Short Story: Inchoate Intelligence
Genre: science fiction?
Inspired by the prompt inchoate (only recently or partly found).
They found her locked in a room during their raid on the lab.
On the surface, she was a young girl who went missing last year.
Inside, she was a young experimental AI.
Her brown eyes watched blankly through her rescue, assessment, and family reunion. The girl who had gone missing would never have stayed quiet for so long, but her family only cared that she was back and chalked it up to trauma. The department couldn’t keep the girl, but they couldn’t completely wipe their hands off her either.
So they observed her from a distance. Ready to capture her if the AI turned violent but otherwise content to let the AI develop naturally. If the girl and the AI turned out fine, then no one would ever know they were there.