573 – Ring

She stopped fiddling with her ring as soon as she saw the body lying on the metal floor.

When it didn’t move, she carefully approached to take a closer look. She quickly realized three things. It was very big, it was very strong, and it was also very, very dead.

The huge eyes were fixed on the curved ceiling, as if looking for something among the intricate patterns etched on the green tiles. Its mouth was slightly open and, for some strange reason, she half expected mysterious last words to be whispered by the cold lips any second. Perhaps she was just trying to make sense of this new unexpected surprise the endless green maze had sprung on her.

She sat on the cold floor besides the giant and wondered how long this dead thing had been trapped in here with her, why she never bumped into it and, most importantly, if it too had methodically explored every route and avoided every trap only to find yet another corridor behind every new door.

She also found herself contemplating the possibility of some future lost soul someday finding her own body just like this.

She had no real recollection of how, or how long ago, she had found herself inside the maze. Anything she had experienced before these green corridors was nothing but scattered shards of distant colors, sounds and feelings, but none of them big enough to even deserve being called a memory, except for one.

If she tried really hard to concentrate, she could almost make out something out of the sights, sounds and smells it contained. She knew there was… something… important there. All she had been able to learn was she had been sent here to look for something important, something she needed to fix. But who sent her and what she was looking for were forever lost to her, scattered among the other dancing fragments of her mind.

She couldn’t help noticing the huge body beside her was wearing a ring just like hers. Nothing fancy, just a plain looking piece of metal, only his was totally dull and grey in color, while hers still showed some tiny bits of shining gold here and there.

Something told her the ring was important, but all she saw was just a simple cheap ring quickly loosing its fake gold plating.

Well, no use hanging here any longer. There were many doors to choose and many locks to pick. She got up, and one more tiny patch of gold faded away from her ring without her noticing.

“–Damn! Timeout again! And still not closer to finding out what the hell is wrong with the main matrix.”

“–Well, the stealth decrypting algorithm did get farther than your brute force sub-routine. But I told you, without a larger bandwidth there’s no way to give them more autonomy. We’re not even sure if they even retain their basic directives.”

“–No time for that, the matrix keeps degrading and it won’t be long before the whole server shuts down. We can’t let that happen.”

“–*Sigh* I know, I know… The modified search and decrypt algorithm is ready to deploy. Here goes nothing.”

He stopped fiddling with his ring as soon as he saw the body lying on the metal floor.

When it didn’t move, he carefully approached to take a closer look. He quickly realized three things. It was very young, it was very pretty, and it was also very, very dead.

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