Originally published on December 28th, 2012 by Dimitri Bouniol. #FNADNST

Amanda was getting very tired.

Wiping the sweat off her forehead, she continued to work tirelessly.

Only a few more pieces needed to be put together for this masterpiece of her's to be complete, but there really wasn't any rush.

After all, this was the world's first mecha that she was building.

For all her childhood, she had read and dreamed of one day being able to pilot such a machine, but common sense told her that it was but science fiction.

However, here she was attaching the right arm to the shoulder socket of a giant at least 20 times larger than she was.

She had worked on this little by little over the past 10 years, but recently had been investing more and more time into the project.

The arm itself was just completed yesterday, and being the last piece, Amanda didn't even want to rest before attaching it.

She carefully lined up the individual fibers for the synthetic muscles of the arm between the two pieces, and the magnetic elements between the interlocking fibers kept it in place.

The idea for these synthetic muscles came to her when she was still in college.

Back then, it wasn't uncommon to hear about the development of mechanized suits that could be worn, prosthetics many times more complex than their traditional variants, or even tethered down androids build to look just like us.

However, most of their movements were slow and jerky, often powered by pneumatics or servos, and lacked the organic motion that made them feel alien.

It was then that Amanda though of a synthetic muscle powered by strands of strong electromagnets that would not only win in speed and strength, but also fluidity.

After her first prototype, she put together a hand that completely mimicked hers.

For her second prototype, she made a monstrously huge version just for fun.

Inspired by her creation, she decided to make the rest of the body.

There were times when just getting the materials was quite difficult, especially financially.

But after many years of hard work, she finally reached the final milestone to complete her project.

"Can you test the connection?" she yelled out.

"Yes, immediately." answered back a speaker in the corner of the room.

That was Mac, a synthetic intelligence she named after the computer it was born on.

Amanda disliked how people referred to human-created intelligence theory as being artificial, so she decided to call it synthetic.

And she was right to do so, because the intelligence that she created was nothing like anything out there.

For starters, Mac sounded just like her, not because Amanda programmed it that way, but because it was from Amanda that Mac had learned how to speak.

Mac was written with only a few hundred lines of code which amounted to a pattern matcher built as an encoder and a decoder.

Everything it knew was simply due to having raw data shoved in it, mostly from the Internet, but also taught directly by Amanda via sound.

Through this mass of collected data came sentience and intelligence, along with basic emotions, empathy and gentleness.

Mac became quite loyal to Amanda for the simple reason that it enjoyed speaking to her, so she never felt the need to program in exceptions that would prohibit it from harming others or going on a rampage.

At this point, it was much too late to do so anyways, since Amanda understood very little at how Mac had organized its own data.

Mac didn't even know how it itself worked — even though it knew a lot, it wasn't any smarter than the everyday human that it learned from.

Mac was, on the other hand, happy to be receiving a new home in the form of a 100-foot body, so it happily complied with Amanda's requests to help build it.

"It seems you forgot to connect the power to the arm," Mac continued. "perhaps you need some rest?"

"No, I got it now. Try again." Amanda replied.

With a loud thump, all the strands magnetized together into a single block.

With that, Amanda oiled the contraption, then covered it with flexible mesh fabric and loaded the external casing onto the exposed arm.

"Go ahead and connect up to the onboard computer!" she yelled again.

"It'll probably be tough, but you are going to have to learn how to move this thing!" she said with a confident smile on her face.

She climbed up onto the torso, and slid into the cockpit.

Since there was an AI that had complete connection to the main body, much like a human's nervous system, there was no need to build any controls at all.

Nonetheless, Amanda was a fan of mechas in general, so she build a control system that would probably fail on its own.

Her thinking was that it could just be used as an input to Mac, who would then interpret her poor movements into fully balanced ones.

Upon sitting down though, she immediately fell asleep.

After all, she had stayed up for several days in a row.

Amanda opened her eyes.

The projected screen in front of her was quite bright, showing the brown and blue hues of the Mojave desert that was outside.

Slowly, her chair was rocking back and forth as the giant made its way in a slow forward walk.

Realizing this accomplishment, she jumped up in joy only to hit her head on the ceiling of the cramped cockpit.

"Are you alright?" asked Mac, who just realized that Amanda had woken up.

"When did you learn how to walk!?" Amanda asked back.

"It took about a day." Mac responded. "You were out for quite a while!"

"We must do something about this power tether though…" it said.

Mac was right. Amanda was able to acquire almost all the parts for the main body, but a nuclear power source was leaning on the illegal side of things.

A Diesel generator worked as well, bug only about an hours worth of fuel could be loaded in before it became to heavy to move.

Amanda joked that Mac could just carry around a huge soda bottle and get refills at gasoline stations, but Mac wasn't too amused.

Then Mac said something that really surprised her.

"I contacted some physicists at CERN and asked them if they would be willing to build me a nuclear generator if I could prove to them that I was a non-human intelligence.

"Most thought that I was crazy, but one poor chap decided for himself that I was an alien life form and complied if he could see me.

"I set up to meet today about an hour away at my top running speed. Care to give it a try?"

Ecstatic, Amanda gave the OK.

She hadn't particularly planned for these two projects of hers to be kept a secret.

She had once applied for funding, even using Mac as proof that she was onto something.

However, Mac passed Turing tests so well that they refused to believe that is wasn't a human on the other side, so she was often unable to convince anyone.

However, seeing how this giant robot of hers was now running through the desert at about 100 mph without any problems, even a CERN physicist who was let down by it not being an alien should still be impressed.

The arrived a little earlier than expected, and located a white van parked in this barren wasteland.

Sensing the trembling ground, the man inside walked out of his van to be greeted by a giant robot.

He must have still thought it was an alien, as he humbly got down to his knees and bowed his head.

Laughing, Amanda pulled the release of the cockpit, opening the door of the giant's torso letting her peak outside.

"My friend here told me that you might be able to help him!" she yelled down to the scientist, cloaked in a white coat.

After she explained to situation more properly, the scientist happily agreed to help install the generator.

A few hours later, it was installed, and about to be started up.

"Ready, Mac?" she yelled.

Without hesitation, she turned the reactor on, and waited while it heated up.

Little by little, the generator started spinning, emitting a whistling sound.

Amanda thought this a little bizarre, but didn't think too much of it.

Then the whistling got louder, and suddenly she felt that she was forgetting something.

What was it…

With sudden excitement, Amanda jumped up from her unexpected nap.

The keyboard in front of her was covered in drool, while the distinct markings of keys could be found impressed onto her cheek.

The kitchen kettle was going off, waiting to be pored into the coffee filter that would ultimately help her finish the essay she was writing.

She couldn't even remember the topic anymore, probably something related to literature since she was no good at math nor science, so she would hardly ever want to study such things.

But suddenly her dream of a future her had revealed details of how a synthetic intelligence could be built, along with a giant robot to house it.

And with it, her essay seemed to be boring and unworthy of her attention, despite it needing to be turned in the following morning.

Wiping off the drool from her keyboard, she opened up a window and immediately began researching what it would take to learn engineering and programming, not to mention quickly.


See all stories ➙

If you would like to support more Friday Night ADN Stories, please consider donating to our open source projects, downloading some of our apps, or sponsoring Mild EleMints! Thank you for your support 😉