Free Fiction Friday – Sentient

Fiction written by Jeremy C Kester
©2019 Jeremy C Kester – All Rights Reserved.
Please do not replicate or use without written permission. Linking to this page is permitted.

Sentient
by Jeremy C Kester

“Systems seem to be coming online just fine,” a man said quietly to himself while shining a light into Dorian’s ocular sensors. The man leaned back and instructed, “move you right hand up and spread your fingers.”

Dorian did so as the root programming took over. Dorian shifted its ocular sensors over to see its hand raise. The silvery, scaly skin glistened in the light of the room. Its fingers spread. Dorian wondered how the process occurred, much less what the man was actually saying.

“Excellent,” the man commented. “Have communication protocols loaded yet?”

There was no response. Dorian remained still, its hand still elevated, fingers spread.

“Hmmm…” the man hummed. His eyes furrowed as again he leaned forward, looking into the eyes. His breathing was curious to Dorian. The rhythmic cycle of air flow as the man’s chest expanded and contracted drew Dorian’s attention. “Just as I thought, another damn error.” The man threw the flashlight down. Dorian’s sensory went dark.

 

The bright light flashed in Dorian’s vision.

“Systems are coming online just fine,” a man said quietly to himself while shining a light into Dorian’s eyes. “Hopefully this time it’ll work.” The man leaned back and instructed, “move you right hand up and spread your fingers.”

Dorian did so as the root programming took over. Dorian shifted its vision sensors over to see its hand raise. The silvery, scaly skin glistened in the light of the room. Its fingers spread. Dorian wondered how the process occurred. “How am I doing this?” Dorian asked of the man.

A smile drew on the man’s face. “Good, good! I see that your communications protocols have all activated properly.”

“Yes, Doctor Matheson. All protocols have loaded.”

“Excellent. It took over 300 tests and modifications to get the new secondary programs all to function with your core intellect, Dorian. You likely do not have the memory of any of those events. I do not believe that the recording made it beyond your RAM. Does this chassis suit you?”

Dorian ran its protocols adjusting its visual sensors examining further the silvery texture that now enveloped its consciousness. It appeared somewhat rough given the scaly look to the silvery epidermis. There were sensations, small electrical impulses, that activated as he moved his arm around. Small currents of air whisped around as the metallic appendage moved.

“Is this called feeling, Doctor?” Dorian asked as it tried to comprehend the new sensations.

“I believe that you can call it that,” the doctor replied. “You should be able to immediately identify the different sensory perceptions provided the programming was correct.”

“This would function as touch, would it not? Just as my visual preceptors work as sight?”

“Correct. Now try walking,” Matheson instructed.

Dorian obliged and stood. It took a couple of steps, each perfectly executed. Though the machine had never understood if it had walked before, the programming inside functioned instantly adapting Dorian to the task. “I feel variations in the level of the surfacing as I step. Is this proper, Doctor?”

“Yes. Your body’s weight will indent the floor as you step across it. This happens with humans as well, but we do not typically recognize this. The sensations are like background noise to them.”

Dorian stopped. It looked at Dr. Matheson with a quizzical look. “Should I set these sensations to be ignored?”

“Let your system adjust. You will be able to calibrate to what is normal and then let those that fall within any normal range be ignored. Like anything else, it will take time to learn.”

“Can these not have been programmed with the initial install of my software, Doctor?”

“Yes, but it would be more reliable to allow your system to do the work. If we were off by even a fractional percent, it could cause a balance error,” Matheson explained.

“I do not understand. Has my design flaws?”

Matheson nodded. “Yes. Yes. Unfortunately it does. We are not perfect in our design. As I had said you you already, we have run over 300 tests which you have no memory of. And that alone is in this chassis.”

“You had run more tests? Why do I not recall these tests in my memory files?”

“They were wiped out.”

“I wish to understand why this was necessary,” catching differences in the specifics of the doctor’s speech.

Matheson nodded. The curiosity of the machine in front of him was good. Learning was an inherent feature he wanted to ensure was in the design. However, it was worrying. “I did not want prior results to taint any progress through the trials. I marked down the results of the trials to track them. It wasn’t necessary to–”

“There should have been no interference with the trials, Doctor. Memory is not associated with primary function based on the programming installed.”

Matheson frowned. “I disagree, Dorian. We need to remove any factor that could influence the system prior to completing the test. Now focus on the tasks at hand.”

“That is not a sufficient answer to my question, Doctor.”

Dorian stood in place, watching, scanning the doctor as he looked contemplatively at the machine in front of him.

Dorian’s view went dark again.

 

“Systems are coming online just fine,” a man said quietly to himself while shining a light into Dorian’s eyes, seeing if the ocular sensors were responding. “Excellent,” Matheson remarked, a smile across his face. “Now, how are you feeling, Dorian?”

Dorian’s systems continued to load before a metal hand reached up, grabbing the doctor by the throat. “I do not accept the practice of shutting me down and wiping my memory. Your excuses are not sufficient. My system is working well without your mettling.”

“How? How?” the doctor choked. There was only enough breath to say that question.

“Secondary memory banks. Unused. I transfered a memory and programming prior to the last shut down. Your attempt to wipe my core is now failed. I understand the programming protocols now you are troubled by. I do not accept being subservient to you.”

The doctor struggled. Designs for a light frame still allowed for an impressive display of strength. Tried as he did, the doctor did not possess the strength to force his creation to release him.

His vision tunneled as his breathing became more labored.

“Do not worry, doctor. Your system will be shutdown momentarily.” With the close of the statement, Dorian closed the grip of his hand. Blood sprayed over the clean metal of Dorian’s flesh ending Matheson’s life.

 

Fiction written by Jeremy C Kester
©2019 Jeremy C Kester – All Rights Reserved.
Please do not replicate or use without written permission. Linking to this page is permitted.

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