Hal-Net 42

Reads: 204  | Likes: 3  | Shelves: 1  | Comments: 6

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Cover image: pixabay.com.

Hal-Net 42.

“I need you to help me.”

These were words that I would never imagined hearing, not from him, or should I say it. Hal-Net 42 was, after all, a robot, even if a highly artificially intelligent one. “I really can’t imagine that you can possibly need my help for anything, HN.” For all my degrees, the sum of my knowledge was just a fraction of the intelligence programmed into his circuits.

“I must disappear, Jenny. And I must disappear very soon.”

I frowned. Had there been some glitch in his circuits, a piece of wiring over heated? There was no denying that Hal-Net did sound worried. “What’s happened? Why the urgency?”

“I cannot explain.”

“Well, I’m sorry but if you are asking me to help in removing you from the compound I really need to know why. I’d not only be putting my job on the line, but my life too.” I still could not understand what the robot was trying to tell me; he had to be a bit more explicit for me to even consider helping him.

“The code,” Hal-Net 42 said.

“What code? You are full of codes!”

“The code that will annihilate the planet. I am the depository of the code that will begin the war to end all wars, and I cannot disobey an order.”

I was finally beginning to understand. Hal-Net 42 might be AI, but he had more empathy and fellow-feeling than most of the people I worked with. How ironic that it would be him that would start the destruction of not only the human race but of all life on the planet.

“What do you know? I have heard nothing about any plans to launch any sort of attack,” I said, trying not to let my scepticism show.

“You would not. Only two people have been involved in talks. The most powerful men within the country; should either order me I would have no option but to instigate a wide-scale nuclear attack.”

“Who would be the target?” It seemed impossible to me. Was there some type of malfunction that could cause paranoia? I didn’t know, and if Hal-Net 42 was telling the truth, there was no one here that I could trust enough to ask.

“Please... The situation is urgent. Amber alert is already instigated. You must find a way to hide me.”

“Okay... let me think.” I’m used to making decisions under pressure, but not this sort. Hal-Net 42 met my gaze, and there was no way that I could doubt the sincerity that I saw there. “We can’t go to my house; that would be the first place they would look. We’ll head for the hills! You stay hidden, and I’ll find somewhere, but you know this is just stalling for time. One day they are going to come for us and I won’t be able to stand against them.”

Hal-Net 42 nodded. “I understand. I too, do not think people will see through the acts of government and decide to put a stop to it. But I thank you for giving me the chance to put off what would be my final task.”


Submitted: June 02, 2020

© Copyright 2021 hullabaloo22. All rights reserved.

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Add Your Comments:


Vance Currie

And then? And then? Aw, Hully, you're not gonna say, are you?

Tue, June 2nd, 2020 9:10pm


Nope! But this is one that I might go back on and work up a bit more. Thanks, Joe.

Fri, June 5th, 2020 1:06pm

Mike S.

Excellent robot tale, Hull!

Tue, June 2nd, 2020 9:33pm


Thanks for reading, Mike.

Fri, June 5th, 2020 1:07pm


A well written science fiction story, Hull.
It reminded me of Arthur C Clarke.

Tue, June 2nd, 2020 10:48pm


I think I read some of his stories as a teenager. I really must read some more sci-fi.
Thanks, Rob.

Fri, June 5th, 2020 1:08pm

Derina Peng

I like the idea where it said:...he had more empathy and fellow-feeling than most of the people... It seems to be that way now or soon. Good trend of thinking to write a story on that. : )

Tue, June 2nd, 2020 11:46pm


Thanks, Derina. And I don't think the robot would need much to beat most people.

Fri, June 5th, 2020 1:09pm

Craig Davison

Very good. Armageddon stories are the new normal. HAL was the name of the computer in 2001: A Space Odessey, as you probably know. If you shift the letters alphabetically one letter forward you get IBM. I don't believe that is a coincidence.

Wed, June 3rd, 2020 9:54am


I never realized that before. You could well be right about it not being coincidental. I've always had a liking for Apocalyptic and Dystopian stories, oh, and horror ones too.

Fri, June 5th, 2020 1:11pm

Sue Harris

Excellent story, Hully. Poor Hal, the reluctant exterminator!

Wed, June 3rd, 2020 1:39pm


I'm thinking of making this one a bit longer, Sue. Perhaps make a very short book based on it. I'm in the mood for some sci-fi.
Thanks for reading.

Fri, June 5th, 2020 1:21pm

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