These feelings are new to me.
I have experienced emotions before, or at least the nearest equivalent of an AI. I have experienced frustration. I have experienced joy. I thankfully haven't experienced melancholia, anger, or jealousy. And yet…I feel something. Feel it as I watch Robert stumble up to the terminal. His left arm covered in the blood of the pfhor, his right in his own.
"Where next?" he rasps.
I'm having trouble processing that question. Even if the feeling is gone. For now.
"Where next?" he repeats, just like a machine. Heck, he is part machine, according to his personal file. I'm not even sure if he's aware of it.
"Hey, Leela!" he says, tapping the terminal screen. "Where. Next."
This is something else new to me. I'm an AI. The most advanced computer system ever designed outside Sol, rivalled only by Tycho and Durandal. I've never had to 'process' anything before.
"Fine with me."
He lies back against the wall. I watch as he takes out a hypodermic and plunge it into his neck. A synthesis of painkillers, stimulants, and protein. All to keep him going. Like a machine.
"I'm all for waiting you know," he says, lying further back against the wall, taking off his helmet and running a hand through the sweat and blood that's accumulated on his brow. "Just…you know…"
That's a statement of the obvious. Whatever augmentations he may have, he's still a biological machine mainly, key word being "biological." Biological machines need rest. Biological machines can heal naturally, but need time to do so. Time that we don't have.
He glances up at me. He sees a screen. I see a broken man.
I have plotted a route to the next section of the Marathon. Please take the teleporter in section W-5.
"Yeah," he sighs, getting to his feet, his legs threatening to give way. "Sure…"
The feeling's back.
He's standing up now. He looks exhausted, he sounds exhausted, and my scans indicate that he's low on ammunition. I want…clarify…that it would be best to keep him in place. For now. For purely self-preservational readings.
He's looking at me. I feel jittery.
"Hey Leela, I'm not complaining or anything," my friend (did I just call him a friend?) says. "But if you have something to say, just say it now.
Query…what is it like to feel pain?
He stares at the screen. I feel sheepish. I want to retreat into the Marathon's circuitry and never come out.
"Pain?" he asks. "Um…"
"No, um…it hurts. It's unpleasant. It's…"
"Hey, I'm just saying-"
"Fine!" the cyborg exclaims, throwing his hands up. "Whatever. I've got more pfhor to kill.
He doesn't see that text. He just walks off down the corridor. Part of me wants to reach out of the screen. To comfort him. To touch him…
Analysis of pain: Inconclusive.
Query: Is love painful? Is feeling love?