Part 7

It was nearly a year since the debacle in Indonesia. The press was appeased and it was assumed no one would ever know the full story behind the destruction of that small island. Glen Eric Robinson was as happy as a corporate mastermind could be this Christmas. The company recovered perfectly well from the Indonesian Crisis, as he'd come to think of it, and the Mark 7s were released without a hitch.

The newest model featured no ground breaking features, but was a good update none-the-less. They were equipped with better emotion recognition software, more robust processing power, and even stronger mimicry of human facial and vocal expressions. They were becoming increasingly human as they had for the past century. Everything was going according to plan.

On a more personal level, Glen Eric was happy that he was still with Rebecca Rutherford. Her wit and intelligence was a strong match for his often jubilant and outrageous demeanor. The two were living together at Questview, Rebecca dedicated to her studies and Glen absorbed in the corporation's future. Rebecca had a way of making the young man feel so normal that he loved. He had never been one of the other kids growing up and now it was refreshing to be treated as an equal rather than a better.

Lord Glen Eric had to admit it was a stroke of genius that saved RobTech face in front of its investors. Robinson himself met individually with each and every person that had an economic stake in the company. The young man manufactured a scenario in which the company was advancing its technologies in small increments now so as to lure the general population into complacency. Later, after the public became used to such modest improvements in their service androids, the corporation would burst forth with a slew of major changes and earth-shattering upgrades that would awe the world over. Glen could practically see the gold in the investors' eyes and the dollar signs on their cravats.

So the international company saved face and simultaneously garnered even more investments. Their affiliates were excited and hooked. Everything was going so smoothly one would almost suspect the company of using magic if such a notion wasn't so utterly absurd. There was, however, a certain magic with which the PR department had handled the difficult situation almost a year ago. As such, the entire crew had been rewarded with raises and massive bonuses. Pierre Jacques-Renault himself praised Glen Eric for this action as it earned him the never-ending respect and loyalty of his PR staff. They would follow him to the grave if necessary.

Now, it was time to consider what to do in regards to the failed experimentation on the artificial nervous systems. Glen Eric simply couldn't let that idea go. He worked hard on that project and so had many others that were now dead. It felt, to him, almost like an insult to those men and women not to go on with their research. So it was that the young Robinson had decided to make his own Mark 7. This model would be the only one with a nervous system. It was a much more modest test than the Indonesian island provided, but would hopefully yield some results.

So it was that Lord Robinson spent many sleepless nights in his personal lab under the mansion. Henley and Rebecca both noticed the change in Glen Eric and were disturbed by it. Neither of them knew what he was up to and only Henley knew about the experiments on central nervous systems. Rebecca still had no clue what happened on that island off the coast of Australia. She was persuaded like the rest of the world that a small technology company had a lab location go bad and explode.

Glen Eric knew that what he was doing with the Mark 7 in that basement was dangerous. The report from Indonesia was permanently ingrained on his mind. Men were murdered wantonly by those androids. Robinson certainly wanted to avoid that, so while he worked and tinkered he had the android strapped to a table with titanium bands. It was foolish to think the robot could activate before he wanted it to, but then again, he didn't know what would happen once the nervous system was in place and ready to run. It felt rather ominous to be working with a specimen strapped down like that. He felt more like Frankenstein creating his monster than a modern scientist conducting a test run of seriously advanced technologies.

Rebecca Rutherford was now very worried about her boyfriend's health. The young corporate leader was showing dark circles under his eyes and the two hadn't shared a bed in a month now. This was so unlike his magnanimous nature that Rebecca felt obligated to ask once more what was going on in that lab that was so important. She asked Glen Eric that question several times over the past month and received only cryptic two or three word replies. Now, she needed real answers.

"GLEN ERIC YOU OPEN THIS DOOR NOW!" the fiery young girl yelled, pounding on Robinson's bedroom door.

Glen Eric groaned and rolled out of bed where he was unable to sleep anyway. He stumbled to the door as a drunkard would. Opening it he sighed and said, "Hello, Rebecca. To what do I owe the pleasure of your abrupt visit?"

"You damn well better know what the hell I'm here about! Havens Glen, it's been a month of this nonsense and I want to know what the fuck is going on down in that basement!" she shouted, fighting back a savage grin as the man winced.

"Alright, alright! Keep your voice down, I haven't had more than six hours of sleep in three nights and my head is pounding as it is!" he said, "if you want to know what I'm up to then come down to the basement with me."

Rebecca was taken aback by this sudden change of attitude in Glen Eric. It seemed he was now vacillating back to his normal, warm and charming self. She felt a little bad for giving his head such a turn, but then she pushed that feeling away. He had been a complete ass for several weeks now and he could just live with this migraine. It was, after all, his own fault he hadn't slept in so long.

The pair tottered down the hall to the lift. It was a strange affair this lift, a relic from ages past but still somehow modern. It wasn't operated by a cable and pulley system as such devices were now, but instead by an intricate system of clockwork gears and cogs. The whole thing made a pleasant clickitey-clacking noise as they descended down four floors into the basement. Rebecca was surprised when they went down a further level; she hadn't known there were two basements.

Finally the lift stopped and the door slid open on its tracks with a rhythmic clicking and the two looked out into pitch darkness. Glen Eric stepped out of the lift first and reached up. His hand grasped something and he twisted. Suddenly, another old-fashioned device came into view, a strange-looking kerosene lamp. It had a series of gears attached to the side just as the lift did. Rebecca realized those cogs must spin to provide a spark that would ignite the wick inside the glass shell.

"There's no electrical power down this deep in the manor," Glen Eric explained, looking at the beautiful young woman. "So we've had these lamps down here for generations," he finished.

Rebecca simply nodded and momentarily Robinson began to lead her down a corridor, lighting more hanging lamps as they went. Soon they came to the end of the hallway. Miss Rutherford had a feeling a huge chamber was in front of them. She wasn't sure how she knew, something about the way the air seemed to open up. Glen Eric lit a lamp and Rebecca looked out into the laboratory and gasped.