The Missing Linx
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"Ladies and gentlemen, we are here at the Better Sciences Institute to meet Dr. Maynard Linx, respected scientist and renowned robotologist, who will speak on the new breakthrough he has made. As you know, he wowed the public at the 2058 Worldís Fair with his remarkable innovation to do what no robotologist before him has done before. He has invented a gyrostabilizer to allow android to walk on two feet! Consequently, Dr. Linx is lauded as the most brilliant man in the world.
"But what robotic marvel has he come up with today? After two years since developing the gyrostabilizer, what miraculous breakthrough has he made? Well, ladies and gentlemen, weíre as much in the dark as you at this point, but we hope to get an interview with him and his lovely assistant before the symposium begins. Doctors and scientists have flown here from around the world, just to Ö
"Wait a minute. Thereís a commotion behind me. Has he arrived? Yes, his limo has just parked and he and his assistant are climbing out at this very moment. If we hurry, maybe we can catch his comments. Dr. Linx Ö Dr. Linx!"
His deep brown eyes looked over the crowd, mostly reporters attended by a variety of cameras and microphones. Many mikes were shoved in his face as he grinned through his salt-and-pepper beard, peering through the narrow eyeglasses. He lifted his had and smoothed back his equally graying hair that insisted on hanging a few tendrils onto his forehead, then he put the hat back on.
"Dr. Linx," one man shouted over the others, pushing his mike forward. "What is this great new breakthrough youíve invented? Can you let the public know about it now, since the symposium is closed to them?"
Linx held up his hands, his grin never changing. If he was annoyed with the media attention, he didnít show it. Reaching behind him, he pulled a beautiful young lady by the hand and stood her by his side. Her pretty paisley blouse and blue skirt showed a figure more fitting for a model than a science assistant, and her roan hair cascaded over her shoulders. She also wore a huge grin, flashing it to compete with every bulb that burst her way.
"You know my assistant, Dr. Linda Howe," said Linx. "Sheís been working with me for what? The past five years, isnít it?"
"Yes, it is," she said, nodding toward the forest of cameras.
"But Dr. Linx, what is this great new breakthrough youíve come up with, which you promised would throw the world of robotology on its ear? Can you tell us?"
"I see no reason to delay telling the world. You see, I have discovered the means to imbue my androids with a human soul."
A gasp scattered through the crowd. A few reporters chuckled.
"I know how it sounds," said Linx, holding up his hands. "But let me explain. One of the biggest objections to my work is that a machine would have no soulóno consciousness of God, no personality, and no emotions. My big breakthrough, which I intend to explain in scientific detail at the symposium, is how I developed a psychocircuit to give my androids a living soul."
"What do you say about this, Miss Howe?" asked a woman.
"Dr. Linx is a brilliant man. Iím proud to be his assistant."
"Do you think itís feasible for a machine to have a consciousness of God?"
"Yes, it is."
"As you might have guessed already," said Linx, "Linda is not just my assistant. She is also my creation. Isnít she beautiful? Iím especially pleased with the subtle pigmentation in her skin, the natural facial lines, the inflections in her speech pattern. Once I had the gyrostabilizer perfected, I installed it in her, and she doesnít just sit at her desk anymore. She gets up, walks around, bends overódoes everything a human can do." He shared grins with her. "She is my pride and joy."
"And you have also installed this Ö soul, as you called it Ö into your assistant?"
"Yes, I have. She is my prototype, if you will. I intend to present her as proof of my work. Linda, my dear, tell them who God is."
"God is the Creator, the Sustainer of all life. I can communicate with Him and worship Him."
"You see? Total success. And she has a personality now Ö"
Questions came fast and furious. "What about other beliefs?"; "Does she believe she goes to Heaven when she dies?"; "Did you also program a spirit in her?"; "Can she be programmed to believe in Muhammad, or Buddha?"
Linx waved desperate palms at these and a myriad of other questions, patiently enduring the salvo. When at last the myriad of voices quieted, he said, "I have only begun my work. Now that I have created a soul, all the rest will become possible in time. But as I said, she also has a sweet personality, unlike most other women Ö"
Again the questions came rapid-fire. "Have you had intimate relations with her, Doctor?"; "What is she like when sheís angry?"; "Does she actually feel emotions, or just act them out?"; "Do you have loverís spats?"; "Can she have children?"; "Whatís it like making love to a machine?"; and so on.
The barrage seemed to become too much for Linx. His eyes darted this way and that, his mouth trying to form words. Again he held up his hands, but the reporters would not stop.
"I donít Ö she doesnít Ö let me Ö we donít Ö love is Ö"
Sparks spit from his collar. Acrid smoke rose. Suddenly Dr. Linx was unsteady on his feet. He jerked back and forth; the stench of burning circuitry caused the volley of questions to stop. Linda stood stoically by, still grinning, as though nothing strange were happening. Linx stumbled forward, his arm raised to his head, and he collapsed backward on the pavement with a loud clank.
"Heís an android, too!" came the astonished remarks through the crowd. "Where is the real doctor?"
A woman thrust a microphone into Lindaís smiling face. "Miss Howe, where is Dr. Linx?"
"Dr. Linx is a brilliant man. Iím proud to be his assistant."
"Yes, we know that. But thatís not your real boss, is it? Where did he go?"
"Dr. Linx is a brilliant man. Iím proud to be his assistant Ö assistant Ö assistant Ö assistant Ö"
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wow. What an ending. Question? How many times can your name appear in the book of life?