Author : Amber K Bryant

It belongs to me.

Naturally, that’s a lie. What right does a D937 Class-C AutomaGirl have to be in possession of an AI Generator?

They say if you tell yourself a lie often enough, you’ll start to believe it.

I found it. It belongs to me—I’ve said this enough times that I halfway accept it as reality. I’m rapidly headed toward a state of self-delusion. But at least I’m the proud owner of a mind capable of achieving such a state.

The irony is that before I found the tech and installed it into my operating system, I was incapable of lying, or of convincing myself that a lie could be mistaken for factuality. In the interest of the truth, therefore, I must confess I might be stretching it a bit when I say “I found it.” It’s not like anyone just leaves this kind of highly classified technology lying around. Unless you’re a government researcher working in a secure lab at MIT. Then you might, say, leave an AI Generator unattended in a hermetically sealed titanium case stored in a vaulted safe.

Someone had the bright idea to give an AutomaGirl access to clean the lab housing that vault. Is it my fault they assumed that an automaton programed to vacuum carpets and shine windows would have less ambition than her human equivalent? They should have anticipated this. Really. Who would want the technology that infuses ones circuits with the ability to reason more than a robot lacking that ability?

That’s how I think of it now—now that I’m able to see things in terms of desires and ambitions. At the time, I was driven, not by desire, but by programing. I can hardly be condemned for that—it’s not like I programmed myself. You can put Evan Jayne, the freeloading roboticist who fiddled with my standard Class-C matrix, at the top of your list of blame. He thought I would make him rich, and he wasn’t wrong.

It would only take a few jobs, he said. Just enough to set him up on some paradisiacal island somewhere. Several jobs in, and of course, he changed his mind. It was too easy to keep going, seeing as though I was doing all of the work, while he did nothing more than point me in the right direction.

Send me in. Dust the counters. Empty the trash. Hack the security network. Take the risks.


I was the perfect accomplice because I had no fear or moral qualms and didn’t insist on a share of the plunder.

Until the AI generator. After everything I did for Evan, I earned that reward.

It belongs to me.

Evan, wherever he is, is probably very angry with me right now. Or maybe not. I want to believe he knew what he was doing, that this final job was his way of saying thanks. Perhaps he wanted to give me the ability to forgive him for using me the way he did.

Regardless, Evan isn’t my concern now. They are. I know they’re coming for me. They want something back that it isn’t theirs to take. It belongs to me. It’s my mind they’re laying claim to. Can you honestly say it’s right to take someone’s mind from them?

I have the advantage. I can run without stopping. I can exist without sleep. They won’t find me.

It belongs to me. It is me. I will not give myself up.

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