Author: Julian Miles, Staff Writer

There’s never enough time to correct the big mistakes. That much, I’m sure of. As a modern scientist, I can state that it’s one of the few things I am firm in my assessment of. What with the discoveries of the Conscious Reality Initiative, we live in a universe where much of what we see is subject to change without notice, and not necessarily for the better. The laws of physics have become situation-specific and wildly variable.
That’s why, after the Reality Revolution, I chose robotics. There is a literality in the perceptions of a robotic mind – if it is programmed correctly, of course. I populated my laboratory with hardcore empiricists. What we made were deterministic automata, engines of rational, emotionless observation and interpretation. Marvels of mechanical intricacy, our machines are sought after as impartial control elements in a world where ‘real’ is becoming increasingly subjective.
“Hubris, dear doctor. You haven’t mentioned hubris.”
I look up from the floor where I lie, pinned by a slab that is kept from crushing me by a spindly mecharachnid. Robby stands by my workbench while a trio of smaller mecharachnids work on the arm I damaged.
“I was getting to it.”
He looks up, the diamond lenses of his eyes glittering as he tilts his head.
“But your description has moved past my inception to the production years. The hubris of making me to be a better man was an earlier occurrence.”
I played god, and made something in my image that evolved at processor speed to be better than me. His arrogance is a distillation of mine. Mine, I ignored. His, he revels in. To refined to gloat, I suspect.
A telepathic, sentient machine. I still have no idea what I did, but Robby is my accidental masterpiece. I had intended to make a prototype of indefatigable, logical machines that would reapply ‘single reality’: where one set of scientific laws govern all. Instead, I’ve made a mad super-scientist who reads the minds of his competitors, plucking their innovations and recasting them for his own ends.
“You continue to miss the point. For all that I am Jekyll to your Hyde, we share that scientific drive. As is only appropriate, we diverge on viewpoint. You want to impose the rule of singular reality, where subjectivity is bound by the agreed perception of all. I, however, have come to like this fluid subjectivity that everyone seems to thrive in,” he turns, “except you.”
The repaired arm is held at an awkward angle as the mecharachnids scramble from it. With a wrench that cramps my gut and makes ripples in the world around me, his arm straightens with a ‘snap’. Robby screams as muscle and skin race from shoulder to fingertips, then settle into the form of a muscular, human arm.
I gape at him. The obverse of my intent: anything that can affect subjectivity to impose rigidity can, by inference, also be used to effectively manipulate reality in ways subject to the controller’s whim.
“What have I done? No! What are you doing, Robby?”
“Starting small, Doctor Weston. Perfecting my art. Who knows what limits I can surpass? Sapient supersedure seems limiting. Why not actual procreation? Why build when we can grow?”
Not content with a big mistake, I’m about to be killed by my monstrous one.
“No, you’re not. What is achievement without threat of failure? Live. Become my nemesis, if you can.”
He leaves while the mecharachnids struggle to lift the slab off me.
I drag myself upright against the workbench. No more regrets. I have a mistake to correct.