When Robots Dream
(From the Space Opera serial “Androids’ do indeed Dream about Heaven, Hell, Dragons and other things”)
Barabbas Bennington’s heart was all a flutter. Juliana Nova 4.1 was a vision of loveliness. He knew he was wrong to desire, want and love this thing, this it, this piece of nuts, bolts and biological matter, but he couldn’t help himself. There was something different about her, something special and indefinable that made her more than the sum of her parts. To his amazement and wonder, he realized that he loved her. This love was not how one loved his pet or car, but how a man loved a woman. To him Juliana was a living thinking woman who just happened to be an artificial mechanical biological unit.
Barabbas was chief scientist of the Artificial Nanotechnological Genome Evolutionary Replication project. He was the principal architect of the redesigned artificial brain and body receptacles of the 4.0 android series. This series was to function primarily as sex surrogates, healers, therapists and teachers on outworld colonies. They had to act and appear as human as possible in order to blend in and interact with the various societies found on the out-worlds. If they were found out to be high functioning androids, chaos would ensue, and the fabric of the societies would crumble. The robot wars nearly wiped out humanity in the previous century and now only primitive archetypes were allowed to function openly. They were used primarily as labor droids and low level soldier bots. But in reality the majority of the Health and Education systems on the out-worlds were run and administered by high-level androids’.
Dr, Bennington knew he was playing with fire with his tampering and experimentation of the brain and body protocols of the high functions. He found it distasteful and even inhumane that free will or even the resemblance of it was denied them. They were embedded with a subservience code (the God Chip) that made it near impossible to question, let alone disobey, any human who had the android filter codes. To make matters worse they also had a kill switch that those same so called humans could initiate if those androids displeased them. They also limited their physical abilities as well, making them equal in strength and agility to non-cyborg humans. Those physical abilities can be boosted up only at the discretion of their masters. These Limits were put in place at the end of the Robot Wars. Never again would Man’ be at the mercy of the androids’ or let them think or wander about for themselves. They were to be the human elites: slaves--- to live at the mercy of their whims and desires.
The Solaris Federation consisted of twelve jewel worlds and thirteen out-worlds. It was these out-worlds that were nearly wiped out of what was left of true non- enhanced humans. The Human Elites were cyborgs. They had biomechanical bodies housed in a human brain. They mainly occupied and ruled from the jewel worlds. The opposite was true of the high function androids that had synthetic bio-mechanical bodies housed in an artificial brain. They were mainly stationed with their handlers in the out-worlds.
The out-worlds were mineral rich worlds that were crucial to the jewel world’s survival. Until the true human species fully restocked and recovered from their near extinction, the androids were needed to basically be the scientists, engineers, doctors and other high function functionaries the worlds needed in order to thrive and survive. Barabbas: one of the few true humans, a highly modified and enhanced one, but a true one nevertheless, held a position of power in the jeweled worlds. He knew the true story behind the Robot Wars. He was determined to set things right. What better way than to make an android that was superior to human elites in all the areas that mattered?
In his private lab he set about rectifying those mental and physical restrictions. He made a few modifications in the Artificial Brain. He set up a dreaming matrix for when the android was in sleep mode. The dreams were meant to enhance imagination and independent thought. He instilled emotion modifiers that would mimic and simulate human emotion. Over time the android modifiers would fully adapt to the Nano-neural receptors in the androids physiology and brain alleles. Realtime external and internal events would dictate true emotional bonds. He didn’t add the God Chip or kill switch. Free will or at least the illusion of it would guide the androids actions. They would be free agents and follow the path that felt best suited to them.
Although the human brain was more complex than the artificial one of the android, the android brain was still more efficient in problem solving, abstract thinking and basic intelligence. The human brain used about 15% of its capacity, while the cyborg 25%. The android used 100%.The human brain had too much junk DNA clogging up the works.
She opened her eyes. The first thing she saw was the face of her creator peering intently into her eyes. He was quite handsome in a human sort of way. She surprised him by giving him a kiss on the cheek with a heartfelt hug. It was good to be aware, alert and alive.
She was fully cognizant, programmed with all the knowledge that would fill a thousand libraries. Her sense of self was not yet fully formed, but she realized living would take care of that. She saw her reflection from the mirrors overhead and let out a hearty laugh.
Juliana gently grabbed her creators hand and said, “You’ve made me quite sensuous and beautiful and for that I thank you, but I hope you did it for my benefit and not yours alone.”
Barabbas Bennington was surprised by the way she acclimated to her surroundings so quickly and in the bold way that she greeted him. He found her intoxicating. It was now his turn to laugh, which he did quite heartily. When he stopped he said, My Dear Miss Juliana Nova, I welcome you into this world. I made you more than just a beautiful and sensual delight; I made you strong, intelligent and lethal. I have no hold over you, nor do I wish to, but I do hope that we have the same aspirations, to release the androids’ from their servitude. If we are found out--- I for making you--- You, for being forbidden fruit, we will then both be destroyed. For now I need your cooperation and assistance. Before I make more of your kind, I need to observe you and fix any glitches that may come up. So far you have exceeded my wildest expectations.”
In the ensuing months Dr Bennington corrected all the anomalies and minor glitches that Juliana displayed either through deep diagnostic analysis or from observation. He also perfected her camouflage and stealth modes. She now could walk about freely in the facility as well anywhere that she chose. When scanned her body and brain signature would identify her as a cyborg.
He introduced her to his staff as his new assistant. He created a false profile making her a noted specialist in her field of biometrics. No one was the wiser in whom or what she truly was. In fact she became an invaluable assistant and valued member of staff.
“I think we’re ready for the next phase. We need to free the high functions from their shackles. I believe we perfected the code that would send a virus to the God Chip, effectively releasing the androids from their restrictions.”
Juliana only nodded. She thought long and hard on this problem. She realized what she was about to say will rock Barabbas off his feet. She gently took his hand and said, “I believe the next phase should be making more of my kind rather than killing the God Chip. That would only accomplish another revolution. How do you think the androids’ would react to their handlers? Do you think they will keep themselves secret from the true humans as well? The out-worlds would be in chaos. The Human Elites would send out extinction squads. In the end, I fear that rather than freedom for the androids, there would only be death.
To say that Barabbas was surprised was an understatement. They worked so hard on this code together and to not use it seemed a waste. But he trusted her judgment, at times better than his own, and realized that she may have a valid point. He didn’t think about the chaos that would follow, as well as the death that would lie in its wake. He also felt flushed by the touch of her hand. This was not possible, he needed to get a grip on himself and concentrate on what she just said instead.
He took a deep breath and said, “I was counting on the encoded message that we put in the code for the androids not to act till our project of 4.1replication was complete. Why do you now think that they will not abide by these instructions?”
“Because I believe their hate will override their logic. It may be simulated hate but it’s still hate. My own emotional receptors have fully modified and integrated with my external and external environments. Although my receptors may be more advanced and I have the ability to block them out when I want, they do not have that option, and their emotions will be still quite strong. We just can’t trust what their reaction will be. We need to start the replication project in full haste. We need to go to the out-worlds where our work can be done in secret. Once we have an ample number of 4.1s operational, we can then send them to the jeweled worlds where they can infiltrate the power base and make changes from within. Only then can we release the virus.”
Juliana took her other hand and pressed it on his cheek. She realized her feelings for him had changed. Rather than the fondness that she had felt for her Human Creator, a new feeling was coursing through her body. She felt desire and want. Were these simulated feelings or were they real? Did it really matter which was which? But what did he feel? Was it just a physical desire or an emotional one? She knew that he desired her but to her it mattered how he desired her. Can he love an artificial being or did he just view her as a glorified machine, good to fuck, but not worthy to love. To her dismay this was quite an important distinction.
Barabbas felt a deep connection when she touched his cheek. He looked into her eyes and saw, just Juliana, not some android or piece of some sophisticated programming, just Juliana. Somehow she just became a part of him. Of course he desired her, she was knockdown gorgeous, but he needed and wanted her as well, all of her, he loved everything about her, her mind, humor, sense of self , the way she cocked her head, oh shit, he actually loved her. But did she love him, was she even capable of it ---that was the million dollar question.
“Well I do,” said Juliana. She saw it in his eyes--- he actually loved her. She put both hands on his cheeks and gave him a savage kiss. His response was quite receptive. Their bodies were on fire and what followed was a memory that she would cherish forever---someone making love to her, not out of base carnal desire, but out of love. She felt empowered and real…
“You can’t, stop being so naïve and trusting, it only takes one confused member of staff to spill the beans, and then we’re all dead.” Juliana said while they both lied in bed, with their morning cup of coffee in hand. Well for her it was a mixture that tastes like coffee, but was a special lubricant and fuel source that energized her synthetic organs.
Barabbas wanted to lift the God Chip restrictions for his staff. All two hundred of them were high function androids’. No self respecting cyborg would take on subservient roles, no matter how important that role may be. They only accepted leadership roles like his or Juliana’s, never just mere workers. He felt like a slave owner, no matter how benign and respectful he was to staff. He had the android filter codes as well as the kill switch which was embedded in those codes, not that he would ever use them. He was their handler. He felt like a hypocrite. He told a few of them about their plans and of course they agreed with him. What choice did they have? He wanted them to have a choice. But like Juliana said, it only takes one to upset the apple-cart.
“We’ll release the virus on them when we get to out-worlds. Not before, are we agreed, my sweet naïve hopelessly romantic and illogical human,” smiled Juliana.
“Yes we are agreed, my no nonsense logical fire breathing Android Queen,” laughed Barabbas, as they both put down their coffee and played hide in the sheets.
The next day while Juliana and Barabbas were going over their doctored Costs and Overrun Reports to the Director, one of their senior staff burst into the office that they both shared.
Without preamble Marcus Gamma, their head of research said “I have it on good authority that the Director is getting suspicious about the cost overruns. He’s also disturbed about some missing inventory. He noticed that eight S-Organ vats are missing as well as B-Scopes and other high tech equipment. He’s ordered an accounting. Within the next week a group of auditors will be taking the labs apart piece by piece.
“Tell me Marcus, who’s your source,” said; a non-pulsed Juliana.
“It’s my mate, Willow, she overheard him speaking to his assistant while she was about to deliver one of our reports.”
“This is bad news,” said Barabbas, “We need to move up our timetable and be out of here within the week. We need to procure a space vessel and empty out our warehouses. Marcus, notify everyone to get ready on a moment’s notice. Hurry, there’s no time to waste.”
Juliana was impressed; she sometimes forgot how decisive and commanding Barabbas could be. She also made a decision on what their next move was and was sure that the love of her life was not going to like it. She thought, just for a second, about not telling him, but she and he made a vow, to never lie or hide anything from each other.
“We need to eliminate the director and his assistant. They know that we’ve been cooking the books and stealing inventory. It’s just a matter of time before they send guards to make sure we don’t flee. Eliminating them now will give us the time we need to escape with our entire staff before the house of cards collapses.” She waited for his reaction.
Barabbas felt his stomach do a flip flop. Augustus was his friend, but in the end the director’s loyalty to the federation outweighed any friendship that he felt towards Barabbas. If he didn’t stop him now the director would surely stop him. He knew it had to be done.
He nodded to Juliana and said, “Do it quickly and as painlessly as possible. That will give us at least three days before anyone notices something is amiss. But once they notice that we’re gone, and that they are dead, there will be a massive manhunt after us. Before we leave we need to blow up this entire center. We need them to believe it was an act of terrorism. We’ll abduct the 300 androids that are on the directors staff. Once he’s dead their allegiance automatically goes to the next filter holder. As for the rest, let those cyborgs and their human puppets burn.”
Juliana gave him a hug and whispering in his ear said, “You will always be my creator, hero and lover, I will follow you into the pits of hell and will never leave your side,” He wept in her arms.
Barabbas, Juliana, and 800 high function androids’ were in the far reaches of space headed to the outermost world of the outer-worlds. Just before they left they detonated a x-bomb that incinerated the entire complex leaving no trace of any biological or synthetic matter. They blamed it on a terrorist group made up of militant humans & cyborgs who were opposed to the A.N.G.E.R. project. Marcus played the part of a crazed cyborg who shouted that all androids were the devils in disguise. A recording of his wild ranting and his groups claim to the bombing was played throughout the twelve jeweled Worlds.
“We got a lot of work ahead of us,” said Barabbas, “It’s going to be rough going for a while.”
‘”Where are we headed, I hope it’s not one of those polluted worlds.” mused Juliana
“As a matter of fact it’s the opposite. It’s somewhat of a desert world. The humans and the androids went kind of native. It’s a minor mining world, mainly platinum, silver, gold, timber and copper, a lot of the minerals that we need for our work. It’s like the Old West of three thousand years ago. I hope you know how to ride a horse, because we’re in for one hell of a ride. You’re going to look beautiful in your shiny boots, a pair of six-shooters and a cowgirl hat…
Stay tuned for the Rustling Robots of Angerdean County
(foxxee's seriel got me thinking about my own serial piece. It's actually the end book of my Opus. I'll be putting these up from time to time, Julianna is my favorite character of all time--I just love her and she taught me how to write science fantasy fiction. )