Ben Tan

Singapore

Just a young writer from Singapore. I'm currently working on a long running novel, which I have titled: Raymond Winters. Stick around for short stories and long ones. I generally write stories, but I do enjoy writing a quick piece now and then.

Message to Readers

Heyo so another new story from me. I've decided that these pieces will be more like pilots, that will most likely spur me into writing the full piece seperately. But please, do help out and leave some feedback, it will be a great help to me.

Identity

July 24, 2018

FREE WRITING

1
Date:3002
Time:0813

"Ms Low, this is the fifth time you have been late this month! And it's not even half the month yet!"

"I'm really very sorry boss. It won't happen again."

"It better not. Now get to work!"

Rushing away, Kaitlyn stumbled to the employee's room, hurriedly tying an apron around her waist. Sliding a pen, and a notepad into the pockets, she dashed out, almost tripping over herself. She was already behind time, and she definitely did not want to give her boss any more ammunition to fire her. 

Kaitlyn Low was a waitress at a small cafe that was rather close by to her apartment. After graduating, she found it difficult to find a job. It wasn't really easy to do so after androids had taken over most of the sectors. Almost every single work industry in the world had been replaced by androids.

It wasn’t an issue for quite a number of people, considering that most had decided to take a degree in Information Technology and other related degrees. Those unlucky ones, like Kaitlyn, were left with the worse end of things. She, personally, had a degree in social work, but after the government started utilising androids that could do the job of social workers perfectly, Kaitlyn was left with a worthless piece of paper.

She was fortunate that the cafe she worked at still employed humans. Sighing, she faced the crowd ahead of her. It was going to be a long day ahead of her.

But not in the way she would have expected.

Moving swiftly around the place, she executed her duties deftly, balancing a tray of dirty cutlery, while maneuvering the minefield of chairs, tables and people. Sliding it into the kitchen, Kaitlyn ran out, and hurriedly took down some more orders. Dancing around the cafe, her skill was the only reason why she hadn’t been fired yet. Honestly, she was probably the only reason why the cafe was still in business. She was almost as capable as the other androids, and that was what allowed the cafe to keep up with others.

The bell positioned above the door sounded, and Kaitlyn’s attention was immediately drawn to a man dressed sharply in a suit. Although she was rather used to seeing business people in the cafe, this specific man, seemed rather out of place. She just couldn’t put her finger on what it was.

Eyes following the man, she made sure to keep him in her sights. Sliding through the cafe as usual, she approached the man, preparing to take his order. Instead of an order, what Kaitlyn got was a rather confusing sentence.

“Iced tea served, thyme infused, mahogany end.”

It was just all a random series of words, and honestly, she had no idea what the man was talking about. But then, something just clicked in her head, and the words came out of her mouth as if she understood it.

“PA010. Status, unactivated. Operator, Claudia Low.”

Shaking her head, she took an instinctive step backwards. She couldn’t comprehend what she had just said. What was that? What in the world is PA010? And Claudia isn’t my operator, she’s my mom. What is going on?

The man grinned, standing up, as he slipped a thumb drive into Kaitlyn’s apron’s pocket. He strolled out of the cafe, before turning back, mouthing words that she could somehow read off his lips.

“PA005”

Standing there confused, it took one of her colleagues to shake her out of it. Taking a deep breath, she continued on with her job, all the while remembering that she had a thumb drive from the weird man.

While her body was physically at work, her mind was already back at home trying to figure out who the man was. Stumbling through the day, she could not focus on her job. And as soon as her shift ended, Kaitlyn packed up her belongings, and dashed back home as quickly as she could.

Weaving past the crowds of pedestrians, she made way her through the jostling sea of elbows, bags and sweaty people, with ease. Ducking past more pedestrians, she finally reached her own apartment.

Literally flying up the stairs, she fished out her keys, swinging the door wide open.

“Ma. What’s PA010?”

Claudia stared at Kaitlyn, glaring in fact. It was unsettling for Kaitlyn, and she shifted on the spot, closing the door slowly behind her.

“Where did you hear that?” Claudia’s voice was calm, yet had underlying tones of menace and strictness. Just the voice alone sent chills down Kaitlyn’s spine.

“O-out of my own mouth.”

“I guess I can’t hide the truth anymore. One of the other PAs must have tracked you down.”

“Ma, what do you mean track me down?”

Gesturing towards the couch in the apartment, the both of them sat beside each other. Sitting by her own mother, she could see the wrinkles on the face. Individual white hairs growing from in between her black hair. Sighing, Claudia placed a hand on her daughter’s hands.

“You’re not really my daughter. You’re an android. PA010, the tenth Prototype Android. Unlike the other androids, you guys were programmed to have a consciousness that grows like humans. Effectively making PAs artificial humans,” taking a deep breath, she continued, “I was your engineer, and I hid you when the government ordered all PAs to be destroyed. They found that you guys were too much a threat, and as of now, only six out of the original thirteen androids are still alive.”

Kaitlyn could not believe her own ears, in fact, she wished that she couldn’t trust her own hearing. Shaking her head, she stood up, slowly backing away from the person whom she once taught was her mother.

Her life slowly started making sense to her, the fact that for an entire eight years of her life, she had no recollection of much. The fact that whenever she was supposed to be injured, she basically felt no pain. The fact that her skills were way past human ability. And just as she was so different, Claudia was no different. It explained the immense stress she went through, having to keep this secret from Kaitlyn.

But Kaitlyn just couldn’t believe it. She didn’t want to.

Her world came crashing down in just a matter of seconds. And all that she once knew, was washed away. Slowly stepping back, she stumbled over herself, falling heavily down on the ground with a thump. Chairs were overturned, clattering down on the floor noisily.

Claudia hurriedly rushed over to her own ‘daughter’, helping her back up onto her feet. Although she was still rather shaken, Kaitlyn seemed to had calm down, and her breathing had begun to stabilise.

“Look Kait, just because your metal and wires instead of flesh and blood, doesn’t make you less of my daughter. Of course, now that you know, I’m going to introduce you to some other PAs, to help you hone your programmed abilities.”
Confused, all Kaitlyn could do was stare blankly at her own mother. Can I still even call her my mother? Who is she really to me? Wait… programmed abilities?

A multitude of questions rushed into her mind, and her own mother’s words did not help at all. It was just all a mess to her, and she cradled her head in her hands, a dull pain rising up at her temples. She didn’t even know how it was possible to get headaches as an android.

Looking over at her daughter, Claudia sighed, shaking her head. Gently removing her daughter’s hands away from her face, she held onto them, squeezing reassuringly. With a warm smile on her face, she pulled her daughter closer, giving her a hug.
“Come on, get some rest first. I’ll invite my friends over to help you later.”

Nodding, Kaitlyn staggered back to her room, crashing onto the bed. Staring up at the ceiling, where she had pasted luminescent star stickers, she wondered what would happen next. Unsure of who she really was.

 
 

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