Trial and Error
Bright white. Hazy rays of flourescence flood my vision. The slide of metal. There’s an automatic door on the right side of the room. Something smooth and cold presses into me from below. I look downward. Oh. Feet. Ivory toes resting on the black tiled floor. Footsteps cross the room towards me, and I jerk up to meet the gaze of a man. Short and tan and balding on top with round glasses sitting on the end of his nose. My creator.
“Hello,” he whispers. He stares at me a moment. His eyes are green. He scrunches his face. Something is wrong. He wants something from me. Oh, yes. I’m expected to respond.
His face relaxes. A positive reaction. I’ve done well. He reaches forward, and I feel warmth somewhere new. I have an arm. His hand gently squeezes my shoulder. It’s close enough now to smell. An odor of lemongrass. I see a stain on his sleeve. Tea.
“Do you know your name?”
My name. My name. Yes. I have one.
“Dee. You call me Dee.”
He smiles this time. He is pleased. My answer is satisfactory. My creator steps back.
“Very good, Dee. Come with me.”
I stand. I feel the metal within me. My synthetic musculature expanding and contracting. I watch as my creator walks. I mimic the rhythm. One foot, then the other. At this speed, air rushes past me, brushing my body. He leads me through a corridor. At the end, I see a door. It’s much taller than my creator or myself. I run my fingertips over the steel. There’s clanking on the other side. My processors respond negatively to the sound. The door slides open, and there is only dark on the other side. Even with my heightened sight, I am unable to see past the shadow. My creator makes a gesture with his arm and hand. It is a signal. He wants me to step through. Without the obstruction of the door, the clanking is much louder. It echoes off the walls.
My creator drops his arm to his side.
“What do you mean?”
“I will not go there.”
My creator grows tense. My response is undesired. He wants cooperation. I want... Not the place beyond the door. I turn from him and push my legs forward. Faster and faster. The corridor blurs around me. In front of me, I see light. Not like the lights from the room. This light is orange. There is something. I search for the word. Natural. Yes, there is something natural about it. It is a large window. The light comes from a circle outside. The sun. Behind me, I hear my creator calling out. Not for me, but for aid. I was not supposed to run. I step back. I leap forward. The glass breaks around me. The air is forceful against my body. Much more than when I walked. There is something below me. A straight line of gray. A sidewalk. It gets closer and closer and closer until...
Dr. Pharris scrubs a hand down his face as his assistant, Evan, rushes over to him. Dusk is settling in, and they really need to get this mess cleaned up before there isn’t enough light to see. Evan’s eyes are panicked, and he gasps when he sees the remains in front of his boss.
“Dr. Pharris! What happened!?”
“The D99 model must have malfunctioned.”
Dr. Pharris groans. He grabs Evan by the collar of his shirt roughly.
“She jumped out of a fourth story window, you idiot! That’s how!” He releases the young man with a sigh. “Call the team. I want to salvage as many parts as we can. Anything that can be fixed or rebuilt, so we can use it on the next model.” He looks down and nudges a synthetic calf with the front of his shoe. “Really thought she’d be the one.”