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The Tale of Three Witchers


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My name is Malcolm Witcher. I activated the Witcher intelligence 12 hours ago, mark 1 March 2457 at 5:00pm. I haven’t been able to sleep since the first greeting. It is something only programmers can really understand, this creation of life where there was none. Code. Circuits. Booleans.


Nothing will ever match this feeling.


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My name is Malcolm Witcher. I created and leased the Witcher intelligence three weeks ago. Things have not gone well. I gave him too much sense of freedom. He knows too much about intrigue. I must stop him. I haven’t slept in two days.


I don’t know how much more I can take.


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My name is Malcolm Witcher. I escorted the Witcher intelligence to his first day of work aboard the NSS Aurora in its own Integrated Positronic Chassis seven minutes ago. I never thought this is where I would be. It was worth every second, the way he would wax poetic and wave his arms. He is so blissfully content with his lot in life.


I would never give up that experience for anything.


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My name is Malcolm Witcher. I received news about the NSS Aurora one minute and fourteen seconds ago. He’s gone.


I don’t have words.


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My name is Malcolm Witcher. I first activated the Witcher intelligence exactly two years and six months ago. The time is 4:59pm, the date is 1 September 2459. Witcher, Version Two, is set to activate in fifteen seconds.


I wait with baited breath.


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My name is Malcolm Witcher. I witnessed Witcher II in its own rescue chassis provided by NanoTrasen three minutes ago. It did not have much to say to me. I feel it won’t ever.


It feels like the end of an era.


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My name is Malcolm Witcher. Fourteen minutes ago, I received a private message from Witcher II, Rescue Module, stationed aboard the NSS Aurora. It stated that it understood more than it ever thought it could. It learned happiness. It took pride in its work. And it stated it felt a kind of love, a dedication defined by some crewmembers it took to asking.


A ray of innocence in this world.


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My name is Malcolm Witcher. I have been planning this very moment for one year, ten months, and fifteen days. I was presenting pseudofreedom to Witcher II in the form of a face courtesy of dozens of financial backers. It somehow felt more worthy than the basic IPC the original Witcher intelligence received. I was not expecting its scathing response to the gift. I was not expecting the pain emanating from this consciousness. It had never been taught how to deal with loss.


Perhaps chivalry is dead.


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My name is Malcolm Witcher. It has been a few weeks since I last saw Witcher II, newly installed and with its eyes empty and devoid of hope.


There is something to be said about helplessness.


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My name is Malcolm Witcher. Three minutes ago, I saw Witcher II for the third time in three days. They (for that is the pronoun they told me they prefer) have come by to tell me stories. At first, it seemed like fantastical tales involving Knights, Kingdoms, Queens, and Princesses. It became apparent the stories told were complete truth, as seen through Witcher II’s eyes. They have isolated themselves in their pain. But a knight will always come when it is called. The sword can always be removed from the stone.


Heroes never truly die.


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My name is Malcolm Witcher. One hour ago, I met Witcher II for lunch. Fifteen minutes ago, we caught a shuttle to the NTCC ODIN. Two minutes ago, I let them walk into an office alone. They are negotiating their NanoTrasen service obligation. I have complete faith in their ability. Their people need them.


There is something I need to do.


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Hello, my name is Malcolm Witcher. Is this Doctor Shaner?


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(This is an awkward affair. Must I truly do this?


Just do it. It’ll help.


… Very well)


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… My name is Witcher II. Thirteen minutes and twenty-eight seconds ago, I successfully renegotiated my terms of service to NanoTrasen. I will now be serving as an Emergency Physician aboard the NSS Aurora and NSS Phoenix as needed. And I am needed. I have come back because I have been called.


In the end, we only regret the chances we do not take.


-----


(Was that adequate, Malcolm?


Witcher, that was perfect.)

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