How It Ends: Part 1 - The Evaluation
    Sidney left, stripping off the white
uniform, leaving Peter with the opinion he had no other

    * * *

    Three hours later, Sidney was sitting in the
main lobby of the Foundry sipping an aging cup of coffee and
reading through old magazines placed in the lobby for those who
came in with appointments and had to wait for them to begin. Given
the age of the magazines he understood that people were not
encouraged to wait. He opened up his handheld and scanned through
some new messages which were mostly from students who did not
understand the latest assignment. What good was a TA anyway if they
couldn’t even explain the basics of the assignment to the students?
He needed a new one. A funny thought occurred to him. Maybe
Anita would like to be his TA.
    Maybe she already was.
    Maybe she was just T and A for one
professor in particular .
    He felt a shifting in his groin and pushed
thoughts of Anita aside.
    He turned to the web, running through
article after article on robotic innovations and advances in
robotic technology. One company in France had announced that they
had discovered a new and supposedly better way of creating a
robotic brain. That made international news. The quantum rubidium
brain DKI created had been adopted as the standard many years ago.
Robotic cerebral technology was thought to have reached its
plateau. What could process faster than data transmitted on waves
of light halted in their tracks by rubidium vapors?
    He closed his eyes. He’d been staring at a
screen for too long. His eyes hurt. He needed a bit of a break.
    The door to the lobby opened. He opened his
eyes and saw Peter standing before him.
    “Well, he’s done.”
    “Who’s done?”
    “Oh, right. Sorry. ‘Him’. Will it make you
feel better if I call it a ‘he’?”
    Peter did not answer. Sidney had not been
trying to be sarcastic, but it came out that way. He stood and
Peter led him down the main corridor to the back of the building.
Prior to reaching the end they branched off into another corridor
that wound its way around the production facility. Finally they
came to a set of sealed double doors.
    Peter swiped his security badge along the
reader and the doors clicked and swung open.
    “No hazmat suits?” Sidney asked.
    Peter ignored him.
    The room could have been described as an
infirmary. There were two rows of beds running down either side of
the room. Beds? thought Sidney. Too generous a term .
They were nothing more than wide metal platforms with a number of
controls and displays on mounted panels on one side. Some of them
had occupants. Some did not. All of the occupants were robots. From
the walls sprang cords and wires and cables that plugged into the
robots or the bed or both. The robots were all of different makes
and models, from the lowest laborer to highly advanced models.
Gammons lay on the last bed at the far end of the room.
    They walked down the row and Sidney took
long looks at each of the robots as they passed. Fluorescent light
gleamed off the metal bodies of personal assistants or was
swallowed by the dirt and grime of labor models.
    They came to Gammons. It lay on the bed
staring up at the ceiling.
    “He hasn’t been turned on yet,” said Peter.
“That’s the last step.”
    “What’s the delay?”
    “I want you here when I turned him on. I
wanted your opinion on whether I should call for a security
contingent before I flip the switch.”
    “This unit tried to hurt a human and you
made me flush the brain but not dump the cache. So whatever’s in
there may try to jump out again, if you catch my drift.”
    Sidney nodded. He wanted to avoid security
if possible. He wanted to talk to Gammons alone.
    “I appreciate your caution, but I think
we’ll be okay. The circumstances surrounding its shut down are
rather unique and I don’t think it’s anything we need worry
    “I think we should have somebody ready, just
in case.”

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