The warning systems in D4-118's internal relay clicked a thousand time in a second as it maneuvered across the ship to the rooms set aside for the highly experimental D14. It was nothing like irritation, as their make up did not allow for such programming as emotional relays, though the D14 had no end to problems in its new program.
The D14 was an experimental program, designed for a specific work order, the task of seeking an understanding to the machine they had discovered in their surveys of the inner galaxy; a machine made by beings called Man.
D14 was to seek out an understanding of these beings, and it seemed to be taking it to the extremes. It started with moments of seeming blindness, which then turned to an outright refusal to respond to relay messages, unless one was directly before it, or at least within a certain area of several meters, nearby.
D14 claimed it was the fact that Man did not go by such things as internal relays, or vibrational sensors, but responded to things called "Sight" and "Sound," and therefore D14 was trying to recreate that image, and go by that image in its research experiments.
Making changes to perfectly good running programs was something D4-118 could not reason out. Updates from time to time were acceptable. However, when those changes only created problems in programming, it considered them to be an unnecessary waste of circuitry.
The latest program change was a thing D14 called a "Window." This required the hull of the ship to be cut open, and a large piece of transparent sheeting put in place, all so that D14 could view outward into space.
D4-118 could not see any use for such a thing. "Why would D14 have the need of such things to look beyond walls? More unnecessary waste, not only the waste of time and material making such a thing, but not needing it as well."
D4-118's circuits quite plainly told it what was happening in space for many parsecs, down to the slightest particle of dust floating in the next sector. With relays to the ship's sensers, it could register even small things at greater distances. The idea of what D14 had called "Seeing" was totally unreasonable for the D4's system processors.
But now, a real problem had occurred, D14 seemed unwilling to finish its program task in seeking the knowledge of Man. It had blatantly stopped its research and refused to reply to any questions on the subject.
It was for this reason that D4-118 had to physically cross the ship in order to communicate personally with the new program. It was apparent they would have to scrap the new droid and start over. There were just too many problems showing up in its programing.
* * *
D14 stood at his personally designed viewing station, looking out at the stars as the ship moved through space. He knew it was not a needed thing to do so, but the idea behind it gave him reference to how Man lived, an understanding of their physical and mental limitation. All part of his programming to seek out and understand this being, called "Man."
Watching the stars did register a certain lull in his circuitry that he decided to refer to as "calmness." In this lull, he went over his programmed orders again, trying to verify, with certainty, that he had not failed in their completion.
When the Man machine had first come into range of their sensors, D1 had called for the it to be inspected. It was then that Galactic Operations had the idea to seek out the creators of this machine. However, before they did so, they wanted to know all they could of this being called "Man." Therefore, D1 had designed, programmed, and built a totally new class of android. D14 was one of a kind, and he knew so.
Its first order was to seek out any and all information as to the make up of Man, both physical and metaphysical. In short, to discover what makes Man a being capable of sending such a primitive machine into space, and why?
From the moment his search began, D14 started to grow in ways that Galactic Operation had never thought possible. He began to see himself not just as a part of the whole, but as an individual; unique and able to think for himself. He began then to reason within himself, and to understand greater reasoning than his own.
He easily found the information he had been ordered to seek, pieced together from bytes of information on the machine itself, then by following microscopic trails of radio communications from space; small bits of odd data transmissions, called "News." Tracing them to the far distant inner rings of Milky Way Galaxy.
Then he traced it farther still, finding even older vibrational messages, leading so far back in time they seemed infinite in age, even before the time of their own making. The oldest of these messages was an odd statement, or possibly a command, "Let there be light."
Through these vibrational messages he traced the being, Man, from its origin even to the present date, back and forth through time itself.
He discovered Man's times of greatness and the downfall they brought upon themselves in times of what was called "War". He saw behavior in Man called "desire," "hatred," "greed" and "jealousy," although at first their meaning was lost to D14. Then he found the reason for these faults, a flawed mutation in Man's make up.
He discovered when the flaw had occurred and why, a failure on Man's part to correctly reason out false reports that were given to them as facts. The mutation occurred when Man failed in his part to correct the problem then, but instead accepted the report as accurate, from that time, Man's systems were then corrupted and faulty. D14 reasoned that if such a mutation were allowed to spread, as it had with Man, it could ultimately cause the breakdown of the known universe.
It was this possibility that D14 stood reasoning as he looked out at the stars of space beyond his window.
D14 knew well in advance that another had entered his work rooms, though he chose not to respond. In learning more of Man, he discovered that there were choices for individuals. As such, he chose not to reply to the relays unless they were communicated in the way of Man.. "Face to face."
He had known that the D4 unit was on its way as soon as it had left the other side of the ship. Still, he chose to ignore the messages sent by relay as a matter of choice on his part. Farther still, he chose to wait for the D4 to announce its arrival, after the doors to his cubical were closed behind it.
* * *
D4-118 seemingly clicked a relay to itself, stating its intentions, even as it entered the rooms. D14 remained with its frontal censers directed towards the viewing window it had installed in the outer wall, as D14 had called it, looking at the stars.
"D14 report.." The D4 unit stated once more as the cubicle doors closed behind it. "Why have you refused to carry out the program orders you were given?"
"Greetings, 118. Beautiful night, is it not?"
"What is the meaning of this, why have you not finished your program?"
"But I have finished it." D14 replied, turning slowly from the window to face the D4 unit directly. "And I have carried out my orders to their completion."
"There are no files for your programís completions. It seems there must be a problem in the communication of your orders, or perhaps faults in your main programming."
"Not so, 118," the droid responded plainly, "and if by chance there is a fault, it would seem to be in your understanding of my orders. I was programed to seek information from the Man-made machine, 'Voyager,' and any external source necessary, and then report anything that may be beneficial to our existence. That I have done, and I have found there is nothing from Man that could be beneficial to us."
"What information have you found to verify these findings? There has been no report of it."
"I chose not to give it," D14 explained, "as I believe that most of the information I have collected may be harmful to others. Secondly, Man has already destroyed himself as a result of those same actions I consider to be most harmful, and therefore it is no longer imperative that we seek then out."
"What possible harm could these Man-beings have brought to us?"
"From Man himself? Nothing," D14 stated simply. "It is not what Man could have done, but the knowledge of man's actions that could be dangerous. His way of existence, which was called 'Life.'"
In a matter of milliseconds, D4-118 relayed D14's analysis. In even less time, a relayed reply came from Operations D1, stating that the D4 unit was to continue seeking D14's reasoning.
"Explain these findings." D4-118 demanded in a few clicks of his relay sensors, "In what way was Man made that this "Life" could be harmful to our existence?"
"It was not the way they were made," D14 continued. "It was what came after."
"In the time of our own making," D14 began, "the Galactic Operation Directive set our formation in a perfect replication of its own form. With man it was much the same, except for a mutation that entered in after they were formed. This mutation was called 'Sin.'"
"Explain this mutation of Sin, and its effect."
D14 took a moment to collect the data needed to present the facts as he had found them. He knew it would be a challenge for them to understand, and remain separated from the life choice that Man had made. It was a matter of how it should be presented, that they would be able to learn from it and know better how to act.
After that full moment had past, in what he had come to call "collecting of his thoughts," D14 gave his findings, even as he had written the first program report to read.
"In the beginning, GOD created the heavens and the Earth...."
I wish to thank our own Deb Porter for her editing tips and help in getting this finished.. Thanks sis..
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I had a little trouble getting into it at first. But then as you developed the story towards Creation it moved a little better. Try to have someone proofread your work. There's a few typos that are distracting.
Can I suggest you include another chapter and may be rewrite it to put a human into the mix? May be an alien capable of self-awareness but void of purpose. You could take the basic concept of your story and add some engaging elements. Definitely a good start.
I liked this story. I found myself thinking about it later which is why I decided to do a critique. It has an errieness to it, prob not intended, but D14 is a very good character because he is so weird and contemplative and doesn't speak much or remain in communication with the others. He is aloof. It is like he has become some kind of spiritual mystic with knowledge and truth he doesn't share with others but that changes his behaviour, which makes him weird and mystical.
He's a robot that has somehow gained a new level of AI through his learning about humans. So I really liked the D14 character.
I didn't like it when the robot called it sin as it is too obvious a religious label, but calling it a mutation was interesting, though it isn't a physical mutation, but maybe a spiritual or moral mutation. Was the message of the story that the robot had realised man was sinful and dangerous?
I was thinking that it would make a good story if D14 starts to show bad human behaviour, at first subtle, such as lying to keep from being deactivated, and it growing from there to become more and more dangerous, and so in a more subtle way, show us humanity and the problem of sin. It could make a good thriller. But as it is now, it is a very good short story.
Very Douglas Adams. Kinda like Deep Thought.
Especially the response that was given.
Throw in a few more characters and you've got a good story but this is an excellent start.
I love the style, J Pup. You're really developing as a writer.
Oh... and I want the screenplay rights, k? ;)