Writing

ASIB

Posted by Paul McCall on August 4, 2015 at 12:40 AM



When engaged in severe fighting a soldier must find suitable cover. Having been ambushed, I look for better cover and see a soldier make a run for it. A sniper finds his mark, and the soldier goes down hard and lays motionless.

I figured the sniper must be reloading so I test my luck and make a run for the better cover then, my lights go out.


I wake with no idea how long I have been laying here. I can still hear, the sounds of battle have died away. All I know is I'm in extreme pain and unable to move sparking my concern of paralysis. I attempt to open my eyes, but the pain is unbearable. I panic, and it commands my need to know if I can still see. Forcing my eyes to open as much as posable I can not detect any light. My eyes feel as though hot sand has been rubbed into them.

My head is throbbing, and my ears are ringing so loud all I can hear is the ringing itself. Still; it gives me some comfort to know that at least I can hear.

Blood seeps from a head wound and pools inside my helmet. The right side of my face rests in the blood that fills my ear. Sensing another wound on the right side of my body. I am feeling nauseous. I fear I may heave in my helmet and drown or suffocate in the vomit. I'm aware I'm seriously fucked up.

 

Determine that I must try to move I attempt to move my feet, to be sure I still had them. My whole body screams for me to stay still. It seemed like some fifteen minutes before I managed to realize movement, another fifteen or twenty to work myself up into a sort of half-ass sitting position against whatever this is I'm lying against. I manage to work myself up a bit straighter, blood runs from my right ear and down my neck into my flack jacket. It clott's quickly and feels as though sticky molasses had spilled inside my suit.

I attempted to open my eyes. The visor on my helmet smashed, so I tried to wipe the clotting blood from my eyes with my hand. Sharp pain puts a quick end to that idea. Dirt or some fragments are in them. The thought of permanent blindness frightened the hell out of me, and I have no idea where I am. I choose caution and do not call out for a medic.

Feeling around and find a canteen on my belt. Aware of the wound on my side, I took only a small sip. Then I held my head back as best I could and poured water through my smashed away face shield into my eyes to flush them out. I force them open as best I can. I do this again and again until the water is gone.

I think I passed out, but somehow I lost some time.

I notice a bit of light, not much, but at least now I know I'm not entirely blind.

My vision gradually improve. Excited, I scanned my blurry surroundings. I make out what looked like a body lying very close to me. I had to slide down from the wall and onto my side and drag myself a short distance to get close. He was on his side facing away from me. I reached over to check him out.

Eventually, I managed to tug him toward me and over onto his back. I was surprised, and I guess, disappointed when I saw it was a severely damaged but very human-looking android. Its body felt so real.

It wore a coalition uniform and the damage exposed some of its internal components which, I could see were biologically manufactured. I was not frightened or concerned as I felt I should be. It was creepy though, its passed for a real human body.

I could see much better now, but I still had no idea where I was. More alarming to me though, I can't remember who I am. I keep racking my brain for my own identity. I noticed the name tag on the android. Only two letters, "TC." I attempted to look down for my name tag, but my helmet prevented that. I try to remove it but it had been crushed out of shape and jammed, and I can't budge it.

It relieved me to be able to make out English lettering instead of some form of alien hieroglyphics on the android. Still, I can't get over how human the body felt when I moved it. Its face shield down was beginning to bother me; I hesitated but finally reached over and slid it open; I was stunned when I saw the face of a young girl or at least a very female looking face inside the helmet. I thought how depressing it would be if she were a real young girl. I know they make more female droids than male because they seem less threatening.

 

I could see much better and was able to make out my surroundings, but I was feeling weaker. Unsure how long I would last if I kept losing blood. Already I was too weak to crawl. My breathing was becoming more labors, and I thought, if I passed out now It would surely be for the last time.

I thought, if I were able to move, I might be able to recognize my surroundings, but I was now too weak to move around. My body slips from the leaning position and slides from the wall to the ground, and I roll onto my back facing the sky. Judging from what little I can make out the sky seemed as though it was at dusk, or was it dawn, I have no idea, it could be my poor eyesight. Losing consciousness, I know this is it. The air smells different every time the wind shifted, one way it smelled like Napalm another direction like a foul barbecue.

I was still alive, but I was feeling colder and weaker; not much longer now I thought. I made one more attempt to poke around with my fingers for any com device I might be able to use to call for help. But my arm and hand stopped moving. I thought this would be a good time to think about the wife and kids… That is if I had any. My head started spinning and everything.

 

The first thing I became aware of was my sense of smell then I became aware my eyes and my head were in bandage. My first thought was, "I've been found!" My second was, yeah, but by who?

I made an effort to move, and immediately a heavy hand struck me in my chest. A female voice said, "stop, do not move, you are severely injured please lay still." The word, "Please" made me realize I was receiving care.

Barely able to manage a whisper I said,

"Where am I, a field hospital?"

"No, I found you unresponsive, I was able to revive you and stop your bleeding, but you must remain still, or you will begin to bleed again, and you will die."

"Thank you… you got my helmet off thanks; I couldn't do it."

"It had to be cut off." The voice said. "You have sustained a serious head wound; it may affect your sense of balance."

"We're still in the field?"

"Yes."

"Were you able to establish contact with command."

"Unable at this time."

"I lost some memory along with this bump on the head; I don't know who I am."

"Your name is, Captain, John McCall sir."

"Sir; do I outrank you or something?"

"Yes, Captain you do."

"What is your name and rank soldier?"

"My name is, TC sir. ASIB's have no rank."

I felt my heart roll in my chest.

"You mean you're that Droid I found?"

"Sir, my name is "TC" I am an ASIB, an Artificial, Self-aware Intelligent Being, I am not a Droid sir."

"Wow, a sense of pride! That's interesting, my apology. When I found you I thought you were dead... or whatever it is you call it, how did you get repaired?"

 

I had been talking too much; I could feel myself losing what little strength I had regained.

She said, "I have biological nanotechnology, most of my damaged organs and parts can regenerate and repair themselves."

"Lucky you, so you're practically immortal?" I said.

I experienced extrema pain in my side.

Instantly aware, T.C. adjusted my position to make me more comfortable.

She said, "If I become damaged severely enough I cease to function, just as a human."

"Okay, so where do we go from here?" I said, staring into the hollow blackness of my bandages.

"Sir, you are human, you are in command."

Frustrated by the inability to see, I attempted to shake my head unaware if she was even looking.

I considered she might better understand me if I described my injuries as though I were a droid.

"Look; TC, I'm damaged, I'm blind and my memory, for all practical purposes, has been erased. I don't know what I am and until you told me, I had no idea who I was. I'de like to know, how you learned who I was?"

"You have a bar-code tattooed on the back of your neck, Sir. I read your bar-code. You also have a small ID chip just under your skin in the same area."

"Alright then, give me a report."

"Yes Sir, you are Captain, John McCall, of the Third Military Police Battalion, Force Logistics Command. We were on an escort mission providing security for diplomats on their way to a meeting in the capital when attacked. You and I were in the rear of the column and caught the worst. My data suggest that the main part of the convoy got through with only minor damage and loss of human life. The mission was successful, Sir."

I felt a sharp pain. "Awe, well It doesn't feel successful to me. Why haven't we been rescued, you said my chip is active?"

"I am working to establish communication with command; However, enemy drone activity is heavy in this area, and any attempt to communicate could be detected at this time. It is standard procedure that command would neutralize all enemy drones before search and rescue can be launch."

"If you haven't made contact, how will they know where we are?"

"Command will note where the enemy has been searching for us; they will then search the same area once all drones are neutralized."

I felt numb all over, and by this point, I could barely speak.

"Well if they don't get here soon... it will be a recovery mission, not a rescue mission."

***

Commanding the Third Military Police Battalion, General, Matthias Hollander shook his head with disbelief, "McCall must be dead, he would have made contact by this time if he was alive, he's one of my best; I can't believe this shit. What's the status of the rescue?"

A young, Major standing at ease in front of the General's desk began reading from a clipboard.

"Sir, we have just cleared all the enemy drones from the area, and the rescue team is beginning their search now sir. Reports also show that an ASIB, TC was lost as well, sir."

"I thought those things were practically indestructible why do they think that?"

"No contact sir, if TC were functional it would have contacted us by now sir."

General Hollander walked behind his desk and slowly backed into his leather chair and leaned back.

"Major, I don't want to see you again until you have some confirmation on this situation, you understand me?"

"Yes sir," the Major said as he snapped to attention. General Hollander looked up at the major and nodded his head.

After a moment, The General said almost in a whisper.

"You're dismissed, major."

 

Search and rescue lifted off and headed out toward the ambush point.

TC was now able to make contact. Both were picked up and flown straight to the hospital. Command took TC for debriefing.

I could smell that I was in an infirmary, with no clue how much time had passed, but I was aware I had been, sedated. I could hear voices and the sounds of people walking. My whole head was heavily bandaged, and the blankets were wrapped around me so tightly I had the idea I had was in a straitjacket.

To be continued.

 

 


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