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  • Writer's pictureTayler M. Lowe

"Thank you, identity confirmed" Render Primeas first appearance.

Updated: Jun 22, 2023

Render slammed the taxi’s door and slung his bags over his shoulder. Immediately patting all of his pockets in a hasty sporadic fashion, he produced a pack of cigarettes. After lighting one, he took a long drag and waited for the auto taxi to pass. When the vehicle cleared two soldiers turned their attention to the short stocky Italian man who grinned with facetiousness. As the man walked forward, he slipped and nearly losing his balance, uttered a subtle, oh shit. The soldiers looked in amusement as the welder waddled his way towards the entry control point. He had been on a plane for the past four hours and was showing visible signs of a hangover.

A sergeant called out from the security booth pointing “Hey, smoking area is that way!”

Render handed his credentials to a bundled up specialist and turned around dropping his bags. “My bad sarn’t,” He took one more puff and flicked the cig into the snowbank. "Cant smoke in the taxi"

The sergeant’s eyes followed the butt’s trajectory and then back to Render with a quiet scoff. Knowing that his shift was over in an hour, he decided not to chew out the civilian, although realizing that his soldiers would have to pick up that cigarette after the snow melted.

The specialist, named Autry, who didn’t give a shit about anything regarding his post, read over Render’s documents. His cold breath billowed as closed the folder “You’re working on level eighteen. That is some high level clearance shit, most of the labs are at least.”

“So I’ve heard, the screening process was quite cumbersome, but the paycheck, well I'm here aren't I?” Render joked as he raised his arms as the unamused sergeant waved his metal detector around him, before giving him an aggressive pat on the back.

Zipping up the bag, the MP nodded his head in the direction of the shuttle stop and Render followed adjusting his gear. Humvees and black SUVs drove by as the two walked towards a gated barrier. Autry scanned his key and a green light buzzed over their heads as the soldier directed Render. The entrance lead into a massive opening of the mountain, a marvelous work of human ingenuity. Snow covered the surrounding mouth and the roar of distance wind gusts echoed in the valley. Render looked up in awe, his nervousness turned into excitement as he approached the shuttle gazebo. The entrance had to have been at least ten meters high.

“Alright sir, shuttle should be here in five minutes. Once you reach your wing, a contact will lead you to your area of operation and quarters.” The specialist headed back to the entry control point, leaving Render to observe his surroundings.

It was a majestic sight with the mouth of the entrance balancing the light and the dark. The sun crept over the peaks and hit his face as he took a deep breath settling inside the gazebo. Needing the extra work and to say he had been required to have a classified clearance to work there, Render willingly accepted the one week job. Knowing that a government contract would pay top dollar, he was a fool to refuse the offer. As a welder, his human skills were still needed despite that most robots had saturated the field. Most of the production fabrication companies were liquidated over the decades as artificial intelligence reached a controlled singularity.

The achievements of AI were beginning to weed out its carbon-based creators. So much change so quickly. Human lawyers were unheard of since surrogates would just tap into the ‘judicial’ cloud. Most municipal buildings were mainly historical landmarks more than anything. Waitresses, hospitality, and most customer service industries were hit the hardest with the deployment of AGI robots. Riots ensued, workers protested the government pay damages to those affected, only to be ignored. Those who went further than protesting, were jailed, and never heard from again. As the world’s labor structure began to crumble, achievements in technology rose to unimaginable heights.

A single chip that interfaced with the brain blew up in popularity and demand. For decades humans carried their laptops, phones, and tablets in the hands. Everywhere they walked, taking photos of themselves, and looking at their world through a screen. The chip was a giant move forward in the catalyst of human evolution. Thought mining became a massive multi-trillion dollar industry as common communication was as fast as light. Those who had lost their jobs from the machines were able to plug in and get high incentives to stay linked in. Social media evolved as people could live stream their raw thoughts to be displayed on a screen. Language began to evolve has everything was communicated with soundboards and GIFs. It was truly fascinating, at first.

Even the merge of machine and man couldn’t eliminate ego. Some who were deemed crazy by society, had feared that a super AI ego would emerge and destroy all of humanity. Render’s father had been one of those theorists. Many late nights with Render listening to his father rant and rave over the Nephilim gods that left us here, only to create a monster worse than Yahweh. Of course he was talking about artificial general intelligence, in which Render saw what his father spoke of, agreeing with him as he would help the seasoned man with his garden. There were two autonomous tilling robots that worked a few rows away, and the family android holding a tray of drinks.

“Render,” he would begin, “you are growing into a man during the peak of technological advancement for mankind, but also the rock bottom of human spirit. Maybe more of a plateau, but you understand."

Render stood up from examining a corn husk, “Yes sir.”

Stabbing a shovel in the ground, Render’s father wiped his brow and exhaled. “I tried to give you the best opportunities due to the worldly circumstances and you have done well, but don’t let the world fool you into thinking you need more. These chips and the affect starting to get out of control. I can just see a whole new level of segregation and discrimination bubbling from this ‘marvel’.”

He took a sip of tea the bot carried over and gestured at the second glass. Render walked over and accepted the tea, giving an air cheer to his father.

Taking a sip, he tried to ease his father’s mind. “I’m not doing that risky surgery. What if the bot malfunctions? Plus I’m just fine with carrying my techPan.” He reached for his back pocket with a millisecond of panicked reassurance of it still being there. “Have you seen those videos of people getting seizures dad? It’s ludicrous.”

As Render reminisced, he slowly reached at the back left side of his head to feel the scar where his puck had once been. He let out a sigh as he remembered his father’s disappointment when he found out his heir had let him down. The sound of an engine whining from the depths of the tunnel snapped Render back into his body as he sat up to see if it was his shuttle. Several head lights closed the distance and the light from outside unveiled a three truck convoy of LMTVs or light medium tactical vehicles carrying soldiers clad in mountain camo. Render’s eyes darted rapidly in revisited excitement as they drove past. He saw the sergeant wave them through and the ECP guards went back to their inaudible conversation.

He checked his watch which read 1100 hours and grabbed a book out of his bag. He couldn’t read right now, too much on his mind to focus his attention elsewhere. He flipped through the pages of Zecharia Sitchin’s writing, images of ancient cuneiform and clay rollers sped across has Render stuffed it back in his bag. Minimum and restricted personal items were allowed into the mountain. He had been informed all resources would be provided and his old attire would be taken and quarantined until his departure. Due to past events involving viruses and disease protocol measures heightened with the threat of hybrid pathogens. Just another subtle war tactic among adversaries.

Render cracked his neck and stretched as he saw more head lights emerge from the dark. A yellow beacon luminated the middle of the gazebo ceiling with a female bot voice, “Shuttle approaching, please stand clear of lane, shuttle approaching, please stand clear of lane.”

A self-driving van u-turned around into the sensor lined lane and the doors slid open. Two men and a woman exited carrying briefcases chatting, only to promptly deafen the conversation after noticing the welder. Render nodded at them and stepped inside.

“Please scan access key in center kiosk” another bot hummed over the van’s speaker. The doors began to slide shut as he tapped his key to the box. “Primeas, Render, please state your name.”

His voice cracked as he awkwardly swallowed and uttered his name to the AI. “R-render Primeas”

Seconds passed. “Sorry voice not matched with ID, please state your name clearly.”

The newcomer cleared his throat, as his heart accelerated. “Render Primeas.”

“Thank you, identity confirmed”

Glancing around at the interior, Render looked for a seatbelt and was unsuccessful. The tint of the windshield was impossible to see through. Just as he was squinting to peer through, the whole thing lit up with a display panel of the local news broadcast. An anchorman with a plastic smile appeared on the screen as the uplifting station music faded with the cameras zooming in.

“Good morning to our viewers across the globe. Another day of increased solar flares will barrage our magnetosphere causing possible disruption with some communication services. Skynet will provide full refunds for any halt in streaming services states CEO X Æ A-12. The son of the late Elon Musk will make a trip to the Moon base this week for a routine…”

After doors closed to the shuttle, the bot notified the passenger of its departure and the van began to accelerate. Render slouched back and pocketed the book in his jacket. Not sure of how long the commute would be he laid his head back and into the darkness Render went.

The momentum of his body slowing down woke Render from his subtle slumber. He looked at his watch. Seven mins had passed, and the news report had ended, leaving a stream of advertisements playing onscreen. Assuming that the commute was nearly over, Render sat up slinging his bag over him. The van came to a halt. A few seconds passed and Render slanted his eyebrows studying the door.

“We will descend in five seconds” the bot’s voice chimed, “Five. Four. Three..”

Render didn’t move. “De-scend?”

“Two. One.”

He heard a faint metallic clink from outside the van and felt his surroundings change has the elevator cables groaned. The feeling of being underground was noticeable, especially with elimination of sound from the surface. An enveloping silence ensued as the sound of the television halted in between a commercial. In those few seconds it was so quiet, Render’s ears began to ring. It was a strange moment, for the ring felt like it was sourced from elsewhere. It was a lower pitch, almost like a long lost bell was struck and had been singing out since the beginning of time, waiting for the right ears to hear it. It made Render uncomfortable, but curious as he went deep into thought. He had experienced enough in his life to pay attention to the signs his body. He had a similar feeling 10 years ago on his first deployment to South America, but during that time he was surrounded by friends and brothers with a completely different set of mission and set of intentions. The ringing was probably cosmic background radiation or tinnitus. He scoffed and smiled smoothing the feathers of his mind’s ruffled self-preservation.

The thoughts and flashbacks dissolved as piping music queued from panel that illuminated the cab with a blue hue. “Neuralink would like to welcome you to join us with our debut of the annual Linkpuck Drone Racing Tournament, streaming on and off planet within Starlink’s reach. The incredible abilities of our finest competitors will shock and entertain the world with the first organized mind-controlled drone race in history. All proceeds will go towards building the very first school on the moon!”

His eyes widened with excitement as he whispered Woah under his breath. He had watched videos of amateur Linkpuck racing before, but there were no true leagues or regulations. Money was involved in these types of endeavors and naturally big corporations wanted to wet their beaks. It was honestly great business and the events created jobs as the sport grew with new viewers every day. Render had been flying drones since a child and still had a couple in his garage. He had forgotten that the shuttle was still descending when he felt the elevator stop.

The van doors opened, and he turned to see two civilians and a soldier standing a few yards back. It was a well-lit area with people walking around like it was Madison Square. There were self driving buggies carrying people to the many various halls and garage openings in the massive underground courtyard. The soldier was armed and had a relaxed look on his face. The two others were a man and woman who came forward.

“Mr. Primeas? Is that how you say it?” the woman looked at her tablet. She, in her mid-40s, had a business jacket on with dark kakis of African American decent.

“Yes ma’am, I am Render, the fabricator.” He pulled his ID lanyard from his jacket catching the book causing it to drop to the ground. The cover landed face down and the soldier picked it up and glanced at the title absorbing the art.

“12th Planet? Is that sci-fi?” the soldier handed back the book.

“More so ancient science. Some is speculation.” Render replied as he looked back to the woman.

“Render, my name is Morgan Devereux, and I am your briefing liaison. This here is Asher Flanch who will be your overseer and assistant for your various assignments here. We will be taking you to our intake offices where we will go over schedules, confidentiality, and allowed areas of access, which Sergeant Faulkner can elaborate on.”

Asher, a few years his senior, stuck out his hand. “Welcome Render, grateful to have you on board. Your welding in zero gravity is phenomenal. Your knowledge and expertise will forever be remembered with your help on the moon.”

“Likewise Mr. Flanch, your books on fabrication for multiplanetary atmospheric pressures helped me and my students a ton.”

They shook hands and Render looked around with awe and wonder. Morgan directed the group towards a row of offices a few yards way. The group followed the sergeant along a caution striped walkway against the walls. The courtyard’s area was several stories tall with the rock still showing with electrical and HVAC lining the surface. Sections of rebar could be seen where reinforcement was put in. The wall appeared to have been damaged as the color of the rock was different where chunks had fallen. Renders eyes led him to the other side of the giant lobby where caution tape bordered an area where the tile had been shattered from falling debris.

Morgan slowed til Render caught up with her. “As you can observe, the structural integrity of the facility has been put through its paces, we unfortunately had a couple of fatalities, but mind you this place has been under construction for three decades and this is the only time we’ve had such an incident.”

“So this is what I’m going to be working on?” Render asked.

Morgan smiled and swiped her access key to the next door and with a satisfying beep along with a green light, she motioned him into a room with a group of military officers and white coats. “It’s a bit more complicated than that.”

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