Today is a busy day here on the blog. Not only do I have my “W” post – the 23rd post in the AtoZ challenge as well as the 23rd episode in what may end up being a pretty interesting novella, but today is also the Story Time Blog Hop. For those who are unfamiliar, our blog hop hosts stories from various speculative fiction genres. All are in the PG rating range, and do not contain any extreme or graphic violence or adult material. Links to other stories in the hop are at the bottom of the post.
For those who are here for the hop but haven’t been following the AtoZ challenge: I have been blogging a flash fiction story every Monday through Saturday for the month of April, each post corresponding to a letter of the alphabet. To make things interesting, this time around I wrote each story in the same world with the same characters. There is a good possibility that this will end up being the basis for a novella that will hopefully be published later this year. If you want to catch up on the story so far, click here to read A is for Artificial Intelligence, the post that started things off.
“There is only the briefest opportunity to collect the data we need.”
David tipped his head sideways at Meltec, the doubt clear on his face. “I can do this anytime. There are weeks still before the fair. If we have other things that need to happen—“
Meltec interrupted, more brusk than he usually allowed himself to be. “Yes,” he said. “We can do this anytime.” He plugged his sensory input into the network interface. “Our observers are requesting data, however.” The download of the required file was already complete. “If I do not meet the expectations they have outlined, not only will I be disqualified from the science fair, but they will come to collect you.”
“No!” David shouted in alarm. “I don’t want to be recycled.”
“I do not think they would recycle you,” Meltec turned back towards the boy he’d been raising for nearly 10 years. “However, they would revoke my license to have you, and may redefine your status. I would not want you to be given to another android.” He placed a hand on David’s shoulder, hoping to comfort the boy. “And I do not want to see you designated as a laborer, or worse, a pet.”
David smiled grimly. “I wouldn’t want to eat the food for pet humans. It doesn’t look right.”
“It is biologically and nutritionally sound.” Meltec flashed amusement across his lights. “Perhaps you have been spoiled by too many cookies.”
“There’s no such thing.” He punctuated his point by opening the storage cupboard and selecting a small package of chocolate cookies. “In fact, I think I need more.”
“After you have eaten your nutritional supplement,” said Meltec, “I will need to supervise you while you progress through a series of questions on your network device. There will be a large number of questions, and I have not been given access to them. I do know, however, that many are designed to be too difficult for you to answer. This is a comprehensive test parameter drawn from multiple levels of training and multiple fields of study.” David nodded and took another bite of his cookie. “The purpose is not only to measure what you already know, but to determine your capacity for logic, reasoned leaps of understanding, and ability to cope with concepts with which you are unfamiliar.”
“That sounds hard,” said David.
“It is a standard test normally administered after an android has progressed through three cycles of progressive programing.”
“Three years? I’ve been through five. I should be OK, right?”
“David,” the android looked at him squarely, “you have had five years of human education. We have not even covered what an android would receive in it’s first cycle of progressive programming. But do not be concerned. I still believe that you have demonstrated a kind of intelligence that androids do not possess. Answer everything, even if you know you don’t know the answer. The examination will likely take several hours to complete.”
David dusted the last of the crumbs from his fingers. “I guess I better get started then.” He sat at the network device and began answering questions.
Elsewhere, an android looked through a network window, fascinated by this human able to get a surprising number of answers correct.
Copyright Notice: Please note that I fully assert my right to be associated as the author of this story, and while it is complete, it may not be finished. This story may be subject to alteration at the author’s discretion. Please do not copy, quote, or post this story or excerpts anywhere in any format. You are, however, free to share the link with anyone who might be interested.
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Don’t miss the stories from the other authors in this hop:
If you have missed prior blog hops, you can find links to the submitted stories by going to my previous offerings.
In January 2016, I posted Essence, a fantasy story that starts with a kidnapped girl,
In August 2015, I posted The Door, a bit of magical realism that might be the best thing I’ve ever written.