Free Write #60: Programming

by on Feb.20, 2013, under Articles, Free Write, Writing

Welcome to Free Writing! Quick fiction written for entertainment purposes. This week we have another piece of flash fiction. We’re continuing the story from the last few weeks. So if you haven’t read the others, click here to see them all. Enjoy!

Programming
By Nojh Livic

For what seemed like almost a yottacycle, all three begins stood motionless, although Prime’s internal chronometer registered it as only a millicycle. Then the soldier’s expression began to change, Paul began to move, and Prime waited.

“What is that?” the solider asked. Prime was unable to read the new human’s expression because Paul had moved to stand between the two of them, shielding it from view. The tone was similar to Paul’s initial reaction, which translated into surprise but there were other unidentified qualities which could be some type of aggression. Still Prime opted to wait it out. Paul was taking action.

“Err what? What is what?” Paul stammered, swiveling his head around as if he were looking around the entire laboratory, except he did not look behind him. The solider side-stepped and came into view. His expression did not seem aggressive, relatively compared to some of the video from the computer Prime had processed. Still prime remained motionless.

The solider started to raise the tray then stopped, set it down on the nearby bench, and then pointed. “That. That is totally contraband, isn’t it?” Paul was at a loss for words and Prime wasn’t familiar with the word contraband. It began mapping escape avenues including using the computer or Paul as potential coverage in order to hide and reconfigure. However before Prime could decide on route to take, or Paul could respond, the solider continued. “It’s totally the hot toy this season isn’t it? I think I saw it on commercials. Man I’d kill to get my kid one of those. Where’d you find it?”

Toy was a word Prime was familiar with. It was an object used to derive amusement. Which meant the solider was now assuming it was native to the planet, one of their pieces of equipment they manufactured to provide amusement. Not knowing exactly how a toy was supposed to behave, Prime decided remaining motionless was the optimal camouflage for the moment.

Paul stepped in front of it again, blocking view to the solider. “What? This thing? No,” Paul said, although his tone had changed slightly. “There’s no contraband here…” Prime could hear the solider take a few steps forward and then he leaned around Paul. His larger weapon was now attached to his back, rather than his hand, and he peered down at Prime. “Okay okay, you caught me. I was just programming it.”

“Programming it?” the solider asked.

Paul turned around to face Prime and motioned to the computer. “Yeah. It’s totally programmable. It even responds to voice and stuff. See? Prime, sit down.” Prime didn’t hesitate but instead assumed a sitting position on the floor.

“Holy crap! It’s like one of those robotic dogs? Shit,” the solider said, using one hand to scratch at the back of his head. Prime’s field of view was limited, now that it was in a sitting position and the solider was right in front of it but it could extrapolate body movement.

“Yeah, kinda. Look I knew I had some spare time today between tests and I couldn’t programing this thing at home without the kids finding out…” Paul said, changing his tone yet again. The solider turned his attention to Paul, then nodded.

“I get ya. You gotta keep everything under lock and key or those rug-rats will get into anything. Mine’s only five and he already uncovered my porn stash, then showed it to his mom. That was embarrassing!” the solider related. Prime made a note to search for the meaning of the word porn later.

“Uhh yeah. Exactly. So if we could maybe not report this? Keep it on the down low and what not? It’ll be gone tonight, obviously. And I could see about trying to find you one, for the kid?” Paul asked, ducking his head slightly, not that he needed to be any shorter relatively compared to the other human. It was obviously some kind of secondary or territory language protocol, similar to shrugging and nodding but less overt.

“Sure, doc. No problem. Although I heard the General is planning to do his rounds later so you probably want to hide it soon, yeah?” the solider turned away, starting towards the door and Paul followed him. Prime remained in a seated position, listening and watching them both. They talked for a little longer and the new human re-iterated the deal about finding another toy before he left but Prime was soon alone again with Paul. Paul slumped back against the door and let out a loud gust of air from his mouth.

“That was a close one,” Paul said. He looked over at the tray the solider had brought, picked it up, and walked back over to the desk. Prime directed its head to follow Paul but didn’t speak until the man sat down at the chair.

“Perhaps it is best if I continue my research covertly,” Prime suggested.

“Yeah. But first we’ve got to do something,” Paul said.

“Something?” Prime asked.

“Yeah. If the General is coming, I’m going to need something for him, or he is going to take you away.”

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