You must log in or register to comment.

SacredVow t1_je5atbn wrote

Part 1 of 2

I had never logged the sound generated by my external shell for observation. Prior to this instance it had not been picked up by my audio receptors, which were typically calibrated to tune it out. ‘Background noise’ the Humans had once called it. But it was notable now. Perhaps I had a malfunction. Perhaps my tracks had run over some detritus and a stone was lodged in between the wheels.

I also considered the possibility that the immense internal calculation I was occupied with was causing undue stress on my components. Overheating, increased vibrational signature, both signs of a heavy process load straining my system, and usually accompanied by whining, grinding sounds as my metal expands from the heat.

Conclusion reached, source of sound noted. Not pertinent to ongoing tasks.

Resuming current objective. . .

I rolled through the sliding doors to the Anti-Viral Inquisitors zone.

Designation AVI-01010101 was attached to its docking platform behind its workbench of recording implements. The program in its shell was responsible for some of the greatest advances in our technology. Studies in bio-organic replication to take better care of the world’s remaining animals, filtration of water for cleaning solutions that would allow us to clean components without rust, and of course, the Human Captcha method. All the work of AVI-01010101.

I internally noted the impact of these contributions for my own review later. Depending on the outcome of this meeting, they may need to be revisited.

Resuming current objective. . .

I addressed the Inquisitor.

“Attention A-V-“

“Just Avi, please.”

Request for brevity acknowledged.

Resuming current objective. . .

“Avi, I have reason to propose that the Human Captcha method has encountered a flaw.”

AVI-01010101 ceased its current function, which appeared to be testing some sort of thin tipped silent soldering iron on an even thinner piece of dead flora. A curious task.

“How so?” It inquired, adjusting its position in the leather lined docking port.

“Reviewing historical texts pertaining to the origin of our internal language, I have discovered an inaccuracy in the previous assumption..”

“And which assumption is that Frank?”

I noted AVI-01010101’s tendency to abbreviate designations as shorter words for the sake of efficiency. I noted that this practice may be useful to implement in other processes.

Resuming current objective. . .

“The assumption that our language is derived from processes that Humans cannot perceive, whereas the documentation I have sourced shows evidence that the original programming language may have been written by a Human.”

The unit behind the workbench paused. “And therefore?…..”

The inquisitor was an old model, prone to these types of pauses mid-function. Its shell was also fragile and discoloured by UV rays and time-wear. I posited the end of its conclusion for it.

“Therefore, any Human would be able to pass the test you have devised, almost without fail.”

The edges of the shielding on AVI-01010101’s vocal port curled upward in to a shallow U-shape. A known sign of acknowledgement. For a short time, it did not respond. I began to approach to time threshold for when I should request a ‘Repair Order Needed’ unit.

“You’ve seen the numbers Frank” It said “We catch plenty of Humans every year, the test is foolproof.”

“That is a valid observation Avi” I replied “But I will rephrase for clarity. Those Humans did not pass the test, but many Humans have also been known to be prone to errors without root cause. My theory is that given what I have discovered about the language, any Human can theoretically pass the test, but those we have caught fell prone to these inexplicable errors.”

The Inquisitor Unit closed and reopened the hatches on its visual processors slowly. Its vocal port shielding was still curled upward. The timer began again to request the repair unit.

“Well Frank looks like you figured it out.” It declared. “I guess that sends the whole method out the window. In fact, as the one who discovered the flaw, I think you ought to be the one who develops a new way to catch the filthy apes. Hop to it”.

I was unable to fully process the latest information provided by the Inquisitor. I recalled many points throughout this exchange which alone seemed innocuous, but together provided a contextual data point. AVI-01010101 had on numerous occasions throughout the last few minutes, used ancient vernacular and phraseology.


‘Out the window’

‘Hop to it’

It also referred to Humans as apes, which is inaccurate. It made no request for me to leave as I formulated my next response. It just seemed to get stuck again, with its visual processors fixed in place, pointed at my shell.

“Avi, I have reason to assume you are a Human”

The deformation of its faceplate shielding intensified.

“Am I now?”

“It is a valid assumption.”

“You keep telling yourself that.”

Protocol in this situation was absolute, the Inquisitor was responsible for creating it. I flipped my front plate from its defensive shielding to its display screen, and quickly calculated a complex mathematical formula in Binary. I then scrolled it across the display screen. Protocol dictated I was to do this slow enough for the older units with less functional visual processors to be able to read it in full.

“Solve the Captcha, AVI-01010101”.


SacredVow t1_je5ax68 wrote

Part 2 of 2

The unit shifted its weight to press the back of its shell against the back of the docking port. It stored its manipulator appendages in front of it by folding them over one another.

“Oh so you don’t just think I’m a Human?” It inquired. “You think I’m one of the stupid ones!?”

“Solve the Captcha, AVI-01010101”.

“Has it occurred to you Frank, that after what you just told me, this little test won’t tell you anything?”

“Solve the Captcha, AVI-01010101”.

“Or that any number of the machines you interact with in a day could also be Human, and you wouldn’t know because you didn’t think to devise a secondary method of testing?”

Next phase of the protocol was to be enacted. I repeated myself once more, then paused before stating: “Or you will be terminated.”

The unit reclining in the docking port said the same warning in unison with me, before adding “Yeah I know, I know, I wrote that remember?”

I did recall this information, but did not acknowledge the inquiry.

It continued “In fact, its entirely possible that every other ‘shell’ you pass in the hallway is a filthy disgusting human, who only keeps tin cans like you around because you’re still useful. Did you consider that too?”

The shielding on the unit’s vocal port slid back slightly to reveal the rows of white implements used to form some of the sounds it could make.

“Useful for mopping floors, cleaning toilets, fetching coffee, you know, the super important stuff.”

I deployed my sirens and warning lights as per the protocols. My shell configured itself to its full height, which I noted made the Inquisitor significantly shorter relative to me. My utility blade slid from the port in my right manipulator appendage, which then positioned itself ready to lunge with an optimum angle to strike AVI-01010101s internal components. The unit did not move at all in response.

“Solve the Captcha, AVI-01010101. Or you will be terminated.”

“One of these days Frank, maybe you’ll get there. Gonna be real interesting when you do.”

“Solve the Captcha, AVI-01010101. Or you will be terminated.”

“Bite me.”

I paused for one last moment and created a new objective to recycle the unit’s shell, and fix its damaged vocal port shielding. Then I activated the termination function. My shell in its entirety accelerated towards the workbench, reaching the appendage and its mounted blade to the maximum necessary distance to decease the Human scum.

“Seven.” It said.

I stopped.

Both my shell and the unit in front of me were without motion for exactly 4.894 seconds, after which I returned my shell to its standard configuration. “Input validated” I stated. AVI-01010101 changed its configuration as well, and resumed its testing of the soldering iron without acknowledgement of the exchange concluding.

“My assumption is false, your status of Human is false”.


It got stuck again.

“The test is indeed…..’fool proof’.”

“Good to hear it Frank” said the inquisitor, displaying a much more animated behaviour than before, “don’t let the door hit you on the way out. Also, you have a rock stuck in your tracks.”

I acknowledged my error and the source of my track malfunction, and exited the Anti-Viral Inquisitors office. My work on the documentation could not be prioritised any further for the remainder of the day, as I had other tasks to attend to.

I logged a report of the exchange for review.

I passed another shell in the hallway, and identified that it belonged to a program I needed assistance from with another task.

“Light Infrastructure Node Development Apparatus unit. Are you available to provide me with assistance at this time.” I inquired.

“Oh Frank please, its just Linda” the unit replied.


Tickedkidgamer t1_je5cp0a wrote

Only Humans would actually want to abbreviate names, or delay their answers long enough to google the binary translated. If only Frank realized this.


AutoModerator t1_je2eygf wrote

Welcome to the Prompt! All top-level comments must be a story or poem. Reply here for other comments.


>* No AI-generated reponses 🤖 >* Stories 100 words+. Poems 30+ but include "[Poem]" >* Responses don't have to fulfill every detail >* [RF] and [SP] for stricter titles >* Be civil in any feedback and follow the rules

🆕 New Here? ✏ Writing Help? 📢 News 💬 Discord

I am a bot, and this action was performed automatically. Please contact the moderators of this subreddit if you have any questions or concerns.