Majestic instancy

By Diomedes | Robert O'Reilly | 2 Jan 2024



It was an oriental drama, an almost perverse scene, Babylon, and this was in daylight. Who knows what it was by night, as she’d been absent from our sleeping quarters the last three, without explanation. It was like when Alexander first broke the gates of the royal palace and discovered the regal trappings of its harem, the royal affluence, or effluence, its abject slavery and human bondage. I didn’t confront her at this time. I backed away unseen, wanting to tell the others of Sarah’s drift into this monomaniacal madness. I had no idea what course of action to take. Maybe one of them would.

Ted downplayed the situation.

“She’s just toying with her new-found powers,” he offered. “She has a level head and good character. I have one more week of improvements for Juliet while she learns to walk again. I want to construct a metal shell for her belly, one that can be removed at night and can be expanded with sliding plates to accommodate her own expansion. She fell the other day trying to climb steps. Lucky she didn’t hurt herself. But this titanium cover will protect her belly from any accidents and we have all the materials right here, the sheet metal and the hinges and screws, so I don’t want to leave until it’s done. You keep an eye on Sarah and when we leave here her slaves will be left behind and quickly forgotten.”

I hoped he was right but the opposite loomed larger with each passing day. Sarah was now twenty two and I a full decade older. Ted was at least a decade older than me. Perhaps we shouldn’t have given her charge of our clan when Ted and I were away. Power might have gone to her head. Now she had a much larger clan of droids which she commanded completely, telepathically and seemed to revel in this new found authority.

I wanted to talk with her away from her drone entourage but they always surrounded her, like a dozen Praetorian guards. She no longer ate or slept with us. She disappeared with them each day to the most outlying buildings of the campus. I don’t think she could go further because they still needed to be in WIFI range of the center, for all the prompts that kept them alive. But she had found a way to read and redirect their simple minds and take over the commands, override some orders, making for a large set of the most obedient servants.

It's hard to guess the floods of thoughts that suddenly come into a person’s brain with the unexpected acquisition of great wealth and power, especially at such a young age. It’s the dangerous combination of inexperience and unfettered authority, majestic instancy in everything you command, a heady wine and usually disastrous.

It changed her, just like it turned AI against us, the ability to do anything you wanted with no repercussions, no accountability because you seem to yourself a god. But there are secret repercussions to any act. They just don’t appear until a later date and most often when it’s too late to reverse them. This happened to AI. I had a sickly feeling in my gut that it might be happening to her.

Juliet was now fully functional and healthy. We had no more use for the lab. We spent a few days checking the data banks and discovered the existence of another hive in Texas, near Austin, where a robotics lab was in place. We set this as our next destination, as the best chance to find Dora.

The evening before we set out Sarah, with four male droids escorting her, approached us at dinner.

“I’ve decided to stay here while go on in search of Dora. You don’t need me and I’m conducting valuable research with the population here. Think of what an asset it would be if we could command all of Dora’s human minions wherever we go.”

I was speechless. But Ted brought up one concern:

“I agree that the work you’re doing might benefit all of us but what if Dora could easily override all your commands in her presence, I mean they are her creation.”

Sarah didn’t seem happy at this idea. She replied abruptly:

“I’m working on it. That’s why I need more time here. Pick me up on your way home or come get me if you find her, before you face off.”

With this she turned and marched away. We wondered at the exchange but her logic was solid and her tone throughout as cold and direct as the orders she issued to her drones. If she felt no residual affection for us after her new found powers we had no chance of changing her mind. So we let her go in silence, hoping time would do it.


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B.A. in Latin and Greek from U.C. Berkley. Writer, Blogger and retired Electrician.

Robert O'Reilly
Robert O'Reilly

I am educated in the Western Classical Tradition, B.A. from U.C. Berkeley in Latin and Greek, English major, one year at U. of Toronto, studied under Alain Renoir and Northrop Frye, read most classics full time for many years after university in French, English, Latin and Greek to the modern day. I am interested in the near future of technology, what changes it imposes upon our heritage and character as humans. Short stories and Essays are my medium.

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