Early fall, just before winter there was usually a family reunion to get together. But that year, things were starting to change. That year, the tradition had begun to die. There was a family in the big city. And in the big city there were a great many things: Skyscrapers as tall as the clouds, bustling streets, businesses blooming all day long and into the night, and lastly technology, having become very popular you can give computer chips profiles of someone you love and miss with their personalities. Such a family consisted of four bought said products. A mother, father, an older son and their daughter. Their son had moved out and had long since gone up in the world. However, his family misses him terribly.
He never visits, and he never sends letters to tell how he is doing. They only know he's still alive because of accomplishments that have been reported by the news. Otherwise they would know nothing about their son. And his little sister, Echo, misses him dearly. Having grown up together till he moved away, she feels saddened because he doesn't visit anymore, and believes that he despised their time together so she tries to forget him. That's when the computer chip came into play. They signed up for testing the products and wanted a design of their son to be imprinted on the chip. His voice, face, and how he acted were also made part of it. When said design was ready, they took it to test it out, though they were warned.
This product was classified as unknown as well as risky. They had to sign a contract stating that any and all damages occurring throughout the experiment would not be the responsibility of the developers. Once the parents sign the paperwork, they are free to take the chip home. Upon activating the chip on their computer, they are surprised by how fast it works. The computer itself needed about an hour to reboot, during which time the system downloaded all of the data from the chip. Afterwards, it reopens with Echo's brother's face on the screen, a sight which had the family in awe. It had been such a long time since last they had seen him. He appeared as the young man that he was when he was still living under their roof.
The family was in tears, however, the father didn't want the family to get carried away with thinking this was a replacement for their son. So he proposed that they spend at least roughly an hour with the computer. That way no one would get too attached, and it would act as a step-in brother for the moment. This would work for the time being, but soon the computer copy of their son grew attach to the family, actually considering them to be his parents and his little sister. So imagine his surprise when out of the blue Echo has to go to school, which cuts out a very large chunk of their time together. The computer tries to be understanding, knowing Echo had to go to school to be educated, though that soon changes the day Echo returned with a friend. This friend of hers, was much like Echo herself. They were both young girls feeling lonely.
They did homework together, watched TV and played in Echo's room. At first the computer posing as Echo's brother still tried to be supportive, and even tried interacting with the parents more. But Echo's parents felt no need to because that wasn't their real son. Sure, he acted as a substitute, but nothing more than that. He was but a fake and that's all. Feeling that he was being abandoned and soon would be forgotten, he decided to act. He became possessive of Echo's time, even hacking into other electronics to try and get close to her. He even went so far as to hack into the school's computer system, to rewrite the grades of Echo's new friend, making them low enough that she would get in trouble with her parents and couldn't come over anymore. And that worked for some time, until the computer soon noticed the sad and miserable expression Echo wore on her face.
It wasn't enough that she had his attention and time. It wasn't enough that she had her big brother back in her life. He..just wasn't enough anymore. Feeling betrayed by his new family the computer made a plan: That even when Echo returned from school he told her right off the bat, if she abandoned him or had forgotten him at some point he would make her parents disappear. Echo was frightened by the threat. She tried to warned, her parents, but they disapprovingly shook their heads, believing she was just letting her imagination get to her. Echo was hurt by their lack of trust in her.
But that was only the beginning of her problems. When the computer learned she had yet to take his warning seriously, he tampered with the tablet Echo used to play with her friend and had the games modified to some very violent ones instead so that when her mother was cleaning up Echo's room and noticed the browser, she was huffing mad. Echo knew she was far too young to play said violet games like Street Fighters because of their graphic imagery. So when Echo returned home from school, her mother told her she was having her tablet taken away due to the inappropriate games she was playing. Echo didn't know what she was talking about though and tried to defend herself, putting the blame on the computer, but her mother wasn't hearing any of it. By this time, Echo's mother felt that the computer was her sweet son who actually cares about his parents and took time to make sure they were okay. After all, he was only programmed to be the he was son before he left home. So she saw him as a good well-behaved kid. Echo grew to resent the computer for what it was doing and tried her best to avoid him.
When the computer expressed his concern to their parents, the mother and father pushed Echo to get closer to him believing she wasn't trying that much to get along. Still, Echo's attempt at getting along was a bust when the computer reminded her he was her older brother and was trying to do what was right for her. Echo snapped at him, reminding him that he is nothing more than scrap and metal. This hurt the computer more than she knew.
His figurative heart sank, and he felt he was incapable of helping Echo, and so, he shut himself down. When her parents tried to get him up and running again, they cannot, and blame Echo for the loss of their son. This became too much for Echo to bear as she was consistently reminded of why he wasn't there, why he left in the first place. This computer had managed to tear them apart. Echo couldn't stand it any longer. She couldn't stand the constant arguments that had accumulated because one blamed the other for something that was actually accidental to begin with. Late one night, Echo called out to the computer. At first nothing happens, but soon after Echo's repeated calls, he came back on-screen. He looked at her with a sad and lonely expression. This made Echo feel guilty, as he was probably only doing what he was programmed to do. Looking towards him, she apologizes quickly, which takes the computer by surprise. Then she asked him to help her family get back together again. Because of all their fighting she was frightened that they may divorce. The computer had a plan, but he asked Echo to not abandon him again, saying, "I don't like to be alone or forgotten."
Echo then countered saying, "I would never abandon you. But you can't be so quick to get envious when I want to play or hang out with other people."
They stared long and hard before the two came to an agreement. Echo would find a way to get the computer a friend so he wasn't lonely when the family didn't spend time with him, in return, he would work towards not being envious of her friends and trying to hurt them. So with that they began their plan to get their parents together. In the morning, Echo, with some help from the computer, made her parents breakfast to have in bed. They were both surprised and grateful for the treatment, which brought about their question next.
"Why the breakfast in bed?" asked the father.
"Yes it's not too often you cook us anything of the sort," the mother added.
"It's because-" Echo hesitant to respond, and instead said this. "Please come to the living room after you eat."
"The living room?" queried the father.
"Well alright," said the mother, confused.
With that Echo waited in the living room with the computer already set up. When the parents finished eating they came there as was requested of them.
"Now what is this about Echo?" Her father ask.
"Yes we came just as required of us," her mother retorted.
"Mum, papa, me and Rico have something to say," Echo said as she looks between the two.
The parents look between the two, Echo and the computer Rico.
"Please don't do it!" They said in urgency. "We promise to get along more often and not fight."
"I'll do better on my homework," Echo said.
"And I won't sabotage Echo anymore so she gets in trouble," Rico said as well.
"What?!" The mother and father, both said with confusion and an unsettle feeling hearing such a thing.
"Whatever are you two on about?" The mother asked.
"Yeah what's going on?" The father queried.
"We don't want you getting a divorce because we can't get along and make you happy," Echo finally explained.
"Yeah we thought because we were bickering and always fighting you were thinking about breaking up," Rico responded as sad tear drops form on the computer screen.
"We wouldn't break up you two," their mother said sighing softly.
"You should've told us sooner if that was your concern," the father scolded.
"I love your father and he loves me," their mother said.
"We may get on each other nerves, but that's all about family," their father said with a nod as he agreed.
"So you're not gonna break up?" Echo asked, perplexed by how they acted weeks ago.
"No, no," their mother said, with a shake of her head.
"We are mainly upset because we were worried about you Echo," the father explained. "We know how much your brother meant to you and wanted you to at least still get to experience what it was like having his presence around. But when he shut down we didn't know what had happened or how to fix him and thought if we couldn't fix him you would end up lonely and missing him again."
"This was all in an attempt to make you happy again," the mother said with a soft smile.
"Mum, papa," Echo felt her eyes get teary before she ran up to them and hugged them both.
"I love you guys!" Echo cheered. "Actually it's my fault Rico shut down. I was mean to him when he was only trying to do what he was programmed to do and thinking I was mad at him he shut down to not interact with me anymore. But I'm not mad at Rico, in fact I like him! I know he's not gonna replace big brother, but… I would like it still if he could stay around. Please, pretty please."
"Well as long as you're happy Echo," the mother said gently patting her head.
"That's what we really care about," the father said as well.
"You hear that Rico, you can stay!"
"Thank you so much Echo, thank you!" Rico cried tears of joy even though they weren't real.
And with that, Rico became an official member of the family. Echo made new and more friends at school. And the family grew closer. Echo also kept to her promise as well and they were able to create a girlfriend chip for Rico so when they couldn't spend time with him he would have someone at his side always. This is how the traditional family reunion was saved. May many more families grew closer in time as well.