SIRT 1 : Thoughts of a Dying AI (part 8 of many)
SIRT 1 : Thoughts of a Dying AI (part 8 of many) postapocalyptic stories
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ferp2 Old, well, old-ish.
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The Archive begins to yield some answers.

SIRT 1 : Thoughts of a Dying AI (part 8 of many)

Around the time baby Bodil was making her squawking, kicking debut into the world, the newspapers of the time were announcing the discovery of what would come to be known as the Kjaer Diaries,

the private diaries of Joe Spivey's and Kirsten Kjaer's daughter Anneka.

Several extracts were printed over the following days until publication of these suddenly stopped amidst a growing legal wrangle over the ownership of the diaries.

Time passed and the public lost interest and the eventual fate of the diaries, being bought by the Troy Estate, warranted only a small paragraph buried on the inside pages.

Access to the diaries after that was strictly controlled and yet another rumour soon sprung up around the Grand Mother's family,

this time that the Troys were censoring the contents of the Kjaer Diaries.

But, even if they were, they couldn't censor what had already been published by the newspapers and it was from there that Bodil recognised one of the more unusual names from The Fall.

The name that she was now looking at. Baka Neko. The diary had just said that she was an old girlfriend of Spivey's. But Bodil new the name from the work of a predecessor of hers.

Professor Aaron Burroughs-S, Charmondleigh-E's treatise on the legendary pre-sirtuin character, the Lost Bride.

While she had found it an excellent read, she tended to take the good professor's hypothesis that the Lost Bride had, at the end of her days, turned into some kind of plant,

with a huge pinch of salt. Unfortunately, the professor died shortly after publication so she was never able to quiz him on that aspect.

Bodil crossed her legs and made herself comfortable as she began to read.

Fifty minutes later found Professor Hill carefully putting the last of the many sheets she had read back into its file and the file back into the X-ray folder.

She did not look at the X-rays themselves. The doctor's report on Baka Neko's unpleasant fate. had been quite enough.

She stopped for lunch, reading her notes while she made her way through the conserving room,

ignorant of the stares she attracted as she tried to figure out the relevance of that poor clone's arrival into the violent world of the post Fall wasteland.

Back in her room, she made a series of calls to her small staff back in Brasilia and then ordered some food up to her room before having a shower.

An hour later, refreshed inside and out and more suitably dressed for the dusty archive room, Bodil returned to the museum.

Rather than go straight back to the archive room she spent some time watching the conservators at work and offering her expertise when she thought it might be helpful.

Many of the conservators, it turned out, knew her by reputation. Some, it might even be said, were 'fans' of her work.

Everyone was eager to show her what they were working on and were genuinely friendly and polite.

Interestingly, however, whenever she tried to bring up the subject of The Archive, on any level, every one of them either declined any knowledge or avoided the subject altogether.

They would try to steer the conversation away again or else simply said that they didn't want to talk about it.

When she asked why, most of them replied that they thought Miss Troy would prefer it if they didn't, or words to that affect.

Bodil let it drop. The last thing she wanted was to make enemies of these nice people. And anyway, she thought, hiding a smile, it wasn't everyday she got to meet 'fans' of her work.

She headed back into the archive where she resumed her place on the dusty floor. Bodil read through her copious notes. The Baka Neko lead seemed to be drying up.

She flicked backwards and forwards through the pages, hoping to spot something she had missed.

There was the Lost Bride thing. Hopefully, the call she had made would produce something there.

Then there was this rather short period where the girl, Baka, had found some happiness and was almost married but that came to a very sad end. After that, she had gone to New Flagstaff.....

And then.... And then she had met Joe Spivey. Shortly after that, she seems to have disappeared from the record entirely.

Joe Spivey. Joe Spivey Joe... Spivey. Bodil frowned and tapped her chin with her pencil. Well, it looks like our man Joe has to be the next link.

Just then, a name caught her attention and the frown deepened. She flicked back a couple of pages. '... job in New Flagstaff working for...' She flicked back again through several more pages.

'... he went to the jail in Serenity and shot the prisoner, blah blah... also known as...' Bodil looked up from the page, her eyes narrowing.

"Who the hell is Miss Brown?"

The rest of the afternoon was dustily spent trying to find out.

The sunshine through the windows had taken on a tired, golden hue as it stretched lazily across the floor and over boxes and finally reaching up the wall opposite.

The mess of opened boxes and strewn paper around the professor had grown until she became the busy bee at the centre of a large beige and white flower. A voice called from the doorway.

"Professor...? Professor? We're closing up now."

Bodil sat up, straightening her back and stretching her neck to see the figure at the doorway.

Pencil still clamped between teeth, the marks along its wooden shaft revealing that it was accustomed to being there, Bodil lifted a hand and waved to attract the attention of whoever it was.

Why didn't they just come in?

The person at the door, a girl, one of the conservators, spotted her and waived back.

"Oh hi, Professor Hill. I'm really sorry but we can't leave you here all alone I'm afraid. I need to lock up." She held up the key to confirm the story.

Reluctantly, and rather glad the pencil in her mouth prevented her from expressing her feelings on the matter of being uprooted from her research,

Bodil stuffed her notebook into her shirt and then gathered up an armful of paperwork,

a couple of old police files and a whole sheaf of delicate official looking flimsies with barely legible writing that needed the attention of a magnifying glass.

"Oh. Ehm.... I'm sorry Professor..."

Bodil stopped dead in her tracks. Her shoulders slumped and her chin dropped. She could guess what was coming next. Sure enough, but at least the voice was suitably apologetic.

"I'm afraid you aren't allowed to actually take anything from The Archive."

With a sigh, Bodil bent over and deposited what she carried back onto the floor in an untidy heap. She straightened up and took the pencil from her mouth.

"I assume I can take my own notebook?"

The girl at the door looked a little embarrassed.

"Yes Professor. That's fine. It's just... you know, the..." She took a breath. "It's Miss Troy's orders. I'm really sorry."

As Bodil stepped towards her, the girl moved to one side.

"Oh. Professor?" Bodil turned and waited as the girl pulled the door closed and locked it. "Miss Troy left a message that she'd like for you to join her for dinner tonight."

Bodil checked her watch. It was a little before six.

"And dinner is at...?" She looked up expectantly.

"Oh, I'm sorry. Seven thirty"

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