project a.i.d.e.n.

Book One

2016 #PitchWars MS

Coming Fall 2018

Aiden is the Artificial Intelligence and Robotics lab’s greatest creation–until they demand his destruction. With nothing more than a stolen gun and titanium bones, he escapes and meets Eva, who’s willing to help. What he doesn’t know is her father’s the head of AIR—and she’s not spilling that secret to the sweet, haunted boy. Now on the run from the only home he’s ever known, Aiden must decide what’s worse: endangering Eva’s life, or losing his own.


In my three hundred and eighty-four days of existence, my life has been chock-full of tests. If I failed my final test with Carter earlier today, he’ll deem me faulty, malfunctioned—broken—and nothing good happens to defective products.


I splay my hands across the dark-blue bedspread. My fingers bend like flesh and bone, the heart inside my chest that’s made of steel and wires beats wildly, and a tingling sensation runs through my artificial veins.


But I’m not human. I never will be.


It’s already the middle of the afternoon and I haven’t seen Dr. Niels—that’s unusual, and in a place that adheres to a strict schedule, that can’t mean anything good. I stand, sparing a moment to scan my room. It’s highly efficient: lights on command, voice activated TV, and the world’s most advanced computer. Well, aside from me. Sounds like any kid’s dream house, right? But it’s dark and cold. Metallic and empty. Like they want me to be.


Though I can’t seem to meet that one expectation.


I leave my room and take the stairs to the first floor, walking slowly toward Dr. Niels’ office, hoping to streamline my thoughts by the time I get there.

Zone C is the least populated area inside AIR and thanks to the emptiness, I hear voices inside the corner office when I’m still yards away. I recognize the baritone voice of the other man, and my steps falter.


“How many times do I need to reiterate the facts for you?” Carter’s words ooze exasperation.


“And how many times must I tell you that you simply don’t understand?” Dr. Niels’ voice is much softer than Carter’s, but it maintains the same tone, like an arrow laced with fire. “I care little for your title or what you may threaten me with. This is not a game.”


“No. It’s certainly not.”


“Aiden is not a machine you can just command me to destroy. You can’t possibly—”


“But he is,” Carter says. “That’s precisely what he is. You speak of him as though he’s a man.”


Chills race across my skin as the puzzle pieces fit together, forming one ugly picture in my head, and I press a hand against the cool metal wall. No.


© 2021 by Lindsey Frydman Author