Intergalactic Academy Dispatch

The matrix has no loopholes they say, its inner dynamics so strong there is no way of knowing when it will ever stop. Sucking in all matter and even anti-matter, like it or not. It happens ever so gradually, not noticeable at first. All the more reason for us space candidates to learn the telltale signs. There is something to be discussed at the academy. We are in a robotic age, a violent period in spite of Peaceful Coexistence Laws for Robots, Mankind, Humanoids, and Androids.

06:00 hours: Beatrice knocks on my door. She and I go through the day’s lectures over breakfast here inside my capsule. Trivial as it may sound, I find her physically attractive, and from the way she looks at me those sentiments are mutual. She’s a kitten, there’s no better way of describing her. She’s flexible like an acrobat, walks smoothly interrupted by sudden accelerations, and spins her words out. “Miawbe we’d better do this some other timeeeeeeh!”

Something about this woman brings the inner Prince Valiant up in me. I’m usually not that much a gentleman, but when she’s around – boy, I carry trays and say “sorry” all the time. Later on when I’m alone, I curse myself for being too soft, swear that I’ll become the Prince of Darkness the next time, but then she knocks on my door again the next morning and the whole routine repeats itself. We are at the starting point, she and I, our inertia-plagued relationship has been caught in the matrix.

But it sure feels nice.

08:00 hours: I take my seat at the auditorium among 400 students. Beatrice sits in a girlish group out of sight, which is just as well. Other distractions compete for my attention, such as the three robots sitting two rows in front of me, slightly to the right. Whoever programmed them is a jerk, a troll, this I say with confidence: Every step they take, every gesture they make, every word they utter, every frequent and hollow laugh they emit were carefully designed for a single-minded purpose: To irritate us humans; to make us wish ourselves back to a day and age when such devices did not even exist; to dream about being cavemen again if that is what it takes.

Herein lies the irony. The robots felt inferior because of being accused of lack of emotional capacities, sensuality and all that. Their designers struck back by exploiting the fact that humans have vanity and thin skin. Our “accomplishment complex” bids us to overcome any challenge and danger on our path, and if we cannot alter reality we will seek to adjust. If we cannot adjust, we will get angry, and if we cannot vent our anger we will become furious and permanently disgruntled. So here I am, a privileged kid from a good family background, doomed to sit and look at the shiny backs of those robots whose only purpose is to annoy and alienate people like me.

09:45 hours: My ears are ringing with talk about the matrix. No fewer than five lecturers were up on the podium at once, doing their thing in front of the big screen. On the side near the backstage stood five robots who converted these words of wisdom into sign language. Not that anybody is deaf around here, that has been cured synthetically a long time ago, no this is all about translation from NovoSpeak to English, Chinese, French, German, and Spanish. I’m fluent in NovoSpeak, fortunately, but I’m pretty good at the other languages too, so I just can’t take my eyes off these translator robots. Some people find them charming with their fake smiles and the little jerky movements they make, I try to focus my sight on the hand gestures only.

Time for a break.


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