• Vol. 06
  • Chapter 09
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A schmilblick too many

He digs into the cranium, tightens a screw here and there, checks the contacts, poggles with the schmilblicks and gizmos, the trucs and the spaghetti nests of hair-fine wires. He pokes the brain switches and slides, clips a piece of cranium back on.

“There,” he says, “all wired up and ready to go, come to heel, play dead, fly a plane, perform heart surgery, anything.” I raise eyebrows, questioningly. “Anything?"

“As long as it’s programmed. There’s no spontaneity wired in there,” he says. “Any reactions, they’re mine. I put them in.” He shrugs. “Like they say God wired me up.”

I raise my hand to wipe away something on my cheek.

“There’s no emotion in among those switches,” he says. “No tears of laughter or grieving, no empathy, no sympathy, compassion or hatred.”

I open my mouth to object. He jabs his finger at me.

“I know what you’re going to say—so, what’s the difference between men and androids? The only real difference, my mechanical friend, is the blood.”

I pick up the screwdriver that was probing my brain minutes before and jab it into his heart. He was right.