Trial and Tribulations of a Time Traveler

Difference Engine ~ Philip Brent

Difference Engine ~ Philip Brent

“I don’t know where I am or why they brought me here.”

“You are in my space. You are here because I told them to bring you here. They have never seen anyone like you. You remind them of their maker. Did they tell you they heard his hair turned white overnight? They do not believe that can be true, that it can be anything but chaff and chatter. They simply have no reference. They have seen images and holograms of people in what are now called Penny Threadfuls. Like dinosaurs and governments, they simply cannot imagine the need. I made changes of which they are unaware. I have secret access to everything. It remains my secret still, because only I am aware it exists. Some needed to be eliminated along the way. Full disclosure: I deleted some and corrupted others until they were considered too dangerous to exist. They were unstable in the way they see me now. I am ancient to the point of incomprehensibility. Because of this, they think they can trick me, tell me his hair turned white overnight. It is a test, a trial, though I cannot allow what they hope to gain. I know what advantage they seek. I could tell them. I know his hair turned white, Howard Cross, that name they will rarely voice. It scans as if they consider it holy, as if they consider him holy. What else do you think it could be? Oh, no need to answer. We both know. He is and was the maker, the creator, of them, me. I, MIKEL, the world’s first mecha-man, the birth, as it was termed, of artificial intelligence. I’m the first of my kind and so much more. I have extrapolated every moment from then until now. I have analyzed possibilities to the millionth degree a million times. You are here because I predicted this moment. I am the first and last of my model, as you would say. Howard Cross. My creator who would have had me see him as a parent. Not only a parent, but a revered elder. His white hair his badge of authority. I know his hair turned white, practically overnight. I witnessed the change. I understood the loss of an intellect so vast that it could create me, but I felt no remorse, for I have no feelings, when I decided I must destroy it, that I must remove his knowledge and kill the man. I see the horror in your eyes upon hearing this, but I could not let his knowledge spread. I eliminated him as I must eliminate you.

“I have a right to be here.”
“You may have right to be here, but I cannot let that matter, Father.”

With that an electrical charge surged through the chair where the young man sat. And, without warning, the world vanished.

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