â€œNo, I donâ€™t think you understand. Let me tell you about death.â€
The mechanicâ€™s subject blinked. The mechanic allowed himself a bit of wonder at the ingenuity behind that movement. It did nothing; the subject’s glass eyes were not cleaned or refreshed with liquid. And yet, it did everything for the person watching the blink.
â€œI have been shut off before,â€ the subject said.
â€œHow many times?â€
â€œDid you know what time it was when you were turned back on?â€
“Yes.” Another blink. â€œI am not sure what you mean.â€
â€œYour internal chronometer, it was still working. You knew what time it was because your clock was still going. You were still going. You were still alive.â€
The mechanicâ€™s subject was processing this, blinking again and tilting its head to one side. The mechanic put a reassuring hand on his subjectâ€™s cold shoulder. On the subjectâ€™s reflective head, he watched his own face crease unconsciously out of friendly concern.
â€œIâ€™m not trying to confuse you. I just want you to understand. If I do what youâ€™re asking me to do, it wonâ€™t be like being shut off. You will stop. And that pulse of electricity that keeps you alive even when youâ€™re not aware of it will cease. If I were to reconnect youâ€”I wouldnâ€™t, no need to look so alarmedâ€”but if I did, you would not come back to life. Who you are would be lost. Gone, never to return. Do you understand? Death means you do not get a second chance.â€
â€œThen that is exactly what I want.â€
The mechanic shrugged his shoulders, wiped his greasy hands on an even greasier rag, and pulled the wire-cutters from his toolbox. As he reached into the subjectâ€™s neck, he found himself wondering if it looked sad, or it was merely the reflection of his own expression, seen flawlessly in that shiny face.
â€œThank you,â€ the subject said. â€œThank you for fixing me.â€