The Pet
Bad people came to my house. They were mean to my master. I don't know why. They took me away. I don't like them.

I got a toy! It talks to me. It said it'd help me know why I was taken away. He's a good master. He never hits me. He gives me food and a place to sleep. Sometimes, when I get really excited, he does something and I fall asleep for awhile.

These people poked me with something. I heard a hiss, and then I felt funny. Bad people aren't supposed to give you toys. I... I don't know. I still think they're bad people.

The toy I got called itself a "AIvisor". I asked why they gave it to me and it laughed. It said it wasn't mine to keep. It said it'd stay with me as long as I needed it though. I still don't understand why they took me from my master. They won't let me talk to him. They said he could say something, even now, and I might quit getting better.

I don't think they're bad people any more, but I still want to know why I can't be with my master.

I saw some video of myself when they first took me. Wow, I act like a baby. Did my old master do that to me? I thought "master" and "dad" were the same, but now I don't know. I never noticed that his face stuck out and his nose was flat, but my face was flat and my nose stuck out. I never thought about how he had four good hands, but I only had two, and two "feet".

I still miss him, sometimes. My AIvisor says that's normal.

I've been with these people for almost. I...don't really know how long. When I first arrived, time didn't mean anything to me. Yesterday, they raided a place that reminds me of my old home. I don't know why, exactly; what makes me think of it as like MY old home, when it's under water, but it does.

They brought two people out. One was a dolphin; one of the ones with the strap on arms, instead of the ones that grow from the sides. The other looked kinda? like him, or her maybe, but she had arms, legs and a big head like me. She's kind of stupid. My AIvisor says I was that way, and yeah, I can sorta remember that. If I ever forget, I can just watch the videos from when I first got here.

It's...odd...seeing someone, knowing they're a little stupid, and knowing that was you just a few? months ago.

Today, I got to see my former master. He's so, sad, looking. I know. I've come a long way since I first got here, so I should be able to pick a better word than "sad", but I don't have one.

He told me that in ancient history, my kind used to keep his kind in cages, and it seemed only fair for him to keep someone like me in a cage now. I told him, that was stupid. Whatever my kind did to him before Armstrong, I never did. My parents never did. And besides, at some point, some of my kind gave his kind the gift of higher intelligence.

I didn't ask him, and my AIvisor didn't have an answer later but, why did he feel the need to rob me of mine?

I'm told I'll improve more, but the improvements will come more slowly now. That's okay. When I got the news, I told my AIvisor that e could go on and help someone else. I didn't want to prevent em from moving on, but e said e'd stay with me for as long as it took.

I'm starting to understand that that could be a while.

I saw Twikiikii again. Oh, I never told you, that was the name of the female they rescued after me. She's coming along. She's about as smart as I was when they rescued her. I haven't talked to her AIvisor, but mine says they're good friends, and share snippets of us between each other like proud grandparents showing off their grandkids.

I'll take eir word for it. I've never had grandparents so wouldn't know.

I'm stepping into the wider world today, but I'm leaving this journal behind. I still have a long way to go to catch up with normal people, but I'm not going to improve much more here. I'm not supposed to know this, but tomorrow, my rescuers are going to raid the house of another chimp like the one who kept me. I wish them luck but I know the pet they find will think ill of them. He'll come around. Or she will. I did. I can never thank them enough for what they did for me.

Well, my shuttle leaves in less than half an hour now, and the tram takes almost that long, so I've got to go.


By Sean Roach, 2019


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