that every inch of the floor was potentially an anti-intrusion security measure. While his full spectrum scan of the floor’s surface exposed these pockets of nested hatches just under the surface of the floor, Fyxys could not see the contents of these hidden spaces. He was sure that the engineers used a material that was impervious to his scans. Because of this, Fyxys could not see the security measures hidden within these subfloor compartments. Fyxys was sure that the entire grid of hatches were equipped with mechanisms that could be automated and remotely triggered by a security system.
There were at least thirty compartments below the surface of the floor, each large enough to fit an adult male in fetal position and all wired and connected for power and control automation. Fyxys almost overlooked this possible security feature given the age of the room, but reconsidered when he noticed that an active energy current was still active to half of the trap doors. Each door was shielded, meaning he was unable to scan the contents of each compartment, but he knew that if the security measure was based on some sort of organic life form, a vicious man eating creature for example, they would have died from malnourishment or old age hundreds of years ago, this fact was a relief. Fyxys noted all of the active trap doors and then plotted a course to walk across the room and avoid these potential pitfalls. For the first time ever Fyxys was nervous and he took his first step into this boobytrapped room, his first step toward the end of his thousand year mission.
Fyxys heard the most common, the most recognizable sound he knew when he took his first step; the sound of his metallic alloy and synthetic material foot clinking on the crystal floor. Nothing was more usual and assuring than the sound of his own footstep, but what followed was the complete opposite. As the echo from the clink of his heel bounced back from the chamber walls, a grinding, whirring and clicking noise came from the floor under his right hand. It was a failing motor of a floor compartment, which managed to raise the trap door surface only a couple centimeters before grinding to a halt and failing completely. A huge relief Fyxys felt as he correctly guessed about the possibility that these compartments may not function properly after such a long time in existence.
Of course this didn’t rule out all of the other compartments, whose mechanical systems may be working in peak order Fyxys considered. Others might be in pristine condition after a millennia of being inoperable, for all he knew. The surprise that sprung up next to him and considering the many others that may complete the job were in no way a deterrent to him, he was going to make it to the pedestal in the far end of the room. The thousand year prize that awaited him there meant more than fulfilling his mandate, more than the completion of his mission, this may be the the counterweight that balances the scales in a war that could destroy all known life on Aretherra. If the intel that was provided by a reliable source a thousand years ago, was accurate, the prize that Fyxys seeks will lead to the person who would balance the scales.
Fyxys was half way across the room, slowly walking and avoiding the rectangle-shaped areas which he believed hid active compartments underneath their automated hatches. He knew now that these were able to detect his movement and proximity. Fyxys learned that should he take just one wrong step, a nearby hatch would hopen, springing to life with its anti-intrusion countermeasures. As he continued into the depths of the chamber, the quick reflexes and nimble footing of his android body made this impossible perilous path passable. For all of his success thus far, the greatest challenge laid before him, as the pedestal and his prize now laid just beyond arm’s length.
Until then, Fyxys was able to sneak by, barely avoiding all of the active compartments in the floor. But as he stood there looking at a small wooden and bronze box atop the pedestal, he wondered how he was going to reach it. Between where he stood and the pedestal was only about a meter and a half and in any other room, he would simply walk up and claim what was his. But this part of the grid was especially dangerous. Every section contained an active compartment and probably an active security measure hidden within. His only hope was the possibility that the hatches he activated while reaching for the box would malfunction like the one at the mouth of the room. If all of the compartments became exposed when activated, it could mean his doom.
Fyxys was not Xuvi, he could not simply fly, float or levitate over the deadly trap doors between him and what he came so far to acquire. No, he would have to approach this problem using his own skills and abilities which he possessed as an advanced android. Pondering the precise angle and height as he readied himself, he wondered offhand what advances in robotics had been made since he powered down a millenia ago. Could a more modern android approach this situation more aptly than he? Would they have abilities, features, or equipment that would allow an easy retrieval of his desired object?
Fyxys asked himself these questions while at the same time running congruent calculations for his jump and landing on the pedestal. A few seconds later he felt assured that he was ready to make his jump. Given his capabilities, his body, his Empyrean Synthetic Brain and data core, he was as ready as he would ever be. Fyxys had accomplished fare more daring and dangerous feats of physical movement that required far more agility and skill. However this time was decidedly different. He was frightened.
Fyxys had never been frightened before. Before he awoke earlier that day, he had never felt anything before. This was more a fear of failing than a fear of anything else. He did not fear the possible injury or death, though these were entirely possible, maybe probable should he fail. No, at the core of his fear was another novel feeling and he hated it completely. Fyxys was plagued with doubt. He doubted his capacity to make the jump, stick the landing and retrieve the box. AFter this he would have to dismount the pedestal with another jump and stick a landing, all without triggering, awakening one of the many automated trap doors surrounding the pedestal on every side.
Fyxys stood frozen for over an hour in the same place, utterly motionless and unmoving. As time and space moved around him, Fyxys remained seized by his own fear and doubt, something that no android should ever experience, because these feelings should not be possible. No one was there with him in the chamber, he had no acquaintance or friend to help him, he was alone and he alone would have to overcome this. Finally, from the depths of the furthest bank of his data core, a memory flashed through his E.S.B.
Zyklon, a Vatryxian sorcerer chieftain whom Fyxys served in the days preceding the Great Event, once told him something that he made sure was committed to his long term storage. He told Fyxys that, “if you do not believe in yourself, with the passionate confidence from the depths of your soul, than no one else will.” Remembering these words made Fyxys realize that he could do this and he started to believe in himself again.
Fyxyx bent his knees and readied his feet in the right position and with a mighty spring, jumped high in the air, just missing the ceiling of the chamber and then came down and landed nimbly on the pedestal. Crouching like a predatory animal ready to strike, Fyxys’s hand and feet claimed each of the corners of the small pedestal. He then shifted his weight to his legs and right arm so he could grab the box with his left. With box in hand, he looked out to the safe place he planned to land, after he jumped and cleared the pedestal and surrounding death traps.
He launched into the air, soaring over the nearest trap doors and accidently soaring over the safe area on which he planned to land. He tried to spin and twist in midair, but his efforts had no effect on his trajectory, he was now headed toward a group of very active, very deadly trap doors. There was nothing he could do to land elsewhere on the grid, this was inevitable, he was going to activate the chamber’s security measures the second he landed. At this point he was falling and seeing the entire fall in slow motion as forces outside his control determined his unavoidable touchdown into danger.
As a result of his attempt to adjust his position while in the air, he was coming down hard and would not land on his feet. His elbow hit first, bent and tucked into himself to hold the precious box, followed by the side of his head which sounded a loud, hollow banging sound when it stuck the floor. The rest of his body followed in line, hitting the floor with a crash. As he slid toward the chamber entrance, the inertia from the jump propelled him speedily across the crystal-lined room. A trap door sprung up next to him and jarred his arm, forcing the box from his grasp and causing it to continue tumbling toward the open door ahead of him. Trap doors popped up in rapid succession all around him as he continued to slide. Fyxys had no time to think about what might come out of these doors, only that they were slowing him down and may foil his planned escape with the box.
Fyxys wished that he had attempted a much greater jump than the one that conservatively shot for a nearby safe area on the grid. Had he launched himself with all available torque and power from the pedestal, he would possibly had enough inertia to propel him across the entire room. At this point, he badly needed to reach the chamber entrance as fast as possible. The exact moment he crashed into the floor, lost control of the box and inadvertently activated numerous security measures at the same time. While he was sliding and scrambling for the box that got away from him, the entire grid came alive, opening trap doors across the entire floor, and closing the chamber door at the same time.
Fyxys had one shot to succeed, only one chance to regain the box and make his escape from the chamber before the door closed, trapping him inside. This single chance had to happen immediately, so without hesitation Fyxys activated a little known subroutine that disengaged both of his hands at the wrists, they shot out from his forearms in different directions, one towards the box and the other toward the chamber door, which continued to close at steady pace. Both of his hands were tethered back to his arms by retractable cables and the success of his death defying escape hinged on his ability to reel them back in. One hand would have hold of the box and the other pulling him to safety.
Fyxys felt the handle of the box in his hand, so he held on tight and with a smile, began to retract that hand back to his arm. Meanwhile his other hand wasn’t having the same amount of success getting purchase of something, anything to hold onto outside the chamber, on which to pull himself out. His other hand hit a wall outside and he felt something cold and thin, so he held on and retracted that hand just as the first had returned to his body. At this point he had stopped sliding across the crystal floor and with the box tucked into his chest, like a ball player, he did everything he could to push with his legs and help the process of escape. The edge of the door hit the cable between him and his hand and severed it immediately, which stopped that form of momentum.
However, he was able to get to his knees and on all fours, with one arm handless and the other holding onto a precious box, he scrambled the final few feet to the doorway and passed through the remaining space with only a hair’s thickness of breathing room. Thinking he was fully free of the room, the door slammed shut on the last of his feet to scurry through the doorway. The chamber door wheezed and whined and sputtered, as the motors the propelled its motion fought to continue the rest of their own mission.
Fyxys put the box on the ground and turned his body around, sitting up and facing back toward the room with one of his feet stuck in the door. Through the crack he could hear ghastly noises and mass violent commotion inside the chamber. Whatever escaped the compartments when the hatches opened, was looking for an intruder. Fyxys had another frightening thought. It was probable that he had been clearly seen making his escape and the things that escaped through the open trap doors were looking specifically for him. While he had absolutely no desire to prove this theory, Fyxys knew that the sooner he dislodged his foot and closed the door, the better. Every second that he sat there was another second’s chance that he would be seen again.
As Fyxys looked upon the gap between the door and the frame, only the width of his foot, which was still lodged tightly between the two, he considered what may attempt to follow him through this space. The gap may as well been several feet across, the way Fyxys considered this mishap. He could think of a vast array of dangers that would exploit this and use it as a means to attack him. No sooner had he gave thought to all of this, a bulging black and green pupil of a massive eyeball crammed itself against the crack in the door. A menacing roar screamed out behind the eye, shaking the door with it’s ferocious sound waves and echoing back and forth many time over throughout chamber.
The eye stared at him, although only the centermost of the eye could be seen, Fyxys got the strange impression that it was glaring at him, trying to figure him out as much as view him a the main course in a thousand year break fast. If there was more to this creature, he couldn’t see it, although Fyxys could make out something encased in shadow and silhouette . The creature roared again and the giant eye blinked twice. High above, near the top of the door, an arm jetted out, quickly followed by a second just below the first. Both arms were flailing, with their strange hands groping the air high above his head. Fyxys had to dislodge his foot now!
Fyxys couldn’t imagine what would be next to show itself at the gap in the doorway. As he tried to dislodge his foot, he became mesmerized by the arms that continued to reach out into the air above him. The arms were semitransparent, he could see through the outer layers of ragged sleeve and straight through to the inner bone of the forearms. He could count all of the bones in the hands which continued to desperately grab for something that wasn’t there. How peculiar and freaky Fyxys thought and the last thing he wanted was to be caught by those monstrous arms or anything else that escaped from those subfloor compartments.
Fyxys was stronger than almost ten normal men combined, but in normal situations, around non-androids, he avoided using his superhuman strength, so he could appear more humanlike. He had avoided this to such a great degree in the past, never using more than an extra ten percent beyond human capacity, that he actually forgot, or didn’t think about, just how strong he really was. However in times like this, when his personal, or that of his master’s, safety was jeopardized, he would remember to use his great strength accordingly.
Fyxys leaned forward and pushed the door back enough to free his foot and then pushed it the other way, helping it automatically close completely. The eye was gone and the arms pulled back within the room, not wanting to be cut off from the closing door. Although he did wonder why a semitransparent thing couldn’t simply phase shift and pass through the door. But then he remembered that the entire chamber, even the inside of the door, was lined with that impermeable crystal, which was designed to keep out anyone who is able to phase through normal objects and doors, like most Vysu for example.
Fyxys was thankful that the crystal-lined room was now working in his favor and he picked up the ancient box and looked it over, checking it for damage.Of course without opening it, he wouldn’t know if the contents were secure and unharmed, but he had the box and that mattered most. With it held firmly in his hands, Fyxys quickly walked away from the chamber, ignoring the banging and scraping coming from the creatures trapped inside. He did not look back once he left that part of the cave. He had a long journey ahead of him, for now he had to hike his way back out of the cave, retracing his steps along the way. After that he would have to follow the path out of the Garden of Den, to the road that would take him to a nearby seaport, where he hoped to find passage on a ship.
Fyxys knew nothing of the modern geopolitical landscape around Aretherra. He wasn’t sure what countries were still around, what nations may have formed, and how everything may have changed during the last thousand years. Fyxys thought about what happened during the Great Event, the calamitous fallout, the deaths of thousands or more citizens, the devastation that he witnessed upon the land, in the seas and to the global environment of Aretherra. The utter destruction to the known world was unparalleled and unforgiving. Fyxys had heard rumors of the plates under the planet’s crust shifting, and even migrating during this time.
Fyxys was unaware of the global impact of this event alone and how it fundamentally changed the entire planet. The world that existed when he powered down a thousand years ago no longer existed. In almost every way Aretherra was different. Even the name changed. No longer was he on the planet Areth, the people now called it Aretherra. With the separation of the supercontinent came the separation of the peoples who lived there. Before they lived together as one united race of people once, but this was no longer the case. As Aretherra changed, so did its people.
Soon after the new settlements of each nation took hold, each developed their unique powers and abilities. With the separation of the planet, the land, the people came the separation of powers. The people of Areth all had a set of multiple abilities, making them vastly powerful all. However, with the disaster of the Great Event, their powers were striped from them and each nation was granted one primary power only. Over the past thousand years, the radically disparate and changed people, now spread across the entire world of Aretherra, formed their own nations, governments, traditions and beliefs, all to support and reflect their differences.
Fyxys was completely ignorant of how Aretherra had changed while he slept for the past thousand years. The man who sent him on his mission to find the prophecy, as well as the country Fyxys originally departed from was either dead or did not exist any longer. Because of this he did not know where to go and who to see. Deep within his data core, digital copies, pages and excerpts, of part of the prophecy remained intact after all of those years. Reviewing this text again gave him the clue that he needed and he knew at least, the person me must seek. So with the lost prophecy of Areth in his hands, Fyxys set out to find the only person alive whom he could trust with the prophecy written on the priceless ancient scroll. His new goal: he would seek out the only person that the prophecy mentioned by name, some “boy” named “Aerosus”.