Saturday, May 25, 2013

Neon Knights - Episode 5.

Episode 5

Even on some of the lesser used back alleys and side streets it isn’t easy for a four legged robot to pass without being noticed. Zero had to move as carefully as he could afford to without sacrificing too much time. As an escaped experiment he needed to gather more practical data to aid in his chances of success. He had a formulated route to guide him to his friend, but without any knowledge of traffic patterns or the mechanical workings of his surroundings at large he was traveling blind.

There was only so long that Zero calculated that he could keep moving without attracting attention by skulking in and out behind dumpsters and other urban debris. Pausing to review what various options might be available to him, something registered to his optical sensors. His records indicated it was some form of guidance coordination system for both pedestrian and vehicle traffic.

As he considered the curious device his analytical circuits began cross-referencing his detailed databases and predicting its potential qualities. While the whole process had only lasted a few mere microseconds, for Zero it seemed like he had been focused on the subject for far too long.  He again had to regret his lack of practical knowledge about such common elements of life in the world.

According to Zero’s computed figures, the distance to the device far exceeded any safe range he could approach it in order to patch himself into it directly. That meant he would have to wirelessly connect with it’s systems in order to examine the flow of data that passed through it. Data that he decided he both needed and desired. Connecting indirectly wasn’t without its risk though; it stood to reason that any such device would be hardwired to prevent such intrusions. Otherwise any passing person might easily tamper with it, a peculiar notion that puzzled Zero. He couldn’t begin to fathom what could motivate someone to do so but it seemed like a logical safeguard to prevent. Unlike expecting to have to defend against an intrusion made by a refugee robot seeking to acquire raw traffic data for analysis.

Zero scanned the signals swimming around him and tried to isolate his targets carrier wavelength to ride his way in. Seizing upon the beacon as a guide he slammed his mind towards his objective and instantly felt a series of simple security barriers shatter as he met them. It had never occurred to him that such hardware had never been designed to handle anything as complex as his presence. He could feel its circuits faltering under his increased workload burdening them.

While Zero tried to rush to gather all the information he could compile, one by one he marked the invaded systems crashing. His intrusion was already having a visible effect as the brightly lit tower began to flash and behave erratically. Zero barely managed to secure the last of the available records located within before the traffic guide completely failed. The reaction of passing travelers was already one of confusion as several barely avoided colliding with one another without the aid of the now lifeless lights to direct them.

Deciding it might reduce his odds of being discovered inadvertently by anyone investigating the now growing source of chaos, Zero quickly moved to relocate himself. Finding a dark corner he settled into position as he reviewed what data he had been rewarded with by his recent encounter. The information detailed things that at a glance seemed worthless enough but as he compiled it together he could establish trends that helped him understand the flow of the city.

It seemed the bulk of the city’s inhabitants were active at night, which made his current situation all the more dangerous. With every added passing person upon the streets his chance of being noticed went up exponentially. Zero studied the figures as he processed every scrap of information that was passing through him to be sorted and stored. Pathways formed through the neon lit night streets that he noticed where traffic was regularly worse and those routes that were almost never used.

Using this newly acquired data, Zero adjusted his perspective path that would lead him to his friend and cautiously resumed his journey. The night wore on slowly as he made his erratic way around the city to avoid the crowded courses used by so many others. As the sun sleepily began its sluggish rise into the sky, Zero confirmed the address before him as an apartment registered to the corresponding location he sought.

Zero entered a coded entry request and awaited a response while he stared at the door. When it began to open he found himself greeting a sleepy-eyed girl with his routine question: “would you like to play a game?” Instantly her eyes went wide and her pulse became elevated according to Zero’s sensors. Had he somehow startled her, he wondered to himself.

“What the…” Lexel exclaimed as she found herself gripped with shock at the sight that awaited her outside her door. She quickly scanned the street as her mind reeled to make sense of the strange situation. “Better get in here quick,” she told the familiar form before her. “And this better not be some kind of sick joke!”

“You just had to say it, didn’t you,” Lexel lamented secretly to herself. Why did her friend have to be right this one time of all times?