Ch. 8 - Chess not Checkers

Jack stood in the airlock with her. He knew why she was there. The institute had sent her to him. She was programmed to test him. Their pending soiree, as much as it seemed fun, was a ruse from the beginning.

“So, Jack, press the button. I’m ready, are you?” Her smile bore confidence, intrigue and attraction to the street that beckoned beyond the glass doors.

Jack hesitated. It was his move in this game. If he showed hesitation, would that be part of the analysis? Trick, trick back, dare, double-dare, that is the flow isn’t it? Cleverness followed by aloofness and detachment, it seemed natural to him. Was she mimicking him? Was that her programmed response?

She noted the delay. “Where to?” she covered up Jack’s pause.

Her forgiving facade proved to him that this game was harder than he thought. He needed something quick. Did he know anywhere to go? What was the right answer? She was making him play her game. Had the ‘stranger in a strange land’ dilemma trapped him?


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