<- Part 3 ->

     "So, where's the next upgrade?" asked Coal.

     "To the northeast. There's another cave where I've been... storing the unused ambients. They've been protecting the third and final upgrade for you."

     So Coal set off to the northeast.

     "So... Rain, what exactly is my purpose?" he asked, attempting to make conversation to pass the time.

     "Well... science."

     "But for what?"

     Rain sighed. "Well, I suppose I can tell you... It's not as if you'd be able to do anything about it, anyway."

     "About what?"

     "I was dying. I had some sort of illness. It got my team first. When it came for us, we were all completely helpless. I had to save myself. I'm the only one who fully understands the creation of ambients... a revolutionary technology."


     "And so I ordered the last surviving member of my team to perform a... dangerous operation. Even with his limited medical knowledge, we had the technology to perform it, if we were lucky. He wired my brain up to the latest ambient model and put me in a sort of cryostasis. That's where you come in. You're... you're the most advanced ambient that has been created. The only active one capable of simulating thought. So he set up a system to preserve my life. It would allow me to essentially use your AI as a crutch until my brain had fully healed from the operation - at which point I could completely disable your personality and take over your body. And before you get any ideas - there's nothing you can do to stop me. You're just an AI. You're programmed to obey my every command, and if you even try to fight back I'll just have to activate your destructor sooner. And that wouldn't be good for either of us."

     Coal paused briefly, then spoke. "Why would I try to disobey you?"

     Rain chuckled. "Well... you wouldn't. I apologize, I keep forgetting that you're not human. For any sentient being, that would be considered akin to death. But for you, I suppose it wouldn't matter. You've been programmed only to preserve your body, not your mind. Honestly, that's quite a relief. I don't want to bring any harm to you - your deactivation is simply a necessity."

     Neither of them spoke again until Coal arrived at the cave.

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