Chapter 4: Observation

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This is where it ends.

How could I not think that as I was dragged forcibly away from my fellows, outside into the glaring sun? Just where had they been keeping us?

From the moment we emerged into the light, a collective metallic cheer rang out.

'Look,' called a high pitched, robotic voice, 'They're bringing out the humans.' There was so much enthusiasm in their tone, I wondered if the voice belonged to a child.

I glanced up, squinting beyond the glaring sun. Erected before us was a vast series of stone benches, escalating in layers, higher and higher. Imagine the seating for the Roman Colosseum, except only a semi-circular lot.

The humanoid holding me jabbed me hard in the back.

'Here we are,' it said.

We were being driven toward a series of open air pens, the kind you might expect to house a lemur or monkey. Sawdust was scattered across the floor, no doubt for us to relieve ourselves on, like the animals these beings saw us as.

'In.' The robotic guard holding me shoved me, face-first into the closest pen, slamming the gate shut the moment I fell inside.

Breathe, I counselled myself, don't show them that you faked your lobotomy.

I prayed my fellows would keep to the same farce: it was the only thing standing between us and our freedom, or our deaths.

'Now,' boomed another metallic voice through the outside air.

Oh God, it feels good to breathe fresh air.

'Now, you may come and inspect the humans.'

The slam of many cage doors followed this announcement: all of us were trapped again, only this time, we were to be inspected by this hideous metallic crowd.

'Mommy!' squeaked a few children nearby.

No, not children, I scolded myself, although I'm sure that's what they aspired to be.

'Mommy, can I go and pet that one?' one asked, pointing directly at my cage.

Pet? As if I was a freaking dog!

The robot girl's tall, creaking mother clanked over from her perch nearby.

I lolled about, keeping my face blank, eyes staring about as though at nothing.

'Hmm.' The robot mother edged toward my cage, the dark pits of her eyes seeming to scan me. 'I suppose so.'

The small humanoid made a high pitched chirping sound. I guess they were happy: it was hard to tell when none of them had the facial muscles to smile.

Ever so slowly, it clanked toward my cage, feeding its tiny metallic hand in through a small slot in a plexiglass screen.

'Come on, human,' it coaxed, 'Please?'

I almost felt sorry for it: it truly believed that I was an animal, a being of lower intelligence and thus of no use to their newly created humanoid-species.

'Come on, human!' This time, there was a tremor of anger in their tone. The little one stared into my eyes, beckoning me with its metal forefinger. 'Come here!' it screamed, then, 'Mommy, the human won't come!'

In the cages beside me, a similar phenomenon was taking place. Countless robot children were calling for their parents, demanding to know why their newest attractions weren't obeying their commands.

There seemed to be no way out of this. A horde of humanoids began clanking toward our cages, pitch black eyes staring us down. From the invisible speakers boomed that same cold voice: 'It appears our new humans aren't too well trained,' it said. Those words sent shivers down my spine. 'Perhaps it's time they were taught a lesson.'

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