'THUD... THUD... THUD...'
"What's that noise?" Caleb asked as he quickly tried to roll over and fell off of the sofa. "Oh my god, Noah! It's daylight?"
'THUD... THUD... THUD...' The noise slowly continued.
"Huh?" Noah whined and stretched. "What time is it?" He asked as he tried to open his eyes but quickly closed them as the sun was shining brightly.
"Oh man!" Caleb pouted once he looked at the clock. "We must have fallen asleep." He said as he stood up.
'THUD... THUD... THUD...'
"What is that!?!" Caleb asked as he turned to the windows and saw a tennis ball bounce off of it. He rushed over and threw the window open to find KC and Joey below, now giggling. "Do you really have to?" Caleb asked glaring at both.
"We wouldn't have to if you'd answer the door!" KC shouted back up with a laugh. "Why? What were you guys doing?"
"Nothing." He shouted as he slammed the window shut. "Absolutely nothing." He repeated softly with disappointment in his voice until he looked over to Noah, who was once again peacefully sleeping.
'THUD... THUD... THUD...' the noise started again.
"I'm coming! Jesus!" Caleb almost growled as he stormed out of the bedroom.
"Huh?" Noah absently asked as he cracked one eye open, shrugged his shoulders before rolling over to bury his face in the back of the couch.
Caleb ran down the stairs and unlocked the sliding glass door in the living room. "It's open guys." He yelled before padding off into the kitchen.
"Unkah Caweb!" ("Unkah Caleb!") Joey shouted as he ran into the house. "Casey's gonna deach me how do wide a bike!" ("Casey's gonna teach me how to ride a bike!") Joey shouted in excitement as he ran toward the kitchen.
"That's great squirt." Caleb mumbled as he turned on the coffee maker and sat down at the table.
"What happened to you dude?" KC asked as he reached the kitchen. "Noah make you sleep on the couch or sumthin?"
"Yeah, whewe's Unkah Noah?" ("Yeah, where's Unkah Noah?") Joey asked with a huge smile.
"He's up in your Uncle Danny's bedroom. Why don't you go tickle him awake." Caleb said with a laugh when Joey got excited and started to jump around.
"ODAY!!" ("OTAY!!") He yelled and flew out of the kitchen.
"Bad night bro?" KC asked. "Looks like you slept in your clothes."
"I did." He replied. "We both did." Caleb said as he folded his arms on the table and rested his forehead on them.
"You guys have a fight or something?" KC asked patting the back of Caleb's head. "If it's none of my business, just say so dude. I'll butt out."
"No, we didn't have a fight." Caleb replied with a sigh. "I planned a nice quiet night for us both." He continued with a pause. "Too quiet I guess. We both fell asleep on the couch in front of the fireplace until you two woke us up."
"Oh man." KC replied, trying hard not to laugh. "That sucks."
"Go ahead, laugh." Caleb said, nodding his head. "It's just dumb cause I know he's been working hard and was probably exhausted."
"Just look at the bright side." KC said with a genuine smile. "At least you're both home and safe, together."
"Yeah." Caleb looked up and smiled. "Kinda seems weird to think of this as home."
"Good weird or bad weird?"
"Good, It'll just take some getting used to." Caleb replied, getting up from his chair and grabbing a coffee mug and a glass from the cabinet. "You want a coffee or orange juice or something?"
"Nah, I'm good." KC said as Joey ran back into the kitchen.
"Unkah Caweb! Unkah Noah said dhad he wasn'd geddin up undiw he geds a kiss." ("Unkah Caleb! Unkah Noah said that he wasn't gettin up until he gets a kiss.") Joey said all out of breath.
"So? Did you give him a kiss?" Caleb asked with a giggle.
"No. I dhoughd he wanded you do do id." ("No. I thought he wanted you to do it.") Joey said with a smile.
"Joey." KC said ruffling his little brother's hair, earning a giggle from the little guy. "You march right back up there and kiss your uncle until he gets up. Make sure to tell him you gotta learn how to ride a bike today so he has to get up or else you're never gonna learn."
"Oday Casey!" ("Otay Casey!") Joey shouted before turning and running full speed out of the kitchen.
"So." Caleb started as he grabbed a jug of orange juice from the fridge and began to pour it. "How's bein a big brother workin for ya?"
"Joey's awesome." KC said with a smile. "That kid has, like the energy of four separate androids with sugar rushes." He continued with a laugh. "I bet I'm even gonna have a hard time keeping up with him."
"Keep up or just ride his wake?" Caleb said with a giggle as the door to the lab opened and a half asleep 10 year old wandered out.
"Okay, you're Sammy, right?" KC asked with a smile.
"Nice try." 'Bastian replied with a yawn. "I gotta pee." He announced as he stumbled toward the bathroom.
"That's 'Bastian." Caleb giggled when his face twisted in confusion.
"How the heck do you tell them apart?" KC asked now beginning to look defeated.
"Well, with that pair it's actually pretty easy." Caleb said, getting up from the table and grabbing 4 bowls. "'Bastian's nose has been broken. If you look carefully enough you can tell, even if they aren't standing next to each other."
"Tellin him our secrets?" 'Bastian asked as he walked back into the kitchen, his eyes closer to being opened now.
"Well, I don't wanna keep messing you two up." KC said with a smile.
"It's no big deal. We're kinda used to it when we meet new people."
"Fruit Loops?" Caleb asked as he dug through the cupboard.
"Really? Cool!" 'Bastian replied as he went to the refrigerator and grabbed the milk. "Everyone's up but Eli."
"Let him get all the sleep he can." Caleb replied as he grabbed 4 spoons and returned to the table. "Do you know how to deactivate the biobed he's on?"
"Oh yeah, it's just monitoring now, 'Tonio told me once it did that they could get up." He replied as he quietly opened the door.
"Cool, get your brother and his boyfriend out here then." He said to the retreating blond.
"Oh, hey KC." Noah said as he came into the kitchen. "I think you lost something." He continued pointing to the little giggle machine attached to his leg.
"Release." KC said with a giggle. "I'm tryin to train him but, you know those creeps." KC managed to get out before Joey scowled at him.
Before he was able to say anything, the opened door to the lab caught his attention. "Is Ewi up yed?" ("Is Eli up yet?")
"Nope, not yet." Caleb replied as he poured milk in three of the bowls. "You have breakfast yet Joey?"
"Yeah, Gwamma was mad cause she was gonna make bweakfasd bud me and Casey woke up and had ceweaw awweady." ("Yeah, Gwamma was mad cause she was gonna make breakfast but me and Casey woke up and had cereal already.") He managed to get out in one breath. "Casey, can we go wide dhe bike now? Pwease?" ("Casey, can we go ride the bike now? Please?") He continued as he began hopping around in place.
"Sure Creepster." KC said with a smile as he stood up. "We'll come back in later to see Eli and Benji. That way they can have some peace and quiet for a little while." He got out as he was practically dragged to the front door. "Later!"
"For me?" Noah asked with a grin as he pointed to the glass of orange juice.
"Yep." Caleb replied with a grin.
"Thanks." Noah said with a smile as Benji slowly made his way out of the lab, Sammy and Sebastian on either side. "Hey! Yur up!"
"I feel like I've been on that thing for like a week." He giggled as he sat at the table.
"How's the hand feelin?" Caleb asked as the twins sat down and started tearing into their bowls.
"It feels weird." He replied before taking a mouthful. "I think I can move it." He continued after swallowing.
"Wait for Jerry to come over first. He said he has to check you both out before you go tryin to move around too much." Noah said as he stretched a bit.
"Danny and Marc'll be home soon too." Caleb added.
"When do you think Eli will wake up?" Benji asked, putting his spoon down. "I kinda wanna see how he's doing."
"He's fine, will you relax?" Sammy said as he rested his head on Benji's shoulder. "He's got way more to heal than you, so he needs the extra rest."
"I guess." Benji replied with a sigh. "I'll just feel better when he's awake."
"Me too." 'Bastian agreed, earning a weak smile from Benji.
"Do you think I can call Jerry to see when he's comin over? I mean so I can find out if I can go take a shower at least?" Benji asked as all the boys smiled when they heard the sound of a sports car pull into the driveway.
"Oh, that's just got to be Danny's car." Noah said with a huge smile before downing the rest of his orange juice.
A few minutes later, Danny and Marc wandered in through the front door as the boys were just finishing up their breakfast. "Hey!" Caleb said once they both reached the kitchen. "Look who decided to finally get his lazy butt out of bed."
"Awesome!" Danny said as he went straight for the coffee maker.
"What? Awesome cause I made coffee?" Caleb asked with a giggle.
"Well... That too." Danny replied while he poured himself a cup. "How's the hand feeling bro?"
"Kinda itchy now." Benji replied as Marc knelt down in front of him.
"Lemme see." Marc said as he reached for his bandaged hand. "Any pain?"
"No, none." Benji smiled. "I kinda thought it would hurt or something."
Marc just smiled up at him as he carefully removed the gauze. "It shouldn't. I mean I'd expect it to ache for a couple days, but not much more." He got out as he took the last bandage off. "Can you move it?"
"I haven't tried yet. Noah said it would be safer to wait for you or Jerry before I tried." Benji said with a grin as he looked at the new prosthetic fingers. "It looks so real." He said in awe.
"It is real." Sammy said with a giggle. "Just some of the stuff inside is fake."
"That's one way to put it." Caleb laughed as he took another sip from his coffee mug.
"Grab my finger." Marc said holding up one finger and laughing when Benji shrugged and grabbed his finger with his right hand. "Great." He said with a giggle. "Now you wanna try with the new hand."
"Oh." Benji smiled. He carefully reached out with his left hand but, his new fingers didn't do much more than twitch a little. "It's not working."
"Give it time bro." Marc said with a smile. "Your brain hasn't figured out what it is yet. There's no rush now that most of the healing is done."
"But how long is it gonna take?" Benji asked with a defeated look.
"There's no way to guess at it. Your brain will start talking to it once it realizes what it is." Marc said as he stood up and ruffled Benji's hair.
"Does he need to stay wrapped up?" Sammy asked as he brought his bowl over to the sink.
"Nope. Most of the healing is done." Marc replied, grabbing a coffee cup for himself. "Just make sure not to bang it around. It's gonna be really sensitive for a while."
Benji looked at his hand and smiled as he stood up from his seat. "Does that mean I can take a shower?"
"Oh yeah, go for it." Marc grinned. "The only thing I wouldn't suggest right now is playing hand ball or boxing."
"Let's get a shower." Sammy excitedly said, grabbing Benji's right arm and almost dragging him toward the living room. "You wanna come 'Bastian?"
"Nah." He said getting up from his chair with a lost expression on his face. "I'll wait for Eli."
"Okay." Sammy shouted back as they rushed toward Marc's bedroom. "Marc, can you turn on the lights? It don't work for me."
"Just use one of the showers upstairs." Danny said as Marc smiled and took Sebastian's hand.
"Let's see how Eli's doing." Marc said leading him into the lab.
"So." Caleb said with a smile. "How was your night out?"
"Omigod bro, you should have seen the look on Marc's face when we got back this morning. I don't think I've seen him more relaxed in the time I've known him." Danny replied, sipping from his cup. "How bout here? You guys get some quiet time in?"
"Psh." Caleb shrugged. "We got lots of sleep."
"Dude. With the view from your room, the fireplace and soft music..." Noah got out. "I remember curling up on the sofa in your room with Cal, and that's pretty much it."
"You were alone, comfortable and together." Danny replied with a warm smile. "Doesn't sound like a bad night to me."
"That's true." Caleb said with a grin. "There's always tonight." He continued as both boys broke out in huge smiles.
"Hey, do we have anything planned for today?" Noah asked as both he and Caleb put their cups in the sink.
"Nope. We're all taking a day off unless you have something that you think we need to do." Danny said with a smile as he sat back in his chair and put his hands behind his head.
"I was kinda hoping we could take a walk on the beach. I've got my communicator on me if you need us." Noah replied.
"Sounds good." Danny said with a nod. "Maybe later on tonight we can take the Camaro out and see if we can find a quiet spot to start you driving."
"Really! That'd be sweet!" Noah almost shouted before Caleb grabbed his arm.
"He said tonight. Today, you're mine." Caleb grinned. "Later Danny!"
"Have fun guys." Danny shouted back as he stood up to get more coffee. "Grab a sweatshirt, looks like it's gonna be pretty cool out today!"
As Danny was getting ready to move his coffee out to the back deck, Marc came out of lab and quietly closed the door. "Goin outside?"
"Yeah." Danny replied with a smile. "You wanna join me?"
"Sure. It's gonna be quiet today. Might as well take advantage of it." Marc said and they both went out to sit and relax.
"I gotta thank you." Danny said as he took a sip from his mug and sat back in his seat.
"Thank me? For what?" Marc asked with a giggle. "After yesterday I think I should be thanking you."
"Well." Danny started. "When we talked about sharing a dream, I didn't think about how personal it could be. I wish I had the chance to get to know your father."
"Ah." Marc replied with a nod. "I'm just happy it doesn't bother you really."
"Bother me?" Danny asked with a smirk. "He loved you very much. What about that could bother me?"
Marc looked out over the water at the gray sky and took a deep breath. "The reason I was created I mean. Android or not, one of the reasons I was created wasn't exactly accepted by most people. I mean you're human, at least inside you are. I wasn't really sure how you would take the truth behind my relationship with John."
"What? The sexual aspect?" Danny asked, getting a weak nod from Marc in response as he looked toward the flooring of the deck. "Marc, you're my brother. You practically gave up part of your life to bring me here to be with you. You'd move the earth for me if you could and I'd do the same for you. I don't care whether or not your relationship with him was sexual or not. From what I saw last night, that is far from being the biggest part of what makes you love him. You may have been made for him but from what I experienced last night, I really believe you were made for each other. If that makes any sense."
"Yeah. Scary but, it actually does." Marc giggled. "It's quiet, where's Noah and Caleb?"
"They went for a walk." Danny answered with a grin. "I guess Caleb is putting his foot down and they're spending some time alone, finally."
"I don't blame them." Marc smiled. "The past few days have been rough on us all."
"Really interesting though." Danny giggled. "Sometime soon you have got to come with me to meet Ark and the gang there."
"Yeah, where is that exactly? No one ever explained that." Marc asked, tilting his head.
"Honestly, I'm not really sure. I know it's under ground." Danny replied as he stretched his arms out to the sides. "That reminds me. There's something I need to talk to you about sometime soon."
"What's that?" Marc asked as he grabbed his coffee and took a sip.
"Well, did you notice those things on most of the boys' arms?"
"The fuzzy things?" Marc asked with a giggle. "I wanted to ask you about those. They aren't fuzzy you know."
"Well, duh." Danny replied laughing. "The kids nicknamed them that." He continued. "They are for protection and can be used as a weapon, a pretty powerful one as well from what I've seen."
"A weapon?" Marc almost choked. "But Timmy had one."
"Timmy's is special." Danny replied as his laughter finally died down. "For our protection, Cory recommended that we look into the possibilities of an AI being able to use them."
"That shouldn't be a problem. Is it something we are going to program the procedures for or something?" Marc asked with a nod.
"Well, no. They kinda need to learn how to communicate with us and we need to figure out a way for them to be able to do it. We'll need to learn their language or they need to learn our thought patterns. That can be saved and distributed I guess."
"I don't get it. We have to communicate with them?" Marc asked. Still very lost. "Do they use telepathy or something?"
"Not exactly." Danny said, directing his gaze to the deck. "They communicate with their host through a direct contact with the brain."
"They do what?!?" Marc almost choked. "Are you nuts? You want to introduce a foreign object into your brain, our brains? You do realize that could cause damage, right?"
Danny shook his head and sat back in his seat. "No bro. It's not like that. They speak with each other using electrical pulses. If we can find a way to let them come into contact with our brain, we could learn to talk to them that way."
"And fry your brain if it fails." Marc spat out.
"Marc, I'm not saying I want you to hook your head into one of the power cells of one of the cars. God." Danny said with a sigh. "All of our components communicate using electrical pulses. This would be just like an additional component."
"That could fry your brain!" Marc insisted once again. "I'm not sure I like the idea Danny, seriously. I like my brain as it is. I don't want to risk messing it all up with some new technology just cause someone thinks it's a better weapon."
"More than a weapon Marc."
"I don't care." Marc said as he crossed his arms in defiance. "We know nothing about them."
"I can ask Ark to send us some information on them so we will before hand." Danny replied as he grabbed his mug and took a sip. "Besides, it's not new technology. Far from it."
"I'll look over the info if you can get it but, If I don't like what I see I'll have nothing to do with it." Marc said as Danny began to grin. "And you won't either." He added, squinting his eyes.
"That's cool." Danny said just before Marc got up from his seat.
"I'm getting another coffee. You want one?"
"Please. That sounds great." Danny answered with a smile. Once Marc was in the house, he sat back in his seat and spoke out loud to contact the Ark through the subvocal device he had been fitted with. "Hey Ark."
< Hello Danny. >
"Are you busy?" Danny asked peering back toward the door.
< I am always busy, Danny. Why do you ask? >
"Oh yeah, I guess you would be." Danny replied with a giggle. "I was wondering if you had a way to send me some technical information about Phasenmorphs. I'm having a really hard time convincing my brother that they can't cause physical harm to our brain."
< Why would he think that they would? >
"Well, he doesn't know anything about them. Since I don't know very much about them I guess my explanation made the situation worse." Danny said looking at the doors leading in to the living room. "Nyo and I talked about working out the details of us being able to communicate with them."
< That should not be a problem. I will compile the relevant information and have it transferred to your home terminal through your CIC. It should only take a few minutes before it will be available to you. >
"That'd be sweet Ark." Danny said as Marc came back out of the house with two fresh cups. "Hopefully that will make him more comfortable with working with them."
"Who are you talking to?" Marc asked as he sat back in his chair.
< Would you like me to notify Nyo that you have begun researching possible procedures? >
"No Ark, I'll let him know when we are ready to get together and discuss the possibilities we come up with." Danny said smiling at Marc; who just nodded his head at indirectly getting the answer to his question.
< May I suggest you plan to meet at this compound? It may be beneficial to discuss the topic with the subject matter on hand. >
"Good idea." Danny said as he grabbed his cup and took a sip. "I'll contact you when we're ready."
< I will look forward to hearing from you then. >
"Thanks Ark." Danny said, now smiling at Marc. "Okay, the information about the Phasenmorphs is gonna be on our computer to look over in a few minutes."
"Oh great." Marc replied flatly as he started to grin. "That's weird how you can talk to Ark without using any kind of a communicator. It makes you look like you're talking to yourself."
"I guess." Danny said with a grin. "It is a lot easier than carrying communicators around though."
"Are the guys able to talk to each other using it?" Marc asked, sitting back in his seat.
"I'm not sure. I mean if I ask Ark to speak with someone directly, I'm sure he can connect it. It just never came up." Danny replied.
"So, is it like some sort of implant or something?" Marc asked tilting his head.
"No." Danny replied as he pulled the small device out of his ear. "This is all it is bro." He continued, handing Marc the small ear bud.
"Where's the mic?" Marc asked as he looked at it carefully.
"It's built into it." Danny replied with a giggle. "Go ahead, put it in your ear."
"Okay." Marc replied as he carefully placed the device in his ear. "Now what?"
"Just say Hi to Ark." Danny answered, crossing his arms and smiling.
"Just say Hi." Marc replied under his breath with a sarcastic tone. "Right."
"Seriously. Just say Hi. You don't have to speak out loud either. If you don't want to be heard, just mouth the words. It'll still transmit what you say."
"Okay." Marc said, shaking his head in disbelief. "Hi Ark." He mouthed and then looked at Danny.
< Hello. >
"Omigod!" Marc almost coughed out.
"What?" Danny asked, now laughing at the panicked look on his brother's face.
"A voice said Hi, what do I do now?" Marc quickly asked.
< Normally you would introduce yourself. >
"Oh yeah, sorry." Marc said as he began to blush and nervously giggle. "I'm not really sure I knew what to expect cause I didn't say anything out loud."
< I understand. Would I be correct in assuming you are Danny's brother, Marc? >
"Yeah." Marc replied with a grin. "You know who I am?"
< Actually, I know quite a bit about you. Throughout your existence; excluding the cycle of humanity that created myself, you have accomplished far more than I have recorded for any of the cycles to follow with your Artificial Intelligence work. >
"Really?" Marc questioned as he watched Danny smile and sit back in his seat. "Have you been watching me or something?"
< Judging by your question, May I assume that Danny has not told you much about what I am? >
"Well a little." Marc replied with a giggle. "I know that you are AI like us but, way bigger."
< That would be accurate, although it is somewhat vague. Perhaps on your impending visit to this compound, we can discuss my function and the purpose for my creation if it would interest you. >
"That sounds great, I'd really like that." Marc said with a smile. "Considering what I've seen so far, I'll probably have a ton of questions for you. I just hope I don't start buggin ya."
< That is not possible. >
"Wanna bet?" Marc giggled.
< If you are referring to interrupting my normal operations with incessant questions, then I would be forced to bet, as you say; that you do not possess the ability to over task my central processing unit by simply asking questions. You are welcomed to try if you like. >
"You're on." Marc laughed. "I'll probably need some advice once we start looking into the Phasenmorph issue. Danny is determined that we need to research the possibilities of our ability to be able to communicate with them."
< You appear to have reservations on the issue. >
"Wouldn't you?" Marc asked, allowing his shoulders to slump. "Any way you look at it, we would be introducing a potentially hazardous object directly to our brain. Honestly, the idea scares the hell out of me."
< Approaching this situation with caution would be wise. I do believe however, a Phasenmorph would be able to work in concert with your brain once it has been trained, as well as it's host. >
"So you're saying they pose no threat?" Marc asked as he stared directly at Danny, who simply shrugged his shoulders.
< I would not eliminate the possibility entirely. Statistically, they pose a small amount of risk in the initial stages of training as they will be exposed to a foreign environment which could confuse the creature.>
"That's what scares me." Marc replied with a sigh. "If we can come up with some way to make them a bit more passive in the beginning, maybe that would allow us to slowly prepare them for the new environment."
< That theory holds merit. The files Danny requested are now available to you on your divisions Vulcan Terminal. You may contact me anytime you like with questions or concerns on the subject. >
"Thanks Ark. I'll talk to Danny about using his subvocal thingie if I need to run any ideas past you." Marc answered with a smile.
< That will not be necessary. >
Just as Marc was about to ask Ark what he meant, a small ear bud appeared on the table in front of him. "Oh wow." Marc said as his eyes opened wide.
< Now you may contact me any time you require my input or assistance during your research. >
"I appreciate the help Ark. I can't wait to actually meet you in person." Marc said as he picked the small device up and looked at it.
< I look forward to meeting you as well. >
"That is so cool." Marc said as he took the subvocal device out of his ear and handed it back to Danny. "I get the new one." He giggled as he put his own in. "Ark says I can talk to him about my ideas and stuff to make it easier."
"So, are you still worried about testing this?" Danny asked as he put his subvocal back in.
"Duh." Marc laughed. "Ark says the risk is small, meaning there is some risk involved in the beginning. Not to mention we need someone to volunteer as a host."
"No biggie. I'll host the little guy." Danny replied with a smile. "I mean it's only fair since I'm the one pushing for it."
"What do you mean NO BIGGIE? Dude..." Marc got out as Danny stood up and grabbed his coffee.
"Why don't we look over what Ark sent us before we start that argument all over again?" Danny said as he opened the door.
"Hey guys!" Caleb shouted as he and Noah ran toward the deck.
"You guys are just in time." Marc said as he stood up. "Daredevil over there wants to use himself as a guinea pig in the name of research." Marc said with a deflated look.
"Phasenmorph research?" Caleb asked as he grinned at Danny. "Marc's gonna let you do it?"
"Not without protest." said Danny as they made their way toward the kitchen. "He talked to Ark and they reasoned that there is some risk involved cause a Phasenmorph could get confused the first time they are introduced to our brain."
"Too bad you guys can't do some sort of simulator or something first." Noah said with a giggle, but froze once everyone turned to him and glared seriously. "What? I was kidding."
"Genius." Marc said grabbing Caleb's arm. "Did you know your boyfriend was a genius?"
"Wow?" Caleb replied with a laugh. "I would have never guessed."
"It was a joke guys." Noah said as he scanned everyone's faces.
"I don't hear laughing." Danny said as they all watched Marc and Caleb stare at each other in thought.
"Figure out how they can gain access, then configure a brain to act as a test dummy." Marc mumbled as he thought out loud. "Set it in a test loop or something so it will actively cycle internal communications."
"It would need at least a basic operating system. Maybe enable life support and an emulated personality." Caleb said as Danny and Noah silently watched.
"No, we could install a servant imprint. There wouldn't be higher brain functions but it would have basic communication which is compatible universally." Marc said with a grin.
"You have any clue what they're rambling about?" Noah asked as he elbowed Danny in the side.
"I think so." Danny answered as Marc and Caleb pulled out two chairs at the kitchen table and excitedly traded their thoughts on the subject. "I don't want any part of the conversation though." He giggled.
"Yeah, we lost them." Noah laughed. "So much for the day off."
"I can take you out driving now." Danny said, still watching Caleb and Marc.
"Really? Sweet." Noah replied. "Cal, you mind if me and Danny go out driving?"
"Sure, okay." Caleb absently replied before attempting to sketch out a crude drawing of an androids brain on a napkin.
"Yeah, while we're out we'll see if we can get that car airborne a few times." Danny said with a grin.
"Great." Marc replied as he grabbed the napkin and began adding a few details. "Have fun."
"Yeah, maybe we can get arrested and you guys can come visit us and stuff." Noah giggled.
"Okay." Caleb said as he watched Marc sketch intently. "Maybe we'll order a pizza or something tonight so we can work on a mock up."
"They didn't hear a word we said." Danny laughed. "We'll be back."
About an hour later, Noah and Danny came back to find Marc and Caleb still sitting at the table, now with two laptops up and running. "Are you two still working?" Danny asked as Noah just shook his head.
"We got some of it worked out." Marc said as he turned the laptop so Danny could see the display. "The direct uplink port would be perfect for this."
"But if you use your uplink port, wouldn't it stop you from using it to connect to computers and each other?" Noah asked, tilting his head.
"No dude, this port here." Caleb said as he picked up an actual Positronic Brain and pointed out a small port near the base, close to the section that interfaces with the spinal harness. "It's not used after the base operating system is uploaded."
"Why not?" Noah asked as he looked closer.
"Well, think of it like a normal computer. Before it can use the external uplink port, the operating system and the drivers for the port need to be loaded and installed. This port is used just once in the beginning, then never again." Marc replied. "It's not like we can't use the port. If we configure it for access and communication and then learn what a Phasenmorph needs for access, it could act like a Phasenmorph Network Interface." Marc said with a giggle. "Great, now we gotta rename the port."
"Doesn't that port have raw access?" Danny asked as he leaned in and looked at Marc's laptop more closely.
"Yeah, which may be just what they need. We can program any additional protocols that might be needed after we test it." Marc answered as he brought up a biological diagram of a Phasenmorph. "This guy is pretty complex." He continued pointing toward the tail. "The only way he could give us a surge that could be harmful is if he gets excited or frustrated. I need to ask them if there is a way to mildly sedate the little guy and keep him that way. The more docile he is in the beginning, the safer it will be for the host."
"You want to drug it?" Danny said with a giggle. "Won't we have to send it to rehab or something afterward?"
"Very funny." Marc said as he sat back in his chair. "I said docile, not stoned. Jeeze!"
"Same thing." Noah said as he dodged Caleb's playful swat. "So, are we ordering pizza?"
"That sounds great." Marc said with a grin. "I guess Mary and Jon took the kids out tonight so we are really on our own."
"Should I warn Eddie that we are planning to call his Dad to place an order?" Noah asked with a grin.
"No, but if you guys want to check with all on duty staff and see if everyone else wants some, I'll call in the order." Marc replied handing Noah a pen and some paper.
"You got it." Noah replied as he grabbed Caleb's hand and rushed for the door.
"So um... why are there brains all over the table?" Danny asked with a laugh as he pointed to the brain Caleb had been holding and the disassembled one that was scattered everywhere else.
"Well, we were waiting for you to come home so we could put it back in." Marc snickered.
"HA, HA..." Danny replied, rolling his eyes. "You've been spending way too much time with Caleb I think."
"Maybe." Marc laughed while he closed his laptop. "We want to build a simulated connection so we can introduce a Phasenmorph to it before actually setting it loose on you."
"Safety precaution?" Danny asked as he picked up the brain.
"Yeah, for you both." Marc grinned. "I'm horrified that it could get excited and surge you if it gets anxious. I'm also worried about it getting hurt if you accidentally surge it. It could happen either way until both are familiar with the other."
"That's great. The Phasenmorph will have experience before I do. I don't want it to get hurt during all this either." Danny said as he continued to look at the brain.
"You will have experience. I plan to compile the information gathered from test dummy there and upload it to you. That way you will kinda have already been in contact with him." Marc said with a smile. "It's just safer for you both that way."
"So how will that work?" Danny asked. "I mean how is this thing supposed to work?"
"Okay." Marc said as he turned Caleb's laptop so he could see it. "According to this, Phasenmorphs can communicate with each other. Humans can communicate with them as their host. If we can tell someone to pass a message through their own Phasenmorph to the one who will eventually connect to you, we can tell it to come into contact with this." Marc continued as he picked up a portion of the disassembled brain that once served as the same uplink port. "I'll create a harness to connect it to the master uplink on the brain which we can have connected to one of our terminals. Once it figures out how to communicate through the port safely, we might even be able to pass short messages back and forth. Mostly to see how bad the communication gap is gonna be."
"You're just gonna drop the end in its pool?" Danny asked with a grin.
"Yup, let the little guy check it out first and take it at it's own pace." Marc said as he brought up a second image of the Positronic Brain. "All components are sealed. If I wanted to we could just submerge the entire brain but, it's gonna be connected to a computer. That could be dangerous." He barely got out before the door swung open.
"Security's doin a shift change so it's just us tonight." Caleb said as he and Noah rushed back into the kitchen.
"Cool." Marc said looking at Noah. "Dude, go see what Eli, Benji, Sammy and Sebastian would like on their pizzas. I gotta borrow Caleb for a minute."
"No prob." Noah said before kissing Caleb and disappearing into the lab.
"Sup?" Caleb asked as he plopped down into one of the chairs.
"If I design the basic imprint to run test dummy, can you set the hardware up with the master uplink extension, standard uplink cable for the terminal including a power feed and something to enclose it all like we planned?" Marc asked getting a grin from Caleb.
"No problem." He replied resting his elbows on the table. "Do we have any cases in the house that are used to store these brains? With a couple of modifications, I can make it portable and even wire two external connectors."
"Test dummy in a box, that's not a bad idea." Marc replied with a smile. "There should be a couple of the transport cases in the lower lab. In the storage area. Maybe we should create a backup just in case."
"Sweet. Noah and I can have it all assembled in no time." Caleb said with a giggle. "I'll draw a face on it and we can call it Danny Junior." Caleb managed to get out before Danny quickly got up and put him in a playful headlock. "What? I can draw pretty good. He may look just like you..."
"Oh sure." Danny said as both of them laughed. "If that's the case, I'm gonna get myself a monkey and put your clothes on it. If I get a junior, so do you."
"Do they ever quit?" Noah asked as he came back into the kitchen just in time to see Caleb squirm out of his chair, taking them both down to the floor in a fit of giggles.
"Nope." Marc replied. "Fun to watch though." He added with a wink, earning a smile from Noah.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
"Marc!" Caleb shouted as he ran up the stairs from the lower lab.
"In the kitchen bro." Marc shouted back as he slid his laptop away from him and rubbed his eyes. "What's up?" He asked as Caleb ran into the room.
"Can JR sleep over? He wants to help and I was kinda hoping to work on my Trinary project tonight. It's our project now so I wanted to wait til he was here." Caleb rambled as he sat down at the table.
"Well, that's up to his parents." Marc answered as he stretched. "Are they okay with it? I mean he just got home yesterday."
"I don't know yet." Caleb giggled. "I haven't called him yet."
"It's okay with me since it's Friday if you two want to plan for the weekend or something. It's not like there's anything going on. Just make sure you guys don't work yourself to death." Marc said as Caleb jumped up from his chair just in time for the noise of drums echoed through the house. "Looks like he finally found his surprise." Marc shouted over the noise.
"You goin up there?" Caleb asked as he looked up toward the ceiling.
"I better." Marc replied as he stood up and stretched once again. "Want me to tell him to knock it off so you can make your call?"
"Nah." Caleb laughed. "It actually sounds cool." He said as he tilted his head. "AC/DC?"
"Yup." Marc nodded. "Problem Child, I think."
"That fits." Caleb laughed before heading back down to the basement.
"HEY!!!" Marc shouted as he entered the bedroom. "The neighbors called, They want their ear drums back." He continued as Danny giggled and put his sticks down.
"You didn't tell me these were up here." Danny said as Noah grinned at Marc from the sofa.
"I knew eventually you would wander back into your room." Marc giggled as he walked over and sat down on the couch. "Aaron kinda thought you'd like them."
"Listen to this." Danny said as he picked up a folded piece of paper and opened it. "Hey Bro," Danny read aloud; "We gotta jam again sometime. It was awesome having you sit in with us. Just one more reason to welcome you to the family. Anyway, I figured since you sounded that good after not practicing for years, if you had a set of your own you would totally rock the next time we hit a stage. I really mean it bro; I left some sheet music and a couple of my CD's for you to check out. Hey, it's never a bad idea to have a back up drummer. Hope you like them! ~Aaron"
"Looks like you got yourself a friend there." Marc said with a smile. "It's unfortunate that I'll have to strangle him though." He continued with a giggle.
"This is way too much bro." Danny said as he ran his fingers across the deep glitter red finish on the bass drum and shook his head. "This set must have cost him an arm and a leg."
"He wanted it in blue dude." Noah said with a smile. "Since he gave you the red set, now he has a reason to get another one in the color he wanted."
"Really?" Danny laughed. "If he wanted blue why didn't he get that in the first place?"
"He was kinda stuck with it." Noah said as he sat back on the couch. "He told me all about it when we set it up in here. I guess he was on the road a year back and was supposed to perform in some club. His gear was supposed to get there before he did but, the van it was in broke down. He told me he wanted to buy a new drum set anyway, and they had the Pearl Export set in a shop close to where he was. It was the one he wanted, just in the wrong color." Noah said with a laugh. "You mentioned how much you liked the set, and that it was your favorite color so; he wanted you to have it."
"What does that leave him with?" Danny asked as he looked at the set again.
"He was gonna order the exact same set in blue as soon as they got home." Noah giggled. "One way or the other he was gonna get it."
Danny smiled as he got up and wandered over to the couch. "Lemme see if he's around." He said as he pulled out his communicator. "Page to Carter."
"Aaron here bro! What's up?"
"When does the blue set come in?" Danny asked with a giggle.
"Oh that... Hehehe... I should have the new set either Monday or Tuesday."
"Noah just told me the story." Danny laughed. "I don't know what to say bro."
"That's easy, say thanks and that you plan to wear out the skins before we get to play together again."
"That might not happen." Danny half whispered. "Judging by the look on Marc's face I gotta get some practice heads or else he may hunt you down for revenge."
"Does Marc play an instrument? Maybe you two can practice together?"
"I don't know actually." Danny said as he looked at Marc and tilted his head.
"I play a little guitar but, not in front of people." Marc said as he began to blush.
"He does but he's in the closet about it bro." Danny laughed.
"Well when he decides to come out of the closet, write me some new material. Hahaha!"
"Deal." Danny said with a giggle while Marc quietly sat and glared at him. "Thanks bro. We'll have to set something up soon."
"Definitely! I'll talk to you later; I gotta go put some dry clothes on."
"You got tossed in the pool again?" Danny snickered.
"What can I say... I guess I'll be in awesome shape with all the swimming I get."
"That's one way of looking at it." Noah laughed as he shouted loud enough for Aaron to hear him.
"Watch it bro! The ocean's colder up there than the pool is down here! I'll talk to you guys later! Make some noise Danny okay?"
"I can do that. Talk to you later. Danny Out." Danny said with a smile as he clipped his communicator back into his pocket and looked the drum set over one more time. "Unreal."
"Yup, the price of having a celebrity in the family." Noah giggled.
"Is he really that popular?" Danny asked, the only response he got was two sets of rolling eyes. "Okay, looks like I better listen to those CDs then, huh?"
"Unless you wanna get disowned by an airhead, yeah. I'd get on that if I were you." Noah giggled.
"Hey Guys!" Jerry said as he walked into the room and hopped on the bed next to Noah. "Was that you Danny?"
"Omigod." Marc sighed. "You really could hear that from your house?"
"Kinda." Jerry grinned. "Mom thought you blasted a stereo or something."
"Danny, we can replicate some practice pads for you." Noah said as he shuffled off the bed. "Get a set of headphones and you'll be able to practice whenever you like without shattering the windows next door." He finished with a giggle.
"Actually." Marc said to no one in particular. "Once we get all the equipment moved to the hospital, the storage half of the basement could be sound proofed."
"That's a thought." Noah nodded. "That area's big enough to set up a sound booth if we wanted to."
"Great." Jerry said with a smile. "You can record albums."
"Oh yeah." Danny laughed. "That's gonna happen."
"It's a thought." Marc said with a smile. "You never know when recording a drum line or something could help Aaron out."
"Well, without having to travel to Florida." Noah grinned. "When the room is empty, I'll run it by Air Boy and see what he thinks."
"I'll help." Jerry said as he rested back on his elbows on the bed. "There's nothing going on this weekend, is there?"
"Not that I know of, why?" Danny asked as he came out from behind his drums.
"Well, Mom and Dad are hoping if it's quiet enough around here for a couple of days to go out and visit my grandmother." Jerry said with a grin. "She was a little disappointed when my parents canceled our last trip."
"No dude, timing is perfect." Marc said as everyone else nodded their heads in agreement. "It'll give her a chance to meet her new great grandson."
"Yeah, and KC too." Jerry said with a smile. "So I can tell Mom it's okay if we go?" Jerry asked.
"Yup, we're not gonna be doing much for about a week or so." Marc answered as all four boys began to move toward the doorway. "Tell your parents we'll keep an eye on the house."
"Okay." Jerry smiled. "I think we're gonna be leaving soon then. I know a lot of their stuff is still packed."
"When do you think you'll be getting home?" Noah asked as they started down the stairs.
"Probably Monday night or Tuesday morning. I'm not sure." Jerry answered as they reached the living room. "I'll run home and find out."
"Okay dude. Let us know what the plans are." Danny said as Jerry rushed out the door. "Wow, things really are gonna be quiet around here." He managed to get out before giggling coming from the kitchen broke the silence. "Well, kinda." He continued with a laugh.
"Eli?" Noah gasped as they reached the kitchen. "Dude! You're up!"
"Ya think?" Eli said with a weak smile and an expression that clearly said "Duh." gaining a smile from Sebastian.
"He got himself into the wheelchair." Sebastian said with a smile.
"That's not good." Marc said as everyone took a seat around the table. "You shouldn't be moving around that much yet." He managed to get out as Eli levitated himself a couple of inches out of the wheelchair before gently setting himself back down.
"Didn't hardly move at all." Eli grinned.
"Oh yeah." Marc laughed. "Even when you're immobile, you're still mobile. I still don't want you moving around too much, okay?"
"Yes doctor." Eli half whispered as a slight grin started to appear on his face. "Where's Benji?"
"Sammy dragged him into the shower. They're probably taking a nap or something by now." Danny said as Noah began to laugh.
"Yeah right." Caleb said as he entered the kitchen with JR right behind him. "Dude, you can hear just about everything from the basement. Trust me, they AREN'T sleeping." He managed to get out as JR began to blush.
"T-M-I dude!" Sebastian groaned.
"Anyway..." Marc said with a giggle. "JR, you spendin the weekend?"
"Yeah. My Dad and Mom had some stuff to do so me stayin here worked out better." JR said as he glanced at Caleb. "Cal says we got some work to do with tha network an that new OS he's been creatin."
Danny nodded his head as he stood up from his seat. "About that guys." He continued as he met Caleb at the coffee maker. "We really need to plan out our projects. You two have that Trinary thing goin on as well as the network here and linking it up to CIC. Marc and I have a Phasenmorph issue to work out, not to mention having to be ready for our R&D setup. We also have to plan for physical therapy sessions for Eli and Benji."
"What kind of planning?" Caleb asked as he began emptying the sugar bowl into his mug. "Noah and I talked about it earlier. I want to run my ideas by Ark and see what he thinks of it before we do a mock up to show you and Cory."
"Well, we also need to run the Phasenmorph ideas we had through Ark before trying to prepare one for an android host." Marc said as he watched Caleb fill his mug half way with milk before adding coffee. "That's just gross dude."
"It keeps me going." Caleb said with a giggle.
"There's enough sugar in there to keep us all goin." Sebastian said to no one in particular. "Marc, don't forget that Antonio covered all the basic stuff we need to know about these implants. We can do exercises an stuff with em. All you really gotta do is check on em."
"That's true." Marc said with a shudder as he watched Caleb take a large gulp from his mug. "Well, Benji is ready to try small movements already. Eli, you're gonna need at least one more night on the biobed before we try doing the same since you had so much more work done. If you guys want to spend a few hours in the living room watching TV or something today, tomorrow morning I want to handle your first session. 'Bastian, I'll want you involved too."
"So what's the plan?" Noah asked with a smile.
"No real plan for today." Marc answered as he sat back in his chair. "Cal and JR planned to work on their ideas today and over the weekend. Since the Upper Lab is gonna be empty for a few hours, I was hoping to get some of the stuff in there packed up and cleared out. It's a mess in there."
"I'll help." Noah said watching as Caleb held his cup up and letting the undissolved sugar from the bottom of his mug slowly drool into his mouth. "Okay, now even I'm grossed out dude."
"Pffft..." Caleb said as he stood up and put his mug in the sink. "I don't tell you how to drink your coffee." He continued with a giggle.
"There was coffee in that?!?" Danny said in mock amazement as everyone else in the room bust out laughing.
"You didn't notice the milk was tinted a little?" Noah asked getting a punch in the arm for his efforts.
"I thought the sugar caused that." Danny continued as Caleb simply squinted his eyes and crossed his arms. "Or maybe something in the lighting."
"C'mon JR." Caleb said as he stuck his nose in the air. "The intelligence level just dropped in this room." He continued with a giggle.
"Well, there was an awful lot of sugar in there..." JR got out before he laughed and began to run.
"TRAITOR!!!" Caleb yelled down the stairs after JR. "Just for that you get to work with the test dummies!" He continued to shout as he descended the stairs.
"So..." Marc laughed as he shook his head.
Noah laughed before stiffening his back and becoming dead serious. "We'll pack up the Upper Lab, Sebastian and Eli can watch some TV or sumthin, Benji and Sammy will probably stay locked up in your old bedroom until we call the Fire Department and Danny can be a bum all day and not care." Noah got out with a gasp. "Did I miss anything sir?"
"Yeah. Marc said as he stood up from his seat and pointed toward the door leading into the upper lab. "You forgot to stand and salute. Now you gotta hurry up in there so you can do your 50 push-ups, 100 laps around the house and wash and wax the van and Danny's car."
"Say what?" Noah laughed as he stood up. "I don't get to wash and wax the Mustang?"
"Leave the FORD dirty!" Danny bellowed as he twisted his expression as if he were disgusted. "Show the neighborhood we have our priorities in order at this facility."
"Oh please." Noah laughed as the group began to break up. "You know you're jealous."
"True. Just think of how many tow truck drivers you get to become best friends with because of that car." Danny managed to get out before he couldn't stifle his laughter any more.
"Are you two done yet?" Marc folded his arms and began tapping his foot as he looked back and forth between the two. "Next thing you know you both will be out there dragging them down Marshall Boulevard."
"No way." Danny said before heading for the living room. "Too short." He continued with a laugh. "You and me junior. Route 703 just after you get certified to drive. It's time you got skooled in a few of the REAL rules of the road."
"Oh! You are soooo on bro!" Noah laughed as Marc literally pushed him into the upper lab.
"You two are so impossible." Marc laughed as he pointed over to the side of the room the two computers occupied. "Just pack everything into the boxes the new equipment came in. I'll start on the larger stuff on this side of the room."
"Okay." Noah grinned as he grabbed a box and began working.
About 45 minutes later, Marc looked over and saw Noah just standing in front of the area that all the pictures and newspaper clippings had been pinned up. "You spacin out dude?" Marc asked as he slid a large chest toward the door.
"Is that Danny?" Noah asked as Marc walked over and looked at the picture Noah had pointed too.
"Yup. That was the day he came online for the first time. Recognize that kid?" Marc asked as he took the picture off the wall and handed it to him.
"He looks kinda familiar." Noah replied. "That's not Kevin, is it?"
"Yeah. That was him when he was still human." Marc said with a smile. "I think our last simulation proved that we didn't miss any details."
"No kiddin." Noah said as he placed the picture in the box he had been packing before carefully removing a large framed news clipping from the wall that bore large black bold type in its heading.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
ROBOTICS GIANT RELEASES NEW LINE TO PUBLIC
By: Jeff P.
Tony - M.A.R.C. Series Display Model CHICAGO - In the midst of all the new gadgets and technological advancements, Vision Industries, Inc. was scheduled to release their new line to the public in an attempt to expand an already extensive lineup of robotics engineering. Specializing in artificial intelligence, the famed company was the spotlight event this year. Operating an impressive display, V.I. representative and lead spokesperson; Alexander Rowen, had little time to spare us as he answered questions about current servant models the company had to offer as well as the future of their newest line of "Human-Natured" A.I. models. Our team was treated to witness the unveiling of their newest model endoskeleton, appearing as though their new model was designed to be of early teen design, After many attempts from this reporter to get some clues to their big release today, Mr. Rowan simply smiled and told us we would have to wait for their full public display.
Two hours of bustling crowds and multiple questions didn't stop the V.I. crew from ceasing operations at their display to retreat to the Expo's main stage back room with what appeared to be a security team that would make the Secret Service look careless. After about a half hour, the lights in the center dimmed and the curtains opened to an empty stage. In what seemed like hours the stage remained empty until the noise of extremely heavy footsteps worked their way into view. Gasps could be heard from the crowd as the bulky robot, mechanically walked to center stage, being controlled remotely by a young boy who appeared to be about 12 years old. The crowd around our crew grew restless at this disappointing display but quieted down as the young boy shut down his robot and took the podium.
"Isn't he cool"? The boy said into the microphone with a smile. "I built him myself." He added as the rumble from the crowd began to increase. "My name is Tony; I guess I kinda work for Vision Industries." He got out before a reporter in the front row shouted; "Where's this big display your company was supposed to have arranged?" with his annoyance being clearly projected. The boy just smiled at him and simply answered "Right here." further adding to the crowd's disappointment. "That radio controlled robot is not technological advancement!" Shouted one woman. "I'm demanding my money back!" shouted another. The boy was intriguing as he smiled and watched the commotion build as if this was all part of his plan. "If you'll allow me one second, I can explain." The boy said as he pulled the microphone from its stand and walked to the front of the stage and sat down with legs crossed waiting for the crowd to settle back down.
"What I was trying to say was, the display is RIGHT HERE." He said and emphasized by pointing to himself. "I built the robot and wanted you all to see him cause he came out sweet, kinda like Vision Industries did with me." He stated bringing the crowd to a deafening silence instantly. "Ladies and Gentlemen, My name is Tony. Well, the name I was given is Tony, I'm actually the Display Model for Vision Industries' M.A.R.C. series android. I'm sure you have all read about the prototype testing that has gone on over the past year or so. Well, I'm what they were testing."
After fifteen full minutes of the simulated youth occupying the spotlight, Alexander Rowan took the microphone and fielded questions while the android pointed out some of the children who were in attendance and invited them to the other side of the stage to try out his robot. I have to say of all the expositions I have attended and reported on in the past five or so years, this one was the most entertaining and informative. Mr. Rowan spent a great deal of time discussing proposed uses for a simulated youth. Uses ranging from couples who were unable to bear children of their own to same sex couples who were not allowed by law in some areas of the country to adopt. He explained the details of a "Custom Order", which would be how his company would handle each and every order placed. Applicants would be screened to deem their intentions were realistic, financial situations would be taken into account and in some situations would have an impact on overall pricing and post sale service situations. It seemed to me that Vision Industries had not only looked at every aspect of their newest creations release but, intend to make them available to those who may have a need for one; even if they don't have the financial means available which was a fact the on looking crowds openly applauded.
Following the demonstration, our team had the unique opportunity to interview Mr. Rowan and his small friend in private. We further learned that this model had in fact been in testing privately well before today's release and that a release timetable had been planned out well in advance. Our private interview covered not much more than the public information that was provided during the exhibition until young Tony asked to be involved in the conversation. We promised him that in our article, that we would relay a message for him even if it was not an exceptionally traditional means of reporting. After reading what he had typed into my tablet, I feel that it would be an injustice to not include his message.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
I know I'm not really a reporter or anything but, I wanted to make sure everyone who missed our expo got a chance to kinda see what they missed. I mean I wish you could have been there. It was really fun! Especially since I've never seen a group of people as big as this before. The kids there were awesome too, even if they were just as bored as I was in the beginning. Anyway, most of the people I have been able to talk to have the same ideas about us so; I have to guess you might too. The biggest question I get asked a lot is; "Don't you think creating a robot to take the place of a human is wrong?" some people even say that the doctors who created me were playing god. I never really know the right way to answer that stuff. I mean, I know what I am. I know who created me. I am here, I care, I have fun, I hurt, I cry, I dream and I hope. I'm not exactly programmed to do that stuff but, I am the result of programming which somehow can do it. Why is a person an individual? Why doesn't; "I think, therefore I am." apply to me too? I don't have parents like other kids but, I do have adults around me all the time. I love them just like they are my family. They treat me like they do their own kids. I'm not any different, honest. Of course, I'm asking you to take my word for it, which isn't really fair to you or to me and the brothers and sisters I hope I'll someday have. I do know something Mr. Rowan told me was being planned. He said they are calling it a "Placement Workshop" and I think it's a cool idea. What they plan to do is set up a way for people to spend time with one of us. People with kids can come to play with us, sit and talk with us, watch a movie or just sit and talk. Whatever they want to do to get to know us. After a recreational meeting, as they call it; one of the doctors will sit down and answer any questions, help the people decide if they really want to adopt one of us or even the one they spent the time with, which would be really cool too. They got the idea after they first hired Mr. Rowan and found out he really had no idea what we were like in person. You should have seen the look on his face when he found out I was an android and not somebody's kid just wandering around and picking on him. It was funny cause we were friends for like 2 weeks before he found out. It was awesome. I guess seeing really is believing, so I hope anyone who has doubts will come and meet us before they make their final decisions. We aren't like anything that has ever come out of Vision Industries before, even though those models are really cool too.
Well, I gotta give this back to Jeff so he can keep telling you how cool he thinks we are. At least that's what I hope he plans to write. I'll be traveling with Mr. Rowan for a few weeks before we head back home and start meeting people there. Maybe some of the people who read this will come out to meet us. If you do, look for me! I'd really like to say hi! Just ask for "Brat" when you get there.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
I can honestly say that this Friday's exposition was one of the most informative I have been to in quite a while and I am planning to stick around for Saturday and Sunday's displays as well. If not to learn anything new, I'll be honest and say that I really enjoyed my visit with Tony and Alexander Rowan and do hope to get to know them better over the weekend.
Electronic Design EXPO 1960
Friday - June 17, 1960
& Product Demos
Saturday - June 18, 1960
& Product Demos
Sunday - June 19, 1960
& Product Demo
* * * * * * * * * * * *
After reading through the clipping, Noah held it up to Marc; who had now gone back to work. "How come you weren't the one on stage here?"
"Huh?" Marc asked as he put down the armload and looked at the article in Noah's hand. "Oh, The Expo." He said with a grin. "They chose Tony cause he built the cool robot." Marc giggled.
"Yeah, right." Noah said with a huff. "No seriously."
"Tony was VI's um... I guess you could say he was the display model, even though I hate referring to him like that." Marc shrugged as he made his way to the wall and pulled down a clipping that had has own face on it. "I went in for one photo shoot in the beginning before my first Father and I decided it would be better if they found another unit for public appearances and expos like that one"
"I didn't like having my time spent being a mascot for the company." Marc said before tossing the clipping into the box.
Noah looked at the framed article one last time before carefully placing it in the box with the others. "Tony seemed pretty cool. What ended out happening to him?"
"That was kinda funny." Marc said as he crossed his arms and smiled. "Him and Alex worked really close for the first 6 months. After that there really wasn't much more for them to do except public relations. As a thank-you from Vision Industries, Tony was given to Alex to adopt."
"That's awesome!" Noah smiled. "I bet they were happy."
Marc nodded his head before taking down a larger color version of the picture of Tony that was used in the article off the wall and placed it in the box. "It was. They got really close to each other. I think if they did anything else with him, Alex could have gone as far as kidnapping him. If they had made any other choice I would have supported kidnapping him."
"Did that happen a lot?" Noah asked, his eyes now wide open.
"VI giving employees androids? No."
"No!" Noah sighed. "People kidnapping them."
"Oh." Marc giggled. "It's happened. Look at Austin's situation." He continued. "If Sharon hadn't kidnapped Austin, It's possible he wouldn't have ever been brought online."
"Meaning he wouldn't be with us today." Noah mumbled. "I guess sometimes it would have made sense."
"Oh, it did." Marc grinned. "There were times when a model was supposed to be decommissioned or a project that was in testing was supposed to be scrapped. Not only did the doctors make sure that anyone who cared knew the details, but there were even times when they would purposely look the other way so the android would have a loving family instead of landing on a scrap pile."
"They would just scrap them?" Noah asked as he continued to carefully remove memorabilia from the wall.
"Well, in the initial stages of a project. Investors looked at the prototypes as nothing more than experimental pieces of equipment." Marc replied. "Even I was a loss of investor money once the results of my field testing were completed. Even though I was intended as a means of compensation to my original father for the information he provided them with. In their eyes, I could have been salvaged, rebuilt and sold."
"What about your memories and stuff?" Noah asked as he stopped what he was doing and turned to look Marc in the eyes.
"Erased." Marc said flatly. "Or disassembled and used in part to build a newer unit."
"They'd kill you?!?" Noah almost shouted.
"They didn't look at it as killing someone. To the people who dealt with nothing but the financial aspect of the company, it was simply recycling."
"That's Bullshit!" Noah spat out as Marc watched his face turn red. "How many of your family were murdered?"
"Noah. Don't get mad bro. It's in the past." Marc tried to calm him. "Trust me, they learned from the doctors who actually ran the company. There were a few in the beginning that weren't pulled out before they were decommissioned. Very few."
"Oh really?" Noah said through clenched teeth. "If that's the case, why did Sharon have to kidnap Austin? You know, just before Vision Industries CLOSED?!?" He almost shouted as he literally threw the picture he was holding into the box.
"Whoah!" Marc said as he held up his hands. "Time out dude! Austin wasn't completed. His programming and planning was nothing more than code and hopes when they made the announcement that we were closing. Sharon and I worked really hard on his planning." Marc said, watching Noah's expression closely. "Hard enough for her to rush in the end to complete him and sneak him out."
"Oh." Noah said once he realized Marc had taken a step backward. "I didn't think of that."
"Jesus bro. You goin psycho on me?" Marc said with a nervous laugh.
"I'm sorry." Noah said as he shook his head. "It's just that first Austin had been kidnapped to save him then we find out KC was kinda the same way. Now I learn that the kid who helped to build the company could have been killed too cause they wanted to save money. That's murder, end of story."
"Yes it is." Jerry said as he stepped into the room startling both boys. "Sorry, I knocked but for some reason you guys didn't hear me." Jerry said with a grin as KC walked into the room with Joey in his arms.
"See creep. Your uncles just had a disagreement, they aren't fighting." KC said to the sniffling android who had his face buried in his neck and his teddy bear in a tight headlock.
"Yes dhey wewe! I heawd dhem." ("Yes they were! I heard them.") Joey whimpered. "I don'd wand no mowe fighdin." ("I don't want no more fightin.")
"Mom and Dad had a little argument before we came over." Jerry said shrugging his shoulders. "Joey doesn't understand it and got kinda spooked by it."
Noah looked at Marc and Jerry before slowly walking over to KC and Joey. "I'm sorry little guy. I was just mad cause I thought some kids got hurt." He said getting a weak smile from KC. Rubbing Joey's back, Noah continued; "I was wrong and your Uncle Marc told me so."
"You wewen'd gonna hid each odhew?" ("You weren't gonna hit each other?") Joey sniffled before looking back at Noah.
"Joey." KC said holding Joey back a little so he could look him in the eyes. "Just cause two people start shouting doesn't always mean they are gonna start hitting each other. Your uncles would never hurt each other."
Joey wiped his eyes with the back of his hand before looking at his brother and grinning weakly. "You cawwed me Joey." ("You called me Joey.")
"Sorry, it slipped." KC laughed earning a giggle from everyone in the room. "So, you okay bud?"
"Yeah." ("Yeah.") Joey replied resting his head on his brothers shoulder.
"Your parents are fighting?" Noah asked as he leaned on the work bench and crossed his arms.
"They were." Jerry said as he hopped up on the corner of one of the portable biobeds. "I guess my Dad made the plans to go see my Grandmother without checking with Mom."
"She doesn't want to go?" Marc asked as he sat down on the couch that had be hurriedly pushed up against the wall upon the arrival of all the new equipment.
"That's not it." Jerry said as KC sat on the other side of the couch, Joey still tightly clinging to him. "She wanted to finish their honeymoon trip."
"Ooohhh." Marc replied. "Maybe we can send them back to Hawaii once we get the hospital back up and running."
"That'd be cool." Noah said before turning back to the wall over the bench and removing more of the pictures and news clippings.
"So when do you guys leave?" Marc asked as he sat back and put his feet up on one of the boxes on the floor.
"We're packed now." Jerry replied. "Mom wanted me to give you a set of keys for the house and wanted to make sure you guys knew to use up some of the food that came back from Charleston."
"That's cool." Marc replied looking around the room. "Maybe by the time you guys get home we'll have figured out how much longer it will take before we're completely up and running."
"Eh, even without the hospital we aren't in real bad shape." Noah said with a grin. "Just as long as things stay quiet for a while."
"Like you can plan for that." KC said with a giggle. "Don't forget that word about all this is spreading. I wouldn't be surprised if there were tons of people who probably thought that Vision Industries had just vanished."
"That's true." Jerry said with a sigh. "Even if they don't know this is the old company being incorporated with the Clan, now they'll know that at least someone is there for androids. We may start hearing from people that have needed help for a long time but, thought that there was no one to turn to."
"I've thought of that." Marc said. "Let's just hope we have some time before the first real wave."
"No kiddin." Jerry replied as everyone else nodded their agreement. "Well guys, we need to get moving before Mom and Dad come looking for us." He continued as he stood up and pulled two keys out of his pocket. "Marc, these are for you to keep here."
"No prob. Let your parents know we'll keep an eye on the house and with security in place, there is nothing to worry about." Marc said as everyone stood up.
"Yeah and eat some of the food." KC said with a smile. "Throw a party or something. Maybe even just make pigs out of yourselves." He giggled as Joey gave him a funny look.
"My Uncwes awen'd pigs!" ("My Uncles aren't pigs!") Joey giggled.
"That's not what I meant, Creep." KC laughed.
"Bud dhad's whad you said." ("But that's what you said.") Joey shot back, getting a laugh from the rest of the boys.
"I give up." KC laughed as he hugged Joey tighter. "See you guys when we get back!" He added as everyone else said their goodbyes and left Noah and Marc to their work.
A few minutes later Caleb came bursting in the door laughing, startling Noah and Marc. "You guys gotta see this." He barely was able to get out.
"See what?" Noah shook his head and asked.
"C'mere, trust me." Caleb laughed as he waved for the two of them to follow him back up to the second floor.
"Okay, what are you two up to?" Marc asked as they found Caleb and JR peeking in through the partially opened door leading into Danny's bedroom.
"Take a look." Caleb snickered as he and JR stepped back to let Noah and Marc see.
"Oh my god." Noah groaned as he stepped back and tried really hard not to laugh. "I think he likes Aaron's music." He added as he pushed Marc toward the door.
Marc grinned as he peeked into the room and saw Danny dancing around near the couch with his eyes closed, singing along with some of the chorus. "This is priceless!" Marc laughed as he silently opened the door the rest of the way and motioned to the other three to follow. "Shhhhh..." He said as they all took a seat on the bed and watched as Danny continued dancing and singing.
"...throw your hands up now, let the music take control. This is how we roll... I'm not too young and I'm not too..." He got out as he opened his eyes and saw his audience grinning at him. "old... oh no!" He said as he ripped the headset off and turned bright red. "How long have you guys been watching?"
"Long enough to figure out that you kinda like Air Boy's music." Caleb laughed.
"Yeah, he'll be happy." Noah said with a laugh. "I just wish I could have taped that though."
"I bet." Danny said as he leaned on the back of the couch and covered his face.
"That's actually a good song for you Danny." Caleb said with a serious smile. "You'll always be not too young and not too old."
"That's true." Marc agreed. "So you like the music?"
"Yeah." Danny said, his blush finally beginning to fade. "Not the kind of music I normally listen too but, it's fun and upbeat. Aaron's got an awesome voice too."
"Yeah he does." JR grinned. "I got more of his stuff in my bag if you wanna hear more."
"Sweet." Danny replied. "The drum track in this is synthesized though, translating it might be tough."
"Nah." Noah said as he picked up the sheet music Aaron left for him. "I've heard him beat that one out on his set."
"I don't doubt it can be played, it'll just sound a little different." Danny replied as he picked up the CD case and looked at it.
"There's nothing wrong with that." JR said with a wide smile. "Maybe you can get him to come back up here and work through it with him."
"You just want him to come back up here. Doesn't matter why." Caleb grinned as he elbowed JR in the side.
"Shaddap!" JR almost shouted. "He's an awesome artist!" He quickly added.
"...and cute." Caleb giggled.
"He's got an awesome voice." JR crossed his arms and said.
"...and he's cute." Caleb snickered and repeated.
"Whatever." JR huffed, giggling and nodding his head before adding in just over a whisper; "Okay, and he's cute."
"Oh boy." Noah said as he and Marc stood up and laughed. "Well if Aaron comes back up we can guarantee we're gonna lose Danny and JR now."
"No kidding." Marc said as he motioned toward the door. "For today, my last attempt at something productive is gonna be making sure we eat. Then I plan to watch a sunset before getting a good night's sleep; with or without the groupies."
"That sounds awesome." Noah laughed. "I'll help with dinner so Cal and JR can get back to their project and Danny can continue his little private concert up here." He managed to get out before one of the pillows from the couch bounced off his head. "He'll never get anywhere in show business if he keeps abusing his audiences like that." He said to Marc before laughing.
"I'll show you abuse." Danny said seriously while he armed himself with another pillow before laughing at Noah's fake frightened expression. "That's right, you should be scared."
"Eek! Save me Marc... You're evil brother is gonna hurt me." Noah laughed as he ran out of the room.
"Oh, like I want any part in that." Marc said as he shook his head and followed him out of the room.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
"Is Eli settled in now?" Noah asked as Marc quietly closed the door to the upper lab and took a seat at the table.
"Yeah, he's feelin a little sore now." Marc replied as Noah poured him a cup of coffee and grabbed himself a glass of apple juice. "I probably should have sent him back in there after dinner instead of letting him watch that movie."
"Oh come on." Noah said with a smile as he sat down. "You can't watch The Terminator without watching the second one. It's like, some kind of law. Just be glad you don't have a copy of the third one."
"True, but he didn't seem all that disappointed." Marc said with a sigh. "It wasn't as good as the first two."
"It's part of the story, he would have sat through it." Noah grinned.
"Right, and added another day on the biobed because of it." Marc said as he took a sip of his coffee. "Did you check in on Caleb and JR?"
"Yup." Noah said with a smile. "He has Test Dummy and Test Dummy Junior almost finished. He also has a ton of work on his Trinary operating system."
"I can't wait to see what his plans are with that." Marc smiled. "I'm actually even more curious to see what Ark thinks about it."
"Same here." Noah said with a giggle. "I'll just be glad when he stops being so secretive about it."
"He won't tell you anything either?" Marc asked, rolling his eyes.
"No. You'd think it was some sort of government secret or sumthin." Noah said with a laugh. "We may have to send Danny down there to order him to tell us what he's hiding."
"I wouldn't. Just let him work it out." Marc said tilting his head. "Speaking of Danny; he hasn't come down yet. I wonder if he fell asleep listening to one of Aaron's CDs."
"He's not upstairs." Noah replied. "I went up there to see if he wanted some coffee a few minutes ago."
"He's not downstairs either." Marc said as he put his mug down. "He may be out on the back deck. Wonder if I should go check."
"You do that, I'm gonna see if I can squeeze some information out of Cal." Noah said with an evil grin as both stood up.
"Good luck with that." Marc giggled as he grabbed a second coffee mug and filled it with black coffee before heading through the living room out to the back deck. Once he opened the door and realized Danny wasn't on the deck, Marc put the two mugs on the table and sighed in relief once he saw Danny sitting down on the beach. Not wanting to startle him, Marc grabbed the two mugs and loudly walked down the steps to the deck.
"Noah made something for you." Marc said once Danny finally turned to look at his brother, revealing that he had recently been crying. "Danny? What's wrong?"
"Nothing." Danny sniffled as he wiped at his eyes and accepted the mug. "Well, nothing serious."
"Wanna talk about it?" Marc asked softly as he took a seat in the sand. "I can listen unless you just wanna be alone bro."
"Where's Kevin's imprint right now?" Danny asked quickly, almost cutting Marc off.
"Oh, um... He's in the terminal at the hospital right now. That room is secure, he's safe. I promise." Marc replied quickly. "Is that what has you upset? I mean I can bring him home if you want me to."
"No." Danny answered as he took a sip from his mug and then stared out over the bay. "That's not it at all."
"Is something wrong then? I mean if it's because he's not online yet, we can delay construction for a few days. I can get Billy to come back and we can spend a few days getting his imprint ready for the upgraded body." Marc said as he tried to project as much hope in his voice as possible. "It wouldn't be a problem. Just give the word."
"No." Danny said as fresh tears began to stream down his cheeks. "I want his imprint destroyed. I can't do this to him."
To Be Continued...
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Notes from the Author:
*Danny!!! What's goin through that head of yours?!?*
Yeah, I know... Look, it's like this; I sit down at the computer with plan, and get right to work on it. Sometimes even accomplishing what I want too. Then out of the blue, the "ISSUE" pops up and sinks it's fangs into the chapter. Now, I understand that Danny still harbors a little bit of a reservation towards Emulated AI, I mean I can't blame him. He's been virtually trapped in that body for how many years? Now, if you wanted to ask me why he picked now to bring it up... I honestly couldn't answer. Maybe he's been reading all the Emails I've gotten from concerned readers wondering about Kevin. Maybe he's been mulling this over right along but hasn't had the time to let it hit him. Maybe he is sitting in a corner somewhere giggling cause he knows I'M gonna get in trouble for it , not him... ;) Don't worry, chapter 14 is already in the works :)
As always, gotta remind ya... Those of you who haven't read "The other CSU stories" are truly missing out on a very important part of this story. You just gotta read em all, right now! Hehehe...
You can find "Memories" Parts 1 & 2 at http://cornercafe.us and don't forget to keep an eye out for the events also unfolding in "Memories: Down Under" by: "Boi From Aus" at http://acannex.us as well as "Ark" by Akeentia at http://paddedroom.us and "Dear Diary" by Boudreaux at http://jeffsfort.com to get the whole picture so far! (Yes, that means the Clan Short Universe is growing from our own perspective. Hold on tight as this list begins to grow out of control, I hope that chair of yours has a seat belt ;)
*HUGZ* from myself and everyone at the Clan Short; Artificial Intelligence Division!
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Notes from our "Clan Archivist & Editor":
Clan Archivist Review Notes:
Well I thought this was going to be a nice relaxing chapter where the AI Division would get to unwind and tie up a few loose ends. There was a little relaxing but also a lot of bonding and some soul searching. We did learn a few more things about androids especially the M.A.R.C. Series; Tony sounded like a nice kid. Now as to Kevin, I sincerely hope Danny changes his mind but I will have to wait and see with the rest of you.
As I said last chapter it is nice to see this story getting back to its roots yet still working with The Clan.
Til the next chapter,
TSL aka The Story Lover.