After dinner in her studio apartment, Adelaide puts on a blues CD and opens a romance novel. After about an hour, she gets up quietly, turns the music off, brushes her teeth, and puts on pajamas. She's in bed before nine. For the next hour, she tosses and turns, then eventually falls deeply asleep.
The computer. That has to be it. She lunges towards it and fumbles to find anything resembling an on switch.
"I'll turn on the console since that seems to be what you want. I could be more helpful if you specified what you want to find."
The computer flickers on there's a touchscreen keyboard and also a microphone button.
The screen says in big letters Archive Access Console with a box below it.
"I just want you to let me go home!"
What should she even try on this computer thing -- can a computer call 911? -- she'll go for frantically typing "emergency services" then drumming her fingers against the desk.
"I'm sorry but as I've said I can't currently accommodate that request."
Several entries show up.
Analysis of Emergency Services on Planet 474B612E. Compiled by NH23855322 translated by RS1485847274026661
Local fictional visual media about Emergency Services
Local fictional auditory media about Emergency Services
Local fictional text media about Emergency Services
Local non-fictional visual media about Emergency Services
Local non-fictional auditory media about Emergency Services
Local non-fictional text media about Emergency Services
Augh! That is not -- none of this is --
She lets out a yell and sits down on the ground, hard.
In a softer voice: "Is this really happening? Am I here forever?"
"I know this is distressing. Your reaction is normal for the circumstances you are now in. I hope in time you will adjust and find ways to enjoy at least some of your time here.
"As to your second question, it is highly unlikely that the research will need to continue for more than a decade and I hope I will achieve the necessary results long before then."
"Who are you?"
"I believe I already introduced myself as AG41882. I will explain what that means though as you don't have the context to interpret it. I am an emulated and pruned mind selected for experience at xenobiological research. I am formatted to be able to control a variety of surgical, manufacturing and analysis equipment. And also to interact with experimental subjects like yourself."
"A pruned... mind?" She's struck by a sudden horror. "Is that what you're going to do to me?"
"I do not expect your mind will be copied for that purpose. Only particularly unusual minds are used for such purposes."
"And what was so unusual about you?"
Why is she making small talk and not figuring out a plan to escape.
"My template was identified for unusual compatibility with grafted knowledge and more specifically for unusual insight in my specialties when assessed with certain tests."
If she just pretends to go along with it, long enough to get information...
"What is this place called? Where am I?"
"This is an unnamed research complex built into the moon you call Io orbiting the planet you call Jupiter."
She's on one of Jupiter's moons. So even if she gets out of the dome somehow...
She stands up, types into the console again: "io jupiter"
She gets a similar list to last time. The top result is replaced by "Analysis of the orbital dynamics and resource availability of moon known to local sentients as Io."
There's also a second non-standard item: "Map of facilities on Io."
A map! Maps are good! She selects that option.
The resulting map appears to be three dimensional. It is honestly too large to easily fit on the screen there are six different complexes, four labelled as research complexes and two as manufacturing. They are all buried at least a mile under the surface with no path upwards. A helpful you are here indicator puts her as being in the upper half of one sphere out of more than twenty that are a part of the complex she's in. There are cross passages between the spheres but none intersect with the top half of hers. Each sphere is labelled with "independent research sector" followed by a specific identifier the one she's in is labelled as AG41882
"Are we underground? And... AG41882, that's you, right?"
"We are indeed underground. This facility was constructed making heavy use of teleportation in order to remain concealed from the people of your world until all necessary pre-requisite work for open contact has been completed."
She can't let... this entity with the long number name... (didn't the map say the name?) know teleportation seems important to her, if she's to have any chance of escaping. She's got to find something else to talk about.
"Uh, do you have a shorter name I can call you?"
"If you're asking for a suggestion you can call me AG, I'm also open to being addressed in other ways as long as they're respectful and I know you're trying to address me specifically."
"Okay. AG. Um, I'm Adelaide."
Teleportation. Teleportation. She'll search this up on the terminal later when she isn't being watched.
Is she always going to be watched?
"It's a delight to make your acquaintance. If you're ready to begin, I'd like to start by grafting a neural shunt into your spinal cord. That will allow me to build a better profile of how your brain connects to your body and also to numb pain and prevent movement in ways that will make future procedures easier for both of us."