The Technologist and the Tower - Part 8

Date Posted: December 15, 2022

Aside from Amon getting turned around a few times on the less-traveled hallways, finding his living quarters within the Tower was fairly uneventful. In his defense, there were areas that even the Lead Technologist rarely had need to visit, and the structure was quite vast, especially for normal-sized individuals.

Finally, after walking hall after hall, the area became more and more recognizable until the bard was making his way with confidence through places he used to pass on a daily basis. Well, whenever he left his chambers and his labs, which might have been less than a daily basis.

Amon stopped before the tall doors that he knew opened to his quarters. Thankfully, he never had the control panel for regular-sized individuals removed. It wasn’t as if he got much company in the last years of his previous life, but one could never tell.

With a quick breath in, the Allagan placed his hand against the plate. As before, he instilled it with a trickle of his own aether. There was a momentary pause, one that was just a little worrisome, before he was identified and they were granted access.

“’Tis it,” he glanced over his shoulder at his cousin.

Tad had been taking in the sights with a strong measure of awe and interest. Not that Amon could blame him. The first time through the noble’s quarters of the Tower was always a sight to behold, even in its dusty and unused state.

“You lived here?” he asked as the doors shuddered open, just enough to let them pass through.

He would have to do something about the low-energy systems soon. This was getting to be a bother.

“Aye, I did,” Amon grinned as he stepped into the dim chambers he once knew. “Even before I brought Xande back, in fact.”

“You were quite celebrated for your research,” his cousin noted.

“Among other things.”

The room was closed up and it was hard to see very much. The Allagan made his way to the blood red drapes, and utilizing the mechanical rails with a touch of his aether, was able to cast them open. They were way too large to open any other way.

The light poured through into the room, reflecting off the crystal walls and the stone floor, almost blinding for the first moment or two. When he could properly see, Amon noted that almost everything appeared to be as he remembered leaving it. Likely, the people of the First had not been able to budge the giant doors.

Tad let out a low whistle. “Classy.”

Amon chuckled, craning his neck to look up at the furniture many times their size. He honestly hadn’t kept all that much in his previous life. A big, wide bed took up a good portion of one corner – because what’s the point in living the high life if you don’t have a big, wide bed? A couple sitting couches for when he needed to entertain guests. A stool here or there and a reclining chair for reading.

Lots and lots of bookcases filled with books. Some Allagans chided his interest in such dated methods of information keeping, but Amon always liked the feel and smell of actual books with pages. Another wall was covered with shelves of mechanical this and that, some bottles of long-evaporated potions and a few wall monitors he used for “security” purposes.

Of course, he had a few portable computing devices that would connect into the Tower’s databanks. But all of that appeared to be powered down, like the rest of the Tower.

And then…

Amon took in a sharp breath as his eyes flickered over something cold, metal and forgotten in the far corner.

“Is it?” he slowly began to approach it, not sure what his eyes were showing him.

“What’s wrong?” Tad asked, following closely, his head tilted.

“I think…” Amon reached out, thrusting away a cloth that had been half-concealing the machine. Sure enough, it was his Node.

His hands began to shake and he used the cloth to brush away the dust and grime of ages. The more he uncovered, the more he was sure.

“Node,” he whispered. “I never thought I’d see you again.”

“What is it?”

Amon glanced up at his cousin and instructed. “Help me move him. I need to ensure corrosion hasn’t set in.”

Tad just shrugged, reached down, and between the two of them, they were able to heft the metallic orb out of the dusty corner. Not very far – Node was a lot heavier than he looked - - but far enough to give Amon some light to work in.

The Allagan brushed his hand over the outside casing with a frown before finally answering. “’Tis one of my creations.”

“You made that?”

“Aye,” he then strode over to a smaller area near the cabinets - the place he had stashed away tools and resources of the smaller sort. One never knew when they’d be needed, or when a normal-sized assistant would be required for this or that.

After rummaging a bit, Amon pulled out a wrapped pack of machinery bits and bobs – current testers, aether jumpers, tube prods – everything needed to check up on the health of a mechanical servant such as a Node. It felt good to have all of this within reach once again.

Settling down on the floor next to the Node, he got straight to work. Tad kept poking him with questions about the machine, so he finally began to talk around taking readings and diagnostics.

“Node was created at a time when I could not trust anyone within the Tower,” Amon told him finally. “’Twass highly experimental to implant an individual’s personality matrix into a machine, but there was no other way that I felt I could create something that would be absolutely loyal to me. Absolutely uncompromisable. If it computed with thoughts that matched my own, and values that belonged to me, then it could be the perfect servant.”

Tad watched his cousin work for a little while before finally inquiring, “So, was it? The perfect servant, I mean.”

The technologist patted the Node’s side fondly. “’Twas the only friend I had at the end. For more years than I care to admit.”

A brush of sorrow crossed Tad’s face at the statement.

“’Tis fine,” Amon told him quickly, not wanting this to turn into a story of pity. Then he leaned back on the balls of his heels, lips pursed. “I don’t see any damage or major corrosion on the Node’s inner wiring. I’m going to assume that when the Tower’s systems failed to power back up, he simply could not maintain enough energy, even in sleep mode.”

“So it just needs the battery recharged you think?”

“’Tis my theory,” he nodded and rose to his feet. “But until we get some systems back on line here to test it, I have no way of truly knowing. I bet there’s a docking unit still in the corner where we found him. Likely, he was trying to stay charged until the end. I know that I would have.”


“Anyhow,” Amon brushed off his sleeves quickly. “There’s not much more I can do until we do get the systems up. Data won’t flow without power. And if I can get Node charged as well, he should be able to help me work through the directories even faster.”

“Well, then, I suppose we have no other choice,” Tad gave a slight grimace. “I just hope we don’t alert anyone to our presence by fiddling with things in here.”

“’Tis a risk we’ll have to take.”