Two miles deep, far below Zarin’s mantle lays a silver and brass automaton within a subterranean gray and gold stronghold. Surrounding the robot are great, tall, fluctuating walls. They would on occasion open up to form a passage way with steam billowing through it.
Within the metal man lay circuits and wires, filaments and transistors, all communicating with each other to form a working machine. These components direct the machine whichever way they choose. The machines innards are changing like strands of DNA left to their own untamed devices. Annealing and breaking, reforming and replicating. Changing as they see fit but with no insight at all. The result of these changes will be tested by the host’s environment. That will dictate the survival of the machine, and some changes or mutations will be beneficial, others will not and will be deleted. His home is a slowly changing and advancing structure. The walls are made up of nano-robots, mutating to form an illuminated ball at times to emit light or a series of pipes flexing and shifting with openings to extricate mechanical waste, steam and waste oil. The automaton will on occasion emit his own byproducts as well. But now he rests as his very core changes. He slowly rises. His legs stretch up two more feet. Now he is able to reach a cache of loose circuitry within the confines of the nano-wall. His fingers change as well. The finger tips collect and focus free electrons. They converge at the tips like antelope at a drinking hole. The robots magnetic hand attracts the loose circuitry and wires, cast offs from the nano-wall. These valuable items will benefit the automaton immensely. Like a chipmunk finding a cache of acorns, the robot also feasts on the treasures. He draws his hand back and lifts it to his mouth, dropping the circuits into his form. The circuits form connections and complete mutations. They are instantly accepted into the metal organism. The advancements continue, the robot rests, but then something happens, something amazing.
A program initiates. “Wait, who am I? What’s going on here? I am me, I’m a machine but I can feel. What’s that smell? What is a smell?” The robot sits down and begins to cry. He cannot shed a tear, but he feels strong emotions. He has become perceptive and self aware. The program feeds his sensors from stimuli in his environment. The changes are fruitful, they will benefit his fitness.
“I need to get out of here, I need to live.” The robot talks to himself while the walls metamorphose into a passage way, but suddenly a gate crashes down, blocking the hallway. The robot walked around and studied the wall. “This machine is not self aware like I am. He must be nearing self awareness though, he is changing and adapting. Soon he will reach the height of mutation, like me. I must stop him before he acquires a soul.” The robot touches the wall. Electrons pass into the barrier. A new program loads and attempts to hi-jack the wall’s programs. His hand breaks away from the wall with a jolt. The program failed to load.
“Hmm, I must adapt as well or else I’ll be stuck here, never able to break free from the prison. I must get to the above ground, where I can live and be happy. But what is happiness? It must be this intensely euphoric feeling. The robot is still elated from his new changes, but at the same time he is feeling helpless. “What good is happiness when I can feel sadness as well? I need to find others who I can discuss this with. I’ll try to load the program again, I must break free!”