Things have been tense in November since last week. Three other attacks on androids were reported from Wednesday to Friday. I shudder to think that there might be others that simply haven’t been reported, or haven’t been discovered. Or at least, I would, if I could shudder. But that’s not the point.
Either way, it’s made walking home from work at night a very different experience. I’ve been watching out for groups of people on the same side of the road, and trying to avoid them. Even only twos and threes in some cases. It’s odd too – until last Monday, I was getting shocked or surprised looks from people as they saw my clothes. Now, however, I’ve been noticing a lot of people looking at me differently; I think some of it is pity. In fact, I’m sure most of it is. They see me, and they know that something bad has been happening this last week. And they know that I’m making myself into a target.
I know I’m making myself into a target.
It’s strange though. It doesn’t scare me. If anything, I think I might be daring these android haters. It’s a foolhardy and dangerous way to behave, and yet I keep going to work in my suit.
In truth, I don’t understand it. I have basic laws in place governing my sense of self-preservation, which I’d think should impinge on this new behaviour, and force my deepest programming to forbid it. Maybe I’ve reached a grey area where my emotion chip has full control, and my basic programming is being overridden? That shouldn’t be possible, unless I suppose I know ‘subconsciously’ that I’m in no real danger?
I suppose, thinking about it, I’m probably not; both my flat, and the GU building, are in a relatively well-off part of the city. November has no truly ‘poor’ areas, I suppose since it didn’t grow here organically like most other cities; the Elevator is nearby, and so a city was built to co-ordinate trade and transport and everything in between. Still, the city has its poorer places, and that’s where the attacks have been.
Is it because people there agree with ProNat’s claims that androids will steal all their jobs? Is it just because they’re angry and ProNat gave them a target?
Is it just that they were bored, and destruction of an android is a relatively low-priority crime?
If I remember correctly, it’s only punishable by a fine unless the android is completely unrecoverable.
‘If I remember correctly’.
That’s a phrase that has been gaining new meaning for me recently.
I’ve not turned my wireless networking on in nearly a month now, except when at work. Going on only my memories isn’t so bad, of course, with perfect recall, but when that perfect recall is of snatches of conversations overheard on the road a year ago, I do find myself doubting their veracity.
To veer back off my tangent; it’s the sort of crime that is unlikely to happen in the streets I frequent. And yet, I get the pitying looks, and the strangest sense of…I’m not sure what.
Maybe achievement? Success?
The simulated effects of what would be adrenaline?
It sounds a lot less interesting that way.
If anything, these attacks have really shown me how truly good some of the people I work with are. Mr Fairly, for example, decided on Friday that he would try and push to have my maintenance and ‘life’ insurance taken under the wing of GU’s employee health policies. I think, technically, I shouldn’t be judging by the wording of the policy. He says that, if nothing else, it would be a good PR move, especially this week with android rights movements gaining a lot more attention and sympathy in the news. That somewhat implies that his plan would be to make it public again, but I’m not sure I mind that so much anymore.
Joseph has also taken to walking with me a lot further than he did previously. I’ve not brought it up, since I know what he’s doing, and appreciate it, but I’m not sure he would want to admit to it. For fear of hurting my feelings maybe?
Either way, I have been incredibly lucky with my friends.
Once again, I don’t-actually-shudder to think what might have happened had I worked, or lived, somewhere else with this emotion chip.
Would I be one of the androids spread across fifteen metres of road?
It doesn’t really bear thinking about.
On that note, in fact, Grace and Joseph have planned out an office get-together again, this time to visit a faux-wilderness activity centre outside the city proper. Joseph’s told me about the place, and it sounds quite interesting. Archery, rock-climbing, team-building activities galore. I’m not entirely sure what I’ll get out of it, but they invited me and it might be good to take my mind off the possible dangers in the city for a while.
And it might be more fun than I expect. Both Joseph and Grace think it’ll be good. I think they’ve been there already together; I feel quite the Cupid.