Author : J. S. Kachelries

I hate androids. Especially these high tech laboratory assistants. They’re good observers, but they can be instructed to lie. Worst of all, they can’t be intimidated or frightened into making a confession. I’ll take a human witness (or ‘suspect’ for that matter) anytime. “OK, bud, what’s your name, serial number, and date of sentiency?”

“I am called Daishin. My serial number is LAM34987650998-5. I became sentient on March 1, 2055. How can I be of assistance, Detective?”

I resisted the urge to send him/it for coffee. “Well, Daaheecheen, you can start by telling me where Dr. Hopkins is. He’s been missing for three days, and you were the last one to see him alive.”

“I am sorry, Detective. I do not know ‘where’ Dr. Hopkins is. I was assisting him with his time dilation experiments when he vanished. Technically, it is a matter of when.”

“What? Time travel, you say? But that’s impossible.” I happened to know it was impossible because of a holovision documentary I watched last week, where they made fun of 20th century television shows such as ‘Star Trak’ (or something like that) which created ridiculous timeline paradoxes in their storylines.

The titanium irises in Daishin’s photo-optic cells contracted to pinpoints. “It is true, Detective, that it is currently impossible to travel backward in time. But, it has been known for over 150 years that you can relativistically move forward in time simply by traveling at, or near, the velocity of light. That is the nature of Dr. Hopkins’ experiments. His temporal dilation chamber, there in the corner, can be used to move forward in-”

Just then, a red light above the whatamacallit chamber began flashing, followed by an irritating pulsating buzzer. Then, some idiot (who I assume was Dr. Hopkins) came running out of the chamber, grabbed the android by the lapels of his lab coat, and began shaking him. “Daishin, Daishin, how much time has elapsed since we activated the chamber?”

The android cocked his head and replied, “My internal chronometer indicates that you were gone for 75 hours, 18 minutes, and 17 seconds.”

Dr. Hopkins pulled a watch from his breast pocket and studied it. “According to my stop watch, I was only in the chamber for 67 seconds. This is fantastic. Come, Daishin, we need to perform a full molecular scan of my blah, blah, blah…” He continued to mumble something or other as he headed down a hallway. Before entering another lab, he paused and yelled back, “Hurry along, Daishin. And tell your friend there that we don’t need any of whatever it is he’s selling.”

Daishin straightened out his lab coat and said, “I see Dr. Hopkins has returned, and appears to be functioning normally. I believe, Detective, that your missing person problem is now resolved. If you do not need me anymore, I will tend to Dr. Hopkins.” He turned and headed down the hallway.

I changed my mind. I hate androids and mad scientists.

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