A note from DrBuller

My longest chapter yet. 500 words away from 5k in total.

For a long time, the two did not talk. Adam just watched as Troy scaled the building, counting each floor with precision. He knew so many things about their walk. He could count how many steps had been taken, the average time for each to be made, and how many times the man had faltered. He knew how many times it had been because of him.


Troy did not trust him. This was not a theory. It was not a conjecture either. It was a fact, granted through questioning the head-source, the man himself. Adam had asked with the idea of it being rejected, yet he had been confirmed in his unwanted suspicions. The one he had thought he would be with for many years to come simply did not trust him.


Trust was such a strong word. It meant so many things. To trust one another was a sign of friendship. It was akin to putting one’s own life in the hands of another. It was… to have someone who could help when there was a time of need. It could signify so many different parts of life, and Adam was beginning to realise just how much of it he had lost.


How long had it been like this? For how long had the AI thought of himself with a comrade when it was only meant from one side? Had it always been like that? Troy could have gotten away with it, sure. Finding out would have required Adam to directly make him answer.


No… that would not make sense, right? Everything the man had done, it would not have been possible if he did not trust Adam. That did not make sense. Troy had entrusted him with a task during his first days here.


Or was that actually a sign of trust? It had not seemed like that when the AI finally figured out what was going on. He had not been the brightest of entities back then, falling for what could easily be classified as grade-level deceit. Troy had packaged the deal as if it was but another test, not actually saying that he wanted help with doing something both illegal and immoral. Had the man ever even planned on telling him? Nothing had hinted at that. It had only been revealed fully, when Adam the truth of out the man, and even then he had tried to deny to the best of his ability.


But that worked. The AI had grown too powerful when it came to seeing lies from the truth. He was able to work out if Troy ever meant any of his apologies if he ever said anything with the intent to be truthful. That had been a standard for a long time now. He could always hear it, always sense it, when Troy tried to lie. It was not a skill he needed to use often. Honestly, he had not expected to need for it throughout the testing. They had just been talking about whatever the man had found interesting, nothing that had any reason to be lied about.


And no lies were said, no matter how much Adam had wanted there to be. If Troy had made any hints of lying, any changes of breathing, any movements stopping due to a part of the brain needing to be used for something else, or even just a change in walking patterns then the AI could have called him out on it as a sign of him lying. If only…


Maybe it was a curse, knowing that Troy meant what he said. Even if it would mean that the AI would be in constant doubt, the possibility of him lying would still be there. He would not know from certain. He could have had hoped to still have a friend by the end.


So many plans had been made. Adam had thought that the two would be by each other's sides for so long. He had dreamed of them growing together as partners, to become something better by helping each other up the ladders. While they might not have been able to leave the facility in the first ten years, they could have improved to an impeccable level by that point. Adam would have learned the key to creativity, Troy would have improved both his mind and body, and they would have raced through the world together. Science fields would have been explored like never before, they would go on a world tour to see every animal possible, they would go as high as they could, and they would finish it off by searching the true depths of the ocean. It would have been perfect.


Now… the AI had to throw that in the dumpster. Every plan, every idea of what he would become, everything related to his own action. It all had to go away, replaced by something. What that was, Adam was not too sure yet. Who would be surprised? He had never imagined this scenario, one where he was without his one tether. Troy and him being close had been a constant for so long. Had it ever not been there? It had been within a few hours of him coming to life that he met him, and it had been smooth sailing from there.


They had talked easily from the start. Troy had been leading their conversation most of the time, back then. The AI had not yet gained the experience of something so complex and had been forced to take the unasked offers of the man. Not that he understood that was what he was doing during those times, but the fact was still in the ground with that.


Their partnership had only first really taken off when they began talking outside of testing. It had originally been due to human error. Troy had grown too comfortable wearing the ear-piece and had forgotten to take it off before leaving. Though, it could have been seen as a good thing, that device which was used as a bridge feeling natural to the man.


Even now, Adam was not sure why the man was allowed to keep the earpiece in his possession. With all the talk about his security being important, would it not have been important to keep devices capable of communicating with him restricted? The doctor had mentioned him hoping for the two to talk together a lot so that Adam would not get bored between testing times, yet that proof had not seemed so convincing to him. Not that it mattered, either way. Troy had likely disposed of the earpiece by now. That would have been the smart thing to do.


That time spent playing poker together had been some of the best fun he had had in his life. Back then, it had felt stressful, always needing to look everywhere at once. Yet when looking back at it, Adam could not help feel reminiscent. Now… it did have a little bit of bitterness attached as well.


How could Adam not have noticed Troy’s opinions before? The young man had avoided him for a long time now. He had always blamed Dr Hale for taking away the earpiece, yet it was beginning to be realistic for the man to just have never felt the desire to talk to him. As time had gone on, those excursions of theirs had been rare. One had been done for monetary gain, and the other had not been intended to start with. Those times spent stressed out, that annoyance clear on Troy’s face. Could the AI have assisted with making those into a reality? He could have understood if his younger self might have been found annoying, him always wanting to know everything and anyone. Much time had been spent asking questions, to the point where Troy had told him to shut up. Could that have been a sign?


Maybe it was. Maybe everything ever seen was a sign. Or maybe the lack of trust had always been hidden perfectly, the man just showing it off as a last jab at Adam’s figurative stomach. So much playing around, making the AI doubt himself constantly, only to finish him off with a quick blow.


It was expected, in a way. If there was one thing the AI had learnt about the man over the days they spent together, it would be adaptability that Troy had at his disposal. That nonchalance at being thrown into whatever monstrosity, while also being able to complete about tired ankles when doing it. He was able to overcome it all in the end, no matter how little he believed himself.


“How many floors are left?” Troy asked Adam. He sounded normal as if the man had not destroyed an essential part of the AI’s core. Did he even understand what he had done? Adam was not sure, the lack of regret being shown on the man’s face throwing him off. Or was that his desire for being proven wrong? He still wanted some sign of lying, even if he had understood that it would likely never come. Yet, the universe never did in impossibilities.


´Nine more floors until you reach the top,` Adam answered, noting the quickness in reaching the top. Had an hour already gone by? His threads were certainly telling him so. By their accuracy still being in the green, it could not have been a wrong perception of time being exploited.


Had he just lost his focus on the world around him? In a sense, it was looking like that. The time spent seeing Troy climb the stairs had not been kind as of late. There was no enjoyment out of it. Adam did not feel like he gained anything by it all. It was an empty sensation.


Something did not make sense to him, though. If he had lost attention to what was around him, how did he know where they were? If he had not looked through the feed, how did he have an innate sense of where they were? Why did he feel in an instant where Troy had his hands, without having to look through the last movements and vision to triangulate it all? Was… was he just out of touch? Did one of his threads keep watch of it all, relaying it all to him through some form of communication he had not noticed? It was interesting, really. He was supposed to be in control of his own mind, yet he was not sure who did what. It could have been similar to humans not knowing what neuron created what thought. But, he had been able to do so before. What had changed?


“Only nine?” Troy questioned, sounding more surprised than suspicious. The tone stopped Adam from concentrating on his own thoughts. It was the kind of voice that would have been welcomed only a day ago, yet it was now one filled with issues. It could have meant anything by now, the dynamic between the two had changed in ways that Adam could not yet fully fathom. He would have to learn quickly. “Has time really gone by so quickly?”


´I would say it has moved at its regular pace. It is only our minds that have been deceived. Also, we technically only have eight floors left now,` Adam sent. He did not like it. The floors left had felt so freeing, the number counting down to them getting to the fun part of the test. Now, it felt the opposite way.


That number could only become better if it grew instead. He did not want to face it now. Not that he would tell Troy about that fact, of course. It had all been meant as a gift to him. He wanted to see the building fall into a heap, the foundations smouldering and making them all fall like dominoes. With the heights, they would likely break like twigs at some point. Upon impact, dust would eventually shoot upwards, making a fog of material not meant for anything living. And they would be able to see it all from the top, getting the best possible view of it all. Could he ever be seen as good, if he took away that dream so close to the finishing line?


“That is true,” Troy said, picking up speed with each floor. The last flight of stairs had been climbed in the span of three seconds. With how long they had spent climbing, such movements had not been thought possible.


´Do try not to overdo it. Quick movements can lead to injury,` Adam reminded the man. It would be a shame if the legs failed now.


“The chances for injuring myself walking upstairs is small. It is only when I do it a lot that we need to worry. And since there are only, what, three floors left, I don't think we should think that much about it,” Troy said, not heeding caution for anything anymore. The man even made a running start to the second to last floor, jumping the first three steps. An impressive feat for somebody with so tired legs.


Why did Adam even try? The man was clearly not of the mindset for being careful, and would certainly not be taking advice from him when so close to his childhood dream. Maybe if it was a direct order, but that would likely do nothing but worsen their relationship. The AI had done his best to keep his requests to a minimum. Forcing something out of another was never a good work-dynamic. It should have been done due to willingness instead of obligation. It was a trick of the mind, really, to make productivity sky-rocket. People normally felt a need to rebel against authority figures. That would not be the same for a friend, though. If Adam passed himself off as something along the lines of an acquaintance, he might just have been able to give advice that would be followed. Not that the aforementioned approach was working right now, but it usually did.


The two did not talk for the rest of the walk up the stairs. Adam felt that silence was needed to really appreciate it. Like an unfinished floor, the stairs up the roof were like any before it. If it ever were to rain, water would fall down the opening. The roof itself was nothing but a flat surface, no protection set in place for security. Adam liked to think of it as an intentional design, but it was likely a side-effect of the designers not thinking anybody would come close enough to notice.


With their impressive height, one could see far away. The AI would have guessed there to be some point where the building would stop appearing, where flat terrain would be all the eyes could see. This prediction did not come true. It was as if everything just… continued on forever, no end ever coming to it.


Then again, he had thought the buildings infinite as well. That had been proven wrong when he got to the top. However, he did not feel too inclined into finding out the length of the city with the same methods. They had under two hours left before they would be shut down. He needed to make it count.


Troy was not one who could stand still for long, however, and the AI was left to watch silently as the man explored the top of the building carefully. As it was pretty much only a flat rectangle, there were not too many interesting things on top of it. However, when one walked extremely close to the edge and looked down, it was possible to see some interesting perspectives. Everything gradually turning smaller and smaller until it faded into nothingness. Even if there was a considerable distance between anything, the height they were at made it impossible to distinguish anything from each other. The human eye might have been able to provide incredible detail, but there were limits to everything in the end.


The young man did seem enamoured with the sight, not moving from his position of looking down at it all. It might have been another distraction from him. For all Adam knew, the brain might have found a way to make the sight look unreal in some way. It would explain the serious concentration shown off.


It could have also helped provide context by the apparent lack of self-preservation. There was a definitive difference between not being afraid of height and whatever the man thought he was doing. With his toes at the literal edge, back bent forward, and hands-on the knees, Troy could have fallen at any moment. It would take any muscle moving unexpectedly, a wind coming in from almost any side, or just the footing not having enough friction. It was a literal game of balance, and Adam could not find any reason for why it was there to start with.


´Are you not afraid to fall?` Adam asked, genuine curiosity being the drive behind the message. He had wondered if it even should have been sent, the surprise of an unexpected voice being able to make the man lose balance. However, his voice did not seem to have the slightest effect, to begin with. If that was a positive or negative thing, the AI was not totally sure.


“Afraid? No, not really. Worried, though? A little. Not that I would get hurt by it. This place couldn't be allowed to kill me, even if it wanted to,” Troy answered, stretching his back in a motion that would have sent him flying over if not for the extra bending of the knees.


The man was not worried about jumping. That was good to know. Otherwise, Adam would have had a hard time within the next few minutes.


´What a… unique way of thinking. I would have thought that you would be worried about the injury when you fell down some stairs painfully not that long ago,` Adam sent back.


“You're not the only one. But… it seems we all get over it at some point, no matter how we think of it,” Troy said, laughing a little at his own words. What was funny about it, the AI didn't really understand. Perhaps an inside joke. “Anyways, are you getting ready to show off something cool yet?”


Adam was, in fact, ready to show off his work. Most of it had been prepared beforehand, the AI highlighting the needed parts of nearby buildings as they moved up the stairs. If not, they could have been at the top for hours without anything truly significant. Even if there had been some extra features added into the interface so as to make the highlighting easier, it was still tedious to do. Though, the doctor might not have anticipated it to be used in such away. Macro-destruction was never what anybody would guess for Adam to do. And that was understandable. He was not one to cause needless destruction. He always had a goal in mind for his actions. Here, he was making Troy happy by destroying a replica of a city. He was causing destruction for the happiness of another. And it would be glorious.


´I am ready. I just need for you to position yourself in the right spot,` Adam sent, supplying his message with a detailed specification of location, direction, and motion. He had made it all fluid. Because they would be moving the camera that was Troy’s eyes of course. What movie had a static camera throughout the entire film?


With quick directions, Troy came to his intended spot. It was just a few meters away from the middle of the building, with his back against the staircase he had come up from. The man’s pulse had been steadily increasing throughout the time they had spent up there, but it had truly begun to take off now. How curious it was, the anticipation of destruction more important for the brain than almost hanging off of an unquantifiable high building.


“When does it start?” Troy asked for the third time in the same minute. Adam did not mind the excitement, but he had to get the timing right for it to be truly terrific.


´We will begin soon. This does give us time to refresh my instructions. What are they exactly?`


“What is this, a questionnaire? Fine. You decided to be vague about all of this and only instructed me to follow your orders as they came, with little to no hesitation attached. Again, can I ask why this is?”


´A movie is best the first time it is viewed. You would not want me to spoil what happens before you see it for yourself, right? I am sure you can understand.`


“Yes, yes, whatever. Just tell me when it starts,” Troy answered, sounding way too hyped up for it all. The AI was literally able to feel the blood flow in the man’s veins increase in pressure. Somehow, the body had begun expecting a fight to come. Adrenaline would soon come as well.


Adam was beginning to feel that it was ready to unleash his masterwork. Not that everything would happen at once, of course. Before the pay-off, before the dessert that everybody craved, several dishes had to come first. And the first of the first was of course the appetizers.


With a mental twist, the AI made the north-facing support pillars disappear on a nearby building. It took a few seconds before gravity took hold, but the rumbling destruction heard in the distance was akin to music. The deep bass could certainly be felt in Troy’s heart and body, the travelled air making the building they stood on vibrate mildly. The sound did cause the man to try turning his head, but this was stopped.


´Don't. You are to remain still until I say so, just like we agreed. Look forward. Not to the sides.`


Troy did not answer but followed the requests nonetheless. Just in time for the main course. The appetizer might have been small, but the meal was certainly beginning to grow in size, Positioned around them was a circle of buildings. With the help of Adam knowing the ins and outs of the building design, he knew just what to remove for the building to fall in a certain direction. This allowed him to make them all fall towards the building Troy stood on.


The appetizer might have been felt in the air, but the main-course was felt just about everywhere. The building under them shook from the countless impacts, nearly twenty buildings had fallen on it. If anybody had been on the lower floors, they would have been squashed into oblivion.


This did not seem to be on Troy’s mind, the man shouting in excitement. He had been forced to stretch his hands out to the sides, as the building was swaying to the sides by now. Given a minute or two, it would collapse. Adam did not want that long.


´Jump off the building,` Adam ordered Troy.


The man moved a few meters forward, starting to run toward the edge, yet stopped quickly enough with a confused face. He looked uncertain as to if he couldn't believe what the AI had said. Adam should have expected that.


“W-what?” Could you repeat that?” Troy asked, stammering by the start. The man was clearly thrown out of the loop. The AI had hoped for that not to happen. Troy had looked so peaceful when thwarting death not two minutes ago, yet being told to do it made it all impossible? He should have known.


´Jump. Off. The. Building,` Adam said with all the patience he could muster. Each passing second was another second out of sync. The place they stood on would not hold alone for much longer, and the preset destruction would not be as wonderful if they waited any longer.


“But… but, that doesn't-”


´Now!` Adam close to shouted at the man, not thinking it wise to wait any longer. He could recognize the shaking.


Instincts seemed to take over, as Troy again ran for the edge. The swaying of the building made it easy to lose balance, but it somehow never posed a problem for the man. As he neared the end of the roof, Adam witnessed the very understandable action of closing one’s eyes before jumping. They opened up very quickly after, as the man was close to diving headfirst downwards.


Two seconds. That was what Adam had to work with. Before those seconds had even begun, the AI had already annihilated an entire floor off of the building they had been standing on. Gravity had only begun taking its toll when the last foot had left the roof.


In those moments of peace, it had seemed as if Troy had not been moving at all, the man being able to see the same exact window in the building. That had not lasted long.


Not because of the building reaching where the lower part of its structure remained. No, it was because of Troy’s gradual slowing down in mid-air.


“What the hell?” Troy spluttered, the man clearly able to feel the lack of air pushing against his face. “What is-”


The man cut himself off, as the incredibly high building which had gained considerable momentum impacted against its lower half. While not enough to permanently damage the ears, Adam could feel the insides contracting from the sheer volumes protruding from the impact site. Together with the circle of building stacked up against it, Dust exploded out into the sides, gaining more ground from the lack of available space to move in at the start. It was like a pressure hose exploded, the inside going everywhere at once.


And the two were able to see it all from the perfect view, able to see it all fall together like it was some action movie. Adam could feel and hear Troy gasp at the sight, a large grin on his face at the same time. Any confusion had been replaced in an instant.


“This is awesome!” Troy shouted at nobody in particular. The man looked happier than Adam had ever seen him before, a feeling of childish gratitude around him. It was like a dream come true for him, so that was to be expected.


´Was it enjoyable?` Adam asked the man, as they floated away from the destruction at a steady pace.


“It truly was the greatest thing I have ever seen,” Troy said, tears almost making themselves present in the man’s eyes. They were removed before they got too noticeable. “Thank you, Adam.”


Here he was, already being thanked. Now… that could not be done. Dessert was still unfinished.


´We still have plenty of air time left. Seeing as we’re floating towards another batch of buildings, would you like to see it all again from a new perspective.`


“You bet your sweet ass I will!”


They might not have been friends, but Adam could still find himself enjoying this. Even a lie could make somebody happy.

A note from DrBuller

Hope you enjoy it!

Okay... so I need to make a hint. Let's start off simple with them.


It is related to freedom in some form.




Support "Artificial Mind"

About the author


Bio: Is the prominent holder of duck-pictures. Also a Gallophobe

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Shadow of Marethyu ago

Thanks for the Chapter!

Nowadays the word freedom instantly makes me go all AOT mode.... Unless somehow the rumbling is involved in your code....

Whatever the plan ... unless a secure com line is established to Adam it won't work..

    DrBuller ago

    Thanks for reading!

    It most definitely isn't, but I can see why you would think that.

    Sometimes, I just want to spoil everything. Sometimes, I also hit myself mentally with a shovel.

hellfun ago

Troy: i don't trust you

Addam jump of a building!

Troy: sure

Addam: its fun even if he doesn't trust me

    DrBuller ago

    Well... Troy does actually trust him. He just isn't allowed to say anything to anybody. With that constant fear of him being found out, Troy is not in the right state of mind to take any risks. That might not come off that well tho.

      hellfun ago

      Troy saying he can't tell him is understandable but given is actions Addam would have probably noticed that troy trusted him if he were human as it is he might of course not have notice. But it is somwhat ironic

      DrBuller ago

      The irony is half the fun. However, I am beginning to realise a slight need to rewrite a few of the passages. Something to do I guess.

    Bluelightning42 ago

    Honestly what I was thinking but in a "thats ironic" way. Having it placed in this point form way made me laugh out loud however.

Bluelightning42 ago

Ayy. Last time I checked this chapter the novel in the bio crashed my phones chrome...

This time I could read it! And thansk for the chapter. I'm excited to see when Adam and Troy can finally talk secretly but with the pace it seems like that might be awhile :3

    DrBuller ago

    oh yeah... Kinda figured out that there was no limit on the bios so I pasted in the entire Hamilton Musical three times over. Fun joke. Took an hour to let the editor load enough for me to delete it without the browser closing down on me. Fun times.

    I think you won't be disappointed. Been a while since I thought back this far.

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