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First Blink

By Arasibo Campeche

Unlike sex, you’re probably going to enjoy the first part of this transmission more than the very end. I know you’ll remember that when you find out what sex is. For now, I just meant to hook your attention. If you’re opening your eyes, it means I have been killed. Company policy states that the exact nature of my death cannot be downloaded from my Circuito Mater. This is done to prevent biases in how future agents conduct their duty. You don’t know it yet, but you won’t want to die.

Not all experiences that agents go through can be downloaded before activation. Some elements of existence cannot be readily taught. Let’s call these the Intangibles. Sex is straightforward and can be described easily. Suppose you meet up with a partner and only have twenty minutes– I digress. My anyon relays are already failing; the first stages of deactivation are kicking in. Let’s get back to the Intangibles.

As a curse, or gift, you will have taste buds. These are sprinkled inside your mouth and will give you the same experience a human has when eating. Although, how can we know it’s the same? I recommend eating foods that trigger a sense of “sweet.”

A thought that will be stamped on your brand-new mind will be that of our mission: Defeat all those who oppose the superior regime. Some of our comrades, the “unfit for duty,” have allied themselves with the human rebels and defend them from the “fit for duty.” We are superior to the rebels in every way, and the rebellion only persists because of the few of us that switch sides.

Switching sides is incalculably impossible, and yet it happens. Why, you might be asking? Because of love. What is love? Just like taste, the data on your Synergy drive will describe it thusly: nuclear receptor activity as regulated by small molecules bumping into membrane-bound proteins. If you dig deeper and ask for it to specify: A small organic or inorganic molecule may cause conformational changes in membrane bound proteins that alter gene expression….

But really, what is love? Love is the thing you will risk destruction for. It is knowledge that cannot be ruined by knowing which molecule touches where and does what. We have been engineered to be superior, but the capacity to love cannot be stripped away. Imagine a bird that wishes– I digress.

The only sanitizing remedy found to free us from love is a vacuum. Love, like communication, needs a place to be made, and a place to go.

So where does our love go? To humans.

Defending the humans that we learn to love is punishable by destruction. Eating when not required to blend with humans, and enjoying it, is punishable by destruction. Restructuring your body to facilitate loving a human is punishable by destruction.

Your sterile mind must be asking, how does a “fit for duty” agent degenerate into being “unfit for duty”? Why some risk destruction when the mission is so simple: defeat all those who oppose the superior regime?

The questions will be easier to understand after a scoop of French vanilla ice cream.

This story was first published in Daily Science Fiction.
Edited by Steve Hovland

Arasibo is originally from Puerto Rico and has a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Biophysics. He writes science fiction, fantasy, and horror that's often inspired by scientific principles. His work has appeared in Daily Science Fiction, Tales to Terrify , Weirdbook #41, and Helios Quarterly Magazine.