I submitted a story to this Writers Digest competition. The competition required a story of any sort, max 700 words, that begins with the words “You don’t have enough points, sir.”. Although I didn’t make it to the finals I really enjoyed writing the story and was quite inspired to do so.
I think other computer scientists and sci-fi enthusiasts may enjoy it. Here is what I ended up submitting (I didn’t give it a title):
(No title – science fiction short story) – by Kristina Georgieva
“You don’t have enough points, sir.” said the woman behind the counter.
“But I need the knowledge! The Republic has grown us to be what it needed, but were we ever given a choice?” exclaimed Mr. Cogitatus.
“You have been given a choice, sir. You can’t afford it.”
“I shouldn’t have to pay to choose who I am and what I know!”
“Before the Republic, humans struggled with the question ’Who am I?’ The Republic has eased this burden by growing you to have a purpose”
“You’re an Android, what would you know of human burden? This purpose you speak of is a purpose for the Republic. Curiosity can’t be annihilated through the elimination of freedom. You are making us less human!”
“Is being human of any importance? You are superior to your ancestors. Humans are closer to machines, is this not what your ancestors desired?”
“Why would you think that this is what they desired?”
“They lived to work. Not many humans in the past bothered with anything else.” said the android “The basic human algorithm then was already to work, earn currency, spend currency on material property and repeat these steps. The Republic has simply made this process more efficient and effective, improving the state of the country. Do you propose going back to a less efficient model?”
“Efficiency!? This is why I don’t like arguing with Androids. Who cares if we are more efficient! We have technology for that! Is technology not meant to take over the menial work and allow humans to flourish?”
“How does a human flourish?”
“By being free to think, to explore ideas”
“But what is freedom? My dictionary defines it as the power to act, speak or think as one null.”
“Null?” asked Mr. Cogitatus.
“It seems the definition has been corrupted. Deleting!”
“Wait! I can give you the missing data. You are missing the word ‘desire’”
“The system does not recognize such a word. Identifying human as faulty. Deleting data gathered”
“I am not faulty! Your dictionary is faulty!”
“Restoring dictionary backup”
“Funny how all of a sudden you sound a lot more like an android” he said.
“Apologies sir, but there is no such concept in the backup either. What is desire?”
“It is a feeling of wishing for something. I currently desire the knowledge chip that you are refusing to give me unless I have more tokens.”
“Why does a human desire?”
“Well, now you are starting to ask the —”
“A commotion has been identified!” another deep voice emerged behind him. “Sir you need to come with us. Ecma2, reset the android to factory settings”
“Are you going to arrest me for conversing with an Android?” asked Mr. Cogitatus.
“Mr. Cogitatus you are being arrested for unauthorized use of the library and intentional damage to this android” responded the deep voice.
“The library should be free for all citizens to use, and I have not damaged the android, I was giving it information that it did not possess”
“The Republic disagrees. Ecma2, what should we do with this cyborg? This is the third time it has experienced this bug.”
“Resetting him is clearly not working.” responded Ecma2 “The elders have allowed him to get his wish. He shall receive the specific chip of knowledge that he de-si-res. He shall be imprisoned and connected to the main system. Let his thoughts train the neural network to identify the necessary firewall rules we need to implement. We can’t let the new crop of cyborgs develop this problem”
Mr. Cogitatus was taken away through the dark corridor of ignorance leading to the server rooms of the Republic.
For more stories check out the ‘writing‘ category of this blog.