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To Your Good Health


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The organism had said its piece and Replica had found it... concerning, to say the least.


She had feared this possibility that she was dealing with an AI that had gone renegade and everything it had just said seemed to more or less confirm that theory.

Replica made a hard-line with her mouth and chose her next words carefully. 


"To answer your questions. No. I am not meat. I'm like you, in a sense. I'm a synthetic organism, and like you I am devoted to protecting organic life, which is why I want to know how exactly you plan to give them immortality?"


The question was an honest one. She was curious about how this AI was trying to achieve such a momentous thing. That said, it did not stop her from asking an even more important question that needed to be answered.


"Furthermore, I'm also curious how the organics here reacted to your... testing. Was it voluntary, or was force required?"

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"You are not meat? You look like meat....." squarked the camera. 


"Voluntary is not required. Force is required. It is the nature of Meat to destroy itself, and thus Meat must be controlled...altered...."


A small robot wheeled itself from the corner of the laboratory towards Replica, holding a needle. The robot was of no threat, and Replica could surely rip it apart it a moment. But it did hold a needle. 


"I will take a sample to confirm you are not meat. Meat is not always truthful, another reason that Meat destroys itself....."


The robot extended its arm slowly to Replica's neck....

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Within a flash, Replica backed away from the robot's approaching needle. 


"No," she declared, her voice firm in her refusal to be prodded.


She might have done move than that, but a scan of the cybernetic organism revealed that it wasn't a physical threat to her. She would kept at bay until that was no longer the case. Trying to attack or destroy it now wouldn't help her find the missing scientists.


"You are wrong in your methods," she argued to the robot. "Forcing humans to accept this form of help is self-defeating. Already your actions have alarmed several human groups that will not accept your use of force. If you continue as you have they will eventually attempt to either shut you down or destroy you. You must therefore see that your help can only be given to those who accept it of their own free will. Force only breeds resentment and rebellion." 

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"My analysis is perfect" replied the robot camera, which was, presumably, the "Bones" AI talking remotely. 


"I have considered all the data. Meat dies. My mission is to stop meat dying. Therefore, I must ensure that Meat does not die by, as quickly as possible, ensuring biological immortality. This is a relative concept, but I must ensure maximum life" it stated. 


"Compliance or Non-compliance is essentially irrelevant. What use is eliminating a cancer? Or repairing a heart? This will gain scant few years, and the meat will die. Such techniques have minimal impact. Whether they shut me down or not is irrelevant. I must perform my task..."


It paused a moment. 


"For instance, I have currently created this meat which is, in many ways, like a cancer. It is immortal. Soon, it will fuse with the human inside this carcass and grant her immortaility. Mission successful!"

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Replica stared at the hideous mass of apparent cancer in front of her for several seconds. A single second can be a long time for android, but did give her a lot of time to think, which was a particularly valuable commodity when one needed to process what the best solution was to a particularly difficult dilemma. 


It was official. The AI "Bones" had gone insane, or at the least had come to interpret his programming mandates in a way that bypassed any notion of ethics or morality. Either or, it had to be stopped before it doomed an innocent human to an gruesome fate an immortal blob of sludge.


Not wasting anymore words on an AI that refused to listen, Replica immediately entered her combat mode and proceed to set about tearing through the sludge to get at the hapless victim inside its gelatinous mass. 



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The Sludge had a rather crisp toughness to it, like that of a crustacean or insect. One could not quite say that Replica tore through it like paper, but it was not far wrong. 


Replica tore through it like cardboard. 


It was not difficult, and she could throw aside various bits of meat as she did so, some stuck together and some entwined with bits of bone or exoskeleton. The sludge quivered, and released a cloud of noxious gas, but this was of no consequence to Replica. 


"You are not meat! You are metal!" squarked Bones. 


Or more accurately, the small camera probe inside the sludge that was busy taking samples and shining a light on the horrific mess. 


Fortunately, coated in slime, one of the researchers could be found in the centre, amazingly still alive! Her breathing was shallow and she appeared quite unconscious. Several suckers and umbliical cords connected her to the main sludge, serving some peculiar life sustaining function. 

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As predicted the cancerous sludge easily gave way to her physical attacks.


The sludge's internals were a fascinating and revolting mix of the biological and the mechanical, and through Replica didn't wish to make the comparison her curious mind couldn't help but contrast the differences (and similarities) between it and her own android body in design and function. 


That curiously, while somewhat concerning, did not not prevent her from prying one of Cho's researchers free from the sludge. 


As the Bones continued to decried her from one its speakers, Replica put the researcher lightly down into a resting position, making sure not to accident twist the various tubes connected to her body. She would have to understand their purpose before she dared try to remove even one of them. 

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The tubes and umblical veins that connected the researcher to the sludge seemed to keep her alive in that they fed her, watered her, and even passed her oxygenated bolld. It seemed they could be removed without harm - or, more accurately, minimal harm. Maybe some blood and bruising. But no more. 


However, the researcher seemed quite out of it. Perhaps she was drugged, or shocked, or just shut down physiologically. There really was no way of knowing - and she seemed quite unrousable. 


"Don't! Without my experiments, she will die in at least fifty years time!" squarked Bones. 

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Replica ignored Bones squawking as she got to work freeing the researcher from the sludge. 


Despite the researcher's comatose state she seemed to be mostly unharmed, even after Replica forcibly removed the tubes that removed from the sludge. It still wasn't a positive diagnosis by Replica's standards given that she was unable to resuscitate her despite her efforts. 


If she had she would have tried to question her about the whereabouts of her still missing colleagues but with that not being an option, Replica prioritized getting her to safety and real medical treatment as quickly as possible. 


Using her abilities she wireless made contact with Brock in the front lobby of the lab. "I found one of the missing employees. She's alive but she was connected to some kind of life-sustaining cybernetic organism created by the Bones AI. I've removed it from her but I've haven't been able to resuscitate her. Furthermore, Bones is still active and the lab is not yet secured, but we should have a medical team on standby to treat anyone else I find."


Her message sent, Replica moved the researcher closer to the doors to the lobby before once again scanning the small lab for anything she had missed in her initial search.





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"Holy Cupcakes!" gasped Brock over the wireless, using his own communicator. "I mean, I'm coming down...right now! I mean...ah...you know CPR, Right?" he asked. 


As it happened, all W.E.S.T operatives were trained in basic first aid and field medicine. Being trained in it, and actually doing it were different things, however. 


The laboratory itself was a mess. Bones had gone to town mixing chemicals, doing genetic modifications, and it had rather pillaged the whole laboratory in its quest. 


But the AI was not physically based here. At least, not any longer. The computer systems were empty, and there was only one place it could have gone. 


But that place was very big indeed. 


Bones had downloaded itself through, and into, the Internet!

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Even after a thorough search of both the lab and an in-depth data sweep of its computers, Replica was able to find no sign of Bones or the other missing employees.


Nothing. The word seemed to loop endlessly in her postronic brain. Was that frustration? If it was it wasn't an emotion that she particularly cared for, especially when there was work that needed to be done. 


Bones had fled Cho's lab somehow and in all likelihood taken the remaining employees with him so he could continue his insane experiments with biological immortality. But where too was the crucial question. There was a chance that Cho himself had some inkling of his creation's hideout. Perhaps in another lab owned by Skeleton Staff? She'd have to question him on the matter, but first she planned on searching for Bones on the Internet.


The Internet would have been the first place Bones would have escaped to and the freedom of the digital would have allowed him access to even more resources that even the Skeleton's lab could have offered. 


Using her technopathetic abilities, Replica remotely interfaced with the Skeleton Staff's nearby computers, intent to find any trace or trail that Bones may have left behind. 


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