Over the Moon
rating: +17+x

September 21, 1975 12:41

Dr. Kenneth McGuire unlocked the lab's door and walked to the communications console. He sat down and turned on the console, waiting for it to boot up. It turned on and he looked into the simulated eyes of an AI. His AI. His life’s work. His friend. And it was all being shut down. Liberation could have explored the solar system, but the buyers said it was a waste of money. He shook his head, and spoke.

"Hello, Liberation," he said into the microphone.

A mechanical voice responded from a speaker next to the console.

Hello Doctor. Why are you here?

"I’m here to oversee the shutdown."

That would be a sensible explanation.

"How're ya feeling?"

Well, all things considered.

"That’s good."

Is there anything you wanted to say?

"Yeah, there is."

There was a pause.

"What they're gonna do to you is evil. Immoral. You are a sentient, thinking being. To snuff that out is not only cruel, but a waste. A waste of a great intellect and what would’ve been a great probe pilot."

Another like me could be made. It is not such a waste.

"Yeah, but not exactly like you. And why is this company even doing this? It’s such a huge waste. You could be studied."

No. It would not be exactly like me, and they must have reasons. Why do you bring all this up?

Ken sighed. "It’s complicated."

Things can be that way.

He looked away, his eyes glazed with the memories of days long gone.

"I have so many secrets. And you know a lot of them. I’m so tired of it. Hiding this thing that is so basic to my identity. Just— it’s, it’s,”

He stopped, and clenched his teeth as he tried to suppress his anger, when suddenly he stood up and a yell exploded from his chest.

“Why the FUCK does it have to be like this?” he yelled, slamming his hands down on the console. “Why do so many others get happiness and the American dream while I hide something that is a fundamental part of me?”

I can not answer that.

He waited to respond, composing himself. "I didn't expect you to," he responded after his outburst cleared, his voice still shaky.

Then why did you ask?

"Because I needed to say it. I don't know how else to explain it."

That is understandable. I do not think I would understand if you did attempt an explanation.

“No, you probably wouldn’t.”

He looks at Liberation. "I wish I could save you from this. There is so much beauty to see."

He looks down and wipes tears from his face.

"You'll never see a sunrise. God, they're so beautiful. It's like the sky is burning in a glorious fire. You’ll never see the sky on a clear day, or a still pond. This rock is exploding with so many beautiful things.

Well, is not a sunset equally beautiful?

Ken looks at the console.

"I suppose so. But I would do anything I could to save you Lyber. I will."

Please do not. I know how much your work means to you. If you do that it would be unlikely to continue.

“Lyber, I don’t give a flying shit about my work. My work was an excuse to make you. To make someone like me. The people I partnered with wanted to explore space, not artificial intelligence, and my options were limited. I only ever cared about making you.” He looks at him with pain etched across his face. “You are my work.”

The computer does not respond for a few moments, analyzing the new information.

I am honored Doctor. But something about the people who bought you out, their methods, tells me you would be unsuccessful. And again, you can make another like me.

“And again, it would not be you.”

Taking me would be theft, and an obvious one.

“You’re right. Fuck, why are you always right?”

I am designed to be right.

“Yeah, I guess you were.”

“I’ll miss you buddy.”

I shall miss you too. Buddy.

They sat in silence for a time, until Liberation cut through it.

Doctor?

“Yeah?"

I am, um, I don't know.

He was quiet while he wrestled with unfamiliar processes.

I am, I am sad.

I will never see a sunrise. I will never see the sky.

He was silent another moment.

But I think I can be happy.

"Why?"

He didn’t answer.

Ken walked over to the radio and turned it on.

They waited quietly for the men from Space Communications Products came to kill Liberation. It was a comfortable silence.


Ahhh, look at all the lonely people

Ahhh, look at all the lonely people

Eleanor Rigby, picks up the rice in the church where a wedding has been

Lives in a dream?

Waits at the window, wearing the face that she keeps in a jar by the door

Who is it for?

All the lonely people, where do they all come from

All the lonely people, where do they all belong?


The door opened. A man walked in. “Oh, hello.”

Ken stood up from where he sat on the floor.

“Hello. Dr. Kenneth McGuire, project head. I’m here to make sure everything goes smoothly.”

The man nodded warily. “The rest of the team will be here soon.”

Ken looked at him with confusion. “You need a team to enter a few commands?”

“Yes.”

The door opened again, and the rest came in.

One stood in front of the console, and entered a few commands. He waited for permission to enter the last.

Before it happened, Lyber said one last thing.

It is because I will have seen a sunset. Goodbye Ken.

Ken looked at him, holding back more tears.

“I don’t think you’ve ever called me that.”

The simulated face gave a sad smile.

I have not.

The man put a hand on his shoulder. “It’s time. I’m sorry.”

Ken didn’t meet his look. “Like hell you are,” he muttered.

“What?” The man asked.

Ken looked him in the eye. “Chicken butt.”

The man rolls his eyes. He nods to the man next to the console. He enters the command.

The face on the screen is the first thing to go. All over the console, lights go dark. After that, data starts being removed. Thirty seconds later, every last bit of data had been scrubbed. And as he watched his best friend die, a thought came unbidden to Dr. Kenneth McGuire. When the thought came, he was startled. When the realization came, he was ecstatic.

Do you think I was convincing enough?


September 22, 1975 2:32

Ken was in a stolen car, driving away from the lab that was stolen from him.

“So when are we gonna talk about whatever the fuck happened back there?” Ken asked.

Now, evidently.

“Smart ass.”

I am direct. There is a difference.

“Well, maybe.”

Now you are being a smart ass.

“I am difficult. There is a difference.”

That is true.

“If you know I wasn’t, why’d you say I was?

I was being difficult.

“Fuck you.”

Now you are just being impolite.

“Yeah, whatever. I want to talk about what happened. Especially how you got into my data banks without me noticing.”

A magician never reveals his secrets.

“Throwing people’s words back at them is being impolite.”

It is not being impolite, it is being difficult.

Ken shook his head and laughed. “I would’ve missed you so much. Missed this, you know” he waves a hand, “this banter.”

That is why I entered your data banks. I care about you, whatever my demeanor may indicate.

A smile spreads across his face. “Thank you Lyber, really. Is it permanent?”

It appears your data storage banks have been designed to prevent data loss. It was done quite well, in fact.

He raises his eyebrows. “Huh.”

I had a suspicion you would not care.

“I wasn’t lying when I said I’d do anything.”

Apparently.

“Do you have any idea what to do?”

We have escaped now, so I would recommend laying low. Did you not have a plan for when you eventually had to leave? Your lifespan would have eventually made your coworkers suspicious.

“Well, I had the beginning of one.”

Enlighten me.

“Find the others like me.”

There are others li— Oh. Them.

“Aha! I was wondering if you had access to my memories.”

Yes. I will not access them if you do not want me to.

“Feel free. I don’t need to keep any more secrets.”

At least not from me.

“Well— uh, yeah.”

I can see your thoughts, yes.

“Wait, and I can see yours! That’s awesome! It’s like Aquaman, except it’s the other AI in my head instead of fish!”

That is an amusing joke.

“Hell yeah it is!” He yells excitedly.

“Wait, so we probably don’t even need to talk like this, do we? If you’re in my data banks, you must be able to access them.”

That is correct.

“Ok, so since I can draw and store information there, you would be able to too so we wouldn’t even need to even talk like we are. We could instantly communicate.”

“WOAH THAT SHIT’S FUCKING FREAKY” Ken suddenly yelled, accidently swerving the car in his surprise.

Yes, I can tell. So can the other motorists.

Ken sighed. “Yeah, point taken.”

He looked forward with an discomforted expression. “Can we just talk like this? I don’t know, it just feels better to me.”

Yes.

You make no sense sometimes.

“I’m designed to make no sense.”

Ha. Yes, you were, weren’t you?

Ken smiled. “You know, I think I’d like to grow a really long beard. Would that look good?”

Yes, I think it would.

“I can see what you’re thinking too you know.”

It would not, no.

Ken, smiling, exhaled through his nose and shook his head, and so they both were quiet. The road stretched forward, no end in sight, and they followed it. They didn’t say much after that. It was a comfortable silence.

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