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Sentience

Part 2

Although he tried to avoid the android in the following days, it was almost impossible. Alex insisted on bringing her to dinner every night, claiming he needed to in order to improve her social skills. It seemed that every time Roger turned around, she was there, watching him. He began to find other places to go, spending hours working on the Big O, improving the interface until the Megadeus seemed more of  an extension of his body rather than something he consciously controlled.

"I don't understand this," he had formed the habit of talking to Big O as he worked. "I don't know why she has suddenly decided I am so fascinating. She belongs to Alex, so why isn't she paying attention to him?"

The Megadeus, of course, did not reply. Roger avoided and brooded until his father Gordon took notice and called him into the office for a chat.

"What's troubling you, son?" he asked. "I've hardly seen you at all for weeks."

Roger sighed. "It's Alex's new toy. I know you've all worked very hard on it, but it gives me the creeps." Under Gordon's patient questioning, Roger was able to voice exactly what was bothering him.

"I understand," Gordon finally nodded. "She does sense that you dislike her, I think, and she is programmed to seek harmony, thus the apparent interest. I'm glad we have been able to talk about it, son. With your permission, I'll make a transcript of this conversation--making it anonymous, of course--and pass it on to the team in charge of design"

Roger, feeling much better, laughed. "I know you record everything that happens in this office, Dad, but did you have to remind me?"

Gordon smiled. "You know perfectly well that I destroy any recordings of private conversations. But Roger, this information is very important because I am certain that you aren't the only one who will feel this way."

The younger man nodded. "I know. As long as I can see it before you send it along."

"We can do that right now," Gordon tapped a command into his keyboard and a transcript of their chat appeared on the monitor. Together, they condensed the conversation and removed any references that might identify the participants.

"That's fine," Roger nodded, examining the final printout. 

"Good," Gordon made a point of erasing the original recording of the conversation in front of his son. "Now, to solve the problem in the meantime...hmmm...." He thought for several moments. "I have an idea, if you don't mind participating in a small experiment."

Roger rolled his eyes. "You want me to play guinea pig?"

His father grinned. "You had no objection to doing so when we were doing the Mark II interface designs on the megadeuses." At Roger's chagrined nod, he laughed. "It won't be painful, I promise. This is what I propose..." He proceeded to explain his idea.

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