You thought that it was odd when your appointment at the Change for Life clinic was moved to Midnight—after all, aren't all the therapists in bed by 8PM on school days?
But here you are anyway: in the pitch black of night, in the freezing cold and howling wind, and all that you have to guide your steps is an eerie green glow that ebbs and pulsates from the clinic.
Do you enter? [[Yes->Inside]] or [[no.->Home]]You walk through the sliding doors at the rear of the clinic and approach the reception desk despite the fact that it seems to be unmanned.
After a minute or two of fruitless waiting, you clear your throat loudly, hoping to attract the attention of someone who might assist you—the sound reverberates in the silence, but still nobody approaches.
A few more minutes pass, and you start to leave the way you entered, but [[just then...->Frankenstein]]<a data-flickr-embed="true" href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/193670923@N02/51375067709/in/dateposted-public/" title="mad-scientist-pictures-clip-art-2"><img src="https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51375067709_34b2393038.jpg" width="500" height="323" alt="mad-scientist-pictures-clip-art-2"></a><script async src="//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
A bizarre-looking man with wild hair and a white lab coat leaps out from behind the reception desk.
"Disappointing! So disappointing!" he loudly exlcaims.
Startled, you step back as the man approaches, his arms flailing wildly.
"You'll need better powers of observation than that. Yes, yes, you'll to be peculiarly perceptive if you're going to be my research assistant!"
The more the man speaks, the more confused and perplexed you become, but you don't sense any menace from him.
"In any case, you'll have to do. You're the only one who showed up! A-ha!"
What will you do? [[Ask him what his name is->Mad? Scientist]] or [[run->Home]]?You return home having never found out the clinic's midnight secret. But perhaps it's not too late to go back and find out?"Why?! Have you not read about me? I am the great, the renowned, and most-assuredly-not-fictional, Dr. Victor Frankenstein!"
The alleged-Dr. Frankenstein can see that you are not convinced, so he continues: "I see, I see... Thought I was just Mary Shelley's invention did you? Ha! I knew I should have written an autobiography instead... Wait, let me prove it to you! Follow me!
Well, [[you've come this far->Monster 2.0]].<a data-flickr-embed="true" href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/193670923@N02/51375357450/in/dateposted-public/" title="cartoon-robot-006"><img src="https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51375357450_2033b00f5f.jpg" width="450" height="349" alt="cartoon-robot-006"></a><script async src="//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
Dr. Frankenstein leads you to a large room; one that looks very much like one of the therapy rooms you have visited before, but which is now festooned with antiquated-looking laboratory equipment.
In the center of the room standards a metallic figure of roughly-humanoid size and proportions. It is motionless, and does not respond to your presence, but it looks like it might be able to walk upright if it had a power source.
"You see now, my creation, yes? What genius, other than mine, could give rise to this one-of-a-kind android?!" boasts Dr. Frankenstein.
You have to confess that you are somewhat awed by what you see: you were sure that technology like this was still decades away.
"This is my Monster 2.0!" exclaims the Dr., "a new-and-improved design for the 21st century!"
The Dr. goes on to explain that his original monster failed, not because it was a hideous reanimated corpse, but because he neglected to give it the necessary social skills to avoid getting on the bad side of pitchfork-wielding villagers, "while it's true that the monster would occasionally eat a cow or two, if he'd just been able to offer a sincere apology to the famer concerned, he would have been able to smooth things over!"
You continue listening, fascinated by the Dr.'s story, and then he starts to explain [[your part in his new experiment->A Post-modern Prometheus]]."Truth be told" said the Dr. as he sighed, "the monster's lack of social graces was not really his fault. You may find this hard to believe, but I'm not exactly a social butterfly myself! But I know you are, and I was hoping... Yes, hoping most desperately... that you might just program those social skills directly into my creation's magnificent cybernetic brain?"
Will you help the Dr? [[Yes->Phase I]] or [[no->Home]]."It's time for the first subroutine! The monster needs to be able to show that it is listening to other people when they are talking... Do you understand?"
The Dr. pauses for a moment, seeming to struggle to find a way to illustrate what he is talking about, but then it comes to him "ja, that's it! Right now the monster can only give information... It is like Siri or Der Google... but what if you tell it something? It doesn't 'yes,' 'uh huh,' or 'ja!' We need the program for that, and I have several of them here... but which one eludes me, it just..."
The Dr. trails off, lost in his own thoughts, but you realise that he was referring to an array of SSD's in front of him. One of them must contain the program that he is looking for, which one could it be? (Hint- The Dr. has already referred to 'Der Google' once, and you don't think he'd mind if you used it to help you find the answer.
Is the SSD that contains the program the one marked: [[PHATIC EXPRESSIONS->Phatic Expressions]], [[LIMERICKS->No]], or [[THE PARROT PRINCIPLE?->No]]?"Eureka! Well done, my young protegé, this program will equip the android with the capacity to engage in what is commonly referred to as 'small talk;' a completely pointless form of communication, if you ask me, but one which he will need if he is going to make friends with lesser, non-artificial life-forms!"
The Dr. installs the 'Phatic Expressions' module in the android before proceeding to explain the next phase of the experiment, "now, the android can show that he is listening—yes, he can show that quite well! But what if someone tells him something moving, something... what is the word? Sad! Wanting to avoid unecessary risk of corrosion, I did not equip him with tear ducts, so he is going to have to show that he cares through speaking... But a simple 'uh huh' or 'yes' will not do if a farmer happens to complain to him about missing the prize-winning cow that the android just ate. What to do?!"
You once again return to the stack of SSD's, and see spot several potential candidates that might provide the function the Dr. seeks.
Is the right one: [[THE MAXIM OF SEVERITY->No]], [[THE MAXIM OF CHARITY->No]], or [[THE MAXIM OF SYMPATHY?->The Maxim of Sympathy]]?Alas, no! That is not the program that the Dr. needs. Perhaps you should investigate further and see if you can find the right one?"Eureka!" exclaims Dr. Frankenstein, "the maxim of sympathy, yes... With this uploaded into the android's cranium, he will be the very model of a shoulder to lean on—once I also install his stabilisation actuators, of course!"
"We are getting close now, my serendiptious scion of science! But we still need to deal with the way our android talks—rather than just listens—when he is subjected to the confines of a conversation. The android is a veritable fountain of information, but once he thinks he has given enough information about one thing, he selects the next thing at random! People don't like this, so I'm told, so what can we do to fix it!"
What module should you install next? [[INFORMATION OVERDRIVE->No]], [[TOPIC MAINTENANCE->Topic Maintenance]], or the [[DIALOGIC LOOP MATRIX->No]]"Topic maintenance! Precisely! With this, our mechanical monster will keep a topic of conversation going long enough to satisfy the arbitrary expectations of his human interlocutors!"
Dr. Frankenstein jumps up and down excitedly, his arms flailing more wildly than before, "The time has come my devoted drudge! All that remains now is to channel power from the small nuclear reactor I constructed in the kitchen using a microwave I found lying around, and my creation shall experience its first moments of synthetic life! For your help, I shall let you do the honours!"
You flip the switch and the great arcs of electricity snake towards the android. At first, nothing happens, but when the storm of electricity subsides you gasp as the android first opens one digital eye, then the other—it's alive!
"It lives, it lives!" shouts Dr. Frankenstein, "you know what this means, don't you?! Beta testing! Now run along now, run along home! You will need to be up bright and early in the morning, for tomorrow we shall test how my creation handles interactions with living, breathing humans! Will he make new friends, or will they summarily scrap him?! Run, run!"
You are so shocked by everything that just happened that it doesn't even occur to you to disobey the Dr's orders, so you make all haste towards home. What will happen tomorrow? Will the android short-circuit or swim? You will just have to wait until the next chapter of the story...