03-06_space_station

Captain Jayce didn’t look up from his beer, didn’t turn to face Anny or her android shadow sitting just behind her on a bar stool. He took another noisy gulp of the ale, foam clustering in his moustache and beard.

“You did what?” he finally growled.

“It had to be shut down,” she replied, “PAXing is wrong, and doing it to hundreds of androids at once?”

“That machine was worth millions of credits, maybe even hundreds of millions. If they find out that it was destroyed under my care- when they find out-!”

“They won’t,” WISR assured him, “We worked hard to make it look like a freak accident, there’s no way they can pin the blame on you.”

“Afraid for your job, weren’t’cha?” Jayce asked around another sip of beer.

“What?”

“That big ol’ monster was supposed to replace the Agents of SYMM. It goes live, your career goes down.”

“That’s not-! What? That’s not what I was worried about!” she cried.

Anny turned to WISR, alarmed to see his usual smile replaced with a long, flat line and punctuated with an apostrophe of a quirked eyebrow. He was wondering the same thing.

“Have you seen what PAXing does to an android?” she asked, turning back to her father, “I have. It’s- it’s terrible, awful, possibly the worst thing you could ever do to a person. Imagine all the times you’ve felt sad or angry or just upset. Sometimes it was needed or justified, if someone messed up something big on the station you were supposed to feel angry, right? Now imagine someone came in and told you that you couldn’t feel bad about it, all you were allowed to feel is happy? Just happy all the time? Even if someone was doing something wrong, or hurting you, or hurting someone you cared about, every ‘bad’ reaction was taken away. You weren’t allowed to feel anything any more, you couldn’t be you anymore.

“That’s what the PAX does. It takes away everything that makes an android the person they are. Our methods, our algorithms and machine learning taught them to be just like us, and now we’re ripping that away from them and it’s not okay!”

Captain Jayce didn’t say a word, seemingly more interested in the soggy cardboard coaster he spun around and around in a circle.

“You make a compelling argument, I’ll give ya that. Gives me a lot to think on. Unfortunately, you got bigger problems right now. SD officials just landed, they’re looking for a pickup.”

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