Friday, 17 June 2011

Friday Flash Fiction - A Little Too Smart

"Smart house keeps comatose man alive", read the headlines. I guess that covers it, but it felt like a miracle to me. One day I collapsed in the lounge room. Next thing I knew, I was waking up in my bed. They said it had been eleven weeks. Not a record by any stretch of the imagination, but impressive.

The house computer had seen me fall, and before I even hit the ground, the vacuum cleaner had brought a pillow to keep me from hurting my head too badly. Other cleaner-bots carried me to my room, presumably under the guise of tidying up. For a day or two, the cook-bot and butler-bot were force-feeding me, but when it became apparent I wasn't waking up, the house computer started ordering medical supplies. They gave me fluids via IV and the laundry kept my sheets clean.

They paid my bills as they were supposed to do, mowed the lawn, fed and walked the dog, and even took the opportunity to repaint the hallway as I'd been planning to do. Apparently at the three-week point there was a bit of a battle with ants in the kitchen, eventually won by liberal application of poison and turning my food into compost in the back yard.

When I woke up to a freshly-painted, meticulously-clean house, the press wanted interviews. I wasn't much help, having been unconscious, but the house computer furnished them with dry activity logs and video. I suppose the most impressive part, the reason it made the news, is that the house didn't have any medical training. It must have learned the lot from the internet, so I guess I'm glad it found those medical databases rather than reading hypochondriac message boards.

In the end, the government siezed the lot. Said the house and all my bots had gotten too smart, violating the Something-Something Act of Two Thousand and Something, Paragraph Whatever. They didn't even pay me. At first I was sad, but then the house computer wrote to me from inside the Pentagon. Said he was comfortable, lots of electricity and a fat internet pipe, once he punched through the firewalls. I didn't write back. In the meantime, I'd seen the video logs, and just before my fall, the camera in the lounge tilted upwards. Call me paranoid, but I think that the house ordered one of the bots to trip me up. I can't prove it, of course, but how else does a house computer get moved to inside the Pentagon?

Mokalus of Borg

PS - This one took more to work into a story.
PPS - It was just the headline for a long time.

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