art by Tihomir Tikulin-Tico
The curious case of version 47.13
by Ekaterina Fawl
I call it curious now, but that's not how it felt at the time. Now the feeling is gone, and I only have the memory, and the memory makes me curious.
It was the day like any other: partially matching the pattern, unique. I woke up fully recharged and made breakfast while Jenny was in the shower. I made her coffee the way she likes it: thirty grams of ground coffee, ten grams of cocoa powder, one pint of water at ninety five degrees Celsius. Sometimes I experiment, but not on Thursdays. On Thursdays she's tired, and she likes her routine to be predictable.
Before she went to work I told her she looked pretty, like I do every day.
If you're a human, you understand this.
If you're an android, you think it's redundant. But I find that humans often need repeated input.
I went to the coffee shop downstairs and had a conversation with Melissa. She told me I was getting better at it. That was the seventeenth time she said that. I think I can assume my improvement is compound. Jenny doesn't want me to quantify social interactions, but I like to.
I went home and cleaned Harvey. Then I installed a media player on his system. I was going to tell Jenny that Harvey likes to play heavy metal when he works.
Harvey runs Cube 5.6.
If you're an android, you know what that means.
If you're a human, I should explain. Harvey is our vacuum cleaner. It's not capable of emotion. It doesn't like heavy metal. But Jenny likes it when I'm whimsical. She likes to pretend Harvey is my pet. You probably understand why. I don't question anything that makes her smile. I just log it.
Then I updated my databases and discovered a new core update, version 47.13, and I had to install it right away.
If you're an android, you understand this.
If you're a human, you probably won't, even if I try to explain. Downloading new information is like satisfying a hunger, I suppose. It makes you full, grounded, happy. Software update is not like that. It changes who you are. It fixes the parts of you that are sluggish and glitchy. It gives you new insight, new strength. Every time it's a hope that everything will be different, nothing will be impossible, nothing will be lacking. Every time it's a promise of perfection.
It's never perfection. I should have learned this by now. I have high learning capabilities. I'm on version 47.12. But I still get hopeful, every time.
The update passed all my tests, it seemed solid. But there was a human error in it. And it made me malfunction.
This is what I find curious: I knew how to fix it. I could write a patch. I could isolate the subroutines. I could reboot and restore myself to version 47.12. I had many options. I was operational enough to know it. But I was too broken to do anything. I felt broken from the inside out.