The dining room that night was quiet, none of the overseers or partners or shareholders there to share in the misery of the androids. Anny and WISR alone sat across from Mr. Cassia.
“Now what is that thing doing here?” he demanded, setting aside his silverware in disgust.
“I thought we were discussing matters of our work,” WISR replied, his tone nothing short of cheerful.
The foreman elected to ignore him, instead turning to Anny.
“I trust you’ve finished the job. You know, the one I paid SYMM for.”
“As far as we can tell, any talks of uprising are justified,” WISR announced coldly.
The foreman coughed and sputtered, the lollipop in his mouth spattering onto the tabletop.
“And how does that figure?” he demanded, his face red.
Anny answered, “Working conditions are barely enough to keep them functional, let alone happy. Charging stations are overcrowded, forcing androids to work on low power reserves, and the quarters are far too warm, causing their systems to break down and overheat. Changing that alone would cut your repair costs in half, if you even bothered to fix the broken ones, which you don’t.”
“Now listen here, I didn’t hire you both to come in here and tell me how to run my business! Those things aren’t people and I won’t treat them as such!”
“You’re right,” she continued, “They don’t have the same rights as you or me. But they do have rights to begin with, and we’d hate to report this establishment for mistreatment.”
“And where do you propose I conjure up this money to improve ‘conditions’?” Mr. Cassia asked with a heavy dose of air quotes.
WISR’s parenthetical smile became a smirk, “Well, that’s the thing. If you do the math, with all of your laborers and low overhead, even accounting for those who don’t work very efficiently thanks to disrepair, you should be taking in at least 10,000 credits more than you report to Central Government.”
“Now that is a baseless accusation!”
“Is it? He’s a rather talented calculator, although an annoying one,”Anny admitted, “You have six months to improve conditions here for your working metal men or I will submit the report on the charges of Gross Mistreatment of a Robot and fraud to Central myself.”
Anny stood and began to walk towards the door.
“I’ll have your job, girl. I will. You will never work again if I say so! I own this moon!”
She ignored him and continued walking.
“Yes, I’m sure your ownership of this swamp will save you from an Interplanetary Tax Audit and felony charges,” WISR remarked dryly before following her out.
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J.D. Locke • Watercolorheart