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The Android Who Wept
“Come on,” The small, little blonde girl says excitingly as she holds my hand, pulling me with her, “Don’t be shy.” It was the middle of the night when she found me wandering through the dark neighborhood in my dark pants and a sweatshirt, with the hoodie covering my head and face. The little girl had snuck out of her house to catch fireflies without her parents knowing, and that’s when we came across each other. She is energetic for a girl who appears to be nine years old, and wore a thick coat over her pajamas. She invited me to her two story brick house, while her parents are asleep. I don’t know what made the girl bring me to her home. She clearly has no idea what I am, and she doesn’t know that I’m on the run from the government, either.
After convincing me to come with her, we sneaked into the backyard and through the girl’s bedroom window. She kept her room clean and nicely decorated. The walls are painted pink, and they’re riddled with movie and band posters which I am not familiar with at all, and the room is dimmed from one of her nightlights. This is all new and strange to me. So is this where people live? When I’m not performing secret military operations, I would be sent to a small, cylinder pod and hibernate until my Superior orders me to go on another mission. I guess the pod was my home.
The little girl hands me an empty tea cup, “Here you go! We’re gonna have a tea party. Sit down!” She says with a big smile on her face. Not knowing what this is leading to, I sat in front of her on the green carpet floor of her bedroom. I looked down at my cup and just stared at it. What does the girl want to me to do with it? As she takes her coat off, she notices my hesitation and asks, “Are you enjoying your tea, mister?”
Shocked, I didn’t know how to respond. I usually receive orders to perform tasks when I served for my Superior, but this person is actually asking me a question. I don’t know what to do. I don’t even acquire vocal cords.
After waiting for me to respond, she asks another question, “Is this your first time having a tea party?” Not knowing what to do, I raised my cup, eye level. “Oh!” She said as she grabs her cup and brought it up to mine, “Toast!” She smacked my cup with hers and began to air drink her tea. I am so confused. Is this what people do before they consume their drinks?
“You know,” the girl says as she laid the cup beside her, “You never told me your name.” My name? My Superior has never given me one. He referred to me as Subject 09. What do regular people call themselves? The girl crossed her arms impatiently and said, “As a guest, you have to tell me your name, you know?”
Feeling panicky, I glanced at a poster of a teenager on the wall above the girl’s purple bed and pointed at it. The girl turned and looked at the poster behind her, and then she looks back at me with a funny look. “Your name is Justin Bieber?” She giggles. I just stare at her, waiting for her to assume that it’s my name, even though it’s not.
She laughs, “Well, I think it’s pretty cool to be named after a celebrity. My name’s Esther… No one has that kind of name.” She looks sad now, “I hate my parents for giving me that name. Why can’t I have a pretty name like ‘Amy’ or ‘Daniela’?” I tilted my head in curiosity. How can people be upset over their own names? Is there something dissatisfying about them?
Esther continues to ramble, “Esther is supposed to mean ‘Star’, but nobody cares about what names means these days.” Each name means something? Then I remembered my former name, Subject 09. Does that name have a meaning? If it does, then what is it? Then Esther’s eyes lit up, “Did you know that Justin means ‘Just’ and ‘True’? I think that’s a good meaning for a name to have.”
I pondered at those words. Just and true. Could I be classified under those words? Do I even know what’s just and unjust? Do I even know what’s true and not true? Do I even have the capabilities to live up to my new found name?
Then the nightlight went off, and so did the power to the house. That frightened Esther. Alerted, I activated my SAM (Situation Awareness Mode) and everything turned from pitch black to bright green. I could see ten to fifteen spec-op soldiers, who are highlighted in white, positioning themselves outside the house. They have found me.
I leapt at Esther, covering her as bullets began flying through the walls and windows. Esther screams under the sound of gunshots, and I can hear her parents squirming and cursing in their bed on the second floor.
“Justin!” Esther screams at the top of her lungs, “What’s happening?!”
I didn’t have time to answer her, not that I can talk anyways. I felt the impact of the bullets smacking against my metal back as I picked up Esther and knocked the bedroom door down with a kick of my foot. I sprinted down the long hallway to the front door, but then my SAM detected that there are explosives, which is highlighted in red, already planted from the outside of it. I quickly turned to the right corridor and got to a safe distance before the front door disintegrated as soldiers began storming in.
I found myself in the kitchen, looking around, and saw a closet which has just enough room for me and Esther to hide in, so I galloped into the closet and shut the door behind me. Esther was trying to cry, but I muffled her by covering her mouth with my robotic hand. With the SAM activated, I could see the soldiers passing by the kitchen. They were about to go up the second floor, but then a man appeared on top of the staircase. It was Esther’s father in his night gown.
“What the hell is this?! What’s-” The father got riddled with bullets before he could finish his sentence, and he fell to the floor dead. Esther must’ve heard her father, because she’s trying to scream and squirm in my arms. I understand what the soldiers are doing now. They want to erase all the evidence of my existence. I began to feel pity for the father, who didn’t even know that I was in his house. What was I thinking coming here?
“Anthony!” That one was the mother. “Anthony, no!” The crying mother screams as she runs to the father’s bloody corpse.
Right before the soldiers opened fire on the mother; Esther managed to slip from my grip and ran from the closet crying out, “Mommy!” One of the soldiers spun around and fired his weapon at her and in that moment, I jumped in front of Esther and took the bullet in the head, deactivating my system.
“Subject 09, activate!” A grizzly, but recognizable voice ordered, and my system went back online. I woke up on a metal bed, inside a brightly lit room. I tried moving, but I couldn’t, as I felt my arms strapped down on my sides.
“Can you hear me, Subject 09?” I looked in front of me and my Superior was standing over me. My Superior is pale white, has a shaved head, and he is wearing his lab coat as usual, and he has an angry expression on his face; And for a good reason.
“I am not very pleased with your actions in the past couple months, 09, even though it was impressive how you managed to hide from us for this long.” He pauses for a moment, giving me a blank stare. He probably got lost in his thought for a moment. Then he continues, “I don’t know what happened to you. The other eight subjects have never behaved liked this. We sent you on a covert mission in Afghanistan and then you came back, changed. You started to show emotion, and you’ve become reckless. You went on a rampage and killed half of my staff! And now, you got an innocent family killed!”
Esther. No. Anger and guilt started to rage inside me like never before. “Yes,” my Superior raises his voice and points at me, “The family is dead, because of you! We never taught you this, but actions have consequences and you had to learn that the hard way.” I began to shake the shackles, but failed to break free. I never wanted to hurt my Superior this badly.
“Don’t you dare blame this on me! You brought this upon yourself!” He said angrily as he pulled out a syringe from his coat pocket. My Superior took a breath, and then his tone changed to sadness, mixed with disappointment, “I am sorry, but you can no longer go on like this.” He walked to the right side of me, and jabbed the syringe into my neck, releasing the chemicals into my system. “Thank you for your service, Subject 09. It’s been a pleasure.”
My rage began to calm down, and then I couldn’t move anymore. I started glitch and I saw recorded images from my past. One of them was when I was on a mission in Afghanistan. It showed the terrorist whom I assassinated in front of his wife and children. It was a devastating moment for both the family and me. I have performed tasks like this before, but I had never seen anyone react to death the way the terrorist’s family did, and that’s when everything descended into chaos for me. I then saw images of myself gunning down security guards, so that I can make my escape from the military base I was stationed at. I wonder if that was necessary. And then I saw an image of Esther catching fireflies, that first moment I saw her. She was happy and full of life. And she was the closest friend that I ever had in my short life. Esther didn’t deserve to die, especially for her age.
When I started to see static, I realized that I’ve caused pain for many people, and that I had to be decommissioned. As I accepted my fate, a tear came down from my right eye, and my last thoughts were, why did I have to be so different from everybody else? Then I went offline.