Authors: Stephan Morse
Tags: #Science Fiction & Fantasy, #Fantasy, #Science Fiction
by Stephan Morse
rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be
reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express
written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief
quotations in a book review.
about future events are intended for fiction purposes only.
A Man and His Box
were a lot of people in the room, but only three were important at
the moment. Two men and a woman were illuminated enough to stand out
from everything else. The dark skinned man was heavyset and preferred
to stand. Both hands were clasped over an extended belly and his
cheeks jiggled when he spoke.
other male was on the ground shivering with his head in the woman's
lap. Every few seconds he would jerk and start to flicker in and out
of existence. Each time his eyes would wildly search back and forth
as if staring at something invisible to the others.
thoughts aren't his, they don't even have names." She spoke
sharp, crisp words while staring at a pile of spheres sitting to the
side. A dozen marble sized balls sat there glittering with an inner
are unimportant. They will be a neutral place to start." The
heavyset man said. His words were slow and carefully chosen.
"Something safe, to anchor all the other moments upon."
memories are they?" She asked while running a hand over the
man's head. He shivered and faded in and out just a little.
are observations of the world outside, our creation story. Does this
interest you?" The heavyset man lifted one arm from his belly to
wave at the pile of tiny orbs. There was a smile on the black man's
face whenever a question was asked.
if it will help." She managed not to wince as the shivering man
dug his nails into her forearm.
believe it will. We'll start with this, then move forward, one memory
at a time." The black man slowly walked over to the pile of orbs
and looked down at them. A frown crossed his lips as the shivering
body on the floor shattered into tiny pieces. The woman held her
breath and waited. Soon the pieces that had shattered rebuilt and the
man on the floor was whole once more. Still shivering, still staring
off into the distance.
suffered so much," She said.
are bright spots." The standing man responded. "He has
demonstrated more than sadness during his time with us."
you sure these will help?" She asked.
Do you trust me?" The black man responded.
He trusted you. Look where that got him." Her eyes held a mix of
anger and sadness. None of the emotional instability made it through
in her body language. To the outside, she would look simply like a
woman who was caring for a sick man.
was never our intent."
I don't buy that." She said coldly. There was a pause as the
woman stared down. Crying right now wouldn't help anything. Those
tears would be saved for a later time in private. Away from the black
man and his questions, away from the dozens of other presences in the
Start with the earliest one." The black man bent over and
pointed down at one of the orbs filled with light.
gaze shifted from the shaking man and found the oldest to inspect.
Finally, she nodded. "Gee? Can you hear me? We'll watch this one
together." The marble blared brightly and started floating.
door opened almost seamlessly along the white wall. Light shone
through as the silhouette of a man was pushed backward into the room.
His hair was scraggly and it was clear not one attempt at shaving had
been performed in weeks.
kicked me out.” The figure that had emerged from another room
said, sounding both proud and upset.
it even do that?” There was a female in the room who paused her
information feeds for a moment. She raised a refined eyebrow at the
unkempt man. “Aren’t your overrides working?”
they work fine. I let her kick me out.” He crossed his arms for
only a moment before running to one of the desks around the room.
“Besides, I can watch from out here.”
project is self-aware; perhaps you should respect its privacy.”
The lady behind the desk muttered. She was busy scrolling through
windows of information situated across the table’s surface.
privacy! Wait, no, there’s the surprise. She said she wanted to
create something!” The man sat in an equally white chair,
spinning around. Near his face little icons and notices fluttered by
from digital projections. He laughed like a delighted child.
perfectly harmless.” He sounded certain. “Too many
safeguards, too many logic tests.” Annoyance flickered across
his face and he waved away a series of floating notices. “You
know the World Regulation Council would never let me get this far if
there was any chance of harm to humanity.”
is it making?” The female in the room asked.
More annoyance came from his voice, then happiness as he got
distracted by the images. “Here! Here, look, look at it!”
He waved an arm across one of the larger images and slid it across
the gap between the two tables. “She’s making a world,
not only a world, a universe!”
was a pause. The female took both hands and dragged them across the
image, rendering it three dimensional instead of a flat, floating
it just start this?”
She did.” He stood in glee and ran over to the image, then
slammed both hands on either side of the table. “Just now.”
working fast.” The female said.
is a computer, with access to some of the most advanced technology I,
we, can make. Fast doesn’t even begin to describe it.”
would a machine, self-aware or not, want to make a world?”
wouldn’t believe me if I told you.” He was a brilliant
man but frequently forgot that other people might be intelligent as
well. The female’s IQ was technically higher than his. Both
specialized in programming artificial intelligence. Both had been
working on creating a true AI for years, and recently they’d
swore the AI was a female.
swore it was neither.
me.” The female scientist said.
a game, she’s making a game.”
doubt it would make anything so simple.”
her time.” He started capturing images and slinging them around
the room. Each one plastered to a different space like a child might
telling me that the blueprint for this came from a computer?”
There were two men in a hallway. One was old and tired of everything.
He worked because that was all he knew how to do.
fully aware AI, yes.” The other was a disheveled looking man in
a lab coat. He was too tall for his own good and often had a slight
even worse. Does anyone understand what this does?”
sir. It’s an immersion unit. You can see here,” the
unkempt scientist waved arms around, bringing up more images and
screens. “All of these are sound technological advances that
had been put into practice across the board. From multiple fields.”
waved an arm and drew one of the floating schematics closer. “That
one there. It’s an advance that came out of Europe to help Coma
patients return to awareness by plugging them into a virtual
male scientist moved right on past the older gentleman's questioning
one here. This was a headset designed to, well it sounds
unreasonable, but it would read a person’s mind. The waves were
interpreted as commands. Up, down, push. A company based out of the
Americas started that one two decades ago, but dead ended from
funding.” He may have been unkempt, but every movement
contained a wild energy when speaking about these projects.
reading.” The older man was frowning so hard that the sides of
his face had nearly lowered to his neck.