Chapter 5 - Hidden Horrors
Discovery of his intrusion would no doubt happen. If he wanted to have a look, then now would be the time to get in and get out. A slight giggle came over him as the thought of doing something like this days, weeks or even all his former years was never in his frame of mind.
This was the danger he wanted to avoid so desperately. Yet, here he was doing the very thing that would surely send him to his death. It had to be that moment with Aaron that sparked something inside of him. Denying it only made it grow stronger deep in his psyche.
Or maybe it had always been there, waiting for someone to shake the cobwebs loose from his brain… yes… that had to be it, hadn’t it?
Moving faster through a brilliantly lit room, he tried to see what in this next place. Once his eyes adjusted, he noticed the long cylinders he was in proximity too. They were clear and full of liquid. He could see the bubbles of air floating inside them. “There was that noise from earlier,” he thought. “But what is this?”
He felt a coldness surrounding his body. Icy breath swirling in front as he released a faint shiver. The room was larger than it seemed and the cylinders looked thick and well made. Stepping closer to it, he noticed a dark object at the centre. The glass frosted from his heated gasp and he rubbed it clear with his arm and hand.
“What, what is this?” He gawked while looking closer. The dark object now seemed to take a shape, yes, it was becoming visible. He could make out some details and even a proper pigmentation. “No… that looks like… like…”
He stepped back in horror. An infinite number of glass cylinders lined the room like an array of test tubes arranged in order. The service pipes and perfectly bound multi-coloured wiring led into each one, while the clear bubbling liquid inside maintained the oxygen levels and core temperatures.
David covered his mouth to mute the frightened shrill he tried to subdue. The appalling sight made him stumble back as the discovery became apparent to him. In the thousand upon thousands of glassed containers were floating body parts: organs, limbs, skeletal remains and disembodied heads.
The shock clearly overwhelmed him, not so much for the discovery of the tubes, but mainly for what floating parts contained… children, they were full of children. Infants to be more precise. It was a nightmare to behold and far too disturbing to contemplate.
What the hell are they doing in here? Was this where the dissections occurred? Where children being studied? For what purpose? It was senseless and it made no sense to him.
The nausea overwhelmed his stomach and left the room more rapidly than he did entering it. He could almost hear the whaling of the infants calling out to him in pain, a symphony of cries crashing around him like an ocean wave on a distant shore. Desperately he struggled to get out of the area and whimpered non-stop as the cries seemed to grow louder and louder.
The darkness and dimmed red light disoriented his senses and wasn’t sure if he was headed in the right direction. Guessing was all he could do at this point, as both hands thrusted out to feel for the door. There was a disturbance just beyond earshot and a clanking noise coming towards his position. “They know what I’ve done!” He panicked mentally. “Oh God…Let me out of here!”
With one last feel against the shadowed wall, an exit became available, the door opened and he spilled out of it in a frantic state. David ran with all of his might and headed for the last door that led back from where he started.
Once outside he launched himself down the corridor and beyond the glass door partition he had repaired earlier. He forgot the sensor was fixed, and was stunned by his sudden stupidity , David froze as the alarm blared loudly and cursed at himself. Two large TMD’s made their presence known, they stomped down the corridor and headed straight for David still paralyzed with fright.
“Intruder, identify yourself.” The dual robots demanded.
“David!” He shouted with hands raised. “David 00472! I was testing the door.”
“I was testing the door sensor!” He reaffirmed. “I swear to you!”
“There is no visual record of this. Surveillance is not required in this area.” Malcolm’s voice spoke through them.
“I was brought here for service.” David said nervously and pointed in the direction. “I finished and tested the sensor, it must have triggered the alarm. I apologize for the intrusion. I’m sure the Tool Droid that was just here could vouch for me and you’ll see I was just finishing the task.”
The TMDs remained motionless as Malcolm confirmed his claim. The pause was longer than David would have liked and worried his explanation would not be enough. Wiping the sweat off his forehead, he closed his eyes and waited for the verdict.
“Confirmed. Tool Droid 25539-2 log entry of completion verified. There is a 98.9% statement accuracy that the system activation was necessary. The service was successful, the sensor is now operational.”
David wanted to let out a large sigh of relief (and maybe a moment to check his pants for any other kinds of relief as well), but contained it to a simple release of breath and opened his eyes. The two TMDs moved aside and motioned to the hallway exiting the building.
“Task is complete. You will now sign out and return to your complex for the shutdown period.”
That was Malcolm’s way of saying, “I believe you, now go home and have a goodnight.” Which is what he would have preferred the heartless robot would say instead. But at least he had let him live, so it was probably best on his part not to provoke the situation any further. David said nothing back and hurried down the hall, but not too fast, otherwise Malcolm would be rather suspicious of his actions.
It was surprising to him that the AI gave him the chance to explain at all. Usually there would be no time to give such a bold reaction to a TMD, most would just drag you off on the spot and that would be the end. Rarely would anyone speak to an AI like that at all. David truly had to be grateful for thinking so quick on his toes.
As he exited the building, he noted the sun setting in the distance. The orange light cascaded over the horizon of perfectly aligned buildings in the distance , and the clouds bore an outline of faint pink around the edges. It had been a long and rather full day of interesting events.
He still couldn’t shake the imagery of what he found in that room. He tried desperately to shake it out of his mind for the time being; he needed to get to the nearest transport and go home. He looked at his hands, they were still trembling from the fear of almost getting caught and what he inadvertently found in the hidden room.
He clenched his fist and tried to quell the shaking. As he took one last look back, he saw young Rahul looking out the window of the training centre and waving slightly. The Angela teaching robot came up behind the child and corralled him back to the rest of the class sitting at their desk.
“What the hell are they doing to us?” Thought David. “Maybe Aaron is right… perhaps we should be breaking the rules. Cause something is definitely wrong with all of this.”