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EVERYONE: Sight (SV spoilers)

Sight

Blackjack Gabbiani

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There was no point in sticking to a day or night schedule in the Zero Lab, where such things simply didn't exist. Area Zero itself always shone in bright daylight, regardless of the dark of the outside night, and in the depths of the cavern, it didn't matter anyway.

And sleep only mattered to one of its two inhabitants to begin with.

Turo roused at three fifteen in the afternoon, having slept about four hours. Far less than a human ought to, but he would insist that it was all he needed. There was so much to be done, he would say, so much about the crystalline depths to explore and understand that who could possibly rest?

The crate of energy drinks he had brought down from his last trip to the surface may have had something to do with that, but not nearly as much as anyone may suspect. He had always been so very driven, or at least as long as his research assistant had known him.

His assistant had worked tirelessly the past twelve hours, the benefits of having a computer program with Turo's exact memories as a partner. And the robotic shell it inhabited was still parked in front of the computer, examining the data on the screens carefully.

Although. "That doesn't look like our research," Turo scowled, still sitting on the bed.

His AI had known he was awake, being able to scan his biometrics at all times, but no greeting was ever needed between the two. After all, one doesn't wish themself a good morning. "Data gathered from the latest crystal samples are still compiling. There is nothing to do in the meantime."

The professor approached, pausing for a stretch of his back and to grab his lab coat from its place over the corner of a pinboard. Even though he wasn't in his typical bodysuit that he considered standard research gear, he still preferred at least the coat, even if it hung over a black tank top and purple boxer shorts. "Ten Sights of Paldea," he read off the screen. "You're full of surprises."

The AI briefly looked down. Was he averting his eyes? A sign of shame or embarrassment was unexpected as well. "I would like to put our research into context. Area Zero is the greatest treasure of Paldea, but what of the others? What do the life forms here, people and pokémon alike, value?"

Turo sighed. He would consider this unusual too if it wasn't a direct reflection of his own curiosity. "There is nothing we require out there. Nothing that will benefit us in Paradise. Besides, you can't leave here anyway." To stray far from Zero Lab was a strain on the AI's power supply. Even to leave the cave was a rarity, and further to the first research station had only happened once. To take him as far as the top of Zero Gate had caused the robotic shell to lose power near immediately upon breaking the misty barrier, requiring Turo to haul the powerless form back with Miraidon's help.

"I know." It was matter of fact, without judgement or regret, and Turo didn't know why he had expected it to carry such things. "Though for curiosity's sake I find that irrelevant. You as well have been fascinated by things that you cannot experience yourself. It only stands to reason that I would as well."

"They're nothing special," Turo dismissed. "We have everything we could ever want down here, or we will once our plan is complete."

"Professor," the AI asked with a slight turn of his head, "what is your intention for me once Paradise is achieved? You have told me that you believe it possible that I may someday be able to leave Area Zero.

It was something Turo intended to fix, eventually, though it wasn't a priority. "Someday. Right now I need you here. Can't have you leaving on me." He said it with a smile, but the AI knew who his thoughts would have shifted to, that saying so even casually was not without impact. "And can't have you causing a stir either. Miraidon caused enough trouble when I left it at the lighthouse. Can you imagine the fuss up there if they knew there were two of me?"

"I cannot." It was the truth, because the AI could not imagine the concept of 'up there' from more than someone else's memories and images taken by strangers. The idea was, quite literally, foreign.

"It would be a disaster!" Turo wheeled around and gestured broadly, arms to the distant heavens. "Think of what the press would say! The great Professor Turo, suddenly doubled? The demands on us from the adoring public would be overwhelming!" It had been a while since Turo had reacted to anything so theatrically, and while it was strange to the AI, it was also oddly encouraging. Humans did such things when they were at ease. His overdramatic tone indicated that he had no true belief in such a thing, so the AI assumed that he would keep his true rationale to himself, if it was truly anything beyond what he had first stated.

Though perhaps there was a small truth, insofar as he had isolated himself to do as he pleased, without regard for the whims of anybody but himself. "Perhaps if you did so, you could send me to fetch the next supply shipment, and you could devote yourself more fully to your work without interruption," the AI suggested.

Turo turned back towards the AI, any mirth suddenly absent from his face and body language. "I cannot risk that. We would have to test your limits, and that would take time away from Paradise," he said solemnly, with a heavy hand on the AI's shoulder. "This is where you belong. Here, with me."

The AI paused. The professor's thoughts had returned to that forbidden subject again; he was certain of it. "Yes, sir."

"No more of this foolishness." Turo patted the AI on the back. "Now then, there's only a few minutes left in compiling. I'm going to wash up and it should be done by then." He started off towards one of the side rooms. "I expect to find you hard at work. No more daydreaming." But at the doorway, he turned back and smiled. "I can take over then. You can rest your processors after that."

Alone in the lab again, the AI gazed back at the images before him, the beautiful land of Paldea--the mountains, the beaches, the cities, the fields, everything the photographs contained and more--and wondered if he would ever see them for himself, and wondered still until the tests completed. Hesitantly, he closed the website, and hoped he would dream of what he had seen, or of anything at all beyond the walled garden that was Area Zero.

Something unique, some aspect that made the AI more than the sum of his parts, whatever it was within him that compelled him to look towards the outside world with brilliant curiosity, simply couldn't be replicated within the confines of the lab's computer itself.

And as such, that curiosity would continue to run in the background.
 
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