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Date Posted: Tuesday, April 25, 01:33:49am
Author: KT
Subject: Friday Challenge: March 31, 2006 (slight language warning)
In reply to: JayBee and Nell 's message, "Friday Challenge: March 31, 2006" on Friday, March 31, 06:24:44pm

Finally getting around to some of these challenges!


Computers Challenge


Walter shook his head as if to clear out the cobwebs. He'd been working late five nights in a row, trying to complete his inventory. Everything was fine except electronics...

"Gotta get a life" he muttered under his breath as he shut down his security cage. "Yeah. Right."

Peering down the hallway past Comm, he saw a faint light seeping through the doors of the main computer relay room. Senses on alert, he stepped silently, stopping just short of the entrance, wishing he had a weapon.

"Couldn't be an intruder... alarm would have gone off..."

Leaning forward just enough to get a viewpoint, he caught a movement, a shadow interrupting the light. Another inch. Someone was crouching on the floor. Funky sweater. Glasses sliding down his nose. Prickly tow-head haircut.

Walter opened the door. Birkoff looked up. Startled, he fell backwards, banging his elbows on the floor. In his hand, a bundle of wires began to arc.

"Dammit Walter! You scared the crap out of me!"

"Sorry. Didn't mean to. But you have to admit, you aren't exactly in the right place at the right time." He grinned. "What the hell you doin' anyway?"

Birkoff grinned back as he sat on his heels.

"You won't give my secret away?"

"What makes you think you're not being watched?"

"Because I've disabled all surveillance."

"You gonna tell me what is going on?" He glared at Seymour.

"Promise you'll keep quiet?"

"OK, OK."

Birkoff drew a deep breath.

"It's an AI."

"An 'AI'?"

"Yeah. Artificial Intelligence."

A glimmer of understanding dawned.

"I take it you don't have clearance for this."

"Well, not yet. But I thought if I could put a prototype together, Operations would have to let me build a real one."

Trouble. Walter could feel it coiling in his gut. He looked Birkoff straight in the eye.

"I've got a bad feeling about this, little brother."

But his baby-faced computer whiz wasn't listening. Twisting the bundle of wires in his hand together, Birkoff looked up. A faint image appeared in the center of the room. It looked just like him. No glasses.

Walter stared at the apparition.

"Holy shit."

Their eyes met briefly.


Birkoff refocused on his work as Walter turned and walked quietly out of the room and went back to Munitions. Opening the cage, he logged back on to the inventory, deleting all the "missing" entries he'd made in the electronics pages. Closing up again, he let himself believe he'd be able to sleep, but he knew it was just another illusion.


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