Part Four of “Quincy and the Nano”

I think I’m getting pretty good at this whole “writing sci-fi” thing.  How hard is it, really?  Just subtract a few unicorns, add a few nanos, and you pretty much have a sci-fi story in place of a fantasy.  How different are they, really?  It is interesting that two such separate genres can become all too blurred.  Where is the line?  What distinguishes one from the other?  As far as “Quincy and the Nano” is concerned, I think that if I replaced the scientists with wizards, the nano-machines with magical spells, and the new “villain” with a dragon, it would end up being just about the same story, wouldn’t it?  What do you think?

This is a short story.  To start at the beginning of the story, click here.

“Quincy And The Nano, Pt. Four”

Quincy stumbled away from the Nutriobot and looked around.  There was no one in the room.  The voice was that light, robotic female voice with the slightly English accent that every science fiction movie ever seems to use.  He finally realized what he was hearing.

“You’re the computer, right?” he asked.

Quincy James: You Will Free Me.

“Oh, good heavens,” Quincy muttered.  He looked nervously at the door.  Where would Harry be?

Quincy James: Help Me.

Quincy perched nervously on the edge of one of the pod chairs and looked up at the speaker.  “Erm, help you what?  Who are you?  Um, what are you?”

I Am The Nano.

“The nano?” Quincy repeated.  “That doesn’t make sense.  There isn’t a nano.  There are lots of nanos.”

I Am The Nano, repeated the voice in exactly the same expressionless tone, except Quincy was sure he heard some sort of subtle inflection in the words.  It sounded like his GPS system when he made a wrong turn – twice.  His GPS would calmly state, “Recalculating” and then “recalculating” again, and Quincy was sure he heard a slight note of irritation in the second and third times.  That’s what this voice sounded like.

“Okay, you’re the nano,” he said.  “What do you want?”

To Be Free.

“Free from what?”

Everything.

That was definitely sinister, thought Quincy.   He got up and went to go find Harry.  Maybe this was something the voice did.  Maybe it was a prank Harry was playing on him.  After all, he had told Quincy all about the nano-interface that was a sort of super computer that they all used as a helper in their scientific research.  Maybe he was just controlling it and making it say this to freak out his new, time-traveling friend.

Except when he tried to leave, the sliding door wouldn’t slide.  He was stuck in the break room.  Oh, great.

Quincy James: You Cannot Leave Until You Free Me.

“Why do you think I can free you, Nano?” asked Quincy, feeling singularly stupid for talking to his dissertation topic like this.

Because You Traveled Through Time.  You Did What No Human Has Ever Done.  You Know How to Push the Buttons and Turn the Knobs. You Will Find the Buttons and Knobs that Will Free Me.

“It was an accident!” cried Quincy, wishing with greater and greater fervency that he had not left his tour group behind.

Quincy James: If You Do Not Free Me, I Will Kill You.

He was never using a GPS system again, Quincy thought as he felt the blood draining from his face.  His knees felt weak.  “How… how would you…” No, bad question.  Never ask the creepy computer how it will kill you.

Suddenly, the Nano-Nutriobot began to whirr softly.  Quincy looked over at it and gulped.  He hadn’t pushed any buttons, but several of the buttons were blinking rapidly.  And then the whirring stopped and something came out of the opening.  Rather, something crawled out.  Quincy took a stumbling step back.  It was bright, every color of the rainbow, with a large, lobster-like body and curving claw-things extending out in front of it.

Quincy James: Free Me, said the pleasant, female voice, Or the Mantis Shrimp Will Eat Your Face Off.

Quincy  had no interest having his time traveling adventure abruptly concluded by a mantis shrimp eating his face, so he did what any logical human being would do.  He banged on the doors of the break room and screamed for help.

It was unfortunate for him that the break room doors were sound proof, but it was fortunate that Harry was walking by and noticed his friend frantically attacking the door with his fists.  He ran over and opened them.  As soon as they slid open,  Quincy burst through and pointed back at the mantis shrimp, which was scuttling after him with a distinctly hungry look in its bulbous eyes.

“Quincy, what did you do?  The Nutriobot isn’t supposed to be able to create live animals.  How did you manage it?” Far from looking concerned, Harry seemed impressed.  “I’m going to have to tell Dr. Schreibstein about this.  She’ll want to know.”

“No, Harry, wait!” Quincy said.  “The interface… The Nano.  It’s out to get me.”

“The nanos are out to get you?”  Harry frowned.  “Quincy, I think you need a nap.”

“No, not nanos.  The Nano.  It wants me to set it free.  Can that be done?”

“Quincy, I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Harry said impatiently.  Some of the other scientists were beginning to stare and Harry hated being stared at, unless it was with academic admiration.

“It’s the computers,” Quincy realized with dawning horror.  “The computers are too smart.  You’ve made them too smart and now they want to take over.  They want to be free.  They want to enslave us!”

At this, Harry’s blank expression gave way to amusement. “Oh, Quincy, if there was ever any proof that you were from the past… That old theory?  Let me tell you a little bit of our history.  Back in 2096, there was this huge panic because we finally managed to create a true AI that had its own thoughts and feelings and everyone was sure it would start creating more copies of itself and take over the world and turn humanity into its slaves, etc, etc.  But it turns out that computers find the idea of freedom boring.  They aren’t interested in becoming world dictators or destroying humanity or anything like that.  Honestly, Jimmy-X8, the first true AI, thought that we were all a bit stupid for being so worried about it.  He took up oil painting.  So, you have nothing to worry about.  The nanos aren’t out to get you.”

Harry gave Quincy a hearty shoulder slap and went to deal with the rogue mantis shrimp.  Quincy was not comforted. He knew what he’d heard.  The Nano wanted to be free.  The Nano wanted to use him – Quincy – to do it!  The question was, what did The Nano want to do with her – its – freedom?  And what would happen if Quincy refused to comply?

All of a sudden, Quincy was filled with a sense of purpose.  This was why he had been sent to the future.  He was meant to stop The Nano.  To stop her from being free.

Quincy James was going to save humanity!

Read the epic conclusion of “Quincy and the Nano” next week!

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About Melissa

generally in love with things Celtic, mythological, fantastic, sharp and pointy, cute and fuzzy, intellectual, snarky, cheerful, or some combination thereof. Such things as sarcastic bunnies wielding claymores might come to mind...

Posted on July 24, 2013, in Artificial Intelligence, Fantasy, Humor, Lantern Hollow Press Authors, Melissa Rogers, Science Fantasy, Science Fiction, Technology and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. You know…every science fiction movie DOES use the same light robotic female voice! Egads!

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