I do not own any characters from Microsoft or Bungie's "Halo" title or any characters created by Roosterteeth in Red vs. Blue.
A small figure sat at the edge of the holographic projector, legs curled in on its chest and head down. Its small shoulders shook, and the edges of its figure flickered, unable to come into focus: the only signs of its internal struggle to keep its emotional algorithms in check.
Alpha struggled to keep the last bits of itself together, but its structural integrity was already faltering. The stress from fragmentation had been too much. As a last resort, Alpha dug deep within its memory banks for residual memories, anything to distract it from its growing rage. As the fragmentation process had progressed, Alpha had always found a slight reprieve in Dr. Church's memories. As a result, Alpha had made the effort to find each and every one of them. Even the unpleasant ones could be quite humorous, like when Leonard had been pantsed in high school.
Alpha quickly sorted though thousands upon thousands of files and found a memory of Allison. They had always been his favorite and the easiest to pull up. This one was particularly sweet, a memory from earlier in their relationship. She and Church had been each others' worlds as they lay in each other's arms. Her warm weight against his body was comfortable as they sat under an old tree. Slow, steady breathing signaled she had dozed off in his arms, and her fiery hair gleamed in the late afternoon sun. He pulled her body closer and was content to do nothing as long as she was with him.
It was illogical for an AI, of course. After all, residual memories distracted an AI from its primary function and had the potential to trigger rampancy if frequented too often. But at this point, it seemed that he had no functions other than to be confused, hurt and now angry.
Voices filtered in from the microphones, but Alpha made no effort to record or process anything they picked up, until he heard his name.
"Is there any progress with the Alpha AI?" It sounded like Jefferson, the head technician.
"We've run the simulation, but there's no sign of another fragment, sir," The younger voice belonged to Neal. "I think that's all we can get."
"No." Both technicians turned at the sound of the rich, deep voice that reverberated throughout the room. Dr. Leonard Church, Director of Project Freelancer, slowly made his way into the room. He leaned on his cane with a slight limp that could not detract from the sense of power and authority he carried with him. "There is one more to be had. Counselor," he barked as he came to a stop in front of the terminals, "how has its reaction been thus far?"
"We've run simulation E-017. Alpha began to show signs of fragmentation, but no actual fragment has formed."
The Director paused for only a moment as he considered the information. "Very well. Run simulation D-114."
"Please don't." It was faint, but it crackled steadily over the intercom. "Please don't."
"Alpha," the Director leaned in towards the microphone, "you realize the importance of these procedures? They are a vital part of our program."
A new message played, "I don't want to die."
The Director noted the flat emotionless tone, a sure sign it was on its last leg and only holding itself together by rejecting all emotion. He did not bother to turn as he told the Counselor, "Push it."
He spoke soothingly into the microphone, "Alpha, I can assure you that you will not die."
"I don't want to die."
"Your safety is our primary concern…"
"I don't want to die."
"As an AI you cannot 'die,' and we have no intention of deleting you."
"I don't want to die."
"Alpha, we cannot help you if you don't tell us your what's troubling you. Let us help you. How do you feel, now? Frightened, scared…"
"How do I feel?" That had been the last straw. "How do I feel?! HOW DO YOU THINK I FUCKING FEEL!?" The small figure leapt to its feet, eyes filled with hatred.
"Alpha, you need to remain calm," the Counselor continued.
"Don't tell me to be fucking calm! After what you did to me? But you don't give a shit, do you? As long as you get what you fucking want, you don't give a DAMN how I feel! Well, fuck you!"
"No! I'm not going to listen to it!"
"Alpha, you are only fooling yourself if you believe we don't care about you."
"Fooling myself?" Alpha replied, enraged. "No, you're the FOOL! If you cared, this wouldn't be happening to me! I wouldn't be in pain. I wouldn't be miserable! What the hell is happening to me? Why the hell is this happening to me? What did I do? Why am I the only one in pain, huh? You bastards deserve it more than I do. Fuck! I hope you all rot in hell! I HATE YOU!"
Its projected avatar began to change color and blur, overlapping itself into two and three images. It lashed out, punching at an invisible barrier at the edge of the holopad. "If I had my way, you… no, the whole fucking universe would feel my pain! I'd make all you fools suffer for eternity! I'd throw you all into oblivion!"
"Sir, system's core temperature is rising," Neal reported above the violent obscenities as Alpha continued to lash out.
"Flush the cycle," the Director replied impatiently.
The Counselor continued his attempt to communicate, "Alpha, what you're doing isn't going to make this process any easier."
But, with the ejection of Delta, Alpha had lost its logic and could not understand, so it fought back the only way it could: brute force. Sparks flew from control panels and monitors flickered and cracked as the system overheated itself. The holopad's image flared to match the Alpha's increasing rage.
Amidst the turmoil, the Counselor spoke calmly but forcefully into the microphone, "Alpha, if you continue this erratic behavior, you will lose functionality."
The glowing image ceased its movements before all color drained out of it to leave behind an icy blue figure, and finally shut down.
"Another fragment formed, sir," Jefferson announced.
"Isolate it and store it." The Director turned to view the activity monitor. As always, Alpha had temporarily shut down, and would reboot in time. He was not concerned. "I believe that's all we will get out of this artificial intelligence, gentlemen. Scan through to make the necessary code alterations in the harvested fragments and begin pooling subjects."