~My Mechanical Soul~
The man behind the counter held out a small card. White with black lettering, cardboard covered in a thin layer of plastic laminate, ordinary in every way. I took the card from him and he thanked me for my patronage, already turning his attention to the next customer in line before the words were even spoken. I moved aside, still staring down at the card that listed my name, identification number, and authorization to operate within the limits of New Port City. I had never before possessed something so important.
Alex Potter, my newly-assigned partner from one of the local precincts, was waiting just outside the door to the Registration Center. He took one last drag from a cigarette before grinding it into the sidewalk with his heel.
“You get what you came for, L?” he asked.
“Yes, Alex,” I said, holding up the card for him to see. “I was able to obtain my registration card without any significant issues.”
Alex nodded. “Good, maybe now you won’t get so much grief out on the streets.”
“Perhaps so, but I believe that those who would give me grief will see little reason for this card to deter them from their actions.”
“Maybe,” Alex said, shrugging. “Anyway, let’s get down to the precinct and get your desk set up.”
Rain again. Not a downpour like earlier, just a steady, soaking rain. I opened my umbrella and offered it to Alex, but he refused, saying that the rain never bothered him. Rather than press the issue, or relate to him facts about the health risks of wet clothes, I used the umbrella myself even though I had little need for it. Alex was soaked by the time we got back to his police cruiser.
Traffic was heavy at that time of day. Everyone was getting off from work and in a rush to get back to their homes. Alex grumbled about this fact, but there seemed to be little that his complaining could do to alleviate the situation. He even yelled at a few of the drivers who were moving particularly slow, despite that they would be unable to hear him inside their own vehicles.
I found Alex to be the most interesting human that I had yet been acquainted with. In the three months following my construction, I had only been able to interact with a few other humans in anything other than incidental contact. Most of those were my creators. They were all very intelligent and dedicated people, strict professionals, rarely given to bouts of extreme emotions or irrational behavior. Alex often exhibited both simultaneously. Though it was not within the bounds of my programming to understand such human characteristics, I nevertheless found myself inexplicably drawn to them.
Here’s one more as Fragments of Mind rapidly reaches its release! I only need to do a bit more work and it’ll all be ready.