In celebration of CYBERPUNK 2077 finally being released, I wanted to release a piece of writing that has been sitting in my archives since December 2017. This will be an ongoing story–not set in the universe of CYBERPUNK but inspired by technology, Futurism, and everything in between. Enjoy. – G
The electricity crackled and sparked from a loose wire on the floorboard next to me. I wrinkled my nose as an acrid smell of burning metal and battery fluid hit me suddenly. The wreckage below me was horrible, and no matter how many times I had seen it, it still disturbed me.
The model of android that was now a broken mess before me was new….an AC-1301 “PARISH” model crafted by Bolt Industries. A few months ago it had made headlines for its uncanny ability to blend in with the general human population—the mannerisms were as “lifelike” as possible, and it even had a neural network that allowed for advanced decision making when holding conversations. It had blown the Turing test away without even batting an eyelash and was heralded as the next step in advanced Android robotics.
To me, seeing everything that made it tick now on full display, it just plain creeped me out to even look at it.
The call had come in across the wire for me about 4:30 this morning, just as I was drifting off to sleep. An attack on an android was not new nor uncommon; there could be a drunken disturbance with a Servant Android in a bar by one of its human patrons…or even worse, you had a radical Humanity sympathizer that wanted to send the Android race a message: Humans first, Androids second.
This certainly looked like a Humanity attack—they always seemed to dismantle Androids in grotesque ways—removing eyes, leaving behind just an android’s hand, the kind of sick stuff only these people could think of.
This particular android had had its synthetic skin melted off with some sort of strong chemical—it had gone right through the various layers of composite material that made up the frame of the head and went straight through to the digital brain that held the AC-1301s’ operating system. There was still power left in its battery pack, too—the eyes were twitching in their sockets ghoulishly and the mouth moved up and down soundlessly. The rest of the body—stripped of its clothes and naked, was untouched.
What made this attack quite unique was that instead of standing in an office building, bar, or other public place….
I was in a Bolt Industries lab that was about three stories underground. Not really an easy place for a Humanity operative to infiltrate—they were just working class people, after all. Pissed that robots were stealing their jobs and pissed enough to get violent about it. This looked a bit more than a disgruntled blue collar worker could have handled.
There was a high pitched ping as my partner’s camera flash went off. Her brow was furrowed as she stared at the misshapen face below her. Ash was maybe a few years younger than me (I still think of myself as thirty-ish even though my salt and pepper beard makes me look closer to forty) but she seemed to maintain some sort of personal ritual that made her look like she was in her early twenties. Rail thin with bright red hair tied in a ponytail, she had joined the detective force maybe three years ago but even as a rookie had proved herself to be fiery and intelligent on just about every case she had worked.
I on the other hand, was portly, unshaven, and just looked plain tired all of the time. The only reason I was still on the force was because I had experience with Android related cases (I solved the very first one in Chicago in 2150) and somehow I was still considered an expert with them.
Truth was, I was on the out in about a year from now and could not give a bigger fuck about these cases anymore. Sorry kids—I’m not your idealistic type of detective who is all about truth and justice. Ash still has that spark. I lost it a long time ago.
“Walter.” She said to me, having pulled out a long instrument from her sidepack. “Do you think we might still be able to get a connection?”
I recognized the instrument as a bridging device for software updates. In some cases, our computers would be able to interface with the Android, allowing us to see system logs or something else that could give us a possible lead.
I grimaced a bit as I looked at her. “Doubtful. It went right through the brain, I doubt there’s anything we’re going to be able to grab off it.”
She bit her lip as she sighed. “I know, I just don’t know these models well enough yet to know where we go from here…”
There was an older gentleman sitting in the corner, wearing a disheveled white lab coat. He worked for Bolt Industries, and was the man who had actually made the call to bring us in. But he had been quiet since Ash started to poke around the android. Looking in his eyes–tears?
“The digital brain…so beautiful.” he murmured to himself as I stared at him. “So fragile, not unlike our own.”
Ash looked up at him and then look up at me, a puzzled expression on her face.
“Kovacs.” muttered the man. “Just call me Kovacs.”
“Mister Kovacs, do you know much about this particular Android?”
Kovacs smiled gently and then stood up.
“Considering I designed the brain on this one myself, yes. This was AMOS.”
Ash and I stared at each other. You didn’t give Androids names. It was just plain creepy.
“AMOS was special. A new kind of android.” he explained. “Patterned after my own brain waves.”
“I’m sorry, you want to run that the fuck by me again?” I said gruffly.
Kovacs turned around, smirking.
“Are you shocked that a corporation would break the law?”
“Copying a person’s brain is strictly illegal. Even with consent. It breaches so many ethics violations…” I muttered. I was getting angry. I don’t know why.
“In order to take steps forward, we must transcend mortal shackles.” whispered Kovacs.
He then pulled a gun from his pocket and shot himself in the head.
Brain matter and blood sprayed everywhere.
Ash screamed, and I stood there, shocked.
This was supposed to be a routine call.
THIS WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A ROUTINE CALL.
~To be continued