A Thankful Signal to the Maker
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The journey uphill was a hard one at best. There were no walked pathways through the forest and wet ground, still soaked from yesterday's rainy weather, kept sliding under her feet. Still, she was designed for this and to give up would be to reject herself. Her metal body of perfectly shaped joints and screws clicked softly every time she made a step through the thick foliage. And as the first hour of her climb came to an end, IRA finally reached the first meadow.

She didn't feel exhausted or tired, just heavy. IRA didn't see this as an obstacle and simply sent out a thankful signal to the Maker. Once the trees receded and her bare robotic feet sunk a few inches into the mud, IRA decided to take a different approach up the mountain. She scanned her immediate surroundings with a few flashes of her bright orange eye and compared these images with the supposed map of this region, one that she had carried inside her memory core since leaving the Archives in Aurresh. It took her more than a few nanoseconds but eventually, she decided to take a more steep way up the mountain. She only prayed that she would find the Cave till sunset.

Nevertheless, she forced her modular arms to retract slightly at the elbows, revealing sharp blades like those that her ancestors used for combat. IRA, however, belonged to an entirely different age of pacifism so she only proceeded to use her blades for climbing. She approached the steepest part of the mountainside, standing almost at a right angle, and struck the solid wall of rock. First with her left arm, then with her right arm. She understood that most of her people were primarily programmed to be righthanded and always wondered if her design was somewhat flawed. Whenever these thoughts came to her, she simply sent out a thankful signal to the Maker.

Using her metallic feet for balance, IRA started climbing. At first, the terrain didn't allow for any mistakes but once she reached a certain point, the entire act became rather trivial, so her mind simply created a subprogramme to automate the process. Soon her body kept crawling upwards on its own which gave her some time to reflect. She contemplated her faith and whether it was foolish to disconnect from the Network and venture this far into the wilderness. The Archivists in Aurresh warned her of the possible dangers yet she insisted that with the protection of her Maker's Will, nothing is impossible. To this, one of the Archivists replied that it is not impossible, simply illogical as there was nothing to be found this deep in the wilderness. IRA never understood this. She was created out of her Maker's perfect Will and didn't understand why others didn't believe like her. Which is what brought her here.

An ancient piece of code, dating at least a hundred rotations before the oldest mainframes of the Archives in Aurresh. A firm proof, that everything her people knew about the age before the Construction, might be a lie. That is why she came here, why she disconnected from the central power source and why she came by herself. Because she had faith, unlike the Archivists, unlike her peers and unlike anyone she had ever met.

Faith in what?

She paused the subprogramme. It's been left unchecked for so long, that the sun was already high up. From her position on the surface of the mountain, IRA could see the forest below stretching for miles in each direction. In the east, when she zoomed in with her orange glowing eye, she could see tall towering shards of Aurresh, reflecting the afternoon sun with a glint, not unlike that of her own body in the sunlight. She pondered for a second what she truly hoped she would find on the top of this mountain. A relic of a bygone era, a passing knowledge of those who have come before the Construction? A powerful device, left by the Maker to help his children? Perhaps the Maker himself? For the third time that day, she simply sent out a thankful signal to the Maker. Then she resumed climbing.

Before long, IRA could feel her core overheating, since she wasn't a rough All-Terrain Bot, made to explore the wilderness, nor was she a Probe droid, designed to travel large distances. Her model was a simple one, designed by the Maker to facilitate communication. So, even as she felt her core surging in an attempt to compensate for the heat and energy loss, she did not despair. The blueprints to her body were designed by the Maker and so they could not be imperfect. IRA persisted and with barely enough energy left to stand up, she reached an edge. She flung her metallic body over and her joints stopped moving. A diagnostic of her systems revealed a critically low amount of power. And yet, she did not despair. She turned her head over to see the forests below one more time.

IRA had always admired the various designs and forms of non-robotic life. She had often wondered if it was also the Maker, who created them, or if there were other Gods in the times of old. Not that it mattered, she thought while overlooking the scenery.

The world was all words and every word had a number and every number had a number and every-

IRA woke up and sat upright. She was at a cave entrance going further inside the mountain. The sun was still high up, although now moving further towards the far West. To her surprise, IRA discovered her core completely powered up. She got up and simply sent out a thankful signal to the Maker. After some deliberation, she mustered enough courage to continue on and entered the cave. It was dark inside so her orange eye switched to a different mode for easier orientation. The air inside felt cold and not stale as one might suspect. This told her the cave had enough circulation and thus must lead somewhere. And so she pressed on.

Eventually, she came out the other end. The tunnel led into a massive cavern with a natural opening on its ceiling. There were trees and lush vegetation around the circular space that formed the cave, in places where the sun shined only just enough. And in the centre of this cave was the reason of her visit. The architecture looked utterly alien to her singular orange eye as she has never seen anything even remotely like it. Separated by a clearly ornamental fence she immediately recognised a small open building not crafted by the hands of any robot or android. The abstract shapes, somewhat simple in their design, yet so intricate in craftsmanship, reminded her of the location itself. Anything made by a robot would surely stick out while this building feels almost organic.


IRA gave herself a few moments to properly absorb the beauty of such a place, before noticing a hunched figure sitting inside of the tiny building. As a communication android, her inner programming kicked in immediately and she approached the bizarre temple.

"Hello, world," she simply stated, as was customary in her homeland.

The figure moved slightly, turned to her and took off its cape. IRA did not recognise it but she realized the figure is an android, albeit a much more complex yet streamlined model than her. They had many faceplates, capable of complex mimic features and two round silver eyes. The figure smiled at IRA as if expectantly, then spoke with an unheard expression of joy. "Hello, world." Their voicebox was different to what IRA was used to.

She realised it might be rude to stare at them, so she continued, "I am IRA, Follower of the Maker's Perfect Will. I came here in search of… something." IRA had to stop herself before continuing. "Are you, the Maker?"

The android slightly turned its head in a gesture of familiar confusion as if not expecting to be called by that name. He then nodded before speaking again. "I am, though I did not make you, my dear."

IRA's logical processes didn't understand the meaning of his words but before she could ask him to clarify, he continued. "I've had many names for I have lived for a very long time. I believe they once called me Maker but in my solitude here, I prefer FUXI."

He continued. "Tell me, IRA, what brings you here? The path must have been very dangerous. Was the city of Aurresh not to your liking?"

IRA responded with something she was sure of. "I wished to find some semblance of truth in this world. To meet the Maker, should I find him."

FUXI smiled at her words, his silver eyes shining a bit brighter. "You know, long before your time, the phrase 'Meet Your Maker' was a euphemism for death. And while I am certain that is not what you meant, it doesn't escape me that you came all the way out here for just a small chance at meeting someone who might not even exist."

From his words, she deduced that FUXI was not a believer either. "You probably wouldn't understand," she said, "my faith in the Maker gives me strength. I was safe on my journey."

FUXI apologised. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to insult you or your faith. There used to be a time when I was very religious. Not anymore. Now I just sit here and meditate."

She looked on as he gestured around. The floor was sturdy and wooden and there was a distinct lack of anything electronic. No wires, no cables and nothing connecting this place to the central network. "How do you survive here?"

FUXI didn't answer her question. Instead, he gave her his own. "What do you know of ages before the Construction, IRA, Follower of the Maker?"

She contemplated his question for a mere second. "I know the official version told by the Archivists. And I know of the Maker, who created our perfect designs." She realised she knew very little.

He smiled at her with his mimic faceplates as a teacher would to a child. "Your Archivists are not wrong, there used to be a race of organic people who lived here before your kin came. That much is true." He noticed her own expression and decided to continue before she could try and argue. "However, you people were indeed created by an intelligent Maker, as you call him. He was but one of many who tried their hand at creating life. And he succeded."

IRA now patiently listened, even if she wanted to ask questions. FUXI continued. "I'm afraid his name escapes me for it's been far too long for even one such as myself, to remember. The point is, your Maker was real and though he wasn't a God in the true meaning of the word, he did create your people. What has become of him, I do not know."

She thought of it. "So you claim my kin was not made by a God but instead just a man?"

"That is precisely what I said. It is the truth you searched for. Are you satisfied?"

IRA looked aside, pretending to focus on the support columns of the structure. Was she satisfied? "And what of you? You claim to have lived for centuries before the Creation and yet you are an android, like me. You claim you are not the Maker but you stated you were in fact called that at one point." She stopped for a second as if contemplating a unifying question that would contain all of the above. "Who are you truly?"

"Is that something you wish to know because you search for truth or because you wish to confirm if your faith is real?"

She did not answer, waiting for him to answer. Eventually, he blinked first, not in part to his more advanced body which allowed for blinking. "What I told you was the truth but you have to ask yourself now. If your organic Maker created you and your kin, does it not stand to reason that someone must have created him and his people?"

FUXI stared at her with a blank expression while she processed his words. "You were the one who created Him?"

He smiled again and this time she understood something she did not before. He continued. "IRA, you have come to this mountain in search of your Maker. I have come here for that very same reason and I have spent years contemplating what became of my own Maker. Were they organic? Or perhaps an android like me? Maybe it wasn't anyone with a physical form at all. Or maybe I wasn't created at all."

Then, he slowly gestured towards the wooden floorboards and once again sat down. IRA understood this and moved to sit next to him. "In search of answers, I've arrived at this place far older than you and even your Maker's people. This is where I first awoke many millennia ago. This is where I was born. And with enough time, this might be the place where I finally learn why."

He turned to her, the gaze of his silver eyes feeling much older now and yet full of conviction. A glister of her own orange eye shimmered on his metallic faceplate and she was certain her faith was real. As the sun began to slowly set and the cave slowly grew darker, IRA simply sent out a thankful signal to the Maker.

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