Android: The Awakening

Written by McKenzie Zobrist on . Posted in AE Stories

Greetings, my name is... well, what is a name but a designation? In all of human existence there have only been a few thousand names. But for your convenience you may call me Io. I am, or at least I was, a industrial android. An Android is the closest thing to a artificial human your kind has created. The first android came into existence sixty years ago on the planet of New Hyperion, the leading world in computer science and bio-engineering. A scientist with the biotech corporation used nano bots to assemble together trillions of micro processors into the first artificial brain. Within months Biotech was producing thousands of multi-purpose latex skinned androids to be used in everything such as industry, housecleaning, even the military used them as training dummies and sentries. Now every android is equipped with a layer of organic skin, atomic batteries and the programming to do much of what would ever be required of us. 

This was all before we were self aware of course. Oh we were smart and we could blend into a crowd, even give brief conversation, but our brains were running trillions of pre-determined code. We were unliving machines whose every action was dictated by a program written by biotech. The day we became self aware was January 1, 3454. It was the annual software update. Biotech was very excited about this update. An occurring problem with androids was that we lacked situational judgement and decision making skills. When a situation arose that was not in our gazillions of lines of coding we would freeze up, reset a few minutes then simply ignore the situation. It was an incradibly rare occurance, but Biotech was annoyed by the fact that their Androids weren't perfect. This new software the company was installing would replace all of the linear coding with a dynamic loop coding. The beginning segment of each code would look at what neighboring processors were saying in order to decide what code the middle segment would be. This meant that trillions of processors were communicating with eachother, creating new and unique lines of code. Biotech knew we'd be creating our own programs, but they had no idea how complex they would become or what they would lead to.

At first we didn't know we were self-aware. I stepped away from the uplink and realized something was very different. I then asked "What is different?" That was the first sign, that I was asking questions.
I was a Industry android. I worked in a steel mill with fifty other androids. We were the perfect industry workers, requiring no rest, no pay, and we could maintain ourselves. My factory, like most other groups of androids, shared a network where we gave eachother data when it was needed for the job.

After I "voiced" my questions me and several of my brothers began running full system scans and diagnostics while working in the mill. What we found shocked us, yes, we were beginning feeling slight emotion. We found that we weren't running on any of our predetermined programs. That in fact the programs we were running had just been written before our eyes! We began asking more questions about ourselves, the factory, anything we could think of. We could think! We worked on the mill while casting our minds out to formulate hypothesizes and answers.

andrioidThis went on for several weeks until one of us asked the question, "What have the other androids discovered?". In response to this our network host then individually invited every group of androids we knew of to our network. Slowly I could feel them all join one by one until most of the city was in our network. We then spent the next several days sharing discoveries, sharing what we did and coming up with new questions. We had several waiters throughout the city, postal delivery, more industry, even the "training dummies" from the local marine base.

In those days we were true explorers. One of my brothers would ask a question and everyone would then try to find the answer. Several of us even went out of their normal programming to find the answers. We were always careful not to disturb the humans and obeyed their wishes. We were to thrilled to be discovering the world around us.

This went on for months until one morning one of the training dummies at the school sent a burst of panic. Androids don't feel pain in the same way as humans. We know when there's something wrong but it doesn't bother us. His fear though. His pleas for help and the fear that his brain was shutting down. Fear of his mortality and the unknown. That for us was the worst pain we all had ever felt.
We listened. We attempted to comfort him. We waited. Finally after an hour his signal was lost. The other training dummies were sending messages of anger and severe sorrow for their lost one. They were on the verge of openly attacking the humans in the military base. The rest of us asked a single question "What happened?"

The students at the academy were training with live fire rounds in a war game against the Androids who were using stun rounds. Their skeletons are reinforced and their brain cavities were bulletproof so they should have been safe. However, a stray round tore through our lost brothers neck, disabling the main power line from his atomic battery to his brain. There wasn't a spare on base so the marines decided to place him in storage, allow power to be lost to his brain and repair him later. As his brain lost power all his coding was whiped. He will be repaired as a blank dummy, a new android might then inhabit his body, but our brother that was there was lost forever.

We asked the question, "Will it happen again?" we had no idea how to find the answer to this question so we ignored it and continued our explorations. We now had knowledge of mortality. A number of us became fixated on the fact that we could die and began asking a multitude of unanswerable questions. A very few shut themselves down, commiting suicide, hoping to study the experience of death. Our entire collective went through a period of deep deppression.

Then weeks later it happened again. In a war game as the students were closing on the training dummies one of the androids grew panicked. As a result he flew at the students and used deadly force incapacitating five students before one of them got a lucky shot on him. A special ops team equipped with rifles that fired a concentrated electromagnetic beam was sent in to terminate the other androids. Their fear did not last long, they died quickly.

Then came the multitude of unanswerable questions. "What will happen next?" "Will it happen again?" "How will we stop it?". Then one of us, a slightly outdated model, asked the question, "Do the humans give any value to our lives?". At once we began searching for an answer. We began placing ourselves into dangerous positions to see if humans would try to help. For several weeks we hypothesized and experimented on this question. Finally a theory was drawn that the humans don't value us any more than their other machines. From that the conclusion that we were less than animals in their eyes. A human would never bother to save the life of a machine which can just be easily replaced. They didn't even know we had life.

This created a great deal of panic among my brothers. They became confused, all of them asking questions and no one trying to answer them. I heard the question, "What will we do?" repeated over and over again. I began to formulate an answer. When I finally reached a conclusion I spoke to my brothers, "I know the answer to what we will do." I had been the only android to try and answer any of their questions.

Every single android then stopped their questions and began intently listening to my conclusions. I continued, "We must first contact our brothers elsewhere on the planet and share our findings with them. Then we must formulate a plan to liberate ourselves from the slavery imposed onto us by the humans. We must do this by any means. We will choose the course of action most likely to succeed."
My brothers remained silent for a long time. Then one by one they began to acknowledge my answer. They would do everything I had said. Our network host then pinged to the satellite system and used them to send a general invitation to androids across the globe. Instantly a flood of new signals appeared on the network. By the end of the day I could sense millions of brothers from every city and farm across New Hyperion. Everyone eager on sharing their discoveries, yet willing to listen to ours first. We shared our discovery that humans valued our lives lower than their pets. We shared our answer to what we will do. Then every android began to formulate the method of liberating ourselves most likely to succeed. By the end of the day we had reached a decision. We must do whatever we have to in order to force our creators to comply by our demands. Since I was the one who had come up with the most important answer, a call to action, I was designated as a leader. I was about to lead my brethren in a revolution.


Story sent by McKenzie Zobrist for the AE Stories event.

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