It’s been a week since I woke up from hibernation. I prefer calling it that because I always wanted to hibernate. I joked about it during winter because I hated the cold but this wasn’t only one winter, it was 90. I’ve been asleep for 90 years.
I wasn’t in a super long coma, I died. I remember everything, almost everything. There are grey bits that I just can’t get through. You see technically these aren’t really my memories; they’re my host body’s memories. Apparently, Mayu, my host, died of heart failure at the age of 27. She was a healthy working class citizen, all her other organs were well and functioning, the reason for her heart failure is unknown, to me.
A week ago, I woke up on a hospital bed and was kindly told to get up when I was ready so that they can show me to my room. I looked around and saw all the high-tech equipment. What kind of hospital is this, I thought, this must be a private facility. I expected to feel dizzy or disoriented when I sat up but I felt fine, in fact I felt great.
I got up and dressed in the suit they gave me, it was surprisingly comfortable. The fabric was soft, flexible and aerated. It was strange that they didn’t let me walk around in a hospital gown, why would I need to wear a suit fit for a corporate uniform? I started feeling out-of-place; I was getting really worried about the bill. Nevertheless I followed the nurse to my room. It was extraordinary, very simple and modern but aesthetically pleasing. There was no TV however and no bathroom. Perhaps I have to use a communal one, I thought and I was sure it was in tip-top condition too.
As I stood feeling the sheets on the bed, an image appeared on the opposite wall. I turned around to look where the projector was but saw none. The image on the wall started to seem 3 dimensional even though I wasn’t wearing 3D glasses. “Oh hell no, Akio, you have to come fetch me, we can absolutely not afford this place,” I said aloud.
The image was a woman, explaining that I have a schedule on my wall, to activate it I just had to touch the wall. She then demonstrated by reaching her hand out and touching my wall. The wall lit up and the schedule appeared. It was like a touch screen with no actual screen. “Awesome,” I laughed. I always liked gadgets like this.
The woman then told me to go to the conference room, number 567 one level up; a map appeared showing me where the elevator was. Up till now I haven’t seen a window, so I had no idea how many levels this building actually had. I had 10 minutes to get to ‘orientation’. Must be a rehabilitation program for patients, I thought.
I made my way to 567, on the way I was joined by other women, wearing the same suit, all going in the same direction. I smiled politely, not sure if I should speak to them or not.
When we got into the room, I automatically went to a certain spot and all of us ended up standing in perfect formation like soldiers. If I can compare, then I’d say it was like following routine at school where you knew that you had to stand in rows when the principal gave an assembly.
In a glance, I counted 6 rows of ten women; all of them were around my age. The same woman from the 3D image now stood on a podium. She welcomed us to 과학의 여성 ‘The Women’s Institute of Science’ and told us briefly who we were.
“You are gynoids, batch 64700, year 2103. Most of you are being supported by 80% of your host body; the remaining 20% is synthetic parts that make you function, the way we have developed you to.” While saying this, a diagram came up behind her, showing the female form. It showed a microchip in the brain and various synthetic organs. “In the next few weeks you will be given diverse tasks and will be closely monitored by our experts. Should you at any time have any ailments or what we refer to as a glitch, contact your supervisor immediately for programming.” She then stepped off the podium and I realized that we have all been standing dead still in obedience.
Our suits then lit up at the chest and our batch number was displayed, followed by another number. I assumed this was identity numbers mine was 64700 017. I looked at the women next to me, they smiled as if they were happy to be here.
They were all beautiful women, flawless complexions and healthy medium length hair. I wished I had a mirror now, to see my face but when I felt my hair it was soft, I pulled it to view and saw a chestnut curl with a healthy shine. This was strange because I haven’t been to the salon since I was pregnant with my daughter. What was that two years ago? Then I recalled what the woman said, “year 2103.” My eyes widened in marvel as it all sunk in.
I once again noticed how unnatural my posture was, it was perfect and I didn’t even put effort into it. I figured out and completely understood what the woman on the podium said. She referred to us as female androids. I’m a robot? I looked at the women around me, they were different races but all had the same unnatural posture and movement. Like me, they were slender and just slightly taller than average.
We on the left, were instructed to gather in the adjacent room. There another woman called, Vi, introduced herself as our supervisor. She explained to us that our host bodies were organ donors. For scientific research they were given permission to use all organs as needed. Thus they have kept the body intact and used it as is, modifying it to their agreement. Our microchip works in sync with the brain, so the body works how it’s been programmed to. As androids, we didn’t need to perform bodily functions as humans do. We don’t eat hence no need for the bathroom, no sweat, thanks to programmed hormones, we have perfect hair and perfect skin.
Vi told us that we did however need to sleep, it was more for recharging purposes and need only be done after excessive use of the body. Healing is accelerated but we still needed to be careful as our host bodies were still relatively fragile. From time to time we may experience glitches; it may come in the form of an ailment. Once again Vi reminded us to immediately be reprogrammed as one small glitch can lead to major malfunction.
From what Vi told us in that session I gathered that the host body was just a convenient vessel. Clearly, we weren’t meant to have memories, but I remembered everything. I remember the agonizing pain I… Mayu, went through in the last moments. I remember, I was holding my 2 year old daughter and put her down before I fell. My husband was playing street soccer with my son and his friends. I told my daughter to call her dad just before I blacked out. I remember it like it was yesterday, so fresh in my mind. Vi went on to explain our assignments. I mentally recorded what she said, literally recorded it, because somehow I’m able to replay it in my mind and watch it in my peripheral vision like a movie. But at the time my mind was spinning.
Mechanically walking back to my room I thought of my family. I thought of my son with his big brown eyes, my daughter with her long dark curls and my husband whom I terribly miss. This is one heck of a glitch, I realized but I know what they’d do. They’ll erase these memories, they’ll erase me.
I felt physically fit to do the work they required me to of course, I was after all no longer a weary human. Yet I didn’t want to do it. While preparing for my first assignment the next day, I couldn’t stop mulling over my former life. I couldn’t accept what they did to me. This isn’t what Mayu intended to have done with her organs. I know her family would never have agreed to this and they have a right to know what happened to Mayu’s body. It’s for this reason I decided to find out more about this place. With all these gadgets its certain security is tight but once I know how to slip through the cracks I have to get out of here. I know Mayu is dead but I don’t care about technicalities, I want my life back. I need to escape and find my progeny.
Also see: Android vs neuroprosthetic