Friday, August 17, 2007

July 15 694 a.t. Interstellar space

A strange dream this time, almost comic. A friend or acquaintance I didn’t recognise, but one that I apparently knew and trusted, turned up at our apartment in Tyr habitat. By listening carefully to the dream conversation, I eventually gathered that my friend’s name was Shu; she was accompanied by what appeared to be a bemused looking young woman. Almost immediately I recognised this person as a twentieth century movie star, a certain Marilyn Monroe. Obviously she – it - was a robot simulant of some kind, probably from one of the pleasure palaces on the Martian surface. But what was it doing here, in orbit, in the habitats? It seemed that Shu had smuggled the robot offworld and was looking for somewhere to hide it for a while. The robot-smugglers of Mars generally had one of two very different motivations; some were concerned with the sentient rights of the robot slaves, while others were more interested in the financial value of the machines. I couldn’t tell exactly which of these motivated Shu to get involved in this pursuit.
Simulants of this kind could pass for human in an everyday situation, but would be instantly recognised when passing through customs scanners; I never did find out how Shu smuggled the machine into Tyr.
Perhaps it was better that I didn’t know.
The Marilynbot stayed with us in the apartment for a number of days, I don’t know how long; in the dream this was made apparent by several changes in clothing by everyone concerned. I felt like I was watching a vid or some other fictional narrative; very unlike an ordinary dream. We cut the Marilynbot’s hair and dyed it (it complained quite realistically) and changed its make-up radically; soon it looked almost unrecognizable. The simulant had almost no domestic skills; it didn’t know how to operate a fabricator, or how to clean or cook or operate the home manager. But it did have a broad repertoire of amusing and rather daffy conversation, seeming very human if you did not know better.
My Aunt Julie – who looked older than I remembered her- was completely taken in, and became good friends with the Marilynbot; we couldn’t tell Aunt Julie the truth, and Rosie and I found the situation highly amusing- until the pair of them went out shopping together- risking discovery and arrest. We searched the habitat high and low for them, and eventually found them in a bar near the top Pole where the Marilynbot was singing a torch song in a quavering voice. Anyone who knew a bit of history, or frequented the dens of iniquity on Mars might have recognised it. We bundled them out of the bar, just as a couple of shady looking characters- who might have been robot bounty hunters- came in at the other door. Aunt Julie was utterly confused as we fled back to our apartment like the criminals that we were.
My final memory of this dream was a drunken conversation with the ‘bot. It was I who was drunk, not the machine, of course. It told me about a mythical robot homeland, that all the slaved sentient machines had heard about. There, the robots could become free- upgraded to full sophont status, they would be true ‘vecs. I told the bot that the very fact that it had an ambition of this kind meant that it was already sophont, as far as I was concerned; the machine looked at me with seemingly grateful eyes.

1 comment:

Space Rocket Meteor said...

“pleasure palaces” Now those sound interesting of more development.
“full sophont status...true 'vecs”
that statement poses the conundric terminology that makes space opera so great.