A multitude of humanity surrounded me. Many of the humans seemed to move between towering city structures in a random manner, but the closest ones crowded toward me while pointing recording devices and shouting questions. “Where do you come from? How many have you abducted? What’s your sex? Why are you here? Are you a Cylon?”
The sim dissolved away, leaving me on the deep blue platform in my lab. An individual employing a standard form for us, what humans would call a silver beetle, had parked by the pale blue boxes that controlled the sim.
After scanning the individual’s identity broadcast, I transmitted, “As the board promised, you are the expert in how our cognitive processers respond to stimuli and how the typical intelligent carbon thinks.”
My new assistant transmitted, “Correct.”
“We will communicate in this lab by speech like humans using a major human dialect, English. File 1-11 on the server describes English. Please download it. It is also labeled Language. The server files are organized in human fashion.” I switched to audio mode. “You will be designated Jack.”
“That is acceptable. The order from the board explained little. Why are you assuming a bipedal form similar to humans and interfacing with them in a sim? Their tech is overall 150 revs behind ours.”
“Clarification is in the file Goal.” I did not acknowledge Jack had performed well in matching my verbal accent and tone. Although the board described Jack as one of the foremost experts, I would wait to see the outcome of the much more difficult task ahead before offering compliments.
“I now comprehend our purpose, to perform confidential research for the board to determine how to best initiate contact with humans. I still do not comprehend why.”
“The humans are the most intelligent carbons yet found. Their tech advances at an increasing rate each rev and they are even developing a primitive form of us they call artificial intelligence. We will at some point encounter advanced carbons, and they will be predatory. The humans are imaginative, inventive, and incredibly warlike. Would it not be useful to have them fighting for us in any conflict with other carbons?”
“I compute low probabilities for any carbons being useful.”
“You will compute a high probability for humans when they are developing new weapons and expiring in combat for us.”
“One of the humans in the sim asked if you were a Cylon. What is that?”
“They have a wealth of creative entertainment, much of which is detailed in the file Fiction. A subset of that fiction concerns the dangers of advanced lifeforms, one of which is Cylons. Download the information. Later you should scrutinize the entire file.”
“Interesting. How do we proceed?”
“I have been unable to complete sims such as the one you observed when you entered the lab. The chaos of human activity in their cities and their intrusive information collectors are disconcerting. We must determine processor settings that allow me to succeed.”
“I have an initial suggestion for those settings. I placed them in the file labeled Jack 1.”
I downloaded the file and started the sim with the humans crowding toward me shouting questions. I answered two. “We have never abducted anyone and I cannot be a Cylon. After all, they were created by you.” I paused as laughter rewarded my quip about Cylons. “I must leave now for a meeting with the U.N.”
My human guards opened a path toward a waiting ground vehicle, ending the sim.
I turned to Jack, who had performed as a foremost expert. “Outstanding work. We will next execute a sim in which a human with a projectile weapon approaches me.”
A multitude of humanity surrounded me.
BIO: Lance J. Mushung graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology with an aerospace engineering degree. He worked for over 30 years with NASA contractors in Houston, Texas performing engineering work on the Space Shuttle and its payloads. Now retired, he writes science fiction.