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Monday, August 20, 2012

Metallic Heart - Chapter 24

After leaving City Hall, it was time to visit the humans.  To avoid being questioned by my limo driver,  I hopped on a bike that I had recently purchased and started up the hill; hoping that no one saw me.
Riding the bike allowed me time to process what I would say to the humans.  I expected that they would be even less glad to see me than Frida’s mother, Elise.
Although I had plenty of choices when it came to which group of humans to visit, I decided to return to the group that were living in the empty lot.
The lot was practically vacant aside from a baby and a half dressed male.
The baby was sitting on the filthy ground with an expression that I have come to recognize as human exhaustion.
“Get away from her!” The adult human called out before I made it three steps toward the child.
He walked over with a suspicious look on his face, so I began to speak fast.

“I am not here to hurt you in anyway…I just wanted to talk.”

I held out my hand which he must have deemed friendly enough, or it was just a natural reflex, but he slowly walked over and shook it.
Before he realized what he had done, I started speaking again.  “I wanted to ask you a few questions about the president’s recent murder.”
Apparently that was not what he wanted to hear, because his face immediately became angry.  “What would I know about that!  Is this another ploy by you bots to have another one of us falsely arrested?”
“No! No!  I am not accusing any of you…I just wanted to know if you might have heard anything about it.” 
The closed expression on his face told me that he was not going to answer.  “Perhaps one of you may have witnessed something that would help us find the killer.”
“Of course I haven’t witnessed anything!”

“Well, not you personally, but maybe one of the other humans.”

“If we did know something, do you think we’d be foolish enough to say anything?  You bots have taken everything from us!  I’m raising my child in a tent because you bots took our home from us. Do you think I’d risk losing my freedom as well?”
“I am sorry.  I understand your anger and I promise that I will do what I can to improve things for you and the rest of the humans.”

“Weren’t you the reason we lost our home in the first place?”

There was nothing for me to say to that, because his accusation was accurate.  I was responsibly for writing the law that caused the humans to lose the homes they once owned in the bot part of town.
I placed a picnic basket on the ground.  I decided that I would leave and return later when more of the humans were here.  Maybe there would be one that I could reason with.
But I knew that chances were that the rest of the humans would be as angry as this one…and it was the fault of the bots.
A few hours later, I returned.  The humans stood in a group as if they expected me.
I walked over to one of the women, but she turned her head as I approached.  A young male, who I processed must be her teenage son dropped his eyes.  I knew that they would not be open to speaking with me.
There was another family of humans standing to my right. 
The wife looked away with unsure angry eyes, but their young son looked up at me with sadness and desperation.  The adult male had an almost friendly expression.
I decided to take my chances with the patriarch of this family, so I walked over to him.
“I am President Ardis…and I am not here to hurt you.”

“ My name’s Damien Su and this is my wife Bethany,” Damien responded; his voice kind and welcoming, despite his wife’s eyes of fire.

“I am sure that you are aware that president Aron was killed recently and some of the bots seem to think that a human may have been responsible.”

Damien’s expression was very thoughtful, but he did not respond angrily or defensively. 

 After a moment, he responded.  “I can assure you Madam President that none of us humans have the knowledge or the resources to have pulled that off.”  His answer was calm and full of truth with just a touch of fear.
 “Do not worry Damien.  I do not believe that a human had anything to do with it.” 

Damien sighed in relief.

 “The news of the president’s death was disturbing to us, but understand that it’s hard for us to feel any sort of sorrow over it.  Our lives have been impossible under his leadership.”
 “I understand Damien and believe me when I say that I am sorry for any part that I took in making your lives here unbearable.  I promise to do what I can to improve your quality of life.”
 “Then I’m pleased to know that you’re our new leader,” he answered with a slight smile.
 My response was a smile in return.  I believe that this gave Damien some hope that I would do all that I said that I would.
 “Is there anything that we humans can do to help you in your new position as president?”
 I found his offer to be unbelievably kind, much more than I expected from a human. 
“I do not want to put any of you in danger.  In fact please alert the other humans not to speak of my visit with you all today.” 

I thanked Damien for his time and kindness and left.



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