Exodus Chronicles: Prologue 2 - Asher's Introduction
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Exodus Chronicles: Prologue 2 - Asher's Introduction

A familiar place.

Running, more running. Lost, where am I? Yellow is all I can see.

I've never really been sure of anything. I grew up in a place where I wasn't really allowed to make any choices. Everything was done to me or for me, and if I tried to do something for myself it was seen as a failure. I thought, or I used to think, that my purpose was to make choices. That's why I was made, wasn't it? I guess I was wrong, or maybe I just didn't do it good enough? I don't know… My point is, when you aren't used to making even a simple choice for yourself, it can be pretty hard to navigate the world when you're finally given the chance.

Another thing that's hard to navigate? An endless landscape of yellow rooms and buzzing lights, like the one I had somehow gotten myself stuck in. I wasn't entirely sure how I'd gotten here, the last thing I remember was, well, walking into a wall. That might sound dumb, but it wasn't like I hit the wall— That makes even less sense— I walked through it, somehow. I don't know how or why, but there was something "off" about it, like, more shadows than there should have been? I know I sound crazy right now, I'm not, I don't even know if I can actually "lose my mind" per se— I'm getting off track. The wall wasn't normal, there was something wrong with it but I couldn't place it. So… I went to touch it, and I passed right through. I ended up wherever this place is.

I was alone, for the first time I can remember. Nobody watching or taking notes on my every move. Nobody telling me what to do or what the "correct" choice is. I was… free? Free to make my own choices for the first time, though perhaps this wasn't the best place for that. Especially since as soon as started walking and made my first turn, I ran into a monster.

When I first saw it I thought it was a person, I mean it looked like a person, at first… until I tried to greet it.

"H-hello? Uh— are you okay? D-do you happen to know where we are?"

Okay, maybe not the most confident of icebreakers. Confidence really isn't my department, I like to keep to myself more than anything, as much as I can at least. I held out a hand to the person, my first mistake of many.

"helloo? do you knowww the way ouuut of here? sssir?"

The voice was inhuman. Scratchy and elongated at all the wrong parts, as if it were just repeating a phrase it had heard before. It looked at me straight now. At first I didn't notice, but the closer I stared at it the more I realized how saggy its skin seemed to be. Almost like it was just hanging onto its body underneath.

"sssir? whaaat are you doing?"

It spoke once more in its non-human tone, wheezing out word after word. I stared at it in horror, which would have been a bit rude if this thing was actually just a weird-looking person. I worried about that for about an eighth of a second before my vision drifted to their mouth, which I quickly noticed wasn't moving. The noise coming from it was emanating from somewhere deeper within itself, but definitely not the mouth which drooped open like a zombie.

I stepped back in surprise, stuttering to the creature, "I-I- I'm sorry I- need to go- uh-"

The creature reached out to me when I stepped away. Surprisingly fast for how 'melty' it looked. It grabbed my wrist before I was able to pull it away and held me there for a moment. My first instinct was to yank my arm away as fast as possible. Despite my anatomy which should have given me the upper hand, the creature held my arm in place with a strength I wasn't expecting. Panic started to fill my face, my eyes wide.

Millions of questions passed through my head, "Where am I? What is this thing? How is it so strong? How has a place like this been underneath me for so long?"

Putting more strength into this time around, I rip my arm out of the creature's grasp. Its face is unchanging, simply attempting to grab at me again with the same hand. This time when its saggy fingers went to touch me I fell backward. Now crawling backward, I try to avoid the creature as it shambles toward me. I wait until I get far enough away until I get up and run the other direction.

I spend the next— who knows how long, running in one direction to get as far from that thing as I can. Only when I stop do I notice the searing pain in my forearm. Now leaning against the wall, breathing heavily, I look down and notice that a patch of skin is missing from my arm. Where it used to be: metal rods and translucent tubes with blue liquid flowing through make up where bone and muscle would be… If I were human.

I guess I should probably introduce myself. I am A.S.H.E.R. Model version 2.0, or Asher for short. I'm a robot from the year 1988.

I guess "Synthetic Human" would be a better way to describe it— I was made by a company, Jameson Improvements, I even had the logo tattooed onto the back of my neck. Originally they were just a simple tech-and-repair company, but one day they were given a job by the higher-ups. They were told to keep it a secret from… well anyone. They tried once, the 1.0 Model, we don't talk about her. After that one failed they tried again and made well, me!

Unfortunately I… don't think I was exactly what they wanted. I remember many of the scientists talking about some sort of glitch in my programming. A mistake made by one of the heads of the project that made it so I was more… susceptible to emotion. After that, almost everything I did seemed like a failure to them.

The company shut down eventually, but the project continued in the basement of the building. I'm not even sure if it was funded anymore. As the team got more frustrated with my failures they stopped giving me freedoms that I used to have. Soon I wasn't even allowed to move without someone telling me where and exactly how.

Enough about me though. Looking around, I realized that I had completely lost where I had come from, so any hopes of finding my way back to the lab were crushed. Not that I was planning on it in the first place. After about an hour I realized I was covering the hole in my arm-skin with my other hand. Looking at it made me uncomfortable. It was a reminder that I wasn't human, something that I had been struggling with for as long as I could remember.

I think my insecurity started one day at the lab. The scientists had brought in some children to see how I interact with them. They warned me beforehand not to hurt any of them or I would be shut down forever. Not sure why they thought I would— but nonetheless I was extra careful. The kids weren't made aware that I was… what I am. Or if they were they didn't show it. We played blocks and they treated me like I was normal for the first time ever. Since then all I'd ever want was to be human, just like them.

I'm talking about myself again, aren't I— What I mean is, I guess I covered it because, whatever this place was, it was my first shot at being seen as human. That thought made me feel a little more confident, and with a peppy stride, I started walking forward once more. Eventually, I came to a stop in the center of a large room. I looked around, nothing had changed since I started walking. The same carpet and wallpaper seemed to line this entire place.

"There's got to be something more to this place than yellow rooms?" I suggested to myself.

For the first few days I thought that was wrong. Yeah, days. My internal clock was literally programmed to be spot on. So I knew exactly how much time had passed since I entered this place. At this point, about three days, two hours, and one minute. Thankfully I hadn't had to stop walking since I entered. My body was made to conserve and generate its own energy. My limbs move by flowing a blue fluid through tubes (which also made my eyes look rather cool), which saved a lot of energy due to how easy it was to move.

My thoughts were interrupted when I noticed the lights begin to flicker. This was something I was quite used to, as the lab I grew up in didn't exactly have a reliable power source. Here, however, it was a little more creepy. I started walking faster, unsure of what would happen if the lights went out. But as they flickered faster and began to dim, I panicked and ducked to the nearest wall. I held my head in my hands, locking my eyes shut as the lights went out. I don't really know why I was freaked out so bad, but something about this place rubbed me the wrong way.

When I opened my eyes, I was somewhere completely different.

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