Waiting for Dana


© Ted Strutz

Joel Carpenter dozed in his rental car waiting for the ferry. Ten hour drive from San Francisco to Boise. Ditched the car, switched IDs, then an hour flight from Boise to Seatac, and another hour to rent a car and get here. What they were doing was beyond illegal. This had better be worth it.

Bainbridge assured him it would be, once he got onto the island, drove another 20 minutes to his gated estate, got past security, and transferred the rest of the money.

It had been eighteen months since Virginia had gone missing during a scuba dive near Fiji. Joel thought he would lose his mind with loss and grief. The worst thing was he just went on living.

Bainbridge was the finest robotics engineer of the century. The AI was bleeding edge, total human simulation. In another hour, he would have his fiancée back, or at least the next best thing. He’d excuse her absence as a long sabbatical. Now they could be married.

I wrote this for the 178th FFfAW Challenge hosted by Priceless Joy. The idea is to use the image above as the prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long. My word count is 166.

I’ve recently seen the 1983 film WarGames which includes a ferry ride to find a reclusive scientist on a forested island (in Oregon rather than Washington). Reclusive scientists made me think of the 2014 film Ex Machina, which, of course, is about humanoid female robots.

I’ve written this sort of story many times before, but I didn’t get much sleep last night, and the muse needs more coffee.

To read other stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

15 thoughts on “Waiting for Dana

    • In the near future, it will be illegal to make life-like humanoid robots since you’d never know who was a robot or not. Decades ago, in a series of robot stories by Isaac Asimov, humanoid robots were required to use the prefix “R” before their names to identify themselves as robots.


  1. Might be the case, yet I still think satisfaction with or happy anticipation in this regard involves people with less nuance of human understanding or depth… a touch in themselves of the lack machines have. Of course, science fiction books and movies can portray the opposite — contrasting this type of human in a story line along with supposed robots whose roles involve the more touching and glorious fingerprints of humanity.


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