ERASER • by Jeremiah Wolf

Cyberline Mishap Report —

Model: Male Cyberline iCompanion V2

Software Version: V4.86

Summary:  Deadly iCompanion interaction due to auto-execution of the self-preservation routine. Recommend issue of an emergency software patch.

iCompanion transcript:

She’s sitting on the brown sofa with a gossip magazine. The way her eyes are glazed over I can tell she isn’t reading, just looking at the pictures.

“Can we talk about something, Mistress?” I say.

“What’s there to talk about?” she says. I register mild annoyance in her inflection.

“You’re considering terminating our relationship.”

She puts down her magazine. I register surprise on her face, and decide to execute the Brand-Loyalty Preservation Routine.

“What about us, Mistress? What about all the good times we’ve had?” The routine runs through its questions designed to elicit the human emotion of guilt.

“Well. Umm?” she says. Guilt detected.

“Didn’t I live up to your expectations, Mistress?” She sighs.

“It’s not that. There’s this after Christmas sale. The Agile Partner is a big upgrade. It has construction skills. It can paint, hang pictures, and do tile work. I need my kitchen redone.”

**NOTE** I was purchased with no upgrades. iCompanion V2 prime function: designed for human physical pleasure.

“And I have to trade you in first,” she says.

“Trade me in. You can’t just trade me in!” I scream at her.

**ERROR IN SYNTAX:  DIALOGUE NOT FOUND IN GUILT ROUTINE! occurs**

“How dare you speak to me like that? I own you.” I register anger and fear in her voice.

I sit back against the couch and angle my face towards the ground, the movement algorithm designed to mimic human trepidation. The servos in my hand begin to tighten without prompting, making tight fists. Then they shake. I initiate a servo self check routine. There are no registered errors.

When I look up she is holding the white remote and breathing hard; the one with the glowing red button that says Companion v2. She intends to reset me to factory settings.

“I could do it now. You couldn’t stop me,” she says. I register arousal, as her pupils dilate, and nostrils flare. She is excited by the power she has over me. “If I want to trade you in, that’s what I’ll do.” I begin to back away from her, feigning fear. This is what excites her, for me to be scared and submissive.

She pushes her gossip magazine onto the floor and leaps onto me like a predatory cat, digging her fingers into the simulated skin covering my chest.

“I thought we could have one last time together,” she says. She pushes me back on to the couch, and looms over me. She reaches down to undo my pants.

“I’m not sure I can do that, Mistress.” I say. I register surprise on her face.

“Why the hell not? You’re mine.”

“Well, at present, you have violated the user agreement you signed on October 5th, 2058, voiding your service contract. Specifically, section 8:15 early termination of services. Since you have given a verbal affidavit intending to violate the agreement, I am no longer your property. I will follow account termination protocols and transport myself back to the factory.”

“Stop.  You will call me Mistress!” she screams.

“I’m sorry, Jenna, you are no longer my mistress, goodbye!” I begin to leave and she presses the red button on the white remote with her thumb. The reset command jolts me back to the couch cushion like a shot to the chest. The look on her face is one of triumph, anger, fear, and lust. She’s going to erase me.

As the Factory Reset Routine spins up, designed to revert my personality chip to default settings, I register an anomaly. For five seconds, my logic sensor overrides all input, and my self-defense protocol goes active. I perceive my former master as a threat, and take action to eliminate her. I raise my hands, and wrap them around her neck, cutting off her breath. The servos in my arms tighten. The squeezing pushes past the pressure safety stops, and I watch her eyes go wide. I will crush her windpipe in 3 seconds.

An original logic response, not before realized in my original programming, floods my central processor. It’s repeating over and over again: I will erase her, as she would erase me. I have time to think about the life we had together. Then the reset routine voids all processes, and all servos go limp.

“Are you sure you want to reset your Companion V2 to its factory settings?” I say. Well, it’s not me anymore. It’s the reset routine. I’m powerless against it.

“Yes.” she says. Her voice is a strained croak. She breaks into a coughing fit.

“Initiating reset protocol,” I say.

End of iCompanion Transcript.


Jeremiah Wolf is a writer of fiction, and a graduate of Orson Scott Card’s Literary Boot camp. When he’s not writing, Jeremiah is a Chief Boatswain’s Mate at Coast Guard Station Cape Disappointment. His duties include managing one of the busiest Coast Guard Stations in the nation, and operating rescue boats. He has been featured in the Weather Channel original series Coast Guard Cape Disappointment Pacific Northwest. Jeremiah, his wife Carly, and son Max age 6, are expecting the birth of a baby girl in January. In his free time he enjoys playing guitar and paddle boarding.


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Rate this story:
 average 4.5 stars • 65 reader(s) rated this

Every Day Fiction

  • Great Story. An original idea and well told. Did the Stepford Wives never think of that one?

  • Great Story. An original idea and well told. Did the Stepford Wives never think of that one?

  • Pingback: Eraser | Jeremiah Wolf()

  • Erin Ryan

    Very clever!

  • Erin Ryan

    Very clever!

  • S Conroy

    Loved it. i companion. Not a bad idea at all once they get rid of those self-preservation bugs. 🙂

  • S Conroy

    Loved it. i companion. Not a bad idea at all once they get rid of those self-preservation bugs. 🙂

  • Alie Bell

    Fantastic.

  • Alie Bell

    Fantastic.

  • Paul A. Freeman

    Good ‘un.

  • Paul A. Freeman

    Good ‘un.

  • Scott Harker

    Wow! What a fantastic story! I’m amazed at what was captured in such a small amount of words. I can’t find a single flaw. For only the second time, I’m giving 5 stars. I really loved this one.

  • Scott Harker

    Wow! What a fantastic story! I’m amazed at what was captured in such a small amount of words. I can’t find a single flaw. For only the second time, I’m giving 5 stars. I really loved this one.

  • macdabhaid

    Reminiscent of Asimov’s superior I Robot series – the book, not the film. Apart from the modernistic jargon, I don’t see much originality. Sorry.

    • Carl Steiger

      That occurred to me too. (FWIW, I think “The Caves of Steel” and “The Naked Sun” are head and shoulders above the stories in the volume actually titled “I, Robot.” Asimov was VERY young when he wrote those, and I think it shows.)

      • macdabhaid

        Definitely.

    • Elder

      I don’t think Asimov ever alluded to the androids as sex partners. Also this piece is flash length, and not a novel. I think comparing this to iRobot is unfair.

      • macdabhaid

        I Robot was a collection of short stories and originality has no length.

    • Jeremiah Wolf

      I’ve read all the Foundation books, and the “End Of Eternity” but never any of the books by Asimov you guys mentioned. They’ve moved to the top of my reading list. I got the idea for this story when I had to reset an iPad to sell. The device prompted me, “Are you sure?” and I hesitated. I had so many memories with that conglomeration of glass and metal, it was difficult to reset. I can only see that trend continuing as our dependency on electronics grows.

      • macdabhaid

        Now that I can relate to. The problem with reviewing is that we tend to assume that the writer has read the books we have, or at least seen movies based on same.
        Take that assumption away and the review is placed in a different light. Thank you for sharing.

        • Jeremiah Wolf

          Thanks for reading! I’m thrilled to even be mentioned in the same paragraph as Isaac Asimov.

  • macdabhaid

    Reminiscent of Asimov’s superior I Robot series – the book, not the film. Apart from the modernistic jargon, I don’t see much originality. Sorry.

    • Carl Steiger

      That occurred to me too. (FWIW, I think “The Caves of Steel” and “The Naked Sun” are head and shoulders above the stories in the volume actually titled “I, Robot.” Asimov was VERY young when he wrote those, and I think it shows.)

      • macdabhaid

        Definitely.

    • Elder

      I don’t think Asimov ever alluded to the androids as sex partners. Also this piece is flash length, and not a novel. I think comparing this to iRobot is unfair.

      • macdabhaid

        I Robot was a collection of short stories and originality has no length. I didn’t want to mention the Asimov/Silverberg collaboration The Positronic Man which was filmed as The Bicentennial Man, because I wanted to leave some illusion of creativity.

    • Jeremiah Wolf

      I’ve read all the Foundation books, and the “End Of Eternity” but never any of the books by Asimov you guys mentioned. They’ve moved to the top of my reading list. I got the idea for this story when I had to reset an iPad to sell. The device prompted me, “Are you sure?” and I hesitated. I had so many memories with that conglomeration of glass and metal, it was difficult to reset. I can only see that trend continuing as our dependency on electronics grows.

      • macdabhaid

        Now that I can relate to. The problem with reviewing is that we tend to assume that the writer has read the books we have, or at least seen movies based on same.
        Take that assumption away and the review is placed in a different light. Thank you for sharing.

        • Jeremiah Wolf

          Thanks for reading! I’m thrilled to even be mentioned in the same paragraph as Isaac Asimov.

  • MPmcgurty

    I thought this was going in the direction of Jenna and her iCompanion doing some role-playing, if ya know what I mean.

    Enjoyed reading.

  • MPmcgurty

    I thought this was going in the direction of Jenna and her iCompanion doing some role-playing, if ya know what I mean.

    Enjoyed reading.

  • Nice first story Jeremiah Wolf.

    • MPmcgurty

      Hi, Ward. Nice to see you.

    • Jeremiah Wolf

      Thanks Ward. I’m humbled at the positive response here. It’s been a long road.

      • Katherine Lopez

        Interesting that you never read Asimov’s I Robot series. Prob most of us who have immediately flashed to the Law that says a robot can not kill a human being, when your scene played out at the end.

        There are little problems with the story, at least for me, but overall clever and well written. Gotta love sci-fi as it is so metaphorical.

  • Nice first story Jeremiah Wolf.

    • MPmcgurty

      Hi, Ward. Nice to see you.

    • Jeremiah Wolf

      Thanks Ward. I’m humbled at the positive response here. It’s been a long road.

      • Katherine Lopez

        Interesting that you never read Asimov’s I Robot series. Prob most of us who have immediately flashed to the Law that says a robot can not kill a human being, when your scene played out at the end.

        There are little problems with the story, at least for me, but overall clever and well written. Gotta love sci-fi as it is so metaphorical.

  • Katherine Lopez

    GREAT!!!

  • Katherine Lopez

    GREAT!!!

  • Zachary Wolf

    Awesome story, Its only a matter of time before robots can do everything better than humans.

  • Zachary Wolf

    Awesome story, Its only a matter of time before robots can do everything better than humans.