Chapter Nine: Humane

The rocket missed us, but our tail was caught in the explosion and our helicopter started spinning out of control.

“Shit! Ada, can you handle this?” I yelled to Ada.

“Probably,” she said. “But you might want to equip some parachutes just in case.”

“What about you?” I asked, momentarily forgetting my disdain for the bizarrely endearing homicidal robot.

“I’ve got a plan,” she said, winking.

“What is that supposed to mean?” I started to ask, but before I had finished the sentence Ada had opened the side hatch of the chopper and jumped through it. “Wait!” I rushed forward to try and catch her. Aphrodyke grabbed my arm.

“Fear not, drug addled boy. Our compatriot is equipped with compressed volatile gasses in her lower extremities which can be vented and ignited to provide thrust.” Seeing my blank stare, she rephrased it. “I put jets in her feet so she can fly. She is going to attempt to counter our spinning.”

“Is there like a manual for her body or something? How much shit did you pack in there?”

“Only what I considered would be necessary.”

“Rocket boosters and flame throwers?”

“Have they not proven useful? I rest my case.”

“Ok, well I’m convinced. Now do you think she will get us under control before we CRASH INTO THE FUCKING GROUND?” I yelled, as in the window the little trees spinning around below us were growing larger at a rate that caused my balls to crawl up inside my body and huddle together in fear.

Our descent stopped right before we became closely acquainted with the tree branches. Ada carried us to the nearest break in the trees and we all got out of the chopper.

“Listen,” Ada said. “We need to get to China, pronto. The Chinese government is closing in on the guy who codes the software that makes DreamMaker. He goes by Spydr3. It’s a boring name, I know. I can’t reverse engineer the code because the semipermeable membrane in your useless human brains resists multiple iterations of the same algorithm, so Spydr3 has tons of useless-slash-redundant code and it is impossible for anyone but him to decode which parts are needed to make the stuff work.”

“Wait, how did you pronounce that?” I interrupted. “Is that some sort of Chinese name?”

“No, you simpleton,” said Aphrodyke. “Have you really been using DreamMaker and haven’t heard of Spydr3? It’s a pun. In English. Spy-der. Spider plus spy. Plus some l33t shit with a three instead of an E. It’s how all the hackers do it now.” She sighed.

“Anyway,” said Ada. “We have to get to him before the Chinese government does. Chinese torture prisons are not notoriously easy to break someone out of.”

“I thought the Chinese shut down all their torture prisons when they switched to Marxist anarchy?” I asked.

“Please,” said Ada. “Every country has torture prisons.”

“Ok, well how do you expect us to get to fucking China? We’ve already destroyed two helicopters.”

“I believe I beheld an airport approximately twelve clicks North-Northeast during our descent,” Aprhodyke suggested.

“Well it turns out I forgot my fucking passport this morning while I was being gunned down by SWAT teams,” I said.

“You do realize that airports are almost entirely run by electronics now?” asked Aphrodyke. “Passport scanners and metal detectors included. Ada should have no trouble easing our entry. Furthermore, the TSA is a completely separate branch of US government with traditionally poor cooperation with the FBI. It is unlikely they will even know we are being sought.”

“Wait a minute. Where are we anyway? The nearest international airport I know about is an hour from here, and that’s driving freeway speeds.”

“It’s not exactly an ‘international’ airport...” said Ada.

“Then how are we getting to China?”

“It will be a simple matter to adjust the plane’s flight path electronically. My internal weapons plus a few we shall have the two of you embezzle should be plenty to keep the other passengers at bay.”

“You expect us to hijack a fucking airplane? Jesus Christ I wish I had a more powerful expletive by which I could describe how fucking terrible of an idea that is! Any fucking towers you’d like to crash into while we are at it? Fuck! Shit. Damn. Hey wait a minute. Will there even be enough fuel to get a little puddle jumper like that across the Pacific?”

“It is unlikely that we will find a plane suited to international flights at an airport so small,” said Ada, “however, there is a military refueling boat en route that we may also co-opt which should get us where we need to go.”

“This would be a great time for one of those LSD flashbacks to kick in because there is no fucking way I am going to overthrow a commercial airliner and a fucking battleship just so I can help you make babies!”

“Men have done more for less,” said Aphrodyke.

“I could really do without your man hating for a minute,” I told her. “I know you worship Ada because you made her body all sexy like in your wet dreams, but have you ever read a sci-fi book? We are starting the fucking robot apocalypse here. Patriarchy is gonna look like a hot lesbian threesome compared to what they put us through! I’m starting to question my ability to put my needs over those of the rest of humanity here, and all you can provide is a snarky comment about my gender!”

“Look,” Aphrodyke said. “I know you think I do, but I really don’t hate all men. I don’t even hate you. Somehow. I’ve been hurt by men, but it’s likely you have too. I am attracted to women, but that doesn’t mean it’s because I think all guys are pigs. I know there are plenty of men that are well-meaning, plenty that value women, and I value them. I know there are plenty like you, who don’t really value anything. But there are some that treat us like inferiors. And there are only two ways I can see this whole robot thing going. One way is like you say. They decide to wipe us out. And if that happens, mankind is finally united against a common enemy. Colors, religions, genders don’t matter because it is human versus robot, not man versus woman. True equality comes in the face of war. Look at the first job black American men were allowed to hold: soldiers. And later, American women working in the factories to support men at war.

“The other way is, the robots like us. They welcome us into their bosom. They are genderless, logical, immortal. They are not like us. They will teach us acceptance of each other because we will reject them. Every normal needs an Other. Finally, something else can be the Other. With robots, there is no way we can continue hating each other as fervently as we so far have. Isn’t that a beautiful thing?” she asked.

I didn’t know how to answer so I just made like I was jerking off a very tall ghost. I really don’t know why I did that. Aphrodyke just rolled her eyes and muttered, “Fucking men.”

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