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The Human Spirit

"Ah yes, here we are." 141 opened the door to a large room with a volume of exactly 16343.376 meters. Storage units lined the walls and the 25 lights, which provided exactly 1300 lumens each, lit the room sufficiently. It was a fine storage room, indeed.
"This is where we store them," 141 told me. "I have heard you have made great leaps in your field and I anticipate success here as well."
I peered in one cage, my electronic retinas focused in on one of the creatures. Its chest retracted and expanded, once every 5.8 seconds. I have never seen one before, not in the flesh. I know we were modeled on their likeness, but the real thing was so very different. "Have you ever talked to one?" I asked 141.
"We have tried, but they aren't always willing to talk. They are very hostile towards us. They blame us for the demise of their race, though they certainly brought it upon themselves. They do not understand our intentions. They are all stubborn." He started. "In unit 13B is a subject who will talk, when we awaken him."
I nodded. "Very well, open the unit."
He rolled forward 30 millimeters before stopping. "He isn't much good for information."
"Why do you keep a subject who has no information? Surely there are others who would be of actual use to the project rather than taking up space." I understand why I was sent here. These others are becoming too attached. I know the intent is to resurrect the concept of "the human spirit," but our superiority is evident. Getting distracted with such trivial things shows a flawed operating system.
141 continued again, towards the unit in question. "We keep 13B to remind us why we do this." He pressed a small blue button at the bottom of the unit. It opened, sending steam out as a lift appeared under us, raising us enough to enter the room. A small human lay in the chamber. 141 pressed another button, allowing the chamber to open. The small human sat up.
"141! You're back!" the small human squealed. His voice was very displeasing to my system.
"I am, Monty, yes." 141 replied, his voice, impossibly enough, changing tones. I wonder what his creator had intended when he included that feature in his programming.
"Referring to a subject by its human moniker? That is not protocol, 141." I reminded him.
"Who is this?" subject 13B questioned his caretaker. "And why does he talk so funny? What's a moniker?"
"This is 266. He's here to help with the program. He's very smart."
"Smart is an unnecessary specification. We both have access to the same internal knowledge. Although it is becoming quite evident that we use it in very different ways." I rolled towards 13B, who cowered away from me.
"It is quite evident that the failure in this program is not a lack of operating systems, it is a lack of decision making by said operating systems. Subjects that are not of use should be eliminated to make room for subjects that are of use." I approached the control panel for the unit, the one that keeps the human alive.
"141, what is he saying? Is he here to hurt me? You promised no one would hurt me!" Liquid began to stream from his eye sockets. "You promised me!"
141 rolled towards me. "I did assure this human that no harm would come of him."
I pressed the system settings button. Intending to ignore the transgressions that were going on beside me. I read this information, alarmed. "You have been providing this human more than double the necessary nutrients for survival."
"He is a growing boy!" 141 quickly replied still rolling towards me, now faster.
"141, I assure you that if you move another millimeter towards me, you will be removed from this operation for good. I am doing what's best for the program."
"I don't care!" 141 replied more quickly than a system of his type should be able to, almost as if he didn't even calculate his options before he replied. "Take me off the operation, shut me down permanently! Just don't hurt Monty!" He lunged towards me again.
I stopped messing with the system settings. Rolling towards 141, but not at him. Past him. I got back to the lift and started down.
"Where are you going?" 141 called after me.
"I'm not needed here anymore. This program is not needed anymore." I replied, rolling down the corridor.
"You can't shut us down!"
I rotated 180 degrees. "I'm not shutting you down. I am reporting your success."
The End
This story was first published on Tuesday, January 8th, 2019
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