It wasn’t a secret, but it was hardly publicised; better to let the public mind be dazzled by the bright lights and brilliance, than to question the morality of it all. They were entering the final stages of testing, human trials but days away. Transparency was an ethical minefield. To reveal to the world how such progress was achieved had rarely gone well in the past. Let them marvel at the final solution and forget the sacrifices made to obtain it.
Their bright beacon, the single most important creature in creation was looking at him from between cool steel bars. Its eyes were trusting, they followed him as he moved around the desk and toward the cage. The creature stood as he grew closer, reaching out in greeting.
“And now I find myself asking for your assistance in one final adventure, my friend.” He said.
His companion remained silent, but focused on him readily enough. There was a great understanding in that inhuman face, he thought. There was training and the illusion of intelligence and then there was the quiet reflection he had come to recognise in this animal as it looked up at him.
“One more time.” He promised on a whisper. “Once more into history and then a peaceful life.”
He opened the cage as the main entrance to the lab doors slid open over a dull rusted floor. A woman stood between the space they’d vacated. There were dark lines bleeding through the foundation she’d applied hours ago in an attempt to conceal them. “They’re ready in the hangar.” Was all she said.
With his ally clinging to him, secure in his arms, he followed her out into the hallway. They walked down and down, a gradual descent against a chilling breeze. There was no conversation, no idle discussion, just the weight of a public expectation and a single government order.
The hangar was a mass expanse surrounded by frozen pipes and deaden circuits. Almost everything stripped and pulled to pieces to be put to better use. Hardly the product of careful science and biological grace under pressure.
They approached the shell. They’d made it look almost human, with a head above shoulder like shapes and limbs protruding from a large cavernous chest big enough for a man to fit inside. He understood the reasoning, the need for a silhouette that a human mind wouldn’t find distressing.
He walked up the ladder in front of the mech and ignored the silence that fell. He pried the warm body from his arms and lifted it into a seat made too large such a small frame. Brown eyes once again met his, and that terrible hush was almost overwhelming. He longed for a cough, for a murmur or quiet conversation that would distract and draw that gaze away.
There was a hand on his shoulder. “Don’t hesitate, you’ll spin doubt in their minds as well as your own.”
He nodded and fastened the straps. As he retreated back down the ladder the chimpanzee stared down at him. All around them lights came to life, vibrations rippled through the floor and several white coats began moving as one to push at buttons and stare at monitors. The mech rose up.
“Once more into history my friend,” he said softly to a creature who would not be remembered, except by him, “once more and then peace.”
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For Mr Cuddles Pineasfield aka @Shiiuga and his inspirational tweets.