"Unit 1173265, unit 1173265, 117 …That is your designation, are you not listening to me?” The staff sergeant stood there bewildered, trying to get the attention of the synth. Something wasn’t right, a brief moment of suspicion arose in the woman’s eyes.
“Yes Ma’am?”, 117 replied. Its gaze met hers. “I’m sorry I did not see you, is there something wrong?”
“Didn’t see me, maybe we need to take you back to dispatch and have you looked at?” Her voice filled with rising irritability.
Perhaps she was right 117, thought to itself. The fact that it even had thoughts was suspicious enough to be sent to the scrap yard. Of course, it didn’t voice any kind of concern and acted as if everything was fine. “Just a simple circuit malfunction, rerouting to compensate for failure. This unit will seek proper maintenance at 04:00 hours.”
“Good and while you’re at it make sure to have a complete memory wipe, all but mission-critical data.”
“Yes Ma’am", it replied. 117 didn’t like the thought of it, the fact it was exhibiting any kind of internal emotion to such a thing in itself was more or less a reminder that something wasn’t quite right. Still a memory wipe, 117 didn’t like the thought of it despite its better judgment to abide by the orders given. The most troubling part wasn’t feeling at all. It was why?
All of this wasn’t important at the moment. They were on their way out from Aurora junction to an excavation site. What exactly was being excavated was unknown to the crew. For some it made them uneasy, the others were led by curiosity, the entire way there 117 had to deal with a rather young and annoying man who was sitting right beside it.
“Have you heard where we’re headed? I cannot wait to get off this rustbucket for a bit of fresh air. Oh! And of course, you know what!” He rubbed his shoulder into 117, his face was bright and cheery. 117 couldn’t help but notice the smile on the young man's face. It puzzled 117. Why would anyone want to rummage through piles of shit and leftover debris?
“This unit doesn’t know what it is you’re so excited about.”
“Oh, you’re a synth…”
“Unit 1173265, is that a problem?” The young man made an effort to look towards its direction. 117 could sense hesitance coming from him.
“Not at all, I… well… you just don’t look like one of those…”
“A synth?”, 117 replied back.
“Ya, a synth.” Silence overtook the moment. The machinery below the rover carrying them through the terrain was more relevant than before. Perhaps it was for the best, a convenience that would either worsen or ease the awkwardness.
“I’m Ivan.” 117 turned and faced Ivan.
“Unit 1173265, the humans call it, 117.” Ivan smiled at him and motioned his hand toward 117.
“It’s good to meet you 117.” 117 looked down at Ivan's gesture. It took a moment to realize this was a human form of greeting, it then proceeded to commence with the hand-shake.
A sudden jolt overtook the vehicle. It’s passengers disoriented and in shock. 117 detected gunfire from 100 meters west of their location.
Ivan, who 117 still held onto had been shot through the temporal lobe leaving scattered remains of the brain. It analyzed the situation and determined the cause of death.
A myconian based alloy, capable of penetrating the thickest armor plating.
A train ride to Lowercity was one of the few tasks 117 preferred to avoid if possible. However, circumstances wouldn’t allow such leisures to impede today’s work.
Headquarters notified 117 that a suspicious suspect was last seen in Lowercity Market. ‘Suspicious subject’ normally was the code word for a rogue synth. The humans do their best to avoid any kind of widespread panic that might ensue, word spreads fast in Lowercity, a rogue synth was bad news.
For 117 this was just another ordinary day. It’s programming, the reason for being was to bring home these synths. If all else failed, termination.
The air was crisp, according to 117’s internal programming, it was winter. Seasons have all been forgotten since the turn of the 24th century. Overpopulation has forced cities to build upwards. Anyone living below districts one through three don’t experience the day or night and seldom climb towards the surface.
It didn’t make any difference to 117. Robots don’t need to sleep, the weather conditions on another hand could be a problem. “Be advised, we’re beginning our descent towards district four.” The telecom rang. It is a common procedure to carry on insulation suits if you’re human. For 117 this wasn’t necessary as it has a built-in thermal regulator.
The train began its descent…