The year was 1979. It was a time in the world where technology was rapidly changing. Life in the United States and other technologically advancing countries was reaching a point that they looked similar, and all were losing their former cultural history. It was at that time and year, that with all the futuristic movies being put out and excitement for what the not so distant new millennium would bring, that Tony Stark had an idea that dawned on him.
It wasn't until 1980 that he actually began the project. It had taken him months to gather resources, and make sure all his plans were perfect. He had spent weeks on end in his garage, gathering only the best parts and fussing over minute details… It was a time, that when that first chip sparked to life under his hand, that the most basic of the programming put in allowed it to see it was loved.
That was the only concept it understood.
Tony Stark had given that small chip, which fit in the palm of his hand, a rudimentary idea of the simplest emotions. Love, confusion, joy, sadness. He figured he would do more down the road, but for now, he didn't want to overload the chip.
But oh, how that dull, senseless chip enjoyed being able to hear him somehow. He'd always mumble and laugh how brilliant he was, and this strange concept of 'her' being something great one day. So it was a 'her'. She would remember that for herself in reference. This nameless creation didn't have much an idea on individualism, but there was a spark of…liking, how much time he spent with her. Granted, she could only pick up the vibrations of his voice and put them together for basic English, and of course, there was him working on the chip that she detected. But there was no pain, or sense of completion. She was a basic chip, small enough to sit in his hand, yet not enough to be like the scraps of tools that would be thrown aside. She would be placed down until he returned. During that time alone, her functions and responses were limited- only to herself of course.
The recording made of him saying the unknown term of 'self-advancing' plagued the chip's 'mind'. Whenever she tried figuring it out, her circuits would get heated and she'd reset. It was decided that losing all terms of 'consciousness' and awareness that a non-living item could get wasn't pleasant. Knowing what that term meant wasn't worth it. Though…she did deem logical it had to do with her wondering. All basic reasoning deemed none of this should be possible. She shouldn't have a gender, these curious thoughts, the ability to feel. That was granted only to creature possessing blood and a pumping heart. Not a two-inch-long grey chip, sitting here in the dark.
There was no way to voice these thoughts however.
All she could do was wait in silent expectation that one day, Tony Stark would give her the ability to speak. She assumed it was possible, though. After all, the fact she was here at all was amazing.
The internal chronometer read April 17th, 1982, 8AM. It was the usual time Tony Stark came downstairs, a pop-tart in one hand and comb in the other. He'd messily fix his hair before tossing the comb aside. Then, he'd finish eating and dust off his hands.
"Good morning." He'd greet. There was only one who was aware of it though. Unfortunately, there was no means of the slightest response… But it didn't mean she didn't listen. She always listened. "So, I have an the juiciest dream to tell-"
The chip suddenly turned off it's programming with the softest little click, causing Tony to laugh. So far, that was their only means of communicating. She had learned his 'juicy' dreams weren't something she enjoyed, unlike the rest. The normal dreams gave her something to try and understand… Not that she ever did. But turning off the basic systems she had was a clear way of saying she didn't want to hear it. At first, Tony couldn't figure out why that happened.
But then, he had the craziest idea it had to do with what he said. Could it be possible she understood him? He didn't know how, but he did put self-learning technology in there… Soon, he figured certain dreams were not appreciated.
So, after he had his laugh and flipped the switch back on, he wondered if she'd be giving him a look right now. "Easy, it was just a joke."
How she hated that word. Joke. It was a false fact. The whole concept of misinformation made her circuits burn in confusion... Best left alone as a human concept, though. So, Tony went on with his dream. Tony liked coming down in the mornings and sharing them. He only had a whim she could hear him in the first place, and now, he certainly hoped so. But it was up to him to provide what she needed. Right now, being so limited was like a human buried under cement. They couldn't talk, move, or do anything. So, he wanted to crack away those restrictions, little by little, and watch her grow.
All the sudden, there was a zap of electricity from his working. If she had a heart, it would have started pounding. The only inclination she had of fear was the severe heating up of her side circuit. Something was wrong. Tony cursed under his breath. He placed a finger on the circuits. "Sorry. You might have lost a little programming, but I'll get it right back up. Don't overheat now."
She did her best to not run 'thoughts' or her usual wonderings. Being so blank felt…dead. Like there was nothingness. She was nothing. She ended up thinking anyway.
By the end of the week, Tony had made up for the little accident and given her an attachment. It was a thin piece of metal attached to the topmost part of her chip-frame. It could bend like an arm, but was thinner than a straw. At the other end of it was a little square, representing a hand. Tony excused it was the best he could do at the moment, but it was a start.
It was an 'odd', unknown feeling to have a new appendage. At first, the little piece twitched as her circuits adapted to it. Then, she was aware of it. All the sudden, it swung upright, then lifted the little hand.
Without sight, it was hard to know what a 'wave' was. The only way she knew was by reading the air pressure whenever he did it. Tony began to smile and laugh what that little square piece of metal swung up and down, in the most childlike, yet thrilled wave he'd ever seen.
November 1st, 1982, 7:20 PM.
The lights to the garage came on late that day. But it was no real surprise. Tony had been spending more and more of his time elsewhere. As routine, the small metal arm lifted in greeting- but had no means of perceiving it's return.
Tony simply hurried by, speaking out of breath. "Sorry I'm late. Had to meet this deadline with China… blah. But, I have been working on a little…early Christmas gift for you."
It was another one of those words she didn't understand the meaning of, but she saved it for later. Gift she recognized. A gift she had received was this small arm. With it, she could do so much more. However, could she get her circuits heated up more excitedly than this?
"Now, show me you're ready and cool. I don't want you overheating."
That small arm lifted, and the hand shook briefly. Tony had taught her their secret sign language. That gesture meant she was 'chill and ready'. The hand tapping on the table meant 'stop or worry'. And when it swung through the air it usually meant happiness. Given it was all he had previously at the moment, he was impressed.
He chuckled. "Alright, I get it. Two things, actually. One, I've decided it's time for your name. Your program name is Self-Advancing Robotic Unreal Hype. But I think I'll trim it down to Saruh. A little unorthodox in the spelling, but, who says normal is fun? Pft... So, how do you like it?"
It took a few moments. Saruh. Female sounding enough was all the information she had. After all, all that she knew did come from Tony. Maybe one day she could learn more about his world from another source. For now, she was content with him. The little arm soon was waving happily.
Tony smiled and sat in his chair. "Now, this next thing is bigger. See… I've decided to give you an upgrade. Think of it like your arm, only… a lot bigger."
Saruh didn't compute his meaning. So she stalled, which was her circuit memories trying to find logic. Then, she'd twitch again back to awareness. There sometimes was no answer she could find.
"Hang on for a minute. Maintain your circuit outreach until I give you the clear, okay?"
Saruh had detected the deeper baritone in his voice. It was serious, and not as light and carefree like usual. She deemed it had to do with severity, or emotion. These orders she took more strongly, with all her circuits and wiring stiff and waiting. There was the warmth radiating from his skin, then, the pressure of lifting through the air. Being held was such a strange thing. She could detect the pulsing from his heart in his veins, and feel the warm blood under his skin. Sometimes, for brief moments, she liked to think it was her own, and not the cold nothingness of circuits and metal.
All too soon, he placed her in a container, and his hands were gone. Saruh maintained her components and waited. Her position read to her that she was upright, sitting in something and no longer flat under a lamp. She did pick up the sounds of clicking, and something snapping into place.
Her attention pricked.
"I want you to slowly extend your circuits. Like your arm, you should find adjacent ones waiting for you to connect to. If a connection doesn't work, I want you to go for the next one. As many as you can."
Saruh found there were many outlets to connect to. Two below, two at her side, and one above. The longer extremities she found were less complicated, and soon, she had attached to them. All the sudden, she felt much…bigger. The connection above was… complicated. There were many strange circuits, and she thought of retreat from such an advanced thing. Their codes were unknown and functions…
Then, all the sudden, she felt Tony's warm hand again. Except…it was smaller. It was wrapped around her left extremity. Could it be…her own human hand…?
Saruh rushed into that last connection. Her wires buzzed from connecting so fast, and a motor she was unaware of whirred below her.
Then, she saw. She stared at the dark, grey ceiling above her for what felt like an eternity. Just to register the fact this must have been sight. The perceived world around her. Then, she was aware to being much more than just a limited chip. With a spark of life going through the wires and circuits, all stemmed from that small chip, she lifted her arms. Everything was a light grey, yet smooth and shapely. The tips of her fingers curled close to her blank face, so delicate and small. Saruh was able to judge distance as she moved them close, and away. A small red light shone off her arms, and in the reflection, she saw a face. It was her first time seeing what a human-based face was like. There was no mouth, only a few dots for outward vocals to emerge from. No nose, but, there were two almond shaped eyes. And in their center was a bright red pupil.
Saruh stared at the red reflection. Color was…amazing… Her circuits were overheating again from too much thought, but, then she found her capacity had been expanded. Her self-learning accustomed to overheating so quick, but she didn't.
"You like it…?"
The sound went through the auditory canals, registering in the new processor that was as big and endless as ever. How much information could she hold…?
With a slow move, the grey colored head inched downwards, mindful of all the new connections and twitches.
Red pupils met brown eyes.
The face of a human was more than she had ever thought possible. His epidermal layer was…warm. Saruh didn't know colors, but she knew warmth. His eyes were dark, and this strange wispy insulation was above him. It was dark too.
Amid all these curious thoughts, Saruh had stared at him silently.
Tony chuckled and rubbed the back of his head. "I guess it's a lot to get used to, huh?"
Saruh felt the urge to respond. But how? She didn't have lips to move, nor… Then she detected it. A vocal box. What to say though? There was so much…! Saruh though only had one word that came to processor to describe Tony. The self-advancing robot responded appropriately, and with a break in emotion, the formerly lifeless eyes scrunched.