Fire Within Ice
Roger Smith looked over Paradigm City from the safety of his balcony, as he frequently
liked to do. When sunset came, even a dismal place like this one gained a little bit of beauty
to it. Soon, it would be night. Soon, the mysteries of a past long forgotten would roam the
streets again. Roger scolded himself for thinking about such things. The ghosts of this city
were best left alone. He had no real interest in them. He much preferred the living. And
reasonable facsimiles thereof, he added a moment later.
Roger turned to face his companion, R. Dorothy, who had apparently been out here for
quite some time. She too was staring out over the city, from her usual perch on the edge of the
balcony. Roger envied her mechanical nature in that moment. Every single movement Dorothy made,
no matter how minute, was based on an exact set of specifications. Unlike humans, she did not
grow, experience puberty, or gain weight. Her physical appearance had been the same since the
day she was switched on. It would be the same the day she went off-line. Because of these
specifications, she was able to stand on the balcony with no fear of losing her balance. If she
wanted to, she could probably dance a tango up there without falling or missing a beat.
"It's getting cold." Roger announced for no particular reason. It just seemed like the
right thing to say.
"Yes." Dorothy replied, without ever turning her head to look at him.
Roger smirked. "Have you been thinking about yourself again?"
This comment hooked the android's attention, and she now favored him with her usual
stare. "I told you before, I think about myself more than you do."
Roger nodded in response, then a thought occurred to him. "Wait a minute."
"When you say that, do you mean that you think about yourself more than I think about
myself, or that you think about yourself more than I think about you?"
Dorothy was caught slightly off-guard, if such a thing was possible. She had no
immediate response to give the negotiator. Instead, she regarded him with an inquisitive look.
Roger did not seem anxious to say anything else. Clearly, he was enjoying watching the girl
squirm. "Both." She stated at length.
"Oh you think so, huh?"
"Well, I admit that you probably think about yourself more than I think about myself,
but I think you may be wrong about the other one."
"You think about me more than I think about myself?" Dorothy inquired.
"I don't know. It's possible. Everyone in this city does seem to be after you. It does
make a guy wonder."
"If you are going to ask 'what is so special about me,' then I am afraid I won't be able
to help you. I have given you all the pertinent information."
"It isn't much help, now is it?"
Dorothy merely stared at him again.
"What?" She asked.
"Do you believe in God?"
"The real Dorothy did, therefore it stands to reason that I do as well. Most humans who
believe in a God hold some sort of belief that he is in control of things. But I am not human.
The real Dorothy was. It is a confusing subject for me."
"Damn it, Dorothy, I really wish you would stop saying that!"
"The 'real' Dorothy. Hasn't it occurred to you that you are real? You are the real
"No, I was created to replace--"
"Dorothy, you are real. Whatever memories you have, they are your own, even if they
originated outside of you. You are your own person. You're not like the 'real' Dorothy. Would
the 'real' Dorothy be living here with me?"
"There, you see?"
"You're thinking irrationally, Roger."
"Why don't you let that 'R' in front of your name stand for 'real,' hmm? Live your life
the way you want to, not the way you think that you have to. You think for yourself. You're a
big girl, Dorothy."
"Have you given any thought to the question I asked you?"
"If you and I were to wake up alone--"
"Um, I don't really have an answer for that."
"I see. It is difficult."
"You're just trying too hard to understand. Love isn't something that you can engineer,
or set up. It's a phenomenon. It works on its own without any interference from people like us.
It might happen. It might not happen. But there's really no way of knowing, and even if we were
in that situation, then we wouldn't remember having this conversation, and the whole thing
would become moot."
Dorothy pondered that for a moment. "I see. Then perhaps I will never be able to
"No, actually, I think you will. You're not like any other android I've encountered,
Dorothy. There's something inside of you that sets you apart from the others."
She studied him for a moment. "Are you suggesting that I have a soul?"
Roger shrugged. "Could be. I guess it depends on what you think a soul is. Some would
say that it is a spiritual force that makes up our true selves, and we posses it from the
moment of our birth. Others would argue that our soul is our true self, but that it is
something that is developed through an individual's experiences and memories."
Dorothy jumped down from her perch to stand beside Roger. "And which explanation do you
believe in, Roger Smith?"
"Oh, I'd say it's a little of both. And that there's a little bit of both in you. Who's
to say the fire of your soul doesn't burn beneath the ice of your skin?"
A shadow of a smile seemed to flicker across the android's face for a moment. "Thank
Dorothy then walked past Roger, and began making her way back into the house. "Where are
you going?" Roger asked.
The girl paused for a moment before turning around to face him. "To sit by the fire that
Norman has prepared. Then I believe that I will play the piano for a bit while you tend to your
hourglasses." If there was one thing that could be said for Dorothy, it was that she knew what
Roger's idea of a relaxing night at home was.
"In that case," Roger stated as he made his way over to Dorothy, "I believe that I will
join you." Dorothy merely turned around and headed back inside, this time taking her protector
And above the mansion of Roger Smith, above the domes of Paradigm City, a crystalline
night sky began to put on its light show, sparkling like the souls of all those who dwelled
I hope that you all enjoyed this one. I'm totally stressed out this week with Final
Exams right around the corner! But I still found the time to vent once more! I'd like to take
the time to say a big "Thank you" to everyone who has taken the time to read and review my
previous works. You all mean a lot to me. As long as I keep getting treated this way, I'll keep
coming back folks, I promise!
As always, let the author know how he or she is doing. Leave your compliments
and complaints in the review section (hint hint).
You may also feel free to send your questions, comments, love letters, death
threats, marriage proposals, and ransom demands to
As always, standard disclaimers apply. I don't own "The Big-O," I'm just
blatantly borrowing its characters without permission, in order that I might
express myself. I'm not making any profit off of your creations, Sunrise, so
don't bother! I don't recommend suing me either, because what little I own,
is already owed to the government, or to Mastercard.
This is the end of the file! Go outside and play!