Artificial Intelligence

by Lizbetann
Copyright 2001

Run file: Answer door.

"Hello, who's there? No, we don't want to buy life insurance, thank you!"

Run file: Shut door.

Willow had to program that one into me. She tells me that I have previous programming, and she purged a good portion of it and replaced it with my current data. She says that maybe she purged too much, like the not shutting the door after I opened it.

I have files on all of them. Willow, my best friend. Xander, equally my best friend. Giles, my Watcher. Dawn, my sister. Tara, Anya, and Spike. I really don't like Spike. I don't want to be near him. Not at all.

Run file: Welcome.

"Hi, Dawn! How was your day? Hi Willow! How was your day?"

Dawn is my sister. Dawn looks at me, and her face smushes and folds in a weird way, and she runs away upstairs. Probability: she goes to her room. Probability confirmed when the door slams.

Willow looks at me and shakes her head. "I should pull that routine out."

Run file: Make comfortable.

"Can I get you something to drink? Do you want to talk about your day?"

Willow drops her backpack and leans her head against the wall. "Goddess bless," she says.

"You're Wiccan. You love Tara. I hate Spike."

Willow closes her eyes and shakes her head. "Go away," she says. "Just... go away."

Run file: Clean kitchen.

There are a lot of people living in the house. Dawn's house. There are dishes in the dishwasher to be put away. I do it.

Door opens. Probability: Xander. Probability confirmed when his voice says, "Anyone home?"

Run file: Welcome.

"Hi, Xander! How was your day?"

He looks at me, then turns away without a word. "Willow? Dawn? Anyone home?"

Alarm: 7:36 PM. Sunset. Time to patrol.

Run file: Leave for patrol.

"I'm going on patrol!" I yell. No one answers. I gather the things I need and leave.

Run file: Patrol schematic. First stop: Southside cemetery. Subroutine: Watch for suspicious activity. Suspicious activity definitions: People covered in dirt, people with distorted faces, people attacking other people, anything human-shaped but not human-colored, anything significantly larger than human-shaped attacking people, and fresh graves.

In view: three figures. People with distorted faces. Vampires.

Run file: Slay.

Second stop: Rosedale Cemetery.

In view: one figure. Distorted face. Vampire.

Run file: Slay.

"Hey!" The vampire stumbles back. "End program, you bloody stupid bucket of bolts."

Subroutine: Recognize Spike. Engage slay override. "I'm not supposed to kill you."

"Damn good thing." Spike's face morphs back into human form.

"I hate you," I add.

Spike's human face scrunches, almost like Dawn's earlier. "Yeah, I know. Thanks, Red."

"Do you want me to come slay with you?"

"God, no. Get the hell away from me." Spike turns and walks away.

Third stop: Wood Park Cemetery.

In view: fresh grave. Suspicious. Run file: wait.

The grave says Buffy Summers. She's the girl I'm supposed to be. But she's dead and they need someone patrolling. Which is why I am here.

Wait file expired. Run again?

Probability: Buffy Summers not a vampire. Continue patrol.

Alarm: 6:23 AM. Sunrise.

Run file: Return from patrol.

No one is awake yet in the house. I open and close the door. The kitchen is full of dirty dishes.

Run file: Clean kitchen.

Footsteps. Probability unknown. I turn to watch the door. It's Dawn.

Run file: Good morning.

"Good morning, Dawn! Did you sleep well?"

She just looks at me, then moves past me to the cupboard.

Run file: Make breakfast.

"Do you want breakfast? What do you want for breakfast? I can make you breakfast!"

Dawn turns suddenly. A bowl in her hand drops and shatters on the floor. "Shut up," she says. "Shut up, shut up, shut up! Go away! I hate you! You're sick and I hate you and you're not Buffy and stop talking to me I hate you!"

Footsteps on the stairs. Probability: Xander and Willow. Probability confirmed as they enter the room and go straight to Dawn..

"Sssssh, it's okay, Dawnie, it's okay."

Dawn is crying. Willow and Xander are comforting her. Xander turns from Dawn to look at me.

"Willow, turn this damn thing off, will you?"

Willow sighs and pulls away from Dawn. "I thought that it would be useful to have it around. But I can't program it well enough to make her..."

"Real?" Xander asks.

Willow shivers. Ambient temperature: 72 degrees Farenheit. Unknown cause for Willow's shiver. "Goddess, no. Just... not annoying."

"I hate to tell you, Will, but you failed."

"Yeah, let me turn it off."

Willow reaches around to find my switch. Run file: Greeting. "Hi, I'm Buffy!"

Willow's mouth tightens. "No, you're not." She finds the switch and presses it, shutting off any hint of --


-- life.

The End

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