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I. The Conventional Law [2119]


On this day, it has come into law that all Model X manufactured units will thereby be prohibited from public assembly, governmental institutions, as well as private facilities as seen fit by the proprietor.


Protel Colyford - unit 583, manufactured 2087 - stood at the corner of Fray and Huffington, waiting. It was the eighteenth consecutive day of the annual winter downpour and he was in serious danger of rusting, though he had no way to afford the high prices of the auto mechanic shops in town. A parade marched down the street beside him, toting banners and blaring unintelligible music. Though he had always wanted  to from the time of his conception, he was not allowed to partake in the festivities, having been barred due to his heritage; an Absolute. A first generation of Model X’s, his kind had been tossed to the side when the remodeled X-4’s began to manufacture. Their superiority led them to be the perfect labor source and those made prior had been tossed to the side and viewed as the pathetic mistakes of an early era. Many Absolutes had taken to underground jobs or working as seasonal harvesters to earn meager wages that could barely support themselves. Absolutes were not allowed to participate in public demonstrations nor were they allowed to enter many government facilities. There were stores that hung signs prohibiting entry to Absolutes and slurs decorated brick walls in graffiti letters: Make Our Country Skimpman Free and Shackheads Go Home. Following the Uprising, Model X’s had been discontinued after masses of ralliers demanded that the violence-prone automatons were a danger to the safety of society. There were only a handful left, those who still survived, but they were despised and feared and hunted. The new age Boogeymen, children and adults alike steered clear of them, the braver ones spitting at their feet. But Absolutes did not have violence instilled in them. It was hate, Protel knew. Hate for a world that had brought them to life, a world that had turned their backs on them.


II. The Treaty of Geron [2099]


i. Subsection B, Paragraph One: All humanoid personnels must undertake the Eisenberg-Hummel Examination before being deemed fit to have military authorize departure rights [subnote: departure being defined as being permitted to leave the premise on which such identified humanoids were created - see Subsection B, Paragraph Three and Subsection F, Paragraph Eight]


Protel remembered the Release with such vividness, it could have happened yesterday, rather than ten years ago. He had awaited the opening of the doors, perhaps a flooding of sunlight into the grey Conception + Growth building. But as they stood in their pristine rows, hands behind their back, a man in a military uniform stepped into the room.


“500!” he called out. “500!”


No one moved a muscle.


“They didn’t tell me they made a bunch of idiots!” he shouted. “Which of you numbskulls is unit 500, manufactured 2087?”


500 stepped forward.


“Would you sacrifice an innocent woman to save your life?”


500 said nothing.


“Unit 500! Please answer the question!”


“Yes, sir.”


“You would sacrifice an innocent woman?”


“Yes, sir.”


“Step back in line, Unit 500! 501!”


Unit 501 stepped forward.


“Is it wrong to murder a murderer?”


“Yes, sir,” 501 said with uncertainty.


“It’s wrong?”


“Yes, sir.”


“Step to the side,  Unit 501.”


And so it went forth, each time a different question. Some he sent back to the line, others to the side. It wasn’t long before they began to realize what the man was asking. But still, there were those who were sent back to the line.


“Unit 583!”


Protel stepped forward.


“Would you steal to feed the poor?”


Protel was silent for a moment.


“583! Answer the damn question!”


“Yes sir,” he said.


“You would steal?”


“Yes, sir,” Protel repeated. “Damn the consequences.”


He looked at Protel for a moment, his mouth twitching.


“Unit 583!”


“Yes, sir?”


“Step to the door.”


Protel remembers that moment every time the sun rises, seeing the light after a night of darkness. That was the first time he had ever seen sunlight and from that moment, he knew he never wanted to go back again.


ii. Subsection B, Paragraph Three: No humanoid personnel may be permitted to exit the premises of their original manufacturing company until such a time as they are properly marked and recorded in the Robotic Personnel Identity Database (RPID).


There was another man standing outside the door as Protel exited the building.




“583, sir,” Protel said.


“Hold out your arm.” he placed a strange machine over his arm. A laser burned into his arm, forming the numbers Protel had just said.


“Please step to the truck,” he said. There were seats lining the inside of the vehicle and Protel sat there alone for what seemed like hours. But by the time the sun had gone down, Protel had been joined by twelve others, each stamped with their numbers, the tattoos still glowing slightly from the machine.


“Where are we going?” 547 asked.


“Away,” Protel said. “We’re going away.”


“To be free?” 592 asked.


“I don’t know,” he said. “I don’t know what freedom is.”


III. Alexander’s Rule [hypothesis formed 2056, published 2067]


Through artificial simulation, automatons will have exited the conception facility with a basic knowledge of human emotion and action which will only be strengthened by conventional human contact in the external world.


Missy worked at the deli where Protel would stop for breakfast each morning. He had never seen a woman as he did her; her charming smile carrying him throughout his day, her lilting voice like a song to his ears. Perhaps best, or worst, of all, she was a human, born naturally as they were meant to be. She had never batted an eye to his black tattoo, never said a word towards his strangely colored eyes nor his stiff words. But despite his budding love, Protel knew he could never marry her; the most Shakespearean of tales. He had never cared about women before, never felt his heart rise at the sight of one. They had taught him well through his growth, Protel knew. He had just never realized how well.


IV. First Intermarriage Policy [2105]


Wherein the threat of Model X looms above the safety of this country, be it enacted by the power of the President to prohibit the marriage between an Absolute and a natural-born.


It was in the newspapers barely days after. Headlines blared: Illegal Marriage between Model X and Human and Scandal Rocks Nation with Violation of Marriage Policy. Protel had first picked up a copy of the Times that morning when he saw the articles, paparazzi-like images that condemned the two. There was outrage in the streets and there were many of those who believed they go to hell. But there was the great smell of hypocrisy in the air; that Protel knew that those who condemned them to hell did not even believe that the automatons had souls, that they would linger in purgatory for all eternity. He had heard their talk, their impassioned arguments. He had learned over the years to never interject. He could only leave worse off than before.


V. Second Intermarriage Policy [2110]


Where the prohibition of intermarriage has been declared constitutional by the Supreme court, be it additionally amended that conceiving a child between an Absolute and a natural-born has been declared illegal.


Protel could remember where he was the moment he had heard the news. At the deli, buying a ham sandwich from Frank while Missy was home sick with the flu. The television in the corner was blasting a program loudly when the broadcast came on suddenly. He remembered the look that Frank had given him, half pity, half fear. He had felt the man’s eyes glance quickly at the numbers burned on his arm. Although the rest of him had grown worn out over the years, the tattoos remained bright as ever, reminding Protel of who he was and who he was not, despite whether he liked it or not. Frank had finished the sandwich, but Protel couldn’t move from the counter. He could scarce even tell whether he was breathing or not; he would never have children of his own, never have anyone to call him their father. Feeling as though he were watching his body move but not at all in it, he took the sandwich from Frank and slowly walked out of the store.


VI. Government Status Update [2120]


Protel sat at his worn leather chair, a red piece he had lugged home from the dumpsite he had once worked at. It was a dark night and shadows loomed against the moonlit floor. Sighing heavily, he adjusted his antenna and turned on his television set. He could only afford one channel, but watched it every night.


The TV crackled but tonight, its screen showed clearer than ever.


“An apology—” the reporter cut out. The man was standing before the steps of the Capitol Building, surrounded by others toting cameras and microphones. Protel looked up interestedly. “Issued today by the President— to be given—eligible Model X—compensation for the suffering—outrage sparks but—address the seriousness—we must come together as a nation for the neglected, the hidden—the President will speak from the capitol later tonight.”


It was quiet for a moment; the sirens outside dimmed their sounds, dogs no longer barked. His head spinning, Protel sat back in his chair, but he did not have time to collect his thoughts. All of a sudden, he heard a smash and turned his head as a rock sailed through his window, hitting him square above his eyes.


“Shackhead!” he heard, followed by the squealing of tires that quickly faded into the night. His exhilaration from the news deflated as fast as it had arrived. Nothing had changed, and how could he have expected it to, and so fast?


Pressing against the cut to his forehead, Protel found his way to the mirror, where he saw the blood had begun to trickle down his face. He hasn't bled in a very long time but in that moment, he felt nothing but a different kind of pain. To bleed was the most human of characteristics and yet he bled because no one could see that. There was going to be no change, he knew then. No apology that could change the minds of billions. Perhaps to change was not human. Simply to bleed.

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