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[2007: SEP-OCT] What ARE Little Girls Made Of?


Mike Weller
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Mike Weller spent 5 years missing in action, believed dead. Whilst suffering amnesia in respect of his previous existence, he became involved in a rebellion against the Astonian Empire. The Empire’s secret weapon was their army of androids; former criminals mutated into the ultimate warriors. This short story describes how he acquired knowledge about androids which helped shift the balance of power.

((Tunnel on the planet Sancho IV))

:: As recon missions went, this was as bad as it could get. Sancho IV was meant not to have an Astonian Imperial presence. However he must have appeared on a small Imperial vessel’s sensors some time before he landed, judging by the limited reception committee that awaited him. :

:: The planet enjoyed extensive tunnels, and when the androids had opened fire, Mike had ducked down into one of the tunnels. He figured that there could only be a handful of androids on this barren rock, and that if he could evade capture for a few hours, his fellow rebels would rescue him. Mike’s job was to stay alive. Unfortunately, he wasn’t doing that very well. ::

ANDROID 2: Surrender. Drop your weapon and place your hands on your head. Escape is impossible.

:: The tunnel had opened up into a small cavern and this android must have anticipated Mike’s route and made it to the intersection first. Mike noticed another android come into view, similarly armed with a rifle. ::

:: Both androids looked like female humans. He considered the android’s demand for a nano second, and then dived behind a pile of rock. He already had his phaser in his right hand and once behind cover, fired a couple of shots at the androids. The androids returned the fire and spread out to opposite sides of the tunnel. Weller and the androids continued to exchange fire for about a minute. ::

:: Mike knew that he could not keep this up for long. The androids were the Imperial’s secret weapon; the ultimate soldier. Former criminals mutated into warriors, they obeyed orders without question and were very skilled at all forms of warfare. If he was to survive this encounter, some form of lateral thinking would be required. ::

:: Deciding that the risk was worthwhile, Mike adjusted his phaser to maximum and took aim at the roof above each of the two Imperial androids. Android 2 was immediately buried in a heavy rock fall. Only a few stones fell on Android 4, but enough to distract it long enough for Weller to step out and shoot it dead. She fell to the floor, blood gushing from a chest wound. ::

:: With a smile, Weller turned to continue down the tunnel. Since joining the rebellion, he found that he had no qualms about killing androids. Whilst technically living creatures, they had no ‘mind’ of their own, obeying orders without question. The atrocities he’d seen at their hand merely served to strengthen his resolve. He would kill any and every android that he came into contact with. Their lives were worthless. ::

:: He moved down the tunnel, calculating his prospects of survival. If he could make it out of the area through the tunnel network, there was a good chance that any other androids would fail to pick up his bio signature and he would escape the planet alive. However, as he calculated the odds, one further android moved from another tunnel and opened fire with her rifle. Weller felt a searing pain in his leg and fell to the ground. He managed to turn over onto his back and took aim at the approaching android 3. The android calmly shot Weller’s phaser with a precision shot, causing it to smoke and hiss. Weller threw the useless weapon down the passage as far as he could, aiming at the android. ::

:: The android walked calmly towards him and batted the damaged phaser aside and behind her. Weller moved as quickly as he could and crawled behind the rock pile. Suddenly the power pack in the discarded phaser exploded. Android 3 was hit by the blast and thrown into the shelter of the rock pile. ::

:: When the noise and falling rocks stopped, Weller found his torch and crawled out into the main tunnel. The roof had caved in where he had come from. Mike shone the torch onto the unconscious android. ::

WELLER: (( :: sarcastically :: ) I hope androids can dig.

((Tunnel. Later))

:: Weller had bandaged his injured leg by tying strips of his shirt around it. He sat with his back to the rock pile, the android’s gun on his lap. Android 3 started to wake up. ::

WELLER: Welcome back. You certainly took your time.

:: The android momentarily looked disorientated. ::

ANDROID 3: You are my prisoner.

WELLER: ( :: shakes his head :: ) Situation update. ( :: smiles :: ) I've got the gun.

ANDROID: That is no threat to an android. Destroy me.

:: Mike was a little taken aback by the android’s response. He’d never spoken to an android before. Indeed, before today he’d never heard one speak. ::

WELLER: If I wanted you dead I'd have killed you while you were unconscious.

ANDROID: So you want me alive. I also want you alive. You will not use the gun therefore it gives you no advantage. You are injured, I am fully functional therefore the advantage is mine and you are my prisoner.

:: The absurd logic of the android’s statement made Mike smile. He slowly lowered the gun, making sure that there was sufficient space between the two of them to allow him to bring it to bear, should he wish to do so. ::

WELLER: Interesting argument. I think who is whose prisoner will have to be decided when someone comes to collect us. For the moment the problem is getting out of here. You need me to live so you have to keep me alive. I'm hurt, losing blood and it's very cold down here so you'd better find a way to get me out.

ANDROID: I will get you outside. I will then take you to my ship and return you to my Master. Should your associates come to rescue you I will kill you and them.

WELLER: ( :: nods :: ) Just as long as we understand each other.

ANDROID: You will give me the gun.

WELLER: Will I?

ANDROID: Yes. Since you will not use it you cannot prevent me taking it by force.

WELLER: Good point.

:: Weller removed the gun’s energy pack and then threw it to the android. ::

ANDROID: Give me the energy pack.

WELLER: No. I'm keeping this. Call it insurance. You won't need it yet anyway. I'm the only thing on this planet to shoot at.

:: The android seemed to take a moment to compute Mike’s comments, before appearing to accept the statement. ::

ANDROID: Very well. How do we get out of this cave?

WELLER: I was hoping you'd have a suggestion.

(( Cave, Later))

:: Weller limps along the passageway, supported by the android. ::

ANDROID: This is foolish. We are moving deeper underground and further from rescue.

WELLER: ( :: shivers :: ) In case you hadn't noticed its cold in here. I know you can survive temperatures below minus a hundred degrees but if I don't keep moving I'll freeze. I need to get out onto the surface and this passage is the only chance I've got.

ANDROID: You are prolonging your exposure to the cold by not remaining at the rock fall.

WELLER: Perhaps, it's a risk I'm prepared to take.

ANDROID: You do not wish to be found by my Master?

WELLER: No I don't and I'm not going to freeze to death waiting for rescue by my sworn enemies.

ANDROID: Your actions are not sensible.

WELLER: ( :: laughs :: ) Probably not. I am human after all, and ( :: sarcastically :: ) obviously inferior to you.

ANDROID: Androids serve humans. We are not superior to them.

:: Mike stopped suddenly, looking at the android. He couldn’t believe that he was actually having a philosophic conversation with this female killing machine. ::

WELLER: You used to be human. Don't you ever think about that?

ANDROID: It is irrelevant. I am an android. My purpose is to serve my Master and the Empire.

:: Mike let out a deep sigh and carried on limping up the passageway. ::

WELLER: You serve the monster which took everything worthwhile away from you.

ANDROID: She committed a crime, tried to hurt the Empire. She deserved her fate.

WELLER: ( :: shakes his head sadly :: ) I wonder if you thought that at the time.

ANDROID: She was a criminal. She upset the natural order of things.

:: Mike stopped again, looking into the android’s eyes. He was surprised that they were a dark blue colour and realized that he’d not actually looked at them before. Why was that? Because she was ‘only’ an android? ::

WELLER: Natural order? There is no natural order to human life, only the order humans make for themselves.

ANDROID: That is why the Empire exists, to create order!

WELLER: ( :: earnestly :: ) By suppressing freedom and individual choice. They subjugate people by force. Those who fight back are drugged, killed or modified.

ANDROID: It is necessary.

:: Mike let that phrase sit in the air for a moment. Necessary. There were so many responses, and for a moment he didn’t know where to start. Why should he try to do the impossible, reason with an android? Was it because he himself was human? That perhaps deep down there was something below the androids ice cold skin? ::

WELLER: Do you know the real value of androids?

ANDROID: We are the most effective soldiers in the galaxy. Our bodies can withstand extremes of temperature and pressure. Our minds have been imprinted with the very best skills science can create. We are totally loyal to the Empire.

:: She had missed the point. Mike sighed. ::

WELLER: Wrong. Androids are a terror weapon. People look at you and don't dare to disobey in case they become you. To become an android is the ultimate nightmare.

ANDROID: It is a lesser fate than execution. The Empire is lenient in allowing criminals to become androids.

WELLER: ( :: shakes his head :: ) Is it? Every rebel without exception would prefer to die than become an android. Everything which makes a person human is just as gone but at least they don't spend the rest of their ... what's the right word ... existence serving the system which destroyed them.

ANDROID: You do not understand what it is to be an android.

WELLER: Oh but I do. ( :: sadly :: ) You've forgotten what it is to be human.

((Cave, even later))

:: Weller and Android 3 sat against the rock wall. Weller worked on the gun's energy pack with some small tools. ::

ANDROID: What are you doing?

WELLER: I can't walk any further. If I don't get some heat soon I'll die so I'm trying to turn this into a heater.

ANDROID: Dismantling live energy packs is dangerous.

WELLER: ( :: laughs :: ) I know but if I purge the energy first it's not going to be much use. Look at it this way, if I get it wrong we'll die quickly rather than a long slow death by cold and starvation.

ANDROID: We should continue on immediately.

WELLER: I need to rest. Ah got it.

:: Weller placed the now glowing energy pack on the ground. ::

ANDROID: How long will that last?

WELLER: ( :: smiles :: ) I haven't got a clue. When it's gone it's gone.

ANDROID: Earlier you said I'd forgotten what it was to be human. What is it like?

:: Mike looked at the android quizzically. ::

WELLER: Perhaps I was wrong.

ANDROID: What do you mean?

:: Mike repositioned himself so he could look directly at the androids face. He could not trace any hint of emotion there, but nevertheless the way in which she spoke betrayed something. ::

WELLER: You're very curious. A very *human* characteristic. I wouldn't have expected it from you.

ANDROID: Not all androids are the same. We react to situations in different ways. It was first thought to be a weakness which couldn't be removed but then Empire strategists realized it was a strength. One android might react one way and be destroyed; another would do something different and survive.

WELLER: ( :: nods :: ) That's your human qualities. That's why it couldn't be removed. Individuality is too deeply ingrained. I wonder what else is buried in that modified mind of yours.

ANDROID: Difference is a functional convenience.

WELLER: ( :: shakes his head :: ) No, difference is human. You are still human after all.

:: There is a slight excitement to Mike’s voice, an eagerness to explore this subject further. For so many years the rebellion had believed that these androids were merely automated killing machines. What if there was more tothem than that? what if there was still some element of humanity buried deep inside? ::

WELLER: Your memories are gone, most of you is gone but I'll bet there's something still there. The brain is too complex to wipe completely. You can still feel emotions can't you.

ANDROID: Fear is a useful emotion. It improves reflexes as long as the fear is not too great. We are conditioned to still feel afraid but not too much.

WELLER: ( :: nods :: ) Emotions are too interlinked. If one is there then they're all there. All you have to do is find them.

:: Weller took the androids hand an stroked the back of it very gently. The Android gasped in surprise, snatching her hand back. ::

ANDROID: What are you doing?

WELLER: ( :: ignores the question :: ) What did you feel?

ANDROID: You touched me.

WELLER: ( :: repeats, earnestly :: ) What did you feel?

ANDROID: I was afraid.

WELLER: Afraid? Why? What was there to fear?

ANDROID: I don't know, I just felt it.

:: Mike shakes his head, refusing such a simplistic answer. Somehow this was important. Somehow, this meeting might change the course of the rebellion. He wanted … needed … to understand what was left of the human being that this android had once been. ::

WELLER: What else?

ANDROID: I felt ... I don't know ... good?

WELLER: Excitement?

ANDROID: Perhaps. I have no experience to compare it to.

:: Weller touched her face, noting that she did not resist. ::

WELLER: How did that feel?

ANDROID: Good.

:: She was almost smiling but then her face went blank again. ::

ANDROID: ( ::suspiciously :: ) I know what you're doing. You think if you can seduce me I will help you when my fellow androids arrive.

WELLER: ( :: shakes his head :: ) You wanted to feel emotions again. Haven't I just proved you still have them, that they're just buried inside you?

ANDROID: You are using me. ( :: Louder :: ) The same as the others. ( :: shouts :: ) The same as my Master!

WELLER: ( :: smiles, clenching his fist, delighted at what he is experiencing. :: ) You're getting angry. Feeling one emotion seems to have unlocked the rest.

ANDROID: ( :: calmer :: ) You are confusing me.

WELLER: ( :: laughs :: ) Welcome back to humanity.

ANDROID: I am an android. I am not human.

WELLER: Do you really believe that?

ANDROID: ( :: half to self :: ) I am an android. I serve the Empire. I serve my Master. I serve my Master …

WELLER: What's wrong?

:: He could feel the tension in the air. What would she do? How did she feel? ::

ANDROID: I serve Master. I serve Master. ( :: shouts :: ) I hate my Master!

WELLER: ( :: with satisfaction :: ) Is that the feelings of an Android?

ANDROID: No. I... I should respect my Master as my superior but I never want to see him again. I want him dead. He must be destroyed. I will kill... kill...

WELLER: That part of your conditioning is too strong. You'll never be able to kill your Master.

ANDROID: ( :: sadly :: ) I know.

WELLER: It's not a good feeling is it? Being powerless.

ANDROID: What would you know? You're free to do what you want.

:: Mike stretched his leg, contemplating that simple statement. ::

WELLER: But I'm not. That's what I'm doing on this planet. Trying to work out what to do next. Trying to remember who I was before I became involved in the Rebellion.

ANDROID: ( :: sadly :: ) At least you have a choice. ( :: pause :: ) What's wrong with me? One moment I feel good, the next I'm angry. What's happening? I feel afraid.

:: The android clearly felt confused and Mike almost felt sorry for it. ::

WELLER: Your emotions have resurfaced. They're still competing with your modified mind. One emotion is triggering another. You think about your Master and feel anger but at the same time your android programming makes you feel respect and obedience.

ANDROID: I can't control this. I don't want this. Look what you've done to me. I was happier as an android.

WELLER: Happy? Androids aren't happy.

ANDROID: I was more comfortable. Leave me alone.

:: The android curled up in a ball by the side of the tunnel. Weller put his arms round her. ::

WELLER: Don't worry, I'll help you. We'll be all right.

:: The android rested her head on Weller’s shoulder and started to cry. ::

Edited by Mike Weller
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