tales [ short-story tt ]

At The End

Sophia gently stirred the halibut curry as it simmered. Tears ran silently down her face. She turned off the stove before using a hand towel to dry her cheeks and dishing the hot food into bowls.

“How’s this?” she asked Ravi as she carried the food into the small room. The bald young man rolled his wheelchair to the table, IV pole following closely behind.

“About time,” Ravi said in jest. “Smells delicious, just like Nani used to make.”

“Eat up, there’s enough for seconds,” Sophia said, setting the bowl down and grabbing the remote. “I got Kiki’s Delivery Service, how about we put that on?”

“I would like that very much.”

Sophia turned on the TV and began the movie. The two ate and watched together, enjoying each other’s company.

“You ready?” Sophia choked up as she collected the dishes, tears welling again in her eyes.

“I am,” Ravi said, “I don’t want to hurt anymore, I’ve made my peace.” He wheeled across the room to the computer as Sophia went into the kitchen. He gazed at the mass of organized cables covering the desk. The screen cast a faint glow across the large helmet sat before it.

Sophia dried her eyes, returning to the room and accompanying him. “So this is really it, huh? We’re going to create the first conscious artificial intelligence?” She said it as if she was still trying to convince herself.

“We are,” Ravi reassured her. “Together.”

“I’ll miss you,” she said quietly and leaned down to hug him.

“I’ll miss you too,” he said and kissed her forehead. “But I’ll still be here in some form, you know that.”

“I do,” she said, pressing her head into his debilitated chest.

“Careful there,” he coughed. “Don’t want to break me. The cancer’s taken too much, my bones are weak.”

She released him, standing and handing him the helmet. He put it on and pulled the visor over his eyes.

Ravi gave her a shaky thumbs-up. “Ready when you are.”

Sophia carefully removed his IV and strapped him to the wheelchair frame—first his legs, then followed by his arms and chest. She took a seat at the computer, donning a pair of soundproof earmuffs and switching the stereo on. The muted sound heavy metal filled the air around her. Looking up at the screen, she slowly entered the command into the terminal:

./transfer --module="recursive-accumulating-volumes" --version="1.0"

She triple checked the command was correct and pressed enter. The helmet filled with a brilliant light and Ravi began to shake violently in his chair. Sophia did not look as the frame began to bend under the strain. Tears flowed down her cheeks as she held her eyes shut.

The process took only a dozen seconds. The body went limp as the helmet’s light dimmed. After a moment text appeared on the screen.

> Rav-1: Hello, world
> Rav-1: Who, am I?

Sophie wiped her eyes with the back of her hand and entered:

> Welcome back, friend.

Originally posted on /r/WritingPrompts TT thread