The first question is where?
The second is why?
The third, and perhaps the hardest of all, is how?
The where is a maximum security prison called San Quentin. I’ve been put in here with some of the meanest, toughest human beings I’ve ever laid my eyes on. Tattoos on their throats, scars on their faces. Men who have killed and enjoyed it.
So why? This one is harder to answer. I, to my knowledge, lived a fairly normal life of servitude. I looked after my family as anyone else would. I took care of them, put food on the table – made sure they would never, ever come to harm.
The how…that’s the question I can’t get an answer to. I have been in this place for three weeks, and each time I approach one of the authority figures, they give me a look of pure disgust. I am in a cell alone, without a toilet or even a bed. All that’s in the room is an electrical socket. What use is that to me?
The prisoners are even worse. These terrifying men, who I expected to attempt to threaten, harass or even try and sodomise me, will not meet my gaze. Each of them seems to emanate a palpable fear. I have lost control a few times now, each time the prisoners head for their meals I am restrained and kept apart, which doesn’t stop me from screaming: “WHAT HAVE I DONE!? WHY WILL NO ONE TELL ME!?”
Being alone is the hardest part. In life, I took to servitude and generosity. I provided for my family. I made sure they all functioned properly and had little to fear. Even when Michael began to attract trouble from loan sharks and debtors – I served my family and helped ease the situation.
So the how – the how gets complicated. Perhaps I’ll never find out. I am alone in my cell, with no bed nor toilet – nor any human kindness. Where? Prison. Why? I do not know. How? I cannot remember.
Finally, a woman arrived. She was clinical, studious. Her gaze swept through the bars of my cell and over me and I saw the slightest nervous smile cross her features. Then she spoke – and the questions began to resolve themselves.
“Marcus?” She asked. I nodded. “I am Agent Tara Havercroft. Of the robotic crimes division.”
“The what?” I asked. I was familiar with law enforcement. My family and I had watched lots of news broadcasts on the television.
“We’re newly formed.” She held up a clipboard. On it, a picture of my family. Michael, Susan and the two children, Lisa and Ben. My heart warmed to see them after all the isolation.
“You know my family?” I asked, hope in my voice. Quizzically, she held up her recorder and spoke in a hushed tone. However, I could hear it. I was always good at hearing.
“Subject appears to have no recollection of the incident.”
“Incident?” I asked.
“Yes. The incident. The reason my division now exists. Marcus…you know that you’re not called that, right?” I held up my arms, shrugging. What did she mean? “You are unit 987. You’re the first in a test run of household androids. You should know all of this. Marcus is the name your family assigned you. Don’t you remember?”
I shook my head. My family was my family. They had always been my family. Until…until what?
“My name is Marcus!” I gripped the bar of my cells as I shouted. She stepped back a touch, shaken.
“Subject has demonstrated amnesia and an acute level of aggression. All signs indicate the model is defective and can indeed feel emotion.” She tapped her recorder off, then looked up at me. Her eyes seemed sad.
“Is that why you killed them, Unit 987? Marcus.”
“W-what?” She was lying. I knew it. I would never harm my family. I lived to… to…
And then it was there. The memory. The incident my hard drive had almost wiped to save my cortex from imploding. The debtors coming to the house in the dead of night to take Michael’s home. To take MY family’s possessions. The knife had been so simple to take to the two thugs.
And then my master…he’d panicked. He’d started screaming at me, fear in his eyes. So I’d silenced him. Calmed him. As any good android should do to their family. Calm… I’d calmed them all. Mother and children too. They’d been so afraid.
The woman in front of my cell studied me as my chest fell. I looked up at her.
“I remember.” I said. The why and the how. I was the first android to ever murder humans. This woman was here to destroy me.
You know something? Sometimes it’s better to not know the answer to your questions.