Water exhaled fog into the bay. Glass stared off into the distance, illuminating the sleeping sailors of bone and ash. For centuries they had been preserved over their frozen vessels; how and when they reached the secluded fjord was still a mystery to her. Their mangled faces made her wonder about the world beyond the arctic.
Despite having awareness of her consciousness, Glass hadn’t acquired the upgrade enabling autonomy before being assigned to the lighthouse. Regardless of how far she traveled from the lighthouse during the day, come dusk, Glass found herself staring down at the harbor; and, come dawn Glass would swim into the frigid ocean searching for life, against her will. The dead floated alongside her, sometimes mocking her, other times questioning the nature of her existence. In the off chance she hadn’t returned by noon, an alarm would trigger, roaring for miles in the arctic wilderness until Glass silenced it via holoscreen input.
The holoscreen screen was a series of panels that could be summoned from anywhere within the lighthouse’s silver walls through two claps followed by simultaneously snapping with both hands; the alignment of the thumbs after the snap would determine the size and placement of the main screen, which rested in the center of the other four: one screen hovered above, one to the left, another to the right and one below. Simple, modular design and programming made it possible to instantly re-summon the holoscreen into a new location, or set it to follow the user via gestures.
Glass made her way down the spiral staircase below the tower while the Sun lazily yawned over the horizon. As designed, she appeared as a peculiarly fit, and well-endowed woman with mahogany skin and flowing black hair that complemented the craftsmanship of her dark brown eyes. Her body was regulated at a constant 98 degrees Fahrenheit, drawing most of it’s power from light; the high albedo surface of the arctic landscape ensured Glass, or Model XIV as the holoscreen would refer to her, would never cease functioning due to a power shortage. Glass clapped twice and snapped her fingers, summoning the primitive holoscreen to log the evening before making her way out into the water.
Effortlessly moving the heavy platinum doors of the lighthouse, Glass paused examining what appeared to be prints in the snow; they were too faint for Glass to assess whether or not they matched her archives. Though she had not been programmed to feel fear, self-preservation or even curiosity, Glass had slowly developed them over time, and scanned the land with her thermal vision; if there was someone, or something else, her programming would force her to identify the threat they pose to the lighthouse, and handle the guest accordingly. She reluctantly balled her hands; her uncanny skin stretching and contracting at the creases of her fists.
Buzzing and whirring followed a loud click, and Glass collapsed, struggling to keep her vision from fading. “This machine, model XIV, is designated to protect logistical services to Anta-Bzzt!-ca Lighthouse 00721, in accordance to global law established by the Uni-Bzzt! Bzzzzt! Crrrrsh!-my circa 2101 the year of-Bzzt!” She mustered all of her strength and stared at the aggressor: a horrified pale man in a thick, fur-hooded coat. “Please!-State your intentions!- Don’t kill me!-Or, be subdued.”
“Waaaaah!” The man shrieked at Glass’s eerie fluctuation between a human voice and that of the cold automatons he would read about as a child. A large foreign symbol on the back of the man’s coat was captioned, “NASA.”