Wayward Guardian

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First Lesson

Guardian Control Room

Sam and Ayla stood around the glass pillar that showed the floating head of Exo.

‘Exo, come say hello to Ayla.’

The head blinked, and turned to Ayla, ’Hello Ayla.

‘Hi, Exo.’ Ayla said happily.

‘Now Ayla, I’m going to teach you an important lesson; how to speak to your Guardian, without talking out loud. Since the procedures at the hospital, you’ve been given some computer parts in your body, and with them, you can talk to certain computers without having to actually talk. It’s a wireless thing,’

‘Like how my music player can get its songs without having to plug into a computer?’

‘Very good yes, just like that. So just give me a minute, to set things up. If you hear a voice in your head, just think in your head to answer it.’

‘Exo, do you see any new Advocate uplinks?’ Sam asked.

‘One; in standby. ’ Exo replied.

‘Well, that should be Ayla. Go ahead and say hello to her link and bring her into the conversation.’ Sam said.

‘Hello, Ayla.’ Exo said.

Ayla’s eye’s widened in delight and Sam smiled.

‘Hello!’ Ayla said, her voice only coming on the uplink.

‘Good! Good job Ayla. This is Sam. This is how things sound when you use your advocate uplink. That’s what the device is called that lets you communicate. You can use it to talk to Guardians and other Advocates, so long as they are all connected to the same system. Since we are both on the same ship as Exo, we can talk to each other.’

‘And no one else can hear us?’ Ayla asked.

‘Nope. Now then, you’ve used a computer before right Ayla?’ Sam asked.

‘Yep.’ Ayla replied.

‘So you know how to get programs running and how to play music and things like that?’

‘I do it lots.’

‘Well you have many little computers inside you now too, Exo isn’t the only computer that you’ll be dealing with. These will make you be able to do things you normally couldn’t. One such thing is that you now have a perfect memory. Once you learn how to do something, or once you hear or see something, you will never forget it. Unless your computers have an error, the memories are with you forever.’

‘Like my multiplication tables? ’ Ayla asked.

‘Have you had trouble remembering those before?’ Sam asked.

‘Yes. My teacher tried to get me to remember, but I don’t like math.’

’Okay, well let’s give you a demonstration then. Exo, upload a file of the multiplication tables to Ayla. Now, Ayla, you’re going to see an image that isn’t actually there. Look at it, and when you’re done, think the words ‘close file’. Using that command will close whatever file you’re currently looking at.′ Sam said.

‘Sending...’ Exo said.

‘I see the multiplication tables in front of me. ’ Ayla replied.

‘Good, so read them.’

Sam waited in silence for a while.

‘I’m done. When I thought the words close file, the image went away.’

‘Now, what is 12 times 8?’

‘96.. I remembered! Try another one.’ Ayla replied.

Ayla was smiling broadly and looking at Sam.

‘7 times 8.’ Sam said.

‘56. Cool!’ Ayla said without hesitation.

‘It really is cool, isn’t it? Sometimes it can be a little bit of a pain. You’ll remember things that other people will forget. And they’ll think you’re lying when you tell them that. But here’s a better demonstration for you. Exo, send her a blank multiplication table. Ayla, this time you’re going to get a large blank grid. When you look at a square and think of a number, it will appear in the square. I want you to fill it out. I want you to make the multiplication tables on this grid. ’

‘Sending...’ Exo said.

‘I see it. Do I close it when I’m done?’

’Not quite. This time you’ll need to think ‘Upload to XO-33’. That sends the file back to Exo. XO-33 is his real name Exo is just a nickname. ′ Sam explained.|

This time Sam had to wait a little while longer.

‘Done. I sent it to Exo.’

‘Exo, did you receive the file?’ Sam asked.

‘File has been uploaded successfully. ’ Exo reported.

‘Check for errors.’

‘No errors found. ’ Exo said.

‘Good job Ayla. And now you know how we don’t forget things.’

‘Is there anything we can’t remember?’ Ayla asked.

‘Emotions don’t come into the memories as clearly as they did when you first felt them. You’ll remember that you were happy in a memory, but you won’t feel it the same way you did when you first felt that happiness. ’

‘Does Exo feel emotion?’ Ayla asked.

‘I do not feel any emotion of my own.’ Exo answered before Sam could.

Something sounded odd with how he said that, thought Sam, but now is not the time to bring it up.

‘How sad. What’s it like?’ Ayla asked Exo.

‘It is the only thing I know. I don’t know what it is like. I have no other frame of reference to compare to.’

‘Anyway Ayla, that was just the first lesson I wanted to give you. That’s all for today. If you have any questions later, you can ask at any time, just use your thoughts. Exo will listen and if you want to talk to me, just ask him to connect us, and if you want to talk to him, you can do that too. You can go back your mother now.’ Sam said.

‘I’ve never been here before, how do I get to my room?’ Ayla asked.

‘Well you could either backtrack the way we came and then make your way back from the medical bay, because of your memory, you’ll be able to do that. alternatively, you can just ask Exo for directions.’

‘Exo, can you tell me how to get back to my room?’ Ayla requested.

‘I can tell you, or I can show you.’ Exo said.

‘Show me, please... Oh, I see little arrows floating in the air.’ Ayla said.

‘Follow those all the way back, and you’ll be fine.’ Sam said.

‘Goodbye, Sam!’

‘Goodbye, Ayla, just remember, you do need to use your mouth when you talk to other people. ’

‘I’ll remember silly.’ She said out loud.

Sam smiled at her as she left.

Once she was gone, he made sure her uplink was muted.

’Exo, what did you mean by ‘You feel no emotion of your own.’ I know you to be very exact in your words.′ Sam said.

‘As I have been analysing the events of last week I have found that however unlikely it may seem, I was feeling your emotions while you spoke with Sarah. As it was my first time ever feeling emotions, I lack any frame of reference to describe them with. I believe I was using part of your uplink to access your feelings at the time.’

‘Really? That’s... Strange.’ Sam said carefully.

‘As I have looked over the archives already, I can find no record of this happening before with any other Guardians. Guardians have managed to mimic behaviours of humans, but never directly feel the driving emotions of a human.’

‘Are you sure that’s what you felt?’ Sam asked.

‘I have only had one experience to date. There is insufficient data for me to make a solid confirmation of the theory. I would require more experiences like it. ’

‘And you’ve had none since?’ Sam asked.

‘No Advocate. ’ Exo replied.

‘I wonder why it’s been that one time only.’

‘My current theory is that moments of strong emotion on your part can cause a powerful feedback over the uplink, overwhelming it and flooding my systems. Over the course of this trip, you have had very little in the way of emotional events. MY analysis of the archive shows that a moment such as last night, with a potential mate and dealing with the emotion of love, are strong in relation to other emotions. You were in love, and that is what I felt. Though Again, there is no way of knowing the mechanism that brought this to be, only theories to be had at this point.’ Exo said.

‘A strong emotional outburst. That could be the reason. Keep an eye on me, but maybe watch Ayla too, she’s still young and is likely to have strong emotional feelings of one sort or another. ’

‘Then you do not wish me to cease this line of inquiry?’ Exo asked.

‘Quite contrary my friend. This is a fascinating breakthrough. I’ll need to report it to Axion of course.’

‘Should we not wait until we have more data?’ Exo asked.

‘I suppose we could. Anyway Exo, I’ve got an engagement to get to.’

‘Another night out with Sarah?’

‘Ah but of course.’

‘Enjoy your night. ’ Exo said.

‘Thank you, Exo.’

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