Drick studied Marsh as they stared at Drick for several long moments. “The transport will land shortly and then they will start to process the containers. We are near the back but they are super efficient so you are wasting time.”
Marsh took a deep breath and slowly let it out then bent their head forwards so that Drick could study the back of their skull. Drick moved over cautiously, Marsh was a K Tag and they could still be using an elaborate ploy to draw Drick close to where they were shackled to the floor.
Drick, cautiously, keeping a close eye on Marsh’s body for any sign of sudden tensing, checked behind the ears and at the nape of the neck, feeling the skin. It took just a few moments to find the small bump and puncture wound, a moment or two of closer examination revealed the needle hole which was red from recent creation.
Drick backed away, “well someone wanted to be able to communicate with you. You have been implanted.”
“What does that mean, does it mean there is a machine inside me?”
“Depends what you mean by machine, Marsh. Humans are to a large extent just an organic machine. They have likely injected you with a self building neural net fitted with translation capabilities.”
“You’re going to have to explain it more than that as that was just a lot of sounds as far as I am concerned.”
“It is a small injection of miniature organic robots. They would have had an instruction to use some of the organic local material to build a network interface across your senses and the language regions of your brain along with some of the parts of your cognitive reasoning. The function is to give you the ability to understand and speak in just about any language. You don’t really speak them, you just hear them as if they were speaking in a manner that you can understand. Occasionally it will get garbled when there is no local knowledge, but if they have any remote passive connection to the data streams they will download extra material and information on demand.”
“Somebody put a machine in my head?”
“Yes. Though as I said it was organic so no different to a virus or a bacteria, more of a friendly thing, a symbiotic relationship not a parasite.”
“That makes it so much better. And this thing is wired into my brain?”
“In a way, yes. Though really it is now a part of your brain.”
“Can you get it out?”
“Probably, but not easily and it will have restructured things so you will lose some ability if done badly.”
“So I have to keep it.”
“Yes. That would be wisest.”
“You realise right now that I want to claw my own skin off and tear out my brain. This is the creepiest thing I have ever heard. What do you mean connected to the data streams?”
“Some units have passive, and sometimes active, reception so they can get updates or upgrades, better models can navigate the streams to request data and further explanations for unknown translations. Depends on the model. Since you don’t have an ident tag of your own if it is an active connection it will be linked to an account, active connections are billable by demand, which gives us a trace as to who put it there. Might be a line of inquiry for you.”
“A line of inquiry!” Marsh strained to get the words from gritted teeth.
Drick checked retinal screens as Marsh seemed close to physically convulsing. The readings were all elevated, blood pressure, heart rate, nervous responses. “Take some deep breaths, it isn’t that bad. Everyone has the same thing. That’s how we all can understand each other. I know it seems totally alien to you but it is completely regular.”
“Regular!” an angry snarl, “you stuck a Goddamn thing into my brain and that’s regular? What the hell do you people do when you want to get creative or exotic. Get it out of me” Marsh tried to stand completely upright, tugging at the restraints that attached them to the deck.
Drick was about to yell for them to stop. To calm down as they were pulling at a system that had auto-responses. But it was too late. The automatic escape countermeasures activated and the bindings on Marsh’s wrists shocked with a massive burst of electrostatic charge. Drick watched Marsh shake for a few seconds before collapsing temporary unconscious to the floor once again.
Drick sighed and then jerked up in surprise as the light flashed above the roller door and a flat mechanical voice warned the occupants to remain calm and still as the door was now opening.