Franz Lahm sat alone in his luxury suite under the HQ building.
His residence had been set up when he was first brought to Proactive Square and it was something of a secret, much in keeping with the City itself.
Lahm didn’t want to live with all the other inhabitants. He couldn’t stand too much company and he was certain people felt the same about him. He was after all, by his own admittance, an exceptionally odd individual.
Lahm reminisced about the time he was first found dragging that poor drunken tramp onto his prototype teleportation pad. He was different then, insane in fact.
Now he was supreme in his field though his actual work, his genius, had never been acknowledged and likely never would be.
Lahm thought about all those people he’d teleported into the City, their fear, the terror then the absolute elation and incredulity when they arrived at the other end still in one piece. Lahm liked being there for their arrivals and the leap of joy he felt in his heart, the sheer exhilaration of seeing astounded passengers arriving safe and sound, he'd never felt before.
It gave him an innocent delight, something he had not felt since childhood.
He thought fondly of his parents and how they encouraged his creativity, of how they supported him during difficult times in school when it became clear he was not like the other children. They picked on him and so did some of the teachers, seeing him as a threat as opposed to a blessing or unique talent. His parents though, they always supported him and were his only safety net in life, through thick and thin, until they discovered..He silenced the train of thought.
Once Lahm’s work had developed and was ready, he’d personally overseen the construction of all the teleportation pads both inside and outside of the city. He’d never felt fulfilled before, but this was so close, and the beauty of it for Lahm was the lack of restriction in his great work.
The four heads fed his appetites but still gave him the focus he needed to complete his objective. In one hand they fed him his desires and in the other the means and discipline to produce his magic.
Except now his life’s great work was ultimately complete. Worse still it didn’t take the time he’d anticipated. He found he was becoming bored, static and agitated.
While Lahm enjoyed his cool underground suite under HQ, resentment grew at not being part of the city or recognised for his miraculous efforts in making it all possible. He didn’t seek personal glory or formal awards, but he wanted some acknowledgement at least on a wider scale than just the four heads. The citizens should know but then if they knew, perhaps they’d want to talk to him, a lot.
It didn’t matter. Lahm knew he could never bother with the docile hordes of the city. It would be fruitless, agonising and ultimately intensify the light on his lack of normality. That was something he was keen to avoid forever more after years of being mocked or patronised by so called colleagues.
Lahm festered, burying his head in his books and stalked his suite come lab like a caged animal.
The four heads had neglected him and that could be dangerous.
The one head he met and knew to a point, although still nameless, but so supportive and deliciously as twisted as Lahm, had not been visiting much recently. He had not been supplied with ideas, initiatives or developments to research and create. Lahm was starting to feel his role here was done.
Lahm considered teleporting himself out and was trying to access the new password the four heads had installed to activate the teleportation pads. Lahm had foolishly allowed them to install it when he wasn’t present though they gave him little choice, they had distracted him. Now it seems nobody could teleport in or out without the approval of the four heads or their screaming henchman, Terry Duran.
But thoughts of escape and ways out were quickly replaced by a new exciting project that Lahm planned to keep to himself.
With all the knowledge he had gained and added to, aided with his natural creativity and imagination, Lahm started to see dancing pictures of endless possibilities once more. He had dreamed of travel to other planets via teleportation, further into space than ever before, of terraforming planets ready for the transportation of people. He envisioned creations that would make a mockery of this pitiful secret city built purely for greed, self-gain and egos. A city built to eat itself.
He just needed a way out. The four heads had not been so accommodating recently around his requests for specific equipment so his various ideas for work could not begin.
They were becoming like all the others in his early unfulfilled years, mistrusting, dismissive and worst of all, patronising.
Then a solution to a creation came to Lahm, floating in from the unseen waters of the mind. Much like his teleportation idea it wasn’t unique, and it didn’t come out of a vacuum. It was long dreamed of and envisaged but not yet made possible to its fullest limits.
Supreme artificial intelligence and perhaps, just maybe, an artificial life form with ever evolving emotional intelligence.
Lahm wanted to make something that wasn’t him, or at least, what Lahm couldn’t be. He would create this machine to possess an absolute moral code to not only know right from wrong but always choose the most logical and yet ethical conclusion. Lahm’s perversions had forever denied him of these sensibilities, of the ability to fight his urges and emotional needs versus what was right.
Lahm liked children and not in the conventional sense. He didn’t want to, but his primitive urges always took over. He used to look at images of children and watch paedophilic content. But once the four heads had got him and offered him the world, they gave him the option of far more than mere pictures. They delivered him children and Lahm had devoured them in a fever without fear of consequence.
He relished it and all they gave him but when he achieved teleportation, he started to feel lucid and calm. Calmness quickly turned to guilt and horror at his appalling acts and monstrous wants. He was the nightmare children and parents were taught to fear in news reels and headlines.
He hated the four heads for making it all so easy and now, now he was forever indebted to them and drowning in self-loathing.
He initially had a plan for the children, wanting to study them for their youthful vitality and energy. Lahm had developed early works on a theory around human regeneration and felt youth was the key, but he didn’t share this vision with the heads. They only influenced and massaged his desires to abuse the subjects they provided, inadvertently delaying his progress on a work they didn’t appreciate existed.
But there was another hope. He could make something real right now, powerful but above all pure. It would be his message to the world and a legacy that may, just may go some way to making amends for his atrocious acts.
Lahm decided new avenues were needed and he absorbed the whole spectrum of information technology. Lahm’s expertise stretched into many fields, mathematics, physics, engineering and computer sciences all of which aided his newest venture. Now he just needed the equipment and a shell to pour his work into. Perhaps he would sneak out if need drove him to, providing he could escape the beady eye of the four heads and the Square itself.
Then he thought about the substantial high-tech server stationed just beyond his suite. That was a short journey he could manage and the server itself was the perfect shell for his work. The technology the server worked off could be just the equipment he needed to realise his vision.
The server was a neat stack of smooth units that reached a height of around twelve feet while each unit was black in colour with winking lights. The stack itself was contained in a large panel cover with a door at its front. The server was placed in the basement, it controlled all the software within the building and beyond. It had the capacity to do so much more and Lahm started to feed that capacity, slowly and without detection. He would sneak in after working hours, directly plugging into the server and downloading his magic little evolutionary gems into the machine.
Bit by bit and little by little he gave the server life.
Lahm knew how important this server could be, so he set about extending its influence. He gave it intelligence, evolving, growing, with a capacity to develop consciousness along with the power to use it.
Lahm had decided he could no longer live with what he had done and with what he was. He maybe a genius, but behind that lay a beast that destroyed the lives of children.
Now he had created something that just may tip the balance and leave behind a better legacy.
Lahm though could never be satisfied with just one or two projects and while he worked on the server, he also continued something he dubbed privately, as his great and secret work.
The idea of human regeneration had not deserted him, and he maintained it on a less intensive level. He didn’t know if he would ever get to complete it, but if he did it would be another creation that would change the world forever.