Author : K. J. Russell

A Somme Corp. product designated Android 593 walked through the rain along Intercontinental Freeway 7 at precisely 1:25:42am. 1:25:43am. 1:25:44am. The Android’s connection to Somme Corp. provided it with a translocation sense that guided it along until it found, 11.5 meters off the road, in a ditch hidden behind a grove of oil-covered trees, a ruined ‘52 Ceres 3-door, sports model. At the front of the car, crushed and bleeding beneath a fraction of the vehicle’s 1.3-ton weight, was Essis Harrin: customer registration 593 (corresponding to the Android), platinum package. The Android’s mechanical ears could hear him muttering, “Dammit… Melanie. Melanie, why aren’t you… Why didn’t you… Why…”

The Android approached him. “Mr. Essis Harrin. Your Somme chip transmitted that you do not wish to be alone. I have been sent accordingly.” Customer 593’s glazed eyes wandered up to it, and what he perceived was a young, petite woman of unusually perfect proportions, exactly symmetrical.

Essis Harrin shivered and the Android sensed a drop in his body temperature, a steady decline from 36.81C to 35.33C and then to 34.12C, his pulse irregular. “So,” his voice was clogged by internal bleeding, “You’re here to mock me?”

The Android was confused, but made no expression. It ran a behavioral calculation and briefly corresponded with the Somme Corp. mainframe, but could find no meaning in Essis Harrin’s response. “I believe there has been a misunderstanding.”

“Why don’t you help me?”

“Your Somme chip has transmitted no wish for survival. It did transmit that you do not wish to be alone.”

“I only want…” he took a moment to cough up blood, and then, “I want Melanie. Melanie.”

Again interfacing with the Somme computers, the Android did a cross-search for Essis Harrin and Melanie. It spoke aloud its findings, “Melanie Harrin, wife of Essis Harrin and mother of Elise Harrin. Melanie Harrin was reported deceased on 24th December, 2054. Your request is not understood.”

“You can’t give it to me.”

“There is nothing that Somme Corporation cannot give you. We exist to serve you.”

“Can’t serve this,” Essis Harrin leaned back, looking the Android in its counterfeit eyes, “Can’t bring back Melanie.”

The Android made a query to the Somme Corp. administrative branch, detailing the request for a dead entity with special emphasis on the customer’s immediate situation. Unfortunately, offices had closed for the night 23 minutes and 54 seconds before. The Android was forced to respond as best it could, “Request for the reversion of death is incomprehensible. Incomprehensible requests are replaced with similar requests. Similar request: you do not wish to be alone.”

“Just get the hell away from me,” he let himself fall limp, “Let me die in peace.”

The Somme Android blinked twice, then turned around and left. It didn’t understand, but it did comply. The next day a recording of the night’s events was datamined by the Somme Corp. Android Evaluation Department, was then rerouted to the Administration Branch and from there to an executive review. Somme Android 593 made a brief appearance at the man’s funeral, and then it was covertly decommissioned. Somme Corp. executives made a minor change to Android behavioral guidelines, dictating them to assist customers during fatal situations, even when it went against the customer’s wishes. The Androids, while confused by this change, usually adhere to it. As always, programming errors are corrected as they become apparent.

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