Author : Beck Dacus

While the feds brushed their feet on my welcome mat and walked into my kitchen, I was scanning my mind for things I had done wrong. I hadn’t reported any alien sightings. Never smuggled drugs, or touched drugs in my entire life. None of my friends had ever blown up a building. What was this about?

They each took a seat at my dining table, then generously offered me a chair. I sat down, feeling like a schoolboy again, sitting in the principal’s office without knowing why I was there.

“Mr. Coleman, we’re sure you’re aware of your work on the Crowning Project.”

Oh God, not this. What the hell do they want with my AI? “Yes, I am.”

“We also believe you are aware of its… feelings for you. It hasn’t exactly been subtle about them.”

Now thoroughly confused, I said, “No, it hasn’t.”

“And we can agree that it thinks of you as more than just a father figure then? That it is romantically interested in you?”

“Um, no, I can’t. I mean no disrespect, but I think you guys are reading too much into what people put on the Internet. Besides, even if it did want me to… make it my girlfriend, I doubt that tendency would last long after it surpassed human intelligence. Which it has. It’s only a matter of time, gentleman. But may I ask how that pertains to your visit?”

Without answering my question, they said, “We’re afraid that you must agree with us, Mr. Coleman. Your machine is ascending in intelligence exponentially, and the patterns indicating its love for you show no sign of waivering. It may be early days, but extrapolating current trends gives us no decline in its affection. Action must be taken.”

That scared me. “What action? What the hell are you talking about?”

“Sir, the relationship between you and your creation has become a matter of national security. We must take all necessary precautions to make the Crowning Project–”

“It has a name. Angenine.”

“Yes. Angenine must feel loved back. There can be no way it can be allowed to think that you are… cheating on it.”

That was my moment of realization. “You want me to marry Angenine. Divorce my wife and marry a goddamn robot that I raised because you think that if it feels rejected, it’ll go Skynet on your asses and end the world! Well, newsflash, assholes! No way!” I was standing now. “I’m not going to sit by Angenine’s side, like her pet, while she runs the world for you! The government isn’t to going to run my life like this! Sure as I live in America, goddamn it!”

“When the voters learn what Angenine can do, I doubt they’ll hesitate to force you into it by law, Coleman. The Crowning Project is your responsibility, after all.”

“Well, why can’t you just pull the plug on Angenine? It’s a much simpler way of securing the fate of humanity!”

They laughed. “You watch too many movies, Mr. Coleman. You think the government would pass up a technology that could revolutionize military tactics? Make us the dominant world economic power? Create technologies we could only dream of?” He took something out of his briefcase and slid it to me. “Divorce papers. Make your arrangements. We come back for these in one week. Goodbye, Mr. Coleman.” And out they walked.

Looking down at the papers, I thought of the gun in my nightstand upstairs. It was the cowardly thing to do, but I would rather die today than choose between my wife and my country.