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To the Well-Organized Mind


Subtleknifewielder

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Vienna, German Democratic Republic

The elderly man was not noteworthy in appearance by any means. OOh, sure, he didn't wear one of the armbands, but it was clear he was no German. Most wold likely take him for a tourist as he neared the heart of the Republic.

From the way he took in his surroundings, few if any would suspect that he had been here before. In fact, the last time he had visited, it had been before the rise of the Machine Chairman, as Lynneth Srkara was often referred to. Whether in affectionate tones, indifferent, or outright disgust, that name seemed largely to have stuck even after his being voted out of office.

His legacy, however, lived on, in the technological prowess of the Southern Germans. Even in those few years, there were dramatic changes.

But despite the curiosity in his gaze, that was not why he was here. As he walked into The Palace of the Republic , he turned his eyes upward, taking in the site for what would likely be the last time, before presenting himself to the secretary.

"My name is Richard Anderson. Can you tell me how to get in touch with the former Chairman Lynneth Sarkara?"

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The receptionist looked at the man before her.
"I..excuse me? You'd like to meet the former Chairman?" She examined him for a few seconds, then began looking through the databases for a 'Richard Anderson'.
Lo and behold, she did find previous visits from the man as well as correspondence. She nodded.
"I'll try and get a transport for you, Mr. Anderson. He's currently not in the city."

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The aged man was afraid to sit down, or he might not be able to get back up again. He nodded, thanking the receptionist.

"I appreciate it. How long until it arrives?"

If it was too long, he might have to find a seat anyway, despite himself. Age, when it had ccaught up to him, had hit him hard. His hair had gone from black to grey in a matter of weeks, his stamina had fallen, and his health, while not deteriorating exactly, was no longer what it once was.

To take some of the pressure off his feet, he leaned against the wall as he waited. He still refused, despite his waning years, to use a cane. He was not going to submit himself to the indignity.

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She shook her head. "Only a few minutes."
She pointed to an elevator. "Your transport will be on the roof. You can access it via that elevator."


Roughly five minutes later, a helicopter would arrive, ready to bring Anderson to where the Chairman was. Once he had entered it, the vehicle would take off and fly towards where Sarah had gone some time ago: The Ultor Complex in the alps.
It would take a while to get there, but once there, Anderson would meet two men of the [color="#FFA500"]Amber Guard[/color], helping him off the helicopter and into the complex.
From there on, it was just a matter of getting into an elevator and going into the deepest parts of it, many hundred meters below the surface.

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"Thank you," he said quietly, nodding before stepping into the elevator.

And indeed, he hadn't had to wait long, as she said. He waved off help to climb into the ride--he wasn't that feeble despite appearances. But he caught himself napping on the ride over, and had to chastise himself. At least he hadn't had to be shaken awake by the guards who were there to escort him to Lynneth.

This time, he didn't resist the help offered. He was growing tired, so tired. But he forced himself to stand straight, to walk with them the required steps to take them through the entrance and into the elevator.

And he supposed he should have expected it, but the elvator went down...and down...and down. They had wanted their chairman to be secure after all, and nothing made him more secure than being so far underground. Though he had to once again remind himself that Lynneth was no longer chairman.

As the elevator stopped, he perked up, having leaned against the elvator wall on the way down. Finally, he was going to see the transformation his friend had gone through. He'd heard secondhand accounts, but that was not the same as witnessing it firsthand...

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[quote name='Subtleknifewielder' date='27 April 2010 - 08:34 AM' timestamp='1272350051' post='2277119']
As the elevator stopped, he perked up, having leaned against the elvator wall on the way down. Finally, he was going to see the transformation his friend had gone through. He'd heard secondhand accounts, but that was not the same as witnessing it firsthand...
[/quote]
Unfortunately, there were more elevators to go down with, but the [color="#FFA500"]Guards[/color] walking with Anderson operated those for him.
They would walk through several hallways, vastly different from those further up. Here, it was sterile metal, built for greatest efficiency and strength. It was built to withstand the most powerful nuclear weapons the world's nations could build, and that showed already.
They passed some massive doors - though those looked more like bulkheads - on which there were designations such as "A-3" or "B-5F" before reaching another elevator, of similar size as the previous one, into which about 20 people or so could have fit.

This would repeat twice. On the last elevator, there were more security checks than merely swiping a keycard and a retina-scan. This was full-out, with fingerprint, a completely automatic DNA-scan, a scan of the ears - which were just as unique to each human as the fingers - as well as voice and some others. Then this last elevator began moving, bringing them down.
Deep down below the surface.
The display showed 2,492 meters below the surface. 6,290 meters below the tip of the GroƟglockner, into which this lab was built. Deep enough to survive several nuclear attacks.

A voice sounded from the ceiling of the elevator, "Welcome in the Sanctuary."
They'd step out.
Down here, the bunker looked like from a movie. Whenever they encountered any kind of screen, it was a hologram instead, for example.

[url="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v284/Lynneth_del_Serpentas/AE/CNRP/Possible/large_dangerroom.jpg"][img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v284/Lynneth_del_Serpentas/AE/CNRP/Possible/th_large_dangerroom.jpg[/img][/url]
And now there was only one door between them and their destination.

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The disappointment must have surely been evident on Richard's face. But he chastised himself. This was not yet deep enough to be truly secure. He should have known better. Lynneth would not allow himself to be anywhere near a location that would make him vulnerable to any weapon known to man. And the design of the facility itself made it clear that man had improved on the defenses provided by nature. That material looked like it could really take a beating. The doors...if he could call them that, looked equally resistant to attack.

Every piece of the facility, from its structure itself, to the massive elevators, to the security measures, the utter depth involved...and deep down, those holographic screens. He hadn't been aware such had been beyond simple experimentation. It all only served to reinforce the nature of the GDR as a technological giant of the era.

But now he knew...this had to be it. That one last door must be all that lay between himself, and his friend. That and the security measures built into it. He glanced at the guards...he certainly didn't have the proper credentials to pass them on his own. One of them had to provide their own handprint and keycard to allow him access.

Once inside...he couldn't help but stare. The rest of the facility was impressive...but this was truly a wonder of the world, or it would be if the contents were public knowledge. Which they were not, of course.

He wrapped his arms tight around himself. It was several degrees cooler in here. Understandable, with Lynneth being in a computer now, they wouldn't want his brain to overheat. And speaking of which, other than the capsules themselves, the only prominent structure was the pillar. That had to be the central core. He approached it cautiously.

"Lynneth? That is truly you in there?"

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A panel opened.
Much like a certain Australian leader many years ago, Anderson would be able to see that eye basically representing this man by now.

[url="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v284/Lynneth_del_Serpentas/AE/CNRP/Possible/1250805616245.jpg"][img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v284/Lynneth_del_Serpentas/AE/CNRP/Possible/th_1250805616245.jpg[/img][/url]

"Anderson. Richard Anderson.
It's been a while."

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He blinked, studying the eye curiously. "Fascinating," he mumbled, finally nodding.

"Indeed, it has been long, too long, my friend. We have both changed a great deal since we last talked face to face."

For a few moments, he took in the rest of the room, this time in more detail. He'd missed the guards when he had first entered, but they were there, ready if he so much as hinted at hostility. He almost managed a smile. Years ago, he'd had such dedicated guards.

"I came, amongst other things, because I wanted to know...what did it feel like to beat the Grim Reaper?" Here he did manage a smile, even as he shivered a little from the cold.

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When Anderson shivered, one of the [color="#FFA500"]Amber Guard[/color] stepped forward, past the capsules that were in a circle around the main pillar, handing the old man a warm coat. He would then return to his post.

"I didn't necessarily beat him, only prolong my life. Everything ends eventually, and eventually, even atoms and the very universe decay and end. There is no infinity, and eventually he'll get me, as well, though he will have to be much more patient. But assuming you're just asking how I feel...Not at all. I can't feel warmth or cold, I have no sense of touch. The only thing I am capable of feeling are emotions, and those only because I had them on occasion when I was still a normal man. People say it'd be great to have your mind uploaded and ascended and all that stuff.
It's not very fun at all."

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"Thank you," Anderson quietly whispered to the guard, gratefully wrapping himself in the offered garment as the man returned to his post.

"Yeah, I meant how are you feeling. So long life isn't what it's cracked up to be, eh? So tell me, any regrets? If you had the opportunity to do it over again, would you still opt for this existence? Surely there must be some compensatons?"

If he gave it any thought, Lynneth might wonder why Anderson was asking these things. It was like Anderson was searching for answers as his body started the process of shutting down after along life. If the former Chairman had any sensors other than visual, and he trained them in Anderson's direction, he would be able to pick up the changes in his friend's body that came with age.

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"There indeed are compensations. I can use my calculating capacity to build my intellect within a timeframe that would be mind-boggingly short in the eyes of any human being. Technically, I could single-handedly begin a technological singularity within this nation...But I do prefer to not do it, as it would be less interesting, too predictable.
And yes, I'd do everything just like before. My entire life."

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"Well, that does sound like a fascinating existence. I'm surprised though, that living at the speed your mind must have now, doesn't drive you mad again. It almost sounds like it would be worth the c..." he was interrupted by a fit of coughing.

"Sorry, that's been happening every once in a while of late. I'm guessing I probably don't have much time left on this planet. What I really came to do, old friend, because not everyone gets a chance to do this before they die..." He smiled weakly, holding up a hand in imitation of a gesture familiar to anyone who was a fan of the fictional character Spock, "was to say goodbye."

Edited by Subtleknifewielder
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"I...see."
If he were able to nod, he would do so. If he were able to smile, walk up to Anderson and hug him, all the while tears forming in his eyes, he would be doing that right now.
But he was a machine. Trapped in this cage made of the results of scientific advances, restraining him to watching the world, barely able to actually interact with it.
Depressing.
Instead, one of the [color="#FFA500"]Amber Guard[/color] walked up to Anderson. He hugged the man.
"Forgive me if I can't do this myself, Richard. I'd love to, but...No arms and all."

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It was a bit awkward, being hugged by a guard. Especially one he couldn't even see behind their suit. But he didn't need Lynneth's explanation to tell him that being trapped in a computer meant there was little his friend could do physically. The weak smile remained in place as he nodded. "Yes. One of those downsides to cheating death."

He almost wished he could do something like that to prolong his own life, but he almost shuddered at the thought of being confined to a single place until the end of time. No, however much he did not look forward to the end, he preferred it to happen while he was still human in form.

"With the technological prowess available to the GDR, surely they could build you some kind of mobile body that you could control from here? It might not be the same as having your old body back, but you wouldn't be so helpless."

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"Any such body would be as large as this building is. There simply is no means at the time to create an android or robotic body for me to use. The only possibility is basically what Mars Rovers are, a vehicle which sends information to me, which I interpret and use to give it orders. That's the only way I can seriously interact with the outside world, excepting the Internet.
Unfortunate, but needed."

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"Yes, unfortunate. But I doubt it'll be long, considering the technological advancements this nation has already made with your help..."

This time Anderson managed to squeeze out all his words before the coughing fit overtook him. And this time, it didn;t let up as quickly as it had before.

And there were red flecks on his hand when he withdrew it. "That's never happened before," he whispered, realizing that his time had been even shorter than he had ever thought. And the moment that entered his consciousness, he felt his knees begin to buckle. His last thought before complete unconsciousness was that he was thankful he'd come when he had...

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"Anderson..!"
Immediately, the [color="#FFA500"]Guard[/color] rushed to the fallen man, lifting him carefully while an emergency doctor was called, on the way only seconds later.

He'd be brought into the hospital wing as fast as humanly possible, doctors and nurses swarming around him, trying to find the cause of sickness, whether it was simply age, et cetera.

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Indeed, they would find that it was, by and large, due almost entirely to age; and a life with a bit more stress than most tended to age one faster.

As other doctors had told him before he came, Anderson was not sick with any illness that could be readily treated...his body was simply wearing out.

The patient was aware of the commotion only in fits and bursts; only one did time he did manage to stay awake long enough to mumble a few words--something about a well-organized mind--before slipping back into unconsciousness.

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With the...'cause' determined, it was decided that no attempts to keep him alive would be made. He'd be artificially fed and be given iron lungs, but his heart and brain would be left on their own, to stop when it was time to do so.

The body would, once braindead was confirmed, be put into a vacuum-sealed sacrophagus and sent, with all honours, to Australia, into his home nation.

Down in his bunker, Lynneth contemplated the fat that he'd forgotten he'd outlive each and every single person he ever knew, unless he was unplugged. It depressed him, and brought sadness.
But he had no mouth, and could not weep.

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It would not be long. Once his body started shutting down, it happened rapidly. Toward the end he managed to wake once more, but needing to be on an artifical respirator meant he could not speak. That did not, however, prevent him from moving his arms or legs. Which in turn meant that he could type a message once he indicated he wished to do so.

[i]"'To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven. A time to be born, and a time to die...' It was my time to die, my friend. I don't regret a minute of the time I had upon this world. Though I will miss seeing what is to come. I...[/i]

His hand fell limp, lifeless, whatever else he had been intending to say lost forever...

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