A Little Bit of Green
Posted By: Kaiyo no Hime<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 12 January 2010, 11:05 pm
The door opened as the group of arguing scientists approached it, and the room cooled two degrees in preparation of their body heat. None of them noticed, merely taking it for granted as a part of life in the institution. Just another amazing scientific advancement that allowed them to concentrate on their work without a worry about the world around them.
The doors closed swiftly after them, and the meandering argument continued in spurts as they went to their work. Lights dimmed over some stations and became brighter over others, creating the perfect environment for each scientist and project.
And somewhere, on the far side of the building, away from prying eyes and curious minds, a room lay sealed. The door would open for none that passed by, but the window was another matter.
Sun shone in, and a wild breeze ruffled the slowly growing forest that lay carefully within. Already the hungry roots and exploring vines had conquered their man made home, greenery draped elegantly over the ceiling fixtures, exploring the floor, and taking up every space in-between. The entire room had become a beautiful, wild, green habitat.
A tiny hand on the clock ticked silently forward, and a few of the scientists started to drift away from their work. A few jokes told, a dull conversation, and soon they were all gone. The door had opened and closed for all of them, the temperature in the room had risen a single degree, and the lights all dimmed.
All a part of the magnificent, technical future. No need to worry, the computer does it all for you! It knows to!
There was no bacterium in the food, it was all perfectly prepared and labeled, no need for human interference. The computer was so very careful and considerate about everything, never once making a mistake. Everyone was happy, and everyone ignored it.
And, as one season changed, and the days all bled into each other, no one noticed as a small corridor was blocked off. No one cared that the sprinkler system would go off on regular intervals in only that hallway, or that the lights would fade and shine with the gentle care of an artificial sun.
And no one noticed the beautiful greenery that had blossomed forth there. If there were anything wrong, surely the computer would know. And surely the computer would take the appropriate action.
When the first frost of winter came, the windows on the rooms in the green section of the building began to close at night. They stayed open less and less during the day as the weather grew colder, but the heat remained constant, and the water hung thick in the humid air. The entire C Section was under the computer's loving quarantine now.
No one noticed until a day late into the next Spring, there were birds nesting in the leafy forest that now inhabited the second story as well, when a door leading to the main lab failed to open. It had never happened before, no malfunctions had ever bothered a single person, and a scientist had run into it with a tray full of specimens.
While the scars would never fully heal, he would live.
But that's when the people began to think that something might, just might, be wrong with the computer. Sometimes lunch was lukewarm, the lights wouldn't always adjust themselves. And all of Section C, on all three floors, had been quarantined for an unknown reason. No one could even remember entering the first floor of Section C in years.
Yes, it was safe to ay that people were suspicious, especially when they saw the little green tendrils growing from underneath the door at the end of Section C, searching curiously for more room. Two days later that entire hallway was blocked off, the door would not open, and the fire sprinklers could be heard running from time to time.
That was when the computer specialists were called in. The scientists were afraid constantly, and the soldiers that guarded the facility... the soldiers were worse. They spread rumors and told stories about hideous experiments gone wrong, loose and stalking the building at night. Hidden away by the computer, maybe even made by the computer.
The technicians, mysterious computer nerds even to the scientists, assured everyone that the rumors were not true, there was simply a bug in the system. It was to be expected in such a complex computer after all. It had been running for well over seven years without complaint, something simply, finally, went wrong.
Just a little bug, they would look everything over and have it back up and running properly in no time.
But the windows remained open all summer, and everyone avoided the hallways that led to Section C. And they started getting used to opening doors on their own, and using the microwave to heat up their lunches. The computer had stopped serving food early that fall.
The first week of winter, when the smell of snow was in the chill air, and they had lost two more hallways and a row of rooms to the computer, the computer specialists made a decision. The entire system was a lost cause, the computer had already devoted well over seventy-five percent of its processing power to the care of the plants it had hidden safely away. There was no other choice, it would have to be replaced.
Two days before the sun rose on another new year, the computer was shut down and hauled away, and the new system brought online.
"Active Adele reporting for duty," the voice drifted lazily, as if waking up from a long sleep, "All systems operating within normal parameters."
Section C took over a month to revert, fire was used liberally when cleaning out the plant life, but the doors opened, the lights brightened, and the food was always perfectly hot. No one noticed, or cared, to study the flora and fauna of the artificial environment. It interfered with work, it was a sign that something had gone wrong, and was quickly removed, boxed, labeled, and forgotten.
The scientists smiled, calm in the knowledge that they could trust the computer once more.