Get Free Copy

100 free copies left

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

Free copy left
You can read our best books
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

Alex Rushmer: I like the intrigue that you introduce from the very beginning of the story. The idea of the girl waking up in the alley with no memory of how she got there and with injuries is very interesting. It was very well done. There were a lot of grammatical errors that need to be fixed though. I think t...

Ben Gauger: Kudos go to wordworrywill, author of Kings and Things, an otherwise imaginative tale set against the trappings of the royal set, but then again I don't imagine there'd be many authors who invoked the names of Oprah Winfrey, Vladimir Putin, Jeff Bezos, Beyonce and Steven Spielberg, As for the plot...

John Reed: Seadrias masterfully captures the impressiveness and complex scope that a science fiction novel should provide while carefully crafting an entire universe that will leave a reader in awe from start to finish. The only flaw I could find is that I wish I could have read more. This book is certainly...

hypaalicious: This story follows two main characters, Zoey and Derek, on a winding adventure that sucks you in from the beginning. It was easy to get into and get a feel for the world that the author is projecting, as well as all of the warring factions and difference of ideals that would otherwise be very co...

Diane April: Really liked the concept of this story. The beginning had a great explanation about how things worked in the real world that people tend to overlook. It was a nice change from the usual zombie story that just makes things up as they go along and actual facts don't matter.

Hawkebat: Playing both Kotor I & II and Swtor I found the story line interesting and it held me until chapter 35 Very good story and plot flow until then, very few technical errors. I felt that the main character was a bit under and over powered, as it fought for balance. The last few chapters felt too f...

Chris Rolfe: BOY!!! I sure love what Aer-Ki Jyr did with this series. IMHO he captured the essence of what stargate is all about. Thru out the Stargate stories Aer-Ki wrote Stevens and John Shepard some of the main characters in his stories are pursued by a corrupt I.O.A.. All the while Stevens is changing in...

Jasmin Soriano: If you want a thought-provoking, ribs-busting tale of religion look no further than Ouroboros!The characters are an absolute riot, and more often than I care to admit, I wondered where I could get the book of hilarious quotes so I could have something to laugh at every morning.We travel back in t...

Mark-Mikkel: Got directed here by the author herself. Started reading it, schoolday turned into a day of reading. I really like the apocaliptic world she has created. There are some oddities in the writing tho, but I guess they are because she did have to do it for NaNo (which she wrecked, good job!). In the ...

More Recommendations

dapharoah69: I gotta hand it to you. This was a great read from start to finish. I am a big fan of witches, thanks to Anne Rice. The characters really reeled me in from the very first few chapters. You make reading fun.

John Smith: This is what Sci Fi is all about. Reads like early Heinlein. In the style of Space Cadets. No esoteric problems..but good ol blaster and space action with a host of relatable characters

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...

This story wasn't for you ?
Look at our most viral stories!

FreakyPoet: "you made me laugh, made me cry, both are hard to do. I spent most of the night reading your story, captivated. This is why you get full stars from me. Thanks for the great story!"

The Cyneweard

Sara Joy Bailey: "Full of depth and life. The plot was thrilling. The author's style flows naturally and the reader can easily slip into the pages of the story. Very well done."

This story wasn't for you ?
Look at our most viral story!

Ro-Ange Olson: "Loved it and couldn't put it down. I really hope there is a sequel. Well written and the plot really moves forward."