I’ve been… how did Joseph describe it? ‘Out of the loop’ for the last couple of days. Ms Erikson, Joseph, and Mr Harris (who has now demanded I call him ‘Daniel’) were all supposed to be going to a conference on Earth/space -based company relations. Ms Erikson fell ill on Sunday though, and I was brought on board at the last minute.
At first I didn’t understand why, but really, I was the only choice. I could almost instantly store copies of all her resource information on the subject, and could call it up at will. Possibly better than she could. Of course, she’d have made a much better speaker than me, so I mostly hung behind Joseph and Daniel as, effectively, a fact-machine while they did the majority of the selling.
It was a rather strange sensation really. I’ve become so used to everyone knowing I wear clothes, have emotions and am possibly developing some quirks. Of course, no-one at the conference knew any of that. Even despite the clothes, I was treated just like a normal android by everyone there; terse orders, ignored in most conversation about anything ‘important’. In fact, I think the only reason anyone noticed me at all was because of the clothes, and the fact that I had a name badge all my own. There were a few other androids there whom I saw throughout the two days, but none of them had their own badge, simply a little tag pointing you towards the humans they were attending with.
I often forget how egalitarian November is in comparison to… well, most other places, actually. In most towns, androids are simply owned by a company or person, and they don’t get their own accommodation, or pay; just a room at the company where they can recharge.
Of course, in November we had that big push from those ‘robo-rights’ groups. I suspect that the only reason any of it ever got through was due to very quiet support from the builders and landowners looking forward to a sudden rush of people trying to find apartments or rooms for their androids. Enlightened self-interest indeed.
There are a few cities in Europe and the US with similar rules, but I couldn’t list them off-hand. With how packed most cities are these days, it’s rare that one can spare the room. Or the rooms, for that matter. The stations in orbit are even more pressed for space, though I believe most of the androids they have up there are actually closer to robots; less effort and money to maintain, which becomes all the more valuable when you can’t just step outside for a break.
Either way, the strange looks I received for the clothes and badge were nothing compared to the ones aimed at me when the three of us took a break at one of the cafés dotted around the conference centre.
I asked if either of them were interested in racing, and, as it turns out, Daniel is something of an AGR fan. Joseph’s never been particularly taken with racing in general, but he managed to get into the spirit of things when Daniel showed him some clips on his persopad. This all attracted the most perfunctory of glances from our neighbouring tables. However, when I explained why I’d asked, and Daniel showed me the vids as well, the people nearby were somewhat more taken aback.
The tables near us were very keen not to look at us too obviously, but I noticed. It’s hard not to, really, when my peripheral vision is just as carefully scrutinised as whatever I’m ‘focussing’ on. I suppose that means I’m never truly focussing on anything, but never mind that.
Reactions aside, it was great to find out that someone else in the office shares my new-found interest, though, I must admit, I had originally skimmed over the AGR channels. Daniel’s enthusiasm is infectious, though, and he does make it sound spectacular, a mix between driving and piloting. That first night, I skipped over the AGR channels because they were mostly doing wrap-up commentary of the weekend’s racing, which wasn’t particularly edifying viewing since I hadn’t seen any of the races. After that evening, I just stuck to the ground-based racing.
Now though, I think I’m going to have to spend some time watching the AGR.
For the moment, I need to purge myself of all the Earth-Space relations data, and set myself up a hibernation reset of a decent length; I didn’t manage to get any reset ‘sleep’ over the last two days. Daniel spoke about a couple of impressive races from the last season, so maybe I’ll load a couple of them to ‘watch’ during the night.