I do not own any characters from Microsoft or Bungie's "Halo" title or any characters created by Roosterteeth in Red vs. Blue.
The final chapter in this 3-part story.
The Director stared at the patient through the one-way mirror. He was unconscious in his hospital bed. Joseph Martin: age 22, black hair, blue eyes, car accident victim, comatose for almost three months. He was the Director's nephew, and last living relative.
The resemblance between Church and Joseph was uncanny. They had the same build, same facial features. They might as well have pulled Joseph out of Dr. Church's old high school yearbook. The only difference was their eyes. He had his mother's eyes.
Bandages covered the back of Joseph's head where his military issue neural chip had been replaced with an advanced design crafted by the Director. Externally, they would look the same, but Dr. Church's design allowed a greatly enhanced connection with the Alpha tucked neatly inside. It was similar to what he had planned for Project Freelancer.
The Counselor entered the room, his usually calm countenance agitated. He stood silently by the Director until he could stay silent no more.
"You realize the moral implications of what you're doing?" he asked.
"It's a little late to be thinking of morals now, Counselor," the Director responded. "Especially after what we did to the Alpha."
"But this is different!"
"How? At the heart of every AI is a human mind. They both have the same rights. What makes them so different?"
"Because this is a human life!"
No, this is a human body. He's been brain dead for months. There's nothing left in there."
"Then you're fine with this? Experimenting on your own nephew?"
"Joseph has expressly stated before that he never wanted to be a vegetable. He'd rather have his organs donated to help the war effort. Now, he's donating everything."
"This is insane! Do you even hear yourself?" the Counselor asked, his temper rising.
"The war must be won at any cost!" the Director shouted and slammed his cane for added emphasis. The Counselor was silent once again.
"What about perceived age differences?" the Counselor asked. He would try to appeal to reason. "Or the difference in time frames?"
The Director calmly answered, "The cells used to flash clone my brain were stored samples taken directly after the accident, decades ago. I thought a younger mind would be more adaptive. As for times and dated," he paused and noticed Joseph beginning to wake up, "you'll soon find out."
He nodded his head towards the patient, and the Counselor looked. He hesitated only a moment before he pulled the door open and entered the room.
Joseph opened his eyes and glimpsed a middle age man come in. He seated himself next to his bed and shuffled some papers. Joseph tried to sit up, but found it difficult.
"What happened?" he asked.
"Please try to relax." His voice was familiar. "I'm the resident counselor at this facility. You were in an accident and have been comatose for several months. I need you to answer some standard questions so we can assess your mental health. Is that alright?"
"Sure," he answered uncertainly and rubbed the back of his head. He felt bandages. No wonder they're worried about my head.
"Good. First, what is your name?"
"Have you ever enlisted in the military?"
"Yeah, the army, but I'm still waiting to ship out. Wait, what's going to happen with that? Did I miss it or-"
"There's no need to worry," the Counselor quickly cut him off. There was no need to cause any more stress. "Your deployment date has been moved to accommodate your upcoming physical therapy. What was your original ship out date?"
Leonard couldn't think of an answer. He racked his mind for an answer but the years were jumbled, switching back and forth between dates almost 40 years apart.
"Do you know what year it is?" the Counselor asked gently.
Leonard shook his head, "No."
He nodded as he absorbed the information. That made sense. Pieces seemed to come together, everything from what year he bought his first car to the horrible nightmare he'd had only a few days ago. That's where the Counselor's voice was from.
"Is your leg bothering you?"
"What?" The Counselor's question pulled him from his thoughts. He looked down and saw he'd been unconsciously rubbing his leg. It was something the Counselor had seen the Director do on countless occasions. "No, it feels fine."
After several more routine questions, the Counselor said, "Leonard, I have one last question for you, and then we're done. What's the last thing you remember?"
Leonard looked down as he replayed it in his head. "I got in a car accident heading home. It hit the driver's side of my car." His fists clenched and twisted the sheets as he remembered the screech of twisting metal, skidding tires, the pain as metal dug into his leg.
"That's enough for today," the Counselor said, breaking his train of thought. "You'll receive further counseling during your physical therapy. For now, just focus on getting better."
"Sure," he answered and rubbed his leg as the Counselor left. "I'll do that."
The Director smiled inwardly as he reviewed the Counselor's reports on his desk. Test after test had been performed on "Leonard" during his recovery, and he was nothing short of pleased. The Alpha had quickly adapted to its new body and readily accepted the information given, modifying its own memory to match. It was a success. The Alpha's mind fully believed and was now no different than a human's. It had even abandoned some of the Director's old habits to adopt its own, becoming a separate identity.
He reached into a drawer and pulled out a heavy file: his analysis of the Alpha's programming after metastabilization. After weeks or examination and study, he thought he may have found a way to replicate it.
"There's only one way to find out," he said aloud. He reached deeper into the desk drawer and pulled out a single, small disk labeled "Allison."