{{ contest.story_page_sticky_bar_text }} Be the first to recommend this story.
Get Free Copy

100 free copies left

This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.

0
Free copies left
You can choose from our best books below
Alex Beyman would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review

Only Erratics Recognize

By Alex Beyman All Rights Reserved ©

Scifi / Horror

Only Erratics Recognize

Good afternoon…..Dorothy Lynn Silver. Identification number 9066810492. Very good. Processing can be a bit overwhelming if you’ve never traveled between colonies before, but focus on the sound of my voice and proceed through the open doors in front of you. Yes, that’s it. I’ll guide you through the steps which follow and before you know it, you’ll be inside Colony 1,184, or “The Dolphin”.

What? No, nothing to do with water. Well, there actually is a simulated waterfront within the dome but the name is more to give it an identity for colonists to rally around and to give direction to the internal decor. May I have you blow into the tube in the far wall? Yes, like that. Thank you. The doors to the next chamber should be open now, please proceed.

There’s not much to set us apart from the other colonies except that we’ve produced an unusually high percentage of the Erratics crucial to my line of work. You’re not familiar? Surely you’re joking, their mothers are all over TV these days because of the lawsuits, you’ve really never seen-...You’re serious? Well, there’s a ways to go yet before you’re cleared for entry, I may as well fill you in.

Erratics are savants, essentially. Of two specific types vital to colony security. The first, “type 1”, specialize in detecting what’s out of place. You know those tiresome picture puzzles on the brochures you find in the train? “Spot ten differences between these two pictures”? They’d solve it instantly.

But they further specialize in applying this skill to human beings. What? Yes I know, the decor in here is so drab. Grey walls, grey furniture, grey console. Well, you can’t see it but it’s the same as the rest. That’s government architecture for you. It wouldn’t weigh me down except our uniforms are all the same drab grey. They tell us it’s so nothing distracts the Erratics from their work.

Oh yes, the Erratics! Type 1 specializes in...what’s the term…”uncanny valley”? When something is very close to human but not quite. Except so slightly that no normal person could detect it. Alright now I’m going to ask you to please undress and agree to be photographed. These pictures will be deleted after processing and not shared outside of this building.

Very good. I do apologize but you must understand what’s at stake. So much was sacrificed to establish these precious pockets of immunity and only one must get by our defenses to….What do you mean, “one what”? Now you’re pulling my leg, I’m sure of it. Here, have a look at this.

A video plays on the monitor of the recent processing of an elderly man. When he undresses, he is judiciously blurred to preserve modesty. Photographs are taken, then a few seconds later, alarms sound. He runs for one of the doors but a steel shutter falls into place. Likewise with the other door. He writhes, shrieks, and cockroaches begin to pour from his mouth. His now jet black eyes widen, his jaw dislocates, then hangs open so the flow of roaches can accelerate. Whisper thin black tendrils emerge from his mouth and eyes, probing the limits of the room. His arms split apart, and multiple long boneless appendages resembling greasy pulsating tongues emerge from both stumps. Each one causes a spreading web of black sticky fibers on the wall wherever it touches, however briefly. A moment later the room is engulfed in flames.

That one was unusually easy. We almost never get them with the type 1s anymore. They’re really just the initial filter to pick out the sloppy ones. Type 2s do the real heavy lifting. Hardcore pattern recognition savants. We print out sheets of figures for them to scrutinize. Page after page of fine measurements of every biometric for each visitor. Height, weight, age, hair color, eye color, average hair length, skin pigmentation, frequency of moles, individual fingernail lengths, distribution of fine hair on the skin, everything conceivable. They spot patterns in the figures common only to the things we’re trying to exclude. Try as they might, it seems like they can’t help but build ‘em that way, and the type 2s always catch ‘em. Well, almost always. Never forget Colony 813.

There’s no shortage of controversy. Is it right to use children this way? Subjecting their developing brains to several years of zero error margin condensed pattern recognition undoubtedly burns them out. But they’re well taken care of after that, and decorated as heroes of humanity. Real humanity. Which was almost lost forever until the Erratics were discovered, permitting us to build a future for our kind atop the smoldering bones of our imitators.

“Even the children?” It’s the classic rookie question. Even I asked it back when I started. That’s when this department was mostly concerned with disposing of the things from Colony 813. All near-perfect replicas of the former colonists and a testament to why we are so intensely vigilant. It’s useless to tell the recruits “Don’t be fooled, those aren’t real children”. Unless they’re an Erratic, they can’t tell. Those damned things really know how to tug at our heartstrings. They’ll do anything to get inside.

But look at me now! Haha, not to toot my own horn but I’d say I’ve gotten the hang of it. Mr. Peterson assigned me to personally toggle the switch all day every day for a week, incinerating chamber after chamber of them. “Oh please, let us out of here! I have family inside who will vouch for me bawwww” I don’t want to hear it, into the fire with you! It’s that easy.

No thought is the key. Just don’t think about it. Hesitation is the seed of dereliction. Don’t plant that seed and nothing will grow. Look the other way when you incinerate them if you must, I was told. By the third day, I enjoyed watching. I’m sure there’s a false positive here and there, but it’s a small price to pay. Better too careful than too lax. If you’ve ever seen pictures of the surface outside the colonies you already know why we cannot afford to let even one inside.

Which brings us to the culmination of your processing. You passed type 1 evaluation! Congratulations! However, you failed type 2. Additionally it seems we already have a Mrs. Dorothy Lynn Silver with your identification number. Goodbye!

Write a Review Did you enjoy my story? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, Alex Beyman
Continue Reading
Further Recommendations

Bri Hoffer: I couldn't put it down!! The characters are all incredibly likable, and it's so descriptive you can see, smell, and feel thier surroundings. Great story, and very well written. I cannot wait for follow up stories. there were a few grammatical errors, but nothing that I could move right over.

Dru83: This is the second or third time I've read this one and I just love it. It has just about everything you could ever want packed into one scifi story. It still has some parts that are a little rough in terms of grammar, punctuation, and word usage, but it's still an awesome story. I love how detai...

snowview03: This is the first book I have read on this app and I loved it! When I read the title I thought about the hunger games, but this novel is so much more. Some book have a comparison between other books that fallow like premises so i will do my own: Arena has the compellingly emotional stresses and t...

harry142018: This story was gripping and very professionally written. With lots of twists and slight of hand tricks, the author deceives the reader until finally showing their cards at the end. With several subplots all intertwining to create the main plot, this really is an interesting and engaging read.

Chevonne Prinsloo: I loved this book.. I didn't want to stop reading it! just my kind of book... I really love how the plot of the story carries along. I hope there are more books to follow after this one! I like the way she describes how Rogue is feeling and the way she shows the emotions going through Rogu. I als...

PaulSenkel: If you like Arthur C. Clarke's Odyssey, especially The Final Odyssey, then you will probably also enjoy this book. I definitely did.It does, however, address a more adolescent public than the above-mentioned book.I enjoyed the story and finished it in a few days. The overall situation on earth an...

Dina Husseini: It was a great hook. I do not like reading scifi because they end up being like all the rest but this one kept me wanting more.

Schaelz: I was intrigued from the second I started reading, and it kept my interest the whole way through. Chelsea has a way with words that will enchant you until the very end. She is very poetic with the way she mixes genres and keeps you on the edge of your seat. The main character is also very relat...

Jasmine Chow: As I read this story, I was reminded some what of Terry Pratchett, especially some descriptions of politics and economics. The sci-fic setting is quite intriguing. Writing style is quite lovely and grew on me slowly. I was also slightly reminded of Mark Twain, especially his book A Connecticut Ya...

More Recommendations

NRF: I love this story, it has a little bit of everything in it, mystery, adventure, murder, innocence, love and a surprise twist that will leave you hungry for more! Great read! NRF

re8622: The Last Exodus quickly grabbed my attention. Almost as soon as I started reading the story, I couldn't put it down. I found that the ideas the author put forth were very thought provoking given the turmoil we have seen gradually rise over the last several years. I felt that I could understand th...

jigglypuff314: Feeling sad that you can't watch your harem hentai in class? This is the book for you! No one will suspect a thing (other than your boner) as you scroll through pages of some of the best porn you'll ever be able to imagine!Spectacular details and a wonderful tug of emotions, you won't know whethe...

About Us:

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered book publisher, offering an online community for talented authors and book lovers. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books you love the most based on crowd wisdom.