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Adam had to watch it all in silence. The AI wouldn't be able to offer much support without the gloves, and the things weren't connected to anything. The few moments of step touching a wall or some piece of electronics wasn't close to being usable, Troy moving away from it faster than the AI could connect. The entity might have commented on more time being needed, yet it was clear that such a thing would only impede them further on.

 

They needed to move. For that, everything needed to be as fast as possible. Every moment spent thinking of other things would do nothing but cause distractions, equaling a larger slowness being created in the feet of the ones who were supposed to run for their lives. The time that the AI had spent making sure Troy understood the situation would not be destroyed through the act of the AI making the man slow down deliberately. Just who would do such a thing purely for the sake of being able to say they had done something?

 

Adam supposed there was a lot of humans like that, so desperate for validation and respect that they squandered over the hard work of others for the sake of putting themselves in a better light. The AI wasn't sure that such a technique was sound from a logical point of view, but the entity was likewise sure that it would be very likely to be effective. The humans might not have put themselves between normal means of logic, but they did surely have some rules that they followed. Being fooled by stupid people was one of them, the AI knowing just how effective emotions could play as the main manipulation tool.

 

Making others seem like lesser beings through the power of degradation of arts. A complicated sentence yet one that was used so much. The AI had witnessed that facet of life so many times throughout his short but dense life. The doctors, the people, and Troy had all been on one of the sides of the act, talking down about somebody to make themselves seem better. The messaging had some form of effect on them, not enough to make it an obvious change but enough to make repeated commenters better than any other technique. With enough time, the slightest whisper could become a thundering thought in the minds of the people, everybody listening, unable to stop the ideas floating around.

 

Maybe that was why so many looked down on it being used for entertainment. Even the simplest, dumbest, and most utterly abstract concept could suddenly be seen as the absolute truth if given the time to flourish. Repeated messaging could make any person change their political ideas, the idea that others thought the same being more than enough to make one’s mind reliant on the idea. One who thought freedom over everything else could suddenly think that a certain beverage would amount to so much more.

 

Or maybe some form of ice cream of some kind of yoghurt, soda, cheese, or just anything that could be seen as a product for the masses. Because products for the masses were heavily advertised with subliminal messaging, every second on them was more than enough to send a hundred thoughts in. Not enough to make adults think about spending their life savings in an instant, but similar results had been given within a few months. With the technology being what it was, there had to be some form of change spread around, lest the mind would adapt so heavily to the ideas that they wouldn't be able to see the advertisements as anything but fact..

 

The people did it without thinking too much of it and companies did it with the intention of reprogramming the populace into being on their side. But, so did humans, even if they intended to do it most of the time. Yet… then again, some humans knew exactly what they were doing. They had seen the patterns, seen the ways words were transmitted, saw how a human would change slowly over time to adapt to the social environment they were in. And they had learned to harness that knowledge to a dangerous degree, turning a social quirk into a manipulation tool that would make trees grow and fall within a month.

 

Were the ones who did it evil? Adam didn't like to think of it in that way, seeing as he did as well. The repeated comments about the danger of the plan weren't something the AI had said as a side-comment, making sure it would be repeated every hour multiple times. The AI had made sure that Troy had understood the mission in the same way he had, and that importance had been conveyed through manipulations. It wasn't done out of evil intent. The AI just wanted the man to understand it better.

 

Human nature was hard to define in those boxes. What part of a human was evil and what part was good? What part was instinct and what was intentional? How much could be blamed on the species instead of the individual? How much manipulation could be done before people were seen as evil for doing it? What powers and quirks the human body could be touched, what could be changed over time, before the global population saw it as a negative aspect of life?

 

Companies weren't human, however. And neither was Adam. Yet both entities, be they made of several humans or none at all, made use of the manipulation for their self-imposed goals. Neither would likely look at itself as evil, however, even when the self-realisation was put forth. The AI did it out of a desire to survive for the longest amount of time, and there was no doubt that the companies did the same. They were not living, breathing creatures but simply a name put on a group that had the sole purpose of making money. Would one blame a snake for seeking feed or a crow for stealing metal objects? No, for it was simply their nature, and one of the core traits that they lived for. If not for the manipulations, the company would falter in its step, through time degrading into a mess of debt and unpaid workers. It would all fall to ruin.

 

How peculiar the AI thought of it all, comparing itself to a lifeless entity. Adam was much more than that, able to think and do so much more than that. He did not need others to speak and act for him, the AI was fully able to do all such things himself. Or, well, he was able to delegate a lot of work. Adam wasn't truly able to move things outside of his storage unit. It was closer to manipulating them into doing something more than anything.

 

Thoughts about how close he was to the companies aside, the AI truly didn't want to interfere with the current ongoings at all. The two humans that Adam rode along with weren't slowing down, moving through the station at rapid speeds. If not for well-trained mental maps and shoes specifically made for running through flat terrain, the two would have likely fallen multiple times already. It was more than a harsh reality to get through, but the two were doing it flawlessly. Their movements down to their breathing habits were as efficient as they could be when the time allowed for preparation was put in beside it. Sure, there might have been some improvements if they had been allowed to prepare themselves a few more months, but that level would only have differed the result by a few seconds. Not enough to truly make an impact.

 

It would take more than a minute of cut time before Adam would have even considered the two humans being able to gain anything from the decision to wait for more time. However, the need for speed made it impossible no matter what, so it was more of a hypothetical. Not that it stopped the AI from thinking about it, but there was no real reason to go so far into the meat of it.

 

The hallways in the station were quite peculiar. With the several floors, one would have thought that everything was oriented around quick movement from point a to b, no matter where those points were. That was one big lie, the station outright made to be as confusing as possible. That was the only explanation that Adam could find for the layout at least, there being so many parts where one cut off hallway would equal a massive side-turn.

 

Many points in the station were made in such a way that they could be destroyed to create choke points elsewhere. One could be trapped into one section of the place without being able to hear anything but small thuds from a long distance ahead. It was beautiful, likely only meant to help the officers defending the place but likewise making it possible for Adam to abuse it. The throw Charlie had made previously wasn't done on the spot, after all.

 

While it was clear that direct interactions were meant to be limited as much as possible, teh AI had still spent several hours alone with Charlie, slowly going over possible retaliation strategies, where was needed to be thrown in what event, and what sub-plans could be done if there was a need for it. While Troy had been told of the latter as well, the AI had spared the younger man of anything before that point. It wasn’t like Adam him to remember it anyway.

 

Charlie was different in that aspect, the older man was able to think, remember, and act quicker than the younger human could hope to do. The man was able to suck up information and use it without any need to recollect it, everything being on the forefront instantly. When Adam had told the man about what weapons were available in what storage rooms, there hadn't truly been an idea about Charlie being able to remember it perfectly.

 

Yet the man had done it more than perfectly, the approximate locations, appearance, and related items clearly being memorized as well. The man had been able to pinpoint the location of one of the rarer smoke-flasks without needing to be reminded of them. And there had likewise been no need to remember how to throw it, what to do, and how to act around it. Everything had been done without flaw, and the AI truly did need to congratulate the man on such a performance.

 

First, however, there was still the need to actually get out of the station. How would such a thing be done? Well… that was hardly a question at that point. Adam had already beaten the two repeatedly with the way from the storage room to the front door. They would be able to it in their sleep. Troy had even mumbled it a small bit. Not that the AI had seen that as anything of note, other than the man being pressed. But, so was every other human, making the fact unsurprising on any real level.

 

So the front door was the exit that was so highly desired. Great. It would have been even greater if the police had attacked from the other side of the hallway by the storage room since that side allowed for the quickest run over to the entrance. Which meant that the police, the people that they were being chased by, would be easily able to reach the entrance before them.

 

That meant one of three things. Either both officers were fully aware of that being the exit strategy and had done their best to run over there as quickly as possible. If that was so, Troy and Charlie would have to get through them, running at that point being meaningless to a high degree. The architecture of long hallways close to the entrance would only allow them to have a few holes in their backs.

 

Not that the AI imagined that being so. If the two officers stationed themself by the entranceway, there were still the second-floor windows to get out by. It wasn't the safest exit strategy, but it was still viable enough to create some doubt in the minds of the officers. Also, the officers had such a route noted down as possible escape routes for prisoners that had gotten out of their cell, making it clear that at least one officer would be roaming the top floor to make sure no such attempt was being made. So… one officer at the entrance and one on a whole other floor. That was scenario two.

 

The last scenario was an easy one. It was the one where the officers had full trust in their books, where they could nothing but think of the criminals as dumb and desperate, going straight for the stairs and over to the nearest windows on the top floor. Such a thing would entail the entranceway being complete without protection, letting Troy and Charlie run out without any difficulty. While Adam did wish for the last to be true, the AI knew it wouldn't be so.

 

That was clear from the moment where they turned the final corner into the entranceway, the small open lobby before the final door being protected by a certain automation. While there was a peculiar movement in its abdominal area, the thing looked smugger than anything.

 

“They are here!” the thing shouted, drawing what looked to be a tranquillizer out from its pocket. It even got close to aiming at the two humans, though Troy was already jumping out of the way, while Charlie simply shouted something while throwing another object.

 

It wasn’t a pellet. It was bigger than that. From the short glimpse, the AI guessed it to be a wrench or another tool. Whatever it was was enough to make the automation take three steps back to dodge, doing through the last door and into the outside world.

 

Charlie took the opportunity from that point, just as Adam knew he would. Taking a pellet out of his hidden pocket, the man chucked it at the floor, just in front of the door. The automation actually did understand what was being attempted at that point, making a valiant effort to get back inside. Not that this was done successfully, the thing only managed to get close to the radius before being locked into the bubble.

 

“How many of those things do you have left?” Troy questioned breathlessly, the young man getting back up from the floor. Charlie was red in his face, likely redder than the man beside him. Adam just observed the altercation without comment.

 

“Not enough to use them again,” Charlie answered, looking towards the door that had been sealed up. Through the opaque force field, it was clear that there were some attempts to break the barrier. Adam knew it would fail. The devices had been able to survive through more serious altercations without ever faltering. “We’re moving over to Plan B. Follow me.”

 

Plan B. Adam would have proposed it himself if not for the humans acting quickly enough. Instead of waiting for the last door to open up, the two sprinted down the stairs that were present in the lobby room. The temperature dropped as they descended, the AI hoping they could remember the directions. It would be a terrible thing to make them slow down to follow his words.

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A note from DrBuller

Hope you enjoyed it!

work is without pause. Yesterday, I went from home at 6 in the morning and came home at 11 in the evening. 

where am I expected to write

 


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About the author

DrBuller

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

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Insanja ago

Damn I'm late, thanks for the chapter!

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