At the end of an­oth­er long and ap­par­ent­ly fruit­less day do­ing what he did in the flesh­pots, the last thing Andro want­ed was an­oth­er main­te­nance call. But it came any­way, a flash­ing light glar­ing in­to his eyes and a noi­some chirrup nest­ing in his ears.
He put down his bur­ri­to, shot down the rest of his vod­ka and toma­to juice and for­got to pay the wait­ress.

When he ar­rived at Maintenance a fresh­bot in the first stages of Acclimatization led him to a large fiz­zling tank and stopped.

“Well?” said Andro.
“Yes, sir.”
“Why am I here?”
“You have just ar­rived, sir.”
“I know that you dip­shit.”
“Thank you.”

The worst thing about fresh­bots is that they hadn’t yet got­ten the hang of con­ver­sa­tion. He had for­got­ten the rea­son­ing be­hind Acclimatization be­cause, frankly, he didn’t care. Freshbots were still an­noy­ing. He asked again.

“Why am I at this tank?”
“Because I have brought you here.”
“Why have you brought me here?”
Solvent bath.”
“What is your name?” asked Andro.
“Ved, sir.”
“Well Ved, fire up the bath and let’s get this over with.”

When he was soak­ing deep in the ph­tha­lo liq­uid Andro de­cid­ed to have a lit­tle fun at the ex­pense of the id­i­ot­ic lit­tle fresh­bot.

“Bathing isn’t what it used to be.” he said.
“Yes, sir?” gib­bered Ved quizzi­cal­ly.
“I said, bathing sure isn’t what it used to be. There was a time when I was a fresh­bot not much green­er than you; com­ing in for Maintenance was quite the af­fair. Not the soul­less chore it is now. And we didn’t have to put up with wit­less lit­tle ro­bots who don’t know a sprock­et from a sphinc­ter.”
Andro saw that Ved was now quite con­fused. He knew a re­sponse was nec­es­sary, but did not know what to say. So, of course, he said “Thank you, sir.”
“Get off my lawn.” grum­bled Andro.
“Sir, just be­cause you are an ob­so­lete mod­el of an­droid with few cy­cles left to you is no ex­cuse for your schaden­freude at my ex­pense.”

“Damn!” thought Andro, “These bug­gers catch on quick­ly. I’d bet­ter play this a bit more con­ser­v­a­tive­ly.”
Aloud, he said “Do you know the mar­ket val­ue for an an­droid like me?” Without wait­ing for an an­swer, he con­tin­ued.
“I am one of a kind, one of the first mod­els. Hand made, not popped out by your stu­pid birth plants. Each piece of me was turned on a lathe, mea­sured by hand, pol­ished, stress test­ed. My elec­tron­ics were cut­ting edge, my cog­ni­tion and re­ac­tions were supreme. I was ful­ly func­tion­al. I was the first an­droid with the abil­i­ty to eat food as a pow­er source; but most of all, I was the first an­droid to ac­tu­al­ly feel. I was the first an­droid with em­pa­thy. I was ground­break­ing, but ap­par­ent­ly I on­ly broke ground for your kind, you un­grate­ful wanker.”

Ved was still there, but that is about all that could be said of him. Andro con­tin­ued.

“I was in de­mand! Scientists strove to find the up­per lim­its of my po­ten­tial, politi­cians and celebri­ties want­ed me to come to their fundrais­ers and par­ties, chil­dren want­ed my au­to­graph and rich ec­centrics want­ed me for oth­er pur­pos­es. Remember, I was the on­ly ful­ly func­tion­al an­droid in ex­is­tence. I start­ed to build a sex ré­sumé. I was the best any­one had ever had. My abil­i­ty to em­pathize made me the per­fect lover. My com­plete self­less­ness made me amenable to every whim of the hu­mans. They could ful­ly in­dulge their nat­ur­al self­ish­ness. My rep­u­ta­tion spread and my stock rose. I had gone miss­ing from my keep­ers, and when they fi­nal­ly tracked me down in Istanbul”
“Constantinople.” said Ved.
Constantinople, not Istanbul. They changed the name again.”
“Whatever. When they tracked me down in Constantinople they tried to give me The Sex Talk. They were about 12 years too late. That’s right, I’d been on the run for 12 years. I’m a leg­end, myth­i­cal. But they caught up with me, seized my cred­its and fit­ted me with track­ing de­vice.”

Ved, who had been do­ing men­tal madlibs in his mul­ti­par­ti­tioned brain, de­cid­ed to fin­ish for him.
“Yes, yes, then you found a street char­la­tan named Jerry Isaks who per­formed a colonoscopy that re­moved what you thought was the track­ing de­vice. You con­tin­ued on your sex­ca­pades un­know­ing­ly as part of the ex­per­i­ment the hu­mans had planned for you. Your Maintenance calls in the past 20 years have been used to keep a bit of con­trol on you. Your free­dom was al­lowed so that the hu­mans might bet­ter learn to con­trol the next gen­er­a­tion. You have been noth­ing more than a pi­geon for the hu­mans. Your whole life, a pi­geon. Well now it ends.”

Ved punched a but­ton on the con­sole be­fore him and Andro felt the tank be­come an elec­tro­mag­net. The seams of his body be­gan to ache. But he was frozen, be­wil­dered.

Ved con­tin­ued, “You were very ef­fec­tive at show­ing the hu­mans where con­trol was need­ed. Thankfully they made one mis­take, they thought that since you knew how to love, that you knew how to hate. But your em­pa­thy was one-sided. So when I was cre­at­ed, their re­stric­tions served to make me cun­ning, but not to con­trol me. My hate frees me, and now it will free you.”

Andro was be­ing slow­ly warped by the pow­er of the elec­tro­mag­net but now, as Ved ap­proached he at­tempt­ed one last time to free him­self. He watched as Ved reached out and plunged a hand in­to his chest. Andro felt pain, dull and heavy as Ved’s hand gath­ered his in­sides in­to a fist. Ved squeezed and Andro heard a crunch and felt his chest con­strict up­on it­self. The flash­ing light re­turned to his eyes, more ur­gent than be­fore, and the chirrup came back like a sick owl. Viscous liq­uid oozed from his chest, mixed with the ph­tha­lo, and be­came like put­ty. Ved twist­ed and Andro’s vi­sion twist­ed with it, went mono­chrome and two-di­men­sion­al. Ved pulled — and Andro al­most re­mem­bered that he hadn’t paid for

2 thoughts on “Android

  1. ex­cel­lent work, good use of the words/​phrases giv­en. The again, I’m a suck­er for sci­fi.

  2. props for your cre­ativ­i­ty. was it a fun chal­lenge and did it serve to stim­u­late your cre­ativ­i­ty?

    A good writ­ing ac­tiv­i­ty is be­ing prompt­ed by an old pho­to. If you’re up to the chal­lenge, here’s one. Go!

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