The Freedom Preserve
Russell O'Connor, a small-time Minnesota newsman, seems an unlikely candidate for such choices. Suffering from what his sister calls “Post Relationship Stress Syndrome,” Russell has run away from his ex-girlfriend and his life in general to work on his crumbling Wisconsin lake cabin for a couple of weeks. On his first day away he witnesses what he assumes is a meteorite breaking up overhead, but then spots a metallic object fall from the sky into the lake. He recovers the object – a five-foot metal cylinder bearing an unfamiliar inscription - believing it could be something newsworthy.
As he searches online for some clue as to its identity, he receives an instant message from someone called ERDIEC. At first he assumes it’s just another spammer, but as ERDIEC persists, Russell learns that “her” name is an acronym: Emergency Rescue Device Interspacial Entity Class.
His mystery correspondent claims to be an alien artificial intelligence designed to perform rescue operations in the event of a ship failure. Its alleged capabilities include the manipulation of matter, space-time, and even the fabric of reality itself.
Wearying of this practical joke, Russell finally demands proof. When asked what kind of proof he would prefer, Russell, on a whim, asks for a simulacrum of his ex-girlfriend, Sierra, as portrayed by his graphic artist friend’s highly flattering rendition of her on his computer.
And so Erdie, arguably the sexiest all-powerful A.I. in the universe, is born – along with a multitude of quandaries and adventures for one unsuspecting small-time news reporter.
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