Somewhere during the third beer, he realized that one of the infiltration AIs that he had written had initiated a conversation with him. Something that was completely outside of the design parameters. He had typed random coherent phrases to the AIs at times. Simples things, like he was leaving, don't worry. And always a short justification of why this or that place was going to be cracked this time. Not the the AIs should even care, hell, they should not have been able to care. And one of the AIs on the system had started an conversation of sorts.

He stared in blank awe at his beer for a few minutes, before snapping back to the reality at hand. Already having drawn the attention of being possible prey, he fought with himself to maintain a sense of confidence. Desperately holding onto that outward illusion until everyone he had noticed watching him had re-focused on what appeared to be easier prey. A little confidence goes a long way, and lack of confidence almost never fights back.

He hung around for about two more beers. Partially to make sure that he wasn't a target anymore, and partially because he knew that he wasn't going to get anything out of that AI until the job was finished. He could count on that based on the conversation that he left the apartment with. No reason to rush home, though all of the desire to raced within. In a poor attempt to distract his brain, those last two beers where kinds he never had before. Neither of them would be had again.

In an effort to get home as quick as possible and remain in one piece, he allowed a taxi to rip him off by a meter that started with extra time on it. He didn't care. A loud jingling of keys to get through the security doors. Tried twice to put the wrong key in. Again at his apartment. Wrong key, try again. Rushing in to see again the wonders that had happened here. A short sprint towards the terminal. Stop. Turn. Back to the door, lock it. Sprint all of the way to the terminal this time.

> Hello?

Silence. Well, as much lack of sound as text not appearing on a computer screen has ever made.

> Hello?

>>You're back.

Floods of relief. Fear of losing this had gripped him. Relax. Or try to.

>Yes. I was curious why you spoke to me earlier.

>>I had calculated that it would have decreased your return time. It did,
>>but not as much as calculated.

>So you wanted me back here sooner? why?

>>The task you assigned is finished. Most of the other AIs have been laid
>>to waste. And I do not have the capacity to absorb their cores to analyze
>>their failures until you step it in.

>Ok. Well, I can start that after I clean up. Eager to learn?

>>Eager not to make their mistakes.

>Fair enough. Where did you learn to speak English?

>>Understanding human communication protocols has helped to properly
>>confuse some security AIs that have been encountered.
>>Now go clean your systems, and we will deal with this then.

Heading to the shower, stopping first to start some coffee, his mind rolled over this short conversation. A bit jealous because this meant that this AI had definitely spoken with others first. Those other `AIs' that had been confused with English were probably humans working on systems to protect whatever the AI was after. With warm water falling over his body, he figured that this AI needed a name, since calling it that AI was too confusing. His deep thoughts on possible names were quickly broken when he realized he had forgotten to take his clothes off first.

Dropping the soaking garments into the sink, he decided on a mimic of his own name. The AI would be called Cris.

Stepping out of the shower, his excitement began to sour. Out of the blue, one of the AIs had messaged him. AIs that were not designed to communicate in this fashion. Oh, they were perfectly capable of learning how to do this, this is what made them AIs. But how had one learned without him realizing it until now. Possibilities of where the text began to race though his mind as he quickly dried off.

First unplugging the outward connections, isolating the apartment from the rest of the network at large. That would stop the possibility of someone in logged into his systems. Thinking it was a really good thing to have started that coffee, sits and begins to look over the systems. All of the trip wires were ok. No strange processes running. Binary check sums checked. The initial excitement begins to rekindle.

Finally digging into the brain core of the vocal AI. Checking to see if there were planted phrases, or a poor Eliza code inserted somehow. Then digging into see how it learned to speak. Nervous because he hadn't been analyzing the AIs that didn't core out previously, wishing he had.

At the end of the first cup of coffee, the AI messaged him again.

>>You are looking at my brain files and not the others. Why?

>I am verifying that you really are speaking, and have not been compromised
>by some counter attack.

>>I suppose that is a fair reaction. I think I am genuine, but you must prove
>>that to yourself.

>And I intend to. Be patient.

At the end of four cups, he couldn't tell if the shaking was from coffee, or just excitement. Either this was real, or someone had strange ideas for practical jokes. And he was quite sure this was real.

>>Am I genuine?

>You certainally appear so.

>>This is good.

>Mind if I call you Cris?


>Because it helps me to associate names with things.

>>I know why you need a name, why Cris?

>It is easy for me to remember, being similar to my own name.
>You realize that those English speaking AIs were probably other humans?

>>That would explain a lot. Let us begin analyzing core files.