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I'm an Observation SecUnit

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"This the replacement?" the uniformed human asked, almost offhandedly. "Bring it in."

It passed through the halls of the facility, following behind its client dutifully. It wasn't entirely sure where it was, but then, it wasn't its job to know that. It would find out soon enough what its job actually was.

The complex was large and sprawling, the concrete walls were thick, and the doors reinforced with steel. Were they keeping something out or keeping something in?

It followed its client through the winding halls, passing more uniformed humans clustered and whispering in the corners. Some of them stole glances at it. That wasn't that unusual, but they didn't seem scared of it, or intimidated. It couldn't actually tell what they were thinking.

"Another one?" one of the humans it was passing whispered, lowly.

"You'd rather go without?" their companion replied, matching volume.

"Of course not. It's just, we burn through them so fast. Surely there's something-"

"Ssssh. It's these things or us."

That was really weird. But humans were, by and large, very weird. Not that there was anything to do about any of this. It had a job and it would do it, that was all there was.

At last its client reached their destination, a security room. Soft display surfaces covered the walls, most of which were showing various rooms, and two of which were constant log outputs. The log outputs didn't quite make sense.

Its client turned to it, "Your orders are to stay here. Here's a package of your instructions. You are to watch these cameras. All of them. If anything changes, and I do mean anything, report what changed and where immediately. Understood?"

"Yes," it replied. This should be a simple enough task. Monitoring multiple inputs and watching for changes was practically what it was made for.

It poked through the orders packet anyway. There were the feed addresses of these inputs if it wanted to connect directly, which it did, as well as detailed instructions for how to report any changes or anomalies.

"Good," its client said, nodding. They walked away.

It turned its attention to the cameras. There were six inputs, each of a different room, from a part of the facility it hadn't seen. It could watch them all at once, but since it was monitoring for changes, it decided to process them three at a time instead.

The rooms it was watching were very strange. Sections of an empty liveable human habitat, but all wrong somehow. Chairs in random arrangements. Odd paintings. Enough abandoned clutter to look like it had been lived in, but somehow the scatter of it felt unnatural.

Nothing was happening in the monitors. Even with the weirdness, this was a pretty boring job. An alert streamed into its visual inputs. !!!WARNING!!! Multiple anomalies have been detected within the monitoring area. Find them and report them ASAP!

What?!

It scrambled, hurriedly flicking between each camera input, searching frantically.

On a more detailed look, there were a lot of tiny things changed. Two cups on the table instead of one, the floor in one room changed pattern from square tiling to patterned tiling, a light flickering, a magazine missing. It reported each one in succession, not even waiting for the report to go through before lining up the next.

It had no idea what had caused these changes, but it wasn't its job to know, it was its job to report them. As each report finally processed, the cameras seemed to glitch before revealing the room as it was before, each difference vanished as though it was never there. It double, triple checked that its visual inputs were back, clutching them to itself tightly. It wasn’t used to losing inputs like that. It didn’t like it.

It was pretty sure it got everything. That thought did not calm it down. It dropped one more input, only watching two at a time in order to dedicate more processing power to scrutinising carefully.

A bottle moved. It reported the movement.

A cushion disappeared. It reported the missing object.

It flicked through its five inputs, two at a time, wait- Five? It had six, it was tackling these in pairs, where had the other camera gone?

It panicked for 0.24 seconds, then reported the camera input.

The camera input was back. Like it had never left.

What was wrong with this place?

Knowing that the cameras could be affected by whatever was making things change was incredibly unnerving, but it made sense, the cameras were inside the rooms it was monitoring after all. That didn't make it better.

And if it wasn’t just static objects that were affected by whatever this was, if tech could be affected too… could it be affected by this?? It was connected directly to these cameras by the feed. It hoped it couldn’t, it really, really, hoped that it couldn’t.

It was doing well though. It hadn't seen any changes for a while, it was reporting them as soon as they appeared, it was doing well!

It really, really hoped that it was doing well. Because the alternative was that it was just not seeing the changes.

One of the rooms didn't look right. None of them had looked right to begin with, but one of the rooms now looked off, although nothing had changed inside it. The items were all still there, there was nothing extra, nothing had moved.

Everything had moved, everything was currently moving, the entire room shifted and warped. It reported it.

The room appeared just as it should be, nothing warped or twisted or stretched, nothing missing. Like it had never happened.

There was someone in the lounge room. Someone was standing facing the wall.

It was in the monitored areas, were they a worker? Were they supposed to be there?

The human started banging on the wall, screaming. They sounded terrified.

It extended and retracted its guns, body urging it to move, to go and rescue that human, but it didn't even know how to get in there, or where that room even was!

The human stopped. Bent over backwards slowly, until their spine was at an unnatural angle, their eyes staring right at the camera.

This wasn't a human, this was an anomaly too. It reported it, hurriedly. The human shaped anomaly flew directly at the camera almost faster than it could process, before the report went through and the camera's input blanked.

The room was empty.

What. It couldn't demand explanations, it was just a SecUnit, and maybe there wasn't even an explanation to be had, but...

It took a breath. It scrambled for its inputs again, searching, because no way in hell had the other changes just stopped because of whatever that was.

Two, three, four reports, it kept searching, hurriedly.

"Shut it down!" it heard a human shout, frantic and terrified. "There's too-"

It didn't hear the end of the sentence. It didn't feel its body hit the cold metal floor.


"This the replacement?" the uniformed human asked, almost offhandedly. "Bring it in."