Star Citizen Lore Series: A Human Perspective – Episode 6

“Hanroyth Angela?’ What are you talking about?” Had he heard them right? Hanroyth was a Banu word meaning lopsided
or broken, but it referred to tools, not people. Just then Lyshtuu came in and quickly dismissed
the techs, who eagerly scurried out of the room. “What are you doing here?” Charl asked, shaking his head. “I thought you were back on Bacchus. None of this makes sense, Lysthuu. What’s going on?” At least now he could get some straight answers. “Charl-Grissom, explaining,” the Banu
trader began. He had a look about him as if he would ask
the Human to sit down, if there were any chairs here. “Apologies, Charl-Grissom. Acquaintance misrepresented purposefully.” “Misrepresented?” He shrugged that off for the moment. “Listen, Angela’s sick or injured somewhere.” “Angela here,” Lyshtuu said reassuringly. “Repairs being affected.” The Banu’s choice of words left Charl even
more puzzled. Lyshtuu knows Human better than that. “Angela is android. She is broken,” the Banu stated simply. “What?” Charl said, disbelieving, and Lyshtuu repeated
himself. “Misrepresented acquaintance purposefully,
Charl-Grissom. Apologies.” The Banu searched for Human words while Charl
backed up to a wall and leaned against it. “Lyshtuu lied to Charl-Grissom. Apologies.” If anything, his post-sleep gas headache was
getting worse, not better. Is he kidding me? What’s his game? How could Angela be an android? “I don’t understand.” “Torreele Foodstuffs negative.” Lyshtuu took a patient posture. “You mean, this whole mission isn’t really
for Torreele? It was some kind of ruse? What about the hwasheen?” At least he thought he had seen them, he recalled
hazily. “Charl-Grissom not hired evaluate hwasheen.” Charl fought to focus on what he was being
told, but so many thoughts demanded attention that he only stammered confusedly. “Charl-Grissom hired evaluate Angela.” Charl felt like someone had kicked him in
the chest, and he knew he had a stupid, dumbfounded expression on his face, but for the moment
he couldn’t do anything about it. He processed all this as best he could. “Because she’s an android?” “Yes.” “There’s no such thing as an android,”
he argued. They were just too complicated, anything that
looked and acted ‘real,’ anyway. Service robots were everywhere, all over UEE
and Protectorate space, but no androids. And Angela was so completely real. Anger seeped in where confusion dissipated. “Yeye-Weeshee, Lyshtuu!” Charl unleashed the worst insult he could
muster, one that defied literal translation but ought to enrage even the most passive
Banu. The trader took it in stride. “Apologies, Charl-Grissom.” “Why didn’t you just ask me to do that
in the first place?” he asked, rising to full height, letting out an exasperated breath. “Please Lyshtuu to explain. Experimental conditions ideal with Charl-Grissom. Dislike for Humans desirable, even ideal,”
Lyshtuu tried to explain, adopting his most reassuring tone. The Banu searched quickly for words. “Charl-Grissom ideal Human evaluate Angela
android.” Charl drew a breath to launch into a protracted
argument, but stopped short. What the Banu said rang true, or at least
reasonable. What did it really matter? “Wait a minute,” he said finally, his
head clearing further. “Why are you building a Human android?” “Lyshtuu not building Human android. Protectorate building Human android.” “So this is a government job.” “Yes, through Lyshtuu. Protectorate resources. Protectorate funding.” Charl’s entrepreneurial instincts took over. If they could perfect a Humanoid android the
profit potential in the UEE was astronomical. A lot more than some shaggy dog/cow critter,
that was certain. “Angela is an android,” he said aloud,
as if saying it might make it easier to accept. On quick reflection, there had been clues. She didn’t know much about Torreele Foodstuffs. And she got that blank expression a lot. Was that her synthetic mind catching up? And she wouldn’t need to breathe at all,
he supposed. But she was so real, real enough that he felt
that pit-of-the-stomach genuine loss that he hadn’t felt in many years. He wandered outside Human space precisely
to avoid any kinds of feelings of this sort. Now he felt it doubly, both the loss and the
humiliation of being duped. They’d made him feel loss over nothing,
just a pretty computer. “Well, Lyshtuu, your android needs some
work, that’s for sure. Do you need me to write up some reports on
her — on it? You know what I mean. That’s what you’re looking for, right? Some docs on what I thought about her?” “Charl-Grissom leave now, or Charl-Grissom
stay evaluate further.” “I’m listening.” “Angela android imperfect, development continuing. Charl-Grissom accept additional compensation
continue evaluation.” So, they want me to stick around. Charl knew that he had the upper hand now. Lyshtuu had failed to deal completely above
board, and Banu hated that, so they would be eager to make it up to him. “Considerable additional compensation,”
Lyshtuu continued, holding out his MobiGlas for Charl to see. It had the extended contract on it, all ready
to go, and a new sum line. It was the same number as the original contract,
just with an extra zero on it. That kind of set-me-up-for-life number would
get anyone’s attention. Lyshtuu must have noticed he had stopped edging
toward the exit. “Angela android many flaws. Not finished. Additional Human evaluation valuable.” Can I face Angela — or face that android
— again? Charl tried to dismiss her as just a ‘thing,’
but that didn’t wash emotionally. Not right away. That might take some time. “I don’t like that you lied to me, Lyshtuu.” “Apologies, Charl-Grissom.” “You broke our contract,” he said, pressing
his advantage with what he knew to be a key point of their psyche. “Lyshtuu understand, Charl-Grissom.” “I don’t much like the idea of staying,
either,” he bargained further. “How much longer do you need me?” “Ten standard days,” the Banu replied. “And that gets me the full amount,” he
said, pursing his lips and pointing down at the MobiGlas. “Full compensation,” he agreed. “I’ll want half of that in advance,”
he insisted, and the Banu nodded in the herky-jerky way they did. “Agreed.” “Then it’s a yacht ride back to the Reacher,
right?” “That is correct.” Charl caught himself wishing he could talk
to Angela about it, and he chuckled a bit. Stick around and you can, dummy. On reflection, he was glad he could put all
his feelings back into their box where they belonged. If Angela was a machine, he could treat it
like a machine and be done with it. Still, he wondered what his first reaction
would be when he saw her next. And he would see her again. See it again. He’d made his decision. “Okay, Lyshtuu. I’ll do it.” You’re paying that kind of money for ten
days of work? He couldn’t believe his luck. A few days ago he had been destitute. Now Charl had snagged one job that could change
his life forever! To Be Continued …

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