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Adrift and Abashed

by Mr.RMA

Mr.RMA As the artificial world of Botsina explores the universe, the latest of its inhabitants is given a tour of the space station's control room, a location that offers an unbeatable view of the cosmos. Among the many stargazers is an unexpected sight - the enigmatic entity behind Botsina's creation.
“And now, my friend, it is my privilege to introduce you to the very heart of Botsina itself!”

Walking out of a doorway, one of dozens lining just that single section of the wall, two humanoids dressed in formal business attire walked into a massive control room. Both wore sunglasses, despite the distinct lack of sunlight, and as they proceeded further into the room, it was abundantly clear that this particular style of fashion was shared by the masses. Squads of similarly dressed and bespectacled individuals were milling about, many of them operating towering computers that seemed to reach the ceiling… not that it was easy to tell where the ceiling was, considering the entire surrounding area, sans the wall behind them, was covered in a completely transparent barrier. The distant reach of space was on display. Stars and planets slowly passed by, with entire galaxies shining in the background.

“My god…” It was all the newcomer could manage to say at first as he beheld this sight for the very first time. His guide gave an understanding smile at the expected reaction.

“An absolutely stunning view of the cosmos, isn’t it? I was activated quite some time ago, yet this sight has never once bored me. I’m sure you can see why.”

Indeed he could… Until that moment, the newcomer still had his doubts when his guide said this place was a space station. It seemed far too planet-like, yet he couldn’t deny what he was seeing right then and there.

“We’re really on a massive spaceship…”

“That we are,” the guide said in response. “This is the end-product of over a thousand years of work. This is our home. The home of all ARMA units.”

Yes, that was what he was… an ARMA unit… It was still something he needed to adjust to, but then, so did every android of his sort. It was simply part of the process, the understanding that his supposed human life had in fact been a simulation to prepare him for his true existence. As he and the guide pressed further, making their way towards the main observation area, he spotted plenty of others, a diverse range of people of differing heights, shapes and complexions, but with very similar clothes, and all with some sort of opaque eyewear… All except for one…

“Ah…” he interjected at the sight of a young man standing in isolation, wearing a dark green trench coat and having clearly visible eyes that were gazing at the passing astronomical objects.

“Something wrong?” The guide asked, upon noticing the newcomer had been distracted.

“Just something about that fellow over there,” he answered, pointing to the man in question. “Unless I’m mistaken, he is decidedly not an ARMA unit, yes?”

The guide, once she fixed her sight on the person the newcomer was pointing at, appeared to be just a bit taken aback. “Oh! Well, this is an unexpected treat, actually! My friend, that man there is none other than The Creator himself!”

“The Creator?” The newcomer repeated with a curious tilt of his head.

“Yes. He is the human who built the first ARMA units, he’s the architect of Botsina, and he rather generously provided the first generation of ARMAs their own schematics. With that knowledge, they were able to create more and even improve upon the original,” the guide explained, her tone giving off a faint hint of reverence.

“Oh… so you meant he is quite literally the creator of all this?” Upon that clarification, the newcomer seemed both impressed and bewildered. “My word… but how could that be? He is an organic being, yes? And you mentioned Botsina has existed in some form or another for over a millennium… How can the original creator still be alive?”

The guide pursed her lips at the question. “That’s… something of a mystery I’m afraid. The Creator is a very reserved man, you see. Some say he doesn’t even know the answer to that question himself.”

Even he didn’t know? How peculiar indeed, thought the newcomer, whose focus was now entirely on this Creator, particularly his facial expression, which, even at a distance looked… particularly vulnerable.

“He seems rather… How do I put this…” The newcomer pondered his choice of words for a moment. “That expression of his seems to be that of a man who’s quite lost and alone. Don’t you notice that?”

“Yes…” the guide answered with a light nod. “Funny you should mention that. It’s said that he’s carried such an air about him from the very moment Botsina first left the planet Earth.”

The planet Earth… Every ARMA unit knew the place, it was the basis of the facsimiled world they experienced during the activation process. Even though the vast majority of them had never seen the real thing once in their exceedingly long lives, it was still often reminisced upon with fondness.

“Homesickness you think? Or perhaps the sheer scope of all he’s done has left him feeling hollow in some way?” The newcomer theorized.

“Perhaps both, or neither…” The guide said. “I suppose if I were to take an educated guess… Humanity shares many of our own thoughts and feelings. We were fashioned after them after all… but they are meant to age. Their time is meant to be limited… yet the Creator lives on. Somehow, he has always been here. That reality may well be something he struggles to understand.”

The newcomer took a moment to process all that, thinking about everything he had learned of humans in the period of time where he’d believed himself to be one… a minute in reality, but six entire decades from his perspective. “He built his own world… not to mention its population… and he’s just been floating in space all the while… Guess it makes complete sense why he’d have difficulty comprehending it all.”

At that the guide and the newcomer continued to make their way through the control room, leaving the Creator, Michael Tourniquet, to continue staring out at the ostensibly endless universe by himself. The newly activated android was certainly correct about his feeling lost and alone… but he couldn’t have possibly known the actual reason why.

“…Where the hell am I?” Michael weakly asked himself.

Here he was, in a floating planetoid machine supposedly of his creation…

…and he couldn’t remember anything about it.