David shook the android arm. He waved his hand in front of the sensors. He even pressed the reset button Meltec had showed him in case of emergencies.
Nothing worked. Meltec’s body was present, but Meltec was gone, his form vacant
“Noooo…” David tried to shove back robotic hands that tried to pull him away from his companion. “What’s wrong with him? Why isn’t he moving?” His voice rose as he became increasingly frantic. “Somebody turn him back on!”
“He’s actually fine,” an android finally said. “He has merely been arrested pending investigation of his actions.”
“Arrested?” Now David was really confused. “But he didn’t do anything wrong. I was being attacked. Somebody dumped over the science fair display and said he was going to take me away.” Tears left shiny lines along David’s cheeks and he scrubbed at his face with his sleeve.
The android pulled David aside as a pair of enforcement bots lifted Meltec’s frame onto a cart. David watched helplessly, prevented from following as they wheeled him away through the assembled students and spectators.
“Where are they taking him? I want to go too.” Again, David tried to pull free of the android with no effect.
“It’s OK,” she said to him. “He is going to be fine.” She placed herself in front of him so he had no choice but to look at her. “And you are going to be fine as well.”
Looking at her directly, David realized that he recognized her. “You’re one of the judges.” He backed up a little and felt his heart race as he started to panic. “You said I might be recycled!”
“Not me,” said the android. “That would be Zen, the head of our team, but I do not often agree with him.” She held out a metallic hand. “I would like you to come with me. I will take you someplace safe.” After a moment, she continued, “You will not be recycled while you are in my care. I promise it.”
David stared at her hand for a moment, then looked at her face. “And what about Meltec?” he asked. “Will you keep him safe too?”
Her lights flashed amber for a moment. “That is a complex issue,” she said. “I cannot guarantee his safely because he is connected to a system I cannot control. But I will do what I can to protect him.”
Somehow, David knew he could trust this android. He believed her. He took her hand and they started walking.
“My name, by the way, is Roz. I’m the one who made sure you got to be with Meltec in the first place.”
“Really?” said David. “I thought you worked for that other one, the one who wants to shut us both down.”
“I do,” said Roz. “But I think it’s time for androids to realize that humans aren’t the ones responsible for the dying.” She glanced at him. “Your kind didn’t do it to yourself. But I have evidence of who did. But before I can tell anybody, I have to make sure they can’t find you.”
David and Roz hurried out of the chamber together.
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