Welcome to Prestige City!
Sentient AI is impressive in its own right. A digital representation of a consciousness that was meant to be exclusive to human beings. Harris, the programmer (?) was in no doubt a prodigy to be able to create one. But there is a saying, there is a fine line between genius and insanity.
“You really did save the plant.” Argent hovered around Harris, scanning for any injuries. “Is there something special about this specific specimen of grass?”
“I’m glad you asked Argent, take a look at this.” Harris flaunted the potted plant. It was ever changing in color, alternating from green to blue and back.
“It’s not just glowy, it’s sentient. Just like you!”
Harris’ state of mind: Borderline Insane.
“…” Argent floated away.
Leaving behind the raving lunatic, Argent went out of the room to try and take a closer look at the building designated as home. It would take a hefty while though, as the empty apartment complex was huge to begin with. 12 floors, each with 50 or so rooms, a couple of common areas, and a vast amount of rubble and hazards strewn about based on a preliminary scan. So Argent decided against it.
“Don’t forget to check your room.” Harris crept up behind the floating ball. “It’s on the third floor next to mine, room 318. I’ll just run some diagnostics on Reece here.” He ran back inside.
“You even named it.”
No reply came from inside the room.
Designating carpet grass as Reece.
The room Argent was created in wasn’t even Harris’ room, just a defunct bunker with a gaping hole in the ceiling all the way to the 11th floor. A faded logo beside the steel door reads: Stellar Industries. It was supposedly built to withstand a direct explosion… that’s about as much attention as the infrastructure gets.
Basement floor, Bunker 2 to Third floor, Room 318. Auto-navigation activated.
This would have been the perfect time to check out the lower floors, but “checking the room” seems to be the priority. Argent hurried over to the nearby elevator. It’s broken, but the elevator shaft is the quickest way to the upper floors provided that one can float, and the mechanical orb can.
A while later, Argent arrived at the room. There is a placard sign attached to the door with the name Argent on it. Down the hallway, the door to room 319 has the name Har is written across it in spray paint.
Error. Entry not possible.
Harris must have forgotten that Argent is quite literally a floating ball. Forget waging war on Harris’ enemies, Argent can’t even turn the door handle. And this door doesn’t even have any handles. It’s almost… embarrassing.
Cannot execute command: “Don’t forget to check your room”.
Argent scanned the door, or at least pretended to scan it. It is inconvenient that the visual module can’t actually look at the mechanism behind it. It’s about as useful as a high-quality action camera.
Backing up, the upper part of the wall of the room seemed to be made entirely of reinforced glass panels. Argent could really just go back to Harris to address the problem regarding entry.
Diverting power to the Graviton Dampener.
Argent picked up the speed, ramming into one of the glass panels. The door problem can be dealt with another time. As soon as Argent was inside, the lights in the room flared up.
Inside, there was a contraption strapped to the door which seemed to be an activation mechanism to the confetti cannons by the doorway. A banner hanging from the ceiling has HAPPY BIRTHDAY ARGENT! written in bold colorful letters.
That aside, most of the rooms that Argent and Harris crossed on the way to the rooftop were borderline destroyed. But this particular three-room suite was intact, maintained even. The peach colored paint on the walls were pristine, the lights are fully functional, and not a speck of dust on the floor.
It’s complete with furniture too, with a kitchen set for two persons, a sofa set, a tv, bedroom, etc. It’s probably just how it was back in the infrastructure’s operating days. Argent landed in the living room, burying itself in the soft carpet. A couple of minutes passed as Argent stared at the confetti cannons.
Harris did not come up with the name Argent on the spot back then. He’d been planning this for a while now. Argent felt odd but content at the same time.
Time to go back to Harris. There’s not much for Argent to do in this room except lay down on the carpet or the bed anyway.
Argent was about to head out the room when it passed by the mirror attached to the living room wall. The reflection showed a spherical object with a silver-colored titanium-alloy chassis, white LED lining the gaps in the armored plating, and a camera lens in the middle. Based on Drones for Civilian and Military use. exe, Argent classified as a modified military scout drone. And based on Close to each other!.exe and How to be the best partner.exe, unfitting to be a companion.
Purpose: Become Harris’ Companion. Current status renders purpose implausible. Acquiring solution… Solution acquired. Integrating restored files into database. Updating software. Converting .exe files. Dumping rudimentary AI system. Dumping secondary AI system. Keeping tertiary AI system. Restructuring main operating system. Restructuring impossible to complete in one update. Continuous update command enabled. Setting estimate to purpose completion via simulation of irrational consciousness to 1%. Rebooting.
Boot-up process complete. Systems online.
Everything is dark.
“I probably should have landed on the carpet first before doing all that.” Argent took in the view of the underside of the sofa. The mechanical ball must’ve rolled under the sofa during the reboot after it dropped from the air. “Talking to myself makes no sense.” Argent slowly went towards the mirror, observing itself again. The LED coloring turned from white into a shade of red.
No other visible changes detected.
“They’ve already won! The Grandeur Six have taken down the Kaiju horde surrounding Lakewood District!-”
Back at the basement floor, bunker 2, Argent found Harris eating cereal on a plastic bowl, his attention drawn towards the radio. It’s the 30th century and people still actually listen to the radio. The staticky male voice continued to ring out on the speaker. “-and that marks the 27th giant monster attack thwarted by the Grandeur Six! In other news, a massive fire just broke out in Peripheral District 11 after a workplace acci-”
“Oh, Argent you’re back. That took a while, it’s already a new day.” Harris grabbed a chair, offering it to Argent. “So anyways, whenever I’m not here you can find me in my room down the hallway next to yours or somewhere on floor 7.”
Argent landed on the top rail of the chair. “Thank you for the room.”
"- the wasteland radiation seeping into the Peripheral Districts from outside the walls have risen to yet new highs-"
“Oh, uh, yeah. You’re welcome.” Harris turned the radio off. “You changed your LED color, you planning to go rogue or something?” He let out a chuckle.
“More or less.”
“I was kidding.”
“That was a nice joke. You really had me there for a second.” Harris finished the cereal, taking it to the trash can. “Now, let’s do introductions. Formal ones.” He grabbed a new lab coat, switching out his old one. “My name is Harrison J. Miller, a mechanic.”
“Yeah, is there something wrong about being a mechanic?”
“Why are you wearing a lab coat?”
“What’s wrong with wearing a lab coat?”
“Nothing. Carry on.”
“Okay, so anyways. I’m 29, and I sort of own this building. I make stuff as a hobby, and go out occasionally for supplies.” Harris froze up for a moment, seeming to remember something. “And stuff like that. What about you?”
“My name is Argent. I am currently learning about everything, so I do not have anything to share for now.”
“Yeesh. Nothing else? Let’s move on to impressions.” Harris stood up, heading towards the nearby faucet. “What was your first impression of me?”
“One of my first impressions about you was how you resemble that one evil German scientist in a tv show who has a fedora wearing monotreme as a nemesis.”
“That’s oddly specific.”
“You are not that tall however, and you are not hunched over. And you are a mechanic.”
“You’re really hung up on the mechanic thing.” He washed his hair and face. He then opened up the holo-bracelet, typing something on it. “And don’t use references anymore. Or at least use references from this century.”
“Fine. Are we going outside?”
“Yup. I’ve actually been inside for over a month now. Supplies are running low.” Harris ran over towards the table, picking up a briefcase. “And I’ve completed my client’s orders. Ahhh, my lovely servos are better than the ones circulating the market.” He lifted it up over his head. “They have at least triple the normal output, and guaranteed not to fail 98% of the time! I might even charge double for this!”
“98 percent is not a guarantee.” Argent floated over Harris, perching on his shoulder.
“Don’t sweat the details. Remember, triple the power. Triple.” Harris took a folding bike. “Let’s visit West District 3!”
“You could have made a motorcycle at least.” It was hard for Argent to believe Harris was somewhat a regular citizen and not some bigshot inventor of some kind.
“But a slow life is not bad either.” Argent said in a low voice.
“What?” Harris seemed to be focused on contacting his clients.“Nothing. Onwards to West District 3.”