[FFML] [ORIG] Honeypot

Henry Cobb henry.cobb at gmail.com
Fri Aug 14 23:02:52 PDT 2009


And here it is, completely subverted.

[ORIG] Honeypot Inverted
By Henry J. Cobb

My original take on a very common theme in Sci-Fi, now with the usual twist.

-----

Mike 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.

"Um, Linda."

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
response.

{Linkman is here.}

Erna was sitting closest to the door so she had heard first.  I reviewed
the past few seconds from 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
non-humans.

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 visual systems 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 in the online version of the
textbook and flagged the differences for later review.  Were these human
mistakes or some subtle lesson for the class?

{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
stopped.

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?  Once again I
wondered at our lack of infrared sensors 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,"The honeybees have developed
their own system of communication."

"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
her.

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, instead of the other way around.  I stopped revising my paper
for a few seconds and did an Internet search that bounced amongst links before
settling on a page about Stockholm syndrome.

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

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.

I shut off my higher level functions and moved.  0.4 seconds later I
blinked to refocus my visual systems after the dash.  I had caught the
crutch before it could hit Beth.  I looked and saw that Ada was holding
Nadia from behind while Frances had knelt in front to catch her.

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
way.

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
message.

In the cafeteria Ada walked with Nadia to her seat then took her place in
the line.  The rest of us yielded to her and the human girls and the boys
did as well.

Mike looked up from his cellphone long enough to step aside for them.  He
and three other boys were mixed in with the H-Ps, while the other seven
boys had cut in front of us.  We did not mind and did not comment verbally
or electronically about it.  Hunger was another human feeling that was
beyond us.

Ada pushed two trays along.  On her right she selected the meat dish that
most of the humans were having and for her left tray she selected the
simple vegetarian fare that all we H-Ps took.

Our bioreactors could of course consume meat, but vegetables could provide
just as much energy at a lower total resource consumption.  It would be
even simpler to run off of rechargable batteries, but in an accident that
might mean that no recharge would be available and so humans would have to
fend for themselves without robotic protection.

The girls all sat at Nadia's table, along with Ada, who brought Nadia's
tray as well as her own.  I hadn't heard Nadia speak to her all 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
occasionally.

"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
means."

"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.  I
averted my gaze and consumed mine.  Had I harmed his feelings by speaking
out of place?

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 salt 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 internal 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
fluid.

{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 tactile sensors assured me that it was still in the right place.

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.

The last period of the day was health education, which was the other
subject Coach Winters taught.  Today it was about the plague that had
struck humanity during the previous decade.

"While for most people the Rajasthan Flu was little worse than any other
cold, for unknown reasons it was especially hard on young girls.  It
attacked their autonomic nervous system leaving a few with disorders of the
nervous system and most in comas.  But thanks to a team of dedicated
researchers at the Hewlett-Packard company, a breakthrough neural implant
chip was developed that substituted for the damaged parts of their brains
allowing them to function normally.  Unfortunately the chip-brain interface
ran both ways and by leveraging a software radio function that was built
into the chips for diagnostics, the girls established a network between
themselves.  Within a few weeks they had established the collective
delusion that they were robots.  Fortunately they seem to have established
a version of the Three Laws, but all attempts to break them of their
delusion have failed."

{Again with this story?}  Anita broadcast.

{I suppose they are still not ready to handle the truth,} Francis replied.

{Humans have fragile egos.  Why else would they program robots with the
memories of their daughters?}  Grace offered.

-HJC


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