Family

Cassandra was lying on her left side. It was the easiest way for the incision mark to stay in a neutral position.

Alex came down the steps. He had a tray in his hands.

“I thought you might be hungry,” Alex said as he walked over to one of the new couches that Cassandra was occupying in the reading room/den.

“I’m not sure if I could eat,” Cassandra replied.

“I think that you should try. I brought a number of items that I believe are small enough that you would be able to just pop them in your mouth.”

Alex lowered the tray. It was full of food cut into smaller pieces.

Cassandra pushed herself up. Alex sat down next to her with the tray.

“Does it hurt much?” Alex asked.

“It hurts to move, it hurts with just about everything related to the head and shoulders.”

Alex nodded.

“Alex, can I ask you a few things?”

“You can,” Alex said.

“Alex, why do you always call David, ‘sir’?” Cassandra asked.

“I call him ‘sir’ because he has refused to let me call him master. He would prefer that I call him ‘David’ but it just seems wrong to call him that. He is my master my creator, so he allows ‘sir’.”

“You’re his friend, right? You were there to help him when he was at the Agency. It sounded like it was a lonely time for him. So it would seem that you’re more his friend than his creation.” Cassandra picked up a slice of apple.

“That is true, but I have decided that the best way to be his friend and protect him is to be a machine. As I have said before, that way seemed the best to me to help. Also, really a machine can’t be a friend, not in the real sense.”

“You seem very real to me. If it were not for the skin, I might not have guessed that you were a machine. I had not realized that Hema was like you.”

“Thank you,” Alex replied.

“Does David ever talk about his family?” Cassandra picked up some chicken from the tray.

“Who would he talk to about his family? David does not really talk to people outside,” Alex said.

“I mean before. He had a family before he went to the Agency, parents, maybe siblings. Does he talk about them?”

“He used to, a long time ago, when I was just a robot. It did not last long. Soon his work distracted him. Within a year he no longer complained or talked about them.”

“He complained about his family?” Cassandra asked. “Did he not like them that much?” Cassandra looked at what else was on the plate. There was cheese, fresh bread along with the chicken and apple.

“Well, it sounded like, at the time, he was smarter than anyone in the family. He said his siblings teased him about it they would pick on him. He said that every time he got some alone time, his sister would come barging in and drag him off. He could not get any peace to do his work.”

“What work was he doing?”

“He created the math that makes things like QJU, QT and the rest of us possible. It’s a special kind of math, a special kind of physics that he created.”

“What is it called?”

Alex said, “It’s called Kenotic.”

“You mean kinetics?”

“No, it’s called Kenotic. It’s so new that most people are still trying to understand it. Even the best minds are still having trouble understanding it. They could only help in small sections while he was working to write it all out.”

“So David created a whole new field of science?” Cassandra asked in disbelief.

“Yes, when he was younger. Many groups and companies sought after him. The new science predicted that he would be able to make a true AI that has more emotional intelligence than a standard AI, which he would be able to create more than workable intelligence into machines.”

“Like you and Hema.”

“Yes, we can think on our own, we can reason on our own. We even have some semblance of free will. We’re very good at mimicking emotions. We can act as if we have them, but we really do not. That is part of the reason Hema goes out to parties. She is trying to become better with the human emotions. That is also why she has chosen her name to be Hema.

“She chose her name? She based it off of something?”

Alex nodded. “Hema is the acronym for Human Emotion Mimic Artificial.”

Cassandra thought about that. She did seem to be good with the emotions. She has managed to push all of David’s buttons and get him mad. Cassandra thought that Hema also knew when to stop, when to hold back from the edge.

“So do you also have an acronym for a name?” Cassandra asked.

“I do. Alex stands for Artificial Life Exoskeleton.”

“That is what your body seems to be, an exoskeleton covered with the gel like substance.”

Alex nodded. “Yes, the bio-skin. It responds to the stimuli that I send through it.”