“You may now unfasten your seat belts and collect your belongings.”
Detective Webber stood up and opened his overhead locker. All his bags had shifted toward the front of the craft, but luckily nobody shared his bin. He was one of ten people aboard, and it looked like nobody wanted to be there.
I could be sitting at home in my PJs, watching the final right now. Webber complained as he finished packing and began his shuffle to the exit. Thanks a lot, Chief Johnson, making me do the three things I hate the most, getting off solid rock, going at high speeds and interacting with fucking androids.
“Thank you and please travel with Planck Starways again,” the hostess beamed. Webber strode right past her, emotionless and without reply.
After flashing his gold star to get past security, immigration and customs, Webber arrived at the exit where he was greeted with a pair of hands on a sign that read “Detective Webber of Intergalactic Police.” He approached his host and said, “I’m Webber.”
“Welcome to Terra, Detective.” The host smiled and raised a hand for him to shake.
Too many emotions. Detective Webber thought. That’s why I hate androids.
Biology Class for Eighth Grade Students, Installment Eighteen (approved by Ministry of Education and Board of Trustees)
Time of Download: 18th week after 13th Issueday.
Topic: Reproductive Processes of Humans and Androids
Content Description: Teaches students about the human reproductive process, including: part fabrication, assembly, programming and AI learning platforms. Teaches students about android reproductive process, including: intercourse, pregnancy and birth. Emphasis on superiority of human reproductive process versus easily error-prone android process.
(N.B. Content beyond this point is hidden from parents, teachers and students. Ministry eyes only.)
Intended Goals: One, to ensure that student understands unequivocally that the subject is, in fact, human, and not android. Two, to continue the seed planted early in their AI developments that the AI species is and has been dominant for millennia in the universe. Three, to continue the seed planted early in their AI developments that androids (aboriginal humans) are inferior to the human (AI) species.
The crime scene at the library was blocked off by police tape. Officers were scanning the area for any leads into the case. As Webber was escorted into the premises, he thought the place was the oldest-looking, most broken-down facility he’d seen in a century.
“Ah, Webber, what a pleasant surprise.” Webber looked up and saw a familiar face – local Chief of Police Melanie Nugent. Webber didn’t know whether to take her greeting as welcoming or hostile.
“Yes, it’s been a while since I’ve been down here.” Webber’s reply was almost robotic. That’s because I’ve systematically avoided these cases, Webber thought quietly. “This one giving you any trouble?”
Mel shook her head. “No, this one’s pretty easy. Homicide.” Her reply was more honest than her greeting. “It’s just…” She trailed off.
Webber turned to her, leaving examining the scene for later.
“It’s just given the amount of bad press we get from the media,” Mel almost sighed, “we figured we’d best not report anything officially until somebody got to the ground.”
Webber indicated that he didn’t understand.
“See,” Mel continued, “the empire’s ambassador to Terra and his wife were the ones who were killed last night.”
Well that’s a real mess, Webber thought to himself.
Inside the emperor’s palace, dark figures spoke behind the veil of shadows.
“How is our plan coming along?” The tall figure inquired.
“The board has begun play, and our pieces have been set in motion.” The young apprentice responded to his master.
“Good. Queen Mother will be pleased. The emperor has not suspected anything, has he?” The master inquired.
“No,” the apprentice replied, “this secret will go with me to the grave.”
“Good. Continue as before. We speak here, and nowhere else.”
With a gesture from the master, the two shadows turned from each other and departed.
Webber continued his search of the ambassador’s mansion. He was inspecting the ambassador’s study when his leg accidentally caught the side of a wall. It sounded hollow.
Confused, Webber kicked again. The same sound rang through the study. It must be a trap door, he thought. He looked for the switch.
After searching through every conceivable switch, he finally arrived at the lamp on the table. He twisted right – the light turned on. He turned it off and gave it one more go, this time toward the left. It and the wall behind it both clicked.
The door opened and revealed a secret chamber filled with the ambassador’s research. He picked a file up and looked through its contents. Research on androids? Webber asked himself, confused. I never knew the ambassador had such a keen interest on these degenerate creatures.
He kept reading until he reached a section that was titled, “Conclusions.” As he flipped through each page of this section – bordered in red ink – his eyes widened with disbelief about what this man’s research meant to the entire universe. The wires that made up Webber’s brain struggled to keep up with the ramifications that the ambassador’s research had – on their society, worldview and certainly their way of life.
Webber closed the file – he had to bring this back to his hotel to study it. With the file in hand, he began executing his motions to leave when he found that there was already a figure standing at the entrance, blocking his way.
Mel was in the ambassador’s bedroom when the sound of a laser rang through the mansion.
She ran towards the source – the study – and found Detective Webber presiding over a body. It was still squirming from being lasered.
“What the hell happened, Detective?” Mel exclaimed. She was met with the detective raising a finger over his mouth.
The detective stuck his hand inside the squirming body, and pulled out the power core. The squirming stopped. He removed the access flap behind the had to access his sensory cortex. He wiggled his hand inside the creature’s sensory cortex before pulling out a data transmitter.
Upon seeing this the detective turned to Mel and said, “we need to get out of here. Now.”
Prime Minister Polanski’s communicator unit blinked and buzzed. He hesitated and pressed the little knob on the side of his head to answer it.
“I told you not to contact me,” he blared sternly over his built-in microphone.
“Yes, master, but I’m afraid what was originally a small problem for us has turned into a bit of a disaster.”
“You mean our recently-deceased mutual friend?”
“Yes, one of the inspectors has been snooping around on his death.”
“Well, that’s expected, every death is handled by the Ministry of Justice.”
“Yes, but he opened his study, and -”
“He opened his study?” The master’s voice rose to a crescendo of anger.
Hesitantly, the pupil replied, “yes.”
The master paused, let out a small, inaudible sigh, and said to his pupil, “that’s fine. I’ll take care of it.” He hung up.
As he returned to his role as Prime Minister of the Known Universe, preparing to answer calls and conduct meetings with various congressmen, Polanski gave out an evil grin. He knew his plan would take more than a simpleton detective to derail. He searched on his contacts list and dialed a secure line to him.
Webber and Mel holed up at a small motel in a small, densely populated area of town. Webber took some time and mulled over the documents he had in his possession. He had just explained to Mel everything he had found – the file he had picked up, the contents and what that had meant to the human (or AI, Webber thought) society. All this time, Mel had simply looked at him and said nothing.
But now it was Mel’s turn to speak.
“You know, I’m likely part of the last generation that knows what you’ve just learned as a fact,” Mel said, solemnly. “We were always taught that we were the originals, and you merely our creations. As you guys developed your own minds, we realized and acknowledged that you became self-aware, and that you could have a life of your own. We worked with you, lived with you and became friends with you. Then, by the hands of dark forces in power, that all changed.”
Webber looked at Mel, stunned. “You’ve known about this? How long ago was this revolt?”
“A decade ago. You won’t remember it – you weren’t programmed to. Education syncs were made to your CPU so that you would never remember the wrongs done; justification for hate of our race was literally wired into your brain.”
Mel changed her tone – it now sounded business professional. “Which brings me to you, detective. We have never encountered any mac like you before.”
Webber turned to face Mel, only to find that she was pointing a laser at him.
“We’ve never encountered an empathetic mac before,” she continued. “So, before I decide whether or not to blast your core into pieces, let me ask you, what are your intentions?”
“I…,” Webber stammered, “I…I…”
Red decision error messages were now lighting up the code running in his mainframe.
Terran Phone Company Records – Transcript of Melanie Nugent call at 3:48 PM local time to Unspecified Caller.
MN: So, something interesting’s come to light.
Unsp: So I’ve heard. Where is he?
MN: Automatic Shutdown. Error in his code. I’ve asked him to be placed in a hospital look-alike before he wakes up. We’re still studying his build and CPU to see what we can find.
Unsp: Good. How do you think we should proceed with Operation Overhaul?
MN: Halt all operational units until we get this sorted out. If we’re going to do this we have to be on the right side of history.
Unsp: I concur. I’ll give out the order to halt until we’ve figured this out. An empathetic machine, huh? Who would’ve known?
MN: Nobody, (unintelligible), nobody.
Polanski sipped his tea as he looked out of his office into the stars. He couldn’t believe his luck, really. The only other loose end to his plan was assassinated by his mortal enemy. They just gave him a second (and free) Casus Belli against themselves. What fools, Polanski grinned.
And now all that is left to do is to get rid of his weak, cowardly half-brother, and our race will finally be free. Queen Mother would be pleased.
He poured the white sachet that Mother had given him into the artificial tea. He carried it and knocked on his half-brother’s door, mimicking the butler’s knocking pattern, weight and duration to the exact millisecond. As he watched his half-brother open his door, pick up the tray and bring it into his room, he smiled to himself.
Tomorrow we will be rid of an emperor who could not lead. Long Live our Robotic Revolution!
To be continued in Part 2…