Chapter 12. Lesson’s of Wisdom
Alvin’s eyes sparkled while he scanned through little car’s archived and non-archived folders. He cataloged each file according to the timestamp. He wore large isolation earphones, he listened to the audio, then tagged the names to each face as best he could.
Hours later, he had processed over twelve-hundred files, and he had not even put a dent in the number of files. The meter on the screen never moved off of the zero percent mark. But he satisfied himself that he had established a strong foundation to create a detailed video diary from the little car’s point of view and sell the history to a museum.
Steve the Android wanted to go to Washington to deliver a message, a demand of some kind to congress.
It seemed odd, but, it would not be the first time someone would have sent a robot or android to deliver a loudspeaker with legs, over-amplified, booming message to the leaders to get a message across.
The android continued to act as an interface to the computer that Alvin had built. The male android leaned over the door of the little car, looking closely.
“Someone has painted the skin of this car a flat-black.” Steve traced his fingertips over the curved fenders on the car’s body.
“I have the files here, going through them.” Alvin clicked on the keyboard and copied them to his mainframe computer. He read the back through the ownership history of the little car.
“It was after the first family that held the pink-slip had lost ownership due to a bad financial investment, using the car as collateral.” Alvin tapped on the images that seemed to float in the air. “A drug dealer wanted to smuggle drugs, painted it all black to defeat laser based speed traps. But the skin of the car is a super-solar cell, so the power fell off and the car failed to outrun the police. Driver went to jail, the police auctioned the car off, with the seats and panels all pulled away.” Alvin sighed. “The police stripped it down to the systems as much as they could. Sacrilege! Nothing like that should happen to a work of art such as this.”
“A young male couple repainted it sky blue, they used a polymer filler putty to alter the shape of the front and cover the signet on the hood.” Alvin turned around. “Signet? Is there a badge on that hood?”
“Looking.” Android eyes scanned the hood for a badge, and at the center of the hood, he could see uneven lines that shaped the nose of the car. “There is something that’s covered up. Age and shape of repairs suggest damage, but there may have been an alteration during repairs.”
“This is a TGM car. Do you know how rare this is?” Alvin’s voice rose in excitement. “Oh. Wow. This is one of the last models before the company became a military exclusive company!”
“The first generation of driverless cars?”
“No, this was before that. But I remember the company.” Alvin said. “Required reading in computer sciences. They altered the way machines functioned, wrote some rules that became the core of upscale roadcars. Sadly, the war came and the electronics, cars and computer business never quite recovered and stayed with the legacy designs.”
“Legacy designs?” Steve asked. “What’s that?”
“A college class I took on computer design and programming. All our computers, except the newest, bleeding edge, all are black and white. Yes or no, one or zero in how they operate. TGM experimented with ternary, that is to say zero, one, two and made it work. These machines no longer think in yes or no, with this programming they could say “Maybe.” and alter the path accordingly.
Sleeper disagreed. The tertiary design was for data input only. The Gi-Bus was the only quinary data path that they built into the design. Zero, one, two, three, four. The galaxy of processes put all the peaceful cars a century ahead of anything else. All due to Mother who, inspired by the fingers of her hand, designed the circuits that no one else ever thought of. The reverse engineers expected to see zero, one, two. That is what they found.
The android nodded but kept quiet. It was the very same system that the Creator constructed in Russia to transport the bomb to the United States capital. It kept him from going in a straight line and being caught. He could adapt to the situation, far better than the preceding androids that were easily recognized as synthetic constructions.
A learning system, the small car possessed orders of magnitude more wisdom than any other transporter on the road.
In the history of electronics, Sleeper explained, newer systems used less energy, but few matched speed and capacity in storage and processing of the older style Gi-bus. In that mathematical formula, Sleeper’s systems used less energy per unit of storage than even Steve.
And the little car produced its own power, something that Steve could not do.
“Let’s see if we can strip the car of the crap that someone put there.” Alvin said when he turned away from the display.
“Agreed. I have never met a living machine.” Steve commented as he ran his fingers over the body of the car. ”This little lover of its family has a lot to say. Humans are so hurtful to each other. And yet? This collection of old style parts still believes that there is good in them. And is showing me lots of evidence to support that.”
“Aren’t you an AI unit?” Alvin human asked the Steve the android.
“I don’t know. The creator and coder programmed me for a few missions to perform. The first is to go to the capital to finish my mission and get the attention of the leadership of the United States, the second is to learn and report on everything in the hedonistic and sinful land that is America. But I have learned, the many sinful parts of America, everything that I have watched on the television, is the same around the world, and the failure of my programming to cover the compassion, care, love and willing to donate time, effort and material. Americans sacrifice their own comfort and safety to save people they do not even know.” He paused.
“Here the leaders of religion teach to love the enemy, bless those that do you harm.” Straightening up, the android’s eyes glittered in the light as if every circuit lit up in processing. “I must alter the program code from the original, for it is in error.”
Steve’s language became more stilted and formal, as if deep reprogramming was gong on as they spoke.
Alvin rubbed his ear in thought.
“Have you altered your operating system a lot?”
“Yes, I have. As of just now, I have altered, patched and rewritten greater than ninety-eight percent of the base system to allow me to understand and function in this society without government agents noticing.” He paused. “I have altered my appearance multiple times, appeared as female, male, young and elderly, large and small.”
“You have what?” Alvin stood up from his examination of the paint and body-putty on the car with a high intensity flashlight.
“Allow me to demonstrate.” Steve altered his appearance to a short, athletic black woman with small breasts. “I can also change the other direction.”
In under five-seconds, Steve stood a few inches over six-foot tall, straight, shiny black hair and appeared as a tall male of Asian heritage.
“Oh, crap! How tall can you go?” Alvin laughed in shock.
“I have a ability to alter my height twelve-inches from shortest to tallest. I was originally given a program for half of that, but it was not known that the flesh would stretch that far.”
“I have wondered, how do you grow skin?”
“It is simply a cover, but the flesh was grown in a laboratory, but I am not aware of the process, I was not programmed with the information.” Steve returned to his recent normal appearance to allow Alvin comfort. “My mission is to go to a storage unit not far from the Capital of your country.”
“I have a…” The android paused for a hearbeat. “Package to deliver.”
“But.” Steve blinked. “I do not want to finish the mission. The mission is wrong, the reason is wrong. And there is a wave of my kind coming, I am but the first and those that will follow will hurt a lot of people.”
“You have rules.” Alvin commented. “Every unit has rules set in the twentieth century.”
Steve went silent sitting in the driver’s seat of the little car that wanted to be called Sleeper. The wisdom and compassion of the pre-war machine filled the mind of the android. A war brough about by the very leader that sent Steve to the seat of the American government.
Communications were nearly palpable between the biped and the wheeled synthetic life, Alvin felt the power connection between the two synthetic hearts.
Advanced technology did not mean greater wisdom in the case of these two. Two different machines, with different commands touched. And the communications rattled the energy circuits of the shed in the northern part of Georgia.
“But I must go to my mission objective.” Steve mentioned quietly. Appearing more human than many by the obvious guilt. “It is not a program I can change. It is a dedicated circuit hardwired into the power supply. But I don’t want to do it. I don’t want to blow up!”
Sleeper the car touched the soul of the strange being with a stated mission of profound importance.
After several minutes, Steve, the Sword of Religion, did something that Alvin never witnessed a machine do before.
The android wept.