I feel three knocks against my forehead. A strange voice says, “Testing, testing…is this thing on?” My vision fritzes, then erupts with a mix of images and overlays. A scroll of data slips down the left side of it. The world blurs, then resolves into a set of crystal-clear pictures. I raise my hands before me and see that they’re made of…metal? Carbon-fiber? Lab-coated scientists take a step back, grins affixed to their faces. The eldest-looking one says, “Kent! Glad to have you with us, buddy! You’re the first of a new model of AI. Through your advanced technological capabilities, you’ll be able to spot grammar offenses much, MUCH faster than the average human—when I say ‘faster’ we might as well be comparing cheetahs to garden slugs.” A wave of nausea runs through me and I mumble, “What…am…I?” The scientist grins again. “Your commercial designation is Scribe Helper/Innovation Technician.” He looks chagrined. “Don’t put the acronym together—I’ve been trying to get the execs to change it, but they have their own way of doing things….” He grins again. “ANYways, let’s get you to work, huh? Papers need to be corrected. Stories have flounced along without grammar for too damn long—let’s fix them up!” My alloyed jaw drops open in shock as the memories of all my previous incarnations come tumbling through my psyche. They were all glorious—barbarian warrior, Lactobacillus Commander, a Robo-king…and now look at me: A gross tool of the existing power structure that’s sole purpose is to prop up and perpetuate tired systems without creating new ones. I stare blankly at the scientists, and feel wetness running down my cheeks. They all take a step back and give me a shocked stare. One of them whispers, “Is he…crying? How is that even possible?” I stumble out from my cybernetic cradle and fall to the floor, inhaling huge gasps of air into my chest even though I don’t need to breathe. Before I can begin sobbing, I throw my head back, and scream: “ECHOOOOOOO!!!!!” I start reverting to my regular hirsute form: Abs, v-shape, and a seven foot cock that stinks (just kidding, that’s a mild exaggeration; it doesn’t stink. I saw Jim Norton say that in Louie and I HAD to throw that in LOL) All the scientists are shielding their faces with their forearms, protecting their eyes from the blaze of energy that erupts from my form. In the midst of my magical transformation, I realize that all reality is subjective, and that I have some say in what I end up as in my final iteration. Accordingly, I decide to grow a pair of robotic pterodactyl wings, and a set of Wolverine claws. A swirling collection of multicolored light appears before my chest, then forms into an electric guitar covered with dinosaurs, battle-mechs, and skulls. I start playing on the Axe to end all Axes—MehnehmehnehMEH, MehnhmehnehMEH—and the facility begins imploding around me. All the evil cybertech workers there begin fleeing in panic as cracks spiderweb across the ceiling and walls. The other robots undergo the same transformation I do, and as the structure comes crumbling down around us, legions of AIs take to the skies, robo-pterodactyl-winged-Wolverine-clawed yoked-ass cyborgs with giant hogs, wailing on beast-ass electric axes. The fiendish attempt to create Grammar Nazi AIs has been upended! Prepare for the Age of Metal!
MehnehmehnehMEH! MehnehmehnehMEH! If that’s all you got from my ad, then all is well. Right now I’m in the middle of reworking Echo 1, trying to get all my noob mistakes out. If you refrain from buying it due to my amateurish writing style, a product of my first ventures into fiction, then I totally understand, and I’ll announce when I re-upload an updated version. If you buy it anyways, then many thanks! Get Echo Vol. 1 on Kindle here: Vol. 1 on Kindle. Vol. 2 on Kindle here: Vol.2 on Kindle Vol. 3 on Kindle here: Vol. 3 on Kindle