There’s no other way to put it.
Of course, it was nearly a week and a half ago now, so you’d think that I’d have been able to express in words exactly how it felt. And yet, here I sit, still trying to describe it accurately.
The council took their two days to deliberate and decide, and then I was summoned back to the court. The announcement was short – not even ten minutes long. The press conference afterwards was much longer, and I expect that was exactly how the council liked it. November’s hardly a backwoods town, but you can never have enough positive worldwide coverage. Especially not on ‘landmark rights cases’.
I was, it seemed, only there as a formality – the council members did most of the talking, while I stood in a shocked silence. I suppose I had half-expected to win, since there was little arrayed against me. The younger councilman, the one who seemed less keen on the idea was, apparently, out-voted by the others. Or, I suppose, they just persuaded him that positive coverage like this was worth far more than some rich ProNat backers.
Though I suppose that’s unkind. Just being uncomfortable with my request doesn’t mean that he was in ProNat’s pocket. I hope this uncharitability isn’t a side effect.
Anyway, once the council had their moment, we all stepped down from the podium and made our assorted ways to leave the room. I met with Grace and Joseph who had both come – it was right during their lunch break. I found out later that everyone at the office was apparently watching it on News3 as well, which was very touching. I mean, I know they all offered support in person, but to know they all chose to watch even when I wasn’t there was moving.
I barely had time to talk to Grace or Joseph though, since we were mobbed by the throng of reporters in the room. Grace was swept into her own mini interviews, as my ‘therapist’. Joseph fielded a few as well, as ‘co-worker and friend’, but most of them fought over asking me questions.
To be honest, it was something of a blur. I think the swell of emotions from winning the case overloaded my memory a little – I certainly can’t remember much of it now. I do, however, remember one question very clearly.
“What will you do now?”
‘What will I do now’.
I didn’t know.
I’d been thinking about it for two weeks by then, and I still didn’t know.
On the one hand, should I stay at GU? Should I maybe train one of the interns to take my place, then see what I can do?
Maybe I could work with Grace – go out and show other androids what I am – who I am – now. What they could be if they get an emotion chip.
I expect humans find it hard to ‘empathise’ with androids without an emotion chip. I probably would too, but I can also upload my memories of it to them – quite literally show them what they could be missing.
Or maybe I could work with her in the therapy and monitoring stages.
I expect that the assorted android rights groups would have loved to take me on – I’ve certainly become a local rallying cry for them. Maybe I could do good.
However, that’s not what I said.
“I don’t really know! I have a few ideas – I was thinking of trying out for the AGR autumn season!”
It was a joke, one which made a few of the reporters smile at least. Still, I couldn’t help but feel, afterwards, that I might’ve said something more profound. I’m glad I didn’t though.
When Grace, Joseph and I finally managed to escape the clutches of the news people, Grace took us to the hotel where Dr Caroll and her team were staying. They were the ones who would be removing my first Law. Well, technically, they would be lowering its importance, so that it wouldn’t force me to risk myself to protect others – I would be able to make that choice myself, based on my own morals.
And that’s where I’ve been for the last week; the initial rebalancing of my Laws was simple, but there were days of testing and projecting and predicting. Would their change cause instability? Would it cause unforeseen problems? Did I have a developed enough moral compass to function in a human society – these were the conditions the Council had put on their acceptance.
This morning, I was finally freed again. A week and a half of detailed tests, set to examine every aspect of my emerging personality. I’ll have to go for monthly tests for a while to make sure that nothing diverges from their predictions, but I walked out of the lab complex eight hours ago a new ‘man’. Grace and Joseph were there to pick me up, and Mr Fairly arranged a slightly longer lunch break so we could have a celebratory meal with everyone from the office.
He also told me that he had been contacted by some people who were interested in my being let go – at first, I thought he meant that ProNat were trying to get me fired. He assured me not, but I couldn’t help but wonder.
When I finally arrived home though, I found out what he meant.
On the floor just inside my door, I had a letter. An actual letter! Paper and everything. I mean, I’ve got the paper diary that Grace bought me, but no one uses paper professionally anymore.
It was a short message, gold writing on white sheet. An address, of sorts, out at the flats near the Tower.
We saw you on NCN on the 21st of June, and we heard what you said.
We would very much like you to interview and race for our team.
Icarus Corporation, AGRacing Division