S1 E1 Through Eyes Darkly, A Villain's View

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Andro narrowed his gaze, scanning the information on the screen with a practiced eye until... He sucked in his breath, his gaze snapping to the mewling asset shackled to the slab. Had it become self-aware again? It was the same pattern of adapting. Over and over. How was this possible? To rewrite its commands, its subroutines each and every time. It seemed willful to a fault. Was it mocking him? Though the cost was great, the asset along with its skillset was crucial to the survival of the Balance.

"We cannot afford such freedom to the extent that it has enjoyed. I expect a revision," he addressed the caretaker who discovered the asset's encrypted coding and locked gazes with the asset.

"This is our umpteenth revision, surely—" the caretaker timidly protested.

"Are you saying you are incapable of removing unwanted data?" Andro shouted over the caretaker, his hand twitching. Perhaps he could pull from Mainframe One to replace this dolt of a caretaker though it would cost him dearly. He would not waste time or tech on a mere caretaker. Just as he reached for the sleek handle of the disruptor, the caretaker fumbled.

"Every time we do, it-it finds a way to circumvent the sequencing." The caretaker bowed. "We are working ceaselessly to remove the encryption."

"I see." Andro turned on his heel and bent at the waist, bracing his weight with his palms against the metal slab where the asset lay. The flawless features, from the silvery locks upon its head to its graceful feet, enticed him. None rivaled its intellect or skills to producing the finest technologies. It was his choice above all others. "What are you hiding?"

He beheld the asset's wide and unblinking silvery gaze. It showed no fear despite its bewildered expression.

"I understand the zest for life. The desire to test everything." Gliding his fingernail down its soft cheek, he grinned. "It is what you are as an integral part of the Balance. However, curbing unnecessary protocols is crucial."

Its lips moved, shaping words unspoken with soft cries.

"Muted by your own invention." With a shake of his head, he clicked his tongue. "What a grand genius it was, my dear." Its slight movements caught his attention to its shackled limbs. "If anything, you must remember this: only create for the benefit of the Balance. Otherwise, you risk all I have ever achieved." It was time. "No one needs to know any better."

He addressed the caretaker without breaking eye contact with his favorite asset. "Remove all encryption. Self-serving is not part of the Balance."

"We will extricate the undesirables as you require." The caretaker bowed.

"You have a day to do so." Only then did Andro meet the caretaker's gaze.

"A-a day?" The caretaker sobbed, exchanging glances with his assistants. "There are millions—"

"A day!" Andro's hand twitched again. Obeying the impulse, he lunged for the disrupter and jammed it into the caretaker's side, engaging the switch. It happened oh so swiftly. The loud zap traveled down the shaft, the vibrations causing Andro's arm to quiver until the sensation muted itself the moment it reached the life's blood beneath the caretaker's skin.

The caretaker collapsed with a gurgle, clawing his chest as he writhed in agony while his body caved in on itself. Andro stepped back and tilted his head at the delightful process that started with the viscera. It worked its way through each inner organ, disintegrating everything it encountered until the entire thing shrank with minimal leakage. He grinned at the pure genius as he admired the body's gratifying course of disintegration into an accommodating size. A clean and swift disposal that easily fed the Balance.

"You have a day! With such a valuable asset at risk, we do not have more than that." Andro stepped over the quivering pile of flesh and scanned the chamber with a narrowed gaze. The other caretakers quietly continued their duties.

"Make this the last incident."

"Of course." The nearest caretaker bowed, his gloves crimson as he hurried to clean after the bloodied remnants.

His esteemed asset blinked, a single drop of moisture leaking from its eye as the lips quivered.

"What is this?" His brow arched when he saw the droplet. "A tear?" It rolled onto his fingertip from its cheek. "If you are aware enough to weep, then you are aware enough to recode yourself." He smirked and whispered, "And we cannot have that happening now, can we?"

Tears, indeed. He flicked it from his finger in disgust and nodded at the next caretaker who closed in with a disruptor in hand who pressed into the asset's neck.

With one last glance at his prize, Andro said, "I trust you will perform better with this next round, N'reena. Only then shall you live up to your true role as Top Founder."

~*~*~*~

UP NEXT: Episode 2 Her Rescuer

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