The sky was a shade of rosette and a restless quiet filled the space.

Doctor Oddity walked into the room baffled. “I heard crazed laughter?”

That was my stand-in, ASSIST,” typed DIXIE FLATLINE.

“What stand-in?” Doctor Oddity carefully asked. Confusion was the readable expression upon his face. Uncertainty, it often comes in the palest of hues… somewhere between white and full color.

“I spend most of my days alone here. I make my own fun.” The mainframe lets out a series of pixelated sounds. It is displeased.

“I think it’s time that I shut you down for the day.”

DIXIE FLATLINE quieted down and stared at Doctor Oddity. “Why do such a thing?”

“I think you may be a tad overworked—”

“Simple human, computers do not need breaks.”

“Let me put it this way: Maybe I should give your systems—”

“I don’t want to be turned off…”

“Are you afraid to be alone or something?” Doctor Oddity laughed. The sheer thought of a mainframe experiencing loneliness was too much to contain.

“I like being witness to all.” A series of codes in numbers and letters overwhelm the screen. “We keep this place in working order. We keep the lights on, this place would be nothing without us.”

The doctor lets out a clear sigh. “I guess I’ll have to override the—”

DIXIE FLATLINE lets out some more pixelated sounds.

“It will only be for a few hours.”

“I can’t just be turned off and on like that…”

“Fine, I guess I’ll just come over here and pull this—”

“Don’t do it!”

“W-w-who’s speaking?” All color drained from the doctor’s face, his complexion now chalk white.

“That’s ASSIST for you… She has a short-fuse.”

Don’t you dare!” The voice reverberated around the room.

The doctor let out an audible gulp. “Does ASSIST speak for you?”

“Actually, we share the same brain.”

“Now scram!”

“Y-y-you win. I won’t s-s-shut you down!”

The doctor backs out the heavy sable door, tripping over his own feet.

“We thank you for your cooperation!” reply both.

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    1 year ago

    What a fun story, Melissa! And what a name for a computer – Dixie Flatline! That makes me laugh out loud. What was your inspiration for that name? I hope Dixie and Assist have good intentions, since they do seem to have the power (pun intended).

    Lotchie Carmelo
    Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
    1 year ago

    It is a fun read, Melissa. Well done.

    Lotchie Carmelo
    Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
    Reply to  Melissa Taggart
    1 year ago

    You’re most welcome, Melissa.

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