Notes from the Enquiry into Dr. James Z. Orwen


"They weren't supposed to have emotion or intelligence, outside of basic instincts that would detect danger: fire, say, or a burglary," Orwen said.

"Nannies. That's what they were for?"

"That and hospital attendants. People don't trust machines."

"So you turned computers into humans."

"More the reverse. Humans into computers."

"Sub-humans."

"Yes, sub the prefix meaning..."


"I know what it means," the investigator snapped. "You put funeral directors out of business."

"Created an entirely new business of installers." Orwen held up a tiny square. "One chip. People didn't even know they were using subs. Thought they'd hired a sweet old pensioner who needed a few extra bucks."

"What went wrong?"

"I expected the subs would band together. To keep with their little group."

"That didn't happen?"

"They craved what they couldn't give each other."

"I don't follow."

"The body remembers. The subs craved touch and love. Understanding."

"And so they came out. Left their posts and joined society?"

"I'm afraid so."

"The younger subs began to reproduce with humans?"

"Instinct."

"Can you tell, at a glance, who is human and who is sub?"

"No."

"Can you identify the offspring of a union between human and sub?"

"I'm afraid not."

"Do you know what I am?"

"Sir?"

"Human or sub?"

"I assumed..."

"You assumed wrong. "Dr. Orwen, what happened on the night of November 22?"

Orwen sighed. "I set myself alight. No crime there."

"Why would a man at the peak of his career do such a thing?"

Orwen shrugged. "I'm terminal. Six months or so left."

"You wanted to speed things up?"

"No. I wanted to...It's just so damn depressing."

"You wanted to avoid becoming a sub."

"Yes. With no body..."

"You programmed the subs too well. Yours put out the flames and telephoned the installer..."

"...Who called the hospital. He knew my wishes."

"Did you ask anyone else's wishes before you made them into subs?"

"No."

Death by lethal injection tomorrow," the investigator said to his aides. "Do take care with his body."



This was written for this week's Trifecta Writing Challenge. The word was band.

Kelly Garriott Waite on Google+






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Writing in the Margins, Bursting at the Seams: Notes from the Enquiry into Dr. James Z. Orwen

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Notes from the Enquiry into Dr. James Z. Orwen


"They weren't supposed to have emotion or intelligence, outside of basic instincts that would detect danger: fire, say, or a burglary," Orwen said.

"Nannies. That's what they were for?"

"That and hospital attendants. People don't trust machines."

"So you turned computers into humans."

"More the reverse. Humans into computers."

"Sub-humans."

"Yes, sub the prefix meaning..."


"I know what it means," the investigator snapped. "You put funeral directors out of business."

"Created an entirely new business of installers." Orwen held up a tiny square. "One chip. People didn't even know they were using subs. Thought they'd hired a sweet old pensioner who needed a few extra bucks."

"What went wrong?"

"I expected the subs would band together. To keep with their little group."

"That didn't happen?"

"They craved what they couldn't give each other."

"I don't follow."

"The body remembers. The subs craved touch and love. Understanding."

"And so they came out. Left their posts and joined society?"

"I'm afraid so."

"The younger subs began to reproduce with humans?"

"Instinct."

"Can you tell, at a glance, who is human and who is sub?"

"No."

"Can you identify the offspring of a union between human and sub?"

"I'm afraid not."

"Do you know what I am?"

"Sir?"

"Human or sub?"

"I assumed..."

"You assumed wrong. "Dr. Orwen, what happened on the night of November 22?"

Orwen sighed. "I set myself alight. No crime there."

"Why would a man at the peak of his career do such a thing?"

Orwen shrugged. "I'm terminal. Six months or so left."

"You wanted to speed things up?"

"No. I wanted to...It's just so damn depressing."

"You wanted to avoid becoming a sub."

"Yes. With no body..."

"You programmed the subs too well. Yours put out the flames and telephoned the installer..."

"...Who called the hospital. He knew my wishes."

"Did you ask anyone else's wishes before you made them into subs?"

"No."

Death by lethal injection tomorrow," the investigator said to his aides. "Do take care with his body."



This was written for this week's Trifecta Writing Challenge. The word was band.





Labels: ,

10 Comments:

At July 30, 2013 at 10:40 AM , Blogger Britton Swingler said...

Ooh, this was creepily wonderful, Kelly!

 
At July 30, 2013 at 11:17 AM , Blogger Elisabeth Kinsey said...

Love it, very sci-fi!

 
At July 30, 2013 at 12:07 PM , Blogger Gina said...

Crazy stuff! Chilling story! I bet this was fun to write.

Thank you for linking up, Kelly.

 
At July 30, 2013 at 1:10 PM , Blogger November Rain - k~ said...

A curious new world for us to taste a bite of. Nicely done.

 
At July 31, 2013 at 8:16 AM , Blogger Kir said...

While sci–Fi is not my genre of choice, I connected with this piece. Something about not being able to tell the difference between the computers and the people
... Both craving a connection to something/someone other than themselves.

I really liked this..
Thank you for linking. Xi

 
At July 31, 2013 at 5:10 PM , Blogger Alicia Audrey said...

Oh, wow!
Well done! I'd love to see a longer version of this work.

 
At August 1, 2013 at 3:21 AM , Blogger j umbaugh said...

Great imagination in this work, yet kind of appropriate for our times. Liked a lot.

 
At August 1, 2013 at 8:23 AM , OpenID jannatwrites said...

This is a scary idea. We can really mess things up when me start mucking around too much with life and death.

 
At August 1, 2013 at 11:43 AM , Blogger kymm said...

Yikes! I love the narration in this one, Kelly! Matter-of-fact, scientific. Creep-me-out.

 
At August 1, 2013 at 8:34 PM , Blogger Kallan Annie said...

It's frightening to think that we might not be so very far away from this scenario, what with the rapid advances in cybernetics. Very compelling and, as others have said, creepy.

 

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