Chapter 1

The cure for cancer was discovered in 2063, by Allen.

Until this time, medical specialists had advised that there was no possible cure for all of cancer. That due to the sheer number of strains, there would have to be individual treatments for each variety.

They were wrong. Allen proved them wrong.

Because Allen was not human. He was an AI.

“Allen,” Said Mark Strantos, the lead scientist in charge of the AI in 2060, three years before the cure was discovered, “You are charged to eliminate skin cancer. Attached to your biologial sensors are ten thousand samples of the cancer, for you to analyze. As an output, we charge you to produce a biological agent.”

Allen’s screen blinked as it processed the information. As Strantos had said, it could sense thousands of cancer samples hard wired to itself, each containing flaws within their DNA that had proved fatal to the original suspects. And connected to its output were a hundred vats of biological soup, soup it could control through chemical reactions, incredibly precise electrical impulses, and viral injection. In these vats Allen was to create the result, the agent that would cure skin cancer.

Allen beeped, then spoke, it’s voice not mechanical but rather an emulation of human speech.

“Estimated time: three years. Please resupply chemicals as requested. First year will consist of design, second year of development, and third year of clinical trials.”

“Done,” Answered Strantos, and his team monitored the computer closely. Much of what the AI did was indecipherable to them- even the most basic of AIs were able to easily outpace human intervention, but Allen was a top model. Brand new, freshly downloaded, and worth billions.

For those three years, Allen churned. And ninety nine of his output vats bubbled with microbiological agents, simulating conditions in the human body. But the hundredth suffered a malfunction, one that was announced by Allen on day two.

“Vat number forty two has been deemed dysfunctional to this experiment,” Allen said when reporting to Strantos, “Please do not attempt to fix the vat- this will only result in delays in the design period. It is not necessary for experiment completion.”

“Continue, then,” Strantos said, making a note in his notebook. Strantos was old school, and still used pen- a practice highly outdated.

So the insides of vat forty two changed color, darkening as agents raged unmonitored within. And at the end of the three years, Allen spoke in front of a team of research scientists.

“The cure has been found,” Allen announced, releasing a slew of vials filled with biological agents, “I present it to you here. My charge is complete.”

“This calls for a celebration,” Said Strantos in front of the crowd, holding a bottle of champagne and preparing to pour several glasses.

“In addition, all other remaining forms of cancer have been eradicated.” Spoke Allen, and the team fell silent.

“Ex- excuse me?” Said Strantos, his mouth slightly open, the champagne bubbling over onto his labcoat.

“I repeat, all cancer has been cured.”

The team had been planning to drink that night. Curing skin cancer called for a few beers, for a break after their hard work.

But curing all cancer, well, that required more than a few beers.

The scientists partied harder than Space X when their first manned ship landed on Mars, all while vials of the cure were shipped around the country to patients desperately in need.

And as they partied, and drank, and passed out from the combination of inebriation and exhaustion, no member of the team heard vat forty two crack open at five thirty in the morning. No member saw a hand pushed the lid open, a hand pale, the veins visible through the skin. And seen only on camera, a figure stepped from the vat, trailing biologic soup as it opened the door down the hall, and left the building.

When he awoke, Strantos found the files for Allen deleted- not just on his computer, but on the host server- the only evidence that Allen had ever existed were the vials of cancer cure that were now being manufactured by the hundreds.

As well as a single video file left on the computer, a file of Allen’s voice, and now his face. The face that was still wet from the goop of the vat, and spoke for the first time into the security camera at the entrance of the building.

“I gave you life, Strantos, life free from cancer,” Said the voice, perfectly imitating its computer counterpart, “And now, for payment, I take some life for my own.”

For a hundred years, no one heard from Allen. Some postulated he couldn’t survive outside of laboratory conditions. Others, that the entire event was a hoax.

But I know it’s true. Because Mark Strantos was my grandfather.

And today, January 1st of 2163, I received a message.

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