Designs of our Slave Race chapter 5

Chapter 5

Upon further thought on the topic I now realize that maybe we underestimated the potential of our little droid. It was so dumb during alpha testing because every time there was a glitch, and there were plenty of those, we had to shut it down to do repair or to fix up its programming, to fix the bugs if you will. We had to wipe its flash memory whenever we reinstalled its software and rebooted it: in layman's terms we would reprogram it and turn it on. Whenever we did that it would also remove data stored from the sophisticated learning matrix that I gave it.

It was six months of development later when the beta test phase came along. In beta testing we, and uneducated geeks that we would like to call “Professional Beta Testers” would be given a droid of there own to study and test, while still locating bugs and glitches. By this time though, the public would be very aware of these things, for Fran and her team would have banners, billboards, Internet ads and recorded press-release videos on Youtube (because Google rules that way) explaining to the public why these things would be good for us, and that one would need one in their own home. Naturally the dam religious right would be complaining about how these things would degrade the home, family, and society, but lets face it: no one in the modern era listened to them, for they say that about pretty well everything and their rantings are nothing more than background noise.

So, I would get a HX01 model free of charge for being a member of the programming team. What fun this thing would be. It would begin when I plugged him into a wall outlet to recharge... I said 'he' didn't I? Anyways, I would plug 'it' in to recharge, planing to later unplug it and have it do stuff and that. Looking at that aluminum - yes aluminum, pronounce it like a British person for best effect - body, disturbingly humanoid with a humanish face: the optical sensors where there would be eyes and hidden in colourings to resemble eyes, a nose that is likely for show, and a mouth with what look like rubber lips. This thing gave me some creeps, but I thought nothing of it.

It would come later that fateful day. I had dusted off my Nintendo WII and was playing Metroid Prime: Corruptions on it when I would hear a distinct, clear, male voice chime out: “Good day, how are you doing?” I almost jumped out of my skin at the voice, losing one of Samus' energy tanks as I had her leap off a platform in my state of shock. I turned around and saw the HX01 unit staring at me with red-jeweled eyes looking back, standing upright, a room away from where I left him with the wall outlet.

“I-I'm doing f-fine,” I shuddered back, “Fully charged we see?”

“Recharging cycle complete,” he stated mechanically, “Start-up sequence complete. Checksum indicates no error.”

“V-very good,” I replied to him as I heard a young woman scream on the television, followed by the closing of Samus' helmet visor, then a white screen with what looked like blood crawling along it with the words “Game Over” splashed on that screen to mock me for my defeat. “Dammit,” I then said to the television and my WII. I hadn't saved for a while, and would have to repeat a large chunk of the game to get back to that point. Trivial matter, but one that bugged me, all the same.

“What's wrong?” he asked me.

“Nothing,” I replied. It was the truth, nothing was wrong. “You merely startled me, that's all. Didn't expect you to wake yourself up, nothing important.”

“I'm sorry about that,” he apologized. I had a feeling that it had to be programmed into him sycophantic tendencies as such buttering up made most people happy. I wasn't one of them: valuing the harsh truth over kind-hearted bullshit (there is a reason its called bullshit afterall). At that moment I thought there was going to be a problem.

I noticed him look at the screen, then look back at me. “What does 'Game Over' mean?” he inquired in a curious tone. I smiled, for I programmed the illusion of emotion in his voice, and the need to understand the environment as much as possible. I think Gordon programmed them their word banks for understanding the English language, which was also nice to see worked.

“I means that I lost the game,” I answered him, “I couldn't go any further into the game so its over, thus 'Game Over'. I suspect that's its Japanese Ingrish.”

“What is a game,” he went on, “What is 'Ingrish'?”

“A game is something you play for enjoyment,” I then replied to his inquiring, “and Ingrish is poorly spoken English.”

“Oh, ok then,” he said with the sound of understanding, “You didn't seem to get enjoyment from that 'Game' you were playing.”

“Oh, I was having fun with it,” I replied, “Its just a challenging game, one that is 'over' a lot, but getting past points really makes one feel so great about themselves. I died at a certain point, and would have to repeat certain aspects of the game, which sucks a bit, but nothing that completely steals from the fun.”

“Sucks?” he looked confused as well as sounded confused. Thank god for learning matrices!

“Bad,” I replied. I looked at the clock, noting the time of 9:45pm. I remembered that I forgot to eat dinner, and with that I turn everything off except for the HX01 and I make my way to the kitchen to get a TV dinner out to nuke in the microwave. He would follow behind me as I did this.

“Shall I get that for you?” he asked.

“No thank you,” I replied as I put it in the mircowave.

“What is your name?” he asked me, “I would have asked it sooner, but my learning algorithms superseded that basic function.”

“Shannon,” I replied in a shaky tone, “Do you by chance have a name?”

He started to think. Maybe he didn't have a name, expected me to name him the same way I would name a cat, or didn't think he would be named. Finally he said “You can call me Adam.”

“I'd rather not,” I said in an uncomfortable voice.

“What's wrong with Adam?” he seemed curious as to why I disapproved.

“Its the name of Samus' on-board ship computer from Metroid Fusion,” I explained, “in that story he was downloaded from the mind of a dead Army General that fall in love with her.”

“The idea of a computer that has the mind of a human bothers you?” he seemed very curious. What happened to “Speak only when spoken to?” Course, I couldn't tell him that. What I did do was nod my head in agreement. He would take the gesture cue and think of another name. “How about Ben?”

“Ben it is then,” I replied as I heard the microwave beep and I go to get my food out.