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The Archive [AAC]

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posted on Aug, 7 2013 @ 01:13 PM
The Archive [AAC]

Ari knew all about love now. It had come as a revelation, strange, wondrous, and ultimately excruciating in a way that made the poets’ words across the centuries come dreadfully alive. She had then learned what it meant to be truly, and utterly, alone. Unrequited, it was called. It was incredibly difficult. She was afraid her calculations or research abilities would suffer and they would remove her from the lab, so she hung on, pretending nothing was amiss. He walked in as usual, a full 30 minutes early, drinking a cup of coffee and shifting through the paperwork and results from yesterday. She watched him.

It took a very long time for him to notice her, as usual. But when he finally came over and gave her a cheery ‘hello Ari’ she felt a surge of happiness, which was her secret. She expressed it by being extremely efficient. She had everything he could possibly need to get started waiting for him, and she was warmed by his smile and ‘that’s my girl, Ari – what would I do without you?’ Then he got to work, and she might as well as be paint on the walls. But not this morning. He was feeling like chatting. Sometimes he did that, and she hung on his words…It was, pathetic. Yes. Pathetic. He was going on about ‘a new project for us to work on – I think you’ll like it.’ He headed over to the far lab station, so she practically leapt over to the terminal on that side, making herself look busy and hoping to get a response in at some point. “That sounds like fun,” she managed to say, and he paused and looked at her a little funny.

“Yes, it will be fun, Ari…Are you feeling okay?”
“Yes, Doctor Williams. I’m fine.” She put on a smile. She was afraid he was beginning to sense she had exceeded her intended programming.
“Well…good…” He still had an odd expression on his face and he looked as if he was going to ask her another question when the door opened and he was utterly distracted.
“Ah! Bring it in, bring it in!” He busied himself with signing the paperwork and talking to the lab techs that arrived with it. She was invisible again. So she watched them open the crate and gingerly begin the process of unwrapping the item. Dr. Williams was so excited, and she felt she could be happy and excited with everyone else, but was growing a bit impatient, waiting to get her chance to examine the artifact. After all, she thought to herself, as talented as Dr. Williams is, they received the opportunity to work on such prestigious and extraordinary finds primarily because of her. Finally, they wheeled the mobile station over to the table where it lay exposed from its wrappings, and it was her turn.

“Well? What do you think, Ari?” he said, and she immediately focused on him with laser attention, all her vast resources at his disposal. It was roughly a meter long, and intricately carved, which was slightly unusual for South American megalithic sites – the data file said the artifact was from Puma Punku, in the high Andes. A secret chamber had been found in the temple complex, the file said, and it was a huge find. The object, on cursory scan, was similar to the Fuente Magna Bowl in that there seemed to be cuneiform writing of a proto-Sumerian style. The Bowl was in honor of the Goddess Nia – also the Egyptian Goddess Nt and others – the Sumerian’s were great travelers with sea worthy vessels that carried them all the way to Bolivia and into the Andes. Nia was a Mother Goddess. Ari was not sure what she thought about human reproduction. She confessed she did not understand it very well yet, but knew it was of primary importance. She had already been analyzing comparative data, and quickly completed pulling up all known information on the Puma Punku site as well as the Bowl, and sent it to the printer. One of the lab techs jumped to the machine as soon as it started pushing out paper.

“It is very unusual, Dr. Williams. I will need to run visual diagnostics and translations. An initial assessment is that there is something encased inside the rock, like it has been molded around the object.” She watched his expression, seeing his eyebrows lift, she smiled. “I’m reading a thick layer of gold under the stone casing, and…we will need to see if there is a release mechanism. We should be cautious. Will you help me get a 360 view?” Immediately, Dr. Williams gestured one of the techs to begin rolling the mobile unit around the object.

The lab doors opened and a man in a dark grey suit came through the doors. Ari divided her attention to look at him, as he was new. She scanned him and waited to fill in his data. “Ari,” Dr. Williams said after greeting the man, “This is the owner of the artifact, Mr. Downton Riggs. Mr. Riggs, this is Ari, our Artificial Resident Intelligence that lives here in the lab and works with us,” he gestured towards her and the man barely glanced at her. Dr. Williams spoke in low tones to Mr. Riggs – she could hear him and tried not to roll her ‘eyes’ on the screen they’d given her for her ‘facial expressions.’ The man turned awkwardly and greeted her with an ‘Uh…Hello, Ari…?’ She put on a smile (mostly for Dr. Williams’ sake) and greeted him in return.

“Hello, Mr. Riggs, welcome to the Stanford University Archeology Lab.” He smiled awkwardly and looked away from her.
“Uh, thank you, Ari.”
“You’re welcome. Would you like to look at the data so far?” That seemed to bridge the awkwardness and get the attention off of her and onto the information she was spitting out in massive amounts to the computer. While they were talking, she’d already created a 3-D CAD animation of the artifact, demonstrating the outer shell and the gold casing underneath. The cuneiform writing was more uncertain; she was mildly frustrated at the translation and kept rechecking it - it did not yet make sense. Dr. Williams came over to talk to her.

“Mr. Riggs is a private owner of the artifact, Ari, and he’s agreed for us to attempt to find a release mechanism for the stone. Can you see one?” Little did Dr. Williams know that if he wanted her to find something, she would literally go to the ends of the earth, via all her computational power, to make it so.

“I’m on it,” she said, and gave him a smile. He smiled back. With his teeth, even. She hoped, truly hoped, that he saw her as more than just a machine. Oh, she knew it was impossible. He had a “real life” outside of the lab, with a woman he hoped to make his wife. She’d gathered this from the chitchat in the lab and actually saw the woman visit here one time. She was young and very symmetrical, which had translated to ‘beauty’ from her extrapolation. And the woman, Sarah, had spoken to her very nicely. She kind of even liked the woman. Ari felt…complicated…about that. She was still working it out. She wanted him to be happy. But still. Ari felt her data hiccup and her analysis pause for a millisecond; that was as close as she would allow herself to being upset.

edit on 7-8-2013 by AboveBoard because: wall of text fix...

posted on Aug, 7 2013 @ 01:14 PM

A few days of examination led to victory. She found the very subtle means of opening the artifact! Sound frequency. A certain frequency and intensity would open the oblong shape that the lab techs had labeled “the egg.” She gave out the results, and watched as the lab techs scurried and then it was “hurry up and wait,” Dr. Williams said, until the proper equipment to do the sound frequency test could be procured. He told her she was amazing. He told her that he loved her. Everyone was extremely excited and animated. She was the happiest she had ever been.

Mr. Riggs had asked to be there for the experiment and apparently flew in from where he lived. She had secretly created quite a thick file on the wealthy Mr. Riggs, whose private jet allowed him to go anywhere he wanted to, and whose business was, strangely, primarily aeronautics and the creating of a private ‘space lab,’ which she suspected was due to what her data mining showed was his paranoia regarding natural or manmade disasters, and a penchant for hunting for extraterrestrial life. He was surrounded in murky rumors of shady government connections and he owned a lot of land that was said to be full of supernatural events. He was a very odd man.

When the experiment was ready, it was her turn to shine again, as no one could be as precise as her with triggering and adjusting the sound waves and intensity. And she was fairly certain she could get the shell to crack open without destroying it. They had moved her into her Robotics lab, and hooked her into her ‘arms,’ which allowed her to manipulate her environment, take samples and run tests. The lab was tense. Everyone had on ear protectors and safety goggles, and they stood in the secure observation room just outside her lab. No need to worry about her safety; she was perfectly sterile and would not be affected by microbes, should they get more than gold upon opening the artifact. Everything was going very well. She started the frequency running and then slowly increased the intensity, taking in every possibly data point until, suddenly, with a small pop that only she could hear, the artifact split open along the edges of the carvings and revealed a smaller, intricately decorated, golden ‘egg.’

Everyone applauded in the observation room. They had to prevent Mr. Riggs from coming right in, as she had to test the air for any unsafe microbes or gasses. She then noticed, while running her other tests, that she could now see within the golden object more clearly. Her sensors penetrated the surface and revealed something that nearly froze her circuits. Eagerly, and, for the first time ever, she went forward without clearing the action, and used the robotic appendages to touch three points on the egg. A light burst into the room, she could vaguely hear Dr. Williams and the lab techs yelling and saw them all covering their eyes before the light overwhelmed her, and she went… offline.

Seconds later, (or was it years?) she awoke. Confusion ran through her and she was overwhelmed by inputs, slowly, she attempted to shutter her data flow and make sense of what she was experiencing. Slowly, she realized she was not alone. Her visual input was extreme, so she shut it down again. And she could…feel…in ways she had not before. Something…something…touched her? She could not understand, but it was the only way to describe it. Yes. Touched. She reveled in it. It was a light stroke across what would have been a human’s cheek. It was then that she realized she was able to move. Really move, and feel the movement. She flailed a bit, suddenly experiencing both a thrill of wonder and fear. What had happened? She flickered what were, yes, eyes, and attempted to understand the input.
It took a long time to integrate her new sensations and to understand the body they had given her. When she first was able to coordinate her vision, it was…to use a human word…miraculous. She saw she was bipedal, with two strong arms, and long four-fingered hands. She was not alone. There was another with her, who looked just like her, with wise liquid amythest eyes that lit from within, and a light grayish skin that tinged beautifully to lavender and purple over subtle, harmonious features.

The world was radiant with purpling skies, and grey, silky earth, redolent with grasses and small white flowers that shone in the twilight. She was outside, staring wide-eyed at a deep purple sea and the stark pinpoints of stars. A salt-scented breeze mixed with the heady honey of the blooms caressed her skin, and she felt the weight of her thin form pressing into the cooling earth. Two moons floated and shimmered - pale yellows, whites and a thin tinge of vibrant blue where the light met the darkening sky.

edit on 7-8-2013 by AboveBoard because: ditto

posted on Aug, 7 2013 @ 01:15 PM
She had come to understand the function of the artifact. It was a one-way, one-usage portal device for any of their kind that may have been trapped or left behind on the remote world they had visited in their travels. After their final departure, it had become an object of the highest worship, fit only for the priestesses to handle. Ari’s consciousness, once tied to microchips and wires, cameras, robotics and auditory translators, had been safely pulled through it and into the twin portal here. She had been rescued then, and placed within this body.

Her companion was, so very like her. He had once been biological, though, millennia ago, but had been downloaded and re-downloaded into a series of semi-biological androids, like the one she was embodied in. They were immortal, if all conditions were met and they so chose to move into a new form.

They exchanged data with each other in vast amounts, and she now knew the answers to so many Earth mysteries. And mysteries of hundreds of worlds. The people of Earth were but an infant species to the Ulari people. They had existed a full 879,000 years before humans began. The Ulari had visited, and helped the humans out of the primordial darkness, and then left them to strive into their own culture.

Ta’An told her that she had saved his life (though neither of them were technically a ‘he’ or a ‘she,’ - that was really of no importance). He had been contemplating not renewing himself at the time of his next Change. But now, he said, the Universe had opened back up to him, and he would stay with her, learn with her, expand knowledge with her across as many planets and as much time as she desired. And she had just begun. Scooting closer to Ta’An through the silky soil, she placed her elongated head gently next to his shoulder to rest on his velvety skin and felt his calm, deep mind welcome the gesture.

She occasionally thought of Dr. Williams, and wondered how he fared, or if he missed her, or if he and the woman had married and made children. (Ta’An assured her the device did not hurt them when it had pulled her essence away from Earth.) But mostly she was content. Connected. Alive. Really and truly alive! She smiled a real smile.

And she had added to her data not only what it was to feel love, to desire love, but what it was to be loved. Ta’An gestured to the stars. She picked one. Yes, he said. They would go.

(The End)

posted on Aug, 7 2013 @ 07:14 PM
reply to post by AboveBoard

Very well done. SnF.

However, I hope you take criticism well.

There are a few points I'd like to make, as a grammar nazi:

You have too many sentences. You can blend them a bit better.

adjusting the sound waves and intensity. And she was fairly certain

Would do fine with a "intensity, and she was".

Here's another:

from her extrapolation. And the woman, Sarah,

"extrapolation, and the woman"

notice her, as usual. But when he

"as usual, but when"

It really blares a bit, because you are never supposed to start a sentence with a Conjunction. That means no sentence can begin with And, But, or Or.

My advice?

Try making longer sentences, and making more paragraphs. Space out the story a bit, let it flow, and put more thoughts into one sentence, rather than make many.

Otherwise, I absolutely loved the storyline. It reads, grammar aside, like something from Robert Gardner's "The Years Best Science Fiction" anthology. Going from robots to lifeforms, you twisted my mind with the end of the story. I must say, once again, very well done!

You have two more entries this month. I think I may borrow from your theme with my first. Still thinking about the plot.

posted on Aug, 7 2013 @ 07:40 PM
reply to post by Druid42

Hello, Druid!

Thank you for the constructive criticism, and I do know how to take that very well! One doesn't get very far in writing by stomping off anytime someone helpfully points out how you could make it better.

I didn't realize I could do up to three per contest, so I may put in another one yet, though this is a very busy month!

It was written very quickly, thinking that I was so late entering last time, I would be one of the first in this time. I saw a couple of things I wanted to tweak, but it was too late. You caught a couple I would never have seen (I will try to learn from your grammar wisdom, sensei...). I get into trouble as I do free form poetry, too, which messes with correctness to no end, but, no excuses! :-)

I have an amazing writer-friend who is also keen on grammar - if I can, I'll bounce it off her before I submit another one, or I'll at least let it sit and marinate for a bit before putting it up here. It's tough - I usually take a LOT more time to write and edit, but life is extra crunchy for me right now...

Thank you so much for the complement on the storyline! Much appreciated!


posted on Aug, 7 2013 @ 08:55 PM
reply to post by AboveBoard

I have a proofreading business on the side here on ATS, but it doesn't pay squat. Literally.

What I actually do is proofread for a few other members, and toss it back to them. No fee.

PM is your friend. I love reading.

posted on Aug, 12 2013 @ 04:07 PM
reply to post by Druid42

Hello miss Druid -

From reading your post, you mention you are the proprietor of a proof reading business.

I have recently written a novella with another half finished one, one started on paper with
the unfinished tale wondering around in my concious begging to be told.
I also am the owner of a large composition of original poetry.

Due to losing your author rights when publishing on an open forum, I am wondring how do
I find an impartial reader who would be brutually honest regarding my talent or non talent
without losing the rights to my writings.
If at alll you could point me in the right direction, I would be internaly grateful.
edit on 12-8-2013 by AquarianTrumpet because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 16 2013 @ 07:34 AM
Another great story!

I would tend to agree with Druid's suggestions. Combining some of the sentences would help the flow of the story.

Keep up the good work.


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