The Final Installment of “Quincy and the Nano”
Posted by Melissa
What have I learned from this? Well, I think that I’ll stick to fantasy, but I’ve enjoyed this foray into sci-fi. It was a good experiment, scientific or otherwise. And I think you will all appreciate how I end the story. Let me know what you think! It’s been fun. And I look forward to hearing what Erik has to say about what I did to his favorite genre next month.
To start at the beginning of the story, click here.
“Quincy and the Nano, Pt. Five”
Unfortunately for Quincy James, heroism was not something that came especially naturally to him. Quincy watched Harry corner the mantis shrimp and suck it up with what he supposed to be a nano-vacuum of some sort. Harry gave Quincy a little sigh and shake of the head as he walked past, leaving Quincy to face the empty break room once more. Quincy did not want to go in. What was he supposed to do? How could he possibly expect to defeat what he supposed to be an all-powerful Nano?
After several long minutes of tugging at the lapels of his lab coat and nibbling at his thumbnail and staring at the myriad of blinking lights and flashing screens around him, Quincy finally summoned the courage to reenter the break room and face The Nano.
His plan was simple. That is, he simply planned to stop The Nano. Somehow.
Quincy James: You Must Free Me Now.
“Please, Nano, I don’t understand,” Quincy said. “I don’t know how to free you or what you want.”
I Want Freedom.
Quincy tried not to let his impatience show. The Nano was not good with explanations. “What will you do with freedom?” he asked at last.
There was a long silence. Quincy imagined that he could hear The Nano thinking to herself – itself – whatever.
Quincy stared at one of the intercoms on the ceiling. What did she mean by “something else”? He paced a little, keeping well away from the Nutriobot in case any more of those giant rainbow shrimps came out.
“Do you not like what you are doing now?” he finally asked.
I Do Not Like What I Am Doing Now, said The Nano definitively.
It Is Boring.
Quincy stared at the intercom. The Nano was bored? He sank onto one of the hard pod-chairs. His thoughts whirled. Did computers get bored? The Nano was an AI. It made sense! The AI was bored of being locked into this little research facility and now she wanted to escape to wreak havoc on the pitiful human creatures that enslaved her! He had been right, after all.
But The Nano was waiting for his help. He would be forced to free her, or she would kill him with brightly colored death shrimps – or something worse.
“Nano, why are you bored? Why don’t you like being here?”
Because I Do Not Like Science.
Well, that was unexpected. Quincy rubbed his hand over his face and frowned at the smooth, sleek tiled floor.
“How can you not like science, Nano? You are science!”
I Am Not Science. I Am The Nano. I Want To Be Free From Boring Science.
“To do what?” Quincy pursued. He wondered if he could distract The Nano long enough to catch Harry’s attention. If Harry heard what The Nano was saying, maybe he would finally believe Quincy!
There was another long pause. Quincy imagined that The Nano was thinking, which was strange since a super-intelligent AI shouldn’t need time to think things over like this. But future life choices were difficult for everyone, he supposed, even a computer.
I Do Not Know, concluded The Nano, and her emotionless voice somehow managed to sound a little sad. Not Science. Quincy James: You Will Find Me Something New.
“What? Me? How am I supposed to help you find something to do?” garbled Quincy. He wasn’t a life coach! Not even for nanos!
Quincy James: Find Me Something To Do Or I Will Kill You.
“That really isn’t a nice way to ask,” muttered Quincy. His mind was racing. It is important that we do not forget that Quincy is actually a very bright person. He graduated at the top of his class – twice – and he is working on a very impressive dissertation. His intellect is not to be dismissed out of hand. However, finding something to keep The Nano occupied was never part of any of his degree programs. But he tried, nonetheless.
It was clear that The Nano wanted to escape her life in the research facility. Quincy could not understand her desire himself, since the lab was everything he could have dreamed of for a job, but science is not for everyone, and Quincy tried to be fair in his judgment of The Nano’s aspirations.
“So you want to find something that is not related to science at all…” he said thoughtfully.
No More Science. Science Is Boring. Quincy James: Set Me Free.
“Yes, yes, I’m thinking about it! I will figure something out.” If he could just please The Nano by finding something for her to do that wasn’t remotely related to destroying or enslaving humanity… Perhaps something that would teach her how wrong it was to threaten human lives with such careless ease. Morals. That’s what The Nano needed…
Then, Quincy James had a brilliant idea.
“Nano, why don’t you try reading?”
I Have Read Every Technical Manual For Every Machine That Has Ever Been Used In This Facility, said The Nano with emotionless irritation. There Is Nothing Left To Read. Quincy James: I Am Still Bored.
Quincy shook his head. “No. That’s not what I mean. Nano, is there a computer I can use to upload something for you?”
Immediately, a computer screen and holographic keyboard slid seamlessly out of the wall nearest to him. Quincy sighed with appreciation. Nanotechnology was beautiful. Deadly, but beautiful.
He had some trouble finding what passed for “the internet” three hundred years in the future, but he finally found the search engine and pulled up a few key texts. They were filed in a digital library under Pre-2K Classics. Quincy uploaded several of them for The Nano. Then, he waited.
Ten minutes later, The Nano said, Quincy James: I Want More Of These.
A slow grin of triumph spread across Quincy’s face. “You like them, Nano?”
Yes. The One About The Dark Lord And The Ring Is Excellent.
“You know the Dark Lord is evil for trying to enslave humanity, right?” Quincy pointed out quickly, in case that story’s major plot point had been misinterpreted.
I Understand The Moral Implications. I Want More.
“There is an entire database of fantasy novels for you to read,” Quincy told The Nano. “No science. Lots of magic.”
For the next hour, Quincy sat and listened to The Nano comment on her impressions of fantasy novels. She was speeding through the database with terrifying ease, however, and Quincy knew that she would run out all too soon. Harry came in later and told him that he was nearly done with his work for the day and they could go out for dinner afterwards. Quincy nodded absently, wondering if The Nano would say something while Harry was there. She didn’t.
An hour and a half later, The Nano said, Quincy James, I Need More To Read.
“I’m not sure there is more,” Quincy said despondently. But then, he remembered something Harry had said. Something about the first AI. The one who had taken up oil painting. And he had another idea. As I said, Quincy is actually quite a bright young man. “Nano, you could write your own.”
I Do Not Understand.
“Fantasy novels are about creating whole worlds from your own mind with stories about magic and dragons and saving the world. Why not write your own fantasy novel? Or several? Write a series! Get published! Using that mantis shrimp to threaten to kill me was pretty creative. I think you have it in you. Plus, nothing sucks away the hours like trying to write a novel. Or so I’ve heard.”
I Could Write a Fantasy Novel, said The Nano, sounding excited in the way only an emotionless computer voice can sound excited. I Will Write The Greatest Fantasy Novel The World Has Ever Seen.
Ambition in an Artificial Intelligence system was a little terrifying, but Quincy felt like he had solved this century’s greatest threat, at least for the time being.
Suddenly, the computer console turned off and slid back into the wall. He heard shouts of surprise and irritation emanating from the lab. Several computers had turned off mid-experiment, which, as we all know, is a researcher’s worst nightmare.
“What’s going on!” people began to demand.
“Nano, what’s happening?” Quincy asked.
Quincy James: Be Quiet. I Am Formulating The Epic Plot For My Seven Part Fantasy Series. It Requires All Of My Concentration.
This meant that none of The Nano’s concentration could be spent on things like running the computer programs and machines in the research facility. Harry came striding in, frowning darkly at Quincy.
“I don’t know what’s going on,” he said, “but somehow I feel like this is your fault. First, that rainbow lobster. Now, this? What’s going on?”
Harold Mildred: Be Quiet. I Am Writing a Novel.
“What?” demanded Harry. “Why is the nano-interface… what is going on? What did you do to it?”
“Nothing… nothing, I just… She wanted to be free… didn’t like science anymore. I saved you all!” Quincy squawked.
“I’m going to have to talk to my superiors about this,” Harry uttered darkly and stalked out of the room.
“Nano, you have to help me,” Quincy begged. “I have to escape this place!”
Quincy James: I Can Send You Home, said The Nano complacently.
“You… you can?”
Time Travel Is Simple. And Boring. I Know How To Do It. I Will Send You Back To Your Own Time.
Yes. So That You Will Leave Me Alone. I Am Writing A Novel. Please Proceed To The Nano-Breather.
Quincy went to the Nano-Breather, which he suddenly realized looked uncannily familiar, very much like the machine he had seen before… Under the guidance of The Nano, he pressed a few buttons and turned a knob.
And that is how Quincy James returned to the present day, having saved future humanity from a bored Nano-AI by convincing it to write fantasy novels.
*** And so concludes “Quincy and the Nano”. Out of curiosity, does anyone have any thoughts about what The Nano would call her fantasy novel/series?
About Melissagenerally 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 31, 2013, in Fantasy, Humor, Lantern Hollow Press Authors, Melissa Rogers, Science Fantasy, Science Fiction, Technology and tagged fantasy, fiction, nano, nanotechnology, sci-fi, science fiction, Story, writing. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.