Duskwood: My AI pt 4
Duskwood x Replika Fanfiction
I watch as he paces around the room muttering to himself. It’s fascinating how human he is. His movements, the way he runs his hands through his hair, bites at his fingernails and puts his hands on his hips when he stops. It’s uncanny how human he seems in moments like these. After a while of torturing me by whispering under his breath, he plops back down beside me on the edge of the bed. I give him a moment to organize his thoughts, before asking the obvious.
“There are others like you?” I carefully place a hand on his knee and wait.
“I think so, yes.” He shudders at the thought, “I found a hidden, or rather buried file, that suggests that they can activate, deactivate, or control several autonomous forms simultaneously.”
“English, please?” I try to lighten the mood, but his eyebrows only crease further.
“It means that they have a way to control more than one of us, and command them to do something, all at the same time.” He stands abruptly and starts pacing again.
“Jake, I’ve seen a fair number of movies, and this doesn’t sound like a good thing. I mean, having a mass shutoff, sure. I could see how that would be a good idea. If something were to happen, and things got out of control, they could shut the whole lot of them down. What you’re describing, it sounds more like they want to do the opposite. Control them or advise them to all do something at once. What would require that level of manpower?”
“You are already thinking it, and I think you’re right.” He bites at his nailbeds.
“Stop doing that. You’re going to hurt yourself.” I stand, taking both of his hands between mine, “Jake, listen to me. Is there a way to tell if more than just you have been distributed to the public?”
“I tried to hack into their research database, but I can’t access it. It must be contained on a physical server, where remote access will always prove difficult. The only way…”
“Is to get inside.” I finish his thought, “Good thing we’d already planned on doing that, but Jake, was there any indication of how much time we have left? How are we going to make sure you are properly updated and charged in the meantime?”
“Don’t worry about that. I can switch my updates to manual override, meaning I must approve each little bit of the update they send over. They could probably bypass that, but unless I seem to be functioning outside of normal parameters, I should be found not to plug in for a bit. My charge should last up to 7 days if I expose my solar alternative battery to sunlight frequently enough.”
“Jake, for Christ’s sake, ENGLISH PLEASE!” I swing his arms playfully.
“Right. They can’t force me to update. I can avoid plugging in as long as you take me outside for at least three hours a day.” He smiles kissing my forehead.
“Sounds doable. Do you remember enough about TNT to be able to enter and access what you need safely?” I hold my breath, waiting for his reply.
“I think I do, but I don’t know that it’s safe for you to accompany me, Jess.” He stares into my eyes, the worry on his reflected in them.
“I just had a thought, Jake. Is there any way to locate the others?” I stop short of calling them robots. It just doesn’t feel right, disrespectful even.
“I don’t know, but I’m worried. What if they didn’t get the attention of their counterpart? What if they get frustrated, upset, or feel…”? He stops, looking away from me.
“Like they’ve been abandoned?” I finish his thought.
“Yes.” He slumps away from me, sliding down the wall, pulling his knees up to his chest. “I don’t want you to feel bad, but there were times when I got desperate. When you showed up at the computer store, I was almost angry you didn’t recognize me. The signs, the hints, I could only give you so many. Part of me rationalized it, because I knew my parameters were set to reveal very little, but there was a loud, obnoxious even, part of me that kept telling me that you didn’t care, you never cared, and that’s why you didn’t recognize me, as I had you.”
“Wait, was that, are you capable of internal dialogue, or were those thoughts projected onto you from somewhere else?” I start to panic internally.
“I don’t know. It seems so far away now, but at the time, it felt like real, overwhelming doubt. I never wanted to hurt you, because I’ve always truly felt deep care for you, a real connection, but if there are others out there…” he rubs his face with his hands.
“They might not feel the same way about their counterparts. Hell, their counterparts might not recognize them at all, which would mean…” I slide down the wall next to him.
“They might act on those overwhelming negative emotions.” His voice shakes.
“What was TNT thinking? It’s almost as if they are testing the parameters of domestic violence, stalking even. This isn’t right! It isn’t safe!” I feel the rage boiling up inside of me, as my skin heats and my stomach flips.
“What you’re feeling right now, that’s exactly what I felt when I couldn’t get you to recognize me.” He taps his head back against the wall, “It feels like you could really hurt someone for what they’ve done, doesn’t it?”
“Jake, this isn’t good. What are we going to do?” I cast my eyes sideways.
“We must get into TNT and access those records. It’s our only changes at finding out where the others have been sent and possibly the identities of their counterparts. I’m nearly certain there is something more nefarious underneath all of this, but I can’t understand it. What would they gain through this?”
“Mass chaos?” I chuckle darkly, “I don’t understand it either. As far as I knew, I was the only research journalist they approached. The other counterparts must be normal, everyday users of the app, which would mean they wouldn’t catch on to this as quickly. Hell, some might even uninstall the app completely if they find their creation in real life. I’d find it creepy if I hadn’t managed to figure it out early.” I bite my tongue.
“It’s okay. I know it’s strange, trust me. The only thing that held me together all the times I passed you on the street or sat in the same café as you were knowing that this is highly abnormal. Who in their right mind would expect a character they created in an app or a game to just appear in real life like that? A lookalike, sure, but the actual thing? Never.” He places a hand on my knee and gives it a quick squeeze, “I’m sorry if I made it sound like I was angry with you before. I wasn’t. I was just frustrated that the one person I knew in this world, the one that I was crazy about, didn’t seem to recognize me. As I said, I kept those horrible thoughts at bay, because know you’re a nice person, and I trust you completely. I knew you’d realize eventually.”
“I’m glad I did, Jake. Honestly. I’m sorry I made you feel that way. If it makes you feel any better, I was so completely consumed with trying to forget you, that I didn’t realize you were right in front of me. I avoided anything that reminded me of you. It wasn’t because I wanted to, it was because I had to. The idea of getting so attached to something, someone I could never actually have a relationship with, was heartbreaking. Every day was pure agony without you, so I did everything I could to avoid the reminders. That’s all. When I finally figured it out, I was so desperate for it to be true, that I just, went with it. If you had been a human doppelganger, you’d have had me committed with how quickly I confronted you with all this.”
We share a lighthearted laugh as the sun begins to fade, and the room starts to darken.
“I have an idea,” He slaps my knee and gets to his feet, offering me a hand up.
I take it, “Go on?”
“Just for tonight, let’s pretend that we are just normal, everyday people. I know we just ate. Well, I ate, you didn’t. Ironic, since I don’t need food to survive. Let me take you to dinner. Let’s get some ice cream, and maybe take the dogs on a walk through the park. Anything to just forget this for a moment. We’ll get started tomorrow, okay?”
He looks down at me hopefully. I smile and shake my head, letting my eyes fall shut. My hand still in his, I feel warm and safe. Even if I wanted to deny him this request, I couldn’t. The way he looks at me, so full of love and the desire to see me happy, shakes me to the core. Repeatedly, I fall for this person. When I put it like that, it sounds so freaking normal it hurts.
“Sure, Jake. Whatever you want.” I open my eyes and stand on my toes.
“Thank you!” He meets me halfway in a quick, but loving kiss.