Though he was vaguely aware of his surroundings and the mysterious new sights and sounds bombarding his senses, Pascal felt as if he had surrendered his body. It was a strange sensation, one he had heard humans describe in relation to extreme emotional states, but one which he himself had never experienced. It was terrifying. On the other hand, to run freely without thought or care was almost a blessing, an escape from the mental agonies that had plagued him these four months. Free…
This newfound bliss was cut tragically short as the sound of running footsteps yanked him violently from his reverie, gaining on his position. Pascal’s entire frame shifted, and for a moment his considerable speed and weight carried him forward against his will, his alloy-plated feet carving yard-long furrows in the soft earth of the forest floor. Pascal stumbled, then righted himself. The ground was strange here, soft, and didn’t provide the same smoothness and traction to which he was accustomed.
Servomotors whirring and hydraulics pumping, the android released a new burst of speed, dashing and dodging through the trees and undergrowth in hopes of evading his pursuers. He had to think, and quickly, if he was to make a clean getaway. He struggled against his scattered algorithms in vain. Thinking was… difficult, at the moment, given what he had just endured.
Prompted by this thought, without warning, a rapid series of agonizing obliterated Pascal’s concentration, sending him sprawling through the dirt. A segment of paneling on his shoulder was knocked loose, and he grunted inwardly in an android approximation of pain. If the android’s camera eyes could produce tears, they would have been rolling unchecked down his shining cheeks. His psyche was a storm of unanswered queries. Error… Cascade error… Source? Ethics directory in conflict with self-preservation subroutine… Violation of ethics protocols… Wait, no, I didn’t mean it, I didn’t… Pascal’s self-preservation reasserted itself, and he leapt to his feet, sprinting again. He would have killed me, or worse… I didn’t have a choice… I didn’t…
Unconvinced of his own arguments, the android shuddered uncontrollably, overcome with emotions he could not comprehend. In a moment, he recovered slightly, his feet pounding the earth flat as he strove with every spark of electricity in his body to outrun his would-be captors.
He ran, too, from the memories.
These he would not escape.
Hi, I’m the author Jordan Scott, and I’d like to dedicate this story to my cousin, who was very patient.