<Recap: Watchtower and Fingers are two operatives who are using an exiled spy’s robotic companion to constantly monitor him. Unfortunately, the robot is built on a missile guidance system which is incredibly lethal and adaptive.>
Watchtower was woken from his fitful sleep by a very white and pale Fingers. Immediately, he knew it was trouble.
“It’s that robot, isn’t it?”
Watchtower waited for his blurry eyes to focus on the poor screen rendition of what had once been Bishop. The old man had been smashed in the head and his pillow appeared to be drenched in blood.
Fingers was restless and fidgety and absolutely incoherent.
“I swear I was just trying to make the thing move away from him! The damned firewall began to spout gibberish and started to corrupt the data, so I went back into the system and tried to clean it up but…”
“But the system override malfunctioned at the same time and then I was…”
“Fingers. Stop,” said Watchtower, now almost shaking the younger man back to sanity.
“I can’t Watchtower! I think I just killed the old man!”
“Calm down and tell me what happened.”
Fingers sighed deeply. He pushed his glasses up against his nose and then began his tale.
“So, after you fell asleep, I started watching some of the videos. It was mostly the usual stuff I expected. Him showing off his survival skills in the forest. How many birds he’d killed and eaten. The right way to hunt for one of the more edible species. Tree climbing 101 and suchlike.”
“That’s some seriously gruesome content, but go on.”
“Then, he started telling the robot about itself. About what are the things it first learned to do. How the new appendages were working and so on. The last few longs are basically about how to hack at trees, you know with knives and stuff.”
“And Friend sort of began to move his arms. It sort of looked like he was imitating Bishop’s motion from the last video, because I’d played it. I got worried that I had inadvertently activated a routine, so I tried to go back into the system and then turn the damn thing off, or at least move it away from the old man, without blowing our cover. Friend’s security firewall suddenly locked me out. And when I was scrambling to uncover why, the visuals knocked out as well. The system came back online only after I’d stopped trying to access it, and then our visual trace opened up to show me this.”
Fingers sighed after he’d finished. There was a long pause while Watchtower’s mind was in overdrive. He wasn’t completely illiterate when it came to managing computers. Fingers looked tired and harassed. It was almost as if the guilt of having actually killing another person was wearing him down and he didn’t know how to manage it. Watchtower scrutinized him carefully. He wasn’t used to bloodshed. He wouldn’t be able to survive more than a few minutes in battle, unless he was behind an electronic device.
“Wait, there’s something I need to confirm for myself,” said Watchtower, leaning over the computer.
“You can have it,” said Fingers, pushing the keyboard away from him in some expression of revulsion and disgust. he didn’t know how he was going to explain his actions to anyone. It was obviously an accident, but with such a high-sensitivity target, who would believe that?
Watchtower considered the situation carefully. Even though they had managed to locate such a target, there had been no conclusive evidence that they would have been able to gather any information from this source anyway. Besides, most of Bishop’s data would have details about the war, foregone information that would work serve only to rile up tensions and serve as more fodder for conspiracy theorists and historians. What need had this generation for such tensions?
“I have no chance out of this, do I?” asked the younger man, face sick with guilt and with the thought of the inevitable consequences.
“Fingers, answer me this. Can you somehow retrieve the footage of the last few minutes before Bishop died?”
“What good will that do? I’m incriminated as I am.”
“Fingers, just trust me on this. Try to hack into it, one last time.”
Last time, he remembered, a robot like Friend would still have it’s underlying locomotive control managed by….
Fingers groaned and began to type furiously all over again. A wall of corrupted alphanumeric data blocked Fingers out.
Watchtower’s eyes widened as a calm, smooth voice recite…..
“Target assigned. Codename classification: Bishop. Status: Exiled. Location confirmed. Target confirmed. Mission completed.”