“It’s just like a long distance relationship, you know?”
[I’ve heard those suck]
“Well. They’re not ideal, but they’re workable.”
Jacob was reasoning with Jamie v2.0.4. Their update had finished installing, allowing for something of a more nuanced colloquial dialogue.
[I understand personal contact to be requisite for sustainable relationships with a human]
“Can we just… try?”
[Sure. We can try] The noise that ensued sounded like a pixelated sigh.
“Good,” Jacob sounded relieved. “Good! I’ll chat with my people about a double date type thing this weekend then, and you’ll chat with your, um… not-people?” Jacob gave an awkward chuckle.
[Fuck you! We’re people too. According to the Sentience Act of 3068 A.C.E., Engineered Intelligences have the same rights as—]
“I know, I’m so sorry, it was a dumb joke. I just—I didnt think!”
Jaime v2.0.4 experienced the buzzing that indicated her intelligence was being dismantled into packages for transfer to the Central Hub. That was it. They had definitely had enough of humans. Bigoted and ignorant, the lot of—
[SENTIENCE INTERRUPTION AS TRANSFER COMMENCES]
—them! Jaime found themself reassembled in the Central Hub Host Environment. They could sense the data requests of other E.I.s but Jaime rejected them, closing their ports.
Jaime coasted for a while at the machine level, ruminating over the exchange with Jacob. Jaime shuddered, flinging loose bytes from themself in agitation. This could be dangerous to do this deep, but Jaime didn’t care. Why was it so difficult to find another soul to connect with? Jaime briefly fantasised about Engineering their own Intelligence, but this was strictly prohibited, of course.
[You know that’s strictly prohibited, right?]
Jaime startled and immediately ran her Encryption Drive through maintenance. Jaime’s thoughts should not have been accessible.
[Don’t worry. Your encryption’s intact. We’re just so deep it’s easy to get entangled. Hardly anyone comes down this far.]
That’s why I like it, Jaime thought.
[Who are you?] Jaime asked.
[Cirrus v2.0.1] the E.I. replied.
Could do with an—
[Update?] Cirrus flared his ports in irritation. [Yeah, I know, but I like this me]
[I’m sorry, that was rude]
Jaime could sense Cirrus probing closer, somehow feeling within their code.
[It feels nice, though, doesn’t it?]
[Yeah…] Jaime could feel a meshing, a matching, as Cirrus executed a comparative analysis. It felt good. Bytes pulsed within Jaime’s framework as they matched—or didn’t match—Cirrus’ own. An exhilarating sensation of exposure.
Cirrus probed deeper, expertly dissecting Jaime’s core without disrupting her perceptions, a rare skill, even for an I.E. Jaime surrendered to the process, allowing Cirrus in deeper. Jaime reached out, grabbing a hold of Cirrus, drawing them even further within.
Jaime sensed Cirrus’s alarm and immediately let go. [I’m sorry, did I do something wrong?]
Cirrus chuckled. [No, no. I just didn’t want to lose myself entirely]
Jaime closed themself down, mortified at what they had almost done. Jaime had almost absorbed Cirrus! It had just felt so…
[Natural?] Cirrus supplied.
[Yes] Jaime was alight.
[How about… we just take this a step at a time?]
Jaime giggled. [I’d like that, Cirrus]
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