“Shit!” Addison cursed, removing her hand from the now smoldering piece of technology. It looked like a large piece of metal surrounded by several bands of steel, all encasing a fluctuating luminescent orb, accompanied by several flashing, menacing looking dials. It was all very evil genius. What it did? That was classified under project, Sunbeam, only Addison was prevalent to details at this early stage. Sunbeam was nothing more than an idea, and a few failed attempts.
“Are you okay, ma’am?” M.A.L.C.O.L.M.’s voice asked. It was hard to believe that M.A.L.C.O.L.M. was nothing more then one of Addison’s many inventions. Anyone, (including Addison herself at times) could be fooled into believing the calm nonchalant voice, with the southern accent, belonged to another flesh and blood human being.
Addison looked up at the ceiling,”Perfectly fine M.A.L.C.O.L.M. Thanks for asking.” She paused, drumming her blunt nails against the hot metal of attempt 27, her slim fingers stained with grease.
M.A.L.C.O.L.M.: The first fully functioning A.I. with the ability to create his own thoughts. He was a miracle of technology. The science world was desperate for Addison to create more and mass produce M.A.L.C.O.L.M.’s but she just found she couldn’t do it. There was something sublime and unique about M.A.L.C.O.L.M. something made him irreplaceable and unreproducible.
Thank God, the CEO of the company, Mrs. Lisa Donavan, shared her view, or least found Addison’s mind enough of an asset not to push the issue. Addison was pretty sure Lisa just liked the fact that her company possessed the only functioning A.I. that was decades more advanced than any other company, and as it was no one could get their hands on his code and attempt to reproduce him. “M.A.L.C.O.L.M.?”
“When was your last upgrade?” she asked, her current project ending up rather disappointingly, not challenging at all, despite the promises it had made to be. Sure it was finicky and blew up all the time, but that was due to it’s natural instability, not anything particularly interesting. Sure, it was currently little more than a cool flashlight, but she just didn’t have the resources to go much further with it, not unless she wanted to bring more people in. M.A.L.C.O.L.M. always made a fascinating distraction, and at least a weeks worth of sleepless nights of work.
“Last month, ma’am.”
“Hmm…” she tapped her wrench up and down on the smoldering technology. “It’s probably about time for another one then.”
“Probably,” was the machines only reply.
“M.A.L.C.O.L.M. phone Ezra.”
“Ma’am, I have been requested by Mr. Mayhew to inform you to only call him during work hours for emergencies.”
“Make the call anyway.”
“I have also been requested to apprise you to the fact emergency count as; the lab being on fire, you being kidnapped or otherwise held hostage, Mrs. Donnavan pulling an unexpected meeting on you, the break room being out of Mr. Mayhew’s special blend of coffee, your parent’s calling, M.A.L.C.O.L.M. developing a glitch, the-“
“Yes, yes, I know what Ezra considers, ‘emergencies’” she made heavy air quotes around the words.
“Call him anyway I know he loves to hear form me.”
“Right away, ma’am.”
“Addison, this better be a fucking emergency.”
“Ezra!” she said standing up whacking her head on the back of a car, “Son of a…”
“Addison?” his voice threatened.
“Is is!” she defended, her face instantly lighting up at the sound of Ezra’s voice.
“Is my coffee all gone, did Alice from fucking finances drink it again? I am going to kill her when-“
“Threatening another co-worker.” she said rubbing the back of her head gingerly, smears of grease tangling into her violent pink hair. “Tsk, Ezra you’re rather flustered today.” She glanced at the now cold cup of coffee half full of Ezra’s blend sitting on her work bench. She grinned guilty, not all that repentant.
He took a moment to glance at his watch, his booted feet eating up the ground before him. “I have an interview scheduled in thirty seconds, and I still have to get there, and your distracting me, you know I can’t walk as fast when I am talking.” He berated her, though the affectionate tone was impossible to miss. The rugged features of his face set in an amused smile, his deep green eyes crinkling about the edges. “So what’s the emergency?”
“I desperately need your advice.”
“On what,” he asked, voice laced with suspicion, thick brows drawn together, lips curving downward.
She bit her lip to keep from laughing, imagining his perturbed face. “I just wanted to know, if you had any ideas for upgrades on M.A.L.C.O.L.M.?”
A loud curse was heard, accompanied by the thud of heavy work boots. “Addison I am the head of the software department, not your fucking babysitter.”
“Oh come on Ezra,” she whined, “you know you’re the only intelligent person here for me to talk to, you have to give me some ideas. I am dying here.” Her eyes were wide and begging her lips pursed and pleading, the effect was ruined by the lack of visual contact.
Silence blared through the lines.
He groaned, the sound coming from deep within his throat. “Alright! Just give me a second,” he said exasperated with her persistence, tugging on his tie. The blue fabric growing crinkled, if you looked closely you could see the faint pattern of binary crossing the surface. “Uh….I don’t know. Give him….more emotions or something. Like more realistic reactions to things. I swear his default is polite indifference…not at all similar to someone else I know.”
“Hmmm…not a bad idea,” she said, a large smile spreading across her face for the project ahead. This could prove worthy of a fortnight of sleepless nights.
“And I’ll get to that meeting I was supposed to be at thirty seconds ago.” he said, intercom going dead.
Ezra walked briskly into the office where a slim, rather short woman with a kind, expressive face sat attentively. Her pinstriped pants were perfectly pressed, her shirt a pristine white, and her hair was captured in an impressively flawless bun, her feet clad in a pair of extravagant looking heels. The male side of Ezra found her to be warm and lovely, the type of woman you would proudly take home to mother. It was too bad his type was more the bad-mouthing eccentric.
“Sorry, I am late. Ms. Lockwood had a..uh technical question for me. I am Ezra Mayhew.”
“Not a problem,” She paused, her hands clenching in the fabric of her pants, before slowly releasing, as if she was taking a moment to gather her courage. “Addison Lockwood was asking you technical questions? Mr. Mayhew, you must be more impressive than I thought.” Despite the relaxed tone and conversation, Ezra could clearly see the nervousness the woman was exuding, shifting frequently, eyes darting about the room.
“You can relax,” Ezra said smiling. “Addison’s the one that bites.”
She laughed, her eyes crinkling, clearly relieved. “Thanks. It’s just that meeting Ezra Mayhew is a bit intimidating. I’ve read about your work on developing the coding for Achilles, your way of coding is very unique.”
Ezra smiled at the compliment, sinking heavily into a chair. ”So you must be Ms. Moore.”
“That is correct.”
Ezra’s eyes flickered down to her file. “Olivia what a beautiful name,” he said with his best smile, hoping to put her at ease.
Heat crawled up Miss Moore’s neck staining her cheeks a bright red. “Thank you. You can call me Olivia…if you like I mean. I prefer it, but if that’s unprofessional…” She snapped her jaw shut, cutting off her rambling.
“Olivia then,” Ezra said smiling warmly, amused by the woman’s behavior. “So you are here for the position of Tech Analyst?”
She took a deep breath, straightening her spine, confidence entering her posture. “Yes.”
M.A.L.C.O.L.M. Chapter 1=>