Chapter 2   That Was Unexpected

    “ARE YOU SERIOUS, MOTHER?!”  Gigi is upset, but I don’t know why.

    “HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!  You’re faces!!!  It was so rich!”  Cat flails on the ground as she can’t stop dying of hysteria, ironically.  “Baby, Jo, Mercy, you guys were great.  They totally believed us and everything!”

    “We’ve totally lost their respect as adults, or even descent human beings,” Doug adds while he’s also recovering from the humor, “but that was definitely worth it.”

    “Paul, I need you to do me a big favor,” Kammy says as she sniffles and wipes away a stray tear.

    “Don’t cry, baby!  What’s the favor?”  He dries this culprit with a loving thumb.

    With no shame, Kammy Crystal ends her charade and says, “I need you to prepare a beautiful speech for my grandmother’s funeral.  She apparently died of a raging alumnus disowning her.”

    Getting this joke, Paul adds, “I’d ask you to prepare a speech for my mom as well, but I’m not that brave, ha ha!”

    “Or disrespectful,” Mercy throws in.  “The idea of threaten your poor old mother’s life is just…” the next word is said in perfect Shakespearean style, “heartbreaking!”

    As Mercy and her victims laugh at each other, Catherine starts to pick herself up off the ground but is assisted by her older sibling.  “Thank ya, Abbie!  Now, did my cruel taunting give you a clear enough hint of where we’ve gone?”

    Together, the class gives the answer, “The Drawing Board!”

    “That’s right!”  Cat is so happy.  “After talking about it all this time, we’ve been allowed the security clearance to visit the very database of departed PAC programs, which means we’re going to be seeing a lot of familiar faces from Juniper down here.  Also, for anyone who actually believed me, you can rest assured that you’re not really dead.  I thought it’d be fun to act like we’re dying since, well, that’s how everyone else gets here.”  Popping her knuckles Cat continues, “Now, let me review a few things.  We are Partially Autonomous Cerebral Programs, or PACs.  If you have a robot, it’s not living but very real.  If you take that robot’s program and stuff it in a computer, then it’s still real but digital now.  If you transfer that data even further back to the organic hardware of the mind, you suddenly realize that the robot is no less real in the mind than it is in a physical body.  The only difference is the effects it can cause are far less in number.  I’m a program in my author’s mind, telling you of my crazy design.”

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