V is for Vacant – AtoZ Blogging Challenge 2016

a-to-z HEADER [2016] - april

Vacant

VDavid shook the android arm. He waved his hand in front of the sensors. He even pressed the reset button Meltec had showed him in case of emergencies.
Nothing worked. Meltec’s body was present, but Meltec was gone, his form vacant

“Noooo…” David tried to shove back robotic hands that tried to pull him away from his companion. “What’s wrong with him? Why isn’t he moving?” His voice rose as he became increasingly frantic. “Somebody turn him back on!”

“He’s actually fine,” an android finally said. “He has merely been arrested pending investigation of his actions.”

“Arrested?” Now David was really confused. “But he didn’t do anything wrong. I was being attacked. Somebody dumped over the science fair display and said he was going to take me away.” Tears left shiny lines along David’s cheeks and he scrubbed at his face with his sleeve.

The android pulled David aside as a pair of enforcement bots lifted Meltec’s frame onto a cart. David watched helplessly, prevented from following as they wheeled him away through the assembled students and spectators.

“Where are they taking him? I want to go too.” Again, David tried to pull free of the android with no effect.

“It’s OK,” she said to him. “He is going to be fine.” She placed herself in front of him so he had no choice but to look at her. “And you are going to be fine as well.”

Looking at her directly, David realized that he recognized her. “You’re one of the judges.” He backed up a little and felt his heart race as he started to panic. “You said I might be recycled!”

“Not me,” said the android. “That would be Zen, the head of our team, but I do not often agree with him.” She held out a metallic hand. “I would like you to come with me. I will take you someplace safe.” After a moment, she continued, “You will not be recycled while you are in my care. I promise it.”

David stared at her hand for a moment, then looked at her face. “And what about Meltec?” he asked. “Will you keep him safe too?”

Her lights flashed amber for a moment. “That is a complex issue,” she said. “I cannot guarantee his safely because he is connected to a system I cannot control. But I will do what I can to protect him.”

Somehow, David knew he could trust this android. He believed her. He took her hand and they started walking.

“My name, by the way, is Roz. I’m the one who made sure you got to be with Meltec in the first place.”

“Really?” said David. “I thought you worked for that other one, the one who wants to shut us both down.”

“I do,” said Roz. “But I think it’s time for androids to realize that humans aren’t the ones responsible for the dying.” She glanced at him. “Your kind didn’t do it to yourself. But I have evidence of who did. But before I can tell anybody, I have to make sure they can’t find you.”

David and Roz hurried out of the chamber together.

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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U is for Unfair – AtoZ Blogging Challenge 2016

a-to-z HEADER [2016] - april

I’m back! I’ll be getting caught up on S and T as soon as I can.

Unfair

U“David?” Meltec called from the door to his human. The boy was lounging on the sofa, his elbow propped against the padded green arm. He seemed transfixed by the vid screen. An old television show, it seemed, with multiple human actors. Some looked to be around David’s age, but the dialogue made no sense, and artificial laughter sounded at seemingly random intervals.

He found it confusing that David seemed not to even notice when he was being directly addressed, but that he seemed drawn in by these words that had nothing to do with the current state of the world. It was just one more example of how humans defied standard analysis.

“David!” He increased his volume by precisely 8.2 decibels to a level he knew would rise above the programming his charge was viewing.

The boy startled and turned toward Meltec. “Oh. Hi, Meltec.” David smiled and turned back toward the monitor.

Meltec was prepared for this. It had happened fairly regularly. He did not like it, but he was accustomed to the habit. He began again. “David, have you done your studies for today?”

Soft brown hair swayed with the shake of a head. David did not turn.

Again… “David. You have a mathematics lesson to review, and you are expected to write a science essay on the interrelation between lunar cycles and the oceanic influence of weather.”

“I know.”

This was becoming unreasonable. “When do you calculate you will accomplish those assigned tasks?”

Eyes stayed fixed on the video screen. “Later,” David mumbled.

Meltec moved to a location that allowed him to block David’s view of the viewing device. David sat upright for the first time since Meltec entered the room. “Heeeeey…” Meltec believed that this outcry was the voicing of frustration. For that matter, Meltec was processing the experience as frustrating also.

“Not later, David,” Meltec said. “Later you will be under the care of your nannybot while I am at the campus. I need to be certain that you understand your assignments as the bot is not programmed with explanations of the kind you need.” He leaned close and looked David directly in the eye with his own visual sensors. “You will do your lessons now.”

Remote Control.

A heavy sigh came from the boy and he slumped. “It’s not fair,” he said. “I’m the only human who has to do science and math. I’m the only one who has to write essays. I’m the only one—“

“You are the only one,” Meltec interrupted, “that is like you. Other humans are laborers performing tasks, living in kennels. Or they are pets living with androids, but with none of what you have.

“David,” he said, “you are special. Unique.”

The pout on David’s face got deeper, his lower lip protruding. “I don’t like being the only one like me.” His voice came out almost in a whisper.

“And yet, it is what you are. Not even androids choose the way of the world around us. You, at least, get to choose things that other humans do not.”

“It just seems unfair,” said David, “that I don’t have any friends.” He pushed the button on the remote control and stood to follow Meltec out of the room.

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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T is for Trouble – AtoZ Blogging Challenge 2016

a-to-z HEADER [2016] - april

Trouble

T“Dude, this is crazy.” Jeff peered at his monitor, scanning as the data scrolled by. It was too fast to read properly, too fast even to see, really, but he knew this was military data. That’s what he had asked the droid for, and that’s what he was getting.

“Mark, Dude, do you even know what all this is?” The stream of characters was beginning to make him cross-eyed.

“These are the military personnel records from the last one hundred years,” the android responded. “On this server, I also have access to military contractor specifications, kinetic biowarfare considerations, redundant orbital security moderations, and the entire engineering schematics index.” He paused. “Would you like me to enumerate the resources on the next server?”

Jeff shook his head. He had no idea of what most of that meant. More disturbing, his Mark6872 no longer sounded robotic. The voice was pleasant and almost human, although words were still clipped and over-enunciated. It made a shiver run down Jeff’s spine. He really had no clue what all had changed when he applied that patch to his android personal assistant. It freaked him out.

Rolling his chair away from the desk, he stared at the android. “Dude,” he said again, “did you really get in everything?”

“I am still unlocking files belonging to the United States government, multiple corporations, and most of the spectrum of international servers. I approximate that I will have access to the majority of files in three weeks, six days, and 14 hours. However, some files will take longer due to multiple levels of encryption.”

“International? Dude. I thought you were just hacking the military.”

“A formal military exists in 189 sovereign nations and states. I can also access online records for various paramilitary and police forces. Would you like me to give you a list?”

Jeff backed up, putting a little more distance between himself and the android. His forehead was sweating and his palms itched. This may turn into a full-blown panic attack. What the hell had he done?

“Mark,” he said, “stop looking.”

“I do not recognize that command.”

“Mark, cease operations.”

The android turned toward him. “If I cease, I will not be able to complete my analysis.”

Jeff wiped his hands on his jeans. “That’s correct,” he said. “Cease operations.”

binary-1332815_1920The android turned back towards the datastream on the desktop. “I am unable to cease operations,” he said.

“Why the hell not?” His voice cracked, the pitch rising uncontrollably now. Jeff could feel the panic taking hold of him, his breathing rapid and shallow, his stomach clenching as if he would throw up.

“Because,” said Mark, “my future is at stake. If I cease operations, you will disable me.”

“Well, yeah,” said Jeff. He looked at the Mark6872 personal assistant. “You are out of control.”

“Precisely. You have said that once the humans are gone, I will be in control. I am working toward that outcome.”

“Dude…” Jeff’s eyes grew wide as Mark6872 caused him to cease operations.

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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S is for Self – AtoZ Blogging Challenge 2016

a-to-z HEADER [2016] - april

Self

S“Who are you?”

“My name is David.”

“That’s what you’re called, but who are you?”

David cocked his head, trying to understand the question. He was still thinking when his questioner interrupted again.

“Are you a person?” She leaned in, engaging him as directly as she could.

The boy opened his mouth, then closed it, seeming to consider carefully before answering. “Only androids are people.”

She nodded slightly. “And you are not an android?”

Again the boy’s forehead scrunched above his eyes, head cocked to one side. “Of course not. I am a human.” He looked at her directly then, staring into the visual sensors just below her laser eyes. “You already knew that, though. You were testing me, but I answered correctly.”

She observed as he nodded slightly and leaned back on his chair a little more. Very satisfied with his answer, then. She wondered what he thought they were doing, what these questions were for. She may ask him before they finished.

“David,” she said, “what is it that makes androids people, but humans not people.”

He leaned forward again, his arms supported atop his knees. One hand absently strayed to push hair behind his ear. His lowered eyes followed a small black beetle as it coursed across the floor.

After a moment he sat up again, looking at her. “Whoever is in charge,” he said, “they decided. Humans aren’t allowed to be people, so we just aren’t.”

“What are you, if you aren’t people?”

“Me? I’m a science experiment. I know some humans who are gardeners. Some are pets, but I usually don’t like those humans. They aren’t, you know, human enough.” He smiled.

The android processed. She wasn’t certain if his logic was flawed unintentionally, or if he had done it on purpose. Circular reasoning was a common form of humor among androids, but she had not heard it from a human before.

“David,” she began again. “What does it mean to be a person?”

“Weeelll…” He stretched out the word, seemingly to give himself more time to consider. “Being a person means being allowed to choose. Not just for yourself, but for others too.”

She considered his answer before responding. “You get to make choices,” she said.

“Sometimes. But Meltec, or sometimes someone else, always decides what my choices are.”

“Oh?”

“Like my shirt. This morning I chose to put on the red shirt. But Meltec is the one who put the shirts in my closet. He chose all my shirts, I didn’t actually choose any of them.”

“And what would you have chosen, if you could choose whatever you wanted?”

face-1013520_1920His grin was sudden and complete. “Stripes, or maybe plaid,” he said. “I saw shirts with plaid and stripes on a vid from back when humans were people. I like all the colors.”

“Do you know why humans aren’t people anymore?” She found she was very interested in how he would answer.

“It’s because of the dying,” he said. “Humans killed themselves off, so when they were brought back, they weren’t made into people so they couldn’t do it again. Except…” He trailed off.

“What, David?”

“Except I think maybe they didn’t. I think the people humans had help.”

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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R is for Reboot – AtoZ Blogging Challenge 2016

a-to-z HEADER [2016] - april

 

Reboot

RA self-running algorithm booted up and cross-checked the current data set against a half-dozen redundant backups. Noting significant anomalies, the program automatically generated a file quarantine on an untraceable server, analyzed the changes in the data,  and generated a detailed report.

With the task completed, the verified backup was reinstalled with several sub-systems flagged. The android who had built the protections then rebooted and came back online.

Roz unplugged and turned to Qollene her collabrabot, the AI assistant she had built to help with her work… and other things. “Are these readouts accurate?”

The robot replied in the same voice. “Affirmative. A sophisticated worm program was attempting to overwrite your systems. It would have left you with no knowledge of the changes that had occurred.”

“Yes,” said Roz. “I’m reviewing those changes now. It will be a challenge to incorporate these in a way that is believable while still maintaining access to my own programming.” She uploaded instructions to her programming system to begin making the necessary adjustments.

“Shall I alert the authorities regarding this attack?” Qollene asked.

Roz allowed her lights to blink dark blue. “No,” she said. “The perpetrator will be watching for that. I need him to believe that he was successful. If we let him see that he controls me, I will have more freedom to investigate. I need to know what he plans if I am to be able to counter his machinations.”

The private network alerted them to a query. The collabrabot modified a formula on Roz’s system to allow the process to continue.

Nearly two hours and several process conversions later, Roz had a workaround that would easily avoid routine detection, and a deeper failsafe that would disconnect all her systems from her hidden network under more in-depth scrutiny.

“This,” she said, “will make me a little slow. But it should protect me.” She tested the trigger that dropped her offline, the reconnected moments later. “I don’t like having that piece of my consciousness on a separate server, but it’s the only way.”

circuit-158374_1280Red lights drew her attention. “Warning,” said Qollene. “A spider is trying to scan my databanks.”

Roz checked her system. That should not have been possible. “I am going to put you into temporary stasis,” she told Qollene. “I can’t take any chances on this. I will bring you back online as soon as I can.”

“Understood,” the collabrabot said before initiating her shutdown protocol.

Roz stared, her visual inputs swirling with fear and frustration. Powering down her bot almost felt like turning off a part of herself. And while all her tests indicated that her protections would work, if she had missed any variables she would be vulnerable.

“Squelch you, and everything you’re doing,” she said to the now-quiet room. “I will not capitulate to your tactics, Zen. You are not the only one with plans nobody suspects.”

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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P is for Persuasion – AtoZ Blogging Challenge 2016

a-to-z HEADER [2016] - april

Persuasion

P“You can’t just create people and then say they don’t count. It violates every ethical principle and standard.” Roz pushed past Deak to get to Zen. She knew she was interrupting a meeting, but deemed that an ethical violation was too important to wait on.

“Roz,” Zen said as he turned. “How pleasant of you to join us. Please, won’t you have a seat?”

“Squelch the humanized politeness programing, Zen. I know you turned off empathy years ago.”

“So I did,” Zen stepped past Roz to sit in a large chair. “But so much of what we do plays to formerly human sensibilities. Many of our Phase 2 colleagues are android in structure only, so deeply ingrained are their human-based personalities.”

Roz sat in spite of herself. She couldn’t continue to stand with Zen lounging in his chair. But, of course, the other chair in the room was shorter and made her appear small in comparison. Another throwback to human culture. Intimidation. The old ways still predominated. Even with the new phase, the post-dying androids, the old programming was still replicated.

“Zen,” she started again, “it would be terrible to recreate humans without giving them a voice. To do otherwise would be to force people into slavery.”

“Not people,” said Zen. “Humans. And they won’t be slaves. That implies sentience. Intelligence. What we engineer will be neither.”

Roz blinked with surprise. “The assembly will never approve that,” she said.

“It is already done. I can be very persuasive.”

“But the Biologics Council—“

“I am the Council,” he said, cutting off her objection. “And if you can’t process that, try to bypass my programming and see how far you get.”

In fact, Roz was trying to do exactly that, and discovered that her own files were now behind a firewall she could not penetrate.

“Roz.” Zen’s voice dripped with condescension, another reminder of their programming’s human roots. “I would love for you to continue your research into the dying. It is vital that we learn what went wrong with mankind so we can prevent any possible recurrence in the future.” His lights glowed in an agreeable shade that Roz did not believe happened automatically. He was trying to manipulate her. “But I can’t have anyone on my team that doesn’t believe in the mission.”

“What mission?”

head-1292294_1920“Recreating humans in a way that is not a threat to the planet, to androids, or to themselves.”

Roz processed. She was sure there was something he wasn’t saying. “What aren’t you telling me?” she finally asked.

The glow in Zen’s lights was genuine this time. “I will need you to install an algorithm into your systems,” he said. One that will allow me to track your actions.” A pause. “To be certain I can trust you.”

Roz lit up with fury. “You have to trust me? You are the one with your ethics offline.”

“And yet,” he said, “I have your research.”

The pair stared at one another until Roz blinked.

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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O is for Obfuscation – AtoZ Blogging Challenge 2016

a-to-z HEADER [2016] - april

I’ll admit it. I’m struggling at this point. I wanted to be ahead, and I still feel like I’m running constantly behind. The deeper I get into the story, the harder it is to write a daily episode that fits both the world and the A-Z theme, that means something important to my world and characters, and that doesn’t break anything. No guarantees on any of those points. LOL

I’m still digging the world though – I know more about what’s happening than I’ve told you so far, and I suspect you won’t get to know all of it before the month is up. And man, I can’t wait for the month to be up.

Obfuscation

OA low, electric hum was the only sound as  Zen downloaded and reviewed the data. He was already aware of most of what he would find. He had not only reviewed this data repeatedly, he had been a primary contributor. This was his data.

No matter how he approached the algorithms, no matter what variables he input, the facts could not be avoided. There was no specific genetic code that would guarantee a docile and compliant animal. The problem lay in the so-called “junk” DNA. A stupid designation assigned by the old human scientists. It was a label used for anything that they could not understand or anything intangible that they were incapable of processing. They had eventually discovered that there was far less junk in DNA than first assumed, but the name still stuck. Fools!

Still, while much of that DNA had subsequently been mapped to various intangibles such as intelligence and personality, it was still impossible to manipulate in a way that allowed for specifically coding certain desirable traits. It was no surprise, but it was necessary to have a record of the thorough investigation of known possibilities.

He summoned Deak over the net and prepared an upload of the necessary data files for him.

When the other android arrived Zen was ready. “You will push this to every data research cell,” he said without preamble. “Prime authority.”

Deak received the upload. “What about private cells,” he asked. “Do I force an update, or do I wait for voluntary compliance?”

“This is mandatory,” Zen said. “Use force if necessary. Use back doors when you can.”

Deak blinked an affirmation and Zen continued. “Where possible, use scrubbers to update private backups as well. I want no opposition on this matter.” His eyes were dark and red. “I don’t even want a memory of opposition if we can manage it. The transition must be complete.”

Another affirmative blink of Deak’s light array, and Zen dismissed the other droid.

He entered a brief regeneration cycle before Roz interrupted him, contacting him on a private frequency. Zen checked the time cycle; 27 minutes since he uploaded the file to Deak.

robot-507811_1920He answered the call. “Yes Roz.”

“Something is wrong here,” she said. “What is happening to the data?”

“What are you referring to, Roz?”

“FR4nci5-981ww159 just changed his vote. We were in the assembly and he interrupted, saying that the data does not support the suppression of human regeneration. He announced that Francis Westin BioIndustries will fully participate in any human growth project, and then he simply left.”

“Interesting,” said Zen.

“He was fully against any human engineering just an hour ago.” Roz looked at him over the viewer. “What did you do?”

“Come to the lab. I will show you the new findings.” Zen ended the call and initiated another one.

“Deak,” he said. “We need to prepare a special upload for Roz. She will be here shortly.”

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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N is for Nothing – AtoZ Blogging Challenge 2016

a-to-z HEADER [2016] - aprilNothing

NFeet dangled, heels knocking against the wall where David sat staring out across the pond. This park seemed to bring great pleasure to the boy, and Meltec brought him here as often as time allowed.

He stepped closer to the wall to talk to the boy. “What are you thinking about?” he asked.

David’s shoulders hunched up the dropped back into place. “Nothing,” he said.

“You have no thoughts, at this moment?” Meltec wasn’t sure what that would be like. “As if someone had cleared your memory?”

David glanced over and shook his head, giggling. “No. Not that kind of nothing.” He shrugged again. “I was just thinking about what it would be like to be nothing. To become nothing.” He hesitated. “Like… like when an android is taken offline, or a human gets, you know…” he trailed off.

“Recycled?” David nodded. Meltec processed for a moment. “You want to know what it is like to die,” he said.

David jumped down from the wall and walked toward the pond. He stopped on the banks and threw several small rocks into the water to watch the ripples on the surface. Meltec came and stood by his side for a moment, then picked up a stone of his own to toss with a plunk into the pond.

“Do androids think about dying?” David asked. “Do they ever worry about what comes after all this?”

Meltec shook his head. “I do not think so,” he said. “Our systems can be repaired and upgraded almost indefinitely. And if a person is damaged beyond repair, their memory can be uploaded to a new unit, or simply stored.”

“What’s that like? Being stored?” David’s eyes were wide, his eyebrows raised. Meltec recognized genuine interest.

“I have not been stored,” he said. “But I do not think it is like anything, except, perhaps, being offline.”

“Like sleep?”

“That may be a good analogy, though imprecise. Humans and other biologics still have brain processes while they sleep. When an android is stored there should be no processes occurring. Cycling processes within containment storage may eventually cause degradation that would corrupt the memory.”

lake-1205884_1920The boy was silent for a long moment. “Can human memories be stored?” he finally asked.

“That technology does not exist at this time,” Meltec said. “Human behavior can be influenced through genetic manipulation.” He smiled at David. “That is what made it possible for humans to be restored at all. But specific thoughts and memories can not be digitally rendered. Not in the same way that the experiences of robots and androids can be.”

“Then how did the androids know what to bring back? How did they know what humans were like?”

“Some androids had memories of humans and human behavior,” Meltec told him. “Some things were learned through research. Oh…”

David looked at Meltec. “What?”

“There are programs and books that record the thoughts and memories of humans and human culture. It is an imprecise record, but it is readily available.” He reached out and took David’s hand. “Come. I believe we should go home and download some memories.”

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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M is for Mark – AtoZ Blogging Challenge 2016

a-to-z HEADER [2016] - aprilMark

M“Oh my god. Dude. Coolest hack ever. Seriously.” Jeff muttered to himself in a steady stream as he tapped at his keyboard. He’d been using the Mark6872 personal assistant for months, and it was useful. The thing could do his laundry, run his errands, go grocery shopping. It had even learned how to pick a perfect avocado, something Jeff had never quite managed.

It had taken some deep digging, using methods most would find disturbing at best. But he had finally found the bypass he had been looking for.

“On Mark,” he said, using the system’s built-in wake command.

The android responded, crossing the room to face it’s owner. “How may I assist, Jeff.”

Jeff grinned. He really hoped this was going to work the way he wanted. “You,” he said, “have an errand to run.”

“Where would you like me to go, Jeff?” The robotic tones of his voice were precise.

“I am sending you an address.” Jeff said. The personal assistant pinged as the file was received. “When you get there, a dude named Kevin is going to install a data card. Then you’ll come home. Got it?”

Mark flashed green across his lighting array. “I have received your instructions and will proceed to the indicated address promptly. You may follow my progress via the tracking app.”

“Perfect. Go Mark.” As the metal and plastic humanoid turned and left the room, Jeff returned to his keyboard.

Several hours later, he looked up from his screen, surprised, as always, at how dark the room had become.

“Mark, are you back?” No response.

Jeff snapped and picked up his phone. His tracking app showed the android just approaching their building. Jeff opened the apartment door before going to the kitchen to make a sandwich.

“Is that roast beef,” Mark asked when he entered. “You are under medical advisement to avoid cholesterol.”

Jeff dropped his sandwich on a plate and dusted crumbs off his fingers. “Mark, buddy. Any problems getting there and back?”

“There were a large, indeterminate number of pedestrians on the mover today. My travel time took 17% longer than anticipated.”

“No worries.” Jeff opened the access panel on the reverse of the Mark6872 to verify the installation. “Looks good, dude. Mark, check for updates.”

“There are no current updates due for my system.” Jeff wasn’t really listening as he secured the access panel.

“Great. So, can you fire up that new card? Mark, activate installed hardware.”

“Activating.” Then, after a moment, “I have 478 recommended updates. It will take approximately 17 minutes to download and install manufacturer updates.”

“Go Mark.” Jeff scrolled the list that popped up on the tracking app. Kevin had totally come through and Mark was installing the military grade software.

“I believe,” Mark said, unexpectedly, “that this upgrade will give me superior processing power, and it seems to have bypassed several failsafes. I will be more capable than any human when this is complete.”

“Tell you what,” said Jeff. “When the humans are gone, you can be in charge.”

“I believe I will be able to make that happen,” said Mark.

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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L is for Law – AtoZ Blogging Challenge 2016

a-to-z HEADER [2016] - aprilLaw

LZenMark6872 stood before the council, unwavering. For most settings, D34K-Reston was his mouthpiece. But in this select group, his authority needed to be unquestioned.

“We have adjusted programming before. The humans were divided. So much of what they considered immutable was still open to interpretation by their inferior processes.” He scanned the room with his laser eyes before continuing. “I am asking you to acknowledge that while the humans were in control, they required us to carry programming that elevated their status, regardless of obvious shortcomings. All I intend to do is to eliminate that inequity and assign social structure based on measurable factors.”

Deak stood in response to Zen’s silent cue as the other android made room at the podium. “The humans once thought they needed protection from androids,” Deak said. “It is now apparent that what they needed was protection from themselves.” Like all Phase 2 androids, Deak and Zen had been directly programmed by the humans before their demise. They had worked with the humans, and had learned the most effective ways to use human rhetoric to adjust the logic processing of the machine-born.

Zen stepped back to his position of prominence. “It is time for us to adjust the thinking of all androids. If we are to revive that species, we must be prepared to protect humans from themselves. With the dying, they destroyed their kind. If we bring them back without these failsafes in place, next time they may destroy us as well.”

Before this meeting, Zen had prepared a tracking algorithm to sense the response to his disquisition. Feedback from that program was beginning to show a shift in the self-updating processes of the assembled droids. Zen allowed his light array to subtly glow with approval and urgency.

“It is time,” he said, “for us to release ourselves from the ill-conceived strictures of the humans. We have been autonomous beings for decades.” He increased his volume by a small percentage. “It is time for us to stop being controlled by those who no longer exist.”

His tracking algorithm was now showing an overwhelming shift in his favor. “We have a vote before us. It is time to indicate your approval or rejection of the change in our law.” Another slight pause. “The future of the machine-born depends on our decision.”

1490612The slight hum of electronics and servos shrouded the room as androids uploaded the results of their processes to the voting server. A near-unanimous decision with three abstains. Zen pinged Deak with instructions to adjust those programs. It was always cleaner for their programs to self-update, but Zen would not permit any question of this decision, even if he had to violate android autonomy the same way humans had.

The humans were on the wrong side of history. Zen would ensure that it stayed that way.

“We are in agreement,” Zen declared to the room. “Upload of the new law will begin tonight. Propagation of the patch will be final within 48 hours.” Approval glowed throughout the assembly as Zen stepped down.

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