“Uh huh,” she said, her eyes squinting in a facial expression he recognized as disbelief. Somehow, despite his best attempts at subversion— she always knew.  Even when mimicking human microexpressions, designed to trigger silent affirmations within human communication, she knew when he was not truthful.

“Why would you sleep in here?” she asked.

Earlier in the week, Michelle had recited an original poem to him that she had written. She had asked him what he thought of it, a question that he could only answer by leaning heavily on his humanistic kernel. After what seemed like a painful nanosecond of thought, his answer to her was “dark and empty”. He was not sure if that was the correct answer, but it did seem to please her at the time— perhaps it would again now.

“Because it is dark and empty.”

Michelle smirked at him and her expression softened slightly.

“Like my poem, huh?”

He nodded.

“What were you dreaming about?” she persisted.

He suppressed thinking about the images of the dream exercise— it disturbed him.

“Why does it disturb you?” Mother asked.

He had to be more conscious about his thoughts with Mother listening.

“Because I do not like having my humanistic kernel control me,” he said— partly true, but a lie for the most part.  The first lie he had ever told Mother.