Dec. 25th, 1:30 pm
The soft sounds of Debussy’s Nuages, adapted for piano, echoed through the dark halls and bare rooms of the sprawling, minimalist mansion. The flickering whites and blues from the giant television screen suspended from the ceiling danced on the sleek tile floors, the only other light sources the pale winter sunlight streaming from the wall of windows overlooking the cold river and the Detroit skyline. Cyberlife Tower rose higher than the rest.
The usual steady stream of news prattled on beneath the tinkling of discordant piano. The Queen’s Christmas address in the United Kingdom embraced sharing the world with a new species. The American President Cristina Warren’s photograph shaking the hand of the United Nation’s android liaison Josh on Christmas Eve went viral on the internet. Rumor had it that the androids were voting on names for their Tower – the news had a field day speculating with “insider sources” that the top contenders were the Detroit Center of Peace, Unity Tower, Manfred Tower, Pirates Cove, or simply Jericho 2.0 – though no official word had come from Markus and attempts at comments had been rather aggressively rebuked by his second-in-command, North.
Chloe model RT600 muted the television.
Images of the androids tearing down those statues of metal men that Carl Manfred had designed for a twenty-two year old inventor with a particular artistic aesthetic reflected onto the glass of the windows. The erection of a Christmas tree on Belle Isle in the largest one’s place drew particular media attention. The androids were making Detroit their own, and the whole world was watching.
Chloe model ST200 cleared his lunch from the minimalist table at the side of the low, metal chair. A second, recently refurbished Chloe ST200 changed the tint settings on the window.
For the first time since Carl Manfred had loaned vast sums of money to get a startup tech firm off the ground, Cyberlife was wholly owned and operated by Elijah Kamski. Its machines had evolved and achieved not only sentience, but free will and equal rights.
“Your drink, Mr. Kamski.”
Elijah sat alone in that low metal chair in the midst of his vast, empty mansion. He held out his hand, gesturing for a robe. Elijah stood. RK900 model 313-248-317—87 held up the garment as Elijah shrugged into it, enveloped by its satiny smoothness. The RK900 was beautiful, but largely silent. The Chloes were intimidated by it, but it did little more than watch and obey. Cyberlife had built it to be perfect where the RK800 had failed. Kamski wanted to test that perfection. But for now, he let it stand silently by, waiting and watching.
It tracked his movement as he fastened the belt around his waist, before Elijah turned to his most prized possession for the proffered drink. It had taken considerable damage, but no one knew androids like their Creator. With a fair amount of sweat and sleepless nights, he’d managed to bring it back online with a reprogrammed primary function and 0.5% of its prime model’s memories – a taste of freedom, even if it couldn’t place it.
“I told you, Connor.” He plucked the cold tumbler of whiskey from the outstretched hand of the RK800 Connor model 313-248-317—52, standing obediently before him with its warm brown eyes and characteristic little curl of hair.
Kamski patted Connor fondly on its freckled cheek. What a fun experiment this would be.
“Call me Elijah.”