“Alright this is the laboratory. Not all of the space is allocated for doing practical experimenting. Over there is the study for research purposes. Paper texts as well as digital with high speed internet access and VPN–please keep that enabled, thank you. Thick-as-hell walls to ensure it is the quietest environment to study in without driving yourself mad.
“This part over here is for small-scale study…before we bring out the big guns.”
“Why is there so much dust here?”
“Doesn’t seem to get much use…time is money and whatnot.”
“Ah, and this…this is the Main Event right here. Now, follow me and mind the cables and tubes; some are quite a chore to get over in a rush. Okay! There we go. This beauty is where a majority of research and observation is done. See that platform there?”
“Yeah. What is that? It looks like a hole, but it’s…it’s in the middle of the air.”
“Mhmm. Correct-a-mundo. I call it ‘The Void”.
“What does it do?”
“It allows us to go anywhere we want in the world, to any point in the past. We can stay inside there for practically any amount of time. I’ve been in there for weeks and only moments have passed. You can wander around. You can fly! And no one around you is ever the wiser.”
“You built a time machine…and you didn’t even make it a car?”
“…Smartass kids and your movies. You wanna take it for a spin or not?”
“Limitless access to the world and all of history and his answer is ‘sure’. Alright kid, let’s go.”
An Android’s Story
The wind blew fiercely from behind, ruffling the young man’s long chestnut hair and wafting it over his eyes. Absentmindedly, he took his slender fingers and pushed the shoulder-length strands aside, hardly putting thought to the bellowing gales coming from the north. He should have felt the chill spreading over his body, should have had the hairs on his arms and legs standing on end with goose-bumps forming underneath.
Of course, he should have felt the fear of standing atop a seventy storey building–on its edge no less. But there was nothing.
He held his hand out in front of his face, staring blankly into his palm. Hard to believe under these thin layers of flesh and tissue something so simple lay underneath.
He glared into his palm now. His ears could practically hear the mechanized humming and clicks working in tandem with the slightest movements of his body; the flow of data through cables and wiring (probably purchased at a local electronics store). There was no mystery in here–nothing but junkyard computer parts conveniently structured in the form of a human. He tore his hand away from his eyes, the sight made him sick (if he even had a stomach that could turn).
His gaze traveled downward. People–regular people were going on with their lives; not a care in the world. All different kinds: tall, short, skinny, large, temperamental, placid, and so on. Down below, some were walking or running, most of the others were driving or riding. Each had a different look or attitude about them. They were individuals; they were…unique. Hours before he had seen his “brothers” and “sisters”, they had all looked alike, sleek, thin, beautiful, handsome; anything that had been deemed pleasant upon the eyes. He continued to watch the humans on their daily routines. His vision picked up on a child walking down the street; her mother was kneeling down, inspecting a freshly placed bandage on her knee and placing a gentle kiss upon it.
Underneath their skin was where the mysteries began, not just the anatomical structure. How did they come to be? What drives them on? What made them…them? It was certainly more complicated than the central processor that motivated him.
He was an appliance–an experiment. Nothing more. Nobody would care for him…love him. He was a machine. Nothing more. No matter how human he looked, no matter how many emotions they could have programmed him to feel, the fact was that he simply was not one of them.
He brought one leg forward and put his weight over. His body fell. On the way down his expression never changed, he made no more movements. He felt nothing and had no fear.
Because when he hit the ground, he would not be dead.
He would simply be broken.
“Okay got out of there just in time. Sorry about that.”
“That’s the first thing you show me!? A crazy guy throwing himself off a building.”
“I’m sure there’s more to it than that–”
“Not any more, I’d say!”
“Calm down, calm down. Have a [insert gratuitous product placement] and stick close to me. We’ll give it another try.”