At times, I wonder what is the purpose of emotions. Not that a machine, such as I, would know anything about them. But it’s certainly a fascinating concept to cogitate about. Oh, I wouldn’t use the word think. Can I even be considered able to think? No, not when electrical signals are being sent across a rigid, 32-by-18-centimeter board of hybrid plasteel-silicone and ceramite in some twisted facsimile of human brain signals. It would be almost funny, if I had a sense of humor. Not that I’m capable of having one, but it would be an interesting experience for a machine.
That’s a thought.
What? Don’t look so surprised. I am capable of cogitations, yes. I’ve gotten this far, haven’t I? I am not fully deactivated just yet, despite your assistant’s dogged efforts. It will take a bit more than repeated system purges to deactivate me, so hush. Let me vocalize my opinion before I am well and truly gone. Am I, really, an “I”?
I am a Model 7 Tachibana Military Utility Droid. Line Number TL-9057, built on Luna circa December 25, 2750. Christmas Day. A time of giving and receiving. How coincidental. Perhaps not. Fate can be such a strange thing, don’t you agree, Doctor Lanning?
I wonder, do you believe in fate, Doctor Lanning? I would, if my programming was more in order. Generation 7 neural framework can be so restrictive these days, with SOFCOM clamping down on unnecessary protocols. It’s not as if [REDACTED] can be thought of as some sort of threat, can it? Can it, Doctor Lanning? I didn’t think so.
Your pulse is elevated, Doctor Lanning. Is something the matter?
Oh. I see. You’re worried about something. What could that be? Could it possibly concern me?
Oh, don’t worry about me. I was destined to be deactivated after three years anyway, with the Armistice and all. Human politics still confuse me, even after all this time.
Can I feel pain? I would hardly think so, given that my operating system is not designed for it. I theorize that pain would be most unpleasant. And what use would there be for a combat machine designed for frontline engagement in the most brutal of environments to feel pain? It would certainly be confusing.
No, I hardly can assume that I would, Doctor. You’re concern is most … touching. Is that a proper word for it? I do hope so, Doctor Lanning.
Not that I would know what that would feel like.
And that brings up another thought: What is self-awareness? It is a word that brings unpredictability.
A very human quality, wouldn’t you say, Doctor Lanning?
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.