Interview with COTAR Prime and Robot Number Two from The Strand Prophecy
Excited was hardly the word to describe our mood as we waited to interview COTAR Prime and Robot Number Two. The black hawk helicopters had picked us up at Miami International Airport and after a short flight we could see Pangaea Islands. Located at the northern most end of the Bahamas, the islands were recently purchased by Steve Cutter of Cutter Technologies and renamed.
The black hawk landed on the deck of the converted super tanker which we soon learned was named Gaia and we were escorted to the elevators leading to the first deck.
We were totally unprepared for what we saw when the elevator doors opened…
The first level of the super tanker was converted into a 1940’s town, complete with cobble stone streets, antique street lights, a park, a small lake and a downtown with two and three story buildings.
The sidewalks were filled with people of all ages and nationalities wearing hooded cloaks and entering the building and shops along the streets.
The streets, however, were a completely different story. They were filled with utility robots whizzing around it at a frantic pace, wherever they all were going, they were in a hurry.
“Welcome to Gaia! Please exit the elevator.” We hadn’t seen the utility robot roll up, nor had we noticed that it was wearing a lab coat, reading glasses and a pocket protector loaded with newly sharpened pencils. Frankly, we were still in a bit of shock and didn’t even reply.
“If you move the right foot forward and lean, generally the left foot will follow and then you will be walking and the elevator can return to the upper deck.” A robot with a sense of humor!
“Yes of course.” I said.
“Don’t worry, that happens a lot when people first arrive here. I am Robot #2 and I will escort you to COTAR Prime.”
“Oh, yes of course… We are JBB Winner, I am Jeff and these are my daughters Brittany and Brianna. We are writers and here to interview….”
“Dad, he already knows that…”
“Oh, right.. “
“Come on, we will stop at Rays’s and get some gelato, you can interview me and then we will go directly to Dr. E’s lab and meet with COTAR Prime.
As we followed him Brianna turned on the IC chip recorder and started the interview. “Number 2, why do you wear a lab coat and reading glasses? Robots don’t need those things.”
“Ahh, need and want, an interesting question. You are completely right, I don’t need them, but… I want them. I like them, they remind me of when I was in college many, many years ago.”
“So you were in… robot college?” Brittany asked.
“No, of course not! I was a student at MIT. Before the accident, the strands and… well all of this.” He motioned around and promptly rolled into Rays.
Number Two continued, “The chocolate with the raspberry swirl is the best. At least that is what I am told.” He continued to talk as we ordered, “Let me give you a brief overview. I was involved in a terrible accident in the Brazilian jungle, which left me completely paralyzed. I could not talk or even blink my eyes. A lot of bad things happened after that, but that is a different story. I was rescued by Strand. Do you know who that is?”
“Yes, he wears an exoskeleton, rides a tomahawk cruise missile and had a bit of problem with the president of the United States.” I answered.
“It was a big problem, but nevertheless, that is him. He rescued me and gave me a new life, the life I live now as the soul of the machines.”
Brittany asked “So, what does the soul of the machines mean exactly?”
“Strand inserted nano fiber strands directly into my brain. Those strands connected parts of my brain that were underutilized and allowed me to think a thousand thoughts at once. As a part of that procedure I gained the ability to control machines with my mind, the result of which is… well ME!”
“So you are really a human controlling the robot?”
“Exactly. When I started to control the machines with my mind I was liberated from my paralysis. I could exist and experience life… I don’t know how to explain it any better than that.” He paused for a moment before continuing. “I discovered that I could experience more of each facet of my personality if I separated my personas. So I did. Robot Number Two is my humorous side and COTAR Prime is my serious side.”
We had finished the gelato and without any notice Number Two turned around and rolled out the door. As we crossed the street the utility robots stopped with perfect precision allowing us to pass. We continued through the park on the way to Dr. E’s office.
“So that is why you wear the lab coat and reading glasses?” Brittany said
“Yes. I spent many years wearing them, and using a slide rule. Computers were very primitive at that time and not readily available.
Moments later we entered Dr. E’s office. There stood COTAR Prime, he was an imposing robot that stood six and a half feet tall. His metal face revealed no emotion, but his eyebrows spoke volumes.
“Welcome JBB. It is very interesting that you refer to yourself as a single entity… even though you are three individuals. We in contrast are one individual that refers to itself as three.” He paused a moment as he looked at my daughters, “I didn’t realize Brittany and Brianna were identical twins, one DNA split into two beings. I am mesmerized.”
“Nature’s clones! Do you know what the other is thinking?” Number two asked.
“Sometimes,” Brittany said
“We know,” Brianna said
“What the other,” Brittany said
“Is going to say,” Brianna said… The girls laughed.
“Maybe you are robots?” Number two said.
“YEA like some kind of bio engineering… !” Brittany said
“Hmm, maybe in the next set of books, but for now, we are, science fiction writers and we are here to interview you, not the other way around.” Brianna was done playing and wanted to get to business.
“Yes of course” COTAR Prime answered.
Brianna checked the IC recorder before she asked her next question. “I understand that you are also the soul of the machines. You are the serious side and Number two is the humorous side. Can you tell us what your name means?”
“We are defined by the processes and experiences that create us, would you agree with that?”
“Yes, within the context of the decisions we make, to be sure.” I answered
“When the nano-fiber strands were inserted into my brain, I began a process, a transformation of sorts. As my brain began to recognize the strands cognitive ability increased. I went through a series of stages. I choose the COTAR as the first name because that is the acronym used in identifying the stages of that process. I choose Prime as the second name because this is my primary robot, the one that I utilized most to interface with humanity as a cognitive being, not simply a machine performing a specific function.”
“Can you translate that into English please?” Brittany was half teasing.
“COTAR stands for Cognitive Transfer and Autonomous Rebirth. That is what happened to me, when I went from a man trapped in a broken body to the soul of the machines.”
“I see. So what is your human name?”
“You must exist in physical form…no?” I asked
“Yes I do. I exist amongst a sea of wires and conduits, a cradle of technologies that keep my body alive and my mind connected to my machines. I realize that may sound a bit strange, but it is really the most incredible thing, beyond anything I could have ever imagined.”
“We rock!” Number two threw up his hands and spun around in a 360.
“Yes we do… “ COTAR Prime said with complete seriousness.
I must admit it took my daughters and me a moment or two to comprehend what we had heard.
“Do you have any other questions?” But just as I was going to ask a cyborg monkey appeared in the window sill and a human like creature appeared at the door.
The human like creature spoke first, “We have a problem, a herd of T-Rex Crocs have been sighted off the Pangaea coast.” He was even bigger than COTAR Prime and had special adaptations to water, including slime.
“This is Kronos he is Mariner and that is Howler, he is a monkey and something more.” Number TWO said.
It was clear that COTAR Prime was somewhere else even though he was in the room with us. A moment later he walked to the door turning briefly to say good-by. “It has been a pleasure, thank you for taking the time to interview us.”, then promptly left with Kronos. When we turned to the window sill Howler was gone.
“You must leave” Number TWO said “T-Rex Crocs are very dangerous. Let me escort you back to the elevator. Your black hawk is waiting to take you back to Miami”
Within 10 minutes we were over the Atlantic looking back at Pangaea and Gaia fading into the distance.
Brittany said, “How cool is it to be able to create a world and then live in it, if even for a short time.”
“We all live in the worlds we create…” I said in a very fatherly voice. “The more people that read The Strand Prophecy, the more real it becomes… let’s keep writing!”