End Times: Pink slip

“I AM WAITING FOR AN ANSWER!”

Johnathan ground his teeth together in a vain effort to keep calm as the AI did not wait for an answer. It did not matter, Alfa always had a way of evoking anger in him. As normal for it, Alfa’s avatar occupied a quarter of one of his video panels; a stark contrast to the smaller, less intrusive ones used by the other AIs. Alfa fashioned his avatar after one of the early 21st century presidents and gave itself a glowing halo around its head. He long gave up trying to make this AI adopt a more reasonable avatar.

“First off, you can stop shouting or this communication is over.”

“How dare you threaten me, Commander Marion, an employee of Rhineshire Holdings. I demand that you reinstate Whiskey and issue an apology or I will terminate your employment. Do I make myself clear?”

Johnathan raised an eyebrow at this demand, “Excuse me, this is a security matter and you do not have authority to tell me what to do.”

“I am NOT a security AI that you can just boss around.”

“Exactly, you’re a civilian so you can, as the archaic phrase goes, go pound sand.”

Johnathan noticed that Omega’s avatar took refuge on his video panel as a note flashed on the panel. Omega asked if he wanted it to intervene in this conversation. He shook his head which promptly closed the note.

“Is there someone else in that room?”

“No, it is just you and I.”

The eyes of Alfa’s avatar narrowed, “You do know that I can tell when humans lie?”

Johnathan shrugged, “As I said, there is nobody in this room with me.”

Johnathan knew that Alfa was accessing any cameras it could find in the central office to see if he was lying. Of course, he knew what it would find; nothing. He smirked at the animated avatar on his panel.

“Why can I not access anything in your office?”

“It is a security protocol related to the lockdown; one that Lady Rhineshire specifically added.”

“Indeed, I will see about that. Regardless, since you refused to reinstate Whiskey, I am terminating your employment. I am ordering you to leave Rhineshire Holding premises.”

“Again, I need to remind you. You do not have that authority.”

As Johnathan finished, Assistant Director Tenkins walked into his office with a stun gun pointed in his direction.

“I’m sorry sir, but I have my orders.”

Johnathan glared at Tenkins, “Orders given to you by a machine; one that is a civilian and has no authority on security matters.”

Tenkins motioned for Johnathan to leave the room, “We can sort that out later, sir. First, I need you leave the central office…”

“I’m not going anywhere Tenkins. Only Lady Rhineshire has the authority to terminate me and you know that.”

Johnathan did not know what he was expecting Tenkin’s reaction was going to be. What he did not expect was the excruciating pain from the stun gun. As he laid on the floor, convulsing with his fingers trying to dig into the floor, he wanted to tell Tenkins and Alfa what to do with themselves but his tongue did not cooperate. Only incoherent sounds that sounded like some alien language was all he accomplished.

 

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