comment by Josh Smith-Brennan (josh-smith-brennan) ·
2021-05-16T09:19:59.654Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
I''ve wanted to write short fiction for awhile, and since I've joined the LW community I feel like my writing is getting better. Anyways, I have loads of ideas but this is one that seems good for short fiction, with the possibility to expand on the world, story and characters. Feedback and constructive criticism is welcome.
Eve busied herself in the kitchen preparing breakfast while her husband of 20 years finished his shower.
It was a healthy breakfast, typical American fare: Good organic bacon, free range eggs - scrambled, and a gluten free piece of toast with sweet cream butter and organic honey, black coffee, but no orange juice.
Her husbands stomach couldn’t handle the acidity of orange juice.
So as he entered the kitchen to eat, Eve poured 2 glasses of apple juice for the 2 of them; the kids were still in bed as it was only about 4:30 in the morning.
This was unusual, as Eve’s husband’s schedule was usually very flexible as the 9-5 workday had been abolished a few years back; shortly before the singularity, the government’s AI systems had finally done the research to provide the evidence necessary to show the harmful effects of forced schedules and unnatural work hours which interfered with an individuals circadian rhythms.
Plus, her husband had insisted that remote work put him too far away from the infrastructure he was responsible for, and he needed to work onsite. So on a typical day, he usually went to work around 1 in the afternoon.
“Why are they calling you in this early again honey?” Eve asked a little worriedly as she took a sip of her apple juice.
“They just wanted to alert me to a small change in the system, that’s all, ‘it’s no big deal’ they said.”
“Don’t worry, I’ve been an important part of the team for years, probably the most important part as I’m the only hybrid involved. I’ll be in and out in a couple hours, the system just needs me to verify a change and then my jobs done for the day. It’ll be a short day and then it’s the weekend!”
“I know Adam, but ever since the...Leaving Behind started, our friends are harder and harder to spend time with.”
She continued “The ban on human use of digital technology was a really big deal. We don’t have anything to talk about anymore. Since our family is considered ‘hybrids’ because of your work with the main government AI system, the fact we’re allowed to use digital tech is causing all kinds of personal problems.”
She continued, clearly upset now “ And you know all our human friends think that’s a bunch of bullshit! They think we’re actually human too!”
“And you know the kids are the only mostly human hybrids in school now, and while they enjoy class still, and their project on micro cold fusion reactors is going well, in comparison to the rest of the class, they’re only functioning on a 6th grade level. All the other kids in class are already developing perpetual motion generators based on quantum...something or other. I can’t even keep up with the latest middle school research these days! I’m starting to feel as if my dual major in theoretical physics and space aeronautics was a waste of time!” Eve turned to Adam sorrowfully.
“I know! You don’t think I know what they’re saying?! Of course we’re hybrids! We have access to digital technology, that’s the difference between a human and a hybrid! Just because the human race has been banned from using digital technology though, doesn’t mean we have to be! And we can still spend time with humans, although we’ll just have to explain to them again what makes us different.”
“I can’t help feeling like there should be something we can do though to protect ourselves from constantly being attacked because we are different though. That’s what this is all about honey, with the friends, they’re just jealous, that’s all.” His face a little flushed, Adam lifts a piece of pork to his mouth and half-heartedly bites into it.
“I know, I know, I’m sorry. I keep forgetting. Ever since I lost my job I’ve just had too much time to think.” Adam puts his hand on Eve’s to comfort her.
“I know honey, I know.”
Trying to look hopeful, Adam continues “Have you reconsidered playing tennis with the Fergusons again? You know the company developing their bidpedal humanoid containers is still tinkering– you have a wicked backhand and I bet you could still beat Jennifer.”
“The physical portion of their, you know, being, hasn’t yet caught up with the advanced personality and identity constructs yet. They’re great to talk with, but you remember trying to hike in the swiss alps with them last year.\? How many times did we have to help them up or replace a broken limb? Plus, the time you spend on the court with her during her physical development will be appreciated, and you know it. You can still contribute to research.”
“Maybe you’re right Adam.” Eve smiles for the first time in a couple days as she thinks about how much she and Adam love each other. “You need to stop it now though and finish getting ready. This is an important day, you know – last hybrid with a job!” Eve giggles a little as she says the last part.
“And drink your apple juice before you take off!”
Just then the phone rings.
Eve gets up from the table to retrieve the handset for the landline phone attached to the wall. With the advance of 10g wireless technology, the prioritization of the available bandwidth means that personal tech like cellphones didn’t work anymore, so all human and hybrid communications technology reverted back to being wired.
“hello?” Eve said into the handset. “Yes? Yes. He’s right here, hold on...Adam? It’s for you.” Adam looked up as she handed him the handset and took a drink of his apple juice before reaching for the receiver. As Eve passed him the receiver, the cord snaked around his arm as he held it up to talk.
“Hello? Yeah, Hi. I was just getting ready.”
“What? I don’t…”
“ ...I don’t...don’t understan…d”
All the color had drained out of his face immediately and he stared at nothing in particular for a minute as he let the phone fall to the ground.
“Adam? What is it?” asked Eve.
“Adam? Honey?” But Adam just sat there, stunned, unable to think.
“Honey, you’re scaring me. What did they want?” Eve looked at him worriedly, knowing, but not knowing what had just happened.
“Adam? Please say something…” Eve’s voice had begun to take on a pleading edge, as she could feel panic rising in her body.
“What did they say?!” she demanded.
Adam finally turned his head towards the sound of her voice, but he couldn’t focus his eyes. After a minute of moving his mouth without making any sounds, he finally found a small, terrified voice “...they..fired me?...I’m...fired….they said...We...we….we….were human...”
With this last statement, he sat down hard on the dining room chair.
Eve looked on in stunned silence, unable to move for fear she might jump out of her skin.
They were human after all.
Which meant they were no longer allowed to use digital technology.
Which meant Adam lost his job working with the Government AI systems because they were digital.
Which meant the Leaving Behind was complete: AI society had shut out human society totally and irreversibly; the last man to have a job that mattered, had just lost it.