Chapter 13: Simulate

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After they assigned me a semi-reliable compact car with chunk of its fender missing and once-glossy blue paint, I ventured around the place. There was an overwhelming security presence, but they kept to themselves. Which made sense considering their vast numbers over the humans. Even I, their physical equal, felt intimidated by the way they watched every move of mine and sneered at me. It was astonishing to be treated this way again. It had been a long time since I had been bullied by anyone other than Eleanora, and I couldn't help but feel slightly dejected, to feel like I was a powerless child again.

So I stopped paying attention to the guards and started to pay attention to my surroundings. The facility was predictable in its structure. It was obvious that it used to be a prison at one point in its history and that they redesigned it to look less inhumane. Splashes of yellow. A lack of a real routine. Locked gates but no locked doors. Strict meal times, but only to provide meal bars and a place for us to gather in the cafeteria.

The place had Godwin written all over it. A comfortable path to death, like he was anesthetizing them. "Shh, it's not so bad. We'll give you some real food while you prepare to kill each other. The nicer conditions will help you forget that you'll probably die. You should be thankful. You should be happy we're making an effort."

Thankfully, I had missed meal time when I first arrived, so after my adventuring it was time for lights out and I retreated the men's ward. It was a vast space filled with bunk beds, row after row of them. Since most of the men just fell into the first bed they saw, I assumed all beds were free game. I chose the one farthest from anyone. I laid in the bed for the night, not able to sleep of course, but I dozed somewhat. I stayed inactive while I thought over things. It was period of rest for my system, not necessary but beneficial. It gave me time to sift through memories and the things I knew, to reorganize my thoughts.

It was my father's idea to have this feature in androids, the ability to drift from reality and process information just like a human brain did while it was sleeping. Unlike sleeping for humans, we could go an infinite time without dozing. It wasn't vital to our existence, but I loved it. It was quiet moments I could steal away from my days and look within myself, to analyze the world and what I'd seen, to mold it into my identity and my perceptions.

It was the time I had to analyze who I really was.

While I dozed, I considered how I would approach the girl when I saw her. She would be wary and potentially suspicious of my presence, that much I could be confident about. But could she possibly be excited to see me? To have some sort of unconscious idea that I'm here to look out for her, to help her? Ah, that gave me such a hero complex. The girl was fully able of caring for herself, that much has been evident by just knowing her for the past few weeks. She was obviously clever and not just thanks to whatever Hank did to her to. Though I couldn't help but wonder how he could make such a creature. Did he steal her as a baby and implant something? Or was she actually biologically his own child that he experimented on? Either reality was frightening. Mar never asked for the responsibility of setting the world right side up again. That was assuming, of course, she was the one.

I was awakened in the middle of the night to a miserable noise, metal scraping against concrete. My eyes snapped open and I spied Duke pulling a bunk closer to me.

"What are you doing?" I whispered.

"Kit, my friend," Duke said, though I knew he didn't mean it. "How did you end up here?"

"People are sleeping, you should keep it down," I reminded him and sat up. He waited for me to answer his question. "I got caught. Security cameras tracked my license plate back to my home."

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