Author’s Note: OK, I liked this story so much, I wanted to write more, but not as a sequel. So welcome to the companion story! Hope you enjoy!
Making History. Or Plagiarising It.
A Companion Story to “When History Repeats Itself”
A Science Fiction Short Story by Ana Govindasamy
The United States of America, Earth, 2073
Cari Academy, 7:30AM
A teenager stands outside a school, her parents behind her. She’s beaming, but it doesn’t take a genius to see the uncertainty behind their eyes. She shifts her backpack, so her wiring isn’t too exposed. She’s usually proud of it, wears it like a badge, but today...today is different.
A few microphones are shoved in front of her, a million questions come her way.
She takes a deep breath. In. Out. She tries to tune into a question, makes the circle on her hand to focus in on a certain voice. Her hands are clasped behind her back as she does it. It’s weaker than her parent’s, but still effective enough.
She can’t risk them seeing. Can’t risk the questions. The new wave of protests, of misguided apprehension brought on from gross misinformation.
“Raima, how does it feel knowing you’re about to make history?”
“Great. I mean, I know people have been opposed to AIs fully joining human society, but we’re just the same as humans.” She says. She reconsiders her answer, runs it through her head again and again. Did she screw up?
“Miss Parker, are you at all worried what could happen if you malfunction?”
She tries to hide the punch she just felt to her gut. AIs weren’t like that. It wasn’t the humans’ fault. But it hurt all the same.
“If you’re referring to the rumour that AIs can malfunction and become violent, I’d like to assure you that it’s a complete myth.” She keeps her face as straight as possible.
Still, she can’t tell if she’s being too upfront, too aggressive. Should she be acting like she’s forever grateful for this advancement or like it’s still not enough? Should she be acting as a voice for AIs or be a bit less direct about it? Act like it’s enough for now? Like it’s enough that she’s here?
Because it’s not.
But humans seem to think it is.
Her answer seems to be sufficient, whether bad or good is left unexplained, because they’ve moved on to interview a cyborg student. She hears him speak. He’s much more grateful and that just leaves her with more questions.
The journalists seem to be having a much better time interviewing him. They’re smiling, he’s acting like it’s his birthday. He’s either a drama scholar, like she's an art scholar, or he actually believes in what he’s saying.
No AI she knew would ever pick the latter.
He’s acting and she’s almost definitely screwed up.
The United States of America, Earth, 2054
Primrose Preschool, Chine Avenue, 12PM
“Raima! Get back here!” Anco snaps at the toddler who just ran into the road.
She didn’t have the reflex skills he did. She’d been chipped and operated on at birth in some idiotic attempt to restrain AIs, make them as weak as the humans. It was successful. Sadly. But apparently it was a step closer to integrating us into human society.
Now he was questioning if it was even worth it?
If they would be accepted, at the cost of everything that makes them not human.
It was what they prided themselves on. If it was taken away from them, if they were made as weak as humans, would it even be a milestone?
It wouldn’t be AI equality. It would just be another group of humans.
He runs to try and scoop his daughter up from the traffic, by his wife gets there first.
“Rai. What did we say about roads?” Lan asks as she sets her daughter down on the pavement.
“Not to get too close.” She hangs her head.
“Exactly. Now let’s go, Dad made pizza for lunch.”
“Pizza!” She perks up immediately.
That might’ve been the only pro of the chipping-and-surgery-campaign. He could eat. They couldn’t. But apparently pizza was the “best thing on earth”. So, it must be good.