Feet dangled, heels knocking against the wall where David sat staring out across the pond. This park seemed to bring great pleasure to the boy, and Meltec brought him here as often as time allowed.
He stepped closer to the wall to talk to the boy. “What are you thinking about?” he asked.
David’s shoulders hunched up the dropped back into place. “Nothing,” he said.
“You have no thoughts, at this moment?” Meltec wasn’t sure what that would be like. “As if someone had cleared your memory?”
David glanced over and shook his head, giggling. “No. Not that kind of nothing.” He shrugged again. “I was just thinking about what it would be like to be nothing. To become nothing.” He hesitated. “Like… like when an android is taken offline, or a human gets, you know…” he trailed off.
“Recycled?” David nodded. Meltec processed for a moment. “You want to know what it is like to die,” he said.
David jumped down from the wall and walked toward the pond. He stopped on the banks and threw several small rocks into the water to watch the ripples on the surface. Meltec came and stood by his side for a moment, then picked up a stone of his own to toss with a plunk into the pond.
“Do androids think about dying?” David asked. “Do they ever worry about what comes after all this?”
Meltec shook his head. “I do not think so,” he said. “Our systems can be repaired and upgraded almost indefinitely. And if a person is damaged beyond repair, their memory can be uploaded to a new unit, or simply stored.”
“What’s that like? Being stored?” David’s eyes were wide, his eyebrows raised. Meltec recognized genuine interest.
“I have not been stored,” he said. “But I do not think it is like anything, except, perhaps, being offline.”
“That may be a good analogy, though imprecise. Humans and other biologics still have brain processes while they sleep. When an android is stored there should be no processes occurring. Cycling processes within containment storage may eventually cause degradation that would corrupt the memory.”
The boy was silent for a long moment. “Can human memories be stored?” he finally asked.
“That technology does not exist at this time,” Meltec said. “Human behavior can be influenced through genetic manipulation.” He smiled at David. “That is what made it possible for humans to be restored at all. But specific thoughts and memories can not be digitally rendered. Not in the same way that the experiences of robots and androids can be.”
“Then how did the androids know what to bring back? How did they know what humans were like?”
“Some androids had memories of humans and human behavior,” Meltec told him. “Some things were learned through research. Oh…”
David looked at Meltec. “What?”
“There are programs and books that record the thoughts and memories of humans and human culture. It is an imprecise record, but it is readily available.” He reached out and took David’s hand. “Come. I believe we should go home and download some memories.”
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