Golem Project Part 7

Draft 1.07

Golem Project In Progress

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First Chapter

The next few minutes were a blur of information. New visual lenses put over reality. Wessel could see how hot things were, how far away they were, their density, and their chemical makeup. It didn’t make sense that he knew those things, and he didn’t really understand the implications, but he knew them.

He was seeing through Aizi’s eyes as well as his own. Her body wasn’t his own, but he had knowledge of it as well. Every movable panel, every adjustment she could make, all the ways she could change to suit different needs.

As enraptured as he was with exploring Aizi, he did notice a sound that kept repeating itself. A name.

“Wessel? Wessel, can you hear me?”

Before he could think about how to respond, Aizi’s flow of information cut itself down to a trickle. Wessel’s focus returned to himself. He could still feel the link between them, but it was no longer overwhelming.

“… sir?” Wessel said.

Vincent smiled. “You’ve been meeting Aizi, I assume.”

Wessel nodded. He still felt dazed. “What is she?” he asked.

“Artificial intelligence,” Vincent said. “AI. That’s where her name comes from. Have you heard of artificial intelligence?”

“I’ve… read,” Wessel said.

“Alright, then. Let me help you understand what’s going on. Can you pay attention, or do you need a moment?”

Wessel’s legs were trembling. He dropped to one knee, then sat down on the cold, hard concrete. “Alright. I can focus.”

He’d waited this long for his golem. If this information was important, he could listen now. Form a plan, with Aizi in it. Work that plan. He needed the information, first.

“Alright,” Vincent said. “If you’re going to do this favor for us, and take care of Aizi, there is one rule you’ll have to follow first.”

“Rule?” Wessel immediately wished he’d brought his books with him.

“Rule.” Vincent stared him dead in the eye. “Forget everything you know about artificial intelligence. Everything you’ve read in books and articles, everything you’ve seen in old videos. AI is the future, but Aizi is NOT alive.”

“She’s not?” Wessel looked back at the golem.

“She is not. And she never, ever will be. Understand?”

Wessel nodded.

“The difference between her and other golems is that she can think for herself. If you want something done, she can think outside the box and decide for herself how to do it, so long as it doesn’t break any of her workings.”

“That’s not how the others work?”

Vincent shook his head. “No. If I want my golem to go to the store and get some eggs, it will only know how to go get eggs if I know how to get eggs. It will only do it the way I know to do it. Other golems don’t think. They only run off of the capabilities of your mind. They are fantastic, advanced machines, capable of great things… but they are only as smart as the one in control.”

“Aizi is smarter?”

“Aizi can think. She is an experiment, and you are the first to choose her symbols, as well as the first to be deemed suitable. If you had answered your questions differently, we would have fixed the symbol on your shoulder with some extra lines and given you another golem.”

“Oh.” Wessel tried to fit his mind around it. It was so much new information, and he couldn’t grasp how it would affect things. He’d planned to have a normal golem, not for this to happen. “But she is not alive?”

“She cannot feel,” Vincent said. “She will never have an emotional response, and will never think illogically. On top of that, she doesn’t have free will of any type, not while there are laws that she must follow.”

“So she thinks like a person, but doesn’t feel like one?”

“She thinks better than a person, but you will be her heart. You will be her direction.”

The weight of responsibility set on Wessel’s shoulders. Sure, he wasn’t caring for an actual life. But more than with a normal golem, he was doing a favor for the men that had invented golem. And he was caring for something intelligent.

It was a partnership, not an ownership, even if she couldn’t feel.

Wessel swallowed and nodded. “But why me?” he asked.

“We needed someone to test this, the next evolution of golems. Maybe Aizi will be the first in the next evolution, not just for golems, but for humanity.” Vincent looked wistfully at Aizi for a moment, then back at Wessel. “We need you to see how she works. How she grows with you, how she works with you, that sort of thing. We will be checking in, monitoring your relationship from a distance.”

“But…” Wessel tried to accept the answer, but that wasn’t what he was looking for. He couldn’t improvise, couldn’t improve the question. “But why me?” he asked, again.

“You are a tinkerer,” Vincent said. “Your background and the classes you are taking prove as much. You are a stable individual, with a good family. You aren’t socially tied down, with attachments and friends that might change you too much. You aren’t quick to anger or to action. You abide by the laws of our country, and the laws of your city.” Vincent smiled. “But most importantly, you need her. And she needs you. That’s why we chose you.”

Because I am me. Wessel bit his lip.

“That’s all you need to know. Treat her as you would any other golem, but remember. She cannot feel, only think. She is yours, and you are hers. She will protect you, help you, and be with you for as long as you’ll have her.”

Wessel slowly stood. His breathing was unsteady. “T-thank you,” he stammered. He wanted to hug the man for this gift, for giving him Aizi. Somehow that didn’t feel right. He instead reached out, offering the same handshake he’d been given earlier.

Vincent took it with a smile. He stood to leave, then stopped. “Oh, I almost forgot,” he said. “One other tip.”

“Yeah?” Wessel said.

“It’s probably best not to tell everyone what you have there,” Vincent said. “Of course, it’s up to you. You can say what you wish. Just keep that in mind.”

Wessel heard, ‘Don’t tell anyone, ever.’ He nodded. It was so much easier to follow simple instructions like that. He wouldn’t tell a soul.

“Alright, Peller, he’s all yours!” Vincent called. “Come on, Crovix, Mindy. Let’s head back.”

The grey-suited group left the garage, and a few of the golems went with them. Wessel wasn’t going to chase after them, and watch them go. He would stay with Aizi.

“Well ain’t she a beaut,” Peller said, ambling up out of the shadows. “I’ve gotta go ink another couple of birthday kids, but I’m prouder than a mama birdie to see you standin’ there with my ink, next to that golden girl.” The man chuckled to himself, coughed, then loosened his tie. “I suppose you can get back to your normal stuff, Wes. Come to me if’n you get any issues with her, and I’ll help you out. I get to be your contact, neh? Ain’t it great?”

Wessel nodded.

“Later then, little mate. Have a good ‘un!” Peller ambled off, leaving the two alone. Wessel and Aizi.

Wessel looked up at Aizi’s smooth-domed head. Blue sparks stared back.

“I need to get to my English class,” he said, tapping his watch. “Can you get my books, or do you have to stay near me?”

“I can get them,” Aizi said, he voice still strong as steel but soft and nervous as a fretting mother.

How can a voice like that not feel? Wessel wondered.

Aizi took her first steps toward the hallways of the school, and Wessel followed along. He was fifteen minutes late. Things had not gone as planned. But nothing could wipe the smile off his face.

Next Chapter

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