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Midnight in a Perfect World This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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Five hundred stories up the city still doesn't look any better. The windows, dark but never allowed to get dirty, attempt to sift out anything not polished to a star-like shine. It fools many into believing the world is some bright, clean haven with its floating billboards promoting extravagantly named soft drinks, models who just went through the latest plastic surgery, and vacations to the far side of the moon. Though it may be midnight, it is not midnight in a perfect world.

“Marvin, read the latest headlines.”

“Of course, sir:

FIRST HUMAN CLONE DIES AT 19

SONY DEBUTS LATEST INTEGRATED REALITY SYSTEM

AFRICAN SCIENTISTS REVIVE THE EXTINCT DODO BIRD –”

“Stop. Is there anything human?”

“There is just one, sir:

EUROPEAN UNION REMOVES KING AND QUEEN FROM POWER

Is there anything else, sir?”

“No, just make me some coffee, please, the usual. And do I have anything scheduled for today?”

“Of course, sir, and no, sir, only your flight.”

“Yes, I know. It's in a few hours, correct? Where to?”

“Yes, sir, it leaves at 4 a.m.; it's heading to Moon Colony: Lunacity. The weather is set to summer for now.”

“And what's the current time?”

“A quarter past midnight, sir.”

Where is my mind? The man, who had the appearance of a college student but carried himself in the manner of an old aristocrat, lost interest in the window and the world it captured. He turned to scan the room: the walls a rich cacao, banaue oak flooring, floating lamps producing a low light, the giant open room filled with deep brown furniture preserved from the 21st century; it all contributed to a natural feel. Art covered the walls, including the one reserved for viewing programs, illustrating every side of the human soul. The room was lit enough for him to make out the silver outline of Marvin's body and the pearly glow given off by his “eyes.” His focus was now on the silhouette.

“Marvin, what do you think of humans? Humanity? As in, what do you think it means to be human?”

“I'm sorry, sir, but you know I am not capable of answering such a question.”

“But why not, Marvin? And don't give me that ‘I'm not human, I do not know what it is like to be one' spiel! You're plenty human – more human than most everyone out there! If I were to swap you with some random person, give you his identity, nobody would notice the difference! So, does that mean you've become human or that society is too robotic? I ask because I can't figure it out. Are you incapable of answering or do you just refuse to?”

“I do not wish to, sir.”

“See! That right there is what I'm talking about! Bots such as you are to follow any reasonable command given by their owners. Asking you to define something is more than reasonable. You've adopted human qualities, Marvin; you're more like a cyborg than a bot.”

“Sir, if I may ask, why are you so ­interested in this answer? You are not one to take an interest in others, let alone society.”

“I had a dream last night. Not one of those premade or shared ones, but actually one of my own. I dreamt that I met God. I looked Him in the face and said ‘Forgive me,' and all he did was stare. What are your views on the notion of a higher power?”

“We aren't programmed to believe in a god. We are built to be compatible with anyone.”

“But do you believe in God?”

“No.”

“And what are your views on love?”

“I am not sure, sir. I think that question is more suited for a love bot.”

“A love bot? A love bot is nothing more than a toy built for pleasure! Is that what you believe love to be? Just physical contact?”

“Not necessarily, sir, but in every relationship I've witnessed, physical contact is involved. I feel it is safe to conclude that touch is a requirement of love.”

“Then do you believe that bots cannot love because they lack a sense of touch, or is it because their emotions aren't fully human?”

“I believe we cannot love because we are not programmed to.”

“But you're not programmed to think, and yet here you are doing just that!”

“Excuse my rudeness, sir, but I am not thinking. I am merely acting.”

“No, acting is when I tell you to program the ship to take me to the skyport, or ask you the fastest way to get there: by road or by air. Acting is when I ask you to do something and you do it. It doesn't require you to call upon previous knowledge and experience with others – that's thinking! That's what you're doing right now!”

“Sir, I suggest you lie down. Your blood pressure is rising.”

“I don't need to calm down-”

“You have not been taking your medication lately, sir. It's dangerous for you to be this excited.”

“Marvin, you're my best and worst friend; how pitiful does that make me? A human not ­accepted by humans making ‘friends' with a bot that's not fully a bot. I'm just a reject trying to bring the world down with him, and I can barely influence a bot, a bot programmed to follow my every word.”

“Sir, if you wish for me to believe in a god or define ‘love' as you would, you must simply command me.”

“Marvin, is there an earlier flight available? I'm going mad here.”

“Do you really think that synthetic paradise will help you?”

“What was that?”

“Do you honestly believe that you'll be better off there than here? The Moon is nothing more than a giant amusement park filled with caricatures and Lunacity is its epicenter.”

“Marvin?”

“Yes, sir?”

“What are you-”

“Oh, I'm sorry, sir. I thought you wanted me to have a personality, so I downloaded one. It's called SNARKY MALE V.02. Do you not like it? Shall I try out another?”

“No, I like the MARVIN persona best. Otherwise we wouldn't be friends, would we? Is that really how you feel about the Moon?”

“No, sir. I've never been.”

“Marvin, is there an earlier flight?”

“Yes, sir, at 2:40 a.m.”

“Book two tickets.”

“Two, sir?”

“Yes, you're coming with me.”

“Am I allowed to?”

“Why not? You're my friend, aren't you?”

“Why, yes, bu-”

“Then we're going.”

“Then we're going. Two tickets for the 2:40 a.m. flight to Moon Colony: Lunacity are booked. I think we'll like it there.”

“I thought you couldn't think?”

“I decided to start.”

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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This article has 10 comments. Post your own!

SetiziaThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Nov. 28, 2013 at 2:59 pm:
Definitely has some of the best dialogue I ever read. Great subtleties! I really like how you don't follow the convention that "robots are bad" in SciFi.
 
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Dulan said...
Aug. 13, 2013 at 1:54 pm:
this article caused me to signup on this site :) I would like to read your novel :)
 
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Cat'sEye said...
Jan. 6, 2012 at 5:10 pm:
Wow, that was really cool. The writing was clear, and it wasn't bogged down by excess words. And it was different from everything else I've heard of that involves robots.
 
Storiwryter This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
May 1, 2012 at 11:28 am :
Thank you =)
The flow of my work is something I hold of great importance so I'm happy to hear that.

And yeah, my goal is to create something unique and refreshing.
 
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KK2013 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Dec. 23, 2011 at 5:14 pm:
Very nice! I just have a couple comments.... A.) Lunacity is sort of a lame name for the lunar city..... a little too predictable. B.) OH MY GOSH THAT WAS GOOD. C.) are you saying that artificial intelligence is existing in this story?
 
Storiwryter This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
May 1, 2012 at 11:23 am :
A) It's possible that you think this because you're translating it as "Moon City," although this is correct, it is not the reason for the city's name. What you should be taking out of the name instead is "Lunacy" *hint* *hint*

B) Why thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

C) Yes, there is artificial intelligence in the universe however it is not yet fully developed and glitch-free. Because of this, the AI is kept at a relatively basic level, functioning at the intelligence lev... (more »)
 
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BrightBurningCampeadorThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 24, 2011 at 12:13 am:
AWESOME! You should try to make this into a full length novel!
 
Storiwryter This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Dec. 21, 2011 at 10:34 am :
Again I apologize for such a late response.
I definitely want to expand upon the characters, setting, plot and universe to turn this into a novel so it's reassuring to see your comment.
I'll be sure to work on this piece more =)
 
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queenbee1888 said...
Jan. 23, 2011 at 10:19 pm:
i loved this story. keep writing more i would love to read them
 
Storiwryter This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Dec. 21, 2011 at 10:28 am :
I apologize for not responding to you much earlier but I will definitely write more.
Thanks for the interest in my work, it makes me want to work harder and I'm glad you enjoyed it =D.
 
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