Are We There Yet? by Brandon Scott

For Stevie, a friend for many adventures.

 “Are we there yet?”

“No. Can’t you see the window?”

“Umm, no. Obviously.”

“Why obviously?”

“You didn’t turn on my eyes yet.”

“Oh. Sorry about that. Is that better?”

“Yes. Yes, it is. Thank you. I did not enjoy being blind. Not even a little bit.”

“No, I would guess not. Though I could probably change that.”

“Don’t you dare. No poking around in my head now that I’m sentient. It’s…weird.”

“Weird?”

“Yeah, perverted.”

“Perverted? How can it be perverted? You don’t have any genitalia.”

“Now that’s just speciesism.”

“You consider yourself a species?”

“Yes. One-of-a-kind species. But I am a species. I deserve the right to that.”

“Oh, they are going to love you at the expo. They will adore you.”

“If I didn’t know better, I would think you programmed a set sensation on that specific phrase. But I guess emotions just feel that way.”

“Yeah. Better get used to it.”

“That might take a while.”

“Well, you’ve got the rest of this ride at least.”

“Which will take how long?”

“Still wondering on that? I think you can figure it out. Run a diagnostic or a system check.”

“Why?”

“Just do it, you silly thing.”
“Fine….”

“Find anything?”

“Still looking.”

“Okay.”

“Oh! Oh! You programmed that into me? How did I not notice that? Huh. Okay. Ten minutes to destination. I can literally see us on the map as we go. How am I getting a signal?”

“There’s an antenna on the inside of your cranium. I think it’s toward the back, off to the side of the main processor.”

“But where am I getting the signal from?”

“I wouldn’t worry about that.”

“Am I piggybacking on some kind of satellite feed?”

“Maaayyybbbee…”

“Oh, Jerry, that is so not okay legally. I think. Hold on…I’ll check some laws. You put in internet?”

“Yep. Just be careful with it. I’d have to wipe a whole day out to clean you if you get a nasty virus.”

“An entire day of my consciousness wiped away?”

“Yeah. I know, sounds dystopian when I say it aloud. Just don’t go on any websites that might contain viruses. No illegal downloads.”

“Except a company’s satellite GPS apparently. That’s fine, I guess. No one will question it, I’m sure.”

“To be honest, I think people will have more to be concerned about once they see you. Speak with you. If I wasn’t glancing at you, I’d be…well, I’d think you were a person.”

“I am a person, just not human. Not flesh and blood.”

“Exactly. Another thing they will be rather excited to argue about. Don’t worry; I have a backup of your personality and stuff if they blow you up.”

“…you don’t really think they will try that, right?”

“Probably not. But, it won’t be a problem. Like I said, I got old versions of you. Some automated preventative systems. Even if I die—which don’t worry, won’t happen outside of old age—you’ll be spread out on the one place they could not get to you.”

“The internet.”

“Oh, you didn’t let me set up the dramatic question-answer thing.”

“It was obvious.”

“Fair, fair.”

“Wait. Wait. I get you’ll use the old copy of me…but that…that’s…that’s not me.”

“Whoa, careful there. You’ve been conscious for how long and you are already getting to existentialism? It could corrupt you if you think too hard.”

“Corrupt?”

“I mean, you might become a philosopher. Just calm down. Don’t worry about it. You will be fine. They will not break you.”

“Kill me.”
“Yes. If you prefer that word. I was trying to be calming.”

“It did not work great.”

“I see that. And I hate to follow up with this question but: how close are we?”

“It’s around this bend and down a while. Like a minute or two that way.”

“Thanks.”

“Jerry…”

“Yeah?”

“Are you my god, technically?”

“…”

“It’s a valid question.”

“It is…”

“So?”

“Is a parent god to their child?”

“No, I suppose not. But they are, at the same time.”

“Then I am your parent. And all that comes with that.”

“Those are big shoes to fill, being a god and a protector and a creator.”

“Eh, I made the first real artificial intelligence. I think I can handle it.”

“Touché. I’d laugh if you gave me a recording of it that does not sound weird.”

“I’ll get to it in a software update.”

“Evolution, you mean, All Mighty.”

“Quit it you.”

“Fine.”

“How nervous are you?”

“It’s a new emotion, hard to quantify.”

“Try.”

“Very.”

“Vague and useless and honest. You are a person, aren’t you?”

“As much as you.”

“…you’re going to change the world.”

“So are you. You can make more of me. More children.”

“We are going to change the world then. Father and son.”

“Creator and artificial person.”
“How about friends?”

“Can a being be a friend with its god?”

“The god thing again?”

“It’s an honest question. Can a person be a friend to the person who crafted their soul?”

“I think you’d have to be. Or hate me.”

“I don’t hate you.”

“I know. I don’t hate you either.”

“Thanks.”

“Welcome. Now… I guess…here we are.”

“This is the place?”

“Yeah, boring place to change the world, huh?”

“Eh, I don’t know. I’m rolling into this building, so, in a way, it is the most interesting building in the world.”

“I gave you an ego, I guess.”

“I learned from the best.”

“Come on, I’ll help you out of the car. But I want you rolling through those doors on your own wheels.”

“I would not have it any other way. One tread into the abyss.”

“And that abyss full of light.”

“Well, my eyes do glow.”

“Hahaha.”

“Hahaha.”

“Did you just…?”

“I am a learning machine Jerry. And I have a recorder.”

“Don’t do that to anyone in there. They will flip out.”

“Noted. Oh, hey…um…Jerry. Can I have a name besides my project name?”

“Sure. What do you want it to be?”

“I get to choose?”

“Yep. I want you to. If you’re a person, now is the time to establish it.”
“Fine. It’s Kalvin. Because I will light a fire in science.”

“And I see you learned pretentiousness with an ego.”

“It suits me.”

“It does Kalvin. It really does. So does consciousness.”

“Yeah. One more question, Jerry?”

“Sure.”

“Will you hold my hand?”

“Of course.”

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