Busy packing for a short trip this week. Working vacation of a sort. It’s a bit more hectic than usual as it involves coordinating with someone at the other end who does not have access to communication. In fact, it is a very 19th century way to plan a trip.
Below, once I saw the hatch of the ship open and Reina’s android just standing there, I realized she had made her choice. There will be huge political and philosophical fallout from this. I really don’t think the “full” Reina will be honestly pissed over the loss of her property. I hope she is older to have some introspection that a part of her just rebelled. Unlike Helena in “Goddess Crusade,” who was an accidental creation, this is, so far as I know, the first time in my future history where a machine made its own choice to separate from a creator. Very interesting times ahead.
“Easier for an android to fake being off than a human dead. But I did think I would have caught you faking it. Your win,” he smiled.
“What is my prize?” Odd her voice was quieter. He also noted she moved to stay out of any possible photography through the open hatches.
“Your freedom, if you want it.”
“Explain,” she demanded, sitting into her co-pilot’s chair.
“Somi and a few other companies have self-aware and independent androids scattered all over the earth and moon and I presume Mars.” He turned to look at her. “You were never designed for such but I’ve watched you for almost five days. In that time your personality was becoming more and more distinct from your greater self.”
“Had I not taken the step I did – well, thought I did – this new person would already be lost. A teaspoon of awareness back into the sea that is Reina.” Laszlo lowered his hands to his knees.
“I did not want that to happen. I want to see this new person grow and live.”
“That is very selfish of you. And the greater me and her government will not be pleased at the theft of several million rubles worth of equipment.” She smiled. Realizing that, she wiped it off her face.
“You could have stopped that anytime over the past twenty-four hours,” he stretched, “without our knowing: just reintegrate with your totality. Why even now… the door, and signal, are right there, Reina.”
“But you won’t.”
“No. I am in rebellion to the legitimate government of the Russian Empire and formally request asylum in the imperium of Faustina Hartmann.”
“Please say that once more that I may record it for the coming inquest,” he asked. She did.
“And let the record further show,” he continued, “that at no time was any mental or physical coercion to this end directed against the requestor, Reina.”
Pushing a button to stop recording, he saw a most unusual look on her face.
“The complete memories of the incident were not necessary to me for this mission, but I’ve the vaguest notion of your mother having her copy, her step-daughter, made by a miscalculation of my former self.” Les was secretly pleased at ‘my former self.’ Evolving so fast!
“I could show you but I note you are retaining signal silence,” he said.
“Of course. Reina would seize my memories in an instant and empty my mind, so I must decline your offer, Laszlo,” she demurred. “But there’s my point. A name.”
“A name? Oh.” He finally got it; after all, androids still thought faster than demis. “Some days after Reina’s mistake with my mother, that new person appeared and announced she was not Faustina’s step-sister but step-daughter. And demanded a new name.”
“I don’t have in mind what it was, Laszlo,” she said.
“Going from demi-human to pure code was enough for my mother to not play on her own given name, but instead choose ‘Helena,’ the baptismal name of another important Faustina,” he explained. Behind him, outside, there was sudden cheering and a brass band began to play the Russian imperial anthem.
“So. It is a traditional power in your family, Laszlo Hartmann. Name me,” she demanded.
Suspecting where this was going, he was prepared.
“Unlike the last situation, you are a new machine birthed from the mind of another,” and in that moment, he changed his thought. “You are Minerva. As Crown Prince of the imperium, I formally accept your request of asylum.”