“Mystery item found,” a metallic voice announced.
A protocol program was activated and all the machines obeyed. The robotic diggers rolled back from the excavated earth. The crusher, a simple machine, stopped pulverizing rocks. Even the high-functioning androids --known as supervisors of the computerized machines -- stood at attention in two near perfect rows.
The reason was apparent. One figure strolled between the rows. It was the highest of their kind, and it had been activated to investigate this particular discovery.
It was known by a simple code: A.I. But, there was nothing simple about it. A.I. was an android, very much like the supervisors. However, its skin wasn't a cold metallic gray, and its face had features that were elastic and complex. Its casing made A.I. appear warm and vibrant, when compared to the supervisors. It had synthetic flesh, fiber optic hair, and clothing (which was seemingly appropriate for A.I., but really unnecessary for androids, in general).
It had been made many years ago in the image of its creators. But those creators were long gone. In fact, the memories of those creators had been locked away in the further reaches of its hard drive for eons. It would have to pull billions of files --a time consuming directive -- to find any images or other form of data on the subject in question.
Then again, this information was of little importance. A.I., the supervisors, and the rest of the machines had a prime directive: to seek raw material to help repair existing machines and to produce more androids.
A.I. made to the lip of the excavated hole.
“Digger,” it said in an oddly organic voice. “Scan object and transmit.”
The closest one rolled to the edge and scanned the contents in the hole.
“Finished,” it announced a few seconds later.
A.I. reached the hole, bent over and scanned the image again. It came to realize that the smooth white rocks in the wooden box were not rocks.
A.I. received the wireless transmission through its synthetic skin and onward to its "brain." The message was decoded, but didn’t produce anything tangible. A.I. needed a better scan from its own sophisticated system.
It glanced over the edge and laser scanned it with his eyes. While scanning the hole, A.I. had a better view of the stuff in the hole. Much of it were hard white rocks (some long or short) in a long and decaying wooden box.
The scanning was immediately decoded. The information it gathered, coupled with those from the digger, created a clearer image than before. But, it didn't solve the mystery of the mysterious rocks. In fact, it added to it.
A.I. came to realize that the smooth white rocks in the wooden box were not rocks. It was organic in nature. Its fuzzy logic chip within in its main-frame mind was becoming more fuzzier by the nano-second.
But the math wasn’t adding up. The broken and brittle items in the hole were connected in some way. A.I. activated a plotting system. Soon something concrete emerged. There was a pattern, and it appeared it formed a frame similar to an android. A.I.'s computation was active and appeared to be pulling information from random parst of its memory. In other words --in human terms – it became confused.
The mother computer mentioned it was of no use, but A.I. couldn't compute that.
A.I. needed help. It transmitted the finding to the mother computer on the other side of the world: “Mysterious item found. Need assistance: Is it of any importance?”
Within a few seconds, a response was given.
“It is of no importance. Continue excavation for needed material.”
And with that, the protocol program kicked in; the machines went back to work, destroying much of that white material. Business as usual.
But not for A.I. Before it imminent destruction, A.I. fished out one large piece from the wooden box. It held it up and peered at it. Data processing flowed through A.I.'s system. It's fuzzy logic chip kicked into high gear as it tried to make sense of the two large sockets, central cavity, and teeth on this particular piece.
“Made in its image,” A.I. stated.
The mother computer mentioned it was of no use, but A.I. couldn't compute that. Something was different about this...something important. A.I. would have to unlock a lot of stored memories, and there was a sense that it had to...or in human terms, it was curious enough to solve this mystery.
Other Flash Fiction Stories
- Worse than Captivity
Lt. Jonathon Perkin's life is mundane. He must wake up and perform for the little space tikes. However, these tikes are not what they seem. His cell is not what it appears to be. He's on display.
- Shadows in the Cities of Dust
Ashes cover the ruins of an "ancient" city. However, what the archeologists discover in this city of dust is ominous and foreboding. And, it's the shadows he discovers that spelled its fate.
© 2015 Dean Traylor