Hey, y’all! Today I’m going to be participating in Rosalie Valentine’s Flash Fiction Dash. The challenge was to write a 1k or less flash fiction from a prompt. We had the option of picking an image prompt or a sentence prompt, but I couldn’t decide which I wanted, so Rosalie gave me both.
I wrote a story with the picture prompt and was quite pleased with it. Wrote it really far in advance, in fact. But it was also half again as long as the limit, and I couldn’t bear to cut out so many words.
And so. In about an hour, edging into the early hours of the morning, I wrote a different story, using the word prompt.
This was the prompt I was given:
And, I must say, this is worlds away from any type of thing I’ve ever written, but… Well, you know. At least it’s within the word limit. Also note: It’s largely unedited, so if you see any typos, or have any critiques, I would greatly appreciate a comment.
title: HUMAN ERROR
word count: 722
“Of course I’m an android.” I say, motors humming ever so slightly as I tilt my head up to look at him.
The Captain looks down at me. His hand is resting on his gun.
“That was a very… human error.”
I resist the urge to shrug, even though these shoulders have the proper mobility. Too human of a gesture.
“Apologies, Captain.” I say. “Perhaps it’s an error of my programming. Should I have myself checked out?”
He waves his hand dismissively as he turns away. “That won’t be neccesary, 115.”
I follow him, looking at the floor and monitering him out of my peripheral vision. He’s less interesting than the floor. Metal. My feet are metal.
Metal on metal.
Clank. Clank. Clank.
I don’t like this body’s hearing. Everthing is amplified.
“—can have your programming examined after the meeting.” The Captain is saying. I focus on his voice. “For now, wait outside the door.”
“Affirmative.” I say, planting my feet.
The door opens and then closes after he’s gone through.
I look down the corridor, my camera’s focus adjusting to the long passageway.
Footsteps with a limp. Where are they coming from?
I blink back into a neutral focus as he rounds the corner of a branching hall.
He looks up at me. Smiles. Brushes back his red hair.
I’m glad he was delayed. The few minutes the Captain and I were paused in the hallway, due to my, ah, distraction, could have gotten him caught.
He limps up to me. “Have you got it?”
I rotate open my arm compartment. Cli-cli-click.
“The Captain is suspicious.” I say, as he delicately removes the computer chip from my arm.
He looks up at me. I can hear the chip slide into his pocket. “What did you do?”
I tilt my head up. Lock my gaze on the ceiling. “I made an un-android noise. As an ambassador’s family went past.”
He glances at his watch. Not much time left out here before another official arrives. “Why?”
I picture it. Tiny. White. Big, moist, black eyes. Yap-yap. Yap-yap.
“No reason.” I say, pulling my face into what I hope passes for a smile in this strange form. “But I’ll disconnect before programming is scanned.”
He nods, and I close my eyes, settling into hibernate mode. Motors slow. Senses shut off one at a time. I can’t see where he goes, after all. Just in case.
A ting-ting pulls me out of low-power as the Captain steps out of the door. I check the time. It’s been an hour and a half.
Polite conversation is too human, so I walk beside him to his chambers. He goes in. The door locks.
As an android, I can only obey the last order given, which was to get my programming checked, so I walk that way, imputing the order into my mainframe.
The droid in charge of the unit downloads the clip of the Captain’s order and lets me through, light glinting off her plastic-looking exoskeleton. Primitive model.
Six other androids rest in alcoves, screens flickering with their programming beside them.
I sit. Thunk.
Settle my arms into the ports. Chink.
Maybe it was a human error, but that puppy was adorable. Could I be blamed if I squealed?
I come back to myself. Sounds fade. Sensations rise.
I can feel my hands on my wheelchair armrests.
My lips are chapped.
Can’t lift these arms, though. I’ll have to wait for a real droid to notice. I’m not a puppy; they’re allowed to notice me.
A doctor notices my eyes squinting open. He holds up the bottle of medication.
I imagine it dripping into the cup. Drip. Drip. Drip.
When he puts it in my mouth, I swallow. One of the few movements I have left.
I can feel my heart rate now. It feels like thump thump thump.
“I don’t need medicine.” I say. “I’m an android.”
He smiles at me. It’s a pitying smile. “I believe you, your Highness,” I can imagine him saying, though my hearing is still stored with my current droid.
But he doesn’t believe me. Since most of my systems shut down after the failed editing session, no one does.
After all, I’m not really an android.
I’m just a human error.