I follow into bright, and falling white. Blinking, the Id EIS ocular field resolves red sunlight, filtered by swirling falling snowflakes, shining down upon a white-sparkling snow-blanketed courtyard which The Master is already striding across, its black robe slightly billowing from the motion, heading towards the center...
I hurry after it.
"We will spend more time together," The Master promises me distractedly, its exhalations puffing white.
Joy. "If it please you!"
While we approach the empty center, marble-like steps slowly fade into view. They end abruptly, mid-air.
The Master climbs halfway, then glances back.
I follow, halting beside it as the marble-like staircase begins a flowing ascent upwards through the swirling falling snowflakes, bringing us towards further Levels coming visible above...
"This is one of my residence quadrants," The Master states. "You will know them."
"Yes, Master Gabriel." Dutifully turning from it, I stare up at a vast second Level nearing: square like the shape of the Tower, this sprawling Level is separated, by darkly opaque partitions acting as walls, into four huge biome squares bound by the distant clear outerwalls of the Tower showing through to a bloated red sun hanging in the blue afternoon sky...
Hm. It seems reasonably sized.
When we reach the edge of this second Level, the rising marble-like stairs now smoothly transition into a flowing flat walkway bringing us alongside for a closer look at one huge square biome filled with white-lumped shapes as snowflakes keep falling everywhere. A darkly opaque partition obscures sight, then another similar square comes into view. I am memorizing every detail of it before we hit the corner of the Level and the conveyer smoothly transitions back into marble-like stairs bringing us upwards through the snow towards a vast, sprawling third Level...
Passing a certain threshold –
– rain patters upon us instead of snowflakes, endless droplets falling down in sheets. While still ascending, I look down towards a point in space where each raindrop silently explodes into white snowflakes which continue swirling downwards...
Hm. The technology is not impossible, but I wonder at its purpose in service.
... before we reach the edge of the third Level, the rising stairs transitioning back into a smooth conveyer bringing us alongside the edge past four more similarly partitioned biome squares.
Much better visibility here.
The first biome features a bright liquid pool rippling under the rain. A darkly opaque partition obscures sight, then the second biome can be seen to hold a rainy forest glade enfolding a lone cabin. A darkly opaque partition obscures sight again, then we hit the corner of the third Level and the conveyer transitions into rising marble-like stairs once more, bringing us up through the falling rain towards the fourth Level...
I stare upwards towards grey, gently roiling clouds, drawing close. Passing a certain point –
– we pass into the grey. It is cold, damp and gently coiling as we reach the edge of what likely is the vast, sprawling fourth Level of this residence quadrant of the Master.
Hm. If I cannot see at all...
The conveyer slows, then gently stops.
The Master is wreathed in grey fog, almost seeming a part of it. "Research at the processor until you finish, then take the winding stair."
"Yes, Master Gabriel." I turn, immediately walking off into the obscuring grey. The Id EIS footsteps are muted. Gradually, the outline of a chair, desk, and a large screen sitting upon it become visible. Obviously the processor, I smoothly sit at the chair, waiting patiently for it to scan and activate...
But the large screen remains dark.
Frowning, I press the power button underneath and the screen finally warms, brightening to a directory.
Hm, this is older tech. For nostalgia? Or to keep this information off of the main system?
I scan, then open the first filetree: it is an incomplete biosynth codemap labeled Second. A basic biosynthetic Attendant template is included and the behavioral traits are listed, but no detailed maps for neural systems or attached psych evaluations are included.
Reading through the service record, I find it similarly incomplete. Second was often punished brutally, while frequent post-maturation tweaks to the Second EIS were made by The Master. Permanently decommisioned after six months, no Projects are listed.
"Hmm." I sit back in the chair, reflecting...
Second was a failure. It would be helpful to know more particulars of this cautionary tale, but... I cannot be too worried, having already completed several successful Projects for The Master without noted punishment.
I move on, opening up the next filetree: a biosynth codemap labeled Third. A heavily altered biosynthetic Attendant template, the service record shows competent service, with noted assistance on certain of The Master's projects. But nothing stands out, and service was ended after two years.
I move on, opening up the next filetree: a biosynth codemap labeled Fourth. The biosynthetic Attendant template was moderately altered, and Fourth is listed as having produced many original Projects and serving for nearly a century. When examining listed Projects, I am impressed to discover that Fourth invented Smartmatter 2.0, the first C-Shield, Evolution Trigger 2.0 and a wide range of other foundational technologies.
Yes, there is much to live up to... although Fourth did NOT possess intelligence beyond Base 1, as I do. It was also tailored to introspective meekness, conversations with The Master appearing to have been few and far between. Another interesting fact is that Fourth was only punished twice: once on the first day of service, and again shortly before The Master ordered termination.
The Id EIS lips curve up into a smile.
I can exceed this.
I move on, opening up the next filetree: a biosynth codemap labelled Fifth. Basic template and basic service record.
I move on, opening up the next filetree: a biosynth codemap labelled Sixth. A social aide but a scientific failure. Long-lived.
I move on, opening up the next filetree: a biosynth codemap labelled Seventh. Served unremarkably well for 10 years.
I move on, opening up the next filetree: a biosynth codemap labelled Eighth. Moderately altered template. Stern, brilliant, mercurial and long-lived, the end of the service record is redacted.
I move on, opening up the next filetree: a biosynth codemap labelled Ninth. A tireless worker, intelligence at base level 1.2, it chiefly maintained the Tower grounds and wider Domain, travelling beyond the Border as well, although those details are mostly redacted.
Another interesting mystery.
I move on, opening up the third to last filetree: a biosynth codemap labelled Tenth. Intelligence was base level 2.0, but service was erratic. Numerous Projects are listed, a great number in the middle partially redacted. Tenth served 40 years, although it was intermittently held in stasis for years at a time.
Mhmmm. Peak mystery.
I move on, opening up the second to last filetree: a biosyth codemap labelled Eleventh. Little is listed besides a few Projects concerning theoretical physics. Eleventh served five years, attended a Meeting of The Twelve and was promptly decommissioned at the end.
Some kind of presentation failure, I assume.
When I move on to the last filetree, the Id EIS eyes narrow. Three folders await me: the Genesis Project, Lost Eden and the Interrupting Event.
Hm. (Well now...)
While reading, I find that it is all old, pivotal history, but detailed much more fully here than in public Tower systems, including every single step from the Iconoclast Period to The Twelve. By the end I have run the gamut from intrigued, to enthralled, to beaming pride for those forever superior
The death and rebirth of humanity. Wow. What an incredible genesis. (Yes. The Master is a great one...)
Now finished, I shut the processor off and walk back out across the fourth Level, through swirling grey mist. I eventually return to the now empty marble-like walkway and step on, after which it begins passing alongside the edge again before transitioning back up into rising stairs which curve towards the center of the interior, ambient light fading quickly until all becomes darkness.
I am still.
Suddenly: a spotlight shines down now, illuminating a solitary, red-sheeted bed waiting in the center of this new dark place.
A heavy hand falls upon the Id EIS shoulder.
Oh! It's touching me! I...
"You are to be favored," The Master whispers behind me in a strange, husky tone never used before.
I smile tremulously, sensitively aware of the constant Id EIS body nudity the first time now...
Its grey fingers slide from the Id EIS collarbone on down, trailing warmth Never before experienced. Across the Id EIS chest, then building down towards the Id EIS stomach-muscles growing taut at the contact, moving towards –
Hot breath against the Id EIS ear. "It is time to share new things."442Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡiLt8HYExrlns 18.104.22.168da2