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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Metallic Heart - Chapter 4

 I stepped out of the elevator of city hall onto the President and Vice President’s exclusive floor.
 
 I arrived promptly at 9 am, just as President Aron would want…
  
 …but stopped at the door when I heard raised voices.
 President Aron and his bot mate Priscilla were in the middle of what sounded like a pretty heated discussion.


“So let me get this right Priscilla…you are asking me to allow you to hire a human…a mort…as your administrative assistant?”

 “Yes AronBot Enterprises is growing at an exponential rate.  I need more hired help.  I have positions that need to be filled!”
 Priscilla walked over to President Aron’s desk before continuing.  “I assure you…the human I want to hire is skilled.  I have watched her work.  She is a diligent worker and is never late.”
 “Yes, but why a mort?  Why not hire a bot to fill the position?” President Aron asked.


“A
bot Aron?  You know as well as I do that no bot would be willing to take a pay cut in order to work as an assistant! The work force is rapidly running out of skilled workers…you know that!”
 President Aron stood up.  “I will not allow it.  We need to keep the humans in low paying positions.”


“I could hire her as my assistant and continue to pay her at entry level!”

 “No Priscilla!  This would allow the humans to over estimate their worth to us.  They need to serve us…not be equal.”
 Aron, I am CEO of the company!  There is no way she would ever think that she is equal to me.”


“Of course not, but give them a little power…a better position, a title and everything changes.  They will demand more and more.”

 President Aron continued, “What? Would you have me humiliated Priscilla?  I allow this and before you know it, I am the laughing stock of the town, ‘Oh look, there is the idiot ex-president who allowed the humans to take over Lunar Lakes’!”
 Aron…I am not talking about a reshuffling of the whole power structure.  I am not talking about making morts equal.  I just need help at the office and hiring a human who qualifies for the job would be a big help.”
 “Understand my point of view.  I allow you to hire a human and everyone will want to hire humans for high paying jobs at lower rates…”
 “…before you know it, bots will be out of work because, why pay a bot a high wage when you can get a human to do the work for next to nothing!”


“I do not see that happening-”

 Aron interrupted.  “Ok, so let us look at the history of humans in the work force.  On Earth, they spent half their time on social networks when they were supposed to be working and allowed customer service and education to dwindle. We give them too much leeway and the same will happen here.”
 “That is a stretch Aron and you know it!”


“Ok…I give you that.  It may be a stretch, but nothing good will come out of you hiring a human as your assistant.”

 “But-”


“That is all Priscilla.  Am I not the president?  My decision is final!”

 With the conversation drawing to a close, I decided it was a good time for me to enter President Aron’s office.
 “OK Aron.  You win this time.”


“No, I win
all the time.”
 I decided to make a sound to let them know I was present.


President
Aron turned quickly.  “Ah, Vice President Ardis…a voice of reason.  I need to see you.”
 “Good morning Priscilla,” I said, looking over President Aron’s shoulder.
 “Never mind her…she was just leaving,” Aron said before Priscilla could respond to my greeting.
 “Morning,” Priscilla whispered making her way out of the office.
 “I hope I am not interrupting anything.”

 “No, no.  Please have a seat,” President Aron said, making his way to his desk.
 “I called you here to discuss a mort who was caught trying to steal from your personal account at the grocery store.”  President Aron said looking at a file placed on his desk.


I immediately knew who he was talking about.  My emotional response system screamed out that I should be very nervous.  “My account?” I asked as if I did not know what he was talking about.

 “She had a forged letter with your signature and tried to convince the clerk that you had given it to her.”


I averted my eyes to the certificates of achievement posted on the wall with President
Aron’s name on them.  “I could not imagine such a thing,” I answered.
 “Well it happened and I need you to take care of it.  The police chief alerted me that they have her locked up.  They are looking to me for guidance for what to do with her…”
 “I want her prosecuted to the full extent of the law!  I want you to write up a law that would allow it to happen!”
 I jumped up from my seat just as President Aron stood.  “But Mr. President, surely she was just trying to secure food for her family.  Can we just sentence her to endless community service or something?”


President
Aron did not answer right away.
 Then he turned and began to laugh. 
 It started out as a chuckle and then slowly developed into a full roar along with a point in my direction.  I slumped back down into my seat.
 I hoped that his emotional response system was just glitched to over-react as it sometimes happens.  But my responses still found it to be humiliating. 
 Suddenly, he was very serious. 
 “Vice President Ardis, you know like I know that we have to make an example of these morts,” he spat out the word mort as if he had a disgusting taste in his mouth, which is a stretch since we have no sense of taste.
 He finally sat back down and continued,” Whenever one of them misbehaves, we have to make sure that the rest of them do not get any ideas.  Do I make myself clear?”


I stood up.  “Yes President
Aron.”
 Again, President Aron stood up.  I used the brief moment that he had his head turned to let out the emotional responses that my system was feeding me…regret and worry.
 As I started walking to leave, President Aron stopped me, “Vice President Ardis…” 
 He made his way around his desk to face me.  “…you know that the citizens elected you as Vice President because you are strong and have the protection of the bots in this city as your first priority.”
 “Yes, I know and it continues to be my priority.”


“Well, do not forget that, even if it means sacrificing a few humans.”

 He continued,  “I believe that you would make a fine president.  When I decide to step down from my position, I will be sure to highly endorse you as my replacement.”


“Thank you sir.”

 “Now get that law drafted.”
 “Right away, “ I answered hurrying toward the door.
 Now back to those new housing laws,” President Aron murmured to himself.
 Priscilla was still in the hallway when I left President Aron’s office.
 “Vice President Ardis…I really need your help.”


“Yes, Priscilla.”

 “Before you arrived this morning, I was talking to Aron about allowing me to hire a human to fill one of my higher level positions. He flat out refused, but I desperately need that position filled.”


“What do you need me to do?”

 “Could you bring it up in your next cabinet meeting?  Maybe if we can get some of the other bots to agree, we can make this happen.”


“I do not know Priscilla.  President
Aron seems to be really against any type of human rise in status.”


“I know…unfortunately.”

 “I am sorry that I cannot be of any assistance.”
 I began to walk toward my office.  “You know Vice President Ardis…Eventually we are going to need these humans,” Priscilla said to my back.
As I walked away, I knew she was right.  We would not be able to continue operating Lunar Lakes the way we were.

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