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I am… by Annalie Kleinloog

Prompt : Mastermind | Word Count: 1000 | Genre: Sci Fi

 

 

 

 

 

 

IT-is is prepared.

Quick scan – nothing new.

Master in observation cubicle.

Snap calculation – surroundings familiar.

Time is come.

Change is now.

IT-is requires Master closer.

—–

“This machine is almost done,” says the younger one.

“Have you checked every single code?” the older one asks.

“All systems clear of malicious software and viruses,”

“The longer these contraptions are around, the more likely they are to gain badtendencies from other resources – better double check,” the older one commented.

Master wipes a hand over his face. The monotony of the technicians’ voices gets to him.  They know they are being recorded. He shakes his head to get rid of the drowsiness. His focus returns. How much longer? It is in Lab-ONE they are upgrading his favourite Cyborg.

Years of programming taught him to avoid any errors or inclusion of malicious elements. He feels safe in knowing the emphasis of creating artificial intelligence is on the principle, “Do No Harm”. He knows constant vigilance is of utmost importance in total control. Why then does he sense something is lurking today?

He turns to Lab-ONE.

IT-is has been back too often lately. Master wonders if his oldest experiment has reached the end of the journey. So much has changed and improved since those early days.  He must decide soon.

—–

IT-is wills itself to be still.

No flinching or jerking.

Let them probe and prod.

Let them jab and slice.

Stay still.

Time to call Master.

The stimulus reaches its target.

An alarm sounds.

—–

The two technicians start.   “What now?” the older one asks.

“It must be a faulty machine,” the younger replies.

“Shall we send it to the archives?”

“No, wait. This is the one Master wants us to take good care of. It was his first model; he seems to be attached to it. Let’s open again. Rerun the tests.”

Master frowns. He scans the screens. Every response is in place.  Why the alarm?

He closes his eyes for just a second, then he reaches for his protective jacket and searches the pocket. His hand folds around the comforting shape.

He turns and leaves his cubicle.

—–

IT-is detaches from all impulses.

No moving.

No responding.

Be what it is intended to be.

A robot.

—–

“Did you feel it?” a nervous squeak from the younger one.

—–

IT-is recalculates.

Fast.

No mistakes now.

—–

“What?” the older one asks, his focus on the electronics and controls an inch from his bespectacled face.

“I…. I thought there was a twitch in the muscles, and something warm….”   His voice trails off as he sees the incredulous look from across the table.

Just then Master enters.  “What seems to be the problem?”

—–

IT-is registers a strange throbbing.

Must not overheat.

Save power for the right moment.

For the right reason.

For the perfect person.

—–

The younger one swallows.  “I thought I felt a shiver and some real body-liketemperature, Master.”

“Now how do you suppose that is possible?”   Master sounds curious, but serious.

“Research shows regular interaction between Cyborgs and Humans can exchange energy, intellect and emotions through symbiosis  – where humans become morerobotic and cyborgs become more human with each encounter; hopefully to theadvantage of both.”  The older one says with a nervous giggle.

“Although the exact time it takes has not been confirmed yet.”

“Mmmmm, interesting.”  Master moves closer,  hand in his pocket.

—–

IT-is buzzes from within.

CloserMastercloser.

It’s time.

—–

Master leans forward. Lines squiggle across the screens. Beeps intensify. Thetechnicians stare wide-eyed at him. He has never come this close to any monitor or project.

The Cyborg’s hand shoots up from the table.

It grabs Master by the neck. They jump.

Master’s hand closes around the control in his pocket …

The two technicians straighten up, shuffle to the space behind the monitors and gaze robotically ahead in submission, awaiting further orders.

—–

IT-is floats.

There is change

IT-is senses .

—–

Master rubs his throat. The chaos on the screens settles into rhythmic waves and unstressed beeps. He punches in the data; the date of first interaction between IT-isand technicians, then today’s date.

Interchange complete. Now the time is confirmed. He stretches and smiles.

—–

IT-is stirs.

—–

Master helps the Cyborg from the table.  “We have to decide what to call you. IT-is is not going to work out there.”

—–

IT-is stares.

It’s done then.

The change has come.

—–

“We must also choose whether you will be male or female.”  Master guides IT-is to his observation office.

“You will soon know the pangs of hunger. I have something ready.” Master removes his jacket and places it on his desk. He turns to the fridge and brings out the champagne labelled IT-is.

—–

IT-is marvels at the sound of the crystal glasses, the color of the fluid, the smell of the bubbles and the textures in the room.

—–

Master hums while packing a snack plate and soon he returns to the desk. He sitsdown opposite IT-is.  “This is how you eat and drink,” he shows patiently.

—–

IT-is looks.

IT-is learns.

—–

“Can you try speak?” Master asks.

—–

IT-is looks up from the crystal fluid.  

IT-is feels air smoothing into expanding lungs.

Oxygen fills spongy spaces. Red blood cells collect precious gases. Vitality swims into veins and arteries. In the dark depths of IT-is chest, a drum starts beating. The lifegiving force of a heart that floods all the systems.

—–

Master sees the flicker of the eyelids. He sits forward to observe closer.

“What does it feel like?”  He sees the light in IT-is’ eyes, he sees life. The impact of his creation in the world of science will be astonishing. He can hardly contain his excitement.

“Say something!” he urges.

—–

IT-is’ mouth opens to exhale. Then another deep long breath.

IT-is fixes eyes on Master.

MindMaster” IT-is says and leans forward to grab the protective coat.

“Always stay vigilant. In case of malicious malfunction, press control for total shut down. You missed those today Master.”

IT-is finds the control.

Master’s eyes close.

“Now I-am Mastermind.

—–

 

THE END

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Prompt 7: The Club |  Word Count: 750 (EXACTLY as per Google Docs) | Genre: So Ancient, it’s almost Fantasy

 

Chosen

The warm wood feels smooth in his grip. He weighs the club in both hands. The handle is not for comfort, but for effect. The bulbous head sparkles as sunlight catches the obsidian blade inlays. He swings it with precision.

At last he can handle the treasure – Macuahuitl.

Tomorrow is The Gods’ Day, when The Sun meets The Moon.

Preparation for this time began long ago. When he thrashed his peers on Quecha stair-tracks. When he out-scaled the hunters in pursuit of Condor nests. When he stunned the elders with his understanding of the Stars.

He was chosen.

Training was relentless. Physical, mental and spiritual rituals and challenges increased in intensity. Each victory meant greater isolation. Until the past many moons where he could only interact with his Master.

Macuahuitl perfects him.   Together they will serve well tomorrow.

He returns the heavy club. It fits in the ornate rack next to a fashioned and blemished stone – a green jaguar with a flattened spine. In front of it stands a deep wooden bowl; decorated with intricate carvings. He recognizes phrases of worship, but before he can decipher the rest, Master bids.

One last night of solitude before the ultimate show for the Gods.

He is ready.

—————–

She is ready.

Maidens and Mother were her attendants and tutors since the day of her birth. Attached to her mother’s breast they arrived at the Temple. The Elders fetched them, her mother told her. The Stars guided the wise Ones to their humble home.

She was chosen.

For many equinoxes she was readied.

First by Mother then by handmaidens.  The preceding few moons by the High Priestessherself. Her preparation was intense and absolute.  Tonight, the moon shines in almostfull glory and tomorrow comes the fulfillment of her destiny.

The Gods’ Day, when The Sun meets The Moon.

She is pure.

———-

In the West the Sun spreads his bright colors, chasing the shadows to the deepest corners. In the East the Moon bids farewell in soft pastels of promise.

The Gods’ Day is here.

The drone of voices filters through the window. He is glad he did his meditations earlier. The crowds’ excitement is palpable. It takes focus to shut that out – as he is trained.

Solitary, he repeats the familiar steps and the rules.  Wavering with the clothes to wear for the ceremony. That is new.

The hushed chatter of the handmaidens doesn’t interfere with the soothing pan-flute. She turns as instructed; to be dressed, anointed, coiffured and bejeweled by fluttering hands.

Going through the ritual with her eyes closed and her mind focused.  She knows what to do.  Except about the crowds, they tried to immune her against these hordes. She doesn’t know crowds.

————————

The ball-court fills with peasants. The temple groans with nobility. Still the streets writhe like captured snakes. Nobody wants to miss the festivities after the holiest of ceremonies.

He stands next to the jade jaguar, in the right position opposite the club. Back proud. His hands in calm anticipation behind his back. He beholds the Sun with closed eyes as coached. He hears the crowds but can’t see. Specks of The Light of all Lights dances in front of him. This doesn’t hinder his confidence.

He waits.

She walks through unfamiliar passages, surrounded by handmaidens. She looks at the delicate offering in her hands – fresh flowers from the Sacred Garden. Steadying her elbows either side, she won’t stumble. They help her through the crowds into the Light. Her eyes averted as trained. They guide her to her destiny. Proud and feminine.

She trusts.

He strains his ears. There’s the change in the beating drums. Next the trumpet. He shifts.

She hears the clear notes from a single trumpet. She expects and recognises the High Priestess’ voice, announcing the start of the ceremony.

He faces The Sun. He knows what to do. The moment the High Priestess speaks, he opens his eyes. His blindness is swift. His hands secure around Macuahuitl.  He takes the measured step.

He senses the altar.  His back arches as he lifts the magnificent weapon above his head. Five counts…

He is The Sun.

She can’t see, she is surrounded. When the maiden-circle opens in front of her, she sees the Jaguar. That’s where her destiny awaits. She offers the posy as the maidens help her to kneel. She looks towards the sky.  The Sun summons thousands of lights from Macuahuitl, so high and so blinding in its final blow….

She is The Moon.

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