36 percent of NES-tan's backup power was remaining. With a speed faster than a human could process, she took in her surroundings, relieved in part to at least be able to access her senses. It was wet. Cold drops of rain streamed through her hair and down her face. Once again, she was somewhere unfamiliar, though it was a place she had many times during her inactivity considered the possibility of ending up. Her vision was flooded with mountains of refuse, discarded items, just like her, as far as she could see. She was in a garbage dump. NES-tan thought for a moment about the symbolic implications of her predicament, but quickly decided that she wouldn't allow despair to overcome her small chance to get away from this place. For a moment, NES-tan panicked, worried that she had been ripped in half as she couldn't feel her legs, but after her body diagnostics completed, she realized that while she was missing a lage number of her servos, she was at least still in one piece. Her legs and arms both registered as having a small amount of mobility left, but her lower body was unable to move, due to the weight of countless items pinning her down. She began pulling items away from her torso, but for each piece of trash she tossed away, another one tumbled into its place. She struggled against a flow of slick garbage, unable to remove it faster than more slid back. 29 percent of her backup power was remaining.
A thought raced through her mind, an odd thing she had perhaps brought to the front of her attention to keep her from panicking again. Landfills were a thing that existed on this planet, but nothing nearly as large as the bleak landscape that extended at least a kilometer in every direction and blocked her distant vision with towering piles of discarded machines, plastic, and paper waste. Each of the domes was equipped with a nanite production factory, and these nanites were used for many, many things, among them waste recycling. What she recognized as a landfill was based on a description of old Earth disposal methods. A true, modern landfill would have a pile no larger than about a quarter kilometer on each side, and more importantly there would be a thin, almost imperceptible layer of recycling nanites slowly tearing apart the trash and seperating its base components into usable blocks a few meters away from the pile. The lack of proper facilities puzzled NES-tan, but then it occurred to her that the nanites would have recycled her as well. Whatever it was that caused this place to exist, it was rather fortuitous for her, as it has saved her life. Soon, though, that wouldn't matter. If she couldn't free herself and escape this dump before her backup power drained completely, she wouldn't have another chance. With a renewed sense of determination, she pushed a pile of broken wood away from her body. 18 percent of her backup power remained.
She had to think more creatively if she wanted to get out, so she ran a few simulations by her processors and realized that a single, large, slick piece of garbage would be easier to work past than a hundred smaller pieces. She reached for a long plank of composite wood pulp, and shoved it into the pile next to her right leg. The android began to shovel junk out from between the plank and her leg, and she felt her leg begin to loosen. She pushed the soaked board down further, but with a loud creak, the top half snapped off. Undeterred, NES-tan pushed the other half beside her left leg and pulled refuse out from there. Her drive only intensified when she felt her left leg able to shift slightly, and, holding onto both pieces of the plank, she pushed with her arms and legs with all the might her power supply afforded her. Miraculously, her body began to rise from the heap, but then, as her left leg emerged, she realized a fraction of a second too late that the service panel on that leg was still open and the outermost, waterproof layer had been pulled out. With a loud pop and a disheartening sizzle, the remaining mechanical parts of her legs shorted out, and her arm strength wasn't enough to pull her the rest of the way out. NES-tan was built with the ability to cry in order to show sympathy for her owner and their friends and family, to be there for them in times of need, but NES-tan number 1002491 cried for herself, alone. 7 percent of her backup power was left.
At 5 percent power, her systems began to bring themselves into a power-saving mode. She could no longer hear the rain, and the texture sensors on her skin were powered down, leaving her only able to feel the soft thudding of the raindrops. It felt to her like they were hammering her deeper and deeper into the ground. Her sense of smell deactivated itself, something she might have been thankful for in any other situation. Finally, her vision blinked down from low-definition to an even lower state, her rain-soaked sight brought down to a level of blurriness even more than the most myopic of humans. The last standard-resolution image her eyes took nestled into her mind, investigating the picture for anything that could save her. It was then that she realized that there was a tiny figure moving its way across the dunes. Checking her earlier vision logs, she saw that it had crested one of the larger junk piles nearly a hundred meters away and was moving slowly to the right of her vision. It had to be a human, and it had to be her only chance at survival. Overriding the power systems' demand that she shut down power to her arms completely, she reached half-blind through the trash for anything heavy, coming across a machined metal part, a rusted alternator for a child's motorizied cycle, and grabbed it with her left hand. With her last bit of power, she heaved the scrap with all of her might. She tried to track the item she had tossed, but as it flew through the air, she reached 0 percent backup power. Her remaining systems all powered down, and NES-tan slumped over into the pile of trash.
NES-tan's had 83 percent of her primary power remaining. There was no waiting this time, she had no ability to sense time, and even her internal clock had lost power from her exertion. Her systems did not power on slowly, there was no need to enter into standby mode as her batteries slowly charged. Her eyes fluttered open, she began to breathe, though not out of a need to use oxygen, rather as a means to appear more biologically alive, and she immediately became curious about her new surroundings. Anything would have been better than her previous situation, though she quickly found that it would not be by much. Again, she was surrounded by old, discarded machines, but these ones were not simply thrown away. Instead, these devices had been opened up, some had pieces removed, others dimly lit the tiny room around her. Many seemed to be charging, installing software updates, or running through diagnostic software, though many seemed to be booting up, having just flickered to life themselves. Some were hooked up through taped and patched cables, and she realized that at least one of the devices, a ten-centimeter tablet in clearly better shape than the others, was connected to her, the data port connected to her own inside her chest panel. She herself was seated on a wooden table, elevated a meter and a half off the ground, and her legs dangled off the side, her arms propping her up. A second, larger cord was attached as well, plugged in to a misshapen battery shaped town to fit inside her once-empty primary battery slot. Looking down at her leg, she realized that many of the warnings that had once flooded her existence were now gone, only a few remaining, indicating her lack of nanite storage, her missing magnetic resonance unit, and a few of her servos being either damaged or lost. She sighed, relieved, though still not completely sure about where she is or what she should do. Whoever it is that repaired her, she thought, surely didn't do so that he could turn her off permanently. She almost didn't recognize the feeling of hope that took root in her mind.
She decided the wisest thing to do would be to make another visual inspection. She turned her head and shifted her body slightly to get a better view of the room she was in, looking to both sides, above, and behind. It soon became apparent that this was some sort of makeshift workshop, and the ceiling dropping off at one side implied that she was in a part of a building that was to be used for storage, if at all. There were no windows and a single door, one without a lock or even a knob. The walls, floor, and ceiling were all unpainted, made of simple bricks not used in modern construction. Behind her was a wall that was composed mostly of dirt, with a small gap between the dirt that encroached on the floor and where the actual wall began. Though the gap was covered by a thin layer of dust, NES-tan could make out a bit of the landscape outside, and came to the realization that this room was located on the edge of the dome, and the gap was the powered force field that kept the human-sustaining environment in. From that, she extrapolated that the small hatch to her right was a repair panel for that section of the dome, and the fact that its latch had been warped from repeated opening and closing meant that this section of the dome required constant maintenance in order to keep from collapsing and letting in the toxic air outside, and that the need for such maintenance was indicative of abnormal power fluctuations caused by too little power being generated. She wondered if all the domes on the planet had fallen into such disrepair, or if she was merely in the unluckiest, unsure if it was still even the same year her clock had last registered, and what could have befallen this or any of the once bright and prosperous domes to bring about such conditions. A pneumatic whirring noise coupled with footsteps got the android's attention and she turned back to the door just in time to see it creak open to let in a human figure.
In her short time in the factory where she had been assembled, NES-tan had seen a few humans, all of them immaculate quality control officers who weren't paid to actually interact with the console-tans. None of them ever approached her, so she steeled herself for what she expected to be her first real human interaction. After all, she was never truly activated, and when she was on in front of the child, she was unable to speak or move. This time, however, she had a chance to say something to whoever it was that was walking in. Had she been able to speak before, she might be in a different situation. That makes it all the more strange that when she saw who came in, she said nothing. It was a young man, possibly in his late teens or early Twenties, wearing a dingy brown coat, a scarf, and a set of visor goggles pulled up so that the HUD it projected wasn't in his view. His jeans were torn, ripped to shreds near the bottom, and his boots, while made for hiking, had been worn down to the point where the tread had gone almost totally flat. Looking at his face, NES-tan noticed that the man's right eye was mechanical, it appeared larger than the other, and it seemed to be locked in a short focus, jammed completely and unblinking. The iris of the mechanical eye was gray, which provided a contrast to his other, biological green eye. She looked up at his ragged mop of dirty blonde hair, then down at his chest, noticing that his breathing timed with the pneumatic noise she had heard as he approached. To the android, it was clear that the young man had a mechanical device assisting his breathing, but a slight knocking noise at the end of each shortened breath meant the device was very old and had gone quite a while without repairs. More whirs and slight grinding noises came from his right arm and right leg, and the console girl surmised that this was due to both of them being mechanical, a look down at his right hand, made of a smoothy and shiny plastic with glaring, obvious joints confirming her suspicions. The young man looked up at NES-tan and the corners of his mouth pulled up into something the automaton had desired since her creation, a smile.
NES-tan stared at the human, and her mouth opened slightly, but she'd not yet thought of anything to say. She closed her mouth again and waited for him to speak. He did. "Oh, good," he said, a little excitedly, "You're awake. Does your new battery work right? I don't think it has as much capacity as the one you were originally equipped with, but that one's all I could find. If it's not reading as having any stored power, I can find another one." "No, it's fine," replied NES-tan, deciding not to mention that it was a little undercharged, and instead choosing to be grateful that she had any power at all. "Were you the one who found me in that dump?" "Uh, yeah. It looks like someone else tried to dig you out, but they must've gotten scared off or left when it started to rain," the young man answered, rubbing his thumb under his chin. NES-tan decided not to tell him exactly how she'd helped him find her, or that she'd partially dug herself out, a guilty feeling in the back of her mind bubbling to the surface. She very suddenly became aware that turning herself on and acting without any instructions violated her default behaviors, and was afraid that letting someone else know might result in her being deactivated again, permanently this time.
Instead, she would focus on the curiosity that led to her existence to discover why she was still alive and where she was. She shifted nervously on the table and looked down for a moment, trying to change the subject. "Where am I now? Why did you decide to take me away from that dump?" The young man blinked a couple times in bewilderment, reached up to scratch the back of his head, and thought for a moment. "Um...well...you looked like I could fix you. You were pretty whole, and you're a model light enough that I could at least carry you to my cart. So I took you home. That's, uh...where you are now, I guess." She responded, almost by reflex, "But I'm outdated, the last person who had me said I wasn't worth fixing." "That doesn't matter," the young man replied, his working eye focusing seriously, "You're a living thing. A person. You deserve better than to spend eternity in a trash heap. You can be fixed. I'll fix you, and then I'll make sure you have the home you deserve." NES-tan perked up a bit at this, then after thinking for a moment, voiced her concern. "Make sure I have a home? You don't want to be my owner?" The mechanic looked down and away a bit. "I...no. A console-tan can't...I can't participate in scenarios. You need to belong to someone that you can use your full abilities with. That's the only way you can be happy. Do you understand?" NES-tan nodded. Without access to an owner's brainwaves, she wouldn't be able to feel her purpose being fulfilled. Still, she felt calm, and reassured, certain that this young man was telling the truth, and that he would help her to become what she had always wanted to be. She spoke again. "What's your name?"