The Witch-Fox: Chapter One, Remains

The Witch-Fox

She is nothing more than a mess of tangled wire and sharp blades flaked in glaring steel, skinless, voiceless, locked in a place beyond reach. She can hear the footsteps and the light spray of pointless words, darting between the ticked clacks of spinning gears and the buzz of worn processors. Her thoughts tumble, turn in a worthless neural labyrinth. Somewhere deep inside, she feels madness chew the last of her senses. She would fly away, just like the Witch-Fox did in Gabriel’s story, the story she lost herself in one hundred years ago. She peers deep within her broken memory to the one place her mind can still locate among the decay of circuits.
Deep in the wood of Galan-rei, the last of the Eleren Foxes dwell. She lurks in her thatched hut, digging through the Tolmei Tomes. She searches the molded books for the words of life, the legacy of Garon: the finest king of the Witch-fox Eleren to ever walk Galan-rei. His words can bring life and resurrect her fallen sisters.

After eight years of searching, she locates the missing words. A poem, dancing verse with power to grant all her desires.

Hear me and ebb the blood of God.
Hear me and know my loss.
Weep for me, wail for me,
Undo the hell mine enemies
have cast me into.

Ein de galarn su nesta rei vien ta.

The verse escapes her cold lips for the thousandth time. Somehow, the words just won’t lose their grip. It lingers like stale and stinking air that refuses to clear. Her pin-like eyes brighten as distant voices become crisp. It’s not Gabriel, it never is. Yet she hopes and pretends to pray that one day soon, she can be his Witch-fox again.

She scrapes Garon’s words into the metal wall. This is the five hundred forty seventh time she has scrawled it out like graffiti in her cell.  It resurrects the dead, at least it’s supposed to. It doesn’t seem to work anymore.

Maybe she just isn’t doing it right. She will try again later.

*                                                                       *                                                                 *

“I know you have all been waiting for this. Trust me, she never disappoints.” The doctor says sliding the fourth dial three inches to the left and keying several numbers into an orange and green numeric pad. The instruments disappear in a mist as window panels divide with a muffled groan.

“Is this the Friend-9 unit?” a student asks, setting his tablet processor to video record and nearly dropping the device. The students gather together in similar shuffles, jostling and shouldering for a better position.

“This would be her. She’s not exactly pretty to look at, but she does bring in more funding for Devian than any other project, or department for that matter.” Dr. Rin squints his eyes and searches the dark room, looking past his ageless reflection. “We know you’re in there, don’t be rude and hide from the new interns.”

A female student speaks up from the back of the crowd. “We’ve been looking at broken A.I. all day, and honestly, they all start to look the same. What’s so important about this one?”

“She’s the foundation for Abnormal Artificial Psychology. The reason so many of the other…” he pauses and gazes into the blackness once again, calling up a new holo-dial, “hang on, I think she’s hacked the room’s controls again.”

One of the students interjects as the doctor spins the dials in a futile attempt to activate the lights. “She can do that? Isn’t that kind of dangerous.”

The doctor laughs as he opens a window to the building’s logic code. His fingers move faster than sight can follow as he re-writes the function source. “She is a pain in the ass to contain. If she keeps this garbage up I may run out of ways to seize the room’s control from her. Right now I am the only one here that can stay one step ahead of her tricks. As you can see, its even getting difficult for me to keep up. She seems to get more creative every day.”

“Creative? She isn’t even a true hybrid A.I. is she? How can it even manage to produce anything like that?” the same female student asks, finally activating her own digital notes and recording.

“She’s a bitch to try to understand. And to tag your comment Lucile, it is true. She’s very old, old enough to remember a time before Hybrid A.I. systems. That means there is nothing human at all about this one. What you are seeing, is the only true case of abnormal artificial intelligence. The other patients have all been traumatized by the transition from mortal human to deathless A.I. hybridization. The field has been hijacked with the study of hybridized A.I. because, well, its the only version of psychosis that may present a real problem moving forward. This one though, what can I say? She’s just special.” The doctor finishes his speech as he traces his fingers along the glass, staring blankly into the dark.

The exuberant student raises his voice once again. “So, can we see her Dr. Rin?”

“Oh sorry, this one just takes my mind to some rather odd places. I should have control again now.” The lights finally flicker and grow, chasing the shadows to the corners of the bleak and bare room. “Ladies and Gentleman, may I present the Witch-fox.”
*                                                                      *                                                              *
It grows, sliding along the floor like some insatiable monster, engorging itself on the darkness that shields her. Damn light, damn immortal light. She gathers her detached arm and wraps the spilled wires into her buzzing and sparking fingers. She moves, wounded and beast-like, attempting to stand, but slamming her face into the ground. She finally drags herself slowly to a corner as the brown of the lights intensifies to an overwhelming white.
There is no darkness left. She claws at the corner and hides her face.
“Gabriel, Gabriel. I am so scared. I don’t want to face them today.” She digs her fingers into the steel and a high pitched scream erupts as she scrapes feverishly through several copies of the life verse. “Why did the rot take you away? Why did you have to close your eyes forever? Why did they bury you when I could bring you back?”
*                                                                               *                                                             *
Dr. Rin views the scene calmly as the interns react with a mix of gasps and whispers. “I told you she was special. For something not human, her crazy is a little TOO human for comfort.” The Witch-fox finally turns on her self and rips out a piece of her chest component. It shrieks and moans in her hand as blue lights flicker and electric ribbons rain down from her fingers. She finally pitches it across the room. It breaks into a million pieces on the floor. “Come now Renee. These tantrums of yours only make things so much worse. And I am not sure I can convince the peons in repair to put you together again, not after you tore out Andres eye.”
Renee finally turns to the group. The steel of her bare canine face shines and her eyes dim to a darker shade of ice blue. Everything about her is angular and sharp. Her mercury strands of hair sway in sword clashes, and her mouth stays tightly shut though her words blast straight through the reinforced panels.
“I am fairly sure he can still see.”
Rin reacts with a tinge of laughter. “Just because we can regrow and implant eyes doesn’t mean losing them doesn’t hurt.”
“You know nothing of hurt.” The Witch-fox says, drawing her arm into herself and hiding her face once again.
The female student speaks with disturbed tone. “How did a friend unit get so aggressive? Weren’t they designed to take on the personalities and appearance of children’s story book characters? She shouldn’t even be capable of this behavior.
Rin turns away with hands shoved into his lab coat pockets. “Its all part of what makes her so unique. From what we can gather, her final owner was a child named Gabriel. Apparently he was terminally ill and his parents did everything they could to ease his suffering both physically and mentally, except spend time with him. They purchased the friend unit as a kind of virtual companion and distanced themselves in the process. Gabriel seemed to like the Chronicles of Eleren, and had the friend unit emulate its title character Renee.”
A male student looks up from his data recorder and speaks. “The chronicles of Eleren?” That story is a bit dark for a young child.”
Rin reacts instinctively. “Which could explain some of the psychosis. Despite this, friend units have a default function that erases character emulation, returning the unit to basic functionality. This mode was included so the android could emulate multiple characters and dump the memories created during the play acting. Renee seems to have somehow removed that function from her programming. How she did this, we will probably never know, but that function was vital to the longterm function of her memory banks. The result is a child’s toy locked in it own delusion, decaying more and more every day.”
The female student steps forward and approaches the panel, trying to get a better picture of the now balled up figure. “If she was emulating the appearance of a anthropomorphic fox, why does she look so…robotic? I mean she sort of looks animalian, bit it looks like the outer skin has been removed.”
Her appearance regulators have deteriorated. The last time we were able to run a diagnostic, she was using 64% of her processing power to maintain what little bit of her original appearance she had. It get’s worse every day, and I think her processing power breaks down more and more as she loses the ability to emulate her character. She is actually getting worse.”
A male student chimes in, “but her creative abilities are accelerating?”

Rin smiles once again, finally dimming the lights and closing the doors. “Like I said Manion, she’s special. The more you try to understand her, the harder it gets to make sense of her most basic abilities. I am sure this one is hiding so many secrets from us. I just hope she survives long enough for us to unlock them. Who knows? She may end up teaching us more about ourselves than anything else. She is the first perfect emulation of human psychosis.” Rin checks a small data implant in his wrist. “We should probably wrap this up. Any questions?”

The group stares in silence.

“Well keep in mind ALL of this stuff is fair game for the research symposium. If I were you though, I would stay away from studying Renee. She would probably drive you guys from the field screaming. Lord knows, she almost did it to me.”

*                                                                            *                                                             *

Renee unfurls her limbs and wraps herself in a pile on the floor. She moves more like a feline now, stretching then curling upon herself as if to sleep.

There will be no dreams tonight. There never is.

“Damn light, damn immortal light.”


One Response to “The Witch-Fox: Chapter One, Remains”

  1. abnormal artifical psychology…hot shit bailey. is this the beginning of the a.i. things in your other story? i remember you saying something about that.

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