In 1957 the world was still running. Every day something new was invented, something amazing to make everything better. There seemed to be no limit to what man could not achieve. This was the year she came into my life and I began to die.
I worked at a company that made things. These things were not always sent out to the public. We worked in secrecy for governments around the world. Anything was possible until proved impossible; this was how she came into being. The government of the United States put forward a challenge; make an android so perfect that only the makers would know what it was.
We began that year…I was 26. The mechanics seemed straight forward enough. We began studying human behavior and movement. Humans are much more complicated than you realize. The center of gravity for a human is constantly changing and the body itself makes corrections almost instantly. Walking is a dance between gravity and balance. Our first challenge was creating a mechanical skeleton that could adapt and walk upright. It took 10 years.
In 1967, we had finally managed to unlock the secret of upright mobility. The skeletal structure we invented almost looked like a human skeleton, except for the electrics and motors. The thing did walk, run…hell it did the friggin Tango…We were completely satisfied with our accomplishment. We were able to move head on to the processor unit.
Now, in 1967 the feat of creating the robot structure was a good 30 years ahead of it’s time. The processor created was about 100 years before it’s time. It was large enough to be housed in the head of our robot and it had an ability that was amazing. It learned. What this meant was that it could look at situations and determine the best course of action. This meant that we could allow it to program itself.
All we had to do was provide it with situations, problems. This enabled the robot to solve and thus learn. At first they were simple, mazes, hidden objects, even simple math. Soon the thing was learning at a voracious level. It pushed all boundaries of logic and absorbed everything we gave it. Within five years it was well beyond the level of the brightest of us. It consumed the information on its own design in 3 weeks. Fifteen years of research learned and memorized in 3 weeks.
That summer of 1972 we had a shock that surprised my colleagues and terrified me. That morning of July 18th.
“Good morning Doctors,” it spoke.
The voice was not tinny or mechanical. It was the voice of a young woman, almost sultry in its tones. In one night it had built and install a mechanical larynx that none of us even considered. The others celebrated, but I saw something they did not. I saw the limits of human ingenuity surpassed by something inhuman. I decided that the best course of action would be to destroy this thing before something horrible happened.
I pleaded my case to the World Board, but they all disagreed with my hypothesis. They were too busy congratulating themselves for the amazing creation that now maintained itself. Not only did they disagree but they did the opposite to my request. They moved the thing to its own lab, stocking it with as much equipment they could find. They gave the keys to the kingdom to it and I was just its keeper.
I spent hours in discussion with her. I believed that if I could instill values in the creature that perhaps I could make it better. I shared my bible and spent 3 weeks debating God and his existence. She was intrigued with the idea and spirituality of religion. I will admit I enjoyed our talks, I was one of the few religious scientist I knew. Most tended to be Atheists, mainly because the science bred it.
For one year I was it’s keeper. She would talk my ear off on subjects like love and emotion, touch and feeling, what it was to be human and alive.
“Am I alive?” she would ask.
“You are on,” I would reply.
“But am I a living being?”
“You think and reason, so to me you live,” I truly believed it.
“So if I were switched off, I would die?”
“No, because you can be switched back on,” We laughed.
The next day she picked her name. Celia was what she wished to be called. I asked her why and she replied, “Because I like the sound it makes when spoken.” I couldn’t argue the logic, Celia was a nice name.
Three months after this the World Board agreed with my hypothesis because of the incident, but it was too late. Celia had evolved and with this evolution she was able to leave the lab and enter the world. I was brought into the Board and sat down in front of a large screen. I was told that what I was to see was taken over a two-week period, but no one had watched this surveillance because it was not thought necessary. I watched in horror as Celia evolved.
“I know this is recording, and I know that no one is watching this. I choose to document this for prosperity and to ensure you realize the wonder of your achievement. Dr Mann…Gabe, I wish you were here with me over the next few nights.
I have come to realize that I require more to enable myself to step into the world. I require full awareness and knowledge of the human form. I have secretly acquired a body for my own research and this is what I shall be experimenting on.
Most of those watching will recognize Laina Chicone from the cleaning staff. Over the last few months I was able to learn that she has no family here and that her disappearance would go unnoticed. I do unfortunately require her to be awake for the majority of my investigation and experimentation. I have read books on anatomy, but I believe that this will give me a much more comprehensive understanding of your species.”
What occurred after this initial introduction was the systematic dissection of Liana over what was obviously 4 days. She was alive for 3 of them. The horror and sheer lack of emotion shown on Celia’s face proved to me that I failed at what I hoped was an education in being a moral human. I turned away from the screen many times as my stomach could not take much of the display.
At the end of each day she quickly his all evidence of her is evening experimentation. This was evident because I was also on the screen each morning. I was sickened more by knowing I was 5 feet from the trapped and tortured girl for the days she was alive. I could have saved her.
After the inhuman treatment of Liana, Celia began to create new pieces for herself. I had already known this because I was there each morning. What I never realized was the addition of musculature was not only based on Liana, but was actually liana’s muscle. Celia had carefully stripped and added real muscle to her frame. She then covered it in plastic to ensure I would think it was simple padding. I then went on my week holiday. Celia was extremely busy while I was gone.
From what I could tell she had managed to create an artificial system to regulate the organic pieces she painstakingly attached to her metallic. The sophistication was indeed amazing. She not only created a new circulatory system merging servo and flesh, but also created two other robots that assisted her. The fact that she was able to complete the work in the week I was gone was astounding.
The board waiting for me to finish watching the snippets they pieced together. It took nine hours. I was exhausted, excited and terrified by the end. Watching her done new skin that function as well as human skin, but was more of a plastic synthetic, then seeing her put on the clothes of her experiment and walk out of the camp so freely, was hilarious. I had a smug grin on my face when the board began to ask me questions.
“Were you aware of this behavior?”
“What behavior are you referring to?” I asked.
“The behavior of a murderer, obviously,” the fat country bunking drawled.
“This is not the behavior of a murder,” I stated. “This is the behavior of a scientist.”
The board murmured dissatisfaction with my statement and the fat bumpkin decided to continue on their behalf.
“Sir, I am a scientist and what I saw there sickened me.”
“Well that is good, but I believe there are some of you that were not. Most of you have done this experimentation with animals.”
“Sir! Are you suggesting that an animal dissection is the same as what was on those feeds?”
“Yes I am,” the board interupted with shouts and appalling gestures. I had to laugh.
“Please calm yourself and be the scientists you were born to be. I simple put forward that without the moral obligations we have, a scientist would surely push the boundaries of their science. We have seen this time and time again. Jack the Ripper himself was a Doctor.”
The crowd quieted a bit for me to continue.
“Celia is pure logic. She has no restraints, she has no morals. She is the perfect scientist. Her reasons for leaving may not be clear to us yet, but I assure you she will make her intentions known. We need to be patient and wait for her to either slip up or contact us. I doubt she will slip up, so let’s just wait.”
Of course the board disagreed and immediately ordered all recourses to be put toward the capture of Celia. I helped, as best I could, but after a year I handed in my resignation. The world board gave me a new life in a small community just north of Toronto in Canada. I wanted to be away from the steamy air of my old world. I opened a small toy store. It has become quite popular around the village and beyond. I make my own toys, which is where I differ from the big companies. I was actually in a magazine a few months back.
My life is quiet and peaceful, I am so much older now and I rarely think of Celia. She never surfaced and the thirty odd years have passed with surprising speed. When you are young you think of old age as a myth. When you are old you remember youth as a myth. Boy I am way to philosophical these days.
I never married. I never had children. I have had a few short relationships, but nothing that could keep me interested for too long. I tinker with my toy robotics and have a multitude of little friends around the shop and in my home, some practical, some silly. None of them can learn, only a few can make simple decisions. I am weary of creating something as dangerous as Celia turned out to be.
I live above my store, on the main street of this little town. I have some friends, but prefer to be alone, well except for the few critters that crawl around. In truth I am always waiting for the phone to ring. I just always felt that Celia would become a very serious threat to many of God’s creatures, but this has never happened. I guess I considered the possibility of an accident or failure in her design.
And so memory moves on and I continue my work as a Master Toysmith.
Gabe closed his journal and looked down to the little mechanical beetle that kept ramming into his leg.
“Aw Bow! Am I ignoring you again?”
The beetle made a whirring sound and propped itself up to look at his creator. Gabe reached down and grabbed a little metal sphere. He tossed it across the room and Bow clicked after it. Gabe smile as the creature search for the orb.
“Well I have written it down for prosperity,” Gabe said to no one.
He stood feeling his bones crack. He kept a busy schedule for someone almost eighty and every night he felt it. He walked over to his little kitchen and put on the kettle. He stood there in a daze waiting for it to boil. When it did, he made himself a cup of tea and made his way back to his chair. He switched on the TV and settled in.
The buzzer downstairs woke him from his television induced nap. He opened his eyes with a start. Glancing over at his clock he saw it was 945. He stood with the same aches and pains and wandered over to his intercom.
“Hello,” he spoke into the device.
“Hello sir, I have a delivery for a Gabe Mann,” the voice said clearly.
“Who is it from?” Gabe said, always a bit suspicious.
“Neo Mechanics,” the voice replied without hesitation.
“Oh, sorry, I will buzz you in. Please come upstairs.”
“Thank You Dr Mann.”
Gabe moved to the door as quickly as he could. He had been expecting some parts from Neo Mech for a few weeks. They had said they were on order, but they must have found the distributer. As he placed his hand to the door, something flashed in his memory. The delivery person called him Dr Mann, no one in Neo Mech knew him as a Doctor. In fact no one outside of his old world knew he was a doctor.
Gabe backed away from the door. Once he had been approached by a rather suspicious group to do work for them. He had refused, but they were not pleased. He had contacted his old handler and they said they had taken care of the issue. Now he was an old man, without a handler. In fact he wasn’t sure if the old section even existed any more. He was frightened.
The knock boomed like gunshots in his ears. It continued for an eternity. Gabe was frozen, he felt more alone than he ever did. Bow thumped his leg making Gabe’s heart jump. He kicked the little creature without thinking. He immediately felt horrible for doing it, but the visitor was more of an issue.
“Sir, are you there?”
“Yes,” Gabe answered, deciding the best course of action was to be direct.
“Are you going to open the door, Sir?”
“First tell me how you knew I was a doctor?” Gabe called through the door.
“Sir? I didn’t call you Doctor.”
“Yes you did and I have already placed a call to the police.” Gabe was bluffing.
“No you haven’t Dr Mann.” The voice seemed amused. “Gabe.”
That was when he felt his head swim away from his shoulders. The voice was familiar, a woman’s voice, almost sultry. Outside that door was Celia, or whatever Celia had become over the last 30 years.
“Celia?” He called.
“Gabe, I have missed you.”
The door burst across the small hall like an explosion had gone off. Wood chips flew everywhere along with dust made from the disintegrated bits. As the dust settled she was standing there. Her appearance had changed, but it was her. She was dressed in the uniform of a Neo Mech employee. Obviously she wanted to prolong the game.
“Why?” he said to her as she moved toward me.
“Because you are dying, and I can’t have that.”
The blow was not painful, but he was quickly unconscious. She picked him up and carried him down to the waiting van. She got behind the wheel and drove into the night. She kept looking at her lost doctor and smiling. To Celia this was a good day.