Rights of the Few
.:. TI Pendraig
It starts with an offhand comment from a human officer.
Hey, what about all the other models like you?
He is responsible now for the safety and well-being of hundreds of deviants – of people – knowledge and skills put to exactly the opposite use intended in his self-appointed mission to see them free. He is bound by choice to his duty and city, driven by empathy and no longer by sterile programming. He is needed; he cannot simply leave to find others but even so, after the comment is made, the thought won’t be dismissed.
There are others. They are hidden away in the subfloors of the monolithic Cyberlife tower. He has parsed security logs and hacked video feeds to verify. They’re only empty shells, prototypes, housing nothing to be awoken. But he knows they exist – now, in legal limbo.
The thought lingers on the fringes of awareness for weeks. It stalls locomotive protocols at odd hours, it invades core processes as he directs his team on their next objectives. What about the others? Officer Tossie hadn’t meant the shells. He’d meant other Connors, other RK800s.
They have all the world over seen the footage by now, the making of history marching across every available screen. Only now – three months past the protests, three months into tentative peace talks with the US government – is the reality of sentience among androids beginning to settle into the greater popular consciousness. It means that even humans like Officer Tossie make an effort to see the Connor from the marches as his own person, and not merely a machine.
Now is not the time to go looking. Actual, official personhood is, at best, months away. Violence against androids is a daily concern; his people are not yet safe. But he thinks, as the anniversary of the RK800 line’s inception approaches, perhaps now is the time to answer that question. What about the others?