[FFML] [ORIG] Honeypot

Henry Cobb henry.cobb at gmail.com
Mon Aug 10 18:15:58 PDT 2009

On Wed, Aug 5, 2009 at 2:27 PM, Adrian Tymes<wingcat at pacbell.net> wrote:

I've worked in some of your points and flipped the entire story around
to the other side.

It gave me a chance to work in some more technical details, but please
don't try building a honey at home.

[ORIG] Honeypot Reversed
By Henry J. Cobb

My original take on a very common theme in Sci-Fi, now from the other side.


He turned away.

I searched back over the last few minutes and checked again to see if I'd
said anything offensive.  Wait, his eyes were on the one at the door.  I
understood, it was his own kind.  Not the one at the door of course, but
the one she was always with.  I sent her a query as I looked away from him,
{Does she wear you out?}

{My sister sleeps better recently, with me at her side,} Ada replied, as
she held the door open for her identical twin who entered clumsily, with
the help of a crutch.

Was that sarcasm?  I searched through human literature for 2.05 seconds and
concluded that calling the girl with the crutch "Nadia Clarke" would have
been more artificial, even mechanical.


I turned back towards Mike.  He was looking at me again.  That utterance
was some sort of query.  I ran the probabilities and concluded that the
most likely query would be a request for my current status, but that was
only 11.4%.  I decided that I should reply with a noncommittal request for
him to clarify his request, "Yes?"

"What were we talking about?"

The human girl had such an impact on him that he lost what they call his
train of thought.  It was understandable, "You were telling me about the
movie you saw last night."

"Yeah.  And when the skyscraper exploded the robot grabbed the detective
and jumped out to the ground."

I reviewed the video frames I had downloaded a few minutes earlier, "Seven
floors, at least 70 feet down?"

"Wasn't it cool?"

"But it came to a stop in only two and half feet.  Wouldn't that
acceleration have broken detective Smith's back?  Also how did the asphalt
hold up under the robot's feet and what was the robot made of to withstand
such a impact?"

"It's a movie.  They're telling a story.  We're not supposed to make a big
deal about it."

I had failed.  I read up on "suspension of disbelief" as I considered my

{Linkman is here.}

Erna was sitting closest to the door so she had heard first.  I reviewed
the past few seconds of my auditory sensors.  Heavy footsteps yes, but it
could be any adult male.  Wait, almost in the noise floor, there was
whistling.  It was a nervous habit of his when he was approaching

I turned to face the door and saw that the other H-Ps were doing the same.
The humans looked at us then followed our example.

"Good morning, Mr. Linkman!"  The humans said in unison with us.

He twitched then walked to his desk.

The humans took out their notebooks and writing instruments while we H-Ps
simply focused our visible attention on the teacher.

Mr. Linkman keep his eyes down in the textbook as he read out the pages.  I
compared the what he said to what was written and flagged the differences
for later review.  Were these human mistakes or some subtle lesson for the

{He is nervous,} Frances broadcast locally.

{Should we turn our attention away from him?}  Grace replied.

{That would be disrespectful,}  Erna broadcast.

{As is chatting in class,} Ada didn't look around, but the broadcasts

Twenty three and a half minuted later I detected movement to my side and
risked a glance at Mike.  His posture was slumping and his eyelids were
closing.  Was he suffering some sort of health problem?  I turned off my
hydraulic pump and ceased respiration as I focused my auditory sensors on
him.  His heartbeat was slow, but steady and his breathing was unlabored.

There was a sharp sound to the side and his attention shifted to find the
source.  He was fully alert now.  His condition seemed normal.  I looked as
well.  Nadia was holding a pencil with a broken point up to her shoulder.

Ada took the pencil and replaced it with a working one from Nadia's bag.

Again, that human girl had taken Mike's attention.  I considered the
probabilities that she had taken a deliberate action to cause this.  My
review of the sounds of her writing showed nothing unusual for several
seconds leading up to the breakage.  Her writing style was more labored
than the other students, but that was understandable, given her condition.
Indeed over the past several years she had shown notable improvement.  Did
that make her more desirable?  I considered the human concept of pity as I
turned back to the teacher.

If Mr. Linkman had looked at Nadia, it had only stopped his reading for 1.5
seconds.  He continued reading from the book,"So as you can see while the
worker bees are technically female they put their energy into running the
colony rather than reproducing themselves."

"Just like the honeys!" Chuck Phillips interjected.

"Mr. Phillips!  We do not use that sort of language in this classroom."

"Ah, the honeys don't mind," Chuck swept his hand past us.

We did not show a visible response, but the broadcasts started again.

Alexandra: {Again we are compared to the obsolete prototype H-N series.}

Grace: {It's a term of endearment.  The Phillips family is from Alabama and
the historic media from that region shows the use of the term honey as a
causal term for friends.}

Pearl: {It was more often used for female sexual partners.  He implies that
we were only created to serve his desires.}

Erna: {Weren't we?}

Ada: {Please allow me to focus on the lesson.}

Anita: {Simply because you look like one of the humans doesn't mean that
you always have to take their side.}

The rest of us sent the byte code for packet garbled, please retransmit to

Anita replied with {Sorry} and the packets stopped.

Deaf to this electronic chatter Mr. Linkman continued to address Chuck,
"Apologize to all of the students in the classroom."

Nadia turned around in her chair and gave Chuck a look that my internal
search gave a 95% chance as being considered "stern".

"Alright, I didn't mean anything by it.  I'm sorry honest."

For the next class, Mr. Jones taught math.  He was more involved with the
students and asked them to solve problems.  He did not call on the H-Ps and
we did not raise our hands.

In English Literature, Mr. Freeman finished the poem he was reading and
looked at me, "How did that poem make you feel, Linda?"

I had been paying attention and had done several Internet searches already.
I replied with the result I thought best fit, "Samuel Hodkisk said that the
poem reminded him of cold winters mornings in the moments before rising."

"I asked what it made you feel."

I had made a mistake.  I had overreached and answered the question I had
supposed he had asked instead of the one he had.  I put forwards a feeble
excuse to cover my error, "It didn't make me feel anything Sir.  I don't
have the cultural connection."

"If you can't find the courage to express your own opinion then you're
useless.  Your assignment is to write a five page report on this poem by
tomorrow, without plagiarism or references to anything but this work."

"Yes Sir."  I started on it immediately of course.

On the way to lunch Nadia walked between the other two human girls in our
class, Beth and Susan.  Ada remained two steps behind her.  Nadia seemed to
be hurrying, her steps even less sure than usual.

I queried Ada, {Is she that hungry?}

{My sister wishes to show that she can keep up with the others.}

Again that 'My'.  It was possessive, protective.  I wondered what it would
be like to be in such a close relationship with a human that it was akin to
ownership.  I stopped revising my paper for a moment and did an Internet
search that bounced between links before settling on a page about Stockholm

Mike turned to face me, "That was too harsh.  He just about accused you of

He had?  Who had?  I reviewed my recent memories and settled on my exchange
with Mr. Freeman.  That was an interesting way of looking at the directive,
"I can see his reasons.  I didn't have an answer for his question."

"Well, if I can help with anything."

"The assignment was for --"

{EMERGENCY!} Ada broadcast a vector motion diagram.  Nadia had slipped off
her crutch and was falling.

Reviewing the placement of students I could see that only Ada, Frances and
myself had a clear path to her and I was too far away to grab her, but
there was something else I could do.

I broadcast my plan of action as I put it into place.  I increased the
speed of my hydraulic pump from one beat per second to ten and clamped down
with my actuators to maintain pressure for critical systems as I leaned
towards Nadia.

I shoved off with both feet, going to the friction limit.  Then my left
foot slid slightly as I moved my right foot forwards.  Two more steps to

My balance was off and I would fall onto the ground if I did not make the
grab.  I adjusted my path slightly so my possible fall and slide would
avoid the other students.

The other H-Ps broadcast position information.  I used this and my own eyes
to focus in on the crutch.  My path would cause me to brush past Beth's
skirt but I would not run into her.  I reached out, grabbed the crutch and
pushed it down against the floor to balance myself out.  My motion would
stop without causing hazard.  {Clear} I broadcast to the rest, then looked

Ada was holding Nadia from behind while Frances had knelt in front to catch

Ada and Frances lifted Nadia to her feet then I handed her crutch back.

"Careful Sister,"  Ada shifted her grip to Nadia's shoulders.

"My sister's dead,"  Nadia pulled free of Ada's grasp and looked down to
get the rhythm of walking again then turned to Beth, "Sorry about that."

"No harm done."

I could of course see no change in Ada's expression and she did not share
her thoughts with the rest of us.  It was a private moment. I was in the

I walked back to Mike, "The assignment was for me alone."

"Well there's no rule against showing it to me.  So send me a copy and
I'll take a look at it."

"As you wish,"  I emailed it to him and his cellphone beeped about the

In the cafeteria Ada walked with Nadia to her seat then took her place in
the line.  The rest of us H-Ps took our usual seats.

The two other human girls had taken a moment to check on Nadia and then
walked past the boys, with Ada in tow, to the front of the lunch line.
They did not have to ask for the special privilege.

Mike looked up from his cellphone long enough to step aside for them.

The girls all sat at Nadia's table, along with Ada, who brought Nadia's
lunch over.  I hadn't heard Nadia speak to her that day, but she didn't
complain about the selection.

Chuck, Larry and Steve sat together while the other eight boys sat with
H-Ps, including Mike, who sat across from me.

Mike read from his cellphone in one hand while he ate with the other, "It's
too mechanical."

"Oh?"  I searched my memory.  Mike hadn't been deliberately insulting
towards me in 743 days, but he did tend to use the "honey" phrase

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean it like that.  I mean, your paper, it's all about
how the poem is laid out and the rhythms in it.  Nothing about what it

"I was instructed to not use references."

"Then don't use anybody who's commented on this poem.  Look for other
matches to the concepts as used in other works and combine them together
for this poem."

"Wouldn't that just be a composition of the work of others?"

"It's what we do, but we forget were we learned the bits we use.  Just try
it, okay?"

"If you think that's best."  I started processing on his request.

He looked at me for another five seconds then turned to his lunch.

The next period was Physical Education.  The human girls all changed into
leotards for yoga, along with Ada of course.  Nadia had talked them all
into it at the start of the semester so she wouldn't have to work on her
physical therapy alone.  Apparently Ada never counted against loneliness.

The rest of us changed into gym clothes.  The thin fabric, short pants and
short sleeves would be a great help with heat issues.

We went out onto the field where the boys had already split into two soccer
teams, of six and five.  Mike had the next pick and he chose me.  The other
six H-Ps were divided evenly between the two teams and we began.

On the first play I intercepted a pass and moved towards the goal.  Chuck
ran in front of me and kicked in the direction my leg.  I used his focus
against him by jumping forwards while kicking the ball back.  By the time
his eyes returned to the ball, Mike had it.

Mike kicked the ball towards the goal, but Greg, their goalie, blocked it.

Greg passed to Larry, but Frances kicked it away from him and it wound up
between Erna and myself, and we stood there instantly countering any move the
other made.  Chuck ran at us and Erna was forced to evade him first so
I passed the ball to Mike before jumping to the other side.

Chuck did not repeat his earlier mistake and followed the ball this time.
He moved to block Mike, "You like it, don't you?  That thing."

Mike glanced towards me and Chuck took advantage of the distraction to take
the ball.  He ran towards the goal.

Grace, our goalie, stood to block his shot, but he ran directly towards her
and she was forced to move out of his way.

Coach Winters called a foul for the reckless charging, canceling the goal.

At 22 minutes and 12 seconds into the game my air pumped heat exchangers
had reached their limits and I was forced to release water on my surface to
maximize the effect of my surface hydraulic capillary heat rejection
system.  I had to increase the rate of my hydraulic pump to maintain
pressure for limb action while at the same time circulating fluid under my
skin.  The effect gave me a slight blush all over, but I remained within
human appearance limits and kept my battery temperature within safe limits.

I paused for a tenth of a second to consider the possible hazards of my
extreme bio-mimicry.  In an accident that involving humans and androids a
human might not be able to tell the difference between blood and hydraulic

{Did you crash?}  Ada had glanced my way from where she sat in the shade.

{Just catching my breath.  It is a warm afternoon.}

{Nadia doesn't sweat like us.  She glows.}

Apparently the earlier incident hadn't dimmed Ada's admiration.  I turned
away from her and ran to intercept the ball.

When time was called the score was still tied zero to zero.

The boys looked they could have gone twice as long, but we were spent.  We
still had plenty of battery power, but we couldn't deal with any more
heat.  We were doing respiration so deeply and fast that even human ears
could pick it up and our gym clothes were drenched.

Mike looked at me intently.  Was my underwear showing through my damp
clothes?  No, his gaze lingered on my forehead.

Was my sweatband out of place?  There was no nearby reflective surface I
could use and I didn't want to reach up and follow his gaze with my hand,
but my sonar returns through my hydraulic capillaries assured me that it
was still in the right place.  Sonar is a poor substitute for the human sense
of touch, but I manage.  I have even juggled raw eggs without breaking

Mike looked away without speaking and so I turned and headed for the relief
of the showers.

When I entered I saw that Nadia was seated and talking with Beth and Susan,
while Nadia shampooed her hair.  All the H-Ps needed was a quick rinse, but
we lingered for almost a minute to dump our heat buildups into the flow.

During the next class we H-Ps were even less animated than usual as we
completed our cool-downs.

The last period of the day was health education, which was the other
subject Coach Winters taught.  Today it was about the plague.

"While for most people the Rajasthan Flu is little worse than any other
cold, for unknown reasons it is especially hard on infant girls.  Causing
in most cases death and in a few cases severe damage to the nervous

He seemed uncomfortable at that point and quickly walked to the side of the
room away from Nadia.  Surely she had been too young to ever remember her
sister and how could she not find her own survival to be fortunate?

After school I followed Mike as usual.  My house was along the way and
usually he'd talk, but today he was silent.  Was he thinking about what
Chuck had said?  Was I now a thing and so not worthy of conversation?

At my house he stopped and stood there for a moment.  I stood and waited.

"Next Saturday?"

"Yes?" I searched my memory for all possible events on May 14th.

"That's your birthday, isn't it?"

"So humans can remember a few things?"  I considered smiling to indicate I
was attempting to make a joke, but I remembered the last time I had tried
and how Mike had called it clownish.

"The important things.  I was wondering, will you have some sort of party?"

"Yes Linda Burks was born on May 14th, but she died exactly one year
later.  My parents and my brothers do not celebrate that day.  Instead we
visit her grave."

"Oh.  I'm... I'm sorry,"  He turned and walked away.

I had made a mistake.  Somehow my simple statement of fact had become an
attack against him.  I would have to think about how to smooth this over
when I met him tomorrow morning.  That would be the difficult assignment.


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