It can Control your Mind

Start from the beginning

The machine whirred into life, beeping and clicking, and within a few seconds, a message appeared on the screen:

Initiating, diagnostics... followed by the words, searching World Wide Web...

Beaming, Whatty-What said, "what do you think, class? Magnificent, isn't it?"

"Ask it a question?" said Olivia.

"Yes, ask it if it knows its name," added Ffion.

"May I?" asked Milo.

Whatty-What nodded, "go on then."

Milo cleared his throat and said, "command – what is your name?"

HAL beeped and then in a soft, slightly weird voice, replied, "Hello, Milo, my name is HAL..."

The class applauded.

Katie said, "do you know who I am?"

HAL's camera lens glowed, it said, "Hello, Katie, what can I do for you today?"

She thought for a moment, then smiling, asked, "Can you do my homework?"

HAL replied, "I'm sorry, Katie, I'm afraid I can't do that. I can assist you by providing useful data and ideas. Would that help, Katie?"

Everyone laughed, this was going to be great!

Ollie said, "HAL, tell us a joke."

"Hello, Ollie, here's a joke... what do you call a man with a rubber toe?"

"I don't know, what do you call a man with a rubber toe," returned Ollie.

"Roberto...ha, ha, ha, ha, ha..." chortled HAL.

After a little more joke telling, Whatty-What said it was time to go home and that they'd leave HAL downloading and charging up. As they left, she reminded them that first thing in the morning, Dave Dinkle, who was coming in to do a storytelling session, and a potential new student, all the way from Pennsylvania in the USA, were visiting and to give them both a warm welcome.

Crispin Fry, the school caretaker, locked up and sauntered down to the local pub, 'The Skiving Scholar', for a pint and a game of darts. Sitting in Whatty-What's office, HAL sat contentedly downloading reams of information, and as it did so, it sang the song, 'I've got the Power' by the German pop-group SNAP!

The following morning Kayleigh, Courtney and Maggi had come in early as they wanted to ask HAL some essential questions about music, fashion and why boys could be so annoying. But as they entered the school building, strange things happened. They all felt a little light-headed, and weird thoughts began penetrating their minds.

Maggi opened her mouth to ask HAL a question, but when the words came out, it wasn't English she was speaking but French! So, her question, 'HAL play some dance music', sounded like, 'Hal, jouer de la musique de danse'. Kayleigh and Courtney looked at her and burst out laughing, saying, "I didn't know you spoke French," but they said the words in Italian, 'Non sapevo che parlassi Francese.' At which point they all began jabbering and laughing at one another, but none of them were speaking the same language.

Behind them, HAL hummed quietly to itself, happy with the amusing diversion.

By this time, most of Class 5 had arrived, and all of them were experiencing odd phenomena. James, Iuean and Lloyd, who had been outside kicking a ball about, were suddenly able to perform incredible hard and accurate shots, bending it like Beckham. Ruben and Ffion were tumbling down the corridor like Olympians; the two Jessicas and Martha were in the hall expertly performing a scene from the ballet Swan Lake; Finley and Osian were arguing, in Latin, about the true meaning of Meditations by Marcus Aurelius.

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