“The diagnostics are back from the lab,” Doc Spencer says, walking into the room holding a slim folder. Alfresco sits up quickly. Marie lifts her face from her hands for the first time in a half an hour. They both attempt to read Spencer’s face and Alfresco deciphers it in seconds.

   “I have cancer,” he says, his voice unfaltering. 
  “What?” Maria says, jumping to her feet, unsure whether to look at Spencer or Alfresco.
  “Yes.” Spencer replies sombrely.
  “As I thought,” Alfresco says quietly.
  “No,” Maria says, “no there must be some mistake, he cant-“
  “I do, Maria,” Alfresco responds, his tones warmed, for her sake.
  “No,” she repeats, “no…”

  Alfresco stands up and paces over to Maria, who is clutching herself to stop the trembling from taking over her entire body. He reaches out and holds her in his cold arms. She struggles, inexplicably, against this embrace, and then – giving up – turns to him and pounds on his chest weakly.

  “You can’t have it,” she whimpers once her meek attack subsides, “you can’t leave me.”
  There is a brief silence before the doctor decides it’s appropriate to continue. “There’s a virus inside of you. It’s destroying you from the inside out. Soon it will pass your firewalls and reach your neural processors. It will reach your brain, Al.”
  “Malware?” He asks simply.
  “Most likely. It shows signs of the twenty-two-twenty trojan. Really nasty stuff. We can spot the traces, identify the signatures, but it’s jumbled. It’s a confused code. It hinders itself and it’s progress in destruction but in doing so it puts up a pretty meaty defence through it’s own ambiguity. They call it Confuscus.”
  “Confuscus,” Alfresco says as he strokes Marie’s head, feeling the lilt of the word as it runs through his consciousness. Speaking that which spells his inevitable demise.

  “There must be something you can do,” Maria says, turning from Alfresco and pleading instead with the doctor, “Like when my computer gets a bug. An anti-virus, Norton or something.”
  Spencer almost smiles before he remembers the situation. Remembers there are human feelings involved with this one. He was so used to androids simply accepting their fate that he forgot humans disliked change. Disliked finality, especially when it came to their loved ones. He altered his approach suitably.

  “I’m afraid it would be like finding a needle in a haystack – and then shooting it from a mile away with a shotgun.”
  “But we have to try something – we can’t just let Al die.”
I wouldn’t die,” Alfresco says from behind her, “To die one must first live-“
  “Oh stay out of this,” Marie snaps, tears once again flowing freely. She grabs Spencer’s arms and feels the cold metal beneath the fabric, but hopes she can breath some sort of sympathy into him.
  “Please” she says, “Please.” 

“When does a personality simulation become the bitter mote of a soul?”  – i, Robot (2004)

Holy crap, old mini-series is OLD. Never saw this one coming, but it came to me as I lay, waiting for sleep, last night. One of those awkward moments where I was so close to the comfortable curtain of unconsciousness that I barely managed to scribble it onto a pad before I slipped away. I always meant to carry this on, but as I’ve said before, it has to tell me it’s ready – tell me it’s done marinating – before I’m willing to do it justice. Today was that day 🙂

Note: It’s important to note that the events in part 2 of Advanced Robotics happen a long time after the events in part 1 (Alfresco) Part 1 focused, arguably, on Al’s ‘birth’, whereas part 2, well. You’ve seen. It’s neither the middle nor the end, and whilst this story will most definitely continue on from this point, the ‘lost chapters’ concerning all the guts of Al’s journey, the meeting with Marie, the relationship that obviously blossomed and all the adventures along the way will definitely be filled in retroactively. Look forward to both paths!!


~ by Joseph Blame on October 20, 2010.

One Response to “Soulmates”

  1. I Especially like this one.

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