This weeks challenge from Terrible Minds was based on an opening sentence.
TM 2012/7/13 - The Android and the Wondering Chamber
A few weeks back I was playing with that random sentence generator used in another flash fiction challenge, and I got what was, for me, a truly fascinating story-inspiring sentence.
That sentence: “The noticed android walks past a wondering chamber.”
I don’t know what the f*ck that means, but I like it. So, your flash fiction challenge should utilize this sentence. In fact, it should be your opening sentence.
After that, you’ve got up to 1000 words to tell the story, whatever that story may be.
My story is below, about 630 words:
The Android and the Wondering Chamber
The noticed android walks past a wondering chamber.
He doesn't want to be noticed. His intent is that the systems see him as just another general purpose android, as opposed to one that's been enhanced to be a trained assassin. Enhanced not only physically, with increased strength, and offensive weapons, but also mentally, with the ability to go beyond simple logic choices, to make judgement calls, to even follow a hunch.
All these changes have to be hidden very carefully on this mission, to get past the security systems in this military base. He has no problem ensuring that he looks and acts like all the other androids. A bigger challenge is ensuring that the internal changes in his operating system doesn't show up as anomalies in any of his external data streams, for these changes have also added emotions, and an awareness of himself as something more than an android.
Right now the chamber is sending him status requests, asking for his id and current task. Just a routine check, but he can still feel a targeting beam on his back - just in case he fails the test. He already has a verification data burst ready, but needs to add today's security code. As part of his mission preparation he's already downloaded an extensive database of base schematics and door codes, all stolen of course, but hasn't the current day's ID code. He notices a small maintenance robot by the wall, so quickly sends a spoofed query to it, asking for a resend of its last security response. Already the chamber is getting impatient, sending another query to him and activating the nearest gun platform. He grabs the code from the robot's reply, adds it to the message packet, and fires it off. Milliseconds later, the security system sends a simple acknowledgement, and he's no longer a focus for it.
He routes another message through the helpful maintenance robot, requesting a routine check of the personnel tracking system. His target is on the same level, heading his way, as it does every day at this time. This is a perimeter corridor, seldom used, with a row of windows overlooking the crater. He quickly glances sideways as he passes one, taking a snap shot of the image outside, appreciating the bright sun, the blue sky, the vibrant colours of the jungle. He remembers the rich pungent smells as he approached the base, the sun warming his back, the soil crunching underfoot, the transparent blue wings on a passing butterfly.
He interrupts his musings for a quick status check. His target, resplendent in general's braid, is just entering the other end of the corridor. A few paces closer is a clerk, juggling a tray of coffees and snacks as she approaches. Once she passes he'll make his attack. He'll generate an EMP pulse to blind the sensors, hit the target with a microshot of toxin - delayed and undetectable - and carry on to the exit.
He's just returned to his thoughts, when a sudden cry brings him back to reality. The clerk has stumbled, spilling hot coffee all over her feet. Still wide open inside, he feels a flood of emotions sweep over him. Guilt, that he didn't see her fumble in time to help her, empathy that she is hurt. He cuts his data broadcast, but it's too late, it's already sent out a corrupted signal. The base's security systems go to full alert, activating their lasers and sending an override that locks his legs and arms. He knows he can't afford to let them access his internal data, with all its codes and mission contacts, so his only option is to reluctantly initiate a complete internal reformat.
His last memory is of the delicate wings of a butterfly.