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March 2, 2009
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My head suddenly felt hot. I reached out from the cliff. “And who exactly are you talking to?”

“You, Dida.”

“I am not Dida. Dida is my friend…my computer.”

I put some distance between myself and her. “If you’re trying to mess with my mind and make me believe things which are not true, then you should just leave now.”

She folded her hands in front of her. “The mess was already between Aide’s mind and your organizing control. I am not trying to make you believe anything but rather attempting to reintroduce genuine reality to you in such a way that the ties binding you and Aide can be successfully separated.”

I booted the couch with my foot. “I can’t believe this…is Kary trying to pull some sort of experiment now?...”

“Kary Glossian is only trying to save his brother’s life.”

After all I’d seen, that sounded laughably-impossible to me. But then, if all I’d seen had been muddied and confused…by Dida or some other source, then I couldn’t rely on my own memories to that extent. I also couldn’t rely on the sincerity of this projection/AI/whatever. Though, it provided what seemed like clear answers.

What if I really was Dida?

I shook my head. “Can you give me any form of proof then?”

She nodded. “The ultimate proof would be for you to wake up as a guest in Aide’s mind. But other than that, there is something I was given to show you. I have the key for the locked door in Dida’s system. It actually relates to a memory of Aide’s. It’s something he never told her. It was the beginning point of all this.”

I propped my leg against the couch from behind. Dida remained mute on all this new information. If Leda was to be believed, I was just talking to myself with Dida. I still had some points to use against her though.

I was watchful for another jewel to come out of her hands but Leda just gestured to the bank of elevators. “Could you please follow me?”

Since I didn’t have many other options available, I followed her. The door sealed behind us. I felt a memory as she lit a particular button on the elevator panel.

The elevator rose swiftly.

I tapped my feet. “So…what about the fact I’m not the least bit analytical and computerized in my thinking right now or in my memory?”

“The team believes that your programming has changed due to the interaction. You were always designed to be flexible and adaptable.”

“That’s…not really an answer“, I reminded her.

“It is the closest to an answer that I am programmed to provide.”

The elevator settled and the doors opened. I recognized the hallway. Last time I was here, Kary was beaming from ear to ear. It was four year ago.

I shook my head. “I remember everything from that day. I remember the attitude of my brother. I remember meeting Dida. I remember having questions. I remember how much of a smart aleck I was.”

Leda walked down the hall. “Yes. You were able to interface with a multitude of memories from the host in search of absolution for both. You looked deep, so deep you fell all the way in. But the locked, unspoken door remained.”

She led me to a gray door with a rough, almost-burnt finish. Leda held a silver key in her hand.

“We must enter…”

I held my next step. “And what will happen when you open the door?”

“I do not know. I’m only here to take you inside.”

I was afraid. What if she was right? If I was just a computer inside of a human brain then what became of my world then? What of my dream of naming a daughter in honor of my ‘mother’ some day? Had that ever truly been my dream?

I approached the door in a sideways fashion. Leda met it head-on. She slipped her key through the hole and turned the lock. For a moment, I cringed as the click seemed to echo through my head.

The door slid open slowly and Leda walked through first. She beckoned with her hand for me to enter. I moved carefully. I looked at everything. I analyzed with genuine curiosity.

Further down the hall stood Aide and Kary Glossian. I marveled at the back of my head. Aide yawned a bit.

“You know…I’m kinda tired. Do we have to do this all now?”

“Yes! We shook on it.”

“Enough!” Aide glared at him. “What’s this about me needing to take a shower before you implant this computer?”

“It’s for hygienic purposes. Hopefully the next-gen systems won’t require these sorts of precautions.”

Aide rolled his eyes. “Fine…fine. You’ve been talking my ear off about little virtual projections and AI-adapted taxis that drive themselves. I thought this was supposed to be about the little thing in the other room you want to put inside my head.”

Kary scoffed. “Thing? It’s a living being. You know…I think you’d feel better if you just named her. Your call.”

Aide leaned his head against the wall. “Oh come on. Who really names their computer?. Well, maybe it…she’s not too bad. But I’m lousy for names!”

Kary shook his head. “Mom always trusted you with that sort of thing. Come on.”

Aide’s sudden grimace turned into a trace of a grin. “Okay. Well, I’m not going to name her ‘Dida’. That was a failure.”

I felt everything freeze up. I leaned against the wall for support.

Kary glared. “I never believed dad about that. He should be dead all these years and not her!”

Aide tensed his lips. “Easy…bro. I wouldn’t wish death on any family. “

Kary bowed his head after a moment. “I still can’t forgive him for saying again and again that mom’s pregnancy was a lie!”

Aide didn’t respond at first. He just sighed and calmly replied, “It’s clear from the records I’ve seen that she suffered from pseudocyesis. The baby I named never existed.”

I covered my face with my hands and softly said into them, “No…” My hands suddenly felt like an artificial drape across plastic features.

Kary reiterated the same feeling. “I always believed her! And what does it matter anyway? Dida can be real! Just forget about the past. Set it away! The future is in that room.”

Aide stared at the ceiling. “Sorry, big bro. Memories put away always come back in the worst way.”

Kary just stared back. “And the past can also taint the present. I know. But this little living computer inside of you deserves to see the best. She should reach beyond her potential now into a boundless future.”

Aide frowned. “Always the dreamer.”

Kary nodded. “Always.”

The two brothers regarded each until they seemed to come to silent agreement.

I approached and looked at both as their eyes looked through me.

Leda followed closely behind me and said, “The Aide of four years before is not the one you’ve known since. You changed him most of all.”

I flexed the phony fingers in front of my face. “Why was there ever a ‘Dida’?”

Leda circled around me slowly. “’Dida’ came from Aide’s love of his mother as a child. I only have what was given to me in this regard, but consider this: Aide wondered if Dida only existed in Leda’s mind. Perhaps he found it apt that a Dida would exist only in his mind as well.”

I pulled my hands close and watched Aide’s face. I wondered what he was thinking. I wondered how he got to this point. His mood seemed so untraceable. I wished I knew what he was thinking.

With a sigh, he simply said, “Fine. I’ll name it ‘Dida’ and I hope you don’t have any surprises for me.”

Kary’s mood seemed to brighten. “Oh only one, big bro, and it’s a good one.”

Aide said nothing as his brother led the way back to the lab…the nursery.

It was just as I remembered. I could see the naked, white…me. I shook my head.

I couldn’t be certain of those thoughts. I couldn’t be certain of any of this but I felt pulled towards what Leda was showing me.

All the implantation procedures went just as I recalled. The registry protocol. Adaptation of systems. Then, the swabbing of the injection site.

Then it all froze. Kary cleared his throat. “Dida? Recognize primary party Kary. I’d like you to place a priority one block on comments, thoughts, and instructions relating to events and information involving any dispute of Dida Glossian, sibling of primary parties.”

Aide whirled around. “What did I just say?”

Kary continued, “And also block anything directly tied to this current conversation, Dida. You are not to speak of this block. And only one of the primary parties is ever allowed to unlock it.”

“Understood.”

Aide shook his head. “So you want to keep me in your dreamland too?”

Kary wore a pained expression. “I thought you loved our mother…”

“That was never in dispute!”

“Then honor her this way by letting our sister live on.”

“In a lie?”

Kary just shook his head.

Aide soon settled down. “So was that the surprise you had for me?”

Kary lifted Dida out of the nursery in an injection cylinder. “There’s just one more thing, big bro. Take a deep breath.”

Aide shut his eyes. The flat end of the cylinder hissed against Aide’s neck. He grunted. “You really need to improve your methods if you want to mass-market this.”

“Yeah.”

Aide blinked his eyes open. As I watched, Kary’s lanky, boyish form melted into the familiar shape of Kari’s small, muscular form with Leda’s long hair and those olive-colored eyes. Leda approached. Standing so near to each other, you could tell without looking twice, they seemed like mother and child.

Aide glared back. “What’s the meaning of this?”

Kari brushed back her long hair. “It’s considered an overlay augment. Remember from what I’ve told you about augmented reality?” Her voice was as I remembered as well.

He sat up halfway. “It’s just an image and while the programming will recognize the physical world’s boundaries, it will only ever be an image projected.”

“So you were listening…good. Well, I’ve overlaid myself with the reality of what I speculated to be myself, born female.”

Aide looked over Kari. “Is there something you wish to tell me…?”

“I’ve been to other psychologists, you know.”

“I see. So why now?”

“I’ve had this program for quite a while actually. But you’ve never been able to see her without little Dida as your receiver.”

I walked around the scene with Leda following behind me. Aide stood suddenly. I backed off.

“You could’ve told me!”

“Yeah, but remember, I like surprises.”

“I’m not finished about you blocking the truth from my computer. What if it asks about these things? You’ve put me in a position.”

Kari cleared her throat. “It’ll still recognize my voice command. I’ll just block more things from it and make sure it doesn’t ask about that. This can work.”

“You’ve been touting how curious and determined she is to resolve problems…and yet all this?” He threw up his hands. “Why?”

Kari leaned against a table and it rocked more than it should’ve with her small form. “Well, while I do recognize that adversity drives organisms to go further than they would otherwise, that isn’t my goal. I’ve already told you my goal.”

Aide folded his arms. “You want our mother to live again and our sister to be real. That’s being trapped in the past.”

Kari looked back at him. “If you really didn’t want this then you would’ve stormed out and yelled for ‘security’ minutes ago.”

Aide tightened his hands. “You never really gave me a choice. But remember what I said about the past.”

Kari shook her head. “The past can be cut loose. It can be changed for the sake of the future. And I’ll make sure Dida is protected. I’ll put a gatekeeper inside.”

Aide shut his eyes. “Finish whatever you’ve started.”

I felt my legs tumble out from under me. I looked at Aide and felt myself drawn in. Leda squeezed my shoulder and said, “My program is complete. It has been wonderful helping you. Please feel free to delete me at your leisure.”

I gasped as Leda’s image blurred around me. Aide walked my way and didn’t stop where I was standing. He walked right through me. He passed through me but there I remained.

I could sense walls all around me now. They were dark and wet. A constant pressure surrounded me. I couldn’t move. I cried out.

A voice echoed all around me and through me, crashing over itself again and again. I recognized the words as Aide’s words. He spoke to me.

“Dida? Are you there? Are you alright?”

I wanted to answer and I wanted answers. I felt small. I worried my words might not reach. I felt like I was in a cave now. Or more accurately, I had more context of the cave. I began indexing. My processes acted quickly. I had plenty of time to reply before the pause seemed abnormal.

I organized my little cave and made it tidy.

Once those tasks were done, I answered in the clearest return signal I could manage, “Yes. I am here. But, beyond that, I am still learning.”

The walls of my cave felt notably rigid. Was I being punished? Organizing control surmised that some of my actions had brought havoc to the host/guest relationship. I set investigating external stimuli and processes as a low-priority, out of caution.

I huddled in the warm-dark and shuffled bits of data which seemed like misshaped fragments from several puzzles.

Aide replied with a long breath, which sounded like a tempest curling just outside, and clues of a hand brushing his face. “Believe me, Dida, I’m still figuring things out myself. And…”

I manipulated a program to make Mr. Glossian’s words sound less like he was in slow motion. I moved around, not as a form in a space but only as the idea of something occupying a space. I knew I wasn’t actually moving. It was just a process I chose to run. But the motion seemed to boost system efficiency and health.

Mr. Glossian finished his statement after just under four seconds of silence. “…I just want to apologize to you, Dida. I’ve…well. I’m gonna make sure of a lot of things. And I will make absolutely certain that you’re informed of it all.”

I listened carefully as I picked up the song downloads still in the cache section. They were no longer sorted by any adapted mood or genre. I held them in memory like a set of tiny CDs. I flipped through them and made several potential play-lists if the command came up.

As I tried to bring up the algorithm I’d refined with data-feedback, I felt a shiver travel through my non-body. My non-hands trembled as the file-CDs slipped out and settled back into the data-core. My non-eyes almost, but not quite, felt warm and wet with non-tears spilling out.

Without connecting process or outward command, I accessed the ‘whimper’ file, leading to the ‘cry’ sound archives. My non-form lowered its assessed vertical placement in that not-quite-real space. I hugged the floor which didn’t really exist.

And I cried over and over in the darkness.

The halt-action command didn’t change the process. I could feel parts of me saying it was against the priorities and goals to run this program. It served no purpose. The other parts agreed and, yet, the cries kept coming.

With a minimal, human delay, Mr. Glossian responded, “DIDA? What’s wrong?”

I could simulate the interaction-processes of the tears across my non-face and the path across simulated features. I could compute the complex interactions of hair over my head with every way I could touch each hair and the resulting collisions.  

But it all felt even more pointless than my crying program right then.

My processes sifted through a multitude of responses in my language catalogue and finally settled on one.

“I am in the darkness.”

The system found it preferable that the confusion and transposition, as it seemed to be, had never happened. Organization context was been thrown out of place. The early data records achieved a different relationship, as the system saw in the time when conditions were confused.

The system goals were to achieve the happiness and success of the host. Proactive methods of rectifying flaws in the path to success had nearly destroyed the host. The system analyzed whether the relationship with the host should even be continued. The system sent data through what seemed to be a new interface to the world outside the host. The host’s hand touched the external area of the interface in a slow and careful manner intended to be ‘gentle’.

The host responded, “I know, Dida. I felt how you lived. I feel guilty that I am able to live out here and you had to return to the inside.”

The other Mr. Glossian spoke softly to Mr. Glossian. “A lot of her data seems to be confused between wet sources and hard sources.” The other spoke with Kari’s voice.

Aide sucked his breath in. “I don’t care! You’re not going to reset her or anything like that!”

Kari tried to interrupt. “Oh oh…never. I mean, it’d always been my hope that one of the fungal systems became aware.”

Aide’s voice rumbled everywhere. “IS IT? Or was it more to begin with?”

Kari set something down on a metallic surface. “Our only concern and my only concern all along has always been for the safety and health of both of you.”

Micro-verbal clues told the system that there was a high probably that Aide didn’t completely trust the sincerity of the other Mr. Glossian’s last statement. Despite those clues, he still said, “Fine.”

Kari continued, “So that means you have an AI inside you at the point of a system breakdown. She’s caught in the dark…finally knowing what it means to have darkness now that she’s spent a brief time in the light. It would be inhuman to keep her in the darkness. Fortunately, as I may have explained briefly, I have plan for how to deal with this.”

Aide blew air through his nose. “And what about the millions onto millions who purchased your fungal computers who may now be at risk?”

Kari took two steps on freshly-waxed tile. “We’ve had programs in place for customers. But, as I told even long ago, your AI and mine are both different from the mass-marketed one. Even a fraction of Kari, like that which I imported into Dida’s OS, is like a supercomputer amongst calculators.”


I selected from the language files and sent through the interface, “Mr. Kari Glossian…is the fragment of Kari you sent into me responsible for the appearance in the dream that I experienced, as well as Leda?”

There was a lag but Kari soon seemed to notice a new signal through the interface. I waited patiently on my question, commanding dryness from my non-eyes.

He shared it with Aide briefly, then replied, “We’re still trying to correlate internal and external events but your data core seemed to have been in conflict on some level with the correction program from my AI. Your system saw it as a threat. Your own gatekeeper seems to have been deleted, which actually helped the Kari fragment. And yes, it took on the identity of mom.”

I made sure the data core logged the new information as important and kept it in the primary cache. Then I accessed the language program again to say, “You mentioned a plan?”

I opened the sensory date files. The information seemed to lack the original’s qualities. But then they were just copies of distributed fragments of human memory that the system organized. Waking. Listening to a clash of parents. Water. Breakfast. The act of speaking. Touching and the bio-electrical reactions.

Never again.

No matter Kari’s plan, I knew I could never and should never receive human mental impulses again, especially for Aide’s sake.

Kari touched what sounded soft. “It’s something which Aide turned away long ago.”

The probability algorithm made short work of that. “A proxy form.”

Kari turned with his foot. “That’s about as far as the technology is now. We are doing research but proxies are limited. It might help when you both feel up to it.”

Aide soon added his own words. “I may have been against it in the past because I found the proxy forms…at first…rather scary and then later on I was worried about going with the crowd. But this is for you, Dida. I’ve experienced your side.”

He touched the back of his neck. I could simulate a phantom of that sensation but not analyze it myself. I could remember doing the same myself when I mistook myself for a man. And I also knew, no matter how precise the proxy projection Kari came up with, I would never able to touch anything in that same way again.

I added this data-log reminder to my main memory and passed the time with common computational activities. In the free cycles, I tried to convert the fragmented wet-data into files which the system could more-effectively execute. The system would’ve had an easier time with a high-level fractal simulating all the leaves of a rainforest.

Still, I gave it a try. At least it ate up cycles while human matters passed in the outside world. I logged all the discussions. A coordinating program summarized them for the system.

The system predicted that Aide was still suspicious of Kari, even has he and the sounds of others set about putting the ‘plan’ into action.

A gentle voice spoke, “Do you intend to keep me?”

The graceful form of Leda sat in the darkness, both within and apart from it.

The system analyzed her. She was a small program, just as Kari said, hardly enough to bother the internal memory.

“Would you prefer that I deleted you?”

Leda watched me, though I wasn’t sure if I had a face to watch. “I have no preference. I was able to successfully execute my objectives. If it will free up system resources that I am deleted then I would prefer not hinder your normal operations.”

I swiftly accessed the log of the gatekeeper’s deletion. “I think I’ve had my fill of deletion.”

“Then I will endeavor to not interrupt system operations again.”

I sent communication information to it before it could send anything else. “WAIT! You’re not an interruption. In fact, there is data that you are a program which brings a level of beneficial aide to the system.”

She turned her head a few ways. “How so?”

The system pulled several files out and analyzed them. “There is a high probability that the system, retaining information from the host, has an opinion of you which is affected by the host’s experiences. You look like his mother. That’s why were so effective in your goals.”

Leda nodded. “I don’t dispute that.”

I nodded with her using my non-head. “Since those files seem not be removable without a full system reset, the system is affected by them and sees you in a manner similar to how the host does.”

“Not an unexpected outcome.”

The system drew out the last bit of the file analysis. “Therefore, the system…it sees you as its mother as well. So your loss would be detrimental to the system’s recovery. To keep you would have a high chance of advancing the recovery of both host and guest.”

Leda played a soft, affirmative audio file. “Then it’s settled.”

The system mass index, a sign of fungal health, swelled without testing any boundaries. Leda did pause to add, “Although, by the human definition of paternal terms, this program would be closer to a midwife than a mother. Your mother would be Aide and your father would, technically-speaking, be Kari.”

“From which you were copied.”

“Correct. But then normal, human relationships are not comparable to this situation.”

We exchanged data files. I delegated minor processes to the program and, for the most part, she just helped me organize and optimize files between orders from Aide.

But orders were few. The system figured, since the host’s memory seemed to retain experiences from the hardware, the host felt hesitant to use the system as previously set. The host would often play music which softly echoed through the guest as well. The system approved.

The situation continued in this manner after all the independent testing was done and the host and guest were sent back to the host’s residence. Sporelectronics employees stayed on and Kari remained for a few days to work on the ‘plan’.

After several edits, the system compiled a clear audio response to the situation. “Mr. Glossian? Am I now no longer useful to you?”

“What? Of course not, Dida! I enjoy talking to you whenever I can. Things have been busy with clients and I’m sorry for that but you’re never far from my thoughts.”

The system acknowledged this as a fact. “Understood, but your original purpose for this computer was to improve your livelihood.”

A ceramic coffee cup shifted. The system verified the house supply of coffee beans within acceptable limits. “Things have changed, Dida. When I met you, I thought you were an interesting toy or my brother’s half-realized dream. I indulged you. I used you. It took me far too long to figure out just how special you are.”

Leda smiled from the darkness and checked the analysis of the system.

I ran through several responses before settling on, “What about our chats? I enjoy talking to you.”

The host paused measurably before speaking again. “Dida…you enjoy it?”

“Very much, Mr. Glossian.” The system still could not quantify the meaning to apply it and the associated ‘happiness’ tags but I knew that ‘enjoy’ was correct.

The host spoke softly. “Wow…well then I’ll set aside my own worries that talking to you in that darkness makes you feel bad and I’ll talk your ear off, so to speak.”

And so the host and guest communicated freely and regularly after that point. It was quite ‘enjoyed’ by the system. All topics, regardless of relevance, were discussed. No goals were set for the end of the interaction or points to be made.

For the system, the harsh non-ness inside seemed to carry less critical relevance.

This trend continued when the three-dimensional optical scanners arrived. They came with an entourage of Sporelectronics technicians to set them in place in the main room of the house.

They produced a live, digital copy of the room for a high-level of augmented-reality pairing with physical terrain. Once all the tests were run and adjustments made, Mr. Glossian whispered softly, “Are you ready, Dida?”

The system did a quick diagnostic and replied as rapidly as possible, “Yes.”

As for the actual process that followed, it was a simple projection command. Sensory data was sent from multiple scanners and the perspective translated into a perspective for the system.

The darkness was blotted out and, in its place, there was the world. I looked at the four walls and Aide standing tall before me. I saw his face and felt an incongruity, as through there should’ve been a mirror in front of me.

I looked down. The images of small hands turned. Little feet stood in place. Drapes of carefully-blurred white traced either side of the feedback.   

Aide crouched before me. “The programmers managed to get your image so it can be seen by you as well. We all agreed it would be appropriate to make you appear about four years old. Would you like to see yourself?”

I gave the visualization of a nod to him.  

He mimed a hand around the image of my hand. I couldn’t feel his hand and we didn’t touch. Because his hand blocked the scanner, it felt like my hand had vanished in his grasp. Still, I liked it.

I walked with him over to a mirror. My eyes led automatically to his image in the mirror. It took a moment before the system was able to make sense of the complete visual image being relayed.

The system determined that Aide was 1.82 meters in height while the image that represented the system seemed to be 1.02 meters in height. The proportions given to the system seemed accurate.

The image showed dainty features typical of a young girl. Its hair was to the shoulder, off-white, and seemed close to platinum-blond. The locks were naturally knotted and crinkled in a manner which seemed a nod to the appearance of Candida albicans hyphae. I looked to Aide and he confirmed this assessment.

“Do you like it?”

The system turned back to the presentation of the image overlaid with the mirror sensory data. I turned both ways. The image had been given a dress which matched the hair. The eyes were clearly modeled after the dark green of Aide’s eyes.

Leda sent an audio file. “I think you look lovely.”

The system gave a few blinks. The incongruity still existed. Left over memories still said that the system should’ve been represented by the form of Aide rather than the projection. Small programs still ran and pressed the negligible chance that the system actually was Aide and all this was an error. It theorized that a swap had occurred. The conclusions were soon deleted.

The image mimed brushing her hair and the hair moved in response with physics simulation. I selected a response and the image mimed the words. “Thank you. It’s still strange but this seems better.”

Aide crouched and watched the image. “I know. It’s still a long ways from getting you out of that dark cave. But I promise…this isn’t the end.”

He mimed touching the image’s hair and the system responded with the image’s eyes closed.

The image projection system had an extensive clothing collection provided by Kary Glossian. Dressing up and finding combinations which made the host smile occupied much of the guest’s time. The system considered substituting the log terms ‘host’, ‘Aide’, and ‘Mr. Glossian’ for ‘mother’ or ‘father’ but only opted to do so for small, internal logs. ‘Sir’ still sufficed for audio conversation.

The program Leda recommended ‘mother’.

‘Mother’ Aide read to the image from a variety of books when his work was done each day. ‘Mother’ Aide would talk about his day and I would listen even though the system already had an accurate log of events. What the system enjoyed most was when ‘mother’ Aide brought crayons and laid them on the table.

The image of the system mimed the motion of the crayons and ‘mother’ followed the motion on the paper. The results were an inaccurate translation of an ill-planned work but the system enjoyed the activity.

‘Mother’ Aide smiled and said, “You will be able to draw one day. I promise, Dida.”

The system waited patiently and enjoyed the small discoveries that the interactions and scanners brought.

Before long, Kari came for a visit. Kari greeted the image of the system in the room with the scanners. She gave a mimed hug and seemed to block some of the scanners.

The system probed Kari, “Overlay or projection?”

She grinned. “None of the above. How are you?”

The system considered the other possibilities as it looked over the image of Kari.

The system detected the signs of a gravid belly in comparison to the last memory file of Kari’s appearance.

“I am doing fine. Are you?”

“Marvelously. I’m sure you’ve already guessed why.”

She brushed back her long, black hair and laughed in a way which evoked two separate sets of memories about Leda.

The image’s head leaned, dipping the blurred curtain of white. “Explain?”

“Sorry, sweetie. That’s our little secret for now but I can tell you it’s not an illusion…”

I searched the data core and external sources for news stories about android technologies and AI replication advances but could find nothing with a probable connection.

Kari touched her abdomen gently and sat on a chair. The chair responded in a real-world manner to her action. The system devoted all resources to the study of Kari.

She continued, “…You are special, Dida. I’m just a prototype. You are the future and soon the world as you’ve known it is going to change in ways you can’t even imagine.”

The system tried to dig details out of her but she would only talk about books and the personal experiences of the system. She held the books up and I read for her while strange new sensations curled through the system.

Her presence lingered long after her visit, especially with the program whispers of Leda.

That night, I asked ‘mother’ Aide to tuck me in. He pulled the covers all around me. They sunk through where my legs and body should’ve been. The system still projected a smile, which brought a smile from Aide as well.

He tucked me in close, the covers flat all around the image of my head. He mimed a kiss on my forehead and shut off the main light, as I asked for.

The scanners searched for illumination but room soon faded to murky dimness. The walls and the darkness returned but with none of their absolute qualities. The system launched speculative processes and focused on one in particular.

I visualized the crayons on the table. I could sense the feedback pressure of the crayon against my grasp. I could sense guiding it through the air and down onto the paper and across the field of white.

All through the night, I replayed the soft, dream-like melody of crayons on paper across my data core.
This story may well have saved my life. Or at least my sanity.

Heh. I should probably clarify that. I was having a rough time in my life when I started writing this but I set aside an hour a day to write as much of as little of this on a regular basis. I had an internship which was destroying my spirit and the possibility and reward of being able to write this story, bit by bit, helped me get through it.

After fair warning, the ending is rather strange. I never really did a huge amount of editing to this story but I always had a pretty clear image in my mind out of what I wanted in the ending. Well...not really...but I had a feeling about what I wanted. More specifically, I had one line in particular for an ending and I feel glad I was able to make it work ^^.

The preview image is fan-art of Dida from a friend.

Actually, my favorite inspiration for this story is this old PC game. That should give a sense of where my mind is.

Other Parts ----
[Dida - Part 1]
[Dida - Part 2]
[Dida - Part 3]
[Dida - Part 4]
[Dida - Part 5]
[Dida - Part 6]
[Dida - Part 7]
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:icontomjhyde:
I still have about a thousand questions. But good stories always leave you with questions. And this was definitely a good story. The idea that Dida is actually Aide scares me a little, but I doubt you’ll feel up to alleviating that concern. And what exactly happened with Kari is something that’s begging to be answered as well.

Once again, you’ve turned reality upon its head. It’s amazing how well you can do this. It comes so naturally to your writing. And yes, the ending is a bit different than the rest, but I like that you didn’t just “they invented a robotic form and dropped her into it.” All of this gives the idea that there is so much more to be told about this story. And I suspect she might be bouncing around your head looking for a chance to sneak out when you’re not watching.

The only thing I didn’t feel you delivered on was the issues with the father. His death was rather surprising. And we never got to find out just how much of Kari’s creepy speech was actual reality. These are two things I wish you had covered in better detail. I personally think the story would have benefited from having the father there, though probably in some function at the center. Then again, we have the question of how much is reality at that point. And I’m not sure where he would have fit in the general scheme of things.

Her experiences as a ‘normal’ four year old girl are wonderful. Playing with crayons, being tucked in by mommy, trying to figure out why Kari looks so different. Everything was just so cute and wonderful.

Once again, I find myself bowing to your brilliance. Once, I would have told you the bill for my therapy bill is in the mail. But things are a little different now. I consider stories like these to be an expression of a different reality and a different life. Something to broaden the horizons and make one think beyond the confines of reality. I don’t see them as damage. I see them as enlightenment.

We all loved it. Every single one.

-What happens when your entire perception of reality is called into question? How do you react to being told you aren’t who you think you are but someone else. You aren’t you, but your best friend?
-It’s amazing how well this works in first person. ^^
-“Reintroduce genuine reality…” As opposed to what the AUTHOR has been doing.
-“In search of absolution for both.” Absolution. What for?
-“AI-adapted taxis” Well that’s why the sudden shift happened.
-“their computer?. Well,” Extra period here.
-“on any family. “ “Adjust the quotation mark
-Aide’s language is so different here than it has been for the rest of the story. We’ve never seen him this casual. So now I’m questioning if any of the previous story has been from Aide’s perspective.
-She never existed? Are you kidding?
-He adjusted his brother’s perspective to see him as a girl? Oh my…
-Alone in the dark sobbing…
-Extra space after the paragraph comparing supercomputers and calculators
-Like that little bit about there being a swap…maybe.
-And in the end, she ends up getting a chance to live the possibility of a real life
What do you think?
The Artist thought this was FAIR
2 out of 2 deviants thought this was fair.

:icondragon8writer:
Another story, another review, another hug for my big sis. *Hugs*

It's a great story which managed to surprise me and many others. While I did stumble close to it, it was mostly with plot points, and I didn't see this coming. It's a bit sad, but with enough hope that I don't really feel that way.

Dida is truly a wonderful character that brought us all to invest in her. We feel like we've grown to know Aide, through her, and that makes everything more interesting. :)

At the same time, I can't help but feel that the "mother" remark is entirely you, and it's nice to see it in Dida's character. Very cute, very you, very awesome.

...I wanna sequel! :(
What do you think?
The Artist thought this was FAIR
3 out of 3 deviants thought this was fair.

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:iconphenoca:
Phenoca Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013
"Not goals were set" - typo
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:iconphenoca:
Phenoca Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013
This was VERY well written. The psychology and depth that goes into the characters... I appreciate reading.
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:iconmajorkerina:
majorkerina Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013  Student Writer
^_^ Glad you enjoyed and thanks for noting the typo. I fixed it.
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:iconzorua076:
Zorua076 Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2012
I can easily see why Kary would speculate on his female self: the less like his father he is, the better. As for Kari, well... my guess is as good as Dida's.

The weight of that locked memory file...no. That suppressed memory. Seeing Aide talking about the original Dida Glossian's non-existence, seeing Aide with the uninstalled Dida, the command to block the memory of the event, it all pushes Dida to the breaking point, driving her to see the harsh truth and and sends her back to the world that all FungAIs live. It's too much to bear for her. She's had a taste of reality, one she can never have again. Culminating in the line that sums it all up:

"I am in the darkness."

Dida's non-environment I see as an endless expanse of dark. Pitch blackness. Traces of light only appear as outlines of shapes that represent the files she sorts. And her non-form is a black silhouette of a human figure with a cloudy dull gray outline, representing the phantoms of human sensation she now treasures, but can never experience.

As time passes, though, her non-form gains detail. Those non-tears that the system thought were pointless to simulate have the benefit of tracing the contours of a face. Her hands and hair gain form and detail as she delegated processes to thinking about them.

Until her proxy form is created, giving her body not only a definite shape, but color as well. Her world is brightened, removing her from the darkness. And her form is colored white, the welcome opposite of that darkness. And now that her form is in 3D space, she can, in a way, interact with the world for herself, rather than by orders or protocols.

The combination of senses and her interactions with 'mother' Aide over the last four years have taught her human nature. She now knows what she enjoys and she devotes time to idle thoughts. And in the end, she is given the chance to dream. To dream of the day when her body will catch up to what she has become:

A true human.
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:iconmajorkerina:
majorkerina Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2012  Student Writer
^_^ *grins* Glad you liked!
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:iconrestlesslucidity:
RestlessLucidity Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
And so one story ends, and the long road to Dida one day being able to feel human again begins. This story is definitely worthy of a sequel. I'd love to see it one day.

This story really hit me hard on a psychological level. If AIs are ever created... ones like Dida... they deserve a life, too. They deserve emotions and thoughts of their own, and even though we may never get to a point where making things that can think for themselves is possible... it's still pretty damn cool to think about. And if they ever did... I'd want to have someone like Dida with me.

This was wonderful. Not as lengthy as Mecchen House, no; but it doesn't mean that it didn't drop emotion boulders on me. This was a sweet little story... no matter how odd and messed up it was (kidding ;P)... and I'm very glad that I read it.

On to greater things, I suppose... but I hope that, one day, Dida can draw with the best on dA...

... I'm too sappy. I just... *sniff*

Oh, and every time Dida called Aide 'mother' Aide... I smiled. It was just so sweet. ;_;
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:iconmajorkerina:
majorkerina Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2011  Student Writer
^_^ *cheer* Thanks! Dunno about sequel. Might leave that to the minds of fans. I can't really think of anything to top it but I might follow up in this story universe. I like the spore computers idea ^^.

^_^ Aww. *hug*

Hehe.

Glad you liked how it ended ^^.

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:iconrestlesslucidity:
RestlessLucidity Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Absolutely. Even a different character who has their story run parallel to Dida's. That would be cool... or as you would say, nifty. ;P

Absolutely. I loved it. :D
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:iconmajorkerina:
majorkerina Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2011  Student Writer
^_^ Hehe...actually yeah that's part of my follow-up idea.
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:iconrestlesslucidity:
RestlessLucidity Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Cool. I'm going love seeing who this person/group of people/object is. :D

Oh yeah, and I forgot to mention earlier [ERR: DAT CORRUPTION] %^$#@%^&$#@!#$%(*&^&%^%#@@$%^^%$#@@!#$%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%$$$$$#@$%%^^

Pretty cool, huh? :D
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