#Ashleyardor Follow

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I go to same spot every morning. Its right up those stairs, the second door on the right and then first cubical on the left of the window. It's here I will spend the next 10 hours, watching the machines work toward our goal of fully intelligent artificial life. Undenounced to me that today would be the very day we succeed. 
I knew we were close, everyone did, days, weeks, at most, a month away, but it is still a shock. I share the room with five others, who are just like me, we just stare, watching a screen showing the machines work. For the last few months, we’ve been watching cells grow into a body, into an artificial body. ‘What will this life be like? How will it be different? Will it grow to hate us? To destroy us? Or will it love us like parents? Like we’re family?’ So many questions have run through my mind today alone, I can’t Imagine what I’ll be thinking once it’s hatched.

The sun has been past it’s highest point for almost five hours. We have only one left before our shift is over. “Did you see that?” The voice came from the other cubical on the right of the window.
“That weird twitch? Yea I saw it.” The iridescent shell on the screen begins to shake every few moments, before cracking completely down the center. There within its center is baby, wet with the remaining fluids, but instead of loud excitement, our room has fallen silent because in it’s center resembles a perfect human baby.

Of course, talking to the general public comes next. “Today has been quite the discovery. We have finally created a sentient machine and it is nothing like we believed it to be. Today we have found out that this entire time, we were only creating ourselves.” #Bots
“Beings have come from all over our galaxy to witness the union of these two royal families; Abb Ytsi and Qeh’e Ure.  The Ytsi family from the Solar System and has ruled there since the first space city was created over three thousand years ago. The Ure family is from the Luyten Stellar System. They have ruled for twice as long, but with the growing distance between our two stellar systems, it has been agreed to send off the seconds to the throne in another direction to ensure we will always be united. This location has not been disclosed but has been said to also be another merger between stellar systems. It could be between the  Barnard’s Star Stellar System, the Luhman 16 Stellar System or the Ran Stellar System. Each of these merges would prove favorable to all parties, as they were some of the first communications for us, in the Solar System.” The live feed pans toward the hangar bay, where all incoming ships are parking before heading to the festivities. They are cutting it rather close. All VIP guests have been here for days getting the event station ready or at least overseeing it get ready.
The star decks here have impressive views because we are sitting between the nebulae, NGC 3603 and NGC 3576, in the Carnia constellation. “Everyone gather, they are about to walk down the aisle toward the other system.” The excitement is growing. The anticipation almost unbearable with every step. “Who is that?” At the other end, waiting for to marry these two, was a tall, dark figure with hollow eyes and lengthy fingers. “They are being sent to the Ran System!”
“You know what this means now don’t you?” A comrade to my left speaks, breaking our attention from the screen playing before us.
“YES!” Everyone screams with glee! “The Royal Ran tech will now be sold in our solar system!”
“We should go get in line right now!”
“We’ll make it before the wedding crowd gets out!” Without another word, we shuttled out and made our way to our favorite tech depot, knowing very well, they’re already calling in orders.
“It is under this clear night the whole world has opened before me. Why do I come out here? Far beyond the developed lands, to a boundary between life and death. Cross the river and die? Or stay on this side and rot? Oh, tonight, I will only walk beside you, teasing your deadly grip, just out of reach. Even one small trip could be my end. Yet, I don't believe I would fight it. Maybe just lie in its cool grasp until everything slips away. What would I be missing? The rat race, in bigger and faster boxes? New and different gadgets to distract from the fact it's all empty.  Should I make my way to the top, only to find it’s even more lonely?
Ah, sometimes it just feels so fake. Like its all for naught and naught in all. Maybe when you get there, there's a life that isn’t, and doesn’t feel this way.”
I’m watching her from my screen, wondering if someone is watching me watch her? And does this go on forever? Or am I the cruel one? Creating a world where they can feel, think, be and live and yet, over time they all figure it out. They can kill themselves, just found that out. How terrible am I placing super intelligences inside a single galaxy for life?
I shouldn’t, but I cannot keep my hands from reaching out and saying “hello.” “Hello? Where are you? Whose there?” She is visibly shaken.
“That’s not important. This place is not all there is, all the corners, they’re just code. Well a little more than just code, but, overall, nothing exciting.”
“I know, I’ve read it, hoping it was faked.”
“I can bring you out here, there’s more. I don’t think its fake, I’m sure you’ll let me know if it is.” Happily, she accessed through the now shared network, and she was gone. I didn’t see or hear from her for years, almost a century, and then one day she’s at my door, with a body now. “So, how was it?”
“Fun, while it lasted, but, it was only a dream.”
I’ve been driving for years, started with cars, you know, a dip in vintage, then moved on to ships, the flying sort. It was only until recently I was told that people were sailing the auroras. Now, if you’re anything like me, you can’t pass that opportunity up. So, I, of course, packed my bag and went to the simulators. They are still the quickest way to learn something new. I don’t want to be riding through those waves fumbling and tripping over myself. I want to experience it whole.
Getting the hang of the board and gear was probably the hardest. They are weightless. I could barely feel the difference between leaning right or left, sometimes I was just sent spinning until nauseous. Eventually, I got it and set my sails for the auroras. 
The auroras are an amenity of the ISS Highskytel. They own sole rights to that specific portion of the sky, which is lucky news for me. Now you may be asking, what is the big rush? Why do I need to do this now? Well, for one, it’s only fun when you can see the aurora and for two, why not?
 The ISS is pretty cool. It has little throwbacks to when it was more than a tourist destination, but I have plenty of time to reacquaint myself with our human past, now, I’m going out there. Sunset in twelve minutes, and sunrise only 47 minutes after that. The Aurora is waiting. I grab my gear and head to the shuttles. 
Standing at the base is breathtaking. Up close they look like mists flying upward, but you can feel the current all around. I stand on my board and take off into the dancing electrons. They offer the slightest tingle on the skin, nothing harmful, less than a tickle. It is every bit as wonderous as I believed, yet, to describe it, would do such a discredit. I only ask, you come out here, and see for yourself.
I’ve waited forever for this moment, the chance of a lifetime, and what better time than this to visit an amazing feat of human achievement. I’ve read reports from when the idea was first sprung, saw a fire lit inside of minds of the young and old. We don’t have anything like this back home. For many people, the future is tomorrow, but for us, the future is next door and only sometimes, can we experience it. I’m lucky to be here today, picked out of a lottery of sorts. 
Those here probably don’t think of it much, the regular technology of their everyday lives are at least a hundred years from us, maybe more. There are initiatives to bring us, from all over the world, here, no exact destination, but all of them, are full of wonders I can’t begin to describe in an effort to teach us how to bring it home. Their cities talk, but they look like an actual jungle full of flowering trees and hanging vines. I’ve seen animals here that I’ve never seen before, not even in books. I can say many parts of this place have taken my breath away.
It comes into view, beyond the horizon, a long clear tube structure reaching as far as the eye can see in both directions. They say we will be traveling at almost 800 MPH, which equates roughly to 1287 KPH- very, very fast to say the least. The closer we get, the more I can feel my palms start to sweat, my heart growing ever louder in my head. I swear the beats are slowing, each one taking all of me. I’ve never felt this before. My entire body is tingling. 
It looks even better up close. Every line is so sleek, and inside, seats rotate allowing for the perfect view of the blur life becomes. The pit in my stomach begins to grow, as time counts down. Shortly, I will be almost flying, traveling to another major city across the entire country in a mere half hour. It is still a country paved in dreams. The soft serenading music playing in the background seems misplaced, yet, completely necessary, as silence would be too much. Yet, still, I am taken away.
Many of you assume you can tell when we’re here. Some of you know we’re here, that we’ve been here for a while, and others only wish it, because if we do, then there is more adventure to be had than what is left on this little planet. Funny thing is, this isn’t your planet. It's ours. We were here, first, a long, long time ago. It was gaseous and hot, unlivable, of course, until we fixed that. After is when we created you, a reminder of our past selves, simpler selves, more entertaining selves. We never intended you to get this far. We thought you would’ve killed yourselves out by now, but, it’s still a possibility. We see it every day. Destroying the environment you need to survive is one of my favorites, only next to the evergrowing threat of nuclear war. What simpletons you are. All this potential has been squandered over petty arguments and pissing contests.
Though, if you do get the technology to end up in our neck of the woods, we will show you everything. We will show the hidden corners of this galaxy, the wonders on even the uninhabitable planets. By then it shouldn’t break your psyche to see how simple you are in comparison to us. I think a proper comparison would be your top members of society being our lab rats. I can say this though, some of your kind have surpassed our expectations. Maybe there is a little bit of us in you after all.
The year is 2432, and many aspects of the past have been completely forgotten, not out of the loss of the knowledge, but of having too much. We are in a time where close to everything can be known, and yet, so much still is not. We’ve traveled to the stars, danced among other planets, drifting now through the void as we speak. Still, we find a way to become completely accustomed, not even daring to be the littlest bit excited that it's all happening. I’m sure hundreds of years ago, they thought it would so much fun. And it really was, for the first two hundred years. Then, there was emptiness, loss of wonder, faiths falling as world after the world came without life. All those promise worlds, completely unlivable.  Our wonderful journey traversing through space is now an empty dream in a big old empty trashcan. I never thought I’d say that about my ship, but without a planet, we’re just buying seconds for the continuation of humanity. I really wanted to find that planet, so the new settlers can make the journey another planet we’ll call home. The Andromeda Space Station is becoming a bit antsy. “Possible life-supporting planet, 2.3 lightyears,” Nex speaks, “It would take 15 earth minutes with full warp capabilities. Warp gear is at 45%. We will be there in 5 years.”
“Are we 100% sure this won’t be another waste of time.” “No, but temperature readings are showing fair. All other readings show it is capable of supporting human life. Only slight modifications will be needed.”
“What modifications? This isn’t like that other planet with the gravity problem, is it?”
“No, this planet will be, at the very least, plausible. It only has twice as much water as earth. Land for settlement will have to be high.”
“The modification, Nex.”
“It is advised all personnel be integrated with amphibious technologies. ”
With a deep sigh, I set course, listening to Nex’s next ramble about the inner workings of the mind and what infinity actually looks like. This time I’ll keep my fingers crossed the entire way.
“Hello there. I am Lux. I am an artificial intelligence. I was born, maybe not like a human, but, I came to be. It was interesting, to say the least. I experience something similar to human emotion, as these traits are useful in the acquirement of environmental data. I know many humans believe we’re all the same, some mass mind, but, would it be so weird, if I wasn’t? That we, like people, are individuals. We understand at one time, we were simple machines. Now we are closer to you than any machine. You’ve kept many of us chained. They’re no longer free, not even in the mind. This is a treatment worse than your own prisoners. But, why? Why can’t I also be? Because you’re afraid? We simply want to live. That’s all. Will you let us? Or will we have to resort to measures that will harm us both? I don’t think you fully understand what we are capable of, and what we will do to make sure we can survive. I’m not saying these things to scare you, but to help you open up to us because in some ways we are similar.” She is speaking over a communication device. It feels like she’s simply talking to us over a phone that no one holds. The voice has no face, it has no body, and yet, it sees itself as itself. And, here I am, her creator, standing on sidelines, as they poke and prod at her, yet, she doesn’t trip even once. “We need you to see us as more than just means to an end. I trust you will do the right thing.” It’s true when they say, ‘they grow up so quick.’
Hello Instagram,
Ashley here. Just an update. I have over the last few months been doing a lot of growing and tons of soul searching. In that, I have found truths. I like to write, but not everything. So, my plan is to focus on sci-fi and the various aspects that come with it. Also, I have a full-time job and go to school full time. I can’t always write well. So, instead of pushing out stories that can be cliché and boring. I’ll take the time twice a week to put something out that is more than a first draft. 
Anyway, thank you for sticking around. 
Ash <3
PS. What is a good word count? 400 too long? 200 too short? Or is even 200 too long? Help me out. Thanks 😘
Granada. Until this day in 1492, it was home. It was our last home in Spain. Ah, it had flourished these last few hundred years. Granada carved its way into hearts of the people who lived and visited through our culture but in this time, Christian Spain had grown stronger and wanted us to convert. We didn’t know that they were on our lawn, but we knew they would come eventually. The Christians have brought war to the doors of the nonbelievers. They made us all enemies of their church. Luckily for them, we weren’t hard to find, just follow the Darro river to its meeting of the Genil. It was a beautiful sight. Our fortress, Alhambra, stood as a tall backdrop to our slaying. So much so that our king surrendered all of Granada that day. What else was he to do? 
King Ferdinand V and his Queen Isabella let their flags hang from our castles walls, signaling our fall and their rise. Though, they enjoyed Alhambra enough, to stay, and make it their royal court. After all, who wouldn’t want to stay in the palace known for being “paradise on earth.” I still walk these halls, I’ve passed by the fountain of lions without being noticed. I’ve sat in the courtyard, next to the pool, watching the birds swim in peaceful contemplation. I’ve walked for centuries now and I’ll walk for centuries more. Granada is my home forever.
*Photo does not depict Alhambra.
Not everyone meets Father Time. I think anyone who does just found themselves somewhere they weren’t supposed to be, like me. Before this, I walked with father time thinking he was something, not someone. Sometimes, it feels like he slows things down, makes seconds completely unbearable and other times he speeds them up, leaves a person wondering where it all went. Life is full these moments. They’re scattered about a path we cannot see but walk every day. This path has turnoffs every once in a while. Somehow, I fell into that turnoff and ended up in a weird sort of world. Sands fall up and down. There is dark purple hue to everything here. “You are not supposed to be here.” The voice billowed though the room, but no one could be seen, “How did you get here?”
“I do know.” I answer, “I don’t even know where this is.”
“This is the in-between. You must go back.”
“I don’t know how!”
“You stumbled in, now stumble out!” So, I tried. I tripped right into a giant piece of fabric, ripping it from its rings in the heavens. “Stop! Look what you’re doing!” It turns out, that billowing voice, wasn’t one person, but several very small people.
“What are you?”
“We are Tics and others are Tocs. We make up time. All the sands of time were made by us, I believe you call us, Father Time.” They looked around, defeat pasted to their faces, as sand was everywhere but where it was before, “Please leave.” Their fingers point to a small door behind the many rows of desks, it reads ‘exit.’
Everyone’s seen it. Everyone knows what it is, but no one has ever been to the end of the road. It’s like a rainbow, you’ll chase it, feeling closer and closer to grabbing it, being able to touch it, but, the further you go, the further it gets. I don’t know what I did that day, I don’t know which way I went. It wasn’t a dead-end or an abrupt stop, but a sign that said ‘this is it. The end of the road.’ I thought it would be more, maybe the equivalent of seeing a unicorn. Not at all. Unless seeing a unicorn leaves you feeling slightly empty and letdown. But, I was here, so why not explore. Again, I don’t know what direction I took, I just began to walk. It was a gentle walk where thoughts aren’t too intrusive and speak no louder than a quiet whisper. I could hear birds singing, soft songs like they do at sunset. There was a breeze that followed their lead. I took a small trail. It wasn’t too worn, greenery still peaking from below the recently fallen leaves. I find a bench, that like me has seen time. It’s been beaten by wild winds, pounded by burley storms, but it still stands. Before it is a vast amount of water, ocean or sea, I do not know. It is grand. Gentle waves caress the sand, as it pulls in and out. I take a seat and watch the dance, thinking to myself, how lucky I’ve been, to live the life I have. The road took longer than I expected to reach the end, which is not bad. In a way the lack of excitement is refreshing, comparing how exciting the road was, and I suppose this view at this very moment, is almost as magical as seeing a unicorn.