Berger des Lapins

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
In the future, transient robots populate the earth and follow a careful system to maintain a stasis on Earth while they work out what their future might hold. The humans are longed for as the androids begin to take responsibility for the Earth.

Submitted: October 20, 2015

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Submitted: October 20, 2015

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Berger des Lapins Adam Watkins

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Lagomorphs. The sole biological survivors of La Guerre pour la Terre. They alone breathed upon the silent hills of Earth.

Compteur287 was alone with the sound of his sensors and actuators in the car of an ascending elevator. It rose out of the darkness, from the deep realm of the Transhumaine Federation. There was no elevator shaft, only a Stygian expanse buffering the Transhumaines from the surface. The car climbed its guiding cable and all the while Compteur287 was motionless in transit. His black oxide carbon fibre housing was perfectly contoured around his frame. His design was anthropoidal, save the spare set of arms that were fit under the standard ones. His gyroscopic balancers reacted internally when the elevator reached its pinnacle at the surface.

The doors of the elevator retreated as ultraviolet rays invaded the car. Compteur287’s black hide converted chameleon-like to a soft beige. He did not have eyes; instead, there was a single visor lens, a digital oculus, spread over like continuous sunglasses. The solar sensor in this visual module activated in response. Deep down, Compteur287’s nuclear generator kicked off as solar cells beneath the carbon fibre were hit with sunlight.

He scanned the scene beyond the open elevator doors. There before him was a wide view of grassy hills abundant with grazing rabbits. He raised his leg and stepped over the knee-high barrier in the elevator door. He strode out a few meters from the elevator door and continued to survey the scene. The sun was warming his frame, even in its beige composition. Heat sensors soon reached their limit and actuated cooling fans throughout his body.

Compteur287 tamped the ground with his hard feet, testing its surety and adjusting his internal gyros. He held his secondary arms akimbo while his principal arms stayed wide, balancing his footwork.

He roughly scanned the hills. His oculus integrated the findings. Moving rabbit forms stood out highlighted against the darkened landscape. He could see all limits of the herd from where he was. He was not very far from the edge  of their group.

As he came upon them, most of them hopped a safe distance away from the tall intruder. They had no interest in anything new or different. For them, new and different meant danger.

Compteur287 continued scanning the rabbits, totalling the results internally on-screen. Juveniles and adults were being tallied before his oculus. He moved on, unintentionally flushing the rabbits further.

He had counted in the neighborhood of 12,000 units whenever an irregularity occurred. A single rabbit ran toward him instead of away. Compteur287 froze. He scanned the radical rabbit. It was indeed all  rabbit, his geospatial sampling module concluded. Its body temperature and composition were normal, said his other modules.

He stepped closer to the rabbit, with more senses activating. The rabbit raised up on his hind legs and sniffed toward the android figure. Compteur287 kneeled down to examine the rabbit. He reached out with one of his principal arms to retrieve the rabbit, but the rabbit quickly ran up his arm to the shoulder, causing Compteur287 to recoil in retreat. Though he retreated as quickly as his circuits allowed, the rabbit remained on his shoulder. Compteur287’s tactels had fired all along the surface of his carbon fibre housing and even now reported 2.4 kilograms of total gravitational pressure on his right shoulder region. Compteur287 looked at the rabbit on his shoulder, plucked it from his shoulder and returned it to its original position on the ground. Before the android could withdraw his arm the rabbit scurried up it yet again. Compteur287 observed the rabbit there on his shoulder.

Finally Compteur287 proposed that the rabbit posed no threat. A program was begun on one of his internal solid state drives. It logged the event concerning the radical rabbit and updated the experience in real time. It included coding information on all sensory inputs and the program’s purpose would be to suggest outputs to Compteur287’s decision making program.

Compteur287 began walking and counting again once his decision making program had pinged the new rabbit program and received an all clear to resume counting process. The rabbit clung tightly to the carbon fibre as the underlying tactels reported pressure and heat exchange to the program.

Compteur287 paused, but not at the behest of the program. He paused because yet another program on his drive became active. It was a machine learning program and only seldom used after his initial programming. The program requested more information about the rabbit.

Compteur287 scanned the rabbit again with his oculus, and noted the weight suggested by the tactels on his right shoulder. The program returned that this was not the information desired, and prompted Compteur287 to interface directly with the rabbit. Compteur287 activated his own bluetooth mechanism to scan the rabbit for discoverability. He took the rabbit and held him in the two hands of his principal arms. The rabbit was undiscoverable. The program again prompted Compteur287 to interface with the rabbit, so Compteur287 activated his microphone to listen to the subject. The rabbit made no sounds above the ambient noise of the wind. Compteur287 fired up his speaker.

“Hello, Rabbit,” he said. The rabbit made no noticeable reply.

The insistent machine learning program was also silent. It was busy mapping to the rabbit program all that the senses would supply.

“Rabbit, do you know why you are here?” he said. His own microphone heard and then coded the question. Upon the integration of the statement Compteur287 could not answer where the query had originated from.
The rabbit continued his silence. Compteur287 waited, and then expounded.

“Perhaps you do, but you will not say. You are here because we need to control the grass. We need to control the grass because it controls the air, which as we know controls the water and together they control the movable mass of the planet. Therefore, you are here to keep the grass perpetually productive, cycling the carbon we need to balance the system.”

The rabbit was speechless.

“Rabbit,” he began again. “Do you know why I am here?”

The ambient wind whistled in the microphone.

“I am here to count rabbits. Rabbits are good, but too many rabbits are not too good. For the system to remain constant the herd must remain constant.”

The rabbit, who had been looking away, looked directly into his oculus.

Compteur287 gently replaced the rabbit, this time on his shoulder,and resumed counting.

He soon had concluded counting the herd. Results ran before him in his oculus.

“Today there is a surplus of 1 rabbits. Please reduce herd by 1 rabbits.”


 

Compteur287’s programs flashed with activity after integrating this report. Compteur287 was led by the sum of his programs to continue walking through the herd until he came to the edge furthest from the elevator.

He again took the rabbit in his hands before his oculus. “Rabbit, there are not too many of you today,” he said as he lowered the rabbit to the grass.

“The next Compteur will say there are too many rabbits. He will look like me but he is not me. His programs are not written as mine are. Do not be among the too many rabbits to him,” he said.

Compteur287 turned and walked steadily back over the hills to the elevator.


© Copyright 2018 Adam Watkins. All rights reserved.

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