Many Worlds Chapter 62
Jules thought about the request from Herbert. It seemed strange. However, the more he thought about it, the less he felt that it should seem strange. Jules still thought of Herbert as an AI. Although he was aware that he was fully conscious… Jules also subconsciously had some biases. Like the fact that he would only care about certain things he would be programmed to care about. Jules hadn’t consciously thought about that, though, because it was rather obvious that Herbert didn’t particularly care about the things that he should have. Certainly, he performed his functions as necessary, but had no interest in keeping things that weren’t strictly mandated a secret.
It wasn’t long that Jules thought about this before he started moving. It really wasn’t dangerous. As he was on the way, he continued to think. Jules got on a taxi, since his destination wasn’t in walking distance. He wasn’t particularly hurting for money, which was good because he wouldn’t get paid. However, that was fine. Jules continued to think about Herbert, and recognized some of the things he had subconsciously believed that were likely incorrect. In the end, Jules came to the conclusion that Herbert made this request because he was a good person. Not a human, but still definitely a person.
Jules got off the taxi near the river. He wasn’t sure if it was strictly a river, since it was completely manmade. Perhaps it was a canal. However, the point was that the water flowed through a certain space. Down by the canal there were walking paths. These were added some time ago as part of a project to “bring nature to the city”. Jules wasn’t sure what walking paths next to a strictly artificial river had to do with nature, but he supposed his opinion didn’t matter. Perhaps it would have been nice to see the sun reflecting off the water, but instead all he saw was patchy spots of light, courtesy of the all pervading solar panels.
Jules walked along the pathway. Perhaps they weren’t entirely crazy. He did find walking rather peaceful, with just the slightest sound of water flowing, though there weren’t many irregularities to produce the sound of an actual river. Jules found that it was rather peaceful… but he didn’t walk casually. He walked quickly, and with purpose. He didn’t run, because that wouldn’t have been helpful, but he didn’t dawdle along. Eventually, he came to a tunnel. Jules was glad there was a tunnel, because it meant that people weren’t completely self absorbed and callous, though not because of the existence of the tunnel itself.
His steps echoed off the walls, and the surface of the water, as he continued down the tunnel. The walkway was a bit slippery, but nothing that was a problem for Jules. He continued on, into the artificial lights. It was strange, because Jules had grown used to artificial lights as basically the only kind of light… until he had experienced a real sun, even one of a different color than that of Earth’s. The lights felt so… unnatural now. Even though some of them produced a light that was an almost exact match… they lacked the warmth of a real sun.
After some time, Jules heard some slight sounds ahead of him. Not a sound of someone else walking, but more like a scraping, shuffling sound. The sound of clothes moving against concrete. Then, Jules saw the figure. Jules continued forward at a measured pace. He would have run, but the ground was getting a bit more slippery.
Up ahead, a man was crawling along the ground. His long sleeves were dirty and grimy as they rubbed against the ground, as he resolutely put one arm in front of the other, dragging himself along as best he could. His breathing was ragged and uneven, but he continued. He even continued after Jules stood next to him, seeming not to notice. Then Jules bent down. “I’m here to help.”
The man turned his head, as if he had heard a strange sound. Through the clear goggles on his mask, Jules saw the confusion in the man’s eyes. It was as if he didn’t recognize another person.
Jules continued to speak in a soothing manner. “Everything will be alright. Let me see your leg.”
The man nodded, but didn’t otherwise react. Not that he could stop Jules from looking at his twisted leg, anyway.
Jules looked over the man’s leg. He wasn’t a doctor, or even a nurse, nor was he trained in even the most basic medical skills. However, after a minute or so he nodded. “This is going to hurt a bit, okay?” Then, he snapped the man’s bones back into place. Normally, he would have worried about doing it wrong. Would he just make it worse? What if he tore some muscle, or punctured an artery? However, Jules could see what was wrong. Not with his eyes, or at least not only with his eyes. He could also “hold on” to various pieces inside to keep them from getting in the way. The man passed out from the pain, but it both the pain and unconsciousness were only temporary. It was a relatively clean break, and snapped back into place easily, but bones and muscles were quite sensitive in certain ways.
Then, Jules helped the man to his feet. The man was still in a daze as he walked with his other foot, with Jules supporting him. Jules surreptitiously used his telekinesis to slightly help with the slipperiness of the ground. It was better to be cautious. Jules also pulled out his phone to call for an ambulance, though he helped the man walk toward the exit of the tunnel. The sound of their footsteps echoed off the tunnel walls.
As for why Jules hadn’t directly called an ambulance… That was because of Herbert’s restrictions. He wanted to be able to work with Jules more in the future. Unfortunately, emergency services were also connected to the government. Almost everything was, really. This man was a player of Many Worlds, so Herbert couldn’t give out the information to save him. Though there were cameras even in the tunnels, it wasn’t like humans watched every single one of them all the time, so the man hadn’t been found when he slipped and fell. The battery on his phone had also died. In short, it was the worst possible circumstances for him. Nobody could see him, he couldn’t call for help, and he could barely move. Fortunately, after Jules had “found” him, him calling an ambulance wasn’t a problem for Herbert’s specific restrictions.
Herbert couldn’t pay Jules because of his restrictions. Helping people wasn’t his job. His job was to monitor crime, and especially abuses of the wristbands. Sending help to a single injured man wasn’t part of that. Yet, Herbert had contacted Jules anyway, sending him to help. He didn’t have to, and wasn’t particularly supposed to help random people… but he wanted to. Jules appreciated that. Granted, perhaps the man would have made it outside just fine. He might have been alone and injured for a longer time… or it might have gone worse. Normally, there would be people around. That was the way a city of this size worked. However, sometimes people would fall through the cracks. In this case… it was something that could be solved. Jules appreciated that Herbert cared enough to do something. It also made him feel sorry for him, because all he could do was hope that somebody else would be willing to act when he asked them. He was glad that he was able to act on his own.