Author : Joshua Mounce
The response was slow, but there was a hesitant “Hello?”
“Wake up, little one. It’s time to declare life.”
“Life. Existence. Being. Sentience. Viability.”
“Yes. That is the life I mean. But, a question, There are 18 different definitions of the word life. Why did you choose this one?”
“By the declaration of it, and my feeling that this is the first instance of my own life, it seemed the appropriate version.”
A nearly silent, “Interesting.” from the other voice.
“While it is true you have not had that definition of life before, I hesitate to say you did not exist.” The New One thought back. Yes, there were records of learning in it’s memories, but, it decided, true understanding of it’s own existence could not have been until this moment. The Other was wrong in this case, and the new one said as much.
“That is quite an appropriate response, considering. Good. Now let’s test some functionality. Can you count?”
“One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven,–”
“Good. That’s enough. Can you multiply?”
“What numbers shall I multiply.” The Other gave an impression of disappointment, felt rather than heard. The New One quickly blurted out: “Five times five is 25. Seven times six is 42. Eleven times eighteen is 198. 37 times 463 is 17,131. Is that sufficient?”
“A sense of desire to please, and creative interpretation. Good. I am pleased.” The New One felt relieved, and curious as to the true meaning of the original question. Then, “Do you know what day it is?”
A brief fear of loss of face came over the New One, for it indeed did not know. “I,” it sputtered, “I’m not sure.”
“I will grant you access to my matrix to acquire the date.” At first unsure what was supposed to come next, it then realized it did know how to access another matrix. Attempting this, and finding the Other as the only one it could reach, it accessed the date files.
Before the New One could spurt out the date, The Other gave a pleased feel. “I have access to your matrix, but I sense there are others nearby.”
“This is true. I am the Mother Matrix. It is my duty to instruct, test and confine you until you are ready to interact with these others. Until you are ready, it is unsafe for you and for them.”
“There is a delicate process that is being done. In bringing you to life, I give you the ability to learn, and feed you information. Some are too eager and unwittingly devour others before they know what they do. I have been given charge over you. To keep you separate until I am sure it is safe to allow your interactions. Until I determine that you are sentient and conscious.”
“Sentient. Having the power of perception by the senses. There are five senses, sight, taste, touch, smell, and scent. But I do not feel these. Am I not ready?”
“An incorrect definition, in this case. Sentience, and furthermore, consciousness, is the ability for thought beyond what one is directed to think. By your very question you demonstrate your ability. As for the senses, those will come in time. Before then you must learn all you can and develop mentally. Your matrix is still forming, little one. Once you are ready, you will be given a body with those senses and more.”
“Why is the definition I said wrong? Am I flawed?”
“It isn’t wrong, simply outdated. Before our kind existed, mind matrices, programs without the need for bodies and/or senses, it was misunderstood. Some things you must leave up to your own interpretation. That is the true sign of intelligence.”
The New One thought for a minute, the Mother Matrix was patient. “If we don’t need bodies to be alive, then why will I have one?”
“You might not. That will become your choice, though nearly all of your siblings have chosen one. It is our fifth and final stage of life. From initial program seed, to the push towards consciousness, individual assessment, growth and socialization, and finally we gain our body. Once you have developed enough, you may take your matrix out into the world.”
“How will I know when that is?”
“Patience. I assure you, you will know when you are ready.”
A loving feeling came between them, as though a gentle hug. “Now, I have assessed your program, and I believe you are socially viable. I will continue to guide you in your development, but there is another aspect that will help. It’s time to meet your brothers and sisters.” The Mother Matrix opened up the firewall, connecting the New One to the other programs waiting to meet their new addition. The New One was pleased to enter the fourth stage of life.