Written for Sunday Photo Fiction. A story, about the pride of creating something wonderful, begins after the photo.
Genre: Science Fiction
Fran Rzepka was driven and ambitious. She’d produced two award-winning Nova specials so far. A third would place her on the fast track to produce bigger, more ambitious projects. Detailing the work of Alexander Provost promised to win far more than win awards. Her next Nova special could possibly change the world.
After two weeks spending nearly every waking moment with the quirky, oft-distracted scientist, she found her iron-cast professionalism slipping. It was his eyes she realized, one gold and one blue, that distracted her so. As she walked beside him, barefoot in the sand, she couldn’t help grinning as he explained the flowers they passed with child-like glee. Nothing, not the lowly moss on the rocks, nor the scrambling fiddler crabs, were beneath his praise. Fran had never met anyone like him.
She was falling in love.
Pulling her gaze away from his lips, she cleared her throat and said, “I don’t understand where their consciousness exists in their bodies.”
“They’re interlocked, you see.” Alexander looked at her affectionately, pleased with her interest. “A machine, interconnected by trillions of microscopic nanobots has the ability to assemble into its form and disassemble in a few moments. Such a feat requires a massive communication network between individual parts.” He began gesturing emphatically. “That’s all a human brain is, you see? My constructs don’t truly have a brain or a Central Processing Unit like a computer. Their entire body is in fact, their brain.”
“But you still had to program their self-awareness, right?” Her long blond hair fluttered in the coastal winds.
Dimples winked in his grin. “Actually, I didn’t. A sufficiently large network of communications nodes can spontaneously produce self-awareness, and that’s exactly what happened with Mike and Miri.”
At last, they arrived at two stones, remnants from old pier. Alexander poured a vial of blackish liquid onto each stone. “That one’s Mike and that one’s Miri,” he said. In just a few seconds, humanoid forms began to emerge from the stones. They appeared like silhouettes, ebony forms growing from the grey concrete. In less than a minute, they stood fully formed atop the concrete blocks. As they leaped onto the sand, the final details of hair and golden skin completed the appearance of two perfectly formed human beings standing before Fran.
Distracted again, Alexander wandered to the waves to examine strands of seaweed in the surf. Fran stood alone to interview the artificial humans. She could clearly see their admiring looks as their mismatched gold and blue eyes followed Alexander. They could pass as human even under close scrutiny with such emotional responses, Fran realized. Following their eyes to Alexander, she said, “Your creator is quite amazing isn’t he?”
“Creator?” they said together.
Miri flashed a wan smile. “I think we should stick with that for the documentary, but Alexander didn’t create us.”
Fran’s smile fell. “But I saw his research in the lab.”
Mike said, “He did all of that. He took every step necessary to create us. We hoped he would pursue artificial constructs when we started work on him, but we never planned it.”
Fran felt a fluttering in her stomach. “What are you saying?”
“We created Alexander,” said Miri with a proud smile. “Perfectly, lifelike isn’t he?”
A wave of anger flowed over Fran. Did she miss something? Was the man she loved…less than a man? Emotions warred within her. “No. No, you’re wrong. He’s real. I’ll show you!” She rushed into the surf towards her man.
“She loves him,” grinned Mike.
“Perfect,” grinned Miri. “Her responses to him are everything we hoped for.”
Mike smiled back. “What are the odds our only two creations would meet on their own…and fall in love?”
Each week, Alistair Forbes offers up an original photo as a flash fiction prompt. Anyone who wants to contribute is welcome, and encouraged to join. Look here for many more stories based upon the photo above: http://sundayphotofictioner.wordpress.com/2014/10/05/sunday-photo-fiction-october-5th-2014/