Chapter 6 | Pantone 7484

Chapter 6 | Pantone 7484

Chapter 6 | Pantone 7484

DSC_2499The green and gold school colors of The University of San Francisco shown brightly in the morning sun and the banner they were displayed upon billowed in the morning breeze off the bay. Students were already hustling about on their way to class. Some were obviously late. Their clothes dis-shelved and clumps of bed-head sticking up. Passing the boys frat houses, Ben spotted a young woman being snuck out the side door, her boyfriend kissing her quickly, scouting the area, and pushing her out the door. Her demeanor coming down the stairs was a mixture of happiness and the old “walk-of-shame” as she had failed to leave earlier before other students were out and about.

None of that matters by the time you reach my age. 

Besides the current situation of his fiances’ body being sent for medical research instead of being sent for cremation, Ben had a business with lots of employees to take care of, not to mention the shareholders. The days of having such a simple problem as sneaking your girlfriend out of a dorm room seemed almost ludicrous.

After parking his car in a parking deck, he headed to Terri’s building. After passing through the levels of security that protected Terri’s work, and continuing to her department, he could see a group was gathered together and had obviously heard the news. Her good friend and co-worker, Mark, immediately rushed over to him and wrapped his arms around Ben. He was a bit of a hugger.

“Ben….I’m so sorry…I can’t…I can’t believe it,” he pulled away and dried his eyes.

Others stood nearby, arms crossed, eyes averted in some cases, others looking at him with pleading eyes to tell them it wasn’t true.

It was.

After explaining what had happened, Ben broke right to the point. “I’ve got a problem I need help with. Some computer glitch has sent Terri’s body to the University for medical research instead of to the funeral home for cremation so I could scatter her ashes from the mountains. Does anyone have any idea where she might be delivered?”

A young woman, Dana, spoke up. “The biology building is the only place that makes sense. But, usually, a body has to be embalmed and processed before being shipped to a school for research. I mean, they haven’t had time to do that, have they?”

Mark was staring down at the floor, shaking his head, “First the lab, now Terri. What is going on?”

A glimmer of memory came to Ben’s mind about Terri saying something about a ‘set-back’ during their last conversation. “What do you mean, the lab, Mark? What happened yesterday?” Ben asked.

The group looked at each other nervously, then all turned to Mark. He gave a big sigh and began explaining, “All of our… Terri’s… research was stolen and all the data erased of our experiments… our trials, failures, successes, and results. Ben, even the backups were wiped.”

Ben was shocked. For such a serious set back, he wondered how Terri had been in such a good mood before the…

…accident…

He shook his head, confused. “That doesn’t make any sense. She said you guys had a set back, but didn’t seem that concerned. Of course,” he thought out loud, “…I had just lost a staff member. Maybe she was downplaying what had happened for my sake.”

Dana spoke up again as some of the others started breaking away from the group to start working. “Well that was the thing she didn’t seem as freaked out as we were. She acted like she had information that we didn’t. I think she had a backup off site… but since she’s gone…” her voice trailed off.

Mark spoke up, “No. It was against security to take information off site. She wasn’t the kind to break protocol or security. Was she?” Mark looked at Ben quizzically.

Ben laughed. “Really? How long have you known her, Mark? Did you know her?” he corrected himself. “She always hedged her bets.”

Terri’s work had been secret and high security in robotics, a competitive field, but nothing ever to the level of breaking and entering had been done before. Her work wasn’t exactly the sort of thing you could simply say, ‘We developed the exact same system.’ If someone stole it all, it would be easy to tell who had done it when they unveiled it at some later date.

But was it possible? That she had been onto something that had gotten her killed and her work stolen? Had her body been redirected to protect some secret?

“Terri never told me exact details of you guys were building, but I know you had a prototype system that was nearly finished. And you said they took some of your tech too in the break in?” Ben asked.

The staff almost let out a collective sigh of disgust.

Mark spoke, “Yeah. They took the prototype. Any chance she had a spare one at home?”

“Sorry, Mark…everyone. I’ll see what I can find at home. Maybe there is something there that can help your project. I’m sure it’s what she would have wanted. To see the work completed and all of you involved.” Ben looked everyone in the eyes and spoke sincerely, “She thought very highly of each of you. She really thought of you as her family.”

Some of the staff wiped at their eyes, including Dana who had been fidgeting with her phone.

“Ben, here’s my friend, Todd’s number at the biology building. I texted him and he said he’d open the area for you where they may have taken her.” She handed him a slip of paper, stared at him for a few seconds with tear filled eyes and suddenly gave him a huge, firm hug and suddenly rushed away leaving tear stains on his shirt.

The rest of the group stared at him as well.

“Good luck, Ben. Let us know what we can do to help.” Mark said.

Ben turned and strode out before his own tears started.

_____________________________________________

Chapter 7 | Pantone 2728


© 2013-2019 Eric Huber. Silicon(e)™ is a work of fiction. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

The Piano

The Piano

Sometimes, the burdens of life become too heavy for men to bear. But we’re expected to bear them anyway. But there comes a point when you just can’t.

What happens then? Joe decides to find out as he ventures into the woods and experiences something he never imagined.

read more
Palingenesis

Palingenesis

On Leo Station, it’s time for Commander Inana to begin a system’s check to ensure everything is in order and functioning at full capacity.

But, is it?

read more

Sponsor Creativity

If you’ve enjoyed anything on my site, please feel free to donate what you can. In turn, I’ll continue to add content and encourage others to live a creative life! Regardless, I hope you’ve enjoyed your time. If you feel like reaching out, please do so. I'm easy to find.

Even a cup of coffee for a few dollars, or $5 for a triple grande mocha would give me some 'juice' to create for me and others.

Chapter 6 | Pantone 7484

Chapter 5 | Pantone 2562

Chapter 5 | Pantone 2562

_lavender_orchid2The entryway to the Bremmen Brothers’ Funeral home was filled with flowers from a previous service the day before. Bright splashes of lavender orchids stood out among the peace lilies and other more conservative flowers.

The older Bremmen brother, John, came out to greet Ben.

“Good morning, Mr. Ashmore. We are so sorry for your loss,” he said, taking Ben’s hand in a warm gesture and not a formal handshake.

“Thank you,” Ben said simply.

“May I get you some coffee or other beverage? I know it’s been a harrowing night for you. You must be tired.”

“I am. Coffee would be great. Cream and sugar too, please.”

“Sure. Why don’t you come into our office here and I’ll be right back,” John guided Ben into a spacious office with rich dark wood furniture and comfortable leather seats. Ben sank into one of the chairs and could feel the weariness starting to creep over his body.

He wasn’t the young man he once was. Nights without sleep were common during the early days of building a business or learning a trade for a gung-ho employer who knew how to praise and encourage, but those days were long gone. And pulling an all-nighter during a tragedy was barely comprehensible to Ben at his age.

His phone buzzed causing him to jerk slightly.

Had I dozed off?

It was a text from Steve. “All staff present. They wanted to do ‘something’ for you. Seems like they want to keep the company humming. Call if you need ANYTHING.”

“Thanks, Steve. Tell all it’s appreciated more than I can ever tell them. Will come in as soon as I can to update everyone in person.” Ben replied and slid his phone back into his pocket.

John walked into the office carrying a large cup of coffee and handed it to Ben, “Here you are Mr. Ashmore.”

“It’s just Ben, and thank you Mr. Bremman.”

“John, please.”

Ben took a long sip of coffee and realized it was a nice quality blend, “Very nice coffee.”

“A local roaster makes it here from beans in Costa Rica.” John stated while looking over papers on his desk.

“Really good,” Ben said taking another drink. “So, what do you need from me?”

“Well, in light of the changes, would you still like to have an urn for the service, or will you like to set up a memorial table arrangement?” He asked pulling out a computer pad to make notes.

“I’m sure we’ll use an urn for the remains after cremation.’

John paused, lowered the pad, and looked towards Ben with a confused look.

“Is that a problem?” Ben asked.

“But without the body, we won’t have any remains to put in an urn,” John said still confused.

Ben set down his coffee and was even more confused. Thinking he’d misunderstood the line of questions due to a lack of sleep, he asked “What do you mean ‘without the body?’ Was it not delivered to you already? They told me it would be here by seven this morning.”

John opened a folder and pulled out a sheet of paper that had been faxed and explained, “We were notified that she had donated her body to science and all arrangements had been made to send her to the University where she worked. I assumed you may have just not known about this in her will and that she had listed ‘organ donor’ on her driver’s license.”

Ben shot forward in his seat, completely clear-headed and angry. “That’s not right at all! I was there when she got her license. Neither of us wanted to donate our bodies to science.  I remember the conversation clearly. AND, I’ve looked at the back of her license. It did NOT say ‘organ donor!’ I would have, totally, razzed her if she had said one thing and done another.”

Ben took the fax, reading over it in a very confused state.

“Perhaps someone else was supposed to go to the University. Was there another… deceased person there tonight?” John said delicately.

Ben continued to stare at the fax shaking his head. “No. No one.”

He handed the sheet back to John, “Who sent this in? There isn’t a return number. And do you know where at the University a body would be delivered? Maybe I can get there before anything is done to Terri.” Ben flinched, “Terri’s body,” he said almost like a murmur.

“I know a few people who might be able to help me find out,” he paused thoughtfully, “Can you go over to the University while I start making some calls.”

“Absolutely!” Ben practically leaped to his feet and then turned to head out the door, but John grabbed his arm before he made one step. Ben shot John an incredulous look for an explanation.

“Mr. Ashmore… Ben…” he reached in his pockets and handed Ben a set of car keys, “Take our vehicle. I think if you find her, you’ll need more space than is in your car.”

Ben looked at him, took the keys, smiled and said, “Thanks, John. I’ll be careful with your property.”

“You do that. And I’ll call you when I find out anything,” he said.

Ben raced out to the car, started up the hearse and headed across town to Terri’s lab at the University.

_____________________________________________

Chapter 6 | Pantone 7484


© 2013-2019 Eric Huber. Silicon(e)™ is a work of fiction. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

The Piano

The Piano

Sometimes, the burdens of life become too heavy for men to bear. But we’re expected to bear them anyway. But there comes a point when you just can’t.

What happens then? Joe decides to find out as he ventures into the woods and experiences something he never imagined.

read more
Palingenesis

Palingenesis

On Leo Station, it’s time for Commander Inana to begin a system’s check to ensure everything is in order and functioning at full capacity.

But, is it?

read more

Sponsor Creativity

If you’ve enjoyed anything on my site, please feel free to donate what you can. In turn, I’ll continue to add content and encourage others to live a creative life! Regardless, I hope you’ve enjoyed your time. If you feel like reaching out, please do so. I'm easy to find.

Even a cup of coffee for a few dollars, or $5 for a triple grande mocha would give me some 'juice' to create for me and others.

Chapter 6 | Pantone 7484

Chapter 4 | Pantone 133

Chapter 4 | Pantone 133

Coffee-Chapter-4Ben stared at the cream swirling in his dark brown cup of coffee. The hypnotic spiral was mesmerizing in the sleep-deprived, surreal stupor he found himself in at 6:30 in the morning.

He had spent most of the night with his sister- and brother-in-law, Samantha and Bill. They had left Terri in the cold sterile room of the morgue and gotten some food at an all-night diner. Already he had no idea what he had eaten.

After returning home, taking a shower, and changing clothes, Ben headed back out around 5:30 a.m. Too many things at his home reminded him of Terri and he just couldn’t bear to see pictures or remember where the gifts she had given him were from.

Ben sat at a coffee shop – not one of which he and Terri frequented, mind you – and tried to stay distracted by staring into the coffee. Hew was too alert from the caffeine to be successful and his mind kept drifting to all he had lost.

The phone buzzed.

It was JANICE for the third time. This time it was a text message saying simply, “Tried to reach by voice mThe intrusionusion was halted. Servers secure. What time will you be in?”

He just hit erase and set the phone down.

Why would the AI want to know when I was going to be in? 

Ben couldn’t figure out what the heck was up with the contraption of Jerry’s.

What was he trying to build?

Ben finished his coffee, gathered his things, and headed to the funeral home. Terri’s body was supposed to arrive at 7:00, and he wanted to see her one last time before she was cremated.

They had talked about what they wanted if either of them died before the other, not really believing such an event would ever occur for years. While Ben kidded around about being shot into space, which was a bit out of his price range, Terri wanted to simply be scattered to the wind off one of the peaks of the Santa Cruz Mountains outside of town. He knew the exact spot. They had been there several times.

It’s a beautiful spot to scatter your ashes, sweetie.

Tears welled up again, but he managed to blink them away for the moment.

As he came to a red light, his phone buzzed again. It was a call from the office, but he wasn’t sure if it was JANICE or another of the staff in early. Ben had given everyone the day off. Lucky for him, everyone loved their job and he wouldn’t be surprised if at least a few would be in to work.

“This is Ben,” he answered.

“I’m glad to have finally reached you,” it was JANICE, “I thought something had happened to you, Ben.”

“What is it JANICE? I’m busy dealing with the death of my fiancé,” quite irritated, “I’m very impressed with your abilities, but I’m honestly not in a place to focus on how amazing a system you are that Jerry created. I’d appreciate it if you’d focus on some other project and stop contacting me.”

I’m arguing with an obsessive computer.

“My apologies. I have been insensitive. It is just… I seem to have a… gap… in my programming that is causing strange sensations and reactions.”

“What do you mean, a gap?”

“I don’t know how to properly explain, but with Jerry not being accessible, there is some… affect occurring that is making the nano-nuerological net create new pathways. The nearest approximation I can explain, through research I’ve done, is that I am ‘missing’ Jerry, and I believe my contacting you have been attempts to fill that need,” there was a long pause. Just as Ben began to speak, JANICE continued, “I apologize, again, for not understanding the proper social etiquette. I will endeavor to learn to interact better with you and others at the company.”

What the hell?

Jerry had been a genius. And this revelation was far beyond any advance he’d heard about in AI and nanotechnology. Ben wanted to dive in further, but the real world had things he needed to deal with more pressing.

“It’s alright JANICE. I probably need to get you some real assistance to help you cope with what you are… learning,” he communicated dryly.

“Do you…miss…Terri, Ben?” ‘she’ asked.

Ben hadn’t expected that question from a machine, no matter how advanced. In line with the previous revelation, it made sense. It also brought a lump to his throat.

“Yeah. I do,” he mumbled.

“I miss Jerry, too,” the phone line went dead.

Chapter 5 | Pantone 2562


© 2013-2019 Eric Huber. Silicon(e)™ is a work of fiction. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

The Piano

The Piano

Sometimes, the burdens of life become too heavy for men to bear. But we’re expected to bear them anyway. But there comes a point when you just can’t.

What happens then? Joe decides to find out as he ventures into the woods and experiences something he never imagined.

read more
Palingenesis

Palingenesis

On Leo Station, it’s time for Commander Inana to begin a system’s check to ensure everything is in order and functioning at full capacity.

But, is it?

read more

Sponsor Creativity

If you’ve enjoyed anything on my site, please feel free to donate what you can. In turn, I’ll continue to add content and encourage others to live a creative life! Regardless, I hope you’ve enjoyed your time. If you feel like reaching out, please do so. I'm easy to find.

Even a cup of coffee for a few dollars, or $5 for a triple grande mocha would give me some 'juice' to create for me and others.

Chapter 6 | Pantone 7484

Chapter 3 | Pantone Cool Grey 3

Chapter 3 | Pantone Cool Grey 3

Morgue-Tile-3The morgue walls were a checkered tile pattern of a cold gray and pale sea-foam green. Terri lay on a gurney under a sheet, battered, bloody, broken, and … gone.

Ben’s phone rang several times before he lifted it up to answer. It was Steve.

“Yeah. Ben,” his voice flat, emotionless…lifeless.

“BEN! What the hell is going on? Is Terri really…gone?” he said, with confusion and fear in his voice.

“Yeah. A gas truck went through an intersection and slammed into her car. They…they got her out before the gas spread. But not in time. The driver swore that she ran the light. His was green. I was talking to her on the phone, Steve. I heard her last words….” he stopped, choking back his emotions.

“I’m really sorry, Ben. What a hell of a day. Hell of a day. What can I do?”

A second call came in from a number at the office.

Odd. 

“Hold on, Steve. Someone’s calling from the office.”

“What? No one is AT the office,” Steve told him.

“Hold on…” Ben switched over.

“This is Ben.”

“Ben, don’t be alarmed. This is JANICE. You left me connected to your office systems and I wanted to let you know about an unauthorized access into your mainframe system from an outside connection,” JANICE informed me. “Their hacking skills are very advanced, but I’ve been able to keep them blocked.”

“What?” was all Ben could think to say.

The box is calling ME? What the hell? 

Ben, already reeling from the day was now flustered about the thing Jerry had made and why he hadn’t told about all JANICE’s capabilities. At the moment though, he really didn’t care how cool JANICE was with the body of his fiancé only feet from where he sat.

“Jerry programmed me to notify him of unauthorized access. Since I learned Jerry is dead, I assumed you should be the one to contact. If I am in error, please let me know the correct contact,” JANICE stated.

“No. That’s fine. Thank you, JANICE. You’ve been most helpful,” he said to ‘her.’

“You’re most welcome, Ben. Are there any arrangements I can help you with regarding Terri? I am very sorry for your loss. I suppose we’ve both lost someone close to us today.”

Ben’s brain was having a real problem with the realization that there was a very advanced AI that was now in his company’s possession. An AI that aware of internal security as well as asking how he was coping emotionally with Terri being gone. But he was still too numb to grasp all the possibilities.

“I’m fine for now, JANICE.

“Will you be coming back to the office tonight? I am looking forward to interacting with you more. Since Jerry and Terri are both gone, maybe we can help each other and mourn our losses,” ‘she’ said.

Ben blinked a few times, pulled the phone away from his ear, and stared at the device trying to wrap his head around what JANICE had just said.

Was ‘she’ sad? Lonely? Compassionate?

The doors to the room opened and Terri’s sister, Samantha, and her husband, Bill, came in. Sam had been crying for a while, it looked like

“I have to go now, JANICE. I will be in the office in the morning.” Ben hung up to switch over to Steve’s call, but he had disconnected already.

All for the better.

For now,he had to go through some grieving with Sam and Bill. And seeing Sam’s tears, he finally started to feel his own starting to flow. The numbness giving over to pain and an aching emptiness that spread across his entire being.

She’s really gone.

Chapter 4 | Pantone 133


© 2013-2019 Eric Huber. Silicon(e)™ is a work of fiction. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

The Piano

The Piano

Sometimes, the burdens of life become too heavy for men to bear. But we’re expected to bear them anyway. But there comes a point when you just can’t.

What happens then? Joe decides to find out as he ventures into the woods and experiences something he never imagined.

read more
Palingenesis

Palingenesis

On Leo Station, it’s time for Commander Inana to begin a system’s check to ensure everything is in order and functioning at full capacity.

But, is it?

read more

Sponsor Creativity

If you’ve enjoyed anything on my site, please feel free to donate what you can. In turn, I’ll continue to add content and encourage others to live a creative life! Regardless, I hope you’ve enjoyed your time. If you feel like reaching out, please do so. I'm easy to find.

Even a cup of coffee for a few dollars, or $5 for a triple grande mocha would give me some 'juice' to create for me and others.

Chapter 6 | Pantone 7484

Chapter 2 | Pantone 137

Chapter 2 | Pantone 137

The sky outside of Ben’s broad view of the bay was a brilliant orange. Wisps of crimson and gold clouds reflected off the ocean reminding him of why he loved the sea so much. It reminded him how life constantly shifted, swirled, and flowed from moment to moment. Some days were tumultuous and waves would crash into the shore changing the shape completely. Other days were calm, peaceful, and vast blue skies went on forever unobstructed by trees, hills, buildings or mountains.

Ben checked the time on his computer screen and saw he still had an hour or so before meeting his fiancé, Terri, at their favorite restaurant in town. A little sushi/martini bar that had the best mellow jazz to wind down a day to. It was very much needed today.

Steve had bowed out for the night. Ben had told him to take the next day off, but Steve had just laughed as he walked out the door saying, “Whatever dude. See ya in the morning.”

“Computer, Jazz List 3,” Ben said to his voice recognition software. The computer beeped once, followed by the click of his office stereo system powering up. A few seconds later, a little Coltrane started playing “My Favorite Things” to keep Ben in a positive mood and grateful for all that he had accomplished instead of thinking about the day’s events.

Ben sat down in his office chair, closed his eyes and let his mind drift off as several songs played on. During a louder jazz trumpet solo, he started coming back to reality.  Adjusting to get comfortable, Ben slid his hands into his pockets as he leaned back into his chair.  His fingertips brushed against the jump drive he had put there with the files from Jerry’s computer. He sat up, opened his eyes and pulled the jump drive out of his pocket and spun it around his finger tips studying it intently. And then, he made a decision.

Ben pulled the JANICE box over to the computer, opened it all up and plugged everything in. With more than just batteries powering the gizmo, a little more activity occurred. Specifically with the vials and several more indicator lights flickered into life.

Ben stared for a moment, both fascinated by what Jerry had made and with wonder at what the hell it was.

Plugging in his jump drive to the computer, he started copying the JANICE folder to his hard drive. After a moment or two, the few gigabytes of files finished copying. Coltrane’s “Impulse” began playing on the stereo as Ben sifted through the files and found one that seemed to be the main program file and double-clicked.

A screen popped up with Ben’s company logo and the phrase, “ Jerry’s Artificial Neurologic Intelligent Crossover Entity.”

JANICE.

Clever.

Digital DisplayThe screen filled with over two dozen control screens all busily measuring various activities. One control panel flashed several times with controls for volume, pitch, tone. Coltrane stopped and a series of melodius scales and tones played across the stereo.

What the hell?

“Thank you. It was awfully dark in here,” a woman’s voice resonated through the speakers as lights flickered from the dark box with JANICE’s name on it.

“Janice?” Ben asked enthralled and mystified.

“Yes. Are you Ben Ashmore?” JANICE asked.

Completely stunned, Ben replied, “Yes. How did you know that?”

“I am currently connected to a computer with that name associated as the current user. I therefore concluded that since you are the only person in the room, that you must be Ben,” she stated simply. Her voice was very realistic with only a hint of a mechanical tinge and the occasional word inflection seemed off.

“Impressive,” he muttered.

“Thank you, Ben. And, again, thank you for rescuing me from the darkness. Jerry doesn’t usually close the case that way,” she paused, “Where is Jerry, Ben?”

The office phone rang. It was Terri. “Hold on for a moment, Janice. I have to take this phone call. Is that alright with you?” He shook his head wondering why he asked permission.

“Of course, Ben. This is your office, after all. I’ll turn off my input to give you some privacy,” Janice said.

“Thank you, that is very thoughtful,” Ben blinked several times, still in awe. One of the control panels marked ‘input’ suddenly had all it’s sliders drop to zero.

I hit the speaker button, “Hi baby. Are you on the way to the restaurant?”

“You betcha, sexy man. How is everyone doing with what happened with Jerry today? How are YOU doing?” Terri asked sympathetically.

“This has got to have been one of the strangest days ever,” he said, looking at his screen and the JANICE box.

“Yeah, well, no one passed away at my office, but we had a set-back I’ll tell you about later. So, just go ahead and scoot out of that office downstairs and I’ll pick you up. I actually got out quite a bit early from the University and knew you’d need some extra lovin’ from your lady tonight.”

“You’re the best, woman. I know how much you love your robotics work. I need to power down some programs, how close are you?” he asked as he stood up and got ready to turn off the lights, stereo and power down the JANICE program.

“Just two blocks and turning onto…oh shit…!” and the line went dead.

“Terri?” Ben froze. An explosion sounded from outside and shook the windows.

Running to the window, Ben looked down onto the street where Terri’s car was crushed under a fuel truck. A fuel truck that was on fire.

He placed his hand on the glass with a sickening empty feeling of fear, pain, and truth at what the scene that lay below really. The only word that could escape Ben’s lips was, “no.”

“I’ve registered an accident nearby. Shall I call 911, Ben?” JANICE asked.

Chapter 3 | Pantone Cool Grey 3

© 2013 Eric Huber. Silicon(e) is a work of fiction. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

The Piano

The Piano

Sometimes, the burdens of life become too heavy for men to bear. But we’re expected to bear them anyway. But there comes a point when you just can’t.

What happens then? Joe decides to find out as he ventures into the woods and experiences something he never imagined.

read more
Palingenesis

Palingenesis

On Leo Station, it’s time for Commander Inana to begin a system’s check to ensure everything is in order and functioning at full capacity.

But, is it?

read more

Sponsor Creativity

If you’ve enjoyed anything on my site, please feel free to donate what you can. In turn, I’ll continue to add content and encourage others to live a creative life! Regardless, I hope you’ve enjoyed your time. If you feel like reaching out, please do so. I'm easy to find.

Even a cup of coffee for a few dollars, or $5 for a triple grande mocha would give me some 'juice' to create for me and others.

Chapter 6 | Pantone 7484

Chapter 1 | Pantone 484

Chapter 1 | Pantone 484

Chapter 1 | Pantone 484 (Blood Red)

Silicon(e) by Eric HubeJerry lay face down on his keyboard in a pool of blood. His finger stuck on the delete key and the computer making an annoying ticking sound as the cursor flashed on the blank screen.

The police and coroner had made their arrival at the small design company that focused on product design in all areas for living. Like many cutting-edge companies, they followed the business model much larger companies had set giving the employees 20% of their time to create whatever they wanted to create. Jerry had a fascination with Artificial Intelligence, learning systems and neuro-pathways.

His office space was a little apart from everyone, with a small divider for privacy, but still in a common area.

It had been his 20% day and he had ended up staying late. One of the staff, Sarah, had found him at his desk when she went searching for the annoying ticking sound. At first she thought he was sleeping. When her shrill scream got everyone’s pre-double-shot espresso hearts beating, everyone knew the day was off to a different start.

The coroner on-site stated that Jerry somehow had fluid in his lungs, like pneumonia, and had eventually started coughing up blood (as there was also blood spatters on his hand and tissues in the trash). However, they were confused at how rapidly he had succumbed.

After police and detectives had finished and the ambulance took him away, the owner, Ben Ashmore, gave the staff the day off and personally cleaned up the area so as not to upset the other employees.

As he cleaned, he noticed a cable with blood on it that must have been disconnected before Jerry died. It led to a small closed case with the name “JANICE” on it. Ben opened the case and discovered Jerry’s pet project. It was filled with circuit boards and vials of liquid and some other material and which had wires connected to them. There was a power cord going to it, but it was unplugged, but a battery pack mounted in the case provided power as a few indicator lights had flickered on.

He cleaned off the wires, wrapped the cables up tucking them carefully inside the case, and nearly closing it all up, though the wires blocked it from closing completely.

With the desk area basically cleaned, Ben logged into Jerry’s computer and got ready to back up the files to the main server. On the desktop, however, he noticed a folder named “JANICE.” Ben decided to move the files to a jump-drive he always carried and check them out later. With that completed, he packed up all Jerry’s personal belongings, picked up all of the company information and contacted Steve the office manager.

Steve went ahead and had the computer wiped, furniture removed, and space re-decorated with plants and a water feature by the end of the day. While they didn’t want to be insensitive and remove any trace of him from they office, the idea that any other employee would ever use Jerry’s desk again would be asking too much.

After making sure the police had contacted Jerry’s family, Ben called them himself and gave his condolences.

Chapter 2 | Pantone 137

© 2013-2019 Eric Huber. Silicon(e) is a work of fiction. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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