A brilliant couple’s love of competition leads to tragedy.
Gwen stood in her lab, admiring the reflection of her sleek, naked body. At 30, she was every bit as stunning as the day she met her husband, Artie, at an engineering conference five years earlier. It was love at first sight. Or perhaps, love at their first discussion of artificial intelligence.
Each of them held a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering. Artie was an MIT man. Gwen, a Stanford girl. Which one could outsmart the other? It was a daily game. And was just for fun at first. Then it became an obsession.
They had separate research labs, located at opposite ends of their sprawling home. Pass codes and retinal scanners provided tight security over each lab. Neither had stepped inside the other’s lab in four years.
Each of them held highly secretive government positions. Their research was critical to national security. Yet, the prospect of saving the free world was not nearly as intriguing as winning their little daily game of war against each other.
They liked to think of it in terms of a Medieval Empire. At the end of each day, the victor would be crowned: either King Arthur or Queen Guinevere. For the next 24 hours, you were either the Royal Highness of Intellectitude, or you were the Perfunctory Pauper of Pitydom. There was no middle ground.
Gwen got dressed and walked out to the kitchen.
Artie was standing at the stove. “Permission to speak, Your Majesty?”
Gwen would enjoy her queenly perks throughout the day, until the rightful owner of the crown was reassessed at 10:00 p.m.
“Silence!” She paused for effect. “Now you may speak, Serf.”
“I am preparing a most royal omelet for you, Majesty.”
“Today…I shall have Eggs Benedict.”
“But omelets are your favorite, My Queen.”
She grinned. “Not today. Eggs Benedict.”
“Then Eggs Benedict you shall have, Majesty.”
Gwen sat down at the table. “How’s your pet project coming along?”
“The virus that will invade your computer system and hypnotize you?”
“Yes. The one that will supposedly allow you to control my mind via post-hypnotic suggestion.”
He smiled. “It’s coming along quite well. Just a few more tweaks to the algorithm, and—”
“—you’ll make me bark like a dog?”
“Not quite, Your Majesty. I will make you bark like a cat.”
She sneered. “Apparently they didn’t teach you this at MIT, but cats don’t bark.”
“But you will, My Feline.”
“Watch your mouth, Peasant! You must address me with proper respect at all times.”
Two days later, Artie completed the final testing of his hypnotic virus application. The toughest part was penetrating Gwen’s ironclad firewall.
Now it was time for the test. He texted Gwen.
Your Majesty, your humble servant requests a sexual rendezvous at the cabin. I suggest we go up separately, and meet there as strangers.
Gwen hated their cabin, and had refused sex for months. If she went along with this, it would prove that his application, and its post-hypnotic suggestion had succeeded.
Gwen texted him back, consenting. She would go ahead, and he would finish up his work and join her within the hour. This would be the ultimate conquest. Perhaps he would be King for a month.
Artie gave Gwen a mere fifteen minutes of lead time. What excited him more? The success of his hypnotic virus or the prospect of a wild, role-playing sex game.
On his way up the mountain he encountered a road block. He pulled over and walked up to one of the cops. “What’s going on, Officer?”
“Somebody went over the side. Drove right through the railing.”
“What kind of car was it? Did anybody see it happen?”
“Yeah. We’ve got one witness over there. Said it was a pink Rolls Royce. A beautiful young blonde. No passengers.”
Artie’s heart sunk.
The cop said, “You okay, Mister?”
“It was my wife.”
“I’m very sorry, Sir.”
His software had worked flawlessly, infecting Gwen’s computer system and hypnotizing her to follow his post-hypnotic suggestion. But something had gone terribly wrong. Had the hypnosis affected her driving skills? Had it affected her powers of concentration? Tears welled up in his eyes.
How had he let it come to this? It was just a game. Life would never be the same without Gwen. If he could just take it back, he could be happy to let her reign as his queen for the rest of his life.
Artie spoke under his breath, more to himself than to the cop. “Even though I won the final game, my dear Guinevere, you were, and will always be the Royal Highness of Intellectitude. I love you…Your Majesty.”
The officer saw Artie’s face go blank. “Sir, would you mind answering a few questions? Sir?”
Artie walked away from the cop.
“Uh, Sir, I need you to come back over here, please.”
Artie began to walk faster—toward the broken railing.
“Come back. It’s not safe over there. Stop!”
But Artie broke into a full run. Past the other cop and the witness. Through the broken railing. Over the cliff.
Artie yelled, “Majesty,” as he flew over the edge and fell to his death.
Within moments, a beautiful blonde drove up in a sports car, parked it behind Artie’s car, and got out.
“Did someone have an accident?” she said.
“Yeah. A woman drove her car over the side. Then her husband jumped off the cliff.”
The witness stared at the blonde, as though he might have recognized her from somewhere.
“Oh, no,” said the blonde.
“Yeah,” said the witness, “but the weirdest part was what he yelled when he jumped off the cliff.”
“What was it? What did he yell?”
The blonde’s eyes glazed over.
The cop and the witness looked at each other, puzzled at her reaction.
Suddenly, she dashed toward the broken railing.
“Stop her!” yelled the cop.
The other officer tried to grab her arm as she raced by, but she was just too fast.
She leaped off the edge, screaming “Majesty!”
Weeks later, a government computer expert managed to decrypt Artie’s hypnotic virus code and analyze it. It was a complex, powerful program that would remain top-secret. There would be no public comment regarding the code, or its connection to the deaths of two valuable scientists.
Gwen had immediately been aware that Artie’s virus had infected her computer system. The only way she could hope to defeat him was to bounce the virus back to his computer without him realizing it. And she had been successful.
So, when she had accepted Artie’s suggestion of driving up to the cabin for a sexual rendezvous, it had not been because of a hypnotic suggestion. It had been to beat him at his own game.
He was not aware that the android she had been working on for years had finally been perfected. It looked exactly like Gwen.
And it was fully functional. How long would it take for Artie to realize he was playing sex games with an android? She would laugh her butt off watching him through a cabin window. And she would be queen for months.
Gwen knew she was pushing the envelope of safety when she allowed the android to drive her Rolls Royce up to the cabin. Something had caused it to malfunction and drive the car off the side of the mountain. Perhaps there had still been a problem with the calibration of the eyes.
Artie reached the roadblock and thought Gwen had driven off the cliff and was dead. He didn’t know about her android. And he didn’t realize he had been hypnotized by his own virus program. When he inadvertently said the post-hypnotic keyword, he followed his own post-hypnotic suggestion.
Gwen had avoided the hypnosis at first, and so she was not affected by Artie’s suggestion of the sexual rendezvous at the cabin. But right after that, his virus got her. His post-hypnotic suggestion had been planted in her mind as well.
And so, both geniuses were killed by the same post-hypnotic suggestion.
The Suggestion: Do whatever your spouse suggests. Go along with whatever your spouse wants. Blindly follow their lead without question.
The Keyword: Majesty.
Copyright © 2012 Robert Burton Robinson